Supercharged Garage Find Uncovered

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Stashed away in this garage is a supercharged survivor that has been hidden away for a number of years. The seller doesn’t say just how long it sat in here under this car cover, but based on all the dust on the car and in the garage, it’s been here for a decade or two. If you can’t wait any longer to find out what exactly is under that car cover, you can find this 54k mile find here on eBay in Hartville, Ohio with an opening price of $3k.

Now before you get too disappointed that this isn’t some super rare muscle car, this 1989 Thunderbird SC is still an awesome find! When Ford debuted the 10th generation Thunderbird, it was praised for it’s smooth ride and great handling, but most reviewers felt it didn’t have enough power to truly be a great car.

So Ford strapped a supercharger to the 3.8 liter V6, reworked the suspension and slapped new SC badges to it. With the supercharger pushing 12 psi of boost at 5,600 rpms, horsepower increased to 210 and torque rocketed up to 315 foot pounds. All that power was routed through a Mazda sourced 5 speed and sent to a limited slip differential. The combo earned the 1989 Thunderbird SC the Car of the Year Award from MotorTrend.

The interior also received a few upgrades to keep in line with the other performance upgrades. As you can see this Thunderbird’s interior looks to be in nice shape and with what appear to be very supportive leather seats. The seller’s photos aren’t the best and we don’t get a complete view of the interior, but from what can be seen, it looks like a 54k mile car.

Given the mileage and overall condition, it seems likely that with a good cleaning and a full service this Thunderbird could be road worthy. Getting it back into tip top condition might require going through the engine, especially if you want it to be running the claimed 6.8 second 0 to 60 and 14.9 quarter mile times. Have any of you worked on the T-Bird SC’s engine? If so, what kind of performance potential is locked away in this V6?

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Comments

  1. Oingo

    Wheels gave it away.

    20+

    • JohnM

      Lol, I had the same thought. I’d recognize those wheels anywhere. I really like these cars. These and the Mark VIIs and VIIIs are my favorite Fords of this era.

      11+

      • hodgepodge

        I looked at the wheels and thought Taurus SHO….

        0

  2. S Ryan

    Skull Bird front plate? Should be Free Bird.
    Fitting isn’t it?

    5+

  3. Todd Zuercher

    Hartville, OH. Rust belt central. Hopefully this one isn’t too badly corroded.

    2+

  4. boxdin

    These are great cars, I’m surprised they aren’t more popular. I had a 92 5.0 HO w Sport Suspension. Stiff as a board but fun to drive.

    3+

  5. Mr. TKD

    Once resurrected, this will be a fun one.

    3+

  6. jw454

    This car has seven computers to run all it’s electronic systems. They sit just under the rear package tray in the trunk between the rear wheels on a special shelf . Just seeing them and all the wires is scary. The car is a blast to drive but, when mine got to be about 15 years old I sold it before it started giving me problems.

    6+

    • jw454

      Inside

      3+

      • jw454

        Right side. Yes, I miss it. Surprisingly fast car AND it’s a V6.

        5+

      • jw454

        Just as an example… The left front electronic shock absorber failed and I bought a used one for $200.00 as opposed to a new one for $700.00.

        Fun car but, pricey to own.

        3+

  7. Christopher Wenz

    I remember reading about a shortened
    T-bird. An ’89 maybe. Roush?
    The car looked awesome.

    1+

  8. tyler

    had a 90 sc and have a 91 cougar xr7 with the 5.0 a lot of power can be made with the 3.8 sc v6 if you got and want to spend the money and the big thing is how much rust in hidden under the side skirts in the rocker panels.

    3+

  9. Robert

    This car will clean up like new and ran when parked ???? WOW and a starting price of 3k LOL bet he wont even get that, I would at least get it out and clean it up and getting it running before listing it

    5+

  10. Jake

    Great driving cars and the supercharger made for fun interstate cruises, drove couple of these as demos back in the day!!!! Always loved em, and yeah wheels gave it up!!!

    2+

  11. Superdessucke

    No bids??? At a 3 grand start?? Interest in cars among Gen X and Millennials is about 0. When the Baby Boomers die off, muscle car values are going to be as fried as a bucket of KFC Original Recipe.

    10+

    • jw454

      Superdessucke,

      I think the problem with this car is that few people even know what it is. A fancy Thunderbird it ain’t!! This car is completely different than a standard T-Bird. In 1989 when this car was new, a standard car stickered for 14.5 to 17K. My SC stickered for 32K. A dressed LX 0-60 times was 9.0 seconds compared to the SC at 6.8 secs. It was quicker than some of the SHO offerings. If you’ve never driven one put it on your bucket list. Oh… and be prepared to smile.

      6+

      • Superdessucke

        Thanks jw454. But if you are in Gen X, you know bleep well what this is. They’re just not willing to give any money for an “old car.” They’d rather uber or drive a blob of a CUV if they do need their own.

        0

  12. Duane Boda

    Funny….I had a 4 cylinder (I think it was a 86 or 87) – can’t recall Chrysler

    LeBaron with a turbo. Far from a hot rod but it had sufficient power and

    looked halfway decent….Anyone’s thoughts on this configuration?

    0

    • thomas j schweikert

      yup 3.8 s had major head gasket issues add boost…good luck

      0

      • Chris

        Mine made 430rwhp on the dyno yesterday and makes over 20lbs of boost. Just like any car I’ve ever dealt with, there are weak points. An improved replacement head gasket and a set of arp studs, and they are pretty stout.

        1+

    • thomas j schweikert

      saw a video of a turbo chrysler minivan smoking its front tires

      1+

  13. chris lawrence

    No way would I pay even close to 3K for this car. If you think 7 second 0-60 times are fast, you must be the old geezer in the KIA going 15 mph under the speed limit so that everyone can see horrible life choices you have made.

    2+

  14. Nova Scotian

    Yea,..its not that quick. But a cool old old ride, with Fords electronics a plenty. This was when Ford started heavy use of everything had to be electronically monitored. Big mistake. Unless you can self repair when dash lights start blinking and flashing, have your wallet “handy”. Cool old ride though….

    1+

  15. jeffd

    Having owned an ’89 SC and an ’89 XR7 (same drive train in the Cougar body style), I can say they’re great cars. With a few bolt-ons, you can easily run mid 13’s in the quarter. But, a non-runner is a BIG gamble. These supercharged 3.8’s are notorious for blowing head gaskets. Easy job to fix if you catch it before ruining the bottom end… But if the engine got flooded and parked, well… Party’s over. Be sure to check the coolant and oil before buying!!

    2+

  16. 86 Vette Convertible

    I have a 10th Gen LX, I’ve owned it for over 20 years. It may not be the fastest car out there but it’s great on those windy country roads. Every curve you come to will bring a smile to your face.

    1+

  17. Sam Sharp

    Anyone gonna’ eat what appears to be two large pizzas that are on the floor?

    2+

    • Mr. Bond

      They’re yours, Sam. Have at ‘er.

      1+

      • Sam Sharp

        Thanks Mr. Bond. Every time we do a thrash build we always have at least two pizzas left over.

        1+

    • Moparman

      Former dairy barn??? Maybe they’re cow pies!! LOL!! 🙂

      1+

  18. Jasonk

    Had a 90 sc and a 96 v8 Thunderbird both were fun cars. The 96 was more reliable than the 90 due to the head gasket problems that many of the 3.8 v6 Ford engines had at the time. That would still be a neat car fixed up but do not think I would give $3000 for the car.

    0

  19. Chuck Simons

    (I had a 90 super coupe. Loved the way it handled. Didn’t like the way it stopped when the power booster went out.

    0

  20. Alford Pouse

    Guy I knew had one. I came back after a year and the motor was sitting in a cobra kit car with a few add ons to the motor.

    1+

  21. RoselandPete

    LOL Like the Motor Trend car of the year is supposed to mean something?

    1+

    • Pat A

      That designation was a reason to stay away from a car. So many of their choices were total stinkers, including the Chevy Vega.

      0

      • marlin1893

        Gee I still have one and it’s value is rising every year :o)

        1+

  22. RaGiN Z

    Is that thing intercooled?

    0

  23. RH FACTOR

    I worked on these and the previous turbo models. Previous generation vastly superior. These just didnt impress me. Contrary to what everyone says, the Turbo-Coupes performed much better with the auto trans as the torque converter kept the RPms up and with it the boost. So they were rocket smooth in stock form. Comfortable, luxurious, quick and good looking. Intercooled ones were the best. Although I also worked on the Mercur XR4-TI. No intercooler, but quick with terrific structual integrity. Expensive to maintain, but a fun car. ( MY TWO CENTS) THE RH FACTOR

    1+

    • marlin1893

      My friend had a Turbo Coupe nice car but the 3.8 only put out 210hp that explains why they were slower than the 3.8 turbo Regal T-Types

      2+

    • marlin1893

      My friend had a Turbo Coupe nice car but the 3.8 only put out 210hp that explains why they were slower than the 3.8 turbo Regal T-Types. Guess I will stick with my Buicks LOL

      2+

  24. Ron

    “Ran and drove when parked.” 20 + years ago.

    “Lost interest.” Only shows 11 miles since the last title was issued 5/13/1997.

    Probable money pit right here.

    1+

  25. Miguel

    You can get a really nice one running and on the street fro around 2K.

    It is good it is a stick, but somebody should be ready to invest a lot of money in electrical. Mice love wires.

    0

  26. Wayne

    I was lucky enough to drive a Super Coup from Ford R&D. It absolutely destroyed a super charged big block Chevelle. I know, should not be street racing. But the devil made me do it!
    How often do you get to drive something from R&D? (In my case 3 separate times. 1 GM, 2 Ford, 3 BMW. The Corvette and the BMW in the same week! It took a month to get the smile off my face!)

    1+

  27. Tyler

    I worked at a Ford dealership when these were new, & they were notorious for eating electronics. And once one got snakebit, it would stay in the shop on a regular basis. After the warranty expired, they got very expensive to own. I’d say that’s why this one was parked at a young age. To me, $3k is a non starter, I’d be leary at a third of that price. It’s liable to take $10k to have a driver even before you deal with any paint or interior work.

    2+

  28. Ross Peterson

    These cars have a lot of unique parts in most of the systems, especially electrical. A friend had 2 of them, I cut the 5 speed car up for for parts since he had spent 3 k at dealer trying to solve brake issues and some electrical gremlins. The auto car he still has in storage about 10+ years now and with a fresh Jasper rebuild sitting in it and he just lost interest and too much money on the first one. I test drove both the Turbo Coupe in 1983 and later his Super Coupe, I’d take the Turbo Coupe anyday.

    0

  29. Rich Nepon

    I had an 87? Not SC. It was nice but the digital dash kept blowing a fuse. Dealer kept putting in new fuse and charging me for that and diagnosis. Claimed not under warranty. Third time, after weeks in shop, I came to get it. Short guy who retrieved it moved the seat and the dash fuse blew. Turns out that my wife was a good bit shorter than me. Every time seat moved dash blew a fuse. Wire under the seat was the culprit.

    1+

  30. Pharmag8r

    I had a SC and loved it. Told the hubs recently that I wished I could find one in great shape. I remember the ground effects on mine looking better.

    0

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