1 of 6! 1997 Ford Thunderbird Roush Mark Martin

Collectors of full-sized Matchbox cars take notice! While this 2702 mile special-edition has almost completely avoided its functional purpose, it may bring great joy to collectors valuing exclusivity and provenance. Listed here on eBay, this 1997 Ford Thunderbird Roush Mark Martin edition comes loaded with factory options and limited touches unique to a handful of similar cars.

The NFL and NASCAR have partnered on various attempts to cross-pollinate the two sports to build their respective fan bases. During 1997, Valvoline sponsored the NASCAR Thunderbirds driven by pint-sized powerhouse Mark Martin for team owner and Ford tuner Jack Roush. Valvoline brought their vehicular hype to the 1998 Super Bowl in the form of six special 1997 Ford Thunderbirds tweaked by Roush Racing and signed by Martin and Roush. This is one of those cars.

The barely-kissed leather buckets beckon. Valvoline logos adorn seats, door inserts, and floor mats, so you know what to ask for when you take this 22-year-old car for its first oil change. You probably won’t find too many french fries under the seats. The Roush-tuned suspension may never be enjoyed.

Careful with those curbs! The late Boyd Coddington provided special wheels unique to these cars. You might find someone to blow the dust off the DNC program and mill you a replacement, but it won’t be cheap. Will the name recognition of Mark Martin and Jack Roush fade or remain as immortal as “Carroll Shelby?” This question alone should dictate how much you’re willing to spend. What’s it worth to you?



    If I was in the market for a low mileage collectible, this would be one I would consider. Although I’m not a huge NASCAR fan, the duo of Mark Martin and Jack Roush special edition should hold some intrinsic value here IMO. Of course right now may not be the peak of what the seller will see in another 10-20 years, but this would be one I would insure and drive to shows as I would any classic car. A couple hundred miles a year shouldn’t be too detrimental either.

    Like 7
  2. Bakyrdhero

    I’m a big fan of these 89-97 Birds and more specifically the 94-97 models. I’ve driven a few and all were great cruising cars. As for this one, I get the NASCAR collectibility, but I’m not a NASCAR fan. I’ve never like spoilers on these, I don’t care for the Valvoline logos on the leather and I hate the wheels! I thought these looked just fine in LX trim. That’s just me though.

    Like 8
  3. Mark Greene

    Not a single word about the motor, weird.

    Like 10
    • PatrickM

      Original listing says, “4.6L, V8.” I wasn’t aware Ford made the 4.6 that long ago.

  4. duke reed

    super rare machine- most unfortunate these were automatics

    Like 5
    • Chris

      You can see the manual transmission in the interior photo.

      • Bakyrdhero

        Like an automatic to me..

      • PatrickM

        E-bay say automatic overdrive.

  5. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Never cared for that spoiler. I have a 94 LX I’ve owned for some time and though it says this one has a 4.6 block (does not look like a DOHC to me), the top end has definitely been changed. No telling what they did to it. Car looks great but IMO it will take that right person with the $$ to buy it, it’s not for everyone.
    I love the way my T-Bird handles curvy roads, and I would expect this one would be a little enhanced and might do it better.

    • jwzg

      The top end was not changed. That is a stock TB and plenum for the ’96-’97 Thunderbirds/Cougars. It’s an SOHC 4.6 with about 205 – 215 hp IIRC. These were some of the most durable 4.6’s built as they had yet to use the craptasic-plastic timing chain guides and short thread spark plugs. The only issues from the 96-97 years were the plastic coolant crossover (which was covered by a recall from Ford for a number of years), valve seals that would harden up with age and leaky valve cover gaskets that are a pain in the butt to change due to the width of the motor. Once those issues are handled, the motors are good for as long as you care to drive and maintain.

      Like 3

    I love those wheels! My 98 Mark VIII LSC has simular but chrome and more fins. If it were a stick i’d be all over it.

    Like 1
  7. David Rhoces

    no word about the motor because it is probably stock … it boils down to a 2000 mi. 97 Thunderbird with a spoiler …ain’t worth 17 gs

  8. W9BAG

    The longest I’ve ever owned a car was my ’97 LX, fully loaded with all accessories (except leather). Mine had the spoiler with the CHMSL, and I thought it looked VERY cool. Included the moon roof. Put some Yokohama tires on it, and it handled like it was on rails with the Independent Rear Suspension. I had it for 12 years. Bought it with 81K miles @ 3 years old. A travelers car. Sold it with 182K miles. The only car that I’ve put that many miles on. Just a wonderful driving car in all aspects. No complaints. Would lay a twin stripe for a New York city block, and get 27 MPG. Black, with grey cloth. No problems. Had it serviced at our local Ford dealership, and they loved seeing it ! Saw it the other day at a gas station. The driver sped off before I could approach him. Too bad. I miss that car.

    Like 2
  9. Joe Haska

    I like it! I am a NASCR fan, Mark Martin was awsome and Roush is an Icon. I also knew and spent time with Boyd Coddington. Also, the pictures on E-Bay show the car in a much better light. I was surprised,I don’t think the buy price is out of sight, its a new car according to the speedometer. I would also drive it like a new car, that I had stole.

    Like 1

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