7,000 Miles From New: 1983 Ford Thunderbird

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Fancy a brand new Thunderbird? Then head on over to eBay where there’s a 1983 model with just 7,000 miles on the clock. Since a non-Super Coupe car wasn’t destined to become a collector’s item, this low mileage example here on eBay either belonged to an elderly driver or simply failed to deliver the driving experience its original owner was hoping for. 

Personally, I’ve always found this to be one of the prettier generations of the Thunderbird, and wouldn’t turn down a clean manual transmission Super Coupe if it came my way. This example is the desirable combo of red over black, and the factory mudflaps and polished alloy wheels look fantastic here. The red pinstripe is period correct even if it’s a bit distracting.

The seller isn’t lying: just over 7,000 miles on the clock. No details are offered as to how this happens, but our guess is either an elderly owner passed away and the car sat in storage, or someone felt the first year of the ninth-generation Thunderbird would become a future collector’s item. Well, it hasn’t, but the seller is still asking $12,500 for a gorgeous but not necessarily desirable specimen.

Wow – that’s as red as it gets. I’ve always thought the red interiors on Thunderbirds was somewhere between cherry and bordello red, a color that was more fitting for a pair of high heels than a car interior. Still, it’s in mint condition like the rest of the car and the V8 / automatic combination likely provides a fine driving experience. Although I doubt the seller will get his price, this may be one of the nicest ones left.

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Comments

  1. Tim Troyer

    Had one in the late 80s. A decent car with a terrible transmission

    0
  2. KevinR

    My father had an ’84 Cougar very similar to this car. Gray with the same red interior, but his had all vinyl rather than cloth upholstery.

    My brother and I took it on a 1 week trip from central Georgia to upstate New York and back to visit relatives. It was a competent car that handled all we threw at it, but I don’t really remember anything remarkable about it. The V8 was adequate by the mid ’80s standards, but it wasn’t what I would call powerful. Fuel mileage was decent and it was a comfortable ride. More fitting for my father than me (at that time).

    2+
    • Jeffro

      Kevin, where abouts in central Ga?

      0
      • KevinR

        Macon

        1+
      • Jeffro

        I miss Nu-Way hot dogs. Yeah…I’m from macon too!

        0
      • KevinR

        The original Nu-Way burned down a couple of years ago and has not been rebuilt, though they claim they are going to. There are still some other locations around Macon. My wife loves them; me, not so much…

        0
  3. Miguel

    These were good rental cars.

    2+
  4. John

    I had an 84 Cougar with those TRX metric rims the tires on those were expensive to replace at the time. Not a bad car I preferred the styling of the Cougar over the Thunder Bird. Of that era.

    1+
  5. Paul Hudson

    Had two of these a 1985 V6 and a 1986 Turbo Coupe.. The super Coupe was the next generation and had a supercharged V6. This generation ran from 1983-1988. I loved the Turbo coupe it was a 5 speed.

    4+
  6. Al D

    My first new car was nearly identical to this. Only difference was that we ordered a grey interior and Recaro seats. Once I put a shift kit in it the trans was fine. Great car.

    2+
  7. Mark Member

    Do not like the speedometer reading, zero seems moved, first 7 too high.

    4+
  8. JimmyJ

    If u can park a car with 7000 miles this is a bad choice i like em but nothing special.
    Trying to think of an 83 car id park as a investment and im drawing a blank….

    8+
    • Mike F.

      A 1983 Corvette would be worth something, if you had one.

      4+
      • Miguel

        I would like to see that car.

        2+
    • KevinR

      An ’83 Porsche 911SC comes to mind…

      In hindsight, of course.

      1+
    • Bmac Bmac Member

      83 Mustang GT convertible, less then a 1000 built. My has 35,000 miles, to fun to drive to let sit.

      2+
  9. lawyer George

    Hudson know Fords. The first of this design to warm up was 1983-4 with the introduction of the Turbo-coupe with I believe was the 2.3 turbo charged 4 cylinder motor which seemed silly encased in a proportionately huge car. I wanted one and found a dark red metallic 4 speed in Portland which I talked the dealer down to 400 under Kelly, and it went like a warmed V-8 and I never noticed or was bothered by the turbo lag. I drove it for 2 years selling it at $200 less than I had paid. I found a 19,000 mile 1985 show room new Grey one with automatic which hurt it’s performance, so I sold it within a few months when I found a 1988 from resigned 1987 model w/ 4sp in white with red leather with about 26k on the clock. I liked that one best due to the more out of the crowd stream lined style. I had no complaints about any of them. The were fast, good on windy roads and returned 28 mpg hiway and 18+ city. After T-boning a stationwagon which had turned against a left hand red light, I found a 1990 redesigned BMW look black w/red leather 5 speed 20k mile V-6 Super Coupe with chrome factory wheels. That car was a delight: fast and attractive. That was my favorite next to my1966 383 4 sp. Charger I have mentioned earlier. Being from Alaska where the cold weather used to knock an engine out in 35k miles, I always dumped them in the high 30’s which was what I did with the 1990 selling it to a father in Coos Bay @ 41K for $300 more than I had paid, who was going to give it to his 16 year old son for his birthday–not the best plan and I would assume the kid’s driving/abuse probably devalued the car to that of dirt within 6 months. Everytime I spot a nice 87through 93 turbo.supers I feel a twinge, but awaken to the song lyrics that you can’t go home again.

    3+
  10. David

    The TRX tires are expensive to replace, but the metric wheels are perfect. Most owners have replaced them with something (ugly) from the aftermarket by now. My father owned an ’85 Turbo Coupe with the 5 speed, and it was a lot of fun for the 150k miles that we had it.

    3+
  11. Nova Scotian

    My buddy had a green one. Interior was green as grass! He’d break burn his on the spot at any stop sign just for kicks. Of course he had to give it a little jump first to get the wheels rolling then slam on the breaks and throttle at the same time! We all had tons of fun in that 80’s thunderbird. Good memories, thanks!

    0
  12. Howard A Member

    I wonder what the story was with this car? I mean, it’s a nice car, but not really something rare, it should have been used. And it’s way too clean for it to have sat for a long time. I’d have to see the underside. Interiors can be made spotless, like here. 1st zero and odometer numbers aren’t square. ???

    0
    • Miguel

      It is a Ford after all.

      I am not sure they were straight from the factory.

      1+
  13. George

    I’m with you, Howard A. I think this car may have 100k+ miles on it..

    1+
    • JimmyinTEXAS

      If it is 107K it has new velour on all the seats. It just didn’t hold up that well.

      0
  14. Troy S.

    Looks real good on the outside, but that red interior is a bit much for me. You know, car manufacturers were just scratching the surface in 1983 when it came to modern performance technology,but this t-bird brought ford back into professional Nascar and Nhra racing after a long absence. They make cool looking and running street machines too so maybe it’s a good thing they have a low value.

    0
  15. Chris

    Beautiful toy indeed gentlemans i would love to have in my garage. Black and red interior just marvellous gentlemen’s even sweeter if is a stick 5 speed with over drive. Yes indeed!

    0
  16. JimmyinTEXAS

    Isn’t it really black over red? Just a nit.
    I like this generation T’bird. Kind of racy-looking and the ask isn’t mind blowing out of range. I wish I could see this one. I think it would like Texas, plenty of open roads to fly.

    0
  17. Mike Williams

    Why all the talk about the super coupe, they didn’t come out until ’89 with their supercharged v6. Maybe your confusing it with the 83-88 Turbo coupe with it’s turbocharged Inline 4. I’ve owned both and they are great cars and the one to have.

    1+
  18. Bob in Bexley Member

    Turbo model was fun to drive.

    1+
  19. Mike W H

    You can see the ONLY known 1983 Corvette that survives at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green KY.

    1+
  20. P Wentzell

    An ’86 coupe with the V6 – automatic (Regatta Blue with a gray cloth interior) the shift linkage from the column would slip out. Just carry a pair of pliers, open the hood when the car wouldn’t shift, look for the connecting rods near the firewall, pull back into place with the pliers, and you’re ready to go! (again). This was eventually rectified by the dealer.

    1+
  21. Bruce Fischer

    My father in law had the same car color and all. He gave it to me after the rear main seal started leaking. I repaired it. I think it was a GREAT driving car. Bruce.

    0
  22. Moparman

    This is a nice car, but those gauge graphics are the WORST!

    0
  23. Jim Marshall

    I was in sales for Ford in this era and had several of these Birds as a demo. I liked these cars and just prior to the introduction at a big sales conference in Orlando the General manager of Ford apologized to us for the current Bird that he termed as a turd and said the we would all be very pleased with this next generation model.

    0
  24. djkenny

    I would prefer one like my mom had. A 92 V6 LX coupe. From what I recall, they were one of the more reliable last of the breed models.

    While the steering wheel was a little thin, and the brakes were not particularly good, it handled nice, was very quiet, and had pretty brisk Pick Up. MPGs were okay, too.

    It had the last of the Opera Window style. Need to bring those back!

    The interior showed plenty of signs of cost cutting measures, too much vinyl, and hard plastics with exposed screws… but what Ford did not during this era?

    0

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