BF Auction: 1988 Ford Thunderbird 5.0

Asking: $9,500Make Offer

Ford created the Personal Luxury Car market segment by releasing its first Thunderbird in 1955. The T-Bird served faithfully until the company ended production in 1997. It returned briefly in 2002 before Ford retired the badge in 2005. Our feature car is a stunning 1988 survivor. Its condition is well above average for its age, and it would suit an enthusiast seeking a turnkey classic with no needs and plenty of luxury touches. The seller, a dealer, purchased it from the original owner’s estate and it still retains its original title and invoice. They’ve decided to find a new home for it, listing it exclusively with us at Barn Finds Auctions.

Ford introduced its Ninth Generation Thunderbird in 1983, with cars gracing showroom floors until 1988. Our feature car rolled off the line during that final year and presents exceptionally well as a survivor. Its Code 1K Light Gray paint shines nicely, with no significant flaws or defects visible in the comprehensive collection of supplied images. The dark pinstripe provides a subtle and classy contrast, an impression heightened by the original 14″ alloy wheels. The panels are as straight as an arrow, featuring tight and consistent gaps. There is no evidence or history of prior rust issues or accident damage, and the plastic has survived in excellent condition. The tinted glass looks spotless, and there’s no doubt this classic would receive favorable comments wherever it goes, courtesy of its superb presentation.

You can learn a lot about any car’s life by assessing its interior. Abuse and mistreatment show themselves in worn or damaged upholstery and cracked or broken plastic. There are no such problems with this Thunderbird. Classing an interior of this vintage as perfect is a big call, but there aren’t any aspects worth criticizing. The seats feature two-tone cloth upholstery that looks spotless. The outer bolsters can be prone to wear, but these show no signs of problems. The remaining upholstered surfaces are equally impressive, and the original owner’s decision to order the car with matching floor mats means the Gray carpet, which can be prone to marks, is immaculate. There is no evidence of UV damage, and the plastic looks perfect. Ford marketed the T-Bird as a Personal Luxury Car, so the equipment offered in this classic helps make life on the road very comfortable. The new owner receives ice-cold air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power seats, power mirrors, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and a premium AM/FM radio/cassette player with a power antenna. Everything inside this survivor, including the stereo and antenna, works as it should.

Lifting this Thunderbird’s hood reveals the original fuel-injected 5.0-liter V8 that sends 155hp and 265 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission. Power assistance for the steering and brakes were standard features reinforcing the car’s luxury credentials. Ford based this generation of the Thunderbird on the Fox-Body platform, meaning the car was lighter and more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor. The lower curb weight made the T-Bird a surprisingly spirited performer that could hold its own in heavy traffic but cruise comfortably on the freeway while returning fuel consumption figures better than 22mpg. The owner indicates this classic is in excellent mechanical health, which is unsurprising since it has a genuine 37,000 miles showing on its odometer. They say it cruises effortlessly at 95mph, and potential buyers should consider it a turnkey proposition.

The world has changed considerably since this 1988 Thunderbird rolled off the showroom floor, with life more hectic than at any time in history. We all need to escape and grab an opportunity to recharge our batteries. People choose different means of escape, but some can think of no better way than by slipping behind the wheel of a classic car. Those vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, and there will always be one that appeals to that person’s taste. If you prefer that experience to be luxurious, this Thunderbird could be the ideal choice. It is an original and unmolested survivor that is in superb condition. It needs nothing and would suit a meticulous new owner. Could that person be you?

Bid On This Vehicle

High Bid: $4,700 (Reserve Not Met)
Make An Offer
Ended: Sep 19, 2023 10:00am MDT
High Bidder: NCJeff
  • NCJeff bid $4,700.00  2023-09-19 09:56:22
  • Pepe21 bid $4,500.00  2023-09-19 09:54:53
  • NCJeff bid $4,299.00  2023-09-19 09:53:57
  • KevLee bid $4,199.00  2023-09-16 12:26:32
  • Skip bid $4,099.00  2023-09-16 11:10:14
  • Jeremy bid $3,999.00  2023-09-15 04:17:43
  • Vcs2455 bid $3,627.00  2023-09-14 21:00:21
  • JBFjr bid $3,525.00  2023-09-14 16:12:33
  • Vcs2455 bid $3,421.00  2023-09-14 11:04:54
  • JBFjr bid $3,320.00  2023-09-14 09:10:59
  • Vcs2455 bid $3,201.00  2023-09-14 06:16:19
  • JBFjr bid $3,053.00  2023-09-14 02:28:18
  • Jeremy bid $2,888.00  2023-09-13 06:33:14
  • Asab bid $2,750.00  2023-09-12 16:16:34
  • kranes bid $2,500.00  2023-09-12 16:11:11
  • John Jameson bid $1,800.00  2023-09-12 11:19:47
  • Asab bid $1,400.00  2023-09-12 06:56:18
  • Pacemaker bid $1,300.00  2023-09-11 20:40:26
  • Larry bid $1,000.00  2023-09-11 15:56:55


  1. Matt

    We had an 88 Sport in white w the 14″ aluminums and blackout window molding. Handled like jt was on rails w the quadrashock suspension and dad kept great mileage records for business. He got over 26mpg on several out of state trips and he had a lead foot. The build quality on this car of his was light years ahead of anything we’d had in the 80s before it

    Like 9
  2. MotoWorld llc

    The car is rock solid at 90 and feels like its doing 35! It absolutely was/is ahead of its time, it will by far outride and hang with any modern car- =)

    Like 7
  3. Stan

    Never even knew these were available w the 302. Thought it was turbo pot 4 or the 3.8V6. Nice ride, not a fan of the 5.0 badges, but some real hot water will take those off easy enough 😀

    Like 5
  4. MotoWorld llc

    Yes! This is the rarest of the rare-Unicorn alert- The turbo coupe is what it is, a 4cylinder. The new Stangs are offered with an Ecoboost 4cylinder turbo (no one is a fan,lol) The 5.0 is iconic, bulletproof, has a sound that is addictive, and doesn’t lose a ton of power when its hot. The 5.0 Thunderbirds are unicorns. And to top it off, the factory colour is now a VERY popluar colour on newer cars. Keep posted, there are a ton more photos comming and about 4 videos. =D

    Like 6
  5. Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

    This looks like a Sport model, based on the black window trim, floor shifter and seats. As mentioned before, that also means it has the quadrashock suspension. This is a great one! GLWTA!

    Like 4
  6. MotoWorld llc

    ty =) This is a unicorn for sure!

    Like 0
  7. MotoWorld llc

    I would like to ad that I am 5 minutes from the New Orleans metro area in Metairie (70001) and any potential buyers are welcome to do a pre-purchase/pre-bid test ride. If you have any questions or requests for more photos please don’t hesitate to ask! =D Ty

    Like 2
  8. yachtsmanbill

    Found an ’87 (IIRC) barn find (since 2005) with a 3.1 V6 Turbo Coupe with a 5 speed stick w/ 35K on the clock, for $200! LOADED, LOADED, LOADED. Ticked EVERY box on the order sheet. Everything worked on it. BAMM!
    This was in 2018. Towed it home and put a battery in it and a click on the key it was running! Original owner (his widow) was glad to get rid of it. Needed a new fuel tank (had rusted a pin hole in it).
    Put it online for 5K and a man was here that evening 300 miles from Chicago with a trailer. I took 4500 for it. FWIW… a 3.1 with a turbo aint no race car LOL. I do wish BF would upgrade the format to include pics.
    This car looked every bit as good as the one in the ad.

    Like 1
    • Fox Owner

      The 87 T Bird came with a V6 but it wasn’t turbocharged, so I don’t know what you bought, but it wasn’t factory.

      Like 4
      • JT

        Exactly. I was gonna say while they did have a Turbo Coupe, it was a 2.3 liter 4 cylinder, not a V6.

        Like 1
    • mick

      Not understanding your post. Maybe you meant an IROC barn find? GM made a 3.1 V6 from 1988-2005 but I don’t believe it was ever turboed. And, I don’t ever recall reading about a 3.1L from Ford (at least not in the USA).

      Like 0
      • Yblocker


        Like 0
  9. Michael

    What is the rattling sound in the engine compartment? Has the rear bumper been repainted, looks like overspray on the gas tank? Does the motor work on the antenna? Is that a crack in the windshield by the sticker, or just bad lighting? Looks like a nice car.

    Like 0
  10. MotoWorld llc

    I have 2 sets of keys and the car has an alarm system that works. The keypad on the door works and I have the original card with the door code. Its a nice feature to have if you ever lock your keys in the car or lose your keys. =)
    Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you may have about this car. ty

    Like 2
  11. Fox owner

    Just wondering why a dealer would try to sell it through Barn Finds? Would he take a 1991 Mustang LX 5.0 convertible in trade?

    Like 0
    • MotoWorld llc

      Online auctions that specialize in rare/specialty items are the best place to sell. =) They have followers that look for particular items like this unicorn. =D

      Like 2
  12. MotoWorld llc

    Thankyou Bidders! and again, if you have questions please feel free to ask! =) Bid with confidence, you wont see one of these unicorns again for a long time!

    Like 0
  13. MotoWorld llc

    Thank you bidders =D Dont wait till the last minute and get outbid for a slow internet connection! It has happened- ty =)

    Like 0
  14. Yblocker

    Nice Thunderbird. I prefer the 83-86, never really cared for the pointy nose on the 87-88

    Like 2
    • Charles

      What’s your reserve. And will it be lowered after YouTube video shows how to treat how much to ship?California may I 📞 you

      Like 1
      • MotoWorld llc

        Im not sure if i can give out the reserve, that would be a question for a moderator. I dont understand your second question but the auction will anounce when it has been met and it has been set very reasonable for this extremely rare beauty! Yes! you are certainly welcome to call/contact me provided it’s ok with BarnFinds terms of service =D ty 504-478-6777

        Like 0
  15. MotoWorld llc

    Only 1 day left Bidders! Lets bid with confidence on this unicorn! You wont see one in this condition, miles, and with the sought after 5.0 again! Much less the one owner history- =D

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.