Big Bird In BC: 1976 Ford Thunderbird

032416 Barn Finds - 1976 Ford Thunderbird 1

I wish I would have looked this good when I was 40 years old. This 1976 Ford Thunderbird is here on craigslist in Langley, BC in Canada, ten miles north of Blaine, Washington. The asking price is a very reasonable $5,500 US dollars. This is one crisp, original “classic” car.

032416 Barn Finds - 1976 Ford Thunderbird 2

This is the last year of the sixth generation of the Thunderbird and this time capsule is a winner, in my opinion. It has 59,000 miles on it, or just a little more than I drive every year, and this car is forty years old already. That’s an average of 1,475 miles a year! It must have been kept in their living room, it’s that nice. They made 52,935 of these cars in the Bicentennial year of 1976 and I have to wonder if there are many of them left in this condition. This car is almost 19 feet long so you’d better have a big living room if you’re going to keep it on display there. I would do that if I could, but I’d much rather drive this beauty, gas prices are luckily low enough that the 12 mpg wouldn’t cause too much trouble.

032416 Barn Finds - 1976 Ford Thunderbird 3

Yes! I’m a sucker for red leather and this one has acres of it. A few of those super rare, red cows sacrificed their hide for this car. According to the seller, every power option box was checked when this car was ordered; it even has a moon roof. Even though he drove a Continental, I think even Frank Cannon would approve of this beautiful bird.

032416 Barn Finds - 1976 Ford Thunderbird 5

Here is the monster V8 that’s lurking under that monster hood. This was as big as it got for these cars, at least displacement-wise. Ford’s 460 V8 had only about 200 hp by this time and this car has a 0-60 time of 12 seconds, not a road-burner by today’s standards. Any Honda or Toyota made today will tromp on this thing at a red light, and not to mention in crash tests, too. But, that’s not the point! This is an almost perfect $5,500 car with so much flair and personality that it makes Elvis look like Perry Como. Are you a first-generation T-Bird fan only or do you like these later, much-bigger versions as much as I do?


  1. Rick

    Damn bumpers…

    • Mike

      They had to have big bumpers back then, because the only air bag you would have in this car was is if your mother in law was sitting in the front seat with you!!!

  2. Mr. TKD

    I dig it!

  3. MIkeG

    Wow, the exact car, color and trim that my Dad bought in 1976, what an impressive car it was then, complete with his phone on the transmission hump between seats. This one’s is in really incredible condition. Though the rear bumper is one step above a chromed I-beam.

  4. Charles

    These years were never my favorites, however one can’t argue that this is a pristine example of a giant T-bird for a reasonable price. It probably rides like a giant feather bed. I wonder if there is any rust hiding under the vinyl top or on the undercarriage?

    The 460 is a torque monster. It does not need a whole lot of HP to get the job done, but if one is inclined this engine can be retuned easily.

    In the early 80’s bought the same year 460 from a 20K mileage Town Car that was rear-ended and totaled. I re-tuned the engine with an aftermarket carburetor, Edelbrock intake, reconfigured distributor, and dual exhaust. The engine was installed into an F350 Crewcab dually with a C-6 and a US Gear two speed transmission coupled to a 4:10 gear. That 460 pulled 360 HP on the dynamometer with 520 foot pounds of torque. We wondered why it strolled effortlessly down the highway with a 36 foot 5th wheel camper until we saw the dynamometer results.

    The switch from gross HP to net HP ratings is misleading. Yes the addition of emissions controls and lower compression ratios did decrease HP, but not as much as the switch of measurement systems implied.

  5. TBall

    Scott G – thanks for sharing this find. Beauty of a car. My step-father had a similar model (I believe it was a ’72 however), much smaller bumpers and 429 vice 460. Still not a road burner, but car rode like it was on a cloud. This once remarkably well cared for. Too far away, not my need today (most likely would barely fit in my garage anyway…

  6. Jeff V.

    Nice, brings back memories. Mom’s alcoholic friend had a new one identical to this, she would show up with a bottle and throw me the keys, “take it for a spin”! I was 17, got my buddies and parked close to the front door of the local strip joint, trying to act cool. The car floated down the road!

  7. Dairymen

    I bought a 75 golden edition about 3 yrs ago with only 28k miles on it. It was perfect inside & out. It was a dream to drive. It was a lot of fun but I really didn’t need it, but seeing this one I’m kinda wondering why I sold it.

  8. Nova Scotian

    Loved the days when bumpers were large enough you and a couple buddies could sit and have a cold beer, or a chat about what kinda stupid,wrap around plastic, painted buttercup cars, were being made in the 80’s. There were bumpers, then there was these things…Loved them.

  9. Ed P

    I love that red interior. It makes the whole car for me. This car just screams, “let’s go cruisin’ “.

  10. Andrew

    Mine has the same package minus the sunroof. Love it.

  11. Andrew

    These cars in silver always remind me of a funeral director’s car. They glide along respectfully while sitting on a sofa like front bench. Parking these lead-sleds these days is just a pain and try keeping it blemish free from others is just as hard. The hood could double as a helipad for an R22.

  12. wpmason

    I started buying this model of T-Bird in 73. I had a special paint call Starfire with a blue fabric, I put over 125,000. miles on it, then I bought the 74, then the 75 then the 76. All of which had over 125,000. miles on them. The only item that was replaced was on the 74 and was the distributor. As you may be able to ascertain I was traveling as sales rep and covered Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nebraska and New Mexico. I loved every on of these Birds, what a highway car.

  13. W9BAG

    Bought one of these from the original , local owner. It had been sitting in her garage for about 6 years, but was started every few months. It was in immaculate condition, with 51,300 miles. I took it to several car shows, and it was always an attention getter. The fuel mileage was a bank buster, though, having to fill the 27 gallon tank about twice a week. Really liked the car.

  14. Dennis Armillotti

    I am obsessed with this year Thunderbird! Brought one home for my father’s approval in 1978, he didn’t like it. It didn’t fit in his garage! Wanted that car so bad. Not without Dad’s approval though. So I didn’t buy it. Still regret it.

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