Diamond Jubilee: 26K Mile ’78 Ford Thunderbird

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If you wanted to let the world know you’ve arrived in 1978, you might consider purchasing one of the most loaded Thunderbirds of them all, the limited-production Diamond Jubilee edition. Built to commemorate Ford’s 75th anniversary as a manufacturer, this special edition was loaded to the hilt with almost every option available, almost doubling the price of the existing top-level Thunderbird. Now, you can buy one for just $7,200 here on craigslist with only 26K miles.

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Like so many of the special editions of this era, you can’t really see too many of these “extra features.” The hidden headlights were the same, as were the taillights with the Thunderbird logo baked in. The paint was special, however, and included the first owner’s initials in the custom pinstriping you can just make out here. The “diamond blue” paint was exclusive to the model, and arguably more attractive than the other color choice, ember metallic.

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The least amount of enhancements were under the hood, where the standard-issue 5.0L 302 V8 was housed. But having one aspect of this car be easy to source parts for is important, as many of the trim items and other features unique to the Diamond Jubilee cars are hard to find today. Plus, with only 26,875 miles, there shouldn’t be too much work needed under the hood besides a tune-up.

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On the inside, drivers would enjoy features like “biscuit-sew”-style luxury cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, luxury sound insulation, illuminated entry, power driver’s seat and door locks, leather-covered instrument panel, 36-ounce interior carpeting, and the all-important 22K gold-finish owner nameplate. Fortunately, on this car, it looks like all of these features are still present and accounted for, which makes this T-Bird look like a compelling buy for the asking price or just under.

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Comments

  1. jaymes

    i always thought something looked covered up by the vinyl top on these in the back, paint looks dead though, rest will probally clean up good, id take a mark any day over one of these, the 1980 was much better imo.

    • Rando

      Some versions had an opening between the B and C pillars. This one would have horrible blind spot vision with the vinyl top enclosing that space. My mom had a 72 Torino with the same style steering wheel – just not all the fancy wood trim. Interesting car, I guess for someone.

      • Dan

        It seems like all fords used that same steering wheel in the seventies. Kinda grim for their top of the line models, in my opinion.

  2. Mike H. Mike H

    Ad says it’s a 351, not a 302. I recall that these also were available with the 400 2V, which would really make for “all the boxes checked” as far as the options go.

    Nice example of the breed, though. Minimal interior space for such an enormous car, but they were not dreadful to drive.

  3. JW

    I had a 78 but not a diamond jewel but still loaded with options. The wife at that time talked me in to buying it. Divorced a year later and when she couldn’t make the payments I ended up with it and traded it for a 78 F-150 shortbed 4×4 and was a happy camper, nice truck and rid of her.

  4. Joe Haska

    I had a 79 Heritage (or something like that) black, maroon leather, and paid about 8K for it brand new, but at the start of the new year 1980. Beautiful car, but I don’t want another one, so I guess I didn’t like it that much

  5. Truman L

    Ranks with the ugly rambler wagon

  6. Rustytech Member

    Paints dead, carpet dirty, engine bay filthy, this was either driven 26k on that dirt driveway, or maybe 126k. I thought these were the worst T-birds ever built when they started showing up in the shop, and I’ve seen nothing to alter that opinion since.

  7. RJ

    Seems to me quite a few of these ended up with dry and faded paint. A friend of mine had rose color one that faded badly, dad had a mint green one do the same. And my great aunt had a red Cougar XR7 of the same vintage that faded badly.

  8. Bryan

    These Jubilee models also featured the color keyed turbine wheels and rub strips like the Mark V Jubilee. I thought that a console was available on these as well (maybe depending on bucket seat option).

  9. Bill Owens Bill O Staff

    My first new car was a highly optioned base 1978 T-Bird. I kept it 19 years and let it go. Regretting it, in 2003 I found a 1978 Diamond Jubilee in local paper for $2000. I bought it for $1750. It had 104,000 miles, one owner elderly lady driven; it was white with a dark blue top and dark blue leather interior; unfortunately 2 1/2 years later a drunk hit it while parked and totaled it. Here is a picture before the hit.

  10. Philip

    Poor paint and interior to start life, these were badly designed and the low point of quality, materials, fit and finish.. My friends mom had a brand new one in high school,.. we drove it to school one day instead of his TR-6. With the 351 I could have gotten out and pushed this thing faster that it could go dropped off a cliff. Embarrassingly slow and stodgy for a T-Bird we thought would be cool to drive and pick up girls.. we were way wrong!

    Next AM we were back in the TR-6 again!

  11. gabe

    is that blue 78 t bird for sale please email me with information if av gnc7@aol.com tks

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