Early Turbo Coupe: 1983 Ford Thunderbird

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

This 1983 Ford Thunderbird turbo coupe wears an unusual shade of forest green paint and is a pleasing mix between a sensibly upgraded example and one that hasn’t been boosted to death. The seller claims its early birthdate places it among the rarest of the turbocharged two-doors, and you’ll find it here on eBay with a seemingly reasonable Buy-It-Now of $3,500. 

It’s likely that this is a repaint, despite looking quite complete – door jambs, underhood and even along the frame rails displays matching green paint. The closest thing to this shade is more of a pistachio hue found on non-turbo models, but the next generation Thunderbird was offered with a deep green like this car. This example is outfitted with the desirable manual transmission and a few other upgrades to aid in reliable operation.

Bucket seats present well for the age, though the aftermarket gauges on the A-pillar are a distraction. Perhaps they can be justified if they provide an extra set of eyes for monitoring boost levels and other indicators of healthy operation. The seller has made a number of fixes and tweaks, including a rebuilt turbo, upgraded impeller, and an Omni front-mount intercooler. Later Mustang GT wheels are mounted, but the original TRX rollers are included.

Underneath, this Thunderbird is impressively clean, supporting the seller’s proclamation of rust-free condition. While it’s uncertain whether the early build date makes this Thunderbird any more desirable than a later turbo coupe, a manual transmission-equipped example is always worth a closer look. Even if the paint isn’t original, it works well in this application and the Thunderbird would be a grand slam if that suspension were dropped a few inches closer to the ground.

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  1. Metoo

    From start to finish, there is nothing like a T-Bird. The only exception being that God awful retro model of the late 90’s or 2k years.

  2. The Walrus

    As much as I hate Fords, perhaps more than Democrats, this was the hope of the 80’s. My dad, who’s dad was a Chrysler Plymouth Desoto and IH touch dealer seemed to be envious of the Turbo Coupes. He seemingly wanted one. Which was against pretty much everything he ever stood for car wise. Was confusing to a 1e year old. But I sorta get it now. Not this one, that isn’t an original car in many ways. But the original. It helped shape American cars for the next 15 years, and the Shelby Dodges I covet are clearly a resultant.

    • Fran

      Got to tell you, I had 2 turbo coupes 83 and 85, 5 speeds! SS Monte Carlos were toast, not because od the turbo so much, but the 5 speed! I loved it when one pulled up next to me at a light!

  3. CooCooCachoo

    You are the Walrus, you are an egghead. Have fun with your Shelby Dodges in the sandbox.

  4. MRE2ME

    Surprised to see hand crank windows. Thought they would all be power by this generation. Still a very nice example.

    • Steverino

      I’ve got a 97 Camaro with crank ups. They are lighter and less troubleprone on a 20 something year old car and it’s surprising how many kids have never seen them.

      • Clinton

        I have a 2012 Nissan and it has crank windows.

  5. JimmyJ

    Cool car great deal I wonder if he’ll trade for a chris craft ski boat?

  6. John

    One of my first cars was an 87′ TC and after I got the dealer to fix the trashed turbo I have to say it was still one of the smoothest fast driving cars I’ve ever had. This one is too early for me but I might pick up a later one for one of my teenagers if the right one came along.

  7. Fran

    Got to tell you, I had 2 turbo coupes 83 and 85, 5 speeds! SS Monte Carlos were toast, not because od the turbo so much, but the 5 speed! I loved it when one pulled up next to me at a light!

    I had a 55, 83, 85 over the years, people thought I was strange buying a turbo coupe over a mustang gt, but they looked better! I now have 2002 and a 2005, LOVE THEM, they are so nice to drive! They compliment my 66 fastback, 70 boss 302, and my 67 k code gt fastback! TBIRD are great.

    On the above turbo coupe, not sure I remember them being made in that color?
    Read more at http://barnfinds.com/early-turbo-coupe-1983-ford-thunderbird/#c9BmrbuBEFLOSSxt.99

  8. Troy

    Ford really got back into the NASCAR scene with the new thunberbird after a decade or so; at least that’s how I remember it. Great looking car too.

  9. Clinton

    This is not the original paint. The car was red. You can see the firewall in the engine photo. Green overspray in the undercarriage photos along with original red on parts.

  10. Ron G

    This is a pretty obvious respray, though not terrible. This era of Turbo coupe was not available in this color and I don’t believe Ford used this color on any 83-86 Thunderbird. It works for this car though, compliments the interior well. Could be a pretty nice driver with a little bit of work. Love the pony wheels on it too. I’d really consider buying this car if I had the extra money, I love this era T-bird and have fond childhood memories of them.


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