Factory Built: 1988 Tiffany Classic Coupe

When it comes to looking like you live a life of luxury, the vehicle of choice in the 1980s was undoubtedly the range of retro-inspired conveyances of pure excess, known by their equally grandiose names like Excalibur and Tiffany. One conjured up images of strength and power, while the latter essentially said you were driving the equivalent of a pearl necklace. The Tiffany seen here is a Mercury Cougar-based creation that was indeed assembled on a proper manufacturing line and not just someone’s empty garage. While the original purchase price was simply eye-watering, you can now sit in the lap of luxury for a mere $20,000. Find the Tiffany listed here on craigslist with 34,000 miles.

I’ve always been intrigued by these creations, not because I wish to own one but because I’ve always wondered who exactly the original purchasers were. It seems like if you have money coming out of every orifice, there are numerous understated options from the likes of BMW and Mercedes, but clearly, those models were too sedate for your typical Tiffany or Excalibur buyer. Today, if you were to pull up to a work meeting or the country club in such a vehicle, the spectacle it would likely cause means wallflowers need not apply thinking about the typical driver of such a car. To me, the only person buying one of these in 1987 would be someone who never saw a spotlight he didn’t like.

The company history is almost as wild as its looks, with tales of defrauding customers to the tune of millions of dollars after seemingly auspicious beginnings with orders that kept company leadership fat and happy in (where else?) Miami, Florida. Is there any better location to imagine a company assembling the modern interpretation of a 1930s gangster car, right down to a locking chest of a trunk where moonshine might otherwise have been stowed? The story practically writes itself. Regardless, it’s strange to see such a high-zoot car with a cloth interior, isn’t it? That’s perhaps the most surprising feature to me, as you’d think the cabin would be the epitome of opulence for a car that looks like this.

Despite its appearances, the underpinnings are quite common, as it started life as a Mercury Cougar and retains the venerable 5.0L V8 powerplant under the hood. That’s the good news with these oddball luxury cars, is that despite their limited production, you’ll never go broke maintaining it unless, of course, you sideswipe a parked car and have to sort out that swoopy bodywork. The seller notes that while a top-shelf example recently sold for $39,000, his is not quite that nice, but that it’s still a pretty solid example with a minty interior. There’s part of me that believes this Tiffany would be a crowd-pleaser at the next Radwood gathering, but I also wonder if there aren’t better ways to spend $20,000.  Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jay L. for the find.

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Comments

  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    It looks like Tiffany has outgrown her tent.

    Like 9
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hmmm….seeks the spotlight, is tacky, defrauding people….I’ve heard this story somewhere.

    Like 23
  3. That Guy

    I’m thinking the lives of many of the original buyers revolved, in one way or another, around illicit nasal inhalants.

    Like 14
  4. Autoworker

    Just a personal opinion….that is one UGLY car!

    Like 24
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    I remember when Jim Gandy (he had a column in Autoweek)
    brought a car like this out to Seattle International Raceway,on one of
    the weekends we were racing there.He was test driving it.
    He said “I hope nobody sees me driving this thing”.

    Like 13
  6. Skorzeny

    Gross.

    Like 7
  7. Chris M.

    Add a full length fur coat and giant hat with some sort of giant feather plume and it’s complete. Jimmy Superfly!

    Like 9
    • Daniel W Wright

      Sir you forget the purple platform shoes with the goldfish in them, the cane with the 8 ball on top and the ostrich feather in the hat.

      In all seriousness, why would you spend so much money on rebodying a car like a cougar and leave the interior mostly stock?

      Like 11
      • Chris M.

        Noted! Lol

        Like 3
    • bull

      How dare you shame Jimmy by suggesting he would drive a Tiffany???

      EVERYONE knows Jimmy Superfly on drives El Deora Cadillac Eldorado!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hKD4nuwW3o

  8. Paul Z

    Didn’t Cruella Deville drive one a dem?

    Like 7
  9. Bultaco

    These things completely baffled me in the 80s when I was a college kid driving a ratty TR6. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would buy one. The epitome of tacky were the Zimmer Quicksilver and Golden Spirit. I stared in stupefaction whenever I saw one. Ahhh the 80s!

    Like 7
  10. chipl

    Here is one in Pooler, GA, about 500 miles south of the Barn Find one. Lower miles, more money, better pictures, and leather. https://classiccarsbay.com/for-sale-1988-tiffany-classic-in-pooler-georgia-18975

    Like 4
  11. Ken Carney

    I just so happen to have an ’87 Tiffany–
    my niece whom I love very much. I used
    to tease her about this car and when I showed her a photo of it, she said she’d
    never own one. For years we’ve had a
    good laugh about it.

    Like 4
  12. DeeBee

    Nobody pays 20K for a 33 year old trap like that! Knock a couple zeroes off that number and it might have a chance of making it to pick-a-part.

    Like 6
  13. EPO3

    What ugly piece of crap. Should never be mentioned with a Excalibur

    Like 6
  14. Jcs

    Jeff Lavery

    In fact, it is not strange to see such a high-zoot car with a cloth interior, for decades most of your finer automobiles had cloth or velvet interiors. The best of the coachwork era more often than not had cloth in the rear for the owner and leather in the front for the hired help.

    Having said that, I do think that maybe there was accidentally one too many zeros in the ad for this one, simple mistake.

    Like 10
  15. Euromoto Member

    Here in SoCal you still see the occasional one of these contraptions, I was tailgated down the freeway earlier this week by one. We were going close to 80 so it probably wasn’t VW Bug-based.

    Like 4
  16. ROARRR

    Good manners is not to badmouth another persons pride and joy or as we said in the 60’s Was’nt it?) DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFEREN’T FOLKS!

    Like 4
    • Kralik

      But would you drive it? In daylight?

  17. Mike

    This car looks like it would be owned by a small business owner back in ’88 that was pushing 70, smoked cigars and still sporting sansabelts.

    Like 5
    • Frank Sumatra

      If the owner wore a belt, it would have been white to match his shoes. Better known as the “Full Cleveland”

      Like 3
      • Mike

        The belt would go over the gut and not under it.

        Like 4
  18. Rich

    “Factory” or not, some unlucky Cougar was sacrificed to put this on the road. Probably worth less than the same vintage Cougar would be worth today. That said, while not my taste, there is a market for this, though I’d be surprised if it was $20k.

    Like 3
  19. CJM

    Asking price is a pipe dream. I’d rather have the stock Cougar it was based on and that would only be worth about $2500 today. This thing is butt ugly. And I don’t always hate this type of car (like the Zimmers and Excaliburs) but this one is a failed attempt.

    Like 4
  20. Malcolm Boyes

    Tiffany should have sued them..

    Like 4
  21. Kenn

    Excellent point, Roarrr. Lots of ill-mannered folks on this site I’ve observed. A type of snobbishness, actually. I owned a 1967 Bellanca Viking aircraft, not an in-expensive asset, sporting red velour seats. Leather isn’t the end-all for style and luxury.

    Like 4
  22. Frank

    If you were good with fiberglass, You could at least make the back end look like something other than a u-haul trailer.
    Way overpriced and it’s not ugly, It’s Fugly!

    Like 3
  23. Mike T

    Chitty bang bang. Looks like someone took a pile of parts from a junk yard and put them together.

    Like 1
  24. Steve Clinton

    That is one Utt-bugly Cougar.

    Like 2
  25. Steve Clinton

    Tiffany saw this, came out of retirement and plans on suing for defamation.

    Like 2
  26. MarkO

    Don’t be dissin’ All Excalibers: The original SSK with cycle fenders ( the 2 seat roadster) was somethin’ i would’ kick outta bed …. (make that garage!)

    Like 1
  27. Ande

    Is this. Still 4 sale.

  28. Ian C

    347 stroker kit, good set of heads, ProCharger, 5spd swap, slightly narrowed 9″, and a quiet exhaust. Then just enjoy the looks on peoples faces when you launch “Big Tiff” from the stop light. HAHAHA

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