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Good Buy? Low-Mile 1974 Ford Thunderbird

At almost a foot and a half longer than the previous generation of Thunderbirds (just under 19-feet in length) and weighing in at a whopping 5,000 pounds (the heavest car to ever wear a Ford badge) this 1974 Ford Thunderbird is no shrinking violet. It’s also no slouch in the personal luxury coupe category, even today. The seller has it posted here on craigslist in Pullman, Washington and they’re asking $4,000 or best offer. Let’s check it out.

The first thing I notice is how nice this car looks inside and out. Well, actually the first thing I notice is that, strangely, the seller only includes one exterior photo. That’s a rare thing even for craigslist. I can’t quite tell what color it is and, of course, there are no photos of any numbers or tags if they didn’t even include another exterior photo. Is it brown? It must be with the tan dashboard, steering column and wheel, and seatbelts. The white leather seats look like new and man are they gorgeous.

The back seat is equally perfect looking and they say that this Thunderbird has 65,000 miles on it. I sure wish that they would have included more photos but they give a phone number and I would hope that they’d send any additional photos to anyone who is looking for a big bruiser and cruiser like this T-Bird. For a general reference on value, Hagerty is at $3,700 for a #4 fair condition car and $7,000 for a #3 good condition car. Given the visual condition of the five photos that they show us, it sure looks like it’s in at least good condition. This could be a great buy.

The engine looks pretty clean but you can see a couple of issues that could use some help, such as the unfortunate missing original air cleaner assembly. It’s Ford’s 460 cubic-inch V8 which would have had around 220 horsepower and 355 ft-lb of torque. They say that it runs well but it needs a new battery. It sure doesn’t look like it needs much else, or at least what a quick trip on car-part.com or eBay could dig up for OEM air cleaner assemblies. There are a couple of them on eBay now. How about this one: good buy or good-bye? I think it’s a good buy.


  1. alphasud Member

    That’s only a hour from my house! Nice green color and it looks to be avocado colored carpet with the white interior. Very 70’s colors but I think it’s nice looking. I see what appears to be the A/C evaporator box but I don’t see the the York compressor. Would seem odd if it didn’t have factory A/C.

    Like 12
    • Jerryscurl

      You can see the factory, what appears to be suction line and service port above and to the right of the air cleaner if you zoom in a bit. I don’t see a compressor. Possible it has been removed and the system is disabled. But I’d imagine the rest is there so likely needs to have all the parts replaced but it’s there. Compressor, condenser and dryer is a good place to start! Get all the mositure out, and maybe someone still has some r12! Blow snowballs in no time!

      Like 1
  2. Stangalang

    One thing is for sure that 460 can be opened up a lot to move big bird along a bit more swiftly..I love the looks of this car and it could be made into a major sleeper.

    Like 12
    • Lou Tripper

      In order to make it as you say “a major sleeper” you’d better plan on opening up that 460 a whole lot more to move this pig.

      Like 4
  3. Brendon

    This is less than a dollar per pound.

    Like 12
  4. Stangalang

    Cheaper than bout anything in the meat department 🤣..and this bird gotsa lotsa meat

    Like 9
  5. JoeNYWF64

    GM power steering pump? I wonder if there’s a slave cylinder underneath.
    Not sure why this is the heaviest – would not a full size ’74 wagon be heavier?

    Like 3
    • Eric Johnson

      I could be wrong, but I thought Ford used Saginaw pumps for quite awhile. They used the same fluid except Ford’s was dyed blue.

      Like 4
      • Todd Zuercher

        Yes – Ford used the “canned ham” Saginaw pumps on these big cars during most of the 70s. They also used them on the Econoline vans. Interesting how they pick and chose where to use them. They’re a great upgrade for any Ford that used the Ford Thompson pumps.

        Like 2
  6. Joe

    It has been listed for 15 days now and not sold. Something has to wrong not to sell it at that price.

    Like 2
  7. John

    Not sure about the thought process behind the black wall tires, but they definitely don’t make this boat any sportier. Lol.
    A new set of white wall tires would certainly help in marketing it.

    Like 5
    • Ted-M

      Also T-bird didn’t have those wheels there’re off a a later Mark V!

      Like 5
  8. JoeNYWF64

    Todd Zuercher, i wonder how Ford approached GM on using its quadrajet on some Torinos – that carb with the small primaries might help mpg here.

    It’s probably not sold yet possibly not appealing to younger drivers because of its HUGE doors & size – especially that hood. As well as many garages not being long enough to hold it. My 1945 was too short for a ’72 tempest! – tho a ’55 chevy fit.
    Remember when the NHTSA crashed that ’58 or ’59 impala into a modern car bragging about the safety of the latter’s crum[le zones? Well if they crashed THIS car into a new one, the passengers would be crumpled too, especially those in the back seat.

    Like 4
    • Dave

      Force, measured in Newtons, equals mass times acceleration. It would be fun to crash this into a Tesla or Prius and see which one comes out on top. I remember seeing the aftermath of a tangle between a 1988 Bronco and a tri-axle coal truck. Everything ahead of the windshield was wasted and the 300 inch six was between the front seats and the tranny was on the back seat. Driver only had a busted collarbone injury

      Like 3
    • Todd Zuercher

      I didn’t know that Ford used Q-Jets on Torinos, but I guess I’m not surprised! I’m sure GM said you can use anything you want as long as you pay us for it!

      Like 3
  9. V8roller

    Hard to understand how cars this size ever seemed a good idea. It’s a foot longer than my Rolls, and that was foot too long for my garage, the nose stuck into my workshop at the back and it was a right pain.
    And that smogged engine… oh dear. The 327 in my 63 Rambler makes almost as much torque and I bet it uses a fraction of the fuel.
    Interior looks good though. I fantasise about removing the interior from a car like this and transferring it to my living room.

    Like 3
  10. Rodger

    I would drive this in a minute too bad so far from Ontario Canada, maybe a good cross country Pandemic drive would be in order.

    Like 3
  11. David Miraglia

    Thunderbird, cougar and Mark Four all the same to me from this generation of my youth. all desirable.

    Like 7

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