Low-Mile 1989 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe

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There are cars that I consider perpetually under the radar, and the Thunderbird Super Coupe is one of them. Ford seemed to be on its game when it concocted the hotted-up variants of the Thunderbird, stretching back through the early 80s to the final swan song in cars like this low-mileage, family-owned example. Equipped with the preferred manual transmission, it’s listed here on eBay with just 30,800 original miles and in stock condition. 

Ford utilized both turbocharging and supercharging throughout the Super Coupe’s existence, with this example featuring the latter. The 3.8L V6 delivered a healthy 210 b.h.p. and 315 lb. ft. of torque once the supercharger and intercooler were strapped on, and this example features the preferred Mazda-sourced 5-speed manual gearbox for making the run to 60 even quicker. An aero kit with unique body cladding was standard on the S/Cs.

And Ford didn’t stop there, making the S/C one of the rare bright spots of the 80s when a car with some extra lipstick also got the goods where it counted: four-wheel disc brakes, adjustable Tokico suspension, a limited-slip differential, and larger wheels and tires rounded out the list of improvements. The interior photos in the listing are fairly awful, but they do show a nicely preserved cabin (if you like acres of red cloth and plastic.)

With just over 30,000 original miles, the seller is likely correct that this is one of the more preserved examples on the market today. While originally from New York, it’s resided in Florida for the last several years. Recent maintenance includes new belts, valve cover gaskets, and supercharger boost seals. The Buy-It-Now is $8K with the option to submit a best offer.

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Comments

  1. Jaydawg7 Jaydawg7

    I love these. I LOVE THEM. The love would have been so much greater if they’d put the 5.0 or even the reliable 4.6 that they did in later years.

    Like 10
    • 9Fords

      They did. It’s called the Thunderbird Sport. Why would you want a slower SuperCoupe, and could you even still call it a SuperCoupe without the supercharger?

      Like 9
      • Chad Harrison

        No the supercharger is what made it a super coupe. I wrapped one of these around a tree when I was 20. I still miss that car. It was my brothers, rest his soul. If I could find another one I would fix it like original and Kepler it forever.

        Like 4
  2. Zerohero

    Umm. 130,000 miles. Or is that not a one,?

    Like 3
    • Bruce Jackson

      @zerohero,

      No, if you look closely, that first digit is showing the right half of a “0”…

      Like 10
    • Rick

      It’s a zero

      Like 1
  3. Kakerlak

    My mom shopped these pretty hard when they were new after her roundie 2002 got totaled, along with Alfa Spiders, landau bar vintage T-Birds, suicide door Coninentals, and others I’m probably forgetting. Ended up with a lightly used Biturbo. It was a mistake, lol.

    Like 4
    • 92 Supercoupe

      She didn’t shop them new after 02.

      Like 0
      • Kakerlak

        Round taillight era BWM 2002. This was right around 1990 or so, IIRC. :-)

        Like 3
  4. Todd Zuercher

    Wow – love this one!

    Like 3
  5. Miguel

    I found this car in Mexico. I don’t think the car was offered like this in the US.

    It is a 3.8L V6 with a manual but no turbos.

    Here is the link for the car.

    https://www.segundamano.mx/anuncios/estado-de-mexico/cuautitlan-izcalli/autos/ford-thunderbird-926165055?nav=true

    Unfortunately there are no interior pictures so I have to take their word for it that it is indeed a manual.

    They also say the car has 86,000 KM on it which is about 53,500 miles.

    They want $36,000 Pesos for it which is around $2,000 USD.

    Is it worth it?

    Like 5
    • Michael Vickery

      I remember being in Mexico around the time these were new and seeing these with a manual transmission. I’m guessing Ford figured the take rate for a manual transmission base car would be almost nil North of the border. The base V6 was really gutless in these cars, as they ended up heavier than they were supposed to be. No joke, I read that the head engineer was demoted because of the weight and cost overruns, mainly because the rear independent suspension was more expensive to engineer than they thought it should be.

      Like 4
      • Miguel

        The car should be peppier with the stick.

        I rented a few when they were new and didn’t notice the car being slow or dangerous in any way.

        I do remember renting a new Cougar in the summer of ’89 in Florida and after coming back from Disney World with the air on at night, I parked the car and then came out in the morning and the car was still cool inside from the air the night before.

        I have never seen a car better insulated than that one.

        Like 2
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      The ad opens but nothing there. For the mileage listed, if the body is good I’d give it a look to see it. Depending on the year, IIRC the 3.8 had an issue with popping a head gasket so check that out.
      Having had a 90 or 91 TBird coupe with the 3.8 and big issue was changing the back sparkplug on the drivers side. I ended up having to have my 12 year old start the plug as I couldn’t get my hand in there no matter how much blood I shed on it. Also a FYI, there’s a tool called a Sidewinder which is a ratchet wrench that has a spinner on the handle. Once started you could use that to snug the plug up via the spinner then use the ratchet portion to finish off the tightening.

      Like 1
      • R Soul

        To reach the rear spark plugs on a GM 3800, you could disconnect the front top motor mounts and tilt the engine forward.

        Like 2
      • Miguel

        86_Vette_Convertible, here are a couple of pictures of the car. I have asked for a picture of the interior, but nothing yet.

        Like 1
      • Miguel

        Here is the rear. The pin stripe seems odd to me as it doesn’t go across the trunk.

        Like 1
      • Miguel

        The owner sent me pictures of the interior and it is as nice as the outside.

        If there was gasoline available in Mexico City, I would go get it.

        Like 0
  6. Anthony

    I’d like to find one today for a decent price, but I’d like one with an automatic transmission in it. Looks good, and worth the money

    Like 0
  7. Uncle al

    it’s still an old ford for $$8,000….look at mine for a few more !

    Like 1
    • Tiberius1701

      Sorry I will take the Super Coupe…I like to keep my money. ;-) BTW, I worked at a Ford store when the 3.8 head gasket debacle was ongoing and I never saw a single supercharged 3.8 lose a head gasket, FWIW.

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        You would think that would be the opposite with the extra pressure in the engine, wouldn’t you?

        Like 1
  8. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This ’88 IS a Super-Coupe, sold yesterday at B-J for $7700

    https://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Details/1988-FORD-THUNDERBIRD-225920

    Like 0
    • Miguel

      DayDreamBeliever, there was no such thing as a Super Coupe in 1988. Those cars were the Turbo Coupes.

      Like 3
    • Todd Zuercher

      Miguel is correct – that’s a Turbo Coupe.

      Like 2
  9. z28th1s8

    ALL Super Coupe’s were supercharged, they were never made with a turbocharger. They were made from model years1989-1995.

    Like 2
  10. Stevie G

    Miguel, I would love to meet up with you & talk cars in person. Between the cars you own & have owned along with the cars you find in Mexice, I feel we would have a lot to talk about. The stick shift Thunderbird is really cool! I love the super coupes but I am stupid enough to do damage lol. The standard 3.8 with the stick would be plenty for me lol. A man must know their limits lol.
    This silver super coupe is a beauty. If I had the funds, I would buy it for their asking price if it is in fact how it is represented. I too have noticed the naturally aspirated 3.8’s have the head gasket issue & not the supercharged ones. Yup, I find that odd too. Must have used a different gasket for the different engines.

    Like 1
    • Kakerlak

      Miguel needs his own “Mexico finds” column! +1 on wanting to meet up and chat.

      Like 0
      • Miguel

        Kakerlak, I asked for that by email, but I was ignored.

        Like 0
  11. Todd

    I bought a 1992 S/C 5-speed in 1997. My roommate at the time had a 1990 Cougar XR-7 with a 5.0 (same car underneath). After he rode in my S/C and we played around on the highway with them, he sold his Cougar and bought a T-Bird S/C.
    Nothing could touch these things from about 45-110.

    Like 0
    • z28th1s8

      A 1990 Cougar XR7 was a Supercharged 3.8 V6 just like the SuperCoupe not a 5.0.

      Like 2
      • Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive CasonMember

        Yep. Maybe it was a 1991, as the supercharged Cougar was only around for the 1989 and 1990 model years. The 1991 looked exactly like an 89 or 90, but had the V8.

        Like 0
  12. W9BAG

    Upon delivery, just go ahead and replace the head gaskets before they fail. Save the buyer a LOT of additional expenses. Great cars, but the head gaskets were their Achilles heel.

    Like 0
  13. James

    I had a Black 89 SC with the grey interior (1st year of this body style) and when my wife totaled her 82 Supra, I bought her a 91 SC that was the same color as this one but with a much nicer cloth, almost tweed interior. I LOVED those cars and wish I had mine back. I met Davy Allison at an autograph session back when he drove the 28 Havoline TBird. We started talking about Fords and I told him I had 2 Supercoupe’s. He said, “You have TWO of them?!?” Love my Fords…

    Like 0
  14. albert Leggs

    Had a ’89 Tbird SC in CA.. fast car, spun the wheels just making a U turn..loved the body style, straight doors and rear end trunk and lights. The V6 engine would hav also been useful on a sand rail dune buggy.

    Like 0
  15. Norman Vingoe

    I had a 1989 3.8i (built in ’88) LX; the standard front bumper on the ’89/’90 was inelegant but the SC was sharper as it fitted in with the side skirts. The ’91 got the SC style front bumper across the range and also full width LED tail-lights, for ’89/’90 they were unlit/reflectors.
    Then the ’93 facelift with airbag interior also got directional alloy wheels (2 with clockwise spokes and 2 with anticlockwise as opposed to 4 identical castings) but the big changes for the SC were uprated supercharger (to keep the power parity over the new 4.6i) and the auto box was linked into the ECU for super-smooth gear changes and a ‘fake’ limited slip; the manual had the option of a proper limited slip differential.
    Official figures have the auto as the faster accelerating!
    The SCs whether manual or auto all had a centre-console park brake whereas the others (sport, LX etc) had it on the third pedal.
    The SC was dropped from the ’96/’97 (final facelift) probably due to declining sales and the ECU needing to be OBD2 compliant (which the 4.6i and 3.8i could as those engines were used in other models) but the 3.8SC was unique to the Thunderbird.

    Like 0
  16. Cindy McNamara

    I have a 1989 Thunderbird I’d like to sell I don’t have the time to drive it. It’s been sitting for 1 1/2 years now so it needs to go to someone that will enjoy it.

    Like 0
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      @Cindy McNamara – Rather than posting your car in the comments, please submit it to be featured: https://barnfinds.com/sell/

      Like 0

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