One Family Owned: 1990 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe

The Ford Thunderbird and its Mercury Cougar sibling were among the relatively few rear-wheel drive grand tourers available to U.S. car shoppers in 1990, but that didn’t stop Ford from offering a performance variant. Yes, most shoppers wanted the lumbering, comfort-laden big coupe, but for enthusiasts, the Super Coupe offered a healthy mix of performance and technology that few other domestic manufacturers came close to beating. This example of the supercharged Thunderbird is a claimed one-family owned example with no modifications and a dirt cheap asking price of $2,900. Find it here on craigslist and located in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The Super Coupe may not look dramatically different from other models in the Thunderbird lineup, but Ford really did throw the proverbial kitchen sink at these cars. An Eaton supercharger with intercooler; adjustable suspension; locking rear end; aero enhancements; four wheel discs with ABS; speed sensitive steering; and more. So while the cockpit may look like standard-issue Thunderbird, especially when dressed in maroon cloth like this one is, the whole package was actually quite impressive. While the most desirable versions feature a five-speed manual and leather seats, they more often appear like this one, with cloth seating and an automatic.

But the most important feature when buying one of these supercharged coupes is finding one in stock condition. For years, they’ve been exceedingly cheap to buy (just like this one is – and it’s a “nice” example, by all accounts) and that means drivers aren’t afraid to crank up the boost since long-term preservation usually wasn’t part of the game plan. Unless it’s an enthusiast-owned example with a papertrail and clear demonstration of any upgrades being carefully executed, buying a tired car with modifications isn’t advised unless it features the enthusiast-preferred combo of leather and a manual, and the price is dirt cheap.

This one is awfully tempting despite the automatic transmission, as it’s near impossible to find one fresh out of long-term single family ownership and still in factory condition. The seller includes a picture of the window sticker, which lends further credence to it having lived a fairly quiet existence, without a nephew or grandson getting his hands on the family hot rod. Throw in the fact that it’s offered at $2,900 or best offer and this becomes a hard temptation to resist if you’ve been hunting for an SC with no tweaks to the drivetrain and all of its original factory enhancements still in place. Would you go for an SC or the previous generation Turbo Coupe?

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’d pay $2900 for this anyday. Great Sunday cruiser.

    Like 13
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    When I think of an entry level collector car, I think of something like a four-door 60’s sedan in used but not abused condition, or maybe a first gen Mustang which needs some cosmetics. Here’s another take on the idea. This Super Coupe looks to be in used but not abused condition, but adds decent performance with some sporty upgrades.

    For whatever reason these have not caught on with collectors. Thus, it’s a dirt cheap cruiser, as Bakyrdhero notes.

    Like 7
  3. Gremlin X

    Seems a much better deal than that scraggly high mileage 93 Cobra that’s almost at 15 grand. This hobby has gone insane and it’s good to see there’s a few decent cars available for those who just want to have a fun car without breaking the bank.

    Like 10
  4. K. R. V. Member

    I’m wondering what the true mileage is. On Craigs List it’s posted at 145? Must be thousands, under the care of a good conscientious owner. With only the relentless punishment of the Florida sun showing on the top surfaces. If running properly will be a nice cruiser, for cruise nights and Sunday drives.

    • Thomas

      142K, the mileage is in the ad copy: 1990 T-Bird SC Supercharged, silver w/red interior. Automatic 3.8 supercharged with no mods. 142 K original miles. 1 family owned. $2900 obo. Call Henry at

      Like 1
  5. Jack P Barber

    Mines a 5spd

    Like 2
  6. Andy Lopez

    Some parts on these are impossible to buy.. For example ABS pump…. among other things. Nice car but impossible part finder

    Like 2
    • William Johnson

      First thing I think of is ARP and commetic.

      Like 1
  7. Rich

    Yes, may be a fair price. But parts are very scarce. Also the 6 with an auto trans had no guts to speak of. These leaked water into the interiors like a sieve, so check under the carpet for rust before buying. After a few months of water leaks, the interior smell of these was like a gas station restroom when the weather got hot. The Ford electronics of this era were not very good either. Wonder why Ford didn’t just put the manual trans in with the V8 motors. The turbo 6 had really poor power, and the complexity of the 6 with turbo was not well received by most buyers. The next generation Tbird was a much better engineered car I think.

    Like 1
    • BigDave

      I owned a 90 T-bird, similar to this. Auto with leather. Factory 0-60 times where in the high 5 sec range for mine, so I’m not sure of your “no guts” comment. I never had a problem with water leaking into the passenger compartment and I live in East Tenn where we get more rain than most of the Northwest U.S. The parts are hard to come by and they are year specific. The 84-88 Tbirds were Turbocharged as the 89-95 where Supercharged. The autos are the weak link in the drivetrain. O/D was easy to destroy if you were too aggressive . If used as a GT car though, they are quite comfortable.

      Like 3
      • Rich

        Big Dave,
        you must have gotten a good one! we could never break an 8 second 0-60 time, at sea level in Alabummer. The guys at the FORD dealers here hated these things. Some would run these at lunchtime just trying their hardest to break the 8 second mark. The cops were not amused…glad you got a good one.

        Like 2
    • 379 Pilot

      Not a turbo. It’s supercharged

      Like 1
    • Dave

      The 6 cylinder is not a turbo. It is roots type blower. The ones with a turbo were Turbo coupes with a 2.3 l 4cyclinder. By the way, this is the last generation of the full sized t-bird. The next generation was the 2 seater. I’ve had both the turbo coupe and I super coupe and never had a problem with water leak.

  8. Rich

    gremlin thanks for your cost comments. no matter how we try to rationalize today’s asking prices, people have just plain ol gone nuts. rare is rare, crap is crap, can’t argue with that a bit. if we want prices to become real again, someone has to just say no….again. God bless, not an angry old fart here at all, just asking for some sanity in this market again.

    Like 4
  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I have had a 91 & 94, neither were SC’s. These are great driving cars and like curvy roads like few other cars do (except those with independent rear suspensions like Corvettes). This one looks to be in good condition and reasonably priced.

  10. Jimmyjam

    I had black 89 SC and loved it so much, I bought my wife a 91 this same color but a grey interior when she totaled her Supra. Both were automatics. No, they didn’t have 8 second 0-60 but they were pretty heavy also. Plenty of power and because they were supercharged instead of having turbos, the power was there immediately! Then kids came followed by SUV’s and 4dr pickup trucks!

  11. Tiberius1701m

    Nice piece, nice price. The fact that the driver seat outer bolster isn’t trashed speaks volumes for the care this car received. Someone will be getting a nice car for sure.

    Like 1
  12. Brian Ashe

    I liked the Turbo coupes when they came out and LOVED the SCs. The price on this is tempting. And close! But I’m working from home now and I’ve driven my ‘fun’ car about 600 miles this year, compared to 6,000 the year before, so it’s kinda hard to justify another one.

    Like 1

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