One-Owner 24k Mile 1976 Ford Thunderbird

If you were to look up the definition of land yacht, there would have to be a picture of a mid-1970s Ford Thunderbird next to it. The sixth generation of the T-Bird was built between 1972-76 and they were the largest ever made, tipping the scale at more than 5,000 pounds. Except for the Lincoln Mark IV, they were the heaviest coupes ever produced by Ford. All that aside, this beautiful survivor seems to be one of the pets of the seller’s father who’s decided it’s time for it to go. It has a mere 24,000 miles on the clock, it’s located in Slidell, Louisiana and is available here on Facebook Marketplace for the best legitimate offer. Ikey Heyman brought this car to our attention from the era of big hair and leisure suits.

As a counterpart to the Mark IV, the 1972-76 Thunderbirds were big, luxurious and powerful, although perhaps not so much of the latter with all the detuning going on in the ‘70s. The T-Bird, like the seller’s car, came with a 460 cubic-inch V-8 with a 4-barrel carburetor that was sadly only good for 202 horsepower. A lot of car plus a lot of engine plus a lot of emissions controls equals a car that took 12 second to get from 0-60 and 19 seconds to do the quarter mile. As an effort to hold down the cost of the auto in an era when inflation was a problem, some of the standard items on the T-Bird moved to the options list by 1976. That included the AM/F stereo with 8-track player which became an option at $382 (kind in mind that’s $1,769 In 2021 dollars!). Sales of the ’76 T-Bird were 53,000 units and Ford built just under 300,000 of them in the five-year run of this generation.

Given the scenery in the seller’s garage, he looks to have a lot of projects – and he’s a 79-year-old man! Apparently, the herd needs some thinning, so this 1976 Thunderbird is the odd man out (probably not the only one). It looks to be a well-kept, little-used car with only 24,000 reported miles. The car appears to be in nice condition but could stand a little detailing in order to really shine. There is a hint of rust in the driver’s side front fender, but that’s more likely some mud. The most prominent feature of the car in the photos provided is the rear bumper – that thing is HUGE! It looks as big as the dinner table. Throw a tablecloth over it, add a few chairs, and invite the neighbors over for fried chicken on Sunday!

The seller recently added a new set of tires, perhaps replacing the originals that were on the car. And not just any tires, but custom-built Vogue Radial VII white side-wall tires at the tune of $1,200. We’re not told how well the car runs, if it does at all, but we’ll assume it does and would probably eat up some highway in style as these cars were super cruisers in their day. However, the rise in gasoline prices and availability of the same in the mid-1970s even had the well-to-do folks driving less.

Since the seller is looking for the best offer without setting a target price, NADA says these cars are a $14,000 proposition at best. They’re not muscle cars, they’re not rare, they were built in an era of somewhat indifferent quality control, and they drank a lot of gas. But there is no mistaking one of these cars in a parking lot or at a streetlight, which make them attention-getters for sure at Cars & Coffee.

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Comments

  1. Ramone

    Rear bumper seats 6!

    Like 19
    • Burt

      That is one ugly rear end!

      Like 6
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I think Russ’s last paragraph has appropriately placed this car. It’s completely out of synch with what we value in cars today, but it is a great representation of its era. This one looks to have led an easy life, and has had some recent maintenance. (I would have been fine with a set of normal whitewalls). If you think it would be fun to have a big 70’s cruiser to take to Cars & Coffee or to enjoy the scenery in your area, this T-Bird would fit the bill, for probably not much money.

    Like 14
    • John Oliveri

      Vogues look great on that car, o used to have my cars pinstripes match the gold, that car is lacking 2 things, a sunroof and a Barry White tape, I love it

      Like 7
      • Charles A Simons Jr

        Start singing ‘The first, my last, my everything
        And the answer to all my dreams
        You’re my sun, my moon,…’ ooppss no moonroof

        Like 3
  3. don

    This era T-Bird looks good except for the awful bumpers. The rear looks like an afterthought. Get that car to Chip Foose & have the bumpers Foosified.

    Like 8
    • Solar

      Those bumpers really did save people a lot of money in the seventies. Minor collisions became none incidents and no one complained as no damage was done to either car in low speed crashes generally. All cars could take a 10 mph hit but some like Oldsmobiles could withstand up to 30 mph without damage.

      Like 4
      • Dusty Rider

        Sorry, but no way can a car, even an Olds withstand a 30 mph collison without damage.

        Like 15
      • JoeNYWF64

        The standard was to be able to take a 5 mph hit in front starting in ’73, & also in back starting in ’74. Only the Bricklin had better bumpers – they reportedly could take a 12 mph hit!

  4. Solar

    Those bumpers save a lot of people a lot of money in low speed impacts. All could take 10 mph collisions without damage and some like Oldsmobile and Cadillac could withstand 30 mph without damage and no claims need to be filed.

    • NHDave

      Nope. Laws of physics come into play and those bumpers are not going to eliminate damage in a 10 mph crash, and definitely not Olds’ bumpers at 30 mph. The bumper regulations simply require that necessary operating systems–headlights, tail lights, turn signals, radiator, etc.– can still function, allowing the car to continue operating, after a direct impact at that speed (whether the regulation is for 5 mph, 2.5 mph, etc). They do reduce minor damage at very low speeds compared to pre-1973/74 cars, but do not eliminate it, thus insurance claims may still exist.

      Like 5
  5. Tom

    Those trunks were so big you could rent them out to.a family of 4 and still have room to pack up for a weeks vacation.

    Like 7
  6. Skorzeny

    All the pictures in this posting show how far Ford went astray.

    Like 5
    • JoeNYWF64

      Tho the smaller ’77 t-bird(based on the torino?) was a GREAT success, but i’m guessing, the earlier torino rusting & driveline problems were also responsible for this car all but disappearing after a decade or so.

  7. Bob H.

    I remember driving a 1974 model year in 1982, one with 90K miles. It was still comfortable and luxurious, but much easier to drive on the highway than in town. It seemed as long as full-size station wagons that would seat 9 people :).
    Oh, the memories….

    Like 4
  8. George Mattar

    Total gas hog and horrible interior room. Give me a 66 T Bird any day. This one is in nice shape, but I will pass.

    Like 2
  9. Autoworker

    I had trouble believing that was the original rear bumper, but it is! Powered by a 460 V8 Lima Engine.

  10. George

    5,000 lbs. !!! $382 for an 8 track am/fm, no need to convert that to today’s money, sounds expensive in yester years money. No wonder GM was so popular back then.

    Like 1
  11. Rick Rothermel

    Yeah, because expecting people to pay attention AND drive at the same time was a little too much to ask during the disco era.

  12. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    That’s funny, Ramone.
    I was going to say that the rear bumper is so far out from the car that there should be a continental kit on it.

  13. Joe

    As usual pictures always make the car look better. In this case I am sure it does.

  14. David Scully

    Beware of anyone carrying a harpoon!

  15. John Oliveri

    These cars were when you really wanted a Mark IV but the money was not there, same motor, underpinnings, interior space and ride, same options almost, sound deadening not as much, dashboard not as nice, but hey, pull up to a club in this you were good,

    Like 3
  16. Mike

    Seeing the window sticker, it says Maddox Motor Company, Sulligent, AL. Looked up Sulligent and it’s a tiny town that apparently had two car dealerships. Mr. Maddox himself sold the car to the owner. Maddox sold off the dealership in 1990 and died at 89 in 2011. I’m assuming this is the dealership:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@33.9015576,-88.132416,3a,75y,3.89h,91.47t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s0FjfIyUD9MWohMYFA_jCAQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

    Like 1
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      I love these small-town dealerships. Typically located in an old brick building in the middle of town. Not as many as there used to be. From the Google pic, when it was taken they had every square inch covered with vehicles. So I looked up their current inventory: 36 new (though many of those are in transit), 18 used. That’s about twice the typical inventory of my growing-up small town Ford dealer, where I too purchased a vehicle directly from the owner.

      Like 1
  17. Bob McK Member

    These got a bit large for me. I love our 63 Roadster.

  18. Johnny

    Take off the vinlyn roof and change the color inside and out . Then it would appeal to me. That vinlyn roof will sweat under it and cause sever rust problems. I like big vehicles .Like the ride too. Gas mileage for the comfort make it alright, Better then a couped up hard riding thing the call car now days.

    Like 1
  19. Bhowe Member

    I’ve got a 75 Continental with the same powertrain and about the same weight. Driving it is pleasant and you know you’ve got a car there, not a rough riding pretender. With proper tune the mileage really isnt terrible. Mine gets 11 to 12 in mixed driving

    Like 3
  20. Big Mike

    I had one of these in college, and it had that big 460 in it. I love the car it would pass anything on the highway except a gas station. I drank gas, thank goodness gas was $1.02 and gallon back then!!

  21. Jean DESJARDINS

    Some American bureau rat thought that these bumpers were a necessary thing for the american people and decided to use the power of coercion of government to impose his/her stupid idea on the rest of us……

    Like 1
  22. Susan S McKee Member

    You can easily social distance from your back seat passenger!

  23. princeofprussia

    No pic of the rear seat?!! The wrap-around rear seat is the highlight of Thunderbirds. Oh, well…

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