Live Auctions

One Owner With 22K Miles! 1981 Ford Thunderbird

This bird has a mere 22,000 miles on it, that’s crazy low for a car that’s almost 40 years old now. It may not be a “classic”, but this 1981 Ford Thunderbird is at least the idea of what a lot of us dream about finding hidden away in someone’s garage. This T-Bird can be found here on craigslist in Sumner, Washington, about 15 miles southeast of Tacoma, home of the fantastic LeMay Auto Museum. No, that’s not a paid advertisement, just a strong suggestion to check it out when you can. Of course, it’s closed now, but it’s worth putting on your must-see list. The seller of this hidden bird is asking a mere $1,900 which is a steal. Let’s check it out.

I have always liked the eighth-generation Thunderbird. I know that they aren’t very popular with, well anyone, but this is the era when I was out of high school and this was a little personal luxury car that I aspired to own, given my modest upbringing. Did I want a Hemi Cuda? Of course, but I also wanted one of these smaller Thunderbirds based on the Fox Platform.

Leather Vinyl seats but no power windows or locks? Crazy, but this was the era when power windows still weren’t standard in even luxury cars. The seller has only posted four photos in the craigslist ad but at least they hit on the interior and engine compartment. It’s a short ad without much info really at all, as far as features or operating condition, but for $1,900, I think it’s worth a gamble. Hagerty is at around $4,000 for a #3 good condition car so this seems like a good deal to me.

Did I mention that this is also a one-owner car? I know that it isn’t a hidden muscle car or exotic, but anything in this condition with so few miles and having had just one owner since new tweaks my giblets. It appears that the headlights are open which means some work to track down the culprit causing that, and they don’t list what engine this is or if it runs or not. Could this be the 302 V8? They say that the paint and body are in great shape but they don’t mention the engine or operating condition at all, and there is no phone number. Are any of you fans of these early-80s Thunderbirds or had they flown the coop by then in your opinion?

Comments

  1. J_Paul Member

    My friend Dave in high school had one of these, dark blue with red velour interior, that was passed down to him after his 280zx’s rust problems became terminal. He hated it, and it’s not hard to understand why—for a high schooler used to a zippy 2-seater, the T-Bird was a sloppy bucket of unflavored gruel, a total grampa mobile.

    Furthermore, his dad laid down the law—as long as the T-Bird was running, he wasn’t allowed to buy something else. This was probably NOT the best thing to say to a 17 year old, and Dave made it his mission to kill the car: dropping it into reverse while the car was moving forward, taking it out to the woods to hoon it, not changing the oil or performing maintenance, and so on.

    But the car wouldn’t die.

    Eventually, his dad relented and Dave replaced the T-Bird with a gorgeous emerald green ’85 Mustang GT…ironically built on the very same Fox Body platform!

    Like 12
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Like Scotty says, no one likes these. The styling was a significant ‘miss’. So it is amazing to compare it to the major restyling for 1983. This restyling was such a ‘hit’ that it inspired a complete change in Ford’s theme, and in my opinion still looks good today. Plus these were before performance started its comeback.

    As for this car, if it is in running condition, it is worth the cheap price just for the “haven’t seen one in decades” value and the period-correct colors. And of course if you wanted to have fun with it, just visit any of the Fox Body parts shops.

    Like 6
    • theGasHole

      I agree Bob…..I can find something to like about almost any car….even 70’s and 80’s cars. But these thunderbirds….pee-ewww!

      Like 1
    • Jim L

      We all have our own likes and dislikes. I happen to really like this generation of Thunderbird (so much for “no one likes these),” and the restyled ’83 (through ’87) was the only generation of Thunderbird I didn’t like.

      Like 3
      • CJM

        I’m with you. I’m not big on the 83-86’s and like the 87-88’s even less. Not a big fan of the 89-97’s either. The earlier ones are not bad but the later ones got pretty ugly in the front.

        Like 1
  3. 8banger dave Member

    HA HA! A forgettable car if there ever was one.

    Like 10
  4. Bob C.

    That could be a 255 v8 under the hood, with a whopping 115 horsepower. This generation Bird was the worst IMO. Still, you can’t go wrong with the price and milage if this is what you want.

    Like 7
    • Superdessucke

      Judging by the way it’s equipped, very basic, I think that’s a good guess. Or, if you’re really unlucky, it’ll have the 3.3 liter V-6. Those were extremely slow.

      Like 1
      • Joe

        3.3 liter was not a V/6. the 3.8 V/6 was and in the 1982 model year only. Listing is over 30 days old, so if it not sold, something is wrong.

        Like 1
      • Superdessucke

        Ah, right. The 3.3 liter was the 200 straight six. My bad. Still slower than molasses though. 18.1 seconds to 60 MPH per automobile-catalog.com.

        Like 2
    • Gavin Smith

      I had one with a 200 c.i. six in it. It was a company car. I kept looking out the back window for the 30 ft. Airstream that must have been attached to the car. It was quick like a glacier but actually was ok once you got up to speed. It looked better than it was.

      • lc

        My 85 Jeep Wagoneer XJ felt molasses slow from the stop light with the 2.8l. It was a 5spd. But once it got up to speed it felt good. Don’t own it no more. I traded it about 2 years ago for my 84 Mercury Cougar LS which runs excellent with the 3.8l. Although, it isn’t lightening fast. But it would take that 383 stroker.

  5. Dan

    The passing of time has not made this car any less searingly ugly. There is a reason they are so rare. But at that price, some one somewhere has been looking for it.

    Like 7
  6. Chris Rongo

    Well that looks better than the 4 door 81 cougar I drove. Those were the best for that era, I guess.

    Like 2
  7. Pau Hudson

    I had the opportunity to drive the cougar version of this brand new it belonged to my boss at that time who downsized from a Buick Electra 225. Those seats are not leather they’re a very soft vinyl. It had the 255 V8 It was a very pleasant car to drive but I would consider it near luxury not luxury. I’d love to have one today. It would can take all the hot rod parts of A fox body Mustang and be a lot more unique. I had a new 1985 Thunderbird that had power windows but not power locks in a two door car it would be better to have the reverse. The oddball car to find is the cougar station wagon version of this car.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for the info on the seats!

      Like 1
      • Ken

        Great write up Scotty. Thanks. You made mention of the raised headlight doors. They are vacuum operated. When, or if the engine is started, they come back down. When they sit for a while, they slowely loose vacuum and come back up.

        Like 2
  8. CCFisher

    I remember the first time I saw one of these on the road. My dad and I were in the car one night in late 1979, going who knows where, and we pulled up behind a car at a traffic signal. Seeing nothing but those distinctive taillights, Dad said, “that……would have to be a T-Bird.” (I can’t remember where we were going, but I remember the Thunderbird sighting in vivid detail. My brain is hard-wired for cars.)

    Dad’s reaction explains why Ford kept so many of the prior generation’s details for the new car. Unfortunately, those details just didn’t work with the smaller package.

    Like 3
  9. steviealx

    Like the camper next to it

    Like 1
  10. Kent Jeffries

    Yep I’m one of the sickos that liked these. My first car was a 1980 Mercury Cougar XR-7. Mine was the 255 and it was tired. I did the body work and my dad painted it for me, looked nice. Mine had the buckets and console.

    This one should be noted to have the uncommon sunroof!

    Like 6
  11. Fred W

    Owned one back in the day, only a couple of years old. Still remember the falling headliner resting on my head as I drove along. Got rid of it after a year or so.

    Like 2
  12. Skorzeny

    I agree with Bob C., a VERY low point for Ford with this. I would love a Fairmont of this vintage though, much better styling.

    Like 1
  13. jwzg

    DS armrest is trashed. Pics are typical Craigslist, taken-with-a-ZTE-burner quality. 122k is more like it.

    Like 2
  14. jerry z

    I also have a weird fascination for these cars. They did make awesome NASCAR stock cars! Yes the ’83 and up T-bird were better looking but like the ’80-’82. One in awhile I flip thru C/L hoping to find one but never any luck. Too bad this is on the wrong coast!

  15. Boatman Member

    Been on CL 29 days. Obviously not the jewel that it seems. I’m thinking 122K.

    Like 1
  16. Howard A Member

    Put me in the “oh, T-bird, you were once so proud and elegant, look what they reduced you to”, crowd. HOWEVER,,,we simply can’t overlook the success the late, great Bob Glidden had with these, although any relation to his and this is strictly coincidental, but he beat them all and helped sell a lot of T-birds, I’m sure. They were good cars, just no T-bird that I remember.

  17. irocrobb

    I knew a guy that bought a 1981 ? Cougar XR7 brand new. I believe it was pretty much the same car. When he brought it over to show me and take me for a spin I was fascinated by the digital dash. All my cars were older junkers and this was pretty much cutting edge to me. Anyway it was a good car for him but useless in the snow. I think it had aluminum wheels with metric tires on it

    Like 2
  18. wjtinfwb

    Looks like 6 leads coming off the distributor, so the 3.8L V6. Would fit with the base equipment level of this car. Really a low water mark for Ford and the storied Thunderbird brand. Fortunately they really redeemed themselves with the 83 aero Bird.

    Like 1
  19. Burger

    The perfect embodiment of everything there was to hate about the 80’s. This and everything else built then is the reason I still only drive 60+ year old cars. Styled like suppositories, or the boxes they were sold out of, it was a grim time of sh!t styles, sh!t fashion, (mostly) sh!t music, and then there were the cars … Like the generation that came of age in Germany in 1940. I wish I could demand those years back.

    • wjtinfwb

      One thing about these early 80s Ford’s, they drove pretty nicely. Engines were strangled and had no power. Styling was bizarre as the designers wrestled with the smaller body to style and the interior’s were all plastic and an ergonomic carnival. Horn button on the end of the turn signal stalk? But, the Fox platform was well balanced and light, they ride was solid and composed, they were quiet and handling while not sporty was solid and composed. The company I worked for had a Fox-based LTD wagon, everyone loved it for road trips because it was so comfortable, quiet and easy riding.

      Like 1
      • lc

        If you think they were light, you should have driven the 81/82 Ford Durango aka the Ford Fairmont conversion. With the fiberglass bed and all the metal cut off by National Coach Works, it made for a nimble little cruising machine and that’s just with the 3.3l!

        Like 1
  20. Paul Hudson

    I don’t look at it as harshly. It was the era of downsizing and it took them a while to get a hang on it The Fox Body Mustang and Fairmont came from this same platform and were decent cars. I had good experiences with the 1980’s Ford Escorts and 1980’s Ford Rangers. It would be nice to see some of these simpler cars with today’s better reliability. You could still get cars with a stick shift back then too. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Take that T-Bird to car show and it will get more looks than a Corvette. Of course the same is true with a Pinto.

    Like 4
  21. Maestro1 Member

    If I had the room I’d try the Seller at $1200. and transport the car to my location which is several states away. Clean it up, give ti what it needs and drive the thing. I agree with everyone about Ford’s low point, of which it has had several. It’s strange and wonderful.

    Like 2
  22. CJM

    I always liked the 80-82 T birds! Why all the hate? IMO they are way better looking than any that came after them until and possibly including the retro 2002+ birds. This one is rare in that it does not have any sort of vinyl top. They look cleaner without it. It was a good looking, intellegently sized, roomy and economical car. So it wasn’t a race car? The reason it hasn’t sold is there are very few people who want them and even 1900 is way more than the market will bear. A similar but better equipped one sold around here for a few hundred bucks a couple years ago.

    Like 4
  23. Bevis Member

    Wow. Weird color, sparse interior, no options, and if it’s the 255, the worst V8 engine Ford ever made. I would chip in $500 to help launch it off a steep cliff and watch it explode. Anyone in?

    Like 3
  24. theGasHole

    I usually can find something I like about almost any car. Mercury Cougar Wagon? Sure, I’ll take one. Any GM product from 1958? Sign me up. A Lincoln Versailles? Had one, loved it. A Granada? As long as it’s a 2 door and a V8 I’m down (I’ve had one of those, too). An Aztek? Give me a Rallye Edition any day & I’m happy.
    But these T-Birds….well…..I’ve never had one. I’ve never seen one in person either (except for maybe when I was a kid and I just don’t remember), so I typically don’t like to dog cars I have no experience with. Having said that, these T-Birds are….auh….not pretty. But there is one bright spot with these T-Birds: the 1980 Silver Anniversary Edition. Okay okay I know it’s really nothing super special, but at least you got leather interior, a 302 V8, and some nifty “Silver Anniversary” badges. I’d go for one of those.

    • Jim L

      I bought a Silver Anniversary Edition back in 1980 and was sorry I ever traded it in, so I got one 2 years ago. It’s super special to me. Loved them then, and love them now.

  25. lc

    I’ll give it a thumbs up. It’s nice.

    Like 3
  26. Burger

    Since 1900, US automakers have provided the enthusiast with tens of thousands of options for a car/s to be excited about. That all ended about 1970, when carmakers switched to building disposable junk, that hold half the substance of cars made earlier. Now, if that “does it” for some, good for them ! I like to see even turds preserved, even if just for novelty and curiosity sake.

    Me, I only have so much space and resources, and for any possible neat angle that might be present in a post-70 car, all I gotta do is consider something earlier, and there is just so much more car and bang for the buck than anything made later. Since they all suck up money and take up space in the shop, I would never give up space for an 80’s T-bird when the same space is just as easily filled with a 57.

    Like 1
    • MarveH

      I hear you, and for value and resale I completely agree. As for driving, however, the fox body wins the day. They are light and have a nearly bottomless supply of suspensions and brake upgrades. Plus any conceivable engine swap and upgrade has been done and documented.
      The 50’s birds are beautiful but modifying could hurt the value, not a concern with this variant.

      Like 1
  27. MarveH

    If this were closer it’d be mine. I have a built and balanced 331 stroker motor on an engine stand. I have been looking for the ugliest fox body variant to put it in and this would fit the bill nicely (with a manual transmission conversion of course).
    The color is spot on too. I’m serious, if this were within 400 miles I’d trailer it home.

    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      Maybe one of your Barn Finds friends would be interested in transporting it partway.

    • lc

      I have an 84 Merc Coug that you could put that 331 st in.

  28. JoeNYWF64

    Owners of the prior gen t-bird must have been in shock when they saw that this more expensive next gen came with a hood prop rod, exposed wipers, frames around the side windows & cheap outside mirrors. I bet they kept their old birds & waited to trade in for the gen that came after this one.

    • Bill Owens carnut1978 Staff

      Hey JoeNYWF64, I’m one of those people that bought the previous generation. My first new car was a 1978 Thunderbird. In 1982, when two Ford dealers couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my Thunderbird (it kept cutting off, turned out to be a module that a third Ford dealer found the next year), I almost bought a new 1982 Thunderbird Heritage. That way I would have gotten a little more luxury than my 1978 had, albeit in a small package that didn’t exactly have the appeal of the 1978. But I was about to get married and my wife didn’t have a job, so I figured I better hang onto the old TBird. I ended up keeping it for 19 years. Later bought a 1978 Diamond Jubilee that was hit by a drunk. I now have a 1978 Town Landau.

      Like 1
  29. Rob

    Neighbor had one (new). What a turd of a car, a tin can to the core.

  30. Burger

    Reading these comments is like listening to critics discuss “the offerings” at a turd tasting contest. 🤣

    Like 1
  31. lc

    My 81 Mercury Zephyr Z7 that I used to own had the same rubber floor mats. I do like how the bumpers are the same color as the car. My Zephyr had chrome bumpers.

  32. Joe Joey

    I’ve always liked this style T-bird. Much better than the ’77 -’79 Bird.

  33. Joe Haska

    For a car everyone seems hate, there sure are allot of people, who want to share their opinion.

    Like 2
    • theGasHole

      I call it “The Aztek Syndrome”. Anytime a ‘Tek pops up on car discussion websites, the article gets more hits than anything else on the site.

  34. Chris

    I was told starting in 69 or 70. Hidden headlight design by Ford was designed so if the car sat for an extended period of time, the headlight doors would open up. Supposedly to keep the headlight doors from freezing closes in the colder states.
    But I did also see a 77/78 thunderbird in traffic once. When the driver stepped in the brake the headlights closed. And they opened when the brake was let up.

    • Joe

      They would only open up if you had a vacuum leak.

  35. John Wilson

    I’ve had an 80 T-Bird with the 302 and AOD AT since 1992. It’s red and white, with a beautiful red plastic insert hood ornament. My main cars were a 77 Monte Carlo, from 79 to 87, then an 87 Caprice Classic Coupe from 87 to 2009. I also have the 81 Durango truck conversion with a 3.3, which is really gutless but still fun and functional, as I just took my cans to the recycling today. Even though the 80 T-Bird’s 302 is rated at about 130 HP, it is adequate, and rides really good as I go between Sacramento and Vegas. It’s more agile and easy to park than my larger cars, so it has it’s good qualities. The one for sale may have a lesser engine, but you can get these running really well with iridium plugs, Packard wires, premium cap and rotor, and K&N air filter. I just got an 86 Cougar with a V-6 running just about as good as the T-Bird in the last 30 days. This is a good deal for a running car with that low mileage.

    • lc

      You didn’t happen to win that Ford Durango pickup on Ebay last year did you? The guy that I sold mine to here in COS, CO said he was going to do a rotisserie on it, but then he put it on Ebay and made about 2Gs off it.
      I also have a 84 Mercury Cougar LS that a guy wants to buy from me to put a 2.3 turbo and T-5. I guess he wrecked his father’s 84 XR7 sometime ago, salvaged the motor and trani out of it, and wants to put this engine in it, and give it to his father on his 50th birthday. Currently, it has the 3.8, and runs good.
      Also, I could have bought a 81 Mercury Zephyr Z7 with a 302 about 2 years ago, but I already had a 81 Mercury Z7 with a 3.3l so I declined, but it was tempting. It also had the rear sway bar that my 3.3l didn’t have, and was as nice as mine. I sold my Z7 to a guy in AZ who loved it.

  36. Wayne Thomas

    A “steal” is right. Great price. Go to Ebay and look for a Fox Body T-Bird and you’ll see ridiculous pricing for examples in worse shape than this. Someday, someone will Coyote/IRS swap one of these for a real sleeper.

    • Joe

      The listing 30 days old and he didn’t respond to my email. It may all ready sold.

  37. lc

    True. He didn’t respond to my email either. Maybe it is Burger who is selling it. lol

    • Burger

      Were it mine, I would gladly GIVE it to an enthusiast that would preserve it. I may not like some cars, but I DO appreciate those that will preserve them for posterity.

  38. lc

    Sweet! That’s why I’m glad when one of my classic cars goes to someone who will make it better than it was before.

  39. Will Irby

    I bought an ’80 T-Bird brand new in February 1980. It was loaded with everything available (except a sunroof, which I didn’t want): two-tone paint (light gold on hood, trunk, and top part of fenders, darker gold below), light tan leather, 302 w/ 4-speed AOD, aluminum wheels with Michelin low-profile tires, digital dash, power seats/windows, decent stereo, and stickered for about $12,700, which was a lot in 1980. I beat the dealer down to $9,500. It was comfortable, extremely quiet, and handled acceptably for a “personal luxury” car of that era, but certainly not abundantly powered with the 302. I did exceed 30 mpg on a couple of long trips. However, the 302 started consuming oil at an alarming rate, and I traded it in on a Nissan Stanza after 2 years.

    • CJM

      Wow! Sounds like a nice one. A Thunderbird to a Stanza? That was a step down of epic proportions. Nissans are junk! They were in 1982 and they still are.

      • Will Irby

        It was actually quite an upgrade. That was the first year for the Stanza. It had significantly more interior room, was more comfortable, and quicker than theT-Bird. Of course, it also handled significantly better.It would cruise at 100 all day long, or get 46 mpg cruising at 70. More fun to drive with the 5-speed also! Its only downfall was the incredibly complicated carburetor, which started acting up after about 100k miles. The dealer told me it was considered a “non-rebuildable” carb, but said he would sell me a new carb for about $950, or a “factory rebuilt” carb for $730. However, the parts guy found a “factory rebuild kit” for less than $50. The factory rebuild kit, as well as the factory rebuilt carb, didn’t seem to go with the dealer’s “non-rebuildable” description. I bought the rebuild kit and tore into the carb, only to discover that instead of the usual 5 circuits (choke, idle, accelerator pump, venturi, and power valve), this one had something like 17 systems, including altitude, temperature,and humidity compensation, and some I had never heard of. It took me the better part of a day, but I rebuilt it, and it ran like new. The next time I visited the dealership, the parts guy asked me how the rebuild went. The shop manager happened to be standing there when I told him that everything went fine, and he offered me a job. I told him thanks but no thanks; I didn’t mind doing that for my car, but I wouldn’t want to do it for a living. I got almost 200,000 miles out of the Stanza before trading it in 8 years later, and it still ran like new.

  40. Joe

    A 1982 Nissan Stanza had less room in it than the Thunderbird, 92.5 cubic feet compared to 86.6 for the Nissan. It would not cruise all day at 100, that was its top speed on a good day. It would not get 46 MPG at 70 mph as small modern cars get that now, but not back then, they rusted out after a few years. I had one, the TB was a much better car.

    • Will Irby

      Five people could ride comfortably in my Stanza, and did so often. The T-Bird was cramped for two in the back seat. My top speed was 112 to 114, depending on atmospheric conditions. My best highway mpg for a full tank was 49 for the Stanza, and 29 for the Bird. Granted, most people didn’t come close to those figures. I used optimum manifold vacuum and shift points to achieve them; it was an entertaining game to a nerdy mechanical engineer like me. The last time I saw my old Stanza, in ’99, there was no rust.

  41. Joe

    I had one it didn’t get that gas mileage, it didn’t go that fast, was tight in the rear seat. The rockers rusted right through,

    • Will Irby

      Mine did. As the disclaimer states, “Your mileage may vary.” When I traded the T-Bird in on the Stanza, I became the driver of choice to take 5 people from the office to lunch. When I had the T-Bird, nobody wanted to ride in the back seat.

      • CJM

        Another great reason to drive a coupe! No one wants to ride with you so other people’s cars are used instead of wear and tear on yours!

  42. Burger

    Youze guys are too funny. Of all the cars ever made, we’re going to get all nitty-gritty on two throw-away crappy 80’s cars ? Let’s step our game.

  43. joe

    I never said the Thunderbird here was a great car, but because of the fox chassis it was be turned into a well handling car, not fast, but a good driving car. EPA numbers back in these years were guesses, they were never close. A F150 with the 300 straight 6 with a 4 speed manual o/d was rated at 30 mpg on the highway, it was lucky to get 18 to 20.

    • Will Irby

      Yep, the EPA driving cycle to test for MPG was designed to simulate a variety of driving conditions. It included a cold start and a timed cycle of specified throttle positions, RPM ranges, load conditions, etc. I could usually beat the city and highway EPA numbers by about 10 to 15%. As I recall, the EPA numbers for the Stanza were 32 city, 46 highway, so I barely beat the highway figure. I might have done better with the city number if the 5-speed wasn’t as fun to drive.

      • Joe

        No you couldn’t you are in dream land. The cars back then did not get better gas mileage than the Civics and Corolla’s today. I had one and never got the EPA numbers as 100% of the other cars didn’t with the inflated EPA numbers.

    • Will Irby

      I drove the car for 8 years. I wasn’t dreaming. However, since you didn’t do it, it didn’t happen. I just made up a story because I wanted to waste time arguing. I’m an engineer. Engineers like facts. Have a nice day.

      • Joe

        Sure you are. Every car review back in the 80’s showed the car mileage about 30 mpg.

      • CJM

        I believe you. With careful driving is it entirely possible to beat the old “optimistic” EPA ratings as well as easy to beat the new “realistic” ratings. I had a 1980 Ford Fairmont with a 200 cid six. I consistently averaged 29 mpg on highway driving. This was when the car had 150k miles and a 20 year old carburetor on it. I averaged 29 MPG out of a 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis on nearly every tank. This car had close to 100k on it. That car had a 5.0 liter EFI v8. I drove a 2002 Mercury Sable with a 3.0 V6 from Maine to Michigan and averaged 33.5 MPG for the trip. I think the highway rating was 26 or something. I drove a new 1996 Buick Lesabre with a 3.8 V6 as a rental and got 33-34 MPG. And these results were not from me driving 45 MPH in a 65 zone and drafting 18 wheelers and stuff like that. This is driving near, at, or slightly over posted speed limits. People don’t know how to drive for fuel economy. That is why their results fall short!

  44. Paul Hudson

    I had a 1981 F-100 Straight 6 with 4 Speed with the Overdrive 4th. It was a stripper and rusty but was a good commuter in 1995/1996 I paid 900 for it and sold it for 1200. I put a clutch in it myself. It got about 20 MPG Mixed. Don’t remember any long highway trips. My 77 F-100 with the same engine and 3 Speed on column did around 16 MPG +/- . My current 2005 F-150 FX4 with the 5.4 and an automatic does around 15-16 on mixed driving and 18 MPG on a flat careful highway trip. If you go around 75-80 MPH it drops to 14 MPG. I was pretty happy when I towed 5000 Lbs with it and got 10-11 MPG.

    • Will Irby

      That 300 straight six was a good old engine. My brother had one in an ’85 Bronco. I had a ’93 Bronco that was attached to my Ski Nautique trailer for 15 years. Sadly, it had the anemic 302; that required a long look up the road before pulling out into traffic. I got 11 MPG pulling the boat, which improved to 12.5 after some intake and exhaust mods. I traded it in 5 years ago on a 2010 Tundra, which gets better mileage, has twice the power (381 vs. 190 hp), and pulls the boat like it isn’t even there.

  45. John Wilson

    I wonder if it’s even still available. I’ve had a 1980 with a 302 since 1993. Finally had to take the AOD to AAMCO because of multiple leaks since bring it to Las Vegas; but, it still shifted fine. Have a rad one with white vinyl top. People like looking at it in Vegas. Everything works. Not too big or too small (good car for parking and on highway with high winds).

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