Roadside Survivor Sighting: 1982 Ford Thunderbird

1982 Ford Thunderbird

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From Kip D – I ran across this Thunderbird sitting by the road in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It looked decent enough, but I was floored by the asking price: a whopping $5,000!!! The seller claims the vehicle only has 31,000 original miles and was owned by a family member who bought the car new and drove it until an illness forced them to park it. The owner died and it went to another family member who let it sit. The car then found its way into the hands of a young family member who didn’t want it, so now it’s awaiting its next owner.

It has the Heritage Edition trim level and is equipped with a 302 V-8 and almost every option, even the factory flip-up moonroof. The interior isn’t beaten up and the headliner hasn’t given up the ghost. The only thing that’s out-of-place is a modern radio. The paint is old but might shine again with the careful attention of an orbital buffer. The seller claims to have changed the belts, hoses, battery, tires, and fluids. If it’s what the seller claims it is, I think it’s worth about $2,000 at best. I know a car is worth what someone is willing to pay, but I believe the asking price is steep. Am I wrong?

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  1. slimwhitman

    If they let it sit and sit and sit in the sun and rain long enough and keep mowing around it, that $5000 buyer will eventually come. (oops…I meant the junk yard will buy it for $50 after it is too shabby to save)

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  2. Roselandpete

    When think of the T-birds I saw as a kid growing in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s and then I see the later models like this, I know I was born too late.

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  3. Paul Hudson

    It may not be a popular body style yet but look at the old square birds. They couldn’t be given away years ago but now they are very collectable. Most of these old T-Birds were driven and worn out. To find one in good shape is nice. I drove the Mercury version in 1980 that belonged to my boss at the time. It was new and he traded in his Buick Electra 225 for it. I drove both cars. The Electra was very nice but huge and ungainly. The T-bird felt modern and compact. He had the 255 Ci V8. Ford only made that version of the small block for a few years. I think they’ll probably get closer to the 5K price if they get it out of the weeds and clean it up. I’m sure it would bring a good price at Carlisle. It would make a nice unique driver and with some Mustang upgrades could be a stealthy Street Rod.

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    • Tim Rusling

      A couple of years ago I was looking across North America for one of these squarebirds, to replace an ’81 that was hit too many times by bad drivers. The best I could find for a nice one, an ’82, was about $5K. The 255 engine is no prize – it’s just not a good engine – an ’80 – ’81 is better if it has a 302, but I love these cars’ style – the Heritage and Town Landau – less so the base car. I think the few survivors will have their following one day.

      Like 1
  4. Moparman ElliottMember

    IMO, this is one of the most HIDEOUS designs ever foisted onto the world as a Thuinderbird!

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  5. Paul Hudson

    I agree that it’s not the best design. It seems a little top heavy. Bigger wheels and tires would help. It’s basically a dressed up Fairmont. I still like it but it’s probably an emotional tie since I drove one when they were new. I owned a 1985 and 1985 T-Bird myself. The 1986 a Turbo Coupe with 5 Speed. One of my favorite all time cars that I’ve owned. Very different cars but the fox chassis is still the same basic underpinning. I wonder how many fox based cars ford built?

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  6. TBall

    I believe the asking price is a bit sporty. Got it, low miles, lots of options, “new stuff” added. However this was easily the least desirable era for the T-Bird, thus the limited production run for the square bird. Price is approaching high retail price (NADA) and above a grade #2 EXCELLENT condition car. Aside from all that, it needs to be desirable. Agree (in part) with Paul, seller needs to get it out of the weeds, do a nice detail on it and keep it out of the elements for extended periods if they truly hope for $5k.

    Like 1
  7. Chris

    It’s hard to look at. I’ll pay $5k for them to hide it.

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  8. Anders

    I think this would be a great candidate to recreate some Dukes of Hazard stunts!

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  9. JW454

    I never cared for those seats in anything. I had them in a Oldsmobile Brougham. They’re like sitting on a pillow. You think it sounds comfortable but it’s not. Next time you sit on your couch grab a throw pillow and sit on it. You’ll see very quickly it’s very uncomfortable. I’ll admit I don’t know the current market for a car like this but, I think the price is about twice what it should be.

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  10. Jose

    If the thing were closer I’d offer $500, and not a penny more.

    Like 1
  11. Stang1968

    When I was in Kindergarden, there was a girl in 1st grade whose parents dropped her off everyday driving one of these. I always thought the car was cool, and reading the nameplate on the back was one of the things I learned to do that year.
    It was only when I became an adult that I realized these were enormous turds and that’s why you never see them in wild anymore.

    Like 0
  12. Mr. TKD

    Maybe someone will turn it into a Bill Elliott NASCAR tribute car.

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  13. rustylink

    it’s nice – and well optioned – but at the end of the day it’s a cushy Fairmont for $5 large. No thanks – I think in Tenn that grass is gonna keep growing around that particular Bird if you’re looking for that kind of scratch.

    Like 1
  14. edh


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  15. jim

    I was a sales manager for a Ford store in 82 and this was the 3rd and final year for these. They came out in 1980 and by 82 they were improved but still a Fairmont in drag. At a sales meeting by the Ford factory district manager he actually apologized to us for bringing this as he described, turd to market.

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  16. Ron (Florida)

    If it were an 83-86 in turbo coupe trim I’d pay 5000 in that condition. This to me, is a 2500 car at best. I’m glad cars like this still exist, I just don’t want this one. I can see why they were only made 3 model years.

    Like 1
  17. Tim Rusling

    It’s good we don’t all want the same cars. There’s room in the car hobby for everything. My passion is the underdog cars – the unloved – the ones few people kept. Some cars were made for the wrong generation. The young people I work with love my ’79 Pacer Limited woody wagon with the leather and corduroy seats. Conversely, nobody seems to like my ’79 Checker Marathon.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW

      Very good point, and why I like BF so much – something for everyone.

      At work today, we were talking about K cars and how many of us remember the family owning one, how they were more or less pretty reliable, and how you still see them on the street from time to time.

      I wouldn’t want to ever own one, but I bet that there are some who would.

      Like 1
      • Roselandpete

        When I was working, my employer bought Fords, Chevys, Dodges, you name it, over the years. One day I asked the fleet manager what were the worst cars he’d ever seen come through the fleet. He said the k-cars.

        Like 1
  18. Keith

    There was one of these Thunderturds for sale here locally in about the same condition for months and months and months at $2500 with no takers. There’s very, very little to like about these.

    Like 1
  19. Mr. TKD

    It’s equipped with the 255 v-8. The 302 didn’t show up until the next model year. And it’s still awaiting its new owner.

    Like 0
  20. jaymes

    these cars were so luxurious, the car to have back in the day, just looks like it needs buffed out. the best body style right there

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  21. Butt4EverySeat

    My pop had an ’81 new in 1981 as his company car. I bought one in the early 90’s. Used to pull my boat with it. I can tell you it has a plush ride like a caddy. I miss that car. yes overpriced, maybe $2500

    Like 1
  22. Mr. TKD

    I rode by the house a couple days ago and the guy had pulled it back up next to his house.

    Like 1

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