Would You Blow $9,700 On This 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Is there any category of car less popular right now than the big two-door coupe? That makes today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe T-Bird a car that caters to a unique and small audience. Let’s see if the show is worth the ticket price.

Years ago I drove a dually truck with a fifth wheel camper trailer hitched in back. It made me feel like I was a long distance rig jockey, and I wanted to get on the CB radio so I could commune with my fellow truckers, and ask them: “How the hell do you back this damn thing up? Come back, good buddy.


Swear to Dog, I had such anxiety over the chance I might have to back up that seemingly 300-foot long folding rig that I didn’t even have a moment to enjoy all the crosswind fighting driving it on the highway offered.

Keep in mind that I’m the guy that has to mime to myself which way is righty-tighty or lefty-loosy when facing up under a car. Having to turn left to go right when backing is a skill level that’s a bit above my pay grade. That’s a prime reason why I liked yesterday’s 1989 Jeep Comanche Dually so much, as it’s really not going to be towing anything of substantial size any time soon.

A narrow majority of you took issue both with that, and the extra-wide truck’s $5,900 price, earning it a 52-percent Crack Pipe loss. I guess that makes it the real “under tow.”


Speaking of toes, consider your big toe, specifically the one on your right hoof. Now picture that dipping into the 190-horsepower offered by the turbocharged 2.3-litre four in this 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.

That’s right, this is one is equipped with the T5 manual so it gets the full 190 ponies on tap. Had it been saddled with the optional four-speed AOD automatic, it would have 40 fewer. More is always better, and here the T5 was considered up to the task of corralling the the Lima four’s full potential. Actually, the SVO Mustang wrung another ten or so out of that intercooled mill so there may even be room to spare here.


What is here is a very tidy example of the second generation Turbo Coupe. Ford had created a shrinky-dink edition of their baroque Thunderbird for the 1980 model year, which was poorly received by pretty much everyone with working eyeballs and any sense of self dignity. So bad was the execution that Ford initiated an emergency redesign that gave us the lovely “Aero-bird” in 1983. That model had a major revamp for ’87, replacing all the body panels and glass save for the doors and windscreen, and that gave us the basis for this car.


This particular one comes in Dark Shadow Blue over a color-matched cloth interior. There’s only 56,000 miles on the clock and neither the exterior or interior show any evidence of even those outside of some somewhat dated aesthetics.


One of those is a speedometer that counts up to 80, but has tick marks and a needle go to 95. The federal 85-mph speedo regulation had been dead and buried for six years by the time this model was introduced making that a good bit of skin-flinting on Ford’s part if they were just using up parts bin clusters in these cars.

The ad says that the Lima four has just had its timing belt refreshed along with new camshaft and crankshaft seals. The A/C has all been updated to R134 so so you can keep (reasonably) cool without having to interact with any back-alley refrigerant peddlers. New tires underpin on clean factory alloys and the seller says the car is ready to rock. A clean title and two remotes seals the deal.


Actually, the deal is $9,700 for this clean machine, and it’s now your duty to decide if that’s really a deal or not. What do you think, could this Turbo Coupe command that much cash? Or, does that price make this T-Bird a dead duck?


You decide!


Austin, TX Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to glemon for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.