Image credits: © Ford.

1989 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird arrived later than other 1989 Ford models. It was the start of the tenth generation of the Ford Thunderbird, having a legacy that stretched back to 1955. Ford introduced the redesigner Thunderbird on December 26th of 1988 as a 1989 model along with its cousin, the Mercury Cougar. It rested on the Ford MN12 (Mid-size North American Project 12) platform, which had been in development since 1984. Its wheelbase now a much longer 113-inches and it was nearly 3.4 inches lower than its predecessor. The width grew by 1.6-inches resulting in greater interior space.

The 1989 Ford Thunderbird holds the distinction of being the first in the car's history to not have a V8 engine in its catalog, instead offering two different versions of Ford's 3.8-liter Essex overhead valve V6. The base engine was a naturally aspirated version delivering 140 horsepower. The high-performance Super Coupe (SC) model was equipped with a supercharger and intercooler delivering 210 horsepower. Several modifications were made to the internals of the SC engine including a modified block and head to cope with the enhanced coolant flow, the crankshaft was upgraded to a fully counterweighted forged unit, the pistons were comprised of a stronger hypereutectic alloy, and the billet roller cam had a unique profile. The Eaton M90 Roots-style supercharger was designed to be mounted atop the intake manifold. The maximum boost under pressure was approximately 12 psi.

The base engine was backed by an AOD 4-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. The AOD was optional on the Super Coupe and an M5R2 5-speed, Mazda-derived manual transmission was standard in the SC model.

The suspension was comprised of an independent setup with short-and-long arms (SLA) and a spring strut assembly in the front and multiple links in the back. Disc brakes were in the front and drums were at the rear, except the Super Coupe which had four-wheel discs.

Standard equipment included power windows, air conditioning, analog gauges, AM/FM stereo radio, visor mirrors, power brakes, power steering, cloth reclining front bucket seats, and intermittent wipers. The LX trim level added digital instruments including a tachometer. The LX added a speed-sensitive power steering system, power locks, cruise control, power mirrors, folding rear armrest, illuminated entry system, power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering with tilt column, remote gas door, and decklid release, and radio with cassette player.

Distinct features on the SC Models included aero body flaring, fog lamps, power mirrors, folding rear armrest, soft-feel steering wheel, 16-inch performance tires, and dual exhaust. The interior housed analog instruments including a tachometer and boost gauge, and power articulated front seats with inflatable lumbar bolsters and adjustable backrest wings.

Ford Thunderbird body styles included the hardtop coupe priced at $14,610, the LX Coupe at $16,815 and the Super Coupe at $19,820. Total production was 107,996 units.


by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2020

Related Reading : Ford Thunderbird History

The Ford Thunderbird is an American automotive icon first introduced in 1955. During the early 1950s, military men were returning from fighting in World War II. In Europe, the style of the vehicle was very different from the Detroit American car. The graceful but sporty MG, Triumphs, and Jaguars, to name a few, had found their way into the hearts of many of these American soldiers. In the U.S.,....
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1989 Vehicle Profiles

1989 Ford Thunderbird vehicle information

HardTop Coupe

1989 marked the beginning of a new design series, which continued until Thunderbird production ended temporarily in 1997.....[continue reading]

Speed Record Coupe

Chassis Num: LSJ1123

When the Ford Thunderbird was introduced, it was promoted as a sporting personal car. That idea morphed as the years rolled along eventually becoming a personal luxury car. ....[continue reading]

HardTop Coupe
 
Speed Record Coupe
Chassis #: LSJ1123 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1989 Thunderbird
$19,825-$177,500
1989 Ford Thunderbird Price Range: $14,610 - $19,825

$9,050 - $17,550

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Ford
1994Ford (1,220,512)Chevrolet (651,647)Honda (650,105)1,220,512
1993Ford (1,026,338)Chevrolet (692,116)Honda (608,149)1,026,338
1992Ford (922,488)Honda (648,745)Chevrolet (647,227)922,488
1991Honda (659,659)Oldsmobile (474,837)Nissan (405,147)
1990Ford (912,466)Chevrolet (785,918)Pontiac (641,820)912,466
1989Chevrolet (1,275,498)Ford (1,234,954)Pontiac (801,600)1,234,954
1988Ford (1,331,489)Chevrolet (1,236,316)Pontiac (680,714)1,331,489
1987Nissan (1,803,924)Chevrolet (1,384,214)Ford (1,176,775)1,176,775
1986Chevrolet (1,368,837)Renault (1,305,191)Ford (1,253,525)1,253,525
1985Chevrolet (1,418,098)Renault (1,322,887)Oldsmobile (1,192,549)1,149,427
1984Chevrolet (1,655,151)Renault (1,429,138)Ford (1,180,708)1,180,708

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