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 Ford Thunderbird photo

Image credits: © Ford.

1988 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird received an extensive revision for the 1983 model year, retaining its personal luxury coupe persona, but focusing more on performance and handling than on comfort and luxury. It introduced a highly aerodynamic body design (with a drag coefficient of 0.35), had a chassis derived from the Ford Fox platform, and was powered by a four-cylinder Thunderbird (in naturally aspirated or turbocharged forms) or the newly introduced 4.9-liter V8.

The ninth-generation of the Ford Thunderbird, built from 1983 through 1988, continued to be produced in Atlanta Assembly in Hapeville, Georgia, and at Lorain Assembly in Lorain, Ohio.

Several changes were implemented in 1987, improving the Thunderbird's aerodynamics, the rear quarter glass became flush-mounted, and switching from sealed-beam headlights to flush-mounted composite units. The Thunderbird Turbo Coupes design did away with a traditional front grille and was distinguishable by its own unique bodywork with a functional hood scoops that sent air to the intercooler. Chrome trim was used sparingly, and the Elan trim level was dropped and replaced by the LX and Sport versions. The LX came with a V6 engine while the Sport had the V8.

The Thunderbird Turbo Coupe was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1987.

For 1988, the engine found in the Ford Thunderbird received a multi-point fuel injection system, which replaced the single-point system in the base V-6 engine. Horsepower rose by 20. Other changes to the engine included a new balance shaft that helped make the powerplant run smoother.

Dual exhausts became standard on the 5-liter V8, Sport model, and optional on the base and LX editions. Sport models received sport seats and an electronic instrument cluster, replacing the analog gauges. Pricing for the Sport models began at $16,000. The base, 2-door hardtop coupe model sold for $13,600 while the most expensive model was the Turbo Coupe, which commanded a price tag of $17,200. Powering the Turbo Coupe was a turbocharged four-cylinder 2.3-liter engine that offered 190 horsepower and was mated to a five-speed gearbox. Anti-lock braking, electronic ride control, and 16-inch tires were also standard.

For 1988, a total of 147,243 examples of the Thunderbird were produced. This was the final year for the Turbo Coupe, which saw only minor changes, and was replaced in 1989 by the Super Coupe which was powered by a 3.8-liter supercharged engine.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2013

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.,....
Continue Reading >>

1988 Vehicle Profiles

1988 Ford Thunderbird vehicle information

(Turbo Four) HardTop Coupe

This Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe is a Mach 1 Special Edition finished in bright Cardinal Red. It is one of 500 cars produced in this Special Edition. Power is from a 2.3-liter intercooled turbocharged engine and is mated to a five-speed with special....[continue reading]

(Turbo Four) HardTop Coupe
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1988 Thunderbird
$17,255-$300,000
1988 Ford Thunderbird Price Range: $13,600 - $17,255

Other 1988 Ford Models
$8,730 - $16,610
$11,700 - $15,900

Thunderbird - Ninth generation

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
121,999
104.00 in.
6 cyl., 232.00 CID., 110.00hp
8 cyl., 302.00 CID., 130.00hp
4 cyl., 140.00 CID., 142.00hp
$9,195 - $12,228
170,553
104.00 in.
6 cyl., 232.00 CID., 120.00hp
8 cyl., 302.00 CID., 140.00hp
4 cyl., 140.00 CID., 145.00hp
$9,640 - $9,640
151,851
104.00 in.
6 cyl., 232.00 CID., 120.00hp
4 cyl., 140.00 CID., 155.00hp
$10,250 - $14,975
163,965
104.00 in.
6 cyl., 232.00 CID., 120.00hp
8 cyl., 302.00 CID., 150.00hp
4 cyl., 140.00 CID., 155.00hp
$11,020 - $14,145
128,135
104.20 in.
6 cyl., 232.00 CID., 120.00hp
8 cyl., 302.00 CID., 150.00hp
4 cyl., 140.00 CID., 190.00hp
$12,970 - $16,800
147,243
104.20 in.
6 cyl., 232.00 CID., 140.00hp
4 cyl., 140.00 CID., 150.00hp
8 cyl., 302.00 CID., 155.00hp
$13,600 - $17,255

Industry Production

#1#2#3Ford
1993Ford (1,026,338)Chevrolet (692,116)Honda (608,149)1,026,338
1992Ford (922,488)Honda (648,745)Chevrolet (647,227)922,488
1991Ford (1,162,256)Chevrolet (895,569)Honda (659,659)1,162,256
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
1983Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,175,200)Toyota (1,068,321)783,225

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