1978 Ford Thunderbird Reviews

1978 Ford Thunderbird 5.8L 351 Windsor from North America

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 5.8L 351 Windsor Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired62000 miles
Most recent distance62468 miles

Summary:

Very luxurious for 1978, very inexpensive to drive

Faults:

The brake cylinders in the rear brakes needed to be replaced.

Tires are out of alignment causing irregular tire wear, still to be fixed.

AM-FM radio does not work, and I cannot tell if the 8-track does, as I have none to try.

General Comments:

I bought it for $500, it had sat in a barn for the past 4 years and had become mice-infested. The previous owner informed me that this car had actually been stolen, and taken to North Carolina (from Michigan). The police down there found the car, and returned it. The motor had to be replaced, as it had been blown up. A locking gas cap was installed as to keep this from happening again.

Unfortunately, the previous owner was a smoker, and it smells of smoke (used to have a mix of smoke and mice). Due to smoking, the seats also have burns from the ashes, and one tear that started as an ash burn.

I was impressed that all I had to do was put new gas in it and it fired right up.

It has left me stranded on the side of the road only twice, both times were my fault. I neglected to tighten down the battery, so the positive terminal would ground out on the body. So I flipped the battery so it would not short circuit on the body, and it touched the radiator. Now I have secured down and have no trouble this last week.

Two weeks ago I put on all new plugs, wires, cap, and rotor. The plugs were not very old, but the wires had not been replaced in a very long time, if ever, and the cap and rotor were original. But, I discovered this motor is actually out of a '76 T-bird (or it's a '76 Windsor anyway). When I got the cap and rotor, they were way off, I returned them, along with the correct cap and rotor, and found out the motor is older than the car.

I did not intend on keeping my T-bird, it was just my summer car until I finished my Trans Am, but I think I will keep it now. It is a great luxury car that will run forever. I get looks every time I drive it. Nobody knows what these big old boats are anymore.

I will most likely keep my T-bird at least long enough to do some body work on it. The rear quarters are rusted out, but the rest of the car is in great shape, due in part to the Ziebart paint protection. I plan to find a new rear bumper for it as well, this one has rusted out.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th August, 2009

1978 Ford Thunderbird 5.8 V8 from North America

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 5.8 V8 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired165000 miles
Most recent distance165750 miles

Summary:

This is an awesome car from back when America made cars right!

Faults:

Major tune including spark plugs, fuel filter, tighten belts etc. at 165000 along with:

New radiator.

New engine rear main seal along with new oil pump.

Carburetor clean and kit.

New main bearings.

Headlight and high beam switch.

General Comments:

My grandparents bought this car brand new in 1978, so I don't know what they had replaced, but I love this car.

Currently I am using this as a second car because it has not been very reliable. It stalls frequently at a stop, but when it is moving it runs absolutely fantastic.

I love the big American cars from back in the day when cars were made the way they were supposed to be.

In addition this is one of the smoothest cars I have ever driven and/or ridden in, and I wouldn't trade it away unless it rusts apart. Like I said, the only problem with this car after all the repairs is the stalling at idle speeds in drive. Absolutely love it!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th August, 2009

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 11 reviews