1979 Ford Thunderbird Reviews

1979 Ford Thunderbird 5.8L 351M from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1979
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 5.8L 351M Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired145000 miles
Most recent distance368000 miles

Summary:

Very, very FAST

Faults:

Nothing really, just the usual things like gas and tires.

General Comments:

My car has over 360K on the trans and rearend. The engine was heavily built around 10K miles ago. It was bored .060 over stainless steel crank shortend rods (from 4 3/4 stroke to a 3 3/4). It has Keith Black pistons, planning to put a 566 lift cam in it soon; it has a 510 lift in it now.

It tops the left front shock out from 1500 rpm to when I shift into 2nd at 5400rpm running 80 mph. 2nd gear tops out at 140mph at 5400, and I don't know about drive gear.

I hit 3rd once, and it felt like you were being pulled through the back of the seat, and still lifting the left end up. So how much HP and torque do you think it probably has? I have never had it on a checked.

The car runs low 10s in 1/8 mile in first only.

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

Review Date: 30th January, 2011

1979 Ford Thunderbird Town Landau 351 Windosor V8 from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership1998
Engine and transmission 351 Windosor V8 Automatic
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired55000 miles
Most recent distance87000 miles

Summary:

This is a classic car at an affordable price

Faults:

Head gasket blew at 80,000 miles.

Steering needed constant attention.

General Comments:

This was my first car. I have always had a special place in my heart for old Thunderbirds, and when the option to by this one from the origional owner came, I had to take it. It's a classic. The roofline and the interior make for a sporty look, and the size of the car makes for a luxury ride. I wish I still had it, though with gas prices they way they are, I don't know.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th August, 2006

1979 Ford Thunderbird 351 M from North America

Model year1979
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 351 M Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired76500 miles
Most recent distance79000 miles
Previous carBuick Regal

Summary:

Sexy, in a weird 70s way

Faults:

Heater hose busted because of age and high revving of the engine. The fact that it still needs to be smogged and I have dual cherry bomb mufflers.

General Comments:

It's a good car, the best old car I've owned so far and plan to buy a '74 T-Bird.

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

Review Date: 5th October, 2005

1979 Ford Thunderbird Town Landau 351C from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 351C Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired45000 kilometres
Most recent distance45500 kilometres
Previous carRenault Megane

Summary:

Looks ugly, but that's its beauty

Faults:

Some clicking noise from the electric seats.

Running lumpy and rich, but recent service and change of all filters oil and gearbox oil should fix the problem.

Alternator bearings collapsed and had to be fully rebuilt.

Interior looks as nice and clean as it probably did in 79.

General Comments:

Really comfortable

Sounds nice

Puts a big grin on face when driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2003

1979 Ford Thunderbird 351w from North America

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 351w Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired100000 miles
Most recent distance179000 miles
Previous carFord Thunderbird

Summary:

Like a bigger Mustang

Faults:

My transmission seals blew out 125000 miles.

My coil blew at 130000.

My starter shorted out at 150000.

General Comments:

This car has some power.

It's sluggish from 0-20 mph, but after it hits 20 mph it's gone.

It has nice tight handling.

Has no problem burning a Corvette.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2002

1979 Ford Thunderbird 302 (modified) from North America

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 302 (modified) Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired318000 miles
Most recent distance360000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Monte Carlo

Summary:

Fast, fun, tough and big

Faults:

Currently I am rebuilding the many times rebuilt tank of a car I have dubbed 'Albatross'.

I blew the tranny it came with which was a FMX 3 speed with split gear set.

Needs paint.

I destroyed the rear differential (tore 1 1/2 inches into the rotary differential housing.

I blew the alternator with a hefty stereo.

I blew up the radiator.

I blew out the rear main seal.

I blew up the carburetor.

The fuel pump and all the fuel lines froze one winter, and I had to replace all of that.

When I got the car it had bad brakes, tie rods and U-joints.

Gas tank and engine were both OK; still are..

General Comments:

This car is FAST. The fastest I ever had it was, believe it, 168.7 MPH. I am rebuilding it now with a manual drag tranny and all Detroit rear end. The engine has been modified, obviously.

Although it doesn't look it, these cars are curiously aerodynamic. I love the thrill of driving such a big car, with such a long hood. I got this car for $500 at the bone yard I used to work for. I had to fight the state to get the title for it.

I love this car. I think that these cars are close to the perfection of styling, and well thought-out body design. Drive one for a while and you will see what I mean.

After 360k, this car is very sturdy and has NO rattles - a very well built compliment to the Ford Motor Company.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2001

20th Jun 2001, 00:29

How did you get it to go that fast? I've only gotten mine a little over 100, and that's with the 351!

30th Aug 2001, 21:50

My engine has over 400 horsepower.. Like I said "it's been modified".. I would start by rebuilding a 302 for it, and make SURE the engine was cast in Mexico. Get a 390 stroker kit and overbore the cylinders. Then get your heads done at a shop, shaved and ported.

Get a FMX transmission from a '77 to '79 302 Thunderbird; all of those have a split gear set in them. WORK ON YOUR DRIVELINE. New U-joints, bushings, springs, shocks, 4.11 gears (this is the best match) and a good differential that can take a lot of abuse. You should just rebuild the 9" dropout. New seals, bearings and races.

Make sure you have the rear sway bar still. Then rebuild your front end (this is important). Get new front end parts and stick with the techiest bushings and joints (polyurethane). It is very important that you have a tight front end and back end if you want to go fast.. Otherwise the car will shake, shimmy, and wonder all over the place. Not to mention a loss of power to the road.

After you do all of the suspension work, get it aligned by a VERY REPUTABLE shop.. This is important because I have found that VERY few mechanics are experienced in aligning the big old fisher bodies like the late 70's Thunderbirds.

Under 100 is a very bad thing, especially for that car.. That means you have serious trouble under the hood that needs attention. I could get mine up to 140 with 4 people in the car and the windows open without a problem. These cars can be made to move very fast without too much difficulty.. Don't listen the the idiotic Chevy freaks that think no Ford can go over 100. People tell me all the time that I could never have gotten that car to go that fast.. Well.. I don't really care what they think, but I will race them when I get the car back on the road ;)

Average review marks: 6.3 / 10, based on 6 reviews