This car was a delight when I took it home from the dealer brand new in August 1987 and it's still a competent machine. The styling still looks aggressive without being "cartoon-like" and the body is still without any major surface rust, despite being driven through about twelve Minnesota winters.
In 1987, the numbers on the car spoke for themselves. The 5 speed would do the quarter mile in 16.0 seconds flat at 90 mph, (source, Car and Driver), and on the Ford test track, top speed took it to 143 mph (source, Road and Track).
This compares (if not exceeds) the competition by a wide margin. Add to those performance numbers, consistent highway mileage at 29 mpg, anti-lock, four wheel disk brakes (nearly unknown at that time), computer controlled suspension (when your IBM PC/AT was the hottest personal computer you could buy, 16 inch wheels, when 14's were standard fare on most performance cars, a plush interior and a sound system unequalled by any 1987 stock system I have ever heard. This car was a real groundbreaker, and it was fun to watch "Old Bill (Elliot) from Dawsonville" consistently beat everyone in NASCAR because the shape was so clean. Ford had done their homework, and I have been the beneficiary for the last seventeen years.
The engine is just as tight as the day it was first started. The turbo, still flawless. No major faults with the engine or transmission, but a few things with other stuff (see above). The transmission linkage is the cleanest I have ever driven, it still goes, "snick, snick" through all the five speeds forward. My only complaint is there is no synchronizer on the reverse gear (a fault which Ford corrected in the following generation Super Coupe). The transmission is a strong beast and shifts better than my son's Nissan 300 ZX Twin Turbo.
The clutch has never been replaced and still works great. Although it's a little heavy in traffic, it never fails to grab the same way it has for the past 147,000 miles. I finally broke down and replaced the brakes at 104,000 miles. They didn't need it just yet as I found out, but I was getting nervous. The brakes were always VERY effective, and give this car's driver a great deal of confidence.
The interior is still in very good shape. The two tone gray leather seats are not worn significantly and not torn. The carpet is still black.
It has been fun to drive. There are some squeaks in the suspension (ball joints, I think) which I need to have looked at now, but all in all, the power, the handling and the looks have all been outstanding. When I purchased this car new in 1987, the sticker was over $20,000, which seemed like a lot then (and it was!), but in the long equation of value and satisfaction, it has been cheap.
It's too bad Ford doesn't build cars this fun for this price anymore. Try to get a five speed in your 2004 T-Bird, or five speed in your Lightning. I think they may be letting the accountants run the show. Always a bad idea for repeat customers.
Anyway, kudos to Mr. Peterson (then President of Ford U.S.) for sticking his neck out, fending off the penny pinchers, and pulling Ford out of the early 80's recession by building cars like this one. The only car I liked better than my Turbo Coupe is my 1994 T-Bird Super Coupe. But that's another story.