1987 Ford Thunderbird Reviews - Page 3 of 13

1987 Ford Thunderbird Sport 5.0 from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 5.0 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired132000 miles
Most recent distance140000 miles

Summary:

A good family car that is also good for a single man out to have some fun

Faults:

Since I have had the car nothing major has gone wrong with it.

I have put flow master exhaust, a K&N air filter, and an oil based engine restorer in the car.

The #8 cylinder does burn some oil, but nothing to affect my oil changes.

General Comments:

The car still has some very serious acceleration. I get lots of comments on how fast the car is and how good the car sounds for how old it is.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th October, 2005

1987 Ford Thunderbird LX Sport 5.0 V8 from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 5.0 V8 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired194000 miles
Most recent distance203334 miles

Summary:

A true luxury sports car to this day

Faults:

New rack and pinion at 195,000.

Replaced the water pump at 198,000 miles.

New timing chain and cover at 200,000 miles.

New air pump and serpentine belt at 202,000.

Interior starting to degrade.

Oxidization on trunk.

General Comments:

I got this car as a one owner vehicle, at 194,000 miles from a person who kept it in very good repair. The interior is slightly degrading, but it's almost expected for a car that is daily driven at 17 years old. The AC still blows cold, and I replaced the original premium sound for something with a little more volume and quality. This car came off the factory floor with 150 horses, and to this day it still has all 150 of them. It gets up and goes thanks to the same 5.0 liter V8 engine that was in the Mustangs of this generation. I love this car, and am in the process of basically rebuilding the entire thing. I would buy another one in a heart beat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th June, 2005

28th Jan 2010, 22:20

I have the LX version 5.0L. My recommendations to really smile when you drive are. Underdrive Pulleys. K&N Filter. And replacing the 2.75 one wheel drive differential with a 3.45 LSD. It doesn't kill the mileage like you would think, and still only turns 2100 at 70 mph. Got mine from a junker 86 turbo coup. Bolted right in. But you will definitely feel the difference in the seat of your pants.

1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 2.3L Intercooled turbo from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1987
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.3L Intercooled turbo Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance147000 miles
Previous carFord Torino

Faults:

The electronic climate control was replaced three times (while under warranty) and has not failed again in fourteen years.

The emergency brake failed because an inexperienced mechanic overtightened the cable when asked to adjust the emergency brake cable up from the floor.

I put in a new radiator around 85,000 miles.

I think I put a water pump in it once (like over ten years ago)?

Firm ride control works intermittently now.

Fog lamp receptacles have been replaced once.

General Comments:

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.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th September, 2004

21st Nov 2010, 13:14

Hi, just wondered what the value of a Ford Thunderbird 1987 starts from.

13th Dec 2010, 14:37

"Hi, just wondered what the value of a Ford Thunderbird 1987 starts from."

Go on kbb.com for that kind of info. These were fun cars, but very high on the maintenance costs. There were two in our family, and they both broke a lot. They also weren't all that fast. I had a 5.0 Mustang when these cars were around, and my car would easily completely waste one of these T-Birds. These were more of a novelty at the time with the turbo and all, and they were really nice inside. You'd be better off with an old 5.0 if you want something that is easy to work on and durable.

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 48 reviews