1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe from North America


Small engine, big performance


Ignition replaced by dealer due to manufacture recall.

Since I only have 11,000 miles on the car I wouldn't expect anything to go bad.

General Comments:

Performance is outstanding with the standard transmission. Smoking the tires of the starting line is very very easy. Probably need large tires than the standard.

Suspension in the firm mode gives you the feeling of driving a real hot rod.

For the performance, fuel economy is good.

Fun car to drive during the summer. I'm the original owner and store the car for the winter months.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 2004

1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo coupe 2.3 from North America


This is one tough car with a mean stance, I love it


The fuel pressure regulator failed.

Alternator went bad.

Radiator leaked.

Headlight lenses were fogged up.

Axle bearing went bad.

Distributor had to be rebuilt.

Heater hoses leaked.

Shifter broke.

Paint went bad.

Muffler failed.

Timing belt failed.

Struts/shocks went bad, replaced with gas units.

Fog lamps quit.

Brake booster leaking. All previous problems I repaired myself except for this one. The anti lock system is so expensive, I may just replace it with a vacuum booster. My plans are to someday install a 5.0, so I'd have to change it anyway. The car was painted by a friend.

General Comments:

Although I only paid $600.00 for the car in 1998, it is now near show quality. I've driven it from South Carolina to New York and back with no problems.

A lot of people find it hard to believe that it's "only" a 4 cylinder.

A very comfortable ride, except for the time I cut the springs, my wife made me buy new ones the following week.

Poor on fuel mileage around town, I've got a lead foot.

Very stylish.

I love the full instrumentation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th February, 2004

28th Dec 2004, 21:11

What happened when the fuel pressure regulator went out?

1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe 2.3L SOHC I-4 turbo from North America


The final edition Turbo Coupe: A must buy!


The heater core blew and is now leaking radiator fluid.

The alternator belt snapped twice and had to be replaced at $25 per belt. The second time it snapped I was left stranded and had to be towed when the battery eventually drained.

The alternator stopped working and the car would not start at 136,545. The price to fix it reached $150. This price includes both price and labor.

After the altenator was fixed, the battery died and had to be recharged.

In overdrive (4th gear), the automatic transmission will slip and flare depending on conditions.

General Comments:

When Motor Trend rated this car 1987 Motor Trend Car of the Year, they were absolutely correct. This car, aside from the faults, is perfect.

Power comes from a turbocharged 2.3-liter in-line 4-cylinder single overhead cam that according to Ford makes 150 horsepower in the automatic and 190 horsepower in the 5-speed version. I find these numbers a bit conservative considering it is the same exact engine that was used in the 1985 Ford Mustang SVO, rated at 205 horsepower.

The car is very quick especially when the turbocharger kicks in. As expected, there is a fair amount of turbo lag at low revs. The turbo's start speed (the rpm where some boost comes in) seems to be around 2,500rpm. Full boost comes in at around 3,000rpm and if you keep into it, you should keep a close eye onto the speedometer as you are likely to be over the speed limit!

The car handles quite well for an American car that was built in the 1980's. The automatic ride control works very well, however, the "auto" mode for the suspension is unusually soft for a car with this much power. I prefer to keep the car on "firm" for most of the time. Though the car came standard with 225/60VR-16 tires, I have 225/55R-16 snow tires on now, to be replaced with 225/55VR-16 all-season performance tires when the weather becomes warmer.

There are a lot of features that came standard on this car that some cars do not have (standard-equipped). 8-way power front seats, power door locks, power mirrors, power windows, automatic climate control and a power sunroof are standard. There is also a console switch that allows you to choose either regular fuel or premium fuel. How it works is it adjusts the boost, timing, and computer to allow the use of either fuel.

The interior of my car is starting to deteriorate, so a full restoration is in the near future. All Thunderbirds are classic!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th January, 2004