November 2023
The 80-82 T-birds were the work of Lee Iacocca, Gene Bordenet, and Henry Ford 11.  They were designed in 1977.  They were based on the Fairmount/Zephyr chassis which in turn was the fox body used on the new Mustang for 1979.  In 1980 interest rates were well over 10%, the energy crisis of 1979 was still prevalent.  Iacocca and Bordenet were long gone by the time this car was introduced in late 1979.  The 80 Thunderbird was downsized like other personal cars for better gas mileage, handling, and comfort.  Engine choices were a smog choked 255 and 302 v-8s.  Late in the year Ford's famous 3.8-liter 6 cylinder was introduced.  Perhaps one of the worst engines Ford produced of all time.  My brother had a 94 T-bird with this engine and replaced the head gaskets twice.  This engine ate head gaskets as often as one would change clothes.  To celebrate Thunderbirds 25 th anniversary, there was a silver anniversary model available in four colors: silver metallic, Red Glow, Black, and midnight blue metallic, with silver accents.  In 1982 I saw a black one traveling on I-69, the one and only one I ever saw.  Today you rarely see one of these cars anywhere.  In 1984 I looked at an 82 Town Landau, its hood did not fit right, and the jukebox electronics were on the blink.  A car only 2 years old with these problems, scared me away.  Production for 1980 started well at 156,803 units.  In 1981 production dropped to 86,693 units and 45,412 units for 1982.  A Honda or Toyota was a much better car and better buy at this time. The big 3 were all making throw- away cars at this time.  This series of T-bird was bland and gaudy.  The less said, the better.  Our club has been established for over 20 years, and I can't account for one that was ever in our club.  Club member Bud Gibson, I, and a friend saw two complete ones in a junkyard this past weekend.  Club members if you see one, please contact me.  Next up the aero birds of 1983-1989.  
  Respectfully submitted, Larry Sneary 



Ford Thunderbird News 1956-2005

First Generation 1955-1957

The Ford Thunderbird was introduced in February 1953 as a response to Chevrolet's new sports car, the Corvette, which was publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month before.

Second Generation 1958-1960

Although the 1955–57 Thunderbird was a success, Ford executives—particularly Robert McNamara—were concerned that the car's position as a two-seater limited its sales potential. As a result, the car was redesigned as a four-seater for 1958.

Third Generation 1961-1963

The Thunderbird was redesigned for 1961 with styling that gave the car a unique bullet-like body side appearance.

Fourth Generation 1964-1966

For 1964 the Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off appearance, which was mostly evident when viewing the car from the side or rear.

 Fifth Generation 1967-1971



1In 1967, a larger Thunderbird with luxury appointments more in line with a Lincoln was built. 

Sixth Generation 1972-1976

The sixth generation of the Thunderbird debuted in the fall of 1971 as a 1972 model.  It was the largest Thunderbird ever produced.

Seventh Generation 1977-1979

For the 1977 model year, the Thunderbird was shifted to the smaller chassis, but it still looked large.

Eighth Generation 1980-1982

Reflecting a further industry-wide adoption of smaller vehicle designs in the interest of improved fuel efficiency and emissions compliance, the Thunderbird was redesigned for 1980.

Ninth Generation 1983-1988

In response to the lackluster reception of the eighth-generation 1980–1982 Thunderbird, Ford executed a significant redesign for 1983.

1989-2005 Thunderbirds and Car Care tips

Styles and Changes

Tenth Generation 1989-1997


On December 26, 1988, a completely redesigned Thunderbird was introduced as a 1989 model along with the similar Mercury Cougar.

Eleventh Generation 2002-2005

About Us

After a five year hiatus, Ford introduced the 2002 Thunderbird. Returning to the original formula for the Thunderbird, the latest version had a two-passenger convertible/removable hardtop configuration like the first-generation Thunderbird and styling strongly recalling the original.

Car Care Tips


Things to know to care for your car.

Little Bit of This and That


Odds & Ends

Advice Tips

 Helpful Tips

What is a bird that does not fly and some requires maintenance? 

Print | Sitemap