Used Car of the Day: 1988 Ford Thunderbird

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today's UCOTD is a project car. It's a 1988 Ford Thunderbird that the seller is asking just $1,000 for.


There's little info in the listing. The seller writes a variation of the famous line "ran when parked" and furthermore indicates that there are 155,000 on the clock. He or she also says that the reason the car is for sale is that the seller has too many projects to work on.

Since we don't have a lot to work with here -- though the pictures do show the car is in rough shape -- I am going to tell a quick story. Someone who lives or works in my neighborhood drives a 90-something T-bird and it's in pretty fair shape. It's making part of me want a Thunderbird to tool around in.

Maybe not badly enough to buy this car -- $1K is cheap, but a drop in the bucket compared to the money needed to restore it -- but at least enough to get me to spend some more time on this forum.

Click here if you're itching for a new project car.

[Images: Seller]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

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2 of 27 comments
  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Feb 17, 2023

    Looks like a decent foundation for resto-rod T Bird. Yank the weak turbo 4, drop in a hotted up 347 Windsor, clean up the interior and exterior and kill the rattle can'd black wheels. If the underpinnings are sound, you'd have a cool and fast T Bird for under 10k.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Kwik_Shift_Pro4X on Feb 23, 2023

    As a fan of G-Bodies, this Thunderbird profile is a beaut!

  • FreedMike Cute car. If it's priced right it could be a winner.
  • Theflyersfan By the end of the summer, it will be buy one, get one free with a free charger at home install.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Mach-E is very easy to ignore.
  • Bd2 This is a marketplace segment leader beating toyota to the punch yet again for projected market domination by 2026. It's perfectly optimized with reasonable acceleration, size and weight and is guaranteed to hit the 375 mile charge target and probably exceed it because Kia has been known for exceeding goals regularly these last few years. The Theft issue will be forgotten soon enough, affluent buyers are flocking to kia dealerships from the Hamptons to Vancouver.
  • Dwford 169". Same size as the Bolt EUV. The void got filled pretty quickly. Hopefully the next Chevy Bolt comes next year as promised.
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