Auction Pick of the Week: 1985 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
The original Thunderbird was a stylish, Detroit-built coupe with sporting credentials that was beloved by many in the 1950s. But, by 1980, the T-bird had morphed into an ungainly box that was more suited to cruising the boulevard than it was to carving corners. Sales suffered as a result, and a change was needed.
After studying its European counterparts and spending some time at the gym, the Thunderbird came back as a leaner, more sophisticated GT car. It ditched the landau roof and excessive chrome, adopted a fuel-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a chassis focused more on handling.
If you want a turbo T-bird of your own, check out this 1985 Turbo Coupe offered on Hagerty Marketplace at no reserve.
The ninth-generation Thunderbird was the first North American Ford to feature the Blue Oval’s then-revolutionary aero styling when it debuted in 1983. A slippery o.35 coefficient of drag made for both an economical street car and a bad-fast stock car that dominated NASCAR’s high-speed ovals. Like its predecessor, this generation was based on the Fox platform that underpinned Fairmonts and Mustangs.
Unlike its predecessors, the top-of-the-line T-bird, the Turbo Coupe, was not powered by a burly V-8. Instead, a turbocharged, Pinto-derived 2.3-liter four lived under the hood. The non-intercooled engine ingested 10 pounds of boost to output 145 horsepower—more than the 5.0-liter V-8 offered in lower-trim T-birds.
By 1985, Ford increased the engine’s output to 155 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque. If you’re so inclined, the stout, all-iron four banger can take a lot more boost.
When equipped with the venerable BorgWarner (later Tremec) T-5 five-speed manual transmission, the Turbo Coupe could hit 60 miles per hour in around 9 seconds. Not exactly fast by modern standards, but the turbo noises will keep you entertained.
Our feature car is a ’85 Turbo Coupe finished in a two-tone Silver Clearcoat Metallic over Medium Charcoal Clearcoat Metallic. The odometer shows an indicated 100,805 miles, but it looks to be in great shape. This T-bird has only had two owners (the original owner had the car for 37 years) and it’s lived in California for its entire life. Recent maintenance includes a replaced alternator and accessory drive belts as well as an oil change.
There are a few minor condition flaws, like a scuff on the front bumper, stone chips, and clearcoat failure around the antenna. However, the car presents well and would make a good weekend driver.
If you like ’80s Fords and turbochargers, but want something a little more sophisticated than a Mustang SVO, this Thunderbird Turbo Coupe is for you. Be sure to get your bids in, the auction ends on Wednesday, March 29 at 4:30 pm EDT.
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