THUNDERBIRD ERA - 1983 - 1987
The ninth generation of the Ford Thunderbird is a personal luxury coupe built by Ford for
the 1983 to the 1988 model years. While nominally shorter and lighter than its predecessor, the radical change sought from the previous model was not in overall size but in exterior styling and handling. As opposed to the traditional straight-edged styling carried from the 1970s, the 1983 Thunderbird was an aerodynamic design (drag coefficient of 0.35) that would serve as a preview for vehicles such as the Ford Mustang SVO, Ford Tempo, Ford Aerostar, and Ford Taurus.
Although bearing little resemblance to the 1980-1982 Thunderbird, this generation also was derived from the Ford Fox platform and shared the Mercury Cougar as its counterpart. In 1984, the Thunderbird and Cougar were joined by the Continental Mark VII, which was produced until 1992. Following its redesign for the 1983 model year, the Thunderbird was available in base, Heritage, or Turbo Coupe, which was the most expensive performance-oriented model. Both the base and the Heritage came standard with a 3.8 L (232 cu in) Essex V6 that produced 110 horsepower (82 kW) mated to a 3 speed automatic. A 5.0 L (302 cu in) Windsor V8 with 140 horsepower (100 kW) was available with the former two models as well. The Turbo Coupe, the top-of-the-line model was special for several reasons. It used a turbocharged 4-cylinder 2.3 L (140 cu in) engine with Ford's EEC-IV electronic engine control system. Unlike the other models, the Turbo Coupe came with a standard 5-speed manual transmission. Other improvements included a limited-slip differential (called "Traction-Lok"), larger tires and wheels, and a sportier interior complete with analog gauges.