1983 - 1987
1989 - 1997
2002 - 2005
MN-12 was the designation given to this platform to succeed
the popular Fox T-birds and Ford spent more than a billion
dollars during the research and developementof this car.
Fittingly, the car followed it's Motor Trend Car of the Year
Award in 1987 with another in 1989's Super Coupe. This
car lasted nine production years, was very successful in
NASCAR. The Thunderbird was discontinued due to
lagging sales and an aging platfrom in 1997. A 32 Valve 4.6
SVT model using the same engine in the Mustang Cobra was
proposed in 1997 but never produced.
Along with the 1979 Mustang and the 1986 Taurus, this car reversed
Ford's fading fortunes and up to then poor design philosophy. The
ninth generation Thunderbird benefitted from wind cheating
aerodynamics and became a hit in NASCAR. The Turbo Coupe
appeared mid year 1983 and was a hit. A refresh of the generation
appeared for the 1987 model year, further refining the Turbo Coupe
and adding an intercooler and four wheel disc brakes.
When Ford released the all new Thunderbird in 2002, it won
Motor Trend 'Car of the Year' again. It rode on the Lincoln
LS platform and possessed much of the charm of the
original in a modern package. The Thunderbird lasted four
model years and produced around 68,000 cars in that span.