“Ford presents a dramatic new balance of form and function.”
The aerodynamic styling of Ford’s 1983 Thunderbird was a breath of fresh air and a huge change from the boxy and unloved eighth-generation 1980-1982 models, though the underlying components were still based on the Fox platform. For 1983, the Thunderbird came in base, Heritage, and Turbo Coupe models.
The $11,790 Turbo Coupe ($27,800 in today’s dollars) used Ford’s 145 bhp port fuel injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder Lima 2.3 liter engine and came with a standard five-speed manual transmission. Other upgrades included the Traction-Lok limited-slip differential, Goodyear Eagle P205/70HR tires on 14-inch cast aluminum wheels, Marchal foglamps, and a sportier interior with analog gauges.
Fuel economy ratings for the Turbo Coupe were 22 city/33 highway by the standards of the day. 0-60 came in around 9 seconds in the 3,140 pound car. The car didn’t just look aerodynamic—the drag coefficient was a very competitive 0.35.
Standard mechanical features on the Turbo Coupe included power steering and power brakes. Inside, all Turbo Coupe buyers got a leather-wrapped steering wheel, articulated seats, and an AM/FM stereo radio. Options included front cornering lamps ($68), tilt steering ($105), power door locks ($172), and a premium sound system ($179).
Reviews were generally good and the newly aerodynamic Thunderbird sold well. After dropping down below 50,000 sales for the 1982 model year with the last of the eighth-generation ‘birds, the ninth generation would not see sales of less than 120,000 per year.
Hagerty’s valuation tools do not track any Thunderbird after 1982. Thunderbird Turbo Coupes only occasionally show up in the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds—you do see them more often on eBay Motors. Make mine Silver, please.