Why Beater Cars are Worth Restoring, Ford Thunderbird

it’s time for show-off Sunday, where
everyone has a chance to show off their own car and here’s this week’s winner,
hello everybody I hope you’re having a great Sunday with a fantastic weekend, what
I got for you today is a 1988 Ford
Thunderbird with a sport trim level, it is equipped with a 5.0 liter windsor v8
with a four-speed automatic transmission and has been kicking it ever since she got
out of the factory in Lorain Ohio, for 30 years she has been an outside vehicle
and has only had one owner other than us, being a Colorado car this car is
surprisingly known to have no rest in any part of the vehicle, even though this
car has been driven through the snow year after year, day after day, overall I
like to say this vehicle is really good on the road and for 30 years this
car is still kicking like it’s been 10 years, let’s start off the show with a
glimpse of the American muscle car to start off history wise, this car was bought
by my parents for my oldest brother back in the day and it only had one owner
with a total of 84,000 miles on it, over the years my brother drove it until he
got another car and my parents handed it down to my middle brother when he
started to drive, the car was a beater and you knew it was a beater when your
parents let the kids drive it around as their first car but my middle brother
hated it and quickly got into a different vehicle. it sat around for a
couple years around two to three years until I was able to drive and then that
became my first car. when I got it it was
in a falling apart stage. it was really
bad the paint was peeling there was a dent from an accident the previous
owners experienced in the right rear quarter panel, the suspension was worn it
was just not in a good state, after driving it though I started getting into
cars and wondering how they worked so after a year and a lot of learning, I
was able to fix it up into a shape that was an eye catcher to some, for
Christmas of I think it was 2016 we got a painted to midnight blue and then a
couple months later it got rear-ended the rear end portion caused me to
actually look into other cars because when I got rear-ended the guy was going
35 miles per hour and to me since I didn’t really know how they work on cars
at the time, I thought it was a goner, I thought it was just gonna be totaled and
I was game over, so after a lot of work negotiating with the insurance company
we finally had the funds to repair it, to repair it, no one was making quarter
panels for it and if they were they were a really
hefty cost, so we scavenged salvage yards and we finally found 87
Thunderbird but the 87 and 88 had the same style quarter panel, so we literally
cut off the old quarter panel of this 87 in the junkyard with the saza and
everyone was giving us looks it was really loud, we were the loudest people in
the junkyard or in the salvage yard, we got it off but
everyone was looking at us making funny faces and some people actually took
footage of us which was pretty interesting, but after all that took
place we got the car back to its rightful look
the sound this engine makes from this Thunderbird is just amazing like it
really sounds like a dark like murmuring sound, like if you hear this down the
road or gonna be like oh god, oh no what is that you think it’s gonna be a bear
and you see it and it’s just a car and you’re like oh
uh okay nevermind, the five liter EFI it comes with the horsepower of a hundred
and fifty-five with 265 foot-pounds of torque, it is a pretty good horsepower
but I think it trades some of that horsepower for durability and reliability,
somehow this car always starts for me and always wants to drive and it really
is a solid engine now for the interior and all the power
accessories it comes with power seats or one part seat the passenger side seat is
manual, and it comes with power windows power locks you know all the standard
powered brakes, powered mirrors and powered steering, this system centering
module is another piece of equipment on the Thunderbird that really is a nice
feature because it will let you know if you need to replace bulbs or fill up on
any fluids as well as floor shifter that’s right next to it that will allow
you to look cooler hands down I want to thank Scotty for showcasing
the Thunderbird and I hope all of you watching have a great rest of your day
and a great week, well that was this week’s video and
remember to have your car video highlighted here on my channel, check
this out, so if you never want to miss another one
of my new car repair videos, remember to ring that Bell!

Glenn Chapman


  1. John is currently working on a Mechanical Engineering degree at the Colorado School of Mines, partially due to his experience restoring this Thunderbird.

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  2. Really curious. When your family got the car it had over 80,000 miles on it, how many miles are on it now?

  3. I would definitely put flow masters on that thing for sure lol to quite for me ha it make it sound so much deeper and better ha and I probably put tented windows and rain guards and few other things and that engine bay for sure but I love that color blue that's color I wanna paint my 85 chevy s10

  4. Another reason those Scion XBs should banned from the road; the knucklehead's ride of choice.

  5. My Dad bought a slightly older T-bird secondhand, especially cheap because it was peach-colored with matching leather interior. I loved that car — the color was hideous enough to be interesting — and almost wish I had it.

  6. Got a lot of respect for you man what a great way to bring and keep thunderbird on road!

  7. I fixed my own car. If you have the energy and time a lot of beaters can be fixed. My car is 15 years old and I had to replace both cyl heads, timing belt, just about all seals etc. She still runs tho its time for another paint job.

  8. A 5L v8 and only what…. 155hp? Damn those emission standard really force those carmarkers to lower their CR of their engine, ripping off efficiency and power….. Nth beats a 60s V8 i bet if that was a 5L 60s v8 it easily put out over 200hp easily

  9. Good luck finding even simple parts like tail lights and head lights for a 20+ year old car in a junk yard.

  10. Because a 20yo Camry with 150k on it still has a better chance of getting to 500k than ANY new car bought today

  11. Scoltty, can you make weekly videos about high mileage cars where you do the inspection on your driveway and do an interview with the owner?

  12. I wish I still had my 88 T-Bird LX.
    I ordered that car from the dealership with the 5.0 V8. Sucker would get 32 mpg on the highway. YES. 32 mpg!
    Best car ever!
    Finally and sadly, it died with 242,000 miles.

  13. Avon Lake Plant now make Ford Commerial Trucks (Production moved from Mexico to Ohio).

  14. Scotty what do you think of buying cargo vans econoline/express for a family van? I’ve got 2 kids one on the way. I want a cargo van to haul the family and my dirt bike on the weekends

  15. What everyday car with all the electronics and cheap wear out quickly mechanics in current production is likely to last 30 year's today ? .

  16. One of the best cars I ever owned was a 1994 T-Bird with the 4.6 OHC V8. It was just a fine driving car, got slightly better than EPA fuel mileage estimates, and I enjoyed it for just over seven years. It's really a shame that Ford didn't make more of an effort to keep the T-Bird name around.

  17. Man you brought back memories. We had an 87 Thunderbird LX. That was a sweet car. Didn't give us much issues other than maintenance and a bad module.

  18. I dig that you didn't just junk it and actually fixed it. Paint did wonders for the car

  19. Wow 30 year old car consider that the car has been into bunch of wars in its life time such as snow storm, paint fade, and accidents.

  20. The Mercury Cougar version, though a labeled a woman’s car, was much better looking imo. My late mother adored it hers …..

  21. My Friend bought a 85 which If I remember was the first year of the 5.0 being available. This body style saved Ford . Wasn't this 88 the first year that cars had to have the middle rear light?

  22. I have an oppertunity on a free 1988 lincoln towncar. needs transmission and ten years back reg. tires tune oil smog.
    Is it worth it?

  23. I own a 1987 Thunderbird that I bought brand new. Mine is the V6 model. Has only 108,000 miles. Parts are getting hard to find.

  24. Nice thunderturd but my granny buick only have a tbi 350 and that engine makes 180hp and makes 300 fpt

  25. Scotty, I’m glad you’re putting this on display, I’ve been wanting to restore a Thunderbird in memorial to my uncle.

  26. My favorite is the 1983-1986. I've owned three, and want another one. These are great road cars. Perfect size, good get up and go with the 5.0 liter, and decent gas mileage. My first was an 86 Base model with the V-6. It had the optional AOD transmission. That car got phenomenal mileage. My next one was also an 86, but an Elan. Same V-6, but a three speed automatic. It is amazing how one more gear can give you such a difference in mileage. My friend had a 93 Thunderbird LX with a 5.0 AOD. He drove from San Jose to Fresno. That's about 135 miles from his house to mine. We were going to San Diego, him in his 93 and me in my 86, the one with the three speed automatic. Anyway I filled up in Fresno, and recommended that he do the same. He said he will tank up later. I'm like ok. We aren't stopping until we get to Anaheim by Disneyland. He's like, dont worry I'll make it. We were traveling late at night so fewer stations open and we took off. I was going to fill my car up once I got close to Disneyland because I knew of a place that had cheap gas. We get there and the whole road has been dug up and the exit is closed. Ok, I'll just keep driving. Just as we were getting close to San Clemente I spot an open station right off the freeway and take my exit. We pull in. Joe says hey my fuel light has been on for a while, I was wondering when you were going to stop. Cell phones were around but we didn't have them at the time. So now we are both needing gas. I end up buying like three gallons more then Joe did. That would be fine if he didn't already have a 135 miles on his tank when mine was full. He got 28 MPG with his 5.0 V-8, and I got 17 MPG with my V-6. If I had been in my first 86 with AOD I would have clocked in at about 31 MPG. Got 34.78 going from Grand Junction Colorado to Las Vegas Nevada 519 miles on one tank. I also had an 85 Thunderbird Anniversary Edition. That was a V-8 and a very nice car. Also had a 97 Limited Edition. Inguessnyou can tell.that I am partial to mb Thunderbirds. I'm glad the kid featured on Scottys show is enjoying his Thunderbird and was able to repair the car after its accident.

  27. I had a 347 Stroker installed in mine, with MSD EFI. The Thunderbirds were under powered with the original 5.0 engine. Ford intentionally kept the hp low because they did'nt want it to compete with the Mustang, which they had put a ton of money into.

  28. I don't see many of those here in NE Ohio anymore as I think they mostly rusted away. I have seen a nice red one of that era around the neighborhood a few times. It caught my eye just because you don't see them.

  29. Thanks Scotty and John for sharing this video. I just had to let go of a 93 buick roadmaster my great-grandpa had bought brand new… because I couldn't fix the brakes and suspension myself… right before I moved to a new state!! This process is why I'm learning to work on cars now. I wish I could've kept it!

  30. I owned the 87 thunderbird with the 3.8L. Just a fun car to cruise down the highway in and it handled pretty decent!

  31. That's got some serious cool factor these days IMHO…add some headers and exhaust as an upgrade…also says something regarding longtime reliability…"stands out in a sea of sameness"…Ha!

  32. Good to see this vid!You see thats why i don't let go of my 91' cougar, still in great shape, runs like a 2015. Just good ol preventative maintenance goes along ways tho

  33. my first car was an 84 Thunderbird. Similar blue color. Sadly though the PA winters killed my bird. I did some body work on it (only being a teenager, it wasn't perfect looking) but the underside was bad. floor boards and supports were all rusted out. The 19 yr old 3.8 ran pretty good. I miss that old girl. Traded it in on a 99 Mercury Cougar. That car was a rocket!!! Before I said my good byes, I took all the badges off of it. Gave them to my uncle where he cut out a piece of wood in the shape of an oval, the routed the shape of Thunderbird into the oval, and attached the badges to the wood. If I were to ever buy or have a classic restored, it would be an 84 T-bird made to look identical to my baby.

  34. I remember my old 88 ford Sport Coupe Thunderbird 5.0 120,000 Mile bought it for $150 needed a gas tank n fuel pump

  35. Love it. I myself had a 1987 Ford Thunderbird. Dark brown. Drove and felt like a champ. But it was no 5.0

  36. I’ve got a 1988 Thunderbird as well but mine has the V6 and only has 23k original miles and counting

  37. Love these cars,my fathers black 88 tbird sport made me love all things automotive…he trade it for a 94 mark 8 …in 98 ..so I bought a dark Grey 86 tbird 5.0 with those turbine ford rims and flowmasters..great first car,since then I've had a tbird90 supercoupe,89 and 94 SHOs.91 Lincoln LSC..99SVT contour…and now my 2 mint Lincoln LSs…a silver 05 sport and a recently bought a garage mint condition black 02 LSE in Philly,also daily drive my 10 ecoboost SHO….always loved fast fords and Lincolns,grew up with them in Brooklyn and LI…these 88s birds started it all….now if I can only find a clean dark blue 88 turbo coupe with the 5speed…that would be nice

  38. Outer front wheel bearing laying inside the console at 4:40 of video hey does it install itself by putting there?

  39. That 88 302 with 170k still has another 100k …nothing is best then a ford v8 (at least from 1996 and down)

  40. This was good. Just shows you that you don't need to throw away a car. Especially if someone can learn from ownership.

  41. I’ve heard of some people buying a beater put a $300 macco paint job on it and sell it at a $1300 markup or more and pocket the profit. So much value of the car is in its appearance when considering marketing aspects.

  42. These Thunderbirds are bulletproof motors i owned one for 8 years the engine would never die i had 217,000 miles on it but ran like a clock.

  43. Lifetime warranty car from AutoZone. Unless you are going to fix it with eBay parts these old cars are not worth it.

  44. Nice attitude and good job, young man. Although you might lose money on this car, you will save and succeed in the long run! Congratulations to your parents and brothers for making full use of this car!

  45. i have a 1988 t-bird 3.8 and i love it.been driving it for 15 years.

  46. I have a 1986 Ford Thunderbird Elan 5.0 with a V8 engine I have problems with the door latches on both the driver side door in the passenger side. driver side door allows me to go in and out but it is loose doesn't close all the way I can lock it have access in and out so I can use the car but as for the passenger side it's the same condition it won't close all the way and I can't get in or out I can't use that door it's the door latches on the passenger side door latch stuck in the closed position that no way to access the door latches tried looking for Replacements around town either obsolete or unable to find . yet. Question. are there other vehicleFORD models or other make and model cars that are compatible with door latches that would fit my make and model door latches.

  47. i own an 87 thunderbird and i cant help but notice the puddle under it at 4:23

  48. I always liked those. I like the Lincoln Mk VII better though. Those can really be a mean looking/sounding personal luxury car. The Mk VIII too.

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