Everyone has a favorite generation of their favorite car. It widely varies from person to person and car to car, but there is one thing that I’m fairly sure is constant. The seventh generation Thunderbird is nobody’s favorite.
I actually own a seventh generation Thunderbird and it still isn’t my favorite generation of Thunderbird (that honor goes to the pre-redesign fifth gen). This Thunderbird suffers from being from the era where V8 engines got neutered for the sake of gas mileage and everyone wanted their car to be their mobile couch. It’s definitely a comfortable car, but it really isn’t that fun to drive.
My Thunderbird is powered by a 5.8 liter 351 Windsor V8. That would normally be somewhat exciting, but any sense of power is pretty much nullified by a little two barrel carburetor, subpar airflow, and weight of two f@#king tons! The V8 was putting out tolerable power, but with the car’s weight, it’s all used just to get the car out of its own way. This is actually pretty standard for V8’s of the mid 1970’s to early 1980’s, as there was more of an emphasis on fuel efficiency than the balls out speed of the horsepower wars of the late 60’s and early 70’s. While it’s explainable, that doesn’t make it any more fun…
The body is pretty much standard Thunderbird, but with the styling of the times. It’s a huge sled of a car with floaty steering and more body roll than a fat kid falling down a hill. This is not the car for driving on the curvy back roads, but for gliding along at a cruising speed on spacious highways. It does the highway cruising exceptionally well and you feel like the king of the road when you’re captaining that land yacht, but that confidence starts to go away when you get on more narrow back roads. As soon as you hit the curvy side roads, maneuvering this car safely feels like trying to thread the eye of a needle with a bratwurst.
In terms of looks, it definitely looks like an American malaise era car. It’s a squared off boat of a car and looks like grandpa’s cushy car for getting to church. It ain’t exactly ugly, but it lacks a certain panache. Compare that to my favorite Thunderbird, the pre-redesign fifth gen. That car looks like a Mustang that hit the gym and ate nothing but whey protein and pussy. It’s a hard, sexy looking car. The seventh gen just looks like the one that your old high school English teacher would drive.
The interior is actually fairly nice. You’ve got a wide front seat that gives you plenty of space between you and your passenger, along with semi usable back seats. Would I ever want to sit back there by choice? Oh god no, but you definitely could use them if you needed to. This car wasn’t really made with backseats in mind though, as it was Ford’s full-size personal luxury coupe, with an emphasis on the personal space up front. The only space you need is the two front seats for you and maybe a passenger, and a thick dashboard/borderline table for all those lines of blow you’re doing (’cause it’s the late 70’s, dammit)!
If you’re looking for an old Thunderbird that embodies that old “f@#k you, I’m a V8!” spirit, then you should probably give this car a pass. It just doesn’t live up to that type of standard. However, if you’re looking for a car that is heavy as hell with an anemic V8, but also something that seems semi-acceptable to do cocaine in, then do I have the car for you!
If you’re looking for more car related articles and content, check out our friend over at Autonoch for more.