Ford Thunderbird (eighth generation)

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Eighth generation Ford Thunderbird
Ford Thunderbird 1980.jpg
Production 1979–1982
Assembly Lorain, Ohio
Chicago, Illinois
Wixom, Michigan
Hapeville, Georgia
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Platform Ford Fox platform
Related Ford Fairmont
Ford Mustang
Mercury Capri
Mercury Cougar
Mercury Zephyr
Ford Granada
Engine 200 cu in (3.3 L) Thriftpower Six I6
232 cu in (3.8 L) Essex V6
255 cu in (4.2 L) Windsor V8
302 cu in (4.9 L) Windsor V8
Predecessor Ford Thunderbird (seventh generation)
Successor Ford Thunderbird (ninth generation)
Main article: Ford Thunderbird

1980 saw a new downsized Thunderbird that was an upmarket derivative of the Ford Fairmont sedan with nicer trim. The 1980 Thunderbird was a unibody car, weighing 800 lb (363 kg) less than the 1979 model, and was 17 in. (432 mm) shorter. It was based on the Fox platform, and the lighter weight resulted in better gas mileage.

These cars were not well received by the general public, and sales dropped off dramatically after 1979. The squarish upright lines favored by Ford design vice-president Eugene Bordinat, similar to the popular 1977-79 models, didn't translate well to the smaller platform.

The base engine was a 4.2 L (255 cu in V8), or an optional 140 hp (104 kW) 5.0 L (302 cu in) Windsor V8. A 3.3 L (201 cu in) I6 was offered as a delete option in late built 1980 models and became the standard powerplant in 1981. The 3.8 L (232 cu in) V6 was made available as an option in 1982, and the 4.9 L (302 cu in) Windsor 5.0 V8 was dropped.

The 1980 and 1982 Thunderbirds offered vacuum operated hidden headlamps. Digital instrumentation was also available, along with a variety of trim packages. The 1980 Thunderbird was also among the first cars with a keyless entry keypad available. Recaro bucket seats were optional, and power windows were available.

In 1980, Thunderbird was offered as a "Silver Anniversary Edition" model commemorating the 25th anniversary of the car. The external color scheme was called "Anniversary Glow Silver" and the interior was a silver/gray velour with optional leather available. The standard list of features was very comprehensive including the 302 V-8 as standard, as well as a host of luxury trim and convenience options above what the "Town Landau" model offered. Standard features included a garage door opener and a unique landau roof treatment with unique trim and exterior model designation badging.[citation needed]

Ford Thunderbird

Production Totals[1][edit]

Year Production
1980 156,803
1981 86,693
1982 45,142
Total 288,638


  1. ^ Tast, Alan H. and David Newhardt. THUNDERBIRD FIFTY YEARS. Motorbooks. October 15, 2004.