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Rough Start: A 4.6 Thunderbird Begging For The Rude-And-Crude Treatment

Rough Start: A 4.6 Thunderbird Begging For The Rude-And-Crude Treatment

Fresh off of my quick trip to Kansas this last weekend, I figured I’d troll through the Craigslist to see what is out there for sale. There are all sorts of cars and trucks for sale along I-70, some of which were quite interesting. But while I didn’t have the chance to stop and photograph the late-model Corvair Monza that was sitting with a price of $4,000, something had to be on Craigslist that was worth mentioning, right? Nooooope. According to the Internet, Kansas is filled to the brim with nothing but wrecks, “for parts”, and overvalued trucks. I almost bit on a 2001 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 with a dead motor, but no price in the ad means no deal. So with that in mind the only other car I located within reason was this Thunderbird. Lohnes basically views this generation of Thunderbird as the Mustang’s fat friend, so what would it take for you to live with the grenade?


Why did I pick this one? Well, for what the ad doesn’t tell us (not even sure of the year of the car, though I’m banking on it being a 1996 or 1997), it shows us. This car is a very clean start, and my guess is that this was what would be properly referred to as “adult owned”…that phrase that should mean “responsibly owned and properly cared for”. Inside and out, you’re getting a clean used car. Yes, it’s gold…but given Ford’s color palette of the late 1990s, this could be much, much worse.  The running gear is the 4.6/auto combo, so other than Satan’s Timing Chain you should be ok…it won’t be blazing fast, but it’ll move well enough for our budget.

But what would you honestly do with this car? It’s a good street beater and daily driver, but that isn’t all that fun, is it? Honestly, I’m thinking deep gears, loud pipes, and a shift kit for the trans. If there’s money after that, I’d look for an older rear bumper cap with the twin exhaust cuts and some different wheels and tires from a Mustang. If there is one thing that is lacking in the public, it’s late-model Thunderbird that has some authority. This grandma special has been stock long enough, time to go annoy the econobox drivers.


CRAIGSLIST: Ford Thunderbird in Topeka, Kansas


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2 thoughts on “Rough Start: A 4.6 Thunderbird Begging For The Rude-And-Crude Treatment

  1. Sumgai

    If I recall correctly, Mustang wheels don’t fit without a bolt pattern change. However these cars are great fun. The 4.6/auto is basically the same as what was in the same year Mustang GT, so a PI swap and some bolt-ons makes for good power and the trans is easy to upgrade. Or, swap in a T-5 using a set of pedals from a Super Coupe. The IRS is stout and handles great. Even stock, these cars aren’t stoplight warriors but they are highway terrors with a slippery coefficient of drag and factory gear ratios. Super Coupe parts can make it handle even better. Performance bargains for sure!

  2. Allin

    How about ditch the 4.6, stick in an EcoBoost V-6 crate motor + T5 and call it a day? There’s your sleeper ready to go for a few kills.


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