Between my own bizarre tastes and years of looking for every possible custom car I can think of, I’d thought that I had seen it all. I’ve seen trucks mounted onto tractors, semi-tractor and trailer combinations in go-kart scale, DeLorean 4x4s and a mud-romping Winnebago. I’ve even seen a drag-racing farm tractor and a flying Ford Pinto. But when I typed the words “Turbo Ford” into eBay’s search engine, I did not expect to come face-to-face with two 1980s Ford Thunderbirds that can only be classified as freak shows. If there is such a thing as a positive light here, it’s that both cars have power adders, three pedals and a manual transmission, and extremely low mileage. On the downside, both are so questionable that even I can’t find the words to defend them. But that’s the joy of playing Would You Rather…pitting you, the reader, into a situation where you pick the lesser of two evils. Ready? Here we go…
1. 1986 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with Automotive Gull-Wing door conversion
Your Honda has Lambo doors? That’s cute. In the 1980s the rage was DeLorean-style gullwing doors…apparently…and Automotive Gull-Wing, Inc. was selling conversion kits for the Ford Thunderbird, Mercury Cougar and Lincoln Mark VII. This particular 1986 model is packing a turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder, which was the top tier engine for the Aero Bird. Power was stout for the day but in modern times the car is bearable only because it’s hooked to a T-5 manual transmission. So long as the doors are shut, you have a gorgeous 1980s T-bird and nobody is the wiser, but the second you park and have to get out, the jig is up. Which is significantly better than option #2…
2. 1989 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe “Vipara” custom
1989 was the debut of the “MN-12” bodied Thunderbird. It was longer than the Fox-bodied car that it replaced and was envisioned by Ford executives to be the right car to go after the BMW 6-series with. Is it too far-fetched to say that there was a lot of hope at Ford back then? We don’t know for sure who dreamed up this car, dubbed “Vipara”, but if you ever wanted a car to capture what was wrong with late 1980s body kits…well, all you are missing are Ferrari Testarossa-like strakes along the doors. At least the running gear is sold: the car was based off of a Super Coupe, so a supercharged 3.8L V6 is underhood, and instead of the T-5 transmission, the M5OD-RKE five-speed Mazda-sourced manual transmission is present here. A little bit of updating could make this interesting…maybe. Or maybe we park it next to the Titanic like Lohnes would want. Your call.
I just goes to show that even lovers of the Blue Oval are capable of turning out barf-wagons from time to time. But don’t worry – Ol’ Henry’s zombie will soon be eating their worthless souls..
Gullwing or Lambo doors are hideous unless they came on the car they were designed.
The Vipara? Really? What were these designers tripping on while drafting this car? Give me some!
Sorry mate – I’ve just necked the whole lot and now I’m going to put the doors from a Ford Thunderbird on my Lambo. Oh dear – its just turned into a fire breathing dragon bull and I want my Mom….
I’d remove the decals from the Vipara and see how many people mistake it for a Saturn with a questionable body kit.
I gotta disagree with you guys on this one. Those are pure eye candy. I’d have more fun in those than Bill Cosby judging an all female Qualude tasting contest.
The Vipera hasn’t aged well, but realistically, it doesn’t look that far off from some of the JDM stuff at the time, like the R34 GT-4, Mazda Cosmo or Subaru XT.
I suppose one could turn heads by taking a DeLorean and rehinging the doors in the more conventional way.
I can live with the gullwing doors. That Vipara is friggin hideous though! I cannot finda single angle that makes it look good.