US market presumptions about Ford’s dull range and old fashioned engineering were dealt another serious blow with the arrival of the new 1988 Thunderbird coupe. It had more than a hint of European coupe thinking in its make up. Under Ford’s corporate, but nevertheless handsome, wind tunnel styling (which was clearly influenced by BMW’s 6 Series coupe) was a rear drive chassis. In the race to shift to front wheel drive technology in the early 1980s, Ford’s rivals had nothing like it. Ford’s engineers spared no expense in re designing the outgoing 1983 vintage Thunderbird, to the point where there was nothing left of the old model. To increase internal space, the wheelbase was extended by a massive 9in. (23 cm). The desire to lower the base of the widescreen and give the car an aggressively sloping nose meant the expense of an all new, and unusual front suspension system. Ford also threw out the live axle at the rear in favor of a new independent layout. The engine was Supercharged V6, with 3791 cc. Thunderbird was equipped with disc brakes with ABS, five speed manual transmission with independent suspension. Top speed was 141 mph (226 km/h)
Top of the range versions of the old Thunderbird relied on the turbocharged, 2.3 liter, four cylinder engine. The new Super Coupe used the much more unusual approach of a supercharged V6. Although 210 bhp doesn’t sound a lot, the amazing 315 lb/ft of torque more than made amends. Although big and weighing in at nearly two tones, the Thunderbird had an excellent chassis and was perfectly suited to long, afst days at the wheel, rather like its more expensive German counterparts.