TCCoA Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
12,546 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
From the Popular Mechanics "Daytona's Top Ten NASCAR Stock Cars"
February 13, 2009

4. 1987 to 1988 Ford Thunderbird



If ever there was a car shaped to go fast it was Ford's 1987 Thunderbird. From the point of its slick beak to the slightly elevated trunk lid, the '87 T-Bird was shaped like a perfect projectile--three-quarters bullet and one-quarter B-1B wing. Even more than two decades later, Bill Elliott's T-Bird is still the fastest NASCAR stock car ever to lap Daytona, and the fastest ever to lap any track.

Bill Elliott and his family's Coors-sponsored Fords were already established as one of the great superteams of the '80s by the time the '87 Bird showed up. During the 1985 season, driving the slightly less aerodynamic '83 to '86 Thunderbird, Elliott won an incredible 11 races and took home a million-dollar bonus for winning three of the "Big Four" (the Daytona 500, Winston 500, World 600 and Southern 500) races.

The '87 Thunderbird was a refinement of the '83 design and clearly modeled with low drag and high-speed stability in mind. Elliott took the pole for the '87 Daytona 500 at an incredible 210.364 mph and then went on to win the race, averaging a record 176.263 mph--both records still stand today. Then, as he was qualifying for the Winston 500 at Talladega, Elliott topped even his Daytona performance by qualifying at 212.809 mph. With the coming of restrictor-plate racing after Bobby Allison's crash that year, this record too is unlikely ever to be broken.

And so, for the foreseeable future, the '87 Thunderbird will be the fastest stock car of all time

Read more: Daytona's Top Ten NASCAR Stock Cars - Popular Mechanics
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,862 Posts
Very impressive! However, now that they have started allowing fuel-injection, I see somebody going super fast until they get all their rules & regs in place for FI vehicles.

Maybe they are going to keep the restrictor-plate rule in place to restrict air flow into the engine? :zdunno:
 

·
Voice/Data Guru
Joined
·
7,808 Posts
Nice read Ron , And I believe that Benny Parson was the first to hit 200 in one at dega .
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,165 Posts
Ahhh the good ol' days, when Stock cars used (mostly) stock bodies, and races were named for the track or city, not for the biggest sponsor. (well.. LOL Most of the time)

I don't even watch NASCAR anymore because the only way to tell one car from another is to look for the stickers that remotely resemble the vehicle it is supposed to represent. I am happy to see that they are finally going Fuel Injected and I have read that they are loosening the rules about the templates. The car companies have persuaded NASCAR (I read) that as long as the CG is comparable, then actual shape shouldn't matter as much. At least, thats a paraphrase of what I read.

If you really like the NASCAR look for your bird, I have been looking at this for a while now.. Just can't make up my mind if I like it or not! LOL

http://dealershipdesigns.com/tbird/tbird.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
I was always under the impression that it was an MN-12 bodied NASCAR that held the record.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,062 Posts
Very impressive! However, now that they have started allowing fuel-injection, I see somebody going super fast until they get all their rules & regs in place for FI vehicles.

Maybe they are going to keep the restrictor-plate rule in place to restrict air flow into the engine? :zdunno:
I have read they do have the restrictor plate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
743 Posts
As did I. Though, I did always know the 83-88s were the cars that moreso revolutionised the sport in their day. I figured the MN12 body was simply the next higher step. Then again I pay as much attention to Nascar stats as I do tabloids lol
I was always under the impression that it was an MN-12 bodied NASCAR that held the record.....
Hooray, thread re-hash! Sorry, just now saw this...

Oddly enough, the MN-12 was a horrible car compared to the Bullet birds. Too much frontal area, not enough rear downforce, garbage, garbage, garbage. The MN-12 was a barn door compared to the 83-88 cars.

Things did change, however, as it was discovered that if one tilted the body forward on the frame, the car picked up much-needed downforce. I believe it was Robert Yates who found this out on the #28 of Davey Allison, when during testing, the car was sent out with the trunk lid partially-opened, and braced with 2x4's. It picked up quite a bit of speed, and from that point on, future cars were built with the body tilted forward.

The car, however, compared to the a-bit-more-narrow Lumina/Monte Carlo (a co-worker has a 1995 Monte, I parked my 97 Bird next to his...it seems like the front of his car is quite a bit smaller), it was still a disaster, a disaster to the point where a team or two actually tried to run a freakin' Lincoln MK8-bodied car...
http://www.markviii.org/LOD2/nascar.htm

In effect, Ford left their NASCAR teams hanging on a limb with this disaster, and from 1989-1997, I'm shocked that T-birds won as much (or as little) as they did, with Alan Kulwicki posting the only Ford-based championship run during the entire time the MN-12 was in production.

Concerning the 'bullet birds'....there's a bit of history behind why they did as well as they did, and part of it kinda came from an unlikely source:
http://www.theoldone.com/prostock-T-Bird/

I've talked with a guy (supposedly worked in the Ford aero department, said the Endyn efforts were what made these cars dominant) who suggests that a lot more of this development work went into the NASCAR effort, but I didn't get a name, so I can't really say anything definitively.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top