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Discussion Starter #1
What happened to the last '97 T-Bird? It's red with a spoiler and chrome turbines. I've seen it in magazines and books, but only with the caption, "This was the last Thunderbird ever produced."

(Oh, and I realize there were a handful of prototype '98s built.)
 

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Could you figure out what its VIN is, and do a CARFAX?
 

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I'm sure Ford probably owns it, they usually keep cars of signifigance like that... Shrug
 

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As I understand they do in fact own it. I have a book on the Tbird somewhere with that info in it but I have no idea where it is.
 

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The final T-bird was a red one with crome 15inch fan blades. It was donated to the Classic Thunderbird Club International in Southern California. On idenity tag it states "Lorain Assy Last T-Bird"



I guess I should site where I got that info. A book called American Legends. Author Mike Mueller. Pages 266-267. Great book.
 

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Interesting, do they have the vehicle on display somewhere?

I always knew that the last tbirds had the chrome fanblades, someone said that they ran out of slicer wheels so they just chrome plated the old fanblades that they had left over. Is there any truth to this?
 

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FastBird232 said:
What happened to the last '97 T-Bird? It's red with a spoiler and chrome turbines. I've seen it in magazines and books, but only with the caption, "This was the last Thunderbird ever produced."

(Oh, and I realize there were a handful of prototype '98s built.)
I have a picture of it on my website:

Jim's Thunderbird Hangar

Check toward the bottom of the page.
 

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Embalmer said:
I have a picture of it on my website:

Jim's Thunderbird Hangar

Check toward the bottom of the page.
That was a good lookin bird! :thumbsup:

Anybody got any pics of the prototype 98s?
 

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hm. those wheels are like a mix of the 16" Windstar LX-LTD-Sport wheels and 98 Cobra wheels..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not sure I dig the Taurus-like oval grille. And throughout the history of the MN-12 T-Bird, the biggest cosmetic differences from year to year were the front fascias, a sad trend Ford looked to continue into '98. Hell, add some hood vents or fins or SOMETHING. I can almost imagine two Ford engineers sitting in the break room at lunchtime:

Engineer 1: "Well, what should we do to the Thunderbird this year? Offer the Cobra motor on a new SVT model? Bring back the manual transmission? Go back to a two-seat design? Stop using cheap Taiwan-knockoff control arms and go with some decent ones?"

Engineer 2: "Naw, how about some new rims and a new front bumper?"

No wonder it got axed...
 

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:uppoint: rofl, that sounds about right, the 98 prototype was severely lacking IMO
 

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Teal94BirdV8 said:
hm. those wheels are like a mix of the 16" Windstar LX-LTD-Sport wheels and 98 Cobra wheels..
Those wheels are the same ones that came on some of the Taurus models from '99 to '02 (I think).

The '98 T-Bird wasn't going to be just a different bumper and wheels. Jerry, the well-known tuning and transmission expert was an engineer for Ford at that time and responsible for making some of the running changes for '98. Here's what he posted about it some time ago:


The ’98 Bird was not cancelled until May or June of 1997. We were all done with the development of the car and even built the first wave of prototypes at Lorain Assembly Plant.

Here’s what we missed out on.

They dropped the 3.8L from the car completely. There were two 4.6L engine options available for the car. The base one was a little more anemic than what the 96-97 car was. It was a single exhaust, normal taillights and directionals (you’ll understand in a minute), pretty much the same 4.6L that was there in ’97. Remember, this was the base car.

The Sport car was this. The engine was a modified 4.6L. It had different cams, different exhaust manifolds, a conical air cleaner and 80mm air meter. It was basically the Mustang induction system and exhaust manifolds. But it had different cams and a true dual exhaust. The engine made 230 hp (fudged higher by typical Ford standards). It came with the 11” converter and aluminum driveshaft and 3.55 rear end. It had H rated tires and was speed limited to 120 mph. The rear fascia had cut outs in the bumper for the chrome tipped dual exhaust pipes. The front fascia had foglights similar to the old S/C. The directionals on the rear were sequential like the old Cougars of the 1960’s. It had the same spoiler the 97’s came with. It was monochromatic paint scheme to the color of the car. Also had 11.5” front rotors and aluminum dual piston front calipers. The interior was similar to the 94-95 SC, but it had better cupholders than the ‘97’s had.

Unfortunately, someone decided that they needed the 4.6L engines for trucks rather than make T-Birds and it never saw production. Thanks to some bean counters, the greatest MN-12 was never produced. I don’t remember what the performance numbers were on the car, but it was slightly slower than the auto GT’s in 1998 (not that we ever raced them).
 

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lightevergreenfrost said:
Here is a Bird that was manufactured in Aug. of 97. Late Bird. Vin is 173039
The date on my bird's sticker is later, but my VIN is earlier. :confused:
 

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Black_97_LX said:
The date on my bird's sticker is later, but my VIN is earlier. :confused:

You got the screwy Bird. It's both young and old at the same time, or in other words, it's the mid-life crisis Bird. :tongue:
 
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