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SuperNewbie
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Today is the anniversary of that last MN12 Tbird rolling off the assembly line in Lorain Ohio.
 

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Well, I didn't realize that the last MN12 rolled off the line so close to the birthday of the Thunderbird itself.

Damn shame that it was a lowly V6 model and not one of the 4.6's.
 

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Boost!!!
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I wished they made the last tbird one helluva build... ya know? Like If they got together and said, we got all these extra parts, why not put some extra shine on this one and give it all the options we got...:D Maybe even throw in a pi motor just to say this is the fastest one too since the motors are basically the same.
 

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The 4.6 wasnt all that impressive in 1997 either. The MN12 chassis was built around the 3.8 V6, and the first two years that was the only engine available, so its only appropriate the first and last mn12 were V6.

There was no PI engine in 1997, sorry to burst your bubble. The SVE 4.6 DOHC Tbird would have been a nice finish but that never made it to production either.
 

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9/4
 

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Very possibly a contributing factor, but keep in mind they killed the MN12 eight years before they shut down the plant. After the last MN12 rolled off the line, Lorain started assembling the Econoline/E-series vans up until 2005 when the plant was completely shut down. It was sold a little over a year later at the end of 2006, and has since been converted into the two separate warehouses it is today.

Ford was already starting to move production offshore by the time the decision to close the plant was made. The plant closing was I'm sure a combination of that fact combined with the lack of a proven high-volume, high profit platform to assemble at the plant. Without which Ford could not justify the millions of dollars of investment for retooling/renovating the plant to keep it in good repair/open for additional years. The MN12 was never a particularly high volume or high profit platform for Ford, which when compared to the margins from the emerging SUV market at the time, is why it was killed off.
 

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That was a Contour with a Cougar badge on it....
Does that mean I can put Cougar badges on my Contour? :)

I have some spare MN12 badges here somewhere...
 

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Does that mean I can put Cougar badges on my Contour? :)

I have some spare MN12 badges here somewhere...
Sure if you think the Contour can handles those big badges (the Mercury Contour got smaller ones if memory serves) :D.
 

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The MN12 was never a particularly high volume or high profit platform for Ford, which when compared to the margins from the emerging SUV market at the time, is why it was killed off.
The volumes were respectable for what they were(MN12 Tbirds did outsell the Monte Carlo to their end) but your second point is definitely what did them in, but right from the start. These cost way way more to build than the Fox cars did and I suspect that if Ford had gone the way the Mustang did (by updating the Fox to make the SN95), the 5 seater Thunderbird would have stuck around a few more years. It's no surprise the Explorer's success was so well embraced after the MN12 fiasco really -- The humbly underpinned Turbo coupe got all that acclaim for being a budget BMW, and when Ford actually made a legitimate budget BMW with the MN12, no one wanted it(no one new anyway). Where were the new buyers? In the Explorer! An ancient Bronco II with two extra doors.... ingrates :tongue:

Ford dumped the same kind of money into developing this platform as they did with the Taurus and they barely sold any better than the outgoing 88s when they debuted. If that had happened to the Taurus coming off the 85 LTD, the whole company may have sunk. The MN12 basically took a healthy chunk of the Taurus profits and sent them right back down the drain.
 
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