One thing I've learned from owning Fords is to never say 'never' when it comes to non-standard options. All these years later and we're still discovering things.
But Chuck is right, it was the end of the run and there were a bunch of 8.8" rear ends laying around to use up. Just for a bit of background info, there were around 15,000 XR-7 models in 1987, and those all had the 7.5" rear which were also shared on the non-XR-7 models so no biggie. For 1988 Ford ordered up the 8.8" for just the XR-7, and again about 15K of those were sold. But with orders getting canceled, the popularity of the '88 model, market conditions, etc. Ford probably needed more 8.8" rear ends than what it projected in the first place. So having some left over at the end of the model run, Ford likely authorized using them up. I haven't seen any official spec sheets or changes on that, but it's very difficult to find those today, and also right before the model year changes it gets really REALLY crazy in auto manufacturing. They'll throw anything on a car just to get rid of it LOL.
I heard from a few people over the years that claimed to have 1984 taillights on an early '85 model. Some early 1984's came with the 1983 upright hood ornament. We have documented the taillight harness changes between 1987 and 1988. Anything is theoretically possible, but just not likely unless you've got proof. And 90%+ of claims go unproven, lemme tell ya.
So we know these unicorns are out there, and that's wonderful as they are definitely out of the norm and a cool thing to have if you've got one and can prove it. Good on ya, Vintage, that's awesome.
I appreciate that Ford put larger drums on at the end of the run. That's something they commonly do for whatever reason. The 1997 Cougars/T-Birds all got 4-wheel disc standard, and the front rotors were larger, just for that last model year of the body style. So I guess our cars set the precedent for that LOL.
So from what I understand (Chuck or Eric correct me here) is that the:
1) 87-88 Turbo Coupes had the 8.8 rear end that was the same housing width as the 86-98 Mustang 8.8 housing and were disc brake. 2) The 88 XR-7 Cougar had a drum brake 8.8 that was the same width as the Turbo Coupe rear end from axle flange to axle flange but the housing is the same as the 86-98 Mustang 8.8 housing and not very common. 3) There were some 87-88 Thunderbirds that had an 8.8 with drum brakes but I believe the housing was wider like the 7.5" housings.
I looked at the chart and the XR-7 is not discussed not is any type of 8.8 drum brake rear end.
3) I don't believe any 1987-88 non-Turbo Coupe/1988 non-XR7 got an 8.8" rear. At least, I've never found any evidence. Even the 1987 XR-7's got the 7.5" rear. Now in 1988 only, the rear drums went to 10" regardless of model, and that was for V6 and V8 cars. (I have heard from a few people that their car still had 9" drums but those are exceptions).
It is possible to take an 8.8" housing and use T-Bird/Cougar axles, backing plates, and 10" drum hardware and make your own 8.8" drum rear.
Has anyone actually run the Bilstein stuff on a stock height car? I would hate to spend that money and ride quality still suck.
I'm using Bilsteins on the convertible. Front struts are from a Y2K Cobra R...the car is lowered a bit in the front (and not on purpose) but I am running a bump-steer kit also. I don't imagine they're much different than, say, a stock SN95 strut as far as height goes; it's probably valved a bit differently. Rear Bilsteins are 1983-88 Cougar/T-Bird. They might have been some of the last new ones of those on the planet. But you have options with the flipped bracket/adapter/Mustang shock combo.
The convertible's ride is...different to say the least, but the Bilsteins made a big improvement over the usual Monroes that I used to faithfully use on all my past cars. They are not cheap, for sure, but are quality built. And once you wear out Bilsteins they can always get sent back to the company and refurbished. It's a nice, exclusive 'club' to be in.
It changed hands several times over the years, and nobody seemed to want the car for what it was. IIRC it was starting to get rust and rot. Bearmax was the last person to have it and he parted out a bunch of stuff from it. I got the passenger side door armrest panel where Daryl Hannah likely rested her arm (flipper?).
That is definitely one car that you wish could have talked...
Just FYI...factory ones for our cars are metal. If you want to use a plastic one, a plate holder from a Tempo/Topaz can be modified to fit (trim off the bottom tabs on the back). The mounting holes can differ, I've found, but no big deal. I'm running a Tempo one on the convertible, it's a nice subtle upgrade IMO.
Yes, verified. Actually my original cable, stretched as it was, still opened the blade correctly. It just took a lot of pedal pressure to do so. With this new LMR cable there is much better throttle response. I'm pretty happy with it.
I put one of these in the convertible this past spring, seems to be just fine. It was identical to the stock cable I took out. I had terrible cable stretch with the factory one, and this solved the issue completely.
From what I know, aftermarket throttle cables have been few and far between, and I heard it took a few attempts to get this one right. So far, so good.
FWIW, I tried 1987-88 Turbo Coupe springs in a V8 car and the front dropped about 2". It was way too low and the tire rubbed the fender lip and liner like, everywhere (looked awesome though LOL). Any stock Fox Mustang spring is going to drop a V8 car just like that. Like Beau said, the stock V8 SN95 springs seem to be the way to go. That will probably drop our cars 1/2"-1". Not a huge drop but better. And although I'm not a fan of this, taking out half a coil at a time can quickly get a desired ride height too.
Really wish SN95 springs were plentiful back when I was building the convertible's suspension. At the time they were still relatively new and not really in the boneyards yet. I always had a suspicion that they'd work in our cars but couldn't prove the theory myself. That car is heavy (3800lbs. or so) and a real test of good, solid components. All these years later...and I'm still running the stock Cougar V8 front springs. They just worked the best. Drop is about 3/4"-1" due to the car's weight. Moog cargo coils out back because she gots all kinds of junk in that trunk. Ride height and quality is perfectly acceptable for what it is. But I'd still love to try SN95 or even Terminator springs just to see what they'd do.
Sweet car! Although...there's something not quite right going on with it. That's got LS seats and door panels, but base (GS) dash panels, and no EL coach lamps or lower rocker trim. It looks like something got swapped somewhere along the line.
Still...it's in great shape, hope he finds a worth buyer.