Skip to main content
Topic: Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal. (Read 15491 times) previous topic - next topic

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Well, it's been over 10 years since I've had my last Thunderbird.

To sum it all up, I sold off and got rid of all of my cars to be able to move out of my parents house. I moved into an apartment. I had my Trans Am as my daily driver and picked up an 87 Shelby Charger as a project/money pit/backup driver. I changed jobs. I ran both cars into the ground for the most part and sold the Shelby to a co-worker. I picked up my 2013 Scion FRS as my daily driver and it has been an awesome car. Girlfriend and I bought a house with a garage. I got a wild hair, decided I wanted a badass exotic car...and then ended up with a Turbo Coupe.

You may have noticed that I tossed in "The life journal" into the title. The main reason for that is because everything I'm doing in life tends to change what I'm doing automotively. For example, I had some money saved up in an automotive fund. My initial plan was to put money into this fund every week until my Scion was paid off so I could put a hefty down payment on something more exotic. I ended up joining a garage forum, which made me realize that I really should get my garage in a place where I'm happy with it before getting another car. I was getting close to buying some flooring for the garage, and then the TC bug bit. Also, I was planning on buying new tool boxes for the garage, so I sold one of mine to a new guy at work to help him out, and that money slid right into buying the TC. So now that the TC bug bit, I have to hold off on the garage work. In addition to that, I have to get the Trans Am back together before the TC comes in because of the size of my garage. So really, this thread will document most of my automotive happenings, along with some of the home projects, garage projects, and any other nifty stuff I see fit.

I'm also going to apologize for any crappy photo quality up front. My current phone (OnePlus Three) has been dropped a few times and now the camera can't focus anymore. It was an awesome camera up until that point. Now I have to use my OnePlus One camera, upload the photos to Google Drive via WiFi, then put them onto my computer and then upload to a host.
It's Gumby's fault.

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #1
So to go way back to my post whore roots (the CougarNuts days), I'm going to break everything up into individual posts. Rather than making a super long post that is difficult to follow or changes topics too many times, I'm going to create a new post.

The Turbo Coupe I purchased belonged to the member BornInAFord here on the forum. Through the interactions on the forum and over text, I could tell he really loved the car. He give me super honest descriptions and went out of his way to take pictures of anything I requested, and took pictures of things I didn't request. Anything I asked for, even if I felt it was unreasonable, he was right on it helping me out. Over the course of a week, I had agreed to buy the car. The initial plan was to borrow a dealer tag from a co-workers shop. I eventually found out that it was the shop across the street from his brothers shop who had the dealer tag. As soon as I realized this, I asked BornInAFord if I could PayPal him the money, and if he could Next Day Air the title to me. He was right on it. I got him the money, and he sent me the title NDA and provided me a tracking number. I went and picked up Street Rod tags here in Maryland so I could bypass inspection and emissions a day or two later. The day before I got the tags, my co-worker came to me and told me that he couldn't get me the dealers tag. Luckily, I followed my gut and did what I did to get tags.

During that process, I booked a flight to Raleigh, North Carolina. I had the intention of bringing tools and supplies with me, but I honestly didn't want to travel heavy. I figured that I would pick up some tools and supplies in NC before taking the 300ish mile drive home in a random strangers car. Also figured that supplies would be cheaper in NC since the cost of living was a bit lower.

The flight was Saturday morning, and because I work nights, I took Friday off in an attempt to get some sleep. Because of my sleep schedule, I got maybe 3.5 hours of sleep. My girlfriend and I grabbed some McDonalds breakfast, I pounded down a Monster, and we head to the airport.

Holy Hell BWI is pretty awesome! I hadn't been in an airport in 20 years, and it wasn't like this! It was like a mall in there with all kinds of food to eat and things to do. We were pissed that we had already had breakfast. Because of my bad anxiety, we sat down at the terminal early so we could figure out the process. This was also Katys first flight. Once we figures out what was going on, she started having a mild panic attack. While there was no calming her down, I did annoy her by singing "Drunk on a Plane" by Dierks Bently. Neither her nor I are county fans by any means, which made it so much more fun to poke at her with it. Once on the plane, she calmed down until take-off. Once we reached altitude, she was fine. The flight was only about 50 minutes.

Once arriving at the airport, it was time to play phone tag. BornInAFord drove the TC about 2 hours to meet me at the airport, and his wife followed him. He pulled up in the TC, and the excitement kicked in. This moment was over 10 years in the making. We were both trying to be quick but thorough with questions, answers and descriptions. I gave him the remainder of the money I owed him for his stockpile of parts, and swapped tags. After a few more minutes of trying to figure out any other details that needed to be hashed over, I jumped in it, adjusted the seat and mirrors and drove off.

Here I am getting ready to embark on this journey. This is a rare photo...as I hate pictures being taken of me, but this was a good enough occasion.


It was like I had never been without a Bird. Everything was second nature. The car felt great. It has more miles than any of my previous cars, but it felt much more solid. It has a few running issues, but I didn't care. We ran it over to an AdvanceAuto and I gave the car another once over. I lifted the hood, and could instantly tell that BornInAFord took care of the car. New belts, newer hoses, EGR valve, fresh oil change, among many other tell-tale signs that he actually cared about the car. I grabbed a quart of oil, a gallon of anti-freeze, some rags, a gallon of washer fluid and wiper blades. I tossed the blades on the car, Katy set the GPS, and we embarked on our journey.

One thing I wanted to do was stop by a Waffle House. The closest one is about 50 miles North of me, and we pass about 43 of them on the way home. The one we chose was right off of the highway. We pull in the parking lot and I couldn't take my eyes off of the car walking away. Yeah it needs paint and the headlights were hazy. Yeah it has a little rust. None of that mattered to me. We go inside and were met with some of the most friendly people in existence. Based on appearance and stereotype, the patrons and employees would have made people of my complexion nervous back home. While it takes a lot for another person to intimidate me, the fight or flight type of thoughts end up being in the back of your head. After about 2 minutes of sitting at the table, I realized that they were some of the nicest people I've ever met. The service was great, everyone was really friendly, and the food was awesome. The only shame was that they ran out of waffle batter.

After eating, it was time to get back to our path home. About a half hour later, I started nodding off. I snapped out of it, and noticed Katy was falling asleep too. I look over, poked her in the cheek and basically told her that she can't sleep because she can't wake me up if I fall asleep. After maybe another hour later, her stomach wasn't doing so hot and exhaustion set in for me. We pull off into a rest stop for a bathroom break and to get some snacks. I grabbed a double decker oatmeal cream pie and a MountainDew Kickstart. This kept me going for a good while.

A few hours later, we decide to stop at a WaWa in Richmond Va. I didn't know if the gas gauge was accurate, and it was reaching a half tank. I checked the trip minder and it showed me using about 10.2 or so gallons and averaging 26ish mpg. The car took about 9.8 gallons, so I was pretty impressed. I did a quick run through the fluids and everything else and it was doing great. We ran in, and I then grabbed a RedBull Blueberry (best RedBull EVER) and the biggest bottle of water I could find. I couldn't drive, and open this bottle at the same time. I honestly thought the bottle was going to get caught in the steering wheel while I drank it. This then led to the next problem. I had to pee so bad that I didn't think I was going to make it. We ended up diving off of an exit into a town called Triangle, in VA. This isn't the first time I've been to Triangle, and both times I was there, I said "Fuck this town". I found a Dunkin Donuts and I don't think that bathroom will ever be the same.

The rest of the drive was luckily uneventful. Nightfall came and the curse of the 80's Fords showed its face. I couldn't see shit. I couldn't even tell if my headlights were on. Luckily, at this point, we picked up Katys car and I followed her home.

So I bought a strangers notoriously unreliable car sight unseen, and drove it 300ish miles home with no incident. I call this a win.

I haven't had much time to dig into the car, nor really take pictures, This is actually a picture that Katy took and posted on Facebook. Pardon the lack of landscape maintenance.



I will have more pictures, actual car descriptions and other fun stuff up tomorrow afternoon. Right now, it's close to my bed time here at 5:20am. Hopefully you all enjoy the read.
It's Gumby's fault.

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #2
Quote from: Tbird232ci;462556


So I bought a strangers notoriously unreliable car sight unseen, and drove it 300ish miles home with no incident. I call this a win.

Definitely a Freiberger & Finnegan Roadkill trip for a win...

Glad you've found another Bird, great story...

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #3
This is how lifelong memories are made. Good score. And..welcome back, for real. :D
'84 and '87 Mustangs
'98 Explorer 5.0
'06 Lexus
'06 Explorer EB 4.6

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #4
Congrats!
1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #5
Congrats man.  Good to see you back in a bird.  If you take care of this one half as much as your old 3.8L (or 1 gallon engine like you use to say lol)  then this car is in great hands.  I look forward to following your adventure with it.

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #6
Wait... you flew 300 miles? I might need to rethink my life. I have 200 miles of driving tomorrow.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #7
So funny story.

Last night, Katy and I decided to go for an ice cream run. Hope in the TC, cruise through the neighborhood and come up to the stop sign exiting the neighborhood. I look both ways, roll out slowly and then punch it. I run the car up to 55mph and stuff it into 4th. I downshift to come up to the stop light, and when I put my foot on the clutch to come to a stop, the car stalls out. As soon as it stalls out, I hear the distinctive sound of receiving a Facebook message. I crank and crank the car and it sputters to life and dies a few times. I finally get it fired up by keeping it throttled up and I bang a U-turn through a parking lot and zip home. I park the TC and we get out laughing about it, and then walk over to the Scion. It is a relief that I can just get out of the problem child car and into something that is reliable. Anyways, we reach our destination (Rite-Aid, not many places open at 11pm with ice cream), and I check my phone. I initially assumed it was just a buddy of mine. I assumed wrong and it happened to be Loaded87IROC asking me how the TC was.

So I have no issues with the car for the trim from NC to MD. The exact moment the car stalls, a fellow 2.3L guy happens to ask me how the car is doing. It's almost as if he knew....
It's Gumby's fault.

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #8
Quote from: 1WLD BRD;462574
Congrats man.  Good to see you back in a bird.  If you take care of this one half as much as your old 3.8L (or 1 gallon engine like you use to say lol)  then this car is in great hands.  I look forward to following your adventure with it.

Man, I forgot all about that! The only reason I knew that 3.8L was 1 gallon because of a urinal I used. It said right on the top "3.8L per flush (1 gallon)"

Quote from: Haystack;462583
Wait... you flew 300 miles? I might need to rethink my life. I have 200 miles of driving tomorrow.

There was no way I was going to drive my girlfriends car down, and then drive the TC back with her following me. I love her Fiesta ST, but my body starts to get angry sitting in the Recaros for more than 1.5 or so hours. One way tickets for the both of us were just under 200 bucks, and it was well worth it in the time saved. We boarded our flight at 10:15am in Maryland and we were walking out of the airport in North Carolina at Noon. We were in the air for maybe 55 minutes.

I appreciate the comments and the warm re-welcomes. If nothing else, I might single-handedly bring some traffic back to the forum...even if I'm the only one posting.
It's Gumby's fault.

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #9
This forum needs a kick start. I wish i had money and a place to work on cars. Im glad to see ya back though.

I don't have a fiesta st, but my dad has a 2011 fiesta. Good fun little car, but between me being 6'5 and the ridiculously uncomfortable seats, i can't stand to even sit in that car for more then an hour. Its really weird, the car has all the head room in the world, but even with the adjustable telescoping column, there is no where for me to put stuff where i can sit. And having head room is really weird. Even in our roomy cougarbirds, i lean the seat back until im almost even with the rear 1/4 window so i dont hit my head.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #10
Nice score, and welcome back :D.

I really love not having a project car and dd as one in the same. I bought a car brand new 6 years ago (well two, and one last year) and, if I can help it, I'm never going back to cheap used cars for daily driving again. I can spend time tinkering on the Thunderbird and not a daily driver to get to work. Makes working on cars more fun.
88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, bunch of other stuff.

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #11
<<>> I knew you'd be back! They always come back!
...said the guy who's been without a Fox for seven years

I've been wanting another Fox for a few years, but instead I keep doing stupid things like buying ATV's and then a side-by-side (Can Am Maverick). And then I keep doing stupid things like spending loads of money on said side-by-side so that I can take it into the woods and beat the hell out of it. The Mustang is loads of fun but so far I've kept it 100% stock. I don't know why, but I haven't really bonded with it. Hell, I've only put a bit over 10k miles on it in almost three years. It's pretty, and it's fast as hell, but it just lacks character. Don't get me wrong, I will never part with it and some day might start feeling the bug to start modifying it, but so far I've been channeling that energy into the Maverick.

That being said, my husband is in school now taking nursing, and when he's out and working in a good paying job I am going to track down my four-eye Bird with vent windows. I will almost certainly have to travel for it, but I'm OK with that. And then I will do stupid things like spend loads of money on it :hick:
2015 Mustang GT Premium - 5.0, 6-speed, Guard Green - too much awesome for one car

1988 5.0 Thunderbird :birdsmily: SOLD SEPT 11 2010: TC front clip/hood ♣ Body & paint completed Oct 2007 ♣ 3.55 TC rear end and front brakes ♣ TC interior ♣ CHE rear control arms (adjustable lowers) ♣ 2001 Bullitt springs ♣ Energy suspension poly busings ♣ Kenne Brown subframe connectors ♣ CWE engine mounts ♣ Thundercat sequential turn signals ♣ Explorer overhead console (temp/compass display) ♣ 2.25" off-road dual exhaust ♣ T-5 transmission swap completed Jan 2009 ♣

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #12
Quote from: Thunder Chicken;462597
That being said, my husband is in school now taking nursing, and when he's out and working in a good paying job I am going to track down my four-eye Bird with vent windows. I will almost certainly have to travel for it, but I'm OK with that. And then I will do stupid things like spend loads of money on it :hick:

All these years on here, I thought you were a guy?

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #13
He is. You've missed some things.
Quote from: jcassity
I honestly dont think you could exceed the cost of a new car buy installing new *stock* parts everywhere in your coug our tbird. Its just plain impossible. You could revamp the entire drivetrain/engine/suspenstion and still come out ahead.
Hooligans! 
1988 Crown Vic wagon. 120K California car. Wifes grocery getter. (junked)
1987 Ford Thunderbird LX. 5.0. s.o., sn-95 t-5 and an f-150 clutch. Driven daily and going strong.
1986 cougar.
lilsammywasapunkrocker@yahoo.com

Back in a fox. 1988 Turbo Coupe. The life journal.

Reply #14
Lol. Ok I been away way too long  ☺