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1968 Ford Thunderbird Hides Big Mustang V8 Behind Controversial Fishmouth Grille

The now-iconic Thunderbird debuted back in 1955 as Ford's first personal luxury car. A stylish two-seat coupe at first, the T-bird succumbed to market trends and got bigger and heavier in the 1960s. In 1967, Ford gave in and introduced a four-door sedan version. But the Thunderbird also got big V8 firepower from the Mustang.
1968 Ford Thunderbird 9 photos
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This 1968 Thunderbird here isn't a four-door, but one of those rare Big Birds offered with the optional 429-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V8 of the 385-series variety. This engine debuted in 1967 as a replacement for the iconic FE V8, but it didn't survive for long in this configuration, as it was phased out in 1973.

The 385-series 429 V8 is actually famous for having spawned the Boss 429, a race-spec engine that Ford created as a response to Chrysler's 426 Hemi. It was offered in the Boss Mustang from 1969 to 1970 to fulfill Ford's need to homologate it for NASCAR racing. Rated at 375 horsepower, the Boss 429 Mustang is now regarded as being among the rarest and most valuable muscle cars to date.

The 7.0-liter V8 in the Thunderbird is not a Boss, but it packs similar power at 360 horsepower. It was the highest-revving V8 available in the fifth-generation Big Bird (1967 to 1971), and it remained on offer until 1973. It's the engine that turned the Thunderbird into a full-fledged muscle car.

429-powered Thunderbirds aren't necessarily hard to come by, but this one's really affordable at $4,800. Listed on Facebook Marketplace, it needs restoration as the paint has seen far better days. The engine bay also needs some work, especially since the car has been sitting for four years.

The seller says it will start, but the fuel tank needs to be drained and clean for this car to run properly. The interior looks decent, apart from a worn-out carpet and upholstery. A good cleaning might do the trick, especially on that cool, wrap-around rear seat, probably my favorite feature on the fifth-gen Thunderbird.

Of course, the low price might have something to do with this Thunderbird's design. I personally dig the "fishmouth" grille with hidden headlamps and the squared-off front fenders, but I know it's not a popular design, especially compared to the first two generations of the T-bird.

It's definitely worth a look, at least given the tremendous sleeper potential of this classic luxury rig.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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