1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

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Cairo95
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1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:30 pm

Hello all, I am new to the forum, and I have 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage Edition.  This car's story is good at first, but ends on a sad note.
The car was originally purchased as a graduation gift, and first car for my Mom, as she finished school in the class of 1979 in Jackson MS. The cars was actually owned by my Grandmother, but my Mom was allowed to drive it until she started hanging out with the wrong crowd. The car was meticulously cared for, promptly serviced, and parked in a heated and cooled garage. Fast forward to 1989, my sister is born, and then in 1993 I come into existence. After my birth, my family decided to move to Alabama to be closer to the rest of the family. (My Grandmother is from Elba, AL) We moved, I believe, in either 93 or 94. In our new house, we didn't have room to store the car in the garage, so it was forced to stay outside. It soon needed a new vinyl roof and tires, and this service was quickly performed. The car's service life came to an end I'd say around 1996 or 1997. The car's carburetor started to form a small fuel leak, and my Grandmother was making arrangements to get it fixed. Until then, the car was to remain parked. It was a very hot summer day,(I remember this because I saw it happen), when my grandfather (who wasn't particularly car savvy) thought it would be a great idea to crank the car up so as not to let the battery die, and in doing so, the car's engine compartment caught fire.  The flames were taller than the roof of the house and he did not know how to put out a petroleum based fire. After some minutes, a neighbor brought over his fire extinguisher and killed the fire. Of course the damage was already done, but it was limited to the engine bay, and the areas where the carburetor and HVAC box are received the most damage. My grandmother thought about selling the car for scrap, but later decided to give it to me. (I've loved to fix things and take them apart since I was a child)

Fast forward to today, and I have now inherited the car. I would love to fix it up, but I'm in college and I don't have much money. I've done research on the car throughout the years, and I know that these "Torino Birds" don't have very good resale value, even in mint condition. It appears collectors simply aren't interested in them. My aunts think I would be better off simply selling it for whatever I could, and let it go. I have a potential car buyer that really want's the car. He has a Lincoln Continental that his GF damaged, and he wants the T-Bird for its body so that he can put the Lincoln engine in it. Plus the fact that the T-Bird was equipped with nearly all available options and has all its original parts. No parts were ever sold off the car. Since the fire, the car has been kept under a car cover that's replaced every year. The cars interior is in very good shape, and the windows were up at the time of the fire, so weather has not been able to get to it all that easily. He has offered me $300.00 for the car and has been contacting me about it since last summer.

I would like to know from the more experienced T-Birds owners, that I believe is this forum, what you guys think? I know that I will most likely have to sell the car. And selling it to the guy, mentioned earlier, has it perks in that he is local and he seems to be really interested in bringing the car back to life. I know this sounds rather strange, but I would hate for it to be simply crushed and forgotten. I would also like to know if perhaps I should try selling it online and asking more for it.

I have pictures posted below.

Thank you all in advance, and sorry for the long winded post.
Last edited by Cairo95 on Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Joe Johnston
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Joe Johnston » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:08 pm

Picture posting info is in the "How To" section of the Forum near the bottom of the page. You are facing a difficult decision and hopefully owners of this body style will help you decide after seeing the extent of damage.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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Cairo95
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:24 pm

Image

Cairo95
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:59 pm

Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:26 pm

Image

Cairo95
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:59 pm

Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:35 pm

Image

Cairo95
Posts: 7
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:36 pm

Image

BirdShepherd
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by BirdShepherd » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Thanks for posting your story.
Car has quite the history. Sad to see fire ransack such a beauty. Wish you could have inherited it in good condition.
How many actual miles on the car? This will make a difference in price. Any rust or rot anywhere?
Vehicle will have to be redone from bumper to bumper due to fire or lengthy time sitting. Both are enemies, alas.
Potential buyer might want to make it a driver or restore it to former glory.

If restored correctly, it will be a collector's item, though certainly not in demand as other years and models.
May God guide you in making as decision.
Shepherding 77-79 T-Birds, Shepherding People

tbirdman77
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by tbirdman77 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:17 am

I would caution you re the offer of $300 for the car by your neighbor as that is scrap price for the car. Also I would question whomever is telling you that the car is not valuable. These cars are a great value, they're solid quality cars and great cruisers.

BirdShepherd
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by BirdShepherd » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:49 am

As my friend Tom reminded me, the hard to find turbine wheels on the Heritage are worth $300.00 alone. The motor is also worth a chunk of change.
Shepherding 77-79 T-Birds, Shepherding People

Cairo95
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:36 am

Hi BirdShepherd
I don't honestly believe that the $300.00 offering for the car is enough. I think the car is more valuable if for nothing more than because of its hard to find parts. But I really don't know where to start as far as what it's true value may actually be. Also, the current mileage on the car is 96,000 miles. Now, I don't know if that's entirely accurate, because I don't know, if when during the fire and if effects on it electrical system, if the gages are totally accurate. My concerns may also be unfounded and the numbers correct, but the mileage is listed as above. Do you know if the fire may have had a damaging effect to the engine?

Thanks.

tbirdman77
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by tbirdman77 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:08 am

The engine should not be damaged by fire unless water got into it. however it should be rebuilt with fresh bearings pumps and seals. I would be willing to give you $800 for the car.

Cairo95
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by Cairo95 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:49 am

I don't believe water would have had any chance of getting in the engine. The car has all of its body panels, and the hood, while having rust, does not allow water to pass through. Plus, since its been kept under cover since the fire, and the fact that its parked on an incline, there's little chance of water being in the engine. If you can tell me, what all would be involved in restoring the car, and what do you think about the price for all of this? I know such things vary with what is done by oneself, and what is hired out.

tbirdman77
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Re: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage questions

Post by tbirdman77 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:25 am

Engine overhaul $1500
transmission rebuild $900
engine harness $300
carb $450
A/C $3000
heat/cooling $350
paint $6000
tires $500
total $13000

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