The Motorcraft BXT65-850 is $156.99 at the local O'Reilly stores plus $18 core.
Even if O'Reilly will refund an AutoZone DG core, it could be moot if my model is discontinued, since the manufacturer won't want it back. I wonder whether AZ is obligated to refund the core on their own house brand batteries, even on discontinued models.
All parts stores accept all cores. It's just a junk battery. I have never had someone question the brand on anything that has a core charge.
Just get the Motorcraft! It is a good battery, and O'Reillys has a very long pro-rated warranty on that battery. Not many stores do the pro-rated warranty any more. Advance doesn't.
Optimas and Autozone batteries are junk. I have been stuck with Duralast for years because of the warranty. They last 3-4 years, tops.
97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 68k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 Crown Vic Police Interceptor - Brenda's car
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years
88 T-Bird 3.8 - first T-Bird, owned 5 years