Final MN-12 Thunderbird, where is it? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Final MN-12 Thunderbird, where is it?

What happened to the last '97 T-Bird? It's red with a spoiler and chrome turbines. I've seen it in magazines and books, but only with the caption, "This was the last Thunderbird ever produced."

(Oh, and I realize there were a handful of prototype '98s built.)
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post #2 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 12:11 PM
 
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Could you figure out what its VIN is, and do a CARFAX?
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post #3 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 12:55 PM
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I'm sure Ford probably owns it, they usually keep cars of signifigance like that... Shrug

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post #4 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 01:38 PM
 
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As I understand they do in fact own it. I have a book on the Tbird somewhere with that info in it but I have no idea where it is.
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post #5 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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The final T-bird was a red one with crome 15inch fan blades. It was donated to the Classic Thunderbird Club International in Southern California. On idenity tag it states "Lorain Assy Last T-Bird"



I guess I should site where I got that info. A book called American Legends. Author Mike Mueller. Pages 266-267. Great book.
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post #6 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 02:39 PM
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Interesting, do they have the vehicle on display somewhere?

I always knew that the last tbirds had the chrome fanblades, someone said that they ran out of slicer wheels so they just chrome plated the old fanblades that they had left over. Is there any truth to this?
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post #7 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastBird232
What happened to the last '97 T-Bird? It's red with a spoiler and chrome turbines. I've seen it in magazines and books, but only with the caption, "This was the last Thunderbird ever produced."

(Oh, and I realize there were a handful of prototype '98s built.)
I have a picture of it on my website:

Jim's Thunderbird Hangar

Check toward the bottom of the page.

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post #8 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 07:40 PM
 
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Yeah, thats the same pic that is in this book I have. This book has got a pic of the identity tag and 173196. Judging by the tag, it did not have many extras on it.
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post #9 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Embalmer
I have a picture of it on my website:

Jim's Thunderbird Hangar

Check toward the bottom of the page.
That was a good lookin bird!

Anybody got any pics of the prototype 98s?

+1

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post #10 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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post #11 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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You know, with the serial number, someone could figure out the other VIN digits and run a Carfax on it.
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post #12 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 11:11 PM
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hm. those wheels are like a mix of the 16" Windstar LX-LTD-Sport wheels and 98 Cobra wheels..








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post #13 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure I dig the Taurus-like oval grille. And throughout the history of the MN-12 T-Bird, the biggest cosmetic differences from year to year were the front fascias, a sad trend Ford looked to continue into '98. Hell, add some hood vents or fins or SOMETHING. I can almost imagine two Ford engineers sitting in the break room at lunchtime:

Engineer 1: "Well, what should we do to the Thunderbird this year? Offer the Cobra motor on a new SVT model? Bring back the manual transmission? Go back to a two-seat design? Stop using cheap Taiwan-knockoff control arms and go with some decent ones?"

Engineer 2: "Naw, how about some new rims and a new front bumper?"

No wonder it got axed...
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post #14 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 12:45 AM
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rofl, that sounds about right, the 98 prototype was severely lacking IMO

+1

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post #15 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teal94BirdV8
hm. those wheels are like a mix of the 16" Windstar LX-LTD-Sport wheels and 98 Cobra wheels..
Those wheels are the same ones that came on some of the Taurus models from '99 to '02 (I think).

The '98 T-Bird wasn't going to be just a different bumper and wheels. Jerry, the well-known tuning and transmission expert was an engineer for Ford at that time and responsible for making some of the running changes for '98. Here's what he posted about it some time ago:


The ’98 Bird was not cancelled until May or June of 1997. We were all done with the development of the car and even built the first wave of prototypes at Lorain Assembly Plant.

Here’s what we missed out on.

They dropped the 3.8L from the car completely. There were two 4.6L engine options available for the car. The base one was a little more anemic than what the 96-97 car was. It was a single exhaust, normal taillights and directionals (you’ll understand in a minute), pretty much the same 4.6L that was there in ’97. Remember, this was the base car.

The Sport car was this. The engine was a modified 4.6L. It had different cams, different exhaust manifolds, a conical air cleaner and 80mm air meter. It was basically the Mustang induction system and exhaust manifolds. But it had different cams and a true dual exhaust. The engine made 230 hp (fudged higher by typical Ford standards). It came with the 11” converter and aluminum driveshaft and 3.55 rear end. It had H rated tires and was speed limited to 120 mph. The rear fascia had cut outs in the bumper for the chrome tipped dual exhaust pipes. The front fascia had foglights similar to the old S/C. The directionals on the rear were sequential like the old Cougars of the 1960’s. It had the same spoiler the 97’s came with. It was monochromatic paint scheme to the color of the car. Also had 11.5” front rotors and aluminum dual piston front calipers. The interior was similar to the 94-95 SC, but it had better cupholders than the ‘97’s had.

Unfortunately, someone decided that they needed the 4.6L engines for trucks rather than make T-Birds and it never saw production. Thanks to some bean counters, the greatest MN-12 was never produced. I don’t remember what the performance numbers were on the car, but it was slightly slower than the auto GT’s in 1998 (not that we ever raced them).

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post #16 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Hey, not bad. I take back what I said.




I still think the DOHC 4.6 would have been a better choice...
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post #17 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 06:08 PM
 
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Here is a Bird that was manufactured in Aug. of 97. Late Bird. Vin is 173039
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post #18 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
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Here is a Bird that was manufactured in Aug. of 97. Late Bird. Vin is 173039
The date on my bird's sticker is later, but my VIN is earlier.
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post #19 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 09:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_97_LX
The date on my bird's sticker is later, but my VIN is earlier.

You got the screwy Bird. It's both young and old at the same time, or in other words, it's the mid-life crisis Bird.
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post #20 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 09:49 PM
 
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That is messed up. Well, we never said anyone at Ford was smart about the late birds, maybe they just miscounted.
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post #21 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightevergreenfrost
That is messed up. Well, we never said anyone at Ford was smart about the late birds, maybe they just miscounted.
They did the same with the cats. (Like my 96 Cougar with a 97 Sport package)

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post #22 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 10:06 PM
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Damn dude, the 98 would've been a sweet bird under the hood and inside, too bad the outside needed a little work. Granted I probably would've just changed the exterior to my own liking, but that would've been a nice mn-12 from the factory

+1

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post #23 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-23-2005, 11:43 PM
 
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Quote:
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Damn dude, the 98 would've been a sweet bird under the hood and inside, too bad the outside needed a little work. Granted I probably would've just changed the exterior to my own liking, but that would've been a nice mn-12 from the factory

From what I've read, it was going to be FWD...
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post #24 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 12:29 AM
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agreed, FWD =

+1

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post #25 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Wait, the '98 was supposed to be FWD? Or subsequent models?
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post #26 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rally
From what I've read, it was going to be FWD...
I think your thinking of the t-bird that was going to replace the MN-12's. Ford wouldn't waist their money trying to make a rwd platform FWD.

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post #27 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 11:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastBird232
Wait, the '98 was supposed to be FWD? Or subsequent models?

It was the 1998 that was supposed to be FWD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVT2888
I think your thinking of the t-bird that was going to replace the MN-12's. Ford wouldn't waist their money trying to make a rwd platform FWD.

And in response to both of you, if I could find the article I read that talked about this, I'd link it... But I can never find anything I need, especially when I need it. If I ever do find it again, I'll let you know.
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post #28 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Man, what would be the point in turning a RWD platform FWD? Stupid Ford...That makes no sense whatsoever.

Kinda gets you wondering, what would the FWD (non-MN12) Thunderbird be like? Sort of like a Ford Monte Carlo? A two door Taurus variant?
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post #29 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-25-2005, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by FastBird232
Kinda gets you wondering, what would the FWD (non-MN12) Thunderbird be like? Sort of like a Ford Monte Carlo?
That would be what my money's on

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post #30 of 75 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 03:38 AM
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The last MN-12 T-Bird (built Sept. 5(?) 1997) is at the Classic Thunderbird Club International's headquarters, in Signal Hill CA, which is near Long Beach I believe.
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