Spooki None
Oct. 31, 2016 2:57 p.m.

Alrighty, first post here, gotta do something interesting right? Well, standing around with a work buddy who was hard up for cash, the brew got the best of me and i decided i wanted a project for the grandfather and i, so i threw out an offer for a car he had sitting... and here we are. I find myself with ownership of a car most people didn't know existed, a boxy bird, the 1980 ford thunderbird. Right off the bat, the highlights are; Fox platform, 5" wide wheels, and a 302 that SOMEHOW makes just north of 100hp. Goals? 2800 weighed at the sketchy probably toxic dumping scrap yard down the road, 400hp, and enough cornering potential to keep up with an M3. Stay tuned.

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
Oct. 31, 2016 3:28 p.m.

I like an underdog!

Some inspiration:

RossD UltimaDork
Oct. 31, 2016 3:28 p.m.

YES! What are your plans for the 400hp?

Will UltraDork
Oct. 31, 2016 8:36 p.m.

Please keep it sleeper on the outside. Throw the Maximum Motorsports catalog at this car and you could embarrass some people.

ClemSparks PowerDork
Oct. 31, 2016 10:26 p.m.

Alright! More non-mustang foxbody. I'm currently not working on an '80 Fairmont wagon, myself. This can't not be awesome!

ClemSparks PowerDork
Oct. 31, 2016 10:28 p.m.

Oh...and you're in Jeff!

I'm just up the road in Columbia. We'll have to get together sometime.

Spooki New Reader
Nov. 1, 2016 6:05 a.m.
RossD wrote: YES! What are your plans for the 400hp?

My first priority is the chassis, but that doesn't mean i haven't been thinking about engine options, and right now i'm entertaining the idea of two reasonable options, as well as two absurd ones.

Reasonable;

  1. Late fox 302, with your normal bolt ons, big cam and built heads. T5.
  2. 4.8LS. Ported stock heads, big cam, tuned length headers. Undecided trans.

Unreasonable, more expensive, and less practical;

  1. Junkyard jewel 6 bolt 4G63, fed by a Borg S300. CD009 trans.
  2. Mercedes M104, HX40, CD009 trans.

The M104 may move into the reasonable group after i talk to my machine shop. A trans adapter could make it option #1 or remove it from the list entirely.

In any case, MS3 PRO will more than likely be the EMS solution, given they don't come out with something better by then.

Spooki New Reader
Nov. 1, 2016 6:06 a.m.
Will wrote: Please keep it sleeper on the outside. Throw the Maximum Motorsports catalog at this car and you could embarrass some people.

That's essentially the plan! Going to start taking measurements as soon as possible to see if their k-member will bolt in.

Chadeux HalfDork
Nov. 1, 2016 1:07 p.m.

Would the M104 mean parting the 300E?

dropstep
dropstep Dork
Nov. 1, 2016 2:02 p.m.

My vote is 302/351 power but im a bit of a purist and thats weird for this site! I love the fox chassis.

pres589 UberDork
Nov. 1, 2016 3:40 p.m.

What about turbo 2.3? Finding the parts to make it happen should be easier than the Mitsu idea and it isn't like the Lima can't make serious power.

mndsm MegaDork
Nov. 1, 2016 5:02 p.m.

That 4g63 and that holset will get along real nice.

Will UltraDork
Nov. 1, 2016 5:54 p.m.

Given that it's your money, I suggest a 351W-based 427 with a turbo.

Cooper_Tired HalfDork
Nov. 1, 2016 7:05 p.m.

How much cutting is required to get one to 2800lbs?!?

Those aren't small cars

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
Nov. 1, 2016 7:37 p.m.
Cooper_Tired wrote: How much cutting is required to get one to 2800lbs?!? Those aren't small cars

Wiki says factory weight of 3,166–3,477 lb

Looks like 400 lbs need to go.

Crackers Reader
Nov. 2, 2016 1:21 a.m.

I like the 4G63 idea. It would save a bunch of weight.

petegossett UltimaDork
Nov. 2, 2016 6:11 a.m.

Turbo Zetec, Duratec, or that hybrid 2.5T engine John Brown is stuffing into an RX8.

bentwrench Dork
Nov. 2, 2016 6:51 a.m.

3.5L EcoBoost turned up

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
Nov. 2, 2016 7:13 a.m.
petegossett wrote: Turbo Zetec, Duratec, or that hybrid 2.5T engine John Brown is stuffing into an RX8.

How about the Rotary that John B is taking out?

Acme Lab Rat Reader
Nov. 2, 2016 10:21 a.m.

+1 for a turbo Lima motor. It just feels...right.

Spooki New Reader
Nov. 3, 2016 10:05 a.m.
Chadeux wrote: Would the M104 mean parting the 300E?

Nope, my W124 is an M103 car. It's currently waiting for a fuel tank >.>

pres589 wrote: What about turbo 2.3? Finding the parts to make it happen should be easier than the Mitsu idea and it isn't like the Lima can't make serious power.

I mean, truthfully? I just don't know much about them. I really should educate myself on them, but my reasoning behind the 4G63T is that they're everywhere, there's good support, they can reliably handle that power, and the stock 1G head flows similar to a Stock Car head.

The 2.3 is an option since they're dirt cheap, what it really comes down to for me is an engine with a bottom end that can handle the power i want, stock. If i window a block i want to be able to blow it on friday and have it back on the road by monday. I do agree that it would be fitting though, so maybe.

Cooper_Tired wrote: How much cutting is required to get one to 2800lbs?!? Those aren't small cars

Like John said, i'm expecting about 3200-3250 stock. Losing the interior will save me a ton, the front bench HAS to be heavy... pig iron exhaust, 70's era emissions equiptment, an insane accessory bracket for the AC, vintage electronics that can be tucked into smaller packages, AC removal, the list goes on and on.

I do plan on making my own fiberglass fenders and trunk lid, as well as any other body panels not essential to me not dying if i get steamrolled by a silverado.

petegossett wrote: Turbo Zetec, Duratec, or that hybrid 2.5T engine John Brown is stuffing into an RX8.

I do love the idea of a 2.3 Duratec, but given the weight of this car, it's intended use, and the power level i want it would NEED a bottom end, which means machining an engine, and that's just too much for THIS project. Given then light aluminum block that it uses, i don't trust my shadetree tuning to not put a skirt into low earth orbit.

JohnRW1621 wrote: How about the Rotary that John B is taking out?

If money and reliability were no matter, i see no reason why this car wouldn't get two periperally ported 12a's sharing a single volvo truck turbo, two clutches, and a chain drive into a T56.

All that being said, currently hurdle is not having the car yet. Made this thread the day i threw a stack down on it, and i'm still waiting for the guy to get all his stuff out of the car. Don't get me wrong, i like blown pyle subs as much as the next guy, i just don't need them.

15x10's are on the way, and i'm currently searching for a suitable 5 lug parts car.

To make up for this wall of text, here's a 1/3 shot showing (believe it or not) every single inch of rust on the car.

pres589 UberDork
Nov. 3, 2016 10:44 a.m.

The turbo 2.3's commonly turn the numbers you want, bolt into that chassis using factory parts, and mate to T5's from the factory. I'd give it a look.

JohnRW1621 MegaDork
Nov. 3, 2016 10:56 a.m.

Looks like you have a very low option version there and that is likely a very good thing because you have avoided the vinyl top which usually do not age well and hide other troubles.

There were a couple of different roof lines offered on 1980 Thunderbird:

Inside, there was even optional Recaro seats offered:


Original Brochure

In review, I think my original inspiration photo was a little weak so here is better:

Mezzanine HalfDork
Nov. 3, 2016 11:28 a.m.

According to general lore of the W124 facebook group, an M104 + ~10PSI of turbo = an easy 400HP. It's a sweet motor for sure, but some of the other options suggested might be cheaper and easier.

Spooki New Reader
Nov. 3, 2016 11:49 a.m.
pres589 wrote: The turbo 2.3's commonly turn the numbers you want, bolt into that chassis using factory parts, and mate to T5's from the factory. I'd give it a look.

I'll be doing so for sure, might just go find a n/a 2.3 and start learning the engine when it's too cold to wrench this winter.

JohnRW1621 wrote: Looks like you have a very low option version there and that is likely a very good thing because you have avoided the vinyl top which usually do not age well and hide other troubles. There were a couple of different roof lines offered on 1980 Thunderbird: Inside, there was even optional Recaro seats offered: Original Brochure In review, I think my original inspiration photo was a little weak so here is better:

Yeah, if it had a vinyl roof i wouldn't even have considered it. I've been plagued by them on my '71 riviera. Also, wow, that #21 car. I've NEVER seen it before, and yet is exactly what i was planning on. The side pipes, that spoiler, and i'm pretty certain i ordered almost those exact same wheels, in AERO flavor. I'll be saving that for later for sure

Mezzanine wrote: According to general lore of the W124 facebook group, an M104 + ~10PSI of turbo = an easy 400HP. It's a sweet motor for sure, but some of the other options suggested might be cheaper and easier.

Yeah, the M104 is no joke... it's a real shame/blessing people haven't really discovered them yet, because they're almost perfect for everything. Take Roman (Pumpish) for example. AFAIK he's the only dude to really wring one out, and with the stock crank, some off the shelf honda rods, and some custom pistons he's making over 1000 at the wheels in a full weight street car. Nothing like blowing the doors off of GTR's in grandpa's sedan. Whether or not it goes into this build, i'll be buying an M104 for a turbo build. If i don't use it for this, i'll stick it into my M103 powered W124.

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