Original Once: 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage Edition 6,500 Mile Survivor – SOLD!
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October 23, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
Despite being produced for only three model years, from 1977 through 1979, Ford’s squared-off, seventh-generation Thunderbird proved to be the brand’s most successful. Aided by a $2,700 price drop from 1976, over 318,000 were sold in 1977 and 352,000 in 1978 (the best single sales year in Thunderbird history), followed by 295,000 in 1979. The styling of its unique wrap-over roofline would carry over in smaller versions of Ford automobiles such as the 1978–1983 Ford Fairmont Futura and the Mercury Zephyr Z-7 coupes, originally designed as Fairmont-based downsized Thunderbird proposals.
With another downsizing on the horizon for 1980, Ford marketers launched the Heritage Edition package on the 1979 Ford Thunderbird to send the seventh generation out with style. With only 6,500 original miles, the sole owner of this 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage Edition, originally listed in September 2022 on Craigslist in Chaska, Minnesota (Minneapolis), maybe the lowest mileage, ’79 TBird left.
Once offered for $14,999, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is at the higher end of the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for seventh-generation Ford Thunderbirds produced between 1977 and 1979. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the truck featured here:
As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $10,400 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $15,600.
When Ford launched its seventh-generation Thunderbird, the new car no longer shared the Lincoln Continental’s full-size architecture. Instead, engineers moved the car to the company’s intermediate Ford LTD II and Mercury Cougar platforms. The change in size shed nearly ten inches of length and nine hundred pounds of weight. Designers distinguished Thunderbird from the LTD II and Cougar two-door models with a unique wrap-over “basket handle” roofline with opera windows and large rear side quarter windows separated from the rear window by thin C-pillars. Headlamps hidden with retractable covers and full-width dropped center taillamps made a comeback from the late 1960s.
Personalization of your personal luxury car was all the rage by the late 1970s as many consumers tried to order their new cars in ways that would look different from their neighbors. In 1978, Ford offered the “Diamond Jubilee Edition” Thunderbird to commemorate the company’s 75th year as an auto manufacturer. This option package escalated the price of the car to almost US$12,000 ($51,313 in 2022 dollars), virtually doubling the base price; it included every option except a moonroof and an engine block heater. It was originally available in only two colors—Diamond Jubilee exclusive “diamond blue” metallic, or “standard issue” ember metallic—both with matching velour cloth seats with a “biscuit” design. Later in production, Ford offered leather as an option and offered white as an exterior color with blue or white trim and interior. This option was available on the Continental Mark V as well for the much more substantial cost of US$23,000 ($98,350 in 2022 dollars).
In 1979, a similar option package was available named “Heritage”. It included basically the same optional equipment, still with only two color options available: maroon or light medium blue. The Heritage option remained available for the next two generations of the car. All Thunderbirds received a new grille pattern and revised taillamps for the last model year of this generation.
The Bionic Disco YouTube Channel features this 1979 Ford Thunderbird commercial:
They are only original once, and with only one owner and 6,500 miles, this 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage Edition is about as close as you can get to traveling back in time and buying one brand new. If you’re looking for a potential contender to earn Junior and Senior Automobile Club of America (“AACA”) Preservation class awards, this Tbird may be the car for you.
Here’s the seller’s description:
AACA Contender: Would you try to earn an AACA Junior Preservation award with this 1979 Ford Thunderbird Heritage Edition? Please comment below and let us know!
Just don’t attempt to back up.