how much can I sell my 79' t-bird for,it runs great,has orig.351 cleaveland eng.+2brl carb.+ orig.tranny,has great pwr. no leaks anywhere,body gd shape but needs a new paint job,,interior needs work.

Asked by lillyrose2 Jul 02, 2013 at 02:36 AM about the 1979 Ford Thunderbird

Question type: General

I have had my 79't-bird for a long time and enjoy driving it but now I need to sell it due to money problems. It has 146kmi on it,,I have had a new fuel pump installed which gave it 18+mpg I love the pwr this car has,,it has pwr steering,pwr seats,crusie control,but no air cond. never had the need to get one. Everything on this great little car is orig. any ideas where I might find a buyer and how much should I ask.

28 Answers


It has a 351M (Modified). The last year of the Cleveland was 1973. I would try Craig's list and Ebay. $2500 if you're lucky. While it's a great ride (my Grandfather bought one brand new) the demand for old iron like that isn't very high.

2 people found this helpful.

We need a LOT more information before we can give an answer. I love these old Fords. I've had 4 so far. The mileage is reasonable, but many folks will be turned off it. Also, no air hurts. Did it never have air, or is it just not working? Needing paint hurts the value, too, as good paint is expensive. How much, and what, interior work is needed? THAT can kill the value. Which interior does the car have? Is it the base T-Bird, with or without the deluxe interior, or does it have the Towne Landau or Heritage Edition package? Makes a difference, but not a HUGE one. I'm afraid you are describing a car worth $800 to $1,000. Where are you located? I'm in Ontario, Canada, and I might just be interested, as I need a car, and these are my favorite.

1 people found this helpful.

David: The Town Landau has the wide, brushed, tiara band on the basket handle. Without the vinyl roof, they do not have the thin tiara bands of the other Thunderbirds. The Diamond Edition does not have the brushed band, but does have standard vinyl roof and the rear quarter windows are blanked out by the rear roof. Both models come standard with the turbine wheels, and on both, the sides of the spokes are painted to match the car. Both models had the 'bird' in the hood ornament filled and colour-keyed to the car. Diamond Editions were available in 2 colours: Burgundy enamel with dark red interior and powder blue enamel with blue interior.

4 people found this helpful.

I just purchased a dove grey/dove grey "78 Thunderbird from the original owner- 97,000 miles and immaculate- shiny paint, perfect interior, no dents, perfect bumpers and trim- California Blue Plate special with not a hint of rust anywhere- love these old folks' cars! It runs and drives like a dream with beefy sway bars front and rear and a 351 Windsor for motorvation- it has the chrome wheels that the old guy bought aftermarket when it was new, new Big O tires and battery- he had it on CraigsList for a month at $1500 with no takers- I couldn't stand it and called him offering him $1200- now I am cruising in style, serene and stately with just a touch of NASCAR style- sweet

3 people found this helpful.

Right on Michael. I am learning these things, Thanks, that really is interesting what you wrote. I had no idea, it's what the picture is labeled. I also love those old Fords.


David, just about anything you could ever want to know about these cars, just ask. Chances are I know all about it! One tip about these cars. Always us the Ford gas shock absorbers on these cars. They are available from Ford for under $40 each.

1 people found this helpful.

you guys like my car?! It is an interesting milestone car- Ford sold 350,000 T-Birds in 1978 the biggest year for the T-Bird ever- they were hugely popular- the seventh gen 'Bird had been restyled in'77 losing almost a thousand pounds and ten inches in length- they gained front disc brakes standard, sway bars front and rear, a 2.50 rear end for cruising and mileage- when driving it I can feel the changes- the hood seems to stretch for only half a mile instead of a mile- the car corners flat and loves to do it- and the brakes are outstanding- the power driver's seat is so comfortable that my back doesn't hurt anymore- The size and scale of the car fits my 6' 4" nicely- I must look normal in this thing, not like a big clown in a clown car like when I'm in the Japanese cars- go ahead world- stay with your little computer controlled plastic zip-cars, I'm on to something here!

2 people found this helpful.

Jam, it sounds like you found a great car. What engine is under the hood? It is EASY to upgrade the gas mileage, too. First, a good dual exhaust will gain you about 20 horsepower and 5 mpg.. With proper set up, 30 miles to the Imperial gallon is a simple thing to achieve. With more intense upgrades, 40 mpg Imperial) is perfectly simple. With a bunch of major work, fuel economy to scare a Prius owner is completely doable! Yes, I mean in excess of 50 miles to the Imperial gallon out of one of the 2 ton, 17 foot battle wagons!

3 people found this helpful.

Michael, in Canada do they sell fuel by the Imperial Gallon? Liter? Just curious. Years ago I took a trip to St John's NF, what a place, so much Irish influence...anyway, the gas stations signs said $0.78. But that HAD to be liter , right? I am talking 2003 when I went there


David- thanks for the letter- I can't figure how to reply!? anyway, I worked as a service adviser for awhile- always loved cars- my first car was an Austin Healey 3000- poor college kids could own these things in 1967- I deeply appreciate your kind welcome- Michael your mileage info blows my mind! I am just getting into this 'Bird- been a long time since I owned American Iron- (I like the sound of that)- it's a new age, and the quality and reliability of these old Americans is starting to shine- thank you both- James

2 people found this helpful.

Click on my name or avatar and go to my garage, and there is "send private message" or just click 'reply' by the message

3 people found this helpful.

David, yes, here in Canada gas is sold by the litre. It has been since the 70s I quote miles to the Imperial gallon because litres per hundred kilometers confuses most Americans something fierce! If you are wondering, my brother's 79 used 7 litres per 100 km, and that works out to about 34 or 35 mpg, using the American gallon. He had figured out how to do better, but he sold the car and kept the 86 Mercury Colony Park instead. You will be hard pressed to find a more comfortable front seat that these cars have. They seem to fit everyone, no matter how tall or short. They truly are an all day seat. My longest single day run was 1,400 kms in 16 hours, and no aches or pains at any time.

2 people found this helpful.

Oh, one more little detail. The 351 M may be part of the "Modified" engine family, but it was the Cleveland that was modified, with a taller deck height, to come up with the 400, and then that was under-bored to come up with the 351M. So technically, it is a Cleveland engine, but not what people think of as a 351C.

1 people found this helpful.

One question, Lilyrose: Where are you located? I'm in the market for another car right now, and I may well be interested. I'd love more details about the Thunderbird.


Michael your brother's '79- was it a 351- did he put dual exhausts on it- anything else that helped him get over 30MPG- unbelievable- my '78 is bone stock, 351, California car built in Los Angeles-


He put the 351W and AOD from an 86 Grand Marquis into hi, then he did a dual exhaust with X cross over on 2 1/4 inch pipes, with dual FlowMaster DeltaFlow mufflers. The only thing he did to the engine was put on an Edelbrock Performer 4V intake and 1401 carburetor body optimized via jets and metering rods, for highway use. It was till giving 40 mpg when he sold it to a buddy of mine when the engine and transmission had in excess of 700,000 km (400,000 miles) on them. My last one of these cars was a 78 Base model with the Deluxe Interior Package. It had a 351M under the hood. I put Hooker Header long tube headers (a waste of money) with high flow cats (well worth the investment) with the same exhaust as my brother. That is ALL I did. It still had the original FMX 3 speed automatic. I did a solid 30 mile to the Imperial gallon, or about 9 litres per 100 km. I could do 500 miles of highway driving on a single 70 litre fill up.


hi i am intrested in the1978 Thunderbird I have a 1978 Thunderbird bought it dec. 2001 for $1000 he was asking 2500 it had 92,000km on it in Toronto gas is $1.26/l=$5.08gal

1 people found this helpful.

I appreciate,everyone's reply,how ever from the amounts everyone said they paid for their '78's. I was looking for $5000 OBO thats because of work that needs to be done on the body and interior (interior is Town Landau package) former owner had it painted white from it's orig.color of dark blue w/lite blue interior. I planned cherrying it out and keeping it but as I stated due to the economy and forced financial problems I decided to sell the "General" (my pet name). These cars are great muscle cars in Cal. with them fixed up they go as high as $10k. My '79 bird has the 351M eng. that runs great,since changing the fuel pump I get 19+ mpg,,thats the only thing I have had to repair since I bought the car 6yr ago. everything is orig. The 351M Cleveland eng. was last built in '74, but the block was still being built up to '82 when ford closed up shop after moving from Mich. plant to the Cleveland foundry. Everyone's knowledge is awsome about these bird's most are pretty accurate,however according to Ford's design eng. the 351M was not intended to mean modified it was to differ it from the 351W the 351M/400 is how it should be labled but these all came from the 335 family. I guess different birds had a code mine is the H-code. I love this old folks car as Jam called it,,ha,ha..but I must do what I have to do. I'm gonna post a pic in a day or so.


I have a feeling your goal of $5,000 for The General is likely to be overly optimistic. These cars have to be pretty much pristine, needing extremely little, to come close to that. About the only ones, in stock form, that come close to the $10,000 mark are the Heritage/Diamond Editions, and even then, they have to be needing nothing at all. Needing paint and interior work, even if everything else is good, you are probably looking at a $1,500, or maybe $2,000 selling price. Nobody seems to want these cars, and I cannot figure out why!


I have 79tbird.original paint n all.n good shape.96,000mls.what's value

2 people found this helpful.

Here's an example of these cars. My first, bought in 1992, had 73,000 km on the clock. That's about 45,000 miles. All original. I paid $2,500. My first 78, bought in 2004, with about 200,000 kms, 125,000 miles, cost $1,000. My second 79, in 2007, was $800. My last, bought in 2011, cost $2,500, and it had less than 60,000 miles on it, and even the air still worked. These cars just don't have a lot of value in the market place.

1 people found this helpful.

Hey Michael I'm new to the convo but i own a 1979 TBird. with a 351 Windsor interested in the fullupgrades you were speaking of to achieve 40- 50 mpg .


Michael I have a question if you don't mind? I found a 1979 Thunderbird been covered up for years all original white leather seats doors have wood grain style ha 80,000 original miles inside out in great condition original wheels kind of newer tires but great shape no dings or scratches burnt orange metallic flake. how much do you think it's worth? needs battery....which she is willing to buy.

1 people found this helpful.

Hi guys, Just wan't to show you my 77 thunderbird that I built years ago but is in storage for now and someday will be resurrected. Kinda fitting to say that being Easter Monday and all. It's been interesting reading all your convos here and I appreciate the information I've been reading. Happy Easter from Toronto, Canada. Eh.

1 people found this helpful.

James, my brother's 79 had a bone stock 86 351 with the AOD transmission behind it. He put on an Edelbrock Performer intake and carburetor and a cat back dual 2 1/4 inch exhaust. He talked to the Edelbrock tech support people about the best metering rods and jets for the way he used the car, and then tuned it properly. Everything else was bone stock 79 Thunderbird, including the rear axle ratio. That is all it took to get the mileage out of that car. bsandoval: Without seeing the car it is hard to put any sort of accurate value on a car. It sounds like it is probably a $3,000 car, maybe a bit more. Just be careful how you bring it back to life. Change all the rubber bits, and make sure the tires are less than 5 years old. They may well be flat spotted, anyway, so need replacement. With these cars, they are only worth what someone will pay, and normally that is not overly much. People are just afraid of the gas bills.

1 people found this helpful.

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