North American Turbocoupe Organization



Where did they all go?
JeffHWV Offline
Junior Member
#1
So the summer before last I got my very nice black 88 Turbo Coupe I've owned since 1990 out of the garage and got it running again (it has a 2000 inspection sticker). My 16 year old nephew went crazy for the thing and I told him if he wanted to fix it up, I would give him my other 88 parts car. It sat in the field for 9 years and needed quite a bit when I got it. I paid $350 for it and it has just over 200K on it, so you can use your imagination. So we drug it up to the garage and started dinging on it and looking for parts. Man, I'm thinking I made a big mistake.

Where the hell did all these cars go? I live in the mountains about 90 miles south of Pittsburgh and it is a rust area and not a great place to drive them in the winter but there were a lot of these cars around up until about 6, 8, 10 years ago. Turbo and non. I have passed up a heck of a bunch of cheap parts and cars in the past because mine just didn't need anything. I didn't realize how much things have changed when it comes to these cars.

Ebay prices are insane and I've looked at craigslist everywhere withing about a 500 mile radius. Not a lot to be found. I even went to the u-pull-it when I was on vacation in South Carolina. Nada. Craigslist down there also had nothing at the time. You'd think in a place where there was less rust they'd be in yards there. I know if you want to spend the dough you can always get the stuff, but this is an act of mercy for me as I am getting a youngster interested in them (maybe) and saving a car that probably shouldn't be. You'd think with the internet, parts would be easy to find, but I think craigslist and facebook have ruined the local classified papers and that's probably where you'd find them.

I did score a mint passenger fender and an ok door from a v6 car in the local u-pull-it, but I think I've hit a wall. I need a lot of stuff to make the car nice. I can get by with much of what I have, but the finished product is going to suffer. Big things are driver fender and tail light I absolutely need. Nice rust free doors would also be nice. Front bumper looks nice up top but has the whole spoiler section ripped off. There's a whole lot of stuff like that that is kinda messed up that would have been super cheap when you could find it, now it means time to make the stuff presentable. Front lights, interior plastic parts, stuff like that that are faded and have chunks missing. Then there's the dash pad, which is a disaster and is about the only thing I need for mine. I suppose finding unfaded seats and a nice dash pad is not realistic. I am also missing one door emblem, door lock switches, red panel under the column, and all the door panels, but I have the V6 panels from the u-pull-it car that are nice but had armstrong windows.

Anyone have any advice as to where to look for this stuff? I know the best advice is to quit yesterday, but I'm kinda committed. I'd also like to get some idea of what these cars are worth. It would make it easier to justify spending on it if I know it would add similar value to the car. Values I've seen on the internets vary wildly.

I also need some kind of idea of what my car is worth for insurance purposes. Its a black on red 88 5 speed car that hasn't seen winter since 1989 or maybe never, 137K, every option but sunroof and leather. I painted and cut and buffed it several years ago and looks better than new from the sides. The paint technology wasn't that good back then and it shows on the top. Fading on back seat top and front seat sides and a couple of cracks in the dash. Interior is near mint otherwise. Rebuilt and updated T5 w/ all new bearings and top shafts and carbon fiber blocking rings around 100K, full maintenance records since 1990. Would like a ballpark on what it would be worth.

Thanks for the time if you've read all this and any constructive advice. Jeff

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50RACER Offline
Senior Member
#2
I always have 87-88 Turbo Coupe and Thunderbird parts for sale. I have a lot of the pieces you are looking for. I recently made a deal with a local guy to buy 6 non-running parts cars, so I'll have a lot more parts in the next few years. I can go get the cars as I need them. I just brought the first one home on Saturday, one of the Sports. It is such a nice car that I am debating whether to part it out or not. The cars are all different colors. 2 turbo coupes, 2 LX, and 2 Sports. I sell a lot of parts on ebay and Craigslist, but remember those ebay sellers are going to have about 15% of that price get eaten by ebay and paypal fees. Most of my ebay stuff has a Buy it Now or Make Offer price. The parts are worth what folks are willing to pay. Admittedly, even I am surprised by the prices sometimes that people will pay. I recently sold some cylinder heads that went to France and Sweden. The shipping alone on those was over $300 each. The value of these cars is really only to those of us that love them. Otherwise the market is not very strong yet. A really great car would be in the $5000 range while your daily driver version is more like $1000-$1500, at least in the Northern Virginia area.

If you are interested, make a list of all the parts you are looking for and I'll get you some prices.
87 TC Medium Canyon Red
88 TC Black Beauty
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firebirdparts Offline
Junior Member
#3
u-pull-it has a very short residence time. The high price of scrap has influenced everybody to crush more. So there really won't be TC's in the junkyards any more. Once in a while you might find one.
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MN88TurboCoupe Offline
Member
#4
I do searches for various craigslist locations and find them.

https://chicago.craigslist.org/search/ct..._year=1988

Generally if you go to your local craigslist, just replace your city with larger cities and you can get hits.
Publicity, fame and accolades can make a theory popular. They can't make it true.
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#5
Sorry that you had to experience such a rude awakening.

I have a couple saved eBay searches that, since 2002, have netted me some nice parts. I got a pair of headlight assemblies from a guy in Canada about 10 years ago for about $100 in almost-new condition—adjusting screws intact and strong, lenses clear and not scratched, a bargain (of course it took almost as much to ship them). Most of my stuff is interior parts, although I’ve gotten a lot of mechanical items too.

You always hear about getting parts from the Desert Southwest, because there’s no rust. Well, while that is true, there are idiots here same as any other place, and usually these are the ones that retire these cars early to the salvage yards due to carelessness and neglect...and that potent mixture of ego and testosterone, which doesn’t help either.

You also develop a sort of Mad Max/Road Warrior mentality, which is when you scavenge and come up with suitable options from other parts, or fashion your own makeshift parts. Also, try looking for Cougar and Mustang Fox Body parts. Mustangs are and were very popular, many of those parts fit our cars. Both also had turbo models.

After awhile you will kind of develop a sort of sixth sense as to what’s a good deal and what isn’t...and what you should double down on. For example: the ABS unit is a beast, and when Ford had it, was selling it for $1600 new. I paid $600 for one at a salvage yard in Las Vegas. I am on my third—I have secured two replacements, both on eBay for about $150 each by carefully watching the listings. I bought a turbo from a salvage car in nearby Tucson for $50 and rebuilt it myself, with a rebuild kit and parts from dealers on eBay. I have several instrument panels, clocks, at least two each of both side mirrors, a dome light, a complete set of supposedly low-mileage PRC shocks, and on and on and on.

It’s too bad you didn’t know to start looking for parts before this. Nearly all the sources have dried up, or absurdly expensive. I can personally vouch for 50RACER’s stuff...and I hear good things about Ron’s Performance Garage in SoCal, have been in contact with him a few times.

If I can help you locate any parts, please let me know. I might have some extra things I could supply to you for a reasonable price...I don’t have very much in that regard though.

Good luck.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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JeffHWV Offline
Junior Member
#6
Thanks for the responses.

What do you think the upper limit on value for one of these cars is? Like one that maybe a dealer has had in the showroom since new or some old duffer bought new, put a few thousand miles on and kept it in a heated garage. I saw one car for sale for something like $14,000 and I don't think it was better than mine cosmetically. Has anything like this ever been sold at auction? Knowing that would make it a little easier for me to gauge what a car would be worth in incrementally less good condition. Fox bodied Mustang prices seem to have really started to take off in the last few years and you'd think these cars would follow right behind. I know the V6 SN95 Mustang aren't worth dirt. I fixed up a very nice low milage car for my niece that had been sitting for several years and was shocked when I checked NADA on it. The big Mark Lincolns are similar to these T-birds. The values are all over the place on them also.

50RACER your craigslist ad was one of the very few I had found other than a few odd parts here and there. I need to go back to the u-pull-it as I need to go for other vehicles I'm working on and I know there are a few items on it I can use. There are two other u-pull yards in my area I haven't been to yet but like firebirdparts says, I'm not optimistic. I have an ad I cut out of the local classifieds from a few years ago that I need to follow up on. After that, I am going to sit down and make a list of everything I need and how bad I need it and I'll go from there. Even when the prices are reasonable, a whole bunch of little parts can add up fast though.

The previous owner was an ex employee of ours that had no regard for the car whatsoever. He paid $400 for the car, drove it for over 5 years, didn't do squat to it and I bought if from him for $350. Then he cursed it until a fly would't light on it just because it had the wrong name on it. He drove it for a long time with wires running from the battery and solenoid and had them wrapped around the steering column with bare ends on them. That is how he started the car. All that was wrong was the ignition switch came uncrimped and only took me 15 minutes to fix. Of course that is why I have no door panels whatsoever because the windows did't work. He ditched the honeycomb wheels because he didn't want to buy 16" tires. It now has the 10 hole LX 15" wheels. He must have gotten a hell of a deal on them as it otherwise would have had 14" steelies. When a person like that has a car, everything he touched is screwed up. I guess it is a testament to how good the cars are that there isn't more wrong with it. He was hell on all that brittle plastic, though.

There is no doubt that the high price of junk claimed a bunch of these cars. Especially in this area where they aren't real practical to drive in the winter. I have to wonder what the story was on the car I got the door and fender from. What was left of the car looked pretty decent and the interior was super clean. I actually bought the carpet out of it, that's how nice it was on the inside. Funny thing is, it had a 2004 sticker on it. It makes me wonder how it managed to survive cash for clunkers and $300/ton scrap prices only to end up in the u-pull-it. There is also a 87-88 Cougar there with a 2003 sticker on it but it is very rough. I don't think I saw a single thing I could have used from it.

If I had started looking for parts 10 years ago, it would have been a piece of cake. About 5 years ago someone less than 15 miles from me had what appeared to be a very nice black 87 or 88 Turbo Coupe that had been sitting several years for a $1000. He had it for sale for a long time. That twists the knife even more. But then again, I had a very nice car that needed little and a complete parts car. I guess I should have invested in a crystal ball.

I do that, change the city on the craigslist searches myself. There's SearchTempest also, but I have to look in areas that I might possibly be in as this thing is pretty low on my priority list. The thing is, looking on the internet, it is easy to find stuff that people on the internet are interested in. I am guessing that many of the folks interested in these cars or might have one in their back yard aren't exactly well acquainted with the internet. There are three classified papers in my area and surprisingly they still exist, but they are a shadow of what they once were due to the internet.

Again, Thanks for all the responses.


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firebirdparts Offline
Junior Member
#7
A car last registered in 2004 would not have been eligible for "cash for clunkers" FWIW. Even if it was, they only crushed 700,000 cars out of the total population of cars here in the USA that is about 300 million. Not much going on there really.

Personally I would never buy parts if I needed more than a half dozen. I aways buy a whole car instead. It's cheaper. Here in East Tennessee I can still regularly find turbo coupes for sale on craigslist. The price does seem to be going up a bit, though.

I also have a Mark VII, and they are loaded with unavailable parts, like a TC is, but not at all rare. They're all alike, so every parts car will have whatever it is you wanted. There is some crossover there, but in my opinion not much. I wonder if they'll ever be worth any money. They seem to be building up some steam, but to some degree that is just going to bring 100,000 of them out of the woodwork. There is a big population to dampen the demand.
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matt f Offline
Member
#8
I have a junk turbo coupe that I'm pulling parts off of Has a complete interior, Raven. Dash is gone, but the bezels are mostly there and intact. Complete console, crack on top. Good switch setup for doors and console, single power seat. Doors are in good shape, speakers sounded fine when the car ran last year.

You could have all that stuff for $100 In southeaster PA, probably 3 1/2-4 hours from P burgh. I'm sure there's other stuff you could use that I'm getting rid of.
Ricky Bobby's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor" 88 Turbo Coupe'
2010 LeMons: 21st @ Capitol Offense, 17th @ Detroit Bull Oil Grand Prix.
Up in flames NJMP 2011
It's heart will beat again in an 87 Mustang!
2- 87 TCs, 1 88 TC, future race and support vehicles
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50RACER Offline
Senior Member
#9
Jeff, If you need a set of the snowflake wheels, I have a bunch of them that are pretty decent. I'll sell you 4 of them for $50. That is just about scrap value on them. I've scrapped a bunch of them just because no one wanted them.
87 TC Medium Canyon Red
88 TC Black Beauty
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#10
Let me start off by saying this: I don’t mean any offense, or to suggest anything negative with my comments.

I certainly can’t speak for everyone here...but for myself, I don’t put work into my car because of any dollar value attached to it. Yes, it’s good to know that it has some value, should I ever decide to sell it. I hate to use a cliche here...but it’s a labor of love. I really like my car; like how it looks, drives, etc.

I’m not suggesting that a person might be interested in fixing up/restoring a car just for the $$. That’s up to the individual.

I’m only saying—if that were the case, I’d have given up years ago when our cars hit the bottom end of $600, according to Kelly Blue Book (yes, those were dark times and probably claimed the lives of many TCs).

I can certainly understand that a person would not want to begin a fix up project without first knowing if it’s cost effective. That only makes good sense.

BUT—I believe that there could be other factors, as well. Maybe it was your family’s old car, the one you grew up riding in. Maybe it was your Dad’s work truck when you were a kid.

A story to illustrate: Forty years ago I became involved in the restoration of antique cash registers, specifically bronze ones. You’ve seen these, undoubtedly—you press a key down, the appropriate $ tab/sign comes up in the top glass window. Most were made in the late 1890s-early 1900s. I was told by an antique dealer that they were worth hundreds of dollars, restored, he was always looking for them. So, even though I was young, I scoured the second hand stores/flea markets of Western PA where I grew up looking for them. I found a few, spent hours and hours using a drill and a wire wheel polishing each up so they were bright and shiny and quite impressive. I envisioned all the money I would be earning with my efforts. In the end, months and a few years later—they sold for only a bit more than I paid for them initially. Said antique dealer wouldn’t even pay me what I bought them for. I grew to love these machines—they are quite beautiful in their own way. But my idea of making a profit didn’t work out (although nowadays they’re selling for upwards of several thousand dollars).

Advice: like with anything older that you’ve obtained with the idea of bringing it back to its former glory—don’t make it all about the money.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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