Used 1997 Ford Thunderbird

1997 Ford Thunderbird
List price range
1997 Ford Thunderbird

Pros

  • Lincoln Mark VIII style and performance on a Ford Contour budget. This is the perfect car for closet enthusiasts who need a car that is more mature than the Mustang.

Cons

  • The Thunderbird seriously needs a complete redesign. After eight years, the body is looking a little long-in-tooth.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The long-lived Thunderbird has received many exterior and interior refinements over the last few years. Nonetheless, the Thunderbird is looking a bit staid when compared to fresher offerings like the Pontiac Grand Prix coupe or the Nissan 240SX. Considering all of the upheaval in the FoMoCo lines the last two years, it comes as no surprise that a new Thunderbird is being penned in the Dearborn design studios that will share a platform with the next-generation Mustang.

This doesn't mean that we don't like the Thunderbird. In fact, we think that it is one of the wisest choices in the personal coupe segment. An optional 4.6-liter V8 engine, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, optional traction control and a very reasonable price make this an ideal car for people who like to drive, but are constrained by budget and the need for a more mature car then, say, a Chevy Camaro. Slap on the Sport Option, premium sound system, and leather seats and then ask yourself why anyone would spend the extra $15,000 it takes to get into a Lincoln Mark VIII.

Changes for 1997 include the addition of four-wheel disc brakes and driver's side courtesy lights to the standard equipment list and the deletion of the underhood light and leather-wrapped shift knob. Of course, there is also the usual random shuffling of package options -- the leather-wrapped shift knob mysteriously re-appears in Preferred Equipment Package 157A -- and the addition and deletion of various paint and interior colors.

People looking for an unpretentious, fun-to-drive car that has a lot of class at a good price are advised to check out their local Ford dealer and see if the Thunderbird offers the right set of wings. There is a reason that this car has been around for so long.

1997 Highlights

The Thunderbird receives few updates this year. A revised center console, a few new colors, and standard four-wheel disc brakes are the big news for 1997.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Ford Thunderbird.

Nothing Like It
lastbird97,01/16/2010
Bought it off the lot fully loaded in 1997 on a whim and still loving it 13 years later. The V8, Traction assist, 16' wheels, antilock brakes and suspension make all the difference on this model. Detailing, Regular maintenance and keeping up with service bulletins has kept it in near showroom condition. The leather Interior, Sunroof, CD Player and temperature control system makes it as comfortable as my Limited Grand Cherokee. The styling still feels contemporary and the spoiler on the rear deck adds a nice touch to the cars shape.
200,000 and Still going Strong
Barbara,07/07/2010
I bought this car brand new in 1997 and just passed the 200,000 mile mark. The car starts every time, even if it sits for a month at a time without starting. The engine is fantastic and except for usual maintenance, the engine & transmission are in perfect condition. You can't beat an American made 8 cylinder. I have never owned anything but fords - 4 mustangs, 1 Thunderbird, 1 focus, 1 escape and next on to the fusion. Just wish it was 2 door.
3 TIMES A CHARM
MIASTYLE/MIAYAYO,07/28/2009
this is my 3rd T-Bird, 93,96 now a 97, i have literally taking this car around the country and back. i keep up with the oil, tires, sparkplugs, suspension, oil again b.c that's the best thing you can do, i just recently changed my manifold, break booster, starter, belts, bearings in the differential. i want this car to last another 5 years, currently i am at 140k mi, as long as you stay up on the maintenance @ ALL TIMES, you will be good to go, hiway gas mi is great, city mi is terrible, not to mention a lot of the work can be done urself if you have the time and tools, this car is great for a young whipper snapper looking for there 1st car, my nex project is to maybe paint it,
Great car when givin' TLC
Simon Black,03/13/2016
This is a car Iv'e had for 7 years now. Only 118,000 miles, and has plenty of life left. Only odd issue I had was a transmisson failure. But besides that I can work on almost anything on this car. Can't afford a new one now, but will be hoping to get a couple of more years of life out of it before I can get something newer. The Japanese models don't do it for me. The seats are far more comfy than the foreign models. Would like a Charger, or maybe a Crown Vic next.
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
145 hp @ 4000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Ford Thunderbird features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger1 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Ford Thunderbird
Used 1997 Ford Thunderbird Overview

The Used 1997 Ford Thunderbird is offered in the following submodels: Thunderbird Coupe. Available styles include LX 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Ford Thunderbird?

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Which used 1997 Ford Thunderbirds are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Ford Thunderbird for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Ford Thunderbird.

Can't find a used 1997 Ford Thunderbirds you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Thunderbird for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $18,889.

Find a used Ford for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $21,925.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Thunderbird for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $13,275.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $7,816.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Ford Thunderbird?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Ford lease specials
Check out Ford Thunderbird lease specials