Automotive Mileposts  
New Thunder for the Bird:
Powerful Thunder Jet 429 has 360 horses, more power than ever before—to flash you from where you are, to where you're going!
Thunder Jet 429 V-8 engine 1968 Thunderbird



Thunderbird 390 Special V-8 (315 Horsepower)
  (Standard until January 1, 1968, then discontinued)
  4-Barrel Autolite 4300 Carburetor/Dual Exhaust System
Thunder Jet 429 V-8 (360 Horsepower)
  (Optional until January 1, 1968, then added as standard equipment)
  4-Barrel Autolite 4300 Carburetor/Dual Exhaust System
1968 Thunderbird Production by Engine Type:

Tudor Hardtop—390: 4; 429: 9,973

Tudor Landau—390: 1; 429: 33,028

Fordor Landau—390: 1; 429: 21,924

SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic (Automatic, 3-Speed)

2.80:1 Limited Slip
3.00:1 Limited Slip
WHEELBASE 114.7 Inches (Two Door)
117.2 Inches (Four Door)
Two Door
206.9 Inches
77.3 Inches
52.6 Inches
4,366 (Hardtop) 4,372 (Landau)
360 Horses Requires
Additional Stopping Power

"Floating Caliper" Power Front Disc Brakes
New "Floating Caliper" Power Front Disc Brakes were an improvement over 1967. They were fast cooling, simpler in design, easier to service, and provided a high resistance to fade.

Never before had the Thunderbird had such powerful and dependable brakes. Automotive pundits of the time rated the T-Bird's brakes as among the very best available on any car, regardless of make, model, or price.
Four Door
209.4 Inches
77.3 Inches
53.4 Inches

Front Tread
Rear Tread
Steering Ratio
Turning Diameter
62 Inches
62 Inches
21.9 to 1
42 Feet

Farewell To the 390 Special V-8

1968 would be the last year Thunderbird utilized the 390 Special V-8 engine. In fact, only a very few 390's were installed in Thunderbirds after the 1967 model year. We believe that Ford planners decided to include the new 429 engine as a mandatory option virtually from the beginning of production, in order to keep the Thunderbird competitive in its personal luxury market segment. All of the competitors offered higher displacement engines as standard equipment for 1968, which included the Cadillac Eldorado, Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado, Imperial Crown Coupe, and even the T-bird's sister model, the new 1969 Continental Mark III, introduced early during the 1968 production year.

Introduced as standard equipment for the 1961 model year, the 390 faithfully served the Thunderbird, as well as many other Ford models, throughout the sixties. The 390 would live on past 1968, for a few more years, in the engine bays of other cars, such as the Galaxie 500 and LTD, but would never again serve duty in a Thunderbird engine bay. Emission control equipment, in its infancy in 1968, would rob engines of considerable power. The Thunderbird was also getting quite heavy at this point, as more of them were loaded up with extra luxuries such as air conditioning and power windows and seats. Performance was really beginning to suffer due to these reasons, and the competition was providing more cubic inches and more horsepower, which required that T-bird do the same. It is for this reason, among others, that the new Thunder Jet 429 became standard equipment on January 1, 1968. Ironically, even the powerful 429 would have a short relationship with the Thunderbird, as the car continued to grow longer and heavier in the seventies. The 429's sister, the 460 (originally designed for the Lincoln Division), would be made available as an option for the 1972 model year, and would be standard by 1974, just in time for the gas shortages that struck the United States in October 1973, shortly after the 1974 model year introduction.

Soon after, smaller cars with smaller engines and better fuel efficiency would forever change the American landscape.

1968 Ford Thunderbird Contents

Production | Paint | Trim | Standard Equipment | Optional Equipment

Select Another Thunderbird Year | Main Contents
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