Ford Thunderbird 1983 PPG Pace Car autoshow

Ford Thunderbird – 1983 PPG Pace Car

Jack Roush had a hand in this PPG Pace Car  concept and now it lives in his museum.


The first year of Ford’s redesigned Thunderbird was 1983, transforming the car from a boxy land yacht to an ’80s luxury sport coupe. This custom one-off concept was also introduced in 1983, with styling features that would be seen in much later Thunderbirds. As with many of the PPG Pace Cars of this era, most of the body was redesigned for better aerodynamics and was never available on production Thunderbirds. In addition to being shown at the 1984 Chicago Auto Show, the car also saw track use as a PPG Pace Car.


The front facia, side skirts and rear are one-off parts designed specifically for this vehicle. Note the flush tinted headlight covers for improved aerodynamics. While improving the looks of the vehicle, these modifications were functional for high speed use on the track. The suspension and engine modifications are unknown, but Jack Roush tuned the Ford PPG Pace Cars of this era, including the 1983 Mustang Concept and this ’84 Thunderbird. Other modifications are unknown.

Current Status

The 1983 Ford Thunderbird Concept can be seen at The Roush Automotive Collection, in Livonia, MI.

Ford Thunderbird 1983 PPG Pace Car autoshow

The 1984 Chicago Auto Show

The Roush Automotive Collection

Ford Thunderbird 1983 PPG Pace Car CART 


1 comment
  • From the 1989-90 edition of “The Men and Machines of Indy Car Racing”, the description for this car:
    400 hp V8 engine with a 5 speed manual transmission painted in iridescent white paint.

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