1976 Thunderbird Tri-Hull, 188hp

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by Ol' Thorny, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Ol' Thorny
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Ol' Thorny Junior Member

    ok Guys (& Gals)

    What can anyone tell me about a 1976 Thunderbird (Signa) Tri-Hull with a 350ci. Chevy, 188hp Mercrusier Stern Drive 888 ?

    I have searched the Net over and over, and have only found generic info about the now-defunct company that made it.

    It is a 20' er, open bow, walk-through windshield, and a ski ladder. I'd like any info as to retro parts availibility, especially instrument panel replacement (to read gages and buttons).
    Any, and I mean ANY info will be greatly appreciated!! I will reciprocate in kind wherever possible.

    Thanks, and keep the trailer side down,

    Ol' Thorny
     
  2. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Thunderbird, as well as dozens of other manufactures died a slow and painful death, in the dark years of production boat builders. They're gone and parts, well they're pretty much gone too, so it's restoration, rebuilding or remanufacturing.

    Instrument panels are easy enough to make if you're fairly handy.

    [​IMG]

    Try this link for additional information.

    http://www.fiberglassics.com/thunderbird/
     
  3. Ol' Thorny
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    Ol' Thorny Junior Member

    Thanks Par, for the reply!

    I prettty much figured that would be the case.:(

    I will do as you suggested. A slow deliberate restoration. I am fairly handy (don't tell my wife I said that). Thanks for the link, I'm sure it will be very helpful! I look forward to talking to you again.

    Ol' Thorny
     
  4. stimulous check
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    stimulous check Junior Member

    Is there any relation between this Thunderbird and the Formula Thunderbird powerboats of today? Or is it a coincidence they both use the same thunderbird logo?
     
  5. Ol' Thorny
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    Ol' Thorny Junior Member

    Yes SC, there is a direct relation. The racing Thunderbird Formulas are the latest evolution. I am working right now on the full timeline. I will post the history as soon as I have it all put together.
     
  6. Ol' Thorny
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    Ol' Thorny Junior Member

  7. powerabout
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    powerabout Senior Member

    Porter Rix had one....
    Always wanted one since I was a kid watching flipper.

    If you have a 888 its Ford 302 with either a horrible Holley 2 barrel or a Rochester 2GV.
    The distributor is at the front for Ford, back for Chev.
    I'm not a Ford man but the Windsor V8's are nice engines but had a tendancy in raw water cooled versions to rust through the exhaust ports straight into the sea water.

    Nice looking boat

    Cheers
    Powerabout
     
  8. Ol' Thorny
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    Ol' Thorny Junior Member

    Thanks for the info powerabout, I stand corrected. Since it is an 888, and the distributor is in front, it must be the Ford 302. I will have to check the carbs. The previous owner was the one that told me it was a 350 Chevy.

    I agree with you about the Porter Rix comment.:D I too was a big "Flipper" fan as a kid and loved the boat. Mine is very simular.

    Thanks again for the engine clarification. That's why I love this site!! So many very knowledgeable people.

    Ol' Thorny
     
  9. familytradition
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    familytradition New Member

    Ol' thorny
    My wife bought me a 1968 thunderbird 16' closed bow and it came with what I think is the original motor 1968 65hp johnson. I had emailed formula and to them that I was trying to restore my boat and if they happen to have anything from parts to ads left over I would be interested in purchasing them. And they responded with that they had nothing left or any information on anyone reproducing aftermarket parts. Oh and thanks PAR for the link I was able to find out my boats model. Mine is the " thunderbird UTE " if anyone has any info on this model please let me know. This is my first boat and I am addicted to not only having it on the water, but working on it as well.
     
  10. powerabout
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    powerabout Senior Member

    How many cylinders does the engine have, v4 is it?
     
  11. Ol' Thorny
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    Ol' Thorny Junior Member

    familytradition:
    Thanks for the reply, at least you got a response from formula, they never replied to an email I sent them with a simular request. I too am addicted like you are, but I'm getting frustrated by the lack of info on the older Thunderbirds like your UTE and my Signa. But the detective work sure is fun ain't it!
     
  12. familytradition
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    familytradition New Member

    yes power it is a v4 and thorny I just kept emailing them till I got a answer,he is a site to visit
    Thunderbird Lodge Historic Site - The Boat not sure if this will stay a link or not thats a cool vintage site, that would be a great place to visit for a thunderbird owner
     
  13. H2O Gato
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    H2O Gato Regular Cat in the Water

    Found a 1976 Thunderbird Tri-Hull, 188hp

    I have a chance to acquire one of these boats and have actually been allowed to test it out. Seems to be in order and fires up with no effort. The interior is relatively newer and only lacks carpet. Trim controls work and she is fast...although if you are not gentle with her on wakes her reputation to beat you up definitely is confirmed. He is asking $1500.00 what do you all think ?
     
  14. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I had one.... many years ago... It had an Oldsmobile v8, or a Buick - I don't remember.- Not a Chevy. It ran great, a bit heavy in the back. Don't know if engine original- got it used for $500.
     

  15. H2O Gato
    Joined: Dec 2007
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    H2O Gato Regular Cat in the Water

    Thank you that gives me a good start point, the boat I am looking at has the ford 888 engine.
     
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