From Ford press: With the exception of three new luxury groups, the 1976 Thunderbird was basically the same as the 1975 version in terms of luxury, convenience, appearance and standard equipment levels.
New as optional equipment were a power lumbar seat and an AM/FM quadrasonic eight-track tape player. The greatest significance of the 1976 Thunderbird was that it marked the end of another Thunderbird era. After this, the flight of the Thunderbird would change directions.
The new direction of the Thunderbird was into the high-volume mid-size specialty car market.
Built on a 114-inch wheelbase, it was a slimmer and sleeker automobile that retained many of the traditional Thunderbird styling touches that millions of owners and admirers had come to know.
The appearance of the 1977 Thunderbird was spotlighted by a unique wrapover roof treatment, featuring beveled glass opera windows in the center pillars. Other distinctive features included a chrome-plated grille, hidden headlamps and "wall-to-wall" taillamps.
The early 1980s saw a completely different direction for Thunderbird - it was smaller, more angular in styling and targeted to a more conservative, fuel-economy concious customer. Not destined to be a favorite of collectors, it was not long for the cycle-plan.