Two cars defined the newfound freedom of the 1950s: the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. Eventually, Chevrolet took their Corvette to the race track while Ford continued to turn their Thunderbird into the ultimate boulevard king. Now, sixty years later, Corvettes are regarded as some of the best curve carvers in the world, and Thunderbirds, like this 18K mile stunner, are still turning heads on Main Street. If you looked at a brand new Thunderbird in 1955 but couldn’t swing it, and looked again in 2002 but the timing just wasn’t right, 2013 is your year! That’s right; we have a pristine 2002 Thunderbird that’s so nice it could’ve rolled out of the factory yesterday! So, if you’re still looking to hit the road in refined style, the third time’s a charm!
According to the original window sticker that accompanies this T-bird’s sale, it was fitted with the following standard and optional equipment:
STANDARD EQUIPMENT INCLUDED AT NO EXTRA CHARGE:
* 3.9 liter 32-valve DOHC V8
* Dual exhaust system that’s complete with bright tips
* 5-speed automatic transmission that’s equipped with overdrive
* 4-wheel independent suspension
* Power steering
* Automatic headlamps
* Speed sensitive wipers
* 18 gallon fuel tank
* Power retractable top
* Chromed cast aluminum wheels
* P235/50VR17 all-season, black sidewall tires
* Power Nudo Leather seats
* Center console that’s complete with both storage and a leather armrest
* Dual electronic auto temperature control
* AM/FM stereo system that’s complete with an in-dash, 6-disc CD changer
* Power tilting and telescoping steering wheel
* Rear window defroster
* Dual front airbags
* 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes
* Antilock brake system
* All speed traction control
* Perimeter anti-theft system
* Front license plate bracket ($00)
* Supplemental parking lamps ($00)
* Black Accent Package ($295)
STANDARD MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $36,390
TOTAL OPTIONS: $295
DESTINATION CHARGE: $555
TOTAL MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE: $37,240
Ford’s sensational Thunderbird sprang to life as a 1955 halo car that fired imaginations and eventually became a legend. In 1999, Dearborn’s favorite son decided it would honor that original by building a new model to turn just as many heads. And, within three years, the convertible your see here, affectionately dubbed the ‘retrobird’, was rolling through production. Honestly, it’s pretty difficult to describe a car like this pristine drop-top. I really want to say: “imagine finding a showroom-new time capsule that’s barely been driven” because that’s how nice it truly is. The car’s body has obviously been pampered and exceptionally cared for, as that slick Inspiration Yellow two-stage looks just as good as the day it rolled off the truck. And, from its great fit to its blemish-free panels, this Ford is definitely one of the nicest cruisers on the planet!
As one of the most enduring ‘retro’ designs ever created, this Ford’s J Mays penned fuselage looks fantastic from virtually any angle. At the front of that fuselage, a bright chrome grille hangs small driving lights below clear, combination headlamps and a teal-inlayed Thunderbird emblem. Behind that emblem, a composite hood centers a traditional Thunderbird scoop in front of tinted factory glass that sports a stylish chrome frame. At the top of that frame, an Evening Black hardtop latches down over a standard Haartz soft top to perfectly mimic Ford’s original, 1955 dual-roof system. Below those roofs, chrome ventiports ride inside re-imagined fender lines that lead the eye through body-matched mirrors to rear mounted “Thunderbird” scripts. And behind those scripts, a contoured Center High Mount Stop Lamp illuminates a second, teal-inlayed Thunderbird emblem, clear, combination tail lights, a chrome-trimmed tag recess and stylish stainless exhaust tips.
When Ford debuted the eleventh generation Thunderbird, it introduced a car that was faithful to the original concept in every way. Power for this classy cruiser comes from a 3.9 liter, 32-valve DOHC V8 that was developed by former captive subsidiary Jaguar. Code named the AJ35, the Ford-specific mill utilizes variable valve timing, fracture-split and forged rods, a one-piece, cast camshaft and a reinforced, composite intake to create a smooth 280 horsepower and stout 286 lb./ft. of torque. Envisioned more as a comfortable cruiser than a flat-out sports car, this Ford never pretended to be a Corvette or Porsche competitor. That said; 0-60 still comes in at a very respectable seven seconds flat, and the car’s silky smooth powerplant delivers enough grunt to provide fun and responsive driving characteristics. Aesthetically, the entire engine is hidden under an attractive plastic shroud which substitutes a classic “Thunderbird” script and silver “V8” for traditional views of its componentry. However, you can still plainly see how well everything has been maintained and, with a turn the key, the cylinders settle into a restrained hum of power.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s Ford developed one global rear wheel drive platform, codenamed DEW, that was set to underpin everything from select Jaguars to the fifth generation Mustang. Those competent roots supply this awesome Thunderbird with a sophisticated independent suspension which utilizes a host of weight saving technology to provide a smooth ride and composed road manners. Behind the aluminum engine, a 5-speed automatic transmission sends power to a fresh Ford rear end that’s fitted with beefy 3.58 gears. At the corners of the chassis, 4-wheel disc brakes, which are aided by standard antilock and traction control systems, ride behind chrome, 17-inch wheels and sticky Sumitomo Touring LSVs. All that world class engineering results in a sturdy convertible that possesses relaxed sportiness and features an excellent combination of cushy comfort and tight handling. And when you throw your favorite road at this drop-top, it’ll chew it up, spit it out and coddle you in the kind of luxury vintage T-bird owners can only dream of.
Ford began the 21st century by producing some of the most impressive and detail-oriented interiors to ever hit the market. And the Midnight Black cockpit in this pristine roadster is one of their best designs. The driver and passenger are treated to power leather seats, which are branded with small Thunderbird emblems. Below those seats, day-one fresh carpet is protected by thick floor mats and bordered by cool “Ford Thunderbird” sill plates. Above those sills, winged door panels hang great looking metal trim above controls for both power windows and power door locks. In front of those panels, a highly detailed dash anchors Turquoise-tipped needles between satin-faced gauges, a 6-disc CD changer and attractive metal trim. At the base of that dash, a great looking console centers dual-zone climate control on a black shift knob and sculpted waterfall back panel. In front of the driver, a black-topped wheel spins a pristine, teal-inlayed emblem around a tilting and telescoping column. And behind the passengers, a fully finished trunk features enough luggage room for a quick weekend getaway.
The sale of this clean T-bird includes original owner’s manuals, original dealership paperwork and the original window sticker outlined above.
If there’s one phrase that describes this awesome yellow Thunderbird, it would be “luxury sport”. I know it sounds a little cliché, but it’s true. Like their predecessors, these cars have built a legacy of cruising, seeing, being seen and looking fantastic. Just imagine sitting down in the car’s comfy leather seats, firing up its throaty V8 and chasing the sun down your favorite two-lane black top. It just doesn’t get much better than that!