MORGAN TWP, PA, USA
Up for auction is this 2002 Ford Thunderbird Roadster, in black with a black leather interior, with both a removable black hard top and an electric fabric soft convertible top, running a 3.9 liter V8 engine with a five speed automatic transmission, and 39,308 miles on the clock.
Ford’s decision to bring the Thunderbird back to its roots, resulted in this grand touring personal coupe, with retro styling evocative of the original, first-generation 1955 model. As the eleventh -and last - generation of the Thunderbird name, it was a dramatic reversal in size and mission from what the T-bird had been from the 60’s up into the 90’s.
At the turn of the century, there was a trend among major manufacturers to go with retro styling cues on some halo models, as a way to establish stronger corporate identities. While some companies came up with models that were just influenced by earlier concepts and designs cues, Ford came up with a modern but direct interpretation of the first Thunderbird with this 2002 model – back to a two seat, low slung personal roadster with round head and taillight designs, and a wide chrome grill on the nose, more streamlined but clearly a direct descendant.
This first-year example of the last Thunderbird generation is in excellent condition, with low mileage and very little evidence of wear, and no mechanical issues to be addressed, making kit ready to go for the next owner.
The exterior is finished in Evening Black, with a matching and removable black hardtop, and a black fabric electric convertible top. The finish is in excellent condition overall. The nose of the Thunderbird shows some minor flaws, with a couple stone chips, but little else. The chrome grill and lights are all in excellent condition, free of chips or evidence of contact, or pitting. Around back, the chrome trim and badging are all shiny and in the proper place, and the bumperettes are in excellent shape and free from damage. The factory alloy wheels have Michelin touring tires in good shape, though some wheels have curb rash, as seen in the photos.
The interior is black with leather seating, and is in excellent condition. The driver seat shows very little evidence of use, with some minor wrinkling, but no wear or damage. Touch points like the steering wheel, shifter, and armrests are all clean and straight, and present very well. All dash instruments and the dashtop are clean, free from scratches, warping, or fade. The carpets are also clean and fade-free, and the headliner is straight and intact as well.
The 3.9 liter modular V8 in the Thunderbird is sourced from Jaguar code-named AJ, a motor that has been used in various sizes in Fords, Lincolns, Jaguars, and Land Rover/Range Rover models. is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, and the drivetrain is in very good mechanical condition. Maintenance is up to date, and nothing is in need of repair. Undercarriage pictures reveal some mild surface corrosion typical of a Northeast market car, but nothing structural or in need of attention.
What goes around comes around, and this faithful reinterpretation of the original Thunderbird is approaching official classic status. A model like this tends to start rising in value, especially with lower mileage and in a popular color. The retro styling makes this one of the most likely Ford’s to be interesting another twenty year from n ow, but it’s also an interesting car in its own right – unique styling, good V8 power, and the removable hardtop make it a promising ownership proposition.
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