Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Though it's got just two seats, the revived T-Bird ain't no sports car. Rather, this retro-dressed Lincoln derivative is a boulevardier sure to turn every head in town.
After more than 40 years, a proper two-seat Thunderbird roadster has returned. Looking back on the various types of cars the Thunderbird name has been used on, it's amazing to think that this is the model that helped almost kill off the Corvette. That's right, the introduction of the '55 T-Bird combined with the sale of only 700 '55 Vettes nearly put the kibosh on Chevy's two-seater.
Now a Ford two-seater is back, and it will be a sight to see on the road. Riding on the same platform as the Lincoln LS, the 'Bird uses the same 3.9-liter DOHC V8, as well. In feathered trim, the engine also produces the same 252 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 267 foot-pounds of torque at 4,300 rpm. The LS' five-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox available at this point.
Ford's new two-seater rides on a full independent suspension that uses a short-long arm (SLA) design at the front and rear. The control arms are made of aircraft-grade forged or cast aluminum to reduce weight. Cast aluminum 17-inch wheels are also standard in a 21-spoke design, which, frankly, we like better than the optional seven-spoke chrome wheel. All 'Birds come with ABS and four-wheel disc brakes. Looking for maximum traction in all kinds of weather? Spring for the optional traction-control system.
Moving to the car's intimate two-seat cabin, you'll find many of the buttons and switches, as well as the instrument cluster, are lifted directly from the Lincoln LS -- though instrumentation does utilize attractive white-faced gauges. The leather seat trim has what Ford calls a "Thunderbird tuck and roll," and the driver seat has six-way power adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. While the standard interior color is black, there's an interesting option package in which the seats, lower instrument panel, steering-wheel top and shift knob match or contrast the five available exterior colors. If you order this package, cars that are Inspiration Yellow, Torch Red or Thunderbird Blue will get the above-noted interior pieces in the same color. The same package is available in red for Evening Black or Whisper White T-Birds. Additionally, 200 special-edition '02 Thunderbirds were sold through the Neiman Marcus catalog. In about two hours, every car had been spoken for.
Finally, while the Thunderbird is the epitome of what a truly fun car is all about, it's still chock-full of safety bits. There's standard side airbags, which make the car the first Ford convertible to come equipped with combination head and chest side airbags. And when you want to include small children in the fun, there's a deactivation switch for the passenger side front and side airbags and a LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) child-seat anchor system that provides rigid child-seat anchors.
The anticipation of this car's coming to market easily matches that created by others such as the PT Cruiser, VW New Beetle and '97 C5 Corvette. Naturally, demand will far exceed supply for years to come, primarily because Ford has done an exceptional job in the design, style and engineering of this new 'Bird. If you haven't already placed your order, be prepared for a long wait and/or serious dealer profiteering.
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More About This Model
Ford Motor Company has fond dreams for its 2002 Thunderbird the company is already classifying it as "an icon in its own right." And it's easy to get caught up in the excitement after all, the new, completely redesigned T-Bird is nothing short of adorable. But a pretty face is certainly not ground for deification unless, of course, you happen to live in Hollywood.
The Thunderbird was born as a 1955 model, a snazzy two-seater with a base sticker price of $2,695. While it was originally envisioned as a true sports car, it was executed as a personal luxury car the progenitor of that automotive segment. The four-passenger "Square Bird" followed in 1958, and in the early '60s the futuristic "Bullet Birds" were quite popular, serving as the basis for the sports roadster. Distinguished by a molded fiberglass tonneau that transformed the four-seater ragtop into a two-person convertible, the sports roadster made a brief appearance from 1962 to 1963. The T-Bird had a minor growth spurt of 1.5 inches in 1967, offering seating for six. The '70s and early '80s witnessed some questionable decisions on the part of designers, with plenty of conservative, angular body styles. Ford made design history again with the 'Bird with the unique "aero-style" body in 1983; the theme was carried out through 1988. An all-new model was released in 1989 with a completely different look that emulated the BMW 6 Series, but the T-Bird nonetheless suffered an overall decline in popularity until its demise in 1997.
Just two short years later, the Thunderbird was reincarnated as a retro-styled two-seat concept car at the 1999 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A complete departure from the previous generation T-Bird, the concept harkened back to the nascent 1955 model, with seating for two only.
The 2002 Thunderbird is meant to recapture the romance of the original while simultaneously looking to the future. Rather than create a replica of the '50s classic, designers incorporated distinctive Golden Age design cues into an overall modernistic shape. The new 'Bird's 186.3-inch overall length is 11 inches longer than the original 1955 model, and it, too, features a short front overhang, reverse wedge shape which makes the car appear taller in front than in back and egg-crate grille. A decorative hood scoop, round head- and taillights, understated chrome chevrons and an available removable hardtop with porthole windows tie the 2002 version beyond a doubt to the classic T-Birds of the late '50s.
Seventeen-inch 21-spoke cast-aluminum wheels are standard on the 2002 T-Bird, while 17-inch seven-spoke chrome wheels are available as an option. A 6.7-cubic-foot trunk which is downright voluminous as two-seat roadsters go can swallow two sets of golf clubs, and even features a nifty cubby for shoes, umbrellas and the like. While the Thunderbird comes standard with a black convertible soft top, the aforementioned removable hard top is available. Removable tops can be ordered to match the body color or can be had in white on any model. While the soft top is power-operated, we found that it took some finagling to get it firmly anchored in the front. A central latch controls hooks on either side, but getting the hooks aligned in their proper holes is no easy task. The hard top was simple to install, but reasonably heavy, weighing in at about 88 pounds. Once on, the removable top feels quite secure, but we did notice quite a lot of wind noise coming off the B-pillars at highway speeds.
Underneath its seductive physique, the Thunderbird shares most of its architecture with the Lincoln LS, which is quite a good car in its own right. But the T-Bird is intended to be a cruiser the catch phrase "relaxed sportiness" came up repeatedly during the course of the vehicle's press introduction, in regard to both the vehicle's styling and its driving dynamics. Therefore, the fully independent suspension has been tweaked slightly to provide a somewhat softer ride than in the LS. Stabilizer bars front and rear keep body roll from becoming excessive and a 50/50 weight distribution aids the Thunderbird's handling characteristics. A 3,775-pound curb weight (3,863 with the hardtop) tops the Lincoln LS V8 by 83 pounds, although overall length is slightly shorter, which makes for better maneuverability in the 'Bird.
The T-Bird provides a silken ride on the highway when traveling straight ahead on smooth roads, it really does feel like the ultimate cruiser. Once the going gets bumpy, however, jounce and rebound, especially from the rear suspension, are too excessive for comfort, and this cruiser has a tendency to wallow over bumps and dips.
The Thunderbird's notable curb weight became readily apparent as we tried to power our way uphill. It shares its 3.9-liter V8 with the Lincoln LS, an engine capable of 252 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 267 foot-pounds of torque at 4,300 rpm. Thunderbird's five-speed automatic transmission (no manual is available) downshifted obtrusively, as well as belatedly, whenever we hit the gas for an extra spurt of passing power. The exhaust note was carefully tuned to fit somewhere between the guttural grunt of the Mustang GT and the throaty refinement of the Lincoln LS and is intended (to a certain extent) to duplicate the sound of the '55 'Bird.
We understand that the T-Bird is meant to be a cruiser primarily, but in light of Ford PR's incessant references to "relaxed sportiness," we feel compelled to take them to task for the roadster's lack of steering feel. Maneuvering the Thunderbird along winding roads was anticlimactic at best virtually no road communication is offered through either the wheel or the seat of the pants. To give credit, though, the T-Bird's variable assist rack-and-pinion steering is suitably responsive. The four-wheel disc brakes with ABS don't offer terribly progressive pedal modulation, but do bring the T-Bird to a halt in a consistent and confident manner.
On the inside, the 2002 Thunderbird is unmistakably similar to the Lincoln LS. The mundane waterfall-style center stack features easy-to-read, logically situated audio and climate controls not at all retro, but the simplicity of the layout is appreciated. To give the interior a touch of distinction, Ford offers the option of matching the lower dash, seat trim, top half of the steering wheel and shift knob to three of the exterior colors: Inspiration Yellow, Torch Red or Thunderbird Blue. The red interior package can also be had on Evening Black and Whisper White Thunderbirds. The effect can be dramatic for instance, in the yellow 'Bird, bumblebee references are inevitable. The standard interior is black with leather trim.
Ford's latest sweetheart comes standard with such luxury items as automatic dual-zone climate control, six-way power driver seat with manual lumbar support, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a six-disc in-dash CD changer. The seats, however, are a little mushy and don't provide very much support. The roadster's relatively long wheelbase gives occupants plenty of room to stretch out, with 43.7 inches of legroom. However, very tall drivers may find the 37.1 inches of headroom (with either top on) to be slightly claustrophobic. Unlike most two-seaters, the Thunderbird offers a convenient and generously sized parcel shelf behind the seats to accommodate purses, shopping bags and the like.
Large back windows in the convertible and removable tops aid rearward visibility in the T-Bird. The sharply angled windshield, on the other hand, allows for too much reflection off the dash, thereby impeding forward visibility somewhat. According to engineers, the steep angle reduces top-down turbulence. Despite their efforts, conversation in the Thunderbird with the top dropped is a challenge.
Our test drive in the Thunderbird was unfortunately cut short because we got a flat tire. Having picked up a sharp object without realizing it, we exited the car for a quick pit stop only to hear a distinct hissing sound. We attempted to install the spare tire, but had a great amount of trouble getting the bolts to seat properly; it was almost as if the spare didn't quite fit the wheel. Eventually, a couple of knights in shining armor from Ford took over the situation, sending us along our way in the Mustang Bullitt they had been driving. We won't dwell too much on our difficulty in applying the spare tire securely, but only because the vehicle we were driving was a pre-production model.
A couple other build-quality snafus that we hope will be limited to a hastily fabricated pre-production Thunderbird test car were loose tunnel trim and the incomplete anchoring of the rear bumper on the driver side.
The new 'Bird's array of safety features establishes it firmly in the 21st century. Dual front and side airbags (with a passenger-side deactivation switch for small children and babies), a LATCH child-seat anchor system, a passive antitheft system and antilock brakes all come standard. Traction control is available as an option, although stability control is not.
The new and improved Thunderbird will undoubtedly appeal to those who long for the classic styling of '50s roadsters, but can't relinquish their need for modern-day convenience and reliability. But that combination doesn't come cheap with a base MSRP of $35,495 ($37,995 with the removable top), the Thunderbird prices in the same arena as luxury-brand coupes and roadsters. But Ford insists that the T-Bird is in a class by itself. It does have a point; there are undoubtedly those consumers who consider the head-turning ability and nostalgic styling of the Thunderbird to be worth the premium. As long as they don't expect exceptional handling or performance, and they don't mind that the interior design is highly derivative of the Lincoln LS, they won't be disappointed.
Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible Overview
The Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible is offered in the following styles: Premium 2dr Convertible (3.9L 8cyl 5A), Deluxe 2dr Convertible (3.9L 8cyl 5A), Premium 2dr Convertible w/Removable Hard Top (3.9L 8cyl 5A), Deluxe 2dr Convertible w/Removable Hard Top (3.9L 8cyl 5A), and Neiman Marcus Edition 2dr Convertible (3.9L 8cyl 5A).
What's a good price on a Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible?
Save up to $300 on one of 10 Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $11,995 as of11/19/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible trim styles:
- The Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible Deluxe is priced between $11,995 and$18,468 with odometer readings between 58 and90213 miles.
- The Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible Premium is priced between $18,000 and$18,000 with odometer readings between 11905 and11905 miles.
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Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible Listings and Inventory
There are currently 10 used and CPO 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertibles listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,995 and mileage as low as 58 miles. Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to $300 on a used or CPO 2002 Ford Thunderbird Convertible available from a dealership near you.
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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Ford Thunderbird?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.