Rare Rides: The 2003 Ford Thunderbird That's Pink and 007 Approved

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 2003 ford thunderbird thats pink and 007 approved

Today’s Rare Ride was a part of a very limited run of Thunderbirds that coincided with the release of the last Pierce Brosnan era Bond film, Die Another Day.

It’s a car so special it’s probably almost priceless, and should be stored in a heated garage next to a Plymouth Prowler and/or Chevy SSR.

This isn’t Rare Ride’s first rodeo with the Thunderbird, as we’ve featured examples from 1979, 1982, and 1988. Now we’ll skip a generation after the ’88 turbocharged one, and move on to the 11th-gen T-Bird that debuted in 2002.

There was a five-year span between the 10th and 11th generation Thunderbirds, and Ford sought to bring back their personal luxury coupe with a bang. Based on Ford’s international DEW platform with the Jaguar S-Type and Lincoln LS (and later the Jaguar XF), the Bird’s new retro styling was a throwback to the styling it had from 1955 to 1957. Since a personal luxury car was no longer a thing in 2002, Thunderbird morphed into a convertible for grand touring, equipped with an optional hardtop that featured an opera window. Underneath the hardtop was a folding cloth roof and vinyl tonneau cover. In real life terms, it seems the hardtop was always optioned, and left on permanently by about 96 percent of owners.

The Thunderbird was very similar to the LS mechanically, and all examples were equipped with a 3.9-liter Jaguar-developed V8 (280hp), and a five-speed automatic from the Ford Ranger.

Shortly after its introduction, a 2002 Thunderbird in coral pink was driven in Die Another Day by Halle Berry’s character Jinx. The ‘Bird was her ride to the ice hotel where the second half of that stupendous film takes place and was shown amongst all the other Ford PAG automobiles. Similar product placement happened a couple of years later in Casino Royale, for the record.

In 2003 Ford announced it would make 700 examples of the 007 Edition Thunderbird. The edition was to be a commemoration of the second appearance of a Thunderbird in a Bond film (the first being in Goldfinger, driven by CIA operative Felix Leiter). All examples were painted the same Coral color, which was very similar to the Sunset Coral offered on Thunderbird in 1956.

In addition to the unique paint color, there was a white leather interior with sports seats, two-tone white and black interior surfaces, unique and very flashy 21-spoke chrome wheels, and 007 badging on the center stack. Inside the glove box, owners found a numbered plaque if they looked hard enough. Though 700 were made, only 694 were sold to consumers at a cost of $43,995 ($63,680 inflation adjusted). Customers ponied up for the special edition, as the top trim standard Thunderbird that year was $39,310.

Today’s Rare Ride was offered by Sotheby’s in 2018 and was in excellent condition as all these Thunderbirds are. It was estimated to sell for between $20,000 and $25,000.

[Images: Ford]

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  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Mar 22, 2021

    I still think this would be a great buy-drive-burn candidate, but with, say, a Plymouth/Chrysler Prowler and a Cadillac XLR (I think those would be covered by the same model years).

    • See 6 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Mar 23, 2021

      @28-Cars-Later Ah, ok.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 23, 2021

    I always liked this Thunderbird and even better than the other retros. Probably would not like the coral color but red or yellow would be a good color.

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.