By on March 22, 2021

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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20 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 2003 Ford Thunderbird That’s Pink and 007 Approved...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My dad had a black 56 with white moon roof until 1960 or so. Later, he had a 62 Beetle, and also a 74 Maverick – all names that have returned after a hiatus.

    A generation after the retro craze began in the late-90s, I now think it’s oddly unimaginative to just keep recycling the old names.

    This particular car depreciated 65% in 16 years – not terrible, but not my idea of a proper Sotheby’s offering.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      “A generation after the retro craze began in the late-90s, I now think it’s oddly unimaginative to just keep recycling the old names.”

      How so?

      T-bird:2002-05
      PT Cruiser:2000-10
      HHR:2006-11
      SSR:2003-06
      Prowler:1997-2002
      New Beetle:1998-11

      I’d say it was right in the meat of that craze.

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    Cadydaddy will take a 55′ with a 5.0L Pushrod FI from the early 90’s backed with a 5-Speed. I don’t think the width of a Coyote would fit in the engine bay?

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    I’ve always liked this Thunderbird despite what some people say about them in regards of horrible reliability and expensive parts.

    Yes, it was a retro design released past the retro craze, and a 2 seater (a 4 seater may have proven more popular), but still this Thunderbird caughts my eye every time I see one. As a matter of fact a neighbor owned a black on black 2002-2005 T-Bird until about 2 years ago. I never saw a sale sign on it, it was just gone…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The Thunderbird was very similar to the LS mechanically”

    This feels like a “kill it with fire” moment, but I heard the S-Types sourced with the proper V8 somehow were almost acceptable so maybe this is too?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It would be a blast with just 4.10:1 gears. Guaranteed. That’s the beauty of RWD, or one of them. And a locker/LS if it doesn’t have it. It was still the Malaise era for some cars, and I’m sure it had no better than 3.27s.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    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).

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.

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