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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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9 of 20 comments
  • 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.

  • Akear When is Barra retiring?
  • AZFelix Fun duo who lived and worked in China for many years have a candid and crushing assessment on their EV manufacturing.
  • Vatchy Just think how many electric vehicles could be charged from a new nuclear power plant...
  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.