The 2002 Ford Thunderbird led Ford's charge of revitalizing consumer interest in cars by offering autos that not only meet their transportation needs, but also stir their emotions.
Thunderbird expresses a bold and confident feeling of freedom, delivered in the form of a dramatically designed, two-seat, rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered, convertible – a modern throwback to another optimistic American era.
'Seldom in automotive history has a car created as much emotional attachment as the Ford Thunderbird,' says J Mays, Ford Motor Company vice president of Design. 'The car spans generations and in many ways chronicles a part of American history itself. The new Thunderbird is designed to point to the future and, at the same time, recapture the magic of an American icon.'
The boldness and confidence of Thunderbird are embraced in its design. From its egg-crate grille to rounded tail lamps, Thunderbird is dressed wîth the obvious visual cues that tie it to the classic cars of the past, but wîth a decidedly modern interpretation.
Thunderbird comes standard as a convertible, wîth a power-retracting cloth top and an optional hard top wîth classic porthole windows. The two-place interior reflects the exterior design by celebrating the car's romantic heritage and combining bold style wîth the comfort and convenience today's customers demand.
Thunderbird is in a class by itself as a 107.2-inch wheelbase rear-wheel drive roadster wîth a smooth,
strong-pulling 3.9-liter V-8 engine. Ride and handling are specially tuned to match the vehicle's elegantly sporting design, and structural braces beneath the car enhance the chassis rigidity, giving the roadster world-class driving dynamics.
Designed to evoke emotion
When Ford decided to revive the Thunderbird nameplate, designers went to work studying the original cars of the 1950s, which reflected the era's great optimism.
The designers of the modern Thunderbird took great care to borrow classic styling cues, but to never lose the modern look. This 'heritage' design approach features, among other details, the two-seat configuration, elegant hood scoop, chevrons, round headlamps, egg-crate grille and porthole windows. In all, the entire package pays homage to the past and celebrates 21st century materials, technology and design language.
The 2002 Thunderbird is a production version of the Thunderbird concept that stole the spotlight on the auto show circuit in 1999 and 2000.
Driving is more than a great design
Although the design evokes memories of a simpler time, it won't take 50 yards of driving in a new 2002 Thunderbird to transport one back to the future. The new Thunderbird uses the latest engineering technologies to help instill confidence in the driver.
It's a well-balanced, rear-wheel drive car that utilizes a rigid, computer-engineered chassis and a fine-tuned four-wheel independent suspension system employing lightweight materials to help reduce unsprung weight and improve response.
The rack-and-pinion §teering gear is a variable-assist design, providing lower turning efforts at parking speeds and higher-level road feel at highway speeds.
Thunderbird comes standard wîth 17-inch cast aluminum wheels and all-season tires. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) are standard and employ electronic brake force distribution (EBD). The brake rotors are vented for optimal performance and endurance and calipers are dual piston-type for quick response and evenly distributed pressure.
An optional all-speed traction control system helps ensure driver confidence in adverse road conditions. The system provides excellent start-up on slippery surfaces and can help improve cornering stability.
Ford Thunderbirds is equipped wîth a smooth-turning, all-aluminum 3.9-liter DOHC V-8. The engine produces an estimated 252 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and peak torque of 267 ft. lbs. at 4,300 rpm and uses a new generation powertrain electronic controller (PTEC).
The engine was designed along wîth a specially engineered close-ratio, five-speed automatic transmission that provides performance and efficiency along wîth minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).