The Thunderbird nameplate resided within the Ford brand from 1955 to 1997 as a personal luxury car that also possessed worthwhile performance. Due to slowing sales, the five-passenger two-door coupe version was discontinued. Constructed on the same rear-wheel drive platform as the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type, the Ford Thunderbird recaptured its past glory for the 2002 model year.
Fords revival of the Thunderbird was based on a two-passenger convertible resembling its original 1955 appearance. Along with a retractable cloth soft roof, the 2002 Thunderbird also offered an optional hardtop reminiscent to the 1956 factory version complete with a porthole window. Even the exterior colors of the 2002 Ford Thunderbird were descendent from the 1950s era. Adhering with the retro theme, the comfort-oriented two-passenger interior featured brushed aluminum accents and leather seating.
Optional two-tone color accent packages were provided as an additional touch of pizzazz. Power for the 2002 Ford Thunderbird came from a 3.9-liter V-8 engine. Generating 252 horsepower for 2002, the 2003 Thunderbirds eight-cylinder engine was upgraded with variable valve timing and received a power boost to 280 horsepower. Mated with the Ford Thunderbirds engine was a five-speed automatic transmission.
Standard features on the Ford Thunderbird included dual-zone temperature control, all-speed traction control, remote keyless entry and a six-disc CD changer. Attracting much attention, one of the most famous appearances for the new Thunderbird came in the 2002 James Bond movie Die Another Day. For the 2003 model year, 700 limited edition 007 versions of the Ford Thunderbird were created specially equipped with 21-inch wheels and a two-tone Coral/white color scheme. The rebirth of the Thunderbird convertible was short-lived. Ford concluded production of the retro-themed two-seater following the 2005 model year.