2002-2005 T-bird owners, any advice for an old fart?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by toomuchfun, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    I got a hankering for a 2 seater and the Thunderbird appeals to me. I like the old ones, and have a lot of appropriate tools but still feel it's a little too much for me to take on.

    The 2002-2005 models sure look cool on the road. The other appeal is I have no desire to get a recent vehicle, they have way too much technology for me to even consider. I have a 2009 Malibu and that's about as new as I feel comfortable. Gonna keep it, but would like a nice day driver to pull out of the garage when I feel like it.

    Any owners past and present, please pass on any advice that would help convince me to pursue this late life crisis (63) or wake me up for a reality check.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Never owned one but I see them at what I consider very reasonable prices. There's a nice silver one near me for just under $9K.
     
  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    This T-Bird shares the same DEW 98 platform that is used on the Jaguar "S" and the Lincoln LS. Of the three, the Jaguar is easily the nicest end product. Way easily.

    To me, this era T-Bird leans way too far into "lounge cruiser" territory. It would have to be astonishingly inexpensive to me, to take it over, or I would not.

    +

    Tom, I remember how (with the exception of 1973-83) each decade's car was more advanced and better to own than the decade before. Then I think in about 2003 the advances stalled and for every improvement, there was a loss of the simple enjoyment of driving a vehicle. It is not co-incidence that our fleet of cars currently is 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, two 2004s and a 2006. I think some of these 15-20 year old cars, some of them, are just as safe as the new ones and they're more economical. I'd love to see 95% electric cars in a smoggy So-Cal, but in the mountains of far western North Carolina, where there's no internet even, how soon will charging stations come? There you have it.

    Lane discipline devices, a core element of self driving cars, require markers or lines alongside lanes of similar dimensions. I'm driving sometimes on roads that not only have no markers, they are gravel. I don't need this "self driving" stuff that won't work on my roads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
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  4. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a co-worker that owned one of those little retro T-Bird's and it stayed in the shop most of the time he owned it. After a couple years he got rid of it.

    Out of all the little Roadsters made today, I have to say that the Mazda Miata is the best deal.
     
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  5. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    These are not little 2 seaters ...as stated above ... Lincoln LS platform ...
     
  6. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for your input guys.

    And Zepfan I've been looking at Miata's too. I had a '65 MG back in high school and it was small but I could get my big butt in and out of that easy. Not sure I could today even though it's smaller. A Miata might be on the edge in size, but those power hard tops sure look nice.

    Boris, thanks for stating my aversion to the latest vehicle offerings better than I could. If I can't stay in my lane it''s time for me to quit driving. But the lounge cruiser platform might actually appeal to me at 63. I have yet to sit in one let alone drive one. Since they share platforms with others, online I read parts are easy to get if needed.

    Online they seem to have a pretty good service record, hoping an owner or former owner might comment on that.
     
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  7. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Tele-Afflicted

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    I never owned one, but it was the last program I was involved with that was fun to work on. I developed the exhaust for it. If you like how it sounds, great. If you don't like how it sounds, um, well, that guy from Ford screwed it all up! Seriously though, the design brief on it's exhaust note was make it "casual sporty. The Dockers of sportiness". Ford didn't want the exhaust note to promise more than the car could give - it was never intended to be a sportscar.

    It was based on a shortened LS platform. The first mules we had were LS's that literally had a section cut out of the middle and were then welded back together. And not in a refined way, they were pretty rough.

    I thought about buying one when I noticed the prices had dropped, but decided there were other cars I'd rather have. Aside from sentimental value, there isn't anything that made me want one over an XK8. Or Boxster. Both of which we drove as benchmarks back then. In fact the first time I drove a Boxster was for that program. I had a Karmann Ghia Cabriolet at the time and I quickly realized the Boxster was what I was trying to make my Ghia feel like. If that car had been out when my dad was still alive he would have loved it. But I digress...

    There were rumors of developing a supercharged T-bird but it never came to be.
     
  8. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I love the way they look.
    I always think they look like a big Alfa-Romeo.
     
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  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    [​IMG]

    Have you thought about one of these?

    Frankly, they're a better "Ford" from this era, than the T bird. Not crazy expensive. Gas mileage could be better.
     
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  10. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    The later years were improved over earlier. My personal concern is the Jaguar V-8 as really more of a disappointment in that the US Mustang GT engine wasn't used. Apparently the Jaguar engine holds
    up well but could be a future $$$$ pain getting any work done on it. I shelved the idea of buying one or the somewhat similar Lincoln MKVII LSC (not the Bill Blass) that improved with age up to '91. The 4 wheel air suspension is maybe an iffy thing though. Some owners convert to a more standard
    setup.
     
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  11. 39martind18

    39martind18 Tele-Holic

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    Di-gel?
     
  12. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks again for the great input.

    Still hoping someone who owns or has owned one might comment on the good and the bad. I thought it might be a guitar players choice but it looks like I got that wrong.

    I got a nice windfall on selling my old house in a sellers market, but it was only about half of what was needed for my initial dream to get a birth year ('56) Telecaster in mostly original shape. But I'm blessed to have a frankintele '56 with new electronics, so that's when I changed course to a T-bird. Who knows, maybe common sense will prevail and I'll end up doing something practical. I'm still fighting that urge for now.
     
  13. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    2002-2005 T-bird owners, any advice for an old fart?


    drive with the windows open for a while, it should air out after not too long and be as good as new, you might want to reconsider your diet though... jeepers
     
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  14. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    [​IMG]Looks like a 2 door roadster to me. It may be made on the LS platform, but it's definitely a different body.
     
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  15. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a 75 MG Midget that was real tight to get into, but the new Miata's are a little bigger than the MGB of the 70's. The first Miata's were about the same size as the 70's MGB.
     
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  16. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/ford/thunderbird/2002/

    I share you desire to avoid the newer vehicles with all the high-tech garbage (I'm still in my 2005 Town Car), but that T-bird just wouldn't be a good buy. Auto-makers discontinue parts supplies very quickly when a model ends so parts get expenisve and since they didn't make a ton of them, they are likely tough to find as well. There are better 2-seaters out there with better track records of reliability (Miata comes to mind).
     
  17. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the input, mine was a midget too. And I'm actually thinner than back then. I was afraid I might get in a Miata and not be able to get out, might have to try one out.
     
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  18. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    This is why we need to drive these cars now. While we can still get in and out of them:lol:
     
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  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    And hopefully our knees will allow getting in and out of these cars.:lol:
     
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