Ford Thunderbird 2002
In the late ’90s, the car industry experienced retro-futurism, a design fashion that resurrected classic shapes and turned them into modern vehicles. It looked like every retro-styled vehicle on the market was an instant hit with car buyers. Ford understood the trend and capitalized on it by launching the new, 11th generation of their venerable personal luxury coupe, the Thunderbird.
The previous model had served for years and was constantly battling declining sales. So it was the perfect time to introduce a new model and spark some interest in the personal luxury coupe segment. So, in 2002, Ford introduced their new T-bird with fantastic retro-inspired styling reminiscent of the 1955 to 1957 models. It had a two-seat configuration and 3.9-liter V8 in the front. The Thunderbird also had a stylish interior and delivered a decent performance.
The car looked great and it seemed like Ford got the retro feel of the classic Thunderbird right. The initial response from buyers and motoring press was fantastic, but soon, the hype was over and Thunderbird sales were disappointing. Apparently, the new Thunderbird wasn’t the performance car people wanted. It was comfy, heavy and sluggish despite producing 280 HP.
Ford realized the Thunderbird wasn’t the competition for the Mercedes SL. It was just another underperforming, expensive model in a market segment which is gone. The Thunderbird stayed on the market until 2005. Ford built over 66,000 cars in its four-year production run.