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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Ford Thunderbird Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Ford Thunderbird Overview

Taking Flight

If you want to drive something as individual as you, something that projects both a sense of style and history and that affords room for only one other special someone, then you should give the 2004 Ford Thunderbird a good hard look.

Though the Thunderbirds exterior is clearly steeped in the look and feel of the original, its chassis, engine and power convertible top are all state-of-the-art components. Power for the Thunderbird comes from muscular 3.9-liter V8 engine that churns out 280 horsepower. To ensure years of trouble-free service, the Thunderbirds V8 employs a host of technologies including platinum-tipped spark plugs, a coil-on-plug ignition and light-weight, low-friction pistons.

To make sure your travels are a bit more fun, Ford offers the option of a five-speed SelectShift transmission that allows you to manually shift gears without the use of a clutch pedal. This transmission works well in the automatic mode, though if youre accustomed to driving a true manual, you will probably find that the transmissions computer brain does not always downshift as quickly as you could yourself.

While youre out playing with your Thunderbird, youll want to turn down the radio and listen to the wonderful exhaust note. Ford engineers have tuned the exhaust to create a cool low rumbling sound that tells all who hear it that there is a V8 close by.

The Thunderbird is designed to be a cruiser, meaning it is as equally at home in day-to-day traffic as it is running down long stretches of twisting road. The Thunderbird is a heavy car, tipping the scales at almost 3900 pounds, yet its V8 moves the car with a quickness that will take you by surprise. The Thunderbirds 107-inch wheelbase allows the suspension to soak up most bumps with little effort and the stiff shock and spring setup—coupled with the cars independent-rear suspension—allows the Thunderbird to tackle turns and charge through corners with a level attitude. Youll find the steering to be somewhat heavy at low speeds and exactly right as the pace quickens.

With the top down, youll experience only minor wind buffeting inside the cabin. When not enjoying the sun, the Thunderbirds triple layer top completely silences the outside world, making you forget youre driving a drop-top car.

As with most convertibles, you will experience more body flex and minor vibrations when passing over rough or uneven pavement, but for the most part, Ford engineers have done a good job keeping the Thunderbirds body relatively stiff.

Slip inside the Thunderbird and youll find an inviting cockpit, with newly-redesigned front seats for better fit and comfort. The familiar dash and center console (its borrowed from the Lincoln LS) include silver-faced gauges with turquoise indicator needles and the side door panels are adorned with huge spread-winged Thunderbird logos. On Premium trims, you can opt for a number of color combinations that breathe new life into the otherwise dark cabin. The dash layout places the heating and audio controls within easy reach and there are redundant audio and cell phone controls mounted at the steering wheel. Youll find the controls are logically configured and easy to use, though you may notice that with the top down, the thin green LED readouts become somewhat difficult to see.

Storage space is limited to a small glove compartment and a rear shelf hidden behind the seatbacks; there is however a nicely-sized set of cup holders built into the center console. At 6.9 cubic feet, The Thunderbirds trunk is large enough to fit two sets of golf clubs or a few overnight bags.

If there is one drawback to the Thunderbirds design it can be found behind the seats, where a large bulkhead restricts the seats travel and effectively removes most tall drivers from the list of possible owners.

The Thunderbird is offered in two trims: Deluxe and Premium. The Deluxe trims base price of $37,530 includes power windows, anti-lock brakes, traction control, front side airbags, leather-wrapped power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, six-disc in-dash CD and audiophile sound system, six-way power drivers seat, two-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, power top with glass rear window, rear defroster, leather seating and keyless remote entry.

The Premium trim adds heated seats and 17-inch chrome wheels. Options are few but do include a removable hard top complete with porthole side windows and a number of interior accent packages.

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