Some companies try too hard. So hard that it’s embarrassing. Should Ford be embarrassed by their 2004 Ford Thunderbird? Let’s find out!
The 2004 Ford Thunderbird has a 3.9L V8 engine and 5 speed automatic transmission. For starters, I can’t believe they didn’t put their classic 4.6L v8 into the Thunderbird, like they did with every other car they made at the time. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well it’s bad in one way and acceptable in others. It’s bad because the 4.6L was put in so many cars, you can get a rebuild kit for pennies on the dollar. The 3.9L isn’t rare, but it certainly isn’t as popular as the 4.6. Besides that, I have no gripes with the 3.9. It revs like a classic v8, and that’s all I can ask for from a “Throwback chassis” like the thunderbird. Now the automatic transmission is manageable too, but no manual was ever offered. Last but not least the Thunderbird is rear wheel drive, which stays true to the other Thunderbird generations. That was surprising to me, and I’m glad Ford stuck to their roots in at least one respect.
The interior is straight out of Ford’s parts bins of the early 2000’s. From the inside you might as well be driving a Ford Taurus Coupe. The window switches, cruise control, radio, and seemingly every other part is pulled from another Ford product. It’s not bad, but the colors are a little gaudy.
This is an odd car. It’s fueled by nostalgia, but it leaves out some key details. It has the retro styling, V8, and rear wheel drive like the Thunderbirds of yester-year, but it lacks some key features that made the original Thunderbird so iconic. First thing it’s missing is a manual transmission. This modern Thunderbird is made for the guy who originally bought one off the showroom floor. He is older now and doesn’t quite have the dexterity he had in his younger days. The second, and maybe the most important, is that the 2004 Thunderbird isn’t a thrill to drive. You can drive it thrillingly, but stoplight-to-stoplight I don’t feel anything particularly alive. This car is made to go to and from car shows in total comfort with enough room for both of your folding chairs and sun umbrella in the trunk.
So should Ford be embarrassed by their 2004 Thunderbird? Eh maybe. It was a great attempt, but at the end of the day I personally think it missed its mark.
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