2004 Ford Thunderbird

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$6,460–$22,624 Inventory Prices
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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2004 Ford Thunderbird. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Performance
  • Seat comfort
  • Stylish, distinctive appearance

The Bad

  • Construction quality
  • Rear visibility
  • Ride comfort
  • Two-passenger capacity

Notable Features of the 2004 Ford Thunderbird

  • Styling blends the past and present
  • 280-hp V-8
  • Five-speed automatic
  • SelectShift transmission option
  • Available removable hardtop with porthole windows

2004 Ford Thunderbird Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Ford created a flurry of excitement when the revived Thunderbird appeared as a 2002 model. Though it is fully modern underneath, the redesigned model was a throwback to the original two-passenger T-Bird of 1955 – 1957.

The wheels have been restyled and a universal garage-door opener is now standard for the 2004 model year. The front fenders hold new V-8 badges, and newly styled seats have leather seating surfaces.

Adapted from the Lincoln LS platform, the rear-wheel-drive Thunderbird has a 3.9-liter V-8 engine — which received a boost from 252 to 280 horsepower for 2003 — and a five-speed-automatic transmission. The convertible comes in Deluxe and Premium trim levels. A removable plastic hardtop is optional, and the car’s hood, fenders and rear deck are also made of plastic.

Even though Ford shuns the retro label, designers gazed backward to a dramatic era of the company’s heritage to revive the Thunderbird. Like its long-ago predecessor, the 2004 Thunderbird seats two occupants and is equipped with rear-wheel drive, but it incorporates all the benefits of modern technology.


Exterior
Styling kinship to the original Thunderbird is obvious in its eggcrate-style grille and round headlamps, while the hood scoop suggests a 1961 model. It’s also evident in the classic porthole-style quarter windows that are incorporated into the optional removable hardtop. The basic reverse-wedge profile and taillight shapes also hark back to the past....
Vehicle Overview
Ford created a flurry of excitement when the revived Thunderbird appeared as a 2002 model. Though it is fully modern underneath, the redesigned model was a throwback to the original two-passenger T-Bird of 1955 – 1957.

The wheels have been restyled and a universal garage-door opener is now standard for the 2004 model year. The front fenders hold new V-8 badges, and newly styled seats have leather seating surfaces.

Adapted from the Lincoln LS platform, the rear-wheel-drive Thunderbird has a 3.9-liter V-8 engine — which received a boost from 252 to 280 horsepower for 2003 — and a five-speed-automatic transmission. The convertible comes in Deluxe and Premium trim levels. A removable plastic hardtop is optional, and the car’s hood, fenders and rear deck are also made of plastic.

Even though Ford shuns the retro label, designers gazed backward to a dramatic era of the company’s heritage to revive the Thunderbird. Like its long-ago predecessor, the 2004 Thunderbird seats two occupants and is equipped with rear-wheel drive, but it incorporates all the benefits of modern technology.


Exterior
Styling kinship to the original Thunderbird is obvious in its eggcrate-style grille and round headlamps, while the hood scoop suggests a 1961 model. It’s also evident in the classic porthole-style quarter windows that are incorporated into the optional removable hardtop. The basic reverse-wedge profile and taillight shapes also hark back to the past.

The current Thunderbird measures 186.3 inches long overall and has a 107.2-inch wheelbase, versus a 175.3-inch overall length and a 102.0-inch wheelbase in the original. Six colors are available for 2004: Merlot, Vintage Mint Green, Platinum Silver, Torch Red, Light Ice Blue Metallic and Evening Black. A fabric convertible top is standard. Cast-aluminum 16-spoke wheels hold 17-inch all-season tires.


Interior
According to Ford, the two-seat cockpit “reflects the exterior design and the car’s romantic heritage with bold style combined with the comfort and convenience [features that] today’s customers demand.” The interior trim complements the body color. Standard features include automatic dual-zone air conditioning, leather bucket seats, a tachometer, a six-way power driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped power tilt steering wheel and an in-dash six-CD changer. Trunk capacity is 8.5 cubic feet. Heated seats are optional.

Under the Hood
An aluminum, 3.9-liter, dual-overhead-cam V-8 engine produces 280 hp at 6,000 rpm and drives a close-ratio five-speed-automatic transmission. SelectShift operation for manually selected gear changes is optional.

Safety
The Thunderbird was Ford’s first convertible with head and chest side-impact airbags. Four-wheel all-disc antilock brakes are standard.

Driving Impressions
Even though the Thunderbird’s ride quality isn’t bad on smooth highways and handling is agile enough, its suspension is on the stiff side and can take some bumps rather hard. Featuring brisk passing and merging capabilities, acceleration from a standstill is outstanding.

Slipping inside the T-Bird may demand a significant twist of the neck in order to clear the soft top, but the seats are cushioned beautifully. The mirrors are ample in size, but serious blind spots make lane changing dicey.

Even though it’s more ordinary than the flamboyant shape suggests, this two-seater delivers a generally enjoyable experience — a flashback to the Fifties. Sadly, it doesn’t feel especially well assembled.


Latest 2004 Thunderbird Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

My all-time favorite sports car

by Doc T from Twin Cities, Minnesota on May 30, 2017

I've owned several sports/specialty cars over the years, including Corvette, MGA, MGB, Austin Healey, Sunbeam Tiger, Jaguar, and have found this the best overall car. It has great performance, superb ... Read full review

(5.0)

Ellegant & Fast

by Professor_Wms from Ann Arbor, MI on May 24, 2017

Love it. Great for a couple (or individual) who want to feel the late afternoon sun and the warm wind as they are touring a lazy country road. If you are looking for a grocery getter, this "ain't it." ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2004 Ford Thunderbird currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Ford Thunderbird has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Thunderbird received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker