2004 Ford Thunderbird

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$37,435

starting MSRP

2004 Ford Thunderbird

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Performance
  • Seat comfort
  • Stylish, distinctive appearance

The bad:

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

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Ford Thunderbird trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 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 review: Our expert's take

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.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.7
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 5.0
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Bought it for pleasure. Should be a classic

This car is exactly what I was looking for. Only 612 mint green made . Looking forward to using it in parades . Should be a classic.

5.0

Eye Catching Sporty Thunderbird

The car has a classy appearance as well as providing a thrill to drive. Thunderbird's have been my dream car since I was a kid and this one exceeds my expectations. From the Red color that catches your eye to the smoothness of the drive and power to move when necessary, the car is a one of the nicest cars I have ever owned.

4.3

Opitmal choice for a fun convertible

I was seeking an convertible for summer fun, and I wanted to find something unique, not a dime-a-dozen Mustang, Camaro, or foreign convertible. This car DEFINITELY fits the bill...rarely see one of these on the road, and even more rarely one of these limited-edition Pacific Coast Roadsters. Also, being that I am 6' tall, I wanted a car that I could be comfortable in and not feel like Dino in the "Flintstone-mobile at the drive-in"...this is one of the few cars of it's 2-seater size that allows for a full-size American to be comfortable in. Being only a 2-seater, it's definitely limited to fun driving, as it's small trunk and 2-passenger capacity make it impractical for anything else. An added-plus is that this Thunderbird has a detachable hardtop for the off-weather seasons to allow for fun driving in the late Fall through early Spring. Having owned a convertible with a black interior decades ago, I knew better than to own another black interior convertible, and learned that 95% of the 'retrobirds' had a standard black interior, albeit for the limited-editions (2003 007, 2004 Pacific Coast Roadster, or 2005 Cashmere). The light gray interior of this car will reflect more sunshine heat than the black interiors, and give a longer life to the leather seats and vinyl interior trim. The car overall rides smooth. The car was not designed to be a sports car, but a roadster - something with driver comfort in mind. That said, it hits the mark. The ride is smooth and comfortable. The 3.9L V-8 provides ample power and acceleration. The handling is decent and traction is on the mark with wide footprint 17" tires...I opted to put new Pirelli Cinturato A/S Plus (grand-touring) tires on to replace the aging Continentals. These tires completely smoothed-out the ride and the whisper-quiet tires enhances the top-down experience. I made a point to have the coil-on-plugs and spark plugs inspected and found the inherent oil ingress issue (a known issue with the 3.9L in the Thunderbird, Lincoln LS and Jaguary S-type ) in the spark plug wells, and had the valve cover grommets replaced along with new spark plugs and coils. Good preventative maintenance. I did note that this car's stereo does suffer from the typical Ford CD-changer failure prone to ALL Ford's of the mid-2000's. Fortunately, this car has the satellite radio option so I am not so bummed about this problem. All-in-all, a hella-fun car to spend a weekend drive in. I find I'm liking this car more and more every trip.

See all 22 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Ford Blue Advantage Gold
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Gold Certified: Ford models up to 6 years old with less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12-Month/12,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Blue Certified: 90-Day/4,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Powertrain
7-Year/100,000-Mile (whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty Blue Certified: Available Disclaimer: See your dealer for warranty coverage details.
Dealer certification required
Certified 172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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