Ford Thunderbird A Blast From The Past

An Egyptian army soldier stands among the bushes in the wired border of the Philadelphi corridor, a buffer zone that separates Egypt from Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip, Monday, March 19, 2007. Israeli armed forces used to control the area but were replaced in November 2005 by Egyptian and U.N. BAM forces.
Ford Motor Co. plans to build 20,000 to 25,000 of its 2002 Ford Thunderbird convertibles this year, and expects to run out quickly.

The automaker said Monday it would start taking orders for the retro-styled T-Birds, which will reach showrooms later this year. Prices were expected to range from $35,495 to a fully equipped version at $39,795.

The production car is nearly identical to the concept car Ford unveiled at the 1999 North American International Auto Show. It's part of a recycling of automotive shapes from past decades used to great effect in Volkswagen's New Beetle and the Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Ford built T-Birds for more than 40 years, but the revived T-Bird stays far away from the long, overweight shape of its later years in favor of cues from the original 1955-57 version.

Using the underpinnings of the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type sedans, the new T-Bird has a removable hardtop with porthole windows, a hood scoop and a curving egg-crate grille.

The new version is powered by a 3.9 liter V8 capable of producing 252 horsepower, driving 17-inch rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.

One sign of demand for the new T-Bird: When Neiman Marcus offered 200 special edition 2002 Thunderbirds as part of its Christmas catalog last year at $41,995 apiece, it sold out in two hours and 15 minutes.

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