In way too many hours searching the internet about finding a manual transmission conversion there are all sorts of ideas but seems no one has actually done it. I would have ordered 2002 the minute they came out IF stick was available. I "chewed out" my uncle and cousin Ford dealers about that and have never bought one yet - tho been tempted. Instead in 2002 I bought a BMW Z3 with 5 speed - "Miss Z" now has 157,557 miles. I would gladly pay $10k+ for such a conversion. And since I've never sold any of the [new] cars I've bought since 9/21/77 I absolutely do not care what the "value" or resale is ... $zero is just fine. I used to be "polite" and say that I "prefer" manual ... now at age 72 I simply tell the truth and admit that I absolutely "HATE" automatics. 2.25 million miles of driving since I was 15 ... 1.8 million with manual including daily drivers 1986 and 2011 Rangers, the Z3, 2017 Fiata 124 and 1991 Escort wagon with 312k miles. When the 2011 Ranger gets another 21k miles (i.e. 200,000) it is getting a new crate engine just to help insure reliability as I criss-cross North America 40-50 thousand miles a year.
AMAZING! I too am 72 and I too loathe automatics - in fast cars. Tried to buy a Vette last year. Was looking at 80's and 90's. I could not believe how hard it was to find a manual. Driving a Vette with an automatic is like kissing your sister! I also was disappointed, to say the least, that the Retro Bird did not have a manual. Today? Forget it. One meme said that a manual shift is a Millennial anti-theft device.