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I ordered a premium blue with full color inserts and hardtop at 1K over MSRP in Oct, 2001. I'm 86 of 88 so I wouldn't expect to see my car till atleast mid summer. The dealer, Maroone Ford in Margate, FL, called today and said that Ford wants orders without hardtops, and if I eliminated the hardtop I'd move to near the top of the list. I think I may agree if they would sell the car for MSRP, saving $3,500 (2,500 for the hardtop and 1K in dealer markup). Since I live in S. Florida, and top down motoring is 12 months a year, the hardtop likely will gather dust in the garage. Its nice to lower the top whenever the mood strikes. It seems, though, that most cars have been ordered with hardtops and probably for good reason. And as has been discussed in many of this Forum's threads, the Portholes really epitomize Tbird, and are very cool. Would resale be adversely affected down the road without having the top? Advice would be appreciated, since they want my answer soon. The dealer, which is one of the largest in the country, also indicated that the limited production of 25,000 per year may be short lived. They said that Ford may increase production and build whatever they can sell. That makes sense from a business sense, but would not help hold future value. Has anyone heard anything about this? Dot questions why Ford would terminate production citing poor sales (75,000 units per year) then reintroduce the marque a few years later and limit production to 25,000. An interesting question.

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Speculation about re-saleprices is just that ... speculation. I bought the hardtop for that very reason, but in retrospect, I wish I hadn't. Days like today and tomorow, when the temps reached the mid 60's here in Georgia, I would have loved to drop the top for a little while, but couldn't because the hardtop was on. I suspect, once it comes off in the spring, I'll put it on the basement and not use it again. Sure the car looks great with the hardtop on, but it's a convertible.

#1429 Black Premium with Full Red Interior.
We're a little cooler here in Northern CA (temperature-wise -) and I'm glad to have the hardtop for the low to mid-60's weather we're enjoying now. Beyond that, it really does give the car a different look and makes it special. Delivery and cost sound like significant factors for you, however. Have you asked whether you can order the top later and how much that would run?

I have not seen any difference in the build sequence for non-hardtops. Perhaps the dealer had ordered some without hardtops and he wants to sell one to you.
My recommendation is to keep the hardtop. It will cost you more to add it later if you buy a new one from the parts department.

Looking back at the 55-57 Birds, the ones with both tops bring a premium price.

If your worried about top storage, get one of the hoists. I like having the hardtop on my 57 and wouldn't want an 02 without one. Ford is finding out that others feel the same. Maybe they didn't contract with their supplier for enough of the hardtops.

Given Ford's present financial difficulties, I wouldn't blame them if they wanted to build and sell more T-Birds. Still, it wouldn't make much difference, given the huge scale of Ford's operations. Even if they increased production to 75,000 Birds per year, that isn't very many compared to the number of F-150's and other vehicles they sell.

With the hardtop or without the hardtop is a
personal thing. Here in northern Ohio where
the winters are ulgy most nice cars are stored for the winter. I have a 55 & 57 Tbird
that both have hard tops. I take the tops off
of both cars the first of May and put them back on the first of November. That is why I
ordered my 02 without the hardtop it will be
just another top sitting in the garage all
I know where you are coming from seeing as I am in St. Pete. When I first ordered the car I did not order the top. After further consideration, I decided that the top would make the car more valuable down the line. I change my order to include the top. I had never seen a TBird in person until I picked mine up from the dealer. Of course the hardtop was in place. I thought that the top would spend all it's time on the rack in the garage but after seeing the car in person, I realized that was an incorrect assumption. The top is going to be on the car considerably more than I expected. IMO the car looks best with the hardtop on and I have noticed I get more oohs and aahs with it in place. Even without a lift it is easy to remove and install, my wife and I can do it in about 10 minutes and she is only 5'4" tall.
Thanks for all the advice. After thinking about it,I think I'll hold out for the hardtop. It does make the car more distinctive and special. As jrod knows, FL can get pretty steamy July - Sept, great months for a hardtop and a/c. The rest of the time its paradise. I think I remember from one of the previous threads, that the hardtop ordered seperately was $5,000, about double the cost of ordering it with the car. I did find it interesting though, that the dealer told me that Ford was seeking more orders without tops. I don't know if its true for other dealers, but anyone looking for faster delivery may want to consider soft top only. I would have moved from 86/88 to near the top of the list. Given Ford's financial condition, it would seem reasonable to build as many cars as they can sell. On another note, I distribute video press releases to tv stations. Just received a notice today that Ford has a conference scheduled for Fri morning Jan 11, called "Ford to Provide Details of Revitalization Plan". I'll try to access the webcast at 9:15am. I'll report if there's anything of interest. Thanks again for the help. I had never joined a discussion group or chatroom before, and I think this one is terrific. Though off-topic, I even enjoyed some of the "spirited" political discussions. Thanks to all who have put this board together.
A dealer posted on the new BON
Originally posted by BOSS302:
[QB]I was just informed by our Zone Rep. that 15% of T-bird production has to be soft top only. All of my customer orders requested both tops, as would I when ordering a collectable car. I am interested in knowing how many of you ordered your T-bird with a soft top only.[/QB]

It would be interesting to see the percentage of orders for hardtop vs no hardtop and full vs partial vs no accent package. Maybe jodrod can whip up some more statistics for us.

I heard that the hardtop was a 10% commodity, but either way, of the cars I have listed (about 400 that list top type) only 4.87% are softtops, so if this is indicitave of actual overall production, they have a lot of softtop only to sell.

BTW watch for the latest update of the plots, I have been playing with some new functions that I have not used before in Excel. This has been an interesting experience for me as I have never worked with this type of data before, mostly just number crunching. I have learned a lot more about Excel and it is a really powerful application.

Talked with my dealer yesterday and he confirms that the Hard Top is a controlled commodity. (I thought it was 10% - didn't assk if it had been revised to 15%).

Some Thunderbirds without Hard Top will likely be pulled ahead in the production sequence to balance to Top availability.

Some dealers may be asked to revise orders to exclude Hard Tops to meet the availability - particularly on stock units.
While I was at the dealership last week, I saw my salesman and inquired to him about ordering a second hardtop for my car. We walked over to the parts department and they started to check the price for me when they discovered that the hardtops were not available yet as a "part item" and that it might be at least 6 months before they could be ordered as a "part item". This shows that the hardtops are definitely in limited supply.
I was asked about two weeks ago if I would take a car with out the top. That I would get it a lot quicker, I said OK as long as I could get a top later at their cost. The answer was no way. Still waiting.

Blue/Blue Prem. w/full accent
2 of 2 no vin. and still waiting

I see you ordered the same car as mine. If you'd like a preview, let me know and we can get together the next time I'm up in wine country.
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