Latest Drive Report

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I just saw this on Compuserve. When you go to the main page, there is a picture of a Blue T-Bird and a catagory "Pick of the Litter - Drop Tops" Here is the link to the T-Bird report... It's Great.

The philosophy behind the '02 Ford Thunderbird is perfectly captured by the commercial Ford is running on TV in which a guy in a new T-Bird rolls to a stop at a deserted crossroads; some guy in an expensive imported sports car sidles up next to him and revs his engine, offering to race. The challenger's hot girlfriend jumps out to flag the cars, the signal is given -- and the import-driver disappears in a haze of burning rubber. But when the smoke finally clears, the T-bird is still sitting there, cool as a Snow Cone on a July afternoon. "Need a ride?" the T-Bird driver nonchalantly asks the girl, just the hint of a knowing smirk on his face.

And on hers, too.

That's what this car is all about. If you're looking for absolute speed (although the 252-horsepower, V-8-powered T-Bird is certainly no slouch in that department), shop elsewhere. Burnouts are not this car's thing. Need a personality substitute, or mechanical Viagra? There are other cars out there for that, too. But if you want a ride that's secure in its skin (just like you), then this could be the car.

Ford began with the classic-era 1955-?57 two-seater T-Birds as the inspirational starting point for this car, and grafted that history seamlessly onto a thoroughly modern chassis. (The T-Bird shares a common platform and some running gear with the current Lincoln LS sport sedan.) The result is a retro roadster as neat to see and be seen in as an original '55-?57 T-Bird, but which has the refinements, build quality and road manners of a modern luxury car.

The T-Bird is powered by Ford's excellent 3.9-liter V-8, a 6,500-rpm sweetheart that dances in perfect time with the standard five-speed automatic. The two perform together so well that the effect is like a turbine -- powerful, constant forward thrust without the dramatics of your typical V-8. Shifts are smooth as 20-year-old Scotch: Each gear is held until just the right moment, as if the car knows intuitively when you need the next cog, divining what your next move is going to be. The exhaust note is also just right. There's a slight growl, but it's a classy growl. Not over-loud, not too much bass. Perfect.

The cozy interior (even though there are some shared parts taken from the LS) is so well laid out that you could spend hours stuck in traffic and not care. The little detail items, like the color-keyed Thunderbird emblems that match the paint, show that Ford felt something for this car. Or consider the just-right height of the top of the doors: You can comfortable rest your left arm there with the window rolled down, just like it was 1955 again.

The "tuck and roll" seats (Ford's term) are not the tail-hugging sport buckets so common these days, but wide and comfortable things just right for spreading out. Beautiful, Art Deco-style backlit gauges glow cheerily as the sun goes down. Even practical stuff is taken into account: Visibility is excellent even when the power soft-top is up, and the corners of the car are easy to get used to. There is an adequate trunk. In sum, driving this car is an experience in relaxation. It makes you feel good, happy, and at peace with the world.

All of this goes for between $35,140 and $38,640, depending on whether you stick with the nicely equipped Deluxe model or spring for the loaded Premium version -- and whether you want the optional hardtop or not.

I have found the cure for road rage. And it has a blue oval on the bottle.


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That link takes you to an ad that does nothing, at least it didn't for me.


Next time it took me to a log on screen in which I created a user name and password but it denied me access.

Joe: I had to post the whole thing because you need to be a member of compuserve to get the link to work. Sorry about that, but it's worth the read!
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