I bought a beautiful, show-room clean 2003 Thunderbird Deluxe Hardtop/Convertible with the 3.9 liter Jaguar engine in August of 2019. Only 56,000 miles on her. Purchased from a Ford dealership - the previous owner collected cars and traded her and a Corvette in to purchase an SUV. She was on the market less than 48 hrs., and 5 people were trying to buy her, but I called and put a deposit down. No time to do research on her - just had to hope and pray she was a good car. After putting 350 miles on her, that darn engine light and wrench lit-up on the dash, and she went into "limp home" mode. ONLY 25 mph. Good thing I was near home. Took her to my ace mechanics here at a classic car dealership. The original owner never did the recommended "recalls" on the COPS. All 8 were original from 2003. 2 had gone bad. I spent close to $1,000.00 and replaced all 8 of them. After another 200 miles - same darn thing - "limp home" mode and that damned wrench symbol. (I've learned to HATE that darn wrench!!!). The codes were indicating COPS again. Couldn't be - just replaced them all. They called Ford and were told to check the ECM - the main computer. It had malfunctioned, (due to the COPS?). Ford no longer makes the ECM's for the 2002-2005 T-Birds. I didn't want a re-built one. We sent the old one off for repair. They called and said it was completely "fried" and couldn't be re-built. We finally found a brand new one, after weeks of searching, (She's been in the shop since April 14th), we found a brand new ECM out west somewhere with a lifetime warranty. They "flashed" it, and are sending it here to be programmed and installed. Then the car has to finish the programming itself. This will cost $1,655.00. After that, she has to be driven and tested to make sure the Throttle Module wasn't damaged. If it was, that's another $850.00 that I don't have. (I pray THAT isn't damaged.) When everything is said and done - I hope the problems are cured. She is a beautiful car - but I don't trust her, right now. I will rent a car for out-of-town trips until she gains my trust for anything but short, close-to-home driving. I love the T-Bird and want to keep her, but darn she's costing me a LOT of money! I am NOT a rich person. I retire in 2 years. She's supposed to be my retirement car. I've done a lot of reading about the "Little 'Birds, and IF I HAD KNOWN about the problems they had - I would NOT have bought her. Expensive lesson learned. I hope she can be repaired - and run like she is supposed to - RELIABLY! I have never had the kind of problem with any of my T-Birds that I've had with this one. Thank goodness I didn't trade my 1995 T-Bird LX!!!! She's 25 years old, but running great! Never had any problems with her, besides routine maintenance. I drive her to my second job and back. 20 miles per week. At that rate, she'll theoretically last the rest my lifetime....... But, that 2003 has been a NIGHTMARE!!!!!
The first thing I was taught in sales was to create urgency. I.E. 5 people are trying to buy the car, which could very well be true, but doesn't mean they had the money or could get a loan, etc. These cars have a very limited market and usually take a while to sell. It's not like you found one with 10,000 miles. I saw one this week in the ghetto part of town at a used car lot.
Regarding the car troubles. Frankly, it sounds like your "ace mechanics" are the nightmare.
I'm sure you've seen by now that you can buy a set of 8 aftermarket COPS for 41.99 on Amazon.com. Installation takes less than 2 hours, so the 1000.00 could have also been avoided with some research. I suspect the computer could have been rebuilt as well, but have no way to confirm obviously. I'd be pissed off if I found that out!
At least you are here now and can do your research! One last thing, just a reminder, you bought a 17 year old car. It's going to have problems. If you want something reliable you need to get a newer car.