Just as the 2002 production Thunderbird goes on sale, Ford is unveiling a new
concept version – the Sports Roadster – in time for next week’s Detroit Auto

The concept’s design was inspired by the 1962 production Thunderbird Sports
Roadster and the styling carries a variety of design cues said to be reminiscent
of the famous "Bullet Birds" of the Sixties.

"Thunderbird is one of the most time-honoured icons in automotive history,"
says J Mays, Ford vice president of design. "There’s a strong emotional
connection to the early Thunderbirds."

Ford unveiled its first Thunderbird concept car in 1999, calling it “a modern
interpretation of a classic design”. While the styling paid homage to the
original 1955 to 1957 cars, there were also subtle cues borrowed from the 1960s
models, including the long rear deck and round tail lamps.

In contrast, the 2001 concept is a more outward interpretation of the 1962
and 1963 Thunderbirds. The car reflects the flamboyant ’60s in its bright red
enamel finish with a white leather interior. The concept features a sloped rear
deck with a moulded fibreglass tonneau cover and integrated, white leather-covered
headrests embossed with the Thunderbird logo. Chrome-finished fasteners secure
the tonneau to the body.

The instrument panel, screen pillars, scuff plates, interior door trim panels,
three-spoke steering wheel, shifter knob, hand brake and armrest are all leather
wrapped with “‘unique stitching by Draxlmaier”.

Dashboard instruments have turquoise pointers mounted on metal hubs and brushed
metal and aluminium buttons are used on the instrument panel and door trims.

An integrated chrome hood scoop, large round headlamps and the chrome ‘egg-crate’
grille complete the concept Thunderbird’s heritage design. The 18-inch chrome
plated wheels are fitted with low-profile black sidewall tyres.