2003 Ford Thunderbird

I have a brother-in-law who thinks he is the go-to-guy for information. He told me I might as well enjoy and drive the wheels off my 2003 Ford Thunderbird because it will never be worth very much. Is that true? If so, I’m considering putting some cool pin striping on it.

Maybe, but it’s too early to tell. Here’s a complimentary article on this subject:

If you have more than 10,000 miles on it, just keep driving it. Only low mileage examples in rare colors will bring higher prices. And even though onl 37,000 2003/2005 t-birds were assembled, most of them are still on the road. In 20 years there will be far fewer and a t-bird in good condition will probably fetch decent money.

I believe OP’s T-bird was not considered a commercial success

At this point in time, they are simply used cars. It’s way too soon to start thinking collector car

Perhaps in another 20 years or so, it’ll be a different story

Kept in great condition these cars have a market, but unless it is one of the more unusual colors offered and has very low mileage you might as well drive it and maintain it for now.

People thought the Cadillac Allante, less than 20,000 total production, would be a collectable “Classic” but today, you can buy one for a song…

I have an '04 T-bird (Red, w 70K miles) and these cars are holding value and depreciating less per year than “average”. There is a good chance these cars will be collectible in an era that is not generating many “collectible” cars. But, I’m not expecting to see a modern era retro T’bird on the block at the Barrett Jackson Auction anytime soon.

I keep mine because it is paid off, fun to drive, and still gets lots of attention everywhere I take it. In fact, the car gets more mentions now than it did back in '05 when I purchased it with 24K miles. It only gets about 3-4K miles on it per year and it is a “hobby” car I plan to enjoy for many more years. It is fun to drive, nice to look at, and no trouble to own and maintain.

I think the OP should enjoy his T’bird and drive it. If he wants a “collectible” T’bird look for and buy one now with less than 10K miles and keep it as pristine as possible in storage and keep driving his current one. As for adding pin stripes and other accessories, I’m a purist and the T’birds I see with customized decorative elements just don’t look right to me. Keep it stock, and enjoy it and when you don’t feel it is a neat car to own - sell it and let someone else have fun with it;.

The link in @jsanders post is “right on the money” and as a T’bird owner I agree with all writers comments and research.

The only downside to the 'birds is their somewhat drab paint colors…This was Fords first try at water-based paints and metallic colors were not offered…The powertrains are bullet-proof (Crown Vic) so they should run forever…Ford really dropped the ball on this one, spending zero dollars promoting the car…Many Ford dealers compounded the problem by charging a “surcharge” over sticker price! That was the kiss of death for the new 'bird…

I have a friend who picked up a 2003 black T-Bird a couple of years ago through an estate sale. It had about 50,000 miles, was clean and straight, and he paid $15,000. I don’t know if that’s a good deal or not, but that’s what he paid and he’s happy with it.

Most on Ebay get bid up to between $9000 and $13,000. Special editions (‘007’, ‘Halle Berry’, etc.) up to $20,000 or so.

Down the road in 20 or so years I could see the value on these cars going up due to scarcity and the fact that they’re sporty, have 2 doors, and not a bad looking car at all. I’d skip the pinstripes though because that may not be be any potential owner’s style.

The first car I ever owned was a '58 Thunderbird back in the late 60s and many people loathed the 58s because they had back seats and has lost some of the sport look. The 58s and 59s are worth a lot more now than they were back in the day.

Dropping this comment here for @umsondra. Somehow it wound up on my post. missileman.

Thanks for the info. Guess I will keep it for a while and not add pin stripes. My son from SF comes to visit and he think he is the coolest guy in town when he drives my car for a week. My husband has a Porsche Boxter and I get more complements on my car than he does on his!