After numerous posts to the Bring Back The Thunderbird thread I decided to photoshop an image of what I think Ford could do with a Mustang platform. The Thunderbird concept is shorter and just a little lower. It would be a 2 seater roadster using slightly modified Mustang drivetrains. With the reduced weight and center-of-gravity readjustments, I think this idea for a Thunderbird could compete with a base Corvette. Adding powerpacks or even turbos could compete with the Z06. It'd be called the Thunderbird Lightning Edition. Of course this is just a size comparison, as I think the 2001-2005 Retro-Birds had a better direction style-wise. Whaddya think?
Just a few thoughts in response to your post here. I was not a fan at all, in fact, I hated the 2001-2005 "Retro" Thunderbirds. I thought at the time that the design and color schemes would look dated quickly and I think that they do now only a few years later. In the nearly 50 year history of the T'Bird it was never a competitor to the Corvette and shouldn't try to be if the nameplate returns at some point. Besides, Ford doesn't need a T'Bird to compete with Corvette when it has the various flavors of the Shelby Mustang available today and a new and updated Mustang series coming soon.
I bought a new 1974 Mercury Cougar XR-7 when the new model came out and then a 1976 Cougar X-7 before the body was changed and the Thunderbird became the Cougar twin for the 1977 MY after the T'Bird name was put on the Ford Elite series. I loved my Cougars as it was like driving a Lincoln Mark IV for less than half the price, etc. Mercury even advertised the Cougar XR-7 side-by-side with the Mark IV in TV spots featuring Farah Fawcett!
I've been driving company cars since 1986 and drive just about every Thunderbird model from model years 1986 through 1997. The T'Bird sold great though the 1988 MY and then nose dived in the 1989 MY when they introduced the new body and added far too much standard equipment, driving the cost and MSRP into a different category preventing anyone from marketing the vehicle successfully. It wasn't until they refreshed the car for the 1993 MY, removed the "excess" standard content and lowered the price point that the T'bird was positioned close to what it should have been when the 1989 MY T'Bird was introduced. Unfortunately, by then the damage was done and customers had abandoned the T'Bird for more compelling options elsewhere.
When, and if Ford considers a new Thunderbird I'd much prefer that any furture T'Bird go back to being a "Personal Luxury" model at an affordable/competitive price point.
Ford has not been alone in throwing away the heritage of certain car lines that were developed over many years. Thanks to Ford's new CEO the Taurus nameplate is alive again because he recognized the value of the Taurus name, recognition factor, reputation, etc.
If Ford is to build anything else using the Mustang chassis it would make the most sense to build a new Cougar model on a stretched wheelbase using the original Cougar proportions with that classic long hood and short decklid. Do a modern "Retro" Cougar based on the 1970 Cougar XR-7 and make it more upscale than the Mustang series to differentiate the two models. Based on the Mustang chassis, an all-new Cougar could also be developed in a very cost effective manner. The Lincoln-Mercury dealers would love it and it would restore another heritage model and nameplate to the market under the Ford halo.
Thanks for your thoughts on a new Thunderbird. I hope that you'll consider my opinions here!