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Autotrader Find: John Force's 270-Mile 2002 Ford Thunderbird

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Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird
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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2017

Here's something you don't see every day: an ultra-well-preserved 2002 Ford Thunderbird, finished in teal with a teal interior, that's traveled just 268 miles since it was originally sold new. Making it even more interesting is the fact that the original owner was drag-racing legend John Force.

Let's start with an overview of the car. In 2002, Ford revived the Thunderbird name after dropping it in 1997, and this was the result: an unusual but distinctive rear-wheel-drive 2-seater convertible with a long trunk and a removable roof that featured the classic "porthole" window design from the 1950s Thunderbird. At the time, many people assumed they'd be collector's items, much like the original Thunderbird that came out in 1955.

Apparently, drag-racing legend John Force was one of those people. Force is now 67, and his daughters are carrying on in the drag-racing world -- but he reportedly bought this Thunderbird when he was at his career peak, right in the middle of his 16 NHRA Funny Car championship wins. Admittedly, no documentation that Force owned the Thunderbird is provided, so we simply have to go by what the listing says ("This car is from John Force's private collection of cars.") -- but it seems likely, given the car's location and the fact that Force was drag racing with Fords when he would've bought the Thunderbird.

As for the Thunderbird's condition, it's a time capsule: painted in the car's most distinctive color ("Thunderbird Blue" -- but really more like teal) with an equally distinctive interior color (also "Thunderbird Blue" and also teal). The seats look like they've never been used, the exterior looks like it's never been scratched or scraped, and the car barely looks like it's been driven. The odometer verifies this, as it shows just under 269 total miles.

Unfortunately, the Thunderbird never really took off on the used market like collectors hoped. Despite this one's perfect condition, distinctive color and celebrity ownership history, it looks like it's been on the market for a while, with a mild asking price of $34,760 -- still less than the original MSRP of $39,265 back when it was new in 2002.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird
Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird
$9,623
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird
Used 2002 Ford Thunderbird
$11,998
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Autotrader Find: John Force's 270-Mile 2002 Ford Thunderbird - Autotrader