SAAB 9-5 Aero Wagon, Image: Saab

I hinted at today’s QOTD last week, when the original post for this line of questioning got the ball rolling. Last time we asked which non-luxury vehicles of 2019 were the most overpriced. The subsequent comments reflected a wide variety of nuanced opinions, ranging from “Everything over $25,000 is overpriced” to “Cars should come used from the factory.” Just kidding (maybe).

Today we step back over a decade and talk about everyone’s favorite rounded and cheap plastic era: the 2000s.

As the Nineties said goodbye, the Golden Era of this and that faded from view. Cost-cutting became more apparent, styling entered a bubble-cum-retro phase, and interior buttons for many vehicles were sourced from Fisher-Price. Corny pixelated displays arrived, reflecting climate controls which were once directed by buttons. Satellite navigation was the hot new luxury option, allowing your car to yell at you while you were lost in a bad part of town. At least the satellite connection brought with it much music and entertainment for car journeys.

Amid all the chaos of emerging infotainment and accountant-engineers, some vehicles were certainly overpriced. Have a look at this dandy.

I’m picking on Ford again for this special offering. Five years after the demise of the prior generation, Ford decided to reincarnate its Thunderbird in an all-new retro style, as was the fashion in the early 2000s. Returning to traditional form, rear seats vanished. The convertible which was absent through prior generations returned, with an optional hard top to make things coupe-like. Jaguar contributed its 3.9-liter V8, and the Lincoln LS was the bin used for the underwhelming interior.

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The first year models sold well, and Motor Trend even awarded Thunderbird its North American Car of the Year award. Speaking of sales, we should check the pricing. Prices ranged between $36,960 and $38,890 (about $50,000 in 2019 dollars), before any additional dealer markup — which was, at times, considerable. It was an opportunistic sell based upon retro styling and a legendary nameplate. Sales dropped off soon after, and 2007 was the coffin year for Thunderbird. Good riddance.

Let’s hear your picks for overpriced rides of the 2000s.

[Images: Saab, Ford]





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