When Ford Thunderbird's color palette is changed for '03, one of the new hues will likely recall romantic Oceanfront sunsets, the automaker hints.

Asked if pink — so popular when the first T'Birds were built — will be among the new “fashion colors” expected when two '02 tones are dropped, Mary Ellen Heyde, Ford's vehicle line director-lifestyle vehicles, says: “Actually, it was called coral.”

Sunset coral to be precise. And it wasn't really pink. Not until Dusk Rose was added for the '57 T'Bird did buyers have a color choice that could pass for pink.

Ms. Heyde says coral “might” be a replacement for either Thunderbird Blue or Inspiration Yellow when they are phased out at the end of the '02 model year. Ford's plan for Thunderbird's limited-run colors is to offer familiarity for those with attachments to the original design, and innovation for die-hard fans of the new-look ‘Bird. “One will look ahead and one will look back,” Thunderbird/Mustang marketing manager Mickey D'Armi says.