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Altair Club Cars The Ugliest Car Ever Made? – Ford Scorpio

The Ugliest Car Ever Made? – Ford Scorpio

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In one of the most controversial styling choices ever put on a mass production car the ford scorpio of 1994 had many bold intentions with its notably marked departure from the previous model attempting to present a futuristic design that was years ahead of its time only for it to be lambasted as among the ugliest cars ever built the ford scorpio executive car range

Is a direct descendant of the famous ford granada one of the most commercially successful upmarket models for the ford company that had originally been introduced in 1972 as a replacement for the ford’s zephyr this incredibly popular machine which also came under the ford console moniker for lower priced variants until 1975 being a staple of the european car market

Throughout the decade while a revised model for 1977 became the definitive version of this much-loved machine of which 918 900 examples were sold in 1985 the grenada name was applied to british versions of the new ford scorpio which itself was a heavily revised design that took many of its underpinnings from the highly successful ford sierra family saloon the executive

Scorpio being built to do battle against the likes of bmw and mercedes-benz by creating a machine that married modern styling with upbeat performance and all the luxury accomplishments expected for a car of its class the scorpio even being briefly sold in the united states under the ill-fated merkur brand this short-lived exercise ultimately failing due to a lack of

Brand recognition and a market already saturated by other executive car models from europe japan and the domestic usa however while the merkur scorpio was discontinued after only a year the regular ford scorpio and granada mark iii remained very strong sellers in the uk and europe although by the beginning of the 1990s as styling trends began to change the near 10

Year old looks of the scorpio was starting to appear distinctly out of place even following a facelift in 1991 ford’s enthusiasm to replace the scorpio with the dedicated new model on the executive car market being somewhat dampened by the fact that sales for this market segment were starting to fall away as trends moved more towards either dedicated luxury cars

Like the mercedes-benz s-class and the bmw 7 series or sports saloons like the bmw 3 and 5 series while in the face of environmental considerations and the rise of internet-based communications that rapidly appeared during the first half of the decade corporations which had employed executive models like the scorpio as company cars since the late 1960s started to

Abandon the practice cutting out a large chunk of their market for the fleet segment instead so as to breathe new life into the scorpio range ford simply took the underpinnings of the previous model and gave it a comprehensive restyling in order to present the range with a fresh new appearance while at the same time dropping the granada title in favor of the more

Striking scorpio brand the styling for the scorpio being the first instance where ford utilized a cad cam computer software system in order to develop a machine with an americanized look akin to the upcoming third generation ford taurus which had been penned in 1992 by graphic designer doug gafka although gafka was not directly involved in the scorpio program the

Result was a car that abandoned the straight lines and harder angles of the original scorpio by replacing them with rounded edges and a curved profile with the front styling being of particular note as it adopted a wide chrome grille surrounded on either side by ominous oval headlamps while the rear of the saloon models reduced the taillights to a long narrow strip

That ran across the top of the rear bumper estate versions of the car having the same front styling though the rear was a direct translation of the previous mark 1 scorpio estate including the same lights rear window and tailgate while its styling was indeed very 90s given its bold and unconventional pretensions the mark ii scorpio’s best assets were internal the

Base model scorpio executive providing as standard a high level of specification including electric windows anti-lock brakes passenger airbag systems and an alarm and immobilizer while the higher range gear models which took their name from the italian karazzaria gear even though gear itself had no input into the scorpio development came with added air conditioning

Alloy wheels front fog lights and electric mirrors as well as a variety of minor additions the final trim variant the top of the range scorpio ultima providing a cd auto changer climate control leather seats cruise control an automatically dimming mirror and electrically operated seats alongside a myriad of other improvements with some altimas even being fitted

With a vm motori 2.5 litre turbo diesel engine which was far more efficient than the regular power unit but suffered from significant turbo lag that stunted its potential acceleration benefits for the non-diesel power units the new scorpio was fitted with a series of cologne engines starting with the base 2 liter and 2.3 litre inline fours and moving up to the

High-end 2.9 liter brg v6 and finally the range-topping 2.9 liter bob cosworth v6 the cosworth examples coming as standard with traction control cruise control and an automatic gearbox although unlike previous generations the cosworth badge did not appear anywhere on the car’s exterior a choice likely made to reduce the possibility of vehicle theft as cars such

As the notorious ford escort rs cosworth of 1992 a group a rally car built for the road were among the most stolen cars in the uk due to their incredible ability to marry power with nimble sure-footed performance easily evading contemporary police cars and with the pride of joyriders and ram raiders however the comfortable and practical attributes of the scorpio

Could not be appreciated as following the release of promotional images of the upcoming model prior to its official launch at the 1994 paris motor show ford was inundated with negative press and feedback from customers and motoring critics as to the car’s styling although ford maintained solidarity with the machine by allowing the press to be shown the car in

Person at the cologne factory months prior to any test drives in order to try and sway opinion believing that the promotional images had presented the car in an unflattering light while design chief of ford’s european division fritz mayhew strongly defended the upcoming model despite the fact that he had no involvement with the project in any way eventually in

October 1994 the car made its official debut at the paris motor show and the many criticisms towards the car’s styling which had existed before the launch remained steadfast the car being derided as having gargoyle levels of ugliness while jeremy clarkson for the bbc motoring show top gear described the machine as a wide mouth frog and would take great pleasure

In destroying several examples over the course of the next decade the overwhelmingly negative reception combined with a plethora of build quality problems ranging from power steering and electronic fault to issues with the automatic gearbox as well as plummeting depreciation only serving to significantly damage the car’s sales prospects with output peaking at a

Mere 44 521 units in 1995 before dropping away through 1996 and 1997 a vanishingly small number when compared to the new bmw 7 series which had been launched in april 1994. with the legacy of the cars ultimately calamitous launch being impossible to escape ford needed an excuse to abandon the failing executive car market altogether and instead focus on their more

Profitable family car divisions the solution coming in january 1999 when ford purchased the ailing swedish car company volvo for 6.45 billion dollars the deal allowing ford to access volvo engineering resources and components which would be divided out among their own models while volvo would be allowed to become ford’s dedicated executive car manufacturer for

Europe starting with the s80 of early 1999 which came as a direct replacement for ford’s own executive models with the need for executive models being offloaded to volvo while high-end luxury cars were the domain of jaguar which ford also had a controlling share the sad eyed scorpio range was now seen as surplus to requirement and following a slight facelift in

November 1997 which made some adjustments to the shape of the grille and darkened the oval headlights to make them less conspicuous the company opted to discontinue the scorpio after just 98 587 examples in june 1998. however despite the ford scorpio still maintaining a woeful reputation to this day the car can be owed for presenting many significant milestones

In the design ethos of ford europe during the mid to late 1990s as while the styling efforts of the scorpio itself were largely dismissed the decidedly new vision of the rounded and smooth curved executive model was translated to a far more successful degree onto cars such as the ford car the mark iv fiesta the original puma of 1997 the cougar sports car and the

Highly successful ford focus family hatchback pulling forward’s european design philosophy away from the still largely present styling convention of the sierra which remained prominent on the likes of the mark iii fiesta and the last generation escort while one notable customer for the scorpio was the dutch royal family which employed several scorpios including

Some stretched examples and a custom built scorpio land delay in the raw stables all of which were painted nassau or blue part of the colour scheme of the raw standard of the netherlands in the end while the scorpio’s failure didn’t match the same magnitude as other mistakes in ford’s company history such as the infamous edsel and the ill-conceived merkur brand

It was a card that both customers and critics took at face value ignoring its many endearing internal features and performance based simply on the fact that the car didn’t have an appealing aesthetic leading it to sales calamity and the end of the once incredibly popular granada scorpio range you

Transcribed from video
The Ugliest Car Ever Made? – Ford Scorpio By Ruairidh MacVeigh

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