Crapwagon Outtake: 1998 Ford Contour SVT
The appeal of the hot family sedan should be obvious. A car offering both family hauling utility and apex-hunting ability means, in theory, that the sports sedan should be the ideal cool dad car. BMW has been the king of this market for decades.
In practice, though, there are often too many compromises between comfort and performance that doom the sports sedan in the eyes of buyers.
Today’s feature, a 1998 Ford Contour SVT, is a great example of this compromise. One would think that taking the best selling family sedan in the UK, adding power and a firmer suspension, and turning it loose on American enthusiasts would be a recipe for a great car.
Over two decades, however, the SVT has become an unloved old Ford, just as likely to grace a buy-here, pay-here lot as a cone-filled parking lot. I see a Contour SVT on my commute, sitting curbside with a busted rear window, dragging side skirt, and rotted exhaust, and it’s not the only one I’ve seen neglected in such a manner.
The Contour, SVT or not, wasn’t a great car simply due to compromise. It was a bit too small compared to the competition, with a cramped rear seat becoming too tight for teenagers. I owned a first-generation Focus, and felt more comfortable in the rear than the nominally-larger Contour.
There are plenty of red flags on this Contour SVT. If perfect, $6,500 might be an acceptable price, though I wouldn’t spend more than $4,000. I’m wary of the poor photographs, combined with the seller’s description of “all works” and “well maintain.” I’ve a feeling that any transaction with this particular seller will lead to headaches.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
More by Chris Tonn
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Lachlan Anyone remember what happened the last time a senator named Hawley pushed a big tariff?
- Craiger I love the people who call Musk an imbecile. As if they could even get an interview for a job at one of his companies.
- Lou_BC I'm waiting for Tesla to make a pickup!
- Lou_BC Autograph? Turn Up the Radio?
- Oberkanone Were these available with diesel?At $3700 this Volvo presents nicer than other vehicles I see at this asking price.