By on October 9, 2019

Image: 1989 Chevrolet Beretta GTULast week, we wrapped up a trio of posts about the best sporty car designs of the Nineties from around the world. Today we venture into the darker depths of the same subject. First up are the bad designs American manufacturers proffered during the decade.

The familiar rules of the game are the same as in prior editions:

  1. All selections must be model years 1990 to 1999.
  2. Picks must be from an American manufacturer, even if sourced from an import.
  3. Any body style is eligible as long as it’s sporty*.

*Some commenters need to take note of rule 3, max, and relax all cool.

My choice for bad Nineties design started off serviceably enough at introduction, but then through corporate fiddling and adjustment ended up in a sad state.

It’s the seventh-generation Mercury Cougar, which debuted on the MN12 platform for the 1989 model year. Rear-drive, V6 or V8 power, and available with a manual in 1989 and 1990. Sounds like a decent starting point, apart from a grille that looked like a placemat. As expected, Cougar shared its DNA with the Ford Thunderbird (and was step sibling to Lincoln’s Mark VIII), though the Cougar was more serious looking and a bit more upscale than the Thunderbird. The upright design remained unchanged for the first two model years. A refresh came in 1991.

Arguably the best looking and most Taurus-like version of the model’s run, another refresh was carried out for the 1994 model year that brought it closer to Sable.

But Ford wasn’t finished, and in 1996 performed a more substantial rework on both Thunderbird and Cougar. Now Cougar shared its visage with the Thunderbird, but carried its own bumper and grille (which looked a mess). Previously absent, trim sprouted along the sides of the coupe in the form of chunky cladding.

Metamorphosis from moth to caterpillar complete, Ford cancelled the Cougar after 1997. The name remained dormant for two years until a resurrection on the Mondeo platform Ford Cougar.

What are the best examples of bad American sports car design from the Nineties?

[Images: GM, sellers, Mercury]

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96 Comments on “QOTD: Terrible Nineties Sports Car Design From America?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    No, not Beretta!

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Yeah, are you seriously trying to imply the Beretta was an example of terrible design?

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I hated the Beretta back in the day since it seemed (at least in my imagination) to be driven by every *lowbrow in the state. Time, however, has been kinder to it that I imagine.

      *though for a short spell I wanted a BTZ/BTU.

      With some exceptions the 90s was a weird time for sports cars. Though I do like the large variety of designs and just the sheer number that were available versus the comparatively slim pickings of today.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Looking back through rose tinted glasses you may remember the Beretta as better than it was. Compared to that eras Prelude or Accord, the Beretta and the Corsica were not particularly worthy competitors.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          The topic at hand as far as I understand it is specifically DESIGN though. I think incredibly highly of the Hondas of that era in both design as well as performance and quality. Purely on design/styling? The Beretta is VERY strong IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            Blackcloud_9

            That is the problem. A lot of GM product “looked” very good but their performance and especially their reliability were highly suspect. I know, I owned an 89 Grand Am. Loved the way it looked but OH, the number of things that broke/went wrong with the car are too numerous to list here.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Agreed, gtem. The Beretta is a nice design that has held up well.

            I’ll also offer up that the families I knew with mid-’80s to early-’90s GMs had good experiences vis-à-vis reliability and durability. I like the Japanese cars of that era too and find that their assembly quality, particularly on the interiors, seemed better because of materials used and tighter tolerances. I wonder how many people with GM horror stories had gotten previously abused examples?

            Engine and suspension choice made a difference too on the GMs, as base models seemed to follow a “take this ’80s FWD design and make it wallowy like a ’70s boat” ethos. Your F41 suspensions and the like were important. Conversely, something like a contemporary Accord likely drove nicely in standard guise (rode in them but never drove one).

        • 0 avatar
          quaquaqua

          The Beretta was a turd driving-wise, sure, like most domestics of that era. But I thought GM absolutely nailed sporty design. Their cars ran like crap (sup, ’93 Cavalier, miss seeing you in my driveway) but they all looked so much better than their Dodge/Ford competition. I mean, the Tempo, seriously?

          • 0 avatar
            MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

            Ran like crap? LOL
            The 3.1L V6/5-speed stick Z/24 I had ran like a scalded cat, and never had one mech. failure in 120k miles. So there’s that.

          • 0 avatar
            N8iveVA

            The Beretta with a V6 was actually a fun car at the time. How do you think a 65 Mustang drives compared to a new one? That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            My financial status taking a serious downturn in the early part of this century, I was reduced for 6 weeks to driving a company supplied Corsica in 2004. That was enough to sour my taste for that vehicle and anything related to it, permanently.

            In the 1990’s I had a succession of mini-vans, 2 SUVs and for fun a Mazda MX3 Precidia with what was I believe the smallest V6 used in a production car. Now that was a fun drive.

            And today, I am wearing the black leather, ‘Executive Member by Avon’ bomber jacket, emblazoned in gold with the traditional Cadillac logo and script, that My Old Man received as swag with one of his STS’s way back in the 1990’s. Size XXL, he could not even attempt to put it on. Damaging for Cadillac’s reputation for ‘big cars for men of large stature’.

            Chag Sameach to those observing today’s Holiday.

    • 0 avatar
      Fliggin_De_Fluge

      The Beretta wasnt terrible design, beyond the lazy side glass profile that dipped below the waistline. Of course GM did this on every car they designed in the 80s. No no, the real terribleness cane from owning one, where after a month of ownership crap started falling off, either from very light use to non use. These cars, along with Corsica, were built from the factory junk.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The Mercury Cougar doesn’t look as good as the Thunderbird version. That grille!

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Looked at one saved on Jay Smart’s You Tube channel last night. He rescued a beige one from his own scrap yard and was cleaning it up.

      I watched that and thought what a generic boring cynically designed “Cougar”.

      Made me wish to see an 80 model. At least someone tried. Or the 83 which was quite remarkable and still looks good.

      The 90s Cougar is rage inducing for it’s final destruction of a name that actually had some cache and sales potential.

      A Tempo 2 door from the 80s is better looking.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    My mother bought an 89 Beretta GT new and I really liked that car. Seeing that pic at the top now 30 years later and I like it even more with the low front end and windows you can actually see out of.

    • 0 avatar
      CaptainObvious

      I had an 89 Beretta GT too. Aside from its poor build quality – it was actually a nice car to drive. The GT package added some better handling bits – and the V6 made a nice burble.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        It did have a decent growly exhaust for such a small V6. I remember the build quality being ok at the time but at about 7 years and not even 100K I think my mother had to have the digital gauge cluster replaced and soon after the engine.

        • 0 avatar
          CaptainObvious

          I’ve probably mentioned it before but during the five years I owned my Beretta:
          The driver’s seat broke – replaced under warranty
          Paint flaked off – repainted for free
          Driver’s door fell off – fixed for free
          Weird and intermittent stalling problem – fixed for free.
          But it sure looked good – at least to me!

      • 0 avatar
        4drSedan

        I was always mildly fascinated by the convex then concave curve of the back window on the Beretta.

        As an aside, we used Corsicas (the Beretta’s four-door sister ship) in the Evasive Driving Course…panic swerves and stops, slaloms, Rockford File turns, the works. The brakes were worthless after no more than five runs…super fun!

        • 0 avatar
          CaptainObvious

          Yep – parked in my driveway – opened the door and I guess one of the hinges broke and the whole door sagged to the ground. Picked it up and shoved it back in place – luckily it clicked closed.
          Climbed in through the passenger door – and drove straight to the dealer.
          They didn’t even seem that fazed by it.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            On the bright side, this was never an issue with the rear doors on that vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ CaptainObvious – As someone who often shares good GM experiences in these threads, I have to provide some balance and say that when I was looking at an ATS coupe at an auto show, my reaction was, “This door panel seems loose when I close the door. C’mon, you can’t just take a sedan front door and make it longer! You have to think about beefing up the hinges and the panel fasteners.” Some things never change, I guess. The door seemed to hang correctly, mind you, but I can’t imagine that a Lexus RC or one of Mercedes’ coupes has a door panel that seems loose right out of the box.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Some may find this to be sacrilege, but I think the early 90’s Fox-body Mustangs are butt-freakin’-ugly. The earlier LX is a fine-looking car, but the addition of all the plastic stuff- the strakes, grilles, rocker extensions, etc. make the GT a total dog. Especially when compared to the contemporary Camaro, Firebird, Supra, and Nissan Z. Even the Dodge Daytona was better looking.
    I’m not a big fan of the SN-95 that followed it, either.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      You’re not alone. I’ve never understood the appeal of the Fox body.

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        The Fox wasn’t a great looking Mustang but for the era, cheap speed. That was its main appeal. A lot of ahem jocks in college drove Mustang GTs.

        I preferred the LX ‘notch over the gaudy taillights and trim of the later Fox GTs.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Most would agree the early ’90s Mustang GT/LXs have handsome/rugged good looks. The most masculine obviously.

          Its contemporaries look good too, but with softer lines, and feminine curves, nicely done. But they started to suffer from bloat, as the ’90s wore on.

          They all have their place, but none put more power and speed in more hands than the mighty GT/LX 5.0.

          The mid ’90s Mustangs sort of lost their way, looks-wise, but the ’99+ New Edge Mustangs brought back. But those mid ’90s Mustangs are starting to look good to me, kind of like the Mustang II.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          I wanted an LX convertible over the GT I bought due to the simpler and cleaner styling. But I’ve always wanted a Fox body convertible since 10 year old me sat in a GT convertible around 87-88 when my Dad was shopping for a new Ranger. My 89 GT 5 speed convertible showed up at a good time for a good price and I couldn’t pass it up.

          The Fox cars have a squared off simplicity that worked for the 14 years they built them. The 94 cars didn’t look great until they refreshed them in 1996. Still not crazy about them and why I looked at multiple Foxes over SN95 cars.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          divide nails it – cheap speed, easy to work on, easy to modify and a HUGE aftermarket contributed to the car’s popularity.

          I’m no fan of the GT either (although I’d gladly take a 93 Cobra), well not as big a fan in any event and much prefer the LX coupe in 5 speed manual trim with no A/C and with pony wheels.

          Another plus for the fox cars were really bad vehicle dynamics with 70’s era low cost chassis design and fuel economy improving light weight made the car fon to drive at comparatively low speeds. Although the trade off was a vehicle that had low tolerance for foolishness (good thing the fox came along before both Cars & Coffee and YouTube) and things could get really bad really quick as the minimalist structure would rip apart faster than a hot aluminum soda can.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      Oh I loved the 5.0 LX hatch in that light green with the five star rims. But agree on the tacky GT of the time with the louvered tail lights.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Cougar/T-Bird relationship is rather convoluted.

    Originally the Cougar was a ‘gentlemans Mustang’. A more upscale ‘pony car’. And the 1st generation of the Cougar is a car that I still greatly admire.

    Eventually the Cougar ‘upsized’ to a midsized platform, and for a few generations it was marketed as almost 2 distinct ‘models’. The regular Cougar which was a mid-range car (upscale Torino type) and the XR7 which was somewhat of a T-Bird sibling.

    Yet regardless of wearing the Mercury nameplate, the Cougar was generally not widely regarded as ‘prestigious’ as its Ford ‘sibling’. The T-Bird name at that time still retained considerable ‘panache’ with the general public.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Few off the top of my head

    Late 90s Cougar
    SN95 Mustang
    Dodge Avenger – not super awful
    Monte Carlo

  • avatar
    Maymar

    The ovoid design Escort ZX2 is a little odd and dated (even moreso than the Taurus that launched that theme). I have no doubt it’s a fun little car (using the same Mazda chassis as the earlier 90’s Escorts I’m very fond of), but it’s a little peculiar.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I’ll propose this oddball : The Avanti II coupe. Basically looked like an original Studebaker Avanti but had a Chevy engine and transmission and I want to say rode on a Monte Carlo chassis. My dad had one for awhile and when I drove it the looks from other drivers were memorable to say the least.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      That’s an interesting choice, though without looking it up I can’t recall which iteration of the Avanti was being produced in the ’90s
      – It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like the original Loewy (really Team Loewy) design.
      – As I understand it, the 1960s Avanti II essentially was a continuation of the original, only with a Chevy V8 swapped in for the Studebaker V8 and rectangular headlights instead of circular. I don’t like the look of those quite as much, but it’s still very much the original design. (I think the Chevy engine was a little taller than the Studebaker and necessitated the front end’s being mounted ever so slightly higher off the frame, which looks odd to my eye.)
      – In the ’80s, the car received an extensive redesign, which really compromised its look, IMO. A good example as new can be seen in THE KARATE KID.
      – Stuff got weirder, both design-wise and in terms of the corporate history, from that point on.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Fourth generation Camaro/Firebird. I don’t see too many on the roads any longer, but the ones I still see remind me of a design that went horribly wrong, or a slew of compromises melded into one vehicle. How could something so long and wide on the outside have so little space on the inside? What purpose did all of those false vents, scoops, and holes serve? And the WS6…ugh. It’s what happens when hyperactive Pontiac designers didn’t hear the word “enough.”

    I know it had the goods under the hood (at least the V8 models), and was at the time, cheap speed, but from concept to production, GM once again blew it.

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      All those faults – especially the tiny interior – and a high cost too. Most of the people I know who would have been in the Camaro crowd ended up in 2 door S10 Blazers. Still stylish with a lot more space and versatility.

      I disagree on the WS6 Trans Am, though. That over the top style is just what a TA buyer wants, I dreamed of buying on back in the day (at least until I sat in it) and still think they look like rocketships.

      GM could have re-energized that entire segment but the end result was just lackluster. No wonder the next Camaro went back past the long hood short rear deck design to the late ’60s.

    • 0 avatar
      TheDutchGun

      I can deal with the ss Camaro of the era, but the firebird was complete nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I once got to ride in the cramped backseat of a 1993 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car with the 275hp LT1 (then speed density). It was at death inducing speeds and seemed incredibly fast at the time.

      But it sure was ugly: “A special “pace car edition” trim was introduced in the same year and featured “Indy 500″ lettering on black and white body color scheme with multicolored pinstriping and white painted wheels.”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah, Camarobird was the first that came to my mind. Styling is pretty meh, although some of the special models with the extra scoops/wings are…entertaining, at least.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      The “super-fast” 68-degree windshield rake of the 4th gen Camaro/Firebird led to all sorts of compromises – interior space, manufacturing, even air conditioning issues due to the huge sun load.

      https://tinyurl.com/yy3h43x9

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’m not going to complain about any vehicle that could reasonably be construed as sporty, now that the roads are clogged with stodgy-ass crossovers. Anything sporty is OK with me.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    SN-95 and 99+ mustang.

    99+ was not made palatable until the 03-04 cobra.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      The 1999 restyle helped and the 2001 wheels made it tolerable to me but not great. At least not as bulbous and ugly as its jelly bean GM F-body contemporaries though.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Started in the late 80s but died in the 90s – Buick Reatta.

    I never got these things as tall. Bigger than the should have been and oddly proportioned. I never understood the appeal.

    Pity this is limited to the 90s or my answer would have been the Chrysler Crossfire. I don’t mind the look, but it needed to be about the size of a Mustang, not the tiny little thing it was. So disappointing.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Ford Festiva RALLE

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    Despite Rool 3, equating sporty cars with sports cars is almost oxymoronic. Sporty cars by and large are meant for poseurs, insecure males, the secretary pool, and those focused on transport with youthful optics. Kind of like Bass shoes for nursing home residents. Sports cars are meant for poseurs, insecure males, and the handful of drivers who are focused on driving, not transportation. More like a pair of made-in-Murka Thorogoods. Did America make any sports cars back then? Corvette, Probe, and potentially the Fiero could have made the grade but were all subject to beancounters and market demands of the common poseur and insecure male, focus on appearance rather than content. It’s a cancer that started here, and now worldwide…even Porsche has fallen victim…

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I respectfully disagree. Those of us who love to drive, want a vehicle with above average handling and performance, and all weather capability in a sleek package. Volkswagen Scirocco and Acura Integras were gamer changers that delivered that IMHO. However, I agree with your comment as applied to SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        CaptainObvious

        Disagree as well.
        Just out of curiosity retrocrank – what did you drive back then?
        I’m not ashamed to admit through the 90’s I had a Beretta, Celica, Accord Coupe. My wife had an Olds Cutlass Supreme two-door – the redesigned FWD version.
        Were we posers as you say?

        • 0 avatar
          retrocrank

          I drove a Rabbit GTI (’84) and had an MGB for a weekend toy. Sold the rusting GTI and bought an Audi Coupe that had sat new on the dealer’s lot for at least a year (I figured it was way too expensive at MSRP for what it was especially in the rural midwest where I lived then – after that much time I made a lowball offer that the dealer accepted). Not the quickest, but once on cam it was a nicely balanced car. Pig_Iron’s definition of a driver’s car fit my situation with that car, I just wouldn’t have called the Audi a sports car, certainly not like the GTI or the MGB. Sporty? maybe but Audi styling back then was pretty conservative. My choice of that particular car was because it was an affordable entry point to something nicer than the GTI yet still a good driver’s car.

          Ajla, don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that only sports cars can be powerful, handle well, and be fun to drive…I’m thinking of a friend’s 540i from that era. What a machine, a real pleasure to drive hard. But that didn’t make it a sports car, it was a “business sedan” (which is how he used it). But I can’t think of anything American that came close to that although maybe the Caddy Northstar cars tried.

          I stick to the idea that a sports car is a smaller nimble machine you can take into Turn 2 at Gingerman a bit too fast, lift/noodge the brake with the left foot, and execute the corner on opposite lock, with certainty that the car will respond. A T’bird or a Beretta just doesn’t seem consistent with that image. Sorry.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I think very, very few people buying a Beretta or a 90s T-bird thought or claimed that they were buying a “sports car”.

            However, buying a Beretta or a T-bird because you happen to care about the aesthetics of something you’re spending thousands of dollars on isn’t a personal failing, which is what it seemed like you were implying with your “poseur and insecure” line.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Well, you’ve got the “crank” part of your username right. People with a desire for aesthetics and performance beyond what’s offered by a Reliant wagon aren’t insecure poseurs just because want something that isn’t an MR2 or Triumph Spitfire.

      • 0 avatar
        retrocrank

        Ajla,
        I knew people who bought Berette, T-birds etc… because they liked the car because of its aesthetics/value/utility/etc… and had no pretense of “sports car” as Corey defined it. Even people with serious driving chops. I also have known a lot of people who buy certain cars because they desire the mantle of “sporty car” without the perceived headaches/limitations/expense/etc… of a real sports car. More often than not, those people don’t know a wheel bearing from a bearing plate, and are noncritical about the driving experience itself. That’s poseur and insecure in my book.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    I know it wasn’t sporty, but heck, most cars weren’t back then: I loved the mid-90s Cutlass Supreme convertible. Just looked like the coolest thing to my pre-teen eyes, probably the only Oldsmobile I ever wanted. The design held up great, too.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Citing Rule 2, I’ve got to say the 1997 “widetrack” Grand Prix redesign (sedan is on my mind but the coupe was no different). One came into my driveway when I got married and I hated that car so much. Every surface was blobby and ugly inside and out. Ours was an SE, so it had a blank plastic void between the headlights rather than a grille.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    The Truth About Berettas?

    You guys crack me up. Every article about some 80s or 90s domestic and so many wax poetic about the complete trash built at the time.

    I’ve never seen so many people recall with such fondness cars that had every problem known to man and were lucky to see 100,000 miles in the “everything is busted but it still drives down the road under its own power” kind of 100,000 miles.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ve never liked the look of the C5 Corvette. It is such a fat, blob-looking thing. Like a C4 that went on a 10-month McDonald’s binge. And the humongous a$$ on it is ridiculous (and unfortunately sort of being replicated with the C8).

    One reason I like the C6’s design so much is that it looks like a C5 that exercises 3 days a week.

    • 0 avatar
      TheDutchGun

      Agree on all points.

      For example…Base 1997 C5 with base wheels and a tan ragtop… Awful. The stock wheels of that era are beyond cheap looking, even for 1997.

      The only decent C5 era Vette was the Z06 and that came much later.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    I thought Beretta’s came equipped with a parrot on its shoulder? Was that an option?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Never knew that anyone here actually liked a GM product so much, H-G Bodys aside.

    My vote goes to the Thunderbird, like this Cougar it started off well but each face lift just ruined it. It was also the slowest car to bear the 4.6 in terms of power output.

    I cant knock the Monte Carlo, as a kid I really did think it wss a stock Nascar. And at least they had reliable drivetrains. Same for Reattas, hard to knock a reliable car, also hard to knock a touch screen with a decent UI.

    I am mixed on Camaros and Firebirds of that time, I rarely ever see them anymore so its hard to even vote them.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Countless cars are spoiled by “facelifts”.
      That could be a fun topic of the day here at TTAC . . “What cars were great looking their first year and were ruined by succeeding facelifts?”

      Then of course the obverse, “What vehicles’ styling were improved by later facelifts?” The 1996 Taurus, and the recent 2019 restyle of the Prius front end come to mind.

      Back to topic, the Viper always looked over the top and way overstated to my eyes.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    ’93 Firebird, specifically the Trans Am. I think it was Car and Driver who described its styling as “something a 7th grader would scribble in his notebook during study hall.” And I’d have to agree.

  • avatar
    waywardboi313

    I’m going to add the Chrysler TC by Maserati. While the Lebaron looked like a typical Chrysler the TC was an over priced overwrought slow POC!

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I am embarrassed to admit I owned a Beretta. I bought it new, in 1989. It was the first brand new car I bought. Out of college, technical degree, cash in hand. I bought a black one, it was not the GT, but it had the powerful (lol) 2.8 liter MPFI(Multi-port Fuel injected) engine. Let me tell you it was the worst car I ever owned.

    I had that car 5 years.
    The interior of that vehicle came apart. No matter how many times I took it to the dealer for them to order parts and repair, again something else would break. Eventually GM redesigned the interior after3 years (yes they did the QA on people who bought them).

    The engine bay looked like there was oil leak. This was a car that was religiously maintained. Yet the engine and transmission (I think it was a three speed with overdrive) never had problem.

    In year 3 the dashboard started to bubble up. The plastic seemed expanding in middle. Remember I maintained it with Armoall religiously.

    Then in year 3 or 4 the paint started fading. When I took to dealer he laughed and said he understands and will repaint the entire car for free. I asked how so? He said there was something called de lamination. That water was trapped between paint and metal in factory. GM was aware and would repaint if people complained but since it is not a safety issue there was no recall.

    After that repaint, most car people thought my car was in a accident. After 5 year, I replaced it with a Corolla which never had problems and my life improved every day after that. I wish I had listened to friends who had Accords and Prelude and Celicas when I bought the Beretta.

    GM lost me as a customer until in 2016 i bought my Admiral Blue C7. I am sure my store is not unique.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Looking at them now, Beretta and Corsica were fairly clean designs for GM. Crap build quality did them in.

    I had a 95 Cougar with the 4.6. It was pearl white with the basketweave wheels and a luggage rack along with all leather, moonroof,etc. I’ve never seen another exactly like it. It was a wonderful cruiser and a good car for me, but it wasn’t sporting. Not that 23 year old me didn’t try with that 4.6! It was the last of my 3 “personal luxury coupes”. I agree the 94 refresh was the best variation of the MN12 Cougar.

    I bought the Cougar after a 95 Contour 5 speed V6 LX crapped out on me on the way home from the dealer. I had initially gone there to buy the Cougar, but was smitten with the light and zippy Contour. It was not to be, the Contour was flatbedded back to the dealer, who (in hindsight) may or may not have given me a deal on the Cougar. Had the Cougar for three years and then sold it for financial reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I owned a 95 Thunderbird LX with the 4.6. It was a great highway cruiser that handled well because it had the independent rear suspension.
      The 94 update on the MN-12 not only smoothed out the body making it consistent with Fords aero jelly bean theme.
      The refresh also vastly improved the dashboard with a nice ergonomic cockpit and airbags.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    The New Edge Cougar from ’99 and that Mercury Capri convertible thing that looked like it should have debuted on stage with the Ford Probe series of concept cars from 1979 onwards. Yuck!

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    1990-1991 Pontiac Grand Am GT. The profile actually looks quite similar to the cougar with an almost vertical rear windshield, however the trunk always looked disproportionate to the rest of the car and the front grille was just ugly. Its Beretta platform mate was much better

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  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States