QOTD: The Right Stuff at the Right Time?
In our question of the day post last Wednesday, we asked you to submit the vehicles that left you wondering what the manufacturers behind them were thinking. Today, we’ll take the opposite tack and focus our attention on the automotive products which came along at exactly the right time.
My selection today was an example of great innovation at its debut. So influential was this new model that it changed the landscape of the segment in which it competed. Just have a look at this aerodynamic beauty:
I selected a picture of the Mercury Sable in particular, because I like the light bar at the front and how it’s slightly more upscale than its Taurus sibling.
Ford began the development of its own new lineup of sedans and wagons in 1981. At the time, the American family car landscape was a bleak one: Leftovers from the Malaise Era, inefficient in their design and questionable in their materials, roamed the country as they rusted rapidly. Consumers wanted front-wheel drive, modern designs which were kinder to the eyes and the fuel economy figures that came with.
Think about what the Taurus replaced. Just have a look:
The midsize Ford LTD originated on the Fox platform for 1983, replacing the Granada. Taurus was a revolutionary step forward, and it existed with its grandfather on dealer lots for only the 1986 model year. The Taurus caught other domestic automakers by surprise when Ford pitted it against entries like the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera or the K-car Chrysler Town and Country wagon. On sale at the end of 1985, the Taurus and Sable were instant sales success stories. Originally available with four or six cylinders and manual and automatic transmissions, consumers and fleet companies alike threw their money at Ford. General Motors and Chrysler were left with surprised faces and some product development to do. Advantage: Taurus.
Let’s hear your selections for right product, right time.
[Images: Chrysler, Ford]
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- Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
- Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
- ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
- ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
- Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged
Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. Don't require to add anything else.
1982 A-body Century and Ciera, proved GM could make competent FWD cars that sold by the boatload. I'd also honestly say the Ford Fairmont- first of the fox body platform, and pretty much the sole reason Ford didn't go bankrupt along with Chrysler in the 70's.