Junkyard Find: 1986 Ford Taurus L

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 ford taurus l
I look for good examples of automotive history for this series, and today’s car certainly qualifies: one of the very first Ford Tauruses ever built, a car that came off the assembly line during the first month of Taurus production.I found this option-laden ’86 in a San Francisco Bay Area yard back in February.
Due to final-stretch delays at the Atlanta assembly plant, production of the radical new Taurus didn’t begin until the middle of October in 1985. The door sticker on this car shows it was built in that month, and the sequence-number portion of the VIN is in the low 100,000s (I’ve blanked out the final four digits). I’ve photographed two previous ’86 Tauruses in junkyards ( this MT-5 in Arizona and this LX in California), and their sequence numbers were in the 150,000s and 250,000s, respectively, with build dates of March 1986 and August 1986. If anyone knows the starting sequence number for the Taurus, please share that information with us.
Built in Georgia, shipped to Wyoming, where it must have been one of the first of the futuristic new Tauruses seen in the Mountain Time Zone.
These cars were shockingly modern-looking when they first hit the streets, with their flush, Audi-like glass, big interior space, and aerodynamic lines looking nothing like the boxy LTDs they replaced. Ford sold millions of first-generation Tauruses.
This one has the base-model L trim level, but that didn’t stop the original buyer from loading it up with plenty of options, including the 140-horse, 3.0-liter Vulcan V6.
Cruise control!
AM/FM radio with cassette deck and four speakers!
Mud flaps!
Yes, even the tilt wheel and split bench seat made it into this creampuff.
Ford was still using five-digit odometers (not to mention 85 mph speedometers) in 1986, but I think the condition of this car’s interior suggests that 109,321 miles might be the true reading.
An American car with the shape and feel we’ve never seen before.You’ll find links to more than 2,000 additional Junkyard Finds at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
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  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Apr 20, 2020

    I know this is picky, but I thought that the Taurus L did not have the tri-color taillights.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Apr 20, 2020

    October 1985. That was the month and year that Marty McFly traveled back in time to 1955 in Doc Brown's DeLorean. FYI.

  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
  • Marvin Im a current owner of a 2012 Golf R 2 Door with 5 grand on the odometer . Fun car to drive ! It's my summer cruiser. 2006 GLI with 33,000 . The R can be money pit if service by the dealership. For both cars I deal with Foreign car specialist , non union shop but they know their stuff !!! From what I gather the newer R's 22,23' too many electronic controls on the screen, plus the 12 is the last of the of the trouble free ones and fun to drive no on screen electronics Maze !
  • VoGhost It's very odd to me to see so many commenters reflexively attack an American company like this. Maybe they will be able to find a job with BYD or Vinfast.