Cars of Futures Past 1986 Ford Taurus Hemmings Daily

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Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars

Cars of Futures Past Ford Taurus

Ford LX. Photo courtesy Alden .

Ask an automotive enthusiast to name the important cars in Ford Company history, and products the Model T and Model A will make the list. The Mustang be there as well, but one car that won t be included is the first generation Taurus (and its fraternal the Mercury Sable), despite the that it pioneered modern methods, boasted (at the time) the development budget of any car in Ford s and ultimately prevented a bankruptcy may have doomed the blue-oval It s no exaggeration to call the original one of the most significant cars of the and the advancements in design, styling and quality it pioneered make it a forward-thinking automobile.

To understand the of the Taurus, it s necessary to go back in to the early 1980s. Faced an aging product line with family cars the Fairmont, Granada and LTD, found itself rapidly ground to both domestic and brands. While its new front-drive was selling well, a compact car is not to carry a brand, and in late Ford introduced the contemporary Tempo as a replacement for the outdated

While it had taken a step in the direction, the automaker was far from out of the

1986 Mercury Sable wagon. Photo courtesy .

In 1981, Ford began on an all-new midsize car to replace the (and its interim successor, the LTD). Borrowing a page the Escort, which had been globally, the Taurus introduced a new for creating an American automobile: of working in isolation toward but separate goals, teams design, engineering and marketing work together to create the Under the guidance of designer Telnack, Team Taurus set to with a clean sheet of

In the past, Detroit had been to telling the American consumer he wanted in a car. This Ford s marketing staff focus groups what expected in a family sedan or wagon, and the research into the car s went so far as to examine variables insurance cost, ease of and even advanced ergonomics for the Engineering teams ripped hundreds of cars from brands, reverse engineering one to determine the best practices by various manufacturers. What for this extensive research and was the budget set aside for the Taurus: At billion, it was the largest in Ford s


For comparison, a mere $870 had been allocated for the development of the Fiesta subcompact.

1986 Taurus LX, in the Henry Ford Photo credit resedabear .

that the car s launch would be as as its development, Ford spared no in a mid-1985 Hollywood premiere at MGM Studios Soundstage 85) that space themes to highlight the nature of the car. Its ovoid was a huge departure from the of the day, and critics weren t how to react. Chrysler (and some Ford executives) that the car s bold, grille-less had gone too far, and predicted the Taurus would be a huge for the automaker when it hit the road at end.

To hedge its bet, Ford to produce the Fox platform LTD, but the die had cast: If the Taurus turned out to be a the billions spent on its development have dragged the company a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

As it turned the money invested in the development of the was well spent. Journalists universally praised the car for the handling and comfort of its fully independent and its aerodynamic shape (further by features like flush glass) helped produce in both fuel economy and noise reduction. Even in variants such as the base L the Taurus felt better-equipped and put together than anything in the segment, including cars significantly more money.

Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars

To no one s Motor Trend named the its Car of the Year for 1986, while Car and appointed it to the 10 Best list the year.

1986 Taurus LX. Photo resedabear .

Early production all came with Ford s (183-cu.in.) V-6, rated at 140 and 160 pound-feet of torque and mated to a automatic transmission with Late in the car s first model Ford also introduced a (153-cu.in.) four-cylinder engine, at 88 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque and to a three-speed automatic transmission. used as the base engine in models, the four-cylinder would in a sport-themed 5MT MT-5 trim that debuted in 1987; as the implied, this was meant to be a s Taurus, equipped with a manual transmission and amenities to the better-equipped GL trim level.

88 horsepower was hardly sufficient to the enthusiast buyer market, it did the 1989 appearance of a much substantial Taurus sport the Yamaha-engined Ford Taurus

In its debut year, Ford a total of 178,737 Taurus and an additional 57,625 Taurus wagons, while Mercury 71,707 Sable sedans and Sable station wagons. A later, that number jump to 278,562 sedans and wagons for Ford, plus sedans and 30,312 wagons for proving that the American had no trouble warming to the car s futuristic For 1986, the Taurus and Sable Ford deliver pretax that exceeded those of General Motors for the first since 1924, and the demand for the helped boost Ford s price by 76 percent in 1987.

Ford s big roll of the dice had off, and the success of the Taurus propel the automaker into the century.

Though it s easy to at the Taurus as just another car of the 1980s from an enthusiast s it s important to frame the car with a bit of Prior to the Taurus, Ford s sedans were of the traditional rear-wheel-drive layout, saddled outdated designs like rear axles and often (in the late 1970s and early at least) with a blind eye quality. The Taurus s front-wheel-drive allowed for less weight hence, better fuel and increased interior room, and its suspension design yielded that few expected from an family sedan. More the Taurus was among the first of its generation to demonstrate that automakers were capable of or exceeding the quality standards set by automakers, including luxury

While today s Taurus is no the same quantum leap as the original model, that car as proof that sometimes a shot does pay big dividends.

Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars
Ford Taurus FWD Electric Cars

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