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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

10 flawed Fords that deserved a better fate

When Ford gets a vehicle right, it hits the nail on the proverbial head. Witness the F-150, the United States' best-selling truck for 44 years straight, and the nation's best-selling vehicle for 39. Ford even had the foresight to create the Mustang and, in successive years, to never stray far from the model's roots and/or target demographic.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/10-flawed-fords-deserved-better-fate/
144 REPLIES 144
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

It's always amazing to see the bright ideas that withered on the vine or never yet came to fruition! It would seem that ALL of the Big Three automakers at some time teased the public with concept car visions that never made it to production, or worse yet, emerged so watered down from the concept that they were practically unrecognizable. Then too, these efforts were sometimes nickeled and dimed to death, so much so that they were doomed to failure. Sometimes an enterprising DIYer would take their disappointment and create for themselves what the OEM's did not!! 🙂
Sajeev
Community Manager

You are right about all three of the Big Three being guilty of this, and as such, you might like reading this article: https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/9-tragically-flawed-gm-vehicles-whose-heroic-fixes-... 

BMD4800
Instructor

GM is a serial offender of accountants making engineering decisions, product neglect, and a serious lack of foresight.
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

...and then fixing these issues in the last model year only to be killed from the product lineup. GM's hobbled good ideas usually get what they needed at the very end when it is too late for the model.
hyperv6
Gearhead

The Comet, Mazda Cougar and the Taurus were cars beyond trying to make them into something memorable.

But the one here that is one of the most over looked and under appreciated vehicles of the last 30 years was the Sport Trac.

Now I am not talking some obscure concept but the real thing.

It not only predicted the future of crew cab mid size trucks but look around today and just look at how many are still on the road and are still in good shape.

As we seldom see a well preserved Ranger here in the rust belt yet there are still large numbers of high mile Sport Trac’s that are still in remarkable condition.

I am shocked Ford did not use the Sport Trac name for the Maverick vs the name of a very crappy car that is rarely seen or remembered in a positive way.

Ford was ahead of the market with this vehicle and they should claim a major win here.

Oldroad1
Instructor

So you slap the crap naming to the Maverick? You recognize Falcons, Comets and Mustangs as crap too? FOMOCO manufactured the Maverick for 8 successful years. Built on the Falcon chassis just like the 64-66 Mustangs and 61-69 Falcon. Fact is in 1970 the Falcon became Maverick with a brand new body. People bought these cars because they could afford them, priced to sell and worth every penny because they lasted.
hyperv6
Gearhead

I have put Mavericks back on the road and taken others and cut them up with a torch here they had not already fallen apart. 

Were there worse cars yes, but there were many better options too. 

Most of the cars in this segment and time were built to a price and most of them rotted away in a matter of year hence so few left when so many were made. 

The First gen Mustang was a cool car but a poorly made car. Same rust issues and poor design like the floor of the trunk being the gas tank. Remove the gas tank no trunk. Oil leaking in line sixes, poor paint on poorer metal. Short cuts like this were too common of the era. In hind sight they are scary. 

Not sure about you but while many railed about the Pinto gas tanks the rest of Fords tanks were far from the safest. 

That is why several companies sell fuel cells to replace the factory tanks to improve the safety of these cars. 

I admire the early Mustang but may never own one due to the construction. 

Even the collector car I have today has it’s short comings. I don’t try to deny what was wrong. 

 

 

JerV8Flat4
Pit Crew

The only real flaw in the Chevy II (I owned a ‘64 Nova SS for 20+ years) was the sheetmetal front subframe and heinous Mustang/Falcon front suspension design.
mpzz
Detailer

Only? Those are huge flaws!
Oldroad1
Instructor

Nothing wrong with the shock tower suspension coil over control arm if it is on a Ford. The Nova Chevy II was a weak and flawed copy beginning with those dinky shock towers. That is where that car's suspension problems begin. All you've got to do is look at the two front ends together side by side and open the hoods. The difference is shocking. GT 350 Mustangs were spanking big block Corvettes with that very same shock tower suspension design as all other factory Falcons and Mavericks in FIA and Trans AM competition and winning championships because they simply out handled the competition.
TonyT
Instructor

I'm assuming you've never heard of a guy named Donohue...
JerV8Flat4
Pit Crew

I have. Your point?

Oldroad1
Instructor

Ya so? I've heard of Gurney, Foyt, Jones, McLaren, Miles, Titus and Hobbs.
Oldroad1
Instructor

The best built cars in the world only last as long as current owners are willing to maintain them. Also you've got to consider the location of the garage if any. Cars of that era didn't last 5 years in the snow and rock salt. Those garaged or stored outdoors even in dry climate states would last 30 years and beyond. The only battle classic Ford owners in the southwest have to contend with is suspension wear. Suspension and steering parts are very cheep and with the right tooling repairs are easy to do on the Falcon shock tower coil over upper control arm design. They drive and handle well with simple modifications too. As far as oil leaks, if maintained L6 Fords don't leak oil. I 've owned 2 L6 FOMOCO cars. Neither one ever leaked oil. When I removed them for V8 replacements I got a fair amount of cash for them. One of those cars I still have today. 50 years later. Rolled out of the factory doors Nov. 1969.
TinCanSailor
Intermediate Driver

All good (and interesting) trivia, but many of us would prefer you not cross the streams of car and truck names. I'd have preferred Ford Courier since it is the new 'small' truck in the lineup, but that is still in use overseas, so there may be a legal reason that wasn't used. Or they could have called it the F-100, siting it below the F-150 and 250.
But your points are taken... I never thought the Maverick (or Comet) was a bad car. But they aren't a truck!
Oldroad1
Instructor

Not Guilty!
mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

I came close to buying a Maverick, a 1974 I think, with the 302 V-8.  It was almost  a throwback to the muscle car days, but it had the uninspiring 2-bbl carb version and available only with an auto trans.  However, I remember it being a decent driver.  I certainly don't see it as a flawed Ford!

Tim
Instructor

I always wondered if the problem with the sport track was that the bed was just a little too short. Not that many people actually used the bed that much, but that people wanted to think that they at least could. I realize there was still decent space back there, but compared to pickup offerings, it seemed small. But maybe that was the point and it was just lost on too many people.
MichaelD
Pit Crew

The Maverick AGAIN suffered from lack of development so as not to compete with mustang it was a modern Falcon and lasted as long as most of that era--of throw away cars!
mpzz
Detailer

Hey, at least they didn't go Bronco, Bronco Sport and Bronco Ero! (Ranchero, get it?)
CharlieB3
Intermediate Driver

There were always two sides at the family table involved in flops and home-runs within the automotive family, One was made of individuals - the designers, the dreamers, and the new kids, and the other was a group made of the elders and their parents ususaly remaining as bean counters, and those who did not see the product needing to develop any more than it already had or needed to go any further Individuals included Ed Cole who gave us the Chev and Oldsmobile V-8, hydromatic tranismissions, Toronatods, NASCARS, and land speed records with A. J. Foyt at the wheel. John Beltz brought the Cutlass line up to expectactions leading Oldsmobile into 3 rd place in sales and Cutlass the best selling car in the nation. It was bean counters who decontented the cars to two dash guage instruments, rear windows on 4 door cars which couldn't be raised nor lowered, made Oldsmoble doors conform and share Buick doors. Engineers had to develope diesel engines quickly at the order of the elders with bean counters holding their wallets too tightly. And if we did learn that lesson it become obivious again when our engineers designed the Quad Four new engine for the all new GM N-Cars the 1985 Olds Indy Pace Car the Calis a name borrowed from our cousins at the Cadillac family used in l965 - short term memoy.
hyperv6
Gearhead

Every brand and most models have flaws. 

The key is accept the wins with the losses other wise you lose credibility trying to tell me it’s Jack when it was cola. 

GM, Ford, Chrysler in the 60’s-2000 made a number of mistakes. 

Even worse at Olds is the killed the RWD Cutlass then tried to slap the name on three forgettable FWD cars. Those in charge at the time mistakenly thought the name would carry over. They forgot the car matters more than the name. 

Too often names are also recycled because the company already owns the name. The cost of finding, testing and registering a name legally can be very expensive today. Hence the continued registration of old names that often pop up again. 

I really was disappointed Ford slapped the Mustang name on a EV CUV and the same for the Blazer name. There was a lot of name equity for not names built on a reputation of what they represented. Both names today are on vehicles they don’t really represent. 

Call it cheap? call it Lazy but I call it wasteful of a name that was miss used. Both of these CUV models would have done as well with new names and would have been less controversial. 

BMD4800
Instructor

Gas gauge and speed, plus an array of warning lights that were always too late.

But one cannot discount the impact the automotive press has upon car companies. For years and years I read about out dated live axle suspensions, push rods are antiquated, the old tech 3800 Buick, blah blah. The 4.6 Ford was the high tech and GM engines were trash because they weren’t overhead cam.
LeSabres and other GM products sold well with the 3800, how’s Buick doing now?
In the end, the engineers won the pushrod debate for some vehicles, but the new Camaros are portly tubs with their IRS, multiple air bags and other comforts, all to sell this advancement to people. Does IRS handle better, one could make that point, but a Camaro knocking on the door of 4,000 lbs with a full tank of fuel and a driver? Yikes.
Germanicus
Intermediate Driver

The Blackwood and the Mark LT were the right idea, but under the wrong brand. It turned out that the market for this vehicle refused to step inside a Lincoln dealership.
Sajeev
Community Manager

That's not what Lincoln dealers told me. They have suggested that Ford dealers didn't much care for them stealing their King Ranch customers. 

hyperv6
Gearhead

I think the issue was this. The Blackwood was more luxury vehicle than truck. If it has a more useable bed in it it may have sold better. But the bed ended up just being a big trunk. You haul much there it would damage the bed. 

 

The SSR suffered this too as there was no real truck use for the bed. 

 

The Cadillac version of the Avalanche did ok but it has a very usable bed. 

 

Even Cadillac stayed away from a full on truck. The Denali and now High Country filled the niche. The King Ranch also did the same. 

 

Also at the time of the Blackwood the price was shocking at the time as trucks were much cheaper then and many back then never imagined paying that much for a truck let alone one that could not haul much more than luggage. 

 

It was a truck before its time. 

HistoricAfton
Intermediate Driver

And they were only 2WD until the end. Anyone buying a 40K Pickup is going to want 4x4. The Navigator had 4WD and all the bells and whistles. Blackwoods look great but in MN 4x4 or don't bother.
ThePorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

Two words... Pant era.
GoFast
Detailer

As the owner of a '21 Mustang Mach E, I suggest your point of view is dead wrong concering this highly successful, sold out Ford product. It has three remarkable modes of travel. One motoring, literally, past gas stations with nothing but a friendly wave. The other is lining up with just about any piston Mustang at a traffic light After the usual stink eye is issued and the light goes green, it's a joy to exploit way too much torque, leaving the piston brother wondering WTF. Mode three is running errands and such in this utensil so the rest of my fleet can be saved for fun excursions.
I'm surprised you didn't pan the new F-150 Lightning as disrespectful to the 1998 SVT edition.
Sajeev
Community Manager

The Mach-E technically wasn't on the list, I just said it shoulda been called a Taurus. 

hyperv6
Gearhead

Agreed The Mach e should never have been called a Mustang or Mach E.

 

This was just lazy marketing. 

 

I too am against the use of the Corvette name on anything but a two seat sports car built by Chevy. To make an SUV would be tragic. Yes Porsche has several SUV models but  they are not named Carrera or 911.  They were their own models in the Porsche brand line up. Corvette and Mustang are specific models not brands. 

NovaResource
Pit Crew

It amazes me that car enthusiasts don’t get it. We are a very small MINORITY of the car buying market. Car companies don’t make money off us, the make money from the large portion of the market that are not car people. This list is proof of that. Most of the cars listed were designed for the enthusiast but we didn’t buy them so they flopped. Why do you think manuals aren’t available anymore? Because only enthusiasts bought them. Car companies are in the business to make money, not please enthusiasts. So they are going to make cars that the majority of the buying public wants. And they will name those vehicles what they feel will bring excitement to the car. So by naming it the Mustang Mach-E they were smart. They get to use the Mustangs name to bring attention to what is a fantastic electric vehicle. That’s marketing genius. Ford doesn’t care that a small group of car enthusiasts (who probably wouldn’t buy an electric vehicle anyway) don’t like the name.
Sorry to bring you the bad news but we enthusiasts are just an afterthought to the car companies. They will give us the occasional jem when it doesn’t cost them to much to make. Even the mighty Mustang lives only not from GT and Cobra sales but from the 4 and 6 cylinder models that vastly outnumber V8s.

MustangJim
Detailer

I think that car enthusiasts get it. The Mach E is a great car, but I am sorry, its not a Mustang. Mustang is a 2 door sporty car. Sajeev is correct in saying that it should of or could of been a Taurus. As you can see from the article , Ford drops names to darned often. I personally think that the Fusion should of been a Taurus. An "E" version of the Mustang? Fine, have a 2 door sporty version. Like the article said, Mustang has remained true to its roots until now. Back to enthusiasts getting it.. Mustang owners are the best brand ambasadors for Ford, people come to us for recomendations, etc... we are often the most loyal Ford buyers and I think it is a huge mistake to take us forgranted. But thats what happens when decisions are made by a furniture salesman, or at least approved by one. Remember, it is us enthusiasts that don't shop another brand everytime their lease comes up.
NovaResource
Pit Crew

You're still not getting it. The Taurus name has nowhere near the prestige of the Mustang name. Why do you think the Taurus in on this list and the Mustang is not? Sure, if this was the 90's when the Taurus was at its peak of popularity, Ford may have called it the Taurus-E but the current Taurus is a flop and about to be axed. Calling the Mach-E "Taurus" would have been stupid. No name in the Ford lineup (past or present) has the recognition of Mustang.
And what makes YOU the person to say what is or what isn't a Mustang? You're like the pompous Corvette owners that cried about the C7 not having round tail lights. Last I checked, Chevrolet makes the Corvette and Chevy decides what shape a Corvette tail lights are. In the same way, FORD says what a Mustang is, not you or anyone else. And Ford said, the Mach-E is a Mustang.
hyperv6
Gearhead

Nova I get what you are saying but here is the issue. 

To get great name equity it takes a great car and years to build on that name. 

The difficult thing is to choose a new name that connects and the added cost associated with it. So some marketing people often not true auto people will resort to use a current name like a car was a Oreo. 

The trouble is a name is not what makes or breaks a car it is the car. The car will bring equity to the name not the name to the car, The Mach E success is due to what it is not what it is called. 

Now where the danger is if you use a good name on a poor car then you risk damage to the brand equity of the name and good model. Imagine Corvette on a Aztec? It would not have saved the vehicle and it would have damaged a good name. 

Marketing people need yo do their jobs and sell product with new original names. They are not fooling anyone enthusiast or non enthusiast. 

Now if you want to use similar styling that is fine. The family theme was strong in the past and that worked but even then Chevy did not call every car Corvette. 

Olds really did a lot of damage to the Cutlass name. The slapped it on thee different forgettable front wheel drives. The Cutlass name did not save the poor cars. 

Ford should have created a new name and let the new model define it or take an older retired name that better fits whst this vehicle is. 

like the Blaze at Chevy it is nice but it is not a Blazer. This created a lot of issues with even non enthusiast.  Chevy may have been better using the Nomad name as it was more a sport wagon vs off road vehicle. 

Ford should have trusted they had a great vehicle and let it create its own name. 

NovaResource
Pit Crew

As a Nova fan, I know all too well about slapping a classic name on a crappy car. Do you not remember the rebadging of the Toyota Corolla as a Chevy Nova in the 80’s?  Talk about dragging a classic nameplate through the mud. But this is different. Mustang isn’t just a nameplate, it’s a lifestyle. One of unbridled freedom and excitement. That’s what made the original Mustang so popular and why they are using the Mustang name on the Mach-E. It’s promoting a feeling, not just a vehicle.

One more thing, what is your opinion on the Charger?  Many thought it was blasphemous to call a 4-door sedan a Charger. Chargers were always 2-door cars!  Now look at it. It’s not only popular but hugely successful with R/T and Super Bee and Hellcat and Red Eye versions. 

hyperv6
Gearhead

Yes I was going to bring that up. The late use of the Nova name really damaged the name and prevented further use of it. 

As for the life style thing that is not as much I’m play anymore. Performance cars sell in smaller numbers today than they  ever have. 

The Mustang sold in hundreds of thousands per year not can’t sell six figures per year. 

The Pony car formula of cheap RWD car converted into a performance car is dead.  Today it is just higher priced GT coupes with declining sales. 

Lifestyle is Wrangler and Bronco. I expect GM will enter that feel good market soon as it is growing fast.

 

I was not troubled much with the Charger kept to the theme just with two more doors in a Sedan strong market at the time. 

But even their numbers pale to what they once sold back in the performance days. As of now they will die soon and go electric. 

The trouble with the Mach E is it is not a performance car. It is a EV family wagon. Anything EV is going to have good acceleration but it is just going to be another EV CUV. There is no feel good about another appliance. 

Talk now is there may be a EV Camaro sedan coming. As long as it is a car I can live with that but if it is a CUV no use another name. 

Heck Ford could have used Adrenalin for the Mach E and created a new classic that could hold its own identity. 

Bottom line Ford should never had used the Mustang name on this thing. They may regret it later when they really need the name for another product like GM might with Blazer. 

MustangJim
Detailer

Why are you so angry? It's just a car, not even politics. Heck, don't have to call it Taurus. If you want Ford name recognition than how about thunderbird or galaxie?  Heck... I'm all in on 're creating the thunderbolt. The mustang was not cancelled and that's why it was not on the list. If you read my post, I said an e mustang would be cool, just make it a 2 door. Anyway, no big deal. But now I'm on a new track for all these mach e posts, they should have called thunderbolt,  whadda ya say guys?

ThePorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

Edrenaline, the Bolt's a GM vehicle that's got some issues right now.
MichaelD
Pit Crew

You ARE right but I don't want a Mustang, Corvette, Charger six to be the same as what I buy, Jaguar has done the same and lost those of us who want the car that won Le Mans not something that might be a Fairlane or Biscane like several new Jags. That Ford AND Jag use the same engine is OK in that it IS A GREAT ENGINE! probably worthy of the same respect as the LONG LIVED AND STILL SUCCESSFUL DOHC IN LINE SIX!
hyperv6
Gearhead

This is what had damaged Lincoln and Cadillac. The Corporate  engines and platforms have robbed them of their true image and identity. Cadillac today makes a cool car but it has the same engine as my wife’s CUV. Should I pay more money for that? But that is another issue all together.

BMD4800
Instructor

I buy SUVs, pickups, minivans too. Enthusiasts ALSO buy other things.
I haven’t bought a new GM product since the garbage IFS diff housing cracked from normal, mild off-road use. Sure that garbage 8.5 10 bolt SFA older square body outlived it, but that doesn’t matter. What does is all the other stuff we’ve bought over the years. None of them were GM products.
Tim
Instructor

If Ford hadn't redesigned it, perhaps it would have been called a Taurus and would have ended up on the list as the fourth Taurus mistake. From what we've heard of the original design of what is now the Mach-E, this is a vehicle that could be on a list of vehicles that Ford got right after they got wrong. 🙂
BMD4800
Instructor

Some folks get touchy about their electric cars.
hyperv6
Gearhead

Do you find that shocking? 

 

Sorry!

ThePorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

Resistance is futile.
SilentBoy741
Advanced Driver

Ohm my!
Sajeev
Community Manager

I find all these comments reVolting. 😉

BMD4800
Instructor

Well, since you made such a declarative statement regarding the opinion of another….

1) I can refuel in 10-15 minutes, max. You can drive past a fuel station, I can drive to Flagstaff while you wait for a charge. Life is full of trade-offs.

2) 12.80-12.90 quarter mile times aren’t quick enough to make such a bold pronouncement. Perhaps the teenaged girl didn’t know you were racing? Or perhaps you measure acceptable, strike that - SUPERIOR, performance to be measured in 3 or 4 seconds? (0-60 time).

3) I can run errands in pretty much anything. Granted hauling lumber on a motorcycle in the rain is not ideal; errands is a lame excuse…I mean reason.

Congrats on your virtue signaling.