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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
mpzz
Detailer

Motoring past a gas station??? What, while stopping to recharge three times as often as ICE cars have to fuel up?
Oldroad1
Instructor

What is the estimated battery life of your MACH E? And what is the estimated price of a new battery installed when it goes dead? Are there lease deals with these EVs or are you forced to own? I'm asking because I've never had a conversation with an EV owner and I'm hoping you asked these kinds of questions before purchase.
TonyT
Instructor

I've made this proposition to other devotees of EV's and I'll offer it to you as well: A race from Los Angey Union Station to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. I'll drive my wife's 2006 HHR 2.2, and you bring your Mocker-E. One condition: There and back in one day.
Spuds
Advanced Driver

Agreed,a complicated utensil.Enjoy.Not for me.
Revellcraft02
Intermediate Driver

I’m surprised the Edsel brand as a whole isn’t on here.
maseratijim
New Driver

Agree.  Edsel was created as a whole new brand for Ford (part of the MEL group - Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln).  It was an entirely separate division beginning with the 1958 Edsel (all models had V8 engines and Edsel-specific parts).  Too bad it only really lasted for 1 year (the press hated it).  Ford already began pulling the plug in 1959, as many of the 1959 Edsels offered 6 cyl. engines and often used standard parts from Ford and Mercury.  By 1960, it was pretty much gone.  About 2200 1960's were made. (Approximately 72 convertibles exist, making it of considerable collector value). 

BMD4800
Instructor

The Press hated it.

It doesn’t matter if something is good, the PRESS, can make or break it.
mpzz
Detailer

Buyers hated it, especially that mega-ugly grille!
hyperv6
Gearhead

Yes the people considered it ugly and it was more expensive than the Mercury. Not a good formula for success. 

HFII did not have his fathers styling touch. 

I often wonder where Ford would have gone under Edsel Ford direction had he not passed away so early. He really had a good handle on styling and designers. 

danhise
Detailer

Forgive my reaching, but I can't pass up an opportunity to ask Ford to bring back the Focus ST to the US of A. I drive a 2014 ST, and have loved every minute; I only wish I could get a newer model with better tech, from a rear view camera to Apple Car Play.

Great piece. I'm still hacked that they never committed to the Thunderbird as a sports car, then screwed up the Mustang's styling before recovering, then lacked the imagination to find a better brand name for the Mach-E. Pardon me whilst I go make myself happier by driving my ST.
Tim
Instructor

I get that cars aren't selling in numbers from years ago, but I still can't understand how a vehicle can't be sold profitably at 150-200k units per year. It seems like there should be room on dealer lots for a Focus and Fusion.
wjones1954
Pit Crew

It’s not they can’t make a profit on 200,000 cars. It’s that they make twice as much on 200,000 trucks and SUVs in that same factory. Goodbye Focus, hello Explorer.
NovaResource
Pit Crew

In my opinion, only one car is worthy in this list and that’s the Marauder. A fantastic car that only failed because it wasn’t quite as good at the Impala SS.
I’ll add one more but it’s not the whole line, only one special version The Taurus isn’t worthy but the SHO version sure is.
Blackwood? Sport Trac? The FWD Cougar? Come on, seriously?
BMD4800
Instructor

Those 32V 4.6s woke up with the Eaton on top. That would have made the car infinitely better.

Heavy car, not enough gear, limited low-end torque. too bad.
Pipskismith
New Driver

I would propose to add the “EXP” to the list. What an abomination that thing was! I attended school with the children of the local Ford dealer, and I distinctly recall one of his daughters driving a new green one when they came first came out. The hot, South Georgia sun did a number on the soft plastic front fascia, and it was warped within a month!
911Guy
Pit Crew

Pretty funny to see one of my current fleet on the list. A couple years ago I found a mint condition low-mileage ‘04 Ranger FX4 Level II for $7,500. I figured it would give my regular cars the winter off. And man, this thing goes through absolutely anything; I am pretty sure that it would retrieve my Jeep Wrangler from getting stuck. She’s a stiff legged old girl though. Fuel mileage is grim (barely 50% of our 400 HP Explorer ST) too. Amazingly, everything, and I mean absolutely every single thing, on the FX4 works as new. Tough as anvils, these!
ATLpaul
Intermediate Driver

It really is hard for Ford or Lincoln to go against King Ranch. It is like the Denali sub-brand of Yukon. It is a sub-brand for old school luxury and another Ford or Lincoln will really have a struggle going for same customer that likes Chrome, two tone and full on Cowboy leather and wood theme.
WESUDALE
New Driver

I owned a 1994 and a 1996 Impala SS as well as a 2003 Mercury Marauder. The Merc was hands down far superior to the Impalas. The slightest grade even at 70 MPH the Impalas downshifted. The Merc drove better, rode better, handled better and was made better by far. The driver's door window scissor that raises and lowers the window broke on the Impala. They were in stock at the Chevy dealer because they all broke - same part for a Cadillac. I could go on, but I'd like to have my Marauder back and you can keep the Impalas
BMD4800
Instructor

but they were stone cold slow and had the ability to be better in every aspect.
But Ford said it was good enough.
mpzz
Detailer

Bull. I was working at a Chevy dealer in '99 when a state trooper stopped with a new Crown Vic. He'd had to give up a Caprice with 200K miles on it, but he said he'd much prefer to have the Chevy. It would take a nearby S curve at over a hundred mph, while the Ford couldn't do it at ninety. Plus, the Ford interior was much smaller. Chevy execs were fools to give up the cop, taxi and fleet market for the full-frame sedans.
hyperv6
Gearhead

There was just not a lot of money in taxis and police cars. Ex specially with the market split with Ford. 

Bidding with police departments is not always a very profitable venture. Ford did better after a Chevy left but profits still were not great.

 

DC
Intermediate Driver

Ford Y Block engines
Fairlane GT, Ford’s GTO answer, haha.
Left hand ignition switch.
Mustang trunk floors were gas tanks.
Ford hood prop rods.
Ford intermediates built w/o frames.
Re-bodied Falcons sold as Mustangs.
Ford Truck Twin I Beam, haha
maseratijim
New Driver

Let's add "Teletouch" push-button transmission selector located in the center of the steering wheel (1958 Edsel) 

Peterzinyou
New Driver

Certainly don't agree with the Marauder and the Adrenalin. Think they were killed a bit too soon is all. You see the prices on them lately? I had a chance to buy an Adrenalin for 15K off list, since they weren't selling, of course I passed. Still regret that one.
jlc
New Driver

I've always wondered why Lee Iacocca got credit for the minivan when VW had been selling VW Bus for years before Chrysler.
VW Bus:

Big entry door on one side? Check
Seats six or more? Check
Windows all around? Check
Poor handling? Check

They certainly moved it mainstream but it was hardly a new idea.
beercandad
Pit Crew

I went to my regular Ford guy and got an order made before I checked all the specs. After discovering the engine was underpowered, I just bought my current Impala SS.

ryanwm80
Pit Crew

Ford also "nailed it" with the GT - twice - and those are some of the few cars that have appreciated in value. I think one of Ford's biggest failures was dropping the Mercury brand. I remember reading that Mercury accounted for about 60% of sales of Lincoln Mercury dealers, but the thought at the time was that customers would step up into pricier Lincolns, and that didn't work out, and I think a lot of this is explained in the book Car Guys vs. Bean Counters.
aenthal
Pit Crew

As a former 1986 Taurus owner I can attest that there was nothing wrong with that car. The later ones were POS, but the first one was the #1 seller in its day. What was "wrong" with the car was the owner manual which said stupid things like the transmission fluid will never need changing during the life of the car. (Owners who believed that  got to buy new transmissions for their relatively new cars. Those of us who thought it was nonsense got upwards of 200,000 miles on their transmissions). 

But the car itself was affordable luxury with electric windows, electric adjustable seats, remote trunk opening, and actually comfortable seating. I had that car for 30 years and 300,000 miles. Loved it, despite silly things like doing a wheel alignment required the shop to cut slits in the sheet metal under the hood. (C'mon Ford, seriously, you built a car without plans to easily align the wheels).

The 1999 Taurus I had was junk. The designer must have been on drugs because he made everything into circles. Windshields, dashboards, grilles--it was circle time.

Seats were not comfortable, computers in it broke. It came with "permanent" radiator fluid that was as "permanent" as the trans fluid on its older brother. Getting rid of that orange junk was a real challenge. Fixing things required taking out whole dashboards, or worse. I did not keep that one for 30 years.

Changing fashion (rise of the SUV) combined with the poor quality of the ones that followed the 1986 body style, killed the Taurus, not the properties of that first car itself.

 

jlc
New Driver

BMW also has “lifetime” fluids which translate to 100k at best. I guess Ford,BMW,et. al. think a car is going to be sold by the original owner by the time things fail. 

MustangJim
Detailer

I never knew about the mini van development and more important , I never knew that the Comet was born without parents! I think it would of been cool if it was an Edsel, but the brand recognition, despite being wrong in my opinion, was so negative that it would of been called " another lemon", Taurus, Marauder, etc..never should have been dropped. But I don't think that Mercury should have been dropped either. I'm sure many will disagree but GM was bailed out and they kept brands that we're more or just as identical as Ford - Mercury.. heck look at GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado and their respective SUV'S as well. Cadillac and Buick? but nooo.. it was a problem if Fusion/Milan or Taurus/Sable we're the same. They could of differentiated better, or just has specific models under the other brand name. I understand the business decision , just an old car guys thoughts.
Tim
Instructor

Way to start with a lead-off home run. Only a cursory glance is required to see a slightly-modified Ford Carousel in the Gen-1 Dodge Caravan. Perhaps Mr. Iacocca was a little ahead of his time, but that doesn't mean Ford shouldn't have re-visited the product later. Then it might not have been caught so flat-footed when the Caravan was being engineered.

I always wondered how Cadillac could successfully resell a Chevy Avalanche for so many years while Lincoln couldn't sell a much better looking F-150.

The 25th (and 50th?) anniversary Mustangs deserved to be so much more. In the least, there should have been a special edition which could have been the technical first-year model of a future halo Mustang that could have been an SVO, Cobra, GT500 or similar. The anniversary model would have some unique trim bits but the power train upgrades shared with the follow-on vehicle could have justified the cost of production.

The Taurus has too be one of the biggest failures. You take the single vehicle that revived Ford in the '80s like a Red Bull with an espresso chaser, a vehicle that at times outsold Camry and Accord, and leave it to wither, only to follow it up with the oval window version that even Taurus fans didn't like. Rather than acknowledge the mistake and pay a relatively small price to make a quick mid-model design fix, Ford sealed the fate by continuing to foist it on the public until even fleets were done with it. From #1 to done so fast should have gotten the chief designer fired.

So many good choices to discuss on this list.
Gezr50
New Driver

You forgot the all time nerd vehicle Ford produced the Ford Fairmont.
BMD4800
Instructor

100%.

Now days watch out for them. That nerd might be a pretty good fabricator and have a boosted LS3 motor in there with a Tremec.
mpzz
Detailer

Again, it's not an article about cars that never should have been produced.
HemiBob
New Driver

The Carosel really looks like a great opportunity lost to the Chrysler mini-van. The styling looks good even today. But, if an idea is ahead of its time... well, we all know what happened to the Airflow. Another problem for the Marauder: it looked too much like a Ford. The best Mercs always looked more upscale. For example, the Comet looked like something more than another Falcon. I'm not a Taurus fan, but I've always thought that it moved the needle forward for front wheel drive sedans. Sadly, most of the Fords in this article are forgotten for good reason.
UncleWillie
Pit Crew

While I don't disagree with the picks ...I am curious what brand of vehicle , the Author Sajeev Mehta drives.
Sajeev
Community Manager

I drive a lot of Fords, but everyone's gonna get this treatment soon enough. Here's the one about GM: https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/9-tragically-flawed-gm-vehicles-whose-heroic-fixes-... 

PaulJoseh
New Driver

I would have included the Ford Bronco II. The tipping allegations were unfounded - all the SUVs could tip back then - and I think history will judge it as the first consumer 4WD SUV.
mpzz
Detailer

My brother had a couple of them. Great SUV's, much better than my '87 S-10 Blazer. They'd go anywhere a Jeep would go.
Falstaff
New Driver

Regarding the Mach E. What do they call an actual Mustang when they battery it? I think Futura E, Galax E, or Lighting could have been nice options. They got so close on the Marauder but as stated fell short on the HP’s. They should have shot for 390 or 427 stout cubes and a manual option would have been awesome.
NovaResource
Pit Crew

They already have. It’s called the Cobra Jet 1400. Look it up. 

mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

I'm surprised they haven't revived the Galaxie name.  Certainly much better than Mach E.

Oldroad1
Instructor

1963 Mercury Marauder were available with the 406 4bbl and later 427 4bbl and deuce 4bbl 410 and 425 HP S55 Super Marauder. Line production Marauders either 390 2bbl or 4bbl 290 and 325 HP. 390s were auto the 406 and 427 were Borg Warner Top Loaders and 9 in Detroit Locker Diffs. Shame the 03-04 didn't try to live up to the early pedigree of it's name sake.
KYColonel
Intermediate Driver

That 1989 Jack Roush Mustang is the one for me.
blc0881
New Driver

As a past owner of several Mustangs including Mach 1's and Cobras, I was saddened to see what they did to the Mustang with the electric version. I have nothing against electric cars, but to attempt to ride the coat tails of success with the Mustang brand is a shame. The new electric "Mustang" is a "Mustake".
Oldroad1
Instructor

Absolutely!
RobRags
New Driver

The last generation of the Thunderbird should be on the list. The proportions were never right; the wheels were ugly, and it was never cool.
mpzz
Detailer

And it looked like a '53 Vette instead of a '55 T-bird!
rosered
New Driver

The Ford that MUST be added to this list is the 2019 Ford Fusion, This is the last year for it and it is horrendous!! I have purchased Ford after Ford after Ford for both my sons, but this one is definitely a piece of garbage. Thank goodness I am one of those who always buys an extended warranty!! This car has been in and out of the Ford repair shop at least 6 times because of serious engine problems...It's like every few months it's back in again....what a piece of junk!
dreamingeagle
Detailer

only 10?

Ford have not made even one decent vehicle since they went from a crest to a button, with the possible exception of the 150, which for most owners is killing flies with a hammer;

there is not one single Ford product designed from the ground up (i.e., not copied or cut down from an existing chassis or outright glommed onto) that is worth a d**n since oh, about 1957;