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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
wjones1954
Pit Crew

I almost get the Mach-e name. Ford is, sadly, down to one passenger car in America: Mustang. With Mach-e being, at best, a crossover, not an SUV, I can see the logic in including it in the Mustang line. And be honest…it looks a lot like a four door Mustang. As the Mustang goes electric (and eventually it will) the product line will make more sense. No point in having two names depending on the door count. (I’m looking at YOU Corsica/Beretta and Lumina/Monte Carlo.)
In the words of Chris Rock: I’m not saying I condone it, but I understand.
MichaelD
Pit Crew

Yeah--the joys of monster corps, I've never seen or heard of most of those duds, I've another Ford that seems to have a problem: the Escort ZX2. In Jolly Olde England and Europe overall the Escort is highly respected, they bring BIG prices for the oldies but here no one seems to have heard of them. They seem to be durable in that I frequently see one on the road and I love the looks and performance, Tho Ford who has lots of experience with the olde BDA 4 valve engines they didn't seem to do much development on this 2 litre 4 valve for the ZX2 getting a big 130 Hp out of 2000cc's allowing Honda's to kick their butt acceleration wise. Here in California it seems NO ONE knows anything about these motors even tho they're used in the Focus also. Like all those cars, Ford dropped the ball with about 2500pounda and 2000cc's not quite enough! the 2500cc would be the hot setup!
pettyfan43
New Driver

How about the Ford EXP 1982-1986
20Bullitt19
New Driver

I worked at a Lincoln/Mercury dealer for 17 years. The Blackwood was a ridiculous, useless truck, the bed cover didn’t open far enough to anything in it. Some dealers that got stuck with them, got rid of them by offering a free Cougar with the purchase of a Blackwood. The Cougar was another poorly designed pile of junk. The Maurader was a very nice car, and I still would buy one.
csnyder
Intermediate Driver

Wasn't the maverick also sold as the comet? I'm sure it was. It was no more a "flawed car" than a Chevy Nova or a Plymouth Valiant. Their inline six was no worse an oil leaker than the Chevy and the body didn't rust any7 faster than any other Ford of the time. It sure wasn't a "great" car - but there were very few "great cars" built in America(or anywhere else) at the tome.

Nothing really "flawed) about the Taurus either other than the front K member of the early ones falling out because of a crappy washer that rusted away. The early designs left something to be desired - but hardly what I would call "flawed" - and give your head a shake - how can you call a concept that never made production "flawed"?
As for the SportTrac -it's just like any other 4 door short-bed pickup - useless as a truck and not particularly comfortable or well behaved as a car (and the 2wd version makes a good donor for oversized front brakes on a Ranger!)
Now the whole IDEA of the Blackwood was flawed - it might have been a solid well designed vehicle - but it was an answer to a question no-one really asked.
If you want to talk about "flawed" Fords look no further than the WinStar.
What was a STUPOD move by Ford was killing the original Ranger, and then resurecting the SportTrac as the new ranger and not producing a real compact pickup truck.(and no, the new Maverick is NOT a "compact pickup truck"!!! Guess I'll just keep my 25 1/2 year old regular cab 7 foot box ranger pickup on the road for another 375000km here in the midwestern Ontario rust belt - - -
mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

As I recall, the Windstar had the best owner retention of any Ford of that time.  In other words, a high percentage of owners traded in their old Windstars for new ones.  So what did Ford do?  Killed the products, of course.

JavaMan
New Driver

I suspect most of the recent sub-par Fords have a one word problem in common: CAFE.

... as in Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards enacted by congress in 1975 in the wake of the OPEC crisis. These arbitrary and political fuel economy standards put manufacturers like Ford in a box when it came to design & manufacturing commitments for their passenger cars. Sure, there are a bunch of other reasons for the flops that came out of Detroit, but this one had a devastating impact on design, performance, and safety. Too bad the politicians continue to meddle with the automotive industry to the dismay of consumers who seek quality reliable vehicles and those who simply love cars.
mpzz
Detailer

Bull. People needed fuel economy. If they can make 700hp engines for street cars, they can sure make 40mpg 300hp engines. It's just too bad it has to be the government that forces them to do it.
mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

Ah, yes,  if only they would have used the magic carburetor instead.  The mythical one from the 1980s that let cars get 50mpg or more, only to be destroyed when one of the Big Oil companies bought the company.   As for 40mpg and 300hp, there are some getting close with the use of variable valve timing, tall OD gears, and low aero drag.  But at some point, physics kicks in.  

Maestro1
Instructor

Sajeev, well done.
I'm not a Ford enthusiast but I can say of my brief experiences with the products, Taurus, various Thunderbirds and Lincolns that in every case the ergonomics were from mediocre to atrocious, the assembly quality related to the body and switchgear on the dashes was marginal at best. Here's the kicker: my '93 Continental, which I'm sorry I sold, could out run and out corner practically everything else except a Porsche. And got 27mpg as a V-6. The
car was an obese Taurus, and it was terrific.
Sajeev
Community Manager

You are the only person I've ever seen say anything nice about the 1988-94 Continentals. I suggest that to this day, my 1989 Continental handles just as good (if not better) as almost every modern sedan but has a far superior ride. And that's including the fact I sadly had to delete the air suspension for aftermarket coils/dampers of questionable quality. 

Jim_K
New Driver

My first car was a ‘60 Comet. The less than ample 144 cu in motor gave it an actual top speed of 67 miles per hour. They achieved the extra wheel base by putting an extended tail shaft on the 3 speed stick shift transmission. There was no added support for the longer tail shaft so when you reved it up and popped the clutch like a sixteen year old me would tend to do, the tail shaft whipped and broke the housing. My father was not pleased.
Bill70
New Driver

How do you forget the Mercury XR7 84-87. One of the best designs ever for Ford. Right behind the mustang. It was a leader in the 80’s

wdb
Detailer

What, no Mustang II?
mpzz
Detailer

It's not an article about cars that never should have been made.
Clang
New Driver

I have owned 4 Mercury Grand Marquis and one Ford Crown Victoria from the same era. I would have bought the Marauder except for the color. Black being the only option. I also think that FoMoCo has made a similar mistake in that they now have stopped the Fusion line. I guess I'm going to have to go foreign for my next large sedan. Pity!
I thank the man above that I still have my '64 Galaxy 500XL Convertible - it rides like a limo.
tjellis64
New Driver

Stupid article and I'm sorry I clicked on it.
JSievers
Advanced Driver

The Taurus, and it’s SHO variant, was a total success for the first two generations. The ovoid abortion that was the third generation Taurus, along with it’s lame V8 SHO version, destroyed a great nameplate. The recently discontinued fourth generation Taurus (big on the outside, small on the inside) was just as bad. However, in no way is the Mach-e any sort of successor to the Taurus, and saying so does no justice to either car.
CharlieB3
Intermediate Driver

Hagerty you're doing a hell of a job getting readers to contribute and come up with some very interesting journalistic topics. You are outshining our monthly buff mags by a long shot with your constant fresh material. Keep it up.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you @CharlieB3, your comment is precisely why I wanted to write this article. 

Bob13013
New Driver

Not a Ford Fan
mattmaxon
New Driver

Taurus suffered from poor quality through out. I owned one and the old saw Fix Or Repair Daily was never more true. This thing left me stranded a couple times with long distance tows, poor workmanship on the dealer repairs and finally after sensors, water pumps air conditioner compressors power steering pumps bloody expensive headlamp bulbs, The transmission gave up the Ghost. That was the final straw. I had it fixed it and dumped this horrible money pit. the failure to mention these problems really throughout the ford line in the 80's and 90's covers over why so many americans bailed for toyota and other brands
rexmiller
New Driver

I loved the Ford Probe, 2nd gen, 1993 - 1997. Especially the V6 with a manual 5 speed. Was fantastically fun to drive, reliable, and beautiful. It shared much with the Mazda MX-6, but was just much better looking.
mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

I remember lusting after the Probe GT.  One of the nicest looking cars of the era!

MattK
Detailer

And Ford was going to call that a Mustang!
mpzz
Detailer

Frankly, most of these were not that great. The flaws definitely outweighed any idea that they should have sold better or been better marketed than they were.
gavinized
New Driver

I don't care for any fords!
mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

Duplicate post.

mbr2000
Intermediate Driver

I had a 1988 Taurus GL with the 3.0 engine.  Bought it because it was the first American car I had driven with ride and handling similar to a Euro sedan. Don't laugh!  As an salesman I drove that car  somewhere around 30K miles per year.  Unfortunately  the transmission failed at around 90K and the AC went south at around 110K.  I eventually sold it after putting nearly 120K miles on the odometer. Oh yeah, that thing would get 28-30 mpg out on the highway, which would be pretty darn good even today for a car its size. 

JBaguley
Intermediate Driver

I'm generally a positive guy, but I struggle when it comes to Fords in general and the Taurus in particular. We bought a new '89 Taurus wagon to bring our first daughter home from the hospital (as a new mom, the Lady declined to ride home in the rusted remains of our '73 Challenger, a wise woman). While nice at first, over the next 7 years and 70,000 miles the Taurus defined the very concept of "planned obsolescence". Virtually every major secondary system failed - suspension, brakes, fuel, ignition, charging, A/C, heater core, power steering, cooling. We actually scored a hat trick one day when backing out the driveway we lost a power steering hose, the radiator, and the ignition switch all at once. Many view the '72 Maverick as the low point in Ford corporate history, but I view the Taurus as the true nadir - the kind of vehicle that makes vintage British roadsters look like bastions of reliability in comparison.
MadamBlue91
Pit Crew

Lol! I didn't know the Marauder was slower than the Impala SS!
If I had to guess, even though the ford makes more hp, (allegedly, my 96 feels like it has more than 260 hp) the ss is faster because it's 5.7 LT1 has much more usable torque than the ford's puny 4.6.
MadamBlue91
Pit Crew

Lol! I didn't know the Marauder was slower than the Impala SS It copied!
If I had to guess, even though the ford makes more hp, (allegedly, my 96 feels like it has more than 260 hp) the ss is faster because it's 5.7 LT1 has much more usable torque than the ford's puny 4.6.
Lightning1
Detailer

If any manufacturer doesn't have a few flops along the way, they are not being creative in making bold marketing moves. Henry 1 didn't want to stop making model Ts. Sales would have fizzled down to nothing as other manufacturers passed them up. So what if they made the Edsel? Their next marketing move made the Econoline/Falcon success, followed by the Mustang.
Svtom
New Driver

Taurus was proud name that had been bastardized too many times to be a viable name for any thing new. Once upon a time,it would have been a great name,not now.
Taurus "E", maybe? Really? We know how well the Taurus X went over.
While I'm on the "E" subject,I'd like to see the Mach E's tail look like a lightning bolt. Subtle easter egg.
tee_zee65
Pit Crew

The worst part of the Marauder was the price. I thought it was a great car with room to improve.
ThePorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

"...shame it didn’t come to life and eliminate the sport-compact competition!"
Bwahahaa, I gte it.
Smithsonite
Intermediate Driver

That Maurader was sweet! About the only newer vehicle that ever appealed to me. I could've got one for $8k many years ago. I should've jumped. 😞
jarrjenn
New Driver

Merkur XR4Ti. Loved the car, hated the transmission. Too much torque. Went through two, stripped the input shaft both times. Long on fun, short on spares.
MrBill-1943
Intermediate Driver

Never was a Ford guy so for me to throw a life preserver to anyone of these would not be a true reflection of a loyal Ford guy. The only "Save" for me would be the Marauder as I did rent one many years ago and for all it's issues still got out of it's own way when punched.
SilentBoy741
Advanced Driver

When I was a kid, my Dad worked at a Datsun dealership in '74, right about when the tiny truck craze started catching on. One day at the dinner table (we all ate around the dinner table back then), I mused "Why doesn't Datsun make a tiny van? The trucks are really popular, but nobody makes a little van". Precocious little tyke, wasn't I?

On a related note, that '72 Carousel has some beautiful lines. That thing would've sold really well.
Colodoog
Pit Crew

The 1989 Mustang doesn't even look like a Mustang. Ford has this problem from time to time.
richard2
Intermediate Driver

Too funny. I still have my 2008 Ford Ranger FX4, and likely will keep it for some time. It's still in my opinion a better truck that the 4cyl 'new' Ranger that costs 50% more than what I paid.
Sajeev
Community Manager

I'm with you on that sentiment. 

JeffZ
New Driver

As a car dealer for many years, I have first hand experience with a few of these cars. Though the Cougar had some positive design attributes such as multi-link suspension, my opinion of it is not very high. Like its siblings, Probe, Mystique, and Contour, build quality left a little to be desired. The plastic and interior trim seemed to be sourced from different suppliers than other Ford products, and seemed to disintegrate with age. They were of below average reliability. Since a warranty was provided on all cars we sold, I began to avoid these models at the auction regardless of condition due to these issues. The Marauder, like its sibling Crown Vic, was a great car. Lastly, I remember my uncle buying a brand new Comet in the early 60's. He was an engineer for the space program in Huntsville, made good money, but was very frugal. His Comet was the classic "radio, heater" equipped model, except without the radio! Bone stock, no air, no nuthin. But it ran for many years (over 20) trouble free.
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

I remember when the Cougar SVT concept came out. It would have been a good competitor with the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon cars if it had happened. I liked it.

The Marauder was a great car but yeah was slower than the Impala for some reason. I would assume the power curves and lazy transmission tuning/gearing is what did it in performance wise.