Last post on Oct 02, 2011 at 1:48 PM
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#14 of 33 Re: The Transformative Cars Of The '90s [hpmctorque]
Feb 06, 2011 (1:33 pm)
Was the '92 Taurus a refresh or a new platform?
The 1992 was just a refresh. It was more handsome looking IMO, but at the same time, less bold and daring. My grandparents on my Dad's side of the family had an '89 LX, and a '94 GL. The '89 seemed like an awesome car at the time, but the '94 just seemed like a very nice rental car. Granddad gave up driving in 2004, when he turned 90. Offered to give me the car. It only had about 35-40,000 miles on it. But I really didn't need it, and every time I drove or rode in that car, I swear I smelled antifreeze, so I figured there was something wrong with it. One of my cousins ended up getting it, and, sadly, beat the hell out of it. I saw it on Easter Sunday, 2009, when we went to their house. Had about 85,000 miles on it, but you could tell it was getting ragged out. I remember Granddad walked over to it and looked at it, sad look in his face, shaking his head back and forth. It looked almost like a brand-new car when he had given it to them.
When the refreshed 2000 Taurus came out, I took Granddad to look at them. He was in the mood for a new car, and wanted me to go with him. He usually traded every 3-4 years, so in his mind, he was way overdue. However, he took one look at that 2000 Taurus, which I actually liked, and refused to take a test drive. The salesman had to almost beg him to even sit in the thing!
I liked the 1992 Civic a lot. In fact, I think the 2nd-gen Dodge Intrepid bears a very slight resemblance to it. I knew two people who had them, and their experiences were like polar opposites. First, some friends of mine from college and church, a married couple, wanted a small car, and I recommended the Civic. While I may be pro-domestic, I do think the Japanese still do small cars better, and even more so back in those days. Alas, the 1994 EX automatic (or whatever they called the top level model) Civic my friend bought blew two head gaskets and needed a/c work, in the course of about 80,000 miles. They replaced it with a 1998 or so Saturn S-series. Probably one of the few examples of someone deserting the Japanese for a domestic. Last time I saw them though, they had a 2003-2007 era Corolla, so I guess the Civic didn't totally scare them away from the Japanese.
On the flip side, one of my supervisors at work bought a 1992 or 93 Civic, stripper model with a stick shift. I think it finally gave out around 200,000 miles, and he abused the hell out of it.
#15 of 33 Re: Speaking of GM's supercharged cars... [andre1969]
Feb 06, 2011 (1:39 pm)
I used to prefer the Intrigue over the Regal, but now I prefer the Regal. Since the Shortstar was only used in the Intrigue (as far as I know), I knew it became relatively difficult to get certain parts, such as oil filters, for example. However, I didn't know that this was a troublesome engine. What was/were its point(s) of weakness?
#16 of 33 Re: Speaking of GM's supercharged cars... [hpmctorque]
Feb 06, 2011 (1:47 pm)
I think the main problems with the "Shortstar" V-6 were that it was more complicated, and a lot more expensive to fix than, say, a 3800. So troublesome might not be the right word. I know on the Northstar V-8 (and the Olds 4.0 version) that some components are extremely hard to get to when they fail, such as the starter motor. And there's also some switch or sensor that can fail, and costs a lot to replace, again, simply because it's buried.
I think the main reason I preferred the Intrigue was that the interior just seemed nicer than the Regal. But, unfortunately, still not nice enough to woo the import buyers Olds was trying to go after.
#17 of 33 Re: Speaking of GM's supercharged cars... [andre1969]
Feb 06, 2011 (2:05 pm)
I've read more negative comments about the Northstar than the Shortstar, but, then, there were a lot more Northstars and Olds 4.0s made than Shortstars, so it may have been proportional. I don't know. Do you know whether the Shortstar had the high oil consumption issues that the Northstar reportedly had?
#18 of 33 Gambled and Lost
Feb 07, 2011 (6:51 pm)
It's well known that the sleek new Taurus was largely responsible for turning a failing Ford Motor Company around in the '80s. The '92 refresh kept the Taurus competitive with the popular Camry and Accord, but it essentially kicked the can down the road, as the currently popular saying goes. What to do next? Continue with evolutionary change on a new platform, or introduce a dramatic new style to leapfrog the competition? Toyota and Honda had copied cues from the jelly bean look of the original Taurus, and enjoyed a quality advantage. Seeing how taking a bold risk in design paid off in '80s, Ford introduced the dramatically new oval design for the '96 model year. It was quite successful at first, if controversial, but it didn't have the impact Ford had hoped for. Further, the public got tired of the oval design much sooner than it tired of the jelly bean look. Even though both designs were all-new, the '96 was more polarizing than the original one.
An interesting side note is that the '96 Taurus also used oval cues in the dash board.
By the late '80s the president of Ford, Jacques Nasser, focused on the notion that the mass market was too much of a commodity play, and that Ford's profits and future could be greatly enhanced by focusing on his newly created Premium Auto Group (PAG). Management's attention and the company's resources were thus diverted from the bread and butter Ford and Mercury models, and directed at competing in the luxury market, with newly purchased brands. Although Lincoln was included in the PAG, it was allowed to languish. The exception to that was the Lincoln Navigator, which was very successful and profitable.
It should be noted that Ford Motor Co. was hugely profitable from the late '80s-mid '90s. However, Nasser's bungled strategy and botched execution reversed the company's hard-fought sales and profit gains, and practically sank the company.
The point of summarizing this history is that the '96 oval design probably wasn't a mistake. While the company worked on addressing its quality deficits, the idea of compensating with new design was probably sound.
What are your thoughts on the oval look?
#19 of 33 Re: Gambled and Lost [hpmctorque]
Feb 08, 2011 (5:52 am)
I didn't like the '96 Taurus, but I thought they improved it a bit for 1998-99, when they enlarged the grille just enough to get the blue oval emblem to fit inside it, rather than above it. And while it was toned down and a lot more conservative, I think the 2000+ Taurus was a lot better looking. I'm not comfortable in them though, because the sides curve in so sharply, it makes me lean inboard. I remember having to do that in the '89 and '94 Tauruses my grandparents had, but it wasn't quite as severe.
I actually preferred the underdog partner to the Taurus, the Mercury Sable! I thought it looked better from 1996-99, and the 2000+ had a nice, upscale look to it.
When the '96 Taurus came out, didn't Ford start dumping them into fleets and such to keep the production numbers high, so they could still claim #1 car in America, over the Camry and Accord? I remember the original Taurus managed to do that without padding production, although perhaps in later years, maybe they did it with the '92-95 to a degree, as well?
If anything, that massive fleet-dumping might have served as a turning point, tarnishing Ford's image.
#20 of 33 I feel the...
Feb 08, 2011 (6:09 am)
...1992 Cadillac Seville STS was a transformative car for Cadillac. The previous Seville, (1986-91) embodied everything that was wrong with Cadillac at that time and the 1992 Seville was a quantum leap. It was the genesis of Cadillac's rebirth which we are still witnessing today. The 1998-2003 Seville was a nice evolution of this design.
#21 of 33 Re: Gambled and Lost [andre1969]
Feb 08, 2011 (10:56 am)
"When the '96 Taurus came out, didn't Ford start dumping them into fleets and such to keep the production numbers high, so they could still claim #1 car in America, over the Camry and Accord?"
Don't know for sure, but it's probably true.
"...maybe they did it with the '92-95 to a degree, as well?"
I vaguely remember that to be true, but it's been too long to say for sure without statistics to support it. If it was indeed true, too much reliance on fleet sales would have been an additional factor which may have prompted Ford to swing for the fences with the '96 redesign.
#22 of 33 Re: I feel the... [lemko]
Feb 08, 2011 (11:03 am)
Indeed, it was. I liked the '92 STS styling from the get-go. I also thought that the regular Seville was superfluous for Cadillac.
#23 of 33 Re: Gambled and Lost [hpmctorque]
Feb 08, 2011 (12:03 pm)
Personally, before Mulally I don't think Ford had a good leader since Caldwell and Red Poling.