Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #86

1986 was a watershed year for automobile manufacture. It was the first year that the "third brake light" - the brake light in the middle of the back window or hatchback - was mandatory. Apparently, the government felt the need to give automobiles one more warning light for people to ignore. It was also a pretty damn good year for new introductions, seeing cars like the Acura Legend, the Jeep Wrangler, the Nissan Pathfinder, and of course, the Porsche 959.


But the introduction I want to talk about is this, the 1986 Ford Taurus. Pretty much every modern car today owes its appearance to the '86.5 Taurus (yes, it was a half-year release, that's how badly Ford wanted to get the Taurus out). Cars pretty much since the 1960s had been some variation of boxes: in the 1960s, they were large boxes with hints of chrome left over from the '50s; in the '70s they were gigantic luxobarges; and in the 1980s they were uninspiring, drab exercises in rectangular geometry.

The Taurus changed that paradigm and set it on its head. Within a year, *every* car had that distinct "melted gumdrop" shape. Gone were fenders you could shave with and roof lines with clear views; introduced were "A" pillars you had to lean around and rear windows you needed wipers for. The "aerodynamic" look was in, and the Taurus got the ball rolling. Of course, the Taurus also pretty much redefined the idea of "planned obsolescence", with transmissions that came pre-broken from the factory and such...

Almost there, folks; only three years left in the '80s...

That is all.

5 comments:

libertyman said...

Mom sold her Mercury Grand Marquis and bought a Mercury Sable. The Sable was a wonderful car for her and no problems with the transmission. It was good on gas and drove well in the winter. Ford did a good job, I feel, with the Taurus and Sable.

Roy said...

I had an 88 Taurus station wagon. I loved that car - right up until the transmission ate itself on an expressway ramp. That particular repair was just shy of two kilo-bucks. A few months after that, the front left U joint failed while taking my daughter to school. Me and Taurus fell out of love after that and I switched back to Toyota.

Reliability does have value.

Raptor said...

Ugh. We had a '91 (I think) Taurus Wagon. Piece. Of. Sh*t. Seemed like the bloody thing was in the shop with engine problems more than it was on the road. But Dad, being Dad, held onto it until car was worth less than the repair bills. Which somehow took about 10 years. Traded it for a Honda Odyssey and haven't looked back.

Will said...

Roommate some years ago had one of those. It ate the A/C compressor while pulling into his workplace. Had to replace it right there in the parking lot. Ford ran everything on one belt, so no delete was possible, without buying an idler pulley to replace the bad part, IIRC.

I think I had to replace a head on that v6. I think the design had cooling issues. Not impressed with that car. And you're right, I'm still seeing the oval/rounded styling details on newer vehicles.

Old NFO said...

Had an 88 Taurus SHO... Ran like a scalded dog, but it did eat a few clutches (450HP Japanese chip in it)... :-)