10 Forgotten Fords That Probably Deserved Better
Fords that deserved more credit than they received
It’s not uncommon for a nameplate to appear, either float above the waterline or promptly sink, and then disappear from the market the same way it arrived. Every major automaker has had a few such models. Those that were rightfully axed promptly after being introduced and those that never got going the way they were supposed to. This time we’ll focus on obscured and forgotten Ford models that disappeared from the scene before they managed to leave a lasting impression. Even though they deserved to. Some were maybe unremarkable, some ahead of their time, and some simply arrived at a wrong moment. Something like these forgotten Chrysler-Mopars.
Unlike Chrysler and accompanying badges, Blue Oval always had a major share in sales among the U.S. buyers. It’s the second largest American automaker and one of the largest carmakers in the world. With that kind of recognition, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Fords are everywhere. And that they always have been. But, unlike Mustangs, F-150’s and long-gone Escorts which were, and still are some of Blue Oval’s record-selling cars, we’ll try to remind you of less lucky Fords that probably deserved much better.
A side note: We’ll refrain from listing special edition vehicles
1993-1996 Centurion Classic
Behold the forgotten 4-door Bronco you never knew existed. You’re forgiven, though, since, technically, Centurion Classic was never actually a Ford. Although met with competition such as Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, Blue Oval never ventured beyond the proven two door Bronco styling. They never wanted their badge on a 4-door Bronco-based SUV. Reason was, Ford has already decided to introduce the Expedition by then. But they never said anything about aftermarket 4-door Broncos.
This is where Centurion Vehicles enter the fray. Third party Ford trucks converter out of White Pigeon, Michigan was contracted on Blue Oval’s behalf in order to fix the above mentioned problem. They answered the call with two custom-stretched models; Centurion C150 Classic and Centurion C350 Classic. Former was based on F-150 truck, while latter got its body from F-350 donor. Furthermore, four-wheel drive was standard with larger model and optional on smaller Centurions.
Engine lineup consisted of Ford trucks’ respective powertrains. C150 Centurion, thus sported either 5.0L or 5.8L V8 mills, while C350 Classic came with either 7.5L gasoline V8 or 7.3L Navistar International’s diesel V8. Centurion C350 Classic was the only Bronco sporting such large displacement and diesel engines. Sadly, most of them have rusted through by now. This makes them even more prized possessions, though, since already low number of Centurion won’t get multiplied in the coming years.
1998-2000 SVT Contour
Back when Taurus used to be smaller, there was no place for another mid-size sedan in the U.S. market. Yet, Mondeo’s strong sales across the globe practically forced Ford’s hand into bringing rebadged version of the family car stateside. Contour was chosen for Blue Oval version’s name, while Mercury twin got to be known as Mystique.
That was in 1994, and it wasn’t until 1998 and first substantial facelift when Contour finally got the true performance version. True, Contour SE Sport models with up to 170 horsepower were available since 1996, but SVT badge elevated Contour’s status in performance enthusiasts’ eyes. Just like it did with F-150, Focus and Cobra Mustang. SVT Contour had the same 2.5L V6 as the SE Sport models, but with upgraded internals like unique pistons, revised intake and exhaust camshafts. This setup was initially worth 195 ponies and rose to 200 horsepower the following year.
Ford SVT Contour was also praised for its fun driving dynamics. After all, Contour was always intended as a sporty Euro-feel 4-door sedan. It was one of the best handling and most wanted sedans for under $25,000 at the time. Sadly, it never really succeeded. Apart from having had poor front impact safety ratings, it was just too small for American audience. It never found its niche, but SVT Contour certainly deserved more credit than it received.
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