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20 Cars That Almost Bankrupted Ford

Cameron EittreimJuly 9, 2021

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6: Ford Taurus SHO (Third Generation)

To boost the likeability of the Taurus brand in the 1990s, Ford attempted a performance model of the oval Taurus. This variation of the SHO had a V8 engine sourced from Yamaha. The performance was more than adequate but it wasn’t enough to bolster the brand during this period.

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The Yamaha V8 had a lot of reliability issues and the car became more of a lemon than a collector’s item. The SHO was generally a well-liked brand but what happened with this generation tarnished it forever. You’d think that putting a V8 powerplant in a Taurus would be a fun thing to do, but the reality is it wasn’t.

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5: Ford Contour SVT

Another interesting but poorly-received SVT model from the 1990s was the Ford Contour. Although it didn’t have a V8 engine like the larger Taurus, it did have some pretty decent driving characteristics. Unfortunately, the price of the Contour made it a questionable purchase for most consumers. The size ratio was about the same as a Ford Escort and drivers just couldn’t see driving it.

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The suspension was tuned for performance, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t impressive enough to justify the price tag. Ford lost a great deal of money on the Contour SVT and the Contour brand in a generation. The car was about the same size as the Escort without providing anything new.

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4: Lincoln Aviator

The SUV boom was in full swing by the early 2000s and the Ford Aviator was an interesting concept. Lincoln had hit a home run with the Navigator a few years earlier but the Aviator was not as well received. Based on the Ford Explorer the Aviator was undersized and had a full-size price tag, which didn’t sit well with luxury buyers.

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One cool feature about the Aviator was the fact that the SUV shared its powertrain with the Mustang Mach-1. Performance was more than you’d expect for an SUV of this size, but that wasn’t enough to bolster sales. The Aviator is perhaps one of the poorest selling Lincoln models in recent time and that isn’t a good thing.

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3: Lincoln Blackwood

Ford was riding so high on the tailwinds of the popular Lincoln Navigator that the company decided to launch the Blackwood. A truck that was based on the F-150, it had some interesting features. The truck bed was unusable as it was lined with satin, and a tonneau cover made sure that you weren’t able to use it.

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The performance wasn’t much better than your plumber’s F-150, and the truck didn’t drive very refined at all. There was only a four-door configuration available, and the truck looked downright weird from the back. The Blackwood could have been an interesting concept, but it seems like the designers got carried away.

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2: Ford Focus SVT

The SVT boys were getting carried away with the performance designs at the end of the 1990s. The Focus SVT was another interesting car that got a lot of press coverage at the time. As a brand, the Focus was very popular in the rally scene around the world, which made Ford consider a sports car that could be sold domestically.

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The overall design of the Focus SVT had a lot of potential, but when it came down to the nuts and bolts it was all the same. The car had a higher price tag and would compete directly with the Civic Si, but the final product wasn’t on the same level. You’ll still find these used from time to time, although they’ve been fairly abused.

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1: Lincoln Mark LT

As if the Blackwood wasn’t a bad enough failure, Lincoln decided to try things again with the Mark LT. The large truck was overly luxurious in all the wrong ways, although at least this time it had a functional truck bed. The basic premise of the truck was once again to make a luxury version of the F-150. Buyers weren’t enthused by this and the Mark LT had a fairly lackluster run.

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The high price tag coupled with the F-150 looks just wasn’t enough to entice most truck buyers. Not to mention the fact that all of that added luxury just makes things more expensive to replace. Traditional F-150 drivers enjoy the truck’s long history of durability and the Mark LT just couldn’t offer that kind of dependability.

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