Even though it took the public a bit to get used to it, Ford really hit a home run with its European design philosophy in the Eighties premiered by the aerodynamic Sierra. The following Sapphire and full-size Granada further familiarised Europeans to Ford’s new corporate face and all was dandy.
Until, of course, someone remembered what a fantastic mess the whole Edsel design saga was in the Sixties, and decided to recreate it for Europeans in the Nineties. The result was the second-generation Scorpio launched in 1994, one of the ugliest things ever — never mind cars.
This disaster had already been leaked to the press thanks to some spy shots prior to its launch and the gasps of horror were heard loud and clear at Ford Europe. Unfortunately, it was far too late to do anything about it despite Ford marketers’ best attempts at peppering every press release with words like ‘dynamic’ and ‘muscular’. At its media launch they actually introduced this thing with the headline, “Distinctive styling that sets the pace.” It’s distinctive all right. In Germany the Scorpio was lampooned in a satirical magazine and in Britain the motoring hacks said it was designed by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
With a face like that, whatever was underneath didn’t even matter, and anyway what was underneath the second-gen Scorpio was really the first-gen Scorpio. It was ugly, it was rubbish, and nobody bought it — less than 100,000 were ever built, which was pathetic, and in 1998 just four years after its debut the thing tanked with merely 6,000 sales in all of Europe. Ford quietly had it away and the second-gen Scorpio never showed up for 1999. In fact, the nameplate disappeared altogether.