“Wow, what make of car is that …?” Difficult to say these days. With a few exceptions. There was a time once when each make of car had its own unique look. And there were (and still are) a number of faces in the crowd that stood out from all the rest – not least because of the design and arrangement of their headlights. Our mini-series will take a subjective look at some of the most spectacular designs and some of the weirdest, some long forgotten and some that are still on the roads today. Today we’ll take a closer look at the Ford Scorpio 95. You either love it or hate it. There’s nothing in between.

It has almost died out so catching a glimpse of it in your rear-view mirror will definitely make you look again. It’s a friendly looking soul – symbolic of all those well designed, innovative cars that still wouldn’t sell. When the Ford Granada made way for the completely new Scorpio in 1985, almost everything was right about the newcomer. It was the first European mass-production sedan equipped with ABS as standard, a generous amount of space and an unusual hatchback. The press praised it but customers didn’t buy it. Ford quickly upped the ante with a notchback version and a redesign but the Scorpio just didn’t attract that much interest.

Its successor, which we will shed some light on here, was the first automobile ten years later to be designed entirely by CAD. Because the predecessor hatchback sedan was more and more difficult to sell, the car’s next evolutionary step was only as a station wagon and a notchback sedan. Right when notchbacks were disappearing from the mid-size market. The courageous computers came up with a very American butt with a thick red lighting strip spanning the whole width of the car, with an even thicker chrome bar perched on top. Conservative customers, especially the Brits, ran screaming to Ford’s competitors. Oops.

The front takes even more getting used to than the back. It carries a radiator grill which seems to smile and which is flanked by two big fat lens headlights. The complex H1 designs were bright as day and durable, but even that wasn’t to everybody’s liking in the mid 1990s. Big cars weren’t meant to look friendly. Certainly not at that time. But the Scorpios were such good cars. The engines were considered robust and powerful, though not very economical. There was an enormous amount of space, rust protection was okay and the technology reliable. But all the good ideas for a solid down-to-earth sedan failed because of the design. And even as a used car it stuck to the dealers’ heels like chewing gum – even though everyone actually driving a Scorpio was full of praise. After as little as four years, in 1998, the model was discontinued. No more Senators at Opel and no more Scorpios at Ford. A shame in both cases.

The screaming conservative Brits will soon no longer be in the EU, and the Scorpio is history. Today it’s turning heads though. Nobody knows why but that’s what it does. On the web there are only about 50 of them on offer; there are loads more Ferraris. With a recent test certificate and leather seats, the sedan starts at as little as 800 euros. There’s one just around the corner. I think I’ll check it out later on …

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