10 October 2013

Five of the oddest cars from Ford Motor Company

Multi-national Ford Motor Company has — regardless of market — charted a fairly conservative path through the years. Unlike dedicated eccentrics SAAB, Citroën and even American Motors, it has produced few cars that could be fairly characterized as weird, but here are five from Ford (and its Lincoln and Mercury divisions) that still have us scratching our heads:

  1. 1982-85 Ford Escort EXP: The EXP (along with its twin the Mercury Lynx LN-7) was simply bizarre. It was supposed to be a sporty two-seater version of the Escort compact, but the styling was incomprehensible. It was touted by Ford as a modern, affordable and efficient version of the concept that brought the car world the classic two-seater 1955-57 Thunderbird. But where the T-Bird was graceful and elegant, the EXP was just odd, and the squinty, hungover look to the headlight treatment was particularly strange.

    Related Article: Top Five Ford Designs ]

  2. 1963 Mercury Monterey Breezeway: The Monterey and its predecessor, the Turnpike Cruiser, were fairly standard 1950s and 1960s full-size Ford Motor Company products, but it was the backward-slanted rear roofline and a rear window that lowered for ventilation that added a truly strange look to the car, as well as providing ready ingress for exhaust fumes.
  3. 2002 Lincoln Blackwood: The Blackwood was a one-year-only Lincoln luxury pickup designed to compete with the Cadillac Escalade XLT. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the answer to a question that nobody was asking—a shortbed luxury pickup that was too nice to actually haul anything in. Less than 3,500 were made in that single year.
  4. 1959-67 Ford Anglia 105E: Famous as the flying car from the “Harry Potter” series, this English Ford sported a distinctly American feature — the bizarre, backward-slanted rear window that Lincolns and Mercurys had sported in the U.S.

    Related Article: Oddball AMC Designs ]

  5. 1996-08 Ford Ka: Another odd duck Ford not seen in the U.S, the Ka was both an oddly named and strangely styled city car that measured just over 142” overall. Performance was largely theoretical as the Ka was powered by a derivative of the ancient four-cylinder that powered the Anglia. Handling was at least said to be entertaining.

13 Reader Comments

  • 1
    RalphPuccini Raleigh October 12, 2013 at 20:30
    I nominate the Ford Aspire - the white hatch back looked like a giant egg.
  • 2
    Tom tc, mi. October 16, 2013 at 18:09
    If Ford had skipped the 105E, all those Lotus 20, 27's, and other Formula Jr's, as well as later F-3's would have missed out on the great English Ford engine's made possible by this odd duck.
  • 3
    Carrie Florida October 16, 2013 at 20:10
    Fun article!
  • 4
    Will Owen Pasadena CA October 16, 2013 at 20:39
    I've always regarded the 105E Anglia as on of the prettiest and most practical small cars Ford ever made. The back-slanted rear window was actually useful in this case, as it increased rear headroom while allowing a larger trunk opening. As for the engine your writer described as "ancient" in the Ka paragraph, it was quite revolutionary, following as it did the truly ancient 1.2 liter flathead from all of the previous small English Fords, a sort of miniature Model A engine. With OHV, a hollow crankshaft and extremely short stroke it was easily the most advanced small passenger-car engine made by any major UK manufacturer for many years.
  • 5
    Don Granger St. Louis October 16, 2013 at 21:16
    My first car was a 1962 Ford Anglia. Drove it to high school every day. It was black and I painted a red LeMans stripe down the center. I learned a lot about working on cars with that thing. A couple quirks I recall were that the horn was sounded by pushing the end of the turn single lever and that is was positive "earth". Still, it has a 4 speed (only 2-4 were synchro) and bucket seats which made it cool in my mind.
  • 6
    Roger Cunningham Florida October 16, 2013 at 21:41
    I lived in Puerto Vallarta, MX when these Ford KA models began showing up. I asked my Spanish/Portuguese speaking friend: "What is that car?" ...and he answered "it's a ' Kaw'". This conversation went on like a Laurel and Hardy comedy, or maybe Abbott and Costello! I said "Yeah I know it's a CAR but who makes it? He finally said "it's a FORD" ...and that answered my question. Later, I rented one in Mexico City ...and it was a great little cheap driver, quite nice for crowded driving in Mexico City. Pretty similar to the Ford Pinto 2-door, just a little smaller and lighter. Don't demean the FORD Anglia's with that weird back window! Remember that that engine was the basis for later Lotus variants because of its strong underpinnings, I'm not a "Ford Lover", but give them their dues! rc
  • 7
    Don Granger St. Louis October 16, 2013 at 22:04
    My first car was a 1962 Ford Anglia. Drove it to high school every day. It was black and I painted a red LeMans stripe down the center. I learned a lot about working on cars with that thing. A couple quirks I recall were that the horn was sounded by pushing the end of the turn single lever and that is was positive "earth". Still, it has a 4 speed (only 2-4 were synchro) and bucket seats which made it cool in my mind. I named it "Plug Ugly" :-)
  • 8
    Dave Cruikshank Reading PA October 17, 2013 at 01:31
    I liked the EXP. Hard to find. One in particular caught my eye. In Car Craft magazine back in the 80's they did a series on street racing. This article on Detroit had an EXP that had a Jack Roush built 429 V8 stuffed into a street legal EXP. I wonder if it survived?
  • 9
    Mario New Jersey October 17, 2013 at 16:35
    ..and let's not forget the Mercury Merkur XR4Ti ...a mouthful!
  • 10
    PRJohnson Esquire Rochester Hills Mi. October 17, 2013 at 17:51
    On that breezeway roof line, Lincoln's used that same idea on their convertible's, 58-59, very cool look, plus a glass window. Speaking of ventalation, I had a 65 LTD 4dr, it had a vent under the rear glass window that you could open/close, open those floor vents & window vents up front and the rear vent, Great air flow until you got behind a bus!
  • 11
    John Rose Flat Rock, MI October 17, 2013 at 07:43
    Having owned an EXP, it did look like a frog from the front. But....it had the Escort GT drivetrain, that potent 1.9L HO and five speed....and, there wasn't a Camaro or Mustang on the street you couldn't pull 2 cars on off the line. They were fast, nimble, and took everything you could throw at them. I did all the Performance testing on these (and the Escort GT) at Ford's Dearborn Proving Ground, and they both were terrific, very fun, exciting cars to drive. Enough so, that I'm looking for another one today!
  • 12
    Laguna Mike Austin, TX October 17, 2013 at 10:10
    There was a great commercial for the Ka in England. . . . ."The Evil Ka"
  • 13
    Bob Koshurba Ontario October 18, 2013 at 08:45
    I owned an 82 EXP and loved it. I wish I would have kept it. I wonder how many of them still exist?

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