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I would agree with you almost 100%, but I disagree wholeheartedly that the 58-66 iterations (in particular) of Tbird weren't coupes. 2 door sedans pretty much universally have B pillars and more importantly often share the exact same roof stamping as the sedan counterpart, only with enlongated doors and shorter quarter windows. Think of the Tri five Chevys - the Bel Air hardtop had a shortened roofline and no B pillars, whereas a 210 2 door sedan used a long roofline shared with the 4 door sedan. The 58 Tbird shared nothing with nobody, it was a bespoke 2 door hardtop on it's own (albeit derived off Lincoln) unibody platform. Really the only years I'd consider the Tbird as a sedan would be 67-70 when they actually did have 4 doors, even the 80-82 cars shared the Fairmont Futura body, rather than the standard 2 door sedan.
Keeping in mind that the Belairs were hard tops with frameless doors. As where the Crown Vic's of the era. But a hard top it's still a 2 door sedan. That's why I specifically used sedan instead of coupe in most of that post. These terms have all evolved over the years. EG a Ford Coupe in the thirties was generally a shortened version with out a back seat. Our MN12 were consider sport coupes. But they had a lengthened passenger compartment and framed glass. Even if the frames wrapped into the roof and the black window trim mimicked a hard top.

I really like the Fusion. It's one of the better looking cars they make. It's the right size and at least around here they are extremely popular. A 2 door sedan version might sell well. But I think in general the publics come to appreciate 4 doors. I'm a fairly tall guy and don't haul passengers much. Unless dogs count. So I've always liked the better egress of a two door sedan. I'm not sure if there's a AWD version of the Fusion. Probably. They seem to make AWD versions of everything these days. I know there's a Hybrid version. While FWD drive has come a LONG way from the torque steering econoboxes of the late seventies and early eighties it's still not quite what most of us consider proper for a performance car. AWD has certainly proved it mettle in the rally world and WRX spaces so it better regarded by enthusiasts. But it adds a lot of weight and complexity. And for daily driver use, especially in the colder climes FWD is probably better all around. But lacks the performance recognition of RWD. A AWD drive Fusion Coupe would be cool. Especially with the underpinnings of the police interceptors. The PI Tauruses are impressive as hell. Or even a Coupe version of the Tuarus with the Cop car underpinnings would be viable as a all weather sports car. Noticed I switched to coupe to denote it's sporty as opposed to a two door sedan. But. In a four door world is anyone going to pay the 3-4 grand premium for the expense of two door tooling costs? Plus the additional money for AWD? Probably not. Yet without AWD or RWD it's just going to be perceived as sheep in wolfs clothing.

I always return to thinking about Lincoln and the death of Mercury. The problem with Mercury is that while theirs still a HUGE market for luxury cars at mid price points the division had gone to far with badge engineering. Everyone knew a GM, Mystique, Mariner etc was gust a rebadged Ford Crown Vic, Contour. Explorer whatever. So unless you liked the grill or tail light treatments better there wasn't any reason to head over to the Ford dealership and save a few grand. Mercs of the sixties did it right in that they started with a already engineered platform that Ford provided and used the de opens costs to add features you couldn't get on a Ford. A good example was the Comet and and full size Mercs. They had about a foot added to the rear quarters. This gave the Comet some truly pleasing proportions and made it look like a little big car. And they sold. Or if you've ever seen the trunk of a full size 67 Parklane you know that it would literally swallow a full size mattress if you pulled the spare. While biggers not always better it did offer the customer some added value. Mercury would spend development money on stuff like rubber isolaters for the rear axles. Specific bushings for the front. More sound deadening etc. a longer wheel base for the cougar. While the idea of building a somewhat numb car is alien these days the payoff was a car that rode nicer and was noticably quieter than its ford counter part. It was a nice stepping stone between Lincoln and Ford. Another example was that most Mercs of the Elwood Engle era had front header panels which gave the car a totally different appearance than the Fords. Which normally used a simple recessed grille. Ford did this because the tolerance stack up was a lot more forgiving during assembly. Where as adding a front header panel required a lot more work during the assembly stage to get everything lined up. So the Mercs offered quite a bit for a relatively minor price premium. By the mid seventies this was gone as the differences came down to pretty much different grills badges and tail lights. As the value dropped so did the sales. To the point it wasn't worth keeping the division open as its clientele and and buyers aged. This is what also killed the MN12 TBird and Couger. Everyone that wanted one had already bought one.

Caddilacs o good example of a company that was in the same boat. What they did was a complete break with their styling history. And went to the creased suit look. And with the NorthStar the performance was there. This did two things. It alienated their traditional old fogie buyers. Which didn't matter since they like the MN12 criowd had bought their last caddy. But it opened the doors to a entirely new group of younger more affluent buyers that might be considering a BMW or Mercedes or Audi. They stuck with the look and refined it and it's paid off for them with a family identity and a whole new buyers demographic. Lincoln could take some lessons here. But for the most part they seemed have only got step one right. Which is alienating the existing customer base. The styling is all over the map. And they don't seem to have a clear mission or much of a plan. Other than the SUVs I have a fairly strong suspicion most people aren't buying these because they desire one. But rather it fits in the budget of their corporate lease plan.
 

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Keeping in mind that the Belairs were hard tops with frameless doors. As where the Crown Vic's of the era. But a hard top it's still a 2 door sedan. That's why I specifically used sedan instead of coupe in most of that post. These terms have all evolved over the years. EG a Ford Coupe in the thirties was generally a shortened version with out a back seat. Our MN12 were consider sport coupes. But they had a lengthened passenger compartment and framed glass. Even if the frames wrapped into the roof and the black window trim mimicked a hard top.

The Bel Air hardtop roof IS shortened, hence my bringing it up. Look at where the C pillars end in relation to the window openings between the Bel air, 210 2 door, and 210 4 door







I didn't say hardtop = coupe, just that it usually does. To me a Coupe is all about the roofline, if it's shared with the 4 door then it's a sedan, if it's shaped specifically for the 2 doors it's a coupe. The number of seats, the size of the car, the class of car are all irrelevant. I really don't know how else to qualify it. I certainly don't know how the MN12 is any more of a coupe than a 58-66s, besides Ford embossing "Coupe" onto the TC and SCs :tongue:
 

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So what would be popular as a "Thunderbird"? Why not do the unthinkable and move it down market. Capitalize on the fun factor than made the original Mustang such a huge success. Why not something like a Mazda Miata with a ecoboost engine. Two seats and RWD? Rather than trying to skim the cream at the top of the market for a limited number of buyers why not slot it in between the Fiesta and the Fusion or the Fusion and the Taurus depending on which drive train used. I'm not talking EXP here. But a more poweful and refined slightly larger Miata class car. Keep it small. Keep it light. Keep it simple. And rake in the cash with a great aftermarket performance parts program. Granted the small roadster markets smaller than the 2 door luxury segment but if the car was affordable as a second car the buying public might bite. It would be a great halo car that meant something again and give the dealers something to flog besides the Mustangs and family sedans and pickup trucks.
Not likely to happen. A small lightweight coupe roadster is a niche market. Only Mazda was able to get the formula right and move volume for significant amounts of time.

* GM tried this with the Solstice and sold less than 100K of them in its entire production run.
* Toyota/Subaru tried this with the Scion GT86/BRZ and after starting out strong, sales have dropped pretty dramatically... so much so that a next-gen car is in doubt (let alone a convertible).
* Honda did a little better with the S2000 but that remains a cult car vs a mass market success

They let the Ranger platform stagnate before killing it. They were always popular even with ancient underpinnings. I personally beleive that they killed it mostly out of fear of cannbilizung full size truck sales. I always liked the crew cab GMC S15 based trucks and would have bought a crew cab Ranger in a heartbeat. As much as I like the full size trucks I don't need something that large and don't want to pay for it at the dealer or at the pump. And I want a bed so a Explorers out. The original SportTrac came close but it was just large enough it really could have used a V8 option and as I recall they were 4wheel drive only. I have to need or desire for 4wheel drive. I looked hard at the SportTracs when they came out. Had they offered a V8 I probably would have bit.

I'd like to see the Ranger come back. It's viable and the name fits it's market. There's brand recognition.
Is it just me or even small trucks have gotten larger over the past years? I thought for what they were, the old S10s, Tacomas, and Ranger pickups did a good job at what they did. I suspect that any Ranger coming back will be significantly longer and wider than the last iteration.
 

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Ford looked at keeping the Ranger in the US but there was no market, hence the development of the Tremor. Look at the price of "small" truck versus a comparable F150, you get much more truck in the F150 for just a few pence more. Why Ford is trying to bring the Ranger back to get ~50,000 units a year is beyond me; while yes there is no R&D seems like marketing will destroy the profits. The Tacoma is the segment leader at 155,000 units and everyone else is around 60,000.

While yes a Ranger honestly meet the needs or most people in that it is a real 1/2-ton pickup were as the F150 is 3/4-1-ton, the economics IMO just anit there for the US market.

As for Mercury--yes I'm a little biased--I've seen it as SVT before SVO was even an idea, an IMO Ford should have replaced SVT with Mercury name when SVO died. Performance and "luxury"; think 60's era Cougars and Marauders (remember base Cougar engine of the time were 302 were as the Mustang was a 200).

The T-bird is dead lets be honest with ourselves. I'm and at the younger end of the MN-12 appeal, and even when I was starting to drive they had no appeal--so the name has no more use to Ford (to be honest only slightly more useful than Fairmont or Granada)--those in my age group at this point are looking at practical cars (Flex if my wife gets her way), and the baby boomers are fading of the scene. T-bird won't attract the 16-25 crowd that they need to maintain growth.
 

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My bird ain't going into the crusher without a fight. Kermit the Ford has a name and a soul. He just wants everyone to remember he comes from a long line of NASCAR relatives. Not many people can say that about their car.
 

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The Ford Ranger lives on! Just not in the USA. Looks bigger too almost like the Nissan Frontier got bigger. You can find more info about them if you research the Ranger name with different years like 2013 or 2014.
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/autos/1207/gallery.cars-not-sold-in-united-states/2.html
I always wondered what happened to the ranger, I always wanted a four door one too. After seeing this pic of the ranger that sold in other countries it's absolutely perfect. I would buy one in a second. I never understood. That sport trac thing it's useless. What countries are these ford Rangers in I would like to import it.
 

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I always wondered what happened to the ranger, I always wanted a four door one too. After seeing this pic of the ranger that sold in other countries it's absolutely perfect. I would buy one in a second. I never understood. That sport trac thing it's useless. What countries are these ford Rangers in I would like to import it.
From what I've found its in Mexico and starts at ~$26k.
 
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