Design Footnote: somewhere inside Ford, someone nodded quietly to the firm’s past.
A few months back, while studying the parked cars in my area, I noticed that there was something deeper to the design of late-model Ford Mondeo Mk2s. Not very many cars have a solution that avoids both a horizontal and a vertical wraparound at the front end. The 2005 Mondeo has a design where the strongest line runs down the edge of the wing, down the lights and then goes horizontal under the valence, requiring a twist from forward to sideways mediated by a vertical descent.
Usually the bumper and bumperettes interfere with this sort of fold line being so clear. For this (and its generally extremely handsome, reserved form) the Mondeo deserves a credit. What is more unusual, for Ford especially, is that this solution has been used before, on the 1965 Ford Taunus. Ford don’t generally design with rear-view goggles on. The Taunus shown here parked outside my home by accident and I noticed the resemblance. And you can see in the image below that there is the same sculptural treatment although it is a bit bolder. This makes me like the Mondeo Mk2 even more than I do already.
If you look at the 2000 Ford Mondeo (below), as it was originally designed, the relation between the body side and front under-bumper or valence is less clear than the facelifted one. There is more of a continuity around the side to the front bumper on the early car. Actually, I think the relationship is ambiguous, neither flowing down from bonnet to valence nor flowing from bodyside to front. I think the 2000 version is good in isolation but the 2005
car is better, bringing out something incipient in the 2000 model and so genuinely adding to it. So often, facelifts run counter to the original character of a design. This one avoids that fault.
6 thoughts on “1965 Ford Taunus Versus 2005 Ford Mondeo”
Whether it’s intentional or chance, imperceptibly subtle though it is, I’m not sure that sort of thing is what I expect from Ford. I’m very happy for Audi to evolve a theme from model to model, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. But one of the admirable things about Ford is the ability to reinvent themselves model to model. Of course under J Mays (late of Audi) plundering of the back catalogue became respectable with the GT, Thunderbird and Mustang, but mainstream models have been generally spared and at least Europe hasn’t (yet!) seen a new Capri complete with fake rear wheel vents. My objection to the current Focus isn’t that it doesn’t pay homage to Focus 1, it should be entirely different, but just that its main distinction is its fussiness.
Generally, I´d agree that Ford has looked forward not back. You´d have to admit this little genuflection on the part of the 2005 car to the earlier one is very understated. It´s so understated it took me nine years to spot. Maybe Ford enthusiasts saw it sooner – probably. This is a long way from the Rover 75.
You´re not far wrong in summarising the Focus as it is now. Busy and boring. The visual style hides the car´s light under a boring bushel. With the Mk3 had the back luck to jump on a bandwagon rather than make one of their own: adding bodyside creases and having oddly shaped lamps plus a busy dashboard as muddled as the last Escort’s. The car is very indistinct and I tend not to notice them in the same way I don´t notice Citroen C4´s (the current attempt). In contrast the last Focus stands out for being itself (as I have said often). I am curious to see how Ford Europes´s new styling man is going to take things forward. First he has to take the folder Martin Smith has prepared on future styling directions and throw it away unread. The next thing to do is to take a good look at the best of the European Fords and see why they worked. He can do this at Ford´s expense by driving some of the cars on an information-gathering tour of Europe (he hails from the US), Week 1: Ford Focus Mk2 in mid-range spec from Cologne to Bordeaux. Week 2: Ford S-Max from Bordeaux to Toledo. Week 3: Ka Mk1, from Toledo to Rome (three days) and Ka Mk2 from Rome back to Cologne (for contrast). Finally, a trip around Lommel in a Mk2 Mondeo and a Mk3 to compare.
I think it won’t be worth Mr Piaskowski bothering with Ka. It is a lost cause. The photos of Ka3 suggest that Ford don’t understand small cars any more, and I doubt whether someone hailing from the US will understand them any better – apologies if that is stereotyping. I have no problem with 4 doors, the Aygo and Panda managed that, but the general design of the thing is as awful as Nissan’s current Micra. Are good looking, genuinely small cars that maximise on space on the way out? Now that I’ve seen more images of the Twingo, my enthusiasm is abating. The alternative packaging was the only thing going for it – any car that is presented from new with optional stick on striping lacks confidence in its identity which, in the case of a 500 lookalike, is deserved. Personally, if it handled like a mini 911 (which it surely won’t) that would be enticing, but the removable front panel seems a tacky joke. On a bad day, I’d end up chucking the thing away at the side of the road.
Citroen have that thing going on too don’t they ? I kind of see it in both the CX and the C2 for example.
Yes, the CX line – it’s got a micropost here too.
Thank you Richard, I’ll have a look at that post 😉