Here is Peter Stevens on the concept car and here is his second article on the subject. I think we can say we covered the topic more thoroughly in October but it nice to see what a professional thinks.
It’s nice to see that Peter Stevens agrees with my analysis of the Ford Probe concept car: “Ford Motor Company’s European arm presented a concept vehicle, the Ford Probe III, at the Frankfurt show in 1981 for totally different reasons. Its new mid-size family car, the Sierra, was to be launched in 1982. It was a fairly avant-garde design that, within Ford, suddenly caused the senior management to become concerned that customers would be put off by its appearance.
Ford’s plan was to show a very extreme aerodynamic research version of what was, underneath, the forthcoming Sierra. The idea was that when people saw the production car they would be pleased to see that it was actually quite conventional.
Ironically the Sierra had very poor aerodynamic stability in side winds and, after a series of well publicized accidents, small vertical fins were added just behind the rear side windows. In July 1983, the UK’s Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock, was lucky to escape uninjured when his Ford Sierra overturned on the M4 motorway after hitting the central crash barrier, having lost control due to this instability. During its production life the Sierra gradually became ever more conservative as Ford attempted to attract more mainstream buyers.”