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      Car History: Car History Year 1986
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 13:32:09 UTC by Cars
      Cars This year the price of crude oil fell to under $10 a barrel (good for motorists, not so good for the oil companies) and America's second largest steel company, LTV, filed for bankruptcy. However, the news wasn't ail bad. Auto sales were still pretty strong and tax reforms reduced rates, but probably the most symbolic event that gave all Americans hope for the future was the Fourth of July celebrations to mark the Statue of Liberty's 100th birthday.

    As far as the auto industry was concerned, there were two items of note in *86 to accompany the encouraging sales figures. The first was a new piece of equipment that had to be incorporated into the design of every new car - the central high-mounted stoplamp. There was also a revision to the CAFE standard, which was reduced to 26mpg after Ford and General Motors claimed that the previous 27.5mpg figure would kill off big cars. Ford's replacement for the rear-wheel-drive LTD was the midsize, front-wheel-drive Taurus, but there was nothing in the styling of the new modei to link it to its predecessor. In a way this was hardly surprising, because the Taurus owed its origins to the Fords designed and built in Europe. The aerodynamic front of the Taurus was especially distinctive because of the lack of a grille. In place of this identifying feature was a solid panel painted in the body color, with a small Ford badge set in an oval opening positioned centrally between the headlamps. A wide air-intake slot was set low down, in the bottom half of the bumper. The Taurus was initially offered in three series: L, GL or LX (the sporty MT5 came later), in either 4-door sedan or station wagon models. A new engine, developed from the High Swirl Combustion (HSC) Tempo 2.3-liter four cylinder unit, came as standard. The Taurus HSC engine measured 2.5 liters, and produced 88 bhp at 4,600rpm. Some early models came with a 3.0-liter V6, and this engine became an optional choice as the year progressed, although it was standard on GL and LX station wagons. Four cylinder Taurus models came with a three-speed automatic or five-speed manual transaxle, but the V6 versions used a four-speed overdrive automatic. Manufacturing delays meant that the Taurus (and its companion, the Mercury Sable) was introduced later than usual, but Ford recorded figures of 178,737 sedans and 57,625 station wagons coming off the assembly lines. (Mercury numbers were 71,707 sedans and 23,931 wagons.) The Taurus would continue in this form for a decade before it received its first major redesign and it was a model that always sold well for Ford. Over at troubled AMC, sales were down yet again. Even the introduction of the new Jeep Wrangler to replace the CJ-7 (production of that model ceased in January) failed to reverse AMC's decline as the Wrangler didn't do any better than the earlier version. The situation couldn't last and, late in '86, Lee lacocca began secret negotiations with Renault for Chrysler to buy out their share in AMC. The end of "The Last Independent" was only months away. Specification FORD TAURUS Engine Cast iron - 4 Cylinders in line Displacement 153 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.70x3.60 ins. Horsepower 88 Body styles 4 door sedan; Station wagon No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 2,878 lbs-3,306lbs Price $9,650-$13,900 Produced 236,000 (all models)     Specification JEEP WRANGLER Engine Cast iron - 6 Cylinders in line Displacement 250 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.30x4.30 ins. Horsepower 120 Body styles Open utility No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,294 Ibs. Price $15,915-$24,260 Produced -     Specification FORD MUSTANG GT CONVERTIBLE Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 302 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0x3,0 ins. Horsepower 200 Body styles Convertible coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,139 Ibs Price $10,691 Produced 225,000 (all models)  
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