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Ford Tempo

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Tempo
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Wikipedia: Ford Tempo

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A car produced by Ford for model years 1984-1994. Also sold as the Mercury Topaz.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Ford Tempo page on 28 October 2018, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Ford Tempo and its twin, the Mercury Topaz, are compact cars that were produced by Ford for model years 1984 to 1994. They were downsized successors to the boxy Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr twins. The Tempo and Topaz were part of a rejuvenation plan by Ford to offer more environmentally friendly, fuel efficient, and more modern styled models to compete with the European and Japanese imports. While the car sold well, its innovation and aerodynamic design paved the way for the even more groundbreaking Ford Taurus. The Tempo and Topaz were replaced in 1995 by the "world car" platform sold in North America as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique.

Although built on a different platform, the aerodynamic Ford Sierra was somewhat of a European counterpart to the Tempo. It replaced the boxy, rear-wheel-drive Ford Cortina while the Tempo did the same for the Fairmont in North America. The Sierra too was succeeded by Ford's world car platform in the form of the Ford Mondeo.

In 1994, Ford chose to introduce the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique rather than redesign the Tempo and Topaz in the mid 1990s to meet new safety standards (dual airbags, etc.), sharing corporate resources of Ford of Europe. While highly innovative in its early years, and even though it was a strong seller for nearly its entire lifetime, by the early 1990s the Tempo and the Topaz were seen as an aging platform. They also lacked an automatic transmission with overdrive when compared to newer 4-speed automatics. It was also to be the last year for the 2.3 L HSC engine, which was built by Ford specifically for the Tempo and Topaz. Also, it was to be the last year for the 3-speed FLC automatic transmission; although it was slightly redesigned, given overdrive, and was used on the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer. With all of these factors, Ford stopped production of the Tempo on March 25, 1994, when the last one rolled off the Claycomo, Missouri assembly line. It was succeeded by the Ford Contour, a derivative of the European Ford Mondeo. It came with a jump in price: the most expensive 1994 Tempo (a loaded LX sedan with a V6) was about US$12,900 ($20,784 in 2016 dollars), while a base model 1995 Contour (GL with four-cylinder engine and manual transmission) was $13,990 ($22,540 in 2016 dollars). The last Ford Tempo and Topaz rolled off the Oakville, Ontario, Canada assembly line on May 20, 1994.

The new-for-1995 Ford Windstar was then built at the Ontario plant that formerly built the Tempo and Topaz, while Kansas City turned over to Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique production (shared with a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico). Today, the Ford Fusion occupies the same market niche that the Tempo and Topaz once did.


Photographs

NSSL Chase Vehicle Project Vortex -Probe 5. Chasing the storm.
Image ID: nssl0171, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) Collection
Location: Texas
Photo Date: June 3, 1995
Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
View photo of NSSL Chase Vehicle - 1.1MB
NSSL Chase Vehicle Installing surface measurement equipment on NSSL vehicles.
Image ID: nssl0150, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) Collection
Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
View photo of NSSL Chase Vehicle - 1.3MB
NSSL Chase Vehicle NSSL vehicles on Project Vortex. Vehicles equipped with surface measurement equipment.
Image ID: nssl0148, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) Collection
Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
View photo of NSSL Chase Vehicle - 1.3MB
NSSL Chase Vehicle NSSL vehicle on Project Vortex after chase day.
Image ID: nssl0147, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) Collection
Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
View photo of NSSL Chase Vehicle - 1.4MB
NSSL Chase Vehicle Project Vortex - Probe 4. The Dimmitt Tornado.
Image ID: nssl0185, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) Collection
Location: Texas, Dimmitt
Photo Date: June 6, 1995
Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
View photo of NSSL Chase Vehicle - 1.4MB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
classified date 1994Calspan On-Site Air Bag/Arm Fracture Crash Investigation
Vehicle #1 - 1991 Dodge Spirit
Vehicle #2 - 1985 Ford Tempo GL
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 39.2MB - 169 pages
classified date 1992Calspan On-Site Air Bag Deployment Investigation
Vehicle - 1986 Ford Tempo GL
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 64.1MB - 133 pages
June 2003General Dynamics On-Site Child Safety Seat Investigation
SCI Technical Summary Report
Vehicle - 1992 Ford Tempo
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 304KB - 15 pages
September 2000Veridian On-Site Child Safety Seat Crash Investigation
SCI Technical Summary Report
Vehicle - 1994 Ford Tempo
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 258KB - 14 pages
event January 2017Special Crash Investigations
On-site Guardrail End Treatment Impact Investigation
Vehicle: 1990 Ford Tempo
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 2.2MB - 28 pages


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