Many of our valued readers have probably already read our "Do you remember?" series. There we present cars from the past that are now almost forgotten. But what about the models that are still on the road in large numbers? The types that everyone knows, that have been on the road for well over 20 years, but in some cases much less.

Will they become classic cars one day? This is a source of controversy. We want to present some of these models in our "Classics of the future?" series. Like a model that is still controversial today and celebrates its 30th birthday this year: The Ford Scorpio II.

Gallery: Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

The Ford Scorpio can certainly be seen as a milestone in automotive history. In 1986, it was the first mass-produced car with ABS as standard and the last large Ford. This fact is both a plus point and a stigma. It is considered by many to be the gravedigger of the Granada idea and a flop. In the same period as the Granada (13 years), the Scorpio sold only half as well, namely around 850,000 units.

Model change with a bizarre design

In 1994, the Scorpio finally underwent a model change (actually a major facelift), which was the final straw for the Scorpio. Ford modernised the look in American style. Customers might be able to get used to the saloon rear end with its narrow tail lights, but the bug-eyed front end took the cake.

Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

The second generation of the Scorpio, which was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1994, was only available as a saloon or estate; the hatchback variant was discontinued. The model series has largely the same floor assembly as its predecessor and has the same engines as those used at the end of the first generation.

Six-cylinder from Cosworth

A 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine with 147 PS replaces the 2.4-litre V6, while the 2.9-litre V6, now with 207 PS, sporting a Cosworth engine, ranks right at the top. However, the then new Ford Mondeo was also available with a 170 PS V6 and, above all, a more attractive design. For less money. No wonder, then, that not even 100,000 units of the second Scorpio rolled off the production line. 

Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

Between the first and second generation of the Scorpio, Ford made numerous improvements to the suspension and handling. In addition, number 2 was radically redesigned both inside and out. Incidentally, the door handles came from the Ford Crown Victoria.

Praise and criticism

Despite the controversial design and the luxurious interior, handling and performance are generally praised by critics. Jeremy Clarkson declares the Ford to be "every bit as talented" as the Opel Omega, one of the Scorpio's main rivals, as well as being "well made... extremely well equipped, good value for money considering its size". In general, however, this praise is overshadowed by criticism of the design.

In Germany, the ADAC says that there is no accounting for taste and calls the design "unconventional". There is praise for the good workmanship, but criticism for the confusing bodywork and the gruff 2.5-litre turbo diesel. The Scorpio 2.0i 8V with 115 PS as the base model initially cost DM 40,470, over 5,000  marks less than a BMW 518i of the same power.

A last desperate facelift

In September 1997, the Scorpio is given a facelift with darker headlight surrounds and a more discreet radiator grille to emphasise the front end of the vehicle. The idiosyncratic rear lights are also revised to make the "plump" rear of the car less bulbous. Despite plans to launch a new model in 1998, Scorpio production ended in the summer of 1998.

Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

Ford Scorpio II (1994-1998)

Regardless of whether or not the car actually met Ford's sales expectations, the changing European car market at the end of the 1990s meant that the Scorpio did not get a direct successor. This was not unusual at the time, as the market was trending towards either highly equipped large executive family cars or multi-purpose family cars, while middle-class brands were gradually ceding the E-segment to premium brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Royal Scorpio

Incidentally, the Dutch royal family used several Scorpios at the time, including some stretched vehicles, all painted in royal blue. There is still a custom-built Scorpio Landaulet in the royal stables. After Ford ceased production, the Volvo S80 replaced the Ford models.

Ford briefly toyed with the idea of importing the Lincoln LS from the USA. In the meantime, however, Volvo and Jaguar have landed under the Ford umbrella, with both brands forming the "Premier Automotive Group" together with Aston Martin. Put simply, the Volvo S80 and the Jaguar S-Type are expected to pick up the Scorpio customers of yesteryear around the year 2000.

If both generations of the Ford Scorpio irritated visual habits during its lifetime, today it is precisely the sometimes bizarre appearance that has a special appeal. Of course, you have to like the look. But perhaps you should also realise that the Scorpio is actually just a Granada in (excessive) modern guise.