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Spotted: a 1989 Ford Scorpio

September 1, 2023

Last year, the Ford Mondeo unfortunately disappeared from Ford’s model lineup. A successor is still pending (in Europe), and it remains to be seen whether it will be the same kind of car. Once upon a time, Ford had a much wider model lineup and even had a model that would have ranked above the Mondeo: the Ford Scorpio.

Ford Scorpio seeks higher ground

The Ford Scorpio entered the market in 1985 as the successor to the popular Granada. The model did get positioned a bit higher in the market, to bridge the gap between the D and E segments, so to speak. Even more than the Granada, the Scorpio had to offer an alternative to BMW or Mercedes-Benz models. The design of the Scorpio was not as radical as that of the Sierra introduced in 1982, but it did get a front end without a grille that was striking for the time.

Extra luxurious equipment

The Ford Granada was already a fairly luxurious car, but to better compete in the higher market segment, the Ford Scorpio got even more luxury on board. Think cruise control, electrically adjustable seats and a comprehensive trip computer, but even things like windshield heating were among the options. Also notable at the time was standard ABS for all trim levels.

Ford Scorpio engines

Despite its higher market positioning, the Scorpio was technically based on the lower-end Sierra. For under the hood, Ford had a range of familiar engines, such as the four-cylinder Pinto engine and the V6 Cologne, both available with different engine sizes. Later the range was further expanded (and partly replaced) by a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Basically, drive went to the rear wheels, but there were also four-wheel-drive models.

Further model expansion

The Ford Scorpio was well received, with particular praise for its comfort and spacious interior. However, the Scorpio did come only as a liftback when introduced, and the market (also) demanded a sedan. It was added to the range (only) at the end of 1989. That same year, the Scorpio underwent a very subtle facelift. In 1990, Ford introduced a new top-of-the-line model: the Scorpio Cosworth, with 2.9-liter Cosworth V6 under the hood.

Ford Scorpio facelift

In early 1992, the Ford Scorpio underwent a “real” facelift. First of all, this gave the car a more modern look, with a design that once again matched the now new Ford design language. In addition, a completely new, third body variant was added: the Scorpio Estate, an estate car in other words. By 1994, yet another model generation was ready.

International career

In the United Kingdom, the Scorpio was positioned as the third-generation Ford Granada. That was to make the model as familiar as possible to the generally conservative British consumer, with whom the strikingly designed new Sierra had already not gone down well. However, “Scorpio” was the name of the most luxurious trim level in the UK.

Did you know that the Ford Scorpio also made the crossing to North America, along with the Sierra XR4Ti? Models there were supplied under the new Merkur sub-brand, which, however, never took off properly. The Scorpio’s North American adventure lasted only from 1988 to 1989.

1988 Merkur Scorpio

The spotted specimen

Back to the Netherlands. Although the (first generation) Scorpio also sold quite well here, the model also disappeared from the street scene rather quickly. In fact, by now it is a matter of years since we last saw an (early) Ford Scorpio in the wild. This still very clean 1989 Ford Scorpio 2.0i Ghia Hatchback (in the Netherlands since 2011) was therefore extensively photographed. Ahead: because it’s so cute: when it appeared to still be there a few days later, we took some additional photos. The current owner has owned it for about a year now. We wish him continued enjoyment of his (or her) beautiful bolide.