Originally Posted by swizzle
I found the Contour/Mystique to be extremely uninspired and dowdy when they were introduced. Now after seeing the truly ghastly styling mock ups, it's a miracle they came out at least looking presentable. Fascinating read.
I always felt that the Contour/Mondeo were the definition of a compromise vehicle, apparently too many decision comities, executives, market researchers etc. had their influence and varying market demands packed in one car. Most great designs are usually developed by surprisingly small teams under one lead designer, and usually change little from sketch to the final outcome. The sheer number of mock ups shows how uncertain Ford was about the Mondeo. And like with the Escort in the 80ies, ending up with two bland vehicles, looking pretty much the same, but not sharing a single body panel (even the doors of the Mondeo and Contour were different, with Contour's flatter c-pillar, and the sharper crease on the lower molding)
And 20 years ago, tastes and perception of what the size of a family car should be were still much more different across the Atlantic.
Anyway, I also enjoy these "old stories", especially looking back at cars with today's knowledge that were once a huge sensation technically (or at least believed so) when they came out, and I still remember first reviews of them...