(side note – I took a few months off from writing as my busy life intervened. Previous posts can be found by going to my profile here)
When I was younger, my good friend had a 1989 Taurus SHO that he was rather fond of. So much so, that it was not only clear all other Taurii were inferior, but also enough to leave a positive impression of the car on me. While watching “The Long Kiss Goodnight” he dubbed all of the Taurii that populated the film “Base Model Terrorist Tauruses”, a term that stuck and caused great laughter. Many years later, wouldn’t you know it – what did I get?
Through odd circumstance my mother-in-law procured a new vehicle, and it meant putting her 1993 Taurus GL to pasture. A combination of no desire to try to sell it and the low value of used Taurii converged into a free car for yours truly. At the time, I had my F-150 for the weekends and the Escort Basswagon for the in-town stuff – but I figured it would be nice to give my back a break from the small confines of the Escort. A bigger, front-wheel drive base model chariot awaited me!
One sunny day after a 65 mile gravel bike ride I came home, and there was a Taurus. My wife and kids had gone with her parents to help pick up her Mom’s car, so I boarded the mighty white car to determine what it had. Shockingly, I’d never noticed that despite the GL model, it had a sunroof to add light to the bench seat and column shift. It also had what I always have thought looked cool – the larger alloy wheels. Nice and comfy inside!
Found under the hood was the mighty Vulcan 3-liter V6. While the same displacement as the SHO V6, it did not have the powerrrrr and roar of the SHO. Certainly a little more pleasing than the automotive destruction that sounded when you gave the Escort the beans, but inspiring it was not. It moved down the road, without drama or authority but quite…well, sensibly. The way an old farm hand moves would be the best way to describe it. It never made me feel like it was lacking, but it wasn’t inspirational – it was just kind of there.
That said, this car was equipped in the oddest of fashions. As a GL, it was essentially the base Taurus with a bench seat and column shift. Yet it also had a sunroof, alloy wheels, and all the other boxes I think you could check on the GL. Four-wheel ABS, cruise control, and a cassette deck rounded out the package, and made it a comfortable enough place to spend time.
Mostly this car lived at work. I parked it at my office a week after getting it, and rode my bike to and from work most of the time. When I needed to go offsite for work or help with family duties, the Taurus was there. It always started without any drama and did not leak anything in the parking lot. I filled it up about once a month, and it always seemed to get pretty decent gas mileage. I only did one repair to it, but that was more of a maintenance item, making it one of my most reliable vehicles over almost two years of ownership.
When I got it, it had some Goodyear Eagle TR tires on it. I didn’t think much of them until the first huge snowfall and.. wow! It was one of the best–if not THE best—handling front-wheel drive cars in the snow with those things on. Of course, the following summer one tire developed the (pictured above) inside wear issue, so I took it to Sams and bought the cheapest Goodyears I could find (Integrity?), thus proving it was the old tires that made it decent – the replacements definitely were not. Oh well, they were cheap!
As strangely as it fell into my life, it left. Now with three kids, we also had three cars and I’d been sort of looking for one that would do the jobs of both the pickup and the Taurus–and stumbled into something absolutely perfect. Just as conveniently as this one had came into my possession after my youngest was born, its replacement came, and I had to sell it quickly to make room in the driveway.
You’ll have to wait an extra week, though. When I had spaced out my COALs, I never expected what would happen with my wife’s current (as of a couple weeks ago) vehicle, the most disappointing and expensive vehicle I’ve ever owned. So, this one’s perfect replacement in two weeks; but next week, a tale of automotive sorrow.