When it was introduced for the 1986 model year, Ford proudly compared the polarizing styling of its first minivan to that of the reusable space shuttle, welcoming the world to the “Age of Aerostar”. Truthfully, the low-slung, sloped nose of the Aerostar, necessary front quarter window and all, coupled with its horizontally-sliding rear windows, tall stance, and wheels pushed to its corners was quite polarizing… so much so that Ford felt its design fit enough to withstand some twelve years on the market with barely any changes.
Much like GM’s Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari duo, the Ford Aerostar was somewhat of a “midi-van”, never making a noticeable dent in the popularity of Chrysler’s smaller front-wheel drive minivans. As a result, Ford Motor Company introduced both the Nissan Quest-related Mercury Villager in 1992, as well as the homegrown true Chrysler competitor Ford Windstar in 1995, while still selling the Aerostar through 1997.
Although its transmissions did not have the same tendency to self destruct as in the Windstar, these days the Aerostar is equally, if not more so, a rare sight on the roads. In any event, its design is still as polarizing as it was in 1986, especially with most Aerostars having moved on to another galaxy by now.
Photographed in Braintree, Massachusetts – July 2019