In-Motion Outtake: 1998 Ford Windstar – Long Live The King Door

We have caught some rare and interesting things through the car windows of our many skilled car-spotting correspondents.  But how about this: an early Windstar.  Not just any early Windstar, but one that is without any visible rust – a rare occurrence here in central Indiana, let me assure you.

I have been meaning to give the Windstar a good shredding a full length CC treatment, but have not gotten that job done yet.

The Windstar was known mainly for three things: its appetite for head gaskets, its appetite for transmissions and its unparalleled ability to rust more quickly than any other minivan ever made, with the possible exception of its older brother the the Aerostar.  It was also notable for its debut as a 3 door minivan a single year before Chrysler gave us that all-important 4th door.  Oops.


At first I thought this was one of the rare 1997 models (based on a color that was not available in 1995-96).  Rare because the Windstar’s 1997 model year only ran from October, 1996 to January, 1997.  In looking over this picture, however, I believe that this is the extended “King Door” that Ford gave us in January, 1997 (as a 1998 model) which had to hold Ford minivan buyers until a true 4 door van was introduced in the summer of 1998 as an early 1999 model.  Who here really knew that the Windstar did not have a single standard-length model-year in 1997, 1998 or 1999?  Such was the importance of getting driver’s side access to the rear seat.  OK, the King Door may not have accommodated any passenger older than nine, but you do what you can, right?

A Windstar that has either not eaten its head gaskets and transmission and has not rusted itself into the salvage yard or is owned by someone who has been willing to pour money into body and mechanical repairs faster than the Windstar can consume it:  How unusual.  Either way this is one of those rare situations where even a first-class automotive turd like the early Windstar can be lovingly maintained and kept on the road.  I don’t know about you but I intend to savor it – because I’m betting none of us is going to see another like it any time soon.

Further reading in case you simply must read more about the early Windstar before I get around to writing more on the topic:

1995 Windstar GL (Richard Bennett)

1996 Windstar (COAL) (DougD)

1997 Windstar GL (Outtake)  (Brendan Saur)