Ford Taurus (first Generation) - Overview - Exterior

Exterior

The exterior of the Taurus used an aerodynamic design, often likened to a 'jelly bean' or 'flying potato', inspired by the design of the Audi 5000 and Ford's own Tempo. The aerodynamic design of the Taurus also made the car more fuel efficient, allowing Ford to meet the more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards applied by the United States government. The Taurus' success ultimately led to an American automobile design revolution; Chrysler and General Motors developed aerodynamic cars in order to capitalize on the Taurus' success.

The Taurus is credited with bringing many new design features into the mainstream marketplace. The Taurus used flush aerodynamic composite headlights, and was one of the first American sedans to do so. Originally, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required that all cars sold in the United States use standardized round or rectangular sealed beam headlights, and Ford had to convince them to change the rule to allow the headlights be any shape, as long as they met federal lighting standards.

Also, instead of a grille, the Taurus had a front panel to adopt a grille-less 'bottom breather' nose, first pioneered by the Citro├źn DS in the 1950s. The Taurus' doors flowed up into the roof, and were designed to make the interior airtight, as well as having the door handles and windows flush with the rest of the car. The bumpers on the Taurus were designed to also be incorporated with the rest of the car's design, being flush with the rest of the body. The wheels were also pushed out to the ends of the frame, and were flush with the fender, instead of being recessed into the fender. This not only improved the car's aerodynamics, it improved handling as well.

These design features helped to make the Taurus one of the most aerodynamic cars of its time, with an aerodynamic drag ratio of .32. Many of the design features were adopted, and are still used today, on most cars. Because of this, the exterior only received minor changes throughout the first-generation's production run. The only major change came in 1989, when the Taurus received a new slimmer grille and headlights, with a full length chrome bar underneath.

Read more about this topic:  Ford Taurus (first Generation), Overview

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