Most people mistakenly believe that Henry Ford invented the automobile. In reality, that honor goes to Karl Benz and his Patent Motorcar, from 1885, while Henry Ford pioneered the use of assembly-line production to create automobiles at a price point that the masses could afford.
Ford's history hasn't been all roses since the Model T changed the course of human history, though. Like every major company, Ford has gone through ups and downs, reaching the pinnacles of success and coming close to bankruptcy during some downturns and scandals.
Scattered throughout Ford's history are plenty of vehicles that the general public has forgotten. But hopefully, Ford has learned from the past as they head into the future. That future includes a reduction to only five platforms as the basis for every model in the lineup. In honor of the revamped Bronco and as a farewell to the Focus RS, here are 16 cars—the good, the bad, the ugly, and the flammable—that Ford will never make again.
The Ford Pinto became so notorious during its time on the market that there is absolutely zero chance Ford will reintroduce the model. Throw in Ford's other fire-prone models, like the Explorer aka Exploder, and the Pinto's woes only grow. Plus, with the shelving of the Focus RS, clearly Ford doesn't want to invest in the hatchback segment, either.
Unlike the Pinto, the Cortina is a car that Ford should bring back. But the chances of a car like the Cortina ever getting made—even with a different model name—are essentially zip. A lightweight, tossable little two-door sedan, the Cortina was also souped up by Lotus to create one of the most desirable and rare cars of its era.
The world should be glad that Ford will never, ever produce the Temp—or anything like it—ever again. There wasn't anything totally wrong with the Tempo outside of its concept. Being an attractive cheap commuter car is a tough task and even with a bland design, every single Tempo was neglected by its owners the second they drove it off the dealer lot.
Ford won't ever build the Escort again, which means that the Escort RS Cosworth is also unlikely to be revived, sadly. Built in an era just after Group B was disbanded, the Escort RS Cosworth was a homologation special that remains in the hearts of all rally fans to this day. But the car directly preceded the Focus RS and everyone knows how that went.
Not every model that Ford has left by the wayside was bad; in fact, some were simply so incredible that there's little chance Ford could ever reproduce them, even with modern technology. The RS200 is one such technological marvel—plus, it looks awesome with that wild rear end—that today's heavier, bulkier car designs could learn a thing or two from.
Ford doomed the Edsel from the start with an overaggressive marketing campaign that produced expectations no car could ever live up to. Named after Henry Ford's only child, the Edsel was supposed to be a pioneering vehicle in just about every way imaginable. Instead, it was a disappointment in just about every way imaginable.
10 Model T
The latest generation of the Mustang is proof that Ford has finally figured out how to respect and learn from the past. While monumental successes like the Model T, which brought automobiles to the masses, might serve as lessons, they can never be reintroduced to the public because of their legendary status.
9 Crown Victoria
These days, Ford produces Explorers and Tauruses in Police Interceptor trim for law enforcement purposes. But the company originally hit paydirt selling Crown Victorias to sheriffs, highway patrols, and police departments all over the United States. Today, a well-used CHP Crown Vic even borders on collectability, despite having been thrashed for its entire service life.
Ford fans who love the tiny Fiesta hatchback might argue that the Festiva is its direct predecessor and therefore, Ford could possibly bring the Festiva back. But in reality, the Festiva hails from an era when cars were simpler, both in terms of technology and amenities. No Festiva could ever have left the factory with the equivalent of Bluetooth connectivity, though plenty of Fiestas do.
With Ford's lineup of automobile platforms steadily shrinking, any potential return of the Falcon went right out the window. For a while there, the escalating power wars in Detroit might have suggested that like Dodge, which enjoys success with both their Charger and Challenger, a running mate for the Mustang might have been in order. But alas, the hope faded.
The Fairline is another model that just wouldn't fit into Ford's lineup now that the global manufacturing process has been slimmed down to just five platforms as the basis for every model the company offers. But perhaps Ford could do better to study their history and remember that customers do like to have a few more options—rather than more options packages.
Ford never should have made the Probe in the first place, so it's a healthy bet they've learned from their mistake and won't ever revive the nameplate. The most hilarious part about the whole Probe experiment is that this underpowered, front-wheel-drive Mazda partnership was originally going to be the new Mustang.
Ford tried to revive the Thunderbird in the early years of the 21st century, but they did such a terrible job that the nameplate simply would not be able to recover in the future. The first Thunderbird was awesome, from the style pictured above to the optional supercharged V8 engine under the hood. But by the 11th generation, the car was too bloated and boat-like to succeed.
3 C-Max Hybrid
The C-Max Hybrid represented a forward-facing decision by Ford to provide America with a hybrid at an affordable cost. Unfortunately, the sacrifices in engineering quality required to meet the vision meant that the C-Max Hybrid earned dismal fuel economy ratings—and its terrible design didn't help, either. The model reached the end of the line and would be very difficult to revive in the future.
2 Explorer Sport Trac
Ford didn't do themselves any favors with the Explorer Sport Trac. Rather than continuing with the Ranger or simply not having a truck based on an SUV that was based on a truck, Ford decided to release the Sport Trac. No one really understood why the decision to release a truck that couldn't do very much truck stuff seemed attractive, but hopefully, the Sport Trac is gone for good.
Of all the cars on this list, the Ford Excursion just might have the highest chances of being reborn. Still, the chances are slim-to-none, though, despite the fact that so many manufacturers are continuing to beef their pickups and SUVs up to near Excursion status. With a hybrid diesel powertrain, though, the Excursion could be revamped without angering the hippies.
Sources: Car and Driver, Wikipedia, and The Motor Digest.