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A Grand Monday: Ford Scorpio Ultima

Published 24 July 2017

It's quite a telling fact that, throughout its short life, nobody at Ford ever owned up to styling the Scorpio. Launched in late 1994 to replace the much-loved Granada, the Scorpio took the range-topping nameplate (and quite a lot of the bodywork structure) from its predecesor, and presented it in the form of what it called a 'blend for the Nineties'.

The blend, it appeared, was to be one of extremely impressive dynamics, and looks that only its mother could love. From no angle can the Scorpio be described as handsome (well... apart from above). It is, though, refreshingly different to other execs of the era, and for that reason alone has some form of merit - compare it to a Vauxhall Omega or Rover 800, and it's certainly the most distinctive of the trio.

What's more, driving a Scorpio is actually a pleasure. This is in some part down to the fact that, once behind the wheel, you don't have to look at it. But more than that, it's comfortable, ergonomically well laid out and it drives exceptionally well, with a compliant ride, typically responsive steering as you'd expect from a Ford of the era, and surprising levels of grip from its rear-drive chassis. Indeed, road testers of the day compared its handling capabilities to those of a contemporary BMW.

In many respects, then, the Scorpio wasn't a bad car. There was very little sense in buying one new thanks to ridiculous levels of depreciation (the looks, again, didn't help), so the vast majority were sold into fleets and covered high mileages. As a result, few have survived. Many also went on to meet their maker on the UK's banger racing circuits, where the big Ford's inherent robustness and rear-wheel-drive made it a hero of the shale.

Ford Scorpio (1)

All of which make a 38,000-mile from new survivor such as this a real rarity these days. Twenty-two years old, and having been owned for more than 20 years by its first (private) owner, this is a car that deserves to be preserved.

On the downside, it's only a 2.0-litre (if it were a Cosworth-developed V6, you wouldn't be reading this as we'd have already bought it) and it has a few cosmetic defects, but on the plus side, it's in range-topping Ultima spec, with air-con, auto 'box, cruise control, reverse parking sensors and a premium sound system, though, oddly, no leather - it was a free of charge delete option on the Ultima.

There aren't many of these left now, and the best survivors are already starting to creep up in value. With this mileage and pedigree, £995 seems quite cheap. 


HairyJones    on 24 July 2017

I was one of those in the original team that conceived and developed the Scorpio and remember it well. It was an attempt to try something bold, different and how Ford can maximize it's investment with very limited funding.

   on 25 July 2017

I've owned two of these cars , mk3s . i regretted selling the first one so I bought another one , one of the last to be built in 1994,I've still got this car and have no intention of selling it, it's taxed, insured & motd but it doesn't come out of the garage if its raining, i still get pleasure driving it knowing i probably won't see another one parked next to me.

   on 3 October 2017

As the owner of the car (when photographed) I am a little P'd off at you creaming my photo from car and classic, a note to ask would've been nice as a phone No was available . So many of these "ugly" (have you seen the rubbish out there now?) Scorpios have been butchered and bangered, this car is a real rarity. Gone now to a new discerning owner, who wanted another Scorpio but couldn't find a decent one till mine came on the market. A real rarity nowadays particularly with this mileage, but a lovely comfy drive, the fabric seats just as comfy as the leather but better in the cold weather. For a 2 litre it rocketed along and is actually quicker then my current 2.3 Ghia spec model. Long live the Scorpios that are left I am currently trying to save a 1996 cossie saloon, but a lot of parts have been priced up by Ford dealers making it really expensive to put one back on the road. Probably Fords best big saloon, far better than the mark 3 granny with it superceded (had some of these also including a white fabric trimmed Cosworth estate, that got the beemys and mercs out of your rear moirror on the motorway. Drive something different!!

Victor Alexander    on 20 January 2018

If you put the photo of your car in the press or i/net, without disclaimers and including the number plate then it's in the Public Domain by your own volition. Fair use requires no recompense or apology, esp if you were trying to make a sale. Lovely car, though!

Edited by Victor Alexander on 20/01/2018 at 18:51

Last Hope    on 6 May 2018

As a long term owner, driver, for twenty five years, with my Ganada 2.8 V6 Estate. I happily skipped over the awful, ugly, Scorpio and have landed myself with a wretched Mondeo. Progress, I'm told. Hah. If only there was a reall successor for the big, beautiful Granada, we wouldn't have to have kept it for so long. Sadly, oh so sincerely, H Rogers.

   on 19 July 2019

Dark Scorpio's have dark under the bonnet silver and white ones have white under the bonnet, so no damages etc on your low mileage example.

   on 25 May 2020

I have A black scorpio 2.0 liter I have had it for 17 years. And has covered 314000 miles still all original . The body is very good but could do with a respray . I also had a diesel one as my taxi and it was the most comfortable car I have ever owned and for road manners a match for any 5 series BMW and much better then a Mercedes E class which I got to replace the scorpio diesel so disappointed with the Merc. That was a 98 E class 3 litre turbo diesel automatic . THE SCORPIO IS A MUCH BETTET CAR and more practical.

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