Guessing that the Ford Tempo would be selected for Meh Car Monday is such a safe bet that it would wear a bike helmet when brushing its teeth, just in case. Almost three million Ford Tempos were sold to people that must have been capable of love, passion, and desire, even though their choice of car suggested nothing of the sort. Three million.
I’m actually going to focus just on the second generation Ford Tempo, because the first generation, built between 1984-1987, actually had an interesting design. It was clearly influenced by the Ford of Germany-designed cars like the Merkur XR4ti, and the tall greenhouse, chrome-delineated windows, and upswept, winglike front indicators made the car stand out, visually.
Plus, the design was very aerodynamic, with a Cd of 0.36, which was quite good.
Since there seems to be a large group of people at every car company who have sworn an oath the Generikon, the Grand Demon of Things That Are Dull As Fuck, the Tempo (and its Mercury-badged brother the Topaz), were redesigned into the some of the most anonymous, forgettable cars the late ‘80s and early ‘90s had to offer.
The 1988 redesign replaced the novel, wind-tunnel-tuned shape of the original tempo into the slightly curved boxes of most of the cars of the era, a shape most similar to that of a new bar of soap after 20 minutes of depressed, uninspired shower masturbation.
Like every other freaking car, the B and C pillars (it had a little extra window, and hence a D pillar) were blacked out, the front face got flush headlamps and a profound look of ennui, and from a distance of 20 feet the car looked like dozens of other cars that looked like dozens of other cars from 20 feet away.
Hey, watch this commercial for the Tempo:
Holy fuck, that was boring! That’s like big-company new-hire training videos level of boring. I have a cut on my forehead because as soon as it started my body immediately shut down in boredom, and I slammed my head on my hard metal Selectric keyboard.
Sure, you could get the Tempo or Topaz with Ford’s Vulcan V6, and while it made an okay-for-the-time 140 horsepower, it was almost always mated to Ford’s aging three-speed automatic, so it was about as slow and uninspiring as the base 2.3-liter four.
While there was at least one interesting prototype Tempo from Ford, a deeply weird transverse straight-eight version with the power takeoff from the center, the Tempos that were built and sold were as interesting as a discarded grocery bag containing a handful of packing peanuts.
The Wikipedia page lists several Topaz enthusiast sites, which seems improbable, until you click on them and find that every one is a dead link. That makes much more sense.
They sold millions of these anonymous, mid-sized everycars, so they’re clearly not failures. They are, however, impossible to desire without the aid of powerful drugs, blackest magic, or advanced bioengineering, so I’m pretty sure that qualifies the Tempo/Topaz as Meh Car Champions.