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1962 1/2 Taunus - Ex Cardinal

10/22/2019
Tad Burness
The Ford Motor Company planned to introduce its all-new front-wheel drive, V-4-powered Cardinal in the United States in 1962. But before that could happen, Lee Iacocca, who'd just been promoted to an important role in the company, inspected a pilot model in Germany and reported that it was not the kind of car that would appeal to the lucrative "youth market" of buyers from their late teens to early 30s. So instead, the Cardinal was added to the German Ford Taunus line, and it sold well in Europe through the rest of the 1960s.
 
After nixing the Cardinal, Lee Iacocca began to promote a more exciting project: the Mustang. It proved to be one of Ford's greatest successes of all time: a car that appealed to both the young and the young at heart.
 
 
Most automotive writers refer to this ex-Cardinal Taunus as a 1962 model, but since it was not available to European buyers until late autumn of 1962, it could have been considered a 1963 model.
 
Overseas, however, annual model changes were less important than they were in the United States during the 1960s. But times have changed. Now, many American cars retain the same design for a few years with little notable change, as it is certainly more economical and practical to do so. This lessening of sharp yearly changes began in the mid-1970s, during a time of "stagflation" (recession and inflation), as it no longer made sense to continually retool each and every year.
 
As for Cardinal's front-wheel-drive feature, Ford waited until the 1978 season to import it to the United States, in the European-built Fiesta.
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