As folks in the United States enjoy a long holiday weekend, consider for a moment what the world was like almost 29 years ago as this MotorWeek retro video returns us to the 1995 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It opened to the public on January 7, promising a glimpse into the future of motoring.
Simmer on that thought as we give you a quick summary of what was happening in Motown back then. The 1996 Ford Taurus debuted in all its jellybean glory, featuring more curves and oval shapes than a full season of NASCAR. It was as risky a design move as the first-generation Taurus was a decade prior, but with the benefit of hindsight, we know the gamble failed. A quick facelift for 2000 couldn't help the former best-selling sedan, and a second update in 2004 merely prolonged its suffering. The nameplate was awkwardly revived in 2009 as part of the Ford Five Hundred's facelift, but alas, the Taurus never reclaimed its former glory.
That was arguably the big debut for the show, but it wasn't the only reveal by far. A new-generation Dodge Caravan flew into the show, and we mean that literally. Dodge had quite the display set up for the minivan, which boasted new styling and rear seats that were easily removable – a big deal for the day. It was joined by upscale Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country variants, none of which exist today. There was at least one accurate prediction for the future, however. General Motors launched four-door versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon SUVs.
What about concepts? Some might call the '90s a golden age for such vehicles, where even a minivan could get some cool cred. Ford's SHOstar concept plugged the epic 220-horsepower Yamaha-sourced 3.0-liter V6 from the Taurus SHO under the hood of a Windstar. It never entered production, but the front-wheel-drive van did get a SHO-like intake manifold for its 3.8-liter V6, making 200 hp from 1996 through 1998.
The big concept news for 1995, however, was undoubtedly the Ford GT90. We recently waxed poetic about this car, packing a big V12 with edgy styling that pointed towards the future. The actual Ford GT we got a few years later didn't have a V12, nor did it have much in the way of sharp lines. But other FoMoCo machines did get sharper. The SN95 Ford Mustang facelift in 1999 even garnered the name New Edge. Other Ford concepts included the two-seat Lincoln L2K and the Triton pickup, the latter of which was a thinly veiled preview of the 10th-generation F-150.
The Blue Oval certainly had a big presence in Detroit, but there was much more happening at the show. Oldsmobile showcased its updated Bravada SUV and the Antares concept, a snazzy sedan that lent its influence to the 1997 Oldsmobile Intrigue. Acura yanked the roof off the first-generation NSX and previewed the CL with the CL-X concept. The Plymouth Backpack concept looked like a weird Suzuki X90. The Eagle Jazz was a sleek sedan concept that never came to fruition, nor did the 1930s-themed Chrysler Atlantic.
But Chrysler did win the second annual North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) award with the ... Cirrus? Yes, folks were smitten with the upscale Dodge Status back then, but just like the Ford Taurus, we know the Cirrus story doesn't end well. If you really want to see what all the fuss was about, you can probably get one today on Facebook Marketplace for a fiver or Sony PlayStation 5 trade.
In any case, sit back, relax, and relive the '90s while enjoying some leftover turkey.
Source: MotorWeekYouTube2023-11-25T14:16:30Z dg43tfdfdgfd