The Ford Scorpio is an automobile that was produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1985 through to 1998.
It was the replacement for the European Ford Granada line (although in the UK and Ireland the Scorpio was marketed under the Granada name until 1994). Like its predecessor, the Scorpio was targeted at the executive car market.
A variant known as the Merkur Scorpio was sold briefly on the North American market during the late-1980s
Mark I (1985–92)
Engineering-wise, the Scorpio was heavily based on the Sierra, sitting on a stretched version of its floorpan, and using a similar styling philosophy set by both the Sierra and the third generation Escort. Under the bonnet were well-proven engines, starting with the venerable Pinto engine unit in 1.8 L and 2.0 L capacities, as well as the V6 Cologne engine in 2.4 L, 2.8 L, and later 2.9 L displacements. By 1989, both the Pinto engines had been dropped, with an 8-valve DOHC engine replacing the 2.0 L model.
The Scorpio was intended to maintain Ford's position in Europe as the principal alternative to a Mercedes or BMW for those looking to own an executive car. To this end Ford built on the already extensive specification available on the outgoing MkII Granada (which for the period, was very well equipped, with features such as leather heated electrically adjustable seats, air conditioning, electric sunroof and trip computer either standard or available as options) by adding some additional features unusual on a mass-market car. Improvements available included; heated windscreen, Cruise Control and, later all wheel drive. The most notable advance was the fitment of anti-lock braking system, the first time this feature had been made standard across the whole range on a mass-produced car. The car was widely praised as being very comfortable and spacious, particularly in respect of its rear legroom.
Unlike the Granada, it was initially only available as a hatchback, and not as a saloon or estate. This proved to be a mistake for Ford, which later introduced a saloon version in 1990, and the estate appeared two years later. There were few engineering changes over the years, notably the introduction of the DOHC engines in 1989, and the Scorpio Cosworth with a 2.9 L 24-valve Cosworth V6 the following year. The Cosworth Engine has become a choice upgrade for many Ford Sierra owners with many Granadas being broken up to provide these power plants, it became a cheap and easy way to obtain 200+ BHP. Some of these engines have also been turbocharged and versions of the engine ( FBE ) were also used in motorsport.
The Cosworth was both large and fast, which consequently gave it heavy fuel consumption. Many owners often commented at the fact that 25 miles per gallon was about as much as you could get out of a car with this engine. Prop-shaft deterioration over time was also considered to be a problem on early Mark I and II Cosworths.
In the UK and Ireland, the "Ford Granada" name of the Scorpio's predecessor was retained until 1994, with the MkI Scorpio in effect positioned as a "MkIII" Ford Granada. In those markets, "Scorpio" was a sub-brand used specifically for the top of the range trim level for the 1985 Mk3 Granada model.
The Merkur Scorpio was a North American version of the European Scorpio Mk I. The car was offered at select Lincoln–Mercury dealerships from 1988–1990.
The Merkur Scorpio was only offered with the Cologne 2.9L V6 engine with some detail differences from the contemporary Fords. Adapted to meet American emissions requirements, the Merkur version of the Scorpio produced 140 hp (100 kW) when introduced to the North American market in 1988. The vast majority were fitted with the A4LD 4-speed automatic transmission, and the rest received the T-9 5-speed manual transmission. Only automatic versions of the Scorpio were available in Canada. The car was marketed as an upscale, mid-size luxury car, but never achieved the market impact that the Ford Motor Company hoped for. Ford dropped the Merkur nameplate altogether after 1989.
Facelifted Model (1992–94)
The model was facelifted Mark I with changed grill, headlights, rear lights, bonnet and dashboard. It went on sale in early 1992, at the same time that an estate model (first shown in London at the October 1991 motor show) was added to the range 
It's worth noting that this facelift realigned the look of the Granada with the forth coming Mondeo, and kept styling cues coherent across model range.
Mark II (1994–98)
The second generation Scorpio was made available in saloon or estate styles only, and had largely the same floorpan as its predecessor as well as all of the same engines that were in use at the end of the first generation's run. Many suspension and handling improvements were made between the first and second generations (including self-levelling rear suspension on the estates). It was also radically re-styled both inside and outside.
In addition, the "Granada" name, which had been retained in the UK and Ireland for the MkI Scorpio (AKA MkIII Granada) was finally dropped and the "Scorpio" name- already used elsewhere- was adopted.
Inside the car were new arm-chair style seats and improved interior quality, but outside the new look was controversial. The car sported bulbous headlights and its tail lights were arranged in a thin line just above the bumper. Unusually, Ford never released the name of the designer and maintain to this day that the car outsold its expected figures (although they never released what those figures actually were). The bulging headlights and wide grill were defended by some who felt that this made it look less like a minicab,but the public and press reaction to the design was largely negative.
The French took to calling it a grenouille triste (sad frog) and Jeremy Clarkson wrote in The Times at the time that this car ended any argument as to which was the ugliest on the road. In Richard Porter's 2004 book Crap Cars the Scorpio Mark II was listed as number 49 (of 50) on looks alone. Quentin Willson said in a 1997 Top Gear episode that the 'sad-eyed Scorpio is so heroically ugly, it was obviously designed by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.'
In 1998, it was listed as the third worst N-registered car (August 1995-July 1996) to own in United Kingdom from a Top Gear survey of 120 cars.
On the DVD special Clarkson: Heaven and Hell, Clarkson set up a jousting contest between a Scorpio — which he described as "a wide-mouthed frog" – and a Triumph TR7, eventually destroying both cars via head-on collision.
In early 1998 the Scorpio was facelifted, with darker headlight surrounds and a more subtle grille, to tone down the front end of the car. The rear lights were also revised to make the rear of the car less bulbous. This was to be the last development for the model, which finished production over the summer of 1998. Many Scorpios were still in stock at this point however, with at least two years elapsing between the end of production and the sale of the very last model.
Whether or not the car genuinely made Ford's sales expectations, the shifting European car market at the end of the 1990s meant that it was not directly replaced. This was not unusual at the time, with trends towards either high-spec large family cars for executives or towards multi-purpose vehicles for families. In any case, at that time the Ford company owned Jaguar, with which the Scorpio had competed in Europe. Other manufacturers were doing the same in this segment, such as Vauxhall/Opel ceasing Omega sales shortly after and Honda ceasing Legend sales in Europe. The D-segment Rover 600 and the E-segment Rover 800 were both nominally replaced by the Rover 75, which was closer to the D-segment. Meanwhile, the unsuccessful Peugeot 605 was quietly dropped for thePeugeot 607 late in 1999. However, the 605's sister, the Citroën XM was axed in 2000 with no direct replacement until the launch of theC6 in 2006.
Some of the large executive cars (such as the Legend) have more recently been brought back for the European market, and it is worth noting that the Mark IV Mondeo (2007) exceeds the size of the Mark II Scorpio in every dimension, including the wheelbase.
The Scorpio Mark II was available in the following levels of trim (each one being available as a saloon or an estate and with any engine). Regardless of the trim level, any car with a 2.9 Cosworth engine was fitted with traction control, cruise control and an automatic gearbox as standard (a manual gearbox could not be specified at all). All other engines could be fitted with either a manual or automatic transmission although, in practice, the vast majority of Scorpios were automatic.
- The base model, although even this had a high level of specification including electric windows, ABS, PAS as well as an alarm and immobiliser.
- This level added air conditioning, alloy wheels, front fog lights and electric mirrors as well as a variety of minor additions.
- The highest level added a CD autochanger, climate control, leather seats, cruise control and an automatically dimming mirror, and electrically operated seats as well as a variety of other minor improvements.
Unusually trim levels and engine sizes were not liveried on the backs of the cars. Rather the trim levels were liveried on the sides of the cars by the Scorpio badges on the rear window frames as such. The Executive had no badge, simply the word "Scorpio". Each other model had the model name under the badge, for example "Scorpio Ultima."
Engine sizes were also on the sides of the cars towards the front just above the auxiliary indicator lights as such:
- 2.0 L
- no badge (on older cars the 2 litre 8 valve had no badge but the 2 litre sixteen valve bore had the badge "2.0 16v")
- 2.3 L
- "2.3" (on older cars "2.3 16v")
- 2.9 L
- "2.9" (on older cars "2.9 12v")
- 2.9 L
- Cosworth "24v"
Unlike the Mark I Scorpio, the word "Cosworth" did not appear anywhere on the outside of cars fitted with such an engine (possibly in attempt to reduce the likelihood of vehicle theft) although it is in evidence across the top of the engine. However, on the 1998 facelift, the Cosworth badge is clearly visible on the trunk lid.
With large numbers of these types of vehicles traditionally being sold into the company car market in the UK, their very low residual values (worth after 3 or 4 years use) affected the total cost of ownership to such a degree the premium, aspirational marques became no more expensive to run, especially on a Contract Hire or Leasing Agreement. Buyers therefore gravitated toward models with more prestige such as those made by BMW and Lexus.