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The Ford Tempo and its twin, the Mercury Topaz are compact cars that were produced by Ford Motor Company for model years 1984 to 1994. They were downsized successors to the boxy Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr twins. The Tempo and Topaz were part of a rejuvenation plan by Ford to offer more environmentally friendly, fuel efficient, and more modern styled models to compete with the imports. While the car sold well, its innovation and aerodynamic design paved the way for the even more groundbreaking Ford Taurus.
In the early 1990s, Ford chose to develop a new platform for the aforementioned Contour and Mystique rather than redesign the Tempo and Topaz in the mid 1990s to meet new safety standards (dual airbags, etc.). While highly innovative in its early years, and even though it was a strong seller for nearly its entire lifetime, by the early 1990s the Tempo and the Topaz were seen as an aging platform. The lack of an overdrive automatic was a sore spot when compared to newer designs having 4-speeds. It was also to be the last year for the 2.3 L HSC engine, which was built by Ford specifically for the Tempo and Topaz.