Tuesday, September 20, 2011

An Ultimate Sleeper - 2000 Ford Contour SVT

The standard Ford Contour was a pretty good car. In fact, when compared to the car it replaced in Ford's US lineup - the completely forgettable Tempo - it was a very, very good car.

It was not a huge success for Ford, however. Basically designed in Europe, the Contour was an Americanized Ford Mondeo. While car magazines loved it - it was on Car & Driver's Ten Best list in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and was an Automobile Magazine All Star for those same years - most US buyers found it to be too small for its price.

Despite the public's opinion, Ford knew it had something good and decided to make it better. They handed it over to their Special Vehicle Team, who created the Contour SVT.

The Contour SVT was built for 3 model years, 1998 - 2000. It featured a 200 HP V6 (195 in 1998) and was available only with a 5 speed manual transmission. 60 MPH came in the mid 7 second range.

Building fast cars is something we have done very well for a very long time here in the US. Building cars that handle well has never been one of our strong suits, however. The Contour SVT is one of the exceptions; it has a suspension that rivals the best from Europe. The suspension is properly tweaked and the standard 215/50ZR-16 tires grab a lot of road. Road tests of the day compared its handling to a BMW 3 Series. (A huge compliment, given that the Contour is FWD.)

Just over 11,000 SVTs were built during its 3 year run. Only 2150 of those were built in 2000.

This Contour SVT is in very nice condition. It has 98,000 miles on it and appears to have been well maintained.

This is an ultimate sleeper car. You can drive this car down any crowded street in America and 99% of the public won't turn their heads. The 1% that do - car geeks - will be incredibly impressed, however.

Located in Berkeley Heights, NJ, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

A big thanks to Dan for sending me the link to this car.


Anonymous said...

The Contour/Mondeo platform was also used as Jag's X-type offering. How Jaguar dealers hated that when I pointed that out.

midelectric said...

My roommate had one of these back when they were new, I thought is sounded good and felt nimble but seemingly every week there was a recall notice in the mail. He'd collect them over a month and get them all done at once. Focus drivers know what I'm talking about!