Mystery Car!

Maserati

Last Friday something happened, a disturbance in the Hooniverse if you will. Or maybe it was just that Taco Bell I had for lunch. Whatever the source, last Friday’s Mystery Car! failed to be solved within an hour of its posting, its typical outcome. It also saw a second hour pass without solution, and then a third, a fourth, and then the whole weekend! Eventually I gave up checking to see if anyone got it, although from what I hear, it was finally solved on Monday. For those of you who didn’t revisit the post, the answer is after the jump.

Today you get a chance to redeem yourselves with a car with which many of you should be familiar, and which is resplendent in a what could best be described as metallic pinot. That’s all you have to go on, oh, plus that and the image above, which shows off some sexy haunches. The question is, whose haunches are those? It’s up to you to fill in the blanks, make, model, year and engine. And while you’re ruminating on that, check out last week’s answer below the fold.

And there it is. Nineteen eighty six’s the Cobra 230 ME, displayed at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in the picture above. The Cobra ME may have been but an auto show blip  in the public’s eye, but it was an amazing almost-was for Ford. The ME was originally going to be Ford’s sports car to niche between Pontiac’s Fiero and Chevy’s Corvette. The failure of the Fiero and Toyota MR2 to light the sales charts ablaze, meant that Ford’s contender would never make it past the bean counters.

But what makes a failed development turned car show throwaway so important? Well, the Cobra ME came out of Ford’s GN34 project, a mid-engined sports car that was planned to share its engine with a special edition of a car considered to be the company’s bread and butter, the Taurus. Ford didn’t do the engineering for the GN34 in-house, contracting out chassis development to Roush Engineering, and that of a potential V6 power plant to Japan’s Yamaha. When the Cobra was cancelled Ford wrote off the Roush work, but the 220-horse quad-cam V6 intended to sit aft of driver and passenger in their sportster still found its way under the hood of that wildly successful family hauler, creating the legendary Taurus SHO.

That makes the Cobra ME a significant part of Ford’s history, and one of the most vexing Mystery Car! contenders we’ve ever had.

Image: [Chris Flanders Photography via Flickr]

 

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