To commemorate the Mondeo’s 20th birthday in September, Ford made a wonderful video (below) that outlines the car’s history.
In developing the first-generation Mondeo in the early 90s, Ford engineers were tasked with ensuring that the car handled well, as Ford vehicles of the time were criticized for subpar handling. As Ford Chief Engineer Richard Parry Jones explained, the team got scared: they needed to get the MK1 Mondeo right. As a result, the team got very determined to deliver an outstanding vehicle, and did so. According to Jones, this was the result of the team’s commitment, true care, and ability to go the extra mile.
Go the extra mile they did. Jeremy Clarkson (boy did he look young back then) liked it, and so did the rest of the European automotive media, with the car winning the coveted European Car of the Year award in 1994. While its styling was questionable, the standard airbag was worth writing home about. Unfortunately, the U.S. didn’t feel the same way, and the Mondeo — which was sold as the Contour in North America — flopped in the new world, likely because it was sold alongside the larger Taurus for roughly the same price. Mind you, that was back when Americans purchased cars like they do meat: by the pound.
But that didn’t stop the first-gen Mondeo from setting a few firsts. It drove from London to New York, achieving three firsts in the process, including:
- Driving through (a not-quite-finished channel) tunnel
- Driving through -59-degree Celsius temperatures in Russia
- Crossing the 56-mile-wide Bering Strait
The second generation Mondeo arrived in 1996, and improved on the solid first-gen model. The third-generation was released in 2000, and took the winning Mondeo formula even further. In 2007, the fourth-generation Mondeo became Bondeo, when a loaded model co-starred in Casino Royale alongside Daniel Craig.
Since its launch in 1993, a total of 4.5 million Mondeos have been sold, and the all-new fifth-generation model — which was finally united with the North American variant, the Fusion, is a winner. So, happy 20th, Mondeo. Here’s to many more decades of your success!
Now, take a trip down memory lane with this 6-minute-long Ford Heritage video voiced by Ray Winstone. For Ford fans, the clip is worth every second: