1993 Ford Tempo GL 2.3L 4 cylinder from North America


Better than ever, but too bad it did not float :)


The tape player died after about 140,000 miles, no big deal.

The seats were made of material that melted if a cigarette ash fell on it. (Ask me how I know.)

The pulley on the serpentine belt went at about 130,000 miles.

The paint began to wear down to the primer after about 120,000 miles (this was common on Fords from this time period).

General Comments:

This car was injected, which made a huge improvement in performance over a 1984 model I also owned.

I liked the '84 so much I bought a '93 to replace it. In total I put 300,000 miles on Ford Tempos from April '85 to October '05, over 20 years.

The '84 cost about 10 grand. The '93 also cost about 10 grand. They did this by replacing a lot of metal with plastic and simplifying various systems. The cost of money dropped by half in the intervening years, so the total cost to own and operate the '93 for twelve years was around $0.14/mile, $6.50/day.

This car was flooded by hurricane Wilma in the Florida Keys in 2005. That is the only reason I replaced it or I would still be driving it probably!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th October, 2010

1993 Ford Tempo GL 2.3 liter HSC from North America


Not a Ferarri, but in some ways superior


At 100,000 miles, replaced struts, cooling system, some hoses, harmonic balancer.

Motor and transmission are perfect.

General Comments:

Great car. Compared to my previous Ferarri Mondial, it is more durable and reliable. Also, the handling is quite good for the class of car. It would benefit from larger diameter tires on hard cornering.

The high swirl combustion (HSC) engine is actually modern only in the head design. Otherwise, it is a cast iron overhead valve pushrod (not overhead cam) design. The advantages are; no rubber timing belt to beak, very strong block, very easy to fix.

The transmission is light duty, but adequate if the car is not pushed too hard. Service life can exceed the car's lifetime if the oil is changed on interval.

The car is quite sporty due to its light weight and fully independent rear suspension, although front wheel alignment must be modified for serious handling requirements (autocross). With a good driver, the Tempo can do well in its class.

The Tempo is an economy car that is quite sporty. I would recommend one that has been maintained. Gas mileage is about 28 miles per gallon.

The funny thing is that the Tempo is actually quite nice to drive. It is certainly an underdog, but it enjoys its runs. Of course, the Mondial is an underdog in the Ferarri world. But the Tempo is so cheap to fix that you might leave the Ferarri in the garage. (Who needs the headaches? But it is also fun.)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2008

18th Nov 2008, 17:08

I have a 1993 Mercury Topaz with 154,000 miles. I bought it for $250 American and I removed the interior and did some mods, and it took 6th place in the Mid-Size class at the Demolition Derby in Indiana. After a few hits it would die and then FIRE back up.

29th Nov 2008, 03:39

I have never raced my Tempo, but I have modified it with suspension and other mechanical upgrades.

These cars are light enough to be quick, and, as the above poster proves, they are tough as nails.

Anyone who has driven a good one will appreciate them for what they are... a sporty little car that can hold its own.

1993 Ford Tempo GL 2.3 HSC from North America


Better than a Porsche 911 for most people


Very little. Normal tires, brakes. Still original engine, transmission, radiator, etc. Even the water pump is original.

Did one brake valve. One serpentine belt.

General Comments:

One of the best cars made, if you consider all things. I am an aircooled Porsche 911 nut, and I must admit that the Tempo is in many ways a better car. It is far more reliable, does not leak oil, and parts are cheap and available. Not that I have needed many parts.

For what it is (an economy car) it has acceptable acceleration, handling and drive ability. It is also great in snow.

The Porsche 911 will only reward a very experienced driver on the road, as it will spin out easily (rear engine oversteer), whereas the Tempo has only a little understeer. For the average driver, this is a better arrangement.

When you consider how cheap these cars are (and were when new) and how reliable they are and easy to repair, I honestly cannot imagine many cars in the world competing with them on equal merit. We have had three of them, and they have all been fantastic.

By the way, the Porsche will not necessarily win on a race track either. It still all comes down to the driver. The air cooled 911's I am familiar with would have course blow a Tempo off the road with a top driver.

An inexperienced drive, however, would make it first time around the track with a Tempo, but would spin out several times in a 911 and lose. 911s are hard to drive at speed.

There is only one problem with the Tempo. Be careful with the valve cover gasket. Ford only sells these as part of a whole kit including the bolts and valve cover, and it costs $450. You can buy aftermarket ones, but be careful with the original if you ever take it off, as it can be reused (it is rubber).

Enjoy those Tempos! They are not making any more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th July, 2008

14th Jul 2008, 18:39

How, exactly, do you compare a Tempo to a Porsche 911 and conclude the Tempo is better?

16th Jul 2008, 04:57

If you have to carry more than two persons, or transport yourself on a budget, clearly the Tempo is better.

2nd Aug 2008, 03:01

He has obviously had experience with Porsches. He is right that they are very hard to drive on a race track due to the rear engine.