1-Of-676: 1992 Ford Tempo GLS 2-Door

The 1992 Ford Tempo was not a car that was designed to get your pulse racing. It was a car that was adequate as a daily driver, but the 1992 GLS V6 did offer a welcome boost in performance. This one is a tidy survivor, and it is 1-of-676 examples of the ’92 GLS 2-Door that were built with the V6 engine and a 5-speed manual transmission. It is now on the market and has been listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Martin, Michigan, and with bidding currently sitting at $2,650, the reserve isn’t met. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Matt Q for referring the Tempo to us.

Any Tempo that has survived this long is usually starting to look tired and frayed around the edges, but this Bimini Blue GLS is an exception. I wouldn’t call it showroom fresh, but its condition is not too far off it. The paint holds an excellent shine, and there are no signs of the peeling clearcoat that can plague these cars. The panels look incredibly straight, with no evidence of significant dings or marks. There is also no visible rust or other nasty problems that might require attention. All of the usual GLS features are intact, including the distinctive rear bumper, the spoiler, the front bumper with integrated fog lamps, side skirts, and 15″ alloy wheels. The wheels are in fantastic condition, with no signs of any damage or stains.

Throughout its life, the word that seemed to be used most often to describe the Tempo’s performance was “adequate.” It did its job, and it did it with acceptable levels of performance. However, the available 4-cylinder engines never made the car a barnstormer. In a bid to inject some excitement into a range whose sales were sinking like a stone, Ford introduced the 3.0-liter “Vulcan” V6 engine for the 1992 model year. It was available as an option in the GL and LX models but was standard equipment in the ’92 GLS. This engine produced 130hp and was available with either a 3-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. This car is claimed to be 1-of-676 examples of the GLS 2-Door produced with the V6/manual transmission combination. This appears to be confirmed by the Marti Report. This didn’t make it a muscle car, but the ¼ mile ET of 16.6 seconds was still respectable given the vehicle’s humble roots. The owner claims that the Tempo has a genuine 60,000 miles on the clock. He doesn’t indicate whether he holds any verifying evidence, but he does say that the car comes with its Owner’s Manual, Dealer Documentation, Window Sticker, and a Marti Report. He also says that the GLS runs and drives well.

This is a car from the early 1990s, so it would be fair to expect to see trim and plastic that was well past its best. That isn’t the case with the Tempo because the interior has survived in remarkable condition. There are no signs of any wear or stains on the upholstery or carpet, while the plastic shows no appreciable problems. The dash is free from cracks or splits, while the same is true of the leather-wrapped wheel. Comfort and convenience features include air conditioning, power locks, power exterior mirrors, a tilt wheel, a rear defogger, cruise, and a premium AM/FM radio/cassette player.

The introduction of the “Vulcan” V6 to the Tempo GLS should have seen sales take a sharp upturn. However, GLS sales continued to fall, and the badge was phased out before the end of the 1992 model year. This car isn’t likely to get the adrenalin pumping, but its performance should remain respectable. It is one of the cleanest examples that you are likely to see today, and it would almost certainly grab its share of attention and favorable comments at a Cars & Coffee. It has the potential to remain within the affordable bracket in the market, so if you are looking for something interesting and well-preserved but you’re on a budget, maybe this could be one that is worth serious consideration.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Just because it’s one of 692 of something doesn’t make it special. It was just a marketing mistake building a car that had no public desire. The Tempo lost its tempo and Ford was trying to keep it alive until the Contour came out to replace it. Nothing to see here folks, move on.

    Like 12
    • Steve Bush Member

      Exactly, the only thing unusual is that it’s a manual. Yes, it looks nice, but otherwise there’s nothing else different from hundreds of thousands of others. And the seller has the nerve to have a reserve on something common that doesn’t even have power windows and has the annoying automatic seatbelts.

      Like 5
      • KenB

        It’s NOT common; that’s the whole point! When was the last time you saw one? Some of the folks on here think they’re experts on everything! The seller has “the nerve” because he or she has a price in mind, and the seller has every right to use a reserve price. Who gives a crap if it doesn’t have power windows???

        Like 27
    • KenB

      This is a special version of the Tempo, and lots of folks like these cars a lot. You may not appreciate it, but many do, so your glib “nothing to see here” remark comes across as immature and insulting.

      Like 27
      • alphasud Member

        I will admit I am a little immature at times but in no way was I trying to personally attack anyone for their choice of car. When people tell me I’m crazy or stupid for liking or owning a car that doesn’t make sense to them I smile and say yes I am!
        I like being weird with my car choices.

        Like 6
      • RacinRob4

        I remember seeing no more than a handful of these over the years and never did I see one with a 5-speed. This would be like a poor man’s Taurus SHO, to me at least. I think it’s in beautiful condition and being a 2 door GLS in Bimini Blue really appeals to me. The 3.0 and 5-speed are just a bonus if u ask me. GLWTA !!!!

        Like 5
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I always appreciate when basic, throw-away cars show up in good shape. Someone thought this car was worth taking care of, and I’m glad. It was a (somewhat) sporty car and even has a manual transmission. Listing is already gone, someone probably already snatched it up. I’m with Adam, you could have fun with a low-priced collectible like this.

    Like 38
    • Triumph1954

      Please explain. What is a basic throw-away car and was there a well optioned throw-away car? Where did you throw it away?

      Like 1
      • DON

        A Yugo is a basic throw away car . Other cheap entry level cars Like Pintos , Escorts , Omnis etc. could have had a lot of options on them, but weren’t meant to last . As for throwing them away ? It just means junking them .

        Like 1
  3. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Dang, I was just going to say, nice find, Matt Q and Adam! This sort of rarely-seen-anymore car is right up my alley. I’d hold out for an AWD Tempo but this would do nicely, oddball-wise.

    Like 19
  4. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    Be sure and change that camshaft synchronizer first thing.

    Like 3
  5. Daniel wright

    I only remember seeing one awd tempo in a junkyard and that’s when they were fairly new. It had a padded vinyl top…it also looked immaculate….something must have gone seriously wrong with it to condemn it to the scrap heap with such low miles.

    Like 4
  6. Connecticut mark

    Good engine, had one in my Taurus, but also had a 3.8 that blew 2 head gaskets.

    Like 3
  7. Dan

    My pulse always races right before I vomit. Just sayin’…

    Like 6
    • Daniel wright

      Or when those damned motorized seat belts try to choke me.

      Like 11
      • sir_mike

        Have a 1993 2dr,4cyl AT.Owned since 1995.Uses and leaks some oil.Fine otherwise.Was glad when the auto seat belt broke on my side…then disconnected the other side.Lap belts are enough for me.

        Like 2
  8. Steve

    I had a couple of 1986 Tempos back in the mid 90’. Fortunately Neither had those terrible automatic seatbelts. Both were 2.3L 4 cylinder with a five speed. First one was a red GL with 80k miles that bought for $800. (Seemed too good to be true!) Nothing really wring with it other than a/c evaporator had a leak. Replaced it (pita, probably why it was so cheap- south Texas you almost need ac in summer traffic) and drive it trouble free for several years. Noticed a white/ grey GLX just sitting in the next town over. Blown engine. Picked it up for $300. Found a good engine out if a wrecked newer tempo with 40k miles for $200. Dropped it in, sold the red one for $1,000. Drove it for a few more years til i found a clean 79 Malibu 2 dr. With a 267 v8 (slug) for $1,000. (I Was looking for an affordable Monte Carlo SS, Hurst Olds/442 or GN (yea, right) but even then they were out of my price range. Since an engine swap was in the cards anyway, i went with the Malibu. 350 when it was my daily driver, then 383, now 468 BBC. Still own it. The Tempo was probably as good of a car as the malibu, (definitely better fuel mileage!) but the need for speed was too great!

    Like 5
    • Matt

      I owned a 79 Malibu 2 door that I built up as well. This was after I had owned another one in high school that I killed wit the 267. Awesome cars.

      Like 1
  9. 4spdBernie 4spdBernie Member

    One of a handful of cars you don’t have to crawl under to replace the fuel filter.
    And you’ll never have to wrestle with a t-belt job, lol.

    Like 4
  10. Jim

    Biggest problem with cars of this era are those passive shoulder belts which still required you to manually fasten the seat belt if you didn’t want to have the shoulder belt decapitate you in an accident. Even the cars which had the seat belts as part of the passive system were a pain. A really dark period for car manufacturers.

    Like 8
  11. joe

    Oh I remember wanting one bad. Same color/engine combo sitting in their showroom. I sat negotiating to trade my Merc Zephyr. . . . They wouldn’t budge below 11,000 (I think). I walked out.

  12. Bruce

    My mother had a 1990 4 dr GLS with a 4cyl that lasted her 16 years and gave her very little trouble. It felt like you were driving a linebacker.

    Like 1
  13. Gremlin X

    No Marti Report, no deal.

    Like 2
  14. 4spdBernie 4spdBernie Member

    Adam Clarke: Appreciate the write-up, very interesting find. Appears this Tempo caught someone’s serious attention – maybe thanks to BARNFINDS.com(?) It’s now sold!

    Like 4
    • Jon B

      The 3.0 L Vulcan was introduced in 1986.
      These didn’t get cam synchronisers until 1995. Earlier models had distributors.

      Like 1
  15. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Of course it sold. Cheap transportation that still looked good. Period.

    Like 2
  16. Autoworker

    We built the V6 3.0 Vulcan and the 4cylinder 2.3 Penta at Lima Engine Plant. I worked on both of those assembly lines. The Penta was a cut down version of one of Ford’s in line 6’s. The castings still had the fuel pump mount location on the side of the block. I owned a 93 Tempo with the 4 cylinder. What I remember the most is it got terrible gas mileage.

    Like 1
  17. Argy

    I had a buddy in high school that drove a Bimini Blue GLS sedan with a stick- it was something of a sleeper, as I recall. He always touted it as a “poor man’s SHO” and looking back on what little promotional material exists for a one-year package on America’s most beleaguered midsized sedan, I think he was right. A keen Ford head would notice the 16” Escort GT wheels, the unique front and rear fascias- and on coupes, the decklid spoiler. Most just saw grandma’s grocery getter. And then he’d drop the clutch and light up the front tires. Fun times. Years later I’d own a four cylinder Tempo and it was rolling sadness. Not even remotely the same car.

    Like 3
  18. nlpnt

    The reason they’re rare wasn’t because people weren’t buying well-equipped manual 2-doors in ’92, they were.
    The reason they’re rare is that there were so many more appealing options for what one would’ve cost new. Most of them would’ve been 4 cylinder but you can’t have everything; a lot of them would’ve had much more cramped back seats but for buyers for whom that was an issue, what were the sales numbers for the Tempo GLS V6 manual 4-door?

    Like 2
    • Miguel

      In May of 1990 I bought the 238th 1991 Ford Escort GT in this color. That car with the Mazda engine was light years ahead of this one. Given the choose, I would choose the Escort again.

      Like 1
  19. mike

    my mom had a Tempo sedan and it was a pretty decent car for her. We drove it from Oregon and Minnesota and back without any problems at all and got 28 mpg with a 3 speed automatic. The only problem was it was slow as molasses. But I like it. Looked like a mini Taurus to me. BTW I did not know that you could get a manual with the V6. I would buy this in a heartbeat. Just for nostalgia purposes. lol

    Like 1
  20. ADM

    At least that all iron, pushrod V-6 was a great engine. We had one in a 1993 Taurus, that we ran to 140K, before selling it. It still ran well.

    Like 2
  21. W9BAG

    We had a fleet of Tempo’s, around 1990, all GSA cars. about about 300 miles a day on mine. Al were 4 doors, and minimally equipped, being Government vehicles. A satisfactory, utilitarian vehicle. They would do just a shade over 100 mph, wide open. However, we had a guy in my National Guard that had a VERY uniquely equipped Tempo. 5 Speed, AWD, and a Diesel, fully loaded. He really liked that car. These were the Ford version of the Chrysler K cars, and the X body GM cars.

    Like 2
  22. andy Lopez

    It was a boring car. However…. that vulcan V6 with a manual Trans…WOW… nt seen everyday. Interior seat and rims from a 1990 Escort GT and Vuala…..

  23. John

    Amazing number of comments for a car like this!

    Like 2
  24. Joe

    Listing ended 2 days ago.

  25. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I had an ’84 4 cylinder manual, think it was a 4 speed (3 speed with an OD gear). Carbed engine made it easy to tweak. Probably had 0 options, a dealer loss leader special for sure. Got me around.

    Too bad the auction was ended early. It would have been nice to see what something like this would have gone for.

    Like 1
  26. Lance Platt

    In 1992, I bought a 1991 red Ford Tempo from a national car rental chain resale lot. The car had been very well maintained and was dependable
    I took it from Ohio to Florida on vacation. The power rack and pinion steering was not as crisp in handling as my previous Cavalier and the 2.0 Chevrolet seemed more responsive in acceleration than the 2.3 Ford However, the Chevy head gaskets needed replacement , the wiring replaced and the power steering rack failed. The Ford served me more dependably. The blue car color is stunning, the V6 more powerful and the mileage is low but I like the ease of an automatic transmission.

    Like 1
  27. Vic M

    Decent reliable cars. With the automatic, if you nailed it, it seemed that the gas gauge would drop at the same speed that the speedometer rose.

  28. Miguel

    Here is an interesting car that I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if it was a customs job or how it came into existence.

    Yes that is a 1986 Mercury Topaz wagon.

    Like 3
    • Miguel

      Here is the best picture I have of the rear.

      Like 1
    • Charles

      Where is this car located at? I always wonder if they made any station wagons. I’m interested in the car.

  29. M_Wolf

    I would probably like it. I’ve driven one with the V6 and the automatic. But with a manual? It would be a lot more entertaining and a lot more efficient. Fast? Not really, but it’s not the worst. I really don’t mind these with the V6, and there’s still one in the family. It’s been reliable, survived me as a teenager, and as an adult, I get to maintain it when I visit mom (oil changes and basic maintenance is all it still asks for, maybe an occasional hose due to age).

    Not the most desirable car ever, but the one mom has? Can’t be mad at it for running like a top, and it still shines up to a mirror finish like the one above (hers is red).

  30. Bah

    I like manual cars that shouldn’t have a manual, but I can’t get too excited for a 3.0 Vulcan

  31. Scott Grandy

    I own one with 76 k and is in almost as nice shape . Do your research and you will find it is a fairly fast car with a top speed of 128 mph and has a following with Mustang 5.0 lovers as well . It is powerful as it is small with the V 6 and it sounds awesome ….. growls . I was surprised with it’s performance for it’s model as I owned a 2.3 L, 85, G L coupe back in the day too . Watch Youtube videos with it . Also chat rooms say it gives Mustangs a run in the 1\8 mile . I get nothing but broken necks and compliments . It also has performance suspension upgrades if I remember correctly . Drive on .

  32. Scott Grandy

    I just found specs that claim 122 and another at 126 online . Mine is on youtube West Warwick RI . I paid $1.200 .00 . It has K&N cold air .

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