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      Car History: Car History Year 1998
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 13:58:45 UTC by Cars
     
     
      Cars There was a great deal of newsworthy activity in the auto industry, starting with the announcement in May that Daimler-Benz and Chrysler were to merge which stunned many industry observers. The amalgamation - estimated to be worth some $92 billion - was the world's largest ever industrial merger. Called Daimler-Chrysler, the new company was jointly led by Juergen Schrempp and Robert Eaton at first, but the merger was, in reality, a takeover. And when Eaton subsequently retired, control reverted to the Daimler hierarchy. With this tie-up, Daimler-Chrysler became the fifth largest auto-maker in the world.

    Even prior to the establishment of the connection with Daimler, Chrysler were in the process of rationalizing its car business. The end of the Eagle brand came on February 5 when the last Eagle Talon sports coupe rolled off the Normal, Illinois, assembly line - the Eagle Vision sedan had been quietly dropped from the lineup earlier on. There was also upheaval in other parts of Motor City. General Motors were busy gathering together all its divisional headquarters at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, but meantime Ford's Lincoln-Mercury division was relocating to the west coast. The new home of Lincoln-Mercury was in Irvine, California, the same place that Mazda had its American offices and this fuelled speculation that there was another merger in the offing. Ford swiftly denied the rumors. Another offshoot of Ford was also moving fast in 1998 - at 143mph! But in this instance Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) was doing it in their first front-wheel-drive offering, the Ford SVT Contour. A high-performance sports sedan, the SVT Contour combined European-bred handling with a 195 horsepower V6 engine, some distinctive styling features and a value-oriented price to make a formidable package. The output of the 2.5-liter Duratec V6 was uprated by modifying the fuel injection, camshafts and exhaust system, to give the SVT Contour a 0 to 60mph time of 7.9 seconds; the standing quarter-mile could be completed in 15.7 seconds. Sales of the model were dealt with exclusively through 726 SVT-certified Ford dealers, with production estimated at 5,000 units a year. It was Buick's 95th birthday in 1998, and a limited edition 25th Anniversary Regal model went on sale. However, this was also to be the last year for the Skylark, a name with a heritage that stretched all the way back to 1953. It started out as a 50th Anniversary convertible on a Roadmaster chassis, with a smaller Skylark ragtop following in '54, but the name was then dropped until 1962. It remained in the Buick lineup for the following ten years. After a short period off the production line it was revived again as a compact in 1975 and was a fixture in the Buick catalog until this year. The 1998 Skylark was only produced as a 4-door sedan and just sold to fleet operators - a sad end for a name that started out on such a highly desirable automobile. Specification FORD SVT CONTOUR Engine V6 - All aluminum Displacement 155 cu. ins Bore and stroke 3.21 x 3.08 ins. Horsepower 195 Body styles 4 door sedan No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 2,811 Ibs-3,068 Ibs Price $14,460-$22,405 Produced 217,000     Specification DODGE VIPER GTS Engine V10-AII aluminum Displacement 488 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.0 x 3.88 ins. Horsepower 450 Body styles GT coupe No. of seats 2 Weight (lbs) 3,383 Ibs Price $68,225 Produced -  
     
     
     
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