While the Chrysler Corporation is credited with inventing the modern minivan, the idea actually got to Chrysler via Ford. Back in 1972, Ford showed a minivan concept called the Carousel, an idea of Lee Iacocca, then president of Ford and the lead executive responsible for the success of the Mustang. That 1972 Ford Carousel concept was arguably the progenitor of the modern minivan.
Ford had shepherded the Carousel concept well towards production when the first Arab oil crisis hit in 1979. That event drove consumers toward smaller vehicles and made Ford's top management feel further developing a vehicle like the Carousel would be unprofitable. Shortly afterward, Lee Iacocca left Ford and landed in the top spot at Chrysler. One of his first activities there was to revive the Carousel concept. He used the Chrysler K car as the platform, and in so doing brought the first modern front-drive minivan to market—ushering in the configuration all minivans are built around to this day.
However, had the executive management team at Ford truly had a better idea of what was to come in years ahead they would have stuck with the Carousel. One need only look at the success of the Chrysler Town & Country and all the minivans that concept spawned to see that Iacocca (just as he had been with he Mustang) was once again ahead of the game. Ford would have been in the leadership position in minivans, and arguably a lot more profitable. Instead, Ford had to play catch-up in the minivan arena. One of the vehicles they came up with in that regard is the subject of this minivan buyer’s guide; the Ford Windstar.
Introduced in model year 1995, as a replacement for the rear-drive Ford Aerostar, the Ford Windstar was Ford's first front drive minivan. Lasting but two generations, the Windstar was built from 1995 to 2003, before being replaced by the Ford Freestar.