DETROIT -- Although the majority of new models coming out of Detroit for 1986 are warmed-over versions from 1985, there are some notable exceptions.
Ford Motor Co. is introducing a new line of aerodynamically styled intermediates, the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, and General Motors has again shrunk its personal luxury cars, the Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado and Seville, and the Oldsmobile Toronado, which will be introduced about a month after most other models.
GM has also put its full-sized Buick LeSabre and Oldsmobile Delta 88 on diets and switched them to front-wheel drive.
All 1986 cars are required by federal law to have an eye-level third brake light, which in most cars is mounted on the shelf just inside the rear window. Fastbacks have it attached to the rear roof or bottom edge of a spoiler if so equipped; some convertibles have it fastened to a luggage rack on the deck lid.
Some models will sport lightweight, low-profile rectangular halogen headlamps that permit designers to create a sleeker front end this year.
Following is a model-by-model update for 1986:
AMC's Renault Alliance and Encore get a redesigned dashboard and restyled instrument panel, low-profile halogen headlamps and new taillamps. AMC has finally added a tilt wheel option, and a new Encore model called the Electronic features an electronic digital instrument cluster.
Since AMC is not scheduled to introduce a new car until 1987, its new product this year is a light pickup truck. The Jeep Comanche pickup, derived from its Cherokee and Pioneer models introduced last year, is billed as Jeep's first two-wheel-drive pickup since 1947. It will also be available in four-wheel drive.
The Jeep Wagoneer gets a new headlamp treatment to differentiate it from the Cherokee. Both models get added power from a redesigned 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.
Chrysler Corp.'s changes for the 1986 model year center around the engineering department. An all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine available in most model lines will replace the Mitsubishi-made 2.6-liter engine because of its improved power and better overall performance.
Other engineering changes and improvments include a low-pressure fuel injection system, a fast-burn cylinder head design for all four-cylinder engines, a new load-leveling system, and an antomatic electronic temperature control system.
New colors, trim, and some minor refinements inside and out have been made across Chrysler's entire car line. Some optional equipment is now standard on most 1986 car lines.
Chrysler models include the Lebaron, Lebaron GTS, New Yorker, Fifth Avenue and Laser models.
Plymouth models are the Reliant, Caravelle, Horizon-Tourismo, and Gran Fury, as well as the Voyager passenger mini-van.
Dodge models include the Lancer, 600, Diplomat, Aries, Omni-Charger, Daytona, and Dodge Caravan mini-van.
Chrysler also imports through its partnership with Mitsubishi the Conquest, Dodge Colt, and the Vista mini-station wagon.
The big news at Ford and Lincoln-Mercury for 1986 is the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, a new line of intermediate front-drive sedans and wagons that preview Ford's aerodynamic styling theme for the next decade.
Also new is a sequential fuel injection system for the 5-liter V8 engines and improvements in many of the automaker's smaller engines.
Taurus and Sable, which will replace the intermediate LTD and Marquis sedans, have four-wheel independent suspension, a transverse-mounted 3-liter V6, and a four-speed automatic overdrive transaxle. Later next year base models will get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transaxle as standard fare.
Also new is the Aerostar mini-van, unveiled this year but billed as a 1986 model. The rear-drive Aerostar comes with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder or a 2.8-liter V6 engine.
The Escort-Lynx, updated in 1985, is unchanged except for trim and some new drivetrain options.
Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz compacts get aero headlamps and grilles along with minor function and trim changes.
The Ford Mustang, Thunderbird, LTD and Crown Victoria, Mercury Capri, Cougar, Marquis and Grand Marquis, all Lincolns and the imported Merkur from Germany are all basically carried over from 1985 except for minor trim and engineering details.
General Motors Buick
Buick's news for 1986 is an all-new Riviera, which is 19 inches shorter and 500 pounds lighter than the 1985 model. A 3.8-liter V6 and four-speed automatic is standard.
The luxury car, which has the first fabric-covered dashboard in the industry, has between seven and 10 microprocessors on board to control all functions. Those microprcessors, which replace 91 conventional controls, interface through a 'Graphic Control Center,' a touch-sensitive cathode ray tube from which the driver can call up information and control other functions such as the stereo, and temperature.
The LeSabre sedan and coupe become front drive and shed about 22 inches and 400 pounds from their 1985 rear-drive counterparts. The large rear-drive Buick Estate Wagon soldiers on.
The Skylark nameplate, last seen on Buick's X-car, graces the four-door version of the compact Somerset coupe, introduced earlier this year.
The Electra and Park Avenue are unchanged since they were switched over to front drive in the 1985 model year. The front-drive Century and Skyhawk, and the rear-drive Regal, undergo mild facelifts, engineering revisions, and trim upgrades. Cadillac
The Eldorado and Seville are restyled for 1986, both models considerably smaller and lighter than in 1985. Although they are quite distinctive from one another, they share the same platforms and assembly lines with the Riviera and Toronado.
Cadillac is holding further details of the Eldorado and Seville until late October, but previews show that the bustle-back trunk worn by the Seville since 1980 has been dropped.
A new digital fuel injection system sits atop the HT4100 engine, which is exclusive to Cadillac and powers the front-drive Coupe De Ville, Sedan De Ville, and Fleetwood 75 limousine models that were changed over in 1985 from larger rear-drive models.
A new Touring Coupe and Touring Sedan model based on the front-drive De Villes have a stiffer suspension, upgraded tires, fog lights and a new lower body treatment.
The rear-drive Fleetwood Brougham will be manufactured only through December 1985.
Cadillac's compact Cimarron gets a restyled grille, composite tungsten headlamps, new taillights and interior refinements. Chevrolet
Chevrolet will expand sales of its subcompact Sprint, Spectrum and Nova models to a nationwide basis instead of just selected markets.
The Corvette gets an anti-lock four-wheel disc brake system, a new anti-theft system using an encoded key, and a revised instrument cluster. Later in the year a Corvette convertible will be offered, as well as cast aluminum cylinder heads.
A Z24 performance version of the Cavalier compact, with a hotter V6 engine and performance wheels and tires, will be added to that line.
A five-door hatchback will join the four-door notchback Nova, the GM-Toyota subcompact introduced last June.
A Caprice Brougham model is added to the mildly changed Caprice line; but the Impala name is dropped.
The Camaro, Celebrity, Chevette and Monte Carlo carry on except for some minor upgrades. Oldsmobile
Like Buick, Oldsmobile has three new models for 1986. A smaller, lighter Toronado, which features hidden headlamps for the first time in 20 years, a standard V6 engine, and a body computer, or central processor, that monitors sensors and controls a driver warning system and a servicability and diagnostic function.
A smaller and front-drive Delta 88 coupe and sedan debut for 1986, powered by a standard 3-liter or optional 3.8-liter V6. The rear-drive Custom Cruiser wagon continues unchanged into 1986.
Also new is a four-door Calais, joining the compact Calais specialty coupe introduced this year. A Calais GT coupe and Calais ES sedan are offered as performance models.
A two door notchback model is added to the Firenza compact line.
The Ciera, 98 Regency, and rear-drive Cutlass models all receive minor revisions. Pontiac
Pontiac's Grand Am coupe, like the Buick Somerset and Olds Calais, is joined by a four-door sedan. A new SE series, which has composite halogen headlamps and other improvements, is added to the line.
Anti-lock brakes are standard on the Pontiac 6000 STE, the division's premier performance sedan. Composite headlamps are standard, and stereo controls mounted on the steering wheel will be offered later in the year.
A GT model is added to the compact Sunbird line, and is distinguished from other Sunbirds by partially hidden headlamps. A turbocharged, 1.8-liter 150-horsepower engine is standard on the GT, as are larger tires, a beefed up suspension, and a speedometer that reads 120 mph for all turbo powered models.
The Fiero, Pontiac's plastic-bodied two seater, gets an improved 'Tech 4' four-cylinder engine. A host of minor improvements and a new gold color round out the changes. This year's GT model will become next year's SE to make room for a midyear introduction of a Fiero GT featuring a fastback design.
Firebirds and Trans Ams get more standard equipment and new colors. Base Firebirds come with four-cylinder engines that now use silicon pistons. A 140 mph speedometer is standard on all Trans Ams with optional engines.
Pontiac's rear wheel drive cars -- the Bonneville and Grand Prix, full size Parisienne, and Pontiac 1000 subcompact -- all drive on with minor trim changes and some new exterior colors.