(FORTUNE Magazine) -
Call it the $3 billion jellybean. When the Taurus debuted in 1985, its curves and sweeping lines made it different. So was the team that created it. Desperate after losing $1.5 billion in 1980, Ford crushed the status quo - isolated groups that made part of a car to "pass over the wall" to another. Enter Team Taurus. Nearly 400 engineers, designers, and marketers were put in a room and set loose. They brainstormed their way into history - and Ford (Research) back into business. Derided at first as the "jellybean" for its shape, the Taurus was Motor Trend's Car of the Year in 1986 - and then was imitated. Discontinued in 2005, it enjoys retirement as a corporate fleet fave.