TOPAZ BROTHER! I had a 1992 burgundy red mercury topaz in college of 2000. It hit about 200,000 mi before it gave up the ghost. The exhaust fell off that car well over 6 times. I have the same emotional memories as you of that lovely tarted up ford tempo. Fuck those console buttons!!!!
I had a 1994 Mercury Topaz. I had to press the console buttons in a certain order to get the A/C to work, but that car started in -35c in college without being plugged in when no other car would. I drove it through a giant snowman. I tore the exhaust out about 4 or 5 times taking it off road where other 4x4 trucks were getting stuck. I also nearly died on a road on a mountain cliff when the fuel pump cratered.I was able to drive it to about 300,000 km and then I decided to get something newer. It was a piece of shit, but I loved that old car and have many terrific memories of it.