Cars

Ford Just Built its 10 Millionth Mustang

Since March of 1964, Ford’s been building Mustangs. Today, 54 years after production began, the 10 millionth one rolled off the assembly line. As a tribute to the first production Mustang, Ford made sure the milestone car was a white convertible with a V-8 and a manual transmission. To celebrate, Ford held events at its Dearborn headquarters and Flat Rock Assembly Plant that included flyovers from three P-51 Mustang fighter planes and a parade of Mustangs from every generation that drove from Dearborn to Flat Rock. And in case that 10-million-Mustang sales figure isn’t impressive enough, Ford claims the Mustang has been the world’s best-selling sports car for the last three years. Over the last 50 years, Ford says it’s also been the best-selling sports car in the U.S. Having just driven the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, it’s clear the original pony car has come a long way in the last 54 years. Even the regular GT now makes 460 hp, up significantly from the first Mustang’s 164. An independent suspension has also transformed the Mustang into a legitimate sports car. “Mustang is the heart and soul of this company and a favorite around the world,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s head of global markets, in a release. “I get the same thrill seeing a Mustang roll down a street in Detroit, London, or Beijing that I felt when I bought my first car—a 1966 Mustang coupe that I drove across the country as a teenager. Mustang is a smile-maker in any language.”

Agreed!!  As a life-long Mustang owner, I can tell you they certainly make me smile!  To see photos from this event yesterday in Michigan, click on the text above.    🙂

Ford to drop slow-selling sedans from lineup by 2020

Ford announced on Wednesday that it will stop selling sedans in North America, saying the Mustang and a new crossover will be the only survivors in a reduced lineup of passenger cars. The Dearborn-based automaker, which reported better first-quarter earnings and revenue than expected, said it will transition to a truck- and SUV-focused lineup over the next few years as a result of declining consumer demand for small cars. The segment also generates weaker profit margins for manufacturers. The revamped Ford car portfolio in North America, the company’s largest market, will be comprised of the Mustang sports coupe and Focus Active, a crossover scheduled to launch next year. Ford’s current lineup of passenger cars includes the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus sedans. The company didn’t share any new details about the model lineup at its luxury brand, Lincoln. “The key to success is focusing on where your customers are and where your strengths lie, and for Ford doubling down on trucks and SUVs could be just what the brand needs,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds. “But this move isn’t without risk: Ford is willingly alienating its car owners and conceding market share in segments that, while declining, are still relevant to some buyers.” Ford earned net income of $1.74 billion during the first quarter, up from $1.59 billion in the same period a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose three pennies to 43 cents, beating Wall Street’s estimate of 41 cents. Revenue climbed 7% to $41.96 billion, which also beat forecasts for $37.2 billion. Ford’s bottom line benefited from a lower income tax rate. In an interview on FOX Business’ “After the Bell,” Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said Ford held its costs in check, despite an increase in commodity prices. Ford plans to achieve $25.5 billion in cost cuts and efficiencies by 2022, an increase of $11.5 billion over its prior estimate. It also expects to boost profit margins to 8% by 2020, two years sooner than it previously expected. CEO Jim Hackett, who took the reins of the automaker last year, has led an effort to improve its financial “fitness” by cutting costs and shifting resources to profitable trucks and SUVs. Ford recently said it would reallocate $7 billion in cash from cars to SUVs Opens a New Window. , which are projected to account for half of the U.S. market by 2020. Ford shares were up 2.6% at $11.40 in after-hours trading Wednesday.

Wow..  If you want your Fusion or Taurus, better get it while ya can!

2018 Ford Mustang adds power, reduces 0-60 mph time

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT will be the fastest ever 0-60 mph – although Ford won’t say precisely how fast — thanks to a new 10-speed automatic transmission, electronic drag mode and upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine. The V8’s output rises to 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, from 435 and 400 for the 2017 Mustang. The new engine and transmission are among a number of updates Ford gave the Mustang to keep fresh this year. A new drag strip mode manages the drivetrain electronically so torque doesn’t drop as the transmission runs quickly though its gears. “You get peak torque straight through,” Mustang chief engineer Carl Widmann said. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo engine also gets quicker, hitting 60 mph in what Ford promises will be less than 5.0 seconds. The 2.3-liter adds torque and the 10-speed automatic, which has been available in the F-150 pickup since last fall, and 30 more pound feet of torque, to 350. Ford has dropped the less powerful 3.7-liter V6 that was previously the Mustang’s base engine. The GT’s 0-60 time requires an asterisk: Being the fastest Mustang GT does not make the new model the necessarily fastest Mustang ever, just the fastest with the base V8. High-output V8s in Shelby models of the Mustang have included the 662-horsepower Shelby GT500 and the current 526-horsepower Shelby GT350. However, the claimed sub-4.0 second time should give the Mustang GT an edge over its archrival, the V8 Chevrolet Camaro SS, which reports 4.0 seconds flat. Drag mode is one of five performance programs the 2018 Mustang will offer. The new 10-speed transmission has quicker shifts and better low-speed response than the outgoing six-speed automatic. Ford will reveal prices and fuel economy for the 2018 Mustang closer to when it goes on sale this fall.

The end is here: The Dodge Viper dies on August 31

The end is nigh for an American sports car icon: The Dodge Viper will officially exit production on August 31, 2017, and the Connor assembly plant where all Vipers have been built will be closed for good. Previously, designer Ralph Gilles let the date slip during a speech at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show earlier this year, but this is the first time Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles has made the date official, according to ClickOnDetroit. The Dodge Viper and its 8.4-liter V-10 engine have been hand-assembled at the facility since the car was launched in 1992, with the current team composed of 87 remaining employees. Fun fact: The short-lived Plymouth Prowler was also built in the assembly plant during its production span from 1999 to 2002. FCA says it anticipates every employee will be offered work at another assembly plant. The Connor assembly plant’s Detroit zip code has also made the Viper the only American sports car actually built in “Motor City.” The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are built elsewhere in Michigan, while Chevy Corvette production now emerges from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Challenger isn’t as American as you’d believe, either — it’s assembled in Canada. So is the Ford GT. The Viper has left an outsize imprint on the automotive industry for the past 25 years. Long known for its untamed nature, the coupe and convertible have always represented a raw piece of American performance, and they’ve taken on the world in the process. The Connor assembly will finish building Viper orders specced through the One-of-One program until the plant’s closure. Those seeking one last chance to own a piece of history will then have to locate their Dodge Viper through a dealership. Thanks for the memories, Viper.

Agreed..  A sad day for American muscle cars..

Hennessey Venom F5 aims to be world’s fastest car at close to 300 mph

Hennessey Performance is looking to hold onto its claim to fame as the builder of the world’s fastest production car. The Texas-based company, which set an unofficial 270 mph mark with its $1.2 million Venom GT, has confirmed production and of its next supercar: the Venom F5. That’s F5 as in the Fujita scale, which measures the wind speeds of tornados and covers a range of 261 mph to 318 mph. The first number is particularly significant, as it is the electronically-limited top speed of the $2.5 million Bugatti Chiron, which is the fastest new car in the world today. Bugatti says the 1,500 hp coupe is capable of much higher speeds, but has yet to prove it by making a run with the limiter disengaged. Along with teaser images of the production Venom F5, which first debuted in renderings back in 2014, Hennessey also announced the establishment of Hennessey Specialty Vehicles, a new division set up to build the car in Sealy, Texas. Although it hasn’t revealed the specifications for the Venom F5, Hennessey predicts that it will get close to 300 mph, if not break it. The Venom GT featured a 1,244 hp 7.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, and was based on the lightweight chassis of a Lotus Exige. Along with achieving the 270 mph top speed, the Venom GT earned a Guinness record for the fastest 0-300 kmh sprint, which it did in 13.63 seconds. Hennessey sold just 13 Venom GTs, split between coupes and open top spiders. Instead of working with an existing car this time around, Hennessey says it is designing and engineering its chassis from scratch. A pair of nostril-like intakes near the bottom of the windshield is one update from the original renderings that can be seen in the teasers. The Chiron’s predecessor, the 1,200 hp Bugatti Veyron Super Sport currently holds the official top speed record at 268 mph, which was the average of two runs in different directions, as per Guinness rules, and set at an ultrafast test track owned by Bugatti parent company Volkswagen in Germany that Hennessey and others do not have access to. The Venom GT’s record was a one-way trip down the Kennedy Space Center’s old 3.2-mile-long Space Shuttle landing runway, while the VW track has a high speed oval that’s 12 miles around with a straight that’s over five miles long. The price and start of production date for the Venom F5 have not been announced, but a full reveal of the car is coming later this year.

Wow..  To see some pics, and a video, click on the text above.   🙂

2017 Ford GT test drive

The Ford GT is the most clutch car ever made, even though it has an automatic transmission. It was built for one reason: to win the top production class at the last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and mark the 50th anniversary of the company’s legendary victory over Ferrari with another. We’re talking about the most grueling and competitive sports car race in the world, and Ford hadn’t even been to the track since 1969. Ferrari, Porsche and arch-rival Chevrolet, meanwhile, practically live there. No pressure. Ford thought about going for it with a Mustang, but realized that it was practically a pickup compared to the sleek 488s, 911s and Corvettes it would have had to compete with. So it decided to gamble untold millions to design an all-new mid-engine supercar for the task at hand. There would be no second chance. It didn’t need one. The GT took first, third and fourth places, with a Ferrari sandwiched between them for good measure. You can still hear the sighs of relief coming from Dearborn — and the meatballs hitting the wall in Maranello. At the launch event for the street version of the GT that Ford is selling to amortize the feat, I asked the Ford Performance division’s marketing boss, Henry Ford III (yeah, he’s related), if he thought people would have been willing to pay the $450,000 Ford is charging for it if it hadn’t won, especially if it had been beaten by a dang Chevy. He said yes, but of course he did. If nothing else, his job is much easier than it might’ve been. Ford is building a scant 250 GTs annually, and the first three years of production are already spoken for. Henry’s team got to choose the people it deemed to be the worthiest stewards for the car from a list of over 6,000 qualified applicants. Ford will sell it only to people that it’s confident will actually use it, and hopefully share their glorious experiences with millions of social media followers. If you have that many, and an equal amount of liquid assets, the order books for the last batch will open next year. If you think this all sounds a little hifalutin for a Ford, you’re not alone. When I heard the price, I was disappointed — not because I’m a label snob, but because I felt anyone could build a fast car for that kind of cash. The last time Ford made a supercar, the 2005 GT, it was world class and a relative bargain at $139,995. But it’s hard to argue with success. Along with notching the all-important Le Mans win, plus another at this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona, Ford has built one of the best sports cars in the world. It isn’t charging a lot of money for it just because it can. The GT is unlike anything the company has ever made. It was developed in secret by a small team in a forgotten basement studio that was being used for storage. There were nondisclosure agreements, code words and an old-fashioned padlock on the studio door for cover. Real skunkworks stuff.

Wow..  How fun would it be to have this?!?  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.  Go Ford!!     🙂

Ford tech creates water out of thin air

Ford doesn’t have a car yet that can run on water, but it does have one with running water. A powertrain engineer working for the automaker has developed a system that uses the condensation from an automobile’s air conditioner to provide drinkable water. Doug Martin got the idea for On-The-Go H20 when he drove by a billboard in Lima, Peru, fitted with similar technology that was extracting over 25 gallons of water from the air every day. It made him realize that a lot of potentially potable water generated by automobiles was being dumped on the road and wasted, when it could be put toward a good use. It’s a simple concept optimized for this automotive application with a collector positioned near the air conditioner’s condenser that channels the fluid into a reservoir. From there, it’s filtered and pumped to a faucet located either in the cabin — as it is in one demonstration vehicle Martin’s team put together – or on the outside of the vehicle. The current system supplies about 24 ounces of water per hour from the atmosphere, but can also be used to purify dirty water from other sources — even rain collected in channels on the roof. While the concept features a passive 1.2 micron filtration system, Martin is exploring the incorporation of a distiller powered by other powertrain heat sources, as well as ultraviolet light. Ford sees it as a boon to dry regions and underdeveloped areas where millions of people don’t have regular access to clean water. It could also be offered as a feature on adventure vehicles, or simply as a convenience for road trips. (While we’re throwing around ideas, it might make a good compliment to a high performance water-injection system, too.) Although there there are no current plans to put it into production, Martin says there’s been great interest in the technology from several of Ford’s centers around the world.

I bet!  How cool is this?!?   To see the video of this, click on the text above.  Go Ford!!    🙂