Exterior Color: Orange
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: RWD
Options: Leather Seats, CD Player
Lowell, Indiana, United States
Not long ago, the History Channel showed a seemingly unending stream of World War II documentaries, but it made a switch a few years ago to include an increasing mix of 'reality' programming. American Pickers was one of the early attempts at this new formula, with cameras following hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz around the country in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as they tracked down collectibles and "rusty gold" for their Iowa shop, Antique Archeology. The show has since gone on to become one of the channel's most popular programs.
Starting in the new episode airing tonight, the affable hosts will swap their Benz for a 2015 Ford Transit, a nicely timed bit of marketing to coincide with the launch of the model's assembly at the Blue Oval's Kansas City Assembly Plant, which also kicks off this week. Ford is touting 2,000 new jobs created as part of its $1.1-billion investment in the plant.
No strangers to product placement, the guys from American Pickers say their switch away from the Sprinter is because they wanted to balance cargo capacity and fuel economy to make the most of their cross-country jaunts. They opted for the largest Transit available with a long wheelbase, extended body and high roof, giving them 487 cubic feet of cargo room. Hauling power comes from a 3.2-liter, five-cylinder diesel engine with 190 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. Fittingly, the van wears the same Antique Archaeology logo over white paint as their old Sprinter.
Each year since 2008, Ford has created a one-off Mustang to celebrate military aviation, and the cars have been auctioned off at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Gathering of Eagles charity event to raise money to inspire the next generation of aviators. This year's charity car is the 2014 Ford Mustang GT US Air Force Thunderbirds Edition, which also helps celebrate 60 years of Thunderbirds air show excellence.
Of all the EAA charity cars, this Thunderbirds Edition is the most in depth. Painted to match the F-16 Tomcat fighter jets used by Thunderbirds, this Mustang also gets a widebody kit and 22-inch Forgiato wheels to go with the cockpit's Recaro bucket seats, rear-seat delete and modified navigation screen and gauge cluster. Even the Mustang's projector puddle lights have been changed to show an aircraft silhouette - rather than the Mustang's galloping horse logo - when the doors are open.
Themes for previous EAA charity cars include the Blue Angels, SR-71 Blackbird and the Red Tails as well as the F-22 Raptor-inspired AV8R and AV-X10 "Dearborn Doll" models. Scroll down for the press release for the 2014 Ford Mustang GT US Air Force Thunderbirds Edition, and be sure to check out our galleries for all six aviation-themed Mustangs.
A couple of weeks ago we brought you footage and official times of the new Chevy Camaro Z/28 lapping the Nürburgring. With a 7:37.47 lap time, the Z/28 emerged as the fastest muscle car ever to lap the circuit. But what was missing from that picture was how fast the king of all Mustangs, the Shelby GT500, could manage to lap the Nordschleife.
Ford never released any information or footage of the GT500 on the Nürburgring that we were aware of - that is, until the guys at SVTPerformance.com put in a request for Mustang videos. Among the clips they received was never-seen, in-car footage of the Shelby GT500 lapping the circuit. And boy did it hustle.
Although not quite official, the video seems to show the GT500 lapped the venerated German track in a touch under 7:40. That would make it a tick or two faster than the Camaro ZL1 - but what of the Z/28? By Chevy's quoted time, the Z/28 is still faster than the GT500, but SVTPerformance suggests GM may have fudged the numbers a bit and scrubbed half a second or so off their lap time.