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Auto blogThu, 28 Aug 2014 10:58:00 EST
Today's the day, Ford fans. Production has officially commenced on the sixth-generation 2015 Mustang at the company's Flat Rock, MI factory. As production ramps up, sales should kick off in the coming months.
The production news isn't just a bit deal for American fans. With the new Mustang getting a bespoke right-hand-drive variant, the pony car's worldwide availability has swollen to include 120 different countries, including its home nation.
"Mustang is and will continue to be an automotive icon," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said in a statement. "Expanding its availability globally affords our customers around the world the opportunity to have a true firsthand Mustang experience - one unlike any other."
This year more than most, it's pleasant when we can string together a few days without word of an automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announcing a bunch of new recalls. It's seemingly been a little quiet on this front lately (barring a spider-related Suzuki issue revealed early today), but now we have word of the government safety agency opening a Preliminary Evaluation into the 2013 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor, a probe that could potentially affect an estimated 20,000 vehicles.
The issue being investigated concerns failures of the front brake hose on the vehicle that show "small splits in the hoses near the body side ferrule of the hose assembly," according to the agency, and the issue could result in longer stopping distances. The feds have reports of 13 malfunctions affecting 11 Explorer units. However, it's important to note that all of the incidents come from a single, unnamed metropolitan police fleet that operates 46 of them. According to The Detroit News, the failures generally took place between December and July.
NHTSA is investigating further to find if this is a more widespread issue than just this one fleet. Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker confirmed to us, "We are cooperating with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do." Scroll down to read the agency's report.
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:16:00 EST
Thanks to the smoke wand in the wind tunnel, you can actually see the difference in our video.
Should you drive with your pickup truck's tailgate up or down? It's an age-old controversy that's divided drivers for decades. Traditionalists will swear you should leave the tailgate down. Makes sense, right? It would seem to let the air flow more cleanly over the body and through the bed. But there's also a school of thought that argues trucks are designed to look and operate in a specific manner, and modern design techniques can help channel the airflow properly. So don't mess with all of that: Leave the tailgate up.
Remember when we used to talk about how close Lincoln was to being axed and how it seemed any day now the Grim Reaper would use it as a car service back to the grave? Last time we did it was, oh, not even a month ago. What a difference 27 days makes: Ford and Lincoln are trumpeting a $129M investment in the Louisville Assembly Plant that builds the MKC.
In July the MKC was the third-best-selling Lincoln of the brand's six offerings, beat by the MKZ and - by a much smaller margin - the MKX. It has sold 2,895 units in the two months it's been on sale, which is more than half the year-to-date sales of the MKS, MKT and Navigator. It's already important, is what we're trying to say, and this is before the Chinese market gets a crack at it later this year.
The money headed to Kentucky will be joined by 300 new workers, another marker in Ford's march to create 12,000 hourly jobs in the US by next year. You can read more about it in the press release below.
Being pulled over by the police is one of the most nerve-racking situations that a driver can go through, and it's even worse when you know that the officer has you dead to rights for speeding well over the posted limit. In this video, the driver of a heavily modified Ford Mustang with a claimed 966 horsepower at the rear wheels could have easily lost his ride for doing triple-digit speeds and street racing, but a friendly Texas police officer appears to send him on his way with a simple warning.
What's more, the driver in question wasn't just speeding - his Mustang was the camera car for a bunch of rolling street races in the wee hours of the morning on a Texas highway. The driver was more than willing to mix it up in the action, too. Eventually the cops catch on and pick the 'Stang to pull over, but not before the Ford owner runs a claimed 140 mph. With only audio to go on after the car is pulled over, the police officer seems incredibly nonchalant about catching someone who was so brazenly breaking the law. Incredibly, the patrolman actually tells the driver that he's seen everyone racing tonight but ignored them. With traffic picking up, the cop says that it's time to "cut it out" and go home for the night. As far as this video shows, that was the end of it.
Warning: There is explicit, not-safe-for-work language in the video below.
At the turn of the century, it was arguably the Honda Civic that best defined inexpensive performance tuning, and in the '50s it was the Tri-5 Chevys. One of the earliest platforms to gain a huge following among young people looking for a cheap way to go fast was the classic '32 Ford Highboy Roadster. This week, Jay Leno's Garage looks at one of the very first vehicles that defined the look of the hot rod heyday.
This '32 Ford was built in the '40s and graced the cover of the fourth issue of Hot Rod Magazine back in 1948. All of the hot rods that you see shining at car shows today owe a serious debt of gratitude to this roadster. It bears all of the cues that define the look, including a notched frame and hidden door hinges. Under the three-piece hood is a flathead V8 boasting all sorts of period modifications, including copper cylinder heads. It was seriously fast in its era too, and proved it by reaching 112.21 miles per hour on a dry lakebed in 1947.
These days, this hot rod is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Although, if you can't make it to California to see it, the United States Postal Service is celebrating this Ford with one of its two hot rod Forever stamps. Like Jay says in the video, in terms of hot rodding, "it all comes back to this." Check out the video to learn more about this rolling piece of tuning history.
Last year in Monterey, we met GTR1 for the first time. Galpin Auto Sports pulled the wraps off its Ford GT-based supercar, powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.4-liter V8 good for a whopping 1,024 horsepower and 739 pound-feet of torque. The thing was totally custom-made and reportedly took some 12,000 man hours to create. And there it sat on the Pebble Beach grass, $1,000,000-plus price tag and all.
This year, the Galpin was back, albeit with one big change. That twin-turbo engine? Gone. In its place, a 5.4-liter V8 with a 4.0-liter Whipple supercharger bolted on, delivering an astonishing 1,058 hp and 992 lb-ft of torque on 110-octane fuel. 0-60? 2.9 seconds. Top speed? Somewhere above 225 miles per hour.
"Some things to keep in mind: no stability control, no traction control," were the only warnings given by Galpin's Brandon Boeckmann before taking me on a quick spin in the supercar. And after having my eyes thrown into the back of my skull a few times, laughing hysterically and trying to regain full use of my hearing after my ear drums being bombarded by the apocalyptic roar behind me, Brandon pulled over and said it was my turn, if I was ready to take the wheel.
Let's start with some history: Ford's Dearborn truck plant, part of the company's massive River Rouge complex, was the center of a strike in 1941 that led to Ford signing the first "closed shop" agreement in the industry. The agreement obliged every worker at the plant to be a dues-paying member of the United Auto Workers. In December 2012, however, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation making Michigan a right-to-work state, which outlawed closed shops. The new law gave workers the right to opt out of union membership and stop paying dues even if they were still covered by union activities like collective bargaining. For employees at the Dearborn plant, the right-to-work clauses take effect at the end of their current contract in 2015.
As a tool-and-die maker at Ford's Dearborn plant for 16 years, Todd Lemire pays dues to the UAW - about two hours' salary per month. However, he's been unhappy with the UAW's support of the Democratic party, and not wanting to wait until next year to be out of the UAW entirely he invoked his Beck Rights, which state that a non-member of a union does not have to pay dues to support non-core activities, such as political spending. But Lemire wasn't happy that Ford still subtracted the total amount of dues, with the UAW reimbursing the difference, so he filed suit with the National Labor Relations Board, feeling that the workaround violates his rights.
Lemire's case is just a week old, so it could be a while before a resolution. Yet, as September 15, 2015 draws near and the right-to-work laws take full effect for Michigan workers - and others wonder whether it could help revitalize the state's manufacturing base - a case like this adds more fuel to the discussion.
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:30:00 EST
They're pretty darn similar. And yet our views are oh so different.
If you guys could read the transcripts of our editors' chat room, you'd know that we're a pretty argumentative bunch. It's always good-spirited stuff (well, usually), but when we're not obsessively covering this or that, we're usually fighting about one car being better than another. We're all enthusiasts here, and our automotive tastes run the gamut from the weird and unusual to the decidedly mainstream - we all feel strongly about specific cars in a given segment. While it usually makes for good conversation, if we're passionate enough, it can turn into a tomato-throwing showdown.
Thinking about buying a new Mustang, but want to know what kind of fuel economy it'll get? Well we have our first indication as the pony-car enthusiasts over at Mustang6G.com have gotten a hold of the Monroney window stickers for a few of the new 2015 Mustang models.
Although the V8 model is not among them, we can now see how the EPA has rated those models with a half dozen pistons or less. The Mustang EcoBoost with the turbo four and a manual transmission has been rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. The V6 manual gets 17 city and 28 highway, while the V6 automatic squeezes out a bit more in the city at 19 mpg but carries the same 28 highway rating.
By way of comparison, the latest Chevy Camaro with the V6 and a stick shift gets the same 17/28 EPA rating as a similarly equipped new 'Stang, and the V6 automatic Camaro gets 18/27 (slightly behind the Ford, but if you opt for the Camaro 2LS with its V6, automatic and 2.92 rear axle ratio, you'll be looking at 19 and 30).