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Ada, Oklahoma, United States
Anyone who's bought one of those old school metal shift knobs knows they're really cool until they sit in a parking lot in the sun for a few hours. Then they're not cool at all. Likewise, features such as the aluminum dash on the 2015 Ford Mustang can be all kinds of neat right up until the sun hits it just the right way and sends shards of blinding light through the cabin. The Ford Visual Performance and Evaluation Lab is where engineers figure out how to make sure that doesn't happen.
Cars like said Mustang are parked inside the 30-foot reflecting dome under 6,000 watts of lights that can mimic the sun at any time of day and in any weather condition. Engineers can then spend cold, overcast days inside, testing for interior legibility, glare and reflections on every interior and exterior surface as if it were bright and sunny. They can also learn how a car's sheetmetal and colors will look out of doors, all year round.
Ford showed off the lighting lab without the music and interviews three years ago when the Explorer was being prepared. You can watch it at work again in the video below, and read about it in the press release below that.
Ford is giving its F-Series Super Duty trucks some upgrades for 2015, and we're happy to say that one of them is an improved Power Stroke diesel V8. Also, Ford is strengthening the top-of-the-line F-450 to handle more abuse. And if wild west-style luxury is your thing, the automaker has performed minor cosmetic updates to its King Ranch Edition trucks, as well.
The turbocharged 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 is currently rated at 400 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, and Ford only tells us the new and improved Power Stroke can "produce power beyond today's" engine. What, then, did Ford actually improve upon? First, the Blue Oval swapped in a new, larger turbocharger. The new Garrett GT37 turbine unit is 72.5 millimeters in diameter, eclipsing the old GT32's 64-mm diameter piece. Ford states output increases with the new turbo setup, but since the new turbocharger operates at a lower peak pressure than the old one, the automaker was able to eliminate the wastegate system and reduce the engine's complexity. Ford even redesigned the turbo's oil and cooling lines to make the powerplant simpler. A byproduct of the larger turbo is better engine exhaust braking, which is controlled manually by a button on the dashboard.
Ford claims the upgraded diesel engine is more powerful, more robust, more efficient and more refined than before.
When we talk about trucks we often talk about how loyal truck owners are; it's men like Floyd Pullin who provide the proof. The 102-year-old man from Confluence, Pennsylvania has only owned Ford products since the 1920s, and he's done so well by Ford Trucks that the division named him honorary president for a day, not long after he took delivery of his latest ride, a 2013 F-150 STX.
That's the 16th Ford he's owned. If he bought his first when he was 16, he'd have flipped into a new car or truck about every five years. For 86 years. Not a bad run of business for either side.
Ford Trucks made a video to wish Pullin a happy birthday, which was celebrated at his local Ford dealership and was visited by a Pennsylvania state senator. You can watch it below.