Drive Type: -
Model: Model A
Sun City, California, United States
The story of the relationship between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari is absolutely fascinating. The two great men of the auto industry had what appeared to be a burgeoning friendship until Ferrari pulled out of a deal to sell his company to Ford in the '60s. The latest car featured in Jay Leno's Garage is a 1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta that tells the very beginnings of that story.
This Prancing Horse was a gift to Ford from Enzo when the two companies were first thinking about merging, according to the curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum. Ferrari really wanted to show off its best so instead of the 212's normal V12, this car was fitted with the larger 2.7-liter unit from a Ferrari 225. The car has been almost unaltered since then. It still wears its original paint, and it's tires date back to 1954.
The great thing about the Petersen is that unlike a lot of auto museums, the people there actually drive the cars and keep them in working order. Once on the road with Leno behind the wheel, this Ferrari really sings. Unfortunately, he can't open it up too much because the 60-year-old tires really hold things back. Scroll down to watch this amazing piece of automotive history and learn it's possible effect on the styling of the original Ford Thunderbird.
Concentrated ST Formula Proves Just As Potent
I'm not the jealous type... usually. But I will fully admit to being somewhat of a Pouty Polly when I read executive editor Chris Paukert's report after driving the then-new 2013 Ford Focus ST through the impossibly pretty southern French Alps region last June. I feel like a broken record saying this yet again, but hot hatchbacks hold a special place in my heart. And while I'm always giddy to drive any sort of small, turbocharged three- or five-door at home in Detroit, my jealousy was indeed piqued after hearing Paukert tell about the challenging yet breathtaking roads he encountered while driving the flamin' yellow Focus. You know, the sort of roads that, from above, look like carelessly drizzled lines of icing on the frosted Alpen caps.
Several months later, I found myself piloting a Focus ST just west of metro Detroit, pitting it head-to-head against one of Autoblog's perennial favorite cars, the Volkswagen GTI. It was fantastic - enough so that I fully stand behind my statement that in terms of balls-out performance, the Focus ST cannot be beat as far as today's front-wheel-drive hatches are concerned.
As automakers continue to find uses for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology, Ford of Europe has announced that it is developing a self-parking system for future use. More advanced than the Active Park Assist already offered in many Ford products, the new Fully Assisted Parking Aid can take full control of the vehicle and can navigate angled and perpendicular parking spots.
While today's Active Park Assist can only parallel park with the driver controlling the gas, brake and gear selection, Fully Assisted Parking Aid can operate steering, gas, brake and gear selection all while making sure the car is properly parked in the intended space. As with APA, the driver pushes a button to make the car look for a proper spot (at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour), and when an adequate space is located, the operator pushes another button (either inside the car or outside via remote control) for the car to park itself - the button must be pressed throughout the whole parking maneuver. Even though Ford says that the car can effect gear selections on its own, the system must still start from Neutral, and the automaker isn't saying whether the car can put itself into Park when done or put itself in Drive when the operator is ready to go.
Ford is also taking the opportunity to announce its new Obstacle Avoidance technology. This automated system is able to detect objects - including pedestrians - in the road, warn drivers of said objects and, if needed, stop and steer automatically to avoid hitting the obstacle. Both systems are still in the prototype phase, so there is no word as to when we could see either on a production vehicle.