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Auto blogSun, 28 Sep 2014 12:30:00 EST
The arrival of a new Ford Mustang means many things to many people, but not least of them is drag racers. The pony car has always been a mainstay of the drag strip, and the Ford Racing team aims to carry that reputation forward with this latest generation. So it cooked up a few basic modifications on three new 'Stangs and headed to the strips at US 131 and Milan Dragway to see what they could coax out of 'em.
Impressively, the 5.0-liter V8 Mustang GT with a few modifications (but no forced induction) managed to clock a quarter-mile time of 11.77 seconds. Another Mustang GT fitted with a supercharger clocked a blistering 10.97 seconds. But just as intriguing was the modified EcoBoost model that, with only four cylinders and 2.3 liters of displacement, still passed the gates in just 12.56 seconds - nearly half a second better than expected. This with modification limited to a new subframe, half-shaft, drive shaft loops, exhaust, engine calibration, slicks, roll cage and bucket seat. Well done, boys.
If you're going to build your own hot rod, you'll want to start with a '32 Ford 5-Window Coupe. Favored by American servicemen returning from World War II, the '32 Ford remains the very icon of the hot rod to this day. The trouble is there were only so many of them made in the first place, and finding one today can be a challenge. That's where reproduction models come in.
The aftermarket is replete with companies that will sell you a fiberglass body in the form of a '32 Ford coupe, but quality can be hit or miss. So to help meet demand among hot rod builders and enthusiasts, Ford has teamed up with United Pacific Industries to offer officially licensed body shells.
Announced at the SEMA show in November, the '32 Ford 5-Window Coupe body is made from stamped steel according to original specifications from original machinery where possible or reproduced machinery built to the same original specifications where necessary. The bodies are ready to accept vintage powertrains or crate motors from the Ford Racing catalog, and join the 9,000 other parts offered in the Ford Component Sales catalog - including similar reproduction bodies available for the 1965-70 Mustang and 1940 Ford Coupe. From there, the proverbial sky's the limit.
Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.
The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.
The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.