For Sale By:Private Seller
Drive Type: rear wheel
Model: Model T
Springfield, Missouri, United States
Feast your eyes on a masterpiece. This is Steve Strope's Ford Mustang in the classic fastback bodystyle, and as you'll notice, it sports the signature colors of Martini Racing, a livery that's as legendary as any Gulf Racing-styled car. But the red, white and blues of the Martini stripe down this Mustang's middle tell only a very small part of the story, in the latest video from Petrolicious.
What would you guess is under the hood? A 289-cubic-inch V8? Maybe a 302, or some absurd Ford crate engine? Maybe Strope went all Tokyo Drift - he's actually responsible for the "Hammer" Plymouth Satellite driven by Vin Diesel at the end of the movie - and found an RB26DETT to drop into the pony car? You'd be wrong on all counts.
This mad, mad man somehow finagled a Ford-Lotus engine from a 1966 Indianapolis 500 car into the Mustang's engine bay. Yes, a Mustang with an engine designed for a 160-mile-per-hour, open-wheel racecar. That's like someone in 40 years dropping McLaren's 2.4-liter V8 from the MP4-28 into a Scion FR-S. It'd just make a monster.
In testing the durability of its upcoming fullsize Transit vans, Ford has begun using autonomous robotic technology to pilot vehicles through the punishing courses of its Michigan Proving Grounds test facility. The autonomous tech allows Ford to run more durability tests in a single day than it could with human drivers, as well as create even more challenging tests that wouldn't be safe to run with a human behind the wheel.
The technology being used was developed by Utah-based Autonomous Solutions, and isn't quite like the totally autonomous vehicles being developed by companies like Google and Audi for use out in the real world. Rather, Ford's autonomous test vehicles follow a pre-programmed course and their position is tracked via GPS and cameras that are being monitored from a central control room. Though the route is predetermined, the robotic control module operates the steering, acceleration and braking to keep the vehicle on course as it drives over broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversize speed bumps.
Scroll down to watch the robotic drivers in action, though be warned that you're headed for disappointment if you expect to see a Centurion behind the wheel (nerd alert!). The setup looks more like a Mythbusters experiment than a scene from Battlestar Galactica.
Here's the thing about China: The folks buying cars there have a very different set of standards than shoppers in many other markets around the globe. While we all drool over hot metal with bold designs, and while we appreciate automakers going an extra step to inject even their cheapest offerings with aggressive and interesting cues, that sort of sheetmetal sex appeal doesn't always sell in the People's Republic. Case in point is Jaguar, which may be designing a more traditional-looking version of its XJ for the Chinese market, or more to the point of this story, Ford currently sells the less-exciting, last-generation Focus compact in China right alongside the new one.
So consider this new Shanghai-bound C-segment concept a preview of what's to come for that more traditional, budget-minded, less-sexy market. More proof of this pudding: Ford's even calling this concept the Escort - a nod to the Blue Oval's compact car days of yore, and a name that stirs up thoughts of basic, affordable transportation rather than great driving dynamics or bold design. "Customers in China described seeking a vehicle that is stylish - but not one that is arrogant or pretentious," Ford states. And this new Escort concept previews a possibility of providing exactly that for this rapidly expanding automotive market.
What you're looking at, then, is one of the most simple Ford designs we've seen of late, though it still incorporates all of the automaker's latest DNA. The signature hexagonal grille is front and center, flanked by attractive LED headlamps and chrome-rimmed foglamp housings. The entire car's design focuses on clean, smooth surfaces, with one strong character line flowing from front to back just below the beltline. We will say that the car looks decidedly more premium from the rear view, where narrow, horizontal taillamps with an LED accent give the car added visual width. Bland as it may be, it's a handsome little concept, though fear what would likely happen if all of the conceptual details get dumbed down for a production model.