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Auto blogTue, 25 Jun 2013 13:31:00 EST
The Ford Mustang that we all know and love made major waves in the auto industry way back in 1964 by offering style and reasonable pricing with optional V8 power. Its long hood and short rear deck, combined with a low-slung and sporty cockpit, made a lasting impression in the minds of consumers and car designers alike, and its basic shape has so endured the test of time that it's still in use today.
This being the case, you may be interested to know that the first Mustang of 1964.5 wasn't actually the first Mustang at all, being preceded by a concept car that made its public debut in 1962. This concept was nothing like the car that would eventually make it into production, with a radical wedge shape and a small V4 engine sitting behind the car's two occupants, driving the rear wheels. In other words, the conceptual Mustang was pretty much the complete opposite of the production Mustang besides the name.
Ford has kindly decided go through its massive archive to bring the original Mustang concept back into the public eye. The company goes so far as to pose this question to fans of the pony car: "Should we borrow a few of these style elements for the next iteration of the Mustang?" Check out our image gallery above and then let 'em know what you think in the Comments below.
The Detroit News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially closed its investigations into 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2004-2005 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey models. The separate probes found no issues that pose safety concerns. NHTSA began investigating certain Grand Cherokee SUVs over complaints that power steering hoses could detach during operation, thereby increasing the risk of a vehicle fire. Of the 24 reports of failure, none alleged smoke or fire in the engine bay, and Chrysler has since modified the power steering cooler assembly to reduce the likelihood of the failure.
Meanwhile, certain Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles garnered a government probe after receiving complaints that the models were equipped with faulty scissor jacks. The agency had received six reports of the jacks failing or causing injuries, including one incident that resulted in a fatality. But NHTSA says the jack failure rate is similar to those found in other vehicles. In those six cases, the government agency found the jacks were being used for something other than changing a tire, and investigators could not determine whether the emergency brake was set or the rear tires were properly chocked.
Ford is making a big bet on aluminum with its new 2015 F-150, and it's possible that the decision will hurt the company financially, at least in the short term. After earning a record $8.6 billion in 2013, the Blue Oval does not expect to set another record in 2014. According to Automotive News, that's "largely attributable to F Series," says Bob Shanks, Ford's Chief Financial Officer.
To retool for the new F-150, Ford will idle its Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan for 11 weeks and the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri for 2 weeks. "3 of the 13 overall weeks occur during what normally is our summer shutdown timeframe," said Mike Levine, Ford Trucks Communication Manager, in an email to Autoblog. The extra 10 weeks will be preparing for the more aluminum-intensive construction for the trucks and will mean over 2 months of no F-150s being made. For comparison's sake, Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne just confirmed that the 200 plant in Sterling Heights, MI will be down for 30 days to retool for the new model, but obviously there are many more F-150 production variables than for the midsize sedan.
Levine notes that Ford is already running three shifts at both plants, and says the automaker has plans to ensure that there is adequate supply of the full-size pickups during the retooling process. The company does not want to suffer a shortage of the vehicle that accounted for 31-percent of its 2013 US sales and an even bigger percentage of its profits.