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Auto blogTue, 25 Sep 2012
It's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.
When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.
It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.
The Detroit News is reporting that Ford will recall some 370,000 Crown Victoria (pictured), Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car vehicles from model years 2005 through 2011, for an issue regarding the lower intermediate steering shaft. 355,000 of the vehicles in question were sold in the US, with the other 15,000 sold in Canada.
The report indicates that corrosion of the lower intermediate steering shaft could cause a "loss of steering," presumably because of a partial or complete failure of the part. The report points out the dealers will inspect and replace the offending steering component for recalled cars, and may also secure a lower steering column bearing and replace the upper intermediate steering shaft as needed. The company is unaware of any reports of the faulty part causing any accidents or injuries.
Ford helpfully lists states in which corrosion is more likely to have taken place, mostly in the Snow Belt, as you might guess. Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia are listed.
You read the title right, we're talking about the Mercury Beaver XR-7. No, Mercury never officially built a car called the beaver. This is the brainchild of upstate New Yorker Chip Beam, who owns and operates Beaver Energy, LLC. It runs on gases created by wood pellets fermented in a 2,400-degree furnace and fed to a supercharged Ford 4.6-liter V8.
By all accounts, it gets down the road just fine, and has pretty close to full power. The best part is, you can grow the fuel yourself and avoid patronizing big oil, if that's your thing. The only drawback that we can see to the Mercury Beaver XR-7 is the PVC pipe jungle occupying the space that would be the trunk under normal circumstances.
Still, if you're willing to smell like a mountain man and look like a bad Back to the Future knockoff, this ride is right up your alley. Click past the jump to see Translogic's take on this modified Merc.