Sunday, July 31, 2005
Some very good friends of mine, joined the ranks of happy Ford owners this weekend. They are avid car enthusiasts who have quite a collection of new and classic cars in their stable. But now they have seen the light and bough this very nice 69 Thunderbird, complete with 320 horse 429 V-8 ! This car is in surprisingly good shape and they will enjoy this car for many years.
These are the type of people who do things right, driving their classic cars to shows and cruises and really enjoying them. Members of different car clubs, they also autocross their newer cars and are not afraid to drive a classic on day trips. This car was lucky enough to find a happy home where it will be cared for and driven.
Good luck with the T-Bird !
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I found this article linked on BlueOvalNews it's from Autoextremists.com. Peter DeLorenzo wants to know what happened to Ford. He longs for the days of Total Performance and inovative design. He makes some good points, although I have stated before that I feel the money spent on many forms of racing does not payback in sales. He seems as out of touch with reality as he claims Ford is. He's right, that Ford needs to create buzz for themselves. But Le Mans and Indy racing are not what's going to do that. What good is that kind of "buzz" if you don't have interesting products to sell?
I have posted pictures here of the South American Ford EcoSport and the Australian Ford Falcon GT, to ilustrate that Ford can still create inovative and spirited vehicles, besides the new Mustang. I truly hope the Fusion does well, as it's such an important car for Ford's survival in the US.
Ford has had some interesting concepts that I've posted pictures of here, including the 427, Mark X, and Bronco, and they have some great product that they sell in foreign markets, like the Focus, Mondeo, Falcon and EcoSport/Fusion as well as the Fiesta and Ka.
The last truly inovative American Ford before the retro Mustang was the first Taurus, a car that carried Ford through the 80's and into the 90's. Think about it, besides trucks and Mustangs, what exciting has come out of Ford in the last 10 years.
Ford needs a better idea, but flushing money down the drain in high dollar racing series isn't the answer. New inovative product, that's got quality and staying power is. The new Fusion/Milan/Zephyr will be a make or break car for Ford.
Ford also needs to update or improve some staple items, like the Crown Victoria and Ranger. The F series trucks are great, but will they be enough to carry the company. Even with Mustang selling 190,000 units, that's not enough. Ford needs to sell over 3 million cars a year in the US. The current crop of dull uninterestng cars isn't doing it.
Ford needs to inject some style and power into their lineup and get on the ball with a rear wheel drive model to compete with Chrysler, the imports and possible future GM offerings.
So I was reading on BlueOvalNews and AutoBlog, that Ford will now expand SVT by allowing all their dealers sell SVT models. There are good points and bad points to this. Previously, only dealers who passed SVT certification for sales and service proficiency could sell SVT models. Now any dealer will be allowed to seel SVT. The down side, is that dealers and salesmen that aren't up to spec will be handling your order and their service departments may not be up to SVT standards. The up side is that it will be easier for you to get an SVT model and maybe even negotiate a better price. One thing about the previous system is that there were only about 600 SVT dealers around the country, so they weren't competing with all Ford dealers. Now over 3,000 dealers will have acess to SVT models and they will have to compete for sales.
What do you think?
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
This is the sport version of the Latin American Ford EcoSport mini SUV. Available with front or four wheel drive and a 1.4L I-4 this could be a good idea for Ford. Built on the same platforme as the European Ford Fusion, with Fiesta mechanicals.
OK, so I finally got my copy of The Chase is on! the DVD movie from Australia featuring Ford Falcon GTs as the stars. I had a bit of a problem with the DVD playing in my living room player, but it plays fine on my computer DVD player. Buyer beware when buying DVDs from outside the US.
Overall, I liked it, it's not Bullit, but it's fun. The Australian Fords are fantastic. There's one scene with the red Falcon GT doing a burnout that is so cool The sound of these beast are amazing. The two classic Falcons are also very nice.
There were some minor points that I wasn't crazy about (the Holdens getting so much screen time) and the making of section was not very informative, but still for the price it's a piece of Australian car culture available in the mail.
if any of my Australian readers have seen this movie, please let me know.
Am I the only fan of this concept? Let me know what you think. This handsome convertible is basically a stretched Thunderbird with styling cues from classic Lincolns of the 60's. Just think of it a rear wheel drive V-8 powered Lincoln droptop. Ford should put a supercharged 4.0 in this putting out over 300 hp. GM and Chrysler don't have anything that could compete.
The Crossfire SRT6 is too small and quirky and the new Sebring replacement is up in the air. Chrysler has shown no interest in the ASC Helios concept. GM has nothing like this in the pipeline that I've heard of.
What do you think?
TheAutoProphet is always interesting, although posting has been slow for him this week.
CarsCarsCars is a great blog and while I don't always agree with him, I visit everyday.
TheAutoMuse is another interesting read, more on the legislative end but informative none the less.
Randall over at AutoBlog has some interesting posts, as do some of the other fellows. This is a must check site, that I visit several times a day.
CarPundit's posts are not purely automotive, but always amusing.
Of course, no day would be complete without checking BlueOvalNews and TheMustangSource. Both are major sources for my posting.
Check them out, all are good reads. There are tons of interesting links on the next page, check them out. www.forddreamlinks.blogspot.com
I read on BlueOvalNews about this today. It really didn't surprise me, but felt I would point it out to all of you. Now the question is this, how can Ford come up with a design that competes well overseas, but not here? Don't give me the old crap about cars being different in Europe, because the Japanese sell, the same models here as they do in Europe for the most part. And besides, with the increasing price of Gasoline, maybe we should have more fuel efficient cars here too.
Above are the Ford Mondeo Estate (station wagon) and the New Focus. Both could sell here and do a lot to help Ford's image. I'm not saying import them, I'm saying build them here for this market.
2/3 of Ford's profits are from overseas markets, where they compete head to head and do well.
Monday, July 25, 2005
The Fairlane concept
Haven't heard much about the possability of Ford bringing out a new rear wheel drive sedan to compete with Chrysler's LH platform. Has anyone heard anything, that they care to share with us?
I had posted about rumors of the 427 and Continental concepts possibly being brought out with V-8 and rear wheel drive.
I'd like to hear what you think about these concpets and if they should be brought to market.
I've been getting some decent responses from some readers, let's hear what Tom, Bob, Pete, Dave, Chris , the AutoMuse and anyone else has to say.
Who knows, maybe Ford will read your comments.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Windveil Blue is the color of choice, but do I get the GT or the Pony?
The Pony has the wheels I want (which are base on GT) and the grille I like better (which I'm sure I could swap onto a GT at a later date) But do I pay the extra $4000 for a V-8 or play it safe with slightly better fuel economy and a lower price?
I'm asking any and all readers to comment. Help me with a tough decision.
This is a very handsome car, read his comments below;
I drive a current model Ford Falcon XR6. I live in Australia where the car was designed and built. It is in a deep yellow called Rapid by the company. It is a fantastic car to drive. Despite having excellent sports suspension, the ride is very gentle on the human body. The motor is amazing - so powerful. It is actually the same motor used in the standard sedan. The four speed auto with sequential shift is efficient and smooth. The build quality is excellent as is the equipment list. It comes with fog lights, skirts, rear wing, alloy wheels, cd stereo, electric windows, keyless entry, auto lights, electric driver's seat, cruise control, map lights etc. It is very quiet in operation and very comfortable. I am very happy to own my dream car at last!
It's always great to hear that type of enthusiasm about someone's car. Peter, good luck with your Fantastic Falcon and if you like send a picture of your car to me and I will post it here.
For that matter, if any reader is interested in having pictures of their Ford or Ford Partner car posted here, please send me pics and a brief description of your ride. JPEG files are preffered, but any photo file including GIF can be worked with.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
US automakers control less than half of the market share in the US. Not a surprise to anyone I'm sure. And US Automakers sell very few cars overseas (Ford being an exception, but that will be clearer later.) Now ask yourself why the later is true. Is it because the US automakers can't build quality vehicles? I don't think so.
The reason are high taxes or tarrifs on imported vehicles. A Corvette or Mustang in Japan would be as expensive as a Ferarri here. The same goes for many countries. The only reason Ford sells so many F Series trucks world wide, is because they're built locally. Did you think Ford exported all those F Series from the US?
If you look at my archives, you will see posts about South American Fords, such as the Falcon which sold in Argentina mostly unchanged until 1991 and the Galaxie that sold in Brazil until the 80's. Many countries have tarrifs or high taxes on imported cars. One way around this has been to build locally in these markets, such as Ford has done.
Now with proposed Trade Agreements with Thailand, there is a possability of a flood of trucks from Japanese manufacturers who build locally in Thailand. An end run around tarrifs and taxes that are in place on both sides.
As Americans, we buy cars because of price, economy and value. But shouldn't we also think about our own economy? If we all buy cars and trucks made in Asia then much of our manufacturing industry will eventually colapse. Now maybe you don't work in manufacturing and don't care what happens to some "lazy" UAW worker. Well shame on you, for not seeing the bigger picture. If all the people that work in manufacturing loose their jobs, then all of us suffer. Yep all of us, from Movie Stars and Musicians down to the clerk at Shoprite and A&P.
Autoworkers are people, who spend money on movies, music, food, houses and clothing. It's bad enough that half of what we buy comes from Asia now (check the labels on your clothes and electronics) Do we need to cripple our own economy?
Japanese consumers buy Japanese cars, because they want to keep their economy strong. Same for other goods. Shouldn't we buy with this in mind?
I buy American, for several reasons, quality is one of them, common sense is another. So when idiots call trade agreements and tarrifs protectionism, maybe it's something worth protecting, like an American standard of living and healthy economy. If you export all the jobs and import al the goods, who's going to have a job to pay for all of this? We can't all work at WalMart !!
Several readers have commented on the rarity of the new Mustang GT and the pricing of same. The situation is being compared to the Thunderbird Fiasco, that had dealers charging hefty premiums over the MSRP. I'm not here to defend Ford, but it should come as no surprise to Mustang Fans that this is happening. There are several reasons;
Mustangs have traditionally been sold in a 33% GT and 66% V-6 mix. Just look at prodcution numbers for the last few years (where available) and this will be clear. Many Mustangs over the years have been sold to rental fleets is part of the reason. Another factor is the CAFE or Corporate Average Fuel Economy ratings, in an effort to comply with these regulations, V-6 models have outnumbered V-8 models for years.
Now with a completely new model Ford should have anticipated a higher demand for the GT model this year, but they underestimated demand and had to increase production by about 40%. from 140,000 to about 190,000 units. Still with the 33/66 mix of GT and V-6.
This will be the best year for Mustang sales since 2000, when 215,000 units were sold. And in 2000 how many of those 215,000 were V-8 models (Cobra and GT) Just about 60,000 units or 33%.
I have no doubt that dealers are not negotiating prices on Mustangs. It's been a while since a Ford dealer has had a car that they didn't have to discount. Besides full size trucks, Ford has been slipping. Now with new models coming in that may change. But look at the current discount frenzy and then ask yourself, "If I were a dealer, wouldn't I charge a premium or full price for any car I could?" Of course you would.
This type of price policy may carry over into 2006, that's highly likely. But that's because the car is hot, we all want it. I'm sure when the new SVT Shelby GT500 comes out, dealers will be bending customers over the barrel for every one of them. I don't think it will continue past 2006 and Mustang prices will have to normalize and be flexible.
I don't think it's right, that loyal customers should be charged premiums, but I can understand the motivation. Hell, when you have to give away a computer to sell a Focus and Home Depot discounts to sell trucks, it only makes sense not to deal on a car that sells itself.
Mustang GT production for 2005 will be near 60,000 and V-6 will be closer to 130,000. Will you be one of those lucky 60,000? Don't expect numbers to change much next year either.
This could be the final nail in the US manufacturing coffin. The real question is how does this benefit the US?
If this legislation passes, get ready for a flood of cheap Thai trucks and massive layoffs around the country.
Monday, July 18, 2005
It seems that they've sold just over 40,000 units and expected to sell closer to 100,000.
This combined with new products coming out soon, are the reasons Ford is bailing on a great vehicle. Surviving as a Mercury will mean that a good platform will be availalbe, but in lower numbers.
Several readers (Mustang Mike and TommyO) have commented on dealers jacking up the price of Mustang GT's and concerns that Ford is intentionally keeping supplies low to keep prices inflated. I have no doubt that dealers, who have had to drop prices on every other model are really taking advantage of Mustang buyers. When time allows, I will check the break down of models over the last few years and post then here. With fuel prices being so high and of course being concerned about CAFE numbers, Ford had been wise to set the mix at 35%-65% for V-6-V-8 product mix. But like I said, when I get a few moments to research more, will post more.
Both readers site the example of the Thunderbird, which dealers had a field day jacking up prices. They may have a point, only time will tell.
A correction to an earlier post; I had posted that Volvo's new convertible model based on the european Focus Vignale, was the C40. I was mistaken, it's the C70.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I anticipate more posts this upcomming week. Be patient.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
A reader requested pictures of the new 2006 Ford Explorer's front end. This is the picture that I ran last month. They had commented that a friend didn't like the new look. Personally it seems fine to me, a little too much like Audi's new front end, but not ugly.
If any other readers have requests or questions, please leave a comment or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to research any question in a timely manner. And if I can locate a picture you're looking for I will post also.
Monday, July 11, 2005
But it's been a very busy couple of days and there are things that have to come before the blog, unfortunately.
So I'll just give you some quick, Ford/Blog related stuff and then sign off.
First, check the comments below to see one Ford Employee's CC'd email to Employees concerning the Employee Incentive program and the new Employee Discount for Everyone.
Clears up my questions and maybe yours.
Second, my copies of the Australian film "The Chase is On" arrived and I will be reviewing it here soon. I apprciate Cam's help in straightening out the problem. I'm looking forward to seeing the film and letting you know about it.
Last, I happened to stop by a local Ford dealer and was surprised that inside on the floor was a left over 2004 Ranger Edge extra cab with the Tremor package. The original price was nearly $27, 000 and the red tag had the price at $19,795 . I asked the salesman what the story was with this, since 2006 models would be coming soon enough, how did this one not get sold. He was honest and pointed out that because of the huge Pioneer subwoofer assembly sitting behind the seats, most of the space in the extra cab was wasted. He suggested that if the buyer wanted he could remove the speaker box easy enough, but there were no jump seats. Nice truck, but with the current Employee Discount sale and the fact that it's an 04, I have a feeling this one will be sitting a while and that price will have to drop more before someone buys it.
Be back to posting soon,
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Ford and Daimler Chrysler have now anounced "Employee Discount" plans similar to GM.
GM is doing very well with their Employee Discount program and now everybody's doing it.
This item has been widely reported online, so I'm not sure who to "Hat Tip" on this one So I think I'll mention that BlueOvalNews and AutoBlog talked about it in more detail.
My purpose is not to inform you about this, but to pose this question. Now that Ford has this new program of "Employee Discounts", is the earlier program of actual employees handing out PIN numbers still active?
The reason I ask is this, the Mustang and Escape Hybrid are exluded from this new program which expires August 1st. The program I had discussed and recieved an offer from a generous Ford employee to use one of their PIN's did not exclude these models and ran out September 30th.
FordDirect.Com and local dealer Internet Sales departments are sending out emails to previous customers offering them this new discount program.
I could have gotten my Mustang with the PIN, but not this way. Could a Ford employee or someone that knows for sure email me at email@example.com to let me kow?
Or just comment on this post.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Many are quiet about the impending entry of the Chinese into our market in regards to what the domestic manufacturers should do. GM has their Aveo a rebadged Suzuki or Daewoo, to compete with the Chinese and Korean cars at the bottom of the market. But the cheapest and smallest Ford is the Focus. Chrysler seems to think they don't need anything below the Neon, and with it's replacement the Caliber they seem to abandon the lower end of the market segment alltogether. Ford should not be so foolish.
In years past the Domestic Manufacturers have left the entry level market. This allowed the Japanese to really take off in the 70's and 80's, and eventually they challenged the big three in the mid-size market. Next came the Koreans and even the Japanese seemed to cede this entry level market. Now the Japanese are entrenched in Mid-size cars, SUVs, Compact Cars, Luxury and Compact/Mid-size trucks. Now with their sites set on Full Size trucks. Korea is not to be left out here either, with Hyundai building a new plant in Michigan for the Sonata, a car that is getting favorable comparison to Japanese and American mid-size cars. Haven't the Big Three learned that you can't abandon any segment of the market? Apparently not. Next on deck to compete are the Chinese, and they will flood the market with cheap entry level cars at first, but their plan is to compete with mid-size cars and SUVs also. It may not happen overnight, but before anyone realizes it they could be everywhere.
I've pointed out this one before, the EcoSport mini SUV based on Fiesta mechanicals with optional 4 wheel drive. With the return of Kia's Sportage and the impending arrival of the Chinese products, wouldn't this be a good low cost option at your local Ford dealer? I love the Escape, it's a quality vehicle, but add just a few options and it gets very close to $30k. The EcoSport is a natural to cover the lower end of SUVs. Nobody criticizes Toyota for having every flavor of SUV covered, maybe Ford could learn a lesson here.
Ford Ikon, sold in Asia, Africa and South America. Built, I believe on last generation Fiesta mechanicals. Is one option Ford has to compete with the Korean and soon Chinese imports. With the prices of cars like the Focus and Honda's Civic being closer to $20k with options, the entry level cars need to be looked at again. Like the Festiva and Aspire before, this could give Ford something entry level.
This or even the Mazda 1 series or European Ford Fiesta, is needed to give Ford that entry level offering. An economical quality built car that doesn't break the bank, something that will create a younger customer base that would trade up to other Ford products as they become more affluent. Isn't that a basic principal in Marketing?
Isn't an economical quality vehicle priced so it's acessable what helped Ford become an iconic name? Remember the Model T? The car that put the world on wheels.
Found the pic and story on Jalpnik, above link is to orginal Edmund's article. Ford SVT and FRPP (Ford Racing Performance Parts) came together to show us what could be done with a 2003-2004 SVT Cobra and some of their hot parts. Pumping the original 390hp up to 690hp. There's a very good video on the Edmund's page and more pictures. Who needs a Viper or Z06 Vette?
The new Focus, which we don't get here, except as a Mazda or Volvo. For 2005, the world got a new Ford Focus and platform called C-1, the world that is except the United States(North American market) and it was rumored China. The most common reason I had heard for the exception in the US market, was cost. It was said in order to keep the US Focus profitable they would just freshen the Focus sheetmetal and dashboard. I like many accepted this explination.
But over the last few months I've been bombarded with news of how great the new Focus is and how well recieved it is in Europe. Now the Focus is a big deal for Ford around the world. Here it is seen as a compact car, Ford's entry level vehicle. But elsewhere, this is Ford's bread and butter.
Now it should not be news to anyone who reads the automotive press and various web sources for automotive news, that the new platform C-1 is shared with Ford partners including Volvo and Mazda. That is currently the only way to experience the C-1 platform in the US. As the Volvo S-40/V-50 and Mazda 3. This platform is considered so good in fact that a stretched version called C-Plus will underpin more Ford and partner vehicles in Europe, these partners shunning the already larger CD-3 platform that is the basis for the Mazda 6 and it's clones (Fusion, Milan, Zephyr, CrosSport, Aviator and possibly Fairlane) in favor of the C-Plus.
The C-Plus will be expanded into Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles over the next few years.
The Mazda 3 and Volvo S-40/V-50 have recieved praise for their new chassis and are selling well in their respective market segment.
And now with news that Ford will sell the all new Focus in China (building a plant there for the purpose) I can no longer accept this hollow excuse for Ford not bringing this chassis to the US (North American) market.
Ford's own press releases for the Fusion, speak of how important that car is, saying that they loose 10,000 Focus buyers to foreign competitors because they don't have the propper Mid-size car for them to move up to. While this may be true, I wonder how many people are not buying the Focus because it has become stale?
The Mazda 3 is selling well and is not upmarket from a Focus, how can Ford sell this at a profit and not a new Focus? I'm not buying the excuse any longer.
Ford doesn't seem to be trying in some of their segments. I've talked before about how they have abandoned the Ranger and it's lucrative compact/mid-size market. They let the Taurus become so bland and unappealing to the point that they needed two replacements for it and had to retire the name. Could the same thing happen to the Focus here?
Ford needs to wake up and smell the coffee, it's not just trucks and SUVs that keep a company going. The Focus had done a great deal for Ford around the world. And with the new Chevy Cobalt and a new Honda Civic coming soon, is Ford going to throw in the towel in the compact market like they have in the compact truck and how they unintentionally did in the mid-size sedan market?
The Fusion is a make or break car for them this is true, but they need to work across the brand to have inovative fresh product. This new Focus should be available in the US as a Ford.
It's bad enough that the new Ford Focus Vignale will only come here as the new Volvo C-40. What is Ford thinking?
And now with the demise of the SVT Focus, Ford has abandoned the "Hot Hatch" segment. GM has the new Cobalt SS Superchared and Saturn Ion Redline, Honda of course has the Civic Si and a rumored Coupe version on the way. The Dodge SRT/4 is coming to the end of it's life, but I'm sure Dodge will have a high performance version of it's replacement the Caliber. Ford's best performer is the 150 hp Focus going against 170 for the Civic, 205 For the Chevy and Saturn and 230 for the dodge. I almost forgot the 227 hp Subaru WRX and it's 300hp STI variant.
The Focus even without the SVT was the darling of the Tuner world. Now it is overshadowed by many especially GM's Cobalt/Ion twins. In Europe there is speculation of an all wheel drive 320 hp Focus RS coming soon. That car could spank the WRS STI and the Mitsu Evo. Why can't we get this? Price, the WRX and EVO are over $30,000 each so the RS could be priced in a profitable range. Is it because Ford doesn't want a Focus with more power than the Mustang GT? Give the Mustang more power.
Ford could dominate the Compact segment with this new C-1 Focus. Bring it here now!!!!!
Saturday, July 02, 2005
I was reading on AutoBlog that TopGear, the BBC automotive series was going to be on the Discovery channel tonight at 6pm and it got me thinking. Saturdays and Sundays are my days off and I spend a good part of them watching Spike TV's PowerBlock and Speed Channel's Castrol Engine Block. I've always watched any TV show about cars, just like many of you.
So I wanted to list the ones I've seen and comment on them in no particular order. Some have been taken off the air and others should be.
Autoline Detroit airs on Sunday mornings on Speed, this show is a discussion show where industry insiders and automotive journalists discuss new car releases, future models, automotive trends and tchnology and key people in the industry. It can be a little dry sometimes, but overall a very informative show and one I look forward to.
AutoWeek, no longer on the air, but was on Speed and was absolutely one of the best on.
Like the magazine, I looked forward to this show weekly and was driven nuts, by Speed constantly shifting it around. It was a big mistake to let this one go.
MotorWeek, originally aired on PBS and produced by a Maryland Public Telivision Station. This show carried me through the 80's and 90's the dark ages of automotive television. It was on Speed channel for a while, but I no longer see it there. That's a shame, this was the best TV show on in America hands down. Their automotive news and reviews were well done and Craig Singhaus' pieces were always interesting.
Car and Driver Television airs on Spike as part of their PowerBlock. Now that AutoWeek and MotorWeek are not around, this is the best Car news show on. They obviously have a bias toward Honda and BMW, much like the magazine, but they are still heads above the rest.
Fifth Gear/ TopGear. This show, which debuted on Discovery this week as a one hour show, was originally a half hour show. I first caught this on the Internet, after my brother told me about it and then it aired on Speed for a while as Fifth Gear. Usually we see them months after their original air date on BBC, but still a refreshing and interesting show. I've noticed the latest edition has an all new staff, that's a shame, as I always looked forward to Tiff's test drives. But I will watch this new version and give it a chance.
My Classic Car with Dennis Gage, is a great show. I wish Dennis would clip that mustache, but aside from that, no complaints. I first caught this show on PBS and then it moved to Speed. It takes quite a while for new episodes to air, but it's worth the wait to see the coverage of different events and rides in rare classics.
Two Guys Garage on Speed. This show with Sam Memolo was originally called Shade Tree Mechanic and again aired on PBS when I first saw it. There are now three guys, but they haven't changed the name. I enjoy this show, for it's lack of hype and laid back pace.
Popular Hot Rodding TV, from Spike TV, when it was called TNN or The Nashville Network, with Cam and Dean. This was crap plain and simple. Too much goofing off between the boys and not enough cars. I didn't want to watch these two fools race motorized bar stools. Good move canceling this one.
Hot Rod TV, with Dave McClenon, didn't last long after reclaiming the name from the guys at Horsepower TV. It wasn't horrible, but how many camaros can you drool over guys. Another one not many will miss.
Horsepower TV, formerly Hot Rod TV on Spike, started in the early days of TNN also. In the begining they should have called it Chevelle TV, but they've learned to balance the show. They have features on Chevy, Ford, Mopar and even the ocassional Honda. This show has come a long way and the guys Joe and Chuck have learned from the boys of PHR TV to play down the jokes.
Trucks, also on Spike and a veteran of the TNN days, this show started out with two guys, Stacy David the mechanic and the prety boy. But after the first season they got wise and dumped the other guy and let the Good Ole Boy have his way. This guy can come across a little country sometimes, but what the hell, they have some interesting projects from all the major manufacturers and alot of good tech tips.
Chop Cut Rebuild or CCR TV, thank god this stinking pile is off the air. I don't know who thought this one up, but it was for people suffering ADD not for car guys. They would have several teams working on different project vehicles ranging from a restoration of George Barris' SuperVan to a Chevelle project or a Ford Ranger rebuild. The cars weren't that disinteresting, it was the way it was edited and the fact that with so many projects going on it was hard to follow any one to completion. Bad idea terrible host.
Rides on TLC with Jason Priestly is one I can take or leave. Each show is a little different. Sometimes they will profile a car or a person and other times they will look at a facet of automotive culture. They've done shows on drifting and Rat Rods as well as following Chris Titus on the Hot Rod Power Tour. They've done pieces on Ford's Cobra and GR-1 as well as the GT and Multimatic Grand Am Mustang. It's not the worst on TV and I was surprised at Jason Priestly. Not bad, I'll keep watching this one.
Pimp My Ride on MTV. Now you may be shocked to hear that I like this one. I'm not fan of Xibit, never heard of him before this show. But it can be fun and it's only a half hour.
Unique Whips on Speed. This show which follows the crew at Unique Automotive from Long Island as they customize cars for recording artist and sports figures is mostly a dud. They don't customize much, unless putting a speaker box and a set of 22's on an Escalade is custom.
You can tell they ham it up for the camera too much and Will Castro doesn't lift a finger in the shop except to yell at the crew and suck up to the stars. I pass on this one.
Car Crazy with Barry Maguire on Speed. This one is a snorer. But hell if I had as much money as him, they'd let me talk too.
Xtreme 4X4 is a new one to the PowerBlock on Spike and looks promising. They have a guy and girl team, very Gen Y working on off road rigs. Sometimes a Ford, sometimes not, but they do some interesting builds and have cool footage of rock crawling competitions.
Overhaulin on TLC. While I think Chip Foose is a talented guy, I could do without all of the strained gags on the owners. Chip build cars and stop putting on wigs and fake teeth. It's not the best of automotive TV, but I do watch. Very Chevy dominated which can be a shame, but overall worth the look.
Ride with Funkmaster Flex is on Spike TV on Saturday nights. I'm not a big fan of the Hip Hop culture, but if there isn't anything else on I will watch this. He's had some interesting shows and interviews. He interviewed Carol Shelby inside his Los Angeles facility with all of those cool cars in the background and didn't run over with the camera. Well, he's a professional and was probably in awe of Shelby. One interesting factor for me, is that Funk lives locally and sometimes films pieces around here. I frequently see some his private cars being trucked around here for work, like his Starsky and Hutch Torino and 66 Impala. Again, much like Pimp my Ride, I watch it, even if it isn't directed towards old guys like me.
American Muscle Car also on Speed is an interesting show that hilights manufacturers or models from the Muscle Car era. Most of the shows are reruns, but still worth a look.
Full Throttle on the History Channel pits two teams against each other modifying and then racing identical or closely matched cars. They did and episode featuring a Ranchero against an El Camino and another with Pacer Vs Gremlin. I remember these guys, the twins from another show that went off the air from Spike, but can't remember the name. They specialize in tuner cars and have their own shop in California called Twins Turbo. If anyone remembers the name, let me know.
AutoManiac with Bill Goldberg the former wrestler. I've only seen 2 episodes of this show, so it's a little premature to rip into it, but let's give it some time.
Automobile on History channel. This was a very good series telling the histroy of a company or model of car. Very well done, but haven't seen any new episodes in years.
Dream Car Garage, is a Canadian import show on Speed. They show restoration and upgrades to classic cars, very often Muscle Cars. Not one of my favorites, but well done.
Sport Car Revolution, done by the same crew and host of Dream Car focuses on more modern cars, both American and Foreign and is actually becoming one of my favorite shows. Sean Highland of Mod Motor Fame is heavily featured in the show. They currently are working on a couple of Mustangs and the show is very well done.
Tuner Transformation is another Canadian import, that I'm glad to see off the air.
They would get a car from someone and with an unknown budget modify it and surprise the owner. Crap pure and simple. Hell their experts farmed out much of the work anyway.
Nopi Tunervision is your show if you are 14 . I know it's on Speed now, but don't know if it might have been on another channel origianlly. It's the Fast and the Furious with a beauty contest. Too much X-Box and foam dancing for my old eyes.
Pinks , this one's brand spanking new, just saw the replay of premier episode and what a total piece of crap. The premise is interesting, they get two racers to put up the "pink slips" of their cars and race, winner taking home both cars. The commerical was cool, but the reality was not.
I don't know where they got this guy that hosts, but he sounds more like the host of Survivor than a car guy. The two drivers sign over the registration of their cars to the show before hand so they can't back out, then they meet and negotiate handicaps for the race. If you haven't seen this turd, don't bother. I've read online that the producers want to expand this beyond cars to include motorcycles, boats and what ever they can get. Maybe that's because not many are willing to loose their cars or maybe it's because the producers aren't really bright. I don't know, I don't care.
American Hot Rod which shows the inner workings of Boyd Coddington's Hot Rod Shop seemed very promising when it started, but degraded into more of a soap opera than a car show. If Boyd Coddington's shop realy runs like this, I wonder how they stay in business. And if he says this car could make or break him one more time, I may throw up. This man was the king of Hot Rods and Customs, I hope they're paying him big bucks to look like a fool The frequent trips to Go Cart tracks and ammusment parks to help his crew recover their spirit could be avoided if they managed the shop better and kicked out the cameras.
Barret Jackson's Car Search I caught the first season of this and it wasn't terrible, but I don't think it should come back. The premise is several teams search for classic cars to auction at Barret Jackson for a profit to be given to charity. They have a limited budget and must consider trends in the marketplace as well as the condition and possible value of the cars they attempt to buy. If they can't get the car cheep and turn it around with little work for a fair proffit it doesn't work. The team that gets the largest proffit from their sales wins. If it comes back for a second season, I'll watch, but if it doesn't I won't miss it.
If anyone can think of an automotive show I've missed let me know and give me your views of it.
I have left out Motorcycle shows such as Orange County Choppers and Texas Hardtails on purpose. Besides, one is fake and the other has more to do with anger management than bikes.
I know it's not Ford specific, but there are enough Fords featured on many of the shows to justify the topic.
Monster Garage, How I could have left this one off the list I don't know. This isn't the worst Car show on TV, but it's hard to classify. They're not really customizing cars and you don't learn much useful. But it is entertaining and it does involve cars. I guess inspired by the BBC series (via TLC) Junkyard Wars, the idea is to take a car and make it into something else. Like when they took a Mustang and turned it into a Lawnmower or the Explorer into a Garbage truck.
It's better than some, but hard to take seriously. I have to admit I watch it, but I don't feel that should be held against me.
Junkyard Wars, is on the edge of Car shows, they don't always deal with Cars intentionally. The idea is for teams to compete building some vehicle or device using nothing but what they can find in a surounding junk yard. Another entertaining show, but is it for Car guys?
Thanks to Bob and Kevin for reminding me about Monster Garage. If anyone thinks of others I've missed comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, July 01, 2005
Car and Driver gets a first drive of the SVT Shelby Mustang. Click the link to their site. They don't get to beat on it too much, but interesting article just the same
Forbe's magazine says that Ford is going to kill the FreeStyle at the end of 2007.
I found this article at BlueOvalNews. The writer claims that in order to save Mercury Ford will kill the FreeStyle in favor of the Meta One crossover from Mercury.
I think the reporter is mistaken, or premature. The FreeStyle has been out only a few months and shows too much promise to be killed. I know the FreeStar mini van is going bye bye, but hope the FreeStyle will not go.
Some speculate that the author may have the two confused, but from the article it doesn't seem so. Let's hope that this is not true.
Mercury certainly needs some help, but not at the expense of this fine Ford.
a 1957 Ford 2 door coupe, much like the one my parents left on their honeymoon in.
Today July 1st is my mom's birthday and in honor of her, and inspired by an email I recieved from her, here is a picture and link to a site dedicated to 1957 Fords.
My mom and dad were for the most part Ford people too. As I said they drove away on their honeymoon in a 1957 Ford and the car I first remember riding in as a child was a 1963 Ford Fairlane. Over the years my parents owned many cars, many of them Ford. Maybe that's where I get my love of the brand.