Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Going out of town for a few days R&R, in Vegas, posts to resume Tues or Wed of next week

I won't be posting for a few days, I'm going to Las Vegas for a little R&R. Daddy needs a new Mustang!!!!!!!!!

Wish me luck, and I'll be back next week.

Someone has too much time on their hands

Now, we've all tried to do this, but someone has actually created a databse of cars in movies.
I myself have emailied friends (fellow gearheads) and asked them to list the best car movies. And I often find myself watching a movie and focusing on the car, rather than the story, did anybody else notice that the flying car in the last Harry Potter was a Ford Anglia?

But this is so cool, you have to check the site. I found this on Jalpnik, another reason it's a site I check on a daily basis.

Spyphotos of Euro Focus Vignale Convertible

Ford is spotted driving test mules of Euor Ford Focus Vignale Convertible.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MPH Online has spyphotos of new Volvo C30

The guys over at MPH Online have the scoop again with the first spyphotos I've seen of the new Volvo C30. Based on the Euro Ford Focus platform, and little brother to the S40 above. I can't post the spyphotos here, so instead I've posted photos of platform siblings. Take the nose of the above S40 and put it on the Focus below, now you have the C30 Click the link, and then come back and listen to me cry for a bit.
And I thought we wouldn't get the Euro Focus ST, foolish me, we'll get it as a Volvo I guess. Don't doubt that you'll see the 218 hp I5 in the C30 soon enough.
Or Maybe Volvo will go for the Mazda 3 rear? And I had hear repeatedly that this platform was too expensive to bring to the US. So it's too expensive to be a Ford, but the Mazda is OK?
So instead of this really nice Focus, we can get the same car as a Volvo or a Mazda, that makes sense. Wake up Ford, bring this here to the states.
I have to admit, that I'm not as happy with the Mazda's Batman styling as opposed to Ford or Volvo. But I am looking forward to the MazdaSpeed 3.
A great platfrom shared by vastly by several brands, each with their own unique persona.
I like them all, but as a true BlueOvalFanatic, I want the Ford.

Town Car to be reduced to Fleet sales as new Lincoln models squander a legacy in 2008

The ultimate modern road trip mobile, not many want to buy one, but we all love to rent them for long trips or climb into one on the way to the airport. The Town Car, a much neglected car (along with it's siblings the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis) is none the less an American Icon. While some may laugh, the Town Car has some very good characteristics, and believe it or not, fuel economy is not bad, on long highway trips I've achieved averages of 25 mpg. There is no better cabin for long trips either. But now those days are coming to an end. Edmunds reports what many have known or suspected for a few months, that the Town Car is being shoved into the corner, relagated to Fleet sales. To be replaced by a new Flagship based on the Ford 500.
The new Flagship will be out in 2008 and Town Cars will be around until 2010,

Also slated to be killed is the Lincoln LS, a car that so many of us saw promise with. A real shame that this car will be gone in 2008, it's already been abandoned by FoMoCo, to die a slow painful death of neglect. This car still has so much promise as an import fighter, and is so much more refined than the brutish Chrysler 300, with it's pillbox windows.
The glory days of Lincoln, the 30's, grace style and speed thanks to the V12. This is a 1932 Lincoln Dual Cowl Phaeton. Lincoln has had it's ups and downs over the years, but there are enough good models to point to over the years.
The 60's Continental was one of my all time favorite cars. A four door convertible with suicide rear doors. When I win the lottery I'm going to buy two of these, just for the hell of it.
Lincoln Mark VIII the last of the Lincoln coupes. The last of the LSC line.
OH the 70's what an era, probably the last time that owning a Lincoln was a status symbol.
Not that the 500 is a bad car, not at all, but is this what a Lincoln flagship should be based on? And why do all future Lincolns need to be front/allwheel drive ? Didn't they learn from Cadilac?
over the last few years, many promising concepts like the above Continental and the Mark X concept roadster below, have come out. One poster commented that they have the stain of Jaques Nasser on them and will suffer their association with him. Or to be more accurate, we will suffer. The rear wheel drive cars here would be more fitting as "flagship" models.

These new Lincolns, the Aviator and Zephyr are both intersting and promising models. Both will offer all wheel drive. Why then does Lincoln need two more models with all wheel drive? Is the ice age coming and nobody told me?
Ford listen up, don't make the same mistakes Cadilac made and abandon rear wheel drive. The futue of Lincoln, Mercury and even Ford does not look bright with the abandoning of the LS and Panther platforms. You want a flagship, build a variation of the Continental concept, keep the suicide rear doors and build it on a new rear wheel drive platform that will replace the Panther. And if you really want to wow them, build a 4 door convertible! With all these stupid decisions, I feel like I should rename this blog MYFORDNIGHTMARES !!!!!!!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Land Rover to come out with new Diesel for Europe, could eventually come to US

Land Rover is developing this new Diesel V6 primarily for the LR3 in the European market, but it could see service in Jaguar cars and eventually come to the US market. Another one from Jalopnik

Saleen to recall Mustangs

Jalopnik got the scoop on this one. Apparently Saleen is recalling their 2005 Mustangs, because the hood latch bolts can come loose and the hood may fly up while driving causing a crash.

Now I don't know about you, but for that kind of money, the least Saleen could do is get some bolts right for the hood.

Steve McQueen exibit at Petersen Museum

Steve McQueen, actor and race driver, pop icon who died fairly young at the age of 50, is being honored with an exibit at the Petersend Museum in Los Angeles. An exibit of cars once owned by McQueen is being assembled with the help of his son Chad McQueen, and in the case of certain vehicles like the Bullit Mustang, replicas are being displayed.

While Bullit may have only been a mediocre film, the chase scene where McQueen is in the Mustang flying at times through San Francisco is Holywood and Gearhead legend.

Click the link to learn more. Found link and story at Jalopnik and AutoBlog.

Jeremy Clarkson of TopGear, writes a review of the Mustang, read both pages

Jeremy Clarkson, the host of BBC's TopGear seen on TheLearningChannel here in the states wrote the above review of the Ford Mustang GT. Now read it through, because while it may not seem favorable, it does give a good glimpse of how Europeans, especially the UK view our Auto Industry and Cars. In the end, although Mr Clarkson, does have some unfriendly things to say about the Mustang, he does admit that he was toying with the idea of bringing one home with him. Maybe Jeremy should drive the GT500 when it's released.

Now if you really want to punch him, go to the following site;

After you slap Jeremy Clarkson, go to the main page and check out Urban75, but be warned, don't leave nasty comments on their site, or you end up in the F*ckWit Gallery, which you should check while you're there.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ineresting post on Jeff Fisher's blog about Direct Injection, raises questions from this novice

I checked Jeff Fisher's blog tonight and found this post, containing a 2001 Ford press release on Direct Injection for Gasoline engines. Now, I'm not a mecahnic or an engineer, but this seemed interesting, but also left me with some questions. According to Jeff's post, Direct Injection, which is more common in Diesels, can increase fuel economy in gasoline engines by almost 20%. But it seems that this lean burn is ideal at low rpm and allows higher compression. It also seems to work best on Four Valve engines.

So here are my questions, if today's multivalve engines are designed to perform at high revs with lower combustion ratios, and the lean burn of direct injection can actually be harmful to these engines at high rpm, what is the answer to the lean condition, auxilary injectors? And what do you do about the higher compression ratios and detonation/knock?

I'm sure these are the questions that industry engineers are working on right now, but if anyone has an explination that the average Joe might understand, please comment here.

Here is a Wikipedia entry on Direct Injection;

If I'm going to tear Mercury down, maybe I should offer some ideas to save it?

Two readers have commented on my Mercury post, so here are some ideas to save the brand.
Number one, while it's impossible to totaly ween the brand of rebadged Ford cars and trucks overnight, it's important that Mercury has a more defined identity. So I would market Mercury against the European and Asian near luxury brands, such as Lexus, Infinity, Acura, Audi , Saab and Volvo, not to mention Cadilac, Buick and Chrysler. Mercury in print and television ads has seemd to target women and the 20-30 crowd. That's good, you can't keep marketing Grand Marquis to retirees as by nature, they are going away and the next generation are going for foreign vehicles. Mercury can't sit on it's ass and be a slightly nicer Ford.

Start off by introducing a sort of Halo car, take the Ford Focus Vignale hardtop convertible from Europe, put the turbo I5 front Volvo with 218 hp, give it the all wheel drive system and price it in the mid $30k range. Give the brand a better identifying feature than the waterfall grill, that's just plain ugly and too close to the new three bar grill coming for all the new Ford models, such as the Fusion and 500. Now, get rid of the Milan and bring over the European Mondeo, offer the all wheel drive as an option and bring the estate (station wagon) as well as the Diesel.
You would still have the Mariner and the Montego and for God's sake kill the Mountaineer, bring the new Edge in as a Mercury, not a Ford. Ford is swimming in SUVs and crossovers. Ford has the Expedition, Explorer, Escape, FreeStyle, is going to get the Edge (as the FreeStyle) and possibly the Fairlane and EcoSport (Bronco 3 ? ) Does Ford need another? I know the old FreeStyle is going to be the Meta One, call it something else and let it, the Mariner and the Edge be Mercury's SUVs. Here's another idea, the Monterey is going bye bye as is the FreeStar minivan, why not bring the European Ford Galaxy mini van here as a Mercury?

Many blogs have asked if the Mercury Messenger will be a new Cougar, I ask if it should be. The styling is hack, and Mercury doesn't need a sporty coupe like the Mustang. Mercury doesn't need a Mustang clone or the base economy car (Focus or Fiesta) they need decent interesting sedans with some style, performance and quality. The 2 SUVs I've pointed to would also be more than enough to satisfy their needs. Mercury does not need to have everything Ford sells.

And Lincoln needs a real competitor for the Likes of Cadilac, BMW and Mercedes. How about bringing the Australian Ford Falcon/Fairmont over here? I've posted photos before. Ford needs to keep a rearwheel drive chassis, not just for the fleet sales, which they would be foolish to surrender, but for the performance oriented drivers. If not the Aussie Falcon, put some real money into the Panther replacement and give us something with IRS and some respectable power. Ford seems to be giving up. You don't win back market share, by saying we're not going to fight that battle, we're going to play it safe with SUVs and trucks.

If Ford and their US brands want to stay relevant, they need to makes some major improvements. Mercury is a waste of space as it exists today. Lincoln is questionable at best. Ford has the tools in the global toolbox, use them. Learn the lesson that GM won't, brand diversity and identity are important. Who wants to buy a Mercury today and why?

Mercury, a brand with no direction or purpose, maybe time to just pull the plug?

Do you remember the last unique or interesting Mercury you saw? Leave the Marauder out of the picture for a minute. Try and think of the last Mercury that wasn't a rebadged Ford. In my mind it's this car, the 1968/69 Mercury Montego MX, my dad had one in red with black interior and vynl top. This car was based on the Fairlane/Torino chassis, but it was one of the last Mercury cars to be differntiated enough from the Ford it was based on to be relevant.
The Marauder XM-100 was THE LAST. What does Ford have in store for Mercury in the future? What's the big news over there? There is none, only a new crop of pimped up Fords or watered down Lincolns, depending on your view.

Let's examine what's on Mercury showroom floors today;

Montego, is a rebadged 500, Milan is a rebadged Fusion, Mariner is a rebadged Escape, Sable was a rebadged Taurus, Grand Marquis is a rebadged Crown Victoria, Mountaineer is a rebadged Explorer, Mercury is a Ford with that stupid waterfall grill.

But this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the begining of Mercury. In 1939 Ford brought out the first Mercury, a rebadged Ford. If you look at the two side by side, you have to look carefully for the differences. In the 50's Mercury took of with it's own identity, starting with the 49 Mercury, which most people wouldn't recognize if they saw stock. The leader of the Led Sled movement, at one point the coolest car to own was a Mercury. Everyone wanted to be James Dean. Mercury had it's own racing team and development program even into the early to mid 70's. The 60's (early) were the golden years for the brand. With the Marauder and Turnpike Cruiser, styling that was as far from Ford as you could get and still use shared platforms.

Going back from today, let's examine any models that Mercury had that weren't rebadged Ford, shall we? If we set the time machine to 1999 we find two models available, the Cougar and the Capri, both based on overseas Ford models. The Cougar from 99-03 was a two door coupe based on the Euopean Mondeo or Contour/Mystique 4 door sedan. A nice package, sporty and economical, but not marketed much. The tuner crowd has picked up on this sporty coupe and you see them modified at many car shows today. But was it unique? In Europe they sold it as a Ford. Now the Capri, was supposed to be a way to tag onto the success of the Miata. Based on Mazda 323 mechanicals it was an Australian Ford Capri/Laser imported for a few years, but it's front wheel drive chassis failed to catch the same spirit that the Miata had tapped into and it was cancled.

In the late 80's early 90's there was the Tracer, a rebadged 323 again, this time replacing the Lynx Escort clone. Not a unique car, not really a Mercury. What about Merkur you might ask, again imported Fords from Europe and not really Mercury. What about the Capri from the 80's ? No a rebadged Mustang, don't know who thought they needed that. But wait that mistake could be repeated, just think of the recent Mercury Messenger concept, a ugly Mustang based sporty coupe that many want to revive the Cougar name. The 70's are a vast Mercury wasteland, I can't thik of one unique model during the decade, and what they did to the Cougar was just a sin. Who in their right mind would make a 4 door Cougar, never mind the Mercury Cougar Vilager wagon. Someone should have been shot for that one. Don't get me wrong, they were decent cars, but why the Cougar name? The Cougar for many years became nothing more than a T-Bird and LTD II clone, loosing the legacy of the original.

I guess the rational for keeping Mercury around has been twofold, first giving Lincoln dealers lower priced vehicles to increase traffic, and second to squeeze a few more bucks out of the rubes by selling them a Bobcat or Zephyr for a premium over the Pinto and Fairmont.

Mercury has run it's course, put it out to pasture, if you want to give Lincoln dealers traffic, bring out some decent models. After all, you don't see Lexus/Toyota dealers. And if you think I'm being harsh, just think I'm a Ford fanatic, what do the tough critics think?

Here are some links for Mercury fans;

  • Marauder

  • IMOA/li>
  • Saturday, September 24, 2005

    LSC RIders Plus

    Greg over at LSC Riders Plus, a Queens NY based Lincoln club, that has a nice webpage, wrote me an email today introducing himself and his club. I checked out his page and was impressed. They have some interesting artwork and great galleries available. They were at Carlisle this year and I'm sorry to say I did not get any pictures as nice as theirs. Click the link to check out LSC Riders Plus and say Hi to Greg while you're there.

    Anyone else who has a club or website, or both please write me and I'll post it here.

    Picture and additional story on Focus Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars at AutoBlog

    Here is a picture I found on AutoBlog of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Foci, that were sent to Florida for evaluation. There are 30 in total being sent to different evaluation fleets in the US, Canada and Germany. AutoBlog has a link to the Ford press release, which gives some information on the Fuel Cell Hybrid system.

    If readers feel I'm getting obsessed with this subject, fear not, I'll be posting about other Ford realted topics very soon. It just seems important as fuel prices rise again.

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    Hydrogen Fuel Cell Focus fleet to Florida, on MPH Online

    OK, great news, Ford is delivering a small fleet of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Focus sedans to Florida. I don't have a picture of the Hydrogen Foci, so just used stock photos I do have.

    This on the heels of the two anouncements from Ford is a real sign of progress.
    Click the link and read the article on MPH Online.

    We've seen some nice concepts, but what will be the reality for Lincoln in the future?

    Above and below are the Continental concept of recent car show seasons. I had heard that the Continental was to be built on the same rear wheel drive platform as the 427 concept, but I suspect that if any car does revive the Continental name it will be built off the 500/FreeStyle platform sourced from Volvo S80/XC90.
    Don't expect to see suicide doors either.
    Another promissing concept the Mark X roadster, built on the outgoing Lincoln LS/Ford Thunderbird chassis, but with seating for 4. And I vote for this as the new face of Lincoln. Taking cues from the Lincolns of the 60's but with a thoroughly modern flair.
    Could you imagin how cool this would be?
    I wasn't crazy about this one, the Navicross, but it did show forward thinking. Unfortunately the future of Lincoln is dismal. With the exception of the new Zephyr and Aviator (both sharing platforms with Ford and Mazda) not much exciting is coming from Lincoln.
    When did inovation translate into slapping a Lincoln grill on an F-150? What does Lincoln sell that's exciting? Nothing and don't expect that to change any time soon. The soon to be gone LS was the last chance for greatness, and they squandered that.

    Bill Ford calls for Energy summit, another possative sign

    The day after anouncing that Ford is committed to new technologies for alternative energy and energy conservation, Bill Ford has asked for an Energy Summit between the Federal Government , Fuel Suppliers and the Auto Industry. A move in the right direction for sure, but will there be follow through. I'm not saying Ford has to go it alone. The Federal Government needs to commit funds toward research and infrastructure along with Fuel Suppliers and the Auto Industry. We've been hearing about Hydrogen for almost 20 years and all of the big players here and in Europe and Asia have built prototypes.
    Ford's recent initiative of Flex Fuel Vehicles here in the US and in Europe sounds promissing on it's face, but I've voiced my opinion on those before. Flex Fuel Vehicles are no more than Public Relations tools unless the fuel is available and there are incentives for it's use. I also believe that Bio Diesel should be a bigger push as a temporary measure until better technologies are in place. Bio Diesel made from renewable Soy Beans burns cleaner and from what I've read supplies the same power as Petrolium Diesel. Also there would be no need for thee expensive catalyst systems and ureha injections systems. Low Sulfur Diesel has been on the horizon for quite a while, but it's not soon enough.
    These two vehicles show different applications of Hydrogen power. I'm a big fan of Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engines. The best of both worlds, power and clean emissions. Who wouldn't want to tool around in this RX-8 knowing that the exhaust is water vapor, being green would never feel so good. I know that pilot porgrams with busses using alternative fuels have been in place for several years. Burning CNG, Propane and even Hydrogen as seen below.
    Ford needs to be on the frontline of these new technologies and from what we're hearing Bill Ford is taking the bull by the horns. I just hope it's not just so much lip service. As new reports say that even before Hurrican Rita strikes, we can expect gas prices to soar past $4 per gallon and even as high as $5 or God forbid $6, we need to realize that Energy is this country's achiles heal, whether it be Natural Disaster, War or Terrorist strike, anything that slows the flow of energy, can be devastating to our economy. Alternative fuels are not just a matter of "thinking Green" they are a matter of National well being and security.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    For a Focus fan on the Forums

    I was looking at one of the Focus forums the other day and one young lady was interested in the European Focus Vignale. She wrote how she hoped Ford would bring this attractive hard top convertible to the states.
    Very nice, top up or down, built on the European Focus platform.

    Unfortunately, the only way to get this sexy little coupe/convertilbe is through your local Volvo dealer. It's the new C70, with the I5 volov engine, it's nice, but would be nicer as a Ford.
    This young lady, has a Focus now and is looking to trade up, she loves the Vignale, but is considering the Pontiac G6 convertible coupe coming out this fall.

    I have a great idea, slap one of those ugly waterfall grilles on the damn thing and sell it as a new Mercury Capri! This is a car that needs to come to the states, and as a FoMoCo product. Even the waterfall grill coudn't hurt this beauty. Why don't we start a letter writing campaign???

    Bill Ford says Inovation will be key to Ford's future, MPH Online

    I found this article on MPH Online, Bill Ford telling employees at the research lab, that Hybrids, and alternative fuels would be the key to Ford's future. Ford produces about 24,000 Hybrids anually and plans to increase that to almost 250,000 over the next few years. The article states that they will introduce new Fusion/Milan Hybrids as well as Mazda Tribute. As one reader pointed out recently, Ford should also consider a Hybrid Focus.

    I have less enthusiasm about the proposed 260,000 flex fuel vehicles that Ford plans on introducing (F-150, Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis) becasue as I've stated before, they have no real impact, not Ford's fault, but because the M85 fuel they can use ( a mixture of gasoline and ethanol) is not widely available and at the whim of the driver.

    I'm hoping that this pledge to be inovative and lead the push for alternative fuel technologies as well as safety is not just lip service. It seems appropriate that the company that put the worl on wheels, leads the way into future. But it's going to be difficult for a company that relies heavilly on full size trucks to change their image. Some of the new models scheduled to come out of Ford are promissing, so I'm hopeful. I'm still dreaming of a Hydrogen powered supercharged V8 Mustang, that will do 0-60 in 4 seconds and have water vapor for exhaust.