Friday, December 30, 2005

See you next year!

As Chrysler gets ready to fire another volley in the Horsepower War, Ford has us waiting for the 3.5 Duratec's mediocre 250 hp

I found this over at Jalopnik, and it dawned on me that it's an interesting time to be a car enthusiast. That is unless you're a Ford fanatic. The article on Jalopnik points to rumors that Chrysler is considering a "Hemi" V6 making 300 hp. Now that's F***ing great news if you're a Mopar fan, a V6 with 300 hp!!!!

But if you're a Ford fan, you have to make due with the 207/210/221 hp V6 engines and wait with baited breath for the new 3.5 Duratec V6 with 250 hp. 250 hp, are we supposed to get excited about that? Hell, even Honda has a 250 hp V6, as does Chrysler and most other manufacturers. Hyundai's V6 puts out over 260 hp and Nissan's 265-280 hp. So we wait for Ford to catch up while Chrysler considers a V6 with as much power as the Mustang's V8???

What's wrong here, are we idiots? Does Ford not have any respect for us? We are force fed the same old crap for years and all around us the industry moves forward in leaps and bounds, while Ford limps along. Yes the Ford GT is a powerhouse, and the Mustang is an awsome car despite it's horsepower rating, but what about your average Ford? I know it' not all about horsepower ratings, but it still bothers me to see Ford shoot for the middle of the pack on everything.

It's not always good enough to just survive, Ford can pay lip service to "Inovation" all they want. With styling that has become boring and power that is just adequate, there's not much to draw buyers into dealerships, excpet the "red tag" type sales everytime GM hicups.

Ford wake up, do something to shake things up here! Why is it that someone like myself who loves Ford, doesn't get excited in your showrooms anymore? If it wasn't for some of the models coming out of Mazda and even Volvo, I'd be bored to tears. The Fusion isn't enough, and viral marketing is fine for creating buzz among young people, but how many young people buy 4 door sedans?? A Fusion will never be a Scion, and Young people don't buy new cars, they can't afford it. Sell me a car, not the kids, give it some power and maybe a little bit of excitement. For Christ's sake, it's getting tough to be faithful to a company that doesn't even seem to be trying.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mazda 2 to come to US in 2007?

According to Forbes, follow link to AutoBlog, then Forbes, the Mazda 2 may be coming to these shores in 2007. In answer to Honda, Toyota and Nissan's entry into the smaller car market in the US, Mazda may bring the Mazda 2 here to the US. Forbes speculates on whether Mazda will use one of their own plants or capacity at a Ford plant for production.

So here's a question, will Ford rebadge a version of this car for their own lineup or use the Euro Fiesta? The Fiesta is a great car and has a Diesel option that I don't believe the Mazda has. The closest we've come to a Mazda this small in the US was the Kia produced Ford Festiva, a rebadged Mazda 121.

The smaller car market is expected to grow in this country, based on rising fuel prices. Ford has options here that could let them at least keep up with the Japanese manufacturers. A new Fiesta or Mazda 2 based Ford, produced locally could help with a turn around at Ford. Time will tell.

Reader poll, what's your daily driver and why?

OK, here's another reader poll, what is your daily driver, your primary vehicle, and why? What were the important deciding factor in the purchase? Did you buy it new? Is it your only vehicle?

I'm curious what makes people pick one car over another. I'm sure many would assume that I drive my Ford Ranger because I'm such a Ford fan, but they would be wrong. I have owned non-Ford vehicles in the past and this is my first Ford truck, the last two being Chevy.

I bought my Ranger, trading in my Chevy S-10 SS 2 wheel drive pickup for it, because I needed a 4x4. I had a Ford Crown Victoria LX in the garage already, so brand loyalt wasn't as important as value. I did not buy a full size truck for several reasons, garage space and ease of parking were major factors, and fuel economy was in the back of my mind. I needed something that would have the ground clearance for ocassional trips off pavement. But because I parked in an underground garage, the height of the vehicle couldn't be too tall. I needed a pickup as opposed to an SUV or other all wheel drive vehicle, because I use my truck at work, moving heavy and dirty loads of tools and materials. Price was also a major concern for me, with another car in the driveway and the usual monthly bills, I didn't want to sink too much into the truck's purchase.

So I test drove and shopped for Toyota, Nissan, Chevy and Dodge trucks in 98/99. I would not buy a used truck, because I wanted the warranty and lower finance rates of a new car. Now as for Toyota, the dealer lots were full of highly optioned super cabs with automatics, and many dealers told me that ordering a standard cab with a manual and roll up windows would be tough.
Off to the Nissan dealer, I drove the Frontier and quiet frankly it felt cheap and lacking in power (they've obviously improved this.) So off to the Dodge dealer to look at the Dakota, which was too expensive and large. Next stop Chevy dealer, I already had an S-10 and liked it, not to mention the higher output of the 4.3 V6. But funny thing is, every Chevy dealer told me the same thing, no manual, no roll up windows. Combine that with the fact that Chevy's 4x4 had the lowest ground clearance, unless you went for the HighRider 4x4. So I went to a local Ford dealer and ordered exactly what I wanted, and got a great deal. Brand loyalty was satisfied, but not really a factor.

Now as I said in an earlier posting, if I was in the market today for a new truck, the Nissan would probably win, based on power and value.

So what made you buy your ride?

Volvo C30 photos via AutoBlog

The new little brother to the S40, the C30 is due to debut in autoshows around the world, and AutoBlog has a link to photos. I guess the only way we're going to get a new Focus here, is by buying one of it's clones from Volvo or Mazda.

I'll say it again, Ford can compete if they have the nerve

The AutoBlog post talks about Honda, Nissan and Toyota's plans to bring their super mini cars here in the very near future. It also mentions how GM is beating everyone to the punch with their Aveo, a rebadged Daewoo. And I'll say it again, Ford has the ability to not only compete, but cominate this class if they only try. The Fiesta, and a range of vehicles that are based on the same mechanicals, do better than many Japanese competitors. With a range of Gasoline and Diesel engines to cover every need, the Fiesta is very flexible. A 3 door and 5 door hatch are readilly available, and in certain markets there is a 4 door sedan.
This UK Ford Fusion, and it's Latin American brother the EcoSport mini suv are Fiesta based.
Fiestas are used in various forms of racing and compete well in the super mini hot hatch catagory of sales.
The little Ford Ka is Fiesta based.

The bottom line is this, if Ford wants to compete in this segment and fight off competition from the Chinese in the future, they need to work on getting the Fiesta and other smaller models here ASAP.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve, almost time

Everyone keep being good, Santa keeps checking his list right up until midnight.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2005

Dear Santa, I've been a really good boy this year, despite any rumors you may have heard

Ok Santa, maybe "Very Good" is a stretch, but I've been Good just the same.
So this is what I want for Christmas, a 2006 Mustang with the Pony package, just like this one.
I see that you're a car guy, so you can appreciate the situation.

To any and all readers (both of you) have a happy holiday seaon, Merry Christmas.
Posts will be unlikely over the holiday weekend. I'm planning on visiting family, and relaxing at home on the weekend, I hope all of you get the opportunity to do the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Speaking of insane, Boomar reports on further adventures with a rental Mustang in the snow!

I just spoke to my friend Boomar and he started to update me on his adventures in Buffalo with a rental Mustang. I'll update later, but seems that the snow got so bad that they canceled his flight back to NYC Metro area. So of course he just drove a rental Mustang home.

Hell, just cause they can't fly in that weather, doesn't mean you can't make and almost 8 hour drive in a rear wheel drive Mustang. I wonder if he left the traction control on??

And yes I know I said that I was too busy to blog, but what are you going to do, some things are more important than getting all those gifts wrapped.

I'm very happy for him, but insanely jealous at the same time!!

OK, I'm very happy for him, but at the same time insanely jealous. My brother called me not too long ago to let me know that he's expecting to pick up his new Mazdaspeed 6 next week.
I can't wait to see if he offers me the keys for a quick run around the block ( or across the state.)

When he gets it I'll try and get some decent photos and let you know if it's as cool as everything I've read.

Only 3 days until Christmas

Yep, the stockings are hung, tree's up, almost done my shopping, but not quite. Not much time for blogging though. I would direct you over to AutoBlog, but I think they're still doing site maintenance. So take stroll through the links at the sidebar, see if you can find anything to keep you busy until posts are back up to speed.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Comparing prices in Europe of Ford models

I read a lot of automotive blogs from varying perspectives, and often the blogger will be bitching and moaning about our domestic auto offerings. Very often I'll read that American cars are too fuelish and don't handle compared to their European counterparts. Often I myself have wondered why Ford doesn't sell some of their European models here in the united states.

So I got curious about what the average Ford costs in Europe. I went to Ford's webpage, and checked 3 countries, Britain, Germany and just at random Denmark. I wanted to know how prices ran for similar Ford products in each country. For example, how much does a Ford Ka cost, the base model. In Britain you'll pay $12,352.00 , in Germany you'll pay $9,437.00 and in Denmark you'll pay $20,540.00. Now you read that correctly, for the same car in three countries in Europe you'll pay three very different prices.
For the Ford Focus ST in Germany $28,589. In Britain pay $30,453.00. And in Denmark it's a breathtaking $60,901.00 .

Even the Mondeo prices vary for the same model. In Britain $31,854 in Denmark $$69,523. German pricing wasn't as easy to figure out on German Ford site, I didn't use a translator.

I was shocked when I saw the price differences, especially between Germany and Denmark. Now I'm sure taxes or tarriffs explain some of it. But I tell you what if I'm going to pay $70K for a Mondeo, it had better be very good.

I guess I didn't have any real point with this, just some fun.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Truth About Cars article on Ford air suspensions, points to Ford's leadership in this technology

The Truth About Cars site, points out Ford's silent leadership with Air Suspension technology. The high tech systems that apear in high end European cars, including Ford's PAG Range Rover and Jaguar, were around in Ford/Lincoln/Mercury products for the last 20 years.
Even the Crown Victoria has been available with air suspension for many years.
I had a 92 Crown Vic with the air suspension, and the ride was outstanding.
They don't mention problems Ford had with early systems, leaking bags. But I never had a problem with mine. This article makes me miss my Crown Vic.

posting slow, X-mas chaos

Between work, Christmas shopping and holiday parties it's getting kind of chaotic in my life, so posting is slow. Besides, there's not much going on in the Auto world. Posts will be random until next Tuesday.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Currency Exchange site/Buying a car in Europe

Above is a link to a Currency Exchange website. This is to help you and I figure out what the prices are of foreign cars. The site seams to be updated frequently. If you know of a site that's easier to use or better, let me know and I'll change it.

Here's an interesting article that I found on buying a car in Europe;

This post was inspired by reading Rick the AutoGuy's blog. Rick is an American who is living in Britain and thinking about buying a new car. Click the link on left to read about it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Moving some important links to front page from the "basement"

Just as someone may rummage through their basement, I was looking over my "link page" and decided to move some important links here to the front page. When I first started this blog, I didn't know much about the Internet or Blogs in general and about what I could do with this page in particular. It took me a while to figure out how to edit the links and add them to the sidebar, so initially I created a second page, technically a seperate blog, called Ford Dream Links, that was supposed to list every page I had visited in the process of researching for the main blog. And that worked fine for a long time. I feel that for someone like myself, this page would become an asset, seeing how I had listed Ford clubs and enthusiast pages as well as auto related blogs.

Eventually I moved some of the "major players" to the front page, but shamefully forgot to add a few. So tonight I've corrected that mistake. On the left you will notice that the Auto Muse, Grant's Auto Rants and AutoGuy have been added.

It's important to realize that I knew nothing about computers or the internet when I started this, and sometimes I sure that becomes evident when you're reading my posts. But in reality I've learned a lot and feel much more comfortable with computers because of this adventure over the last 8 months. In 8 months I've posted over 900 items, learned how to add photos and links and hopefully improved my spelling and writing skills. Not bad for a guy that never graduated from College.

To CD or not to CD that is the question

OK, so the purchase of a new Mustang (or any car) is being put off for a few months because of economic factors. And now with a lot of people I know getting new cars, I'm feeling like my truck is dated and "old." The truth is that it's not quite 7 years old and only has 51,000 miles on it. It's actually in great shape, very dependable and comfortable. But when I orderd it, I did something that I regret today, I ordered it with a cassete stereo instead of CD. Even though I had almost 200 CDs at home, I still listened to Cassetes in the car, or more often just FM radio, and was too cheap to pay $100 for the CD player. This is of course is why I don't have power windows either, but it's a small truck and rolling the windows down isn't that much of a chore.

So the other day, my brother gives me this subwoofer package for behind the seat, a freebie! And now I'm thinking of pulling out the factory stereo and putting in an aftermarket CD stereo. And of course if I'm going to do that, I should upgrade the speakers too?? So I went to Crutchfield to see what's availalbe and what will fit in the factory location as far as speakers.

I've always loved the Crutchfield catalog, with it's fitment guide. Now with their website (link in title) it's simple to see what fits and they sell wiring harness adapters, to eliminate all the splicing and guesswork. So I was able to price a reasonable system, CD receiver and 4 new speakers, for under $300. That includes the wiring harness and mounting kit as well as custom installation guide free!

So, should I do it? When I was younger, a factory radio wouldn't last a week in any of my cars, something I picked up from my brothers Tom and Bob, who were much more knowledgable about electronics than I. I remember my Festiva had a Sony "High Powered" deck and a 4 channel amp under the seat, driving 6 speakers mounted in the dash, doors and package tray. I had about 150 watts of clean power and decent bass. This was before heart attack bass was needed. I remember putting a Sony deck and speakers in my Pinto too.

I also have a set of KC Daylighters for the front brush guard, that I need to wire up and install. Maybe these simple accessories will give the Ranger enough "newness" to keep my spirits up until I have my Mustang. But I'm not looking forward to the installation process, I'm not as flexible as I used to be. Do any of you remember being upside down beneath the dash, trying to run wires? I'm not looking forward to it. Hey, maybe I'll just go to Best Buy or Circuit City and let them install it??

And once it's installed, I'll dust off all my 80's New Wave and Dance CDs and drive around with the damn thing blaring. If you hear Dianna Ross Swept Away and see a bearded redneck looking guy, don't be frightened, it's just me. Yes, I said Dianna Ross, you want to say something about it??? Or Patrice Rushen Forget Me Nots . We all have our quirks, mine is my odd taste in music. Hell when I had the 6 disc changer in my Mustang, I would shuffle between Dwight Yokum and Dianna Ross and Yes. Unlike cars, where I'm a solid Ford guy, with music I'm all over the map. No show tunes or rap though, well I do have that Body Count album by Ice T, but stopped playing it after the controversy died down.

Rides blog, added to sidebar

I meant to do this a while ago. JG over at Rides blog does a great job. Not a Ford blog, but variety is what it's all about.

There are sometimes pop ups, because of the web host (angelfire) But most pop up blockers will handle that.

Seems that storm clouds are clearing on the Ford vs AFA, so this will be my last post on the subject, unless things really flare up.

There was a shit storm there for a week or so, with Ford at the center of activity. I won't rehash the subject, I've made my opinion clear on the subject. This link above is to the latest article on the subject. But what interests me more than the article, which is well written and nails the subject clearly, are the comments from readers. It seems that everyone will be glad to see the end of this subject on AutoBlog and I pressume all automotive blogs. I will make this my last post on the subject (unless it really explodes again.)

Jerry Flint gives advice to Mark Fields of Ford

Over at AutoBLog I found a link to an article Jerry Flint wrote after attending a preview of new FoMoCo products including the Town Car replacement, based on the 500. I love it everytime I read another of Jerry Flint's collums on FoMoCo. Usually I am in agreement with much of what he says, but I always like add my opinion to his. Hey what do you want? It's a slow day for me. So here we go, first quotes from Jerry's "Memo to Mark Fields" then my comments.

Recent trends confirm that luxury cars are continuing to move to rear-drive. Of course, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus - the big names in big luxury cars - are rear-drive. But Chrysler (the 300) and Cadillac (the CTS) have found great success by moving back to rear-drive, too. The only large all-wheel-drive luxury car is the Audi A8, with only 5000 sales here this year.
With these facts, I have to ask: Why in the world would Ford want its next large Lincoln to be an all-wheel-drive vehicle derived from a front-drive car?

He's got a point there, with everyone else doing rear wheel drive, does Ford know something nobody else does? Is there a new Ice Age coming? I've said it before, as Mr Flint has, the 500 platform is a great chassis and the 500 a nice car, but it's not the propper replacement for the Town Car. What about the LS Chassis? Or better yet, what about the Australian Ford Falcon/Fairmont chassis?? Why if the industry turns left, does Ford turn right? Inovation is one thing, ignoring a proven route to sucess is another. Chrysler is make a mint on a rehashed Mercedes E class chassis, Doesn't Ford see the mistake it's making?

Ah, you say, why should I listen to this jerk instead of all these fine fellows here in Dearborn? How could that jerk know more than they do? Well, Mark, I learned about the auto business listening at the knees of Robert McNamara and Lee Iacocca, Ernie Breech, and Philip Caldwell. History proves that they knew what they were doing. The crew you're listening to led Ford from 25 percent of the market down to 17 percent.

Preach Jerry preach! I'm not finding anything so far to disagree with Jerry on.

Remember, these Ford managers are crowding the automobile graveyard with their decisions. Taurus and Sable, soon dead. Contour and Mystique, dead. Thunderbird, dead. Old Aviator, soon dead. Lincoln LS, dead. Blackwood, dead.And look at all the good products being left to die because they can't figure how to keep them up to date: the Focus, the Town Car, the Ranger, and the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis.

Well?? What will Mr. Fields response to this be?? So far Jerry is my new hero.

Ship Mazda production back to Hiroshima, Japan, from the Flat Rock, Mich., plant. That would free Flat Rock up to become an all-Mustang plant and open the door to Mustang variations, like a Mercury version. What's wrong with a Mercury Mustang? (oh Jerry, we were so close, what's right about a Mercury Mustang?) Somebody at Ford thinks another 50,000 sales would make money and that's against the religion at Ford? Fill up the Hiroshima Mazda plant and lower costs of the vehicles shipped here since the yen is so cheap.Stop worrying about radical solutions for Mercury. Ford spent 20 years trying to do that without success. I was there. Better men than you and I couldn't do it. Just give Mercury jazzed-up Fords. That will be enough for profitable operation for the company and the dealers. Don't try to give them really different platforms. Doesn't anyone remember the Turnpike Cruiser? Hasn't anyone noticed? Mercury sales are ahead of last year and that's after you are killing the Sable, and letting the Marquis grow old on the beach. So get them a Mercury Focus and a Mercury Mustang.

Oh Jerry, just when I though we were so in synch, here's where we part ways, sort of. I've addressed the Mercury Mustang question, and think that a new Cougar should be more.
I'm not sure Mercury needs a Focus, but a good small car would be a great idea. Rather than retype everything I've said in the past, click the links for previous posts;

Latest Cougar post;

Recent thoughts on Lincoln;

The last time I read a collum of Jerry's ;

One idea I had for Mercury;

Lincoln Mustang rant;

Lincoln rant from Sept. ;

The Mercury answer? ;

The Mercury queston? ;

You know, as I read these past posts to add them here, it hit me that I'm nuts. I don't think I'm dangerous, but who else would spend so much of his free time doing this? So, since I wrote it all, and put it here for you, there'll be a pop quiz, so read up.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Googled myself

Now get your mind out of the gutter, that means I followed the lead of Dorri over at IfIt'sGotAnEngine and did a Google search for myforddreams.

Dorri had himself been inspired by Croak's efforts at Bavarian Falcon, who had also searched for himself.

Dorri referred to it as Ego Surfing, and it pumped my ego that's for sure.

OK so sometimes it's not just about the cars, sometimes it's about ME!!!!!!!!!

An ode to the Ka ? at thefordblog??

Ok, two things really, I found this interesting ode to a Ka at a site that's new to me, , now it's not a very active blog, but with this name how could I have missed it during many internet searches? follow the link to fordblog and then the article.

I like the Ka, it reminds me a lot of my old Festiva, and I know it will never come to the US, but it is available in Mexico. Could you imagine 48 mpg? My Festiva used to get 41 mpg, and was cheap to operate. I wonder if a car like the Ka or the Fiesta it's based on could make it here?

I've heard and commented on rumors that Honda, Nissan and Toyota are gearing up to introduce their super minis here. Ford has the product if they decide to answer the challenge.

More blogs for your consideration

When things are slow, I go link surfing, going to other blogs and checking who they link to. I've found a lot of great blogs this way, and have linked to many on the left. So today I had some time and figured I'd point out the following;


Tapscott Behind the Wheel

Paul Tran

Built Ford Tough????

You know if you're biggest selling model worldwide is a truck, you would assume that it would be a priority to get it right. Not always the case I guess. Ford is now facing troubles with their PowerStroke Diesel engines for their fullsize trucks. Add this to the "Piston Slap" and "Blowing Spark Plugs" in their gas engines, and where is a consumer to turn for a reliable full size truck??

Built Ford Tough, Quality is Job 1, these are just words it seems. I guess before they "drive American inovation," Ford should get the basics right.

Hopefully the end to an ugly situation, that could have been easily avoided

Above is the Ford Media site's post on Ford's response to LGBT groups.

Ford has agreed to renew advertisements in LGBT media and reaffirmed their commitment to diversity.

Now, just to be clear on my stand. I don't think Ford was wrong to stop the ads (assuming that it was a financial decision) the mistake was referring people to the AFA, when seeking comments.
Ford, like any company has to spend advertising dollars where they feel the best results will be obtained. In a way, this anouncement is not much better than the situation that got all the buzz started in the first place. Now Ford has anounced that they will place ads in LGBT media, reversing their earlier decision. Ford let it apear that they had given into pressure from one group and now gives in to another. The ads are actually a good idea, to reaffirm a relationship with a consumer base who felt marginalized.

But the answer in the very begining was to cancel the advertising, and then when asked why, state that it was a business decision not related to any pressure from outside groups. The sin, in this case, was not cancelling advertisements, it was allowing the perception that Ford could be dictated to by a special interest group. So by doing this, hasn't Ford just done the same thing? I mean by promissing to place ads in the LBGT media, hasn't Ford responded once again to special interest pressure?

I guess it's a catch 22 situation, where they're dammed if they do or if they don't. This could have all been avoided, by just not reffering to the AFA for comment. Ford should have ignored them or better yet told them off. It worked for Disney, Proctor & Gamble and Wells Fargo.

So which idiot group will be the next to try and dictate to a major corporation? Will the treehuggers be next? Maybe I'm being unfair to Ford, it's easy to make these calls from the sidelines. I guess that I'm just happy that all of this is over. Now back to what it's all about, the cars (and trucks,) that's what I really like to bitch about.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I hope the judge took more than 60 seconds

In an article over at AutoBlog, they reveal that a judge has ruled in the dispute over the Eleanor name, between Unique Motorcars and Denise Halicki, the widow of Toby Halicki, the writer, director, producer, star and stuntman of the original Gone in 60 Seconds.

Now I hope the judge took more than 60 seconds to review the case, it sure doesn't seem like he did. In the AutoBlog article, they say the judge couldn't find proof in the evidence of Mrs Halicki's claim to the famous name. But if the judge could have just watched a DVD of the original movie, he would see the claim is clear. I liked both versions of the movie, obviously the remake starring Nicholas Cage, with it's big name cast and large budget was the bigger success, but how does anyone not recognize the facts here. Eleanor was a yellow 73 Mustang, and Toby's "unicorn" just as Cage's character had the 67 Shelby.

Halicki's films included the original Gone in 60 Seconds, The Junkman and Gone in 60 Seconds 2. Toby Halicki died a relatively young man and his wife Denise carries on with his "empire"

Finally updated links at left, added some of the ones I had talked about

Ok, so I've been slow to update my links to the left. I may have missed one or two, but will update again soon.

I renew my call for more people to blog, it's free and it's easy. The more the merrier.

So let me get this straight, Ford customers in Europe want dynamic design and in the US and Canda we don't?

Over at AutoBlog they have a great article about Ford designers discussing the future of Ford vehicles. And one thing bothers me, for Europe, they say that customers desire a dynamic designs, cars that look like they're moving even when standing still. Like the Iosis concept seen above. But what do they have to say about the US and Canada? Not much that's what.

So expect to see some sharp new exciting designs for Europe and the same old crap for the US. Is there any wonder why Ford is loosing market share? The old saying "I don't know if it will sell in Peoria" Doesn't apply in the 21st century, people in the heartland of America would accept the "Dynamic/ Kinetic" designs if Ford took the risk. Wasn't the origianl Taurus a risk? Didn't middle America guy it up like hot cakes?

Ford give us simple Americans some credit, and then give us something like the Iosis. The same old crap won't sell forever.

Bill Disher's research paper completed.

In mid September I recieved an email from a grad student, Bill Disher, who was starting a research project on Auto Bloggers. Over the next 3 months, I followed Bill's progress and participated in his survey. Well, Bill's research paper is completed and posted as a pdf file on his blog.

Bill pointed out something that I had not known, most bloggers are distant from their readers and each other, but Auto Bloggers are more inclined to share and communicate. I had said it earlier this year, but this really is a community of bloggers. Some of the first guys that I had interaction with were the CarPunidt and the AutoProphet, but recently Dori, NLP, Bob of CarsCarsCars, Dave of MPH and many others have allowed me into their circle.

You know what? I may not be a professional journalist, or even a very good writer, but I'm proud of what I do here and have a great time. How else would I be able to interact with so many inteligent car guys as a near equal?

Check out Bill's paper if you get a chance. Bill if you read this, thanks for the kind words, it was my pleasure to assist in any way.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Boomar's a hardcore Mustang fanatic

I got a call last night from one of my best friends in the world, who of course is a major gearhead and Ford fanatic. He had to go to Buffalo on business and upon arriving in the land of snow and ice, asked the rental desk at the airport for a Mustang. The nice clerk, asked him if he was aware that the Mustang is rear wheel drive and that the weather was wintery? Our hero, anounced to the clerk, " I drive a Mustang all year round at home, not a problem." So the nice people at the rental company had someone dig out the Mustang from under all the snow, and fill the tank. Now as he's telling me this, I'm in total disbelief, and said to him "you're renting a Mustang in the snowbelt? At least it has traction control." " I shut that off right away, just anoys me."

So away from the airport he went with the traction control turned off, a base model Mustang with 210 hp V6 and automatic transmission. Now this was his first chance to drive the new Mustang, even though he owns a late model SVT Cobra and has had Mustangs in the past, he was impressed with the new Mustang, even the base V6 model. He relayed tales of donuts in snow covered parking lots and the tail swinging out in hard acceleration on slick winter roads. I was reminded why we're friends, both car nuts, him just a nut. I'm hoping he gets that Mustang back to the rental counter at the airport in one piece. I have visions of Steve McQueen returning the Firebird in the movie The Hunter, if you haven't seen it then go rent it and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Next trip I go on, I'm going to insist on a Mustang, even if the lugage may not fit, who cares. There's nothing better than flogging a rental car, just get the extra insurance.

So if you're in Buffalo, keep an eye open for a rental Mustang driven by a wild eyed redhead screaming Yahooooooo!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

NLPRacing bleeds Ford Blue, inspired me to ramble down memory lane

Inspired by NLPRacing's post on how he bleeds Ford blue, I decided to take a spin down memory lane and explain my own Ford roots. The first car I ever rode in (to the best of my memory) was my parents light blue 1963 Ford Fairlane, a car that I grew up in. My father wasn't really a "car guy," don't get me wrong he appreciated cars, but it wasn't his hobby like his three sons. My parents next car was a 1968 Mercury Montego MX, fire engine red 2 door with a black vynl top. And then in the early 70's my mom got a Pinto Coupe. So in my early formative years, there were not many options beyond Ford. Neither of my grandfathers drove Ford, but my uncle John did, and my uncle Ed. My Aunt Ann drove a chevy wagon and then a red buick skylark, before going to foriegn car and never coming back. My uncle Jim was the only one that never in my lifetime drove an American car, that I can remember. He had a Volkswagen Squareback, then a Volvo 240 wagon and replaced that with 2 Hyndais, ever the trail blazer uncle Jim.

My parents stayed on the Ford path for many years, having a second Pinto (wagon) another Fairlane (67 wagon) a Maverick then an Escort when they first came out. My parents eventually let the Ford path, going to GM and Chrysler, but the effects were irreversable for me. My older brother and his friends were probably the biggest Blue Oval influences after my parents. My older brother having many cars over the years, including a 73 Pinto Wagon, 66 Pony Mustang in Rangoon Red with 289, 69 Mach 1 which I'm not sure he ever got running, but the collection of Ford short blocks under our house, infuriated mom and dad, but cemented my love of Ford. I would watch and sometimes help as my brother and his friends would pull engines and transmissions in the driveway of all of their houses. Tom and his best friend John both had 66 Mustangs, and were the first people to take me to Englishtown Raceway Park to see drag racing. I remember the bunch of us going down in John's Mom's LTD Country Squire.

My first car was the Fairlane wagon (67) that my parents had bought and gave to me, I never got it on the road, but spent hours sitting in it and tinkering with it. I would go through all of my Car Craft, Hot Rod and Popular Hot Rodding magazines, looking up which headers and carbs would fit, as well as daydreaming about customizing my ride with all the cool stuff in JC Whitney. Now I look at JC Whiteny and wonder how I thought any of it was cool, but I was 15. The first car I actually drove wasn't a Ford, neither was number 2, both brand X bombs that didn't last long. My first reliable car believe it or not was a 79 Pinto. Yeah laugh all you want, but I learned to drive a stick in that car and had a lot of fun. Yes a Pinto can be fun, it actually handled well and with the manual it felt fast enough for a kid hell bent on destruction. I drove that for several years until I got my first brand new car at the age of 22, a 1988 Ford Festiva ( I know, not cool) with 68 hp and a 5 spd manual. I remember reading Csaba Csere's review in Car and Driver, comparing it to a BMW ( if you don't believe me, look it up, I think I have a copy of the article somewhere) and although my parents wanted me to get the Escort, I got the Festiva.

You know what, it may not have been "cool", but it was fun. I beat the snot out of that little car, racing my friends all over, not winning mind you, but racing none the less. We tore up the back streets in our suburban wasteland. I remember my twin brother opted not to get a new car at the time, but instead bought a used Mazda RX7, much cooler, but it was the Festiva I was driving when I got my speeding ticket for going 100 mph in a 55 mph zone. Long story, not proud of it, but that's the way it goes. You know what, strike that, I am proud of it, 100 mph in a Festiva!!!! Yeah the wind was at my back, going down hill on a long straight stretch of I-90 near Albany, but you gotta love it. I was drafting my buddy's Toyota Corrola GTS Twin Cam.

The Festiva stayed in the family until 1993, but I had moved onto bigger and better things. I bought a series of beater and project vehicles including a 78 Thunderbird, which we took to the track and my brother won a trophy in. A 77 Lincoln Versailes, former executive car. and some more brand X crap. But I was primarilly a Ford Blue Oval nut.

The peak for me, was when in 1990 I got my 91 Mustang LX 5.0 notchback coupe. Deep Emeral Green with the 225 hp 5.0, T-5 manual and 3.08 factory rear gears. I went faster in that car than any before, with brief stints up to the 140 mph top of the speedo. Many times on long trips I would run at 120 mph for an hour or more without any trouble at all. At one point, much to my parents dismay I had 5 cars, 4 of them Fords. I swear that Chevy truck was just cause it was so cheap, and the Plymouth Police car, well every boy dreams of being in the Dukes of Hazzard, don't they? Bob and I raced the Mustang and T-Bird over the years, him winning more races than I, but having a lot of fun and driving them both to and from the track. Over the years many of my friends like Boomar have been Ford fanatics too. I remember one trip to Englishtown where I had my Mustang, Boomar had his and a Friend of ours had his dad's Mustang. Much fun was had by all.

As an adult I've kept it Ford Blue Oval, buying a 92 Crown Victoria, 93 Taurus SHOmatic, and now a 99 Ford Ranger 4x4. Ford is still a huge part of my life, or as this blog would imply, my lack of a life. Boomar and I attend many Ford days at Englishtown, and have made trips to Nashville and Carlisle for Ford/Mustang events. A few years ago, I made a personal pilgrimage to Dearborn to see the Henry Ford Museum, as well as Ford World Headquarters.

So there you have my Blue Oval roots. It's amazing how a car brand can be so important in your life. But so I don't seem like such a geek, I compare it to those that follow a sports team, and know all the stats and players even those before they were born. It's a healthy hobby, fun and family friendly.

AutoBlog discusses new Mustang models coming down the pike

With all the talk of possible Camaro and Challenger competition it should be no surprise that Ford has been readying special models of the Mustang to keep the image up. First the Pony package for the V6 Mustang and now rumors of the Mach 1 (which if you recall AutoProphet saw a test mule of months ago) Bullit and possibly Boss 302 models. Now some of these may have more power than the GT's 300, but don't expect any of them to out power the Shelby.

Finally got to drive a Fusion, and enjoyed it

My first impression is that the car looks much bigger in pictures. Here it looks long a low, but in person it looks good, but not big. I took a test drive in a black SE trim V6 Auto sedan. The dealer says that this is the most common configuration and that although a manual is available with the I4, don't look for one on dealer lots. The dealer said Ford is going to bias toward V6 and even most I4 will be automatic.

Being early on a Monday, the dealership was deserted and I was not set upon by any sales staff, because they were just having coffe, better for me to crawl all over the car. Now I had test drove a Mazda 6 just a few weeks ago, and that is still fresh in my mind for comparison. The Ford interior is not stellar, neither was the Mazda, but it was just a cut above the Fusion. I did like the stereo controls on the steering wheel, and was able to set a nice position for the seat and adjustable steering wheel, that gave a good veiw of the gages. I must say, I liked the dash layout and gages better than recent Ford offerings, and while they were close to the Mazda, they were not identical. The trunk and interior seemed roomy and useful. I did notice a pull down armrest with two cupholder in the back and wondered why, but I guess we Americans have come to expect that.

Once I was finished examinging the car, I found a salesman that actually knew his stuff, and could discuss the car and the industry with some level of competence. A refreshing change from what I'm used to. The Fusion was sitting next too the 500 and was dwarfed by the larger car.

I set out in the Fusion and was impressed with the quiet cabin and solid feel, until I pressed hard on the accelterator and the buzzy V6 hit high revs. Shifts from the auto trans were uneventful and smooth. Once I got used to the motors tendency to hit those high notes, it was actually a decent drive. A loop of city and highway driving, with no disapointments. For those that are familiar with NY suburbs, I-287 is a sucky road, potholes and bumps and a killer merge. The Fusion took off into trafic well and soaked up the bumpy highway and city streets with no noise or bobbling. The salesmen pointed out that the V6's EPA numbers of 21/29 were not so far off the 4's 24/32, and that those numbers weren't too far away from the Focus sitting unloved in the corner of the showroom.

Overall I was satisfied with the Fusion, as I think most people will be. It's a fine replacement for the Taurus and has potential to be sporty if equiped the right way. Too bad that V6 isn't available with a manual trans.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wells Fargo, does what Ford should have, stuck to their guns

Found this story over at AutoBlog, looks like Wells Fargo has the cajones, that Ford lacks.
Faced with a similar threat by another Right Wing group, Wells Fargo stuck to their guns, and told the group to take their business elsewhere.
Bill Ford seen here, has been silent on the subject.

Update: Ford met with LGBT groups, some are readying counter protests and boycotts of Ford. Click the link to read some of the T-Shirt slogans ;

Friday, December 09, 2005

One Bad Ass Mazda

Now this is cool, the Mazdaspeed 6, it looks fast sitting still. I know someone who's considering trading in one hell of a fast car for this (you know who you are) and the only thing I could find wrong with his choice, was the two tone black and white interior.

I'm looking forward to Dave Thomas' Video Q&A over at MPH. I'll have to check that out soon.
Power not far from an EVO or WRX STI, without the boy racer wing and paint job, a car even an old man like me could enjoy. And for just around $30k.

Is this going to be the new Fusion SVT? How could Ford not do this?

Update, Daves Video Q&A is up, click the link above.

Bob from CarsCarsCars! has a new gig, check it out.

Bob, who is CarsCarsCars! recently started a new gig over at (click title) and he's getting paid! Go Bob, good for you. Now Bob is a character, and I plan to check both blogs, assuming that he'll keep the original going. Give it a check, look for Bob's name brooklynbob on his posts.

Crossovers to outdo SUVs, and Ford has the product to do well in my opinion

Ford, who has played a major role in feeding America's addiction to SUV's is ready to adjust with the shift to Crossovers, with several great models out now and on the way soon. Ford's Explorer has been the top selling SUV for years and they haven't forgotten SUV fans, with a nicely freshened Explorer for 2006.
But last year when Ford introduced the Freestyle, they showed a real ability to cover all their bases. The Freestyle, is not selling as well as Ford would like, but with safety ratings that are class leading and value that is very tangible, the Freestyle may still make a comeback. And if not, don't expect this vehicle to disapear, it will just slide into Mercury dealers as the Meta One.
When the Escape came out, it sold well, and now it's among only a handfull of Hybrid vehicles available. But Ford wants to raise them from 25 to 250 thousand units a year. Ford, Mercury and Mazda versions are all getting Hybrid versions of this great little crossover.
But Ford's not finished there, this South of the border Ford EcoSport will be their entry level Crossover. Based on European Ford Fiesta mechanicals, expect a version of this around 2008.
Anticipating the need for a larger Crossover, this Fairlane concept has been kicking around and based on the same chassis as the Freestyle (itself based on Volvo XC90) look for someting along these lines by 2009.

And with Ford's new ambitious Hybrid program, expect to see Hybrid versions of several of them soon after introduction.

Sure Ford brought the obscene Excursion super SUV, and has been feeding us a steady diet of Explorer and Expeditions, but they are ready for the shift and with current and future products can maintain their position in this segment.

See, it's not all bad news.

Ford Edge Crossover to debut in January

This January a the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, AutoBlog is reporting that the new Ford Edge Crossover will make it's debut. Visible is the new Ford three bar grill from the Fusion that will be the new corporate face. I like it and feel this vehicle and it's siblings will be a great vehicle for Ford.
Here is the early concept Lincoln Aviator, based on the same chassis as the Edge and the Mazda C7 crossover.
All three are based on a modified Mazda 6 chassis with Front/All wheel drive. I'm sure each will be differentiated with suspension tuning and interior trims.

I believe these will be among the first Ford vehicles to get the new 3.5 DOHC V6 with 250 hp. There is also a Hybrid version being developed.