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Extremely Rare 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Prototype Turns up in Texas

Sat, 08/18/2018 - 02:00

An experimental Ford Shelby GT500 Prototype nicknamed “Little Red” was discovered in a North Texas field this past spring after spending at least two decades outdoors.

The owner obviously didn’t know he had a 1967 Shelby GT500 Experimental Coupe rusting away next to a bunch of mesquite trees on his property. What’s left of the neglected prototype was located and verified on March 3, 2018, according to Craig Jackson, the chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson who announced the find at a private event tonight at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Aaron Shelby, grandson of Carroll Shelby and board member of Carroll Shelby International, and Henry Ford III were on hand to witness the historic reunion.

“Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime,” said Jackson in a release. “This Shelby prototype has been one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history. Countless enthusiasts and experts have searched for Little Red since it went missing in the 1960s. Many believed it was destroyed when the car was no longer needed. I’m excited to announce that was not the case. We’ve found Little Red and we intend to meticulously restore this legendary car back to its original glory.”

Jackson and classic car restoration specialist Jason Billups led the team who discovered Little Red. The quest began during the restoration of the other legendary Shelby prototype coupe, named the Green Hornet. The pair were the only notchback coupes to ever wear the Shelby badge.

The two cars were built by Ford and Shelby to test out a number of ideas for a special model. They featured a restyled body, including the iconic horizontal taillights sourced from a Mercury Cougar, and even a Paxton supercharger for the big-block engine. Little Red, which was built first, is most famous as the model for the 1968 Ford Mustang California Special. Despite that provenance, the car was put into storage and lost for decades.

“Locating Little Red was tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack,” said Jason Billups in a release. “After our initial research we realized that, like others before us, we were using the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took a different approach and located the car’s original Ford VIN number, which wasn’t easily discoverable. That VIN led us to its original registration and eventually to its last owner.”

The team also verified its authenticity using cross-references, serial numbers, date codes, and other confidential documents. Shell and Pennzoil are also helping support the restoration that will be fully documented at and will include photos, personal accounts, and videos of the restoration. Stay tuned for more details to come in the months ahead.

The post Extremely Rare 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Prototype Turns up in Texas appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Porsche Macan

Sat, 08/18/2018 - 00:25

Midcycle refreshes on Porsche vehicles usually require a magnifying glass to see what’s changed, but in the case of the 2019 Macan, the updates are pretty clear. For the 2019 model year, Porsche’s compact crossover has gone under the knife and received a significant update inside and out.

Up front, the grille has been reshaped and made wider. The lower air intakes on the refreshed model are also less rounded than on the pre-facelift Macan. Perhaps the most obvious change is the shape of the headlights, which are now similar those found on the Panamera and third-generation Cayenne. The 2019 Macan also gets the quad LED daytime running light strips in each headlight cluster just like its larger siblings.

Where things don’t change much is in the refreshed Macan’s side profile, which remains virtually the same as the outgoing model. Out back, the refreshed Macan adapts Porsche’s new full-width taillight design, which uses an LED light strip that spans the crossover’s rear end, connecting both lamps together. This was first seen on the facelifted 911 before making its way to the Panamera and Cayenne, and now the Macan.

Inside, the refreshed Macan gets a redesigned dash with a new center stack and reshaped air vents. A large touchscreen—and we mean large at 12 inches—is the new centerpiece of the dash, and the center air vent are now beneath it instead of at its flanks. Sadly, the button-happy center console remains.

Porsche hasn’t released much information regarding the refreshed 2019 Macan, but we expect it to get the brand’s latest PCM infotainment system and new safety and tech features. Engine choices should carry over from the outgoing model but there’s a possibility that Porsche will also add a Turbo S variant as the new range-topper and the most powerful model in the Macan lineup.

The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Porsche Macan appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Jeep Wrangler Plug-in Hybrid on Track for 2020 Launch

Sat, 08/18/2018 - 00:01

Jeep confirmed plans to produce a Wrangler PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) last year and announced today that the 54-year-old Toledo Machining Plant in Ohio will produce the plug-in’s Power Electronic module, install the applicable software, and conduct final testing before the units are shipped off to the Toledo Assembly Plant, where the Wrangler plug-in will be built.

The Power Electronics module is comprised of the Power Inverter module and the Integrated Dual Charger module, which includes both an onboard charger and a DC/DC converter. Jeep will mount the module in a protective structure under the SUV between the exhaust and drive shaft.

Like with most plug-in vehicles, the electric motor (or motors) will provide additional power, improve fuel economy, and should offer a short all-electric driving range. Jeep has yet to announce what gas engine will be utilized in the hybrid system, but it could be a 3.6-liter V-6 like the one used in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Currently, the Wrangler’s optional 2.0-liter turbo-four uses the automaker’s eTorque mild-hybrid system and delivers an EPA-rated 22/24 mpg city/highway in the four-door Unlimited model, and 23/25 mpg in the two-door. That’s a nice improvement over the 3.6-liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic combo that delivers 18/23 mpg for both models.

The Wrangler plug-in is expected to launch in 2020 and is part of FCA’s commitment to have 30 models with electrified powertrains by 2022. The Pacifica Hybrid is currently FCA’s only plug-in vehicle and is rated at 32/33 mpg with a 33-mile all-electric driving range.

Off-roading quietly on all-electric power probably doesn’t sound very enticing to your average Jeep customer, but the extra power and fuel economy that the hybrid powertrain affords could expand the SUV’s appeal.

Source: Jeep

The post Jeep Wrangler Plug-in Hybrid on Track for 2020 Launch appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Watch: Behind the Wheel of the Bentley Bentayga W12

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 22:32

Bentley has a Bentayga in every flavor, from a V-8 to a diesel to a new plug-in hybrid variant. But sometimes there’s nothing like the magic of a burbling W-12 engine. In this video, AUTOMOBILE social media editor Billy Rehbock takes the 12-cylinder SUV for a spin on Colorado’s high-altitude roads.

The Bentayga’s twin-turbo W-12 engine consists of two narrow-angle V-6 engines joined at the crankshaft. All in all, it produces up to 600 hp and 662 lb-ft of torque. In our First Test from 2016, we clocked the Bentayga hitting 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. That was enough to make it the quickest gas-burning SUV we had ever tested at the time, until the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk came along to steal its thunder.

Check out the video above to find out how the Bentayga drives and how it feels inside the cabin.

The post Watch: Behind the Wheel of the Bentley Bentayga W12 appeared first on Motor Trend.

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World’s Only Kona Blue Ford Mustang Bullitt Will be Raffled for Charity

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 21:20

Ford is raffling off a Mustang Bullitt painted in Kona Blue to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The special model debuted today at the Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan.

Normally, the Mustang Bullitt is only available in one of two colors: Shadow Black or Dark Highland Green. This bespoke model features a dark blue paint job as well as unique gray wheels. Open the doors, and you’ll find blue stitching inside the cabin.

Just like other Bullitts, this model features a 5.0-liter V-8 engine making 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane fuel. Top speed is rated at 163 mph. Comparatively, a Mustang GT makes 460 hp and the same torque, with a top speed of 155 mph. Ford didn’t announce how many copies of the Bullitt it would sell, but it has told consumers to act fast because it is a limited edition vehicle. Prices start at $47,590, according to Ford’s online configurator.

If you want a shot at owning the world’s only Kona Blue Mustang Bullitt, Ford and JDRF are selling 60,000 raffle tickets at $10 a pop. You can buy them online by filling out this form. Tickets can be ordered online through November 9, or until they are sold out. A winner will be announced on November 13.

Check out our First Drive of the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt here.

Source: Ford

The post World’s Only Kona Blue Ford Mustang Bullitt Will be Raffled for Charity appeared first on Motor Trend.

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5 Cool Facts About the Sold-Out Ford Mustang FP350S Race Car

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 20:55

Unless you’ve got a GT4 racer in your garage, the FP350S is meaner and more capable on a track than your Mustang. Already sold out, the Ford Mustang FP350S is a Trans Am-ready turnkey race car—and we recently drove it. Don’t miss our full review of the car, but if you’re curious what goes into a $114,990 race car, keep reading.

The Aluminator

The engine is closely related to Ford’s Aluminator 5.2 XS crate engine ($19,995 by itself). It features a unique Ford Performance M-6303-M52 forged-steel 90-degree crankshaft, Manley “H-Beam” connecting rods, Mahle forged pistons with low-friction coatings, and a host of other special parts including a special 12-quart steel oil pan fabricated with highly elaborate baffles and trapdoors to ensure adequate oiling under high g loads. The Aluminator is rated at 580 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque.

Why the Brake Calipers Look Strange

The Radi-CAL calipers look kind of strange because they’re not styled to look symmetrical like most calipers. Instead, AP Racing used finite element analysis to optimize the shape. Any molecule of metal that wasn’t needed to make the caliper more rigid was eliminated, and voids were inserted to improve airflow and cooling. The calipers are also ultra-compact to enable, in some cases, smaller-diameter wheels than other calipers would require for a given rotor size. These ultra-rigid calipers and a firewall stiffened (by a factor of two or three) where the stock Shelby booster mounts help to remove all slop from the brake pedal feel.

The (Adjustable) Wing

The rear wing is manually adjustable in half-degree increments between 0 and 12 degrees, by selecting various combinations of eight holes on the stanchions and 20 holes on the wing. The cars are shipped with the wing set to 8 degrees. The downforce is transmitted to the body via adjustable pads, and the trunklid itself gets reinforcing struts to bear the load.

Info Stop

Three screens are offered: The warm-up screen prominently shows all fluid temperatures and a compact round tach. The qualifying screen indicates fastest lap time, a prediction of the current lap time and the gain/loss, along with a linear graphic tach and a few key fluid temps. The race screen shows the current lap time, lap number, fuel economy mode, fuel used on the last lap, and total fuel used along with the same graphic tach.

The Totalizer Button

The center console area has buttons for pit lane speed control (PLSC), “spare” buttons for auxiliary helmet or suit coolers, and a “totalizer” button that you press when the tank is full to reset the fuel-use meter. The system then precisely measures fuel used by monitoring fuel-injector pulse-width so the driver knows precisely how much is left. Then he or she can use the “map” button to change fuel mapping to a leaner setting if conserving fuel might prevent a pit stop.

Find out how the Ford Mustang FP350S race car drives in our review right here.

The post 5 Cool Facts About the Sold-Out Ford Mustang FP350S Race Car appeared first on Motor Trend.

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The Bugatti Divo Doesn’t Look Anything Like the Chiron

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 20:30

Early last month, Bugatti began teasing a new model called the Divo. Named after Albert Divo, a French driver who successfully raced Bugattis in the 1920s, the car promised to be extremely rare and incredibly expensive. Until now, though, we had no idea what the Divo would look like. Even though Bugatti has released quite a few teasers since then, they were all close-ups of small details that didn’t show much of the car itself.

Granted, the Divo in the image shown here is still covered by a sheet, so we can’t actually see it. But it does reveal the general shape of the car and give us a better idea of how it will look. Perhaps most importantly, it’s now clear the Divo and the Chiron will look like two distinct models. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo concept‘s wing and central fin find their way onto the Divo in some way, but the silhouette is clearly different, and the Chiron’s distinctive C-shaped character line is completely gone.

Mechanically, though, expect the Divo to share its platform and drivetrain with the Chiron. Bugatti’s focus on reducing weight, increasing downforce, and improving handling means the driving experience should be unique, but this car has been billed from the beginning as a revival of the French automaker’s “coachbuilding tradition.”

When Bugatti says production will be limited, it really means it, too. Only 40 cars will be built, each costing more than $5 million. Hopefully, at least one or two of them will find their way to a race track, because, as Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann has already said, “The Divo is made for corners.”

Source: Bugatti

The post The Bugatti Divo Doesn’t Look Anything Like the Chiron appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2018 Woodward Dream Cruise: Cruising With Ford/SVT’s Hermann Salenbauch

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 19:31

When you cruise Woodward in a brand new Wimbledon White Mustang GT convertible with “10,000,000th Mustang” emblazoned on the doors, everyone leaps from their curbside lawn chairs or swivels in their passenger seats to grab a snap of this milestone-mobile. Not too many vehicles hit eight-digit production figures, and those that do tend to be workhorses or commodity cars, not iconic sporty cars. One driver yelled “who do you have to know to get to drive that?!” The answer: Hermann Salenbauch. He’s at the wheel—literally and figuratively. The German-born BMW engineer was lured to Ford in 2001 by the irresistible prospect of serving as chief engineer of the fifth-gen (S-197) Mustang. The pony car was well known even in Germany, having made a big impression on young Hermann ever since it first appeared in Goldfinger. These days he serves as Director of Ford’s Advanced Product Creation and Global Performance Vehicles—a title sufficiently lofty to get him the keys to the 10M Mustang with 41 miles on the odometer. We’ll add 8.6 more idling up and down the curb lane of Woodward Avenue in an hour-and-a-half-long photo op during which we also snapped some shots of cars that piqued Hermann’s interest.

More 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise coverage:

1965 Volkswagen Beetle

Hermann’s family actually drove lots of Fords growing up, but they were all German Fords so we had no luck finding a 17M Taunus, Euro Granada, or Consul convertible, but the first car he owned was a 1967 Beetle convertible. It came in that light yellowy beige, which he garage-painted violet. It was a little rusty and he wasn’t a welder, but he was pretty facile with fiberglass, so he managed to thwart the TUV safety agent’s rust-probing pick with a few well-placed and well laid-up layers of plastic to keep it on the road beyond what the safety commission probably would have permitted. His handiwork also managed to net him double his money when it came time to sell a few years later!

1986-1990 BMW E30 Convertible

Hermann’s career started at BMW, where one of his more proud achievements was the slick convertible top mechanism on the E30 3 Series. It was the first to use an over-centering mechanism to press the rear of the top to the rigid tonneau cover, negating the need for a rear latch. The setup also had the effect of keeping the fabric very tight along the top of the roof where others frequently bowed in the wind. During that model run an electric top would be offered, but it was a snap to raise and lower manually as well. Another cool BMW-era story Hermann shared: While developing the E32 7 Series, quite late in the program the decision was made to widen the car 30mm right down the center so as to better accommodate BMW’s first V-12 engine. Indeed the car ended up 45mm wider than its predecessor.

1994-1998 Ford Mustang (SN-95)

This “Fox 4” Mustang is the one that Hermann emigrated to Ford North America in order to replace. By the time he arrived, meeting crash safety standards had stretched the nose enough to give the car an almost front-drive appearance. His primary objective in the redesign was returning that iconic sense of long-hood/short-deck, big dash-to-axle pony proportion to the car. This gave it the proportional look of the ‘60s Mustangs that made an impression on Hermann in Germany, where so many military folks left them behind. It’s only natural then that the designers seized the opportunity to paint a mildly retro design on this better proportioned canvas.

2011-2012 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

As the driver of this GT500 convertible rolled past, snapping shots of our 10M ‘Stang, Hermann complimented him on his choice of a great engine. Salenbauch has fond memories of working with Carroll Shelby while bringing back the Shelby Cobra name. This later model GT500 version of the S-197 Mustang he came here to oversee was powered by a brand new all-aluminum 5.4-liter engine that shared some DNA with the one in the mighty Ford GT. It featured plasma-transferred wire-arc sprayed cylinder liners, which won a design innovation award. The engine was lighter, more powerful (550 hp/510-lb-ft), and efficient enough to drop the gas-guzzler tax levied on its predecessor. Hermann long advocated to officially sell the Mustang in Europe, but it wasn’t until the current model that this wish came true.

1978 Ford Bronco XLT

Broncos are hot on the Avenue this year as the world awaits a highly anticipated new Ford Bronco. Seeing this one all hiked up on big knobby tires got us talking about Raptors. Hermann recounted the genesis of the current Raptor. “Mark Fields told me we could do two high-performance vehicles—one car [the Shelby GT500] and one truck.” The team considered another rear-drive, lowered, high-performance Lightning model, but aimed instead for whitespace with an ultra-high-performance off-roader. “What about that Ranger Raptor?” We asked. “Oh, I’ve got one in Dearborn if you want to come have a look at it.” But basically he explained that the Ranger Raptor was conceived to give markets that don’t get any F-150s (most of the world) a halo performance truck. “Don’t you want to compete with the Colorado ZR2?” Not necessarily. His team is not yet convinced the U.S. market needs two Raptors. He did indicate that, despite Ford’s close relationship with Multimatic, that company’s slick spool-valve shocks used on the ZR2 have yet to win him over. “I wouldn’t trade our Fox shocks for those.”

1954 Dodge M37

This pristine, vastly-better-than-new example of the type of military trucks that were prevalent in post-war Germany caught Hermann’s eye. Built from ’51-’68 these post-war workhorses were based on the WC series trucks Dodge built during WWII. Power usually came from an inline six-cylinder side-valve engine.

1946-1948 Lincoln Continental

“Now THAT’S a luxury car,” Hermann exclaimed as we passed this very rare (on Woodward) example of a bona fide “Full Classic” car, as recognized by the Classic Car Club of America. It also ranks as the last car produced and sold by a major American automaker with a V-12 engine. The 4.8-liter flathead Lincoln Zephyr V-12 provided whisper-quiet, turbine-smooth power to this elegant, stately design penned by Eugene T. “Bob” Gregorie.

1962 Ford Galaxie 500 Police Cruiser

If Andy Griffith had gone bald and lived to cruise Woodward this year in his trusty old squad car from the second season of his eponymous TV show, he’d have surely been pointing at the 10,000,000th Mustang just as enthusiastically as this guy is.

1977-78 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon

What better vehicle for the Woodward Dream Cruise than a Pinto Cruising Wagon!? That is indeed the nomenclature Ford used for this “sedan delivery” panel-wagon-with-portholes. The design was meant to draw a coolness connection between the somewhat unloved Pinto and the custom van craze that was sweeping the market in those days. Period ads showed the Cruising Wagon and an Econoline van in matching striped livery with the porthole windows in back and a tag line “Two Much!” That this would-be shaggin’ wag’n was parked under the Bra-vo intimates sign was icing on the cake…

1968-1971 Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce

Hermann’s eyes lit up when we passed this sleek, spare, Italian beauty nicely enhanced by the removal of its bumpers and fitment of Minilite or Panasport wheels. A friend of his in California has an earlier example of this car.


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Spied! Mercedes-AMG GT R Caught Testing as a Convertible

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 18:15

The Mercedes-AMG GT R is an absolute monster. Developed to dominate the Nurburgring, the GT R’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 cranks out 577 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with the dual-clutch transmission sending that power exclusively to the rear wheels. It will also hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and lap the infamous Green Hell in a blistering 7:10.92. So clearly, the next step is for Mercedes to remove the roof.

Yes, you read that correctly. As these spy shots show, Mercedes is about to introduce a convertible version of the GT R. Granted, you can already buy the regular Mercedes-AMG GT and GT C with a soft top, but those cars aren’t nearly as hardcore or track-focused as the GT R.

As our spy photographer points out, though, the idea of a GT R Roadster isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Porsche has a long history of selling quite a few convertibles, including the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, a $200,000 drop-top that makes 580 hp and launches to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. Heck, Ferrari even offered a convertible version of the 950-hp LaFerrari. If they can do it, why not Mercedes?

Like many of the prototypes we’ve caught testing recently, the GT R Roadster seen here looks close to production-ready. That means there’s a good chance it will be revealed soon, potentially as early as the Paris motor show later this year.

Photo source: CarPix

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2017 Ford Mustang FP350S Race Car Review: Performance (p)Art

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 18:08

I’ve just sampled an ultra-high-performing part from the Ford Performance Parts catalog, and if it weren’t already sold out I’d be urging you to pick up the phone, dial 800-367-3788 and order up part number M-FP500-FP350S. You would first need to have a pretty high credit limit and a trailer, though, because this part costs $114,990 and must be picked up in person (saving you the destination charge!). This “part” is a turnkey race car known as the Mustang FP350S. It’s Ford’s follow-up to the run of 50 Mustang Boss 302S club-racers built in 2011 and sold for $79,000. The price increase of about $27,000 after inflation didn’t seem to bother the 50 buyers who will be campaigning this FIA-certified racer in the Trans Am series (classes TA3 or TA4) or in NASA or SCCA club racing classes. As we noted at the new Mustang FP350S’ 2016 unveiling, it follows the out-of-production Shelby GT350R-C and slots in below the big-dog ($235,000) Mustang GT4 in the parts catalog (the latter is still orderable).

The FP350S’ body structure was framed on the Mustang line in Flat Rock, Michigan, and shipped in bare metal 7 miles north to Watson Racing. Then one technician lavished a 40-hour work week light-weighting and seam-welding each body, removing unnecessary parts like the rear package shelf. Then a Multimatic-designed, FIA-compliant roll cage was welded in with high-density foam filling the space inside the doors. All of this makes the bodies vastly more rigid, safer, and easier to repair after accidents (because they don’t crumple as much). Then the bodies were returned to Flat Rock for a full factory paint job, including a dip in the electrocoat tank. Once cured, the bodies went back up to Watson, accompanied by a kit of production parts that carry over to the racer (like the upper dash panel, the suspension hubs and knuckles, the main independent rear suspension module, etc.) for final assembly.

Power for the FP350S comes from a 5.2-liter Voodoo engine with a 90-degree (instead of flat) crankshaft. Certain classes require restrictor plates, so Ford just says it makes “well over 500 hp.” A gigantic oil cooler covers about two-thirds of the main radiator, while what used to be the oil cooler now cools the differential gear oil.

Engine torque routes aft through the Shelby GT350’s Tremec 3160 transmission with an integral pump and a Ford Performance short-throw shift kit to a Torsen rear diff running short 3.73:1 gearing. Customers typically put that power to the ground via 305/680-18 Pirelli P Zero slicks or the slightly longer-lasting, easier-to-get Hoosier A7s in a 315/30R18 size wrapped around the wheels of their choice. Ford offers an optional set of forged 11.0 x 18-inch wheels, but the car is delivered on base 19-inch GT350 wheels and 275-width tires. These tires are for transportation only, because of their limited shelf life. The only other available option on the car is the FP350S graphics package shown here.

Suspension upgrades include replacing nearly all the rubber with metal cross-axis bushings and fitting ZF Sachs coil-over shocks that offer two settings each for jounce and rebound. Caster/camber plates use shims in differing sizes that permit precise changes in geometry without the need for an alignment rack, and using coil-over shocks in the rear moves the pickup point outboard considerably for a higher motion ratio that allows greater effective stiffness with lower-rate springs (spring rates are 650 lb/in in front, 600 in the rear). Electric power steering offers low effort for endurance races and higher effort for sprints.

In place of the usual Brembo brakes are AP Racing Radi-CAL six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers biting down on two-piece vented and slotted rotors measuring 14.6 inches in front and 13.4 inches in the rear. Special calipers for endurance racing permit thicker (1.1-inch versus 0.7-inch), longer-lasting brake pads.

Exterior modifications include a hood vent, exterior hood latches, tow rings, an additional carbon-fiber splitter and fence mounted to the already aggressive Shelby splitter, blades to direct air into a pair of 4-inch brake cooling ducts, and a rear wing that’s highly adjustable. Oh, and there’s no door glass. Inside there’s a Motec data acquisition system and digital instrumentation setup that provides multiple screens and stores or transmits GPS lap data. A fire-suppression system is also standard.

After he clambers into the FP350S’ Sparco racing seat (a task made at least slightly easier by the quick-release steering wheel) and fusses with the five-point Sabelt FIA racing harness, Ben Maher confides that this is perhaps his favorite Ford track car—preferable even to the mighty GT. Ben supervises Ford’s driver safety training program, and he’s riding shotgun to ensure I don’t wad up his new favorite toy. We idle out onto the black lake at Ford’s Dearborn proving ground and wait for the engine oil temp light to switch from flashing blue to solid green. When it does, I start a gentle recon lap around the coned and chalk-lined course. A tight hairpin leads onto a straight long enough to reach third gear before bending into a decreasing-radius right-hander followed by a left onto a short slalom that connects to the hairpin.

As a short-waisted 5-foot-10-incher, an ultra-low seating position has me feeling like a cotton-top little old lady in a Grand Marquis. I struggle to see the tops of some of the cones but quickly master the course. It takes a lap or two to warm the tires, during which time the car feels heavily prone to oversteer, especially when bending into the decreaser or powering onto the slalom. As everything comes up to temperature the chassis feels much more neutral. Ben urges me to stay in the throttle later and later on the straight as the slick Hoosiers and giant brake pads combine forces to deliver five-point-harness-straining retardation. With the engine powering half as many Hoosiers, I must exercise far more restraint with the right pedal at all points on this track. “Off-road use only” means there are no fussy sound regulations to worry about, so the noise trumpeting from the straight pipes is glorious—if a shade less malevolent than that produced by the flat-crank Voodoo. No sound insulation also means no heat insulation, and the cockpit warms up in a big hurry. I’d definitely want a cool suit hooked up to one of the unused dash switches.

After my hot laps on the lake, we swap seats and Ben takes me for a drive on the Dearborn PG’s loopy handling circuit, which is filled with jumpable hills that curve at the landing and every conceivable combination of increasing- and decreasing-radius turns. The FP350S sticks like crazy, rewarding Ben’s smooth driving style with small, controllable slip angles. I have difficulty squaring the DNA connection between this car and the Mustang GT Perf Pack 2 I recently sampled. This one operates in a different realm. I have less difficulty understanding Ben’s affinity for the FP350S.

The last of the 50 examples of the FP350 are being delivered at about the time you’re reading this. However, few have been sufficiently prepped, tested, tuned, and raced in earnest, so the car has yet to establish a track record. Tune in to Motor Trend Premium’s coverage of Trans Am racing next year to learn how formidable Ford’s latest hot “part” will be in competition.

2017 Ford Mustang FP350S BASE PRICE $114,990 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door race car ENGINE 5.2L/580-hp (est)/445-lb-ft (est) DOHC 32-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual CURB WEIGHT 3,450 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 107.1 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 196.0 x 77.0 x 52.0 in 0-60 MPH 3.5 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not rated ON SALE IN U.S. Sold out

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2019 Shelby GT is a Tuned Ford Mustang That Packs up to 700+ HP

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:00

Among Mustang owners, few names carry more weight than Carroll Shelby‘s. The legendary racer’s name is synonymous with high-performance Mustangs, and even after his death in 2012, Shelby American continues to sell tuned Mustang GTs. For 2019, that will include a revised Shelby GT and a new GT-H (pictured here).

Officially revealed at the Woodward Dream Cruise, the 2019 Shelby GT gets an upgraded suspension, custom bodywork, a Borla exhaust, unique wheels, and a handful of Shelby accents. Customers have their choice of a coupe or convertible with either a 10-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Thanks to the sports exhaust, the Shelby GT also makes a Bullitt-matching 480 hp. If you want more power, Shelby can add a Ford Performance supercharger that bumps engine output to more than 700 hp.

“We designed a gorgeous car to make any drive an adventure with thrilling performance and dynamic handling,” said Gary Patterson, head of Shelby American, in a release. “The Shelby GT can gobble up miles on a road trip or rip up the corners on the track. It is equally fun cruising to the beach or to the office. Plus, this is the only naturally aspirated V-8 Shelby car that can be optioned in convertible and with an automatic transmission. Enthusiasts will love to drive it all day, every day.”

Shelby will also introduce a Heritage version called the GT-H that’s inspired by the Hertz rental cars Shelby built back in the mid-2000s. The GT-H can be ordered in either black or white and gets gold racing strips. Optional gold wheels are also available. To help separate the GT-H from the regular Shelby GT, it gets a restyled front end, as well as additional suspension upgrades.

The price of the GT-H has yet to be released, but Shelby says the GT starts at $61,345. Adding any of the other custom upgrades or options packages will increase the price from there, but the good news is, the cost of the Mustang GT is already included.

Source: Shelby American

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Camaros, Mustangs, Mopar, and More: 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise PHOTOS

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 02:21

Despite its humble beginnings in 1995 as a fundraiser to build a soccer field in Ferndale, Michigan, the Woodward Dream Cruise is now the world’s largest one-day automotive event, according to its organizers. But these days, the classic car celebration on and around Woodward Avenue encompasses more than just the Saturday main event. Woodward has become a week-long affair, with every Detroit automaker organizing cruises and festivities of their own on the days leading up to the actual Dream Cruise. Throughout the week, you’ll see meticulously restored original muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Charger. But you’ll also see plenty of their modern counterparts, along with classic trucks, obscure vintage rides, unique custom creations, and a few builds that will leave you scratching your head.

Check out all the photos from Woodward in the gallery below. Keep checking back through the weekend as we add more photos!

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

1965-1967 Mk III AC Shelby Cobra 427

1970 Plymouth Cuda

1967 Ford Eleanoresque Mustang

1948 1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

1987-1993 Fox Mustang

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Baby Bronco to Benefit From New Product Development Plan at Ford

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:28

Bronco. The name gets people excited. And while we await the return of the body-on-frame SUV in 2020, we have learned a few details about another vehicle in the works, the one that has been dubbed the baby Bronco.

The unnamed small off-roader that Ford will add to the lineup by 2020 may have some styling cues to tie it to big brother Bronco (shown in the teaser below) but its bones are very different. It will be a small, car-based crossover, not a truck-based SUV. While Bronco shares underpinnings with the Ford Ranger, the small off-roader will use the same front-wheel-drive unibody architecture as the next-generation Ford Focus, EcoSport, Escape, and even midsize vehicles as Ford changes up its platform strategy.

But it will definitely not just be a capable Focus, said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president in charge of product development and purchasing. As an off-roader it must have the right approach, departure, and breakover angles which will determine the proportions. It also must meet durability criteria and have the appropriate tech. That includes the All-Terrain management system from the Explorer, Trail Control from the Ranger, and of course all-wheel drive. “This is not just a dressed-up Focus,” said Thai-Tang. “It is an authentic and capable off-road vehicle.”

Making this possible is Ford’s new approach to product development. The automaker is going from nine global platforms to five flexible architectures with shared modules for chunks of vehicles like a suspension, AWD system, or heating and ventilation unit.

In a product update at an event in conjunction with the Woodward Dream Cruise, Thai-Tang tried to clarify the automaker’s new approach to product development. By having fewer and more flexible architectures that can change their wheelbase as well as track width, they can accommodate a wider range of vehicles without large investment in tearing up a plant to do so.

The other big change is more modules will follow the example of powertrains that are developed with their own budget and a plan of which vehicles they will go into. Ford wants to do the same with its AWD systems, for example, and HVAC, sun roofs, and some suspensions. Making them their own little business entities as opposed to being part of the overall vehicle program also allows a suspension to have a 10-year lifespan before it needs to be updated while an infotainment system might need to be updated after 18 months. Their individual capital and product plans can take these factors into account. The idea is to be able to share 70 percent of the value of the vehicle with other vehicles.

Under CEO Jim Hackett, Ford will have nine all-new nameplates in the next five years; seven are trucks and SUVs including the Ranger, Bronco, and small off-roader. While many cars are disappearing from the lineup, the number of nameplates will expand to 23 from 20 today. Ford has lost some competitive edge with one of the older lineups in the industry but the average age of the portfolio will go from 5.7 years old now to 3.3 years in 2020, Thai-Tang said.

One other change: Ford will be quicker to pull the trigger on vehicles that are not performing in the future. So buy your Ford Flex now…




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Check Engine: A Globalized Industry Collides With National Politics – The Big Picture

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 21:29

Sergio Marchionne told it like it was. Shortly before his death I asked the FCA CEO whether Donald Trump’s trade wars and Britain’s turmoil over Brexit—its departure from the European Union, one of the world’s largest trade blocs—posed a threat to his company’s business. He paused a moment, then powered ahead: “These are strange times,” he agreed. “We have never been here before.”

Indeed. Globalists are out. Economic nationalists are in. It’s a bad time to be running an automaker. With everything from the smallest part to complete vehicles streaming ceaselessly across borders from factories all over the planet, the auto industry is the globalists’ poster child. It generates billions in revenue, employs millions, and offers consumers an unprecedented choice. But not everyone believes that’s a good thing.

“Build them here!” tweeted President Donald Trump as he threatened tariffs on imported cars and castigated Harley-Davidson for plans to move some motorcycle production out of the U.S. to avoid retaliatory taxes from the European Union. “F**k business,” former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reportedly said after BMW warned that, without a guarantee of tariff-free movement of cars and parts across Britain’s border, Brexit would threaten the viability of its U.K. manufacturing operations.

What alarms auto industry executives is these strident voices are not coming from a radical left-wing fringe but from politicians belonging to parties they have long regarded as business-friendly. However, those parties are now in thrall to voters angered by wage stagnation and declines in social services—voters for whom life in the globalized economy has not improved their personal pocketbooks. The awkward problem for the auto industry is those voters have a point.

Research by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution has revealed that, adjusted for inflation, worker wages in the U.S. have only grown by 10 percent since 1973. Over the same period, the inflation-adjusted price of a base Mustang has increased more than 60 percent. It’s a similar story in Britain, where a base Ford Mondeo costs 50 percent more than the inflation-adjusted price of a 1973 Ford Cortina. Of course, today’s Mustangs and Mondeos are in every way far better cars than their predecessors. But for average wage earners, they’re not as good a deal as they used to be.

Anti-globalization rhetoric is seductive. “All we want to do is be able to sell as many Fords into Germany as they sell BMWs here,” said Peter Navarro, one of Trump’s key trade advisers.

That’s oversimplifying things a bit. Yes, last year BMW sold more vehicles in the U.S. than Ford sold in Germany—305,685 versus 246,589. And Navarro correctly points out that American-made cars shipped to the European Union are taxed at a higher rate than European cars shipped to the U.S. But the auto industry’s globalist business model punctures the economic nationalist argument that fixing the tariff imbalance will create more jobs for highly paid American workers: Apart from the Mustang, none of the 14 other Ford models sold in Germany is actually made in the U.S. (In case you’re wondering, Germans last year bought 5,742 Mustangs, more than anyone else in Europe.)

Today’s globalized auto industry is not a zero-sum game. When Trump blasted European automakers, he ignored the fact that they already employ more than 50,000 American workers who build more than 800,000 vehicles a year—in America. BMW’s largest factory in the world is located in South Carolina, used for vehicles sold in America and exported elsewhere.

When Navarro huffed “smoke and mirrors” after GM boss Mary Barra bluntly warned protectionist tariffs would shrink the company’s U.S. operations, he overlooked the fact that GM now sells more vehicles in China than anywhere else in the world.

Automakers are in for a rough ride as they deal with collateral damage from Trumpism and Brexit. “It’s going to cost us in capital, and we are going to become less efficient as we try and get out of this mess,” Marchionne said.

In short, start saving. Tariffs are a tax, and the cost will be passed on to the consumer. Toyota, for example, has said the price of a typical Camry will jump by about $1,800. Your next new car, truck, or SUV isn’t going to be more affordable. No matter where it’s made.

More from Angus MacKenzie:

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Spied! 2019 BMW 3 Series Wagon Caught Looking Practical

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 21:05

If you haven’t heard already, BMW is about to introduce a redesigned 3 Series. Lightly camouflaged prototypes began appearing earlier this year, and it wasn’t long before we got shots of the interior, as well. We even caught a fully electric prototype out testing recently. Now, we have images of another variant—the 3 Series wagon.

As far as styling goes, there isn’t much that’s shocking or unexpected. The five-door 3 Series looks about like you’d expect it to if you’ve already seen previous 2019 prototypes. That means it has lost some of the current car’s sharp angles and now looks a lot like a smaller 5 Series, especially up front. In profile, the long sloping roofline and bulging rear fenders give the 3 Series wagon a sporty look despite its practical nature. Out back, the chrome-tipped dual exhaust continues the theme.

Inside, BMW appears to be less focused on disguising the cabin. Our spy photographer was able to get several shots of the interior, including the center console and the door panel. We don’t expect the cloth door inserts to make it stateside, but with the steering wheel on the left, these photos should give you a pretty good idea of what the next 3 Series will look like on the inside.

Having recently driven a 2019 BMW 330i prototype, we already know the next 3 Series will be lighter and more fun to drive than the outgoing model. But will the five-door version still be offered in the U.S.? Now that the X1 has gone front-wheel drive, we certainly hope so.

Source: CarPix, BMW via YouTube

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2019 Subaru Forester Starts at $25,270

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 20:20

The 2019 Subaru Forester will start at $25,270 when it goes on sale this fall. Prices look a little different from the 2018 model, and that’s partially because Subaru dropped the six-speed manual and the 2.0-liter turbo engine option. Now, all models come with a 2.5-liter flat-four engine making 182 hp and mated to a CVT. Last year, the base Forester was priced at $23,710 with the manual and $24,710 with the CVT.

Standard features on the new Forester include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM compatibility, as well as 17-inch steel wheels, all-season tires, and four-wheel disc brakes. Upgrading to alloy wheels on the base model will cost $600. Premium models up the ante with standard 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, dark tint privacy glass, roof rails, and a panoramic power moonroof for $27,670. That’s a small increase from the $27,110 price tag on last year’s Premium model with the CVT.

As we previously reported, there is a new Sport trim for 2019. This model includes gloss black exterior accents, black-finish 18-inch wheels, a rear roof spoiler, orange body accents, and special badging. Inside, you’ll find gray upholstery and orange stitching. The Forester has “Intelligent” and “Sport” driving modes, but the Sport trim replaces the latter with “Sport Sharp.” Sitting in the middle of the Forester lineup, the Sport model costs $29,770.

Limited models feature keyless access with push-button start, an all-weather package, high beam assist, LED steering responsive headlights, and blind spot detection with lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. Perforated leather-trimmed upholstery finish off the look on this model that goes from $31,770. This price is up from last year’s $30,310 price tag.

On the Touring trim, buyers receive chrome exterior door handles, exclusive leather trimmed upholstery choices, heated rear seats, an 8-inch navigation screen with Harman Kardon sound system, and a 7-speed manual shift mode and paddle shifters for the CVT. This version will set you back $35,270, a considerable jump from the $34,005 price tag on last year’s Touring model.

The Forester faces steep competition in the compact crossover segment. Toyota hasn’t released prices for the new 2019 RAV4, but the 2018 Honda CR-V starts at $25,245, or $26,645 with all-wheel drive.

Source: Subaru


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Infiniti Prototype 10 Looks Long and Low in This Teaser Sketch

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 18:00

Earlier this month, Infiniti released a teaser showing what looked like a single-seat sports car concept. But because the top-down image only showed the driver’s seat, it was hard to get an idea of what the car looked like. Thanks to this most recent teaser, though, that has changed.

Called the Prototype 10, Infiniti’s latest concept is a followup to last year’s retro Prototype 9 EV. Except while that concept’s design was inspired by race cars from the 1930s, the Prototype 10 is more of a reimagined speedster from the 1950s. Unlike the actual cars from that era, Infiniti says the Prototype 10 is electrified.

“The Infiniti Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high-powered single-seat competition cars,” said Karim Habib, Infiniti’s head of design, in a release. “Our new concept speaks of an electrified future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterized by the simple love of driving.”

At the moment, there’s no telling exactly what kind of powertrain it uses, but Infiniti probably wouldn’t have said “electrified” if the Prototype 10 was fully electric. Instead, we suspect it’s some sort of hybrid. Parallel hybrid? Series hybrid? Plug-in hybrid? Who knows. If we got to choose, we’d love to see a turbine-electric hybrid, but sadly, Infiniti didn’t ask us.

In addition to the Sketch, Infiniti released a few more close-up teaser images over the past few days. These give use a better view of Prototype 10 from the side. We can see the bodywork rises to form a streamlined speedster fairing behind the headrest. And while it does come to a sharp, vertical point, it’s not quite the Jaguar D-Type fin we thought we saw initially. We also see more clearly the vertical slats in the fairing and next to it in the recess where the passenger seat would normally go. These vents could be cooling for a battery pack, combustion engine, or something else entirely. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Currently, the official reveal of the Prototype 10 is scheduled for August 23, but there’s always a chance Infiniti will release more information before then.

Source: Infiniti

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Honda Odyssey Outperforms Rivals in Small Overlap, LATCH Tests

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 17:31

In its latest round of crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna received very different ratings in two categories: LATCH and the passenger-side small overlap test. In both these categories, the Honda Odyssey proved the clear winner.

LATCH is a system of attachment hardware that’s supposed to make it easier for customers to install child restraints in their cars. That’s the intent, although some systems aren’t as easy to use as others. IIHS ranks the systems for their ease of use, including the accessibility of the lower anchors, the force required to attach the seat, and the number of LATCH-equipped seating positions among other criteria. Of the three minivans, the Odyssey came out on top.  It earned a “Good+” rating in this category, while the Sienna scored “Acceptable” and the Pacifica was deemed “Marginal.” The Dodge Grand Caravan and Kia Sedona are also rated “Acceptable.”

For several years, IIHS has issued ratings for the driver-side small overlap test. This test simulates what happens when the front left corner of a car crashes into a tree, pole, or other object at 40 mph. Just recently, IIHS added ratings for the passenger side, which simulates the same event on the right-hand corner of the vehicle. Once again, the Odyssey takes the cake with a “Good” rating. The Pacifica scored “Acceptable” and the Sienna scored “Marginal.” Neither the Grand Caravan nor the Sedona have been rated in this category.

If such a crash were to happen in real life, the front passenger in a Sienna may sustain injuries to the right hip and lower leg, IIHS said. The crash caused 16 inches of intrusion into the dashboard and 20 inches into the lower compartment. Toyota modified the Sienna’s structure for increased driver-side protection starting with 2015 models, but failed to make the same improvements to the passenger side, the agency noted.

Vehicles don’t need to earn top ratings in the passenger-side test or the LATCH test to qualify for the Top Safety Pick award. The Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and Kia Sedona have earned the award for 2018. To achieve this feat, a vehicle must have “Good” ratings in all crash tests except the passenger-side test, a headlight rating of “Acceptable” or “Good,” and a front crash prevention rating of “Advanced” or “Superior.” So far this round, no minivan has earned the even more prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award, which requires at least an “Acceptable” rating in the passenger-side test in combination with a “Good” headlight score.

View the most recent minivan ratings from IIHS here.

Source: IIHS

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2018 Woodward Dream Cruise: Cruising with Fiat-Chrysler/SRT’s Mark Trostle

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 16:37

Last year we spent the first three days of Woodward Dream Cruise week riding along with designers from the Detroit Three. This year we decided to round up reps from each company’s performance group. First up: Mark Trostle, who has been overseeing the SRT performance group’s design since March of 2011. These days he also has responsibility for Dodge, and all passenger and utility-vehicle exterior design, as well, but it’s still the high-performance stuff that excites him. A car guy through and through, the racing bug bit him when he started autocrossing a Dodge Omni GLH Turbo. He crewed for a friend who was IT racing a CRX and eventually bought a showroom stock Dodge Neon race car (which he drove home to Michigan from Florida in the summer). Sadly we spotted no GLHs, Neons, nor the first car he purchased as a Chrysler employee: a 1992 Eagle Talon TSI Turbo with AWD. These days Mark’s daily driver is a Hellcat, but because he opted for the rear-seat-delete package, we’re rolling in a press-office Hellcat Widebody that seats four.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Maybe we’re overly sensitized to them tonight, but the Avenue seems to be absolutely jammed with modern high-horsepower Challengers including a Hellcat convertible (“I hope that got a lot of reinforcement!”) and about a half-dozen Demons. Several observers curbside and in nearby cars remark about not having seen a Redeye Widebody yet, however. It’s not long before we sidle up next to a Demon that’s a dead ringer for one in Mark’s collection (which bears VIN 10) except that it lacks his car’s black hood/roof/decklid option. Mark is relieved to note that none of the Hellcats or Demons on Woodward are committing the cardinal sin of leaving the bright yellow chin-spoiler protectors on. “We made them yellow so they’d be too ugly to leave on!” he exclaims. The ultimate sin, spotted at a car show: leaving the yellow protector installed and protected with blue painter’s tape.

1987-1993 Fox Mustang

Mark’s impressionable first moments at the wheel of any car came in a 1979 Mercury Capri hatchback with a manual transmission. It was built on Ford’s Fox platform shared with this Mustang. His father (also a car designer) had bought it for his mother, and it was eventually handed down to him. A budding car designer even then, Mark couldn’t resist taking the car down to bare metal, painting it black, adding 16-inch wheels, and upgrading it with the later (’83­–’86) bubble-window rear hatch. A very young Mark and the aging Capri survived a carjacking in Detroit; he ended up recovering the car about a week later. Although we made umpteen laps of the hottest stretch of Woodward, we never found a Fox Capri (and saw darned few Fox Mustangs). This was the closest we came—and Mark was quick to note that this one’s modifications might not exactly match his personal taste …

2008-2010 Dodge Viper SRT 10

Mark worked internships with both GM and Chrysler design groups, but it was the Viper that inspired him to accept a job with Chrysler shortly after he graduated from the College for Creative Studies in 1992. He basically wanted to work for any company crazy or bold enough to make such a car, and sure enough, by 2011 he was in charge of the group designing the Viper. Mark previously owned a 1992 Viper, and he currently has VIN 001 of the 2017 model Viper painted in—what else?—designer’s black.

1968 Plymouth Road Runner

Mark is ever the Mopar fan, and this slightly grungy base 383 Plymouth Road Runner really caught his eye. It’s missing its Looney Tunes cartoon Road Runner decals and rear hubcaps, and its mismatched tires lend it a strong function-over-form vibe that really suits Woodward. We did not succeed in prevailing upon the owner to demonstrate its “beep-beep” horn function …

1965-1967 Mk III AC/Shelby Cobra 427

Get many designers going about iconic car designs they love, and this one comes up a lot. It quite obviously inspired the original Viper, and Mark would love to own one. It’s pretty hard (but not impossible) to imagine someone wheeling an original down Woodward, but if this is a reproduction it’s at least a very faithful knockoff with no obvious cheating on the dimensions or build quality.

1967 “Eleanoresque” Mustang

Mark was obviously destined for a life in design, given that he couldn’t leave the design of his very first hand-me-down car alone. Today he loves seeing how other people alter production designs, enhancing the line work, emphasizing the proportion, using color and sheen to show off the lines. He was very favorably impressed by this matte monochrome bronze ’67 Mustang that had a vaguely Eleanor/Gone in 60 Seconds vibe to it—but with far greater subtlety. The wheel diameters and offsets perfectly fill the arches, the hood has a Demon-like air inlet, the blacked-out chrome greenhouse trim and body-color bumpers look great, and the bronze-tint headlight lenses finish it off superbly.

1948-1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe

When asked how the mods on this Studebaker struck him, Mark’s one-word answer was a diplomatic “polarizing.” There’s no arguing with the quality of the coachwork, which is impressive. A true artisan mixed the cleaner horizontal taillight design of the ’48–’49 Starlight coupe with the more iconic bullet-nose front end from the ’50–’51 design. Chopping the roof looks kind of cool, but the rear glass isn’t chopped enough to preserve the roof’s curvature. That’s great for rear visibility—less great for preserving the original Virgil Exner/Raymond Loewy design’s beauty.

1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda

Mark once owned a ’70 ’Cuda, though his car only packed a 360 under the hood. This one is nicely outfitted with the big-block 440, Go Wing, rally wheels, and Limelight Poly green paint.

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

We round out our Mopar Muscle car-spotting adventure with this modestly equipped Challenger R/T, sporting a twin-nostril hood and a curious combination of a black hood stripe and white side stripes. But the factory wheels and white-letter tires really set the car off nicely, and it looked great prowling the Avenue in a sea of even wider, taller LC body Challengers.

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2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet First Look: One Fast Pony

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 15:30

What better place than Woodward Avenue during Dream Cruise week for Ford to unleash a limited-edition 50th anniversary Mustang Cobra Jet race car.

With the roar of engines and high-octane smell lingering over the boulevard from night after night of cruising leading up to the main rolling event on Saturday, Ford ups the ante with the fastest production Mustang on the drag strip. The car was shown to the media today and will make its public debut at the Dream Cruise on Saturday as part of the Mustang Alley display.

The 2018 Mustang Cobra Jet is a turnkey race car—it’s not street legal—and Ford will only make 68 of them to mark the year the original debuted. You have a choice of two colors: Race Red or Oxford White. Price tag: $130,000, not including available anniversary badging and graphics. You can place your order now at a Ford dealership.

Under the hood is a 5.2-liter version of Ford’s 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 with a 3.0-liter fifth-generation Whipple supercharger. It has a three-speed racing transmission.

Ford says the car can exceed 150 mph, which necessitates a parachute on the back. And it claims the car will do the quarter-mile run in just over 8 seconds, which means it has at least 700 horsepower and likely exceeds 1,000 (more specs including horsepower will be revealed later this summer). For perspective: Motor Trend clocked the Tesla Model S P100D’s quarter-mile at 10.5 seconds.

The Mustang has a four-link rear suspension, 9-inch solid rear axle, two-way coil-over shocks with adjustable ride height, and a low-drag disc brake system from Strange Engineering. An NHRA-certified safety roll cage can be ordered from the factory along with FIA-certified seats and anniversary-badged racing wheels.

This latest rendition is a reverent nod to the original Cobra Jet engine that debuted, and won, in 1968 at the NHRA Winternationals. The orignial V-8 generated 335 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. Ford brought back a Mustang Cobra Jet in 2008 with a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8; that run was limited to 50 examples, and they did not have VINs and thus weren’t street legal. From 2009 to 2016 Ford made another 250 cars, essentially making 50 every two years. It was in 2013 that the engine switched to the 5.0-liter V-8.

The 2018 model was developed by the Ford Performance team and uses the 2018 Mustang platform. But again, no VINs. It starts life at Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant in Michigan and goes to Watson Racing to lighten the body, add the roll cage and other modifications before returning to Flat Rock for paint and final assembly. Then it returns to Watson for final addition of performance parts.

If you can’t get to Woodward, the new Mustang Cobra Jet will be in Norwalk, Ohio, Aug. 25 for the 50th Anniversary Ford Performance Cobra Jet Reunion at Summit Motorsports Park, which is expected to attract more than 150 cars.

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