By on August 28, 2017

Image: 1985 ASC McLaren Capri Convertible, image via seller

Last time on Rare Rides we featured a V8-powered American muscle car that started out as a coupe and had the roof removed by an aftermarket company. Opinions of the Callaway Speedster were mixed, ranging from “meh” to “1990s meh.” So for this Rare Rides entry, we are doing something completely different following the exact same formula, executed in a different way.

It’s a very special Mercury, at a much lower price point. McLaren anyone?

(Read More…)

By on August 26, 2017

Image: Buick GSX, by Corey Lewis In our previous concours edition of Picture Time, we shared five distinctly American luxury cars from years gone by. Today we move forward in history a little, and subtract some luxury for the sake of sheer power.

Follow along now for some great American muscle cars from the show.

(Read More…)

By on August 11, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro RS - Image: GMThere’s more than one reason the sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro has failed to live up to the fifth-gen Camaro’s U.S. marketplace success.

First, the drama of the (quite possibly) superior sixth-gen Camaro’s styling is diminished by the fact that it looks so very much like the fifth-gen car. To the casual muscle car buyer — of which there have to be tens of thousands of it’s going to be the high-volume sports car it was — it’s certainly not obvious that this is even an all-new car.

Then there’s the fact that the sixth-gen Camaro also continues the fifth-gen’s visibility trend: there is none. Added to that, GM always intended to sell fewer Camaros to daily rental fleets when the sixth-gen car arrived for the 2016 model year.

In the end, however, it’s always down to money. Not only is the Chevrolet Camaro a costly ticket, but Camaros are also packaged in a way that shrinks appeal at the affordable end of the spectrum.

According to GM’s North American boss Mark Reuss, the company wants to fix that, though it’s not yet clear what the remedy is. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2017

1979 Ford Mustang Notchback in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Fox Mustang replaced the much-reviled (but big-selling) Pinto-based Mustang II for the 1979 model year, and production continued through 1993 (or 2004, if you consider the Fox-based SN-95 platform to be a true Fox).

Today’s Junkyard Find, spotted in Denver, is a triple rarity: it’s a first-year Fox Mustang, it’s a notchback, and it has the 200-cubic-inch straight-six engine. Let’s take a look. (Read More…)

By on July 26, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT rear - Image: FordThe 2018 Ford Mustang GT, freshly facelifted and powered up, will cost you 6 percent more than the 2017 Ford Mustang GT.

The base price for a Ford Mustang EcoBoost falls to $26,085, a $610 drop as Ford eliminates the basic Ford Mustang V6 from the lineup and moves the EcoBoost downmarket to aid affordability. Now with 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, the least expensive 2018 Ford Mustang is $400 more than the least expensive 2017 Ford Mustang.

But it’s the 2018 Mustang GT, now priced from $35,995, that’s growing increasingly expensive. A $1,900 jump is nothing to sneeze at, particularly given the speed with which the $40K barrier is now crossed.

Non-Shelby Mustangs can get pricey in a hurry. (Read More…)

By on July 24, 2017

2018 Mustang GT, Image: Ford

As evidenced by its constantly evolving truck and SUV lineup, Ford isn’t happy printing the same horsepower and torque figures year after year. Fuel economy and cargo volume are all nice and good, and God knows American consumers love space for unnecessary, child-related crap, but performance cars aren’t dead yet. Nor is the desire for ever more rubber-shredding power.

In the hopes of satisfying those not waiting lustily for the upcoming 1.0-liter EcoSport, engineers at the Blue Oval cranked the power output of its facelifted EcoBoost and GT Mustang variants a few notches higher for 2018. The company’s also making noise about speed. Specifically, the time it takes to reach 60 mph in the 2018 Mustang GT.

Ford claims a 0-60 figure of less than four seconds when equipped with newly available Drag Strip mode — a stunning, if vague, figure that should garner bragging rights if owners are capable of replicating the feat themselves. With no exact 0-60 time given, the 2018 Mustang’s 13.5 cubic-foot trunk provides ample room for those grains of salt. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang, Image: Ford

Ford’s German division has filed a patent for a new water injection system that could bring exponential improvements in efficiencies and high horsepower gains.

Truthfully, water injection isn’t a new technology, World War II fighter planes used vaporized water to improve low-speed thrust during take off, plus, an extra spurt of speed during dogfights. Post-war, both Saab and Oldsmobile offered vehicles with factory installed water injection systems before the technology enjoyed a renaissance in high-performance Group B rally cars during the 1980s.

Traditionally, water injection has been used as a shortcut to high performance, where a 50/50 water-alcohol mix is injected into the intake manifold where it’s used to lower combustion temperatures and cool the pistons and cylinder walls. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of detonation and allows for higher compression ratios, which can manifest as either higher performance metrics or a more efficient engine.

But where Ford’s design differs is its focus on injecting water directly into the combustion chamber instead of its traditional upstream location in the intake tract. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2017

EcoBoost Mustang Burnout, Ford Motor Co.

In a move that will make my next rental car choice slightly more difficult, Ford has decided to equip the entirety of its Mustang lineup with electronic line locks as a standard feature. While the technology has become almost ubiquitous among V8-powered American muscle cars, it’s a welcome addition to the smaller-displacement models.

Now, more hooligans can undertake longer, safer, more glorious burnouts without abusing their rear brake pads — be it while warming the tires at the drag strip or just showing off for dumb friends in a parking lot. Hopefully, the good people at Avis don’t mind losing a little tread on the rear tires.  (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT V8 - Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company, in a tremendously public product planning moment, revealed at the beginning of 2017 that the automaker would produce an F-150 Hybrid, Transit plug-in hybrid, and a Mustang Hybrid by 2020.

Then-CEO Mark Fields said at the time, “Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles.” But now that Ford revealed plans for the 2020 Mustang Hybrid, the Blue Oval has a three-year gap in which to talk about a car that doesn’t yet exist.

How to talk about it now, three years prior to launch? Ford Canada is placing promoted ads on Twitter that are endlessly popping up in my feed.

The Mustang Hybrid is not shown. But the future earns a prominent mention. (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2017

2017 Ford Mustang RHD Australia - Image: Ford Australia

Thanks to the appeal of a modern independent rear suspension and the availability of right-hand drive, the sixth-generation Ford Mustang has encountered far greater global appeal than any Mustang before it.

The latest country to take a real liking to the Mustang is Down Under, where Australians are buying more Mustangs than any other Ford save the Ranger.

And it’s a good thing they are. While U.S. sales of Mustang plunged 28 percent in the first five months of 2017, production at Mustang’s Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant hasn’t been forced to slow down nearly that much. Through the first-third of 2017, Ford built only 4-percent fewer Mustangs than in the same period last year.

Put another Mustang on the barbie, indeed. (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

2016 Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang, a nameplate actually deserving of the word “iconic,” is no less vulnerable to the whims of the market than any other model. As domestic light vehicle demand in North America cools off, so have Mustang sales.

Fortunately for Ford, the automaker took it upon itself to fling Mustangs to every corner of the world for its most recent generation, and buyers in 140 countries are now able to take delivery of the original pony car. That volume, while not America-like, has bolstered sales. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro vs 2017 Ford Mustang - Image: GM and Ford

It’s a question that goes back some 50 years.

Nixon or Humphrey.

No, wait. Camaro or Mustang.

Forget your Camry vs. Accord monotony, your F-150 vs. Silverado one-upmanship, and the Smart Fortwo vs. Scion iQ debate that routinely breaks the internet. This, this is the American automotive debate of the decade. And the decade before. And the decade before that.

It’s as though Ali and Frazier just kept on fighting. Annually. For decades. It’s the Yankees and Mets meeting in the World Series every year. It’s like — and I know you don’t want me to go there — Trump vs. Hillary in 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036…

If you could have just the one, which would it be? Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro? (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Image: white

General Motors reported 8,737 Chevrolet Camaro sales in the United States in April 2017, a 17-percent year-over-year increase for GM’s third-best-selling car last month.

For the sixth-generation Camaro, a car that had a decidedly unimpressive launch phase last year after routinely outselling the Ford Mustang for half a decade, April 2017’s improvement led to the best month yet. Not since the oft-discounted fifth-generation Camaro was nearing the end of its line in May 2015 has Camaro volume been so strong.

As for the headline-creating bits, yes, the Chevrolet Camaro beat the Ford Mustang in April 2017 U.S. sales. Camaro wins. Camaro is the victor. To the Camaro go the spoils.

GM must take time to enjoy its Camaro’s victories. Once routine, they’re hardly common now. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

2014 Ford Mustang GT500

Ever since the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 disappeared after 2014, taking the pony car horsepower crown with it, the other members of the Detroit Three were only too happy to relegate the Blue Oval to third place.

While the GT350 has performed yeoman’s duty satisfying Mustang fans — minus a cooling omission and some spectacular fires — buyers with a need for speed can now hit up a Chevrolet dealer for a 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1, or perhaps wander over to the Dodge retailer for a 707 hp Challenger Hellcat. You just know Ford wants to hit back.

According to new spy photos, Mustang aficionados could soon have their horsepower prayers answered. (Read More…)

By on April 17, 2017

2017 Shelby GT350, Image: Ford

Blue Oval fans who didn’t make the cut for GT ownership can settle for the Shelby GT350 Mustang for another year.

Ford Motor Company announced today — National Mustang Day, if you weren’t aware — that the hottest version of its perennial pony car, including the R version, will soldier on into 2018 essentially unchanged. Unless Ford has a monster Shelby variant on the way, its domestic competitors can point to their own output numbers and throw shade.

For now, anyway. (Read More…)

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