By on September 21, 2014

Based on a market research study commissioned by Ford Motor Company rumors are circulating that FoMoCo will change the branding for its high performance vehicles from SVT (for Special Vehicle Team) to 999, the name of Henry Ford’s second race car, popularized by barnstorming driver Barney Oldfield. Marketers have seized on “authenticity” as a lever by which they can move consumers and I suspect that reaching back over a century for a brand name may have something to do with that. As someone who likes history I can’t complain about Ford looking into reusing a historic name, but  while its true that the name 999 has been associated with Ford racing since before the establishment of the Ford Motor Company, the name SVT means something to today’s car enthusiasts and for most of them 999 is just the number before 1,000. Today’s performance consumers are more likely to recognize the name Ken Block than Barney Oldfield.

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By on July 4, 2013

 

One of my favorite Formula One memories is from the inaugural (and only) Dallas Grand Prix, in 1984, involving my favorite team, the Colin Chapman era Lotus (though by 1984 Chapman had already died) and one of my favorite drivers, Nigel Mansell, forever shattering a stereotype of F1 drivers as prima donnas. Now you can own the Lotus 95T that he drove that day. Today’s F1 cars have a Drag Reduction System, DRS, as well as being able to use energy recovered with regenerative braking by the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, KERS. Both allow the driver to push a button and go faster, not entirely unlike IndyCar’s “push to pass” system that momentarily increases engine power. Twenty-nine years ago this week, Mansell had no such technical aids. Instead of push to pass, he pushed, literally, until he passed out. (Read More…)

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