Politics and sound reasoning has time and again over history proven itself to be quite the oxymoron when used in the same sentence. No more so than now with Trump being elected in as the next US President. However, this story isn’t about Trump, rather, it is a retrospect on politics and its downstream impacts on society which brings us to the Chicken tax.
Fifty-three years ago, with political tensions rising at the height of the Cold War, United States imposed a 25 per cent tariff on imported brandy, dextrin, potato starch and small pickups in retaliation to tariffs on imported American chicken imposed by countries like France and Germany. Well, the Cold War is over, and 53 years after the tariff was imposed brandy, dextrin and potato starch no longer have a 25% tariff. However, light trucks did not didn’t get off easy. The tariff remains in place today to protect U.S. domestic automakers from foreign competition.
Ford…Chevy….Dodge…these three companies have been at it head to head since the beginning trying to out do one another by producing cars that are better, faster, and stronger than the other. These companies are fueled off of that competition to try and design and put out the best American sports car. Whether it be the Mustang, the Camaro, or the Charger, the pursuit for performance has never stopped. Take the Mustang. Ford is now currently on their sixth generation which has spanned development from 1964 to current day. Each generation uses the best technology available at the time and tries to develop a vehicle that pushes past the standard boundary. Throughout the generations, aftermarket tuning shops have taken the automaker’s mass produced vehicles, and put their own touch to squeeze out even more performance.
Jump forward to 1991 and the name John Hennessey comes to mind. Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE) and their team of gear heads took the automakers competition against each other out of the equation and united all three of them by designing performance packages that can be added on to the stock vehicles to make them go faster. Based out of Texas, HPE designs and manufactures go fast parts out of their 36,000 square foot workshop and showroom facility. Today, consumer brand loyalty still exists. Ford buyers stick with their Mustangs and Dodge buyers stick with their Chargers. But both customer bases have a common ground of wanting high power modifications and spending wads of money at Hennessey to get there.
Ford is issuing a recall that impacts approximately 88,000 of their vehicles in North America. These vehicles include the Flex, Taurus, the Police Interceptor sedans, and also Lincoln’s MKS and MKT all produced between 2013-2015. The issue has been identified as a faulty fuel pump control module which could result in the vehicle not starting, or worse, stalling during operation.
At this point, no accidents have been linked to the recall. If you do own one of these vehicles, contact your local dealership for more information about the recall. The dealership will inspect the vehicle and replace the fuel pump control module at no cost to vehicle owners.
Mountune isn’t a name that might be familiar to North Americans. However, to our European counterparts, Mountune is synonymous with performance tuning Fords. While we get the big powered V8 Fords over here, Europeans get their pickings at many small displace high horse power blue ovals which we’ve never seen on our soil until the current generation Ford Focus RS. Now the tuning powerhouse Mountune has created a new power package for the 2016 Ford Focus RS which gives the already potent hatchback a little more oomph.
The Mountune package increased performance by turning up the boost to generate to 370 hp and 376 lb/ft of torque. Its actually a bit more than just turning up the boost. Mountune’s performance package includes a reprogrammed ECU, high-performance air filter, upgraded air recirculation valve, and an alloy crossover duct with silicone hoses.
According to Mountune president Ken Anderson a similar performance package will be made available to North American cars. “There are plans to introduce a Ford Performance upgrade for the Focus RS in the USA. Final details and launch date have yet to be determined pending various legislative and regional test requirements.”
Ford has issued a recall on approximately 830,000 vehicles in their lineup. The problem has been identified as impacting the pawl spring tab in the side door latch which could possibly break and prevent the door from latching.
The impacted 830,000 vehicles include the 2012-2015 Focus, 2015 Mustang, 2014-2016 Transit Connect, 2013-2015 C-Max, and the 2015 Lincoln MKC. So far, there have been no injuries linked to this recall, however, there has been one accident associated to the recall. Should you own one of these vehicles, we encourage you to contact your local dealership. They will inspect and replace the door latch of all affected vehicles.
The latest iteration of Ford’s GT350 with it’s flat plane V8 is one of the, if not, the best Mustang to be developed. The car hunkers down like no other on the track, and the never ending revving V8 is to die for. But before we’ve even gotten a full taste of the GT350, here comes Ford again developing what looks like a GT350 on steroids. Even under heavy camo, we can tell that this monster Mustang is likely a GT500 in the making and it looks like it will make a spectacular splash.
What we see here is an aggressively styled front end with an aggressive hood, intakes, wider arches, and a huge rear wing. Peeking from behind the wheels are a set of performance Brembo brakes hinting at the car’s performance orientation. Although no official specs have been released on the GT500, guesses have been putting the horsepower number somewhere in the 750 to 800 range which puts it right in the battle grounds with the Hellcats and Camaro LT1.
Saleen Automotive is a name that has been synonymous with performance Fords for the past few decades. The company has specialized in performance upgrades on Mustangs and has certainly left a mark in the automotive history timeline with their Saleen S7 supercar. But that doesn’t protect them from financial issues just like any other company. Reports from various Ford dealerships are on the rise with poor quality service and an inability by Saleen to deliver vehicles on time and to ordered specification.
In one situation, Red McCombs Ford in San Antonio states that Saleen was unable to meet contractual obligations and had delivered three 2015 Ford Mustangs six months late. What more is that those Mustangs were delivered missing $22,000 in commissioned upgrades. Similar reports of missing timelines are popping up from different dealers with one claiming to have been waiting a year past the scheduled delivery date and still they haven’t received their car.
We know that the aftermarket industry is a cut throat industry. Lets hope the company finds some solutions for their financial woes and comes out better on the other end.
With the recent release of the Ford RS Focus to the world, Australian authorities have taken special notice to the blue oval’s rather interestingly named feature called the “drift mode”. The feature channels up to 70 percent of the RS’s torque to the rear wheels, and then up to 100 percent of that output to either side to enable torque vectoring, which allows the driver to easily to push the vehicle into a drift. The car’s stability control system also monitors driver input in relation to the car’s yaw and will kick in stability features to correct for driver errors. The result, an incredibly easy to drive car which can also save you should you push a little beyond your ability.
Australian authorities aren’t happy that drivers could press a button and cause havoc on public roads. More specifically, they aren’t too happy that Ford actually designed a feature in a car that allows people to become hooligans on the streets. Ford has countered saying that all the design elements of their vehicle was approved for the Australian market, specifically that when the vehicle enters the “drift mode”, a disclaimer message comes up warning drivers that the mode is for race track use only.
Ford Explorers that were manufactured between 2011 to 2015 are under investigation by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a possible exhaust leak which is leading to heavy fumes inside the vehicle. The NHTSA has received 154 complaints of strong exhaust odors inside the vehicle which may lead to increased levels of carbon monoxide gases inside the cabin as well. Carbon monoxide exposure could be deadly to occupants.
According to Ford, they are working with NHTSA to investigate the issue and will respond promptly to any recalls that might be necessary to correct the issue with their Explorers. Customer complains that the exhaust fumes is particularly bad when the vehicle is under acceleration or load. Ford has been proactive and issued a technical service bulletin to service the Explorers when customers bring in their vehicles reporting similar issues. However, the fix has not been successful in fixing the issue and the exhaust circulating into the cabin continues.
It has been a long time coming to see the RS500 moniker be used on a blue oval again. Ever since the dominating touring car of the 80’s the Sierra Cosworth RS500 wore the badge, the name RS500 has somewhat of a legendary status to it. So to see it on a new Ford Focus means that this car must be something special.
Rumors were already circulating last year after the RS Focus made its debut to the public. Word about a faster and better RS Focus was hitting the ground almost as soon or even sooner than the RS made its debut. Like the RS500 before it, exterior changes are subtle to the RS version, we can only speculate whats underneath will be a much more potent version of what you can get right now.
More than likely the RS500 Focus will go through a weight loss and will get more beefed up brakes and suspension to handle some extra power. Weigh savings will probably come from the use of aluminum and carbon fiber around the car, while power will soar north of the current 350hp.