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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Factory Built Off-Road Machines Battle for Your Love
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
There might not be a market for a V6 convertible rental car Mustang outside of America, but there is a demand for ultra high performance versions, like the new Shelby GT500 Convertible.
That, at least, is according to a Hau Thai-Tang, a man who should know. He is, after all, the executive director for global product programs at Ford. In an interview with Automotive News, Thai-Tang commented that he sees space for such a product in emerging markets like Brazil and China. After all, the new GT500′s 650 hp number puts it on par, or above, exotic sports cars that cost four times as much.
Built by the company’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) unit, in the past such vehicles were only designed for America, but now on the performance brand’s 20th anniversary and Ford’s new “one-Ford” strategy of global vehicles, the thinking has chanced.
Thai-Tan admits there are already a lot of gray-market Mustangs in different countries throughout the world, where its seen as a halo car, even though its not sold there. Offering cars like the GT500 would not only allow Ford to profit directly, but it would also help build brand awareness.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible
Two decades later, back at the same show Ford has introduced the 2013 Shelby GT500 Convertible, with a special commemorative 20th Anniversary illuminated door sill.
Also in attendance was one very special ‘Stang, a limited edition ’93 Cobra R – one of just 107 ever made. The “R” took the SVT’s already impressive performance specs and tuned the car for the track.
In the 20 years that separates the two cars, SVT has launched vehicles like the F-150 Lightning, Focus SVT and Ford GT supercar.
“In the past 20 years, SVT has engineered world-class mid-engine supercars, front-wheel-drive performance cars, rear-wheel-drive muscle cars and high-performance on-road and off-road pickup trucks,” said Jamal Hameedi, SVT chief engineer. “There is no other performance house in the world that can match that diverse résumé.”
GALLERY: 1993 SVT Ford Mustang Cobra R
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 might not have the wedge shape of a European supercar, but its 202 mph top speed puts it in a rareified world of hand-built Italian exotics.
SVT engineer Jamal Hameedi told MustangsDaily that the GT500 recorded a top speed of 202 mph during testing, thanks to the improved power figures and some apparent aerodynamic changes. Hameedi also said that while Ford was doing suspension testing at the famed Nurburgring, they didn’t record any times for the GT500, avoiding the typical Nurburgring bragging rights contest that so many automakers fall prey to.
After a wildly enthusiastic reception to the Ram Runner, the dune-bashing variant of the Ram pickup, Chrysler engineers have decided to go back to the drawing board and make the upgrade kit street legal, giving Ram loyalists a weapon against the Ford F-150 Raptor.
While any stock Ram 1500 can be used as a basis, the parts used will have more in common with Baja race trucks than anything seen on the street. The vehicle is so wide that special side markets have been mandated by the government. Track is widened by 3 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear, while special Fox shocks, new control arms and widened fenders are just some of the modifications made for the Ram Runner.
Buyers can purchase a complete package, or the individual bits to upgrade their truck over time. Chrysler is looking at making a factory version but stated that “If we did, we would use a [second stage] partner to build the trucks.”
Ford‘s SVT Raptor R, which competes in famous off-road races like the Baja 1000, is set to get an uprated version of the 3.5L Ecoboost twin-turbo V6. In its current form, the Raptor R puts down roughly 500 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque from its 6.2L V8, and the Ecoboost V6 will have to make at least that sort of power.
Fortunately, that task shouldn’t be a challenge for the Ecoboost. The turbochargers used are a pair of Garrett GT15s, which are tiny units each the size of a donut. Swapping them in for even a medium-size set of turbos should yield the magic 500 horsepower, with minimal stress on the engine and nearly-identical power delivery compared to the big V8. We know that the Ecoboost will be a top-of-the-line engine on the 2011 F150, pumping out around 400 horsepower, and what better way to prove to V8-loving truck buyers that a V6 can do the job than to put it through one of the most grueling races ever.
Hot on the sales figures of the fastest production off-road vehicle ever, the SVT Raptor, Ford has announced it will be offering the Baja-ready truck in SuperCrew configuration for 2011. Other than the length of the cab, not much else is changed from the current production model, but the 6.2L “Boss” engine will be the only engine available on the heavier Super Crew. No word yet on pricing, but expect the roomier Raptor to sell for just a bit more than the $41,995 base price of the current 6.2L version.
Having just announced the new 6.2-liter V8 is now available for the F-150 SVT Raptor, Ford will also reportedly deliver a SuperCrew version of the popular on-road/off-road truck. News comes from the folks at InsideLine, who have also spotted the truck in question testing in Detroit.
The SuperCrew version will come with four fully functional doors, rather than the half-doors that come as a part of the extended-cab SuperCab version, currently available.
Presumably, Ford will offer the F-150 SVT Raptor SuperCrew with both the 320-hp 5.4-liter V8 and the new 411-hp 6.2-liter V8. News of this product expansion continues to support the surprising success of the Raptor, with 7,000 models having already been sold.
Having just announced the much-improved 2011 Shelby GT500 model, Ford is also debuting a new SVT Performance Pack for the car, which it says will deliver a 3.0-second per lap improvement on a 2.3 mile road course over the 2010 model.
So how is this possible? Well, along with the GT500′s 102-lb lighter engine, the Shelby team worked with Goodyear on a set of Eagle F1 SuperCar G2 tires, with a staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear fitment. Additional grip is also due to wider 265/40/19 tires up front. Ford claims the tires help deliver a 1.0 later g rating and a 7 percent improvement in braking.
“These tires are as close as you can get to a race car tire,” said Eric Zinkosky, SVT technical specialist. “We have a tire that’s way more capable, with better grip, is firmer and more race-oriented. From there, we tuned the chassis around it. The tires told us what we had to do.
Compared to the stock rollers, the new SVT light weight forged aluminum wheels weigh 4.7 lbs less up front and 2.8 lbs less in the rear.
Additional upgrades include stiffer springs that are 11 millimeters lower up front and 8 millimeters lower in the rear, while a longer 3.73 rear axle ratio is better suited to the car’s power on the track. Some aerodynamic improvements include a new rear spoiler Gurney Flap as well as a modified front end that delivers 25 percent better front downforce.
Pricing for the 2011 Shelby GT500 and the SVT Performance Package have not yet been released. Ford will officially debut the car and the package this Wednesday, February 10th at the Chicago Auto Show.
GALLERY: 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Official release after the jump:
Each year the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) gives out accolades to vehicles in different classes, but none carry the quite the prestigious honor as the “Truck of Texas” title. For 2010 TAWA has awarded the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor as the “Truck of Texas,” making this the seventh year in a row that a Ford has won the top truck award.
“Winning the Truck of Texas is a distinct honor,” said Mark Fields, president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company. “Texans know their trucks, and this award is further proof of why the F-150 remains America’s number-one selling pickup. We built F-150 SVT Raptor for truck enthusiasts. And we’re gratified it’s gaining recognition for both its unequaled off-road performance and confidence-inspiring on-road demeanor.”
The F-150 SVT Raptor gets big fender flares, FOX Racing Shox with 11.2-inches of front suspension travel and 12.1-inches of rear suspension travel, as well as 35-inch BFGoodrich tires. A 5.4-liter V8 engine with 320-hp and 390 ft-lbs of torque is currently offered and Ford plans to make a 6.2-liter V8 with 400-hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque available.
But what really makes the Raptor so amazing is that as off-road capable as it is, you can actually use it for normal daily driving.
See our review of the F-150 SVT Raptor here:
GALLERY: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Official release after the jump:
Modified Mustang the first new model from the "New Saleen"
Saleen Performance Vehicles (SPV) has just released its version of the 2010 Mustang, the 435S. The release of this 435 horsepower pony car comes just days after Steve Saleen announced he is suing SPV and its owner MJ Acquisitions for using his name.
For those not up to date on the continuing Saleen saga, Steve Saleen sold his company to MJ Acquisitions roughly a year ago and then promptly went out and opened up his own pony-car tuning shop, SMS Supercars.
But back to the 435S.
SPV unveiled that car during the Special Vehicle Team (SVT) Owners Association’s annual Mustang Week event.
The “New Saleen” designed the 435S to deliver a lot of performance for a reasonable amount of money (although pricing has yet to be released).
The 435S gets its power from a Saleen Series VI twin-screw supercharger and two-stage intercooler and along with 435 horses it delivers 425 ft-lbs of torque through a five-speed manual transmission with a 3.73:1 rear end and a much-needed limited-slip differential.
To help out in the handling department the car gets a full Saleen Racecraft suspension adjustment with new shocks, a stiffer front sway bar and springs that help the car sit 1.5-inches lower than stock. A set of 18-inch wheels comes standard with both 19- and 20-inchers available.
As for the look of the car we have to say we’re impressed, as the (optional) new front splitter and rear spoiler give a race-ready look. Inside there are also a few changes with a short-shifter, Saleen logos on the headrests and new gauges that keep the Mustang’s MyColor setup.
“All in all, we believe the 435S is the right car at the right time,” said SPV CEO Mike Shields. “It’s a terrific performance value that we’re proud to offer. And this is just the first of many great Saleen vehicles we’ll be launching in the future.”
GALLERY: SPV 2010 Mustang 435S
Official release after the jump:
Ford has yet to officially set pricing for the 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor, but Pickuptrucks.com is reporting that the truck will start at $38,995. Ford apparently shared the info with select media attending the Terrible’s 250 at Primm off-road race.
The sub-40K price gets you the 320hp 5.4-liter V87 engine with 390 ft-lbs of torque, but if you want even more Ford will offer a 6.2-liter V8 that is expected to deliver 400hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque. That model will start at $41,995.
Plenty of upgrades will be available for the Raptor including a $1,950 luxury package with 10-way power leather heated from seats, power adjustable pedals and a thumping Sony audio system. The exterior graphics package will run $1,075 and an interior accent package (that includes orange seat inserts and orange on the dashboard and doors) will cost just $395.
The 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor will go on sale this summer with the 6.2-liter engine offered some time during the winter.
GALLERY: 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor