The past year has been a banner one for Ford enthusiasts who have been getting plenty of good news to chew on about their favorite models. For Mustang, the year has been packed with speculation about the new 2015 Mustang, but accolades about the new 2013 models and other Ford vehicles have been making big headlines. Ford is much healthier as a company then it was just a few years ago when the weekly stories were about plunging sales and stock prices. This year, broken sales records and successful new products have made way for Ford to announce they will begin paying dividends on their stock once more.
But all that hoocheekoo aside, lets look at the Top 10 News Makers for 2011 as we saw them here at TheMustangNews.com. Our list is made up of the top stories that got the most readers as well as a few we thought were significant, even where our readers snoozed past them. Without further adieu, here they are.
2013 Shelby GT-500
The story of the most powerful production Mustang ever to be built has gotten our attention all year long as the spy photos for the Nurburgring surfaced. Rumors swirled for a year about a 600hp + GT-500 with a larger engine. Stories speculated it would have twin turbos or a larger supercharger. EcoBoost? Well in the end Ford made the big announcement that the 2013 Shelby GT-500 would get an increase to 5.8 liters, a larger TVS 2300 supercharger, and a healthy Chevy Camaro ZL1 scalding 650hp. Along with the extra power, the top Mustang also gets a number of new options, graphics and the eye popping 2013 Mustang restyling touches. Bravo.
In 2011, the 2015 Mustang was the topic of many articles and the drive of several renderings of speculation. We reported and you read all about the many knows for the 2015 Mustang which includes a tighter lighter chassis, an all new independent rear suspension, and completely new styling. While no spy photos have surfaced yet, Ford posted a rather telling rending on their own Facebook page this year that fits neatly into the words that Ford designers and marketing people have said the next Mustang would be like. We expect that the 2015 Mustang will continue to be a top news maker in the coming year as we get closer to its debut.
Ford Taurus Police Interceptor
Even though this is a Mustang centered publication, one of our top read topics this year has been the Ford Taurus Police Interceptor. The replacement for the aged Crown Victoria police fleet staple begins hitting the streets any day now. The Crown Victoria went out of production last fall, making way for not only the Taurus based cop car but its companion Explorer based model. The Taurus based Police Interceptor will be available with both a standard V6 as well as the fire breathing twin-turbo EcoBoost engine for high speed pursuits. The latter comes with the very same all wheel drive chassis as the Taurus SHO, with additional heavy duty underpins, interior and electronic fittings. Be watching your rear view mirror for the new Officer SHO on your local byways.
Ford Evos Concept
We called it as we saw it. The Ford Evos Concept Car made its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany this last fall. The Evos signals a new design direction for Ford that will take future models beyond the Kinetic design language that has been the theme of the Fiesta, Focus, and the upcoming Ford Escape. The Evos not only signals the look of the new Ford Fusion to be unveiled in about a week , but as we said, the 2015 Mustang. Its proportions and overall stance forecast the next generation pony car in our opinion as clearly as day. Look no further than the future Mustang rendering referenced above and see how similar its envelope is to the Evos.
2013 Mustang Track Apps
Of all the interesting new features and styling that the 2013 Mustang offers, the Tracks Apps option tops the list of our top drawing stories this year. The new instrument cluster application features a 4.3” LCD screen between the two larger round dials that can be interacted with by the driver to provide all kinds of fun and useful performance information. To be used off road only of course (right), the application can measure acceleration times, G-Forces, and even give you a simulated drag strip tree to practice your elapsed times with. Yeah, it’s like having your own video game tutorial right in the car with you. Just remember only to play with it when you’re at the closed course race track – which we all have regular daily access too.
2013 Ford Focus ST
While it doesn’t have the SVT badge on the back, Ford enthusiasts have been watching the new 2013 Ford Focus ST performance pocket rocket with much anticipation. Based on the first decent Ford Focus to be offered in a decade, Ford has packed a turbocharged EcoBoost 2.0 liter engine in the competent new chassis, beefed up suspension, brakes and seating to make a world class car. In fact for the first time we will get the very same performance Focus that is offered in Europe, bolt for bolt, horsepower for horsepower. Because the car is offered around the world in the same guise, it will be called ST instead of SVT, which is reserved for Special Vehicle Team models specific to the US. With 250hp, the new Focus ST will go on sale very soon, offering American Ford enthusiasts the real deal.
About two years ago now, Ford launched their EcoBoost engines starting with the 365hp twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6 as a performance variant both in Lincoln and Ford models. The most heralded of course is the 4-door rocket sled known as the Taurus SHO. In our initial test drives we have found this engine to be not only powerful and robust, but smooth and refined. Ford then took what many thought would be a risky move and offered it in the F-150 pickups as an optional engine. And to the surprise of many, the EcoBoost F-150 trucks have outsold many of the V8 models. This year Ford has now begun to roll out the second phase of its EcoBoost plan, the small displacement 1.6 and 2.0 liter models that will be the optional power trains that provide additional mpg in some cars like the upcoming Fusion and Escape. The 2.0 is already available in the Explorer, and the soon to go on sale Focus ST. The turbocharging and direct injection strategy has become Ford’s way of meeting increased demand for both power and efficiency without resorting to diesel engines or lifeless cars.
In 2011 the Mustang has failed miserably against the Chevy Camaro in the showrooms despite offering more features, more horsepower and more class than the the official car of trailer parks across the country. But Obama got elected too so we cant judge the adoration of the masses as a good barometer of what’s good and bad anymore. That said, the Mustang has become long in tooth since the current generation was introduced in 2005. While the car has been significantly upgraded both in style and content over the years, with up to and including the return of the 5.0, it has continued to drop in popularity compared to the Camaro. The new 2013 model has bolder styling borrowed from the GT-500 that reaches all the way down to the V6 models which should help to turn the tide. We however aren’t holding our breath for any huge victories over the Camaro this year in overall sales, though you never know what can happen. At least we can feel better knowing that the Ford pony car still offers more power, more refined content, and a heck of a lot more race track prowess than the Camaro. And since most Camaro owners will be busy picking out graphics add-ons and accessories at Pep Boys, they aren’t likely to notice anyhow.
Mustang BOSS 302
The return of the 2012 BOSS 302 Mustang has been the driving force of Mustang enthusiasm in 2011. And with the return of the BOSS for 2013 in a new theme, we expect this BOSS HOSS to continue making headlines in the coming year. The BOSS 302 has been gathering readers, owners, and excitement since it rolled across Barret-Jackson’s stage last January with a one of a kind Grabber Blue charity sale. Since then the stores have been filled with BOSS 302 remote control cars, diecasts, and logo apparel. The lucky few who paid all the bucks for the Laguna Seca editions were spotted at car shows this year bragging up their cars. And why shouldn’t they? They have a true legend in the making. They know it, you know it and honestly everybody knows it. And yes it only took a couple months for the first fool to wrap one around a wreck post under the influence and get his photos posted all over the internet.
Ford Racing made headlines not only for its heavy involvement in several areas of motorsport this year, but also for celebrating 100 years. At the SEMA Show this year, Ford Racing had all of their top chieftains on hand including Carroll Shelby, the entire John Force Racing family, NASCAR drivers, Ken Block, Vaughn Gittin Jr, Tanner Faust, Brian Deegan and all the rest to help celebrate. More than any other American manufacturer, Ford has made racing in all areas of motorsport, a center pin of their strategy. This is why their production performance cars have more credibility than any other brand, because the very same cars race and win….all the time. Most important, Ford Racing is an integral part of where Ford is headed as any other part of the company. As Edsel Ford II so eloquently said of the first Ford Race car, “The rear view mirror is smaller than the windshield for a reason, because whats ahead is far more important than what’s behind”.