Saturday, September 01, 2007

I'm a Ford guy! But it's tough sometimes

I'm a Ford guy, no doubt about it, but it's tough sometimes to be a Ford fanatic. I've owned quite a few Fords over the years and still have my Ranger. I love my Ranger, it's a great truck, but if I was going out to buy a replacement I'm not sure it would be a Ford. And that's not good for Ford, not good at all. Every company wants new customers, ones that haven't purchased their brand before, but in reality they rely heavily on repeat customers. When I bought my Ranger, it compared favorably to what was available on the market. Power was a little less and while others were growing and being re-designed Rangers had not had a major redesign and to be honest still haven't. But today the power is not competative and comparable models have been re-designed even further. To say the Ranger hasn't been re-designed isn't totally acurate either, obviously the rest of the world has a totally new Ranger with 2 great Diesel powerplants. And as I've said in the past, if I was in the market today the Nissan Frontier would be my choice, because of the powerful V6 and the 6 speed manual transmission.
Wow, that hurt to say, but it's true. I mean, I LOVE Ford! And I won't buy a new Ranger?
I have worse news for you, I'm not sure I'd buy a new Mustang either! And I love Mustangs. I had a 91 LX 5.0, the one pictured here. I bought this new in September of 1990, special ordering the Deep Emerald Green with T5 manual. And at the time, this was the best bang for the buck you could get. And because I ordered the notchback LX instead of the GT, I had one of the fastest offerings of the time. Yes a Z-28 had more power, but the lighter weight LX notchback still had 225 hp and would give a Z-28 a run for their money on street or strip for a lot less money. Combine the low cost of entry to the ease of modification and you had a potent combination! And I raced my Mustang from time to time.

And I drove to the track too! This picture was taken by my friend as we were heading towards Englishtown Raceway Park for a Mustang event. This was as I passed them at over 100 mph!
But Mustangs, while still being reasonable priced are not as great a bang for buck value. They're a value, but where's the bang?? Don't send me hate mail, send it to Ford.
Think about it folks, the base Mustang only has 210 hp! And while the GT has 300, is that realy competative? I mean look at the power in other cars. My Mazda has 161 hp out of 2.3 liters and if I had the MazdaSpeed version we'd be talking 260 hp. Ford has the new 3.5 liter V6 that cranks out 265 hp, but the Mustang has the 4.0 putting out 210? What else comes with 300 hp? How about the Subaru WRX STI and Mitsu Evo, and they have engines about half the size. But you're saying that those are expensive rice burners. Well, how much do you think you're going to pay for a Mustang? A base V6 mustang can be had for under $25,000 but would you want it? I mean look around, there are family sedans that have more power, a lot more power!
It's time for some real competative power in Mustang and maybe an IRS? Ford has proven they can build an IRS that can handle the power, so that's no excuse. I'm sure you've read about Hyundai's new Coupe that could be here as soon as 2009. It's supposed to have Rear Wheel Drive and Independant Rear Suspension. And rumors on AutoBlog say that the new 4.6 liter V8 could be putting out 360 hp! So, if Hyundai can do it, why not Ford?
I'm a huge fan of the retro styling and my dream was to have this latest version of the Mustang, but reality bites and it bites hard! Aside from styling what does Mustang offer? A solid rear axle, small trunk and low power and only decent fule economy. But Mustang is a lifestyle car, right? Well maybe, but even lifestyle cars need substance.

I say again, I'm a huge Ford fan, really it's true. Despite some of the harsh things I've said in the past. But maybe Ford needs to listen to their fans? I'm going to list my Fords over the years for you so you can see I'm true blue. Starting with a 67 Ford Fairlane Wagon, 79 Pinto sedan, 78 Thunderbird (pictured here in the staging lanes at Englishtown) 77 Lincoln Versailes, 88 Festiva, 91 Mustang (above photos) 92 Crown Victoria, 93 Taurus SHO and 99 Ranger.
I've owned and loved Fords for as long as I can remember. But I say Ford needs to improve everything. There's little on their lot today that I would buy. Maybe the Fusion or if I needed a full size truck an F-150, possibly the Edge or Freestyle, but what else? Not a Focus, not a Ranger, not the Fivehundred (even if you do call it Taurus.) There is little excitement at Ford these days.

But there are Fords out there that I would buy, just not here in the US. How about the Focus the rest of the world gets? How about the Fiesta or Mondeo? How about the Galaxy or SMax?
What about the Australian Ford Falcons?
It's not easy being a Ford fan these days. It's just depressing sometimes.

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