Monday, February 23, 2015

Twofer Post: Whither FoMoCo?

Above and below: not your grandfather's Ford GT--aero management reminiscent of, but more radical than, the Ferrari
458/488.  The new Ford GT looks like it was designed to go FIA GT racing with the addition of a rear wing and a
revised front splitter.

One of my gearhead pals said of the new Ford GT "They can always stick a V-8 in the back if they need more power."  I doubt that Ford will, or even contemplated a V-8 in designing the car.  The twin-turbo V-6 is said to make 600 h.p.--more than the current LeMans rules allow--and a 5 liter V-8 would be hard to fit in the engine bay.  My customary "Pilote hates creases" complaint is moot because the styling is aero-functional.  I like the cues from the GT 40.  Let's hope it's true that Ford plans to go FIA racing racing with this car.

Design considerations aside, the reason the new Ford GT will never see a V-8 can be found in Levi Tillemann's new book The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future.  Tillemann is not a car buff--far from it.  He's a public policy analyst and advocate, and the end of the internal combustion engine can't come soon enough for him.  He had some interesting things to say (in a book talk that I saw) about how various manufacturers and nations--notably China--are working toward electric cars. There are some possible new players, like Google and Apple.

Tillemann interviewed Ford executives for his book, and they said (I paraphrase): "Ford believes the electric car is a generation away, 2035-ish.  So our  research into electric vehicles is long-term.  What we are working hard on is Eco-Boost technology."  I take this to mean smaller engines with higher boost, advanced materials, and "smart" power train management.  The current 4-cam in the Mustang may be Ford's last high-performance V-8 in a car.

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