2008 Ford SportTrac - Insider
Truckin' is stoked to have the opportunity to cover the bumper-to-bumper build-up of this cool '08 Ford SportTrac from CGS Motorsports, which is being built for the '07 SEMA Show. Casey and Ron Scranton from CGS Motorsports hooked up with artist Sean Smith to work out some visual concepts. After a couple of days on his etch-a-sketch, Sean presented this final rendering to the CGS Motorsports duo. Sick!
Coppertone's exterior will receive a modest body makeover by Elahn Industries through a complete redesign of the front fascia; grille openings, air ducts, and headlights. The bedrails will receive smoothed caps. The cab, fenders, and bed will be shaved smooth. CGS air vents will be fused into the front fenders and all of the emblems will be removed. After the body mods have been completed, Andy Meeh at Crazy Customs in Escondido, California, will apply multiple, flawless coats of BASF Radiant Copper Crystal color, and then bury the color in multiple coats of BASF clear.
Coppertone will receive an Air-Lift adjustable suspension and will roll on a set of custom-built Bonspeed billet aluminum wheels, 22x8.5 in the front and 22x10 inches in the rear, which are wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion 265/35R22 front and 285/35R22 rear rubber at all four corners. Massive Wilwood disc brakes with cross-drilled, slotted rotors, and multi-piston rotors will provide balanced braking performance. Under the hood the Ford 4.6L V-8 will receive a CGS Intake system, a Whipple Supercharger, and JBA headers will flow into the CGS cat-back exhaust and tips. Meanwhile, a new Ford six-speed automatic transmission will transfer the power to the rear end.
The four-doors will be activated by four SPAL door poppers. The suede headliner and leather materials for the door panels are from Keyston Bros., and the factory seats will be covered with Roadwire leather covers. The floor will be covered by Niffty Products floor mats. The factory gauge cluster will be replaced with a custom gauge cluster from New Image. The incredible sights and sounds will all come from Audiovox. To obtain privacy and a cooler interior, the crew at House of Tint will apply the window treatment.
Be sure to visit the completed Coppertone Ford SportTrac in the Ford booth. Truckin' will feature the complete buildup of Coppertone in an upcoming issue. - Words by Bob Ryder. Rendering by Sean Smith.
Chrysler Picks New Chief ExecutiveBob Nardelli has been named chairman and chief operating officer by Chrysler's board of directors. He replaced Tom LaSorda in those positions, who will now serve as vice chairman and president of the company. The company's decision to bring in Nardelli surprised many observers, primarily because many suspected that Wolfgang Bernhard would be chosen to lead the company in an executive capacity, due to his previous experience with Chrysler and his reputation as a real "car guy." Bernhard has moved on, after he helped the private equity firm Cerberus purchase Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler. Nardelli, who led turnarounds at The Home Depot and General Electric, has a reputation for aggressive cost cutting, an approach that may signal that Cerberus has reconsidered its stated goal of taking a patient approach to bringing Chrysler back to viability. The company expects to return Chrysler to profitability in three years.
Pentastar Returns as Chrysler LogoChrysler's five-pointed emblem was adopted by the company in '61, but went into hiatus in '97. An updated version of the logo has returned as Chrysler's official symbol.
Chrysler's Lifetime WarrantyChrysler is offering a lifetime powertrain warranty starting now. There are some restrictions: it applies to most, but not all, vehicles and is valid for only the original owner of the vehicle who must take the vehicle to a dealer every five years for a free inspection of the powertrain. Chrysler's powertrain warranty is now the most aggressive in the industry.
What Is CAFE and Why Does It Matter?Most pickups and SUVs are not known for high-fuel economy, but, the fact they were designed to haul people or heavy cargo prevents them from being able to sip gas like a tiny econo-box. Nevertheless, Congress is trying to change the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) in a way that might have an inadvertent impact on people's ability to buy a gas guzzler, even if they truly needed one.
CAFE was enacted by Congress in '75, as a response to the OPEC oil embargo that rocked the United States in '73. CAFE strives to improve the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks, including sport utility vehicles sold in the U.S., with the hope that the nation will become less dependent on oil. Under CAFE, each automaker's sales-weighted annual production fleet must achieve a specified average fuel economy in miles per gallon. If a car maker's average mpg falls short, the company is fined. If it exceeds the standard for a given model year, then the company is awarded credits that can mitigate any of its fuel economy shortcomings in the next or previous three model years. CAFE is overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
CAFE currently dictates a manufacturer's fleet of passenger cars must achieve an average of 27.5 mpg, and a new rule brings light-duty pickups, SUVs, and some vans from model years 2008 through 2011, with a GVWR of 8,500 to 10,000 pounds, into the fuel-efficient fold. The NHTSA indicates the new rule will raise the average fuel efficiency of such vehicles from 21.6 to 24 mpg. NHTSA estimates the U.S. will save 10.7 billion gallons of fuel, thanks to this new standard.
Congress has been wrangling over a few bills this year that would ratchet the CAFE standards even higher: H.R. 6 would require automakers to achieve an average fuel economy of 35 mpg for their production fleet of cars and light trucks by model-year 2020. The more aggressive H.R. 1506 would have automakers reach an average 35 mpg even sooner-by model-year 2018. H.R. 2927 "Hill-Terry" bill is a more moderate, industry-backed measure. It would impose an average 35 mpg by model-year 2022. It also allows separate standards to be established for cars, trucks, and SUVs. The chances are Congress will shift its focus on hammering out a compromise version of the only slightly less stringent H.R. 6 after Congress reconvenes in September. Meanwhile, H.R. 2927 seems to have garnered the most bipartisan support.
The automakers aren't pleased with this push for higher fuel standards. Implementing a technologically challenging, 65-percent increase in overall fuel efficiency can present the automakers with more pain than gain. Unfortunately, there may not be much that can be done about it, since the public and Congress support stricter standards. Congress' push to up the mpg ante is a scary prospect for cash-strapped companies such as Ford, GM, and Chrysler; which may not be able to afford to go all-in right now. The costs could reach $85 billion for the domestics to increase fuel efficiency by 4-percent annually over 10 years. Ford would foot up to $25 billion of that tab. Last year, Ford put all of its assets up as collateral for an $18 billion loan, in order to finance its efforts to get its books out of the red. The company burned through almost $13 billion in cash in the same year. Ford says that diverting $25 billion could severely damper Ford's turnaround. The cost for GM would be daunting, too: about $43 billion, and the company's business is hardly out of rough waters.
Domestic automobiles are particularly sensitive to CAFE, because trucks and SUVs represent a huge percentage of their fleets: 65 percent at Chrysler, 60 percent at Ford, and 55 percent at GM. Trucks and SUVs bring in the most profit margin for these automakers. Unfortunately, these same vehicles will be a liability in the CAFE equation; particularly if either H.R. 1506 or H.R. 6 are enacted, because they would force the automakers to raise the average mpg for the rest of their vehicles to unrealistic levels.
Even a company, such as Toyota, which is flush with funds is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Detroit 3 in this matter. While Toyota has basked in its Prius-enabled, environmentally friendly reputation, it has its share of big, gas-guzzling vehicles, such as the redesigned Tundra and the Sequoia. Toyota, like the rest of the auto industry, recognizes higher fuel-economy standards will come and simply wants them to happen in what, for them, would be a manageable way. Toyota is one of 10 manufacturers that are part of the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, which includes BMW, Daimler, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Porsche, and Volkswagen. This Alliance, as well as other auto-industry associations and the union, support the business-friendlier H.R. 2927, mainly because it gives the auto industry more time to meet the technological challenge that higher CAFE standards would impose upon them.
Consider this: most people use trucks or SUVs to haul friends, family, their toys, or for work purposes. Unfortunately, in order to meet the higher CAFE standards, automakers might have to make trucks less capable, with smaller engines, or lighter frames. Or, they could simply make less trucks, which could raise the price of the vehicles by as much as $6,000 each, according to the DOT. Slashing production of trucks and SUVs still might not work. GM comments that while the standards in Hill-Terry are still going to be tough to meet, the bill gives the automakers enough time to make it happen, without taking away consumer choices.