Monday, April 3, 2017
Posted by Pw3680 at 6:29 PM
The Ford Police Interceptor: Our most advanced customer-centric, purpose-built vehicle.
Ford Police Interceptors are the top-selling law enforcement vehicles in the U.S., capturing 61 percent of the law enforcement vehicle market. So what makes Ford Police Interceptors America’s go-to police vehicles? Namely, the Police Interceptors are simply the most advanced customer-centric, purpose-built vehicles we make.
It starts by getting hands-on input from the people who know the extreme rigors of police duty best: the men and women of law enforcement. To do this we work closely with Ford’s Police Advisory Board. Founded in 2000, the role of the Police Advisory Board is to provide input that helps Ford to refine and create innovative police vehicles and products that meet the needs of law enforcement agencies. The board consists of a rotating panel of 25 active-duty experts who serve as the pilot group for new products, programs and services.
“Ford Police Interceptors are the best-selling police vehicles in America because of the unique relationship we have with our customers. Our elite Ford Police Advisory board provides valuable input that helps us to engineer vehicles that officers love.”Source: ford.com
One pedestrian is injured in a motor vehicle crash every eight minutes, a number that’s been on the rise in recent years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has equated this increase in injuries to a global influx of “petextrians” – pedestrians who simultaneously walk and text. This, combined with the rise of distracted driving due to smartphones, created a massive new safety problem for drivers and pedestrians alike.
To combat this prevalent issue, Ford created Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection for the 2017 Ford Fusion. The technology utilizes radar and camera technology to scan the roadway ahead of the vehicle for collision risks. If a risk is detected, the vehicle will provide a visual and audio warning to the driver, along with muting the driver’s audio system. If there is no reaction from the driver to any of these warnings, the technology will apply the vehicle’s full breaking power to reduce the severity of, and potentially eliminate, a frontal collision.
“We were startled to see how oblivious people could be of a 4,000-pound car coming toward them,” said Aaron Mills, a Ford safety engineer. “It was a real eye-opener to how distracted people are today.” After becoming aware of this issue, Aaron and his team helped gather a wide variety of test data to create Pre-Collision Assist and to help the vehicle recognize a wide variety of human sizes and shapes.
Ford's Pre-Collision Assist helps predict distracted ‘petextrian” movement
(picture from yahoo.com)
If you're a fan of cars from the Fifties and have long admired Ford's popular Thunderbirds, take a close look at the 1958, '59 and '60 models. Affectionately known as the "Square 'Birds" due to their fairly blocky shape, these T-Birds offer the best value for today's collector-car dollar. With their wide, imposing grilles that take up practically the entire front end, sculptured sides, fashionable fins, striking tail-end treatment and cozy, racy-looking interiors, these low-slung cars are full of character. And, best of all, not only do they seat five, thus adding extra enjoyment if you enjoy cruising with your family and friends, but they remain downright affordable.
Compared to the smaller Thunderbird, sales of the '58 model nearly doubled from 1957, with 37,892 built in contrast to 21,380. This is almost certainly why Motor Trend named it Car of the Year. For the 1959 model year, production increased some 78 percent, to 67,456 units; Ford saw another sizeable increase for the 1960 model, with sales reaching 92,465. With so many cars produced, their abundance helps them remain within reach of most collector-car enthusiasts. Fifty years ago, purists complained about the redesigned Thunderbirds--when the '58s debuted, they asked, "What? A sporty car with a rear seat?" Yet that very feature is one of the reasons so many Thunderbird enthusiasts find them so desirable today. In short, we believe the 1958-'60 Square 'Birds represent a great alternative to the earlier, more expensive smaller models. They're reliable, durable and easy for the home hobbyist to maintain and restore. Most importantly, all the requisite mechanical, electrical, body and trim parts needed to restore one to show-winning standards are readily available, with prices that won't break the bank.
For the 1958 Thunderbird, Ford introduced its 352-cu.in. V-8. This 300hp engine sported a 4.00-inch bore and 3.50-inch stroke with a compression ratio of 10.2:1; torque measured 395-lbs.ft. at 2,800 rpm. The early engines had solid-lifter camshafts, and those produced later in the year used quieter hydraulic cams and lifters. The engine carried code H and was offered with two four-barrel carburetors, a Holley B8A-9510-E or Carter 2640-SA-SC. For 1959, the same engine got the name Thunderbird 352 Special V-8, and was still rated at 300hp. About the only change was the switch to a Ford four-barrel carburetor, with two versions available: Models 5752304 or 5752305. A Holley also could be ordered. The big news in 1959 came with the introduction of the Thunderbird 430 Special V-8, a monster of a block with a 4.30-inch bore and 3.70-inch stroke. Compression measured somewhat lower than a 352 at 10:1, but had 50 more horsepower, with torque at a stout 490-lbs.ft. at 2,800 rpm. This engine carried code J and had a single Holley four-barrel carb, Model 4160-C. When considering a Thunderbird 430, there are several ways to verify the engine's authenticity. The radiator expansion tank is positioned at a right angle on top of the engine. The rocker covers are blank and do not have a "FORD" inscription; the fuel pump is located on top of the engine next to the expansion tank. The last telltale sign is that you can see the valley of a 430 engine, as opposed to the solid intake manifold on a 352. Larry Gardner, the technical advisor for the Vintage Thunderbird Club International, said that T-Bird engines are "bulletproof," with few internal problems. "If there is a mechanical caveat to be aware of, it's the cooling system. It was a poor design with no shroud and a four-blade fan positioned six inches from the radiator. Those cars overheated even when new. The air-conditioned cars had five blade fans, but it didn't help because you had the extra strain of the compressor," he said. To alleviate problems on his '58 T-bird, Larry installed a four-core radiator and seven-blade clutch fan. "I can drive across the desert all day and it never gets hot," said Larry, who has lived in Arizona since 1962. "The 352 is a workhorse. The valves are huge and they came with 3/8-inch fuel line. I never had any problems with a 352." In the Square 'Bird's last model year, 1960, Ford offered three Thunderbird engines: the reliable old 300hp 352, the 430 and an Interceptor Special, a 352-cu.in. V-8 with 360hp, 10.6:1 compression and dual exhaust with special header-type exhaust manifolds, aluminum intake manifold, dual-point distributor and Holley four-barrel carburetor. One word of caution regarding a 430-equipped Thunderbird centers on replacing the starter motor. The horror stories vary, depending on whom you ask, but some experts say the engine mounts must be removed, the engine jacked up, and both transmission and carburetor linkages removed, as well as both exhaust manifolds. Larry said the problem lies in the drive, which extends out about six inches. "I've never had to jack up the engine, but have had to remove the idler arm and some brackets to get them out. It is not an easy job," he said. Another minor nuisance is the fuel filter. In 1958 and 1959, Ford used a sintered glass-type filter that could only filter out large particles. In 1960, Ford switched to an inline canister-type filter that screwed into the carburetor. Even with a more efficient filter, Ford still recommended the filter be changed every 15,000 miles.
The base transmission was a column-shifted three-speed manual with optional overdrive. While the automatic transmissions in these cars are fairly reliable, there is one area of contention: the detent plate, which constantly failed and led to sloppy shifting. A reproduction is available, made on a CNC machine; it offers a more precise fit than the original. When replaced, this leads to the car being more secure in park and makes gear selection less vague. The automatic had three forward gears, a torque converter and the following ratios: 1st- 2.37:1, 2nd-1.84:1, 3rd-1.00:1 and reverse-1.84.1. The three-speed Cruise-O-Matic replaced the two-speed Ford-O-Matic, used in the small T-Birds. Larry stated that a C6 is better, but a Cruise-O-Matic was a reliable transmission if serviced regularly by a competent mechanic. These transmissions do not have replaceable filters, he advised.
In 1958, coil springs were used in the rear, which caused wheel hop. In 1959, the system was re-engineered to incorporate parallel leaf springs. The rear suspension also had a solid hypoid axle with semi-floating axles and tubular shock absorbers. Out front, the Thunderbird rode on independent A-arms, ball joints, coil springs, tubular shocks and a link stabilizer bar. The wheels were pressed steel discs. Tires measured 8.00 x 14 inches and were of four-ply tubeless construction. The wheelbase spanned 113 inches, overall length was 205.3 inches and curb weight came in at 3,897 pounds. A recirculating ball and nut power steering system came standard.
The braking system included four-wheel drums with power assist. The drum diameter measured 11 inches by 2.5 inches, with a total lining area of 175.32 square inches. Larry said there is a rear brake concern with all Square 'Birds that really isn't a problem if backyard mechanics read the service manual. "For whatever reason, Ford used a reverse thread on the adjustment or 'star' wheel on the left-rear wheel. Guys would adjust the brakes the wrong way and the shoes wouldn't work; they'd just push out brake fluid. If you read the shop manual, the problem is solved."
The interior of the Square 'Bird featured front bucket seats and a console; it was one of the first American cars to do so. This interior choice came about due to an engineering problem. The Thunderbird sat so low to the ground--lower than most cars at the time--that a solution was needed to cope with the placement of the driveshaft tunnel. The center console was a welcome addition to house switches, buttons and ashtrays, but in reality was designed to conceal the driveshaft tunnel. The quality of the original interior components was top-notch, said Brian Jaquish, general manager of Concours Parts in Carson City, Nevada, which carries complete interior kits. In 1959, leather seat covers became optional. Ford offered a standard clock and, although a radio was listed as an option, few T-Birds were delivered without one. The polished aluminum door sills had a stamped Thunderbird motif. A plastic two-piece shroud was used at the base of the bucket seats and, while the seats are interchangeable, the two sides of the shroud are not. Factory air conditioning first became available with the 1958 model.
Like most cars of the late 1950s, the Thunderbird featured welded steel panels, but instead of the common body-on frame construction, used on the earlier 1955-'57 models, the 1958-'60 models had a unitized structure. And the '58 models were the first T-Birds to have a rear seat; as a result, the car gained more than 18 inches in length and added nearly 1,000 pounds. The 1960 Thunderbird became the first post-war American car to have an optional sunroof. Numbers vary, but we learned 2,536 had this option. Cars with a sunroof were called Golde Editions and were named after the German company that held the patent for the sunroof. Larry said the Square 'Bird bodies are very stout. "They weighed more than two tons. The glove compartment door alone weighed more than five pounds. They are like a tank, except for one area: the dog-leg in front of the rear quarter panel. There is a drain there, and if it's not kept free of debris, that area rusts. I even have a California car that rusted there because water sat in there."
Fifty-Seven Ford Fantasies - 1957 Ford Supercharged Skyliner, Thunderbird from Hemmings Muscle MachinesApril, 2006 - Eric English
By 1956, Ford and Chevy were locked in a dogfight with stock car racing dominance at stake. Neither company had been a factor in this competitive realm during the first part of the 1950s, when Hudson, Olds and eventually Chrysler were the major players. This began to change in 1955, when Chevy shocked the racing world by winning the biggest event of the NASCAR season--the Southern 500 at Darlington. In 1956, it would be Ford's turn at the Southern 500, with Curtis Turner at the wheel of his Schwam Motors-sponsored ride. Hardly a flash in the pan, Ford went on to 14 Grand National wins in '56, no doubt a factor of growing experience, the right drivers, and the debut of the 312-cu.in. version of the Y-block V-8. On the flip side, 1956 was a comparative disappointment for Chevy, which had treaded water with its 265-cu.in. engine and garnered just three Grand National victories. The following year would be different story. With two years of development under its belt, 1957 was the year in which the small-block Chevy really came into its own. Enlarged to 283-cu.in. and offering both dual quads (270hp) and fuel injection (250hp and 283hp), it didn't take long for Ford to realize it had to do something to fend off the attack--and fast. Ford boss Robert McNamara distinctly articulated the looming Chevrolet threat in an executive communication in late November 1956, and outlined a counteroffensive in the form of a supercharged 312. Time was of the essence, and McNamara wanted 100 units completed in time for NASCAR's Daytona Speed Trials in early February, thus meeting the sanctioning body's homologation requirements. In little more than two months, the necessary number of cars were built. In a letter dated November 26, 1956, McNamara said, "Because a performance program is deemed essential to the maintenance of a Ford car and Thunderbird performance reputation, plans were formulated for its continuation. As you know, two high-performance engines (a 312-cu.in. 8V carburetor engine developing 270 horsepower, and 285 horsepower with a special camshaft) were approved for installation in the Ford car and Thunderbird." McNamara went on to say that it was the opinion of Ford Engineering that these engines were not powerful enough to compete with Chevrolet's fuelies and other makes and that engineering recommended installing the McCulloch superchargers, bringing the horsepower rating to 300. Both of Frank and Cathy Stubbs' 1957 Fords are the direct result of efforts by the blue oval to gain a competitive edge in stock car racing. You could say the 1957 NASCAR season panned out in Ford's favor, as it won 27 Grand National races and 26 convertible class wins, compared to Chevrolet's count of 19 and 12. On the other hand, Chevy men emerged with the respective driver's titles due in large part to a system, which awarded more points for bigger races. Regardless, both manufacturers built more exciting cars as a result of their on-track rivalries, and we have two near-perfect specimens featured here.
1957 Phase 1 Thunderbird
We had trouble deciding whether to use one of the most misused words in all of automotivedom, rare, as a way to describe the Stubbs' 1957 Thunderbird. In the end, we succumbed to the temptation as this car is truly a rare bird in every respect. Many automotive enthusiasts are aware of the handful of 1957 Thunderbirds that wore a McCulloch supercharger on the 312-cu.in. four-barrel V-8s because they are, quite frankly, the pinnacle of the 1955-1957 two-seaters. Generally recognized as "F-Birds" by virtue of the "F" engine identifier in the VIN, just 196 were built, all in the latter part of 1957 production--June 10 and later, to be specific. It's certainly fair to say these cars qualify as rare; however, the Stubbs' supercharged T-Bird isn't actually an F-Bird at all--it actually carries the D-code, the more pedestrian single four-barrel 312. Say what? Recall that McNamara communiqué was written in late November 1956, with an urging that 100 supercharged cars be completed by early 1957, in time for the Daytona Beach events. As mentioned earlier, 100 supercharged Fords of various models were completed by this date, but none were identified by the later F engine code. Rather than calling these F-cars, the hobby has embraced the term "Phase 1" or "D/F" as a way of distinguishing the early supercharged cars, of which only 15 were Thunderbirds. That's right, just 15 Phase 1 supercharged 1957 Birds were built and our feature car is one of only eight known to survive. The Stubbs have owned their white Phase 1 Thunderbird since 1991, when they bought it as a basket case in Reno, Nevada. Frank Stubb became aware of the car through a friend who was storing it for a client. Being the main man behind Frank's Restorations, the stated condition did not deter Frank, since he clearly grasped the significance of the car and soon made a bid that took some two years to be accepted. From the outset, Frank and Cathy decided the car would be built to enjoy; as such, this Thunderbird's odometer accumulates about 2,000 miles every year. With a direction set, Frank launched into the restoration of this 1957 model with the mindset that he'd do a presentable job, enjoy frequent drives for five or six years and then do a complete body-off. The latter hasn't happened as the Stubbs simply have too much fun driving the T-Bird. While the Stubbs may feel the current condition of their T-Bird is well short of one of Frank's prime restorations, we couldn't spot anything less than fantastic driver quality anywhere we looked. With years of collecting and dealing early T-Bird parts, the only real challenge when dealing with the missing parts on this project had to do with the tough-to-find supercharger components--specifically the Phase 1 supercharger pieces, which are obviously scarcer than an F-code setup. Stubbs put out the word and lucked into a good share of the Phase I items from an Alabama man. A trip to Carlisle turned up the remaining missing pieces. If you've never been in a 1955-1957 Thunderbird, you'll be surprised at how difficult it is to enter the cockpit. A distinctly legs-first entry is helpful due to the steering column's low angle. Stubbs bought his first Thunderbird in 1971, and has years of practice perfecting his entry technique--both he and his wife say it's just second nature to them now. Once inside, the quarters are cozy and while the bench seat at least suggests the idea of a three-person capacity, it'd be a mighty tight squeeze. Seat belts? Forget about it. We had the pleasure of driving the supercharged Thunderbird and have to say this one is really dialed in--running perfectly in both cruise and repeated full-throttle modes. In most respects, it feels very much like a small mid-size pony car, no doubt in part to the setup which Stubbs finds to his liking. This means good-size B.F.Goodrich radials, aftermarket front and rear anti-roll bars, gas-charged shocks and a '60s vintage Toploader four-speed in place of the original three-speed. Likewise, power feels very much on par to a modified small-block Mustang of similar displacement. The engine is stock save for a mild Clay Smith camshaft, and while the supercharger certainly brings a strong power rush at the top end, the 312's smallish 3.80-inch bore means the cylinder head is distinctly limited in terms of valve sizing. In the end, this was much of the Y-block's downfall in contrast to the small-block Chevy. Horsepower for a blown 312 came in at an even 300, and 270hp was the rating of the next highest option on the T-Bird list--the dual four-barrel 312-cu.in. V-8. On paper, the horsepower rating compared favorably to the fuel-injected Chevrolet and in fact was wholesale priced at virtually the same $340 premium as the small-block fuelie. Obviously, Ford was taking the Chevy challenge straight on.
1957 F-code Skyliner
Ford clearly rolled the dice with the introduction of the first retractable hardtop on a mass-produced vehicle. The novel idea all but eliminated the negatives associated with a fabric top, but in the same breath, pretty well eliminated the normally vast trunk space. Surely, it would take a certain kind of buyer to purchase a Skyliner--one such customer was George Chaltin of Bellwood, Illinois. Chaltin had been present for the action at the 1957 Daytona races and left impressed by the performance of the new supercharged Fords. Before going home, he tried to score a blown fixed-roof Fairlane 500 from a Daytona-area Ford dealer, but didn't make the deal. The failed impulse buy turned out to be a good thing, however, as Chaltin subsequently attended the Chicago Auto Show, where the new retractable Ford was front and center. Watching the top go up and down all day long convinced him that the ultimate combination would be a supercharged Skyliner, which he ordered from Courtesy Motor Sales. As it turned out, Chaltin was one of just a handful of customers nationwide to order an F-code Skyliner, and was perhaps the only one to order it specifically for drag racing. On the surface, one would think the heavier Skyliner would be at a disadvantage in straight-line time trials, but the extra heft actually slid the Ford one class lower into D/Stock, where Chaltin did very well against a variety of mostly GM competition. By 1961, Chaltin was a highly competitive racer and won the D/Stock title at the 1961 NHRA Nationals at Indianapolis--an event that drew the likes of a big-name stock class racers Arnie Beswick, Hayden Profitt and Dyno Don Nicholson. Chaltin's victorious 14.54 seconds at 95.14 mph may seem slower than you'd think, but mid-14s for a 2-ton Ford with limited modifications was impressive in the day. At the time, the Skyliner sported a column-shifted three-speed manual, which Chaltin later swapped for a Ford-O-Matic when the racing days were over. The latter came from a Fairlane Chaltin owned at the same time, so the conversion is complete down to the power brake pedal, which subsequent owners left in place. Stubbs seems inclined to live with the status quo for now as, while the lazy-shifting automatic leaves much to be desired, three-on-the-tree isn't exactly the cat's meow either. Such was the state of the 1957 Fords. Chaltin owned his Skyliner until August 1980, when he sold it to Dennis Pruitt. Later, the car went to a Thunderbird dealer and collector Amos Minter, who stripped and resprayed the car in its original two-tone paint scheme. The Stubbs bought the Skyliner in 2002 from Larry Evenson. Beyond the Thunderbird and Skyliner seen here, the Stubbs's own a 1957 F-code Country sedan station wagon, an F-code Custom 300 and three F-code T-Birds. Stubbs talked to Chaltin who told him that half of the 54,000 miles were rolled up on a tow bar, traveling to races throughout the upper Midwest. Chaltin said the Skyliner sat in a garage and was waxed regularly and, from the looks of the mostly original interior and engine components, it's easy to see this car was his pride and joy. We took a ride in the retractable and, not surprisingly, found it an altogether different experience than the similarly powered Thunderbird. Unlike the smattering of modifications found on the Thunderbird, the Skyliner is stock except for the transmission, so the experience was very much a blast from the past. First, there's no trouble easing behind the wheel and there's surely enough room for a bunch of friends, but the engine falls victim to the increased heft, archaic transmission and a somewhat poorer state of tune than the hard-charging Thunderbird. While the Ford-O-Matic has three forward gears, it primarily operates in just two, giving marginal gear spacing for an engine that enjoys the upper end of its powerband. A hiccup at roughly 3,000 rpm doesn't help the acceleration experience. No matter, the Skyliner isn't about straight-line performance anymore, and once up to speed we encounter the 1950s marshmallow ride typical of the day. Stubbs navigated through heavy highway traffic with comfortable ease, but we were glad he was at the wheel in this environment--the lack of firmness being a bit unnerving. Even though the supercharged 312 was a one-year wonder, no doubt helped by NASCAR's April 1957 ban on fuel injection, superchargers and multiple carburetors, Ford's retractable hardtop continued through 1959. We never fail to marvel how that exotic roof operated, which can still be considered true engineering even today. The retractable includes more than 600 feet of wire, three drive motors and a plethora of switches and solenoids, all of which proved relatively reliable. While today's new retractable hardtops benefit from far more advanced technology, designing such a piece is still no easy feat. Ford's budget for the project back in 1957 was reported to be more than $2 million, though with nearly 50,000 units sold throughout the three years the car was built, we suppose the effort was deemed a reasonable success. As opposed to today's automotive offerings, when high-performance engines rarely cross over from one model to another, it was a different story for much of the '50s and '60s. Ford's 1957 supercharged 312 is a perfect example, offered throughout the company's varied lineup from Skyliner to Sunliner, Ranchero and Ranch Wagon. As we found with other cars in the Stubbs' collection, such cars often had different characters and purpose, yet find common ground in a race-inspired powerplant unlike anything of its era. While racing success was short-lived due to sanctioning body edicts, the Stubbs are helping assure that these 1957 Fords are preserved and remembered for the long haul. Better yet, they're enjoying the cars as intended--by driving them.