LAS VEGAS, Nov. 4 – Ford is unveiling 19 customized concept vehicles – most of them based on the top-selling F-150 pickup – and reaffirming in a major way its industry-leading relationship with the growing aftermarket at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
As the official "manufacturer of show" this year, Ford unveiled the largest ever exhibit from an auto manufacturer – a 65,000-foot display space highlighted by 14 customized versions of its all-new 2004 Ford F-150 – and teased visitors with a preview of the next-generation 2005 Ford Mustang.
Ford also announced the continuation of its Ford/SEMA Technology Initiative, which provides SEMA members with advanced access to future-product information. The relationship includes giving computer-aided design (CAD) data to aid aftermarket companies in the design and engineering of customized parts well in advance of a new vehicle’s introduction.
This successful information sharing already has allowed aftermarket companies to market and sell more than 100 items available on the 2004 F-150, as well as begin the engineering work necessary to prepare for the launch of customized parts for the next-generation 2005 Mustang next year.
"U.S. consumers spend $27 billion annually in aftermarket parts and service, and more than a third of that is on light trucks," says Phil Martens, Ford’s group vice president of Product Creation. "Ford has been on the ground floor in helping to fuel the aftermarket’s growth, and we intend to remain a leader in the future with hot aftermarket products like the all-new F-150 and the next-generation Mustang coming next year.
"At Ford, we’re introducing the largest wave of new products in our history – from the new F-150 and next year’s Mustang to several all-new products in new segments," Martens continues. "We intend to have hot product news every year that SEMA members will love."
In addition to news about these vehicles, Ford announced several produc
t and marketing ventures to further strengthen the company’s leadership in performance, racing and specialty vehicles:
- Three concepts powered by Ford’s all-new 5.0-liter "Cammer" V-8 engine, which will be available through Ford Racing Performance Parts dealers or warehouse distributors beginning in 2004.
- All-new Focus and Ranger concepts that foretell soon-to-be-available custom body kits, interior enhancements and powertrain upgrades for the aftermarket.
- An innovative marketing relationship between Ford Motor Company and Revolution Studios to bring more hot Ford vehicles to a movie theater near you.
2004 Ford F-150: America’s Truck Leader Takes Over SEMA
Visitors to the Ford display will find an overwhelming presence of 2004 F-150s customized by SEMA members. Each truck features the aftermarket company’s personalization specialties and showcases the 100 aftermarket parts already available for the new F-150.
"The CAD files that Ford provided in advance saved time by allowing us to start our project before we even had a truck in our possession," says Ryan Strathearn with Tenneco Automotive, who developed the Rancho Suspension F-150.
"We ended up with more accurate designs because we could try many iterations before we even cut a piece of metal. Having the data greatly reduced our need to reverse engineer and also saved us money because we didn’t have to buy as many spare parts."
The customized 2004 F-150’s on display at SEMA include:
Ford F-150 Everest.
- Everest by Prefix : This F-150 is dressed in leather and trimmed with Corian™ accents and features the convenience of door activated self-stowing entry steps making it a tough luxury truck. The Everest F-150 is designed to be a partner in business for busy executives with such features as a stand-alone wireless network providing all occupants with his or her own personal work station.
- Iron Man F-150 by DeBerti Designs : The Iron Man takes "Built Ford Tough" to a new level, featuring modified fenders, tailgate, inner bed, grille, rocker panels, skid guard and exhaust. It also features a complete color change and a custom DeBerti interior.
- Stainless by Classic Design Concepts: Designed to be the ultimate go-kart hauler, this F-150 is equipped for a weekend warrior with a Magellan Navigation system and custom pop-up screen, high tech storage, pull-out shelves, Eurovox/Rockford amplifiers and speakers, and modified fascia and lower body cladding.
- Super Wagons F-150 by Hulst Customs: The Super Wagon F-150 is a high-end utility truck that hauls a custom toolbox. It is designed to be at home on the work site and to look good at a show.
- F-150 LSC (Low, Smooth, Cool) by Air Ride:
This new F-150 is for truck owners who want to arrive in style. Boosted with a Roush supercharger and sprung with a full Air Ride suspension with remote control, F-150 LSC adds performance to style under the hood, under the frame and inside with a 5,800-watt Kicker Stereo.
Ford F-150 Canyon Crawler.
- Canyon Crawler by X-Treme Toys : Another ultimate tough truck, it features Off Road Unlimited tub bumper guards, Borla exhaust system, Amp Research retracting entry steps, Stillen fender flares and Budnik M-6 wheels.
- F-150 by Foose Design: One of the most famous names in customization adds European flair to Ford tough truck style in this all-wheel-drive Euro-inspired F-150 design.
- Roush F-150 : How do you style a 2004 Ford F-150 to look like a Mustang GT-350? Roush did it by restyling the bumper, roll pan and hood, modifying the engine air intake adding nitrous oxide injection, lowering the suspension and adding aftermarket wheels and tires.
- Fast and Ferocious by Wings West : Featuring a 5.4-liter 3-valve Triton V-8 engine with custom engine, paint and detail, this F-150 is fast and ferocious.
- Big Sky by Performance West: The Performance West Group has created a loaded four-by-four sport truck that merges an active lifestyle’s needs with show-stopping appearance.
- American Muscle by Street Scene
: This F-150 is a sport "tuner" truck that handles, has power and offers good looks. Designed for a road racer, this truck offers a Whipple Super Charger, a lowered suspension, custom steering wheel and dash, a Street Scene urethane front spoiler and a fiberglass wiper cowl and hood.
- SCOUT by BFS Mobility : This truck’s rugged features include the IntelliRide air adjustable suspension that increases ride height, KC Daylighters that illuminate the darkest of paths a
nd the Bombardier Traxter, which can be remotely lowered to the ground.
- bonspeed Banshee F-150 : Competition, luxury and 100 years of Ford heritage are blended into the bonspeed designed F-150. It pushes the limits of a pickup by adding four-wheel independent suspension "tuned" by Detroit Speed & Engineering. The truck growls thanks to the 32-valve supercharged motor and six-speed transmission, while enveloping passengers in luxury with specially dyed leather, an entertainment system and heated power seats.
Ford Shine F-150
- Shine F-150 by So-Cal Speed Shop: Welding since the age of nine, Jimmy Shine is a top-notch fabricator – and a surfer, biker, hot rod builder and racer. This F-150 offers tough style with a long list of custom features, including wheels, working side exhaust, lower grille diffuser, "Brushed Aluminum" paint, and louvered tailgate and box sides.
Next Generation 2005 Mustang: Head-Turner Inside and Out
Ford is stoking the muscle car fire by giving SEMA members a sneak peek of part of the next-generation 2005 Mustang. The company is showcasing just one of many innovative new features coming on the car: a customizable instrument cluster.
The OEM-first color-configurable cluster can be back-lit in any of 125 backgrounds by "mixing" three primary colors with the turn of a dial. The effect can be subtle or dramatic, particularly at night, as the speedometer and tachometer illuminate in variations of blue, green or red hues, creating a unique, personalized driving mood.
"Make no mistake about it: The new Mustang will be a head-turner on the outside. But it also will set new standards for muscle car interiors – just like the new F-150 has changed the game in the pickup market," says J Mays, Ford’s group vice president of Design.
The new Mustang’s standard-setting interior will include the new color-configurable instrument cluster. It uses six light-emitting diode (LED) lights that are selectable in order from green, blue, purple, white, orange and red.
An OEM-first, the technology allows customers to blend the primary colors to create more personalized backgrounds. The LEDs are filtered through innovative "light pipe" fittings on the sides of the speedometer, tacho
meter and vehicle operation indicator panel to create the numerous color options.
The new feature addresses a growing trend showing that up to 50 percent of some demographic groups – particularly "millenials" who are 25 and younger – plan to personalize their vehicles the moment they buy them. The Mustang remains one of the most customizable vehicles ever.
Ford also is allowing customers to take a piece of the new Mustang home early. A screen saver that teases the new car and illustrates how the new color-configurable instrument cluster will work is available at www.fordvehicles.com . Ford plans to use the web site to keep anxious enthusiasts informed about the new car and its debut next year.
"Cammer" Engines Showcase Power, Versatility and Personality
In addition to hot new F-150’s and a tease of the next-generation Mustang, Ford is taking the wraps off three extreme performance project vehicles powered by Ford Racing Performance Parts’ (FRPP) all-new 5.0-liter "Cammer" V-8 crate engine. The new power plant will be available through dealers or warehouse distributors beginning in 2004.
"We’ve said all along that we intend to grow the interest in overhead-cam technology," explains Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "There’s no reason why a crate engine can’t start, run and perform in an aftermarket setting as well as the engines in today’s production automobiles and trucks. We see the 5.0-liter "Cammer" crate engine as the future for tuners, project-vehicle builders and aftermarket car and truck enthusiasts."
Ford has fitted the new engine in three new performance project cars being shown at SEMA for the first time:
- 1953 FR100 Panel Truck: A logical successor to last year’s FR100 pickup at SEMA, the FRPP 1953 F-100 Panel Truck painted in UPS livery features an all-aluminum, overhead-cam, four-v
alve supercharged V-8 creating a full 5.0-liters of piston displacement, forged crankshaft with six-bolt mains and Manley "H-Beam" connecting rods, and a specially reinforced block in the crankcase web areas for high torque loads.
- 1965 Mustang Fastback: A fully restored 1965 Mustang 2+2 powered by a carbureted version of Ford Racing’s hot new 5.0-liter, four-valve "Cammer" crate engine producing 420 horsepower. It’s the perfect marriage of Ford’s Mustang performance heritage and the very latest in advanced modular V-8 engine technology.
- Focus RS8: Using the European Focus RS as a starting point, Ford Racing engineers worked to mate the new, all-alloy, 5.0-liter four-valve "Cammer" crate engine – cranking out a pavement-pounding 420 naturally aspirated horsepower – into the engine bay of a modified rear-wheel drive Ford Focus.
Focus and Ranger Concepts Foretell the Future
Focus Performance Concept
Ford also unveiled two new Focus and Ranger performance concepts that showcase affordable parts available from Ford Vehicle Personalization, the company’s in-house aftermarket unit. The concepts also foretell soon-to-be-available custom body kits for the aftermarket.
"SEMA reports that the compact performance market totaled $2.3 billion in sales for 2002 and is growing at a rate of almost 50 percent year over year," says Bob Masone, director of the Ford Vehicle Personalization group.
"Our Focus and Ranger concepts are designed to help these vehicles’ owners see what might be possible to achieve on their own route to personalization. All the modifications you see in these two vehicles will be available soon."
The Focus concept is powered by a Ford SVT 2.0-liter Zetec engine upfitted with a supercharger, suspension lowering kit, new anti-roll bar and tuner 17x7-inch 10-spoke wheels. All of these components are all available from Ford Racing Performance Parts.
On the outside, the Focus concept features a Ford Vehicle Personalization body kit sporting new front fascia, rear diffuser, unique grille, rocker panels, upper spoiler, mid-gate spoiler and hood scoop. An upgraded interior adds black leather seats and steering wheel with Impulse inserts in seats and door trim, custom instrument cluster mask and a Clarion audio/DVD/MP3 system.
Ranger Performance Concept
The Ranger concept is a Super Cab two-wheel-drive model with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission plus a Ford Racing supercharger good for 230 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. A Ford Racing lowering kit, 13-inch Brembo brakes, high-performance air filter element and FR500 18x9-inch aluminum wheels from the Mustang complete the package.
Ford and Revolution Studios Team up to Put Hot Vehicles on the Silver Screen
Ford and Revolution Studios are announcing at SEMA an innovative new relationship matching cars and stars on the silver screen. Under the partnership, Ford Motor Company’s lineup of global brands will work together with Revolution Studios’ creative team during the early stages of film development and writing, in order to integrate Ford brands strategically into the script. In the past, placement decisions across the industry have been made as an afterthought to the script.
The first fruit of the new agreement will be the film Are We There Yet? , starring actor and rap music performer Ice Cube and his tricked-out Lincoln Navigator. Ford and Revolution revealed a concept version of the film’s Navigator at the SEMA show.