America’s Original Pony Car – Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 Experience on the Queer4Cars YouTube Channel

We got to take a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt on the road for a week, here is our story:

Front of Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 at the American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

The energy and momentum are strong for the American Original Pony Car, the Ford Mustang and nowhere more pronounced than at a gathering of Mustang enthusiasts like the American Muscle 2019 Mustang Gathering held at Maple Grove Dragway in Berks County Pennsylvania.

American Muscle Mustang Man 2019This annual event has been running for a dozen years, and while it is produced by an aftermarket product supplier, American Muscle, you would think it would be all about selling stuff. While there is plenty of commerce going on, it is more of a backdrop to the role that the enthusiasts play, and it is all done with the focus on the Make A Wish Foundation. With more than three thousand Mustangs on hand, mostly late-model, but a few of the 1980’s forward. And only a handful of earlier generation models in the display parking fields, you can feel the love that each owner has in their vehicle.

Ford Mustangs at American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

American Muscle is the perfect spot to learn more about the owner culture, and Ford put me in a 2019 Mustang Bullitt to attend the event, which resulted in Specialty Parking Pass, so we were right up front and center of this festival of pony cars. Here the Dark Highland Green V8 powered muscle machine was surrounded by thirty or so highly vetted Mustangs each selected because of their outstanding features, that only true aficionados recognized. We were parked in the middle of the carnival mid-way between the Dyno Runs, and the drag strip, and just down from the vendor booths and on the way to the food lane.

Something that was not surprising is that Mustang owners are very particular who works on their car. Ford Motor Company shared with us that it is very hard to get owners to even bring their Mustang in for the airbag recall as they are concerned about damage to their car.

Front of Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 at the American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

I found that the owners of these vehicles are friendly and willing to share tips and show off their modifications, some vendor purchased, some like the GT350 next to me, whose bearded owner was so concerned that his air filter would get debris in the creases, he carefully planned and quite professionally fitted pantyhose around it. I kidded him throughout the day about his Pantyhose Performance Upgrade.  He admitted he was to shy to buy the nylons himself, so he sent his girlfriend to Walmart with very specific instructions on brand and color to buy.  After that, I saw other applications of air filter covers that were nowhere near as neat and clean. And it prompted me to look at the filter on MP002; it was a good thing I did not open the hood at the show, it would have been embarrassing as its filter was not debris free.

Justin Dugan from American Muscle with Mustang Owners

Who are the owners of Mustangs?

Well, they are as American as the original pony car itself.  Being summer, this event was not any different than being at the local sandlot baseball diamond or neighborhood park for basketball. Mustang Owners are as American as they come, Canadian too. They traveled from all over for this single model gathering, just to be with each other. While the auto enthusiast community tends toward the male, there was no shortage of women in attendance, and with their cars — all age groups, just about as much of the melting pot that is the USA.

Ford Mustangs of every color at American Muscle Mustang Show 2019

Mustangs of Every color, and trim level.

Special award opportunities with several judged classes, as well as the chance to put private vehicles on the Dyno to see if the work over the winter and those mods had increased horsepower.  The drag strip where both parade laps and hot laps were a part of the scene. Event non-Mustang, Jet Engine dragsters loudly blew down the strip at great speed.

American Muscle Mustang Show 2019 had an amazing amount of bargains

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

Vendors of every kind that cater to enthusiasts of the Mustang, from wheels, and suspension to exhaust and other specialty parts. Tee-shirts to tires. American Muscle had a huge tent that featured its scratch and dent, or one of a kind items in classic flea market setting. Piled high on tables for people to paw through looking for that special bargain. A buddy of the owner of the GT500 parked next to me came back announcing a great deal on tires and wheels, and they debated if indeed he should spend for a set when he had the stock set in his garage.  I still have my eye on an American Muscle Stick Shift T-Shirt, that I should have bought while there, as the price was better than it is to be bought online and shipped.

 

 

 

Why Ford Mustang?

The Mustang was a major twentieth-century turning point from a post-war automotive world. That sent those who bought one headed into what would become the space age. Back then, the young demographic coming of age was looking for their car, not one with fins or holes in its side, like their parents. They were looking for a sportiness that provided them seating four with enough room to carry something in the trunk.  Ford had eked out an unattractive low-end uninspired compact car for the masses as the decade began, with a slightly more modern chassis and power plant. Simple and cheap to operate this became the base on which those first Mustangs were built on.

As the decade marched on, and the modern war in Viet Nam became its signature, the Mustang became an escape for many who wanted something with power and sport styling. By the end of the decade, Mustang muscles bulged in size and horsepower. With the early 70’s they were large and all-powerful competing with the Camaro, AMX Javelin, and numerous Dodge and Plymouth muscle cars. Peculiar foreign cars were now starting to take the eye to get a strong foothold on US shores. What grew more than anything else was the car culture, with cars, were becoming stars in their own right. And on the big screen, they played a role equal to that of the male star. Men found that being identified with certain cars defined who they were, with that product placement became a Madison Avenue man’s marketing dream.  Racing movies and stars like Paul Newman and others were billboard legends. From a little VW beetle to the roaring Ford Mustang in Bullitt. Woody wagon beach buggies and

Then in the 1970s, the US was hit hard with gas rationing and sky-rocking prices. Drivers saw dollar signs on a gallon of gas when just months before a dollar would increase by several gallons, looked too small econoboxes and Japanese cars ruled the roads. Ford quickly downsized the Mustang, and by the 1980s it had right-sized with the debut of the long-lived Fox-body Mustang. As the 1990s loomed, US automotive companies partnered with foreign ones. Ford and Mazda began the process of a joint build in the same American factory.  The mere idea of this travesty whipped Mustang owners and enthusiasts into a frenzy, sending hate mail to Dearborn.  Ford quickly realized that Mustang was not to be toyed with, and with Mustang owners revolting at the thought of a Mazda shared platform for their beloved car quickly brought forth a new model, the Ford Probe.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002

Bullitt MP002

Our 2019 test vehicle was an early prototype dark highland green production number MP002 (Bullitt’s are numbered, and owners are very aware of that.) It only had two options a $2,100 Bullitt Electronics Package, and the $1,695 MagneRide dampening system, bringing the $46,595 price up to $51,485 with the $1095 destination and delivery fee. The other option would have been the RECARO® Leather-trimmed Front Sport Seats a $1595 option. Not a great option for a touring car, but if you spent a lot of time at the track with it, a great choice.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002This is not a car that you just get in and drive. You are in the know of what is going on at all times, not just because the 5.0 L TI-VCT V8 engine and 6-Speed Manual transmission with the white cue ball shift knob, gave the car a lot of heft and power.  Which was apparent in low-speed situations, not an easy car to drive in the city as you never could unleash it, and this car wants to run. The shifting was surprisingly easy, even with the very strong clutch. The Bullitt was a blast on the highway, but where it was the most fun is the twisty back roads.

Outside the Bullitt is not blingy at all, if you did not know what it was, you might just think it was another Mustang. No question on the line, but no pony insignia (except on the projection puddle light at night that puts a Mustang on the ground by your door. Only the Bullitt button in the center of the rear, where at one time would have been a gas cap. The other add on was the hood Louvers, which looked good, but did nothing to enhance air into the engine.

No Way To Be  A Quiet PlayBoy

2019 Mustang Bullitt MP002 RearOf course, it’s classic fastback design is recognizably mustang.  Where the attention comes is when you fire it up, with the gurgle and growl of the engine, which brought out every male within range. Supposedly there is a quiet setting in the active valve exhaust, though I never found it. And I heard from my neighbors they or their dogs, knew when it was coming or going.  And the rumble of the five-liter engine is as much a part of the Mustang Lifestyle as anything. Not a loud, obnoxious blast, but a very seductive growl is pure Ford Mustang.

Ride and Drive Experience

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt MP002 InteriorInside it seats four in comfortable dark highland green leather-trimmed with accent stitching, heated and cooled front bucket seats. A 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar control, and a 6-way power front-passenger seat and two tightly in the 50/50 split-bench folding rear seat. The ride was strong, smooth, and balanced with the available MagneRide® Damping System which responds one thousand times per second. MagneRide® is a trademarked technology of BWI Group. Between the seats and the BULLITT Electronics Package that includes: B&O Play™ Premium Audio System by HARMAN  which is a 12Speakers with a trunk-mounted subwoofer system that includes a CD Player, HD Radio™ and includes a five (5)-year prepaid subscription to SiriusXM, it was great for long drives.

I thought this was a sports car…. But I am becoming a fan of  Ambient Lighting Voice-Activated Touchscreen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link® not to mention the with the BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert (CTA)

 

You Ain’t Going anywhere Quietly

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Center Console Switches

 

The class-exclusive* active valve performance exhaust lets you control the volume of the Mustang exhaust. I tried my best to set it for Quiet Start, needless to say, that was no fun, so setting it for normal, custom, Sport or the Track setting. Speaking of Trac, it even comes with Track Apps Even if you never take it to a racecourse.

 

 

 

Overall

Mustangs in lineup for American Muscle 2019 at Morgantown Holiday Inn HotelThis was one of my favorite press cars that I have had over the past six years getting them. It got more attention than any car except the Lexus LC500h, and that was just women. Everyone wanted to drive this pony.  Mustangs are an American institution, no matter what you get from the basic stripped-down model to the Shelby GT500 (and that is a dream come true) you will be celebrating modern American automobiles.  (as we work on this story, the Father of the Mustang Lee Ioccoca passed away. It was his vision of what consumers wanted in a fun and useable car that made this line of vehicles possible, Interesting that as Ford phases out passenger cars from the US Market, the Mustang is not going away anytime soon.

BULLITT© and all related characters and elements are done so under Copywrite © and trademark ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s18)

Words and Images by William West Hopper

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Mr. Hopper, is a life-long automobile enthusiast, growing up not far from the Maple Drove Dragway in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  This was a trip down memory lane in many ways for him. WWH is currently the President of the Washington Automotive Press Association, a 250 member strong group of automotive professionals.

AM2019 American Muscle Mustang Show Specialty Parking PassThe week-long use of the Mustang Bullitt was provided by Ford Motor Company and NAVS DC to attend the American Muscle Mustang show.  We covered our own costs for fuel, lodging (though Turn5 offered to cover that expense, it has not been reimbursed as of this writing.) Turn 5 did invite us to attend and provided us $11 in food vouchers and the Specialty Parking Pass for the Paddock area.  This report and accompanying video were not produced for payment, but for editorial purposes only.

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Look Behind You! The Flashing Lights?

What Is An Officer of the Law Driving Today?

Queer4Cars 2020 Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor Model YouTube Video

Cop Cars

2020 Ford Police Interceptor Explorer Utility VehicleJust when you thought you had gotten used to spotting police cruiser headlights in your rearview mirror, Ford is changing the game again! With the introduction of the completely redesigned 2020, Ford Explorer comes the police equivalent: the Explorer Utility Interceptor. Ford is stepping away from selling sedans in the USA and focusing on SUV and trucks. With this comes the SUV for police duty, which many departments have already in their fleets.

What’s New

2020 Frod Police Interceptor UtilityFord has really upped their game when it comes to the new Interceptor. One of the most significant changes, besides the entire vehicle, is the shift from front wheel to rear-wheel biased all-wheel drive. Instead of being pulled around, you now are pushed town in the 2020 Explorer. The 2020 Ford Explorers Utility Interceptor comes standard with all-wheel drive and a whole host of other goodies that the general public does not get in a regular consumer edition Ford Explorer.

The new Interceptor now comes in 3 different engine versions. The first is a regular 3.3 liter naturally aspirated V6 engine. The next step up, and the one Ford really put their heads into is a 3.3-liter non-plug-in hybrid version. The third and final option is their 3.0 liter EcoBoost engine.

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid BatteryFord has put a lot of focus on the hybrid in a push to make not only Police Interceptors but all of its fleet Green.  The image of being more environmentally friendly is an essential part of today’s market. This new hybrid is run off a lithium-ion battery pack that is the size of a small suitcase and stored in the front half of the vehicle not reducing any interior storage space. This hybrid engine is a game changer and more so for police departments. The hybrid uses the battery pack to run the vehicle for 80% of the time. When the battery charge drops below 30%, the gas engine kicks in and takes about 2 minutes to recharge the battery to full capacity. This significantly reduces the amount of idle time for the gas engine. In turn, this reduced idle time substantially reduces the amount of fuel used and emissions from the vehicle.

Value Driven

Ford Interceptor Utility BenefitsWhat citizen wouldn’t like to see their local and state police departments saving money, thus freeing it up to focus more on training or more safety? Where hybrid vehicle technology will impact will be in municipalities fuel and vehicle maintenance budgets. While hybrids initial purchase cost is indeed higher, that can be made up in just fuel cost savings alone. Not to mention that hybrids can go longer between oil changes as the engines aren’t always running or as is often the case, idling, and between the brake pad and rotor changes due to the regenerative braking technology.

2020 Ford Interceptor Utility BenefitsThe 2020 Explorer Utility comes standard with Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity. Which is a good idea, as we know it is illegal in many states to use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle. And no one wants Officers’ breaking the law by using their phones while driving.

 

Only On A Cop Car

Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor weleded Steel Crash FrameThe Interceptor Utility is fitted with a welded steel under-carriage device giving it a 75mph rear crash test rating.  Plus a stiffer suspension, larger heavy duty brakes, cooling system, and alternator that is needed to run the gamut of electronics police use in their vehicle.

Ford Factory Installed Police Perimeter Alert for Interceptor VehiclesFord has developed and offers on its Interceptor vehicles a factory-installed Police safety perimeter alarm that uses the blind spot monitoring system and a dashboard display to detect any threats moving towards or away from the rear of the vehicle.  Alerting the officer with an audible tone, rolling up the windows, locking the doors and activating the Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor Bullit Proof Door Padrearview camera. Ford also has ballistic panels as on option for inserts in the front doors to further protect officers from armed assailants.

 

 

 

Overall

2020 Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor VehicleAfter test driving each of the 2020 Ford Explorer Utility powertrains available on a police emergency vehicles operations course, it is abundantly clear these are the smart choice for police departments. Start looking in your rearview mirror for a new police Interceptor starting later this year. And remember to pull over when you see those flashing lights. While they are not after you, they may be on the way to assist someone that is important to you or someone else who is in need.

 

Words by Corporal Matthew Rihl,
Photos by William West Hopper
Officer Matt in the Cockpit of a Connie

Corporal Matthew Rihl is a Field Training Officer and member of the Honor Guard with a local Virginia police department.

Corporal Matthew Rihl has served the public for 15-years with a local county police department in Virginia. In addition, he is also a Field Training Officer and a member of the Honor Guard. Officer Matt is a vital member of the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, which its sole purpose is to honor surviving partners and family members of LGBT police, fire, EMS and the military who have been killed in the line of duty during a special ceremony during National Police Memorial Week every year in Washington, DC.

 

Fifty Leagues Above A Sea Of SUV’s

Lincoln’s Mid-Size SUV the Nautilus Black Label Edition for 2019

Click here for our Queer4Cars YouTube Video Lincoln Nautilus Review

Lincoln Motor Company provided us with a 2019 Black Label Nautilus in Burgundy Velvet Metallic for a trip to New York State and the opening of the new TWA Hotel at JFK airport. This mid-sized SUV featured Gala trim, with deep colors and rich textures, inspired by the high fashion of New York’s Metropolitan Gala. This Gala theme features elegant Carmine and Onyx leather deeply hued seats, complemented by the luster of Nouveau Armor aluminum accents.

This mid-sized SUV has a base price of $59,390 adding on $7245 in options came to a final sticker price of $67,630, including the $995 delivery charge.

The Lincoln Motor Company introduces the new Lincoln Nautilus, a midsize luxury SUV delivering a powerful turbocharged engine range and a suite of advanced technologies designed to give drivers greater confidence on the road.While the Nautilus is not a new design, it has been updated from the last iteration when it was called the MKX. It fits neatly in a very competitive market segment, and being a Lincoln, has a lot to offer buyers in standard features, both luxury and safety features.  Being a Lincoln Black Label Edition means that it is only available from select Lincoln dealers and carries a host of Black Label benefits.

Lincoln Nautilus red onyx leather seats

Our 2019 model came with the Onyx Venetian Leather interior, and we very much enjoyed the 22-way power driver seat a $1500 option,  standard heated and ventilated front seats, as it was May, we did not try the heated rear seats. With Inside Ambient lighting, a real treat at night, and Dual zone electronic climate control which made for a comfortable interior experience. The available concealed wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones eliminates the hassle of tangled cords is something that is becoming more common, and we like that, though our Samsung smartphone in an Otterbox case did get hot and stopped charging, out of the case it did much better.  Having the Panorama vista roof was almost as good as having a convertible.

Safety Lincoln’s Job One

The Nautilus has plenty of standard safety features as well as optional on the various trim levels of the Nautilus. While these are becoming more common today, they do enhance the overall driving experience, as not everyone on the road is paying attention to driving.

  • Blind spot detection
  • pedestrian detection
  • Auto Emergency Braking
  • Pre-collision Assist
  • Lincoln’s Copilot 360
  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Rearview Camera with a wash function
  • Auto High Beams
  • Pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection
  • Adaptative Cruise Control with Stop and Go Technology
  • Evasive Steering Assist

Nautilus’s Tech Package includes the 360-degree camera, and the active parking assist as well as front park aid sensors are $1720. Driver Assistance option for $1590, includes Lane Keeping system Active cruise control with traffic jam assist and adaptive steering.

 

Turbo Powered Engine

Powered by a 2.7 GTDI V6 engine (a $2070 option) and an 8-speed select shift automatic transmission that gave us the stated fuel economy of 21 overall 19 city and 26 highway.  Our experience was that it provided plenty of power delivered through the advanced technology of turbocharging, direct injection, and twin independent variable camshaft timing. All of which made our mix of urban and highway driving comfortable and worry-free.

 

Technology, More Important Than Ever


Today’s vehicles rely on a lot of technology, cameras, radar, and more to enhance the driver’s capability. Lincoln Co-Pilot360 is much like it sounds; you have a Co-Pilot with you watching your blind spots, alerting you to vehicles and pedestrians as well as things that the driver may miss.

2019 Lincoln Natiulus GrillPre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking is surprising that first time it engages when you are not aware it will. And thankfully it does, as it has a faster reaction time than you might have, helping to prevent an accident. Evasive steer assist is now available on the Nautilus, providing drivers with steering support to help avoid collisions that might happen as you come upon a slow-moving or stopped vehicle if it can’t be mitigated by braking alone.

We experimented with the optional lane-centering technology, which detects lane markings on the road to help keep the vehicle centered. Finding it as good as the road markings that it is monitoring, if the white line on the right follows over to a turn lane, the car can steer to the right when you want to stay in the travel lane.

Adaptive cruise control with stop and go allows drivers to set a desired speed and distance between themselves and the vehicle ahead and is a valuable item on today’s crowded highways.

 

 

Drivers Will Appreciate All The Nautilus Has To Offer.

The large center touch screen serves as a portal to standard SYNC® 3 with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, enabling management of audio, phone, and navigation. Steering wheel-mounted controls are also available for some functions helping keep eyes on the road.

2019 Lincoln Nautilus dashboard and center console

As the weather turns colder drivers will appreciate the heated side view mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer. When day turns into night having the full LED lighting and headlamps with adaptive LED, Lincoln signature lighting makes a difference.

Ford is making all of their new cars connected, and this Nautilus came with the standard embedded Lincoln Connect 4G modem with Wi-Fi hotspot capability. While we think of this as for our own personal use, it makes the vehicle prepared for the world of autonomous mobility allowing for the vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication. While self-driving cars are a way off, the technology that it brings to us today adds a layer of safety on today’s roadways.

Warranty

2019 Lincoln Natiulus Window StickerThis vehicle comes with a solid 4-year 50K mile warranty and six-year 70K power train Warranty. Being a Black Label model, only sold by those Lincoln dealers that are qualified to offer Black Label models, the convenience of having the vehicle pick up when it needs service and having four years of premium maintenance included is just one more reason to purchase or lease a Lincoln.

Overall

Black Label from LincolnYou may not have considered a Lincoln as you search for upscale vehicles; this is an excellent time to think about one of America’s premier luxury brands.  Lincoln has quietly stepped ahead of its competitors, and as consumers experience the brand, they will be pleasantly surprised about what they get for their dollar.  Stop by a Lincoln dealer and look at what the brand has to offer.

 

Words and Images by William West Hopper

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Mr. Hopper is a life-long automotive enthusiast who has lead enthusiast organizations like the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and the Segway Enthusiast Group of America. He currently serves as the President of the Washington Automotive Press Association in Washington DC.  He can be reached on Twitter and Instagram.

The Lincoln Motor Company provided us this vehicle free of charge for a week, we were not compensated to review this vehicle. Our review is our own personal opinion and has not been influenced by anyone but our own experiences. 

What’s New @ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Check out our Queer4Cars YouTube Video on the event

FCA holds an annual event at their Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan for journalists to give them a taste of what the brand has coming to dealer showrooms as well as a taste of future products with upcoming launch dates.

 

What’s New

Most of the FCA line is well established, and new often means tweaks to horsepower, Jeep Gladiator Rubiconwhich often translates into dollars, as horsepower sells well.  Ram Trucks have been refreshed over the last two model years, and their products are doing well, challenging their competitors in the market. Jeep continues to power sales and profits for FCA. And with the recent Gladiator launch, Jeep’s mid-sized pickup truck benefits from having Ram in the family.

FCA Vehicles line upFiat, Alfa, Chrysler have been lagging in new products, with Voyager, a lower cost 2020 Charger Scat Packnameplate variant of Pacifica, a being the most recent. Maserati was not on the field for this event, but the muscle power leader, Dodge, and SRT put out for display a meaty wide-bodied Charger with some muscle-bound Hellcat power and ScatPac V-8 Hemi.

The Dodge Boys from the NYIAS Demon Launch 2016

Leave it to the Dodge Boys to show that the love for American Motor Muscle is still alive at FCA with both Challenger and Charger, vehicles that you can raise a family in and be the fastest down the drag strip at the same time. Even if the sheet metal is basically the same for most of the recent decade, both of these machines continue to pump iron.Charger SRT HellCat

 

 

 

Off-Roading

20190627_093346We gladly reconnected to the Jeep Brand, one that has a long history with this writer. Taking to the off-road trails with Brandon Girmus in a stock Gladiator.  Having the pickup’s marketing manager show off his baby from the navigator’s seat was a lot of fun, as he knows which buttons and switches to apply, and when to use them. Plus, we got to talk about the completion of his recent history project an early Military Jeep, and his desire for a Forward Control. No doubt we will see him working on one of those soon.

 

Work and Play, It Is What You Haul

Ram Truck Towing Case EquipmentOne of the benefits of having muscle power and the might of the FCA brand is that Dodge Durango towing a Challenger ScatPacktowing thing becomes easy. Be it with a Ram Heavy Duty Truck pulling a massive piece of construction equipment, a Dodge Durango pulling a swift race-ready Challenger, or a Jeep Gladiator pulling a really nice boat. Was also a highlight.  One might think the experience is pretty much the same no matter the tow vehicle, Not so at all, each provided very different experience to the driver. And yes, pulling with a Cummins Diesel, Rocks.

 

Flashing Lights and Sirens, It’s the Cops

Dodge Durango PursuitTaking to the test track, we got the behind the wheel of two of Dodge’s police pursuit vehicles. The Charger and the Durango. And we see why so many departments put these into their fleets. Fast and furious and dedicated to the job, FCA Dodge Charger Pursuitmakes sure they offer what Officers of the Law need when it comes to their rolling office and detention facility. Police vehicles are very focused on the job at hand, without any fluff.

 

Road Course

Abarth Steering WheelAbarth, taking to the track in a six-speed 124 Spider with the top down made you want to spend more time, topless in Pure Michigan style.  Throaty and growly, agile and comfortable, this little 2-seater was more fun around the test track that should be allowed by law. Fiat 124 Spider with Jeep

 

While our opinion is that FCA has an aging fleet of vehicles, they still produce ones that have a lot of value and merit in the marketplace. FCA’s has some very dedicated employees who love what they do, and it shows when they talk about the products. Kudos to FCA that they instill that kind of pride in their employees, as it is not easy to earn, especially in today’s world.

Words and Images by William West Hopper

William West Hopper shown with a Jeep

Mr. Hopper currently serves as the President of the Washington Automotive Press Association and has been reporting and working in the automotive industry throughout his career, starting in heavy trucking, then managing a Telco Fleet, and now reporting on the latest news from the automotive industry.

FCA invited Mr. Hopper to attend 2019 What’s New event providing transportation, food, and lodging.  This is not compensation for reporting about the brand or the event. His opinions expressed here are his own.

 

What is Ford Up to in SUV’s

Craig PattersonHybrids, RWD and new architecture, all of this is a big part of Ford Motor Company’s SUV plan, and what we heard from Ford’s Craig Patterson, SUV Marketing Manager at a recent breakfast meeting held at Ford’s Washington DC office overlooking Pennsylvania Ave.

While we knew much of this information, we got some more tidbits about what else the Blue Oval has in store for the coming years.  And it is not just the Ranger T-6 platform-based Bronco; Ford has several things in the pipeline for the USA, as well as the rest of the world.

Ford has let us know that they will not be selling sedans here in the USA, focusing on SUVs and pickup trucks. And while that may be true for the US Market, Ford is truly an international operation supplying products globally.   And they will continue to actively build and sell sedans elsewhere in the world.

What’s Coming Now?

All New Ford ExplorerFord is enjoying record sales of their SUV’s over the last few years and is bringing out the All-New Explorer and Escape for the 2020 model year.  We have driven both of these volume leaders and can easily understand their appeal to consumers.

What the consumers are going to appreciate, though they may not realize the new technology built into all of Ford’s products. Hybrids with their smaller and lighter batteries are big news, as they are not going to affect the passenger or cargo space, and with a lighter weight, this is a significant impact any hybrid vehicle.

20190109_204941Explorer, the original Family Adventure Vehicle, is and has been built at the 95-year-old Chicago assembly plant the one that was completely retooled in 31 days this year to build the new Explorer. The construction process used barges on the Chicago River to deliver building materials and store what was going to be reused as the road network through the city to the plant could not support enough truck traffic to manage the construction

Questions about the reasoning behind the All-New Explorer going back to rear wheel drive were answered with some simple facts.  Second generation (2011 to 2019) model Explorer was built on a front wheel drive platform to help with fuel economy. In direct response to the high 2008/2009 fuel prices. This new 2020 my rear wheel drive platform allows for an easy bolt-on of the hybrid system, as well as to be able to use the 10-speed transmission with SelectShift® capability to attain better fuel economy numbers.

6 explorer hybridThe all-new 2020 Escape along with it’s hybrid and plugin hybrid (PHEV) versions, will come to dealers this Fall. Trim levels come with S- the base, SE SEL, and Titanium, if you want a Hybrid powertrain, it is only available in SE Sport and Titanium trim level.

Edge ST a performance-based crossover SUV is being released now. While Edge is not that new, being refreshed in 2019, the performance ST package is what is new to that model.

While EcoSport, the lowest priced and smallest in Ford’s SUV line up, appears to be just a placeholder for a low-cost entry-level SUV.  Not very highly regarded by the automotive press, and a vehicle we plan on driving very soon.

What we heard that impressed us

Every vehicle Ford builds now has a built-in modem to let it communicate. Like your smartphone, AI Speaker like Alexa and Google, Ford vehicles will soon be communicating with you, the infrastructure, and the other cars around it.  And this is one of the reasons that there is now a big push across the board for the next generation of cellular data communication.

What is right around the corner?

Bronco at Classic Car Club NYC

 

Bronco, yes, Bronco, it is coming sooner rather than later here in the USA, and what is being hinted at is that there will be a smaller, sportier, more car-like, having the sportiness of a Mustang and the usability of an SUV version following closely on the Bronco’s heels is in the offing. We at breakfast, named it the Buckaroo, following closely on the Bronco’s heels.

 

Rivian and Founder NYCWe will see if this is the battery electric SUV that has been hinted about, though when we bring it up with Ford team members, they seem to discount it — saying that when it comes to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), they are still in the early stages. When asked about the partnership with Rivian, that relationship has not been flushed out yet, while the investment has been made, not much has been done since that announcement.

Another topic they acknowledged, but with little information is about lower-priced vehicles; it seems the below $25K market is being missed by Ford.

No Compromise – Smart vehicles in a smart world – we expect that Ford will be leaders in whatever they do, though not outwardly well calculated. New Tech and new models will come to market when Dearborn decides to do it and not before.

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Words and images by William West Hopper.

Mr. Hopper is a long-time automotive enthusiast and current President of the Washington Automotive Press Association. He is based in Washington DC and thrives with the help of good friends and colleagues.

What Oil Does Your Engine Crave So It Does Not Cave

When talking about engine oil, consumers think little about it, figuring that pretty much a range of viscosity and weight will work interchangeably in their vehicle. And maybe the more expensive oil is better than the rest. Few know that there is a rating and standardization body that rates motor oil. Oil, like many things, has markings on its packaging, letting you know that it meets or exceeds these standards.

 

Havoline Shell and Mobil 1 motor oil with API Seals
Three different Oils displaying the API Standards Seal

Engineers have specifically sited oil that is created for specific engines and works with this body to continually ensure that engine oil is up to the standards of modern fossil fuel burning engines. Ask your quick oil change shop what oil standards they use when changing your fluid.

 

You may have seen the Donut, Starburst, and now Shield that is the mark of the API certification. But where do you find out what your engine requires?   Two resources: The vehicle’s owner’s manual – Under Engine Oil. It gives the correct information about the engine oil that is designed to work properly in that specific vehicle.  While it may not be citing a specific brand, or it might be, it will give you the API Standards and Specs for the oil to be used.

Kevin Ferrick speaks to Washington Area Automotive Press Association Members about Engine Oil.
Kevin Ferrick speaks to Washington Area Automotive Press Association Members about Engine Oil.

And the API website   –  The American Petroleum Institute, an independent group of petroleum producing members, has its own American National Standards Institute accreditation process, ensuring that the API standards are recognized not only for their technical specifications but also their third-party accreditation which facilitates acceptance by state, federal, and increasingly international regulators. API is used as the guide for durability and level of quality for motor oil since 1919.

API has set new standards, that are backward compatible with previous oils.  This new, more stringent performance specification is due to the new engines coming online that are smaller and more fuel efficient.  GF-6A and GF-6B, are the latest in a line put forward by the International Lubricant Standardization Advisory Committee (ILSAC), and a third standard, AP SP, is API’s latest engine oil performance standard. API SP includes all of the ILSAC requirements while at the same time provides performance requirements for oils that do not fall under ILSAC-member recommendations.  The new standards specify more stringent engine oil performance requirements for spark-ignited internal combustion engines. All three of these standards can be licensed under API’s Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System beginning May 1, 2020.

Mobil 1 Motor Oil API Starburst rear label
Mobil 1 Motor Oil API Starburst rear label

The development of GF-6A, GF-6B, and API SP was done over the course of seven years. In that time, seven new tests were developed, evaluated, and measured for precision, and engine oil producing companies ran tests to demonstrate that their oils can meet the more stringent requirements. Now, oil marketing companies are working to bring the oils that meet these standards to market to ensure current and future engines perform as designed.

Licensed oils that meet the ILSAC GF-6A standard will be allowed to display the API Certification Mark “Starburst” and may be used where oils meeting GF-5 or earlier gasoline engine oil standards had been recommended. Oils that meet ILSAC GF-6B will be allowed to display a new mark, the API Certification Mark “Shield,” and may be used where SAE 0W-16 oils meeting API SN had been recommended.  API is introducing this new “Shield” at the request of automakers to prevent confusion and ensure that 0W-16 oils are used only in applications where they are recommended.

 

While API does not make or specify the recipe for modern oil, it does testing to make sure that it meets established standards that are used by various organizations that grade oil for use in modern engines, be they gasoline or diesel powered.   Society of American Engineers SAE and National Institute for Standards and Technology NIST use the API guidelines as part of the work they do in the field

API Program Marks
API Program Marks

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as pipeline, exploration and production, refining, marketing, marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

ich bitte um Aufmerksamkeit – The 2020 Toyota GR Supra

May I Have Your Attention Please

The 2020 Toyota GR Supra

It’s a Z4 No, It’s a Toyota, No, it’s a BMW,

No, it Really is a Toyota

Check out our YouTube Video on the new 2020 Toyota Supra

 

2020 Toyota GR Supra LineupWhen the word came out that the iconic sports car from Toyota was going to be made along with BMW as a partner, you would have thought the most horrible thing could have ever happened in the world of autos.

 

BMW Toyota LogosThe Elephant in the Garage is that YES. Indeed, The Japanese and the Germans teamed up to bring America a couple of sports cars. For me, after driving the new 2020 GR Supra, is really a great sports car, with great design, super handling and all at a reasonable price.  I have since driven the BMW Z4, and it too is a nice. As a droptop, BMW is very different from Toyota’s hardtop iteration.  It is not Toyota has never teamed up with other car companies in the past.  Corolla and Prism, joint venture, yep that one built in Freemont California, where electric cars are now, made. BRZ and FRS/86 with Subaru, as well as one coming up with Mazda. Supra, a small batch production, so making it with BMW, using the Magna Steyr plant in Austria, makes sense from a business point of view.   Personally, I think we are going to be better for collaboration between the two companies.

 

Toyota GR Supra and Toyota 86 parked outside Salamander Resort in Middleburg VALuckily,  I found myself on the international media launch in May after Toyota selected group of Washington DC area auto journalists for an up close, and a personal sneak peek of the 2020 Supra in March.  Though the GR Supra was on display at various auto shows, no one had the chance to get behind the wheel of it until the May media event.  My verdict is, no matter where it is made, or who collaborated with whom, drivers around the world will love this new 2020 Supra sports car from Toyota.

 

Do you want another four-door sedan? 

Toyota Supra RearToyota has a history of making cars for everyday people, the brand has not been thought of as a producer of exciting cars, let alone sports cars, though it does have a history of producing outstanding ones. The European inspired Toyota 2000 car in the 1960s, the 2-door Celica in the ’70s, a throwback to the first Ford Mustang. The upper tier Supra of the 1980s and last produced in 1993 that sold for a $50K price tag when new.

While Trucks, SUV’s, crossovers, minivans, and sedans are the mainstay of the Toyota brand. The word exciting is not often used in the same sentence as Toyota. Akio Toyoda has publicly stated “No more boring cars” at the launch of the recent generation Camry, the company is moving forward with that mantra, across their entire platform of products, which for drivers, is going to be worth something.

 

What’s the new Supra Got?

Toyota Supra in SuburbiaA winning combination of a well-engineered and expertly designed vehicle that drives and handles like a sports car.  One that will be as good as a weekend racer as it will be as a daily driver. And one that will not rattle your bones on those long-distance drives.  While getting in and out of it may take some yoga lessons, but this 60-plus found it easy, once inside the car feels right. Seats are extremely comfortable with 14-way adjustability.  GR Supra has all the technology and safety that you find in many Toyota products as well as more expensive cars on the road. And with the power and performance that will provide all the fun that only a GT car can.  This car took me back to a time when I did not need four seats or four doors.

 

Three Trim Levels

Dash of Toyota SupraThe 2020 Supra comes in three trim levels, the Base 3.0, the better equipped 3.0 Premium, and what Toyota kept calling the Track Edition, a limited run of 1500 units, the 3.0 Launch Edition.  There are only a few options available like $1,495 matte finish paint on the nitrous yellow and phantom, a silver. Driver Assist Package is a $1195 option including full-speed adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and parking sonar, $2460 upgraded JBL entertainment and navigation on the 3.0 grade: 8.8-inch wide-format touchscreen display with Navigation, Supra Connect telematics services, wireless Apple CarPlay, premium 12-speaker, 500 Watt JBL audio system.

Why those options? Toyota sees this as a weekend racer for many of its buyers, and items like upgraded nav | stereo, and driver assistance package may not be that useful on the track or autocross.

My take is most buyers will want to put all the tech and safety into the 3.0 premium package, especially since it adds a lot of value for the money.

Supra Pricing and trim levels

2020 Supra Pricing

Pricing is based on equipment, with the base 3.0 – 49,990 – 3.0 Premium – $53,990 – Launch Edition (track edition) $55,250 (only 1500 available) – Does not include a $920, DPH Fee (delivery, process, and handling) nor any dealer charges. Toyota sees the base model as a weekend track car, so it comes without much of what equipment that the Premium and Launch Editions have, as they are seen more as on road daily drivers.

With the initial fifteen hundred of the launch edition already spoken for, there will no doubt be a dealer upcharge to buy one initially. Dealer premiums on cars are something that I personally despise, and customers who want one of these cars will pay to just be able to have the vehicle.

 

Colors

2020 Toyota Supra ColorsEven the colors show that Toyota is backing the No More Boring Cars statement. Absolute Zero, Tungsten, Turbulence Gray, Nocturnal, Renaissance Red 2.0, Downshift Blue, For an additional charge  Nitro Yellow, and Phantom are available. Phantom is a flat finish option that really looks good on the Supra. Interiors have the choice of Interior Black Alcantara & Leather on 3.0 or all Black Leather on Premium and Launch edition (except on the Renaissance Red.

 

Powertrain and Running Gear

2020 Toyota Supra with hatch openAll trim levels of the 2020 GR Supra are powered by a twin-scroll turbocharged 3-liter (2998 cc) 24 valve Double Overhead Cam direct injection gasoline (93 octanes) engine with 8-speed automatic transmission. This performance engine has a chain drive, variable valve timing and lift, producing 335 horsepower and 365 lb of torque and is certified as a ULEV. Fuel mileage is what you would expect for a performance car in the size and a curb weight of  3397: 24 city, 31 highway 26 combined miles per gallon. 13.7-gallon fuel capacity.

2020 GR Supra Premium in RedSupra’s suspension is double joint type MacPherson strut in front and rear multi-link with five-arm construction with front and rear stabilizer bars.  Electric Power Steering and parking brake, which is the norm these days with all the driver assist functions. And Brembo Brakes front and rear are very apparent, with a 4-piston fixed front, single piston floating calipers rear.

 

Standard features

Toyota Supra App
Use the app to manage the 2020 Toyota GR Supra

Inside the Supra you will find the 8.8-inch color, LCD gauge cluster has a more analog look than a digital one, which is impressive. The 14- way power driver and passenger Sport bucket seats with driver side memory are incredibly comfortable for a sports car and come in Alcantara/Leather or All leather depending on the trim level. Dual automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, and paddle shifters. A very well-done carbon fiber interior trim finishes the interior.

2020 Toyota GR SupraOutside you will find the Supra running on the 9-inch-wide front, 10-inch-wide rear forged aluminum wheels (different finish on different trim levels, though the wheels, are essentially the same design.) running 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires 255/35R19 96W Front 275/35R19 100Y Rear.  No Spare you receive a puncture repair kit.  Active exhaust which means it has a lot of audible personality with burbles and pops exits through dual brushed stainless steel tips.  The exhaust burble will not get old on this car as it does on others. The GR Supra features LED lamps all the way around.

The multi-function smart key a bit light in heft and felt that for a specialty car like this, it could use a little more flash and substance.

All of this is within the Supra’s 172.5 inches in length / 73-inch width and the 50.9 inch height and 4.5 inch ground clearance means it is close to the ground, and with the 50/50 weight balance between the 62.8 inch front and 62.6 inch rear tread width it seats 2 with an interior volume of 50.9 cubic feet. And you don’t need rear seats; it’s a sports car.

Warranty

2020 Toyota GR Supra in flat finishToyota’s GR Supra comes with a standard 3-year/36K-mile comprehensive and a 5-year/6K-mile power train warranty. A 5-year unlimited mileage corrosion perforation warranty is also provided. ToyotaCare – Toyota’s complimentary maintenance plan that comes with every new Toyota provides for two-years or 25K miles, whichever comes first. Every new Toyota will be covered for all standard factory scheduled service as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.

BWM or Toyota

20190516_103635Since driving the GR Supra, an opportunity came up to drive the BMW twin the Z4 sDrive30i, which comes with a 2.0-liter twin turbo inline 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine. A soft top convertible priced at $63,845.

 

BMW Z4 Dash
BMW Z4 Dash is clearly different than the GR Supra

While the dash has a similar look, the exterior does not have the muscular lines the Supra has. More feminine in feel than the Supra, having the smaller engine, while capable did not have the spunk of the Supra’s nor did it sound as audacious as the Supra.  While they maybe fraternal twins, the two vehicles are indeed very different, as a hardtop and Cabrio can indeed be.

Thanks, Toyota

IMG_2733We thank Toyota for providing me an opportunity to get to know the new Supra over a day at Summit Point Motorsports Park in Summit Point WV, as well as hosting meals and lodging. Toyota did not provide any compensation for this review.

 

20190222_115044

 

Words and Images by William West Hopper

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