Exterior Color: Orange
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: RWD
Options: Leather Seats, CD Player
Lowell, Indiana, United States
Nearly every automaker doing business in the SUV or pickup truck segments offers a package designed to improve the off-road capabilities of its wares. But, of course, not all such factory kits are created equal. How, then, to separate the wheat from the chaff? Gather each of them up and put them through their paces, naturally.
The folks from Four Wheeler and PickupTrucks.com joined forces to run just such a comparison test, with the winner named the Ultimate Factory 4x4. A total of seven vehicles showed up to the fight: the 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X and Xterra PRO-4X, 2012 Ram Power Wagon, and 2012 Toyota 4Runner Trail and Tacoma TRD T|X Baja Series.
With the contestants in place, the whole crew put each vehicle through a battery of tests that included skidpad and acceleration measurements, a hillclimb, a rocky stairstep course and a rock garden. Considering the nature of the beasts, on-road ride and comfort were not part of the routine.
While monthly sales figures might be an easy way of tracking the progression of the auto industry and individual automakers, looking at market share might be more indicative of how each company is actually standing up against its competitors. For the Detroit Three automakers, they have collectively lost almost 30 percent of the market over the last 20 years, but now, for the first time since 1993, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have each posted market share gains at the same time.
According to Automotive News, Ford's share increased the most by 0.7 percent, GM was up 0.5 percent and Chrysler rose marginally by 0.2 percent, giving the Detroit automakers a total market share of 45.6 percent. As for the Japan's Big Three, the article reports that Toyota is up by 0.7 percent, Nissan is down the same amount and Honda has seen "little change."
We covered one of Ring Brothers' more extreme SEMA builds yesterday, the De Tomaso Pantera-based ADRNLN, but if that well-executed but over-the-top Italian-American exotic is too much for you, then perhaps this Ring Brothers 1965 Ford Mustang fastback with a carbon-fiber body suits your tastes better.
What the performance-parts manufacturer is showcasing with the Mustang is the carbon-fiber body itself, which is fashioned around the 1965-66 fastback. It can be bought from the company and bonded to the skin and unibody as a do-it-yourself project, or you can take your Mustang to Ring Brothers and have the body installed there. The fenders, doors and quarter panels are two-inches wider than stock, and Ring Brothers offers a custom widebody chassis to those who want the complete package.
The show car looks sharp in person lowered on HRE wheels, and we appreciate the bare front end so we can see the supercharged V8 and front coilover suspension, though the details on those performance upgrades are slim. Also note the custom independent rear suspension setup at the rear.