Drive Type: manual
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Black
Leesburg, Ohio, United States
Fans of off-roading and desert blasting might recall that Chrysler offers an aftermarket conversion that can turn a Ram 1500 into a road-legal desert racer, called the Ram Runner. The kit, sold through Mopar, includes some significant suspension upgrades, body tweaks and a brawnier cat-back exhaust for the truck's 5.7-liter V8.
Considering all of this, comparisons with the almighty Ford F-150 SVT Raptor are common. Among the off-road community, that makes these two a sort of Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang for people that prefer driving on dirt. In the Race-Dezert forum, the discussion as to which truck was better was proceeding as normal - Ram fans said their piece and Ford fans said theirs. Then, a man named Kent Kroeker offered up his two cents.
See, Kroeker is a Baja racer, and the man that helped develop the Ram Runner. Despite his association with the truck, though, he had some less than kind words for Chrysler and the Ram Runner.
Saleen may be making headlines these days for working on the Tesla Model S, but its history and bread-and-butter is all about the Ford Mustang. The rear-wheel-drive Dearborn pony cars singlehandedly put the company on the map in the '80s. Founder Steve Saleen was already a talented American racing driver when he started the venture, and like many auto industry businesses before him, Saleen went to the track to prove his vehicles' worth. Now, there's a chance to buy one of those early racers on eBay Motors.
Saleen Mustangs raced in the Sports Car Club of America Escort Endurance Championship - a series of multi-hour races meant to challenge man and machine. Ostensibly a showroom stock class, the cars had larger wheels, tuned suspensions and other upgrades that stretched the concept slightly. Saleen found major success though, taking the championship for its class in 1987 and winning the 24 Hours of Mosport consecutively from 1986 through 1988.
According to the seller, Saleen only built eight of these cars, and this one carries the #21R serial number. They all started life as new Mustangs from Ford dealers but were immediately stripped and prepped to go racing. Beyond obvious mods like a roll cage, they featured eight-inch wide wheels in front, an inch of additional track width, stiffer suspension bushings and much more.
History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the auto industry. When Jaguar was owned by Ford, the British brand attempted to field a competitor for the BMW 3 Series, called the X-Type. Based on the bones of a Ford Mondeo, it aped the styling of Jaguar's flagship model, the XJ, while borrowing liberally from the Ford parts bin. That was 2001.
Now, in 2013, Jaguar is planning a new 3 Series challenger based on the platform previewed by the C-X17 Concept, while Ford is attempting to take the latest Mondeo upmarket. The moves have both brands recognizing where, why, and how the X-Type failed. "It didn't look mature or powerful or anything. It was just a car," Jaguar's current head of advanced design, Julian Thomson, told PistonHeads. Basing the X-Type on a front-drive car while giving it styling that was meant for a rear-driver lead to proportions that "were plainly wrong," Thomson told PH. Ford's European head of quality, Gunnar Herrmann, added that the X-Type was "a fake Jaguar, because every piece I touch is Ford."
For what it's worth, the X-Type's successor in the segment will sport rear-drive, with plenty of input from Ian Callum. Thomson described the new model, which would challenge the 3 Series as having, "Big wheels right to the ends of the car, low bonnet, short overhangs, very low cabins." Sounds good to us.