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Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Shelby American unveiled its all-new Shelby Raptor at the New York Auto Show last month, saying that it would build just 100 examples of its off-road bad boy, a pickup priced at $17,995 over the cost of the donor Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. But the Las Vegas outfit apparently underestimated just how popular the supercharged 575-horsepower 4x4 would actually be.
Strong early demand reportedly has Shelby singing a whole new tune, as the company is now saying it will build upwards of 500 units annually. While the increased production will likely make for at least 400 more happy owners, those who were on the original short list - possibly speculating on future values - might not be grinning as much. Needless to say, the company has assured everyone that each and every one of the modified Raptors will still be listed in the official Shelby registry.
Keep in mind that Ford isn't sitting idle on its trophy-truck-for-the-street, either. The company will reveal its own 2014 F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition this month.
The Ford Escort concept just unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show was created with the Chinese market in mind, but it's got people talking all over the world. Not purely fancy, the point of the Escort concept was to give Chinese buyers a preview of what they could expect to see in a Ford showroom in the near future. If Ford wasn't seriously considering the new Escort for other countries, a report in Auto Express indicates that the concept's reception has changed all that.
No less than the incoming chairman of Ford UK said "it could work in other places," bolstering the comments of "a senior Ford insider" who said the question of bringing the car to Europe to slot in underneath the Focus had been raised. That's a long way from anything of the kind happening, which would require Ford to figure out how to sell it for the right price and not torpedo the company reputation among Euro buyers. In any case, we'd be as intrigued as anyone if an Escort resurrection created the next 'who knew?' market segment of few-frills transportation offered by non-Asian carmakers.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the world great automotive gatherings. So, it was the perfect event for Ford to give the refreshed 2015 Focus ST its world debut in front of a loving public. It even surprised us with a new diesel-powered version, as well.
The Blue Oval really put its focus on making the ST a better driver for this refresh. It left its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder alone to still pump out a respectable 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The changes like a retuned front suspension, electric power steering and improved interior made the hot hatch an even better place to spend time behind the wheel.
To prove that the Focus ST is still as potent as ever, Ford set up a one-on-one race up the Goodwood Hill. But instead of putting the two cars side-by-side, former Stig from Top Gear UK, Ben Collins, piloted the real model up the course, and his rival drove the virtual version in Gran Turismo 6. The two hot hatches set off at the same time to see whether reality could beat the virtual world, and the finish was actually extremely close. Scroll down to watch the video and find out the winner of this battle at Goodwood.