Model: Other Pickups
Trucks have towing capacity, EVs have driving range and performance cars have Nürburgring lap times. What do all three have in common? They should all be taken with a grain of salt. Currently, there is no sanctioned way to record lap times or verify production-spec cars - a lesson we recently learned with the 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo - and until there is a way to do so (and there probably never will be), we'll never officially know the actual time it took for Ford to lap the 'Ring with its ultra-powerful Shelby GT500.
After posting a Ford-made video of a 2013 GT500 running around the 'Ring, the guys over at SVTPerformance.com (an enthusiasts forum not affiliated with Ford or SVT) wanted more answers. They got in touch with Ford's Global Performance Vehicle Chief Engineer Jamal Hameedi, who said until there is a way to verify the times and inspect the cars, Ford will not get involved with lap-time wars. In the email, Hameedi pointed out that the 'Ring is a useful tool in that it allows a wide spectrum of track conditions, but until there is a governed way to record times, there is no way to accurately compare cars head-to-head.
And as much as some may not like it, Hameedi speaks the truth. It really isn't possible to compare times from one car to another, unless those cars were lapping the same track at the same time with the same driver. Not that any of this means there won't be continuous wars by fans and manufacturers alike... in other words, feel free to voice your opinions in the Comments below.
Ford's board is open to CEO Alan Mulally stepping down before his planned departure in 2014, inside sources are telling Reuters. Ford's plan of succession, aside from who would be his actual successor, has been something approaching common knowledge - the 68-year-old former Boeing exec had plans to stay through 2014. This was recently confirmed by Mulally himself on Bloomberg Television and in Automotive News.
Motivation for the about-face comes from what Reuters calls a "growing confidence" in the current crop of Ford execs, led by Mark Fields. Fields, Ford's current chief operating officer, has been tipped as Mulally's ultimate successor, although he's far from the only person with eyes on Ford's top job. Normally, Ford's board saying they're open to an executive, that's done very well for the company, stepping down early would be nearly unremarkable. It's the timing of this announcement, though, that makes this a big piece of news.
Recently, Mulally has been the subject of rumors that he's interested in taking the CEO position at tech giant Microsoft. The Redmond, Washington-based company's CEO, Steve Ballmer, told the media in August that he'd be retiring in a year's time. The fires were stoked when tech website AllThingsD speculated that Mulally would take the top spot, despite denials from the man himself. Could Ford's current boss become the new top dog at Microsoft? Will Mark Fields replace him? Could recently departed Renault exec Carlos Tavares land at Ford in some capacity? Let us know what you think below in Comments.
The changes happening at the Petersen Museum have been making the rounds in major press, but it probably won't be until August 18, during Pebble Beach, when we get the full story on what's happening; that's where and when museum reps plan on announcing the way forward for the SoCal institution. In the meantime, the museum is still reorganizing its collection, and that means auctioning some of its showpieces at this weekend's Auctions America event in Burbank.
Three of the stars are a 1964 Shelby Cobra 289, one of less than 20 produced with a three-speed C-4 automatic transmission, a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL owned by actor Robert Stack and the last 1948 Ford Sportsman 'Woodie' ever produced. The Cobra, now restored to its original white exterior and red leather interior, was a factory demonstrator that first sold for $5,250. Showing just 38,950 miles on the odometer, its pre-sale estimate is $800,000 to $1 million.
The 300SL is actually a 1957 model but wasn't titled until Robert Stack took possession in 1960. The lead actor in the The Untouchables TV series used to drive by the Sunset Boulevard Mercedes dealership to ogle the car, but couldn't justify spending the money to buy it. When he and the producer of The Untouchables won Emmys for the show, the producer, who happened to be Desi Arnaz, bought the car for Stack. He owned it his whole life, it has been left as Stack drove it and still bears the California license plate "UNTCHBL."