Ford Motor Co. cannot afford another Pinto. Neither can the auto industry. Remember the Pinto? It was one of the industry's hottest-selling subcompacts during the 1970s. Its success enhanced the reputation of Lee Iacocca - until an estimated 500 deaths and hundreds of injuries were linked to a faulty design that made the gasoline tank vulnerable to explosion after rear-end collisions. On June 9, 1978, Ford agreed to recall 1.5 million Ford Pinto and 30,000 Mercury Bobcat sedan and hatchback models. Iacocca was fired the following month. It was too late to save Ford's reputation. Ford customers filed 117 lawsuits, according to Peter Wyden in The Unknown Iacocca. A 1979 landmark case, Indiana vs. Ford Motor Co., made the automaker the first U.S. corporation indicted and prosecuted on criminal homicide charges. The Pinto case did more than enrich an army of lawyers. It also sparked the growth of an ingeniously organized litigation industry that moves quickly when big companies such as … [Read more...] about Ford 100: Defective Pinto almost took Ford’s reputation with it
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Carbon E7 On March 22, 2010, the Carbon Motors Corporation placed an order with German automaker BMW for almost a quarter of a million 6-cylinder diesel engines. Obviously, Carbon Motors’ management was feeling optimistic about the firm’s business prospects. What Was The Carbon E7? And why wouldn’t they be? Carbon’s first product, a dedicated law-enforcement sedan, was scheduled to arrive at what seemed to be the perfect time to make inroads into the police-vehicle market. The Carbon Motors Corporation was established in 2003. The 2012 E7 would have been the company’s first product. With gas prices having reached all-time highs in 2008, law-enforcement agencies had become more cost conscious in regards to patrol-vehicle purchases. While the ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria wasn’t egregiously inefficient, it wasn’t exactly easy on the gas. The potent Dodge Charger, also popular with police fleets, made an excellent pursuit vehicle, … [Read more...] about What Was the Carbon E7?
Almost everyone I know who works on hobby cars has at least a few pet peeves. Some people are anal retentive about their tools, for example. Here’s mine: I don’t work on dirty cars. I hate filth, grime and rodent residue. So, job one on Project: TR7 entailed giving the car a very thorough cleaning, inside and out.That’s not because I am some sort of neat freak, but a clean car is easier to work on. And while you are doing the cleaning, you get a good idea of how much a car has been messed with over the decades. Project: TR7, it turns out, either had very good maintenance from someone really cared about keeping the car original or else it made it to 39,612 miles and conked out. I found no traces of sloppy work or wrong parts as I used a shop vac to suck the mouse turds and half-chewed acorns from the car’s various cracks, crevices and orifices. The interior wasn’t the only place mice nestled. The air cleaner, despite being sealed, somehow became a mouse … [Read more...] about Project TR7 part 2: A thorough cleaning
The Tupelo Automobile Museum closed its doors in March after 17 years, but the museum's contents are headed to auction later this month. Bonhams will offer 174 very different cars from this Mississippi museum and a substantial collection of petroliana spanning the entire 20th century.In case you're not familiar with it, the museum itself was started in 2002 by Tupelo native Frank Spain. Following his death in 2006, the museum had been run by his wife Jane Spain. In recent years it had became unsustainable to keep the museum open due to operating expenses, pushing Spain to make the decision to sell off the contents to fund a charitable education foundation that her husband had planned years ago. This means that all of the proceeds from the sale, expected to generate at least $10 million, will go toward the foundation and all cars will be offered at no reserve.So what can classic car buyers look forward to? As we've mentioned the cars in the museum's collection are very different, so … [Read more...] about 10 cars to watch from the Tupelo Automobile Museum auction
See more pictures of the Ford Explorer. ©Ford via Wieck Introduced in The Ford Explorer was introduced for 1991 and promptly became America's top-selling sport-utility vehicle, despite many new-model "teething troubles." There were several reasons for the vehicle's popularity. For starters, the Explorer was a brand-new design, whereas its main rivals, the Chevrolet S10 Blazer and GMC S15 Jimmy, were at that time nearly a decade old. And although all three brands offered first-time four-door versions that year, the Explorer was the most refined and carlike. This was in line with Ford's plan of targeting different audiences with two body styles. The new four-door Explorer aimed to be family friendly and on-road comfortable -- a modern take on the traditional car-based station wagon. The shorter two-door Explorer, which replaced the Bronco II in Ford's truck lineup, courted a younger crowd more interested in sport than utility. A third factor was its just-right size. Many SUVs … [Read more...] about How the Ford Explorer Works