Design

Watch: Go behind the wheel of a century's worth of Fords

The look of the Ford Mustang has evolved inside and out over the last half-century.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

You've come a long way baby. A new video from Ford shows off the view drivers have had in their vehicles, from the Model T to the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. Levers, knobs, and buttons all make their way in and out of the frame, but there's been one constant over the last century - the steering wheel.

As the video shows, the view from the driver's seat has gone from simple to sophisticated to simple and sophisticated. Technology in, on, and around the steering wheel has gone from simple to ever more complex over the years.

The first windscreens were made of the same material as household windows. Now they're a complex multi-layered glass meant not just to protect and shield from the elements but also provide structural support and prevent road and engine noise from permeating the cabin.

2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 The 2003 Ford Mustang Mach 1 had all the gauges a buyer would have expected. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In 1927, the Ford Model A cost $540. To add a car radio, buyers had to fork over $130 extra. It wasn't until the Model Y showed up in the 1930s that the rearview mirror became commonplace. In the years following World War II, Ford's dashboard design was influenced by airplane cockpits.

As the Swinging 60s rolled around, Ford's cockpits become more extravagant. Softer materials made their presence known and dashboards began showing more character. The muscle cars of the 70s had their beefy designs translated from the exterior to the interior.

The rise in the popularity in video games led to controls being added to the steering wheel of Ford cars. Then came airbags.

As computers gained relevance in the workplace, they began to be inserted into vehicles. As personal computers gained prominence, buyers demanded that the evolution come to cars as well. Not only were high-tech features developed, but personalization and customization of computer-based features became a thing.

Materials continued to evolve making interiors more durable and customers began demanding more premium features.

For the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, Ford has taken a reductive approach to the cockpit. The Ford design team is committed to continuing reductive design as the company works toward releasing more electric vehicles to the public.

Take a watch:

The evolution of the driver’s view www.youtube.com

Mercedes recently showed off the evolution of its steering wheel design over the last century. While Ford has been reductive with its approach, the German automaker is adding screens that span the width of the vehicle. Jeep has taken a similar approach with the new Grand Wagoneer.

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Ford just announced specs for the new hardcore off-roader.

Ford

After years of speculation over the Bronco's return, Ford finally pushed the revived SUV to market last year. The rumor mill immediately kicked back into action with speculation of a higher-powered Raptor version of the Bronco to match Ford's F-150 Raptor here in the U.S. We've seen teases and a short film on the SUV, but today, The Blue Oval announced specs for what will surely be a highly desirable new vehicle in 2022 and beyond.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor The Bronco Raptor gets upgraded cooling and engine tuning to handle high-temperature operation.Ford

The Bronco Raptor gets an exclusive twin-turbo 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 400 horsepower, which is a big improvement over the standard SUV's V6 that makes an already healthy 330 horsepower. Four-wheel drive and a ten-speed automatic gearbox are standard. Ford says the Raptor also comes with a new towing mode that allows a max tow rating of 4,500 pounds - a 1,000-pound improvement over the base Bronco. Trail Control, trail Turn Assist, and Trail One-Pedal driving are also present here.

The Raptor gets seven of the standard Bronco's G.O.A.T. (Goes Over Any Type of Terrain) driving modes, including a new Baja Mode that works with the engine's turbo system to reduce lag and improve performance during high-speed runs in desert temperatures. An active exhaust allows four selectable sound modes, including normal, sport, quiet, and Baja, and the Raptor's intercooler helps keep operating temperatures at reasonable levels when running in hot weather.

Using the Bronco's modular design, Ford gave the Raptor unique front and rear quarter panels, fender flares, and door appliqués. The new body components add 9.8 inches to the Raptor's width, and removable running boards help improve rock crawling abilities. Model-exclusive amber LED running lights accent the Raptor's front end, and Raptor logos set the hardcore model apart from its "lesser" counterpart.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor Amber LEDs and special badging designate the much-upgraded Raptor model.Ford

Inside, the Bronco Raptor gets a 12-inch digital gauge cluster with configurable view for vehicle performance and other information. Black marine-grade vinyl seats and rubberized flooring are standard. Orange accents on the dash vents, door netting, and steering wheel help break up the all-black interior, and Ford offers a synthetic suede upholstery upgrade for buyers wanting a little more comfort with their capable off-roader. A 12-inch infotainment touchscreen and 360-degree camera system are also standard.

Bronco Raptor hopefuls can start placing orders in March, but be aware that there will be a wait involved for everyone. Ford says that the majority of 2022 Bronco Raptors will go to existing reservation holders based on their reservation timestamp. It's worth noting that many 2021 Bronco buyers are still waiting for the SUVs, which are being converted into 2022 orders, so the wait time for the Raptor could be severe for anyone without a standing reservation.

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Off-road performance truck

Shelby American announces new Ford F-150 Raptor

Shelby just announced the new truck, which has a starting price of more than $124,000.

Shelby American

The third-generation Ford F-150 Raptor is a true off-road menace, with a strong turbocharged V6, beefy tires and shocks, and a luxury-level interior. Most people would consider the truck overkill for all but the hardest-core off-road enthusiasts, but the wizards at Shelby American have other ideas. As it has done with Ford vehicles for years, Shelby gave the new Raptor a performance makeover, and the finished product is quite impressive.

Shelby F-150 Raptor There's no mistaking a Shelby-tuned Raptor. Shelby American

The F-150 Raptor is already a capable beast, but Shelby turns things up a few notches. Performance upgrades include a performance intake and high-flow filter, an aluminum intercooler, a tune that pushes power to more than 525 ponies and 610 pound-feet of torque, a Shelby exhaust, and a BDS lift kit. The Shelby Raptor rides on 18-inch wheels with 37-inch BFG KM3 Mud Terrain tires.

If you’re thinking Shelby slaps a few go-fast parts on the Raptor and calls it good, think again. The truck’s interior features embroidered custom leather upholstery and exclusive floor mats. A unique serial number plate is mounted in the dash. Shelby also fits billet racing pedals, carbon fiber accents, and deep tinted windows.

Outside, the Raptor gest several touches to let everyone know it’s not a standard Ford. A special Shelby hood with intake and extraction vents is standard, along with power side steps with rock sliders. A bevy of Shelby logos and badging grace the truck’s body, and both bumpers have been replaced with steel units to accommodate light bars and additional tow points.

Shelby F-150 Raptor Shelby fits performance parts and gives the truck a tune.Shelby American

If you’re hoping to be one of the insane few to own a Shelby Raptor, get your wallet ready. The truck’s base price starts at $124,820, which includes the MSRP of the truck itself. That said, it’s unclear how extreme demand and supply chain issues will impact Shelby’s ability to get new trucks to modify.

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