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 1The 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 viewwww.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.

Trending News

 
 

The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

Trending News

 
 

Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

Trending News