Mecum

2013 Ford E350 Sportsmobile goes for $176,000 at Mecum's Houston auction

The Houston version of this year's Mecum Auction is where the Ford crossed the block.

Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions
Overlanding is all the rage... but did you know it was this popular? Mecum held its annual classic and collection car auction in Houston last weekend resulting in $14.7 million in total overall sales including a number of popular off-roaders commanding top dollar.

Over the past eight weeks, Mecum has held six large-scale live actions around the country resulting in more Ethan 2,700 vehicles sold for a total of $75.5 million in overall sales and a sell-through rate of 83 percent. The Houston event contributed to 442 of the 2,700 vehicle sales.

The vehicles that commanded the top dollars in Houston included an antique truck, a vintage Land Rover Defender, and a number of exotics. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the 2013 Ford E350 Sportsmobile (Lot S180), which went for $176,000.

Ford updated the Econoline for the 1992 model year. In its fourth generation, the Blue Oval offered the model in passenger and cargo van variants in addition to cutaway chassis configurations. Like Ford's pickup trucks, the vans were available in 150, 250, 350, 450, and 550 models. Three engines were originally available, a straight-six, V6, and V10. The For Transit replaced the Econoline in the company's lineup after 2015.

The just-sold E350 Sportsmobile has a 6.8-liter V10 engine under the hood that is paired with an automatic transmission. It has Dynatrac Pro Rock 60 front axles, Ranch XL 9000 shocks, Betts springs, an Atlas II gear-driven transfer case with 10 forward gears and two reverse gears, F550 rotors, and Warn premium hubs. The rig rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch tires.

Its body is blue and its interior is tan. The cabin also features a pop-up roof, sink, microwave, refrigerator, pantry, multiple screens, and a custom stereo system that can be connected to via HDMI and Bluetooth. There's also an outdoor shower and air compressor.

The van gets its power from a 46-gallon fuel tank and solar power connections. It also has a generator box.

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Biden will target 50 percent of all vehicle sales for EVs by 2030.

Ford

In the last several months, we've seen automakers from all corners of the globe commit to some degree of electrification by the end of the decade and beyond. That includes the American Big Three: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, others). Today, President Joe Biden plans to throw his weight behind these efforts by signing an executive order that sets a goal of pushing the sales of zero-emissions vehicles to half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Biden's target is not legally binding, but the industry is already jumping on board. In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis confirmed that they aim to hit an EV sales volume of 40-50 percent annually. It's worth noting that the President's 50 percent goal and the automakers' sales targets also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use a traditional gasoline engine.


Jeep PHEV The target also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use gas engines.Jeep


Auto unions and dealers are not opposed to the ambitious roadmaps laid out by the Big Three, but both have differing views on what is essential and how things will ultimately play out. While aware of the goals, the UAW is focused on wage growth and the preservation of jobs and benefits. It feels that an increase in EV production volume must happen here in the U.S. to include good-paying American union jobs.

Dealers, to a degree, are supportive of the goals but skeptical of their ultimate success. Some feel that electric vehicles do not present the earth-shattering shift in functionality and usability that other new products, such as smartphones, did in different industries. Regardless of concerns and skepticism, it appears that automakers are going all-in on the shift to electrification, so we're bound to see a wealth of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the next few years.


GM battery facility rendering Automakers are pledging billions to increase EV and PHEV production volume.GM

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Research and development

Ford names site for battery development facility

Ford's new facility will house battery research and development.

Ford

Ford is in the news again for its electrification efforts, this time with the confirmation of a Michigan location for a new battery research and development facility in Romulus, Michigan. The facility may eventually help Ford in-source much of its EV supply chain, a shift that could prevent or mitigate the challenges presented by parts and technology shortages.

As part of its electrification initiative, the automaker plans to build a new research and development facility, called Ford Ion Park. The facility will house new tech research, pilot programs for new manufacturing techniques, and will help give Ford more control over its supply chain.


Ford Ion Park Once complete, the facility will initially house 200 engineers.Ford


The price tag for the new facility and related efforts lands at $185 million, which sounds like chump change for a global automaker until we consider that Ford has committed $30 billion to electrification by 2025. The automaker says that its new facility renews its dedication to Michigan as its home base for EV development, a promise it originally made back in 2010. The company's new electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck will be built in Dearborn, which will add 500 jobs. An additional 225 jobs will be retained at Ford's Dyke Electric Powertrain Center.

As part of Phase One of the project, Ford plans to hire 200 engineers within 18 months of the 270,000-square-foot facility's opening. Ironically, the site was previously owned by A123 Systems, a battery manufacturer that closed the facility in 2017 due to low demand for batteries.


Ford Ion Park Ford has committed $185 million to the new facility and related efforts.Ford

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