In April 17, 1964 Ford Motor Company, then under Lee Iacocca, launched the Ford Mustang. It was an instant success and it created a new class of automobiles, which was later to be known as the pony cars. The term was coined by the then editor of Car Life magazine, Dennis Shattuck, obviously in reference to the first car of the new car class.
The seeds of the pony cars can be traced to the late 1950s with the transformation of the Ford Thunderbird from a two-seater to a larger personal luxury car with four seats. Both buyers and dealers, however, missed the original Thunderbird which prompted Ford to revive the car. In addition to this, sportier cars with bucket seats in sizes ranging from compacts to full-size were becoming popular. Some of the cars that were attracting attention were Chevrolet Corvair Monza, Plymouth Valiant Signet, Dodge Dart GT, and Rambler American’s Rogue. Ford, for its part, offered the Falcon Futura and Futura Sprint.
Iacocca, however, believed that there was a growing number of young car buyers who were looking for sporty and fast cars with an image that breaks from the past, but with an affordable price. Instead of reviving the Thunderbird to meet this demand, Ford came up with the Mustang.
The distinguishing features of the Mustang and all subsequent pony cars are their “long hoods, short decks, and open mouths”, the now classic description of cars belonging to this genre. They were affordable, or at least their base models were. When first introduced, their prices were under $2,500 (1965 dollar value). With all the options available, however, this could get considerably higher. To help keep prices down, the cars were assembled from mass-produced “off-the-shelf” components.
After the Mustang, other car manufacturers scrambled to grab their share of the market. The Plymouth Barracuda, although introduced 16 days earlier, was marketed as a pony car. While GM initially attempted to restyle the Corvair as a pony car, it eventually gave up and instead brought in the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird in 1967. Ford’s Mercury Division also introduced the Cougar while AMC joined the fray with its Javelin, also in 1967. In 1970, the Dodge Challenger was also launched.
The Challenger was the last of the pony cars launched during the era. This was because their redesigns made them bigger, heavier, and more expensive which defeated the very purpose for which they were launched. The oil crises of the early 70s did nothing to help either. Most buyers began to move to smaller and more compact cars, while those who had the money shifted to more luxurious models.
A revival of the pony cars began when a redesigned Mustang was unveiled in 2005. Like its predecessor 40 years earlier, the new Mustang was also a success. This prompted Chrysler to revive the Challenger in 2008 and GM to reintroduce the Camaro in 2010.
Raptor. Even the name inspires awe. It conjures visions of eagles, falcons, and ospreys diving from the air to seize their prey on the ground with sharp and powerful talons, creating an explosion of dust in the process. Indeed, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor seizes its competition leaving them to eat its dust as it accelerates beyond their reach.
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is a beefed-up variant of the most popular of the 60-year-old Ford F-Series pickup trucks, the F-150. For 24 years, the F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the US, and if we consider only trucks, its reign is extended to 34 years. Make sure to get the best car insurance for your SVT Raptor.
Intended for off road adventures, the pickup truck is equipped with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that can churn out 411 horsepower. Although initially available with a 5.4-liter Triton V-8 engine with a 320-horsepower capacity, this has since been discontinued. Power is transferred to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. There are no two-wheel drives for the Raptor.
In order to improve stability, the track of the Raptor is widened by seven inches. With this, the half-shafts are longer resulting in an increased wheel travel. Indeed, the front wheels can move up and down up to 11.2 inches while the rear can even do better at 13.4 inches. To support this movement, the half-shafts have been strengthened and are designed to be more durable than the standard F-150s.
Landing from tall obstacles or from jumps can be jarring to the passengers. For this reason, the truck is fitted with specifically tuned internal-bypass Fox Racing shock absorbers and micro-cellular urethane bump stops.
Standard tires for the Raptor are 35-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tires which are especially formulated for it. The body has a slight variation from other F-150s. It has a black grille that looks like a stack of bricks in a running bond pattern. In the middle of the stack is the name “Ford” running the entire width of the grille, instead of the more famous Blue Oval. The hood and fenders are also a touch different.
For 24 years, the new and used Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the US, and if we consider only trucks, its reign is extended to 34 years.
As early as 1895, the Austrian automobile manufacturer Graf & Stift has been experimenting with a front-wheel drive (FWD) layout. The company successfully mounted a one-cylinder De Dion-Bouton engine on a small car that powered its front axle. However, no other copies of the world’s first front-wheel drive car were made.
By the 1920s, several other manufacturers began turning out their own versions of FWDs. Although some of them went as far as competing in races, it was not until 1929 that the first commercially successful FWD was offered –the BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) three-wheeler. Two years later, the Dampf-Kraft-Wagen F1 and Stoewer, both from Germany, were introduced. Other German cars followed in 1932 and 1933, the Adler and Audi respectively. The most successful, however, came from France in 1934, the Citroen Traction Avant. The United States had to wait until the late 1930s to come up with the Cord 810.
FWDs continued to be produced after the Second World War by manufacturers as Citroen, Saab, Alfa-Romeo, Peugeot, Renault, and the British Motor Corporation with its iconic Austin Mini. However, up until the 1970s, it was the rear-wheel drives (RWD) that dominated the scene.
The oil crisis of the early 70s which saw gas prices soaring through the roof forced automobile companies to reevaluate their production. At that time, the most popular cars were the huge V8s with their thick heavy bodies which made them guzzle up gas like a thirsty camel. There was a need to drastically cut the fuel consumption of cars, and the answer was a design that has been around since 1895 –the FWD.
The design allowed the reduction of the size and weight of the automobile, and thus increased fuel efficiency. With a traverse engine instead of the longitudinal of the RWDs, the engine compartment was substantially reduced. Also, because both engine and transaxle are in front, the driveshaft extending from the transmission in front to the differential at the rear is eliminated. The result is that the hump inside the passenger shell is likewise eliminated giving more room for passengers in spite of the reduced package.
With the FWD design, the vehicle’s weight is distributed at 60% at the front and 40% at the back. This weighs down the driving wheels so that when accelerating in slippery conditions, the possibility of slipping is minimized.
Today, there are now more FWDs running on the roads compared to the RWDs. The reason is that in addition to saving on fuel costs, people are now also becoming more aware of the damage caused by the burning of fossil fuels.