With its premiere on July 30, we’re just a couple of days away from finally seeing the new Top Gear America. But you won’t have to wait that long to get a quick taste of the show on BBC America. We have a clip to share with you, and it’s of actor and now Top Gear America host William Fichtner driving a Ford F-150 Raptor in the desert. This is an exclusive clip you’ll only see on Autoblog.
He seems to like the truck, saying it’s “the American dream incarnate,” and “a fighter jet on four wheels.” It does look about as majestic as a bald eagle out in its natural habitat. While plenty of that is because of the inherent coolness of the truck, part of it is probably due to the way the truck is filmed. It appears that Top Gear America will have a high level of production value, with beautifully framed shots and lighting.
When the full episode airs on Sunday, Fichtner, the man behind Finding Steve McQueen, will be joined by two other hosts, Antron Brown and Tom “Wookie” Ford. Brown is a drag racer who first raced motorcycles before taking on Top Fuel drag cars in 2008. He took home his first Top Fuel championship in 2012. Ford has been in the automotive journalism biz for quite a while. He’s presently an associate editor for Top Gearmagazine and was previously at CAR magazine. He also has worked on a number of automotive-related TV shows, including gone, but not forgotten, Fifth Gear.
Ford is introducing some interesting future technology for the 2018 F-150 and Mustang. A bumper-mounted radar and a windshield-mounted camera will scan the road ahead and convey information to a new Pedestrian Detection system. It will be able to alert the driver of pedestrians in the path of the vehicle both day and night, automatically applying brakes if the driver doesn’t heed the system warnings.
To separate between tree-shaped objects and people-shaped people, the system relies on a database of “pedestrian shapes”, against which it compares the shapes it detects ahead. Every second, the windshield camera takes more than 30 snapshots, so the system is continuously up-to-date. Ford says the viewing angle is wide enough to detect pedestrians even in low-light conditions where there are no streetlights, just the car’s own headlights. However, there’s no thermal camera involved for true night vision.
The system was tested first with dummies on test tracks, and later in busy cities such as Paris and Amsterdam. The first European implementation of the system will be on the new 2018 Ford Fiesta. In the United States, the detection system will become available on the F-150 in August and on the Mustang in November.
Go to your local Craigslist’s “cars for sale by owner page” and type the word “custom” into the search bar. Some cities provide better results than others, but in most cases you’ll find at least an example or two of a car, truck, SUV, or lawnmower that leaves you wondering what the creator was thinking. It’s the same sensation I felt when when I was sent the link to Newport Convertible Engineering’s drop-top Ford F-150.
The damage to the F-150 is limited to a power-folding convertible canvas top. NCE even saw fit to install a roll bar, likely to provide some structural rigidity and a place to attach the rear door hinges. Most four-door convertibles, custom or not, look awkward from a distance with the top up, and this is no exception. The video shows the convertible top in action, along with some close ups of the trucks details. The fitment doesn’t look great and NVH highway speeds is assuredly high. Then again, what price individuality? The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle on the road, and this is one way to stand out.
NCE doesn’t list a price, but if you have to ask then you probably can’t afford it. The F-150 isn’t the only vehicle NCE has “customized”. But hey, maybe a convertible pickup is what you’ve always wanted. This is way better than attacking your pickup with a sawzall.
Ford already released its F-150 pickup trucks that will be on display at SEMA, but the automaker added a radically-designed Raptor and a slew of F-Series Super Duty trucks to its lineup. Ford even modified two Transit vans for the upcoming trade show.
The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Pre Runner concept by Deberti Design is our favorite out of the eight vehicles. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 remains stock, but benefits from a K&N cold air intake and a Gibson cat-back exhaust. The truck also gets a new suspension from Foutz Motorsports that raises it by three inches and the fenders were stretched four inches to accommodate enormous 40-inch tires. As if the F-150 Raptor needed any help with offroading.
The other SEMA-ready trucks include: a 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty by Air Design USA with a 3.5-inch leveling kit from ReadyLift, a lifted 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty by Fabtech with exhaust stacks, a 2017 Ford F-250 by TS Designs with a wide-body kit, Mad Industries’ 2017 Ford F-350 Dually with a blacked-out look and a Gibson Performance Exhaust system, along with a 2017 Ford F-350 by Skyjacker Suspensions that caters to law enforcement that need to survive a zombie apocalypse.
Meanwhile, Good Boy Daisy customized a 2016 Ford Transit 350 by turning the van into a mobile concert setup, while Wyotech gave a 2016 Ford Transit 150 a retro look. Ford’s modified trucks and vans will join the automaker’s armada of approximately 50 cars at SEMA next month.
Ford hopes to bring 50 customized cars to SEMA, and the latest additions to the lineup include one Ford Fiesta and five Focus hatchbacks. Some look like rally machines for the road while others just sport a fancy paint job.
The lone Fiesta ST is built by Tucci Hot Rods with a custom wide-body kit. It has been lowered, and retains the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine but now features an upgraded turbo, custom exhaust system, as well as a Cobb Accessport V3 ECU upgrade. The clutch has also been updated with a Spec Stage 4 kit.
The customized Focus models include: a 2016 Focus ST by Blood & Grease with a matte black paint job, a 2016 Focus ST by Cinemotive Media with fender flares and performance upgrades from Mountune, a 2016 Focus RS with an updated twin-scroll turbo kit and a gray and orange paint job by Full-Race Motorsports, as well as a 2016 Focus RS by H&P Special Springs/Stanceworks with rally-inspired graphics.
The most promising hatchback, to us, is the Focus RS by Roush Performance. The more aggressive body kit gives the hatchback a more menacing look, while Roush’s shortblock assembly, performance calibration, and improved cooling system bumps power up to 500 horsepower.
Ford already revealed its modified Mustangs, Fusions, and F-150s for SEMA earlier this month, which leaves its crossovers and SUVs as the last vehicles to get the SEMA treatment.
The Ford F-Series has been named as the official truck of the NFL, whatever that means. To kick things off, the automaker is giving fans in New York the ability to order a “Built Ford Tough Tailgate Truck” on demand through Uber. The NFL-backed tailgate F-Series trucks will bring fans tailgate food, tickets, and merchandise.
The ability to get a tailgate truck through Uber is currently limited to New York, but Ford will also offer a tailgate tour in various cities where NFL fans can win tailgate parties, tickets to games, and access to their own Ford tailgate truck. The sponsorship is for three years and includes America’s best-selling truck, the Ford F-150, along with the automaker’s Super Duty trucks.
Ford is also giving NFL fans the ability to enter the “Built Ford Tough Toughest Ticket” sweepstakes for a chance to win Super Bowl LI tickets, along with a new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty decked out to showcase the winner’s favorite football team.
The NFL has partnered with various automakers in the past, with the most recent being a four-year deal with Hyundai in 2015. The Korean automaker is currently the official car, SUV, and luxury vehicle of the NFL, which conveniently leaves a spot for Ford’s F-Series trucks to slot into. Hyundai took the sponsorship from General Motors, which had been a sponsor since 2001.
Ford’s new sponsorship comes at the perfect time as the new season official starts tomorrow with the Carolina Panthers taking on the Denver Broncos.