View Full Version : In the chase to catch Dodge, Ford...

06-30-2004, 11:02 AM
...is going to get you killed.

(08:30 June 29, 2004)
Ford to lighten, tighten upcoming version of Lightning pickup

By RICHARD TRUETT | Automotive News

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has no intention of letting the new 500-hp Dodge SRT-10 keep the title of world's fastest truck.

But John Coletti, director of Ford's Special Vehicle Team, acknowledges that automakers have hit a wall on how much horsepower they can give a vehicle. So the automaker will make the next-generation Ford F-150 Lightning pickup go faster by removing weight and improving handling.

"In the next generation, we've got to worry about efficiency, weight and better control," he says. "You can get great power-to-weight ratio without a fountain of horsepower."

Until the Ram SRT-10 pickup debuted this year, the Lightning had been the unchallenged leader in performance trucks for more than a decade.

But in February, the SRT-10 clocked a record speed of 154.587 mph.

Ford SVT engineers have experience in reducing weight with the 2002 Mustang Cobra R, a version for performance enthusiasts.

Strong, lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, magnesium, aluminum, ceramics and plastics can substitute for steel parts without major re-engineering.

Coletti says lighter parts and better-handling suspension systems might not come simultaneously.

"You'll start seeing it in incremental steps," he says. "Now that we have the engines where we want them, the question is what do you do with the rest of the car? Clearly you have to start looking at the weight aspect of it. If I could take 300 or 400 pounds out of the car, I wouldn't have to add any more horsepower. It would just be an incredibly faster, better handling, better braking car. All the attributes would improve."

Coletti believes automakers risk attracting attention from government regulators and the insurance industry by constantly increasing horsepower in their performance-oriented vehicles.

In the last two years, the number of vehicles with engines producing 400 hp to 500 hp and more has grown quickly.

"The focus now has to be better efficiency and weight reduction," Coletti says.

In the heyday of the American muscle car in the late 1960s, only a small number of limited-production vehicles made more than 400 hp.

The ratings of most Pontiac GTOs, Ford Mustangs, Dodge Chargers and Chevrolet Corvettes were in the 300-hp to 375-hp range.

Today, there are at least 14 cars and trucks with at least 400 hp.

Says Coletti: "We're hitting the limit."

Take away safety for speed. :rolleyes:

The Weez
06-30-2004, 11:55 AM
...is going to get you killed.

Take away safety for speed. :rolleyes:
How do you figure? I don't see anything in that article that sounds dangerous. Unless you are figuring that fast = dangerous. :confused:

06-30-2004, 11:57 AM
Strong, lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, magnesium, aluminum, ceramics and plastics can substitute for steel parts without major re-engineering

Get rid of the steel and put stuff that will not hold up as well in crashes?

06-30-2004, 12:05 PM
carbon fiber is stronger then steel

06-30-2004, 12:09 PM
MUCH more expensive too

06-30-2004, 12:11 PM
Get rid of the steel and put stuff that will not hold up as well in crashes?

You don't want to fly in a Raytheon Premier or a Hawker Horizon then. These aircraft are fabbed from composite material instead of sheet metal and the FAA has already approved the Premier...

Last Person
06-30-2004, 12:34 PM
raytheon also made the starship out of compostie materials. And they seem to fly pretty well.

Using composits and ceramics instead of steel doesn't make things less safe, or unsafe. Hey, the enzo is pretty much all composites!

The Weez
06-30-2004, 01:50 PM
Get rid of the steel and put stuff that will not hold up as well in crashes?
They aren't just forgettgin about safety and putting that stuff in. They still have to assess the safety impact of such changes.

And there are a lot of things that can be removed or replaced for weight savings w/o having an impact AT ALL on structural integrity or crash safety. For instance - would a plastic tailgate make the Lightning less safe in a crash?

06-30-2004, 02:00 PM
I think Ford is on the right track with this...already have a reliable powerful engine, instead of decreasing the reliability of these engines with more power, not to mention the increase in insurance costs for us, why not decrease weight to increase performance? Drivetrain will last longer due to less weight, handling will be also be better. If the safety is there, why not?

weight does not = safety...though it helps.

06-30-2004, 02:37 PM
ford is thinking smart and helping people that actually want to get one with keeping insurance costs the same or less

06-30-2004, 03:05 PM
As cool as composites are, I wish ford would just go with more horsepower. Or how about both? Make it ligther, and match the output of the SRT-10! I was personally hoping for a bigger engine (say... the 351 V-10 used in the mule car) to compete with dodge, instead of a lighter truck. *yawn*

06-30-2004, 03:09 PM
The more you increase stock power, the more you will spend in parts for replacement, and the harder it becomes to mod your car. Losing weight is generally free unless you use expensive materials for weight loss.

06-30-2004, 03:11 PM
Yeah, but it's just so boring! lol Dodge will always have the horsepower advantage over Ford. And what looks better to someone wanting a fast truck... 500 horsepower V-10 or 380 horsepower V-8 in a smaller truck. It's just not as fun. As for cost, if you're buying one of these trucks, you're probably not on a real budget of any kind.

06-30-2004, 03:41 PM
That article brought up one good point about the cars and trucks having lots of horsepower. I told my dad about 5 years ago "I wish I could have seen the muscle car era.” My dad said to me “you are, the muscle cars are back.” Since then I have often wondered when the insurance companies and the government will say “nope! No more of these cars.” Then we will have a bunch of sh!tie cars again like in the 1970,s

06-30-2004, 04:05 PM
just going to have to wait till the new truck comes out. i but my life on it that the new lightning is going to be faster the the POS SRT 10. shoot the lightnings now are only a few tenths slower than the SRT's anyway.

06-30-2004, 04:34 PM
See a fast truck is cool, but a fast car is cooler. Hey 500hp truck, I dare you to hook up...