Concept vehicles are set to show up on the Lincoln, Mazda and Mercury stands. Ford may show a concept called the 427 at either Detroit or the Los Angeles show.
NAIAS PREVIEW OF THE FORD STAND
Retro styling is once again hip and the 1960s are back again at Ford — and this time it’s the 2005 Mustang that receives the heritage treatment. This concept vehicle due at Detroit is a fair indicator of the new Mustang, though not identical to the production car due late in 2004. This time around, the Mustang will share a platform with a Jaguar (S-Type) and Lincoln (LS). We’re expecting the new Mustang to be offered with a variety of engine choices, including a 215-hp 3.0-liter V-6, and a modified 4.6-liter V-8 with 280-hp. The Cobra version will likely be fitted with a 400-plus horsepower V-8.
Ford will unveil a new pair of platform-sharing vehicles in 2003; either the Five Hundred sedan or the Freestyle crossover wagon or both may be shown in the sheetmetal at Detroit for the first time. The Chicago-built Five Hundred and Freestyle will be built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant beginning in early 2004. The mechanical twins will seat up to seven passengers with three rows of seating and will be available in all-wheel-drive as well as front-wheel drive. The V-6 engine will be mated to a ZF continuously variable transmission in the Freestyle and will offer car-like ride and handling with SUV-type off-road capabilities; the Five Hundred sports a roofline not unlike the VW Passat and, as a result, good interior room.
Ford’s new F-150 grows considerably more sophisticated in its 2004 edition, especially inside: the interior marks a substantial step up for the full-size truck, with more amenities and three unique instrument panels for different models of the pickup. The F-150 will be the first truck powered by Ford's new 300-horsepower, three-valve-per-cylinder, 5.4-liter V-8. We expect a handful of variations to be shown in Detroit, including the base version which comes with rear-hinged doors standard.
Aston Martin DB5
Ford’s top image brand has been working on a new Porsche 911-sized vehicle, and it is due to be revealed in Detroit. Codenamed AM305, and rumored to be getting the production nameplate DB5, it will hit the street sometime in 2005. Though it shares about the same overall length as the 911, it will feature a much longer hood, meant to accommodate the car’s front/mid-engine layout. The wheelbase will be notably longer than the Porsche flagship, and the AM305 will sit lower. In terms of price, the AM305 will target the higher end of the 911 range — around $100,000, Aston officials noted. Expect the DB5 to feature a unique-to-Aston V-8, though the engine will start with a block shared with its British affiliate, Jaguar. While precise details are not available, it would not surprise observers if the AM305 used a supercharger to boost performance, either as a standard feature or as part of an optional performance package.
by Marty Padgett