With the announcement at SEMA this week by Ford of their twin-turbo drag-racing Mustang, it’s time to remember that Ford looked at a twin-turbo production 5 liter engine once before. Not for off-road use like the drag racing Mustang, but for regular production use in the F-150 as a way of meeting emissions and mileage standards while producing exceptional power and towing capacity.
Meet the Ford Bobcat project, first shown in 2009. The code-name Bobcat engine is a very high-compression 5 liter modular V-8 with twin turbos and an unusual gasoline/E85 fuel system. The primary fuel system is port-injected gasoline. The Bobcat also uses a secondary direct injection system to inject varying amounts of ethanol directly into the combustion chamber, producing 500 horsepower and 750 pounds-feet of torque. All while meeting emissions and mileage targets. Twin top-mounted air-to-water intercoolers are also provided.
The objective of the project was to produce diesel-like torque and power from a gasoline engine, without the complexity and cost. The ethanol is stored in a second gas tank with a 10-gallon capacity. The drawback to the project was the ethanol itself. With ethanol projects bankrolled by Congress, with special political and financial considerations to farmers and refiners, ethanol initially looked good. However, even in 2009 the writing was on the wall that eventually ethanol would have to fall out of political favor and that heavy subsidies to farmers and producers would eventually end. And while Bobcat programming would vary the amount of ethanol depending on load, heavy towing and long trips would require very frequent ethanol fill-ups. From a pure ethanol fueling infrastructure that did not exist. If ethanol wasn’t available, the engine would only be able to produced reduced power.
So while the Bobcat engineering was solid, real-world practicalities eliminated any possibility of production.
The project was ultimately shelved in favor of the EcoBoost V-6 engine and a longer-term weight reduction program. As readers in 2012 know, the EcoBoost program has been a phenomenal success and a very clear differentiator for Ford.
The SVE Mustang King Cobra (1994) and the SVE Super Stallion (1997) were two Ford engineering exercises built to explore modernization of the SN95 platform by the addition of state-of-the-art SLA (short-long arm) and IRS (independent rear) front and rear suspensions. Ford knew that the SN95 platform, with architecture originally designed in the mid-seventies for the 1978 Fairmont, couldn’t remain competitive or leading edge in the market for very much longer, much less meet upcoming Federal safety (gas tank location) or crash (structural integrity) standards. The SN95 platform itself was simply was an update of the original FOX platform (an all-new platform designed for the 1978 Fairmont and 1979 Mustang, later used for the Thunderbird, LTD 2, Lincoln Mark VII, and several other cars). The SN95 is so closely related to the FOX platform that most SN95 parts easily bolt onto earlier FOX Mustangs.
Why is the story of the King Cobra and Super Stallion story important? Because these two cars, along with the MN12 based Mustang production prototype, the FR500 showcar, and doubtless other lost engineering exercises, are an important part of the history of the Mustang. They show that Ford had a much greater vision for the Mustang than what we eventually received in production. They also show that Ford’s budget – as well as the vision and acceptance of the top Executives, was the constraining factor (with the exception of Jacques Nasser, who personally sponsored both the 1999 Cobra and the 2003 Cobra – and said at the time of the 1999 introduction “Isn’t it about time we offered an IRS on the Mustang…!”). Those constraining factors continue to this day, and in the case of the current Mustang originally cost it use of the full DEW platform and then before production an IRS suspension developed for the (dumbed-down DEW) S197 platform.
Ford’s Special Vehicles Engineering (SVE) organization was at the time the internal engineering arm of the Ford Special Vehicles Team (SVT). SVT was purely a marketing organization at the time, and as of this date is a shell of its former self with basic engineering and testing carried out by the platform teams rather than a separate organization such as SVE. This change was introduced (with some internal controversy) because of the severe engineering and quality issues introduced by SVE re-engineering the cars as they saw fit, with much less rigorous engineering and testing before production release. Warranty issues were first seen in the 1994 Cobra (magnesium seat brackets and front suspension bushings, differing from the standard parts) and (as the SVT products further differentiated their engineering from the base products) in the 1999 Cobra horsepower and cooling recall. Clearly a “post-engineering re-engineering” methodology had to stop and Ford eventually put an end to it. But before that, the two SVE cars shown here were examples of just that type of “band-aid” engineering. Only the supercharged 4.6 DOHC engine persevered, and it had more than its share of severe quality and warranty issues (perhaps the worst ever for SVT) as well (as this author personally suffered thru).
Let’s review the King Cobra and Super Stallion (from our Ford Motor Company concepts, prototypes,. and show cars section – with over 150 examples), along with images from the time:
SVE Mustang King Cobra
The SVE Mustang King Cobra came first, almost at the same time the production 1994 Mustang was being introduced. Due to cost constraints, the 1994 Mustang was introduced with ye olde iron pushrod 4.9 liter OHV engine. This was not what was originally intended when the SN95 platform was conceived (which itself was only a last-minute substitution for an MN12-based Mustang originally intended for the 1991 timeframe). Ford had planned to use the “modular” 4.6 liter engines from the start, including the 4.6 DOHC engine introduced 1993 Lincoln Mark VIIII. However cost constraints held Ford back, so the old engine would have to suffice for the time being. Meanwhile, the future of the Mustang was being examined internally with the King Cobra. Images of the King Cobra - and it’s very existence – have never been released or discussed by Ford. It was purely an internal prototype of the originally intended SVT Mustang Cobra – a plan that was considerably dumbed down (and delayed) before final production in 2003.
The supercharged 4.6 is related to that of the Mustang Mach III, with changes suitable for production use. You’ll note that the layout below is very close to that of the 2003-04 Cobra.
Elements of the 1996 Mustang 4.6 V-8 (SOHC U& DOHC) can be seen here including the use of the Hydroboost braking system, the pre-production air filter, and the placement of the fuse box and other underhood elements.
Many of the engineering elements of the future 2003 SVT Cobra can also be seen here – from the supercharger placement (although not the same supercharger), to the expansion tank for the intercooler, to the shape and location of the MAF, air filter, and air inlet. The battery, however, is located in the trunk – something that would prove impossible for the eventual production car. Note that the power steering reservoir is located where the battery would normally be found and that would also change by necessity.
There was also an emphasis on building in anti-lift geometry in the rear suspension. It was apparent that this car would have a very heavy engine up front, and this architecture was necessary for handling and braking ability. Anti-lift would be an important benefit of the final production 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra IRS suspension as well.
- IRS with special attention paid to achieving low unsprung weight and anti-lift geometry
- SLA front suspension
- PBR fr/rr brakes w/specifically-tuned ABS
- Torsen differential
- Unique body components – hood for clearance, and functional side scoop to cool rear suspension
- Unique interior trim
The Mustang King Cobra shows that SVE had in mind a demonstration of its suspension ngineering capabilities. As we know, none of these major engineering elements made it to production. Nor has Ford been able to actually offer such a front and rear suspension on a production Mustang. It’s a shame that SVE and Ford fell so far after showing what they were capable of here, and again later on with the FR500.
|0-60 mph||4.9 seconds||(estimated)|
|60-0 mph||130 ft.||(estimated)|
|1/4 mile||13.0 @ 105 mph|
|200 ft radial skidpad||0.87g||(estimated)|
|600 ft slalom||65 mph||(estimated)|
SVE program managers included Al Suydam and Steve Anderson. Team members included Ron Smith and Eric Tseng.
A number of issues were encountered in the development of this car (and the related show car Super Stallion – which perhaps was one and the same car underneath?). The chief problem was excessive heat in the shocks – pushrod operated, and located in a “tray” in the trunk. The side vents cooled those shocks, but only to a degree.
Also, of course, was the entire issue of cost: since the SN95 hadn’t been engineered for an SLA up front and an IRS in the rear, production costs would be excessively high – especially for a short run of 8-10,000 cars per year. As it turned out, as we now know for the 2003 Cobra, the SLA front suspension was dropped, the IRS was totally redesigned to make it considerably more production-friendly, and the supercharged engine would continue in development for a few more years before finally appearing in 2003.
SVE Mustang Super Stallion
While the SVE Mustang King Cobra was originally an exploration of intended things to come, the Super Stallion was nothing more than a show car (introduced at the 1997 SEMA show). However, it did reveal to the public for the first time the front SLA and rear IRS development work that had been done. Several magazine articles of the time showed detailed photos of the front and rear suspension. Unfortunately, none of these unique suspension pieces would ever be seen again, much less in production. However, the improved 4-valve cylinder heads, the T-56 (previously seen in the Mustang Mach III show car), and the use of front Brembo brakes were an early indication of things to come on future SN95-based Mustangs.
The bodywork of the Super Stallion takes a step forward from the King Cobra by providing proper room for much-needed larger wheels and tires. Custom front and rear fenders provide extra width and opening size. The King Cobra, given the standard early SN95 fender wells, was left at a strange angle in order to get the needed wheels and tires under the car.
Possibly this car was simply the King Cobra underneath, with the new engine added. In any case, when the car was revealed, the production 1999 SVT Mustang Cobra with it’s entirely different IRS suspension was already well in the pipeline and would be shown to the press 6 months later. The reworked 1999 Mustang was the result of a 750-million dollar (over-)budget project, led by Janine Bay, including the cost of the design and production prep of the IRS that was used in production.
This car, and the King Cobra, showed that Ford engineers were trying to give the Mustang a world-class suspension, despite the desperately outdated and unbalanced platform – and the intent to replace it with an entirely new platform after the turn of the century (delayed until 2005). A prior “last shot” at improving the FOX platform had been seen in the FR500, although that car was never (despite press releases to the contrary) intended as anything other than a show car.
- 5.4L “modular” V8 with improved 4V cylinder heads and 16 injectors
- Flex fuel compatible
- Dual MAF and throttle body assemblies
- Garrett (Allied Signal) Positive Displacement Supercharger w/Cockpit Controlled Disengagement Clutch
- Garrett Air to Water Intercooler
- Borg Warner T56 6-speed
- Front: SLA Front Suspension w/Koni DA shocks
- Rear: SLA IRS w/pushrod actuated Koni DA coil over shocks mounted in the truck
- Front: Brembo 4 Piston w / 13″ x 1.25″ cross drilled and slotted rotors
- Rear: stock Cobra rear calipers w / 12″ x 1.0″ cross drilled rotors
- Speedline 3 Piece Racing Wheels (18″ x 8.5″ Front / 18″ x 9.5″ Rear)
- Goodyear 265/40ZR18 Eagle F1-GS Fiorano Tires
|545 HP @ 6000 RPM (101 HP/Liter)||590 HP @ 6000|
|497 Lbs-Ft @ 4750 (84% of Max Torque at 2000 RPM)||536 Lbs-Ft @ 4750 RPM|
Development Team Members
- Steve Anderson – Program Manager
- Bill Lane, Kevin Lambert, Dave May, Primo Goffi, Al Oslapas, John Moore
Mustang Super Stallion – technology with attitude
LAS VEGAS, Nev., November 3, 1997 – Roaring down the Las Vegas strip, the Mustang Super Stallion technology concept makes its debut at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
“The Super Stallion is a showcase of the innovative high-performance technology that Ford has up its sleeves,” said John Coletti, manager, Special Vehicle Engineering (SVE). “We’ve enhanced some of the already great Mustang features and added a few new twists to make this car every performance enthusiast’s dream.”
Leading the way in innovative powertrain and chassis technology while developing exciting, high-performance cars and trucks is the focus of Ford’s SVE group.
Super Stallion serves as a test bed for new engineering processes in addition to reinforcing Ford’s product passion. While Super Stallion is not intended for production, many of its technologies may be considered for mainstream application in the future.
Under The Hood
Powered by a 5.4-liter four-valve DOHC V-8 engine with a high capacity Garrett supercharger, Super Stallion is capable of 545 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 495 foot-pounds of torque at 4750 rpm. Super Stallion’s engine was built at Ford’s Windsor, Ont., engine plant and was modified by SVE in Allen Park, Mich. The engine modification was made possible by the flexibility of Ford’s modular engine family. The overhead cam engines are easily modified because they share basic architecture, tooling and components.
Out on the track, Super Stallion puts up some impressive numbers with a top speed estimated at 175 mph, a 0-60 mph time well under five seconds and a quarter-mile time of less than 13 seconds at 112 mph.
Specially modified aluminum cylinder heads provide better air flow, while 16 injectors keep fuel pumping through the performance hardware. The engine compression ratio is 8.2:1.
Air enters the engine through twin throttle bodies that are mounted to the high-capacity, clutch-activated, Garrett supercharger. This configuration relieves the engine of the parasitic losses incurred during the normal periods of “non-performance” operation. The end result is a significant improvement in fuel economy.
Shifting into gear is made possible by a multi-disk McLeod clutch system and a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission.
Super Stallion’s engine is also equipped for flex-fuel operation. It is capable of running on gasoline, alcohol or any combination of the two. The system’s optical fuel sensor tells the computer the exact composition of the fuel allowing the EEC-V module to make necessary changes automatically. The benefits of having flex-fuel capabilities include cleaner emissions and improved performance, with the ability to achieve 50 more horsepower on E85 fuel.
Super Stallion’s suspension is tuned for optimal performance, ensuring the car will remain stable even under maximum handling conditions.
The front independent short/long arm suspension features an all new SVE design, replacing the standard McPherson strut system, and includes Koni double adjust shock absorbers. This configuration provides more negative camber during maximum turning, for improved cornering performance and anti-dive characteristics.
Another innovative design is the competition-style independent rear suspension. The springs and shocks are part of a unique module that is mounted in the trunk minimizing the unsprung mass while providing exceptional anti-squat during acceleration and anti-lift during hard braking.
The five-spoke, three-piece aluminum wheels from Speedline measure 18 x 8.5-inches in the front and 18 x 9.5-inches in the rear and feature 265/40ZR18 Eagle F1Fiorano Goodyear performance tires. Stopping power is provided by Brembo calipers and 13-inch vented discs on the front. The rear uses 12-inch vented Brembo discs. In addition, hard stops are controlled by electronic ABS. Stopping distance from 60 mph is 116 feet and from 100 mph is 310 feet with exceptional anti-fade characteristics.
The aggressive stance and sleek lines of the production Mustang are enhanced by unique graphics and carbon fiber accents to give the Super Stallion a distinct performance look.
An all-new hood design, with nostril-like openings, allows this beast to breathe a little easier. Improved air-flow into the engine compartment keeps the 5.4-liter V-8 cool under the most intense driving conditions.
The front fascia has been modified to include two large, round driving lights along with integral ducts that feed air to the engine, while the rear fascia features integrated dual exhausts. Both the front and rear treatments as well as the mirrors and scoops are made of carbon fiber to keep weight at a minimum.
The quarter window ducts and quarter panel scoops allow for rear shock and brake cooling, which ensures peak performance of these vital components. The rear decklid and spoiler have been modified to improve the aerodynamics of the car and provide outstanding high-speed stability.
A dramatic exterior graphics package completes Super Stallion’s “street racer” appearance. The car takes on two different personalities with radically different color configurations on each side. The passenger side is painted in a deep metallic blue base color giving the car an unassuming look, disguising its true power. In contrast, the driver’s side is white and stands out to give Super Stallion a menacing look, hinting at its true capabilities.
Super Stallion’s interior features four leather-wrapped ebony bucket seats. The front seats include integrated three-point safety restraints, which improve the rear seat ingress/egress, and dynamic seat bolsters. The seat bolsters are unique in that they articulate to hold the occupants in place during hard cornering. The bolsters retract to make entry and exit of the vehicle more comfortable.
Keeping track of all of Super Stallion’s systems is made possible by an on-board performance diagnostics system mounted in the headliner. In addition, two extra gauges are mounted on the A-pillar to monitor intake manifold vacuum/boost and fuel system pressure. The rest of the performance-oriented white faced gauges are housed in the instrument cluster.
The supercharger is activated with the flip of a switch that is mounted in the center stack area of the console. When the system is on, the “armed” light is illuminated and Super Stallion is performing at its ultimate. Also found in the center stack area is a digital readout that measures the amount of alcohol present in the vehicle’s fuel.
The center console runs the length of the car and houses the leather-wrapped shifter. It also provides extra storage space and cup holders for the rear passengers.
To complete the driving experience, Super Stallion is equipped with a Mach 630 watt sound system from Visteon Automotive Systems. The radio/CD unit is housed in the instrument panel and features two amplifiers, a center image speaker mounted in the dash, 2.5-inch speakers in the A-pillar sails, 5.5 X 7.5-inch woofers in the doors, three sub-woofers and two mid-range tweeters mounted in the package tray.
“We’ve taken high-performance technology to a new and exciting level with the Super Stallion,” said Coletti. “It’s the ultimate ride!”
In the last 30 years, Ford has had several experimental engine developments – many of which were ultimately abandoned. Most of these have never been seen, much less detailed technically. “T-Drive” is one of them; another was the stratified charge V-8 engine of the 70s. I’ve finally found some information on T-Drive, a unique and truly innovative system. I’m still looking for information on the stratified-charge V-8, and while some information was published 30 years ago about it I haven’t yet been able to find anything definitive in my personal library.
Ford’s experimental T-drive is a system consisting of a transversally located (both for front or rear engine drive) inline engine, a transmission, and associated packaging. It was designed by Ford in approximately the 1990 timeframe and shown in several auto shows and to magazines. Ultimately, it was abandoned due to several reasons. Ford went ahead with the “modular” V-6, V-8, VB-10, and V-12 engine families instead.
The T-Drive engine was literally T-shaped – the transmission was located in the middle of the engine instead of at one end. This allows easy and compact placement in small spaces. Due to the tight spacing of the cylinder bores, engines were possible from 4 to 8 cylinders. And T-Drive was designed form the start as a DOHC engine, state-of-the-art at that time. Because the technology was entirely consistent across the board, any new technology such as cylinder head advancements could be applied to the entire range of engines quickly.
Engine output was disclosed. However, there are no reasons why it wouldn’t be exactly the same as a conventional engine. Displacement was apparently 2, 3.2, and 4 liters (4, 6, and 8 cylinders).
- Don Carriere, Principal Research Engineer
- Ansel Flanery, Senior Research Engineer.
- Family approach to a range of engines
- Because of the size of the engine, and placement ahead of the axle centerline, front-, all-, or rear-wheel drive configurations could be engineered
- Rear-wheel drive could have used variations of existing off-the-shelf transmissions (saving money).
- Packaging advantages for “cab-forward” design.
- Packaging, NVH, durability.
- Harmonics, torque pulse and gear rattle.
- Limited bore size (torque, breathing, valve area) and displacement.
- Engine weight over front axle-line, creating weigh-balance issues as in a front-wheel drive car
- Front- or all-wheel drive would have required engineering variations on existing transmissions.
- Bulky transmission placement behind the engine – requiring specific design changes on existing front-wheel drive-based platforms.
|This is the most outrageous example of T-Drive: an 8 cylinder Tempo.|
|Note the DOHC inline-8. |
The test car didn’t have room for a conventional braking assist system – note the two reservoirs hung off the strut brace.
It’s not known if this is a front or wear wheel drive car.
You’ll note that on both of these engines, there is a gap in the middle of the engine where the drivetrain take-off was engineered.
|This is a FOX-chassis T-Bird, with a 6-cylinder T-drive engine.|
The engine is transverse, leading to an questionable weight balance.
|The rest of the driveline is conventional rear wheel drive. This car was probably built to demonstrate use of the near-off-the-shelf driveline.|
Note that the engine takes up the full engine bay – not the radiator placement (normally very far-forward in a FOX T-Bird).
And note the uneven length intake paths!
The T-Drive engine joins pictures, descriptions, and specs of many of Ford’s modern engine families on my site. There are currently >590 JPEGS of images in the Ford engine area: http://drivingenthusiast.net/sec-ford/FMC-engines/! I am adding to them as further images become available, and often add high-res images as well. You’ll also find more engine images in the new Mazda section, as well as in several other non-Ford sections.
There are also several blog categories on my site which are specific to engines, including:
- Engine – Technology
- Ford – Engine – EcoBoost Family
- Ford – Engine, Experimental
- Ford – Engine – Modular Family
- Ford – Engine – Duratec Family
- Ford – Engine – Diesel
- Ford – Engine – BOSS Family
- MAZDA – Rotary Engines
All blog categories can be suscribed to with RSS. The latest versions of popular browsers will highlight the RSS feed when available.
Automobile has a speculative article on a possible Boss special edition Mustang, potentially coming in the next year or two.
Unfortunately, it’s all speculation at this point and the magazine doesn’t even know what engine the car would come with – either the Shelby’s grossly overweight iron-block 5.4 (naturally aspirated) or a new 5 liter variant of the modular 4.6. If it’s a 2008 model, then it wil be to market too early for the upcoming “BOSS” engine
This is a characteristic of the Mustang market – any kind of salivation article leads to even more popularity of the car, nevermind any warts and other faults. The marketing team for Ford uses placement of facts and rumors as a means of marketing the car – either highlighting actual directions (Shelby advance lead stories) or making up something (V-10 BOSS stories two years ago) for actual lack of direction or decision. It’s product marketing at it’s best. Just don’t get caught up in it – nothing is real until it’s been announced and put into production. Until then, the marketeers are using you to further their goals.
And temper this with Ford’s acute lack of development budget. New models are expensive… new engines are even more so. “Orphan” engines – engines which are not used anyplace else – are even *more* expensive and thus even less likely (especially in units of 8000-10,000 per year). This is the major reason why the Shelby engine is actually an F-150 engine – and it’s a major reason why the all-aluminum 5 liter mod-motor many of us would like to see is very unlikely in this economic climate. A climate of Ford’s own doing.
SVT Tremor Concept
The SVT Tremor Concept was introduced to the public at the 1998 NAIAS in Detroit. It is a concept only, with no production plans. The concept was very well received, AutoWeek reported at the time that many people offered deposits if production was planned.
2001 Update: as we found out much later with the launch of the all-new 2001 Explorer, the Tremor previewed a new and much more sophisticated direction for the then-future Explorer. The new 2001 Explorer chassis debutes a coil-over independent suspension at all four corners. The Tremor’s 5-valve DOHC 4.6 liter V-8 was never seen again; one of two prototypes built was grenaded at the Dearborn proving grounds and the other is in a museum in the Ford Romeo engine plant. And with the introduction of the 2001 Explorer, it was clear that the Tremor could never and would never have been built on the “old” Explorer chassis.
Ford Press Release follows:
Ford Tremor concept brings exciting new performance to sport utility vehicles
The Ford Tremor breaks new ground in the sport utility market. With its high-performance 4.6-liter DOHC five-valve engine, independent rear suspension, all-wheel drive and aggressive looks, this concept sport utility vehicle (SUV) is at home on the street or ready for off-road adventure.
“The Tremor is a further evolution of America’s best-selling sport utility vehicle, the Ford Explorer,” said Tom Scott, director of the Advanced Design Studio. “While it maintains the Explorer’s well-known attributes of performance, ruggedness and a well-packaged interior, this concept vehicle creates a new niche of fun-to-drive vehicle.”
Unique High-Performance V-8
At the heart of the Ford Tremor is a powerful, all-aluminum 4.6-liter five-valve DOHC high-performance engine capable of delivering an estimated 380 horsepower and 340 foot-pounds of torque at 5,500 rpm. The engine was built by Ford’s Advanced Powertrain group.
Though the performance characteristics have not been fully evaluated, computer-aided engineering simulations suggest the engine will power the SUV to a top speed of nearly 140 mph, an under-seven-second 0 – 60 mph time and a quarter-mile time under 15 seconds.
The cylinder heads were designed by Yamaha and feature five valves per cylinder — three intake and two exhaust — that open and close in harmony through variable camshaft timing on intake. Variable camshaft timing provides 12 degrees of cam rotation overlap, increasing midrange power and reducing emissions without sacrificing smoothness at idle and low speeds. The engine compression ratio is 10.5:1.
The transmission is a modified Ford 4R70W four-speed automatic with a unique calibration. A Lincoln Mark VIII 11.25-inch torque converter has been adapted with revisions to the impeller and turbine to handle the high engine revs. The all-wheel-drive transfer case comes from a 5.0-liter Explorer and has a heavy duty input shaft. A custom driveshaft connects the transmission to the rear axle. Both front and rear axles run 4.10 gearsets.
Fully Independent Rear Suspension
The Tremor’s chassis and suspension are engineered to provide optimized handling characteristics, without compromising the refined ride quality associated with the Explorer.
The fully independent rear suspension (IRS) has been adapted from the latest version of the Ford Thunderbird. The 9-inch Thunderbird IRS was chosen because of its excellent durability and reliability, making it an ideal candidate for the Tremor’s street and off-road performance needs.
The rear suspension system was designed in cooperation with Multimatic Inc. of Ontario, Canada, and includes upper lateral links, lower H-arms, toe-in compensating links, coil springs and two-way adjustable gas shock absorbers. A rear stabilizer bar minimizes roll, and two box-sections house the IRS subframe rails that reduce torsional bending.
Even with the significant changes to the suspension to improve its dynamics on the road, Tremor’s off-road handling and ground clearance have not been compromised.
Ford’s Advanced Design Studio is responsible for Tremor’s design.
“We wanted to combine a rugged exterior appearance with a high-quality interior that gives the Tremor a performance look but also a sophisticated quality feel,” said Tom Scott, director of the Advanced Design Studio.
The front end features a new hood and fenders made from lightweight composite materials. A large grille opening keeps the 4.6-liter V-8 cool even under the most demanding driving conditions. Four large round high-performance headlamps, plus two round fog lamps in the front bumper, emphasize its sporty, purposeful character.
The wheel arches, with crisply defined edges, have been expanded to accommodate the 19-inch wheel and tire combination. Twin exhausts exit from beneath each side valance, signaling the vehicle’s performance capability.
Tremor’s rich metallic red paint is enhanced by the addition of nickel chrome protection panels on the lower body. The rear end has been extended slightly and the backlight sloped to give the vehicle a sportier profile. The license plate mount has been moved from the bumper to the tailgate and combined with a new integrated tailgate-opening handle. An innovative Jac Products Inc. roof rack and a rear roof spoiler help to improve stability.
The large, five-spoke aluminum wheels have been positioned at the far edges of the chassis, helping to give the Tremor its dramatic stance. The wheels measure 19 x 8.5 inches, and feature 245/60 R19 Goodyear performance tires specially made for the vehicle. The wheel and tire combination ensures maximum traction whether on- or off-road. Stopping power is provided by Mustang Cobra ABS system 13-inch vented discs on the front and 10.1-inch vented discs at the rear.
The Explorer is well-known for its interior packaging, and the Tremor concept follows this tradition but with a more performance-oriented theme. Four custom leather-covered Lear bucket seats hold the driver and three passengers firmly yet comfortably in position during even the roughest off-road driving. Grab handles are located near each seat for when the going really gets tough.
A full-length center console extends from the instrument panel to the rear bucket seats and houses the floor-mounted shifter, with storage space for a telephone. A new Garmin global positioning system is integrated into the instrument panel but is easily removed to be used outside the vehicle. Rear passengers have their own climate controls and an armrest, first seen in the Ford Taurus, that can be folded down to provide additional storage space.
For added convenience, the rear seats fold flat for cargo-carrying capacity. The cargo area floor is covered in a durable, non-slip rubber matting for maximum utility and durability.
While Tremor is only a concept at this stage, it has been engineered as a fully driveable prototype. The Ford Tremor performance SUV will be shown at auto shows throughout the year.