Throwback Thursday: 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show was opened to the press today, and on Saturday will be open to the public at the impressive McCormick Place in frigid Chicago. There are tons of great new cars worth seeing, but this vintage Ford Mustang caught our attention right away. It’s billed as the first Ford Mustang Convertible ever sold. You’ll see the all-new 2015 Mustang right next to it as well.

Ford reveals 50th Anniversary Mustang

The wait is finally over. Ford has revealed the all-new 2015 Mustang which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic nameplate. Ford had achieved great success with the current version of the Mustang with its retro design, so the bar was set very high with this new redesign. Opinions will likely vary, especially among purists who are very hard to please. In many ways this design is more evolutionary and incremental as opposed to something radical. It looks like the current body style was simply modified to look more modern and more like the rest of the current Ford lineup. Still, it’s unmistakably a Mustang, and that should please many fans.

The front view of the vehicle offers the most noticeable design change with the more modern looking headlamps. The front facia still looks like a Mustang, but now we’re seeing something more like the uninspired looks of the car from the 1990s. Meanwhile, the fastback rear end seems like the most aggressive part of the new vehicle and may save the overall design.

Some on the fan message boards are deriding the new design as looking like an Accord Coupe, but there was no way Ford was going to get a more modern design without getting some of this negative criticism. The retro Mustang was a massive hit, but it had lost its sales lead to the new, retro Camaro. Ford had to move on and the 50th anniversary offered the ideal opportunity.

The design provides a lower, wider stance with a reduction in roof height and wider rear fender. The return of Mustang fastback with a sleeker profile enabled by more steeply sloped windshield and rear glass.

Ford sees the new Mustang as a world car, so they will be aggressive about marketing this American icon overseas. Also, there are plenty of improvements to the vehicle as well that will please consumers.

The Mustang will now be available with three engines – a more powerful 5.0-liter V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and an all-new fuel-efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. With the emphasis these days on gas mileage that should help the vehicle appeal to a broader audience. The robust 5.0-liter V8 available in the Mustang GT will feature an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard 3.7-liter V6 will have at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the Mustang EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to provide both power and projected segment-leading fuel efficiency. Output is projected at more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. It will be interesting to see the sales breakdown and how these engines feel in terms of power.

Ford is emphasizing that the new Mustang will be more nimble with better handling. The goal was to surpass the handling dynamics achieved in the recent Boss 302. Ford explains that the new Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride. At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension which might not please some of the purists. The vihicle has been modified and tuned for this high-performance application.

This new Mustang will generate considerable buzz and we’ll see how fans react when it goes on sale next year.

Throwback Thursday: Marisa Miller in a vintage Thunderbird

Here’s a great pairing – the beautiful Marisa Miller driving a vintage Ford Thunderbird convertible!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Muscle cars are stolen most often

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released statistics regarding the most stolen “sporty” cars and topping the list were the Chevy Camaro, the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger in that order. Given the number of these cars of the street these numbers shouldn’t be surprising. If you have one of these muscle cars you need to make sure your car insurance is in order and covers theft along with general liability as you’d be foolish to risk losing everything.

The retro designs for these three vehicles have been huge hits over the past decade. The Mustang was the sales leader but then the retro Camaro took the top spot. Now Ford is redesigning the Mustang for the 50th anniversary in one of the most anticipated redesigns in recent memory. Let’s see if the new one generates as much passion.

4 Best Cars for the New Teen Driver

Let’s face it-new teen drivers’ need cars with excellent safety features and crash-test results, but teens aren’t looking for the safest car like their parents. They want something cool and sporty that they can personalize and show off to their friends. Car safety technology has improved drastically over the past few years, so it’s now an ideal time to trust teens on the road. Luckily, there are cars that fulfill both requirements for teens themselves and their parents. Check out these great options for your teen driver.

Hyundai Elantra

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The Hyundai Elantra stands out as one of the best cars for new drivers. The Elantra received a five-star rating in government crash-tests for overall safety and side impact protection. It also earned for stars for frontal impact protection as well as earned the title of top small sedan by Consumer Reports.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Elantra its highest score of side-impact and frontal-offset crashes. The car also receive a top rating for roof-strength test.

Those tests show you that the Elantra will protect your kid during an accident. You also need to know what features will help them avoid accidents.

The Elantra comes packed with standard safety features, including:
• anti-lock disc brakes
• traction control
• stability control
• active from head restraints

In addition to the Elantra’s ratings, teens love the sporty look of this car from the curved shaped headlights, aerodynamic roof line, and standard rims. The body style reminds me of the Pontiac Grand Prix I owned as a teen. As for the interior, consumers loves the gauge appearance with blue lighting and the steering wheel controls. Overall, this cars boasts style and safety, which makes it perfect for teen drivers.

Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus Hatchback SEL

The Ford Focus comes in as a close second as it’s been one of the top selling compact sedans for years. It also receives excellent safety and crash-test ratings and comes with the safety features that can help parents relax when their kids are out and about.

Government crash-tests give the Focus four out of five stars in overall safety. That’s good score worth noting. The IIHS gives the car its highest rating in side and frontal-offset crashes. It also gets the top score for roof strength.

To make the Focus even safer, add the Ford Sync System. This system can notify 911 when a crash occurs.

Also consider setting the MyKey System, a standard feature, so you can control your teen’s driving behaviors. If they can’t speed, then they’re automatically in less danger.

Fuel efficiency is definitely a factor that teens should look at since they’ll be filling their gas tanks from now on. Lucky for them, the Focus has an excellent fuel economy at 28/38 MPG. This car has a sporty appearance as well with wrapping tail lights, crisscross bumper material, and a trunk lid lip and skirt.

Although consumers don’t like the steering wheel controls half as much as the Elantra’s, they do like the attractive blue gauge lighting. Not a bad car to look at, but I would still personally recommend the Elantra.

Chevy Sonic

2013 Sonic RS NAIS

Parents can’t go wrong with the Chevy Sonic. The Sonic launched in 2011 to replace Aveo and tied with the Fiesta for the 6th highest hatchback vehicle. IIHS designates it as a Top Safety Pick. The government gives it five stars in side, frontal, and overall protection. In other words, the Sonic can handle a crash.

The safety features will also impress parents. It includes:

• stability control
• traction control
• anti-lock brakes
• front knee airbags

A quick look at an informative car insurance blog will tell you that these features and ratings do more than protect your kids. They’ll also help keep your insurance prices low.

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff. Teens love the sound controls, aerodynamic front end, and the circular tail lamps for a sporty look. Since this has a hatchback, the back end is flat, which makes parking a breeze whether you’re pulling into a stall or parallel parking in the city. I would be interested in test driving this vehicle to compare its performance and handling to the Elantra and Focus.

Volkswagen Jetta

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The Jetta has a long history as one of the world’s safest cars. Although the appearance isn’t as sporty, it has the kind of styling that won’t embarrass your kids when they pull up to the school parking lot.
The government gives this car four out of five stars, but the IIHS gives it its highest rating in roof strength, frontal-offset collisions, and side collisions.

The VW Jetta comes in a large range of trim levels, so you can choose one that matches your budget and your safety concerns. Standard features include:

• active front head restraints
• side curtain airbags
• stability control
• traction control
• front side airbags

Teens will love the interior space with a roomy backseat and comfort when they’re cruising around with their friends. While the Jetta has a simple and understated design, it’s not a bad value for the money.

If teens wants to personalize their car, there are plenty of ways to make it burst with character, such as a new paint job, spoiler, shiny rims, modern headlights, grills and tinted windows. Just know that too much personalization may attract the cops like a magnet (I know from experience).

Luckily, there are some car options that will please both teens and parents when they normally don’t see eye-to-eye. Which of these cars would you prefer as a teen driver? Why? Any other vehicles that you believe should make the list?

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