News and Views

Car (Truck?) of the Century
It's pretty much a hands-down decision by an international panel to name the Ford Model T as the car of the century (COTC). Shoring up that gesture of automotive gratitude was the nod to give Henry Ford the Automotive Entrepreneur of the century award. The Model T was configured into such a versatile utility vehicle that by 1921 they accounted for more than 55 percent of the global automotive production. A portion of that initial piece of the market share pie went to the pickup truck version of the Model T. Individual and small business owners could pick up and deliver their wares with a touch of class and a payload capacity that didn't depend on a bucket of oats and blinders to be motivated.

Introduced on October 1, 1908, the Model T soon gained a reputation for being dependable and reliable. Those qualities helped push sales up to 10,660 vehicles in the first year of production. So, even though Ford produced up to 19 different models of vehicles between 1903 and 1908, a portion of those vehicles were predecessors to our modern day pickup trucks. New technology is costly, and the first vehicles off the assembly line ran about $850 dollars until refinements and efficiencies in production eventually dropped the price down to a cool $260.

Raising the Bar on SUV's
Ultimately it will be up to the individual states, but the sweeping automotive emissions rules being proposed by the environmental protection agency EPA present a challenge to auto makers. The new plan will mandate that most pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles meet the same pollution standards as cars. Lending some teeth to the plan will be new rules requiring oil refineries to produce gasoline with lower sulfur content. The sulfur content tends to back up in the tailpipes of cars and trucks.

Some states, however, are considering adopting the California emissions model for their state rather than operate under the Federal automotive emissions standards. Advocates for the EPA emissions rules say the air will get cleaner quicker. Others, such as Texas may lean toward the California model because, amongst other advantages, compel automakers to sell a certain amount of zero-emission and/or ultra low-emission vehicles.

Vehicles equipped with diesel power will have a tougher time meeting the stringent requirements of the new Federal standards, but they will enjoy a grace period for a couple years to get up to speed. We'll try to keep you posted on this issue.

The Electric Horseman
Budget EV Rentals is now renting electric Ford Ranger trucks for $19.95 a day at selected locations around Los Angeles International Airport and Sacramento Airport. The low rental price will be in effect for one year and is designed to get people to try out the Ranger EV.

The Ranger EV is based on Ford's best-selling compact truck and is the leading electric-powered vehicle in production. The Ranger EV, like all Rangers, is built "Ford Tough," with all the same safety, reliability, durability and comfort features built into the gas powered versions.

Budget EV Rentals currently offers 10 Ranger EV's for rent throughout California and will have 20 more in the rental fleet by January 2000.

Growing Pains
Toyota is doing so well in America that plans are underway to expand production capacity in the United States. The growth is being fueled by the overwhelming popularity (and high sales figures) of the new-for-2000 Tundra pickup.

Toyota may add another assembly line to their already enormous Princeton, Indiana plant, which produces Tundra's exclusively or possibly expand the car plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

In addition to the Tundra, Toyota will be beginning production of a Tundra-based SUV that will fall into the Toyota line-up between the 4Runner and LandCrusier SUV's. The new SUV will be built at the Indiana facility as well.

Denali Does Dallas
GM has announced it is becoming the exclusive automotive partner of the Dallas Cowboys for the next five years. Cowboy's owner Jerry Jones and Larry Hice, GM general manager, South Central Region, made the announcement during the Cowboy's 40th training camp at the start of the season.

"This partnership is an excellent showcase of two of America's greatest success stories," Says Jones. " Both GM and the Cowboys have achieved greatness through hard work, a desire for excellence, and teamwork. Together, we'll create the ultimate team for our fans."
According to Hice "this new team of GM and the Cowboys will be identified by instant recognition and prestige. This partnership will also translate into some very interesting opportunities for out customers, fans, and employees. Thanks to more than 1,500 GM dealers within the Cowboys territory, we'll be able to take the dynamics of the on-field action to the fans."

The first such opportunity will be the newly developed Official Dallas Cowboys Limited Edition Design package to be offered on select new GM vehicles. The first vehicle, a GMC Denali SUV, was unveiled at the press conference.

Dakota Quad Cab Accolades
The soon-to-be-released Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (due to dealers February 2000) is winning heaps of praise from the automotive press. The Quad Cab, with four, forward opening doors, has won such titles as Sport Truck Magazine's "Sport Truck of the Year" and Petersen's 4Wheel and Off-Road magazine named it their "4x4 Of The Year."

With seating for up to six adults, a new, more powerful V-6, and two new V-8's (4.7L & 5.9L) it's a fast, fun, and practical pickup for people that need more than an extended cab pickup truck, but aren't ready to buy an SUV.

The Quad cab is based on a Club Cab chassis which dictated that the bed be shortened to 63 inches in length. Although the bed is shorter, cargo carrying capacity remains 1,450 pounds, the highest in its class. The interior appointment features several class-leading items including adjustable, ratcheting cupholders, flip up rear seats with inertia latches, and a full complement of gauges and options that keep occupants in comfort not normally reserved for pick-up trucks.

Customer Truck Spotlight

When the winds of change blow ragged through the headstones of graves from some forgotten past, they occasionally remove the dirt from buried treasure. It was one of those rare moments when Dana Nevins spotted this 1970 Ford Bronco Wagon running around his stomping grounds of Blissfield, Michigan…for sale.

Mercy. For $1,500 Dana was floating with the vision he had been working on for years. The Bronco was in great shape, but it was stock. In order for this Bronco to be ready for the trails of Michigan and 'wheeling adventures at Silver Lake sand dunes it would undergo a transformation of sorts. This truck was completely gutted and rebuilt from the ground up with the help of Jeff Trapp in South Lyon, Michigan.

The Ford 5.0-liter high output motor is kept in check by Autometer Pro Comp gauges. Mildly built but potent, the small-block mill runs through a B&M C-4 transmission controlled in the cockpit by a B&M Pro Ratchet shifter. All this links to a 1977 Banjo style Ford 9-inch rear differential loaded with Currie Enterprises 31-spline axles and a Detroit Locker and 4.56 gears.

Hey, e-mail us pictures (3-4 max) of your vehicle with a description of what you've done using parts from and we could put you in our new Customer Truck Spotlight.