Saturday, February 23, 2008

Meet the New Ford Hybrid

The marketing boys up in Dearborn, Michigan, were fond of the phrase, "The Ford Family of Fine Cars." As is often the case in more recent times some diversity has come to the family.

At the junction of Old State ( Hwy.176 ) and Jedberg Roads we encountered a family member which had undergone a bit of makeover. The venerable Ford Crown Victoria, the last rear wheel drive full sized 4 door sedan extant, the nation's police car and the choice of older, less agile Americans, had obviously gone through some ch-ch-ch-changes.

The car has been painted what are decidedly the school colors of the University of Michigan, but we don't recall Bart Simpson ever coaching the Wolverines. He is portrayed on the left rear quarter panel of the car either confounded by or coveting the "26's". This is a reference to the diameter of the wheel rims: 26 inches! The Crown Vic comes with 16 inch wheels and the Mustang is fitted with 17 inchers. In addition to promoting an element of style, these much larger wheels have the effect of causing slower acceleration, even slower braking, speedometer error, but increased fuel economy. We would expect larger wheels to cost more, but this class of wheel is exponentially more expensive. Many are in fact leased rather than sold outright. Those baloon payments can be pretty tough. When the FED recently lowered interest rates, we're certain that may sets were refinanced. Talk about reinventing the wheel !

They have elsewhere been suggested as the perfect configuration for navigating the low lying streets of the Charleston peninsula. When most SUVs are stalled and flooded out in the high water on the Crosstown, one would still be charging ahead and gleefully spraying them with the impounded brown tide which collects on those wet days.

The customizing is done locally so it amounts to a form of native art. We spoke with the friendly fellow who had actually done the work himself. Across the top of the windshield is marked, " 843-KUSTOMS " which in no way computes with the telephone he gave us, but that's the artist's privilege we feel. Why make it too easy?

So, it protects our drivers from the regularly rising waters, saves fuel and enables revenge upon trucks and SUVs. There's not doubt about it, this is a hybrid in its own right.


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