Like a Good Hot Dog, Ford has Something for Everyone

Like a Good Hot Dog, Ford has Something for Everyone
Ford GT- Captivating Chicago and the world. Photo by J. Basile

Growing up in a family that made a sizable chunk of it’s income in the hot dog business, makes you a bit humble and allows you to appreciate the things that most other people take for granted. I remember hearing so many friends and family members scoff at the very idea that anyone could become successful from selling a simple and common “street food,” and yet, my father managed prove them all wrong by becoming modestly wealthy from his endeavor.

Anyone could easily make a hot dog, but it order to make a great hot dog you need the right ingredients (like Chernobyl-green relish). The devil is in the details, but it is that attention to those details that can transform a simple hot dog into a crave-worthy meal. Also, having the right selection of condiments available allows you to broaden your appeal by offering a little something for everyone.

I am sure that when the first Model T rolled off the assembly line, Henry Ford wasn’t thinking of hot dogs or the something for everyone approach. In fact, I believe Mr. Ford himself said “…any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants; so long as it is black.”

Although I tend to agree with Mr. Ford on the ideal choice of color for any vehicle, I must say that I was quite impressed at their current vehicle lineup on display at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Within 10 minutes of browsing through the variety of vehicles and technology on display, I soon realized that Ford is a hot dog. Although by some standards, being called a hot dog might be considered an insult, but believe me when I say that in this case- it is a term of endearment.

For starters, I like hot dogs… a lot. Like my father taught me at an early age, if you use the right combination ingredients and the right preparation, a hot dog can be something something special. This is where I see the similarities between Ford and a good kosher-style frank. Unfortunately, a lot like the hot dog, the Ford nameplate is often taken for granted and not immediately recognized as the world-class brand that it is.

Yes, the mighty blue oval has set records for volume sales, but has it really been given the respect it deserves by its own countrymen? If you seriously, look at the current lineup, there is a wide spectrum of vehicles available. From the frugal (but highly praised) 1.0L EcoBoost Fiesta, to the revolutionary, aluminium-bodied F-150, to the seductive GT- there is proof that there is a “hot dog” for everyone and for every taste. Of the many “condiments” to choose from, their three standout stars of the show are:

Ford GT:

The Ford GT, making it's mark on Chicago. Photo by J. Basile

The Ford GT- Making it’s mark on Chicago and the world. Photo by J. Basile

Arguably the most photogenic vehicle on display at the entire show, the GT is further proof that even a household name like Ford can still design vehicles that are dreamworthy. Upon close inspection, I was impressed by the abundantly clear attention to deal and the fact that no design elements were overstated. As Garen Nicoghosian, Senior Designer at Ford pointed out, “It still looks like a GT. It’s based on a heritage the car left with us; it’s a pretty big chunk of why the car exists.”

Putting aside the science behind the design, there is the emotional response one feels when in it’s presence. It is absolutely alluring and no matter what angle you choose to admire this elegant machine, you can’t help but feel impressed. Nicoghosian went on to to state, “You have to pay homage to where the car came from, but we also didn’t want it to be a retro-based design.” Although the GT has a clearly traced heritage, the new GT has it’s own identity. A lot like the great Neil Peart- the GT stands alone.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350:

Shelby GT350 worthy of the badge and respect. Photo by J. Basile

Shelby GT350- Worthy of the badge and respect. Photo by J. Basile

When you want to successfully move forward, you must look back at how you got there in the first place. Although the belief is that the original “350” was an arbitrary number chosen by Carroll Shelby, the vehicle it was attached to was a true performer and one that set the bar for a new standard for performance. Built around a racing-inspired, flat plane crank engine design, the new GT350 is as serious about performance as its forefather. Jamal Hameedi, Ford Performance Chief Engineer was determined to get the driving dynamics right, “If you have ever driven a 1965 GT350, it’s like a religious experience.”

Hameedi and his team looked at what made the original GT350 great and ensured that the new 5.2-litre engine was the star. “In order to deliver that same experience (as the original GT350), we needed it naturally aspirated; it had to be a V8… and we wanted it to be one of the greatest V8 engines ever made.”  If numbers only tell a part of the story, expect to see well over 500hp being produced by this new powerplant, and a driving experience worthy of the GT350 badge.

Ford Police Interceptor Utility:

Police Interceptor Utility- Redefining "to Serve and Protect." Photo by J. Basile

Police Interceptor Utility- Redefining “to Serve and Protect.” Photo by J. Basile

For decades, Ford has been the vehicle of choice for many law enforcement agencies. With the demise of the rugged, but outdated Crown Victoria in 2011, the Police Interceptor Utility quickly became the best selling police vehicle in America. Working in cooperation with the Ford Police Advisory Board- a rotating panel of law enforcement experts, the 2016 Police Interceptor Utility was engineered to better protect and serve the officer. “By listening to the Ford Police Advisory Board, we have engineered a vehicle that officers love,” said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford North American marketing manager for Police Vehicles.

All Interceptors are packed with features specifically tailored to law enforcement officers, such as standard all-wheel drive, a six-speed transmission with a special Pursuit Mode program, a reinforced unibody construction, heavy-duty suspension and upgraded brakes. Additionally, law enforcement agencies can also opt for Class III ballistics protection on the front doors, an available 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6, rated at 365hp, and an amazing Surveillance Mode technology that can detect movement behind the vehicle, then automatically raise the windows and lock the doors. It abundantly clear that Police Interceptor is, as Honeycutt said, “specially tuned for police use.”

SYNC 3- Ford's new, unsung hero. Photo by J. Basile

SYNC 3- Ford’s new, unsung hero. Photo by J. Basile

From my standpoint, 2015 is looking to be a great year for the Ford brand. With innovations in SYNC technology, dynamic vehicle designs and a clear commitment to performance in all model lines, I will openly state that the Ford brand has what it takes to not only be competitive; but to also win.

A lot like the naysayers who tried to talk my father out of starting an exceptionally lucrative endeavor, sometimes the best things in life are the things we take for granted. I am pleased and refreshed to see an American vehicle company pay close attention to the needs of their customers and offer a little something for everyone. After all, who said that a hot dog can’t be something special?

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