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1966 Batmobile - Auto News and Events

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA

The most radical element in the new F-150 sure isn't the square-cut exterior styling, but it may well be the interior. Or make that interiors. The F-150 will be available with different interiors Ford describes as "custom environments ... developed for each series." So the FX4 interior (shown) is completely different than that of the Lariat or XLT. And the interiors are larger with regular and extended SuperCab models both stretching another 6 inches in length. The SuperCrew crew-cab model is also back with seating for up to six. The three cabs are available with three different-length boxes with either "Styleside" or "Flareside" fenders.

The fully boxed frame is stiffer, and the front suspension now mounts the coil spring around the shock and incorporates aluminum lower control arms. The solid rear axle still rides on leaf springs. Steering is by rack-and-pinion, braking is by four-wheel discs, and ABS is standard.

While the 4.6L, SOHC Triton V-8 carries over unchanged except for an electronic throttle, the 5.4L version now sports three-valve heads that push output to 300 hp. It also gets the electronic throttle.

The new F-150 will go on sale this fall.

Fact: Ford will offer an onboard fire-suppression system on the '05 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.

Fact: According to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), thieves have been taking Cadillac Escalades at a higher rate than any other vehicle. In fact, five of the ten most stolen vehicles are high-end SUVs.

Fact: Our favorite band name this year? "Camaro Hair" out of Oregon plays "energetic, engaging power pop, harking back to early-'80s New Wave" according to the Portland Oregonian newspaper. Their new album is entitle "Far From OK," which we guess means they're still nowhere near Oklahoma.

Fact: According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News, two brothers died when testing their modified Chevelle on the roads around a Denver warehouse district. Both men, in their 40s, died when the car hit a loading dock at more than 100 mph.

Facts And Rumors

Fact: William J. Faenza Jr., 35, was charged by police in Lehighton, Pennsylvania for allegedly driving 182 mph in his Lamborghini Diablo while drunk. The speed was calculated by timing the Diablo over a fixed distance according to a report from the Associated Press. Dang, we were hoping that some trooper in a really bad-actor Crown Vic had chased him down.

Fact: The Los Angeles Police Department confiscated its first two cars under a new municipal law that allows them to seize cars involved in illegal street races. "We're taking lethal weapons off the streets," Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo was quoted as saying by the Long Beach Press Telegram. "We're taking them and we're not giving them back." The disposition of the two cars, a '89 IROC Camaro and a similar '90 model, hasn't been determined yet. However LAPD Chief William Bratton has suggested crushing them in front of their drivers. Ouch.

Fact: Ford is spending at least $200 million to advertise the new F-150. This is supposedly the most expensive vehicle launch ever.

Fact: In August 2003, Toyota sold more vehicles of all types (cars and trucks) in the United States than did Chrysler.

Fact: Pontiac will call its '05 replacement for the Grand Am the G6.

Taste O' Trivia

The front fenders on the '70 Plymouth Superbird were actually from a '70 Dodge Coronet, not a regular Plymouth Road Runner.

Before it built an automotive Hemi V-8, Chrysler first used hemispherical combustion chambers on this XI-2220 experimental aircraft engine developed during World War II.

Comedian Sam Kinison was driving a limited-edition '89 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver in April 1992.

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