Ford cars

We love infographics, as they are a quick and fun way to educate your customers or readers. We also love how Ford has let its automotive hair down in recent years and become a little more cheeky, for lack of a better word, with its commercials and other advertisements. Combine the two together and you have some really good stuff.

Ford did just that combination, as it pits its SVT Raptor , which has a $43,970 MSRP, against the Mars Rover Curiosity, which is costing the tax payers a total of $2.5 billion. Really, there is no comparison between the two in a literal sense, but Ford has used its recently discovered sense of humor to compare the two in a sharp iconographic.

Things like the 35-gallon fuel capacity of the Raptor against the 10.6 pounds of plutonium-dioxide fuel aboard the Curiosity Rover are the types of goofy comparisons made. Or how about Ford’s punchy 6.2-liter V-8 pitted up against the nuclear radioscope thermoelectric power generator strapped to the Rover? Simply no competition, but Ford definitely gives us a good chuckle with this one.

We have provided the full infographic after the jump, so you can see exactly what we’re talking about.

Ford is continuing its list of charitable donations by offering up another special edition Mustang to follow the Boss 302 Laguna Seca Alley Edition , the Roush Stage 3 Mustang Special Edition , and the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 by Melvin Betancourt . The newest charity vehicle is a one-off, unique Candy Red Boss 302 which will be auctioned during the Cattle Baron’s Ball to benefit the American Cancer Society.

This special edition features a one-of-a-kind paint scheme created for the event. The goal in customizing the Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca is to create a vehicle that will attract the highest bids from car collectors. If anyone is interested in this unique opportunity, the auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

"Like many people, my family has been personally affected by the challenges of cancer and I am proud to chair Cattle Baron’s Ball in Detroit," said Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company group vice president for Global Marketing, Sales and Service. "As a fan of the powerful, historic Mustang, I am especially pleased to provide this American icon for auction."

American tuner, Hellion, has just announced a tuning package for the 2011+ Ford Mustang GT models that will absolutely blow your mind. With the use of multiple components, these guys were able to get the Mustang’s engine to pump out a staggering 1,249 rear wheel horsepower when they strapped it to the dyno.

The total package will set owners back about $7,500, but in return, they will get dual Precision billet 62mm turbos, twin Turbosmart 4mm wastegates, twin Turbosmart Vee port bypass valves, a large vertical flow dual inlet intercooler, stainless 4-to-1 headers, and dual 3-inch downpipes. The result is 600 rwhp on just 5.8 psi of boost, but it’s actually capable of 1,249 rear wheel horsepower at just 23.9 psi of boost! To handle the extra power, Hellion utilized a fully-built Ford Racing Aluminator engine, triple fuel pumps, and 105 lb/hr fuel injector.

On top of all of that, Hellion has also promised that this system is designed for daily use and is completely street legal.

Check out the video to see the Ford Mustang GT by Hellion as it performs on the dyno.

Ford Escape

In the past, Ford has had some serious issues with its cars and fire. Two that stick firmly in our minds are the Pinto, which Ford famously weighed out the cost of recall vs. the cost of paying wrongful death suits, and the spontaneous combustion of the second generation Taurus . So when we learned that the newly redesigned Escape had a potential fire issue, we expected swift and proactive action from Ford.

We certainly got that, but we never expected it to be to the extent that it has become. Reports have emerged that Ford is actually paying dealerships a $300 spiff to repair each and every recalled Escape , which is about 11,500 vehicles. Even our basic mathematical skills can sort out that we are talking about $3,450,000 worth of spiff payments, which does not include the cost to repair the issue.

We are curious to find out if the dealers are passing this spiff onto the service writers and technicians that are repairing the vehicles or hoarding this payment for themselves. We are willing to bet that it is the latter, as the technicians and service writers make commission off of the recall repairs and dealers rarely share spiffs any more.

In addition to this extra bonus, Ford is also recommending that dealerships wash and vacuum the SUV, and fill the gas tank. Talk about going over the top...

It is rather obvious that Ford wants this issue gone and it wants it gone as quickly and effectively as possible. Hats off to Ford for taking this sort of approach with this extremely dangerous recall.

Ford’s mighty F-150 SVT Raptor recently got a host of changes to make it more driver-friendly and off-road capable, but the lack of engine modifications seem to have inspired Geiger Cars to make a few changes of their own. Their package basically pays homage to Hennessey’s VelociRaptor 600 - even though probably not on purpose - with similar improvements done at an expert level.

But let’s get back to the F-150. In its standard form, the Ford truck’s 6.2-liter V8 delivers a total of 411 HP, but after the German tuner’s handywork, it now delivers an impressive 600 HP. This was done with a built-in compressor that also amounts to a fuel savings at a constant speed of 100 mph.

The package includes a few other additional features, including a six-speed automatic transmission, differential lock, 17-inch alloy wheels with massive 35-inch off-road tires BRGoodrich, a Sony sound system, dual-zone air conditioning, and numerous leather items. These changes can be applied for both the Super Cab and Super Crew Cab versions.

The problem with all of these updates is that they come with an astronomical price of € 74,900, or about $90,500 at the current exchange rates.

The Dark Knight Rises has been heating up cinemas for the past few days, so it seems only fitting that with the last part of the trilogy in cinemas today, we take a look at one of the most enduring stars of the famed DC super hero movie franchise. No, we’re not talking about Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl character from Batman and Robin. What we’re referring to is the Batmobile, the Dark Knight’s very own ride-of-choice.

In this section though, we’re going to pay tribute - we use that word loosely - to the five worst Batmobile replicas we’ve ever seen. Some are more eye-cringing than the others, but rest assured, none of them would pass the standards of Bruce Wayne.

Heck, we don’t even think the Joker would be caught dead riding in one of these so-called Batmobiles.

So here it is, folks. Prepare to cringe, laugh, or whatever emotion these pictures will do to you.

Find out TopSpeed’s five worst Batmobile replicas after the jump

Automotive Legend Carroll Shelby dies at 89

After we lost racing and general automotive legend, Carroll Shelby on May 10th, a squabble ensued over his remains. His estranged wife, Cleo, claimed that she had the rights to his remains and the documentation that his children had, which requested that he be cremated and his ashes split between his children and his burial plot in Texas, was forged.

According to reports, Shelby had filed for an annulment of the marriage, citing that his wife had lied about her background and even her name, just before he died. Unfortunately, the annulment was not awarded posthumously, so it appeared as if the only other way to settle the dispute was in court.

Fortunately, the two sides managed to keep the case out of court by coming to an agreement on Monday and Mr. Shelby’s body will be laid to rest in the way that he requested, except for one minor compromise. The minor compromise is the fact that his estranged wife gets part of his ashes.

We’re glad to hear that the issue is settled, though we would have preferred to see his wife completely cut out of it. The most important thing, however, is that the issue is done and this legend can now be laid to rest peacefully and his children can hold their heads high that their father was laid to rest in the way he requested, though his son Michael says that they are still not happy with the results.

In the early years of the automotive industry, the interior was simply somewhere to park your behind as you drove around. In the modern era, car interiors are becoming more like a second home, as they are now featuring climate control, TVs, huge sound systems, plush fabrics, and much more. Due to the constantly changing automotive world, automakers need to make sure that they are producing the best interiors possible, or risk losing sales to the competition.

Ford has taken this competition to a new level, as it is now using a robotic system to determine the quality of its cars’ interiors. This new robotic touch system is called Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics (RUTH). For those on the same vocabulary level as me and needing a more plain English description, this is a robot that uses sensors to determine the pain, pressure, or heat that a human’s skin would feel when touching something, which then turns that touch sensation into scalable data.

The above video shows Ford engineers describing RUTH as she touches and probes multiple points throughout the cabin of the all-new Ford Fusion . RUTH then uses data that Ford has collected from thousands of customers around the world and determines if the pieces it tests meet the collective wants of Ford buyers. From there, Ford engineers can adjust the texture, feel, softness, or even temperature of something in the cabin.

RUTH has been in commission in Ford North America since January 2012 and it looks like it is a complete success, at least according to the video. With advancements like this, it is easy to see why Ford was able to keep its head above water through the automotive recession.

Back in 2009, racer and drifter extraordinaire Vaughn Gittin Jr. unveiled the Mustang RTR-C , a custom Mustang that came with a carbon fiber body and 550 horsepower hiding under its hood.

Now that the 2013 Ford Mustang has been unveiled, Gittin Jr. is back with the second-generation Mustang RTR. Details behind the project have just been released, and as previously speculated, the muscle car carries a similar design theme to the original carbon fiber-clad model.

What’s new for the 2013 Mustang RTR is that it will be made available on the Mustang V6 with an option to put a supercharger system to drive up the car’s performance credentials a few levels past the standard model to either 525 horsepower or 624 horsepower. In addition, the program also includes an appearance package that includes an RTR chin spoiler; rocker splitters; an RTR rear diffuser; an aluminum RTR rear spoiler; an RTR stripe kit; RTR badging; an RTR rear deck lid applique; and 19" RTR wheels with Falken ultra high performance tires.

"I couldn’t be any more excited with the traction and reception of RTR since its introduction just two short years ago," says Vaughn. "We will continue to push the envelope and give our customers a fun, aggressive-looking car to drive and a family that they are excited to be a part of well into the future. We are just getting the RTR party started!"

The RTR program is expected to be available as a turnkey tuning package, although we certainly hope that it’s going to be far less than the $135,000 price tag of its predecessor.

UPDATE 07/18/2012: This review has been updated with details on the Ford Mustang RTR by Vaughn Gittin Jr.

Check out what comes with the RTR 1 and the RTR 2 Spec packages after the jump!

Experts have thoroughly exhausted the competition between the Mustang GT500 and the Camaro ZL1 . That competition is getting so old that even we are beginning to tire of it. The results are quite crystal clear in that competition; the Mustang kicks the Camaro’s ass in a straight line, but the Camaro is a better road car that takes on twisty roads with much more grace.

One competition that has yet to be put to bed in the Mustang vs. Camaro rivalry is between two fairly even-matched opponents, the Mustang Boss 302 and the fresh-off-of-the-car-show-circuit Camaro 1LE . If you are wondering what “1LE” stands for, we’ll let you know. Back in the late 1980s – in the Camaro’s dark ages – Chevy put together a 1LE option package that included a radio and A/C delete, taller gearing for better acceleration, upgraded brakes, and an upgraded suspension. It was essentially a track-ready Camaro, which is a bit of an oxymoron for that era Camaro.

This new 1LE model is pretty similar to the one of yesteryear, sans the deletion of much-needed comfort items. We’ll get into more of the specifics in a bit.

So, how well does the Camaro 1LE stack up to the mighty Mustang Boss 302? You’ll have to click past the jump to read our full comparison to find out.

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