Ford Motor Retrofuturism

thttht
Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I hope the Ford Thunderbird's death signals the end of Ford's insane foray into retrofuturism, their recent stragety of marrying the design of glory cars of days gone by with modern design:



Ford Thunderbird





I know a guy who still mourns the loss.



Ford GT40





Ford Forty-Nine





Ford 427 (likely the Taurus replacement, Futura)





The only one that seems to look reasonable is the new Mustang. Otherwise, the car company seems to be going the wrong direction. Retrofuturism is good for a couple of cars, not an entire automotive strategy. How much longer can SUVs save them? It looks like they are going to move Lincoln downmarket. Jaguar has lost its British stately veneer. Mazda platforms look to be forming the base of their mid-level sedans (Futura et al). I actually think Volvo is a bright spot. Maybe the Escape Hybrid and its Hybrid engine will save them, but I don't think thins are looking very good. There is only one Ford vehicle I lust after, the F-150 SVT Lighting. After that, the Lincoln LS maybe. Everything else seems to be mediocrity with the Taurus, Explorer/Expedition, and F-series trucks as the backbone.



I've own two Ford vehicles, the only vehicles I've had, and I'm definitely looking to buy something other than a Ford base vehicle, next year probably.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    overhopeoverhope Posts: 1,123member
    The Mustang, while looking superb, is a weird amalgam of all sorts of retro-Mustang cues: I think J Mays has lost his touch...



    The latest generation Mazdas are generally based on Ford of Europe platforms (the Mazda 2 is a reskinned Fiesta, and the 3 has lots of bit from under the next Focus).



    Jaguar isn't doing too badly: the fact that the new XJ saloons actually look like Jaguar XJ saloons is a definite plus, and the revamped S-Types are pretty well-sorted now.



    Volvo seems to be causing some real problems (as is Saab for GM): it seems nobody knows what to do with the Scandinavian brands, and Volvo needs a new small car urgently.



    You're quite right, though, the SUV bubble can't last forever, and the smart manufacturers need to get the hell out of that market as soon as they can afford to: they may keep cashflow up, but the profit margins are wafer-thin...
  • Reply 2 of 41
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    The big jags still look great. They hit a winning style and they really shouldn't change it too much. The mid size jag should be a little smoother, the shape looks OK, but the cut lines and the charcter line along the side look all wrong. The coupes look squished and floaty, they either need to be trimmed up a bit like the show cars that spawned them, or get swoopy and bulbuous like a proper retro e-coupe.



    The thunderbird looks awful from just about every angle.



    The 49 and GT-90 look great. Especially the 49, which would have looked great either in coupe or convertable, and would have been a much better choice than the current thunderbird.



    That lincoln thing doesn't look particularly retro to me, just kinda uninteresting and butch.
  • Reply 3 of 41
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Not sure why you put the Ford GT(-40) up there because it's less a product of 'retrofuturism' and more a of a direct homage to the original...and it looks great.
  • Reply 4 of 41
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    the 49 looks great from a few angles...

    there are some photos of the roof which show it is all one piece

    and i think i've seen one of it being mostly glass



    this view brings to mind the old batmobile,

    but i'd expect a polarizing filter for opaque to transparent, or perhaps active solar cells

    and the convertible will be way cool
  • Reply 5 of 41
    The GT40 kicks ass.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    Personally, I liked the look of the new T-Bird, but I understand that it was just a so-so drive. Ford seems to have lost the touch of building cars that generate any excitement. That, and quality control issues are two of their many problems.



    In the mid-to late nineties, Ford was sitting on a pile of cash and looked poised to be a dominant international automaker. Now they are really, really struggling.



    I have owned two Fords - including my current car - but will not likely own another.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    thttht Posts: 3,209member
    The GT40 is more of an homage than retrofuturism, yes, but I think it is symptomatic of Ford's problems. They are looking back too much for design and that is not a strategy to pull in or maintain marketshare. It's a strategy for nostalgic buyers. That is, older buyers, a limited demographic looking for something in the past. The marketing should always be geared towards the 25 to 35 year old demographic who will buy the brand for the next 40 years.



    The numbers for the Thunderbird pretty much tells that story. After the initial burst of nostalgic success, the numbers shrunk embarrassingly. I realise the GT40 is only an "anniversary" vehicle, but I also see it as Ford's entrance to the super-sportscar market a la the Viper and Vette. Incidently, it's also a product of the same living legends studio responsible for the Thunderbird and the Forty-Nine. A super-sportscar should bring the company into the future, and the GT40 isn't it. The scary part is that the Futura, the Taurus replacement, is very similar to the Ford 427 concept (which I think is essentially the Five-Hundred concept). It isn't as retro as the 49, but it has cues as such.



    Ford can only come back, err, maintain their status, through innovation and producing great cars at great prices. Nissan is following the strategy and they are recovering nicely. Chrysler, after it's buyout and leaving the PT Cruiser design language behind, looks to be in the process of following that strategy and I think they'll recover if they follow through.
  • Reply 8 of 41
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I don't see anything too nice about the Thunderbird, even as a retro machine. The body is slim in the flanks, but it sits to high on the wheel wells, on wheels that just look wrong to boot. The rear is way too slim and cut off, and not suited to the car. On an alfa spider the boat tail thing could work, not on this car. It ends up looking like a toy model of a thunderbird and just out of proportion.



    The '49 OTOH looks chunky and slick in the same way as a chopped 49 merc done by one of the better customizers. And that roof, beautiful, it makes the otherwise smooth exterior visually interesting and would probably look great from the curb.



    They shoulda built that instead of the thunderbird.



    The Mustang looks very good, and so what if it's a pastiche of the better looking Mustangs, Ford hasn't made a good looking mustang since the late 60's, though at least they've sold well compared to the Chevy/pontiac pony cars, which have also looked like crap since about the same time.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    and as a ragtop man, i admit an admiration for the Buick Bengal







    but if you can get full spats for the back end of a convertible 49, hmmmm
  • Reply 10 of 41
    _ alliance __ alliance _ Posts: 2,070member
    the only ford that has ever been worth a damn is the GT40. all others are pieces of cr*p. the new Tbird is the worst. what an ugly, idiotic move from a terrible auto company.



    ford needs to follow dodge and let euros show them the right way to make a vehicle...
  • Reply 11 of 41
    _ alliance __ alliance _ Posts: 2,070member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT





    Ford can only come back, err, maintain their status, through innovation and producing great cars at great prices.






    this is my favorite line.



    innovation? hahahhaahah

    great cars? ahahahahahhaahaha

    you're joking, right???? ford is like the microsoft of the auto world. cheap quality, cheap price, nothing original, cloned cars for the uninspired members of society that don't know any better.



    ford deals with technology the way the other american auto companies do--if you want more power, just add displacement. this is the reason pollution levels are so high and we need so much gas. it's sad when a 2.0 liter japanese 4-banger outperforms a 5.0 liter ford...
  • Reply 12 of 41
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I can think of at least one american V8 car, and a few pushrod V6 powered cars, that get better higeway mileage than quite a few japanese (supposedly efficient) 4 cylinder machines.
  • Reply 13 of 41
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    I can think of at least one american V8 car, and a few pushrod V6 powered cars, that get better higeway mileage than quite a few japanese (supposedly efficient) 4 cylinder machines.





    if you choose to redline said 4-banger at 9k rpm, then yes...
  • Reply 14 of 41
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by curiousuburb

    and as a ragtop man, i admit an admiration for the Buick Bengal







    but if you can get full spats for the back end of a convertible 49, hmmmm






    I hope this car is a bad joke. U-G-L-Y
  • Reply 15 of 41
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Look at any 4 pushing a mid size car/wagon or sport cute. The Vette gets better highway mileage than a Honda Element for example. Put 4 people and/or some luggage in the trunk, and all of a sudden the highway mileage of the "efficient" inline 4 goes to shiat. I've driven a quite a few vehicles all over southern Ontario and NY, and GM's 3800 V6 beats every small displacement 4 when it comes to moving along the highway at a reasonable speed (80 mph).
  • Reply 16 of 41
    fred_ljfred_lj Posts: 607member
    All the american companies need to work on refinement -- details, details, details. And I mean cars that are designed and built in America; not Ford's panoply of euro-takeovers. They need to actually speak with the companies they own -- find out what it takes. What does it take to put leather in a car that doesn't age to a plastic state? What does it take to make labels on surfaces that are resistant to USE? What does it take to make an interior that doesn't look like engineers designed it?



    Sorry to say this, but Ford (after having thought of the above) should have bought into some Japanese automaker. Lexus and Acura (AKA Honda/Toyota) know their business.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by curiousuburb

    and as a ragtop man, i admit an admiration for the Buick Bengal







    It's a flying Kennebec potato!
  • Reply 18 of 41
    eugeneeugene Posts: 8,254member
    Are you saying the Ford 'GT' doesn't attract 20-35 year olds? No Corvette from the past 20 years touches it. The Viper was cool, but now it's passé. The GT40 was hardly a Ford design anyway. They hired Lola Cars to build it for them from the ground up.



    The GT40 was a Ferrari killer back in its day and the new GT is no different. And don't tell me 20 year olds don't dig Ferarris.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    I think that the first three cars pictured look great and that one pictured from above . . . !!!!!



    anything beats the last ten years of thorough mediocre car design
  • Reply 20 of 41
    thttht Posts: 3,209member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Eugene

    Are you saying the Ford 'GT' doesn't attract 20-35 year olds? No Corvette from the past 20 years touches it. The Viper was cool, but now it's passé. The GT40 was hardly a Ford design anyway. They hired Lola Cars to build it for them from the ground up.



    No, I'm saying Ford's retrofuturism is a bad automotive design strategy, and the GT40 is a symptom of that strategy. Going retrofuturistic is a nostalgia based strategy and I don't think it'll carry them that for. The GT40 may sell, but I don't think the company can maintain. I essentially see it as a sign that the competency of the company's designers has degraded or has gone down the wrong path.



    Probably in some ways, the Viper was killed by the death throes of pre-Daimler Chrysler who I thought made some bad decisions, the Viper evolution included. The PT Cruiser worked, but retro would have been untenable for them and I'm glad the buyout is knocking some sense into them.
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