While there was no SEMA show this year, at least not in the Las Vegas Convention Center, that didn’t stop Ford from making what could be called some SEMA show cars. In a live video performance last night (Nov. 19), Ford featured its Mustang Mach-E, Bronco, Bronco Sport and F-150, showing off customizable trim pieces and a handful of real concept cars.
Hard to pick a favorite, but the most powerful and highest-tech was definitely the Mach-E-based concept, the all-electric Mach-E 1400. While the car was revealed earlier this year, it’s still the most impressive vehicle in the garage, in many ways. That number in the name refers to 1400 hp under the body. The Ford Team dealt with drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s RTR Vehicles “to hatch the crazy and slightly terrifying Mustang,” according to presenter Kellee Edwards. Details weren’t abundant, but Gittin Jr. himself was on hand to parse out a few.
“Three motors are attached to the front differential and four are attached to the rear in a pancake style with a single drive shaft connecting them to the differentials, which have a huge range of gearing adjustability to set the car up for everything from drifting to high-speed track racing,” Gittin said, not ever explaining how motors can be arranged pancake style. “It’s a pairing of beauty and performance that really pushes the edge of what’s possible.”
“The chassis and powertrain are setup so that we can investigate different layouts and how they effect energy consumption and performance,” said Ford Performance Mustang engineer Alex Gehrke, who also appeared in the video. “Drift and track setups have completely different front end configurations, like control arms and steering, to allow for extreme angles during drifting. In all-wheel drive, power delivery can be split between the front or the rear and completely switched between either one.”
The battery is intriguing, too.
“It takes a little more than off-the-shelf batteries to power this beast,” said Gittin. “These are very specialized batteries. The 56.8-kWh battery is made up of nickel manganese cobalt pouch cells for ultra-high-performance and high discharge rate. It’s cooled with dielectric coolant, decreasing the time needed between our runs.”
The car also has regenerative braking, plus a full set of Brembos and a hand brake for drifting. Aerodynamics of the SUV’s body focus on cooling, while the front splitter, dive planes and massive rear wing put down 2,300 pounds of downforce at 160 mph.
How does 1400 hp feel from behind the wheel?
“The first time I felt it, it scared me,” said Gittin.
If it had been revealed at SEMA, Ford could have tried it out in the big drifting parking lot in front of the convention center’s Central Hall. But again, there is no SEMA show this year, at least not in Las Vegas, so Gittin did a lap of the old Detroit train station, being revived for use by Ford as the centerpiece of a new mobility innovation district.
Gittin would have a lucky passenger, too, a Mach-E reservist named Rich. Indeed, the Mach-E 1400 did seem fast under all the special effects in the video, and you could hear whimpers and groans from Rich in between, so he must have been enjoying the ride.
Next-most-interesting concept was a Bronco built for Jay Leno by LGE CTS Motorsports’ Theresa Contrares.
“It’s pretty cool when you get a call from Ford and they ask you to put together a vehicle for someone like Jay Leno,” Contrares said.
Leno was in the video, too.
“We put the Shelby GT500 motor in it, the 760-hp engine,” Leno said. “It’s a little overkill but it’s really fantastic.”
“I think he liked it,” Contrares said, though any further info, or even a photo of the custom rig was AWOL.
The F-150, meanwhile, was represented by a build from long-time truck customizer BDS of Coldwater, Michigan. Ford supplier Fox Shocks owns the company, so the truck starts with a four-inch lift from BDS. The package includes Fox factory DSC coilovers and shocks. The lift provides enough clearance to fit 35×12.50 Mickey Thompson Baja Boss Tires on 20×10 Method 304 wheels. Then they added a Yakima Overhaul bed rack with accessory mounts and a Yakima SlimShady awning. On the grille is a Putco illuminated Ford logo.
Ford also showed off the 2021 Ranger Tremor package it had introduced a couple months ago, with various accessories and Ford parts.
Finally, we saw a build of Ford’s coming Bronco Sport. This one was done by Chris Mangum of MAD Industries. It featured a lift kit, fender flares, new wheels and KO2 tires under a Yakima awning, towing a Boreas all-terrain trailer camper. (I would like to borrow this for a weekend, or perhaps a long-term test.)
You, too, can see the whole video presentation, including co-host and Formula Drift announcer Jerod DeAnda, who didn’t once say, “Are you ready to send ittttttt?” (Formula D joke.)
It was a good video, with lots of special effects – check out how they did an exploded view of that Mach-E 1400 right in the studio. Too bad it couldn’t have debuted as part of SEMA360, the online version of that seminal trade show. Maybe next year.
In case you want more info on any of these builds, sign on to www.fordautoshows.com/semaspecials. Or fill out the brief form here. There you can sign up for an online Q&A to ask for more details about the cars.
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