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Sydney show: Ford focuses on performance

AU III spawns T-3: The next generation T-Series models sport race-bred looks with performance to match.

Ford aims for street-smart performance with new T-Series range and concept cars

Ford logo11 Oct 2001

FORD has taken the wraps of its striking new T-Series range, dubbed T-3, to match the theme of its stand at this year's Sydney motor show, "Hot and Active Performance".

The new range is scheduled to go on sale in late November, but will retain the same three-model spread as the previous range - TE, TS and long-wheelbase TL.

The big change is a new, stroked 5.6 litre V8 engine that pumps out 250kW of power and 500 Nm of torque, and should put the T-3 range back in the hunt against HSV's current heroes.

The hand-modified engine features an all-new crankshaft, reworked cylinder heads, lightweight pistons, larger diameter inlet duct, high flow inlet manifold and unique, Tickford-developed camshaft and valves.

A more aggressive styling package has been designed to match the redeveloped powerplant, featuring new front and rear bumpers, a chrome mesh grille, side skirts, rear bumper with exposed exhaust and two new spoilers - the kit on the TE and TS vehicles is modelled on the aerodynamic package fitted to Ford's XR8 Supercars.

TS and TL models pick up new design 18-inch alloy wheels, while the TE gets the previously optional 18-inch Azzuro alloys.

An optional Premium brake package is also part of the new range and includes 355 mm cross-drilled and ventilated front discs and 330 mm cross-drilled and ventilated rear discs, all with four-piston Brembo callipers.

The standard brake system consists of 329 mm vented and grooved front discs with twin-piston callipers and 287 mm grooved rear discs.

In keeping pace with HSV, the new Tickford models also now come with the latest DataDot secutiry system. Each car will be sprayed with thousands of minuscule dots, etched with lines of text that represent a compacted version of each T-Series' vehicle identification number (VIN).

One of the other stars in the Ford display was the StreetKa Concept, which is scheduled to go into production in Europe in 2003.

The Ghia-designed concept is the first product to come from a partnership between Ford and renowned design studio Industrie Pininfarina.

The Ka-based car features exterior body panels finished in a mauve-tinted, silver metallic paint, six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in specially sculpted Pirelli racing tyres and a canvas folding roof.

The interior has two racing-style bucket seats trimmed in dark blue leather and an instrument panel of translucent plastic with anodised aluminium accents.

The StreetKa was joined on the stand by the eye-catching, splice-lime Laser RSR.

While its bold paintwork certainly stands out, the RSR also features a turbo-charged engine, 18-inch alloy wheels and lowered Eibach springs.

The vehicle was developed in conjunction with Hot 4's magazine and a number of aftermarket suppliers and was designed to provide inspiration to the four-cylinder enthusiast market.

Show-goers have also been given their first glimpse of the all-new Explorer.

The 2002 model is completely new from the ground up and features a stiffer chassis, locally-tuned, fully-independent suspension, big reductions in NVH (noise, vibrations and harshness) levels and much more interior room.

An all-new, all-alloy, 4.6 litre V8 engine has been introduced to complement the 4.0 litre V6, which can now be teamed with a five-speed manual transmission or an optional revised five-speed automatic transmission.

Revised front styling treatment with new bumper, grille and headlights will distinguish the new car from the outgoing model. The Explorer will also go on sale in November.

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