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Power the key to T-Series sales surge

Ford hopes more power will result in a dramatic sales increase for the T-Series range

27 Oct 2000

FORD and performance partner Tickford could unleash 250 and 300kW versions of the struggling T-Series range within 12 months as they aim for an incredible 1000 per cent-plus sales rise over the next two years. In their first year on sale, the three-car range of Falcon-based TE50 and TS50 and Fairlane-based TL50 managed just 220 sales. That compares to an expected total for HSV of about 3000 sales this year. Tickford managing director Mr David Flint wants to sell 2500 T-Series' per annum within two years, but he and his lieutenants acknowledge that HSV-like power figures are needed if those sales are to be achieved. HSV's baseline LS1 5.7-litre V8 engine pumps out 255kw and 475Nm, while the GTS flagship boasts a 300kW/510Nm version modified by US Chev turning guru Mr Reeves Callaway. Tickford - which turns out the XR range as well as the T-series - has addressed the performance gap to some extent with this week's launch of T-Series take 2. The 220Kw version of the venerable Windsor V8 is now available in all three models rather than just limited to the TS. "The gap between 300kW and 220kW is too great considering the psyche of the people who buy these vehicles," Mr Flint said. "I'd be more comfortable with a closer gap from a marketing perspective." Tickford is experimenting with both stroked and supercharged versions of the Windsor. A capacity of 5.6 or 5.7-litres for the stroker is tipped if it is to produce the type of power increases Tickford wants. It is believed a normally-aspirated engine is the preferred option, given Australian buying tastes. But whichever way development goes, a decision on what would be a multi-million development program is expected very soon if T-Series is to get a power boost in 2001. All this work is going into an engine near the end of its life, with a replacement due in 2003. The 250kW engine would be expected to form the baseline with the 300kW version a very limited edition (and therefore more expensive) flagship. "As a flagship vehicle I think 300 kilowatts is fine, to demonstrate you have that capability," said Mr Flint. "But I don't want to be involved in a kilowatt war because no-one is going to win that." Meanwhile, Tickford is expected to release a high-performance brake package in the near future. T-Series dressed to impress
IF you want your T-Series loud and proud then Tickford and Ford are now happy to help. In response to 12 months of disappointing sales, the understated T-Series has been dressed up and powered up. All three cars now have side skirts with model specific insignia, accent grey inserts on front and rear bumpers. The TE and TS get the choice of two rear wings and two new exterior colours. TE owners can choose between the old car's suede-velour interior or a new leather trim with either red or blue inserts and embroidered logos, matched to the Momo steering wheel, gear knob and door trim. But if subtlety is your thing, you can delete the bumper inserts, wing and multi-coloured interior. The 220kW Synergy 5000 engine is now standard across the range, where previously it was limited to the TS. While power and torque figures remain the same, a revised camshaft provides a small increase in bottom-end torque. The BTR T5 manual gearbox is now offered with the TS as well as the TE. The Electronic Sports Shift automatic transmission with steering wheel controls is offered across the range. The range has also benefited from the AUII Falcon upgrade including the laminated firewall, upgraded stereo systems and an overhead sunglass holder. Scheduled servicing up to 60,000km is included in the price. The double wishbone suspension remains untouched but a new-look 18-inch wheel and tyre combination is offered. The TE has been down-specced in the brake department, now using the XR8 rather than T-Series system. Pricing has been improved about $3000 for TE with the auto or manual now $53,950 with the premium brake option $3000 and the 18-inch wheel option $750. The TS stays at $75,000, while the TL goes up $1000.

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