Two engine choices for all-new 2024 Ford Ranger

Ford has been a player in the small-truck market for decades, following a path that saw the captive-import Courier pickup of the 1970s evolve all the way into today’s Ford Ranger, which occupies a deep ledge in the North America market for midsize trucks. The Ranger has undergone a total re-imagination for 2024, with a host of big-truck extras now being extended to the Ranger line, including Ford’s AI-operated Pro Trailer Backup Assist, and an available step integrated into the side of the bed for improved load access.

Efficient storage space is a big part of what the 2024 Ranger is all about, with an available wireless charger for mobile devices, an oversize center console, oversize door bins and a second storage area located above the glove compartment. The standard Ranger engine is Ford’s 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost, with four cylinders and 270 horsepower. Optionally available will be the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that’s already offered in the F-150 and Bronco, rated by the manufacturer at 315 horsepower.

An Acura caboose takes part in One Lap of America run

Right now, one of the country’s best-known and most historic participant automotive events is underway, the Tire Rack One Lap of America presented by Grassroots Motorsport magazine, a weeklong rush that can trace its roots to Brock Yates’ famed Cannonball events of the 1970s. Now managed by his son, Brock Jr., One Lap has secured an unusual entrant – heck, every One Lap participant is iconoclastic – in the form of an Acura NSX Type S mid-engine roadster towing a support trailer fabricated from the rear half of another NSX.

How come? The “one-and-a-half” NSX Type S is simply Acura’s way of being prepared during the challenging cross-country contest. The trailer portion is actually a pull-along utility rig that’s been packed with spare tires, spare parts, tools and other goodies to correct anything that goes awry on the road. And being a Type S, that means this Acura supercar doing the towing is an electrified vehicle, and nearly stock except for ultra-performance Falken tires on its lightened wheels.

Racing with Sammy Swindell

If you grew up around auto racing, American style, over the past 40 years, then you’re aware that Sammy Swindell, the soft-spoken star from Germantown, Tennessee, is one of America’s greatest Sprint car drivers, ever, going back to the days of Bob Burman and Babe Stapp. If you were lucky enough to chase Sprint cars in the 1980s, when the World of Outlaws was a relatively new thing, you know that Swindell was part of the GOAT trio of legends that did battle at every single show, the others being Swindell’s fellow megastars, Steve Kinser and Doug Wolfgang. There’s a lot more to the Swindell story, however, and there’s finally a book that tells it all.

The book’s cover is no exaggeration: Swindell, who tells his story here with the help of the acclaimed racing historians Bones Bourcier and Bob Mays, has been winning consistently for more than 50 years now, and is still doing it to this day. He’s primarily a Sprint car guy, but this sprawling 348-page hardcover reveals he had the pure talent to dabble strongly in other disciplines, including IndyCar, the NASCAR Busch series and even on Trans-Am road courses. An icon like Sammy, one of racing’s true good guys, deserves an iconic piece of literature to tell his story. Sammy!, with a foreword by our friend Dr. Dick Berggren, is offered for sale by Coastal 181 of Newburyport, Massachusetts, which publishes and stocks a bushel of vital books on racing just like this one.

Crankshaft Issue 6: A deep dive into automotive heritage

A very few car magazines publish features on Brass Era automobiles, so named for their bright trim, the kind that were produced prior to World War I. Some others will touch on cars from the 1980s, which are just now being recognized for their significance and collectability. Rarely, however, will you find a publication that assigns equal historic weight to cars built 100 years apart, and does so in impressive depth. But this is what you’ll find in the richly produced pages of the award-winning quarterly magazine, Crankshaft, whose sixth issue is just now reaching readers.

You never know what’s going to sprawl across Crankshaft’s premium issues. This quarter’s 144 pages include in-depth examinations of the 1929 Roosevelt, the lower-priced brand of Marmon; a look at the sinuous styling of a French-constructed 1947 Delahaye, a look at personalization of the famed Chevrolet Nomad and a British favorite, the big six-cylinder Austin-Healey of 1964. There’s also a retrospective on the spectacular, short-lived Ontario Motor Speedway in California. There’s enough deep automotive history in each issue to satisfy the most discriminating reader. Sign up, and find out what premium automotive journalism is really all about.

Toyota, PACCAR advance new hydrogen trucks

As anyone who drives a Prius, or any number of other vehicles already knows, Toyota is a world leader in developing alternative fuel technologies for a broad variety of vehicles, including many built by other manufacturers. Just for example, the Subaru Crosstrek hybrid gets its battery and charging systems from Toyota for installation in a Subaru-engineered vehicle. The same strategy is in evidence here, even if it involves a whole new range of alternate fueling. Toyota is now a partner with PACCAR, the Pacific Northwest-based manufacturer of Kenworth and Peterbilt heavy trucks, on developing hydrogen fuel cells that will power future editions of these big rigs.

PACCAR and Toyota have been cooperating on the creation of these zero-emissions haulers for several years now. The pilot program involved 10 hydrogen fuel cell-powered Kenworth trucks assigned to duties at the Port of Los Angeles. The test was positive and earned Toyota an all-important approval for the fuel cell system from the California Air Resources Board. Toyota plans to begin customer assembly of the fuel cell system late this year. The test rigs, and intended recipients, were Kenworth’s T680 tractor and its cousin, the Peterbilt 579.

BMW readies electric i5 sedan for summer debut

BMW is getting ready, literally, to roll out the eighth generation of its 5-series sport sedan, only with a major difference: This time, the 5-series will include an EV variant to be known as the i5, which is now undergoing final testing before production gets underway at BMW’s assembly plant in Dingolfing, Germany, in anticipation of a summer 2023 launch.

The last phase of product testing prior to the i5’s rollout involves fine-tuning its chassis performance. Part of that process will be the final development of the i5’s Vertical Dynamics Management program, now in its ninth generation, using networked control logic to direct the car’s up-and-down movement from road irregularities. The system measure all chassis inputs, including wheel speeds, steering angle, yaw rate and acceleration, to create optimal damping under dynamic loads. This allows more precisely managed issues such as body roll when the vehicle’s being operated.

A British race designer creates a fire truck for tomorrow’s EVs

Here’s yet more evidence that innovation in the world of vehicles frequently comes from the people who race them. As electric vehicles grow in number, the global fire service has been experimenting with ways to control vehicle fires when EVs are involved, a circumstance that’s only going to become increasingly more commonplace. It’s not easy to control a fire involving lithium ion batteries, especially in a confined space such as a parking garage. Prospeed Motorsport of York in England has come up with a sophisticated solution, the new HILOAD 6X6 Rapid Intervention Vehicle, a six-wheel compact fire truck that’s specifically engineered to handle EV fires.

Based on the Toyota Hilux, which the firm’s compact pickup is called outside North America, the HILOAD 6X6 is designed directly to fight what’s known as “thermal runaway,” as heat damages and breaks down the EV’s battery pack. The fire truck is equipped with a new firefighting system called the Coldcut Cobra, which uses an abrasive suspended in water to cut through the outer layer of the battery pack. An extreme high-pressure water jet, with more than 100 times the pressure of an inflated car tire, then cools the lithium ion compounds to prevent thermal runaway from occurring. Vehicle fires are a big part of a fire department’s common duties today; this vehicle will advance that practice to keep pace with onrushing battery technology.

Lincoln rolls out revised 2024 Nautilus SUV

Lincoln, the Ford Motor Company’s luxury redoubt, has been transitioning to an all-SUV lineup. To that end, it’s just rolled out the 2024 edition of its Nautilus midsize rig, which borrows a lot of its architecture from the ongoing Ford Explorer. In addition to offering a new hybrid powertrain, this generation of the Nautilus will boast a reimagined interior that Lincoln says will include the largest immersive display of onboard functions in its class.

The new touchscreen will allow Nautilus buyers to customize their cabin environment into what Lincoln calls a “sanctuary,” beginning at the touchscreen and extending laterally into the main instrument display. The display spans the entire width of the dashboard and can be driver-personalized. Standard 2024 Nautilus power will come from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A 2.0-liter turbocharged hybrid powertrain will be capable of 310 horsepower when the electric traction motors are added in. Sales will get underway in early 2024.

Everything to know about Ford’s famed F-Series

Ford’s F-Series of full-size pickups have been the best-selling vehicles in North American continuously, it seems, from about the time that Lindbergh first landed at Le Bourget. The reasons are valid and numerous – as Ford has been telling us for generations, it builds a tough truck. That said, it’s been tough to find a printed volume that discusses the F trucks’ long history, which goes back to 1948, and details the dizzying array of generational changes that Ford engineered into its fabled trucks. Until now. Read on, folks.

Thanks to CarTech Publishing, there’s now, happily, a single source for all things concerning the F-Series across its 14 generations. Ford F-Series Trucks: 1948 to Present takes 168 softcover pages to outline the technical, styling and production changes that have swirled around these world-conquering pickups since the earliest days. The authors are well known for being authoritative when it comes to technical minutiae, and this book doesn’t disappoint, being positively jammed with tabular material that assists the reader in keeping up with the various models and their myriad changes. This book is way overdue, by decades. At $36.95, it’s an affordable and essential addition to any automotive library.

New Polestar readies for rollout in Shanghai

Polestar, the electric vehicle developer in Sweden that used to be Volvo’s tuner specialist, now produces cutting edge EVs with a strong performance pedigree. Polestar is poised to present its fourth electric vehicle, fittingly called the Polestar 4, later this month at the Shanghai auto show. That’s fitting, especially when you consider that erstwhile Swedish Volvo is now a Chinese-owned automaker.

Specific details on the Polestar 4 have yet to be unveiled, but the manufacturer suggests the Polestar 4 will follow a coupe concept mating various elements of the brand’s preceding models, including SUV cues. And if you’re wondering about Volvo, it still has a tuner division, which today is known as Cyan Racing.