Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Brunch with Alan Mulally Part 2

Welcome back. To quote Samuel L. Jackson, “Hold on to your butts.” I’m primed to ask Ford CEO Alan Mulally a question and I intend to grill him like a whopper. 

“So who’s your favorite literary character?” 

“The cowboy from ‘Indian in the Cupboard.’”

That never happened. I asked how long it would be before Ford could significantly reduce the cost of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

“It will start to pick up,” Alan said, “But clearly it’s going to take four, five, six, seven, eight years to get that kind of scale, because that’s a huge job. 

Fair enough. Running short on time, Alan moved to field the next question, causing a man in the amorphous blur of my peripheral vision to reveal his true identity.

“Hi, New York Vinnie from KOMO radio and drivetime.com and drive time radio,” a familiar voice rang out. 

Whaaaatttt? For those of you who don’t know, New York Vinnie is a robust, much-loved sports personality of North West fans whose signature New York banter could probably pass as legal identification. He’s been Q-13’s weekend sports anchor on the ten o’clock news and co-hosted Q-13’s “Mariners Game Day” and Seahawks Game Day. In 2000 the Mariners rubbed his belly for good luck as they swept the White Sox and took the Yankees to game 6 in the American League Championship Series. Apparently he had been sitting next to me for the entire brunch and now has his own auto review website/radio show. 

BEGIN EUPHORIC ART HOUSE ADVENTURE

The Q & A session has commenced. I’m standing outside, ogling the 2010 Ford Taurus and Taurus SHO. Rapt. Engrossed. Thesaurus. My handy pamphlet informs me the styling was inspired by the curves of a muscular human Torso, in contrast to the “A Big Mac a day settles the Budweiser down” version. Weep quietly tonight Mississippi. 

New York Vinnie trains a mini-camera on the well-defined sedan, enters the frame and rips off a perfect introductory clip for his website, ending with, “C’mon, let’s go for a ride.” 

Vinnie and I… go for a ride. He as the passenger, I as the driver. We have the 365hp SHO to ourselves, heralded only by our whimsy. We become shoehorned between the other 2010 Taurus and a parked Lincoln Navigator - Vinnie thinks we can make it. A suit runs anxiously to the passenger window and half-jokingly warns:

“If you knick it, I’ll have to write you up.” 

We back away from the expensive sandwich and exit through the entrance. Right away I’m impressed with the SHO. It certainly does look, feel and drive like a top of the line sedan. Has Ford redefined all-American swagger? 

Yes.

The throttle response is precise and willing, the power - nearly instant with little to no turbo-lag. She handles sharply with a sport-tuned suspension but doesn’t rattle my sticker nametag off. Color me smitten, and I'm still circling the parking lot trying to find the exit. 

Vinnie isn’t bothered, I don’t think.

Freed from the constraints of the valet pen, Vinnie calls the turns while I power through the gears. This car has balls, a beautiful exhaust note. There’s serious pull just about everywhere on the power-band. On the Fremont Bridge, a Mercedes cuts me off just as we pass over the troll’s lair. Vinnie mentions the rascal car has New York plates. I make a mental note to include this in my blog. 

A Faux Pas: I inform Vinnie that the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a blast, but misses the thoroughbred muscle car mark. He politely disagrees. I find this odd. Later I find he has the Challenger listed as his 2008 car of the year on his website. Moving on. 

Vinnie takes the wheel at the halfway point and wastes no time in putting the SHO through its paces. He can drive. Thank god these brakes are sharp. We cruise past the Joseph Stalin statue in Fremont. Vinnie and I agree that it really adds something to the feel of the area. We point out several spots where we like to get sandwiches. 

Out on the open streets he lets her have it again. Vinnie agrees to say a quick hello to MotorspaceNW on my digital camera, but the batteries die several seconds later. It’s too appropriate to make me angry. Vinnie hands me his portable camera. I film him as he switches into broadcast mode and nails another professional clip for his website. This will add some truth to the 'experience with professional broadcast equipment' bullet point on the 'specialized skills' portion of my resume. 

Pulling back into Daniel’s, I notice a Hooters next door - odd, but appropriate. Vinnie snaps a few more shots of the cars, shakes my hand and wishes me luck. It starts to rain. I’m drenched by the time I reach the Dodge Dynasty, but couldn’t be happier.

END EUPHORIC ARTHOUSE ADVENTURE

On the six o’clock news that night, there was a shot of me sitting just in frame during a segment where Alan answered a question about Boeing. There was also a clip of me driving the Taurus out of the parking lot at a prudent 3mph.

As for the Taurus, if it was Ford’s intention to set the same kind of precedent they did with the original, the latest edition is handily equipped to do the trick. Take the SHO for a drive if you have the chance; it’s hard not to have a good time. 


Sources:

http://www.newyorkvinnie.com/




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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.




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