The really big news for Ford this past week was the new 2008 F-Series Super Duty, which was unveiled by Mark Fields at the Texas State Fair. If serious work trucks aren't quite your thing, though, Ford's got one with a little more mass appeal on the way, based on its new FX2 sport truck..

The automaker quietly introduced the new F-150 FX2 in April at the NY Auto Show, and while the Shelby GT-H got all the all the Big Apple fanfare, Fields did briefly single out the the new sport truck in his presentation to the media at the Javits Center. A few weeks later, Ford isssued an official press release announcing the new model's availability.

Fast forward a few months.

Six members of the Texas Auto Writers Association sat down for lunch with a group of people from Ford who wanted the writers' take on what they'd do to make the new FX2 better. Their mission? Go through the catalog of available factory accessories and Ford Racing parts and choose the equipment they'd like to see on one of the new FX2s. The list the scribes came up with was long and distinguished, and included (among other things) a Ford Racing intercooled supercharger, 4-pot Brembos, a lowering kit, a Harley-Davidson-edition front end, a silver racing stripe, SVT wheels, and a side-exit exhaust. Inside, the truck received pillar-mounted gauges, Harley-Davidson-model pedals, Bluettoth, and rear-seat DVD.

The completed machine, dubbed the F-150 Project FX2 Sport, was revealed to the media at the Texas State Fair on September 29 and will be shown publicly at SEMA beginnig October 31. It has a low, muscular stance compared to the stock FX2 (no slouch in the looks department itself, as trucks go). The estimated cost of all the added goodies, according to Dallas Morning News writer Terry Box, is estimated to be between $17,000 and $20,000, putting the Project FX2 into Roush and Saleen territory in terms of pricing. To be fair, it offers similar levels of style and performance.

In the absence of a new, full-blown SVT Lightning, a decked-out hot rod FX2 like the project vehicle may be the sweetest factory sport truck you can get from a Ford dealer. If you're willing to part with the dough, that is.

(Photos, press release after the jump)

[Sources: Dallas Morning News, Ford]



PRESS RELEASE:

Texas auto writers help Ford build ultimate sport truck

Project FX2 Sport, the ultimate factory custom truck, will make its public debut at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association show in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, 2006.


It's a known fact that pickup truck owners are rabid when it comes to personalizing their vehicles. Research has shown that more than 70 percent of new truck owners spend, on average, nearly $1,500 on aftermarket accessories in the first year of ownership.

Ford already offers America's best-selling truck thanks to the widest, most diverse lineup that includes more than one million F-150 factory variations – such as Harley-Davidson™, FX4 off-road, FX2 Sport street and upscale King Ranch models – to feed the growing demand for personal customization. Ford also offers a host of Genuine Ford Accessories and Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) specifically designed to help truckers personalize the appeal and boost the performance of their trucks.

The new project F-150 – a 2007 FX2 Sport with performance, appearance and in-vehicle entertainment and telematics modifications – takes the concept in a new direction by allowing customers to build trucks to their own specifications with dealer-installed Ford parts and accessories.

"The new F-150 FX2 Sport is another example of how Ford is expanding its truck leadership by listening to our customers and delivering bold, American products," says Christine Feuell, director, Ford Vehicle Personalization. "The new FX2 Sport builds on the F-150 FX4 off-road model by offering custom performance looks – inside and out – in a more affordable two-wheel-drive model.

"The new project F-150 FX2 Sport performance truck demonstrates how customers can further personalize their pickups using Ford Racing Performance Parts and Genuine Ford Accessories."

The honor of further personalizing the project F-150 FX2 Sport went to a small contingent of members of the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA). The TAWA team was influential in choosing the appropriate powertrain, interior and body parts and pieces, bringing them together to build their ultimate F-150 sport truck.

Terry Box, auto writer for the Dallas Morning News was one of the "builders" and has had a chance to get behind the wheels of the truck he helped bring to life.

"My main input I pushed hard for was more power," says Box. "The super charger was a magical edition. The truck is really responsive yet it's civilized."

Box sees a big market for this kind of offering in Texas. "There are a lot of guys down here who are very much into modifying hot rod pickups."

Project F-150 FX2 Sport, started life as a 2007 F-150 SuperCab FX2 Sport, with its dark-accent billet-style grille insert and body-color grille surround and unique captain's chairs with center console and floor-mounted shifter.

"Truck owners spend more per vehicle on accessories than anyone else," says Mark Joseph Birnhart, Ford Vehicle Personalization truck marketing manager. "We make sure our Ford accessories match our Built Ford Tough truck engineering philosophy so they are required to pass all of Ford's quality, durability and safety testing standards. We also stand behind our products with Ford's new, extended manufacturer's warranty, which is the best warranty and roadside assistance package of any new full-size pickup."

High-tech touches include a Mobile-ease™ Hands Free, Bluetooth™-equipped wireless phone system and Headrest Rear Seat DVD Entertainment System. A Harley-Davidson pedal package and A-pillar gauge pod help dress out the interior.

The suspension was lowered two inches in front and five inches in the rear and combine with the prototype 20 by 10-inch Sport wheels to give the truck its aggressive stance. A custom stripe package has been added for that extra personal touch.

The 6.5-ft. bed features a lockable, hard tonneau cover and is carpeted with a Sport Liner bedliner. The marine-style easy-to-clean polyester surface molds to the contour of the bed and will not stain, absorb moisture or mildew.

The truck's 5.4-liter V-8 receives a FRPP, premium, polished, Whipple, screw-type supercharger and a pair of ceramic-coated headers feeding FRPP side exhausts with Ford Racing embossed tips.

"The engine modifications boost horsepower by well over 425 at the rear wheels and torque to well over 500 ft.-lbs," says Andy Slankard, Ford Racing engineering supervisor. "Best of all, it's been calibrated by Ford Racing engineers and is 50-state legal."

The 5-speed automatic transmission has been recalibrated to handle the increase in horsepower. A 4:10 rear gear and "True Trac" limited-slip rear differential put the power to the ground. Prototype, Brembo four-piston brakes up front, along with stock rears, provide the stopping power.

"The most important part about this project F-150 is that any enthusiast could build it with parts from the Ford Racing and Genuine Ford Accessories catalogs," says Jamie Allison, Ford Racing Performance Group manager.

Ford Racing of parts are available for ordering at www.fordracingparts.com.

The Project F-150 FX2 Sport will make its media debut on September 28, 2006 at the State Fair of Texas. The first public showing with be at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association show in Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, 2006.

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