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How would you like to own an F-150 or SVT Raptor used in the Baseball Hall of Fame parade?  Such greats as Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and Cal Ripken, Jr. rode in the backs of 25 F-150s supplied by the Ford Motor Company.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Ford Motor Company Join Forces Around a Parade of F-150s

by Ziva and Michael Allen

 

FordTrucks 2500x331Let’s play connect the dots.  In this case the dots are track cars, tow vehicles and baseball.  What do these three things have in common?  Read on to find out.

Many track day drivers get bitten by the modification bug pretty hard.  In the pursuit of more reliability and performance, the car gets re-engineered.  As the modification scenario unfolds, the car may become less and less comfortable for street use and at some point may no longer be street legal.  To prevent body roll, stiffer springs make the scene.  The downside is a more jarring ride on local roads, which may be nowhere near as smooth as track surfaces.  In an effort to minimize weight, people will sacrifice their air conditioning, radios, sound deadening material, insulation and rear seats.  A racing seat may replace the front and there may even be no passenger seat.  Suddenly the idea of driving to a track in a car with a stiff suspension, no air conditioning and roasting floorboards becomes less than ideal.  When the need to make room for brake duct inlets involves deleting the headlights, you know you are going to be learning a lot about trailering your car to track events. 

There are definitely pros and cons to trailering versus driving your track car to events.  Usually the trailering folks envy the simplicity and convenience enjoyed by the street/track car folks who, in turn, envy the security of knowing that you can always get your track car home in the event of a mechanical problem or other issue when you have a trailer and tow rig.  Most of us commute fairly good distances to tracks and the need to deal with the concentration level of trailering after the fatigue of a weekend event and two days of hard track driving gets old.  Just when the adrenalin crash is in full swing, suddenly you are navigating getting the car up on the ramps, tethering down the wheels and minding your lane compliance for the next two and a half hours or so.  Not fun.  As long as your car remains drivable, and the majority of the time it will be, there is nothing like rolling up the windows, kicking up the AC, hooking up the MP3 player to the aux in jack and cruising home with cruise control on.  And with today’s combo street/track tires, you don’t even have to hassle with getting your track wheels to the event nor changing the tires pre and post.  Same thing with some pretty high performing street/track brake pads:  no changing required. 

But what do you do when you have modified your track car so extensively that it can no longer be comfortably driven to events?  Why, you bite the bullet and trailer the car.  Of course this means that you need a tow vehicle.  Which one you ask?  Well let’s take a look at the most popular truck sold in America.  The F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series truck lineup, America’s best-selling truck for 37 consecutive years and America’s best-selling vehicle for 32 years.  You may as well go in style and the sales leader is not a bad place to start. 

Going into 2015 there is an all new Ford F150 pickup. “More than ever before, customers want a truck that is a dependable partner, mobile office and a go-anywhere workshop,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development.  “To meet the needs of our truck customers, we created smart new features and a whole new approach to using advanced materials and engines to improve capability and efficiency.”

In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford engineers improved the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame.  It is all-new with more high-strength steel than ever – making it stronger and lighter.  High-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys – already used in aerospace – are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance and saving weight.  Overall, up to 700 pounds of weight have been deleted, helping F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, as well as contributing to efficiency.

What does all this have to do with baseball you ask?  Not only are Ford’s F-150s a popular choice to trailer track cars to the track, but they are also being used annually to trailer baseball hall of famers in the Cooperstown’s Hall of Fame (HOF) induction parade from Doubleday Field to the HOF Museum.  Auto TrackDay Monthly recently travelled to Cooperstown, NY for a very special event; special for baseball fans, special for automotive fans, and over the top special for the combination baseball/auto fan!  Fifty thousand screaming fans lined up along the parade route to watch the likes of Greg Maddux and Tommy Glavine being hauled in the back of Ford’s F-150s.  How would you like to own an F-150 or SVT Raptor used in the Baseball Hall of Fame parade?  Such greats as Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and Cal Ripken, Jr. rode in the backs of 25 F-150s supplied by the Ford Motor Company.

We spoke to Ken Meifert, Vice President of Sponsorship and Development for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  He informed us that there were 25FordTrucks2500x331 F-150s, including 6 SVT Raptors in the parade.  Says Meifert, “Ford and the HOF enjoy a longstanding relationship with the Hall of Fame Classic, so when we decided to host a parade, Ford was our first call.  The vehicles are provided by Orange Motors in Albany, NY and Smith Cooperstown, our local Ford dealer.  Ford helps with the coordination between the HOF and the local dealers.” 

Because Ford Motor Company and the Hall of Fame have a long standing relationship, Meifert explains that “Ford is the presenting sponsor for Hall of Fame Classic Weekend.  The highlight of that weekend is an exhibition game featuring six Hall of Famers and 30 former Major League Players representing all 30 MLB teams.  This year the game included Phil Niekro, Ozzie Smith, Roberto Alomar, Andre Dawson, Rollie Fingers and Eddie Murray.  The team representatives include Jim Thome, Pedro Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui.” 

Meifert informed us that the F-150s are available for purchase at Orange Motors in Albany, NY and Smith Cooperstown Ford.  He summed up by saying “From the Hall of Fame side we are so proud to be working with Ford each year on this fan-favorite event.  It is a perfect example of two power-house American brands forging a perfect partnership.”  What does Ford have to say about this partnership?  “Baseball is woven into the fabric of America, bringing together generations of fans and their communities,” said Jim Vella, President, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Ford is proud to support the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Parade of Legends.  As America’s favorite vehicle, Ford’s F-150 truck is a legend in its own right, and a home run with baseball fans and the Hall of Fame.”  A perfect baseball/automotive partnership.  If I were in the market for a track car tow vehicle, I would not mind having the Ford SVT Raptor that Hank Aaron rode in. 

2015 F-150 Features: 

  • 360-degree camera view uses exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help the driver park, maneuver in tight spots and navigate down narrow trails
  • Integrated loading ramps enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
  • BoxLink, a combination of metal brackets and custom cleats used to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box – from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
  • LED headlamps and taillamps
  • Trailer hitch assist is a new rear view camera feature that adds a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up truck and trailer without requiring a spotter or having to get out of the vehicle
  • Smart trailer tow module uses a wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, burned or unlit trailer marker lamps, and brake light and trailer battery faults
  • Remote tailgate allows for the tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob – eliminating manual locking and increasing convenience and security. The tailgate also is damped, dropping down, hands-free, to a flat position when opened
  • 400-watt, 110-volt power outlets in the cab, allowing drivers to easily charge corded tools, batteries or mobile devices on-site or while driving
  • LED spotlights on sideview mirrors
  • A tailgate step is fully integrated inside the tailgate and invisible when not in use
  • 8-inch LCD productivity screen in the instrument panel includes tabbed navigation pages – from fuel economy to towing tips – and the ability to create a customized home screen for customers to access their most frequently used pages in one place
  • LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box illuminates the box interior to help customers quickly find tools or other items
  • Rear under-seat storage in F-150 Super and Crew cabs provides hidden storage for valuables. One storage bin is located underneath the rear seat
  • Deployable box side step is now available for the short 5.5-foot box
  •  Second-row inflatable safety belts work like a traditional belt but include a tubular airbag that inflates in the event of a crash and distributes the force of the impact across a wider area of the passenger’s chest
  • Curve Control automatically provides more aggressive four-wheel braking when the truck is going into a corner too fast
  • Adaptive cruise control allows drivers to set a cruising speed and use radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and maintain a set distance between vehicles
  • Lane-keeping system is designed to help avert unintentional drifting of the vehicle outside the intended lane by automatically detecting the left- or right-hand road lane markings using a camera mounted between windshield and interior rearview mirror
  • Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert uses radar hidden in the tail lamps to detect a vehicle entering a driver’s blind spot while driving or slowly backing up
  • A new, 2.7-liter EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop and a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing
  • A 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 engine option
  • Active Grille Shutters.  Active Grille Shutters stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather.  They automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed

SVT Raptor Features:

  • A 6.2 liter V-8 with 411 horsepower, 434 lb-ft. of torque and up to an 8,000 pound towing capacity
  • Bead lock wheels secure the edges of a tire to the wheel between two surfaces so the tire is unlikely to roll off the rim if it’s aired down to very low pressure, providing extra grip on trails.  This is the first application of a wheel with both conventional and bead lock mounting abilities
  • Aggressive all-terrain tires, triple-bypass FOX Racing Shox™ dampers, skid plates and standard hill descent control
  • A four-door SuperCrew model, and a two-door SuperCab original 
  • Torsen® limited-slip differential added to the 4WD system enabling the truck to balance traction between both front wheels.  If the left front wheel loses traction, the system forces torque to the right front wheel, and vice versa.  The system is optimized to help minimize steering kickback when navigating challenging surfaces
  • Grille-mounted camera to improve driver visibility when climbing over rocks and other obstacles that might be obscured by the front of the truck.  The camera transmits the captured image via the center stack-mounted LCD screen.  A washer function helps keep the camera’s field of vision clear in wet and muddy conditions 
  • The 4WD system features electronic shift-on-the- fly capability for the transfer case.  The front axle features the Torsen differential with 4.10 to 1 gearing. The rear axle is also 4.10 to 1, with an electronic-locking differential

F150 Specifications

SVT Raptor Specifications

 

Photos courtesy of  Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame

 

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