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Date registered: Jun 2003
Vehicle: 2006 E500, 2013 S550 and a retired 88 SDL
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Introducing the Ford Fear-Mobile
INTRODUCING THE FORD FEAR-MOBILE
What has become of our automotive dream machines? The sexy, tail-finned spaceships Detroit churned out in the 1950s reflected a vision of a comfortable, optimistic World of Tomorrow just up the road. Times have changed. The urban future envisioned by the designers of this year's Ford SYNus could hardly be more of a nightmare.
The SYNus (pronounced "Sin-U.S.") was the most gawked-at concept car at this year's North American International Auto Show. Looking like a miniature Brink's truck, Ford bills the SYNus as an armored "techno sanctuary" with "intimidating styling." The gun turret slits on the van's sides areĂ˘â‚¬â€ťno kiddingĂ˘â‚¬â€ťbullet proof. The vehicle is smaller than your typical SUV, not to save gas or make it easier to park, but to maneuver through the tight streets of "congested international hotspots."
When you've completed your mission (McNuggets acquired, sir!) you don't just park this sucker, you lock it into "secure mode" and the SYNus "deploys protective shutters over the windshield and side glass." Who needs urban public space or even a living room when the interior of the SYNus transforms into "a mini-home theater with multi-configuration seating and multi-media work station." Instead of a rear window, it's got a 45-inch flat panel screen with Internet access, game console readiness and outdoor video cameras.
Why does the market demand such a vehicle? According to Ford, "As the population shifts back to the big cities, you'll need a rolling urban command center."
Actually, I was under the impression I'd need a decent bike and better mass transit. After all, the cost of continuing to burn vast quantities of fossil fuel will become increasingly burdensome over the next few decades. As American society goes into energy and environmental triage, we will quickly determine that the daily idling of millions of of powerful internal combustion engines in city gridlock is not only wasteful, it's barbaric. Rather than rushing out to buy the new SYNus, citizens of the healthy, functional metropolis of the future will be working overtime to make their cities increasingly car-free.
But Ford obviously knows what it's doing. In launching a vehicle that looks like it can sustain an IED blast (in Iraq war jargon, that's a homemade roadside bomb), the SYNus is the logical next step in the SUV arms race. The more intimidating and aggressive vehicles there are on the road, the more you need one, too. Yet, like the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war, the SYNus goes a step further. A "rolling urban command center" sounds like something you use not so much to defend yourself, but to launch your own attack.
In the past, carmakers marketed to our basest desires. Now they are tapping in to our deepest fears. And why not? Selling fear won George W. Bush the presidency. Ford has every reason to believe that it may move a few cars off the lot as well. Author-Aaron Naparstek
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."