Another F-word Joins the Ford Line-up
One of Ford’s strongest designs at the 2005 North American International Auto Show was the Ford Fairlane, a fresh seven-passenger people-mover/crossover with the interior of the future, to replace its late, unlamented Windbag minivan. The translation to production loses some charm along the way…along with that Fairlane name.
We expect concept cars–especially the really wild ones–to lose quite a bit of character on their way to production, but we never stop hoping.; For instance, when we saw the Ford Fairlane at the 2005 Detroit auto show, we fell all over its exquisitely crafted exterior with four long side strakes, its airy interior, and the use of materials like canvas in the second row and oak and maple bentwood laminate for the dash and trim, inspired by the furniture industry. It also had super cool suicide doors that made it easy to jump in and out of this new age minivan.
Get over all of that, we would say. There’ll be no suicide doors, and Ford designers chuckled when we suggested that the laminate would be outstanding in production. More like a big hardee-har-har actually.
As to that third row, we’ve heard word from engineering that the afterthought of a third row had to be beaten into submission to actually accommodate humans. Headliner shaved and seat cushions thinned (I can’t wait to feel that!) and so on.
Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the name Fairlane would also be left in the dust. That’s right. No Fairlane. It will be called Flex. The 2008 Ford Flex. What, like Funkmaster Flex? He’s a great guy and it’s a good name, but not now, not this, when we’ve got this perfectly good Fairlane name.
Ironically, the Flex-not-Fairlane will be built on the Five Hundred-now-Taurus platform.
We’re still hoping that there’ll be some of that original magic left when we finally see it.