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Towin’ Speed:Sport:Life – 2008 Ford Expedition King Ranch – Absolute torch and twang.


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Story by Jack Baruth

In 1958, David Ogilvy created perhaps the most famous advertisement in history. Titled, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”, it made his reputation and permanently established Rolls-Royce’s reputation in the American consciousness. It featured nineteen technical points of interest, the last of which is reproduced below:

#19. The Bentley is made by Rolls-Royce. Except for the radiators, they are identical motor cars, manufactured by the same engineers in the same works. The Bentley costs $300 less, because its radiator is simpler to make. People who feel diffident about driving a Rolls-Royce can buy a Bentley.

So now we have before us the Ford Expedition King Ranch. It’s fifty thousand dollars and offers a set of luxury features virtually identical to the flashier, more expensive, urban-hip-hop-video-darling Lincoln Navigator. What’s the point of offering an Expedition with a Navigator’s level of bling? Is it the return of fake luxury? Who would buy a Ford when they could buy a Lincoln? Well, perhaps Mr. Ogilvy hit the nail on the head with his 1958 advertisement. People who feel diffident – that is, hesitant or concerned – about being seen in a Navigator can buy a King Ranch.

As usual, Ford has come up with a powerfully evocative name for this subtly elegant monster. If there is a place on the map which is spiritually farthest away from the bass-thumping downtown Detroit streets where Kwame Kilpatrick famously twirled the wood-rim steering wheel of his tinted-out Navigator, it must be the massive King Ranch, a four-parcel legend which dates back more than a hundred and fifty years and covers more ground than Rhode Island. The flying-W brand of the ranch decorates the Expedition’s characterful dark brown leather seats and center console. It’s a place, and a sentiment, very much in tune with Ford’s heartland image.

We don’t believe in “suspenseful” reviews, so there’s no harm in confessing that we came to admire – even love – this big-hearted truck over the course of our seven-day test. We’re so charmed that we’ve asked to get another one in “EL” specification before the end of the year, and at least one member of our staff has been seen building one for himself on Ford’s website. After a few days spent driving the all-new GMC Yukon earlier this year, we didn’t think that Ford’s revised-and-more-than-full-sized SUV would measure up, but the truth of the matter is that the Ford blows the new GMC and Chevrolet away, from the baroque majesty of its enormous angled grille to the admirable engineering of its independent rear suspension. But enough of this. We came to tow.

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