Everything You Need to Know About the Ford Tranny Defect

Thankfully, this Ford tranny defect happened several decades ago, so it’s nothing we should be worrying about today. But given the recent scandal going on with Volkswagen, it’s always a good idea to look back on history and see some notes regarding the automotive industry. Perhaps it may keep us on the right footing when things go wrong, as we’re sure VW’s looking carefully into their future for the market.

Let’s Move on From the Pinto and Go to This Horrible Debacle of a Ford Tranny Defect!

Ford just doesn’t get much luck, does he? Recalls seem to be the common deal for such an Ford tranny defect-1automaker, and even while the Ford Pinto was nothing but a disaster, it turned out that Ford faced another catastrophe in a recall back in 1980 once the NHTSA discovered Ford’s automatic transmissions between 1966 and 1980 were defective — as in the Ford tranny defects would cause the cars to go in reverse. Yes, go ahead and let your jaws drop. Everyone’s nightmare behind the wheel.

Sadly, this was another case where Ford simply neglected to deal with the issue since 1972, knowing that there was this apparent Ford tranny defect. Shame on you, Ford. The company even rejected an improvement to the design that would cost them an easy three pennies per vehicle and opted to just simply pay off victims and families a hefty $20MM sum for their troubles.

At the time, it seemed more convenient to do just that. But in hindsight…. Really, what was Ford thinking?

Of Course, This Ford Tranny Defect Fiasco Didn’t End With Such a Settlement

It turned out that the Ford tranny defect actually caused well over 700 accidents, over 250 injuries and over 20 accident-related deaths. The NHTSA couldn’t just sit there — they were going to declare an apocalyptic 23MM-car recall, which would’ve likely sent Ford to the grave, but who came to the automaker’s rescue? None other than President Reagan who issued out a compromise as Ford pleaded poverty in the worst way.

What was the solution? Ford ended up issuing out 23MM stickers to all Ford owners, reading “make sure the gear selector lever is fully engaged in park” and to also “fully engage the parking brake” before turning off the car. Smart. And that was apparently enough to dodge the disastrous recall that would’ve been heard globally.

Ford got super-lucky.

Everything You Need to Know About the Toyota Scandal

When looking at auto scandals, such as the one Volkswagen’s facing right now, you have to wonder just what could possibly be the worst — is it the tires like with Firestone and Ford? Or perhaps it’s all about the cutthroat marketing with GM and Chrysler? No. It has to be something that could very well jeopardize human life. Acceleration. And we saw something like that before regarding Audi (although that automaker was indeed vindicated).

This Toyota Scandal Is Exactly About That: Acceleration

To be clear, that’s unintended acceleration. When your car seems to be gaining in speed and you don’t even have your foot on the pedal, there’s a problem! And it turned out that only Toyota scandal-1just three years ago, Toyota had agreed to pay the government an astonishing $1.2B, avoiding prosecution in the automotive industry for years of proof showing unintended acceleration occurrences with your Toyota and Lexus models.

This payout happened to be the largest criminal penalty ever. And with no surprise, the Toyota scandal did result in the carmaker blaming the issue on everything but the kitchen sink —

  • Driver Errors
  • Floor Mats
  • Lack of Proof

Sadly, it turned out that the Toyota scandal had been blanketed by the fact that the company was effectively hiding documents about the one central flaw — the gas pedal assembly! Executives of Toyota had to take one good look at their hands and realize that the skin’s smeared with the stains of many facing the flaw and potentially realizing death due to accidents that could be prevented.

It’s a Miracle Toyota Still Manufactures Vehicles Today

That’s tenacity and professionalism, something Volkswagen can take notes on regarding the Toyota scandal of that decade. Toyota admitted fault, recalling 9.3MM vehicles worldwide. Replacing those gas pedal assemblies took a lot of money, but in the long run it was well worth it for the automaker. And the truth shall set you free.

Everything You Need to Know About the Ford Pinto

Economy and simplicity became the name of the begin around the ’70s, what with the rise of imports pulverizing the automotive industry and forcing the American-made market to make some kind of move. So Ford came out with the Ford Pinto in 1971. Big mistake (at least in the long run).

Honestly, the Ford Pinto Wasn’t a Bad Car at All!

It seemed like everyone wanted a Ford Pinto back then! Apparently a car named after a bean was kind of cute. In its first year of sale, Ford made a pretty penny on the bean with 328,275 vehicles sold. There was just one slight problem: Ford know there was a problem with the Pinto but neglected to tell anyone about it.Ford Pinto-1

Here was the problem with the Ford Pinto: it had a fuel filler neck that could easily break away and poke a nasty hole or two in the fuel tank. This naturally would only occur during a rear-end collision, though, but in that day and age when crashes were common, this didn’t say much for the Ford Pinto as a reliable vehicle. As a result, as the fuel filler neck would puncture the tank, this would then spray fuel into the passenger compartment and cause a nasty fire. You’d think Ford would’ve been wise enough to do something about that before launching the Ford Pinto into sale….

Here’s Ford’s reasoning for not addressing the issue they knew would occur even before Ford Pintos would even go into production — it was just too expensive to fix! We call that quite the auto scandal possibly even rivaling that of the most recent Volkswagen-gate going on. But it’s all relative. The fact was a fuel system upgrade would’ve added $11 to the cost of each car. Not a lot at first glance, but when you’re producing thousands of vehicles for sale, well….

Still, a shield to protect the tank from rupturing would’ve easily cost Ford only a measly dollar, but what the heck do we know? We’re just Profile Reviews. We call it like we see it.

So Did Ford End up Coughing Up the Money to Remedy the Situation?

Yes, and no. You can see Ford slapping his own forehead with this one, as a memo back in 1973 found its way to the media basically spelling out the estimate for how many deaths to expect annually due to the defect in the fuel filler neck, and it wasn’t pretty — it basically said it would be cheaper for the company to just ‘ignore’ the problem versus fixing it, and by 1978, they felt the public sting and outrage as Ford went ahead and recalled 1.5MM of those Ford Pintos, along with the Mercury Bobcat, just to make those modifications to the fuel system.

How bad was the outcry that forced Ford to succumb? Well, when facing 900 drivers dying as a result of the fuel system flaw and millions of dollars in coming civil suits, it turned out that the memo was wrong. Ford spent way more money than what it would’ve cost just to make those changes. You live and you learn.

Everything You Need to Know About the 1960s Chevy Scandal

Not one worker for Chevrolet back in the day of the late ’60s felt blessed to work in the factory when this Chevy scandal hit the fan like feces and caused a massive chain reaction — much like the chain reaction set off by Chevrolet engine mounts — that sent ripples through the auto industry. Pretty bad issue, actually, but thankfully we’re still seeing those Chevys driving around today….

It Wasn’t so Easy Back Then Because of the Chevy Scandal

So what was the whole hoopla about? Well, those engine mounts were the problem. They Chevy Scandal-1were defective. An NHTSA report shed some light on the issue, referring to General Motors about some more data, and the information wasn’t exactly pleasant — 172 reports of failed motor mounts, which resulted in 63 accidents and 18 injuries. Now that wasn’t even the Chevy scandal that would mess with your head….

It turned out that GM — and the NHTSA — actually went hush-hush on the issue for almost three years before coming out with the report and making it known to the public. In a nutshell, they risked more accidents occurring as a result of these defective engine mounts. Not smart.

Why were those engine mounts so defective? Basically, at the high speed, those mounts would torque out of position and throw the entire throttle body out of sync, causing even more acceleration — unintended acceleration. GM, in fact, discovered that those same defective engine mounts had been installed in Chevys for over a decade, forcing the discussion for that legitimate safety concern that’s so prevalent in today’s auto industry, what with auto insurance and roadside assistance major factors.

What Did Gm Do About This Chevy Scandal? It’s Simple….

The automaker recalled an alarming 6.5MM of those vehicles, fixing the issue promptly. Smart move. And it saved GM from disaster. Take notes, Volkswagen. This is how you handle a problem.

 

Everything You Need to Know About the Tucker

What is the Tucker? Oh, only one of the hidden gems of the automotive industry, surprisingly eclipsed equally by its subsequent failure. You can’t blame the man, though, behind the myth and the machine, Mr. Preston Tucker, for his drive and desire to put his own footprint and skidmark in the auto market with tenacity and fervor. If only he had thought things through just a bit more, he might’ve had a real goldmine there….

The Tragedy That Was the Tucker

Enter: the “honeymoon stage” of a birth of a new innovation in the auto industry, as the Tucker was launched back in 1948 to the imagination of the public of a new era. Think bold. Tucker-1Think streamlined and styled to herald a new future in the commute of a brave American empire like General Motors. Preston Tucker really did have something in his dream, honestly, given how successful he was as a designed of a gun turret for the United States Navy.

With the advanced safety features and a charismatic fundraising campaign, Tucker took his, well, Tucker and did a bit of a grassroots initiative, traveling in his car, selling stock and dealership franchises to make that name for himself. He even took down payments on cars to put into production. Ambitious. But risky.

It was risky given the fact that Tucker’s company really started with no capital at all — something any normal businessman would’ve even think of doing, no matter how successful the idea might be predicted to be. So you can’t blame Mr. Tucker for doing his best to at least keep the lights on for his auto factory by selling options and accessories to customers who had purchased vehicles that weren’t even built, yet!

You can see the big ending here: delays in production occurred. Pretty much par for the course. But because customers got antsy, the government got involved and indicted Tucker and his board of directors for fraud, effectively shutting his company down. You honestly can’t sell cars to people that haven’t been manufactured, yet! How’s that for an auto scandal, Volkswagen?

The Tucker: an Inherent Tragedy, But Not Because of the Car Itself

There’s no doubt that the Tucker would’ve been a tremendous standard in the auto industry. But after just 51 of those Tuckers built and the factory closing shortly after, it’s a sad fact that you may never see a Tucker even sitting in a garage today. You might see it in a museum, though.

Everything You Need to Know About Bernie Ecclestone

Some may call him a troll (and if the camera catches him right, he most certainly does look like one). If he is one, he’s a very rich one, though, not ever having to live under a bridge and charging those passing by some coins or be eaten. Bernie Ecclestone is a global empiric mogul Luke Skywalker might actually have some trouble with, but understand one thing about Bernie when it comes to the auto industry: what he says, goes. Period.

Why Bernie Ecclestone Is a Major Headliner of a Massive Portion of the Auto Industry as WeBernie Ecclestone Know It

We love cars. We love them so much that we’re willing to sit and watch a bunch of them racing around a circle for a couple hours. This is a major portion of our interest to drive, and lends a hand to some of the performance value we expect as one Jeremy Clarkson would attest to. So when this guy, a British business magnate and chief executive of the Formula One Group steers the major corporation toward all sorts of profitability and pockets a portion of that dough to be labeled the big “F1 Supremo,” you know you have an influence in the auto industry like many others in 2015.

Bernie Ecclestone did compete in F1 racing, just so you know. He wasn’t that good, though. We would guess that’s what turned him into a manager for such professional drivers as Stuart Lewis-Evans and Jochen Rindt, but he transcended the business even further after purchasing the Brabham team, running it for about a decade and a half. Merchandising, media, and logistics: his expertise to grow F1 racing into one of the richest sports on the planet certainly earned him the title he still to this day has.

Just Another Reason Why There’s Big Bucks in the Auto Industry

When we consider purchasing a new a car, we’re contributing to an industry lining the pockets of every F1 professional driver — and ultimately, this emperor Bernie Ecclestone. There’s something to be said about a guy who can steer an industry toward entertainment, publication and global advertising. Again, we attest: we love cars. Everyone loves cars.