Magazine article Management Today

Motor Stately as a Galleon

Magazine article Management Today

Motor Stately as a Galleon

Article excerpt

The great thing about cars is that in a world of intelligent moderation and mature circumspection, they allow unusual access to boastful, yet uncontestable, superlatives: most expensive, fastest, smallest, most economical. And, of course, biggest. This is the Ford Excursion. No contest. It makes a Chevy Suburban, hitherto provincial America's favoured Colossus of the Road, look petite and diminishes a Range Rover to Tonkadom. It blocks out the sun and people gasp as it passes.

If you owned an oil well and it was your routine to shuttle a team of rumbustious redneck Okie wildcatters around the fields from Tulsa to Okmulgee, or if you had been given the shuttle bus contract for the Bulgarian weightlifting team, an Excursion would be for you. Curiously, it's the type of vehicle favoured by spruce middle-class dieting American women in the 35-45 age bracket for their journeys between Starbucks and the gym.

Although not (yet) in any of the above categories, I spent part of the summer using an Excursion in New York as an element of my continuing quest to confront the absolute wherever it presents itself. In this case, it presented itself at Manhattan Ford on New York's remote and scary 11th Avenue between 54th and 55th. Ford's PR staff have been-there-done-it-all to a woman, but the look I got as I picked up the keys said: 'Are you really sure?'

I was certainly having my doubts as leased out into a fuming scum of gridlocked, angry, parping traffic. Believe me, the Excursion is HUGE. The top of the cheesily chrome radiator grille is near enough to head height and you need to be standing on a building to see the roof. The halt and lame need not apply for internal access unless they bring a winch. You could suspend a small car, say a Volvo wagon, from davits at the back. Kamikaze Yellow Cabs instantly give ground.

That said, and controlled breathing exercises executed, the Excursion is a complete pussy to drive. Based on the Super-Duty F-series truck, my Excursion had a 6.8 litre V-10 engine, although real men will go for the 7.3 litre Navistar International diesel. Application of power resembles the spooling-up of turbines at a hydro-electric station: this is an industrial plant, not a sports car. …

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