Steve Turner
Former Editor, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
February 11, 2014

One of the coolest vehicles we've seen in a while is a '56 F100 built for a charity auction. Tom Foster, president of Industrial Machine & Manufacturing in Saskatoon, Canada, fused the truck with the DNA of a Shelby GT500 to create a one-of-a-kind vehicle to benefit the Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan. Powered by a 550hp Ford Racing 5.4-liter engine sourced from the GT500 and wearing a Tremec six-speed manual transmission, the truck is stretched by 5 inches, and features wheels and lighting inspired by the GT500.

Unveiled at the 2013 SEMA show by actress Shannon Tweed and her husband, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, the truck's construction was funded by the Ford Dealer's Association of Saskatoon. Beyond building a cool vehicle, this group of people came together to create a vehicle that could raise money to bring a children's hospital to Shannon's hometown, Saskatoon.

"The Wheels of Dreams project symbolizes how people can come together to meet the needs of our children and families by raising much needed funds for the new Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan," said Brynn Boback-Lane, president and CEO of the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. "Just like the hospital, this concept car project started as an idea and a desire to do something better for our community.

The Snakebit F100 will hit the auction block at Barrett-Jackson's January 12-19 event in Scottsdale, Arizona ( "What began as a grassroots idea, the volunteers and supporters of Wheels of Dreams have turned into a major international fundraiser opportunity that will ultimately benefit our foundation and the children of Saskatchewan who require the services and care of a hospital," Brynn added.

Young Love

Your editor must be young at heart, because it seems the Focus ST is bringing a more youthful clientele into Ford dealerships. In fact, 32 percent of Focus ST buyers are 35 and under. Better yet, the people that come into Ford showrooms eventually buy other Fords, particularly Fusions and Escapes. One would assume those other rides are family vehicles, but it does set a good precedent that performance vehicles will help sell standard vehicles.

"It's having the kind of halo effect for other vehicles we'd hoped for when we invested in the ST brand," said John Felice, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales, and Service. "We continue to build through word-of-mouth and terrific reviews. As an affordable high- performance vehicle that can serve double duty as a daily driver, it has no equal."

Even the standard Focus only lures the under 35 crowd in 22 percent of its buyers, so the hot hatch is doing good work.

Hot Couple

Long stalwarts of the Ford stable, the Mustang and F-150 have become the first duo of vehicles from the same manufacturer to take home the coveted Hottest awards at the 2013 SEMA show. Naturally the Mustang took Hottest Car honors and the F-150 took Hottest Truck kudos. These honors are awarded to the vehicles most frequently on display in the 2,400 SEMA exhibits throughout the week of the show.

"Now in its fourth year, the SEMA Award ( helps guide consumers toward the hottest-trending and most accessory friendly vehicles on the market," said Chris J. Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. "Our SEMA Show exhibitors are industry visionaries who determine the winners of the SEMA Award. The booth space is a ballot and the vehicles they choose to showcase in their booths are a vote. The most prominent models in each category are the winners."

Of course, these vehicles are always the hottest in our eyes, but the manufacturers are understandably proud when their products are acknowledged. "Ford was the first automaker to share detailed vehicle specs with SEMA members," said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "Thirty years later, we're proud that more aftermarket accessories and parts are created for Ford vehicles than for any other automaker."