Tickford is back as Ford performance takes on a new look following the death of the Falcon. The iconic name, which was used by a factory hot-up shop that produced a long run of tweaked and tizzied fast Fords, is now being applied to the top-selling Ranger ute.
It’s been picked up by Prodrive Racing Australia, the company that fields four Falcons in Supercars racing, as it diversifies for the first time into road cars.
The new-age Tickford crew has plans to work through the Ford Australia range over coming years, starting with the Ranger but moving quickly on to the Mustang and then the Everest and other imports.
The man behind the move is Rod Nash, a co-- owner of PRA, who is doing the deal with backing from race team boss Tim Edwards and members of the PRA team in Melbourne.
Tickford can do everything from a $105 cosmetic tweak with door sill panels through to fullhouse upgrade with 15 per cent more power and 20 per cent more torque for close to $20,000.
The plan is to have Tickford Modification Team Betta Electrical backed Triple Eight
Centres in Melbourne by the end of October, Race Engineering Ford BA Falcon Sydney in November and Brisbane by the start of 2017 that will handle the Ranger and Mustang upgrade work.
The Mustang package should also be ready in the first quarter of next year.
“We felt the time was right to provide a fresh take on things and give blue oval fans something extra to be passionate about,” says Edwards, who is the CEO of Tickford.
But it’s Nash who has the inside story on everything from the cars to the choice of the Tickford name.
“Basically, this program started two years ago with us working together with Ford Asia-Pacific and in particular through their personalisation requirements with Ford Performance Parts. That’s where it originated from,” Nash reveals. “We’ve been developing parts with them. And then, along the way, emerged the concept to fill the void in the Australia-New Zealand market where there are limited personalisation packages for Ranger, and Mustang and Mondeo and Everest and the like.
“That got us working with Ford, and also within ourselves. We didn’t want to be just a shoddy aftermarket operation, we wanted to keep the quality in the product.” And what about the Tickford name? “We had a company called PRA Garage but we thought that was a bit boring. So the boys went to find something appropriate, and the Tickford name was part of a company we purchased that used to have it. It had relevance to the Ford product.
“I was wondering ‘Do you dig up the past?’ but there is so much history and it’s relevant to what we’re doing. We had overwhelming support. So we got our legal people to look at the global stage. It was all de-registered everywhere. So we’ve got the world trademark, which took about three months.”
Nash says the Tickford business has required a big commitment that has not come cheaply.
“We’ve already plugged a couple of million dollars into the R&D. We’ve used internal resources and we’ve got an association with Premcar internally. Through the Ford licensed accessory program the Ford engineers are also involved,” he reveals.
In the case of the Ranger, the result – behind the giant Tickford grille panel – is everything from the door sills to a $7995 powertrain upgrade that takes in the intercooler, exhaust, engine tune and driveline warranty. There is also a Tickford suspension package with tauter springs and Bilstein dampers, 20-inch alloys and even leather seat trim.
Tickford will only work on cars which are already with their owners and has no intention of becoming either a tier-two manufacturer in Melbourne or a direct outlet from Ford Australia.
In the near future it’s going to reveal its Mustang packages for both the V8 and EcoBoost four, taking a similar approach to the Ranger. A Tickford-enhanced Mustang was displayed at Bathurst over the race weekend.
“We are certainly looking at every conceivable option for them, in a number of ways. Engine tuning, for starters, is a big-ticket item. It’s a really good package the way it is and don’t have to do a lot to make it better again,” Nash says.
“Exhaust, suspension, carbon pieces. The catchphrase at Tickford is ‘Performance driven by passion’, but what we mean is that don’t want to throw in a bunch of aftermarket things. We want to develop our own stuff to enhance the cars in a nice tidy way with the appropriate certifications and testing to meet the quality level of the vehicles we are enhancing.”
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