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25 Years of Drive: This is what the future looked like in the year 2000


Twenty-four hours, seven days a week – a car for a third millennium lifestyle. Ford’s Detroit motor show concept surprise – the 24.7 – had little to do with lassoing the hearts of style gurus and more about introducing to the world the sort of electronic gizmos we can expect on family cars in the near future.

But it could just point to the way Ford is taking its styling under the direction of design boss J Mays, according to some overseas reports. The simple, clean shapes of the 24.7 are, well, much departed from the edge theme that Ford’s been injecting into its models recently, suggesting a change could be on the way. After all, the angular, often controversial edge design theme on cars such as the Falcon and Focus (sold overseas) has copped a fair dose of criticism.

In conjunction with Visteon Automotive Systems, Ford has developed three 24.7 concept cars: a utility, a wagon and a coupe. Each is based on a stretched Ford Focus small-car platform and powered by the Mondeo’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

But the thrust of the 24.7 is the widespread use of computer technology that, until now, has been relegated to the desktop.

Voice recognition, in six languages, is an obvious option for major vehicle functions, leaving the driver more time to concentrate on the road ahead.

The 24.7’s Reconfigurable Projected Image Display is a novel, but purposeful alternative to the conventional dash board and instrument cluster. The display can be tailored to each driver, with anything from the regular speedo, tachometer and fuel gauge to internet access, a satellite navigation system and e-mail.

You can even use the Web browser for real-time weather reports and stock updates.

The vehicle’s lighting system, which uses LEDs instead of conventional globes, can be more efficiently packaged, uses less power and is lighter.

Story originally published 27 January, 2000

What must have seemed like science fiction technology in the year 2000 has become commonplace today. And it’s easy to see the genesis of today’s proliferation of small SUVs in the Ford 24.7.

Compact dimensions, sitting high on the road with cladding over the wheel arches are commonplace today.

More tellingly, digital dashboards and widescreen infotainment screen interfaces with functions such as satellite navigation are not only common, but expected in even today’s most affordable cars.

As for connectivity, we have smartphone mirroring today that allows drivers and occupants to remain in touch with the outside world even while driving.

And LED lighting systems have today all but replaced more conventional globes in today’s range of cars and SUVs.

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

Read more about Rob Margeit

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