The Ford Americar was first unveiled at the 2034 Detroit International Auto Show. It was a full-sized sedan and grand departure from the style and look of American cars at the time. American auto makers had been moving more and more since the end of the twentieth century and into the first half of the twenty-first towards smaller cars with smooth flowing lines. Small, low profile waves of color above the pavement. These vehicles emphasized fuel-economy and fancy technologic features, cars that are enjoyable to be in and not too costly to own. These cars were made for the kind of people who drove an hour from the suburbs to their job in the morning and another back at night. They were the hearth to sit by whiling away the long hours of traffic jams during the daily commute. They were geared towards specific needs, needs that were becoming less and less common in the Sixth World.
Sure, there were still wage slaves going to work, but the inherent dangers and instability meant that people tended to live closer to work and often in corporate housing with strong public transportation. The days of the commuter were ending in North America. Gas mileage became less of a concern because long drives were rare. Safety became the main issue, and not from accidents.
This was the age where the Ford Americar was unveiled. Discarding the smooth lines of early twenty-first century vehicles and instead looking more like something out of a 1970s cop drama. It had a boxy frame with a sharp angles and an almost luminous chrome grill. The frame was built of solid Detroit steel, weighing more than two tons. The doors and weren’t made of thin sheets of metal, instead there were nearly a quarter inch thick steel plates, strong enough to stop most pistols and an assault rifle at long range. The interior lacked the gadgets and gizmos that other cars of the time had and instead opting for fewer and simpler systems to give less room for failure. It didn’t have much, just power locks, comfortable seats, and bulletproof doors. It was simple, safe, reliable, and easy to maintain.
Anyone who grew up around that time will remember the ad campaigns. The most famous one featured a man getting into the car and turning it on. The camera orbits the car as it turns on showing the every angle of the exterior and moving into the interior. Words flashed across the screen “Want it because it looks great.” He then leaves his driveway and moves from his nice suburban neighborhood onto a stricken interstate, then words flash “Buy it because it takes you where you have to go.” He passes a car on the side of the road with a smoke coming from the front hood. He slows down to take a look and sees another man dressed like himself held at gunpoint by go-gangers. “Keep it because it never lets you down.” He speed up continues to cruise along. The camera jumps back to the go-gangers. They get on their bikes and catch up to the Ford Americar. The pull weapons and point at the driver. He looks at them and ducks as they begin to fire. The gangers peel off laughing to themselves. The driver stops at a parking lot and looks at his car. Several dents in his door, but no holes. “Love it because it saves your life.”
The Ford Americar was a wild success. The 2035 Ford Americar sold every single unit built with millions more looking to buy. Production ramped up and the 2036-2040 model years were the all the best-selling vehicles in the American market. In 2041, the second generation Ford Americars were released. The second generation didn’t have the resounding success of its predecessor, but its wider international release meant that the second generation was the most built and most bought car in the world from 2042 to 2048.
In 2049, Ford did something that hadn’t been done in almost 30 years: they issued a recall for eight model years at the same time. The recall cited inadequate welds in the frame that had been responsible for thirteen deaths. An analyst in the industry called it a “hyperbolic over reaction to a minor a problem.” Thirteen deaths in accidents caused by a minor defect on the highest selling car in the world should not have warranted such a massive action. The campaign to bring the vehicles in even resorted to offering 100¥ to anyone who brought in a Ford Americar for the recall. No questions asked. No proof of ownership needed. Americars were stolen and brought in. People who worked at dealerships reported that any car that came in had to be reported to Detroit and the car wouldn’t be allowed to leave until word was given from Ford. This was not at all how these things were normally done. Ford was acting weird about this issue.
There was talk that there was something fishy was going on. The Shadowlands were alight with conspiracy theories. The runners came to the conclusion that Ford Motor Company was looking for a particular Americar.
They were right. They were looking for a particular Ford Americar. A 2042 Blue Ford Americar to be exact.
They were looking for Chuckie’s.