How does someone go from snowmobiling in the snow-covered fields of Ohio to test driving Raptor in the tough off-road terrain of the desert? It just takes a passion for all things with an engine.
“I just have always loved cars,” says Tim Smith, SVT product development engineer and test driver. “They combine science, art, emotion, memory and vision in a way few products can.”
Taking advantage of all the snow in the rural community of Thompson, Ohio, on the outskirts of Cleveland, where he grew up, Smith started snowmobiling with his grandfather when he was four. “I would drive around the fields, and he would ride on a dogsled attached to the back,” he said. “That led to go-karts, dirt bikes and cars. It was a hobby I shared with my dad.”
As Smith got older, his involvement in racing also grew. While in high school his father purchased a Datsun 510 race car, followed by a small-bore sports racer. “That was a bona fide racing car… we had a lot of fun with that,” said Smith.
After graduating from the University of Rochester with a degree in mechanical engineering, Smith received a master’s degree in chassis and vehicle dynamics engineering. He began working at Ford in 2000 and joined SVT in 2002.
Away from work, Smith keeps busy with a garage full of projects. He has three BMW 2002s, a Triumph TR4, an Opel GT, two Yamaha RD350s, a replica Lotus Eleven and a half-built Ford Focus race car.
Besides working to get all of the cars running concurrently, Smith keeps busy as a husband and father with three children between the ages of eight and three. They even get to be involved in a little bit of what he does at SVT.
“In 2006, I’m pretty sure my daughter was the first six-year-old to drive a new Shelby – I had to work the pedals. They also flew out to Borrego Springs when we were on an extended development trip for Raptor last February,” said Smith. “They got to experience the desert and see a little of what I do firsthand, and it was a great trip.”
Describing Raptor as “fun, fun, fun,” it’s clear Smith loves the product he is working on in SVT. “It’s a departure for me personally and such a step forward in the industry in terms of what a performance truck can offer from the showroom floor,” he explains.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 176,000 employees and about 80 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and, until its sale, Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
May 13, 2010