Several times each year, a group of longtime Las Vegans head for Goldfield, about 185 miles north of Las Vegas between Beatty and Tonopah.
Sal Ortiz, a former chef who is now a Friendly Ford sales consultant, is among those in the group. He takes his 2013 Ford F-150 FX4 to the country where those with properly-prepared vehicles search the terrain for what is nothing less than hidden treasures.
Goldfield was in its prime in 1906 when more than $11 million in gold was mined as the population grew to more than 20,000 residents. However, a flood wiped out the town Sept. 18, 1913,and, according to historians, three safes filled with gold have yet to be found near the town that now has about 280 residents.
Ortiz never worries about making sure he gets home safely primarily because his four-wheel-drive F-150 is powered by the new 3.5-lLiter EcoBoost engine that generates 385 horsepower.
The FX4 has a heavy-duty suspension and also has a 35-gallon gas tank, both important factors when exploring the desert.
“The terrain near Goldfield is unmaintained roads and washes,” explained the 56-year-old Ortiz, a native Las Vegan. “For 36 years in a row, the F-150 has been rated in the top five of trucks in the country.
“I never worry getting there and back. The truck has heavy-duty oil pumps, oversized oil pans to keep the oil cool. The turbocharged engine has plenty of power to get you in and out of trouble.”
Since 2015, the major improvements with the F-150 have included the all-aluminum body that makes the truck 700 pounds lighter, new formulated steel frame, the new 2.7-liter turbocharged engine with 325 horsepower and 375 pounds-feet of torque.
The 2016 model is one of Ford’s prize entries into the market, touting a five-star overall crash test from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that utilizes 31 safety-related innovations.
With a radical new design and body structure, the 2016 Ford F-150 has a strong performance package that includes the availability of a 3.- liter V-6 EcoBoost and a 2.7-liter turbo V-6 EcoBoost for base models and 5-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6.
Ford-Built-Tough technology also features a fully-boxed frame with eight cross members made up of 78 percent high-strength steel, which is up from 23 percent in the previous generation.
Safety is also accentuated by other factors including an advanced restraint system with dual-stage air bags, curve control in Super Crew models and safety pretensioners that have been added to the belt anchor side that further tighten the lap belt around front seat passengers. The addition keeps front seat passengers more secure in the event of an accident.
Yet another key element with the 2016 Ford F-150 is the standard trailer sway control, a huge factor in a city where towing heavy trailers is a common sight. The standard AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control adds to the package.
Further information regarding Friendly Ford, which recently celebrated its 46th year at 660 N. Decatur Blvd., can be found by calling 702-870-7221 or by visiting www.friendlyfordlv.com.