Steve von Foerster worked in the auto industry for 35 years, most of them with Ford Motor Company. It’s fair to say his favorite car to design — and drive — is the Mustang. One day, at his suburban Detroit home, von Foerster started up a Shelby GT350 and backed it out of his driveway. He loves the roar of the car’s powerful V8 engine. His neighbors — well, they didn’t appreciate it as much.
“I was testing our new active exhaust valve, and I guess I got a little too rambunctious,” van Foerster says. “As I left the house, a police car showed up in front. One of my neighbors had called the police on me.”
Though he didn’t get a ticket, von Foerster admits the incident was embarrassing. It was also motivating. When he returned to Ford the following Monday, he says he and his engineering team started looking for a way to quiet the GT’s exhaust system so that drivers could start the car without annoying their neighbors. They developed “Quiet Start”, which allows GT owners to schedule specific times when their engines won’t roar upon starting. Von Foerster says it’s the first device of its kind in the industry. He also says it doesn’t take the fun out of revving up the engine.
This is what Quiet Mode sounds like
This is what Normal Mode sounds like.
“You have normal, sport, and track modes,” von Foerster says. “Using the computer, it will actually customize those modes and those sounds, depending on how you feel that day and what experience you want to hear with the sound, to go along with the driving experience.”
Steve von Foerster retired from Ford on July 28, which means he’ll have more time to drive his GT. He never found out which of his neighbors called the police, but promises he will use Quiet Start when he starts the engine. It’s available as an option on the 2018 Mustang GT, which starts at $35,995, according to Cars.com The Shelby GT350 is considerably more expensive. Click on the audio player to hear Steve von Foerster’s conversation with WDET’s Pat Batcheller.