Top 10 Car Watches

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Precision engineering. Artful design. Exclusive prestige. The kind of machine you can enjoy using every day. Are we talking about the finest automobiles or timepieces? We're referring to both, because these and so many other superlatives and qualities can be attributed to both, and both are among the favorite purchases of those with the means.

It should come as no surprise, then, that these two industries have been crossing over at increasing frequency. The result of the mingling of the two worlds has been a wide array of automotive-inspired watches, taking more or less design cues and construction materials from the automotive industry. On some of the most lusted-after timepieces in jeweler's windows today you'll see such materials as aluminum, titanium, ceramics and carbon fiber; you'll see rubber wrist straps with tire-tread patterns; and you'll see ultra-exclusive watches sharing their name with the most prestigious automobiles and motor races in the world. Of course, some of them cost as much as some cars as well, but there's a wide range of choices for every budget. Here are our Top Ten favorites.

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Introducing the 2008 Cadillac CTS... courtesy of Photoshop

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click on image to enlarge

Autoblog reader Michael C. swears that someone besides himself must've come up with this bright idea before, but we can say as a matter of fact this is the first one we've seen. Michael took the teaser image General Motors released this month of Bob Lutz and Ed Welburn pulling the covers back every so slightly on the yet-to-be-released 2008 Cadillac CTS. Lutz yanked the she et back just enough, however, to give us all a clear view of half of the car's front end. Since vehicles are generally symmetrical, Michael had the bright idea of squaring up the shot and flipping the one side over to reveal the full face of the 2008 Cadillac CTS in all its glory, and without breaking any embargoes. Well done, Michael.

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Champ Car teams receive new Panoz chassis

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American motor racing has been steadily moving towards "Spec", that is, each team racing the same car with the same engine and other components. The Indy Racing League runs Dallara chassis powered by Honda engines. (Although NASCAR technically uses a few different cars with different engines from different suppliers, they all look pretty much the same.) Now the latest spec racing cars for the Champ Car series - IRL's rival formerly known as CART - have just been delivered.

The new Panoz DP01 has been received by ten Champ Car teams, the first ten before the entire field makes the switch from the previous Lola-built cars. The new chassis will use the same turbocharged Cosworth V8 engines, the now independent engine supplier owning majority rights to the series and having involuntarily withdrawn from supplying engines in Formula One. They all run on spec Bridgestone tires, just as Formula One makes the switch next season.

Constructed primarily of carbon fiber, the new cars weigh an impressive hundred pounds less than their predecessor Lola counterparts. The chassis were delivered unpainted and all-but-identical to the teams who'll be adding their own team and sponsors' livery. We're looking forward to seeing the new cars in action.

[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]

 

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Ferrari offers HGT-S pack for 612 Scaglietti

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The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti is a bit of an oddity. The lackluster styling doesn't evocatively portray the heart-pounding performance, and despite the car's expansive length, it handles as nimbly as a car several feet shorter. But while the 612's incongruity might not win it as many fans as its peerless dynamics may warrant, it's still an Italian GT - one of the best, in fact. And there's few things we like better than improving on that formula. To that effect, Maranello is now offering the HGT-S package.

Ferrari has a bit of a recent history in offering these packages, having offered the GTC handling pack on the 575 M - the two-seater front-engine GT that preceded the 599 GTB and which shared the 612's epic V12. The 575 GTC mainly improved the suspension and brakes, while the 612 HGT-S focuses on the exhaust, suspension and transmission.

The exhaust valves open as low as 3000 rpm, which gives the benefit of a freer-flowing system through more of the range - considering the redline doesn't come until 8000 rpm - while reportedly producing a more enjoyable exhaust note. The adaptive active suspension benefits from a revised control system. And the F1A clutchless transmission gets updated software, bringing shift times down to a blink of an eye at just 150 milliseconds. There are also 19-inch wheels and the brake calipers are treated to bright yellow paint.

While none of the improvements in the 612 HGT-S much address the disappointing styling issues, they do manage to make a nearly flawlessly dynamic sports tourer even better, moving it even further ahead of the competition as the vehicle of choice for cross-continental jaunts.

[Source: Car Magazine]

 

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Hennessey turbo-tunes the Ford GT

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Hennessey Performance seems to have a knack for producing modified supercars that are as intoxicating as its namesake Cognac. Hennessey specializes in top-level American muscle, having earned its street cred by strapping twin turbochargers to the Dodge Viper to crank power up to 1000 horsepower. Now Hennessey has turned its attention over to the Viper's main rival in the battle for American supercar dominance: the Ford GT.

The Ford GT was, of course, created as rolling homage to the Le Mans-winning GT40 of yore, and the modern retro-mobile lives up to the legend by challenging Ferraris just as it did in the sixties. But cavallino-trouncing performance just wasn't enough to John Hennessey and his crew, so they went to work. Two Garret turbochargers, an intercooler, a new exhaust system, a custom intake manifold, a revised engine management system and a whole slew of other modifications later, the Hennessey Ford GT Twin Turbo puts out Koenigsegg-like levels of power: 850 horsepower and a matching 850 lb-ft of torque. That's enough to propel the throwback sportscar to sixty in a claimed 2.6 seconds, covering the quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds on its way to a very Veyron-like top speed of 240 mph.

The price, of course, is not specified, but for that kind of performance, if you have to ask... But for a customer bent on American domination of even the performance supercar world, price is no object.

[Source: Hennessey]

 

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Chevy HHR Premiere Edition announced for Detroit

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click image to enlarge

General Motors announced this afternoon the impending arrival of the HHR Premiere Edition to Chevy's lineup. The Premiere Edition is actually a package option that will only be made available on 4,000 HHRs at a price of $995. For the extra G you get a unique Cappuccino Frost Metallic paint job and Ebony/Gray two-tone interior (no pics of that available yet). The Premiere Edition is based on the range-topping 2LT model that's powered by GM's 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder producing 175 horsepower. Special touches for the PE over a standard 2LT include the use of black chrome on the exterior trim and wheels rather than bright chrome, smoked lenses on the headlights and foglamps, color-keyed body bits including the runni ng boards and rearview mirrors, an acent stripe below the beltline, an aero wing spoiler above the rear hatch, black roof rails, a leather steering wheel and custom floor mats. Though obviously just an appearance package, the Premiere Edition does set itself apart from the obnoxiously colored orange, red and purple HHRs we always see driving around. However, this limited edition HHR will be the first one with a base price above $20k.

Check out GM's press release after the jump.

[Source: GM]

Continue reading Chevy HHR Premiere Edition announced for Detroit

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Revealed! Optimus Prime in all his glory

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Optimus Prime

Brit film mag Empire has the goods, with a full-on cover shot Optimus Prime as he'll appear in this summer's Transformers big-screen blockbuster. Now, the trailer that was released last week (which we still watch with regularity) hinted at what the look would be when it showed him transforming from a high rear angle. In that shot, you saw that his head was pretty much in tune with the one we all know and love from the old toys and cartoon.

This cover shot solidifies that, showing a face that, while obviously modernized, is unmistakably that of Optimus Prime. And we dig his flame job, too. Friends, this is what badass looks like.

If you're looking for any of us on 4th of July weekend, we'll be in darkened theaters throughout the country, preferably ones equipped with DLP systems.

Thanks for the tip, Adil!

[Source: Empire via TFW2005]

Related posts:
New Transformers trailer! See Camaro and Optimus Prime
Transformers Update: Jazz will be played by a Pontiac Solstice
Full-body Bumblebee snapped on Transformers set
Transformers trailer online
Bumblebee transforming on the Transformers set

 

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The Autoblog After Christmas Sweepstakes #2: Automoblox complete set

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Congratulations to Sharon Thayer whose comment was randomly selected from yesterday's post to win a media pack including the children's books R is for Race, The Night Henry Ford Met Santa and a DVD copy of Grand Theft Auto: Tricked Out Edition.

We underestimated the draw for today's prize , though, which is a complete set of Automoblox toys. Many comments for the first drawing were readers pining over winning today's prize, so make sure you enter by leaving a comment on this post telling us the one gift you always wanted for Christmas but never got. You're allowed to enter again today if you submitted a comment yesterday and didn't win. Feel free to use the same answer again if you like or come up with a new one.

We'll randomly select a comment from this post tomorrow (12/28) at 3PM and send that person a complete set of Automoblox toys, which includes seven vehicles (the Limited Edition C9p Pink is not shown) valued at $35 apiece. You have 24 hours to get your submission in by leaving a comment on this post telling us what you always wanted for Christmas but never got, starting... now! Good l uck!

Some quick basic rules:
  • You can enter each of the three drawings once, but you can only win one prize
  • You must be 18 years old to enter
  • Winners must be a resident of the continental U.S. (we're working on broadening our reach for future sweepstakes, giveaways and contests)
  • Prizes will be shipped after all drawings are completed.
Check out the official rules here.

UPDATE: The Automoblox prize pack will now include all seven cars plus one extension block and an Automoblox T-shirt worth over $260 altogether.

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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GM 'car czar' Lutz says it's the design, stupid

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When Bob Lutz became GM's car czar last year, he kept telling workers that they couldn't keep doing things the same way if they wanted different results. Seems obvious, and that philosophy is considered one of the litmus tests for being sane. Although there's still a long way to go, and GM might slip to the #2 spot in global production before it gets sorted, it seems the message is getting through.

The 2005 bankruptcy fears are gradually fading, mainly because of CEO Rick Wagoner's budget-slashing, but also due to the Lutz cheerleading that has seen good product pushed to quicker release. The new Silverado/Sierra, for instance got into showrooms a full 3 months ahead of projections and, more importantly, hit before Toyota's much-hyped Tundra.

Most analysts will tell you it's Lutz who will ultimately get GM back to form. And the reason Lutz is so important is that he recognizes that good product is the only way out. He's telling everybody who will listen that better design, higher quality interiors, and quicker concept-to-sales floor development times are what GM needs.

Follow the jump for the rest of the story.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]

Continue reading GM 'car czar' Lutz says it's the design, stupid

 

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2008 Dodge Viper with 600HP revealed on cover of Road and Track

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UPDATE: Thanks to Ray over at Jalopnik we have a little bit higher res shot of the Viper in question.

It's like the buff books aren't even trying to keep embargoed information a secret anymore. The cover of Road and Track's February issue has recently been loaded onto the dead-tree journo's website as a small thumbnail. Though super tiny and pixelated, a picture of what appears to be the 2008 Dodge Viper is located in the lower left-hand corner. From what we can make out, above the pic in bold white lettering it reads, "Supercar Superfas t 600-BHP Dodge Viper SRT-10". We can't tell you where the Viper will find that extra 90 horsepower under its hood, but it appears the 2008 Dodge Viper will significantly raise the bar for domestic supercars.

If you look really, really close at the Viper, you'll also notice some dark pixels on the hood, which are likely the hood vents we've been seeing in recent spy shots of the 2008 Viper SRT-10. Hmm... Don't you think a 600-hp Viper pratically guarantees that a real Blue Devil Corvette is a done deal?

The embargo on information and photos relating to the 2008 Dodge Viper is technically in effect until 12AM EST on January 9th, the day the vehicle debuts at the 2007 NAIAS. Of course, with the way things have been going we should expect the February issue of Road and Track to be in our mailbox as we speak. Regardless, we'll have more concrete info about the car for you later, as well as verification that we've translated this pixelated cover correctly.

[Source: Road and Track]

 

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Injured Marine receives custom Subaru rally golf cart

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Steven Schultz drives his new Subaru golf cart
For U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Schulz, losing the ability to drive his beloved blue Subaru WRX was one of the more painful aspects of his Iraq war injuries. The 22-year-old veteran had his leg, brain, skull and vision damaged in Fallujah 20 months ago when a roadside bomb exploded near him. His dreams of racing were over, and even driving was out of the question. But recently his father, Steven Sr., found out that he could drive a golf cart on his Friendswood city streets if he needed to. And that's how it all started.

The most recent chapter of the story goes something like this: A ragtag parade of 50 friends, family members and generous supporters made their way down his suburban Texas street to deliver a customiz ed Subaru golf cart that matches the car he can no longer drive. On Christmas Eve, Steven stepped outside his house and saw not only the cart, but the whole group of people responsible for the gift as well.

The golf cart itself is one of only five made for the Subaru World Rally team. McRee Subaru in Dickinson added a lift kit, and other items and services were donated to make it better for Schulz. Things like a special steering wheel with the U.S. Marine Corps logo on it, graphics, a stereo system and special tires, a trailer hitch, under dash lighting, and even a Sparco racing harness. Although the gift was a wonderful one and Schulz appreciated it immensely, there are still medical costs to consider so the fundraising website is still up. The person behind the site, Barry Waxman, is the person who was most responsible for the gift.

Waxman met Schulz through other Subaru owners a year ago and heard that Steven's dad was looking for a Subaru golf cart. He knew what to do, and started the site that raised more than $14,000 in donations from people across the country. In just three days they had already raised the $9,000 for the golf cart, so the additional $5,000 went to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, which helped Steven during his surgeries. Click the "Read" link to learn the full story and to find out how you too can help.

Thanks for the tip, Wraith!

[Source: Galveston Daily News via Helpsteven.com]

 

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Daihatsu's Esse Custom channels a little Renault along the way

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Daihatsu Esse Custom

This week, Daihatsu released a new version of its Esse minicar called the Esse Custom. Regular readers are by now familiar with the Japanese manufacturers' modus operandi when it comes to their kei cars. For the most part, there are two trim levels offered -- a "regular" one, such as the Esse, and a more upscale counterpart, such as this new Esse Custom. The upscale versions are almost always darker, sportier-looking and appear to be geared more towards male buyers, whereas the base versions are softer, offered in pastels with light interiors, and are aimed squarely at women.

The Esse Custom follows the script, arriving with a black inter ior with metallic accents and a smart-looking black exterior finish that's accented by a subtle red pinstripe that runs the length of the rocker panels and also trims the edges of the front and rear bumper covers. Foglights, a new radio antenna, a roof-mounted rear spoiler, and a set of alloys completes the look. It's no Model T, though - in addition to black/red,there are a variety of other color/pinstripe combos. Daihatsu has all the bases covered, so if you want a purple one with a grey stripe, they'll be able to hook you up. If you live in Japan, that is.

(Follow the jump for additional info and photos)

[Source: Daihatsu via Carview]

Continue reading Daihatsu's Esse Custom channels a little Renault along the way

 

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Spy Shots: 2008/09 Chrysler 300

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Our bros over at LeftLaneNews procured a set of spy shots showing the 2008 (or possibly 2009) Chrysler 300, and while they claim that there has been a change to the front end, at least the addition of new headlights, we just don't see it. The headlights on this vehicle look identical to the beams on the 2007 model. Regardless, through the camo on the rear we can definitely see taillights that are different than the current model's. Changes to the exterior, however, will pale in comparison to the interior's transformation. LLN quotes Ralph Gilles, VP of Design at the Chrysler Group, who said back in May, "we need an update [...] you're going to see a significant improvement in the interior of that car." Bring it, Ralph! Unfortunatel y non of these spy shots offers any glimpses of the interior, and we're unlikely to see the changes at the Detroit Auto Show in a few weeks.

Check out more pics by clicking on the Read link and follow the jump to see front and rear shots of the current model for comparison.

[Source: LLN]

Continue reading Spy Shots: 2008/09 Chrysler 300

 

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Future Classics: 1988-91 Buick Reatta

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I remember the one time I rode in a Buick Reatta. It was bright red and had a beige leather interior. Its notchy silhouette flashed up to the curb on alloy rims. There were three of us, and only two places. Being the smallest, I was nominated to slide around the parcel shelf behind the seats. The car was definitely flashy, but more like "real estate agent" flashy than "kick your ass" flashy. The GNX was covering the whoopin's for Buick at the time. The digital dash was a thing to behold for a techy-geek in the late '80s. The floorshift dropped into "D" and the 3800's balance-shaft muted growl provided a soundtrack for the firm shove we all felt. And... that was about it. The 4-speed transaxle couldn't handle too much grunt, so the 3800's torquey stepoff was about all the excitement the Reatta would muster. The cars were quite fully-optioned, as well, adding to a 3,500-pound curb weight. 0-60 times were almost 10 seconds. That's a long time to listen to the 3800.

More after the jump

Ed. note - we're thinking of making Future Classics a regular, weekly feature. What are some cars you'd like to see here that are generally underappreciated gems from the past? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Continue reading Future Classics: 1988-91 Buick Reatta

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Honey, I shrunk the race car: MitJet Series races mini Vipers, Porsches, BMWs

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Looking like Legends racers for the Euro set, Mitjet has been running a racing series in France and Spain that uses miniature replica bodies from famous sportscars sitting atop dedicated racing chassis. At first they really look like those photoshops of shrunken exotic cars that are so popular as avatars. But they are very real as the video will show. And fun too. Unlike the Legends cars that mimic the styling of classic American stock cars from the '30s, however, the Mitjet racers look like Touring Car Shrinky Dinks.

The current lineup includes your choice of the BMW M6, Porsche 911, Dodge Viper, Renault Megane or Seat Leon. Where the Legends series uses Yamaha 1200 cc motors putting out about 12 5 hp, the Mitjets run the newer 1300 XJR engine that produces 150 hp. The Mitjets weigh about the same (1,100 pounds) as the Legends. They should do the 0-100 km sprint in about 3.6 seconds and have a top speed of around 210 km/h (130 mph). The cars run about 25,000 Euro ($33,000) and you have to commit to at least two races to run the series, which adds another 2,300 Euro. The site seems to be down at the moment, but mitjet-series.com has all the details about pricing and the 6-race series. Watch a video after the jump.

[Sources: Mitjet, Motorpasion, Carscoop]

Continue reading Honey, I shrunk the race car: MitJet Series races mini Vipers, Porsches, BMWs< /p>

 

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Ford ends day at 3-week high thanks to Toyota talk

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Ford Motor Company was quick to issue a brief statement regarding the meeting that took place between its CEO, Alan Mulally, and executives from Toyota last week in Japan in order to quell speculation of an alliance or partnership, but news of the meeting had a very positive effect on the Blue Oval's share price today, which rose to a three week high of $7.59, up about 1.3 percent or 10 percent compared to yesterday. Ford's stock began to rise around noon yesterd ay as news of the meeting began to spread. Wall Street is likely reacting to the prospect that any collaboration with Toyota could result in some much needed cost-cutting at Ford. Tomorrow will tell us whether Ford's stock deserves to be flirting with $7.60, but for the time being the idea that our own Blue Oval could be in cahoots with the Japanese Juggernaut has investors curious and hopeful.

[Source: Reuters]

 

[via] Autoblog

Trucker slapped with $17,000 ticket

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You hear it and figure it must be some kind of urban legend. A truck driver makes a wrong turn and ends up with a $17,000 ticket. Well, it's actually not true. Truck driver William Carroll got lost in the suburbs around Philadelphia and when he got pulled over the ticket was actually for $17,751.50. Philadelphia's NBC 10 looked into the story and found it to be totally legit, if not tragically sad.

Carroll says he was just following the directions he had gotten from one of the companies he leases his trucks from. He missed a weight limit sign that was leaning and partially obscured, and before he knew it he was stuck trying to turn his big rig around in a residential neighborhood. That's where the police caught up to him and gave him the ticket. At first he thoug ht it was a mistake, thinking maybe 17 hundred instead of 17 thousand dollars, but when the officer verified it, Carroll says he felt like he was hit by a Mack truck.

A PennDOT spokesman, Charlie Metzger, explained that the fines are so high because heavy trucks can do a lot of damage to certain bridges and roadways. So the fine breaks down thusly: "It's $150 for the fine, and then it's $150 for every 500 pounds over the 3,000-pound weight limit," Metzger said. He further rationalized the fine saying the money often needs to go right back into the road repairs. Remind us to never get lost driving a truck in Pennsylvania.

[Source: NBC 10 via Digg]

 

[via] Autoblog

Could a new GNX save Buick?

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OK, so Bob Lutz might be doing a lot to save GM (or not, depending on who you ask), but one GM division that is really trying to regain its former glory is Buick. Chevy is the mainstream division. Pontiac is performance. Saturn is the import beater (but with all the Opels in their showrooms, they are migrating towards the old Olds territory of Euro alternative). Cadillac is the American Mercedes and BMW fighter. And Buick is... uhhh... affordable luxury? No, that would be near luxury, like Acura. But isn't that where Cadillac is with the CTS? Buick is... well, Buick WAS like Mercury, a step between common and luxury. Gradually it has taken over the retiree ride demographic that has a loyal but dying customer base.

So what to do? Products like the new Enclave are cool, but the Lucerne is a bit of a letdown compared to something like the Chrysler 300. And the LaCrosse, Terraza, Rainier, and Rendezvous aren't exactly, well, good. So Buick could use a boost. Something to redefine and reinvigorate the brand. Something that might get people excited about owning a Buick. Something like the 2008 Buick GNX. Never heard of it? Well, that's because it's a figment of Popular Hot Rodding's imagination.

[Source: PHR via GM Inside News]

Continue reading Could a new GNX save Buick?

 

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Nissan Rogue set to enter CUV fray

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Nissan Rogue

Nissan's pulled the wraps off its new Rogue crossover, which looks for all the world like a Hyundai Santa Fe, which, in turn, means it also looks like the Toyota RAV4 -- both of which are vehicles it's designed to compete directly against. We're not so sure we're into the flowy lines on the Rogue, and we prefer the more traditional look of the automaker's Euro-market Qashquai (a.k.a. Dualis in Japan). Sizewise, it slots in between the Santa Fe and Honda's CR-V, whose Pokemon-like styling is starting to look like a good move given the visual similarities seen in some of the competition.

The exterior, as we said, is very Hyundai-looking, with a swoopy, rising beltline, rounded side glass, and a softer-looking front end than any other Nissan CUV or SUV. There are similarities to the Qashquai up front, but the Qash is butchier and better-looking if you ask us.

The Rogue shares its architecture with the new Sentra, and comes with FWD standard, though AWD is available as an option. No matter how you trim it out, there's just a single powertrain option available: a 175-horsepower 2.4L four-banger connected to a CVT. If you want to control shifts yourself, you can add a set of optional paddles.

More analysis and additional photos after the jump...

[Source: Inside Line]

Continue reading Nissan Rogue set to enter CUV fray

 

[via] Autoblog

2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10 breaks cover ahead of schedule

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click above image to see high-res gallery with 22 pics

We'll take credit for being the first to notice that the cover of Road & Track's February issue gave up the goods on the 600-hp power rating of the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10, but we'll pass the honor of being the first to post the Viper's catalogue of press material to our friends over at Jalopnik who, in turn, acted only after said Feb. issue of R&T was released to the public.

The snake's out of the bag now, and the big news is a bump in displacement for the Viper's V10 motor from 8.3 liters to 8.4, which is accompanied by a corresponding increase in power to the aforementioned 600 hp (up 90 hp) and 560 ft-lbs. of torque (an increase of 25). As many already know, McLaren Performance Technologies (the U.S. company, not the German one associated with Mercedes-Benz) assisted Dodge in massaging the V10, though one could still argue that with 8.4-liters of displacement, the Viper's engine is still not reaching its full potential.

The only change to the car's exterior is the new hood with six vents that will help dissipate the crazy amount of heat coming from below. Of course, heat will likely waft off the new Viper pretty fast considering its owners will be able to reach 60 mph even faster, sometime in the mid to high 3-second range, and return back to 0 mph in less than 100 ft.



There's lots more to learn about the new Viper, so check out mo re info and the full press release after the jump, and don't forget to gander at our mega high-res gallery of Dodge's updated halo car with a total of 22 pics you can use as your desktop wallpaper.

[Source: Dodge, Jalopnik]

Continue reading 2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10 breaks cover ahead of schedule

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 12.28.06

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Bob Lutz is stirring up a bit of controversy over CAFE standards, and GM's role in building cleaner vehicles. Lutz recently said that the car companies give consumers what they want, nothing more or less. But - as AutoblogGreen has reported over and over - studies show that Americans overwhelmingly support raising the standards, which have remained at the same level for decades as GM and others have added SUV after SUV to the lineup. Click on the top headline below for more information, including links to the studies I mentioned.

 

[via] Autoblog

Why is GMC branding ten-speeds?

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Looks like GMC has gotten into the bike game. Jeep did pretty well with their mountain bikes. And Ferrari, Porsche, Spyker, Cadillac and BMW have all done the road bike thing as well. Now we find GMC doing...both. Perhaps wanting to emphasize their off-road ruggedness with a smooth on-road ride, the 7 GMC bicycles from Kent (the manufacturer of the Cadillac bik es) cover both mountain and street. Buyers so inclined can choose from the Topkick, Denali, Yukon, Yukon XL and Envoy. Prices range from the $180 everyday Denalis through the $400 Yukon XL race bike. Knowing GMC as a truck-only company, the race bike seems a bit odd, to say the least.

The dual suspension Topkick is what we would consider to be the most GMC-like model. The description says it lives up to the GMC name because it is rugged, good looking, and built for the long haul. There's even a pair of Denali bikes for the tykes priced the same as the adult versions. If any of these sound appealing to you, we have some good news: Amazon has a few of them on sale and is offering free shipping.

[Source: Kent Bicycles via GM Inside News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Are these things really worth it? - What if you made a regular car with all the tricks of a Prius?

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Hybrids definitely do work -- we're not refuting that -- how well they work is open to debate, however, especially in light of the revisions to EPA mileage numbers. So, let's examine the Prius. Amazingly engineered vehicle, that's for sure. The way they got all those different systems to work as a team and perform smooth handoffs between functions is pretty incredible. We're not going to bother with the electric powertrain portion of it for now. Have you ever poked around the gasoline engine in the Prius? Interesting stuff, lots of little tweaks to boost efficiency. We're wondering, having looked over the Prius, whether you could realize most of the gains without the batteries and motor.

More after the jump

Continue reading Are these things really worth it? - What if you made a regular car with all the tricks of a Prius?

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTUR E OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Wonderful Small! Daihatsu TV commercials from Japan

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The more we see of Daihatsu, the more we like the plucky little Toyota division. Watching their nutty TV commercials makes us love them even more, though. From the "WONDERFUL SMALL! (Daihatsu)" opening, through whatever insanity that follows (usually led by a cute actress), they are relentlessly entertaining and totally Japanese in the best way.

If DirecTV offered a Japanese channel pack, we'd rock it just for the commercials. Every day would be like Super Bowl Sunday and out TiVo would scream for mercy.

We'll start you off with a spot for the newly-redesigned Move Custom. Click above to watch it, then follow the jump for a bunch mo re.

Continue reading Wonderful Small! Daihatsu TV commercials from Japan

 

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

[via] Autoblog

Victory Lane: Luxury community will feature on-site road course

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Victory Lane community

Victory Lane is the name given to a 3,000 acre luxury community in Georgia that's geared toward the motorsports enthusiast. Regular Joes need not apply -- according to Andrew Goggin, president of Unlimited Speed, the site's development company, the net worth of most Victory Lane residents will be between $40 and $70 million. That, as they say, is Real Money, and it buys some pretty fantastic four-wheeled machinery for the wealthy enthusiast. The big selling point for Victory Lane is that the community's centerpiece is a 4.5-mile road course located in the center of the development.

It's part of the site's Phil Hill Motorsports Complex, named for the legendary American F1 champion (and longtime contributor to Road & Track), who serves on Victory Lane's board of advisors. Fun fact: the track's mile-long straightaway will double as a runway for private aircraft. Groundbreaking for the track is scheduled to take place in February, and so far, 28 lots have been sold. The track, like the rest of the development, will be totally private. Only Victory Lane residents will be allowed to use it.

This place is an enthusiast's dream come true. Where else are you going to find a gated community that encourages you to drive loud cars very, very fast?

Nice tip, Tim!

[Source: Forbes via RideRoom]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bus money now available for NAIAS field trips

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One year when I was in school we took a field trip to a farm. Cows are great. Between two buns with cheese. Had I only grown up nearer Detroit, I could have been taking field trips to the Detroit auto show. Cars are cool. Especially for eighth graders. Even without cheese.

To make it easier, and more affordable, for schools to bring all those future car buyers curiousity-filled young minds down to Cobo, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association Education Foundation and Eppert Foundation are providing $250 grants for the first 100 buses coming to the show. That will be a big financial burden off of Michigan school system's shoulders.

[Source: NAIAS.com]

Continue reading Bus money now available for NAIAS field trips

 

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Kids' artwork rivals official NAIAS poster

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There are some truly talented young artists in Michigan. NAIAS held its annual poster contest and the top entries, in our opinion, rival the official NAIAS poster design. Take for example Bryce Driesenga's entry shown here. Great use of type, creative manipulation of the gearshift knob. Can you believe Bryce is only a high school junior? And he only got second place. To see a few other entries and compare them to the official NAIAS poster, follow the jump.

Continue reading Kids' artwork rivals official NAIAS poster

 

[via] Autoblog