VIDEO: Clash of the Titans - Stewart interviews Senna

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Formula One drivers get interviewed all the time, so their media skills have to be as honed as their driving aptitude. But it's not often you see one of the greatest, most legendary drivers of all time being interviewed by another one of the greatest, most legendary drivers of all time. The few times that does happen, it's good entertainment, giving us an inside glimpse into the paddock dynamics.

Here we bring you the late, great Ayrton Senna being interviewed by F1 guru Sir Jackie Stewart. Watch as old Jackie puts the screws to young Ayrton about race collisions, and check out Ayrton's most patronizing response to his knighted elder.

[Source: F1 Racing]

 

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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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Autoblog Podcast Relaunch Sweepstakes #3: Winner announced!

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Congra tulations are in order for Patrick S. whose submission to the Autoblog Podcast Relaunch Sweepstakes #3 was randomly selected as the winner. Patrick will receive an 8GB iPod Nano just for listening to the show.

Our final Autoblog Podcast Relaunch Sweepstakes will begin later today when we release episode #53 of the Autoblog Podcast. Our grand prize is the Godfather of iPods, the 80GB Video iPod. This range topper can be yours just for becoming a listener of the Autoblog Podcast. Entering is super simple, just subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes so you're sure to get episode #53 as soon as it's release. Listen to the show and wait for us to announce the secret keyword. When you hear it, email the keyword back to us at abresearch at gmail dot com along with your name, age and address. That's it! We'll accept submission through 12AM on Wednesday, January 9th, at which point we'll randomly select the winner from the entries we've received. This is the final sweepstakes and the grandest of prizes we've secured, so make sure you subscribe to the podcast and listen to win.

 

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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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Japan-only Transformers trailer shows new clips

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We've had a lot of posts about the upcoming Transformers movie and some may be getting sick of it, so feel free to skip this one if that describes you. Good, now that we got rid of the lightweights, here are a few more clips from the movie via Jalopnik, YouTube, and Japan-only media outlets. Apparently the Japanese got a longer trailer with some additional scenes we haven't seen before, all introduced by Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay, speaking Japanese for a bit no less! Skorponok, Spike, and Bumblebee all get extra face time in the trailer. Well, body part time at least. The YouTube video is after the jump.

[Source: via Jalopnik]

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[via] Autoblog

Lights out: Production ends for Ford Freestar

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Thank God it's over. Goodbye Freestar, you won't be missed. Ford has turned out its last head-gasket-consuming, transmission-torturing, flaccid minivan. It was a good try twelve years ago when it debuted as the Windstar, but time has not been kind to Ford's efforts. Moreover, Ford was not kind to the Freestar, letting it die on the vine while the competition became ever more competent. The Oakville, Ontario plant will continue to build cars, keeping all its employees busy with Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX production.The only folks that will even notice the unavailability of the Freestar (act fast, there's about 2,500 left) are fleet customers, with whom Ford will work to substitute other FoMoCo vehicles. Seems lik e a win-win-win: a tired horse is put out to pasture, the blue-collar folks kept their jobs and the fleet customers who lose out will be made whole.

[Source: Automotive News]

 

[via] Autoblog

The buzz is wrong: LaSorda says no Hornet from China

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Despite early assumptions, it looks like the Dodge Hornet has been swatted down for now. The news comes out of a talk Chrysler's media-only Firehouse blog recently had with Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda.

Q - Will this car mean the death of the Hornet, the muscular small car concept that we saw at the Geneva auto show this year?
Tom - "The Hornet is a great statement of our design. It is also a statement that it's something that we're going to continue to take a look at, and depending on the business case going, we'll look at that independently from this particular project."

So that puts us back into the guessing game as to what the Chinese Chrysler product from Chery will be. Or even if it will be a Dodge.

LaSorda confirms, however, that the Chery-built car will be B-Class-sized. He goes on to address concerns about the level of quality we can expect from Chinese-built cars as well as political repurcussions of choosing to build a new car in a foreign country instead of the U.S.

Read the entire interview after the jump.

Continue reading The buzz is wrong: LaSorda says no Hornet from China

 

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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

Flop of 2006: Chrysler dealers cry all the way to the sales bank

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So what would you consider the biggest automotive flop of 2006? The Chrysler Sebring? McDonald's Hummer Happy Meals? Schumacher leaving F1 without a ring for every finger? Well, Automotive News thinks it was Chrysler's refusal to face the music and scale back production. Even when faced with a huge loss and plummeting demand for SUVs and trucks.

They remind us that Lee Iacocca had been cautioning Chrysler about creating a sales bank 25 years ago. Not only did they ignore the advice, but Chrysler's management team kept building as many of the vehicles as they could. In the process, the company racked up a $1.48 billion loss in the third quarter of 2006.

More info post jump.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]

Continue reading Flop of 2006: Chrysler dealers cry all the way to the sales bank

 

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Radical semis by Luigi Colani

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The wacky and wonderful Luigi Colani is at it again. The Swiss-German designer has been designing vehicles, structures and household objects that are inspired by nature for more than 50 years. His organic land speed cars were so bizarre and so ultra cool at the same time, all while being quite effective at slicing through the air. And Luigi has worked his magic on street cars, bikes, jets and even semis. And that is what this particular post is all about.

Colani's recent projects involving aerodynamic big rig cabs are said to cut fuel consumption by 30% and feature such unique details as round windshields with a central hub three-spoke wiper system. Looks like a huge Mercedes-Benz logo on the glass, which is oddly appropriate here. You see, this particular truck starts life as a Mercedes and uses a turbocharged, direct injection, 12.6-liter, 6-cylinder diesel. With these tweaks, power rises from 381 hp to 530 hp. Hot rod hauling in its most sensational form.

You can find a lot more of Colani's creations here, here, and especially here.

[Source: Hybrid Car News via AB Green]

 

[via] Autoblog

Next Ford Explorer to be a CUV

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Bloomberg published an article back on December 18th that has gone unnoticed until today. A few of our colleagues have picked up the story so far, so we can't tell you who was the first to notice it, but the report was published the week after Ford hosted invited media at Cobo Arena for its Showroom of the Future event. Ford put on the same event for current employees and retirees earlier that month, at which it revealed details of the next Ford Explorer, which will transition from a truck-based platform to a car-based unibody platform with its next iteration. Rumored to be built on Ford's D3 platform that underpins th e Five-Hundred sedan and various Volvos, the next Explorer will be giving up its ability to tackle the rough and tumble and tow your boat in favor of a lower center of gravity, increased fuel economy and more car-like handling.

Considering the continuining shrinkage occuring in the traditional SUV market, we have to agree with Ford's decision to keep the Explorer name and apply it to a package that has more mass appeal. However, adding yet another crossover vehicle to Ford's already crowded lineup that includes vehicles like the Edge, Freestyle and upcoming production version of the Fairlane Concept, will likely create some cannibalism of sales within the brand. Perhaps by that time the lineup will lose a nameplate or two (bye, bye Freestyle!). And Ford will still continue to sell and develop the Expedition as its proper SUV, capable of going off-road within reason and towing boats all the live long day.

Thanks for the tip, Charles!

[Source : Bloomberg via Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford unveils pair of Transits for extra people and performance

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click either image to view high resolution gallery

The new Ford Transit was crowned as the 2007 International Van of the Year back in September, which set Ford of Europe's team into motion to create two special one-offs to celebrate the honor. The first is the Transit XXL, a bespoke limousine created by joining two short-wheelbase Transit Tourneo models. Despite being over 24 feet long, the Transit XXL seats only seven people, but just imagine the kind of leg room each passenger enjoys. Entry into the vehicle can be accomplished through one of four full-size sliding doors, and the XXL was made a right-hand drive model, not just because it was developed in Europe, but also because livery drivers will find themselves on the right side of the vehicle when pulling up curbside to drop off passengers.

The second vehicle is an updated version of the Transit Connect X-PRESS, a high performance version of the Transit that was originally developed in 2004. The Ford of Europe team has updated the X-PRESS to reflect the van's redesign, though the vehicle still retains the running gear from the 2004 Ford Focus RS, which includes a 212-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, five-speed stick and limited-slip differential. The X-PRESS can reach 60 mph in less than seven seconds and top out at 130 mph, which is not too bad for a commercial van.

Check out Ford's official release on each vehicle after the jump and high-r esolution images in our gallery.

[Source: Ford of Europe]

Continue reading Ford unveils pair of Transits for extra people and performance

 

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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