Spy Shots: 2009 Ford Mustang GT

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It appears the Giugiaro Mustang Concept that debuted at the LA Auto Show is a good indication of what the next Mustang will look like when it bows in 2008 as a 2009 model. KGP Photographers snapped the very first prototype mule of the next Mustang in LA and performed a comparitive analysis that shows there are definitely some lines identical to the Giugiaro Stang's front clip under that camo. We have been operating under the assumption that the next Mustang will also display cues from the Shelby GT500, particularly the Super Stang's grill that's wider on the bottom than the top. The Giugiaro concept also features a similar grille. Take a look at the pics for yourself. It's hard to tell much, but credit the KGP folks for extracting as much information as possible.

[Source: Winding Road]

Follow the jump for an interview with Fabrizio Giugiaro, during which he confirms (at about 1:05) that the styling cues employed by the Giugiaro concept will find their way onto future Mustangs.

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GM upgrading NY engine plant to build new V8

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The current Northstar supercharged DOHC V-8

The General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant near Niagara Falls, NY will be getting more money from the mothership in order to tool up for another new engine. Tonawanda currently builds 4, 5, 6 and 8-cylinder engines ranging from the 2.2L EcoTec to the enormous 8.1L big-block V-8. GM is now going to invest another $300 million to add a line for a new dual overhead cam (DOHC) V-8 engine, that has Job 1 scheduled for sometime on 2009. The engine is targeted for future luxury cars and will presumably replace the NorthStar V-8 which first appeared in 1992.

General Motors has already invested $1.2 billion in Tonawanda over the last decade, tooling up for all the other engines currently built there, and there is no indication if this will replace one of the current engines or will be added to the current lines. The Tonawanda plant has built almost 67 million engines since 1938, and previous products have included the 2.8L V-6, from the original X-Cars (now evolved into the 3.5/3.9L "High Value" engines) and the "legendary" 2.5L Iron Duke. The full GM press release is after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]

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Truck pr0n: 2008 Ford Super-Duty

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click above image to view high-resolution gallery with 35 new pics

We want a 2008 Ford Super Duty truck. Badly. And the hell of it is, we really don't need one at all. It's just that after seeing the things up-close and in person at NAIAS last week, we can't help but think that the massive, ultra brawny-looking top-tier Fords are just about the coolest thing since the Atari 2600 we got for Christmas when we could count our age using just the fingers on our two hands.

The top-line F-450 has a maximum towing capacity of 24,000 pounds. Excluding Eric, who actually uses his truck to do truck-like things, the most we'll tow on a semi-regular basis is the rented log splitter from Home Depot. With that in mind, the towing capacity of the F- 450 causes us to create a mental image of one of the beastly machines pulling a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier through the Panama Canal. (Yes, we're exaggerating. Don't blow our fantasy here, OK?)

The Super Duty runs on premium-grade T85, a blend of 85% ground up Toyota Tundra and 15% pure alcohol. Okay, not really. But admit it --- you almost believed that, for such is the level of its sublime badassedness. If we had one of these, we'd go actively looking for stumps to pull. Or maybe a whole tree. Or maybe an entire forest in one fell swoop.

For now, though, we're simply going to ogle our new gallery of high-resolution Super Duty Truck pr0n that Ford just released. If you'd like to know what the trucks are really capable of, the full press release from Ford is included after the jump.


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Hammond talks about crash, photos of accident released

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Much has been said about the horrific crash that occured on September 21st last year in which Top Gear host Richard Hammond nearly lost his life after losing control of the jet car he was driving for a bit on his beloved TV show. Hammond has spoken out today in an article published on the UK's Daily Mirror website. He recalls seeing the accident footage for the first time in the Top Gear offices, which will be debuted to the public during the show's return on January 28th. The footage clearly reveals the cause of the accident, which was a tire that blew out as Hammond and his jet car were travelling 288 mph. Hammond reveals that he actually foretold the crash while taping an intro before the run, saying on camera that this might end up in "the biggest accident you've ever seen". Unfortunately it did end that way, but credit goes to Hammond's white helmet, visible in the footage, and the car's roll cage, for preventing the crash being fatal. Four stills from the crash footage have been released with Hammond's words, but we've only posted one here. Please click the Read link to see the rest and read Hammond's own account of the crash and seeing it for himself the very first time.

[Source: Daily Mirror via GermanCarScene]

 

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IMSA follows up GTV with Gallardo-based Spyder

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Click for a high-res gallery of 14 photos

German tuner IMSA (not to be confused with this IMSA) established itself as a serious player with its rather splendid Lamborghini Gallardo-based GTV. The trick Lambo was tuned to produce 610 horsepower, and its tastefully-done widebody kit and bespoke wheel package made it look every bit the the supercar the new juice underhood indicated it was.

Since all the engine modifications in place on the GTV work just as well on the Gallardo Spyder, IMSA went ahead and applied them. Enter the IMSA Spyder, which produces the same 610 horsepower as its hard-topped sibling. The suspension and AWD system has been recalibrated to handle the monstrous power in such a manner that the Spyder is perfectly usable as a daily driver (not that we'd know firsthand, but we'll take IMSA's word for it). In addition to the updated power and look, the interior of the car can be completely customized to suit the owner's taste. Hey, we'll happily roll with just the engine and suspension tuning. You know -- eschew the (very sweet) widebody kit and just keep the Gallardo looking like a "sleeper." If that's even possible...

IMSA's press release is posted after the jump, and you can feast your eyes on 14 high-res shots in the gallery.

Gallery: IMSA Spyder


Related Item s
[Source: IMSA]

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Barrett-Jackson: The bargains

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click above image to see gallery and info of 10 bargains at Barrett-Jackson

Although the million dollar muscle cars are what steal all of the headlines, the Barrett-Jackson auction has so much more to offer. You don't need to be stocking your own personal museum or have a race team or Fortune 500 company with your name on it, either. For those people who roll into Scottsdale early in the week, there are actually bargains to be had. Normal folks like us. Now the cars might not be the rarest of the rare, but they are basically the same shapes and sizes as those six-and-seven-figure dream rides. They might require a bit more elbow grease to get ready for prime time, but there are some fun cars that fly in below the Speed rada r every day at B-J. Take the jump for a sampling of some of the fun cars that went for reasonable prices early on. You can get live results and lot listings at the Barrett-Jackson website. Check out our gallery of 10 bargains at Barrett-Jackson to see if you can afford anything that's crossed the auction block so far.

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]

 

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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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Detroit Auto Show: more Jeep parlor tricks (video)

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Did you check out the video of the Wrangler hanging on the wall like Spiderman? That wasn't even the coolest thing going on at Jeep's display at this year's Detroit show. The big draw was a big fall - a waterfall that spells things out (like Jeep's name) and makes shapes (like Jeep's trademark grille).

As the fellow in the video points out, NAIAS 2007 wasn't the first time Jeep has used this innovative and attention-grabbing water effects display. It's been used in Beijing, Geneva, Frankfurt and even previous Detroit shows. Trick effects displays like this tend to tire after a while, but Jeep's waterfall stands the test of time - not unlike the classic Jeep Wrangler itself.

[Source: DCX via Winding Road]

 

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World Premiere of the new 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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UPDATE: 44 additional pics added to high-resolution gallery

Click on the image of the 2008 C-Class for a gallery of high-res images

Today in Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz officially unveiled the all new 2008 C-Class that will go on sale later this summer. As usual, the car is larger in all dimensions than the previous model. This should at least help out with the perennially tight rear seat. The new C-Class will be available state-side in two trim levels, Luxury and Sport, with both models sharing what is called Agility Control Steering, Agility Control Suspension and Agility Control Gearshift. The first two translate as variable effort steering and variable rate damping. There isn't m uch detail on the shifting other than it being faster. The adaptive braking is based on the system in the new S-Class, and includes hill assist and panic brake assist. The hill assist detects when you are starting on a slope and maintains some brake pressure in the calipers when you move your foot to the accelerator until you actually apply the gas, to keep you from rolling back down the hill. The panic brake assist has been around for awhile and detects when you do a quick brake apply and helps to apply full pressure.

Follow the jump for more info and the official press release from Mercedes-Benz, and click here to view our full high-resolution gallery of images showing the 2008 C-Class.


[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

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CARFAX agrees to settlement in class-action lawsuit

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CarFax is becoming an increasingly popular tool used by both buyers and sellers of vehicles as a way to verify a vehicle's history. Unfortunately, the internet-based service outfit has had to settle a class-action lawsuit that accuses the company of misleading customers into thinking that its reports contain more information than they really do. Despite the settlement, CarFax admits to no wrongdoing.

If you purchased a CarFax vehicle report anytime before October 27, 2006, you now have to decide weather or not you want to take advantage of the settlement offer from CarFax. It is offering eligible customers either free or reduced price reports or $20 towards a vehicle inspection at a technician of their choice.

Read the entire settlement letter after the jump

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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81,000 Honda Accords recalled

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If you drive a 2004 or 2005 Honda Accord, you might want to be a little more careful than usual. According to a letter sent to NHTSA on January 9, the sensor on these vehicles that detects the driver's position in the seat was potentially attached in the wrong place and also potentially over tightened, as well. The real issue is that the wiring to the sensor could break and cause the sensor to fail, illuminating the airbag warning light and causing the bag, in a crash, to inflate at full pressure. This could increase the risk of injury from the airbag for smaller drivers in a frontal crash.

If you own one of these cars, watch the mail for more information on how to get it repaired under the recall. If your airbag warning light is currently illuminated, you should probably take it to your local Honda dealer ASAP.

Read the NHTSA text of the recall after the jump

Thanks for the tip, silverboosted!

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Construction worker moves Maserati with forklift. Flippage ensues.

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Flipped MaseratiMind those parking signs, folks. If you don't, you never know what might happen. In Sydney, a woman watching her brother's Maserati coupe while he's on vacation parked it in front of a construction site, blocking off an area workers needed access to. An ambitious member of the group climbed into a forklift and decided to use it to lift and move the car down the street to where it wouldn't be in the way.

Nice idea, but it all kind of fell apart when the Maser got wobbly on the forks and did a Greg Lougainis onto its roof. Not good. In keeping with the little Olympian theme I started here, the forklift operator apparently made like Carl Lewis and booked. Aussie police say he may face charges (may face charges!?!?!) if that's the case. As for the car's owner, we hope he gets a new ride. Once he gets over the initial horror/shock/fury, he'll have a hell of a story to tell his friends and family over drinks....forever.

Click the image above to go to the original news story and see the full extent of the damage.

Thanks to Mark for the tip!

[Source: NineMSN]

 

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VIDEO: Audi releases official footage of the R8

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Here is the first of the five videos released by Audi that show not only the enviable driving prowess of the Audi R8, but a cool video on how the car is built and some great information on the engine and powertrain. Just the sound of the engine alone is worth the time it takes to watch all of the videos.

We all want one, or at least to drive one. This is as close as you can get right now...ENJOY!

watch the remaining four videos after the jump

Thanks for the tip Fabrizio!

[Source: mobilemag]

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You can buy Ol' Blue Eyes' last ride: a 1985 Chrysler Town and Country wagon

For sale in the Auto Trader in England is this 1985 Chrysler Town and Country wagon, essentially a K-car woodie, that was a St. Valentine's Day gift to Ol' Blue Eyes from his wife in 1985 and is likely the last car he ever drove. It is listed at about $40,000, or about 40 times it's trade-in value, just for being associated with Frank Sinatra.

Frank, excuse me, Mr. Sinatra owned the car for six years and used it for "incognito trips" taken by the Sinatra family. It is believed that the Sinatra's drove the majority of the 77,777 miles during those first six years. Vehicle history shows that the car was then registered to Keaton Webb for about 10 years until being put into a charity fund in 2001 and finally purchased by a collector at a Palm Springs auction in 2004, who took the car to the UK where it currently resides.

Other notable Sinatra vehicles that have been sold in the past are in keeping with the Chairman's image and include a 1989 Jaguar XJS that sold in August of 1998 for $352,000 US, and a 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400S that sold in June of 2003 for $296,000 US.

[Source: Luxist]

Thanks for the tip, Todd!

 

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Loud Land Rovers land company in class-action lawsuit

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What's with all these class-action lawsuits lately? Land Rover was just slapped with one thanks to Attorney Mark Anderson in California who filed suit on behalf of all 2004 and 2005 Land Rover LR3 owners in the state. Turns out that the tires on many of these LR3 SUVs are allegedly wearing unevenly, which causes them to make loud noises when the vehicle is moving. The piece we link to from KGO-TV Channel 7 in the Bay Area highlights the trouble of one man, Lew Colon, whose LR3 developed the noise after only 5,000 miles. After some complaining, Colon got Land Rover to give him three new tires, though he had to pay for the fourth. After another 6,000 miles, however, the tires started to wear unevenly again and the noise returned. At 25,000 miles now, C olon's still on that second set.

Land Rover has issues a technical service bulletin about the abnormal wear with instructions for service technicians to use new suspension settings. It would seem that the company at least acknowledges the rapid and uneven tire wear can be traced back to a flaw in the vehicle's suspension design, but so far it has not issued a recall to fix the problem. In the meantime, Colon and the rest of the LR3 owners in California will be filing suit against the automaker to seek a solution.

Thanks for the tip, Oliver!

[Source: KGO-TV Channel 7]

 

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VIDEO: Adventures on ice in the Pacific Northwest

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Ice is one of those things that people can never seem to figure out. For some reason they just keep on driving, no matter what the conditions might be. These Portlanders, apparently, are no different than the rest of us. They learn the hard way that when everything is frozen, the laws of physics rule and a low coefficient of friction leads to wrecked cars. Lots of 'em.

The first vehicle in this video offers us the best example of a driver making an accident much, much worse than it otherwise would be. If you listen closely, you can hear that the accelerator remains depressed in a desperate attempt to regain control. This single vehicle manages to impact with its surroundings eight times in a scant 40 seconds. You'll have to watch the video for the rest of the fun... at least everyone heeds the warnings from the rooftop videographers and no one gets hurt.

[Source: YouTube]

Thanks for the tip, John!

 

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Barrett-Jackson: The Dodge Firearrow Concept Cars

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click on the image above to view our full high-resolution gallery of the Firearrow concepts

Now these are the cars that make Barrett-Jackson otherworldly. The cars that bring 2, 3, 4, or even more million dollars and create that surreal atmosphere of "How high will this kook go for this car?" The last few years have seen the Olds F-88 concept crack the $3.2 mil mark, and then the Pontiac Bonneville Special and GM Futurliner follow that up with $3 and $4 mil respectively. This year's crop of concepts is perhaps a bit light compared to thos e, but there are some fun ones in the group this year: The Dodge Firearrow II (pale yellow) and Firearrow IV (red) Hemi convertibles from 1954 should be the big ticket items.

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]

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Mark Fields gives up his flying perks

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On 11/15, we reported about the expensive flights on Ford's corporate jet that Mark Fields was taking every weekend from Detroit to his home in Florida. Today, Mr. Fields announced to the workers at Ford that he would forgo the perk, guaranteed to him as a part of his compensation package, and make the weekend flights home on a commercial airline.

Fields has been asked to relocate several times throughout his career at Ford Motor Company, and felt that this arrangement would avoid yet another disruption in the life of his family. He uses the time at home with his family to relax from the brutal schedule he keeps during the week as one of the significant players in the revitalization at Ford. Fields will continue to fly home to Florida on the weekends, but felt that the issue was becoming a distraction to the team and made the decision on his own, with the company's full support. See you on Southwest, Mark!

[Source: Detroit News via Jalopnik]


 

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U.S. automakers still employ way more Americans than imports

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While more and more import brands have opened up producton facilities in the U.S., a study performed by The Level Field Institute, a domestic industry promotion group (that's an important point, right there), found that domestic automakers (which includes General Motors, Ford and the Chrysler Group) support 2.5 more jobs for each vehicle they build in the U.S. than their import competitors. The study projects the number of jobs both groups will support in 2007, which include both blue- and white-collar jobs, and while domestic automakers will likely shed around 42,750 jobs this year, they will still be responsible for the paychecks of 378,250 workers. While import brands will add around 3,000 jobs to their payrolls in 2007, in total they wi ll only be supporting 106,000 workers. One of the main reasons for this disparity is that while more and more import brands are building their vehicles in the U.S., much if not all of the development work takes place in their lands of origin.

The Level Field Institute is an orginization founded by retirees of GM, Ford and Chrysler and their suppliers. While one may question the report's outcome based on LFI's apparent loyalties, the group is open about its methadology and sources, which they reveal in detail here. You can check out the report in full by viewing the PDF file.

Thanks for the tip, Don!

[Source: The Level Field Institute via the Detroit Free Press]

 

[ via] Autoblog

2007 Barrett-Jackson: The Dream Cars

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click on image above to view the high-resolution gallery of Barrett-Jackson dream cars

A few more concepts from the Barrett-Jackson catalog should prove to be interesting lots. Nobody really expects these to draw the same kind of money as the F-88 or Bonneville from years past, but you never know. Heck, they probably won't even approach the value of the Dodge Firearrows we previewed earlier. But these are pretty interesting vehicles in their own right, starting with a concept for one of America's most iconic limos, carrying through to a GM mixed moniker model, to an early electric dream car. A rundown of each is available after the jump and as usual, a high-res gallery of my own and Drew Phillips' pics are available by clicking the above image.

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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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