ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons has a (VW) Ball

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In 1979, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons was "... rollin' down the road in some cold blue steel..." in I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide. Now, 28 years later, certified custom-car nut Gibbons can literally roll down the road.

Coker Tire owner Corky Coker has posted on his blog a couple of photos of Gibbons' Bus Ball, a VW Microbus chopped and dropped down to little more than a single seat, a narrow-rimmed steering wheel and that well-known, melon-sized VW logo. Coker, who obviously makes his living selling tires, says on his blog that he was a bit offended that his friend Gibbons' latest custom left out what Coker saw as a vital piece of most hot rods: the tires. Gibbons assured Coker that the requisite wide whitewalls are in the trunk. Gibbons also brags that the Bus Ball's greatly improved aerodynamics help improve on the original VW's fuel economy.

Corky Coker is currently out of town on business, but when he gets back, we hope to get more details about the Bus Ball's creation.

Thanks for the cool tip, Todd!

[Source: Corky Coker blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

Dodge Demon Concept will debut in Geneva

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ciick above image to view 28 high-resolution pics of the Dodge Demon Concept

Congrats to Dodge and the boys at DaimlerChrysler for keeping the Dodge Demon Concept completely under wraps until now. As of 12:01AM on 2/12, however, the embargo has lifted and we're allowed to tell you about this Dodge-branded MX-5 killa destined to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. It's no accident that we've invoked the Mazda MX-5 so quickly as a comparison for the Demon Concept, as Dodge freely admits the Japanese roadster was its benchmark when designing the car. The Demon is a smidge shorter than the MX-5, though a bit wider, taller and heavier. Unlike the concept's shown by DaimlerChrysler so far this autoshow season like the Chrysler Nassau and Jeep Trailhawk, the Demon Concept has been built from the ground up and uses no existing platform. It does, however, use one of DCX's existing engines - the 2.4L four-cylinder World Engine that sends 172 horsepower and 165 ft-lbs. of torque to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Dodge officials tell us a number of engines could be used in the Demon, including the 1.8 or 2.0L World Engine. A 300-hp motor, probably the one that powers the Caliber SRT-4, was also spoken of when we were initially introduced to the De mon by DCX.

There's more info after the jump, and have a gander at our gallery of 28 high-resolution pics to judge the Demon's design for yourself. You can also read the official press release from Dodge after the jump.

[Source: Dodge]

Continue reading Dodge Demon Concept will debut in Geneva

 

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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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AutoblogGreen for 02.12.07

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Do you want a rocketship or do you want the truth? The truth is, that little vehicle in the middle of the picture collage there is the BugE. Seen from the top, it looks like a rocket. But it's really more of a partially-covered electric-powered bicycle. See more at AutoblogGreen.

 

[via] Autoblog

Automatics to exceed manuals worldwide in 2007

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Here in North America, you have to look really hard for a manual transmission in anything other than a sports car or econobox. We love our automatic trannys here, mostly because they're easy to operate and they tend to work better in traffic than a manual. Heck, an awful lot of people under age 40 don't even know how to drive a stick. In 2007, worldwide automatics will finally out-number manual transmissions. It has been that way here in North America and Japan for a very long time, but now in countries like China and India more and more drivers can afford an auto trans. Traffic is also more congested in those countries too, with more cars on the road.

In Europe, manual-shift automatics are aiding the transition away from manuals. They're sure to become more popular here in the US as well, which will cut down the amount of sticks in sports cars. The proliferation of CVTs, which get lower HP vehicles off the line a bit quicker than the standard automatic are helping the transition also. The writing was on the wall the minute you could get exotic European sports cars with paddle shifters.

[Source: Just Auto]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy shots of Mazda 2 Fit-fighter

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A heavily-camouflaged Mazda 2 was recently seen in the wild in Northern Sweden. The 3-door looks to have some radical lines that are patterned after the Sassau Concept from the 2005 Frankfurt auto show. Although the previous generation of the Mazda 2 was not available in the US, recent gas spikes could allow the vehicle to hit US shores. Ford Motor Company, which has controlling interest in Mazda, has been looking to get into the small car segment and the platform that underpins this Mazda 2 will likely find its way into one or more Fords.

Production of the Mazda 2 will begin sometime this summer.

[Source: Car Connection]

 

[via] Autoblog

Introducing the new Stingray (Relax, it's a Suzuki)

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Click for photo gallery

Last week, Suzuki started offering a new WagonR variant, the Stingray, for sale at its Japanese dealerships. The WagonR Stingray is, for the most part, just a WagonR with a new front end similar in appearance to the old Toyota bB (Scion xB).

In addition to the standard HID lights, mirror-mounted turn signals, new grille and front bumper, the Stingray receives an all-black interior treatment and model-specific 14" wheels. A color-shifting black/bronze paint is available, and keyless entry and start are included on all Stigray trim levels. Three kei car engine options are available: a 54-horsepower normally-aspirated 658cc 3-cylinder with VVT, a tur bocharged version putting out 60 horsepower, and a direct injection turbo good for 64 horses.

It will be sold alongside the other existing WagonR models.

[Source: Suzuki]

 

[via] Autoblog

Keep talking. They are listening.

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Just like most of you, we've wished many times we could give advice to Bill Ford or Rick Wagonner on how to run two of the world's largest car companies. Well, it's just possible you already have. They're listening to what you say. They read your snarky one liners and study your discussions of Ford vs. Chevy for priceless nuggets of useful information. Thanks to an article by Advertising Age, we know Ford, GM, Chrysler and Toyota are all keeping tabs on their Internet reputations and can probably assume other automotive companies are doing the same.

Read on to know how the big boys are paying attention to what you say.

[Source: Advertising Age]

Continue reading Keep talking. They are listening.

 

[via] Autoblog

Beater of the Week: Poll results

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Throughout the weekend, one vehicle held a commanding lead over the other beaters featured last week. As the polling drew to a close, that margin lessened, but still, Big Momma brought home the bacon. She wasn't without some serious competition, provide by the absolutely hideous Prelude, which came in second, followed by the battered Jeep Comanche, with a scant nine votes separating it from the X1/9.

At the end of the day though, you decided that Big Momma, in all her morbidly obese glory, was the ultimate beater. We can hardly argue with that. We're back to the randomness this week, but the themes will continue. So throw in your hat, and your car, by following the directions after the jump.

Continue reading Beater of the Week: Poll results

 

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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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RR of the Day: 1977 Lancia Scorpion

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Iconic Italian design comes in many forms and one of those is the Lancia Monte Carlo. Sold abroad from 1975 through 1979, the Monte Carlo was based off the X1/9, and came equipped with a mid-mounted, 1995cc engine that produced upwards of 120 HP. It was the elder statesman to its platform sibling, yet when the Monte Carlo made its way to the U.S., more than the name was lost in translation.

Since Chevrolet used the Monte Carlo name, the Pininfarina designed coupe was rebadged the Scorpion, and then it had its stinger unceremoniously removed. The 2-liter unit originally found behind the driver was swapped out for a 1756 cc inline-four that made an anemic 80 HP, yet met the emissions standards of the day. Additionally, the sizes of the springs were increased, while new, (yes, we'll say it) uglier bumpers were fitted.

In total, 1801 examples were sold in the U.S. between 1976 and 1977, and today, Flickr member monkeyboy70 is the proud owner of #1601. He's admittedly spent entirely too much time and money bringing back his Scorpion from the brink after it sat dormant for over nine years, upgrading the engine with a 2-liter EFI setup (good for 107 HP and 130 lb.-ft. of torque), suspension, interior and paint to restore it to its former machismo laden glory. He seems to like it and so do we, so it will kick off this week's Reader Ride of the Day.

Follow the jump for a couple more pics, some details from the man, err, monkey boy himself and directions on how to submit your own ride to our Flickr pool.

Continue reading RR of the Day: 1977 Lancia Scorpion

& nbsp;

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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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Back to the drawing board: DCX working on more rebuilding, more sharing

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DCX could end up sharing more platforms going forward

Oh, how time flies when you're paying attention to the domestic auto industry. About a year and a half ago the Chrysler 300 was selling like crazy, the Charger was off to a fast start, and analysts were saying nice things about the company from Auburn Hills. Well the 300 and Charger are still a resounding success, and life for Chrysler has taken a turn for the worse anyway. A $1.2 Billion loss in the 3rd quarter put the scare into the folks over in Stuttgart and now management and share holders are looking for more cost cutting and less payroll.

It looks like 1,000 white collar and 10,000 blue collar jobs are now on the block as a large part of the effort to remain competitive. Buyouts will likely surface soon after the announcement plans are announced, and the cost associated with the move will result in more tough quarterly financials for Chrysler. There will be tough times again in Auburn Hills, but some good news may come out of all this for customers and Chrysler employees alike.

Continue reading Chrysler working on secret rebuilding plan

[Source: Detroit News]

Continue reading Back to the drawing board: DCX working on more rebuilding, more sharing

 

[via] Autoblog

Uma Thurman in a yellow Lambo. Yeah, baby!

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The first Pirelli film titled "The Call" was more of a satanic, tire-smoking standoff than a forum for promoting tires. But it was artsy, very well photographed with plenty of cool special effects and intriguing; a thinking man's endorsement of Pirelli tires.

The next film called "Mission Zero" premiers Monday at pirellifilm.com but I had a chance to screen it Sunday. "Mission Zero" is a no-holds-barred action film with Uma Thurman driving a yellow Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder trying to evade assassins shooting at her from an old Mopar B-body with a fake supercharger. The conflict stretches from Beverly Hills to the Los Angeles port and is action for the sake of action. Very little to think about in this short film, which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Point B reak), except why a Lambo can't outrun a sled from the late '60s in a 20-mile chase. The action isn't limited to the asphalt. There are knives, machine guns and a shoulder-fired rocket; all of which sometimes feels like a bad homage to the "Kill Bill" series.

But enough nit-picking. The film is free and it features Uma in a yellow Lambo. She now joins my personal cinema hall of fame populated by hot blondes with cool cars: Suzanne Somers in a T-bird, Susan George in a Charger, Joy Harmon on a DeSoto. Go girl!

[Source: pirellifilm.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chicago Auto Show: Autoblog Q&A with Continental CEO Bill Kozyra

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At the Chicago Auto Show, Autoblog was invited to sit down with Bill Kozyra, the President and CEO of Continental Automotive Systems - North America. In 2005, Continental was the thirteenth largest automotive supplier in the world, and is now even larger. Perhaps best known as a tire maker, they supply a wide range of automotive components and systems both to car-makers and the aftermarket.

Autoblog: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Autoblog. Why don't we start by discussing what Continental is announcing today.

Bill Kozyra: Sure, Continental is pleased to be exhibiting at the Chicago Auto Show for the first time as part of our reaching out to the local community in the Greater Chicago area, showcasing Continental as a new employer in town by virtue of acquiring the Motorola automotive electronics business in Deerpark, Illinois, which is just down the road. We are now a new automotive supplier and have a large presence here in town. So our theme here at the Chicago Auto Show is really demonstrating automotive safety technologies. In essence, those kind of technologies that make the car smarter and safer and at the same time still a lot of fun to drive. We build on our longstanding 101 year technology heritage of innovation and, and we're also showcasing how Continental is a great place to work.

Follow the jump to read more about what Bill Kozyra has to say about their new acquisition, various safety systems, tires and motorsports.


[Source: Autoblog.com]

Continue reading Chicago Auto Show: Autoblog Q&A with Continental CEO Bill Kozyra

 

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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

Yet even more on the Subaru Impreza's new look

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So speculation about the new look of the Subaru Impreza continues unabated. This time, the images come courtesy of an unnamed Japanese car mag, with renderings that look all-too lifelike.

The images we've seen thus far (linked at the bottom) show the new nose getting a smoothed, yet mildly awkward nip and tuck, while these images seem to have more of basis with the current shnaz, rather than an outright redesign. The tautly drawn headlamps are far and away the trickest element we've seen and the downsized hoodscoop, integrated with the subtle power bulge, also gets our thumbs up.

In the rear, the WRC-inspired wing is present and accounted for and, at least with this rendering, we see how it's going to be incorporated with the new hatch. It still looks cumbersome from a design standpoint and will provide a serious impediment to rearward visibility if it makes it to production.

As we've said before, time will tell, and the Impreza's official unveiling is just over a month away in New York. We'll be there and we can't wait.

Follow the read link for the rest of the images and thanks for the tip Brooksie!

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[via] Autoblog