Officially official: Chrysler prices Sebring convertible

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Earlier in the month, Kicking Tires got some advanced knowledge of what it would take to get you into Chrysler's newest drop top, the Sebring Convertible. At the time, the only information we had was for the stripped four banger, plus both the base and the optioned up V6 models. Those early estimates were close, but now we've got the real figures.

To start with, the four-cylinder model comes in at $26,145 MSRP (with the $675 destination charge), which is actually $645 less than the outgoing model, but with more toys (side airbags, four discs plus ABS, hard tonneau cover, etc.). The Touring model starts at $28,745 (with destination fee), comes equipped with the new FFV 2.7L V6 and gets heated, color matched mirrors, auto headlights and 17-inch aluminum rollers. Plenty of options await those that are willing to get crazy with the check boxes, but you can read the rest in the press release after the jump.

The top of the line, Limited version gets a 235 HP 3.5L V6, plenty of dead cow, along with tortoise shell accents, chrome, Boston Acoustics ICE and 18-inch aluminum wheels. All that for $32,345 (with the destination fee). Again, there are more options to be had, broken down into both the Luxury Group (18-inch chrome wheels, heated seats, etc.) and the Electronic Convenience Group, with remote start, heated/cooled cupholders, climate control and the like.

The idea of a Sebring knocking on the $40k door leaves us a bit cold, but if the market demands it...

Follow the jump for the full press release.

[Source: Chrysler]

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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

Welcome Automóviles to the fold

Our little family has grown considerably in the past couple of years, especially since the Weblogs, Inc. Network was bought by AOL back in November of 2005. We've welcomed the AOL Autos channel as our brother in arms, often pooling resources to produce the best possible coverage at auto shows. Today we welcome another brother from the AOL family: Automóviles from the AOL Latino channel. Automóviles is much like Autoblog, covering the same news and topics you would find on Autoblog, except in Spanish. If English is your second language and you feel more comfortable indulging your auto lust in Spanish, then Automóviles is for you.

What about Autoblog Spanish, you ask? Good question. Alberto and his team at AB Spanish will continue to cover the auto industry in Spanish-speaking regions like Spain and South-America, whereas the Automóviles will cover the U.S. industry and present it in the Spanish tongue.

So if you're a native Spanish-speaking car freak or looking for some extra credit in Spanish 101 with Ms. Garcia, set a bookmark on your browser for Automóviles.

Don't forget our other sibling sites:
AutoblogGreen
Autoblog Chinese
Autoblog Simplified Chinese

 

[via] Autoblog

First Drive: Saleen S331 equal parts sport and truck

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We recently had a chance to sample Saleen's newest offering, the S331 Sport Truck, in and around Newport Beach, California. A small fleet of these sport trucks looked right at home parked in front of the Harbor, directly in the shadows of the multi-million dollar yachts at the Balboa Bay Club. We even had an older couple chase us down in their customized BMW 7-series and place an order. We kid you not. The S331 is a new vehicle and new segment for this small manufacturer better known for its Mustangs and S7 supercar. Getting into trucks was a logical development for Saleen, as the dealerships that handle their products report that nearly three quarters of their sales are trucks. So when there appeared to be enough interest in a Saleen truck, they decided to build one. Notice we said "build one" and not "modify one."

Follow the jump for the rest of the Day 1 story. And don't forget to check out the gallery of high-res pics from Drew Phillips and the author.

Continue reading First Drive: Saleen S331 equal parts sport and truck

 

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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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VIDEO: One Dodge Viper + two honkin' turbos = 220 MPH in 24.1 sec

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Hennessey has a long history of making big horsepower, usually involving turbochargers. This in-car video from a breathed-on Viper shows off just how quickly Hennessey's mods can make the scenery blur. We really hate the sound of the fuel pump at the beginning of the clip - it's loud and obtrusive, and covers up a lopey idle from the V10. We're going to go out on a limb here and state that the cam isn't stock, and that's where the bumpy idle comes from. The fuel pump is quickly forgotten when the run starts. After a soft-shoe launch to maintain traction, the driver lays into it. The twin huffers sing their banshee song, things get real fast in a hurry, and ultimately 220 MPH is achieved in 24.1 seconds. Thanks to our friends over at Streetfire for yet another clip to giggle like schoolgirls over instead of working.

Video after the jump

[Source: Streetfire]

Continue reading VIDEO: One Dodge Viper + two honkin' turbos = 220 MPH in 24.1 sec

 

[via] Autoblog

300 Glassback lets the sun shine in

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Well, Glassback has a better ring than "big ol' moonroof". Either way, Classic Design Concepts of Novi, MI came up with a slick way to augment the light coming through the 300's gun-slit sideglass. CDC's SEMA-award winning mod installs a piece of metallized glass where once there was only metal. Harking back to the '58 Eldorado, a stainless overlay covers the little bit of roof left. Rounding out the change from 300 to Glassback is CDC's Stainless Effects body kit. There's a new chin spoiler, rockers, a bit for the decklid that proudly announces Glassback, as well as other bits of brightwork.

Beyond style, there are a couple of real-world benefits to the glass roof. First, the Vanceva(R) glass panel attenuates noise in the 1000-6000Hz range by up to six decibels. That's a lot, as dBs are a logarithmic measure, so six dB is twice as quiet as a standard as a metal roof. That 1-6K frequency range just happens to be where a lot of voice action occurs, so conversations inside your Glassback will be easier. The glass is also excellent at blocking out UV and Infrared radiation, due to it's metallic layers. You'll have nearly the same experience as a convertible, without the noise, or the sunburn on your melon. You may have to rumble up the exhaust a bit to get through that noise attenuation, but that's nothing a couple Flowmasters can't handle.

Thanks for the tip, Jason!

Gallery: Glassback


[Source: CDC]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Audi RS6 on the 'Ring

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In a world full of AMG and M models, Audi can't be satisfied with fielding only the 436-hp, V10-powered S6. That's why it's working on returning the RS6 to the lineup. The new RS6 was caught by Brenda Priddy's spies doing laps on the Nurburgring in Germany. Wearing a migrane-inducing camo pattern, the RS6 is distinguished by fenders that push out wider to handle larger wheels and a rear diffuser that houses a pair of oval tailpipes. As the linked article indicates, while the S model sports four round tips, RS models stand out with these oval pipes. There was no mention of what may power the RS6, though it needs to be pretty hot motor to best the detuned V10 from the Lamborghini Gallardo that powers the S6. We've heard rumors of a twin-turbo version of the V10 producing between 500 and 550 horsepower, though other mills are being considered, too.

Thanks for the tip, Zerin!

[Source: Speedsportlife.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Lamborghini Alar debut postponed, unfortunately not forever

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click above image to view desktop wallpaper-sized pics of the Lambo Alar

According to our friends over at Argentina Auto Blog (no relation), the debut of the controversially-styled Lamborgini Alar has been postponed from tomorrow to Wednesday of next week. The show at which the officially sanctioned Lambo was to debut, Expo World Cars, has been pushed back on account of weather. Designed by Joan Ferci, the Alar stands as one of the most fugly supercars ever badged with the famous Italian bull. For proof, check out the new high-res profile shot that was released, as well as the rest of our Lamborghini Alar gallery.

Thanks for the tip, Carlos!

[Source: Argentina Auto Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler being sued by publisher of Choose Your Own Adventure books

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Chooseco LLC (nice name) has filed a trademark lawsuit against DaimlerChrysler for Jeep's new marketing campaign that uses the tag line "Choose Your Adventure," which apparently is too close to the publisher's popular series of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. Remember those? They were the books that always got checked out first from your grade school library, forcing you to look for dirty words in the encyclopedia instead.

The publisher is miffed at not just the similar tagline, but the entire campaign, which it claims is aimed at men in their 20s and 30s who grew up reading "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. Both sides are currently talking, though Jason Vines, head communicator for the Chrysler Group, says his company offered to link to the publisher's website from the Jeep brand webpage. "Obviously, they're looking for money," he said. "We'd offered to link our site, which gets nine katrillion times more traffic, to their site." Truly a maestro of words, that Vines.

Though DCX was hit with a cease and desist letter on March 16th, the campaign is already in full force, with magazine and TV ads already out there. Airtime during the NCAA finals this weekend has also been bought, as well. There's no putting the toothpaste back in this tube, so we'll likely see Chooseco settle for an easy payday.

NOTE: The book shown is not an actual CYOA title, just one of many farcical photochops found on the net.

[Source: WCAX.com via Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

UAW hosting town hall meeting for Toyota workers

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The Detroit News is reporting that the United Auto Workers union is hosting a town hall meeting for workers at Toyota's manufacturing plant in Kentucky this Saturday. Not an organization known to mince words, the UAW has labeled the meeting's topic as "The Human cost of Toyota's Success". A press release issued about the meeting states that workers will talk about on-the-job injuries, the use of temps, and concerns about conditions at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. In attendance will be UAW Vice President Terry Thurman.

As far as we know, the UAW has not managed to establish a credible presence at any automotive assembly plant in the U.S. owned by a foreign automaker. The union would certainly have us believe that the town hall meeting will be attended by a number of disgruntled Toyota employees ready to take action against their employer in a more organized way. Indeed, Thurman states "Our union is firmly and fully committed to helping these workers gain justice."

Problem is, we've never heard of these gross injustices being perpetrated against workers employed by foreign automakers. Perhaps that's because these workers have never had an organized voice before, but it could also be because their jobs are no worse or better than those under the umbrella of the UAW at domestic automakers. Truly, we really don't know which is the case and are very interested in what the workers at Toyota's assembly plant in Kentucky have to say.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Infiniti's Around View Monitor is watching

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The Infiniti EX concept that will debut next week at the New York Auto Show features a trick piece of parking assist technology called the Around View Monitor. It uses four cameras placed around the vehicle to create a composite video feed showing an aerial view of the vehicle. While we don't know much about how it works, the system features cameras placed in the grille, beneath both side view mirrors, and below the Infiniti badge on the concept's rear hatch. The camera in the grille is especially trick, as it's concealed when not in use and rolls out when activated. It's even chromed to match the grille! The obvious use of the system is to aid in difficult parking manuevers. As such, we bet it can only be turned on when the vehicle is in Reverse. We'd love to see someone hack the system to record a trip in motion from the sky, though.

Check out the video from Infiniti after the jump to see how the system works.

[Source: Kicking Tires]

Continue reading Infiniti's Around View Monitor is watching

 

[via] Autoblog

New York Preview: Nissan unveils 2007 NISMO 350Z

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click the above image to view pics of the 2007 NISMO 350Z

In July you'll be able to purchase the fifth and most hardcore model in Nissan's 350Z lineup, the 2007 NISMO 350Z. While we don't know pricing yet, we can tell you what the NISMO Z features above and beyond a garden variety 350Z. The most obvious addition is the NISMO aerodynamics package that includes a new front fascia with a highly extroverted front chin spoiler, side skirts and a new rear fascia with a diffuser big enough on which to throw a picnic for two. The car also features a specially tuned independant multi-link suspension, big Brembo brakes, a NISMO-tuned exhaust and NISMO gunmetal gray RAYS lightweight 5-spoke forged-alloy wheels wearing Bridgestone Potenzas. The front wheels are 18-inches large while the rears grow to 19-inches. The interior features exclusive black cloth seats with red inserts and red stitching throughout, as well as NISMO white and gray gauges.

While we've never been disappointed with Nissan's VQHR 3.5L V6, which in this case pumps out 306 horsepower and 268 ft-lbs. of torque just like the standard Z, we are a bit disappointed the NISMO isn't fitted with the new 3.7L version planned for the 2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe. It was probablay a timing thing and the larger V6 will end up in the 350Z soon enough, we hope.

Check out the press release after the jump and our gallery of desktop wallpaper-sized pics showing the 2007 NISMO 350Z

[Source: Nissan]

Continue reading New York Preview: Nissan unveils 2007 NISMO 350Z

 

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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

VIDEO: New "Proof" commercial puts Ford's best foot forward

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Clever commercials are nice. A grin on our face certainly increases the chance we'll remember the brand that made us laugh. But now isn't a time for jokes at Ford Motor Company, which finds itself ensconced in a difficult turnaround plan that has yet to get in gear. That's why we actually like this new commercial called "Proof" because it doesn't feature a Mustang Shelby GT500 on the Autobahn or a Fusion being pitted against its competitors. Rather, it features the best product Ford has at the moment: the Mustang, F-150, Fusion, Edge, Taurus and Escape Hybrid. Narrated by new Ford pitchman Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs fame, the spot is refreshening because it just cuts to the chase and lays it on the line by saying, in essence, "Here's what we got, like it or not."

Check out the commercial after the jump and let us know if you agree or think we're whack.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading VIDEO: New "Proof" commercial puts Ford's best foot forward

 

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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

VIDEO: Porsche Panamera goes north to Sweden

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If you want to get spy shots of vehicles that will soon be showing up in European dealerships, the place to be every year from December to March is the area near the Arctic Circle in Sweden. One person of apparently hardy stock captured a pair of Porsche Panamera prototypes heading out to a frozen lake for some more testing. We've all seen stills of the Panamera on the Nordschliefe, but now you can see (and hear) the car in full motion video.

[Source: YouTube]

 

[via] Autoblog

Fool us once: Most recent '08 Impreza shots are photoshops

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We've now received our May issue of Motor Trend in the mail and can verify that the 2008 Subaru Impreza does appear on the cover and inside the mag. We can't show you those pictures of the car since they were taken by one of Motor Trend's photographers and are owned by the magazine (though you can view them here). The cover car is a blue model in the new four-door hatchback body style. Yesterday we reported about new pics surfacing over at Inside Line featuring a version of the car in red. While the IL article did provide us with some solid details about the car, the pics that were shown on the site and labeled "Original photo source unknown" have been exposed as photoshopped versions of the images taken by Motor Trend. Go ahead and grab your issue and compare. It's clear that the magazine was scanned, the car selected out, given a new color and pasted on a new background. Looking closely at the IL pics, we're a bit disappointed in ourselves that we didn't catch it sooner.

We're actually pleased at this little turn of events, because it means that there does not yet exist official pics of the 2008 Subaru Impreza in the wild. We've harshed on the styling of the new Impreza a lot here, but are still willing to give it a chance. Perhaps the forgiving eye of Subaru's own in-house photographer can convince us it's not that bad. We'll find out when we arrive in New York next week and pick up our press kit, as well as take our own shots of the new car in person.

Thanks for the tip, Chris!

 

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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

AutoblogGreen for 03.30.07

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Homemade hybrids (actually, homemade start-and-stop vehicles), an exclusive Q & A with the granddaddy of hybrids, and some sneak peaks (1, 2) at cars coming to the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles show next week (which AutoblogGreen will be reporting from). And one of our readers snags us some video of the Tesla Roadster on display in the UK. Pretty good day of news, wouldn't you agree?

 

[via] Autoblog

GM bosses forego bonuses for another year

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GM's 2006 was so much better than 2005, news agencies in Detroit and around the country were wondering if it would hurt the General in UAW discussions in September. GM did improve greatly in 2006, but the fact remains that they still lost money. That's one big reason General Motors will not be paying out bonuses to its top 20 executive decision-makers. CEO Rick Wagoner, vice chairman Bob Lutz, and company are now at two consecutive years since their last bonus, but somehow we doubt they'll be hurting for cash anytime soon.

[Source: Automotive News (subscription req'd)]

 

[via] Autoblog

Enter the rumormill: Lexus IS-F Evo in the works?

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In an attempt to steal another page out of BMW's sport sedan playbook, rumors have surfaced that Lexus is in the process of developing a lightweight version of the IS-F, in the same vein as the M3 CSL. Internally dubbed the IS-F Evo, this limited edition sedan will benefit from an expensive diet, including lots of fiber (the carbon kind) and a bare-bones interior.

The reduced weight, combined with the 400 HP V8, is expected to drop the 0-60 time to below five seconds and on to a top speed of 155 MPH. Naturally, there's no word on pricing, but according to AutoExpress, it should arrive at dealers sometime in 2009.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 

[via] Autoblog

Porsche takes a $47b loan out to bid for VW

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What's it take to purchase a controlling stake in Volkswagen? Reuters' reports contacted all the major institutions involved in the deal and came up with 35 billion euros, or $46.47 billion US. To give Porsche the required 30.94-percent of shares, the guys and gals in Stuttgart have tapped ABN AMRO, Barclays Capital, Commerzbank Merrill Lynch and UBS to arrange the purchase.

While all the technical details escape those of us lacking any extensive knowledge of such heady financial topics, it's easy for us to understand that Porsche has to submit a slew of documentation to German regulators over the next four weeks in order to be reviewed, analyzed and approved before such a purchase could take place.

[Source: Reuters via Automotive News (Sub. Req.)]

 

[via] Autoblog

MG may yet find a home in Oklahoma

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The first Modern Gentleman has come off Nanjing's reconstituted assembly line in China, but we're getting conflicting reports about whether or not a rumored factory in Oklahoma will happen. Nanjing has been offered $20 million in incentives to come and build the MG TF where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain, but according to a recent report, the Ardmore, OK plant plans have been scrapped.

Nanjing hasn't made any formal response, but it appears that officials in Oklahoma are still working toward bringing the Chinese carmaker stateside and the Ardmore Development Authority is continuing to make efforts to bring the plant, as well as a parts distribution center, to Oklahoma.

Nanjing is China's oldest automaker, so it's not like they're neophytes; but, there's likely a learning curve about our emissions and safety regulations. Judging from how quickly the MG tooling was up and running after being shipped to China, we have no doubt that there will be a determined Chinese automaker offering cars for sale in the US in the near future.

Work continues on developing the airport and corralling the details among companies on three different continents, and supposedly they're currently completing due diligence before finalizing agreements. At least that's the rhetoric. We'll see how it all shakes out.

Thanks for the tip, Luis!

[Source: KOTV]

 

[via] Autoblog

And then there were three: Chrysler bidders try to make the cut

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Late yesterday, insiders privy to the ongoing talks within DaimlerChrysler to sell off its less profitable American half have leaked that the number of groups vying for control of the ailing automaker have been narrowed down to three.

Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based private equity firm, is one of the top contenders and has recently established itself as a force to be reckoned with within the U.S. auto industry. Between the recent purchase of a 51-percent stake in GMAC, acquiring the assets of Tower Automotive and making a serious play for Delphi Corp., the addition of Chrysler to its ever-expanding portfolio would give the firm even more clout than it has received thus far.

The Blackstone Group, headed by CEO Stephen Schwarzman, recently named the "King of Wall Street" by Fortune magazine, is another serious player. With over 100 companies in its stable and voicing support of Tom LaSorda, Chrysler's CEO, the firm intends to merely supervise the board, rather than oust sitting members, if a buyout was to take place.

Magna seems to be the most unlikely candidate, as Chrysler's liabilities far outweigh what the Canadian company may be able to manage.

Although there have been no formal bids or announcements, sources have indicated that private talks with one of these groups will begin sooner, rather than later, most likely sometime next week.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Yes, already: Mugen does up the new JDM Civic Type-R

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Way back yesterday, we brought you the official information about Honda's new JDM Civic Type-R. Not a day later and Mugen, the motorsports arm founded by Hirotoshi Honda, son of Honda Motor Company found Soichiro Honda, has released 16 different performance parts, from aero kits to upgraded brakes.

On the outside, a Mugen modified CTR will come equipped with a vented hood, redesigned grill, front spoiler, rear diffuser and trunk mounted wing. Under the hood, tuners can nix the stock intake box with a new high flow unit, along with a less restrictive air filter and sports exhaust.

Two brake pad compounds are available, as are new rotors, "Micromesh" brake lines, a sports suspension (no details yet) and 18x7.5-inch aluminum wheels.

We'd expect more information to come out soon, but in the meantime, head on over to Nihon Car and Bike to check out all the new bits installed on Honda's newest hotness.

[Source: Nihon Car and Bike]

 

[via] Autoblog

Promising careers? Teacher, salesman, mechanic

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If you're about to graduate high school and have abso-friggin-lutely no idea how you'll make money after your parents cut you off, Manpower Inc. says the three career paths mostly likely to offer jobs are teaching, sales and mechanics.

Though we highly respect those who choose to form young minds, we wouldn't want days filled with screaming kids and badly written book reports filled with horrid spelling, redundancy, incomplete thoughts, comma splices and redundancy.

In sales you might get lucky enough to sell (and occasionally drive) high-end German sports cars, but more likely you'd either get stuck peddling vacuum cleaners door to door or, worse, pushing high-interest loans on unsuspecting economy car shoppers.

That leaves car repair as Autoblog readers' only logical choice from Manpower's list. Sure, you'd be expected to fix family members' 1982 Caravans for free every time the transmission went bad (weekly), but knowing the intricate workings of complex machinery is both fascinating and lucrative. Other benefits? All your classmates who chose teaching instead of wrenching will hand you large sums of money to make annoying underhood sounds go away. If you're good, the customers of those high-end German sports car salesmen will bring you their toys to tune (as well as large sums of money). And if you're really good, you'll figure out how to keep the more fun cars for weeks after fixing them and not get caught (hint: roll back the odometer and remove all the Vegas receipts from the console).

Just remember, Class of 2007, the world is yours. The silver Porsche is mine. Sell enough vacuum cleaners and get your own.

[Source: MSNBC]

 

[via] Autoblog

New York Preview: 2008 Shelby GT500KR - The King of the Road returns!

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GT500KR
Click above for a gallery of high-res images

This morning, Ford announced that the mighty King of the Road Shelby GT500KR will be making a return in the spring of 2008 -- just in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original. Only 1,000 of these special Mustangs will be built, and they will definitely be the fastest ones yet! The team at SVT is tweaking the 5.4L supercharged V-8 with new calibrations, a cold-air induction kit and 3.73:1 final drive ratio. The KR will be rated at 540hp/510lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful Mustang ever.

The suspension has been recalibrated to give improved steering feel and crisper handling. An underhood cross-brace is added to improve chassis stiffness, which also helps the steering feel. Visual changes include a new carbon composite hood with scoops patterned after the original KR's and new Shelby-designed wheels. The show car is equipped with 20-inch rolling stock, while the production version sticks with 18-inch versions of the same design. The lower front valence features a pair of air intakes leading to functional ducts to cool the front brakes.

The Cobra badges will get special 40th Anniversary branding and an individually numbered plate will sit in the center of the dash to remind everyone that this car is one of only 1,000 units. There will be no convertible model and pricing won't be announced until closer to production almost a year from now, although you can probably expect an MSRP somewhere close to $50,000 and retail prices well above that. The old chicken farmer, Carrol Shelby himself, will be on hand for the unveiling in New York on Wednesday.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading New York Preview: 2008 Shelby GT500KR - The King of the Road returns!

 

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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