eBay Find of the Day: '97 Jeep Wrangler with Corvette LS1 power

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The 1997 Jeep Wrangler's torquey 4.0L inline six-cylinder engine was well suited to the machine's superb rock crawling abilities. That's doesn't mean all room for improvement has disappeared from underneath the hood. One owner looked across the aisle to General Motors for a new motor that would significantly improve the Wrangler's power-to-weight ratio. Said owner shoehorned an LS1 V8 from a Corvette behind that trademark seven-bar grille from Jeep and created a Wranglevette that's currently up for grabs on eBay.

The LS1 V8 itself has been officially rated at anywhere from 305 to 350 horsepower, though aftermarket add-ons can push those power numbers significantly higher. The eBay auction doesn't mention the specific output of the LS1 motor in this Wrangler, nor very much about the vehicle at all, except that the transplanted engine resulted in a salvage title.

We imagine one could immediately bypass crawling rocks with this Wrangler and instead just jump them. At the moment, the high bid is $10,000 with 11 bids on record and about 5 days left to go.

Thanks for the tip, Jro!

 

[via] Autoblog

Report: Bluetec hybrid Mercedes M-Class possible within 2 years

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Just -Auto reported yesterday that Mercedes-Benz could have a Bluetec diesel-electric hybrid variant of ithe M-Class on sale in the UK within the next two years. The system would probably leverage the automaker's 3.2L six-cylinder Bluetec engine in conjunction with the 2-Mode hybrid system developed jointly with BMW and GM. Fuel economy is expected to be around 40 mpg (we're assuming this measurement is in the UK's larger Imperial gallon) and CO2 emissions would likely be under 200g/km.

That would help cancel out some of the anti-SUV sentiment toward such a vehicle in UK and European markets. Now, while Mercedes wouldn't confirm that any plans for a green powertrain like this exist, Just-Auto expressed confidence in its source. Hopefully, assuming this comes to fruition, the system would comply with US standards and regulations as well, and help lead the way towards more fuel-stingy yet powerful diesel hybrid systems in the future.

[Source: Just-Auto (sub req'd)]

 

[via] Autoblog

Dunhill kit comes through stylishly in a pinch

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Responsible drivers usually keep the same few things in their trunk in case of an emergency: a set of jumper cables, a flashlight and some road flares. (What, you don't?) The trouble is, for the style-conscious motorist, that the cardboard box or egg crate in which this emergency equipment is held is an unsightly presence in the boot of a high-end luxury, performance or classic automobile.

Enter Dunhill with the solution. The company makes all manner of motoring accessory, its founder Alfred Dunhill having been quoted as declaring that his company offers "everything for the car but the motor". That might be a bit of a stretch, but Dunhill's emergency equipment kits puts those essential pieces together in one stylish yet durable canvas bag, trimmed in leather, that would look at home even in the trunk of your pristine Aston or Benz. Likewise, it's price is proportionately higher than your local Wal-Mart's car repair kit at €850.

[Source: Sybarites]

 

[via] Autoblog

You want WHAT shipped with your car? Top Ten list of odd auto transport requests

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Employees of automotive transport companies have lots of stories to tell. One story about a highly-secretive Corvette instantly leaps to mind as one story that perhaps shouldn't have been told.

But sometimes the cars being transported are the least interesting part of the job, according to DAS Auto Shippers, which has compiled a top ten list of the best auto transport stories. The list includes one woman who requested that the driver talk to her car to keep it from getting lonely, and one James Bond wannabe who wanted his car to be moved with a gun in the glovebox, a shotgun in the back seat and a full tank of gas. Another owner asked if it were ok if his cat rode in the trunk if food and water were included.

Oh, the dead fish story? One car arrived at its destination with an unexplained dead piranha in the back seat.

Check out DAS's top ten list of stories for more chuckles.

[Source: DAS Auto Shippers]

 

[via] Autoblog

Maserati GranTurismo claims its spot on the Web

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The URL says it all: GranTurismo is back. You won't be able to virtually configure and climb all over the car until June (however, you can play around with exterior colors). For now, there is a glut of text, video, galleries, sketches, downloads, podcasts and interviews covering nearly every aspect of Maserati's newest trident-bearing flagship. All but one of the videos are in Italian, so if you close your eyes you can practically imagine yourself in Modena listening to them tell you about your new car. It's certainly enough to keep you busy for a couple of months.

Go to http://www.granturismoisback.com/ to get started. Get yourself in the right frame of mind by starting out with the 8,000 rpm link under the Excitement tab. The one that says "The Sound of the Maserati V8." Oh, and turn your volume up.

Thanks to RocketPunch for the tip!

 

[via] Autoblog

Sneaking Rich: Puma by Schedoni

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Order a new Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini and you'll have the option of ordering fitted Schedoni luggage. The hundred-year-old leathercrafters are based in Modena, the same city where the exotic supercars are made, and the exclusivity and allure of their products rival that of the cars for which their luggage is custom-made. The company also makes bullet-proof briefcases for the Italian secret service, leather golf bags, thousand-dollar women's purses and those little pads in the cockpit that the shield Massa's and Raikonnen's precious heads, but back at the turn of the last century, Schedoni started by making shoes.

Teaming up with Puma, Schedoni is returning to its original core craft to produce a line of bespoke driving shoes for those who have to have everything to go with their fancy new gran turismo or barchetta. The collaboration between the two independent Scuderia Ferrari suppliers will yield two series of driving shoes. The first will come in Schedoni's trademark rich golden tan, branded with the owner's initials. If that's not personalized enough for your taste, a second line of shoes can be fully customized with their "puzzle kit" that allows customers to choose from a wide variety of leathers.

Each will be available in limited quantities, along with matching bags, for what promises to be exorbitant amounts of money. You know, just to keep the riff-raff out of these fancy sneaks.

[Source: Motor Trend via Luxist]

 

[via] Autoblog

Do the shuffle: GM swapping Buick and Saab execs

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With Saab continuing its sales upswing and its current branding efforts having their intended effects, Jay Spenchian, until recently the general manager of Saab Cars USA, has been shifted to Buick to fill the role of executive director of North America vehicle sales, service and marketing strategy, and revenue management.

In his early days at GM, Spenchian oversaw marketing efforts for Cadillac during its "Break Through" campaign, when Led Zeppelin was wailing "Been a long time. . ." over cruising shots of XLRs and CTSs. Moving to Saab in April of 2005 and heading the brand's "Born from Jets" campaign, Spenchian's efforts have paid dividends in terms of brand awareness and prestige. With the Buick Enclave evoking all the right responses so far, GM will want to get that car's branding campaign just right as a means to recasting and expanding Buick's brand values with potential customers. Spenchian, the man with the so-far golden marketing instincts, has been given the task.

Spenchian's role at Saab will be filled by former Buick General Manager Steve Shannon.

[Source: GM]

Continue reading Do the shuffle: GM swapping Buick and Saab execs

 

[via] Autoblog

HUMMER puts Courageous Kids in the driver's seat

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Hospitals are awful places to be. After all, if you're a patient, chances are that you're not there for anything fun, and the sterile environment does nothing to make the experience any more pleasant. It's worse for kids, even if they're in pediatric wards geared more to their needs. After all, no matter what the surroundings, the prospect of facing surgery or other medical treatments can make patients experience feelings of anxiety and dread. For children, this can be downright scary.

Many hospitals have embraced diversion therapy as a way of counteracting these feelings of anxiety in children who are facing serious surgery. For example, it's not at all uncommon to read about volunteers who bring their pets in to visit with patients. HUMMER is getting in on the act, blending a little bit of advertising with a healthy dose of altruism through a program the truck-builder calls Courageous Kids. It's quite simple: dealers are empowered to donate battery-powered kid-sized HUMMERs to local hospitals, where staff can then use the toys to help make the experience far less intimidating to their youngest patients. Instead of being wheeled to a treatment room or surgery on a gurney, the children can climb into a toy HUMMER and drive themselves. Just like that, a potentially negative experience is transformed into something the young patient can actually look forward to, making it far less stressful for child and parents alike.

Full details on the program are contained in GM's press release pasted after the jump.

[Source: HUMMER]

Continue reading HUMMER puts Courageous Kids in the driver's seat

 

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[via] Autoblog

Kill the Dream Cruise! Retired teacher wants to end Woodward's fun run

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On a Saturday in August every year, more than 1.5 million people and 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, exotics and collector cars descend on Detroit for the Woodward Dream Cruise. The Cruise is a 12-hour petrol-powered ode to 50s and 60s and the days when Woodward Avenue -- the Boulevard of Dreams! -- was the heart of Cruising, USA. Now in it's 12th year, the entire cruise and the satellite events that surround it during the weekend are being protested by a 63-year-old retired schoolteacher named Joellen Gilchrist.

Her complaint is that the Cruise is environmentally unfriendly, and her protest is part of the Step It Up campaign that has an admirable goal -- to convince Congress to reduce carbon emissions by 80% in time for 2050 -- that targets "the world's largest one-day celebration of car culture." The Cruise features vehicles from before the passage of the Clean Air Act, so they aren't sterling examples of eco-friendly motororing. But as AutoblogGreen rightly points out, most of the vehicles in the Cruise don't get many miles outside of events like the Cruise and the random joyride. While she aims to keep her protest friendly, even humorous, it might make more sense if she simply protested the commuters headed to and from work every day. This kind of enthusiast event, however, provides a target that will be sure to get some attention.

Intriguingly, even The Sierra Club has remained on the sidelines. The Club hosts a Green Cruise the weekend before -- sans motorized appliances -- and the folks who don't like the cruise simply spend the weekend out of town.

[Source: Detroit Free Press via AutoblogGreen]

 

[via] Autoblog

Toyota named official vehicle manufacturer of 2007 SEMA Show

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In 2005, it was Honda. GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler shared the honors in 2006 to celebrate the history of American Muscle. This year, the 41st annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas has named Toyota the "Official Vehicle Manufacturer of the Show". It's an honor that has more to do with branding the Las Vegas Convention Center with your logo than anything else, and this year, Toyota's logo will be the most prevalent to show goers.

Spurred by the success of Scion in the aftermarket customization industry, Toyota attempted last year to introduce the Tundra to the same audience that installs brush gaurds on their F-150s and bed liners in their Silverado. This year, Lexus will also be in tow and enjoy its first official presence at the SEMA Show.

As always, the SEMA Show occurs in late October/early November (10/30 to 11/2) and we'll be on hand with a small army to cover all the auto stuff Las Vegas has to offer.

[Source: Toyota]

Continue reading Toyota named official vehicle manufacturer of 2007 SEMA Show

 

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[via] Autoblog

Van Up! Corsa, Astra spawn van concepts at Commercial Vehicle Show

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Click image to enlarge

The annual Commercial Vehicle Show is set to kick off in Birmingham, UK, and GM's Vauxhall division has prepared two concepts that likely telegraph a pair of small-business-oriented cars coming sometime in the not-too-distant future. The Corsavan Sportive and Astravan Sportive SE are panelized versions of the new Corsa and Astra station wagon. In lieu of back seats, the cargo area is expanded to encompass the full interior aft of the driver and passenger seats. Both already exist in "van" form, but not in the level of trim the Sportive concepts display.

The attraction for small business owners is that the vans handle and perform like the cars they really are. As an added bonus, they feature creature comforts like A/C and heated mirrors, plus the Sportive concept trim decks the cars out with visual baubles such as alloy wheels, spoilers, and foglights. From the outside, they look like nicely-optioned versions of their standard car siblings, albeit with fewer windows (and, in Astra's case, fewer doors, too). Operating costs are kept down thanks to the use of diesel engines that allow for sprightly yet economical performance. Full details can be found in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Vauxhall]

Continue reading Van Up! Corsa, Astra spawn van concepts at Commercial Vehicle Show

 

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[via] Autoblog

Ford airing two new Edge commercials tonight directed by David Mamet

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Ford has commissioned writer and director David Mamet to produce two new commercials for the Edge CUV that will make their TV debut during tonight's episode of American Idol Their real debut is right here, however, where we've included both commercials for your viewing enjoyment.

Mamet is best known for the screenplays he's written, which include Ronin, The Edge, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Wag the Dog, among many others. He's also written and directed many episodes on TV for shows like "The Unit" and "The Shield". His two spots for the Edge highlight how Ford's CUV stack up against more expensive competition, specifically the BMW X5 and Lexus RS350. The commercials will inform viewers that it's faster than the former and quieter than the latter. We find the characters in the commercials a bit annoying, although it's clear their witty dialogue is what we're supposed to be paying attention to.

Check out the second commercial after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Ford airing two new Edge commercials tonight directed by David Mamet

 

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[via] Autoblog

Nissan prices the 2008 Altima Coupe from $20,490

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click above image to view more shots of the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe

When we first met the 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe at last year's LA Auto Show, we called it the "poor man's G35" despite its front-wheel drive layout. The reference is based more on the fact that the Altima Coupe is a looker just like the Infiniti G35 (soon to be G37) Coupe. According to Nissan, the new Altima Coupe will start at $20,490, excluding a $625 destination charge, making its style much more attainable than the significantly more expensive Infiniti coupe, and adding some substance to that "poor man's G35" label.

The $20,490 base price will get you an Altima Coupe 2.5 S with a six-speed manual transmission. For $500 more, or $20,990, you can have a CVT transmission instead of the manual. Both cars feature the 2.5L four-cylinder producing 170 horsepower. It would be a shame, however, to pass up on the 270-horsepower, 3.5L VQ-Series V6 engine, which is available on the uplevel SE model. The Altima Coupe 3.5 SE with a six-speed manual tranny starts at $24,890. Again, add another $500 to make it $25,390 for a 3.5 SE with Nissan's CVT transmission.

There are plenty of more packages and individual options available to inch the price of your 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe every upwards, all of which can be viewed after the jump.

[Source: Nissan]

Continue reading Nissan prices the 2008 Altima Coupe from $20,490

 

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[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: AMG CLK 63 Black Edition in the flesh

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When we first saw the CLK 63 AMG Black Edition at the New York Auto Show, we were sold on the looks alone. While its appearance defines menacing, after a quick check of the spec sheet, the depth of meanness of this super Benz far exceeds its well-adorned skin. A 6.2-liter, 507 HP V8, composite brakes, huge air intakes, and no back seat makes for a blunt-force object rivaled by few on this planet. A top speed of 186 MPH and 0-60 in 4.1 seconds confirms that this is yet another bad-ass AMG.

After watching this video a few times, we've confirmed what we already suspected: we want need this vehicle in the Autoblog garage. The folks over at Motor Authority found a great video of the CLK63 Black Edition in action, and we're passing it on to you. Follow the jump to see this beast taking it to the twisties, but be warned, you may want to block off a few extra minutes to see this AMG beauty in action more than once.

[Source: MotorAuthority]

Continue reading VIDEO: AMG CLK 63 Black Edition in the flesh

 

[via] Autoblog

Gallery: Long Beach GP weekend round-up

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We present you with another big gallery of photos from the weekend's activities in Long Beach. Besides the Champ Cars, ALMS, and Toyota Pro/Celebrity races we've already covered, the Long Beach GP hosted Formula D, Champ Car Atlantics, and Speed World Challenge GT racing. We were there on Friday during practice and captured some images to share with all of you. Next year we hope to get an earlier start to secure some credentials so we can get access to pit lane and head-on shots along the fence line. But for now we have these tower shots and some random pics from around the grounds.

Right on the water, with the Queen Mary and various cruise and cargo ships in the distance, there is a definite charm to this temporary street course that has hosted Formula 1, CART, Trans-Am, Can-Am, Rolex and ALMS over its 33-year history. Close to Hollywood, this is the racing event most likely to attract celebrities on the Champ Car schedule. Between practice sessions and races, fans had a lot of other things to keep them occupied. Minardi has a special two-seat formula car that allows passengers to experience 180-mph thrills, for just $10,000 a go. There are also rides and vendor booths everywhere, making the place feel like a community carnival as much as a racetrack.

Click one of the images below to go to our gallery. We also had one of our readers pass along a link to his own gallery of incredible shots from Saturday. Make sure you check them out. Thanks for sharing them, Mark!

 

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[via] Autoblog

VW Beetle gets special red top

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Apparently Volkswagen and Ford were thinking alike. Red sells. Color, however, is about the only shared character trait of the GT500 Red Stripe and the New Beetle Cabriolet Red Edition.

Only for its European customers, VW dresses up the New Beetle Cabriolet Red Edition with red top, seats, door panels and a few other interior bits. The red-crowned VW can be had painted in beige, white and, our favorite, black pearl.

One of the coolest touches to the crimson Beetle is the Limited Red Edition tag running vertically above the car's right rear bumper much like in previous generations. You can see a photo of it in the gallery. European customers can purchase the New Beetle Cabriolet Red Edition starting at €26.950 for the 1.6 liter engine and manual tranny, while the top-end gets a 2.0 liter and automatic transmission for €31,200. Pricing was not immediately available for the TDI version. We'll just have to make do with our Triple White edition.

Check out the gallery for more photos of the New Beetle Cabriolet Red Edition.

[Source: Auto Express]

 

[via] Autoblog

Prius can't pass Georgia emissions test

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Eco-conscious drivers in Georgia are finding out that the grass isn't necessarily greener on their side of the fence. 2007 is the first year drivers of the 2004 Prius are required to get their cars tested for emissions. You'd think the clean-running hybrid would have no problems breezing through the exam. But, as CNN reports, no matter how many times Georgia drivers try to test one, they all fail. Huh?

Well, sorta. It's more like the Prius refuses to take the test. When the Prius is set to idle at 2,500 rpm on the tester, it does what it's supposed to do. It shuts off the engine to save fuel. Georgia's pre-hybrid equipment issues a failing grade because of an incomplete test.

Instead of just acknowledging its system is outdated, Georgia still requires Prius owners to pay the $25 testing fee for an "aborted test." That allows them to get a failed certificate from the tester which car owners must take to one of five waiver centers (M-F, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) to be granted permission to buy a license plate. Don't ya love bureaucracy?

As one man in the CNN video says, "They say no good deed goes unpunished." Ain't that the truth.

[Source: CNN]

 

[via] Autoblog

Roewe W2 concept a Chinese delight

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We've had our fun with Chinese-designed cars before, but it looks like someone over at Roewe knows what makes a decent-looking car.

Roewe is expected to officially introduce its W2 concept later this month at the Shanghai Auto Show. Though officially a concept, Internet rumors indicate production later this year, though probably without the fancy LED touch screen control module in the center stack. Hopefully, though, the transformation from concept to reality will leave intact the car's stylish lines and handsome interior. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until the April 22 Shanghai show for more details.

Click through to the gallery for a couple more photos.

[Source: Autoblog Chinese]

 

[via] Autoblog

Shrink wrap prank snares cop; teens get rap sheet

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We're guessing there's just not a whole lot to do in Mt. Pleasant, WI, pop. 23,142, where police say three teenagers admit to stretching plastic shrink wrap across a rural highway. Now, we can think of many reasons not to do this, not the least of which is that it could cause a serious accident. But the perpetrators of this particularly stupid stunt didn't think of that. Nor did they think of what might happen if, by some freak chance, the first car to come along was a member of the Mt. Pleasant Police Department. Yeah.

The officer says only minor damage occurred to his cruiser when he hit the transparent traffic barrier, but that a much more serious accident could have happened. After stopping, the cop noticed a car parked nearby with its lights off, investigated and found three teens, a roll of shrink wrap and a "small amount of alcohol."

Ahhh. Alcohol. That explains the enormous lack of thought the pranksters had. But if the three boys did indeed pull this prank, they don't even have that excuse since they were cold sober.

Police later found shrink wrap stretched across three other locations in the area and a fourth site had already been broken by a vehicle.

The three boys are charged with felony reckless endangering safety, misdemeanor criminal damage to property and misdemeanor obstructing an officer. They also got tickets for underage alcohol possession and the driver was ticketed for driving without someone 25 years old in the vehicle. Possibly worse, however is that the three were released to their parents to face, we're guessing, unholy fury the likes of which they had never seen before.

[Source: The Journal Times via Transport Trends]

 

[via] Autoblog

Cinematical reviews Redline... and nails it

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Spiegel
, Cohn, Welles, and Spielberg are unlikely company for the name of Daniel Sadek, producer of the new auto-themed movie out in theaters called Redline. According to Cinematical's review of the movie, however, this real estate mogul turned producer has bankrolled a movie guided by passion rather than the bottom line.

It certainly won't win an Oscar, but a RAZZIE for Redline is definitely a possibility. While the movie presents no real surprises, no mythic overtones, and nothing goes against type, it also doesn't make any attempt to pretend otherwise. It's a sea of B-listers with hot girls; really fast, really expensive cars; crazy, bored rich people casually risking other people's lives; and tough-yet-good-looking underdog guys who are going to make good.

Yet in real life, a real guy put his real money and his real cars in the service of that celluloid vision. And did we mention that his really fast, really expensive cars spend much of the movie actually going really fast? In fact, Sadek even sacrificed his sacred Enzo for the pic when it was practically destroyed at the hands of actor Eddie Griffin, who plays rap mogul Infamous in the film. If nothing else, Cinematical rates the movie as "agreeably psychotic" -- and who doesn't want to say hello to that?

Apparently Sadek even wrote lyrics to some of the score. Even if the movie isn't worthy, the review is. Check it out.

[Source: Cinematical]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chery Shooting Sport Concept revealed

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Click image for photo gallery

Chery has released the first photos of the Shooting Sport Concept it will be unveiling later this week in Shanghai, and it's quite faithful to the sketches the automaker released earlier in the month. An attractive three-door with a particularly Prius-esque look up front, the Shooting Sport appears to be production-ready save for some of the more concept-like elements inside the passenger cabin. For example, the fancy gauges, abundant white leather, green trim, and yellow mood lighting would likely go in favor of more conventional-looking, less costly materials. That said, the basic shapes of the console and IP are not unorthodox and could likely carry over. Power 8-way seats, a normal-looking DVD navigation system, and a 60/40 split back seat are among the other features on the concept that would probably transfer to a future production car. Save for the "inspired by" Toyota face, the rest of the car looks like something that wouldn't be out of place with a European marque's badge on the hood, and that's no bad thing, aesthetically. We'll have more on the Shooting Sport, including, we assume, powertrain info, when the Shanghai Motor Show gets rolling.

[Source: Chery via Autoblog Chinese (Translated)]

 

[via] Autoblog

1 for 1: Peugeot 908 HDi FAP wins race debut

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Click image for high-res photo gallery of the Peugeot 908 HDi in action

The first real test of Peugeot Total's Le Mans-bound 908 HDi FAP prototype was a resounding success. The pair of diesel-powered prototypes finished 1st and 3rd in this weekend's 1000 kilometer Le Mans series race at Monza. The winning car, #7, driven by Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gené encountered two minor problems: a door that did not shut properly and an oil pressure sensor warning light. The #8 car, piloted by Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy, had a gearbox problem that caused them to lose time in the pits while it was repaired. Still, the team was able to get the car back on the circuit and guide it to a podium finish. Second place was taken by the #16 Pescarolo Judd. You can read Peugeot's release after the jump, and view the full race results here.

[Source: Peugeot Sport]

Continue reading 1 for 1: Peugeot 908 HDi FAP wins race debut

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

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Following the unveiling of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, we all knew it wouldn't be long before AMG would have their turn at the new baby Benz. Sure enough, spy photos have begun hitting the internet, showing the next C63 AMG undergoing testing at the fabled Nurburgring.

Set to face off against the likes of BMW's upcoming (albeit manual and two-door) M3 and Audi's all-wheel-drive RS4, the C63 is anticipated to shoehorn in AMG's prolific 6.3-liter V8, though detuned to somewhere in the neighborhood of a magical 420 horsepower.

Major aftermarket tuners like Brabus, Kicherer and Lorinser have already revealed their modifications for the new C-Class, but only AMG will be able to provide the dealer-direct, factory-backed final product that you're likely to see ripping up your local streets. Expect the C63 AMG to make its debut at the Frankfurt show in September.

[Source: World Can Fans]

 

[via] Autoblog