Chevy wants you to build your own Autobot... meet Autoblog Supreme!

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In conjunction with the new Tranformers movie set to hit theaters on July 4, GM's bread and butter brand is launching this design-your-own-Autobot site that allows visitors to build their own bot from a preselected assortment of Chevys (what, no Corvette or Camaro?), challenge their friends to a fight, and win prizes for their efforts. A free month of XM, tickets to see the movie, and even a trip to the premier are up for grabs as prizes. You can register and play for the prizes or do it all without registering just because, well... it's fun to build and fight robots. We've already breathed life into our own Autobot, a jet black Chevy Impala named Autoblog Supreme. You can use the email address abresearch at gmail dot com to challenge us to a fight if you dare. As a wise man once said, "This is our Country, THIS is our Autobot."

[Source: Chevy via Jalopnik]

UPDATE:
We're having some difficulty logging back into the site after we registered, so consider yourself forewarned if you log out and try to log back in.

 

[via] Autoblog

MidBox feature introduced for Ford F-150

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F-150 with MidBox
Click image to enlarge

We got a peek at it via a spy photo back in March, and it's now officially available. The feature shown above is SVE Commercial Products' MidBox Professional Storage System for the Ford F-150 truck. It's a secure storage add-on that adds over 26 cubic feet of lockable storage space to the F-150. It's nicely integrated, too, as it uses existing mounting holes for its installation, features an OEM F-series door handle, and locks and unlocks using the driver's door key. Naturally, it's available in the full range of factory Ford colors, so it matches the rest of the truck its mounted to perfectly. Ordering it is as easy as selecting RPO code 55M when building your new truck. Full details can be found in the press release after the jump.

[Source: SVE Commercial Products]

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Hubba-Bubba - fat guy mudflap adornment

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It's only fair, after years of objectifying women, fat guys are now seeing what it's like.

The reclining woman silhouette was first rendered in chrome and applied to mudflaps, and then the general public caught on. Since then, the icon has appeared on stickers, hats, and everything else you could buy at a Pilot or TA oasis. The model for the new sticker was apparently bewhiskered, cap wearing, and seven months pregnant. He's got great legs, though. This sticker may be just the thing to give your B-segment ride some visual weight. For $4 bucks, it'd at least tickle funny bones for a while.

[Source: StickerGiant via Transport Trends]

 

[via] Autoblog

Road & Track rumormill: Mazda RX-7 development underway

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When the newest issue of Road & Track arrived in our mailbox, we were impressed that the 60th anniversary issue was sport compactalicious. The cover sports the new Mitsubishi EVO X alongside a photochopped '08 Impreza STI, and the inevitable shootout consists of the Civic Si, MazdaSpeed3, MINI Cooper S, Sentra SE-R Spec V and the VW GTI.

What was more interesting was one of the subtitles proclaiming that a new RX-7 is in the works by Mazda and that Toyota is (finally) beginning to develop an honest-to-God sports car based off the Lexus IS platform.

As for the RX-7, R&T's inside sources say that due to slowing sales of the RX-8, the engineers at Mazda are hard at work improving the 13B rotary's output. If (when?) the new RX-7 debuts, it will be powered by this new and improved Renesis, supposedly sporting an electrically assisted supercharger, much like the one found on the RX-8 Hybrid that debuted in Tokyo in 2003.

Additionally, the rumored RX-7 will grab styling cues from the Kabura concept (pictured) that was unveiled at Detroit in 2006 and will be built on the platform that underpins the MX-5/RX-8. Whether or not the next gen. 7 will come in a 2+2 configuration remains to be seen, but regardless, don't expect anything until the end of the decade.

[Source: Road & Track]

 

[via] Autoblog

Porsche proposes to Volkswagen

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It's official, Porsche has submitted an offer to buy the Volkswagen group. Unless you've been living in a cave, you probably already know that the erstwhile sportscar manufacturer is more profitable than the megalithic auto consortium, with all its subsidiaries, and has been steadily increasing its stake in VW.

When Porsche raised its stake in Volkswagen past 30%, German law mandated that it submit an offer to Volkswagen shareholders to buy them out and take over the automotive conglomerate outright. The mandatory offer has now been officially submitted, and subsequently approved by the German Federal Agency for Financial Services Supervision.

Porsche is offering ?100.92 per common share, and ?65.54 for preferred shares, coming in at the bare minimum required by law. Volkswagen shareholders have until May 29 to accept or refuse the offer. If they accept, Porsche will have full control of Volkswagen and all its subsidiaries, including the Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Bentley brands, turning what was once the niche sportscar maker into one of the largest automobile makers in the world. It's unlikely that the VW board will accept, however, considering Porsche made the bare min bid.

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Press release after the jump.

[Source: Porsche]

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On your mark, get set, GET UP!

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We here at Autoblog put in some seriously late hours. So we routinely need help dragging our asses out of bed. That's why we've asked the boss to order us a case of these Drag Racing Alarm Clocks. What better way to get an exhausted gearhead out of bed than with the ear-splitting roar of a top fuel funny car at full throttle?

The dashboard-like guages not only tell you how late you are for work, but also indoor humidity and temperature. We think a wireless caffeine monitor for the coffee maker in the kitchen and a stopwatch counting down the time we have left to spend in the shower would be better gauge choices.


[Source: Gizmodo]

 

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Saleen may release S281 Heritage Edition

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click above image to view more pics of the Saleen S281 Heritage Edition

Thanks to the Saleen Owners and Ethusiasts Club, we can show you these pics of a new Mustang soon to be released by Saleen (Yes, another special edition Mustang!). The car is called the S281 Heritage Edition, and while we have no official information on the car besides what can be gleaned from these pics, it's apparent Saleen has taken many cues from the wildly popular Parnelli Jones Edition Mustang. The S281 Heritage Edition, however, is dipped in white rather than the iconic Grabber Orange paint color. It appears that exterior differences are limited to the absence of the shaker scoop and tie down pins on the hood. The graphics treatment is different as well, with a large black stripe only on the hood and two-prong black stripes on the sides. Thankfully, the rear louvers are in tact. The wheels also appear to be unique five-spoke rims, whereas the Parnelli Jones Edition wears seven-spokers, though we're not sure if this new set is a Saleen design or not. Finally, out back we can see the Saleen name spread across the rear deck lid and, wait, what's that down there? That's right, quad exhaust outlets in place of the pair of oval tips on the Parnelli Jones Edition.

Again, since we have no official info yet, we can't say what's going on under the hood, but we wouldn't be surprised if the same enlarged 5.0L powerplant in the Parnelli Jones Edition is offered here, as well. Of course, it could also be offered with the variety of engines available in the S281 lineup, all the way up to the S281 Extreme's 550-hp mill. We'll let you know when we have more info, but for now you can feast on these images.

[Source: SOEC.org]

 

[via] Autoblog

Land of the Free: Americans pay least for a new Rolls-Royce

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Think a Rolls-Royce Phantom is expensive? Well, yeah...it is. One of the most expensive on the market, as a matter of fact. (Hey, it's a Rolls-Royce. What did you expect?) But if you think the Phantom is expensive on the American market, you should take a look at what it costs elsewhere in the world.

Our new friends over at Automobiles De Luxe have compiled what they're calling "the Phantom Index", taking the example of "the Big Mac Index" from The Economist and carrying the formula through to the most bling-tastic of motor saloons.

You might be surprised that the Phantom is cheapest to buy in the United States, undercutting the equivalent price of the same automobile in the United Kingdom and in the European Union by over a hundred thousand dollars. Not that such concerns would factor into the equation for most buyers of a new Rolls-Royce, mind you... perish the thought.

[Source: Automobiles De Luxe]

 

[via] Autoblog

Ghosbusters spotted in the Colorado Outback

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After seeing a midnight showing of Ghostbusters in early October of 2005, a couple of friends hatched a plan. The self-described "nerdy near-adults with interests in "science fiction, computers, technology, and filmmaking" decided that with Halloween just around the corner, they might as well dress as Ghostbusters. Kevin and his friend Will wanted to build homemade backpacks and uniforms, then go into a local hotel on Halloween to prank them. "Essentially we would run out with smoking ghost traps, handing the hotel manager a bill for $5000, and then run away. Then it hit me. 'Will... I'll make you a deal. You build the packs, and I'll build the car.' A few months later Will moved to New York and the plans were shelved."

The following spring, Kevin and his roommate, Austin, got the project started. They started with Kevin's white 1998 Subaru Outback and went to town, adding lightbars, tubes, packs, decals and a lot of hours to make the car into the Ecto-1K. But just days before Halloween, the Ecto was rear-ended by a semi and written off. A replacement 2003 Outback was located, and with insurance money and donations in hand, they rebuilt the Ecto-1K in just a few weeks. The car has made quite a splash in and around Fort Collins. Car shows, comic conventions, parades, and the like. You can read the whole story and see lots of pics by following the Read link. Funny anecdotes abound. We especially liked the idea of just driving it through town at random on weeknights, making those who caught a glimpse of it wonder if they had perhaps been seeing things. Or using it to help snow-stranded motorists get unstuck. Always nice to see someone with an appreciation for fine art, a great sense of humor, and a Subaru putting it all together for the betterment of mankind.

[Source: NASIOC via DieselStation]

 

[via] Autoblog

edo Competition's 585 HP Porsche 996 Turbo, tuned Touareg

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click either image to view more pics of edo Competition's two new vehicles

If there's a 996 Turbo sitting in your garage that you have so far resisted the urge to tune, EDO might have the package to change your mind. If sitting next to that 996 is a VW Touareg V10 TDI crying out for attention as well, then EDO's got a two-fer that will let you dispatch both birds with ein Stein.

The 996 turbo gets a new turbocharger, BMC sport filter, and tri-alloy catalytic converter that blow 585 hp and 575 lb-ft through the system. Newly juiced, your turbo will now get to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, which is about as fast as the current turbo. However, another 6.2 seconds will see you to 120 mph, and you've got legs all the way up to an approximate 250 mph top speed. Keeping you glued to the ground are a front spoiler lip, the rear spoiler from the 996 GT2, and an adjustable suspension. When it's time to get back to legal speeds, six piston brakes up front take care of the heavy stopping.

Concerning the Touareg V10 TDI, the mods are mainly cosmetic. There is a slight bump in both horsepower and torque (approximately 70 hp and lb-ft) due to "electronic tuning" and a sport filter, and the top speed increases to about 160. Otherwise, you're looking at a set of 6-piston calipers up front, 22-inch wheels, air suspension with a lowering module, wider fenders, some chrome, and new pipes out back. No word on pricing for either vehicle, but both sport a paint job that screams "It's obvious that I just spent a fortune getting this car tuned."

[Source: edo Competition via Motor Authority and World Car Fans]


 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler announces Aspen Two-Mode hybrid

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Considering that the Aspen is nothing more than a rebadged and gussied up Dodge Durango, it should come as no surprise that today Chrysler has announced a hybrid version of its ute to accompany the Dodge Durango Hybrid on the market in 2008. Both the Durango and the Aspen will feature a Two-Mode hybrid system - the one developed jointly with General Motors and BMW - paired with a 5.7L V8 HEMI engine featuring cylinder deactivation. Overall fuel economy should increase by 25%, while Chrysler predicts each utility vehicle will see their fuel economy in the city rise by some 40%. Each SUV will be wearing the above badge to indicate their greenness.
We're eager to see this Two-Mode hybrid system in action, and expect the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid to be the first on the market. AutoblogGreen has got some seat time scheduled with one in the near future and will report back with a full evaluation of how this technology works hauling around these behemoths.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

 

[via] Autoblog

Dilbert does the auto industry

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We've been covering the auto industry for so long that we hardly bat an eyelash when an automaker does something that, to the rest of the educated world, appears insane. That's just the auto industry, we say, when trying to explain why well-received concepts aren't put into production, or why the best bits of vaporware never seem to materialize. But hey, people tell us we're the press and we'll report on every concept and press release that gets put into circulation because, frankly, we have nothing better to do. Scott Adams, the cartoonist who creates Dilbert, thinks this little game we play with the automakers will induce a grin from his audience. We'll let you be the judge - click the Read link to view Dilbert's latest Sunday strip.

Thanks for the tip, amp!

[Source: Dilbert.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

You ready for a V8-powered, RWD coupe from Hyundai?

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While we were digitally thumbing through the latest virtual issue of Winding Road (subscribe here for free if you haven't already), we were struck by a particularly well done article on the forthcoming Genesis sedan from Hyundai. The WR folk dug deep and unearthed a lot of info about the sedan, and what its new BH platform means for the Korean automaker. For one, the BH platform will spawn four vehicles in total: the Gensis, a long-wheelbase Genesis Plus, a Genesis-esque Kia model, and (drum roll, please) a sporty rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered coupe that may look like the rendering above. Now, no one knows what this coupe will look like or even how far along in development it is, but kudos go to the WR-commissioned artist who created this image, because it looks great.

Assuming a heavy dose of parts sharing will go on between the BH platform mates, we should expect this RWD coupe to be offered with either a V6 or the new "Tau" V8 that will power the Genesis. The "Tau" is said to be capable of "well over" 300 horsepower and we already know the company's 3.8L V6 is a gem, so Hyundai's forthcoming coupe has plenty of powerplant potential. Reportedly, however, none of the BH cars will be offered with a true manual transmission. Instead, we should expect some sort of manually controlled automatics.

Considering that a Genesis equipped with a V6 is rumored to carry a price tag below $30,000, we're curious to know which other RWD coupes you think will be the biggest competition for this car. Would its combination of a low price tag and powerful engine make it attractive to the Mustang crowd, or is Hyundai staring down the grille of Infiniti's new G37? Time will tell, and we can't wait.

[Source: Winding Road - illustration used with permission]

 

Follow Up: More on the 2008 Chevy Corvette LS3

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click above image to view our entire high-res gallery of the 2008 Corvette

During this weekend?s C5/C6 bash, GM introduced the "mid-cycle refreshment" for the 2008 Corvette. While the exterior remains unchanged, there have been a host of changes to the interior and engine that you've already read about (no changes were made to the Z06). More pics have been added to the gallery and more details on the car -- including everything we could get them to tell us about the so-called Blue Devil -- are after the jump.


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Rinspeed releases 997 Turbo-based Le Mans 600

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click above image for more pics of the Rinspeed Le Mans 600

As the gap between rich and poor becomes more pronounced, so does the gulf between the fastest and not-so-fastest cars. The latest entrant in the go faster stakes is Rinspeed, which has done a number on the 997 Turbo. Called the LeMans 600, the car bundles 600 hp and 590 lb-ft into the already fast-as-blue-blazes Porsche.

Two VTG turbos combine with a ram-air intake system, new intercoolers, and a high performance exhaust to provide the added grunt. With the power of the earth's core behind its rear wheels, the car gets to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds, and goes 213 mph. Cosmetically, the restyling is purposeful but subtle. The front gets a new skirt with carbon splitters, new daytime driving lights, and reshaped air intakes for the brakes. Speaking of brakes, you get 8-pot calipers -- count 'em, 8 -- to bring all of that Rinspeediness to a halt. Behind, the mirrors get a dash of carbon, and new side skirts lead to a reshaped rear valance with a high-performance exhaust system. Also in the rear, hovering over the sound and the fury, is a whopping great tail.

Keeping all that hurdy-gurdy on level is an adjustable suspension, and 20-inch aluminum Rinspeed wheels that are 12 inches wide in the rear. Rinspeed's press release is after the jump if you prefer and the gallery below.

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VIDEO: What does Evil look like at Speed? The Maybach Exelero

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"The Exelero show car did more for us than all the tweaks to the 57/62 series combined." That's what a source inside Maybach had to say about the gargantuan showcar when speaking of future Maybach models. The Exelero, more than any other, looked like it was built to transport Darth Vader. But it wasn't. Nor was it built just to garner attention, although that factored big in the formula, as well. The purpose of the Exelero was to serve as a high-speed - and high-profile - test vehicle for German tire manufacturer Fulda, who decades prior had embarked on a similar venture with the original Maybach. In short, the Exelero has the go to back up all that show.

In the video after the jump, witness the time-warping power and speed of the two-door performance coupe built on the platform of the Maybach 57, which itself is second only to its big-brother 62 in the rankings of the largest and most obscenely powerful cars on the market.

In so many ways, and in so many words, this is huge.

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[Source: Automobiles Deluxe via Motor Authority]

Continue reading VIDEO: What does Evil look like at Speed? The Maybach Exelero

 

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Lotus Elise confused for bass boat in horrible painting accident

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Surfing around these great interwebs, we've learned far too many times that there is no accounting for taste. Case in point: someone with 50 large to spend on the most pure form of driving bliss - the Lotus Elise - decided the car's factory paint scheme wasn't eye-catching enough. The result? The abomination you see above.

Not only did the owner decide to go for the Hot Import Nights-approved color shifting hue, he or she decided that 12 different light-dependent colors wasn't enough, hence the liberal application of glitter to make this Elise an eyesore from the Liberace House of Crap.

We're disgusted and disturbed by such a careless disregard for something as perfect as the Elise, so much so that we're considering the establishment of a Hague-like tribunal to prosecute such offenses.

[Source: DieselStation]

 

[via] Autoblog

Fuel of the future: Hydrogen at the corner gas mart

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From an emissions standpoint, hydrogen is one of the cleanest fuels available. Unfortunately, our most abundant source is water, and with current technology, breaking those two H atoms away from that one O atom (electrolysis) uses more energy that it creates.

But water isn't the only hydrogen source. A Virginia company, H2Gen, makes a hydrogen-extraction device that basically (very basically) sucks the hydrogen right out of nature (see the graph for a somewhat more detailed explanation). An Orlando Chevron station has acquired one of their units and is currently testing the viability of using it for producing hydrogen right at the point of purchase. If the test works out, one more stumbling block, transportation of hydrogen, would be removed.

H2Gen claims the process is as much as six times more efficient than conventional electrolysis.

Now let's hope automakers' hydrogen programs, like BMW's test of its Hydrogen 7, work out. Then stand back and watch gasoline-powered cars go the way of the dinosaurs.

More details can be found in the press release after the jump.

[Source: H2Daily via EvWorld]

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