Ford holds job fair so other companies can hire their people

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While General Motors held a job fair a couple of weeks ago to hire 400 more engineers and technicians, Ford just held one for companies looking to hire some of the thousands of people that they've let go in recent months. To be fair, GM bought out thousands of employees last year as well, and they've also been providing assistance to help them find new jobs.

Ford screened potential employers in the fair to make sure they were hiring immediately and also offering jobs at pay levels close to what the ex-Ford employees were getting. Ford had originally intended for the fair to only be open to ex-Ford employees but because of the poor economy in Michigan, decided to open it to all comers. The morning was restricted to Ford people while anyone was welcome in the afternoon. About 10,000 people were expected to attend the event in Dearborn.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

WaPo writer thinks Mercury is still alive because of women buyers

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For years analysts have been recommending to Ford that they shut down the Mercury division unless they actually create some unique vehicles for the brand. With few exceptions like the 1998-2002 Cougar, Mercury has had few vehicles that weren't just rebadged Fords in decades. According to Warren Brown of the Washington Post, female buyers are the primary reason for Mercury's continued existence.

In his decidedly unscientific analysis, when his wife and assistant evaluated the Mercury Mariner Hybrid a few weeks after the Escape hybrid they found the Mariner a much more enjoyable vehicle. They thought the Mercury was distinctly different and less SUV-like.

I find this all highly dubious and I seriously doubt that most women would actually feel this way, especially if they tried the vehicles back-to-back. Aside from possibly some different color combinations and maybe a little extra chrome trim in the Mercury, the two vehicles are exactly identical. A Mariner is equally as SUV-like as an Escape and anyone who says otherwise is deluding themselves. Let's hear what the women out there think in the comments.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

eBay Find of the Day: 1989 Ford Bronco Centurion, the pre-Expedition

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eBay Motors has been a treasure trove of good finds this week, and today we bring you another rare SUV like the Saleen Explorer XP8. Though there are more than a few full-size SUVs on the market today, for decades the Chevy Suburban ruled a segment of one before the Ford Expedition arrived in 1996. But until Ford could develop a suitable Suburban fighter it made do by offering the Bronco Centurion, a four-door version of the Ford Bronco that was converted by a company named Centurion Vehicles.

The Centurion began life as a four-door club cab short bed F-Series pickup. To it was added a Bronco tailgate and fiberglass cap to close off the bed. A third-row bench was also donated by the Bronco to make the Centurion capable of carrying 8-9 people.

This particular Centurion is built off of the eighth-gen F-Series, though Centurions were also built on the ninth-gen F-Series up until 1996 when the tenth-gens arrived. It's powered by Ford's big 7.5L 460 c.i. V8 using the three-speed C6 automatic. Sure, it's got 220,000 miles on the odo and needs some TLC, but chances are any interested parties aren't looking for a show vehicle.

[Source: eBay Motors via GM Inside News]

 

[via] Autoblog

eBay Find of the Day: Wrangler Unlimited w/ SRT-8 HEMI

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Well, this looks like it could be fun. If you're in the market for a new Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, you might want to check out this eBay auction first. The Jeep that's up for grabs has under 300 miles on it, and while it may look bone-stock, it's anything but. When you lift the hood, you'll find a 6.1L SRT-spec HEMI. The work was done by Burnsville Offroad, which specializes in conversions like this. According to Burnsville's website, an upgraded radiator is part of the deal when they perform these HEMI swaps, so cooling won't be a problem. All the accessory systems work as new, too. Looks like it came out of a Jeep factory, only better. Added bonus: you'll surprise more than a few unsuspecting drivers at stoplight grands prix.

Nice tip, Jay!

[Source: eBay]

 

[via] Autoblog

Meet the 2008 Chrysler 300 Cerberus Edition

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click here for high-res version

It's already been made known that Cerberus Capital Management CEO Stephen Feinberg has already made public that he regrets naming his private equity firm after the mythological three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades. We say, why? Embrace your name and figure out how to use it to your advantage. One Autoblog reader agrees with us, and has created this photoshopped homage to Chrysler Corp.'s new owner called the 300 Cerberus Edition.

The Chrysler 300 has already earned an itimidating reputation, being used as transportation for the Mafia and Secret Service alike in the movies and on television. What could make Chrysler's baby Bentley more terrifying than a proper Cerberus hood ornament in shiny chrome? We think it suits the car and would demand the horn's single pitch be replaced with dog barking sounds.

 

[via] Autoblog

Audi tees off Toronto residents with botched TT ads

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Audi apparently thought it could pull one over on the residents of Toronto, but it got caught. The automaker from Ingolstadt applied for a permit from the Film and Television Office of Toronto to shoot a commercial that would allow it to place double "T" statues that measure six feet high and fifteen feet long all over the city for a period of three days. A press release issued by Audi, however, confirms that no commercial would be shot, but rather that the statues are meant to act as billboards advertising the new Audi TT. The placement of the statues as advertisements, though, violates the city's signage laws.

About 50 of the statues were placed around Toronto, some appearing in park settings where residents go to enjoy natural beauty and a peaceful environment in the city. Clearly, the statues are regarded as a major eyesore, and people are ticked off that Audi and its advertising agency, Maverick PR, bent the rules to place them in the path of Toronto's residents.

Well, the citizenry has risen up against Audi's misuse of the permit and the fact that city officials ever granted it at all. Some have outright vandalized the sculptures, while others have appealed to the local government. City Hall has already responded by ordering Audi to remove all of the sculptures. Power to the people!

Thanks for the tip, David!

[Source: Seemsartless, Spacing.ca, illegalsigns.ca]

 

[via] Autoblog

F1 could switch to turbo V6 engines running on biofuel

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Max Mosely and the FIA are looking at some radically different and more restrictive rules for the future of Formula One racing. For the past couple of years, they've talked about trying to make the cars more eco-friendly and relevant to real world cars. The latest proposals are an interesting step in that direction.

For 2011 and beyond, Mosely wants the cars powered by turbocharged 2.2L V-6 engines running on biofuel. When F1 cars first ran turbos in the 1980s, there was initially a period where they ran unlimited boost and rpm and teams were building special qualifying engines that put out over 1,000hp from 1.5L! This time, it's likely to be a little different, with a 10,000 rpm rev limit, a standardized ECU, and stricter restrictions on the fuel content.

So far, there's no indication of what type of biofuel would be used, though given the current success of Audi and Peugeot with their LeMans prototypes, biodiesel seems a likely candidate. The big question is, can you imagine a diesel Ferrari running around Monaco or Monza?

[Source F1-Live]

 

[via] Autoblog

Run for the border: Mexico's 2008 Mastretta MXT mid-engine exotic

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check out the video after the jump, and click the above photo to view a gallery


The fact that we can't have it makes us want it more. This nicely aggressive coupe from Mexico's Mastretta Design is beautifully sculpted, with plenty of energy bottled up in its stance. The structure is bonded aluminum, just like a proper supercar, and with a production target of 150 units per year, the mid-engine MXT is appropriately exclusive, too. The styling may be writing checks that the powertrain can't cash, with 200 horsepower from the 2.3 liter four, performance numbers are in the realm of the Camry; but we don't think that's the point. This is one stylish car, and we wish we could get our hands on it here in the US. Even without big power, it releases all the proper neurotransmitters -- light weight, minimalist interior, spiffy shape -- too much power may turn it into a widowmaker, anyway.

Mastretta designs all sorts of stuff, from buses to oil bottles. Their vehicular expertise has been honed by producing a handsome Beetle-based coupe, as well as a dune buggy-esque "fun car." Moving off the old VW Type 1 architecture, a faux '62 'Vette was worked up with a custom chassis ready to accept GM components. Mastretta also pulled it all together on the nuts and bolts side and put the designs into series production, so they've also got the practical engineering chops to bring vehicles to fruition. This nectarine-hued creation will drop off the branch in Q1 of 2008, after its formal debut at the Mexico City Auto Show in December of this year.

[Source: Mastretta Design via Carscoop]

Gallery: Mastretta MXT

Continue reading Run for the border: Mexico's 2008 Mastretta MXT mid-engine exotic

 

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Hartley Enterprises' Haybusa-derived 2.8L V8

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If four's good, then eight must be better - that's the idea behind this jewel-like V8 engine built by Hartley Enterprises from two Suzuki Hayabusa four-cylinder powerplants.

The 75-degree V8 displaces 2.8 liters, weighs only 200 lb and puts out 400 hp at a window-rattling 10,000 rpm. Torque peaks at respectable 245 ft-lbs (at 7500 rpm!), although dyno runs for a 2.6 liter version show a fairly flat curve. Aside from boring out the 'busa block from 81mm to 83mm, none of the wide variety of performance enhancements available for the bike version have been applied to the HE V8, so it's safe to say we're nowhere near the performance limits of the design.

Hartley's diminutive V8 is produced to order, with the 2.8 liter version priced under $30,000, depending on options. Check out the Hartley Enterprises website for more details, including video of a dyno run with the engine installed in a Caterham 7.

Thanks for the tip, Matt!

[Source: Hartley Enterprises]

 

[via] Autoblog

Formula 1 Fans get a new e-zine

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Dubbed "the world's fastest Formula 1 magazine" by its publisher, auto racing's newest publication, Grand Prix +, aims to combine the visual sophistication of a print magazine with the speed of an online news source, with an issue delivered to your email in-box by 9 a.m. (UK time) the day after each Grand Prix.

The new venture by Morienval Press, a sister company of GrandPrix.com, Grand Prix + combines the in-depth race reporting of grandprix.com with feature articles and news about the sport, as well as the stunning photography of Paul-Henri Cahier. The Spanish Grand Prix issue is available for free download here.

A quick review of the Barcelona edition suggests that the Grand Prix + team still has a few bugs to work out, and the design and typography are a bit uneven, but Cahier's photography from the Barcelona race weekend more than makes up for the shortcomings. Another free issue is promised after the Monaco GP, before the e-zine shifts into profit making mode, with an annual subscription of £19.99 or a per-issue price of £1.99.

[Source: GrandPrix.com]

 

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eBay Find of the Day: General Zee Camaro not even John Schneider could love

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Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land!

Some things are just unnatural, and should never be attempted. Does the paint job give this car any pop-culture cred via osmosis? Yes, yes, calling it the "General Zee" displays a modicum of wit, but we can't condone trying to splice in cool with a paint job. Us Gen-Xers will always have a soft spot for the orange Charger with pushbars out front and "01" emblazoned on its welded-shut doors. Giving that treatment to a 2002 Z-28 does not make it a collector car, even if the abomination has under 40,000 miles on it. There's a "Dixie" horn setup, and enough amateur-grade extra wiring is present in the underhood shots to make us cringe visibly. Our favorite modification has to be the muffler, which "has holes added to enhance the sound quality of the V-8 engine." The dead newspaper tycoon operating the T5-6 is a nice touch, too. Must be a one-off, 'cause that's the first we've heard of a "Hearst" shifter. Reserve is not yet met at a current bid of $7,100. Us, we'd use that cash as a downpayment on a General Lee replica that's at least a Mopar, though an Omni GLH dressed up in this type of drag would be equally repugnant.

Thanks for the tip, Aaron!

[Source: eBay]

 

[via] Autoblog

'Toon cars to invade Goodwood festival of speed

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The star of the new British kids' show Roary the Racing Car will be making a public appearance at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 22-24. Roary and his mechanic, Big Chris, will be joined by Sir Stirling Moss (who lends his voice to Roary in the show) in the Junior Festival of Speed as they pose for photos with the kids. The show airs on Channel Five in Britain will be showing up on Nick Jr. stateside starting June 2.

The Junior Festival of Speed will have lots of stuff for the younger set like functional versions of the cars from the Wacky Races cartoon and Greenpower, where kids get to work on electric car projects. In addition, Team Extreme and the Mountainbike Aerial Display team will be putting on skateboard and bike demonstrations all weekend. If you're a car nut in Britain the weekend after the summer solstice, grab your kids and head out to Goodwood, there'll be fun for the whole family. And maybe you can get your picture taken with Stirling Moss, too.

[Source: Goodwood Festival of Speed]

 

[via] Autoblog

Why buy an X3 when you can have this?

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Bimmer BlazerSure, the BMW X3 has all-wheel-drive, stability control, and a large selection of standard and optional goodies, but if you're looking for a budget Bimmer to handle lousy conditions both on and off the pavement, there's a car for sale in Mansfield, Texas that you can score for less than the price of the X3's Premium Package! Yes, folks, $2,500 will put you behind the wheel of the '81 3-series pictured at right, which has thoughtfully been placed atop the chassis and drivetrain of an '83 Blazer for maximum all-weather capability. The GM donor is presumably an S10, since a 2.8L V6 is tasked with moving the thing. Sure, the step-in height's on the tall side, but the running boards fix that problem right up. And after all, who wouldn't choose an E21 3-series over an X3, anyway? Decisions, decisions...

[Source: Craigslist via German Car Scene]

 

[via] Autoblog

XXX car wash gets approval in Australia

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A few months back, I paid $75 for a car wash. The young entrepreneur that took care of the cleaning service did a complete detailing job, including removing the front seats to properly clean the carpet, and beautifying the engine bay. The guy even painted the black lettering on the motor to make the engine cozy look brand new. Down Under at the Bubbles 'n' Babes car wash in Brisbane Australia, you can get a car wash from a naked woman and a lap dance, but it'll cost you a cool $82. If that's too much money for you, you can get the nude wash minus the up-close-and-personal element for $45. The establishment is owned by a strip club owner (shocking...we know), and it uses recycled water to keep in compliance with strict usage rules brought on by a prolonged drought.

It should come as no surprise that local government officials were against the nudie wash, but in the end, Brisbane's mayor decided that no rules were being broken. We don't know about you, but we have trouble ponying up the extra cash for high-grade motor oil or gasoline, and seriously, $45 for a basic car wash is pretty ridiculous, despite the "free" show that comes with it.

Thanks for the tip, BolderX!

 

[via] Autoblog

NIght Watch: The sights and sounds of the Mazda 787B

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Click Image for photo gallery. Follow the jump for video.

The Mazda 787B's victory at the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans represents the only win for a Japanese manufacturer at the fabled endurance race, and thanks to the car's 2.6-liter R26B 4-rotor powerplant, it's also the only time a car has done so with a non-piston engine. In addition to being an important car because of what it accomplished for Mazda, it also happens to be one of the most fantastic-sounding racing cars ever.

In the video we've embedded after the jump, you'll see Kenichi Tanabe, editor of Japan's Car Graphic magazine, put the Le mans-winning #55 car through its paces at Mazda's Miyoshi Proving Ground in Hiroshima. The footage is great, but it's the audio that'll give you goosebumps. Thankfully, the only soundtrack is the wail of the R26B. No commenters yapping. No stupid music. Just the car. It's bliss.

If you'll excuse us, we have to go play Gran Turismo 4 now.

[Source: YouTube]

Gallery: Mazda 787B

Continue reading NIght Watch: The sights and sounds of the Mazda 787B

 

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Delorean finally gets the engine it should have had all along - 3 rotor Wankel

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In the late sixties and early seventies, many car companies were enamored with the power density of Wankel rotary engines, including NSU, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors. GM ultimately built at least two mid-engine "Corvette" concepts with Wankels, one with two rotors and the other with four. The four-rotor was eventually replaced by a small block to become the Aerovette. When John Z. Delorean left to create his own car, he envisioned it propelled by a rotary engine as well.

As was the case with every other carmaker save Mazda, the Wankel was ultimately abandoned in favor of a piston engine. But one Delorean owner didn't forget the original vision. Through the 1980s and 1990s the only rotary-powered car sold in the US market was the Mazda RX-7 although Mazda did offer the engine in other Japanese-market models. One of those was a coupe called the Eunos Cosmo. The Cosmo eventually got a 2.0L three-rotor version of the engine that put out 300hp. One of these was sacrificed to provide a new heart for the Delorean you see here.

There's more commentary after the jump, and a video, too.

[Source: EliseUSA.com via CarScoop]

Continue reading Delorean finally gets the engine it should have had all along - 3 rotor Wankel

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Autoblog Podcast #66 (enhanced)

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The enhanced version of Autoblog Podcast #66 is finally here, and it broght some pictures to the audio party. In part one, we talk Cerberus' purchase of the American icon turned German property Chrysler. In part two of podcast #66 we finished up the Chrysler talk, then we covered quite a bit of ground with the Malibu vs. Camry marketing campaign about to be waged by Chevrolet, Autoblog's spy shots of the Accord Sedan, and the upcoming Saab 9-3. In the last part of the podcast, we touch base on the Corvette Z07 or SS or Blue Devil or whatever, and we also break down the German dominance of the international engine awards. We crammed a whole lot into 30 minutes, and it's definately worth a listen. Remember, parts two and three of the podcast are available after the jump.

Check it out. Per your suggestions, we cut the podcast into three sections for smaller downloads, and we've also embedded sections two and three of the podcast after the jump. If you have any more suggestions on how to improve the enhanced version of the Podcast, let us know in the comments. We're working on a better distribution system than shoving all three in our current RSS feed of the audio-only version, so soon you'll be able to subscribe just to the enhanced version's RSS feed.

DOWNLOAD Part One to your desktop (Chrysler Sale)
DOWNLOAD Part Two to your desktop (Accord sedan, Saab 9-3, Chevy Malibu)
DOWNLOAD Part Three to your desktop (Corvette Z07, Engine Awards)

SUBSCRIBE to the Autoblog YouTube video channel

SUBSCRIBE to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
ADD the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator

Continue reading VIDEO: Autoblog Podcast #66 (enhanced)

 

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Dark Magic: HAMANN Ferrari F430 Black Miracle

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Click image for high-res gallery


Back in March, Damon reported on the matte finish fixation that was clearly evident among a number of specialty manufacturers and tuners at the Geneva Motor Show. Last week, Hamann unveiled its take on the prevailing trend with the Ferrari F430 Black Miracle.

The spellcasters at Hamann work their magic by taking the garden-variety F430 and giving it the matte look via a foil treatment. If the owner tires of the appearance, the effect is reversible -- the foil can be removed. We wouldn't recommend doing that, however, as this puppy looks like evil on a popsicle stick -- very delicious. The matte finish is combined with accents in either red, yellow, or the orange shown above and in the gallery. The contrasting hue is applied to a set of racing stripes, the individual aero package parts, the rearview mirrors, the brake calipers and Hamann's 'Edition Race" wheels. Open the lambo doors (another Hamann specialty) and you'll see that the interior can receive a matching treatment as well.

Augmenting the new visuals is a 50-horsepower bump, thanks to a reprogrammed ECU and some exhaust system tweaks. We weren't crazy about the last Ferrari package we saw from these guys, but the Black Miracle has made us believers again. If only Hamann offered the contrast stripe/trim pack in gloss black -- that'd be perfect. Hamann's press release is included after the jump.

[Source: HAMANN]

Continue reading Dark Magic: HAMANN Ferrari F430 Black Miracle

 

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[via] Autoblog