Ferrari and Acer team up on PDA

Filed under: , , ,

A Ferrari PDA. Joy of joys. People still use these things? If you must have one more thing strapped to your belt or stuffed in your pocket, might as well get the one with the Prancing Horse. That way, when everyone else pulls out their toys and starts twiddling as a way to avoid human interaction, you'll have something red, black and flashy.

The Acer 500 is the fruition of an ongoing relationship between the computer maker and the Italian exotic car firm. Launching soon in Europe, the PDA will be equipped with Bluetooth, GPS and an SD card reader. Of less note are the USB 1.1 port and behind-the-curve OS, Windows Mobile 5. We doubt there's been any cranking up of bus speeds inside the unit, but at least this one won't be as costly to fix when you crack it up.

[Source: Caradisiac]

 

[via] Autoblog

Barcelona Motor Show: Spain-only Ford Focus WRC-S

Filed under: , , ,

Ford Focus WRC-S
Click image for photo gallery

Ford has announced a new special-edition Focus exclusive to the Spanish market called the WRC-S. Despite the fancy name, it's mechanically identical to the existing Focus 2.0 TDCi. The 136-horsepower WRC-S is limited to 666 units, each of which sports the Focus ST's bodywork, is painted white, and wears the graphics package you see above, combining a checkered-flag motif, the WRC logo, and each car's serial number. 10-spoke 18" wheels round out the external features.

Inside, the black seats are trimmed with Alcantara and feature white piping and contrast stitching. Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, and a leather-wrapped wheel are also standard, and each car is signed by BP-Ford World Rally Team driver Marcus Grönholm, which certainly adds some interest and collector's appeal to what is otherwise an appearance package. The price is set at €23,895.

[Sources: Autoblog Spanish & km77.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Bumblebee crashes Barcelona Motor Show

Filed under: , , ,



It's official: the Transformers are taking over Autoblog, and we gleefully surrender. Any other time a 1976 Camaro sits on a turntable, we wisely give it precisely zero attention. Throw a few Transformer logos on the stand less than a month before the movie hits theaters, and the story gets front row treatment.

The Barcelona Motor Show opens on June 9th, and kids and grownups alike get to see first hand what the old Bumblebee looks like up close. We think the stand would be even cooler if it were the '09 Camaro, but hey, the '76 version was pretty cool too. You can see it by hitting the jump to view the short clip.

[Source: Carscoop]

Continue reading VIDEO: Bumblebee crashes Barcelona Motor Show

 

[via] Autoblog

Don't forget, June 29 is Drive Your Vette to Work Day

Filed under: , ,

It's hard for us motor freaks to get into those Bike to Work or Walk to Work days. Sure, save the planet and all, but where's the fun? Here's the fun. Drive Your Corvette to Work Day. June 29, gas up that curvy Chevy and get down to the job site in style.

Mid America Motorworks started the special day seven years ago, which is appropriate considering their claim as the biggest Corvette parts supplier in the world. If true, it means they are probably responsible for a lot of those older Vettes being able to drive to work in the first place and will stand to gain some new customers when all those Vettes are out there getting attention. Genius!

"We understand why many owners consider their Corvette to be a special car and only drive it occasionally," said Mike Yager, founder of Mid America Motorworks, in a press release. "But we think driving your Corvette to work, at least one day a year, is an excellent way to demonstrate just how popular Corvettes are. And it is a chance for Corvette owners to meet new Corvette owners."

Instead of being driven to work on June 29th, we're wondering how many Corvettes get driven to the Apple Store.

[Source: Sports Car Market]

 

[via] Autoblog

Good riddance: The demise of the in-dash CD player is nigh

Filed under: , , , ,



A few short years ago, getting a CD player or better yet, a multidisc changer in your car was an upgrade. Now, the little silver disc has taken up residence with cassettes as cast-off technology. Even with the cheap digital to analog converters that are in car stereos, CDs have a sound advantage over lossy data codecs like MPEG, but only us geeks seem to care that hi-hats sound like someone whisking an egg. Besides, portability and flexibility easily trumps esoteric sound quality. Truth be told, even though the original CDs sound better, my mp3 player is so much more convenient that I'll be adding an auxiliary input to my factory stereo - no small feat on some cars.

Ward's Automotive Interior show, currently underway at the Cobo center, is allowing automakers to show their wares to the masses over the next few days, with the realization that future vehicles are bound to dispatch that awkward center control unit for something more intuitive and user-programmable. Several automakers have already realized that people have all sorts of portable devices, and as such, new car interiors bristle with input jacks and 12-volt power sockets.

[Source: Detroit News]

Continue reading Good riddance: The demise of the in-dash CD player is nigh

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford drops the top on the 2008 Shelby GT, new color, too

Filed under: , , ,


Click image for slightly larger version

Drip...Drip...The info on the 2008 Shelby GT has been leaked, and Mustang Evolution has the details. Unsurprisingly, a convertible version has been added to the stable, per se. We say it's unsurprising because after the introduction of the Hertz-only Shelby GT-H convertible, we figured that a Shelby GT version was a lock -- we just didn't know when it'd come. The coupe's still available, too, and '08 model year shoppers don't need to make any decisions with regard to color: the car's only available in Vista Blue with Metallic Silver stripes.

If you want one in Performance White or Black Ebony, you'd better set about getting yourself an '07. The powertrain's unchanged, so look for 320 horsepower coming from the lightly-massaged 4.6L V8 underhood. As with the '07, both manual and automatic transmissions will be available. We hear that the word on all this becomes official next week, so we'll follow-up then.

[Source: Mustang Evolution]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Knight Rider spoof... freaking hilarious

Filed under: , ,



Every once in a while we see one of those flash-based spoof cartoons that are just too good to pass up. This one, which is a commercial for Australia's CarsGuide, takes a hilarious swipe at the early 80's car show Knight Rider to show how important the right car really is. From the car's request for a destination, to the constantly changing cast of women in "Day Rider's" passenger seat and the giant cell phone in a suitcase, this one has all the makings of comic immortality. The "plot" of the spoof is that Michael Day is trying to stop an illegal shipment of hair mousse. Fittingly, the character spoofing David Hasselhoff ends up laying on the ground at the end. Check it out after the jump.

[Source: YouTube via Hemmings Car Blog]

Continue reading VIDEO: Knight Rider spoof... freaking hilarious

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler execs admit Sebring and Nitro are misses

Filed under: , , , , ,



The Detroit News got its hands on a transcript of a Q&A session held between Chrysler execs and employees of the company in which management admits the company misjudged the market when developing vehicles like the new Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Nitro. The transcript was confirmed to be legitimate by Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau, who admitted it was never meant for the public to see. Nevertheless, the Q&A session shows that that there are many at Chrysler who are "quite upset" about how some vehicles turned out, which is illustrated most pointedly by the harsh criticism the Sebring and Nitro received from Consumer Reports.

In response, Chrysler says it is moving fast to fix its own internal development process so that it can better project what customers want and expect from their vehicles a few years down the road. It seems the current system is good at matching what competitors are offering now, but produces vehicles that arrive on the market behind the curve in terms of design, quality and interiors.

We've certainly panned the Sebring for its design, both exterior and interior, as well as its uncompetitive engine lineup, and we've read the comments slamming the Nitro that Dodge has provided for our Sweepstakes, which, by the way, you can click here to enter (hey, it's free!). We're perplexed as to how the Jeep Compass and Dodge Avenger were never mentioned in this litany of Chrysler misses, though one also has to recognize the company's current successes, including the new Jeep Wrangler that's selling like crazy right now.It's unfortunate for Chrysler that the company couldn't have addressed all these problems quickly and quietly, as the leaked transcript will surely not help the rate at which Chrysler dealers are moving these vehicles of their lots.

[Source: The Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Day 17: Enter the Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T

Filed under:

Oh, you saw that post below, eh? Yeah, apparently Chrysler execs were caught telling their own employees that the Sebring and Dodge Nitro are misses. We're a little miffed they couldn't wait until after our Sweepstakes to go all Benedict Arnold on their own products, but whatev. It doesn't change the fact that the 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T we're giving away is worth $29,680 and loaded with a 260-hp 4.0L V6, 20GB MyGIG entertainment system, navigation, a sunroof and 20-inch chromers.

If you haven't entered yet, do it now by clicking here. Enter once a day until the Sweepstakes concludes on June 15th.

Today we thank ASEClub.net, Automotoportal and the Nutmeg Chapter of the Lambda Car Club helping us promote the Sweepstakes.

If you post about the Autoblog Nitro Sweepstakes on your own website or add a permanet banner (available after the jump), please make sure you link it here and drop us a line at abresearch at gmail dot com to let us know so we can include your site in the list below.

Permanent Banner
Posts

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line

Filed under: , , , ,


Click image for photo gallery

We recently spent a week with Saturn's latest addition to the stable, the Aura Green Line, which afforded us the opportunity to size it up relative to its Aura XR sibling that we tested last year. The Aura XR was impressive, with attractive styling, some real pop underhood courtesy of the 3.6L V6, and a nicely-rounded, comfortable driving experience. A lot of he same basic good stuff carries forward to the Aura Green Line. Autoblog's Aura Hybrid also looked pretty sharp and comported itself well overall. Follow the jump for a brief rundown of some of our observations of the Green Line compared to the XR, and keep an eye on AutoblogGreen in the coming days, as our colleague, Sam Abuelsamid, will be posting a complete full-length review of the car.

Continue reading In the Autoblog Garage: 2007 Saturn Aura Green Line

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Porsche's newest model: the Porsche Design P'9521

Filed under:

It's a luxury-branded world we live in, and for some people, life, love, and mobile reception are just a little bit better when your cell phone comes from a high-end car maker. Ferrari's got Motorola, Lamborghini's got Nokia, Mercedes has Asus, and now Porsche Design, a subsidiary of the actual auto company, reveals its latest effort in conjunction with Sagem Communication, a French cell phone company: the P'9521.

All the usual suspects are there: quad-band GSM, 3.2 megapixel camera and flash, mp3 recording and playback, video capture, Bluetooth, and all kinds of messaging. It has a dual hinge so the screen swivels in two directions, like the Nokia N90, and you can take pictures around corners. It also has a fingerprint reader, although with so much mineral glass for its surface, we imagine the phone will be 'capturing' its fair share of fingerprints one way or another. Frankly, we think the form factor looks a bit clunky, but the aluminum and mineral glass is certainly digable. It will be available later this year, and it's going to cost a lot, but you won't be able to buy it in the US. For now, you'll just have to settle for a pocket knife instead.

[Source: Carscoop]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: 2008 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - SVT Adrenaline?

Filed under: , ,

The current Ford Explorer Sport Trac arrived as a 2007 model, but spy photographers for KGP have just caught a prototype with its front end and back bumper completely covered, suggesting an earlier than expected mid-cycle refresh is in the works... or maybe something else. Peering through the covers we can see a new mesh grille to replace the current Sport Trac's three thin bars. Suprisingly, the headlamps appear to be a carry over, though the front bumper reportedly has been lowered, perhaps to incorporate a new design and improve crash performance. Winding Road reports that the tailpipes have also been moved from the side to the vehicle's rear, where they'll be venting spent gasses beneath a refreshened bumper.

Hmm... after mulling it over (and getting the idea from this guy), we're starting to think this prototype may actually be wearing upgrades destined for a high-performance version of the Sport Trac that would be based on the Sport Trac Aderenaline Concept from 2005. Think about it: relocated twin tailpipes out the back, a lowered front bumper (chin spoiler?), same headlights but a new grille that looks lifted straight from the concept. The covering could be hiding a new hood or the concept's giant fender vents behind the front wheels, and that tape applied around the rear well could suggest larger fender flares for a fatter wheel/tire combo. Sure the wheels and suspension on this prototype are standard Sport Trac fare, but that doesn't mean this mule couldn't be testing cooling or other components of a high-performance model. Whatever's left of SVT, this Explorer Sport Trac prototype could possibly be the fruit of its labor.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

Have you driven a Force, lately?

Filed under: , ,


The Force is with you. Click image for more.

"This is not the Ford you're looking for."

Then again, if your level of Star Wars geekdom has reached its apex, maybe it is. Weather-beaten from exposure to too many Tatooine sandstorms, perhaps, this Econoline's custom finish is still plainly visible to all. You might not think it looks like much, but they said that about the Millenium Falcon, too.

This boxy freighter's port side is decorated with likenesses (well, they're more like approximations, really) of the aged Obi-Wan, Luke Skywalker, Threepio, and Artoo. Back towards the rear bumper, we see two members of the Mos Eisley Cantina's house band, Figrin Dan and the Modal Nodes. Unfortunately, they look more like Roswell aliens than anything else. Over to starboard, Vader looms ominously (sort of) over a battle scene showing a pair of X-Wings and a TIE Fighter with (incorrect) square solar panels. The rear hatch is decorated with Han and Chewie off to the right, the rest of the cantina band to the left, and really bad renderings of one of the other cantina creatures and what appears to be Luke with darker hair. The "Force" windows are a nice touch, as is the Rebel Alliance symbol displayed in back.

It's parked outside a Home Depot (Tosche Station must have been closed), where the owner was undoubtedly shopping for a new set of hydrospanners with which to repair the perpetually-broken hyperdrive. Maybe if he'd stop taking the thing to Lando's Garage for repairs, he'd have better luck.

Thanks to Scott for the tip and photos!

Gallery: Star Wars van

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

2007 Orphan Car Show: The Foreigners

Filed under: , , , , , , ,


Last of the Triumph line. A pair of remarkably rust free TR8s

We already showed you the American contingent at the Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti, MI a few days ago but it wasn't a completely domestic show. Over the years, there have been many carmakers who have brought their funky machines to our market before finally succumbing to the pressure. Many of them are still in business in their home markets and some, like Peugeot/Citroen, are even thriving.

And then there's British Leyland. During the fifties and sixties, most of the larger British car companies were subsumed into a government-owned mass known as British Leyland. By the 1980s under the Iron Lady, after several of the brands had already become defunct, the rest were ultimately sold off. Some, like Land Rover and Mini have gone on to success, while Jaguar has struggled on and Rover ultimately whithered.

More orphaned furriners after the jump

Continue reading 2007 Orphan Car Show: The Foreigners

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

GM Silverado/Sierra pickups challenge the competition - Video added

Filed under: , , , , , , , ,


Click the photo for a gallery of high-res shots from the GM Truck Challenge

To mark the availability General Motors' latest heavy-duty GMT900 full-size trucks, the automaker invited us out to its Milford Proving Ground to drive its big trucks along with all of the competition. GM had a variety of both light and heavy-duty full-size trucks with gasoline and diesel engines on hand. For comparison they brought along F-150s and Super Duties from Ford, Rams from Dodge, Tundras from Toyota and Titans from Nissan. The Super Duty, Tundra and Titan were all 2008 models.

In spite of rising gas prices and a sagging housing market, the market for full-size pickups is still a huge segment of the overall market. So far through the first five months of 2007, over 900,000 full-size pick up trucks have been sold representing over 13% of the total market and $60 billion in annual revenue. The last number is the reason why the domestics put so many resources into developing new trucks, and Nissan and Toyota want a piece of that pie.

Read all about how the latest GM trucks did against their competitors after the jump.

Update: There is now a video of the stability control event after the jump.

Continue reading GM Silverado/Sierra pickups challenge the competition - Video added

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments


[via] Autoblog

Mercedes approves four-door convertible Ocean Drive Concept for production

Filed under: , ,


click above image for a full gallery of the Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive Concept

Motor Trend is reporting that Mercedes-Benz has approved the four-door convertible Ocean Drive Concept that was introduced at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit for production. The car will reportedly be based on the S600 and arrive as a 2011 model. Being a platform-mate of the S600 means that the Ocean Drive production model will likely sport a 510-horsepower 5.5L V12 and a price tag well into the six-figure range. Of course, Mercedes could slip a myriad of possible engines into the car, from its 5.5L V8 to the 600+ horsepower biturbo V12 from AMG. With structural enhancements necessary to keep the car stiff, a high curb weight is likely that will require a big motor to move the car around.

MT also reports that the A7-based four-door convertible in Audi's product pipeline will arrive around the same time, not earlier in 2009 as some outlets have reported. Though the two will not be direct competitors (the A7 itself will be aimed downmarket at the Merceds CLS and arrive a couple years earlier), they will be the first four-door convertibles in production since the mid-60s Lincoln Continental. Hmmm... which would Drama choose?

[Source: Motor Trend]

 

[via] Autoblog

Top Gear's gone red: New issue sports 60 different Ferrari covers

Filed under:



To help celebrate Ferrari's 60th birthday this year, the lads at Top Gear decided to give the Maranello firm's fans a present. The July edition of Top Gear magazine is one of those multiple cover offerings that will have some collectors gobbling up every different version. And this being the 60th anniversary of Enzo's company, there are 60 different covers in all. To help save you a few quid, Top Gear has thoughtfully scanned each cover and presented them in an online gallery for all to see freely. The covers depict some of the more iconic cars and racing moments, as well as some of the legendary characters associated with this Italian marque.

Click through to see the whole gallery. You'll find pics of Enzo himself; racers including Fangio, Shumacher, Phil Hill, Ascari, Lauda and Villeneuve; celebrity owners like Peter Sellers and Sammy Davis, Jr.; and of course there are the cars, as well. Classic images of GPs, in addition to Targa Floria and Goodwood action, bring back memories of Ferrari's racing prowess. Stills of road and race cars make up the remainder of the collection. Everything from a 1948 166 Mille Miglia to the FXX is included. And lest you feel disappointed with the tiny images offered for free on their website, the entire assortment is available in hard copy form. We can't think of more poster-worthy material. If you're a tifosi at heart, make sure you check it out. But you better act quick, the posters are only going to be available for one month.

[Source: Top Gear]

 

[via] Autoblog

6,400 Chrysler hourly workers want buyout, 40% more than planned

Filed under: , , ,

Back in late February we reported on Chrysler's early retirement and separation program that the automaker hoped would help it shed 13,000 jobs over the next three years. The company was planning on saying goodbye to about 5,700 hourly (read: union) workers this year, of which around 1,000 would be from Canada. That means Chrysler hoped at least 4,700 of its hourly workers in the U.S. would take the buyout offer that offered a lump sum of up to $100,000 to workers willing to leave.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that in fact around 6,400 hourly workers in the U.S. have said they're interested in taking the buyout, nearly 40% more than Chrysler planned. While the purchase of Chrysler by Cerberus Capital Management was seen as a good thing for the automaker going forward, the larger than expected response to its buyout offer suggests that many of Chrysler's hourly workers believe the writing's still on the wall. Analysts speculate that rather than stick around and drag down the company, these workers feel their retirement benefits will be more secure if they leave now to help the company and ensure its future.

Not expecting such high demand, Chrysler has also reportedly slowed down the buyout process to a halt. Only now have a number of workers departed who expressed interest in leaving the company when the program was announced in late February. It's like that some of those hoping to leave this year will be denied the buyout offer, which is something Ford was forced to do when too many salaried workers accepted its buyout offer.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]

 

[via] Autoblog

The saga continues: Gumballer Nick Morley guilty, but may be released

Filed under:

Earlier today, we got word from Team Polizei founder Alex Roy that a court in Macedonia found Nick Morely responsible for the deaths of the Cepuljoskis, which resulted after his Porsche Turbo struck the couple during the 2007 Gumball Rally. At this point, however, the court has decided to release Morely on a suspended sentence.

The Team Polizei site has compiled a number of sources, including a timeline of the events, and Mr. Roy has taken the time to voice his own opinions and conjecture. Roy is justifiably skeptical about whether or not the Macedonian court will actually let Morely walk, considering how convoluted the process has been thus far.

Time will tell whether or not the tragic events of the past month will dampen the enthusiasm of rally participants, but we already know that rally organizers are in the process of planning their next event for 2008.

[Source: gumball144.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Friday fun: Cartoons that take a crack at auto industry

Filed under:

While blogs are known for not holding any punches when addressing the ills of society, a well done cartoon can rip right through all the B.S. and illuminate the real issues. Autoblog reader Brian sent us a link to the Cartoon Box of Slate.com, where 46 good old fashioned newspaper cartoons about the auto industry have been collected. Cartoons are a fun read for a Friday and you'll be surprised at just how brutal and honest they can be. They get older the deeper you go into the collection, but all are worth a click.

[Source: Slate]

 

[via] Autoblog