VIDEO: Kubica crashes Canadian GP

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By all accounts, yesterday's Canadian Grand Prix was one of the most entertaining races in recent memory. Unfortunately for Lewis Hamilton, who took his first Formula One victory, his achievements driving for McLaren were overshadowed by the considerable amount of contact that took place between drivers and solid objects.

The most horrific crash could have easily taken the life of BMW driver Robert Kubica, who was coming into the hairpin at upwards of 180 MPH when he lost steering control and slammed, head-on, into one of the barriers. From there, he was punted across the track, missing a few of his competitors, hitting the adjacent wall and finally coming to rest on his side. Reports say that he came away with only a broken leg, although BMW had't confirmed that as of this writing, which judging by the video footage after the jump, speaks volumes about how far safety equipment has come in motorsport.

You can check out a video of the crash after the break, and click here for a brief rundown of yesterday's event.

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Merc's new supercar to debut in Geneva, compete with R8

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As previously reported, Mercedes and McLaren have parted ways, and development of the new M.B. supercar has been assigned to HWA AG, an operation directly connected to AMG.

We're already aware that the new Mercedes' halo will be sporting a 6.2-liter V8 - the same engine employed in several other AMG-massaged vehicles - but what we didn't know is that Mercedes and HWA plan to unveil their lovechild at the Geneva Motor Show next March, and they expect it to compete with the R8.

That last bit left us a trifle confused, as the R8 was built to compete with other high-end sports cars, including the Porsche 911 and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Mercedes already has several vehicles that flirt with that price point, although some may argue none are capable of the visceral thrills the others offer.

We'll be on hand to see the concept coupe unveiled next year, but in the meantime, we'd invite you to speculate about what HWA and Mercedes have planned.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

 

[via] Autoblog

Fun things to do with your MR2: Ferrari 360 replica

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click the pic above to view a gallery

Why is it that people feel the need to saddle perfectly good cars with replica bodywork to make them look like exotics? There's nothing wrong with the last generation Toyota MR2, true, it's no Ferrari, but then again, you can buy an entire MR2 for very much less than a Ferrari 360; an amount closer to the downpayment, most likely. We'd keep the bodykit away from the MR2 and spend the extra dough on suspension and engine mods. If you really must project the image that a Ferrari brings (you know - this car costs more than your house, and I'll sell it for more, too. Yes, that does make me better than you) you could follow the lead of this MR2 Spyder's owner.

If you can stomach the truncated proportions that haven't survived scaling well, your MR2 will make a solid basis for you to become a total poseur. From what we can see, the car pictured has had time and energy lavished on it. The extra-wide door gap is not pretty, but overall, there's a lot of detail here, and the pictures show something that's reasonably turned out, instead of a total hack job. It's a very well done tribute, in fact. At least you can be fairly certain that the MR2 will have more uptime than the Ferrari, and when it does need to go see the doctor, the prescription's cost will lean more toward ibuprofen, not radical walletectomy.



[Source: Carscoop]

 

[via] Autoblog

71 MPG SMART Fortwo cdi in pictures

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There's nothing ground-breaking in these photos of SMART's upcoming Europe-only, cdi-powered Fortwo. We just thought you might want some big pictures of a little car. Plus, anyone interested in buying a U.S.-spec car who hasn't caught the tiny things touring our country can get a better view of the interior appointments. The cars pictured are even left-hand drive models. Besides color, one of the only interior differences an American driver should see is a speedo calibrated for MPH instead of KM/H.

It's too bad we won't be getting the cdi engine any time soon. SMART brags the new diesel gets about 71 MPG and says if driven 15,000 KM a year, you'll only need to fill the tank 15 times. A year. The three cylinders turn out only 45 BHP, but the whole car only weighs 1,720 pounds. Not exactly Lotus power to weight, but enough to carry around a couple of commuters with not much trouble.

Check the jump for SMART's full press release (full of stats), and click here for the high-res gallery.

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Civic owner goes out on a limb with hickory Honda

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They're just coming out of the woodwork now. Just the other day we nailed it with the log-wheeled Skoda, and now comes news of a faux-wood Civic. Don't the owners know that fake anything goes against the grain of what the Civic is all about? Sure it's good to see the import crowd branching out, but really, woodgrain contact paper? They didn't even bother to carve around the car's logos.

Maybe some rogue splinter group of import customizers thought this hickory Honda could be spruced up with a few rolls of peel-n-stick, but they could have at least used paper that resembled Japanese maple.

Regardless, we'd love to get this Civic and the Skoda together. They'd make a beautiful pear, wouldn't they?

So, what's next? A Forester with fir seats? A boarded-up Aspen? This trend has just got to stop soon or we'll be totally stumped for puns.

Check out Axis of Oversteer for more, larger photos.

[Source: Axis of Oversteer]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Bush's limo breaks down in Rome, Italians giggle and point

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Most people just have a spare tire or a can of fix-a-flat and an auto club card when they hit the road. But as we all know, they do things bigger in Texas, so when some guy from Texas goes for a drive around Rome, he brings along a spare stretch armored limo!

As President George Bush and his entourage approached the US Embassy in Rome this weekend, his custom Cadillac DTS limo decided to pack it in. .After attempting to restart, Bush ultimately got out and walked through the embassy gates, later using the backup limo for the rest of his appointments.

The video after the jump shows the crowd's reaction to Bush's limo breaking down, which was comprised mostly of laughter when the driver attempted to restart the car without success. Nevertheless, the President was cheered when he ultimately exited his stage coach and began to hoof it.

[Source: Reuters via OmniAuto.it]

Continue reading VIDEO: Bush's limo breaks down in Rome, Italians giggle and point

 

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From the "That Was Yesterday" files: Jag, Land Rover, Volvo are on the block

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In April, Mulally said Jaguar was part of the Way Forward plan and wasn't going to be sold, but needed to get its act together. News today, however, is that Ford has been trying to sell Jaguar and Land Rover to Fiat ever since February. Ford has also retained Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help it sell all of the PAG brands, including Volvo.

The talks with Fiat -- held between Ford of Europe head Lewis Booth and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne -- fell through last month. Fiat was interested in Land Rover because of the pace of SUV sales, and the fact that its "five brands are almost nonexistent in the growing global SUV market." Fiat was also interested in Land Rover's US dealership network, thinking Alfa might be able to pair up with them. Jaguar interested Fiat for its RWD platforms and V6 and V8 engines. But Marchionne ended the talks over fears its credit rating would be adversely affected by acquiring Jaguar and Land Rover.

PAG lost $327 million last year, but could be in the black this year, overall, having reported a $402 million pre-tax profit in the first quarter. Jaguar, however, has held things back: it has lost $500 million to $1 billion every year for the last six years, and Jag itself says it will be in the red this year and next. Neither Ford nor Fiat would admit to the talks, but Ford said it "is continuing to assess a number of strategic options for all of its operations. We're not specifying what they are and what we're evaluating."

[Source: Automotive News]

 

Autoblog hearts AOL Autos



Those of you new to the Autoblog fold might be unaware that this site, along with the entire Weblogs, Inc. network, is owned by AOL and has been since late 2005. Autoblog is very fortunate in that our partner under the corporate umbrella is AOL Autos, which is run by a dedicated team of industry experts and car fanatics, including our counterparts, fellow auto-enthusiasts and editors Chris Ciccone and Khoi Nguyen. We've worked hard towards bringing Autoblog and AOL Autos closer together, and today we're going to go take a new step.

AOL Autos has recently relaunched its new car database for car shoppers. We've been playing with it for a while now and have seen the additional features AOL Autos plans to add in the coming months. We're proud of our colleagues across the aisle and their new site, so much so that we've offered to pledge our support. In future posts, when we mention the make and model of a currently sold vehicle in a post, Autoblog will hyperlink that first mention to the corresponding page in the AOL Autos new car database. We see this as a way to make Autoblog more user-friendly for neophytes and new car shoppers who find their way here from a Google search, while not distracting you, the legions of Autoblog faithful.

Be sure to check out the new car database at autos.aol.com, and feel free to offer suggestions for improvement in the comments. They have a lot more features to add in the near future, but are eager to hear your thoughts on what they've done so far.

 

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Sweden Attacks! Saab unveils new 9-3 Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible

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click above image for many more high-res pics of the 2008 Saab 9-3

The new Saab 9-3 in all of its various forms (Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible) has been the worst kept car secret of 2007. For weeks engineers and more recently executives have been driving the new 9-3 around Trollhattan, Sweden for all to see. The day has finally come, however, for the actual unveiling of the new 9-3, and it's accompanied with more high-res pics than you can wave a white flag at.

The big news, of course, is the Aero X-inspired front end design. No, not everyone will like it, especially considering the current model's design was considered a sharp execution of Saab's traditional styling elements. Nevertheless, the look has grown on us considerably since we first saw spy photos, and the new clip up front is considerably bolder and more aggressive than the current model's. The clamshell hood adds a nice crease to the car's otherwise soft lines, and the trapezoidal lower air intake flanked by a pair of recessed fog lights really fills out the car's chin nicely.

More info as well as press releases for all three models can be found after the jump. All of the high-res pics released by Saab today can be found in the two galleries below.

[Source: Saab]


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Chrysler to announce third plant to build new Phoenix V-6 engines

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On Wednesday June 13 Chrysler will be announcing a third plant to build its new generation Phoenix V-6 engines. In recent weeks, Chrysler has already broken ground on a new plant in Trenton, MI and announced plans to build a second plant in Saltillo Mexico. The third plant will be the existing Kenosha, WI plant that they inherited when they bought American Motors.

The 1.9 million square foot Kenosha plant will be retooled to build the new engines. All the usual state and local politicos will be hand to take their share of the credit for keeping jobs in Kenosha. Production of the new engines should begin in 2009.

[Source: Chrysler]

 

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Porsche Design gets drilled with Multihammer P'7911

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Whether a blessing or a curse, Porsche's designs are immediately recognizable and often conservative. Think evolution rather than revolution, particularly when talking about the iconic 911 range. And so it seems almost incongruent that this very same company has a design arm that's known for such radical products. In fact, we know that Porsche Design has done some amazingly beautiful rethinks of everything from eyeglasses to bicycles to hard drives to phones. And after doing that phone post last week, Sybarites started digging for some other notable hardware from PD. Lo and behold, they found a new 911. Actually it's a P'7911 Multihammer. But it does have 911 in its name.

The first thing you might have noticed when you saw the picture above is that it's upside down. Well, not really, but the handle of the Porsche Design Multihammer is on top rather than underneath like on traditional drills. Take a closer look and see that the distinctive black and silver housing is also made of genuine carbon fiber. Stylish and strong. The drill is made by Metabo, but the design is all Porsche. Click through the Read link or click on the pic for a full writeup of this very robust piece of Porsche hardware.

[Source: Metabo via Sybarites]

 

[via] Autoblog

Flying Lizard unleashes special Troy Lee livery for LeMans

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UPDATE: Live pics of reveal at LeMans added to gallery

click above image for high-res version

You may remember Flying Lizard Motorsports as the ALMS GT2 team campaigning a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in this season's 12 Hours of Sebring. The Flying Lizard GT2 Porsche lost a heroic last lap duel with the Risi Competizione Ferrari 430GT. Video of the drag race through the final turn is total car p0rn.

The Flying Lizard Porsche has been running well in the first five rounds of ALMS so far, but it's come in second every time so far to a Risi Competizione 430GT. Obviously, these two teams now have a lot of history heading into the 24 Hours of LeMans this weekend, and despite the Ferrari taking the checkered flag every weekend in ALMS, a Porsche has only lost the GT2 class at LeMans once in the last 27 years, and Flying Lizard is keen to keep them on top.

Today at LeMans was scrutineering, which is a lot of pomp and circumstance that has all the teams and drivers congregate in the parking lot of the cathedral in downtown LeMans. Once they have run the gauntlet of media of fans, each team makes their formal presentation to the series officials. This year, Flying Lizard is spicing it up a bit by unveiling a unique livery for its Porsche 911 GT3 RSR designed by the well known Troy Lee of Troy Lee Designs. Lee was allowed to reinterpret the spirt of the "Flying Lizard" and created a car that will surely stand out among its competitors. The entire look is a vinyl wrap that will be applied this weekend and stripped back off after the race, meaning it will only appear in public just this once. Hopefully we'll see it in the winner's circle, as Autoblog will be following Team Flying Lizard very closely. They've promised us lots of pics and updates on their progress throughout the race, which we'll be sure to pass along to you.

[Source: Flying Lizard Motorsports]

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Apple hearts Autoblog

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You may remember my giddiness last September when we learned that Autoblog had been seen on the jumbotron behind Steve Jobs in the latest keynote for Apple. While demoing some cool new stuff that Apple's Mail program would be able to do when the new OS comes out, one could see the subject of a few emails were Autoblog post titles. Today we found out why they were there, and as a few commenters speculated back then, Apple's new Mail program will be able to incorporate RSS feeds. The company's latest Stevenote was today, and Autoblog has been featured front and center again in the demo video highlighting Mail's new features. Click this link to visit Apple's demo page for Leopard, the newest version of its OSX operating system. Click the "Watch the Demo" link for Mail and wait until the end when Autoblog gets a much appreciated free plug from his Steveness. Thanks Apple!

Hat tip to everyone who let us know about this!

[Source: Apple]

 

[via] Autoblog

Marcus Grönholm: Master of sign language

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The vid embedded after the jump is an older one, dating back to Marcus Grönholm's days as WRC factory driver for Peugeot (he's with BP-Ford now). It's brief, but well worth your time, as it details the story of an in-car mishap involving a stone and co-driver Timo Rautiainen. The payoff comes at the end, when Grönholm explains in very simple language what happened, and then backs it up with a descriptive gesture just in case you didn't understand. Classic.

Note: Possibly NSFW for a little bit of language. Or because you'll laugh so hard that everyone'll walk over to see what you're watching.

[Source: Break.com]

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Ferrari gets in Guinness with record 385 cars at Silverstone

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click above image to view more pics of Ferrari's record-breaking parade of cars

Last Saturday, Ferrari finally got its wish and set the Guinness World Record for the Largest Parade of Ferrari Cars. It wasn't easy, requiring 385 cars to drive a distance of at least two miles with each car being no farther than two car lengths apart. The process for Guinness World Record certification also dictated that a representative be on hand to verify the attempt, as well as count the total number of cars at the beginning and end of the parade lap. Ferrari estimates that over £60 million worth of Italian automotive exotica was on the Silverstone Circuit at once, including everything from a 250 California Spyder to a 250GTO to F40s, F50s, Enzos and ultra-rare FXX. The record attempt honors Ferrari's 60th Anniversary, as well as the 40th Anniversary of the Ferrari Owners Club of Great Britain, the latter of which provided most of the cars for the record-breaking lap of Silverstone.

The event was also one of the final stops on the Ferrari 60 Relay, which will end on June 23rd when the convoy rolls into Maranello after schlepping the 60th Anniversary Relay Baton all the way around the world.

Some great pics were released of the record attempt that can be viewed in the gallery below.

[Source: Ferrari]

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AutoblogGreen interviews Miguel Celades, sales manager for the Air Car

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Sister site AutoblogGreen recently had a sitdown with Miguel Celades, the sales manager for Moteur Developpement International (MDI). In case those names aren't immediately recognizable, MDI is the Luxembourg-based company that is developing the Air Car in Southern France. The Air Car, as its name implies, is a car that is powered by compressed air. It was developed by Guy Nègre, a former Formula 1 engineer and designer of the "W" engine configuration made popular at Volkswagen. It was while working with the Renault F1 team that Nègre saw how the race cars were started using compressed air, and that sparked his imagination. He started to design a vehicle that could RUN on compressed air. More than a dozen years later, the firm has teamed with Tata Motors of India to produce the CAT (Compressed Air Technology) and its variants.

Read the whole AB Green interview to learn how automotive noob, Mr. Celades, got involved in the project and what his vision for MDI is throughout the world. He also gives some insight into how the technology works.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

 

[via] Autoblog

eBay Find of the Day: Bullrun-winning Trans Am

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We watched a marathon of the SpikeTV reality show based on the Bullrun Rally and hosted by Bill Goldberg, but weren't too terribly impressed with the premise. It seemed one needed only a decent proficiency at reading maps, as well as a lot of luck, to win. The winning team was the father/daughter duo of Mike and Morgan Alsop from Lafayette, Indiana, who took top Bullrun honors at the helm of their 2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS6. While the finale is still sitting on our TiVo, we know that the Alsops got as far as they did by making more friends than enemies, while watching their own backs at the same time. Meanwhile, their Trans Am performed flawlessly throughout the 4,800-mile rally and proved to be bulletproof, unlike the rides brought by many of their competition.

Like true Americans, father and daughter Alsop are eager to capitalize on their fifteen minutes of fame and have put the Championship Trans Am up for sale on eBay Motors. One of the Alsop's fellow Bullrunners already put his Lamborghini Murcielago up for sale on eBay, but he didn't have the decency to give the car a tune up or fix any of the damage it received from the competition. The Alsop's sent their car to a body shop immediately following the race and ordered up a new paint job, tires, suspension components and an engine tune up. So not only are you buying a hella fast Trans Am that's proven to be as reliable as the setting sun, you're also buying a car that's seen the bright lights of Hollywood and has a few stories to tell.

Thanks for the tip, Mike!

[Source: eBay Motors]

 

[via] Autoblog