27,000 Ford workers have officially left the building

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The Detroit Free Press is reporting today that since Ford began offering buyouts and early retirement offers to its hourly employees last year, about 27,000 have accepted and left the company. Since the offer was made last October to hourly workers at all of Ford's plants in North America, about 8,000 before the ball dropped on 2007 and 19,000 so far this year. Fortunately for Ford, about half were not eligible for early retirement, which means the automaker takes on less long-term retiree health care liability. Some of the workers who clocked out early include employees of Visteon plants, as well.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]


[via] Autoblog

Can you hear my HUMMER now? HUMMER HT1 cell phone for the Euro crowd

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Automakers continue to take branding to new heights by slapping their logos on everything from computers to speakers to fitness apparel, but HUMMER has gone one step further by introducing the HT1 slider cellphone. Rather than merely affix their iconic logo to some high-end cell phone from South Korea, HUMMER had French design firm ModeLabs Group actually develop a new cell phone from the ground up. You won't be able to find this cell phone from Nokia, Motorola or any other major cell phone manufacturer.

Being a HUMMER branded product, the HT1 can be had in a variety of colors that match the paint chips used for the actual SUVs. One can even get a camouflaged battery pack cover. Perhaps the latter is a nod to the original HUMVEE that still pounds the pavement for the U.S. military.

It seems to be packed with all the bells and whistles including GSM/GPRS connectivity, a 2.2-inch 260K Color TFT Touchscreen, 2-megapixel camera, 256 MB of memory, and a microSD memory card slot. It also comes loaded with 10 wallpapers and two videos from HUMMER, which certainly doesn't help justify the €300 price tag for us. That's around $400 USD, though it doesn't matter much since the HT1 will only be available in Europe, which totally doesn't make any sense.

[Source: MobileBurn]


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Cerberus joins group of financial investors to bid for Jaguar and Land Rover

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While poring over the RSS feeds today, we noticed a tiny article in Automotive News about Ford's desire to sell off both Jaguar and Land Rover. The potential sale has been in the news as of late, but this article caught our eye because it reveals a potential bidder with which we're all familiar. According to Automotive News, three private equity groups including Blackston, Cinven and... Cerberus (!) have shown interest in joining the auction for two of Ford's Premiere Auto Group brands. Cerberus, of course, is the same private equity group involved in the purchase of Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler.

While the news that Cerberus has thrown its hat in the ring for the purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover is not necessarily surprising (this is what private equity firms do, they buy stuff), the thought of a new American automaker housing the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands along with both Jaguar and Land Rover certainly changes the landscape of the domestic auto industry in the near future. While Land Rover isn't in near as dire a straits as Jaguar, neither brand are performing at their peak potential. Unfortunately, neither is any Chrysler Group brand. Cerberus must really believe it has the magic touch to be getting involved with so many down but not out automakers.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]


[via] Autoblog

Bigfoot feeling blue, but happy

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Any Monster Truck fans out there? You might have noticed a recent change in the look of the legendary Bigfoot. After undergoing a less-than-extreme makeover, the classic Bigfoot blue is back on the truck. Well, not the entire truck, but a good portion of the nose and cab. Sponsor Firestone still has its prominent shield displayed on the hood and its logo across the flanks, but the new red, white and blue scheme looks pretty good on this 30-something-year-old legend. Sure, parent company Bridgestone is primarily Japanese, but the truck is 100% 'Murkin. Bob Chandler created Bigfoot and the Monster Truck phenomenon back in the mid '70s and it has since turned into a billion-dollar enterprise. Nothing more American than that. Bigfoot has used Firestone tires since 1991, and started using Firestone paint schemes a decade ago.

[Source: Edmund's Inside Line]


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Livio De Marchi: King of the wooden cars

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De Marchi in his F50

We've had a few wood-themed posts here of late, but the work of Italian artist Livio De Marchi is in a class all its own. He's worked with many materials, but has settled on wood now, making everything from lifelike clothing (remarkable to look at, really) to the the reason you see him here today -- life-sized cars.

De Marchi F50The nice thing about wood is that it floats. A native Venetian, De Marchi has used his talent and considerable skills to create a few replica cars out of wood that are also powered, allowing him to cruise the canals in inimitable style, much to the delight of onlookers. Hemmings has shots of several of his works, and for a full sampling, De Marchi's Virtual Museum has you covered.

Follow the jump for a video of De Marchi out and about in the Ferrari F50 shown above. Some of you may have seen it already. There are probably many of you who haven't. Either way, it's enjoyable to watch. The man's a real character, clearly loves what he does, and does it superbly well. In addition to the F50, he's built a 300SL Gullwing, a VW Beetle, a Fiat Topolino, and a '37 Jaguar. Do yourselves a favor and follow the links to check 'em all out.

[Source: Livio De Marchi via Hemmings]

Continue reading Livio De Marchi: King of the wooden cars


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Audi Tower to be unveiled at LeMans

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Not many automakers have accomplished as much as Audi at LeMans. Though it only began competing at LeMans in 1999, the automaker has achieved six overall victories from its eight starts, including the first ever win for a diesel-powered car with its R10 last year. This Saturday before the start of the 75th running of the 24 Hours of LeMans, a 12-meter high sculpture will be unveiled in the circuit's "Village" to honor Audi's success in what many consider to be the most demanding race in the world.

Fourtitude has pics of the "Audi Tower" as it looks today, which appears encased inside a giant box shaped like, well, a 12-meter-tall tower. According to Audi, the actual sculpture features 24 rotating rings that light up between the tower's base and its top. There's also a video wall on the sculpture's front face, and its glass surface will be etched with the names of every driver to have ever won the 24 Hours of LeMans.

We're excited to see what this thing looks like, but have enough faith in Audi's aesthetic taste to expect a finely crafted work of art. You can check out a few more pics of the tower as it stands by clicking the Read link.

[Source: Fourtitude]


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Honda goes looking for a few extra MPGs in Canada

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The latest news on the Honda vs, the Canadian government issue has Honda Canada now hoping to tweak its Fit and Civic models to qualify for Canada's auto rebate program (the so-called ecoAuto program). The ecoAuto program is a bit like the U.S. gas guzzler tax combined with our incentives for hybrids. Honda hopes it can improve the mileage on these two cars just enough to earn the $1,000 CDN rebate offered to buyers of fuel efficient vehicles that use less than 6.5 liters/100km. Honda engineers back in Japan are working on the issue and hope they can find a way to get better mileage, without sacrificing either car's safety or driveability.

The ecoAuto program gives buyers of the most fuel-efficient models rebates ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, but also penalizes gas guzzlers up to $4,000. Cars like the Toyota Yaris sail right under the specified economy ratings of 6.5 liters/100km, but Honda just missed with its popular Fit that achieves 6.6 liters/100km. The Civic, meanwhile, consumes about 7.0 liters/100km. In fact, Honda was pretty upset that the standard was set just below the Fit's ratings, and decided to offer $1,000 of its own money to buyers of 2007 models. Critics of the program have even called it "the Yaris subsidy program" since Yaris sales were up significantly more than Fit sales when the program was announced, but Honda's own rebates brought Fit sales back.

While Honda works to get that extra fuel economy, it doesn't even know if the standards will be the same in 2008. There is some talk that the qualifying criteria could be lowered on 2008 models. The reason for the possible change is that Canada was using the new EPA standards introduced last year to better reflect real world driving conditions. Those EPA ratings are now under review as a proper standard for the Canadian program. Sigh, such drama. We'll keep you posted.

[Source: The Toronto Star]


[via] Autoblog

Gibbs Aquada to be built in Michigan?

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Our colleague Dan already reported that Gibbs Technologies wants to bring its amphibious car, the Aquada, to the U.S. market within the next couple of years. Now one of the domestic auto industry's hometown papers is reporting that Gibbs is looking for a U.S. manufacturing location, and Michigan is figuring prominently in that search.

Alan Gibbs has apparently met with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and looked at a variety of locations in Michigan and elsewhere. The major problem with Michigan as a site is the problem of testing an amphibious car in the winter time. Perhaps the MEDC can agree to throw in a free swimming pool if Gibbs builds his plant here. On the other hand, the inherently limited market for an amphibious car once you get past the novelty factor would seem to indicate that Michigan's scarce dollars would be invested more wisely elsewhere.

[Source: Detroit News]


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Gordon Murray set to create a radical family car

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Over the past three decades, Gordon Murray has produced some of the most innovative and radical designs ever created in Formula One and on the road. From the Brabham BT46B "fan car" to the BT55 with a BMW four-cylinder laid flat on it's side, each car showed he was never afraid to try something completely different.

When Murray set his sights on road going machines he designed the Rocket for the Light Car Company and the legendary F1 for McLaren. The F1 in particular brought the supercar to a whole new level. Jumping an order of magnitude past the prevailing Ferarris and Lamborghinis, the three-seat F1 was the closest thing to a road going car that actually won the 24 hours of Le Mans in decades.

Now Murray wants to bring his unique vision to mainstream family sedans. His new Gordon Murray Design Limited, which officially launches on July 4, will develop a radical family car using a strong lightweight structure. Murray will apply his novel packaging ideas to create something that is safer and more efficient than the traditional cars we're used to, or so we're told. Though Murrary's ideas don't always work, they are rarely dull. We'll be waiting to see what he comes up with this time.

[Source: CAR]


[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Ferrari F430 successor

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World Car Fans has just posted some spy photos and renderings of what they think the replacement for the Ferrari F430 will look like. If the pics make it look a lot like an F430, it's because this is a mule based on the upcoming F430 CS/LP. The rendering seems to distance itself from the F430 a bit, but not as much as the pic in Road & Track this month. That rendering seemed to imply that the F430 replacement would sport a 599-like nose and might take the model to the top of Ferrari's lineup. This Ferrari seems a little less radical yet still different enough to keep the faithful happy.

One interesting bit in the WCF report was that the photographer says he saw a completed car under a cover during his shoot. That would seem to suggest that the car might arrive much sooner than anticipated, maybe even as early as the end of next year. That strikes us as a bit odd considering that the CS/LP might not be released for a while still, and would need some time on the market by itself before the new model would debut.

Follow the jump for the rest of the speculation on this new Maranello stallion.

[Source: World Car Fans]

Continue reading Spy Shots: Ferrari F430 successor


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Detroit buys wheel locks for Chrysler owners

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You know crime is bad when your city wants to give you a free anti-theft device. That's what Detroit is doing for some Chrysler drivers.

Detroit PD says many older Chrysler vehicles, particularly the ones without the Sentry Key system, are so easy to steal, young teens are taking them with nothing more than a screwdriver and a brick. A video found in one stolen Chrysler shows a teenager bragging that he had stolen the car in 8 seconds. DPD says the kids are taking the cars, driving them until their tanks are dry, then finding another.

But after one stolen Jeep, driven by a 13-year-old boy, rammed into a car and killed a woman and her baby during a police chase, the city decided a new strategy was needed. The city is offering residents and workers in Detroit's Eastern District wheel locks for their non-Sentry Key Chryslers in an effort to stop the thefts. Part of the project is funded by State Farm Insurance. The police department is also offering free glass etching to all drivers citywide.

You can watch the report by Fox 2 News in Detroit here.

[Source: Fox 2 News via TopSpeed]


[via] Autoblog

Chrysler considering upping warranty coverage

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What's the hottest new trend in Motown? Increasing the length of your warranty coverage. Hyundai turned up the heat when it began offering its 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty back in 2000 before passing it on to Kia. Last summer Ford increased its powertrain warranty to 5-years/60,000 miles. Then late last year General Motors decided to increase its powertrain warranty to 5-years/100,000 miles and applied the same coverage to its Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles earlier this year. Finally, Hyundai recently announced its Super Sized coverage would also be applied to its CPOV fleet, meaning that it could potentially warranty one of its own engines for 15 years. Wow.

Chrysler is now reportedly thinking of increasing its own warranty coverage to better compete with the safety nets of its competitors. While no details were given on what the new warranty would be (it's bumper-to-bumper warranty is now 3-years/36,000 miles), chances are it would need to cover the powertrain for at least 100,000 miles to make an impact.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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Ford has suggestions for favoring your father

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Stumped for an appropriate gift for Dad? You can do what we did and send him a lifetime subscription to Autoblog (it's very affordable), or actually put some thought and cash into something less useful. But what? Well, Ford has issued its Top Nine (nine?) list that, no big surprise, are sold right there on its Ford Collection Web site.

Aside from the fact that all items on the list have something to do with the Blue Oval, there are a few cool things there that your pops would probably like, especially if he's a Ford fan. Take for instance the 514 cubic inch, 625 hp crate engine, which makes a very nice Father's Day gift for those old men who find themselves without a honking big motor that costs $8,100. There's also the $3,700 Mustang-themed billiards table complete with chrome-corralled ponies.

Then there's the traditional watch, a limited-edition Ford Shelby GT500 Franklin Mint diecast and a one kid-sized pedal car. Why Ford thinks your dad wants a pedal car is beyond us, but there it is at No. 5 on the list.

And, no, we didn't get any of the swag listed (or unlisted for that matter), we're just passing along the information. But if you're listening, Ford, with some work, that big block just might fit in a '65 Mustang we're working on. Just saying, some of us are fathers, too.

See the jump for Ford's press release with all the suggestions.

Continue reading Ford has suggestions for favoring your father


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Hyundai's first consumer hybrid destined for Korea in '09

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Hyundai's initial foray into the consumer hybrid marketplace won't take place here in the US, nor will it use the gasoline/electric config that's become synonymous with the term, from a consumer's standpoint. Hyundai will introduce the car, a version of the Avante (Elantra here) in Korea sometime in 2009.

Instead of gasoline/electric, the Avante Hybrid will feature an LPG/electric setup in order to take advantage of the low price of Liquid Petroleum Gas in Korea (it's half the cost of the dino juice), and the fact that there's a working LPG infrastructure there already. They'll need government help to loosen up some regulations, because right now, LPG is reserved for rental cars and handicapped transport. The fact that Hyundai's moving forward with the plan is a pretty clear indicator that it expects the rules will be modified to allow regular citizens to purchase LPG-powered cars.

When combined with the hybrid system, the Avante is expected to pull down fuel economy in the neighborhood of 47 mpg. A gasoline/electric hybrid is also reportedly planned for 2010. Maybe we'll get that one.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]


[via] Autoblog

Bentley Brooklands: Year 1 allotment sold out (officially)

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Click image for high-res photo gallery

This may be the least-surprising item in today's news. It was reported before, but now we have it from the horse's mouth: first-year production of Bentley's limited-run Brooklands mega-coupé is officially sold out. The car is totally handcrafted, and its long, chop-top-looking profile actually begins its life as the body of an Azure convertible, to which the Brooklands' steel roof is hand-welded. That's just one part of the very labor-intensive process behind the car's creation, which is why it's being limited to just 550 units overall.

Its 6.75L V8 makes 530 horsepower and a ridiculous 774 lb-ft of torque, which conspire to give the Brooklands a 0-60 time of 5 seconds flat and a top speed of 184. Not too shabby for a car whose curb weight is within throwing distance of 3 tons. It also boasts the most spacious rear passenger compartment of any coupe, and as is the case with any Bentley, the options surrounding colors, materials and trim are virtually limitless. As for the remaining cars in the 550-vehicle total run, it's not a matter of if they'll go, but when. This is opulence in its most meticulously-detailed form. We love it.

Bentley's new press release on the car, which goes into great detail, including full tech specs, is pasted after the jump. The Flying B people released 28 new photos, too, and they've been added to the gallery below.

[Source: Bentley Motors]

Continue reading Bentley Brooklands: Year 1 allotment sold out (officially)


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Day 22: Last chance to enter the Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T

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click above image to enter to win an all-new 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T

OMG! The Autoblog Relaunch Celebration Sweepstakes featuring the All-New 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T ends on June 14, 2007 at 11:59:59 PM CT, or June 15th at 12:59:59 AM ET if you harbor an east coast bias. This means that as of right now, you have one more chance to enter the Sweepstakes. Whether this will be the 22nd time you've entered or the 1st, we here at Autoblog want to thank you again for being such loyal and engaging readers. We wanted to do something special for you all to celebrate our new site design, and we wanted it to be something no blog has ever done before. We just may have succeeded.

Click here to enter... one last time.

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AutoblogGreen for 06.14.07

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If there's one word you eye might be naturally drawn to in the list of stories from yesterday's AutoblogGreen below, I think it would be "naked." Try it and see. We're a green car blog, to be sure, but when these kind of stories come your way, we're glad we cover bikes, too.

Oh, and that Lightning GT? Whew, it's pricey.


[via] Autoblog

Toyota reveals next generation Valvematic technology

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Later this year, Toyota will be launching its newest variable valve timing innovation, ditching the old-school VVT-i setup for a new system dubbed Valvematic. This new mechanism will manipulate the intake valve lift volume, adjusting the level of sacrificial oxygen molecules to increase both performance and fuel efficiency.

According to Toyota, Valvematic will increase power output by ten-percent, while at the same time increasing fuel efficiency anywhere between five- and ten-percent.

The first application of Valvematic will be employed in a new 2-liter engine, set to debut in the fall of 2007, with the rest of the Toyota lineup getting the new system by 2010.

[Source: PaulTan.org]


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BMW mulling MINI Cooper D for Canada

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MINI Cooper D

An article published in yesterday's Globe and Mail newspaper focused on the ongoing discussion/debate our neighbors to the north are having with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and the role fuel plays in them. Automakers quoted in the article are essentially unanimous in their opinions that Canada needs to improve the quality and variety of the fuels it has on the market. Cleaner detergent gasolines, low-sulfur diesel, and E85 Ethanol are all touched upon in the piece by Greg Keenan.

One of the more interesting revelations comes near the top of the article. BMW, which will add diesels to its Canadian product range next year, is apparently considering whether or not to export the very economical MINI Cooper D to the Great White North. As we've mentioned before, the latest version of the Cooper D is good for 60 mpg. A note to BMW: Instead of just Canada, you should think of maybe sending the Cooper D to ALL of North America. You might find that the market's plenty receptive in that other country. You know... the one with 50 states.

[Source: The Globe and Mail]


[via] Autoblog

Would you buy a car from this woman?

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Audra Baltrukonyte, salesperson at MK SEAT. Click to enlarge.

Meet Audra Baltrukonyte. She's a 21-year-old Lithuanian model and student, who also happens to be a salesperson at MK SEAT in Milton Keynes. As the photo attests, Audra is a very pretty girl, and according to the PR folks at SEAT UK, she is an effective salesperson who frequently outperforms her compatriots at the dealership. Somehow, this does not surprise us.

A self-professed car nut (the 'thud' you heard was thousands of male readers collectively swooning and then hitting the floor), Audra says that she finds women are more comfortable dealing with her, but that most of her sales are to men "who only commit to buying the cars long after they've stopped caring what I look like!"

The "stopped caring" strikes us as being a bit of a stretch. Men may commit to the sale and be duly impressed with her knowledge, but we'd gamble that the looks never stopped being noticed. We're quite sure we know guys who'd buy a car with no engine from this woman. Moving the wretchedly ugly Altea Freetrack should be a piece of cake.

The press release SEAT issued is priceless, too (it's pasted in full after the jump). Think a line like the one below would ever make it past Legal here in the States?

"...not only has the 21-year-old set pulses racing among customers and colleagues, she's also set sales figures alight..." (Emphasis added.)

You can't make this stuff up...

[Source: SEAT UK]

Continue reading Would you buy a car from this woman?


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Gibbs Aquada coming to America

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Looking a bit like an MX-5 that got tired of land-bound living and returned to the sea, the Gibbs Aquada is nearly the automotive equivalent of a dolphin. It's sleek and fast in the drink, but the little amphibious roadster can still crawl out of the soup and go prowling around on four wheels. Once on dry land, the Aquada's no slouch, either; it's capable of running 100 plus mph.

Popular Mechanics managed to snag a ride in a stateside example and while messing about in boats, PM got some exciting news. No, we still don't know what's in Spam, but the Aquada is coming to the States to be sold with the Federal seal of safety approval. You may need to get a boater's license before you can take to the seas, but Gibbs contends that the Aquada will resist sinking mightily, even if swamped. That's comforting for something with such little freeboard, but don't worry, you'll bob like a cork after your wallet's been lightened at the dealer. The sale price in the US is expected to slot in around $100,000, a veritable fire sale compared to the $200,000 tab across the Atlantic. A good convertible will set you back at least $20,000, and an enjoyable runabout will cost at least as much, plus fuel, docking, and winter storage, to name a few. So $100,000 will likely be cheaper than owning a car and a nice little boat once the final tally is in. We wonder if Gibbs is going to try to circumvent shipping the cars, and just shove them off from the dock with an encouraging "off you go, watch out for rogue waves."

[Source: Popular Mechanics]


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Bad Boy Vettes puts you on the hood of the C6.R at Le Mans

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On-car cam -- C^.R at le mans

Stuff like this is why we love the Internet. The fellas at Bad Boy Vettes sure know how to give Le Mans a "YOU ARE THERE" feeling for those of us not fortunate enough to be jetting overseas for the annual 24-hour showdown.

BBV, calling in-car cameras "passe," taped their trusty Canon PowerShot digicam to the hood of one of the yellow C6.Rs as it lapped the circuit Wednesday with Ron Fellows behind the wheel. In addition to being great footage, the roar of the race-spec 7.0-liter V8 is captured in all its sonic glory. Click here to watch (and hear) it for yourselves. If you'll excuse us, we have to go recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing "God Bless America" right now...

[Source: Bad Boy Vettes]


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Rendered speculation: 2009 Nissan 370Z

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The Channel that's all about Grand Touring (or something), posted a rendering that could foretell the future styling direction Nissan may take with the next Z car. With the current "Zed" getting a bit long in the tooth after five years of diligent service, and the recent speculation surrounding the next iteration, the image above confirms Autocar's initial report that the next Z will be keeping the general shape of the outgoing model, but with a more smoothed out appearance. Then again, this looks like a scan from one of the dozens of speculation-happy Japanese mags that come out every week, so we're not holding our breath.

Naturally, with an appearance upgrade, changes under the hood are all but assured, and the smart money seems to be on the 3.7-liter VQ-series V6 that's currently found beneath the bonnet of the new G37/Skyline.

The obvious question remains, when will Nissan unveil the next-gen Z? We would like to think it would be at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, but with the unveiling of the production GT-R and a rumored Silvia-replacement concept, we doubt they'd want to blow it all on one show. Frankfurt? Geneva? Detroit? We'll be waiting, as always.

[Source: GT Channel]


[via] Autoblog

What does Henrik Fisker roll on?

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Too many trips to SEMA have left us immune to the shiny detritus that populates the pages of some of our favorite mags, but when Henrik Fisker, the man who penned the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9, gets into the wheel business, we take notice.

Beyond his newest coachbuilding projects, Fisker has released two new wheels, designed to fit within the arches of several BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The ten-spoke FL10 has a bit more of a competitive aura, while the FT5 gets away with the right amount of style and substance. Both are available in gunmetal or titanium finishes, with prices starting around $1,500. But if you ask nice and are willing to exercise your Black Card, they'll customize your wheels with the paint scheme of your choosing.

You can see if you can purchase Fisker's wheels for your own whip by following this link to their website.

[Source: InsideLine]


[via] Autoblog

Pricey Pickup: 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow truck for sale

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All that money, and it looks like a lowered Ford Courier with a nice paintjob -- from the side, anyway. This Silver Shad-amino (Shadero?) has just undergone a two-year restoration by Florida's Foreman Motors. It'd be just the thing out on the Estate, cruising the grounds surrounded by sumptuous leather and wool with the Spirit of Ecstasy up on the prow. We think it's great; it's not like these particular Rollers are rare cars, anyway. The duPont Registry, want ads for those with excess filthy lucre, has it listed at $49,000, or a dollar per accrued mile. It could be worse, at least the Silver Shadow has handsome, stately lines and the conversion appears to be high-quality. Imagine what a Camargue's blockier profile would do without its fast C-pillar. Although, that rakish rear window may make a nice Cam-a-Lanche. It'd likely beat the truck in fuel economy, too.

[Source: duPont Registry via Winding Road]


[via] Autoblog

You crazy? UK law proposes psych tests for new drivers

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It seems like motorists in the UK never get a break. Speed cameras on numerous major roads, ridiculously high fuel prices and congestion charges galore are all part and parcel of driving in the UK, so imagine how the Brits would feel if they had to undergo a psychological assessment just to obtain their license.

That could be a very real possibility if a proposal to introduce a psychometric component to the UK driving test, set forward by the government, is passed. The premise is that in order to pass the test, drivers would have to show they have the right attitude behind the wheel by taking a paper and pencil test.

Proponents of the cause say the tests will allow regulators to recognize behaviors that will most likely see a person injure themselves in a crash and identify specific driver coaching that could help modify or correct those attitudes and behaviors. Unfortunately for its creators, it doesn't take a grad with a psychology degree to realize that most people would provide the 'correct' answer rather than the one that best describes their behavior. Then, of course, some people just lie.

We've lost count of how many people we've seen driving that could definitely do with a psych evaluation, but the idea of a blanket test for all new drivers reeks of a government trying to manage risks at the lowest possible cost. If they really cared about safety, they should implement a tougher standard of driving tests for learners and offer refresher courses and mandatory retesting across the board.

[Source: Spring.co.uk]


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Sioux Falls residents get free gas today for being safe drivers

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If you live in Sioux Falls, today's your lucky day. Allstate Insurance is going to buy residents of the South Dakota city a free tank of gas for being the safest drivers in the country. The second annual Allstate America's Best Drivers Report has been released and the residents of Sioux Falls were found to experience a traffic accident once every 13.7 years on average. The national average for a city is one accident every 10 years. This means Sioux Falls residents are 27.2% less likely to bump fenders than the national average. This is the second year Sioux Falls has been named the city with the safest drivers, having earned the report's inaugural top spot last year, too.

ABC News reports that Allstate expects to fill up 700 gas tanks in Sioux Falls with nature's combustible cocktail, though that estimate might be a little low considering the city's population is estimated to be 123,975 according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

[Source: ABC News]

Continue reading Sioux Falls residents get free gas today for being safe drivers


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VIDEO: Proof that Drifting is for idiots

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Hey, look at me, I'm a TuFF-GuY(C)! I know! Let's abuse our cars and call it a "sport!" So, drifting was kind of fun when we were 16 and called it "donuts," at least until we learned how much a set of tires cost (and universal joints shortly thereafter). The owner of this 3rd-generation RX-7 perpetrates a horror on one of our favorite cars by being in a big hurry to show off. Apparently, his mind was so addled by the opportunity to create acrid smoke that he forgot one little detail. Off he goes, ready to be impressive, and then the wheels come off his little dream cruise. Literally. All the lugnuts, sitting in the paddock. Whoops. Bet it was a quiet ride back home, perhaps with a few new squeaks and rattles from below.

Thanks for the tip, Jaymez

Video after the jump.

[Source: Break.com]

Continue reading VIDEO: Proof that Drifting is for idiots


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