Volvo's treasure hunt finds real treasure on ocean floor

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We were wondering whatever happened to Volvo's treasure hunt promotion that coincided with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The prize of $50,000 in gold and the keys to a new Volvo were buried somewhere near Davey Jones' locker on the ocean floor, but until today there was no word on which lucky treasure hunter had navigated the mess of riddles and clues to find it.

23-year-old Alena Zvereva from Ekaterinburg, Russia has been chosen as the winner, but her prize will have to remain wet a little while longer as Odyssey Marine Exploration, the deep-ocean shipwreck exploration company with which Volvo partnered, has found real treasure somewhere in the Atlantic. The real booty consists of $500 million worth of gold and silver coins at a secret deep ocean site that Odyssey has named the 'Black Swan'.

Follow the jump read more about how the Spanish government has gotten involved and delayed the delivery of Zvereva to her prize.

[Source: Volvo]

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Autoblog at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

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Click for gallery of confirmed 2007 Goodwood vehicles

After following the events from afar for too long, Autoblog has decided to cover the Goodwood Festival of Speed in person this year. Watch the site for dispatches on all the goings-on as the weekend progresses.

Some of the vehicles that are confirmed for this year's festival are featured in the gallery below. You can click on the Goodwood banner to the right and you'll be taken directly to our coverage that will be ongoing throughout the weekend. This year's featured marque happens to be Toyota, which will bring the 1997 JGTC Champion Tom's Castrol Supra shown above, plus some other goodies.

 

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AutoblogGreen for 06.22.07

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Ferrari makes red a bit greener (and a bit more cardboard). Jaguars running on rotten apple fumes. Mitsubishi's looking to bring the all-electric i-Miev to the UK. And the U.S. Senate moves forward on 35 mpg CAFE standards. Not a shabby day in the green car world.

 

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BREAKING: Senators reach agreement on CAFE standards

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As our colleagues over at AutoblogGreen note, with all the lobbying going on this week for and against tougher fuel economy standards, it's been tough following who's for what and what's good for whom. Regardless, the debate came to end late yesterday when the Senate agreed to a portion of the new energy bill that calls for raising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard to 35 mpg by 2020 for both cars and trucks. The current CAFE standard is 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.5 mpg for trucks.

The new bill is a compromise of sorts, as a proposed annual 4% increase in the CAFE standards after they reach 35 mpg in 2020 was scrapped along with a $29 billion tax package that would have paid for tax breaks for producers of alternative fuels and owners of plug-in hybrids.

All is not over, as the larger energy bill will continued to be debated today, and then the bill will move over to the House of Representatives. If it passes through the House, there's no guarantee the president won't strike it down with his veto pen, as he's already stated he does not approve of specific mileage numbers. Nevertheless, yesterday's 65-27 vote was somewhat historic considering how effective the auto industry has lobbied against raising CAFE standards for decades.

[Source: Automotive News, AutoblogGreen]

 

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Chrysler Executive VP Frank Klegon on new powertrain plans

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During the What's New for 2008 preview that Chrysler held at their proving ground yesterday, Executive Vice-President Frank Klegon provided some hints about the company's powertrain plans for the next few years. We've already heard about the two new and one re-tooled engine plants that will be building Chrysler's lineup of Phoenix V6 engines.

The new engines will replace the current units in 2009 and will be built with aluminum cylinder blocks, dual variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation to allow them to run on three cylinders under light load conditions. They'll also get six to eight percent better mileage than the current sixes. Fuel economy will be further improved by matching the engines up with the new dual clutch gearboxes that Chrysler and Getrag will be building in Indiana. Klegon also provided information on upgrades to the rest of the gas engine lineup, new diesel engines and hybrids. You can read all the rest of the details over at AutoblogGreen.

 

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In German crash test, China's Brilliance BS6 sedan fails miserably

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Brilliance BS6 ADAC crash test
Click above image for photo gallery

China's Brilliance BS6 is a recent entry into the European market, positioned as a premium-style import sedan at a budget price. Well, after seeing the videos of the car undergoing crash testing using Euro NCAP guidelines at the ADAC (Germany's AAA, essentially) test center, one thing's certain: buyers get what they pay for. The BS6, as currently constructed, appears to a complete piece of crap. The horrifying 40 mph offset frontal crash test video shows damage that can be described as catastrophic at best. The A-pillar collapses and folds up like a cheap suitcase, forcing the driver's door to pop largely out of its frame, while the lower portion of the car buckles like it's made of recycled pop cans. We wouldn't want to be the driver's legs...or any other part of him for that matter. To open the mangled door afterwards, the ADAC techs needed to use a huge crowbar to get it to budge. ADAC notes that the pedals intruded a foot and a half (32 cm) into the driver's space, while the IP moved in almost 8 inches (20 cm). Needless to say, the BS6 failed the test, garnering just 1 star.

Follow the jump for more coverage/opinion and the related videos. Thanks to Andy B. for the tip!

[Sources: ADAC (translated) via Autobild, AFX News via Forbes]

Continue reading In German crash test, China's Brilliance BS6 sedan fails miserably

 

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Wert drives Durango Hybrid, continues to be haunted by Audi R8

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R8 in the Chrysler visitor lot as Ray drives the hybrid

Our friend, the illustrious Ray Wert, has been haunted of late by an Audi R8 in the environs of his suburban Detroit home, and today his German stalker followed him all the way to the Chrysler Proving Ground. As Ray was getting a taste of a prototype Dodge Durango hybrid, I spotted a black R8 parked in the visitors lot while I was making my exit. The mystery deepens? Until we figure it out, you can read all about the first Chrysler implementation of the Two-Mode hybrid system at AutoblogGreen.

 

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Crooks who can't drive stick get caught

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Driving a manual shift automobile is a bit like riding a bike in that most people only have to learn once. For two young men, learning how to drive a car the old-fashioned way never happened at all. As a result, when they tried to carjack a ride with a manual tranny, they didn't know what to do with the mysterious third pedal or the wiggly stick. When faced with this situation, most people would throw in the towel and find a victim with an automatic, but the mother of 18 year-old Joshua Johnson didn't raise a quitter. Johnson and his juvenile cohort tried in vain for several minutes to start the car before deciding to run. By then, however, the police were within arm's reach, and the two boneheads were caught. Since a firearm was involved in the crime, Johnson is facing a lengthy stay behind bars. We don't think they have driver's training in most jails, so that lesson will have to wait a long time.

[Source: 11 Live]

Thanks for the tip, Phil!

 

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Live from the Chrysler proving grounds: The Concepts

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Click the image above for high-resolution photos of Chryser's concepts

Every time there is a special "concept first drive" from one of the major automotive rags, the same rules seem to apply: you can't drive it past 25 or 30mph, none of the components are functional, etc. Well, that pretty much sums up what we encountered at Chrysler's proving grounds, where we hit the pavement with some of the Pentistar's best concept hardware. The concept vehicles were the Dodge Demon, the Jeep Trailhawk, Chrysler Nassau, the Jeep Wrangler Ultimate, a rally-prepped Caliber, and the souped-up SEMA Sebring.

The road course was flat and short with absolutely no hairpin turns, but the opportunity to drive a car that most will never get to experience is a rush in and of itself. Not surprisingly, we chose the Demon as our first test car, and it was quite a challenge to get from gear to gear with its strange and unpredictable slanted shifter. The sporty two-seater definitely looked the part of a cool roadster, though. The Nassau was probably the most fun vehicle to drive because it felt very production-ready. The interior was not very functional other than the funky push-button gear selector, but in the spirit of the concept it looked very cool.

We'll go over each of the concept vehicles in depth as soon as we can, so stay tuned to Autoblog for further updates on Chrysler's ride-and-drive event. Also, be sure to check out some of the high-resolution concept car photos we snapped from the event in the gallery below.

 

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Autoblog Drives the Dodge Demon Concept

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Click the image above to see our high-res Demon gallery with new pics

It's easy to be impressed by the sharp looks of the Dodge Demon concept, and the words "no-brainer" are often uttered when enthusiasts discuss whether the vehicle will actually hit the market. Even though it seems every other automaker is making a two-seater right now, we can't help but think there's room for Dodge's stunning mini-Viper. For now, however, all we have is the concept.

When we had the chance to pick from six Chrysler concepts, we didn't hesitate to single out the Demon first. A roadster on a beautiful summer morning always seems like a good choice, and considering the critical praise the Demon has received, we wanted to see just how close this baby feels to production. Well, the bad news is that it has a very, very long way to go. The gauges don't work, the chassis is go-kart jarring, and the doors feel like they're made of lead. In other words, it's a concept that wasn't ever meant to be driven, but given the chance we'd get behind the wheel every time.

Follow the jump for more notes on the Dodge Demon concept

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Plastic wheels roll closer to production

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Today's cars contain so much plastic that this lightweight, cheap material could best be described as the chrome of our generation. And yet, researchers are finding new automotive applications for it every day. These wheels, for instance, are made of plastic. To be specific, the material is glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) and it one day may replace alloy, aluminum and, for the lucky few, carbon fiber, as our wheel material of choice. Though researchers at Fraunhofer in Germany have been working on GRP wheels for some time, they haven't been able to efficiently test them until now. A new type of simulation that allows them to manipulate the length, curvature and density of the glass fibers themselves in the wheel has opened the door to much better testing methods that should result in plastic wheels coming to the market much sooner. GRP wheels should be both lighter and less expensive than their metal counterparts, reducing the unsprung weight of your car and wallet at the same time. Where do we sign up?

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

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