New chair gets filled on Ford's board

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Ford Motor Company has added some manufacturing and dealer know-how to the company's board of directors with the addition of Caterpillar Inc. group president Gerald Shaheen. Gerald's expertise also branches out to the UAW, where he got major concessions for Caterpillar in 2005. Besides Shaheen's jobs at Caterpillar and Ford, the man also stays busy with seats on the boards of National City Corp., U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Chamber Foundation and the Mineral Information Institute Inc., Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and AGCO Corp. Wow, either Gerald is the smartest, most hard-working guy on earth, or his main job is so easy that he has time to sit on all these other boards. How in the world does someone make time to correctly do all these important jobs?

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

A Ferrari with four doors? Todt says "Non!"

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In the pit lane, Jean Todt is known for saying little and saying it curtly when he does. It seems nearly every time Speed TV attempts to interview him before a race, he waves the camera off and returns to his charges. In his role as CEO of Ferrari, however, he appears to be quite a bit more loquacious. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he practically said more in one sitting than he has in 14 years as manager of the Scuderia.


Chief among his revelations was that "Ferrari has never considered a four-door car." Many Ferrari fans will find this heartening news in an age of once-restrained brands oozing into every segment possible. In the same interview, nevertheless, Todt says that "we must pay attention to everything that is happening in our business." With the 4-door-super-sedan-slash-GT trend having climbed the social ladder all the way to Aston Martin's rung, it could be wondered whether Ferrari will continue to keep the doors closed on any sedan considerations.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Fiat Abarth duo

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Abarth is returning to the scene with force. The historic Italian tuning house, long a part of the Fiat group, has been hard at work turning Fiat's models into hot hatches worthy of the scorpion badge's revival. At Geneva we saw the production preview of the Grande Punto Abarth, and the Abarth version of the newly-launched 500 retromobile is expected at Tokyo. With their work cut out for them, the Fiat Abarth team is pounding the test track developing the dynamic duo.

Both cars are anticipated to benefit from tightened-up suspensions, beefed-up brakes, revised bodywork, trim and badging, and two high-performance four-cylinder engines: one producing 150 horsepower, and an even more powerful version with output in the neighborhood of 180-200hp. With these kinds of hot hatches looming on the horizon, and a Bravo Abarth expected to follow shortly thereafter, the future is looking good.

[Source: World Car Fans]

 

[via] Autoblog

Cerberus snag digesting Chrysler?

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The euro has reached a record high against the dollar, and that is partly to blame for rumors of Cerberus' difficulty in getting the money to pay for Chrysler. Cerberus is paying DaimlerChrysler $7.4 billion for 80.1% of Chrysler Group, but it is trying to borrow $20 billion. With interest rates on the rise, Cerberus wants to get money while terms are at their best. Yet with the market enduring a soft spot, Chrysler's below-investment-grade credit ratings, its 2-year prognosis of more red ink and the dollar declining, skittish investors are concerned that Cerberus might not be able to get the job done. Cerberus Chairman John Snow, however, said he expects the deal to close this quarter as planned.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 

[via] Autoblog

Subaru's "Legend Reborn" spot hits YouTube

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Wow, that didn't take very long. Those new WRX ads we just told you about are already on YouTube. You know, the ones that use "traditional" Japanese cultural references like "Fast and Furious," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and "Blade Runner". Several of you picked up on the fact that the American ad agency responsible for this new campaign might have their Chinese and Japanese mixed up a bit, but the point remains that as elements of popular culture, these all appeal to the target market for the new WRX, the 20- and 30-year-old guys who are into manga and anime. Follow the jump to see the "Legend Reborn" clip where a WRX slices through the jungle and heeds the call of the wild, flexing its trail muscles along the way. And we find out that apparently the call of the wild is loud enough for people in the city hear, as well. Check it out.

[Source: Subaru via YouTube]

Continue reading Subaru's "Legend Reborn" spot hits YouTube

 

[via] Autoblog

Mercedes celebrates 10 years in Tuscaloosa with "Edition10" M-Class

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Click image for gallery

Mercedes-Benz is celebrating 10 years of operation at its Tuscaloosa, AL facility, which is best known for producing the M-Class SUV. At a press event held at the plant and presided over by Dr. Z himself, the automaker presented a special edition version of its SUV stalwart dubbed "Edition10." The Edition10 limited-edition package is a paint-and-trim deal that's quite good-looking, actually. The requisite badges are joined by other visual highlights such as darkened trim around the headlamps, darker taillamp lenses, a black chrome look to the grille, and a similar treatment on the hood vents. A two-tone interior and metallic pedals are also included, and based on what we see in the photos released, a metal steprail is also part of the package. No pricing for the Edition10 option has been released yet, and we'd expect to see some additional shots of the SUV before all is said and done.

Press release follows the jump.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Continue reading Mercedes celebrates 10 years in Tuscaloosa with "Edition10" M-Class

 

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[via] Autoblog

Welcome to the era of the $225,000 parking space

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To give you an idea of how much of a premium Manhattanites place on parking, consider that a new condo development on the Lower West Side is selling five guaranteed parking spaces for $225,000 apiece. That number is on top of whatever the condos themselves cost. The knee-jerk reaction is, of course, to laugh and dismissively say something like, "Who in their right mind is going to pay that to park their car?"

There are eight people vying for those five spaces.

[Source: The New York Times]

Continue reading Welcome to the era of the $225,000 parking space

 

[via] Autoblog

Dodge-based VW minivan caught on dealer TV - too little, too late?

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After teasing fans with a modern interpretation of the classic Type 2 micro-bus a few years ago, Volkswagen decided it wasn't an economically viable project. It ultimately decided to strike a deal with DaimlerChrysler to use the Caravan/Town and Country minivan platform as the basis for a VW van. Unfortunately for VW, the minivan market is shrinking as they finally get their own unit to market.

A poster on the VWVortex forums has reportedly caught the first image of the new Chrysler-based VW van on a VW dealer TV screen and had his camera phone ready. No one should be surprised that from the rear quarter angle it looks like a 2008 Dodge Caravan with Touareg taillights. The question remains whether or not by the time it appears in VW dealerships in the summer of 2008, will anyone still care?

In addition to the new van, the dealer TV system also gave timing for some other new products, most of which we already know about. VW had previously confirmed that the Jetta TDI and Tiguan were coming in the first half of 2008 and the Touareg diesel was coming in the fall of 2008. What hadn't been confirmed previously was the Passat coupe also coming in the fall of 2008.

Thanks for the tip, Matt!

[Source: VW Vortex forums]

 

[via] Autoblog

Video in the Fastlane III: Bob's not big on the future of diesel in the U.S.

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We just got word of the latest GM FastLane Blog podcast, and in it Bob Lutz doesn't appear to be too keen on diesels. While admitting that GM is working on diesel powerplants for use in passenger vehicles sold in the U.S., he tries to emphasize the fact that diesels aren't a cure-all. Lutz sees only a 12-15% benefit to diesels over gas engines in fuel mileage given the stricter emissions standards for diesels that are now in place. With the new Bin 5 Tier II standards (not to mention the even stricter standards set by the California Air Resources Board) on the horizon, he thinks a diesel-powered car will cost $2,000 to $2,800 more than a gas-powered one because of extra emissions hardware, and that's on top of the $1,000 to $2,000 premium for diesels to begin with.

His bottom line seems to be that diesels can be better than gas engines for mileage, but that the added cost to meet new emissions standards are making them less attractive. While we've been heartened to see the promise of more diesels coming to the States, it's true that they don't really answer all of the concerns about a diminishing crude supply, nor the environmental impact of automobiles. They may reduce our use of crude, but there are costs associated with them that make them a temporary step at best. Renewable energy sources are a better option ultimately, but for the time being, diesels can help us reduce our dependency. It might sound like sour grapes a bit coming from Bob's lips, but he has a point. Click play and watch his thoughts on this issue for yourself.

 

[via] Autoblog

Hallelujah! Hyundai adds navigation system to 2008 Veracruz

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Trust us, there's an LG nav unit inside, even though Hyundai didn't release any pics of it

We've talked before about the fact that the Korean automakers have made great strides in engineering, content and quality over the past decade. In a recent Motor Trend comparison test, the new-for-'07 Hyundai Veracruz was even pitted against the Lexus RX350. Lest you see some humor in that match-up, know that the Hyundai won. Given the $10,000 price disparity between the two, the Lexus just didn't offer enough to take the title in those editors' minds. And we can see what they mean. This new SUV is pretty attractive, powerful and feature laden.

One of the biggest shortcomings, though, was the lack of any kind of navigation system available in the Veracruz. In fact, Hyundai hasn't offered a navi in any of their cars in the States. Until now. For 2008, the Veracruz has received a few upgrades, including that all-important sat/nav system everybody was hoping for. It's an LG unit that is available on the Veracruz Limited. And better yet, Bluetooth connectivity is now available on all trim levels. This is the first appearance of in-dash nav in a Hyundai in the U.S., and it's about time. Some may argue the virtues of in-dash navigation systems versus third-party ones that are less expensive, but to be a player in this market an automaker at least has to offer an in-dash nav system, and now Hyundai does. Throw in previously optional features that are now standard on the Limited, like memory seats and proximity keyless entry, and it's hard to imagine that the vehicle's sales will slow.

Follow the jump for the full press release about the 2008 Veracruz.

[Source: Hyundai via TheCarBlogger]

Continue reading Hallelujah! Hyundai adds navigation system to 2008 Veracruz

 

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[via] Autoblog

USGP may be cancelled in 2008: F1 not coming back to Indy

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It looks like there won't be any United States Grand Prix (USGP) next year, at least not at Indy. According to all of the reports we've read, the 2008 Formula One schedule won't have a slot for a United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After eight years of races at the Speedway, the FIA and Tony George apparently couldn't reach an agreement for future GPs at Indy. It seems F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone made some less-than-flattering comments about the event following the June race this year, and July 12 was the deadline IMS had set for a decision on future races. The two parties had been on a one-year extension of the prior contract, but it looks like there will be no extension this time around. There is still some remote hope that an agreement could come in the future, but even if Indy fails to secure a new race, Vegas and New York have been mentioned as possible future USGP locations. No info on those developments has surfaced yet.

Thanks for the numerous tips, everybody!

[Source: Autoweek]

 

[via] Autoblog

US spec Audi R8 spotted in Connecticut

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A U.S. spec version of Audi's R8 uber sports coupe was spotted during the latest leg of the American Le Mans series at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut over the weekend. Sporting New Jersey license plates and 18-inch Euro spec wheels (America gets 19in alloys as standard), the plain silver coupe was simply there to rack up test miles ahead of the car's North American launch in September.

Clear giveaways that this is in fact the U.S. version and not just a European model are the orange side indicators on the front and rear bumpers, a U.S. sized license plate backplate on the front grille and the missing rear foglights normally located in the rear diffuser.

Pricing starts at $109,000 for the six-speed manual version but quickly jumps to $118,000 when equipped with the R tronic dual-clutch gearbox. Then, of course, is the options list featuring items such as the Bang & Olufsen audio system, reverse camera and satnav, Alcantara trim and so forth to really increase the amount you spend on the car.

[Source: Fourtitude via The German Car Blog]

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 07.12.07

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Two years ago, California's Governator made a big deal when the state bought 1,000+ flex-fuel vehicles. But guess what? They haven't had a drop of ethanol since then. Whoops. Read about this, a cool electric motorcycle and how dealers for the Big 3 fear the new CAFE standards, all on AutoblogGreen yesterday.

 

[via] Autoblog

Drive a white car? You're less likely to die in a car crash

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White cars may be a bit boring, but a recent study from The RAC Foundation showed that light-colored cars were up to 12-percent less likely to get into a serious accident than darker colored vehicles. Statistics also showed that the accidents that the lighter colored cars did get into were also less severe. The study was done in Australia with all accidents resulting in death, injury, or the car being towed between 1987 and 2004.

While light-colored cars were definitely safer, they also had a lower resale value. Over the 18 years covered in the study, white cars were worth up to £500 less than darker colors. Darker colors were also much more popular than colors on the other end of the spectrum, which helps explain why lighter colors commanded less money on resale. We guess the 2008 Taurus isn't really the safest car in America since it doesn't come in white.

[Source: WhatCar?]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy shots: Dodge's 'JC49' midsized crossover

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Dodge's latest crossover (codenamed JC49) has been spotted again, out testing ahead of its sales launch early next year. Likely to be built at Chrysler's Toluca plant, the new crossover is tipped to share its platform with the Sebring family and could even spawn a new version of the PT Cruiser.

Production will kick into gear by the end of this year with roughly 150,000 cars expected to roll off the line annually. Though it's hard to gauge what the new model will look like, previous reports have suggested it'll be styled similarly to the Nitro SUV.

There's a great deal riding on the new JC49. The new crossover is a crucial element of Dodge's first serious attempt at tackling the European market, which means that an economical four-cylinder option is a given and possibly a new diesel unit as well. US markets will wind up with Chrysler Group's 3.5L V6 engine but is North America ready for another Dodge crossover.

[Source: Autoblog.nl]

 

[via] Autoblog

Break the bank: Bugatti increasing production of Veyron

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If you have $1.4 million and a burning desire to command 1,000hp, we have good news for you. The folks in charge of Bugatti have decided to again increase production of the Veyron by 25-percent to shorten the waiting list for the supercar to end all supercars to under one year. That may sound like a big jump in production, but when you're only creating 60 vehicles per year, the bump is only 15 units. Bugatti earlier declared that there would only be 300 Veyrons produced, and we don't know if that number has changed along with the additional annual production. It's hard to imagine the Veyron being anything but a really fun investment due to its limited production cadence, but we wouldn't be surprised if Bugatti's limited but wealthy clientele would snap if the Veyron went even one supercar past the promised target of 300.

[Source: WorldCarFans]

 

[via] Autoblog

Freeman Thomas - Ford never planned to build the Interceptor

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Freeman Thomas with the Airstream concept

During the concept car ride that Ford held at their Dearborn proving ground this week, some of Ford's top designers including Peter Horbury and Freeman Thomas were on hand to answer questions from the gathered journalists. Thomas currently leads Ford's Advanced Design Studio in Irvine, California, and made his name being involved in designs like the Audi TT and Volkswagen New Beetle. Now he is trying to help revive the design team at Ford and bring them them some new hits.

During a wide ranging discussion out on the track, he acknowledged that design had definitely not been a priority in the product decision making process at Ford. In the process of creating some cars that offended no one they also excited no one and that has to stop. Not every vehicle is going to appeal to everyone and they need to strive to create vehicles that really excite a significant number of buyers. He gave high praise to Alan Mullaly and Derrick Kuzak for the support they are providing to the design team.

Thomas told the Detroit News what he had been told at the Detroit Auto Show that the Interceptor concept was never intended to be developed into a production vehicle. When Alan Mullaly was told that after seeing the car and loving the bold design, he was dismayed. Based on the reactions to cars like the Interceptor and Lincoln MKR, Ford is now revisiting their designs and elements of cars like the Interceptor will appear in the future. We will also be seeing some of the "kinetic" design that debuted on the new Mondeo in the US market in the coming years.

You can listen to the discussion we had with Freeman Thomas at the Dearborn track here. Sorry about the wind noise in spots.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Greenies war on fun: CO2 limits might kill Ferrari, Porsche

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Are Ferraris and Porsches condemned to becoming track-day-only toys? Europe already appears well on its way to outlawing ultra-high performance vehicles. Can the US be far behind? That's the question Bloomberg is asking. The culprit in the attack on sports cars isn't necessarily their speed, but the fact that they produce too much carbon dioxide. But they do get criticized for their speed as well. One British member of the European Parliament, Chris Davies, is actually proposing a prohibition on any car with a top speed over 162 km/h (101 mph). That wouldn't leave much choice for buyers unless everybody started fitting governors.

The CO2 problem is the big one though. The European Union is planning to limit CO2 emissions in lieu of fuel-mileage standards. Carbon dioxide is considered one of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. While limiting CO2 emissions might be a laudable goal, the finger too often gets pointed at cars. Car & Driver's Csaba Csere is quoted in the article, talking about the fact that power plants and factories are where politicians should be focusing their efforts. "Automobiles always seem to be the focus, even though they only consume 15 percent or 20 percent of energy,'' he said.

While much of the article dwells on the anti-rich attitude that permeates these types of attacks, the writer brings up some interesting points. Some stuff seems purely intended to provoke reactions, and much of it feels like opinion over fact, but that's editorial content for you. Click over to read the whole thing.

Thanks for the tip, JayP!

[Source: Bloomberg]

 

[via] Autoblog

Blue Devil Corvette: Fact vs. fiction courtesy of P.M.

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With all the rumors surrounding the hyped-up Corvette, Jim Dunne over at Popular Mechanics wanted to get some answers, so he went to the source - well, a source, at least.

According to the "largest Corvette dealer in Michigan" the Blue Devil/SS 'Vette will get a singular supercharger, will cost upwards of $100k and could possibly push out the current Z06 to be the dominant Corvette in the General's lineup. Only 3,000 abnormally-aspirated, Corvette supercars will be built over two years, with 1,500 units being allocated for sale each year.

The shocker? According to the unnamed dealer, none of GM's manual transmissions are up to the task of handling all the ponies produced by the blown powerplant. The solution: it's getting an automatic.

The one question that wasn't answered (or possibly even asked) is "when?" We're putting our money on Detroit or Chicago, but considering all the misinformation out there; we'd suggesting talking to a dealer.

[Source: Popular Mechanics]

 

[via] Autoblog

Fiat 500 to come equipped with Microsoft Blue&Me

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The now available Fiat 500 is being advertised as a sort of Italian (but made in Poland) MINI Cooper, with a cute design and a nimble next-gen Ford Ka platform. One item that the little Fiat will have that the MINI doesn't is the Blue&Me system that Fiat co-developed with Microsoft. Blue&Me packs most of the technology that's on Ford and Microsoft's SYNC, but with hands-free navigation added to the tech party. Like with SYNC, Blue&Me uses the radio as its main interface to connect iPods and phones instead of a navigation system, which should help keep costs down.

We were impressed with SYNC at a recent Ford event, and Blue&Me seems to take the concept of integrating the driver's digital assets to the car to the next level. It appears that the Europeans have gotten the better version of auto technology yet again.

[Source: Engadget]

 

[via] Autoblog

Coming soon to a TV near you: Click and Clack

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Tom and Ray Magliozzi might be the first to admit that most people on the radio have faces that suit the medium, to put it delicately. There's no place to hide when you make the jump to television, but the Tappet brothers have avoided that with their new animated sitcom PBS will be rolling out next summer. The show is not yet named; a contest soliciting names from fans of the pair's radio show will be announced soon. Plots will center around the oft-discussed hijinks that the brothers snort and chortle over between calls. The fictional Car Talk Plaza, located in Cambridge Massachusetts' Harvard Square, will be coming to life, and the cast is fleshed out with a variety of supporting characters, most of which seem to be based on real individuals, or composites of several people.

For all their self-deprecating humor, Car Talk is one of the most popular shows on NPR, and their producer, Doug Berman, is on board for the TV series as well. The Magliozzi's animated series will be the first primetime animated show aimed at a general audience for PBS. There's a talented team behind the show, and it may even bring new eyeballs to sometimes fusty PBS. In addition to the show, there's a partnership with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators in which the animated stars deliver safe driving messages to drivers while they suffer in line at DMVs, as well as on educational materials and on the web. We wonder if that effort will be called "Don't Drive Like My Brother."

 

[via] Autoblog

GM officially intros the Opel Agila

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Click image for photo gallery

GM unveiled the new Opel Agila to the media in Venice on Wednesday. The choice of venue was no accident, as the previous Suzuki Wagon R+-based Agila sold more copies in Italy than anywhere else. The new Agila is once again a badge-engineered Suzuki twin. The Splash is mechanically identical and simply wears a different set of duds fore and aft.

GM will look to young women as the key demographic they seek to capture with the little urban hatch, focusing on its style and utility (five-door config, numerous storage compartments, etc.). As previously reported, it's going to launch with a trio of small engines: 1.0L and 1.2L gasoline, and a 1.3L diesel. In addition to a verbose new press release (pasted after the jump for those interested), Opel also released several new photos of the car, inside and out. The Agila's a good-looking little hatch, but those stylized, floating "A G I L A" letters on the seats really need to go. We'll get a firsthand look at the Agila and its twin, the Splash, in Frankfurt.

[Sources: Opel, Automotive News]

Continue reading GM officially intros the Opel Agila

 

[via] Autoblog

Porsche borrows 10 billion euros to buy VW

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Porsche is not going to let up on its acquisition of VW. The Stuttgart maker of neun-ein-eins has tapped into a network of 37 lenders for a $13.7 billion loan to finance its purchase of VW shares. The money will go to pay for outstanding Volkswagen shares, since VW shareholders only offered up less than one-percent of their shares when Porsche offered them below-market-value sale prices. We aren't sure if anyone outside Porsche mandarins (most of them named "Piech") really knows why the company decided it wanted to swallow VW, but it's been theorized that it's in order to prevent hedge funds from taking over and breaking up the VW group. Earlier this year it was reported that of Porsche's 1.14 billion euro fiscal profit in the first fiscal half of '07, more than one billion of it came from VW. In which case it makes sense that Porsche would do whatever possible to keep the siblings together.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

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[via] Autoblog

Rare Callaway Corvette for sale in Aussie auction

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One of the last official Callaway-tuned Corvettes to be listed as an official GM product is up for sale, of all places, at an auction in Australia. The twin-turbo Chevrolet Corvette is car number 14 in the RPO B2K series, which saw only 62 GM Callaways roll off the line back in 1991.

Decked in an intense Competition Pearl Yellow paint job, this particular 'Vette has a unique history as it was the 1991 show car at the Los Angeles Auto Show and consequently was packed with every option available on the extensive Callaway order list. Under the hood is a 5.7L Chevy V8 with a pair of Rotomaster turbochargers bolted on that delivers up to 450hp and an earth-moving 575lb-ft of torque - enough to reach the claimed top speed of 190mph.

The car, which is now up for sale by Shannons auctions, has spent its days in the living room of one car nut, who purpose built the house around it. Anyone Downunder interested in purchasing it will need to front up at least $155,000, which is just the starting price the obsessed owner is looking for.



[Source: Shannon's]

 

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[via] Autoblog

Forbes names "Most Affordable Luxury Cars"

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One of our favorite non-auto-publications-laughably-doing-car-stories, Forbes has just issued its list of the most affordable luxury cars available today. Sound like an oxymoron? Well, it is, sort of, but their point is a logical one. Even the entry-level models from most luxury players are getting the toys from their bigger siblings. And even in cars that don't necessarily have more expensive siblings, they have had to adopt those features to stay competitive. The idea behind the article is to show us the most luxury you can get on a budget. And most of the choices are pretty sound. The trouble comes in where they start to make suggestions like, "Preparing to plunk down $61,715 on a brand-new Lexus LS460? Save your money. Instead, buy a $30,000 IS 250." The implication that the IS is somehow as good as the LS at a much lower price is ludicrous. They just tend to focus on features rather than performance or room or style, but it makes a decent buyers guide overall. These are solid choices in the near-luxury segment for the most part. Click through the read link to see photos of each along with some of the reasons it was selected.

[Source: Forbes via AIADA First Up]

 

[via] Autoblog

For Sale: Mazda Hen's Tooth..err, Cosmo

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click on the pic to see more of Chuck's shots

Autoblog addict Chuck Goolsbee was out in his E-Type last weekend and naturally wanted to avoid the freeway in such a delightful car. Pulling a Clark Griswold, Chuck got lost on an Indian reservation. Rather than have the neighborhood assist in stripping excess mass from his swoopy kitty, Chuck noticed the sun glinting off a vaguely familiar shape off in the distance. The front bumper wrapped tightly around a low nose, and chrome-ringed headlamps were tucked safely behind plexiglass lenses. "Wow," Chuck thought, "another E-Type!" Car people are social creatures, so Chuck's plans changed in an instant. Passenger footwell clogged with grocery bags, ice cream turning into warm milk, he pulled up to the curb and suddenly realized he was in the presence of something even more special than an E-Type.

[Source: Chuck Goolsbee]

Continue reading For Sale: Mazda Hen's Tooth..err, Cosmo

 

[via] Autoblog

SpeedART Porsche Turbo comes in regular, XL

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Click the image above for a gallery of the SpeedART BTR-XL 550.

SpeedART has already released it's aero-enhanced modifications for the 997 Porsche Turbo in the form of the "Bi-Turbo Racer" kit, but where there's more money to be had, a German tuner is more than happy to oblige.

The "BTR-XL" package ups the ante by adding an adjustable front chin spoiler, adjustable rear wing, revised air intakes, a rear diffuser and a set of side skirts, all in an effort to increase down force at speed. All the parts can either be had painted to match the exterior hue or left with the tell-tale weave of carbon fiber, assuring that anyone within eye-shot is aware that you've got more money than you know what to do with.

New 20-inch rolling stock fill the wheel wells and cover a sports suspension and brake package, while a sport exhaust, with a "sound switch" and some ECU tuning increase output to 550 HP.

Naturally, the interior gets a bit more trick, with the addition of new a steering wheel, short shifter and sport seats, as well as something SpeedART defines as "etc." Etcetera it is - all of it.

[Source: SpeedART]

 

[via] Autoblog

"CEO 1" numberplate brings record £154,100 bid on eBay

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The personalized license plate phenomenon has taken hold all across the globe. While Americans rightly refer to them as Vanity Plates, they aren't the only ones to go ga-ga over just the right combination of letters and numbers. In the UK, the fascination is even more notable because people own the plates and can keep them as they move from vehicle to vehicle, or even buy or sell plates they like. Recently a plate with a very desirable code came up for auction on eBay. Appealing to businesses and corporate executives (or wannabes), the "CEO 1" plate was expected to fetch a pretty nifty sum. And it did. It just set a record for the highest price ever paid for a personalized numberplate on eBay at £154,100. That's more than $300,000 in case you were wondering. So it's very likely the plates will be worth more than the car they are affixed to, depending on what the top bidder's ride is.

Amazingly, this figure barely puts the plate in the top ten for overall highest prices paid. After the jump is a list, with numberplate, sale price, and year sold. Crazy. But if you simply have to have that plate, there aren't a lot of options.

Continue reading "CEO 1" numberplate brings record £154,100 bid on eBay

 

[via] Autoblog

Live from Dearborn: Driving the Lincoln MKR Concept

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Click on the MKR for a high-res gallery of the concept drive

Ford took the wraps off of a trio of concept vehicles at this years Detroit Auto Show that went with the themes American Journey, American Muscle, American Beauty. The first two were represented by the Ford Airstream and Interceptor concepts while beauty took the form of the Lincoln MKR. Ford recently invited a group of journalists out to its Dearborn Development Center to sample the concepts and get a preview of some other technologies they are working on.

In general concept cars are usually far from complete vehicles, generally being built to show off design ideas rather than performance prowess. The MKR is no exception with Ford limiting our speeds on the ride loop to a mere 10-15 mph. The MKR, like the Interceptor, is built from a stretched S197 Mustang platform, in this case with an extra six inches between the wheels. The point of the MKR was to define a new coherent design language for Lincoln. Since the 1980s, Lincoln has been all over the place with no coherent image or direction. That is all about to change.

Continue reading about the new look of Lincoln after the jump, including a discussion with design lead Xitij Mistry.

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Live from Dearborn: Driving the Lincoln MKR Concept

 

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[via] Autoblog