VIDEO: DIY rocket-powered Hot Wheels

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Show of hands. How many of you used Black Cats and cherry bombs to incinerate large numbers of Hot Wheels as kids? Especially the pink ones, right? Because they were for girls. Do you know how much those cars in their pre-charred, uncrispy state could be worth right now? What were you thinking?

Here's a better use of miniature cars and pyrotechnics not endorsed by Mattel (this we can guarantee): rocket-powered Hot Wheels. Even if you choose not to study the step-by-step instructions (basically, just strap a model rocket motor to a Hot Wheels car) at Instructables, you must watch the video we've embedded after the jump. It's what we as kids were trying to accomplish 20 years ago. We think.

[Source: Instructables]

Continue reading VIDEO: DIY rocket-powered Hot Wheels

 

[via] Autoblog

Sniff Petrol relaunch: Auto-satire at its finest

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Sniff Petrol, one of our favorite automotive spoof sites, has been running on fumes for the last few months, depriving those of us with a semi-sick sense of humor from the satirical stylings of ex-Top Gear producer Richard Porter. Well, as of a week ago, they've relaunched the site in blog format and have returned, sporting an RSS feed and breaking news about the supposed impregnation of the new M3 by members of the British motoring press.

If you're down for a hearty chuckle, you can visit the new site here and look over the archives of the now defunct site here. It's not quite "fake" news in the same vein as The Daily Show, but if your view is askew, then it's right up your alley. And we'd be remiss not to mention Gareth Jones on Speed, a semi-regular podcast featuring Porter, Mr. Jones and Zog as they rehash some of the major events across the pond and discuss the trials and tribulations of F1. You can visit Gareth's site here, and subscribe to their podcast in iTunes.

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy shots: BMW V-series mule

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With Audi and Mercedes rampantly trying to fill every conceivable segment, BMW has been stepping up development of its own niche vehicles, including the X6 CUV and now, a contender in the it's-not-a-minivan crowd, the V-Series.

The 3-Series wagon-bodied prototype supposedly foretells what BMW plans to pit against the Mercedes R-Class, sporting third-row seating and a somewhat higher ride height.

Little is known about the V-Series yet, but if KGP's spies are to be trusted, we should expect to see BMW's newest people-mover hitting the market sometime in 2010.

[Source: InsideLine]

 

[via] Autoblog

Goody's giving away Richard Petty-themed Charger R/T

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A little Google surfing spat forth this little nugget. If you're into entering sweepstakes, you can register to win a new Dodge Charger R/T from Goody's Headache Powders. The ride will be finished to replicate a 1971 Richard Petty STP Charger, complete with the #43 on the doors and the Petty/Goody's anniversary logo on it, well, somewhere. Anyway, this might be even cooler to have than one of the modern takes on a "General Lee" Charger. Sadly, it's not an SRT8, but hey, it's free and it's got a HEMI. You can enter here. Be prepared to get all kinds of crap in the mail from GlaxoSmithKline, though.

[Source: Goody's via SceneDaily]

 

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Better off not dead: Lane Meyers' Camaro lives

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Sometime in the late 80s, according to a guy named Jeff, he saw the John Cusack movie "Better Off Dead," nd he fell in love with Lane Meyers' restored '67 Camaro. Who didn't, right?

Jeff, however, took his crush a little further, perhaps to the extent some might call stalking. He set out to find that car, and, if possible, bring it home. You would think a car as famous as Lane Meyers' black Camaro would be easy to locate, probably in one of those star car museums sitting between a not-so-rare Batmobile and a General Lee replica. But, no. Jeff's search turned out to be more difficult than Charles DeMar's quest for illicit substances.

A random mailing of letters to several names in the movie's credits dug up the name of the movie's transportation captain (possibly Robert Elsey, but Jeff's site doesn't identify him) in L.A. The Camaro had been owned by his son, who sold it 1989, but made no mention of its movie-star past to the buyer. With no VIN or registration records from that owner, it seemed a dead end, except for the Camaro's old car tag. It was the very same one seen on the car in the film.

With that and the help of a team of private investigators, Jeff tracked down the current owner who said he was indeed willing to sell. So Jeff flew from Florida to L.A. to find the car in pretty rough shape and in need of major work, but bought it anyway.

In April 2003, after a year of restoration work (done by Time Machines, Inc. not French exchange students, by the way), the Camaro was back in shape to take on drag-racing Japanese brothers.

Jeff's in Colorado now, but still shows the car and has amassed several interesting pieces of movie memorabilia, including the pig hat worn by Cusack.

[Source: Better Off Dead Camaro via Hemmings Auto Blogs]

 

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Bring the Toys! Kickass AWD R/C car race/drift video

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Kyosho's Mini-Z series of RC cars is pretty neat. Measuring in at around 5 inches in length, the cars are exquisitely detailed, and as you'll see in the video after they jump, they go like stink. The embed is a long form commercial/promo that centers mainly on the Mini-Z AWD series. The pair of R34 Skylines you see duking it out on the track both sport the AWD chassis under their bodywork, and it's pretty awesome to see how well the cars handle when the remote's in the hands of someone who knows what he's doing. Even more impressive is when the "drivers" start drifting the cars at around the midway point. The drifts are deftly executed and it look great on video, and it leads directly to a second drift demo using the Mini-Z racers based on the cars from the Manga and Anime drift series, Initial D. Stay through the end to see a Countach LP400 and a Ferrari F430 tackle the miniature race course, too. We totally want one of these little cars, even though we're more likely to put it into the kitchen wall at the RC-car equivalent of 150 mph than we are to execute a successful drift.

Video after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Bring the Toys! Kickass AWD R/C car race/drift video

 

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First official images of the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2

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Click image for photo gallery

In the wake of the Porsche 911 GT2 brochure leak on Thursday, Carscoop has posted the first official images of the mighty new 'bahn-stormer. They're clearer than the ones included in the brochure sca, which you can view by click ing here. The car'sessentials break down as follows:

2008 Porsche 911 GT2
  • 3.6-liter twin turbo flat six
  • 530 horsepower at 5,600 rpm
  • 505 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,200 to 4,500 rpm
  • 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds
  • 0-100 mph in 7.1 seconds
  • Top speed of 204 mph
  • Curb weight:: 3,175 lbs
  • Titanium exhaust
  • 6-speed manual gearbox
  • Launch control system
The brochure spells it all out in greater detail, but suffice to say that the new GT2 is one of the most serious sports cars to come from Porsche -- ever, and it appears to be more than worthy of the "Respect Required" tagline the automaker applies to it. Click the gallery below for the newest photos. We'll add to it as more become available.

[Source: Carscoop]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: Production Kia Soul

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Approximately six months ago, we got news that Kia's Soul crossover concept would be entering production, and now we have the first spy shots taken in Korea. Designed in California and unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, the Soul will be a strong competitor to the flood of new crossovers coming to market.

The design of the production model is very close to the concept. Basically, it loses the suicide doors, has smaller wheels and the roof isn't as chopped. The Soul will fit five occupants and be powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed auto. No AWD version is expected - to save costs Kia has stuck with FWD and will price the vehicle to reflect this. The Soul is also expected to go to Europe where it will most likely come with a diesel engine as an option.

As a cheap and fuel-efficient way to move five people, the Soul could be just the right thing.

[Source: Kia World]

 

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Splitsville for Budweiser and Earnhardt Jr.

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One of the most recognizable advertising tandems in NASCAR, Dale Ernhardt Jr. and Budweiser, are on the outs. When Jr. split from DEI in favor of Hendrick Motorsports, virtually any chance of this dynamic duo staying together vanished due to Hendrick's existing contracts. Hendrick's other big NASCAR stars, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, have endorsement deals with another advertising juggernaut, Pepsi. Jr. seems to be genuinely disappointed that he couldn't keep Bud, and with good reason. Some of the very best ad gurus on the planet work for Budweiser, and many feel that's a main reason why Jr's such a popular figure. Then again, he has his legendary father's name working for him, too, which obviously helps. As Jr. points out to the Chicago Tribune, Bud also throws the best parties and events, which is a great bonus for a single driver in his 20s. Details of Jr.'s next primary sponsor are still being worked out.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bring the Toys II: Tomica Skyline 50th Anniversary die-casts

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Click image to enlarge

As Japan celebrates 50 years of the Nissan Skyline, Tomica, known for its Matchbox-style die-cast cars has released six new commemorative toy cars. Arriving in their signature cardboard boxes (just like matchboxes used to), these cars' packaging will feature the Skyline 50th logo and each will come with a collectible decal as well. generations two (S54B) through six (R30) of the Japanese icon are represented, including a blue "Ken and Mary" coupe. The cars will sell for ¥ 525 apiece in Japan starting at the end of this month, and while Tomicas are a little harder to come by here in the States, they're all over eBay, so if you want the Skylines, you should start seeing them on the auction site in due time.

[Sources: Tomica, Carview]

 

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2008 Suzuki Hayabusa gets redesign, bigger engine, more power

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The unending contest between Suzuki and Kawasaki to see who can build the world's fastest streetbike continues, with Suzuki introducing an all-new Hayabusa for 2008. The bike's engine grows from 1299cc to 1340cc for '08, and a commensurate power jump is expected to let the new 'Busa equal or surpass the numbers put up by Kawasaki's hyper-performance machine, the Ninja ZX-14. Bikeland.org has hi-res pics and full features and specs on the '08 'Busa, which will be joined in showrooms by a naked edition dubbed the "B-King." The price for the the '08 Hayabusa's time-and-space-bending performance: $11,999. Suzuki's official site has the skinny on all the new '08s here.

Follow the jump for a video of the 2008 Hayabusa's reveal.

[Source: Bikeland.org]

Continue reading 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa gets redesign, bigger engine, more power

 

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Oldest Caddy in existence going up for auction

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How come none of the Cadillacs we've bought for $850 have appreciated to bring millions at auction? First off, this 1903 Cadillac Model A runabout is going to be offered at Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction, part of Monterey Week in August. Our Caddys would've only been appropriate at a scrap metal auction. The 13th ever Cadillac, this car was on the stand at the New York Auto show in 1903, and was the first of the brand to be sold west of the Mississippi.

These brass era Cadillacs are what earned the brand its early tagline of "The Standard Of The World." The "Little Hercules" single-cylinder powerplant sits under the front seat and drives the rear wheels, and the cars were filled with solid engineering. Cadillac made mass-production possible by pioneering interchangeable parts. Nobody thought it was possible to ship a fully-disassembled car to Europe and bolt together a fully-operable automobile from parts that came off the shelf. Cadillac's uniform parts made that stunt possible, and burnished the reputation of the brand in those early days. This car predates that innovation, but if this is indeed the car that was at the New York show, it helped spur 2,000 orders with its precise build quality.

We've not caught wind of any conjecture about the sale price, but old #13 is believed to be the earliest surviving Caddy. Numbers 1-12 have been lost to the sands of time, so this car's unique history and status will likely lead to it trading hands for a considerable amount. Originally selling for $850 back in the day, we wouldn't be shocked to see lots of digits to the left of the decimal. Now, if we could get the same kind of return on that sub-$1000 Cimmaron, we'd be all set.

[Source: Motor Trend]

 

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Designers to Ferrari: we will have a Dino with or without you!

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So many designers are getting in on Dino action these days, we can only hope the car doesn't turn into the automotive equivalent of Snakes on a Plane. Ferrari's consistent disavowals regarding any plans to make "a cheap Ferrari" is not stopping those with pens and intricate rendering software from making their own. Next into the breach is Ernesto Freitas, a Portuguese designer and engineer who has not only drafted a mock-up Dino, he then made a foam model. It's not as elegant as some of the other randomly generated Dinos we've seen -- things get quite busy aft of the doors -- but there is a healthy dose of Dino language to be had throughout. No matter what, though, full marks to Mr. Freitas for commitment to his vision. As for you, Ferrari, we'll see you in Frankfurt with The Car That Isn't A Cheap Ferrari...

[Source: Autoblog.nl]

 

[via] Autoblog

Would you like beans with that? 2008 Mustang to use soy-based seat foam

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The 2008 Mustang that appears in August will be full o' beans. Soybeans. Ford has teamed with automotive supplier Lear Corporation on the creation of soy-based seat foam. Car seats currently contain roughly petroleum-based foam, and the new soy-based variety will substitute nearly a quarter of that mass with renewable content, as well as lower the amount of C0² emitted during the creation of the foam. Ford's been playing around with soy ever since with Model T, which contained 60 pounds of beans in its paint and molded plastic parts. This is the kind of environmental tech we can get behind -- and sit on -- without reservation. We do wonder, however, what it will do to that new car smell. This isn't the only "green" material Ford's using with regard to seating accommodations in '08 models, either. The new Escape's seat upholstery is made of eco-friendly recycled materials. For Ford's full press release on the new soy foam seats, click the image above or the "Read" link below to see it at AutoblogGreen.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Heavy duty double feature -- drifting semi, loader wheelie

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Growing up in the Midwest with sprint cars and other forms of dirt track racing, I have to admit that the current variety of drift racing hasn't really done much for me. (As opposed to car chases and The Fast and the Furious, which is illegal in real life and I would never recommend it, but I can't get enough of films with cars racing through the streets.) However, I have always had a thing for heavy machinery, and when you combine the two -- drifting and trucks -- well, all of a sudden it's tres cool. On the same note, somehow, using heavy machinery like a loader to do stunts normally associated with cars and bikes, like wheelies, is the perfect kind of absurdity for a Saturday afternoon. It's like elephants balancing on beach balls. Irresistible. Follow the jump to see 'em both. Now if we could just get some of those gigantic mining dump trucks in a three-up drift race in a quarry track...

[Source: Streetfire]

Continue reading VIDEO: Heavy duty double feature -- drifting semi, loader wheelie

 

[via] Autoblog

OnStar proliferation at GM

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The latest engine of growth in GM's efforts to reclaim its lost crown: OnStar. The 12th floor of the Renaissance Center is the OnStar Command Center where minions gather, mission-control style, to make sure that all is running smoothly for the 4.8 million subscribers to the OnStar empire. Eleven years into its life, OnStar's services now include keeping track of traffic jams, news, missing persons alerts, weather emergencies, giving turn-by-turn directions, and providing monthly diagnostic reports. On a busy day, the center gets 100,000 calls.

GM wants people to start buying its cars specifically because they come with the service. By the end of this year, 95-percent of GM cars sold in the US and Canada will have OnStar standard. The first year of service is free, and the hope is that by the end of 12 months the customer will find it indispensable. In case that isn't enough, in addition to the word-of-mouth advertising by 80 million people who have already been assisted by OnStar, GM is providing dealers with more training and increase its marketing of the service, noted primarily by moving Tiger Woods from the Buick campaign to OnStar.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 

[via] Autoblog

Denso SARD Supra HV-R takes the pole at Tokachi 24

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The Denso SARD Supra HV-R, a former Super GT racer modified to run with a hybrid powertrain, has taken the pole position for today's 2007 Tokachi 24-hour endurance race, which will be well underway by the time you read this. Toyota Team SARD competed with a hybrid in the event last year, a Lexus GS450h that finished 4th in class and 17th overall. The Supra HV-R is a different breed of cat entirely, however, and assuming it doesn't experience any mechanical problems or on-track mishaps, it looks to have a shot at the overall win. A lot can happen in a 24-hour race, however, so we'll just have to peek in during the day to see how things are progressing. With a 480-horsepower V8 augmented by in-wheel electric motors up front and a single electric motor in back, this ain't no grocery-getting Prius. This mean-looking thing's for real, and is the kind of hybrid even the most ardent speed freaks can get into.

[Source: SARD]

 

[via] Autoblog

Top Gear returns July 25th, headed to the North Pole

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Contrary to the now-defunct rumors, Top Gear will make its return on July 25th with an episode that'll surely send chills down the presenters' spines. The summer comeback episode will feature yet another race, this time pitting Clarkson and May against Hammond on a 450-mile trek from Northern Canada to the North Pole. According to Final Gear, the definitive Top Gear and Fifth Gear fan site, the journey will involve Jeremy and James traversing the Arctic in minus-85-degree Fahrenheit temperatures at the helm of a heavily-modified pickup, while Richard sees the sights on a sled pulled by ten Inuit dogs. With just ten days to go, let's just hope that the next series features more car reviews and bit less fluff.

[Source: Final Gear]

 

[via] Autoblog

Forbes lists 10 cars that require a passport to buy

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In Ten Cars You Can't Buy in the US, Forbes offers a sampling of tasty metal that US buyers just aren't good enough to put money down on. However, the real title should be Ten Cars You Can't Buy in the US Yet, or Any More, or That You Wouldn't Buy Even if You Could. The article focuses mainly on the Italians and the French, and reaffirms the French makers' intent not to return to the US any time soon. The slide show, though, includes the the Mitsubishi Evo (Forbes shows the Evo X, which we are getting), Smart (again, we're getting the new one), Vanquish S, and Skyline (available here as the G35). The article then goes on to suggest the Infiniti G35 as an alternative to the Skyline, its JDM twin. G35 coupes fully rebadged to replicate their JDM Skyline twins are nothing new, so Forbes isn't exactly offering revolutionary advice here.

[Source: Forbes.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Live from Dearborn: Driving the Ford Airstream Concept

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Click on the AirStream for a gallery of images at the track

Ford brought out its 2007 concept cars at the company's Dearborn Development Center this week to give the invited media, including your humble narrator, a chance to sample the new designs in the harsh light of day. And it was definitely a harsh day, with maximum humidity and temperatures in the low nineties.

Harsh certainly describes the treatment Ford got from the media at the Detroit Auto Show for the AirStream concept. The Lincoln MKR and Ford Interceptor both got an unintentional preview weeks before the show thanks to our colleagues at the print publications, but the Airstream came out of nowhere. As Peter Horbury acknowledged in our discussion, Ford may have been better off had it emphasized the mechanicals of the Airstream over the design.

Continue reading about the Airstream drive after the jump.


Continue reading Live from Dearborn: Driving the Ford Airstream Concept

 

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Bob talks about the triplets over at FastLane

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In the latest installment in the continuing series of videos being put out GM, the ever quotable "Maximum" Bob Lutz talks about the "Minimum" cars that Chevrolet showed as concepts at the New York Auto Show last April. The Chevy Groove, Beat and Trax are three design concepts off GM's next generation Global Subcompact Architecture. Lutz discusses why they were shown in New York, even though GM didn't have any plans to sell them hear. Just because they didn't have definite plans, it doesn't mean they won't change that at some point. Check out the video after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]


Continue reading Bob talks about the triplets over at FastLane

 

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