VIDEO: Goodwood - Wacky Racers in action

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Click above for gallery of Wacky Racers and other random sights from Goodwood

The last of the video clips from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this is the parade of cars from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Wacky Races. Don't remember that great series? Here's a wiki link to bring you up to speed. (If you have Boomerang on your cable or satellite service, you can catch episodes there, too - Ed.) The cartoon only ran for two years (1968-1970) and revolved around a racing series featuring wacky vehicles piloted by even wackier drivers. It was loosely based on the cartoonish movie, "The Great Race."

The quintessential villains on the show were Dick Dastardly and his dog, Muttley. Even though their #00 Mean Machine was probably the fastest thing on the planet, they always managed to bungle things. Rather than keeping their eyes on the prize, they were constantly trying to stop the other racers from finishing and it always ended in them losing the race.

The other vehicles and characters from the series are listed below.
  • 01 The Slag Brothers in the Bouldermobile
  • 02 The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe
  • 03 Professor Pat Pending in the Convert-a-Car
  • 04 Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer
  • 05 Penelope Pitstop in the Compact Pussycat
  • 06 Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly in the Army Surplus Special
  • 07 The Ant Hill Mob in the Bulletproof Bomb
  • 08 Luke and Blubber Bear in the Arkansas Chuggabug
  • 09 Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific
  • 10 Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth in the Buzz Wagon
Follow the jump for the YouTube clip produced and posted by our buddy over at SoCalSpeedZone. And if you haven't seen them yet, don't forget to check out our other posts from this year's Festival of Speed.

Better quality vid available by clicking here.

Thanks, Duane!

Continue reading VIDEO: Goodwood - Wacky Racers in action


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Magic Bus - Pete Townshend's 550 Maranello for sale

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Pete Townshend, famously cranky guitarist of The Who, has put his '99 Ferrari 550 Maranello up for sale. Known for smashing up his gear, our theory is that Pete only continues that anti-authoritarian gesture for show, and he doesn't break the good stuff. We've seen him break lots of Stratocasters, but precious few Les Pauls (though he does seem to have some animosity toward the SG, too). This Ferrari is definitely the good stuff, and it appears to be in great shape. The odometer has counted off 29,000 clicks, and the brown leather seats have likely taken on a nice patina. Today's exchange rate sets the price at $98,239.30. As used Maranello's go, that's on par with what the market seems to be bearing. Maybe as part of the purchase, you could have Pete show you how to windmill as you bash the shifter through its gated path.

[Source: Luxist]


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Spy Shots: 2008 Mazda6

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click above image to view more shots of the 2008 Mazda6 partially uncovered

Though spy shots of the 2008 Mazda6 have been snapped before, the automaker has done a good job obscuring the car's new shape from the camera's lens... until now. Chris Doane has managed to track down a production prototype wearing little camo that reveals exactly what Mazda has planned for the new 6. Clearly a bigger car than the current model, the new 6 should be about two inches longer with a similar stretch in its wheelbase. It appears the car's new front clip features larger headlights and a grille that plunges down the front bumper above another long lower air intake. Doane also managed to snap a view of the interior, which looks very high-tech with its hard lines and edges. It reminds us of the inner dwellings of an RX-8, in fact.

Priddy tells us that the new Mazda6 is expected to be motivated by Ford's now ubiquitous 3.5L V6, and there'll be a 180-horsepower 4-cylinder model, as well. Of course, MazdaSpeed will eventually debut its own hyper kinetic version, and a hybrid is also in the works.

Check out all our shots of the V6 Mazda6 in the gallery below, and you can take a peek of the 4-cylinder model over at Winding Road.

[Photos: Chris Doane / Brenda Priddy & Co.]


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VIDEO: Ferrari F430 hits the wall while filming PGR4 commercial

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Our colleague Noah will surely be saddened by this news and might want to avert his eyes now. An alert AutoblogGreen reader tipped off ABG the other night to some videos on YouTube of a Tesla Roadster street racing with a Ferrari F430, '63 Corvette, Mercedes-Benz SLR and a bike. After checking with Tesla, it turned that it was shot on a closed course while Microsoft was filming a commercial for the upcoming Project Gotham Racing 4 which will be featuring all those vehicles.

A visit to the YouTube account shows there are two more clips of the Ferrari alone. In these, the F430 drifts a bit too wide out of the corner and taps the concrete barrier with the left front corner. Fortunately, it didn't hit very hard and it doesn't appear much damage was done, although it will undoubtedly still be a very expensive day. Slabs of concrete are so much less forgiving than gravel pits! According to Tesla VP Darryl Siry, the finished commercial should appear on the old fashioned tube in mid-August with the game to follow from Microsoft in September. The Ferrari videos are after the jump and the rest showing all the cars are over at ABG.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

Continue reading VIDEO: Ferrari F430 hits the wall while filming PGR4 commercial


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Do Beethoven and Hyundai go together? Well, duh.

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We can't name any specific brands, but we're sure Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" have been commandeered for commercialism before. But we're almost positive this is the first time either have been sung by a chorus using only the word, "duh." As in, "Is gas too expensive? Well, duh."

The two classic compositions, as well as the "William Tell Overture," are being used in Hyundai's (or is that Hyunduh's) new sales push, "The Hyundai Big Duh Sales Event." They even set up a Web site ( where you can hear all three reworked pieces. Or, head to a Hyundai dealer, take one of their cars for a spin and get a CD with eight classics full of duh. The sale's theme is intended to make buyers think the rebate and financing deals Hyundai is offering are, of course, really good. Duh.

If you fancy yourself as being musically inclined, the special Web site provides a "duh" synthesizer that emits only "duhs." Record your song and play it back for all your adoring fans. Or at least in our case, our not-so-adoring fans. Duh.

For details on the sales, including rebate amounts, Hyundai's press is release is pasted after the jump.

[Source: Advertising Age]

Continue reading Do Beethoven and Hyundai go together? Well, duh.


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Killing a dog with a Nitro wasn't such a good idea after all

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When an ad agency supporting Chrysler's Netherlands Market Performance Center created a viral ad for the Dodge Nitro that depicted a dog being electrocuted by the vehicle, they were so smitten with their work that they decided to put it on YouTube. The timing of the spot couldn't be any worse here in the US, where dog cruelty is making front page news. Chrysler execs in Auburn Hills, MI were quick to pull the ad from YouTube and go into damage control, as Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines called the spot "far beyond the bounds of what the company considers appropriate". Vines also pointed out that viral marketing in Europe is a little more over the top than it is here in the States, and anybody that has seen some of the old Ford KA internet spots knows that sort of insensitivity wouldn't float here. What surprises us is that any multinational automaker can air advertising without at least one high-ranking executive looking at it first.

[Source: Auto News (subscription req'd)]


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Spy Shots: 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser totally uncovered

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Toyota's next-gen Land Crusier 4x4 has been spotted again, this time totally undisguised while out shooting a commercial in a desert landscape. Sharing its design with its almost identical Lexus LX570 twin, the '09 Cruiser sports all-new bodywork, new rear-light clusters, a unique front end with tapered headlights and a prominent grille.

New to the range will be the addition of Toyota's 381hp 5.7L V8 shared with its Lexus counterpart as well as a new 4.5L V8 turbodiesel. One key difference with the new range is the more upscale appearance for the legendary bush-whacker. The interior dons some new features such as the engine starter button, telescopic instrument gauges and plenty of chrome and wood paneling.

The new model also appears much larger than the current version with sculpted flanks and a stretched glasshouse. Look out for the official unveiling at October's Tokyo Auto Show ahead of its sales launch early next year.

Thanks for the tip, HybridX!

[Source: Carschool Forums]


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Spy Shots: BMW X6 ditches the cladding

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BMW X6Following an onslaught of boring spy shots depicting the BMW X6 as a precision-engineered Conestoga wagon, Brenda Priddy and her minions have finally caught the forthcoming sport crossover minus the super-duty Halloween costume. And guess what: it looks good.

That sloping rear won't do much for cargo space, but the target audience is unlikely to give a rat's patootie, as the X6's neat crossover-coupe bodywork looks ready to win over Bimmer-shopping style mavens. Brenda Priddy notes that the car will only seat four as a result, despite being longer than the higher-capacity X5. Swoopier crossovers that sacrifice capacity at the altar of style appear to be a coming trend. The forthcoming Infiniti EX and Audi's Cross Coupe Quattro concept demonstrate that BMW's not alone in its thinking.

[Source: Winding Road]


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RIP: MazdaSpeed6 and Mazda6 Sport Wagon killed off for '08

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click above image for high-res pics of the 2007 MazdaSpeed6

Mazda has released details about various changes for its 2008 model line, but only two points of interest concern us. Both the MazdaSpeed6 and Mazda6 Sport Wagon have been discontinued for the 2008 model year. The demise of the Sport Wagon comes at the hands of higher demand for the standard Sports Sedan and Mazda6 5-door. We say too bad, as the Mazda6 Sport Wagon was a kiddie hauler with some attitude, and we're surprised it gets the shaft before the 5-door sedan hatchback model.

If everyone could now take a moment to tip their 40-ounce for the all-wheel-drive MazdaSpeed6... thank you. This was a unique sports sedan, if based only on the fact that it utilized a turbo four-cylinder producing 270 horsepower rather than the more common 3.5L-and-above V6 mills that so many other automakers choose for their sports sedans. Some say it had a harsh ride, we say it was sharp. And the hood bulge, fender-filling wheels and dual-exhaust should tip you off anyway that this isn't milktoast.

One glimmer of hope that was found in Mazda's press release is the fact that the all-new Mazda6 (did you see the spyshots?) will not be a 2008 model, but more likely a 2009. So, if the fates are on our side, and we believe they are, the MazdaSpeed6 will return in a couple of years after the new model debuts and gets settled in. This time, however, we doubt it will packing as few as four cylinders.

[Source: Mazda via Kicking Tires]

Continue reading RIP: MazdaSpeed6 and Mazda6 Sport Wagon killed off for '08


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Bring the Toys! Tamiya reissues the Hotshot

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2007 tamiya Hotshot
Click image for photo gallery

Tamiya has responded to fans' calls for a re-release of its classic 1/10 scale 4WD R/C kit, the Hotshot. The 2007 edition goes on sale July 21in Japan, and while it looks like its forbear, it has been updated. The basic suspension setup is carried over -- front and rear double-wishbone with adjustable monoshocks -- but the dampers themselves are of a modern variety. Tamiya also updated the drive and propeller shafts in the name of efficiency, and uses an electronic speed controller in place of the original's mechanical unit. The old-school speed controller necessitated a pair of aluminum heatsinks at the rear of the car, which were part of its signature look. The ESC obviates the heatsinks, but Tamiya uses dummy units on the reissue to preserve the original car's classic appearance.

There are differences in some of the kit's decals, as well. Gone are the fully-licensed logos for the likes of KC HiLites and STP. Instead, generic ones appear (like the "BL" on the off-road light covers). CDs containing vintage decal artwork are readily available on sites like eBay, however, so hobbyists will undoubtedly find ways to decorate the new version to match the classic. Tamiya also says that a number of optional parts will be made available to allow further customization as well. Finally, since the '07 Hotshot is in fact different in the ways we've described, it's probably not unreasonable to believe that values of the collectible original-issue cars should be nominally affected, if at all. That said, we're not experts on this topic, so if any Tamiya enthusiasts are reading, we'd be interested in hearing your take in the comments.

On the Tamiya America website, the car's MSRP is set at $282 and it's listed as 'Coming Soon." We also found it listed for $222.24 and £124 with August availability at a couple of UK online retailers.The official Tamiya press release can be found here or by clicking the "Read" link below.

[Source: Tamiya]


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Chrysler moves more 300 production to Ontario

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The almost-independent Chrysler has decided to consolidate production of the next-generation 300 at its Brampton, Ontario plant. 30,000 units for European consumption were slated to be built in Austria, but the merciful cancellation of the Imperial has left room for the right-hand-drivers at the Canadian plant. The ability to place a steering wheel on the right side will cost the folks from Auburn Hills a cool $500 million, on top of the $700 million already earmarked for the Brampton retooling. The high price of the Euro also factored into the decision to move 300 production to Canada.

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


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Spy Shots: 2009 Lotus Esprit will be wicked, and this way it comes

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The Lotus Esprit, a car severely missed by a huge number of auto fans, is slated after numerous delays to return from the dead in 2009, perhaps at the Geneva Motor Show. Until then, the Dutch seem to be first in getting details on and spy shots of this most English of cars. Last year it was said that Esprit would have a "much more compact" footprint than than the Gallardo or F430, have an aluminum or composite skin, and be produced at a rate of 2,500 per year.

The latest info is that the engine will be a 4.8-liter V8 from BMW producing in excess of 400 bhp -- possibly with the help of some forced breathing apparatus. This time around, there will be a convertible version to go with the coupe, and word is that the car will sell for 70,000 British pounds. Whenever it arrives, it will find there aren't many chairs left in the affordable sports car arena, what with every month bringing a new entrant. Still, we only have two words for the new Esprit: bring it. For more spy shots of the zebra-striped car testing in Holland, go here.

The Stroopwafels are on us next time, Sam!

[Source: Autogespot]


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New fines for teen speeders in MA come in one size: XXXL

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Based on recent moves in Indiana, Virginia, the PSA's in Australia, and now Massachusetts, speeding of the teen and adult varieties is the latest headline-grabbing menace to society. Massachusetts' Junior Operators' License Law, which outlines the punishments meted out to traffic offenders under the age of 18, was recently strengthened.

One of the first victims was Jackie Crawford, four weeks shy of her 18th birthday, who was given a ticket for going 35 in a 25. First came the $100 fine. Then came the 3-month license suspension. Then came mandatory attendance in the State Courts Against Road Rage program, as well as a driver attitude retraining course -- both of which her mother had to drive her to because Jackie's license was suspended. Then came the $500 fee to have her license reinstated. But she won't actually get her license back until she retakes both the written and the driving tests again... and pays the fees for those as well. In MA, 25 means 25, especially if you're under 18.

Thanks for the tip, Dylan!

[Source: Worcester Telegram via Car Advice]


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VW developing electronic sun-visor embedded in windshield

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Popular Mechanics was recently given a chance to tour Volkswagen's R&D center and discovered a few surprising new bit bits of technology. One of them is so bitchin' that we had to share. It's an electronic sun visor. Similar to those auto-dimming rear-view mirrors or opaquing sunroofs seen on Maybachs and the like, this is a system embedded in the windshield glass that tints only a portion of the window exactly where it's needed. It's described as an electronic anti-glare system and uses an "electronic matrix" that is controlled by a computer. Ok, sure.

The way it works is that a "sun status sensor" and an eye-position sensor feed info to the computer. The computer then figures out where the sunlight is worst for the driver's eyes. It then produces a dark "spot" in the glass to block the sun. The spot will even move when you turn. So far you need special glass to make it work, but wow, what an improvement and very slick. Although this one appears to be just at the top edge of the windshield, we can see it being used across the whole expanse eventually, which would be especially helpful at dawn or dusk when the sun is too low to be effectively blocked by traditionally placed visors. Although, one has to wonder how much this "dark spot" obscures the driver's vision, but aside from that concern, we say VW needs to get this in production on a Bentley like yesterday.

Click over to Popular Mechanics to see what else they discovered while at VW.

[Source: Popular Mechanics]


[via] Autoblog

The VR Concept from the man who gave Europe the C-Max

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I don't think we've said this since at least yesterday, but when it comes to cars, Europe gets the best stuff. What you see above is only a concept, but it was dreamed up by Daniel Paulin, the gent who created Ford's C-Max -- which is a Europe-only offering -- as well as the original Focus concept and the FAB1 ship from the Thunderbirds film. Paulin left Ford, moved home to Sweden, and started the Paulin Motor Company. Its first product is this, a 2-seater called the VR Concept. Part Speed Racer, part sea creature, it's swoopy and planed at the same time. The lifting canopy is a pretty nifty evolution of Saab's Aero X jet fighter-style raising canopy. With that and the scissor doors, ingress and egress should be simple by even the most supercar-challenged body shapes. It would also make ejector seat installation a snap. Paulin is looking for partners to help put the car into production, and in the mean time will be producing three concepts per year, as well as an actual model for a motor show. As far as the VR goes, Mr. Paulin, we'll take it.

[Source: Auto Express]


[via] Autoblog

BMW acquires Husqvarna

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It's no secret that BMW is open to procuring more brands. With the company's purchase of Italian motorcycle maker Husqvarna, it's apparent that the roundel's expansive mood isn't limited to cars. BMW bikes, notable for their transverse heads, are larger bore bikes, with the smallest being 500cc. Last year the division crossed the 100K sales mark for the first time in its history.

Husqvarna, which was part of the Italian MV Augusta motorcycle group but was actually a Swedish maker from 1903 to 1986, produces mostly single-cylinder off-road bikes from 125cc to 610cc. Husqvarna only sold 12,000 bikes last year, but owning it will give BMW a larger off-road range, and access to younger buyers focused on sports, competition, and supermoto. Instead of rebranding the bikes as BMWs, the German firm will continue to operate it as a separate unit, even keeping it located in Varese, Italy. Neither side revealed how much BMW paid, and the sale still awaits EU approval.

Thanks for the tip, Robert!

[Source: Daily Motorcycle News]


[via] Autoblog

Automotive Traveller hearts Autoblog

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In the most recent digital issue of Automotive Traveller, your very own Autoblog was chosen as one of the digimag's six favorite automotive-related sites on the internet. Autoblog FTW! We share the space with our colleagues from Jalopnik, The Car Connection and others. If you're interested, the selection is on page 118 of the current issue, which also includes an excellent adventure with a Volkswagen Touareg, a roadtrip to Malawi in Africa, tips on photographing the expressive details of your car and much more. It's 122 pages large, so there's plenty to thumb through, and Automotive Traveller follows our own edict of providing content for free, so what's there to lose?

[Source: Automotive Traveller]


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BMW name celebrates 90th birthday

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July 21 is a very special day for many of us. It marks the release of the last installment in the Harry Potter series. But it is also a special date for lovers of Bavarian wheels. For, 90 years ago on that forthcoming date, the BMW name first appeared. Way back in 1917, BMW was trademarked and soon after the new name was applied to everything built by the firm. Those three little letters that would come to signify sports sedans to so many, were built on the back of a small engine manufacturer. Back then Karl Rapp was building V12 engines for Austro-Daimler. Soon he was joined by Camillo Castiglioni, Cornelius Jagdmann and Max Friz, and Bayerische Motoren Werke was born. We suggested BMW give away 90 M3s to automotive bloggers in honor of the occasion, but they haven't returned our calls.

[Source: MotorAuthority]


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First customer Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupes ready for delivery

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Click image to enlarge

Well, the good life is about to get better for five people scattered around the globe. We refer to the customers who will be taking delivery of the first five Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupes, which rolled out of Goodwood this week. Each of the initial five cars shown above is fitted with the optional brushed steel bonnet trim and teak decking, making an already impressive car even more opulent. Meticulously hand-built, boasting a powerful 12-cylinder, mildly softer lines than the Phantom saloon, and rearward-swinging doors, the Drophead Coupe might well be the ultimate arrival vehicle -- big, bold and laden with panache. One thing's all but certain: when owners pull up to the valet in their new open-topped Rollers, chances are they'll be left right in front. This isn't one you hide in the back lot with the Toyotas, you see.

[Source: Rolls-Royce]


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Hyundai and Kia open $58M green tech center

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Bolstering their green credentials and commitment to the environment, Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have teamed up on a $50 million green tech R&D center. The purpose of the facility will be to "accelerate the commercialization of fuel-cell electric vehicles," and it is kitted out with a hydrogen filling station, an endurance tester, emissions lab, and dynos. There is also a prototype plant for automated vehicle dismantling that will explore options for bettering the amount of recyclables in the modern car. Even the toilets at the facility are green: they are vacuum units, as on airplanes, that will save 1,500 tons of water per year. Hyundai and Kia have not been considered major players in the hybrid movement, but, depending on what starts to come out of this center, that could change rather soon.

[Source: Inside Line]


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