GALLERY: 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 pics aplenty

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click above image to view updated high-res gallery of 2008 Porsche 911 GT2

We thought we had our fill of the 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 when we caught it in Frankfurt ahead of the car's official unveiling. Our live pics, as good as they are, don't do the amped-up 911 Turbo variant justice. How does one capture 530 HP and a 204 MPH top speed in pictures? Click on the gallery below that contains 34 new images to find out. Back in the '80s, these pics would have plastered our bedroom walls. Today, they're our new desktop wallpaper. Enjoy.

[Source: Porsche]

 

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Chinese mall gives away Aveo to the biggest sucker

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There are just so many ways to get in trouble with this post, we're going to do our best to keep it as straight as possible.

A Chinese shopping mall recently held a contest to give away a Chevy Aveo. To win, 120 contestants sucked on silicone baby bottle nipples attached to the car, with the last remaining sucker taking home the car. They couldn't touch the car with anything but their lips, and were only allowed two 10-minute breaks.

After 24 hours, six contestants remained. To winnow the field further, the finalists were told to stand only on one foot. Another three hours and 45 minutes went be before five dropped out, leaving Zhang Chunying as the mall's biggest sucker. She was so worn out by the ordeal, she had to be carried away.

Just a few days ago, we told you about Jeep's chocolate-licking contest, now we bring you sucking on a Chevy Aveo for the win? We say no thanks to both and instead will just take the buss.

More photos available at Sky News.

[Source: Sky News via Carscoop]

 

[via] Autoblog

Could the UAW buy GM?

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Felix Salmon at Seeking Alpha says the short answer is, yes, but it probably won't.

With the newly draw up contract between the UAW and GM, the automaker will transfer almost $30 billion into a what is basically a health care fund, with another $5 billion to $7 billion added down the road. As Salmon says, that's more than enough to just buy the General outright, essentially turning it into an employee-owned company.

[Source: Seeking Alpha]

Continue reading Could the UAW buy GM?

 

[via] Autoblog

CraigsList Find of the Decade: 930,000 mile '95 Honda Civic

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There's high mileage, and then there's this. A 1995 Honda Civic is for sale in Atlanta with, count 'em, 939,899 miles. That's 200+ miles a day. Every day. Including Sundays. For 12 years. It even has a Carfax report from when the car had 907,000 miles on it. According to the seller, the car runs like new, with no leaks, no noises, no oil burning, and not even a scratch on the body. In fact, the only blemish listed is that one of the dashboard lights doesn't work, and that's only sometimes.

The car is on its ninth timing belt, ninth water pump, and fourth clutch. But the engine and transmission are original, as are the floor mats. The car even comes with records. The most incredible thing isn't the mileage, though. It's how the owner put the miles on the car: driving on business trips from Atlanta... to Seattle... and San Francisco. We want to know what kind of business -- or what kind of boss -- makes a guy drive across the country and back, and then some, every single month for 12 straight years.

To paraphrase The Proclaimers, if you buy this car then you can drive a million miles and you can drive a million more...

Thanks for the tip, Ronnie!

[Source: CraigsList]

 

[via] Autoblog

Modified HDT Commodores to commemorate racing legend Peter Brock

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The relationship between Holden and the late Peter Brock goes back nearly forty years, and a good part of that time saw the Aussie racing legend compete behind the wheel of a Commodore sedan. During his illustrious career, Brock's leadership of the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) racing outfit also saw several modified high-performance roadgoing Commodores hit the market before the group was disbanded in the late '80s.

Now, the owner of one of the largest collection of Brock Commodores in Australia plans to revive the HDT nameplate in Brock's honor. Queensland mining contractor Peter Champion currently owns over 40 Brock Commodores and now wants to build the kind of car Peter Brock would have built today using the latest VE Commodore. Champion and Brock had been friends for over a decade and even talked about releasing a new model months before his untimely death in a car crash during a race last September.

The new cars will likely be based on the VE SS, the same car on which the upcoming Pontiac G8 is based. The cars won't have any mechanical modifications, although it will be offered if customers seek it, says Champion. Instead, the new HDT cars will receive bodykits and wheels designed to match the original racing Commodores from Brock's era.

[Source: Drive]

 

[via] Autoblog

Imagine that... good design sells in the mid-size category

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The Chrysler 300 is an overwhelming success for Chrysler. Ford's Five Hundred wasn't nearly as big a hit despite on paper being a strong competitor. The Chrysler's advantage, of course, is bold design. The 300 has it, the Ford not so much. Automotive News even quotes an unnamed Ford exec saying the Five Hundred got a new look and a new name because, "it can't do any worse than it has been." Ouch. Ford CEO Alan Mulally himself is quoted saying the Five Hundred's original look "may have been too conservative." Ya think?

The Automotive News article points out that in the past, bold design in the mid-size sedan category was considered suicide. Take the third-gen Taurus. The car's iconic jelly-bean shape went oval and sales dived. Honda and Toyota have historically counted on their evolutionary design strategy to sell tons of Camrys and Accords. But, as the article says, even those two Japanese companies are seeing how some well-placed design cues may appeal to even conservative car buyers' emotions - if done well.

Continue reading after the jump.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

Continue reading Imagine that... good design sells in the mid-size category

 

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VIDEO: How to make art and ruin an Audi TT simultaneously

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At least one magazine has not heard that print is dead. Not only is Intersection magazine -- where cars meet fashion -- not dead, it's doing so well that it can trash an Audi TT for a photo shoot. The TT, a 3.2 V6, was submerged in a pool in Chipping Norton, England, for the magazine's cover and an inside spread. And since you can't exactly go selling cars that have been used as submarines, the car was destroyed afterward.

We hope they at least removed the engine, since it didn't appear in the shoot. Then maybe they can dip the V6 in chocolate for the next issue. Follow the jump to watch video of the shoot.

[Source: German Car Blog]

Continue reading VIDEO: How to make art and ruin an Audi TT simultaneously

 

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Mercedes-Benz buys back and closes 29 Maybach dealers

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Audi has Bentley, BMW has Rolls-Royce (check out our review of the $400k Phantom!), and Mercedes-Benz has Maybach. Both Bentley and Rolls-Royce have proven to be valuable upper echelon assets for their respective parent companies, but Maybach has never made it that far. Expected to sell around 600 units per year, the exclusive marque only managed to move 164 units in the U.S. last year.

Mercedes recently made a move to minimize its losses by reducing the number of Maybach dealerships in the U.S. from 71 to 42. Though many Maybach dealerships are attached to Mercedes-Benz dealerships, owners were still forced to spend around a half a million dollars to build special "studios" that pampered the ultra-rich who were interested in a Maybach.

In order to close a Maybach dealership, however, Mercedes offers compensation those dealers who invested in the brand. Unfortunately, the automaker is only paying out 25 cents on the dollar, meaning a dealer who invested $500,000 is only getting $125,000 back. Buying high and selling low is not the best investment decision, but then again, neither is buying a Maybach.

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

 

[via] Autoblog

Ford refreshes Falcon XR for 2008, adds special edition ute

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click above image for more high-res pics of the 2008 Ford Falcon XR

Despite the fact an all-new rear-wheel-drive Falcon sedan is on the horizon, Ford of Australia saw fit to dress up the current range of higher-performance XR models for their final run. The '08 XR range features a new body kit with new side rockers and rocker extensions for the front bumper, as well as a new insert in the rear valance. The side mirrors are also new, and the XRs get a new set of 5-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with a "shadow chrome" finish.

Ford of Oz also introduced a limited edition "XR by Craig Lowndes" Falcon Ute special vehicle pack available on XR6, XR6 Turbo and XR8 Styleside Box models. Don't worry, we had to Google the guy's name, too. Craig Lowndes is a well known V8 Supercar driver in Australia who jumped ship from Holden to Ford back in 2001. His namesake option package offers buyers $6,000 of equipment for just $1,000 above the Falcon XR's base price. Only 650 Utes with this package will be made, and all will be branded with "by Craig Lowndes" badging.

We'll bring you live coverage of these vehicles and more from the floor of the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney next week. Oh yeah, we go to that show, too.

[Source: Ford]

Gallery: Ford BF Falcon XR facelift

Continue reading Ford refreshes Falcon XR for 2008, adds special edition ute

 

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Tokyo 2007 Preview: Suzuki Crosscage

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click image to enlarge

Since we've already gone ahead and shown you the Biplane, one of Suzuki's two new concept bikes set to make their debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, we figured it would only be right to show you the other one. The Suzuki Crosscage has already been featured on AutoblogGreen for its use of a fuel cell from Intelligent Energy and its battery electric propulsion system, so we'll instead focus on the actual design of the bike here. From the looks of it, the hydrogen tank is carried right at the center of the bike, which should be a boon for safety considering that the hydrogen would be stored at very high pressures. One of the most striking features of this bike has got to be the front fork. Single-sided swingarms are rather common these days on high-performance bikes, but single-sided forks have not yet hit the masses. To stiffen things up where the fork tubes meet, Suzuki appears to have added a strengthening linkage of some sort. While bicyclists may think of the Cannondale Lefty fork when gazing at this design, this fork is likely (and hopefully!) much more robust. While we're not expecting to see the Biplane make it to production status, the Crosscage as pictured here seems even less likely. Perhaps certain design elements will see the light of day on future production models, but as cool as this concept may be, hydrogen fueling stations around every corner are still a very long way off. Kudos to Suzuki though for being willing to look outside the box when designing these two concept machines.

[Source: Suzuki]

Continue reading Tokyo 2007 Preview: Suzuki Crosscage

 

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Mazda releases MX-5 "Prestige Edition" in Japan

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Click the image above for more high-res shots of the Mazda Roadster Prestige Edition.

It's already been two full years since Mazda released its third generation MX-5 (NC), and in keeping with tradition, it's rolled out another limited edition model for enthusiasts in its home market. The "Prestige Edition" Roadster (as it's known abroad) is based off the RS and VS retractable hardtop models, and is equipped with leather upholstery, heated seats, 17-inch BBS wheels, stainless steel scuff plats and front fog lamps. Underhood, the MX-5 gets a front strut tower bar along with DSC when equipped in six-speed auto guise.

Mazda's full press release is posted after the jump, and we've included a gallery of all the glitz below.

[Source: Mazda]

Gallery: Mazda "Prestige Edition" MX-5

Continue reading Mazda releases MX-5 "Prestige Edition" in Japan

 

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First Drive: 2008 Saab 9-3

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click above image to view more high-res shots of the 2008 Saab 9-3

The 9-3 received a mid-cycle enhancement for 2008 that's comprised mostly of tweaks to its exterior styling. The front end now wears a grille inspired by the Aero X concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2006. It's a handsome face for Saab, which in deference to tradition must always incorporate a three-part grille evoking the brand's heritage in aviation.

Read on as we report on our brief time spent behind the wheel of the new 9-3 at GM's Milford Proving Grounds last week.

Gallery: 2008 Saab 9-3


All photos (C)2007 John Neff / Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First Drive: 2008 Saab 9-3

 

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UAW-GM "white book" contract released on web

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It turns out the 24-page document we showed you last week was not the full UAW-GM contract the two parties negotiated after an historic 40-hour strike, but rather a highlights booklet to make the nuts and bolts of the deal easier for the union's rank and file to digest. The real contract, called the "white book" by union members, has also now hit the web. We found it hosted at Factoryrat.com, all 82 pages of legalese. Some mainstream outlets found the "white book" too and began sifting through its jargon to determine if anything in the official contract conflicted with what the highlights booklet contained. It turns out that what was initially reported by insiders as firm commitments to allocate the production of particular vehicles at certain plants, thus guaranteeing job security through the four-year life of the contract, are actually worded as "opportunities" instead of allocations. That has some worried their job security isn't as iron clad as they believed it would be last week.

Here's a link to a Detroit Free Press article that analyzes the "white book" in more detail because, well, it's Monday and our ADHD attention spans don't permit for in-depth contract analysis.

[Source: Factoryrat.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

GM may debut 6.2L V8 with overhead cam design in 2011

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Many gasped when Ford switched its V8 engines in the F-150 to an overhead valve design, and the debate about whether it produced a better engine is still ongoing. Nevertheless, despite GM's continued commitment to evolving the aged pushrod engine design, a document leaked on the web suggests that the General will change direction and introduce a new 6.2L dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine in 2011.

The document in question is an internal memorandum of understanding between General Motors, the UAW and Delphi. The result of negotiations that took place back in June 2007, the document details future product commitments to which GM had agreed, one of which is a new 'Gen V' 6.2L DOHC V8 engine for use in the C3XX platform. As we learned from the most recent negotiations between GM and the UAW, C3XX is the codename for what will replace the GMT 900 platform that underpins the automaker's current line of full-size trucks and SUVs.

In addition to a new overhead valve design, the Gen V engine will also feature variable valve timing like the Gen IV engine it replaces. Since the new engine will likely have four valves per cylinder because of its OHC design, expect the VVT to be even more beneficial. In addition, and perhaps most surprising, is that the Gen V will also feature GM's active fuel management (AFM) or cylinder deactivation technology. This technology alone will give it the leg up on other OHC engines like the Toyota Tundra's 5.7L DOHC V8.

Mike Levine from Pickuptruck.com who discovered this revealing document also reports that GM's current 5.3L V8 will be replaced by a new engine of unknown displacement. Unlike it's big brother, however, this next-gen engine will remain an overhead valve pushrod.

[Source: Pickuptruck.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Design detractors: Chevy Camaro will get a B-pillar

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While the concept car and the original Camaro were both hardtop coupes, the production version of the 2010 Camaro will gain a B-pillar. It may seem like a betrayal to some, and Rick Wagoner did pledge to make the production car virtually identical to the concept, but in the end, it's no big deal. Actually, a B-pillar is a plus. The chassis will gain rigidity with the pillar there, and it'll be easy enough to disguise. Paint it black, it'll blend right in. Class rival Challenger has met the same fate - there will be no pillarless ponycar revival.

[Source: Inside Line]

 

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Spy Shots: Is this the 2009 Chrysler 300?

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UPDATE:
Professional spy photographer Brenda Priddy let us know this car is actually the 2009 Hyundai Genesis. That's why they pay her the big bucks, ladies and gentlemen. A supplier for Hyundai was likely renting time at the Chrysler tech center, or perhaps the cars featured shared technology.


A sharp-eyed poster over at GM Inside News happened to snag a shot of this mysterious sedan on Saturday morning in Auburn Hills, MI. The camo-covered car was coming out of the Chrysler tech center leading to speculation that this could be the next generation Chrysler 300. If it is, it would be as much of a departure from the current model as that was from the previous generation. The low roof gangster sedan styling is jetissoned in favour of something much more contemporary and potentially bland. After the disaster that was the new Sebring, maybe Chrysler has decided to play it safe with the LX replacement. Has anyone else seen this car, or have any information on it?

[Source: GM Inside News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Aznom tunes the Fiat 500

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Click the image above to see the hi-res gallery of the Fiat 500 by Aznom

So far the aristocratic tuners at Castagna have given us MINI pickups, a psycho-retro rebodied Corvette Z06 codenamed Aznom, and, uh, this thing they call the Gran Tourer Sport. For their next trick, they tackle the Fiat 500. Surprisingly, for a car that looks like it's about to go collect pollen, we don't mind it. The car's just so bloody cute, it Aznom gets away with it.

There are three versions: Amabile, Intrigante, and Seducente. They are loaded up with Alcantara throughout, as well as the most fascinatingly patterned wood. No word on whether the purse comes with one of them. There are also Aznom badges and stitching throughout, which was previously the name of a Castagna car, and now appears to be an entire brand.

Follow the jump for the press release -- make sure you have a glass of Chianti and Puccini in the background for that first paragraph -- and be sure to check out the hi-res images.

[Source: 4 Wheels Blog]

Gallery: Fiat 500 by Aznom

Continue reading Aznom tunes the Fiat 500

 

[via] Autoblog

Tokyo 2007 Preview: Suzuki Palette

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Suzuki Palette
Click image to enlarge

In addition to the numerous concepts we've shown you from Suzuki, the automaker will be unveiling a new JDM tall wagon, the Palette. With a wheelbase 40mm longer than the best-selling Wagon R, the Palette offers a little more comfort and a good dose of practicality thanks to a flat floor and dual sliders. Creature comforts such as Bluetooth, an MP3 player jack, and automatic A/C are also a given for Suzuki's new family runabout.

[Sources: Suzuki, Autoblog Spanish]

Continue reading Tokyo 2007 Preview: Suzuki Palette

 

[via] Autoblog

2008 Honda Transalp debuts in Paris

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Besides all being categorized as "Adventure Touring" bikes, what do the Suzuki V-Strom series and Kawasaki's new Versys have in common? They're both less than 1000cc's and sold in America. Not that we're keeping track or anything, but so are the BMW R1200GS, KTM 990 Adventure, Triumph Tiger 1050, Ducati Multistrada, Aprilia Caponord and even the new Benelli TreK 1130. Not so the Honda Transalp, which has just been completely refreshed and is being shown off at the Paris Motorcycle Show. Sporting a liquid-cooled V-Twin of just less than 700cc's, the Transalp would make a very logical competitor to the aforementioned Versys 650 and V-Strom 650, wouldn't you say? It's not so much that Honda's own XR650L is a bad bike -- it's actually quite good at what it does -- we just doubt that many potential buyers cross-shop the XR with bikes in the Adventure category. Consider too that BMW is rumored to be bringing a GS version of the new F800 stateside as well, and a strong argument could be made that Honda should enter the market.

Regardless of whether it comes to the U.S. or not, the Transalp is a fine Adventure Tourer. A look at our hosted pictures will show you that Honda has made some serious upgrades to their super-popular Euro-bound machine. Riders should enjoy the protection provided by the ample windscreen and fairing, and will likely find a comfortable riding position. Pictures also show the serious routing maneuvers the exhaust gases are forced to take as the bike has been made Euro 3 emissions compliant. If you're reading this and you live in the States, take heart... Kawasaki saw fit to make their new Versys available here. Maybe Honda will show us some love too.

[Source: Motorcycle Daily]

 

[via] Autoblog