Burning rubber has become an art form

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So there's handwriting, skywriting, writing on the wall and writing your name in the snow. Now there's rubber writing -- otherwise known as "skid art" -- which you do with your car and a rapidly spinning set of rear wheels. The video game Project Gotham Racing 4 apparently has an area or level where you can practice your tarmac penmanship, unbeknownst to us.

As you can see in the example above from Auto Express, we don't think it will replace Krylon aerosols any time soon, as efforts appear to be written in the hand of a monstrous 6-year-old. It also lends itself to simpler letters -- you won't be laying down Dante any time soon. And painting a canvas in anything other than black is out of the question for a while. But if you've got some rear-wheel HP lying around, and you really want to get a message across, well, it could be just the thing.

[Source: Auto Express]

 

[via] Autoblog

Eco tires: good for the environment, bad for safety?

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Continental Tire's head of development, Burkhard Wies, has issued a warning to us all against so-called "eco tires." Europe is considering labeling tires with eco ratings if they have certain attributes like especially low rolling resistance or create minimal noise pollution. But Wies says that tires purposely designed for "extremely low rolling resistance and high mileage are 10-percent worse at wet braking than those with good all-round properties." In one example, the eco friendly tires increased braking distance by more than 24 feet.

The quandary being presented for motorists is that eco tires give them the chance to save the environment and save money with incentives offered for fitting a car with such tires, but perhaps at the cost of personal safety. It's early in the days of eco tires, so there is a great deal more study, work, and refining to be done. And we will have to see what Continental comes out with, since its rival Michelin already has an eco tire (shown) that comes as standard equipment on the Peugeot 308.

[Source: Auto Express]

 

[via] Autoblog

VW & DaimlerChrysler put out more CO2 than last year... kind of

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In 1998, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said that in ten years it wanted cars to put out 140g of CO2 per kilometer. According to the latest report from Transport & Environment, a "green pressure group" according to the BBC, only two makers are close to that, and two out of three German car makers have raised their fleet CO2 levels since 1998.

Along with Suzuki, VW and DaimlerChrysler were the only two automakers in the survey not to have lowered their fleet CO2 levels. BMW lowered its CO2 emissions by 2.5-percent to 184 g(CO2)/km, but VW's increased by .9-percent and DaimlerChrysler's rose by 2.80-percent. Yet even though VW increased its emissions, it is still the best performing German manufacturer, with a fleet average of just 166 g(CO2)/km.

PSA/Citroen is the closest to the target, with a CO2 rating of 142 g/km, followed by Fiat at 144 g/km. For the full report and methodology, click here. And for those of you interested, GM and Ford fall in line just behind Honda, and before VW.

Thanks for the tip, John P!

[Source: BBC.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Totally Meta: 2008 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GT unveiled

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Click image to enlarge

It has come to this. A special edition of a special edition, named for the made-for-TV cash tsunami at which many of the first editions of the aforementioned special editions are auctioned off at eye-watering prices. It is the (we are not making any of this up, by the way) Barrett-Jackson Shelby GT. There will be 100 of them in total (coupes and convertibles), they will be black with (again, not making it up) "Barrett-Jackson Red" stripes, Barrett-Jackson sill plates, all the expected Shelby badging, and they'll start at a smidge under $39K, $250 of which goes to the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation. Ironically, the first one of these will not be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson. The B-J/GT is an Arizona-region Ford dealer exclusive, and it officially went on sale today. In addition to the car itself, buyers get an autographed family photo featuring Carroll Shelby and Amy Boylan from the Shelby Autos side, and Greg Jackson and Steve Davis from the B-J side. In a glaring omission, Ford mullet hero and perennial Barrett-Jackson special guest star, Mark Fields, is somehow not included in the photo. What a jip.

[Source: Ford/Shelby/Barrett-Jackson]

Continue reading Totally Meta: 2008 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GT unveiled

 

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[via] Autoblog

Delhi Meet: 2010 Indian GP confirmed

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Formula One has been on the rise in India. First came Narain Karthikeyan, the first Indian F1 driver. Then came the purchase and transformation of Spyker F1 into the Force India team, followed by a second Indian driver, Karun Chandhok, emerging onto the F1 scene. Now comes the official confirmation that India will host its own grand prix starting in 2010.

The track will be constructed 50 km east of the capital New Delhi by JPSK Sports Private Ltd, a division of Indian development company JP Associates. The confirmation comes from the office of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who struck the deal with JP Associates, who together hope to develop F1 as a rival to cricket's standing as the most popular sport in the world's second most populous country.

[Source: itv-F1]

 

[via] Autoblog

eBay Find of the Day: 2000 Cobra Mustang R, #186 of 300

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click above image to view gallery

We often point out the extremely odd vehicles that end up for sale on eBay Motors, but every once in a while a true gem pops up that's worthy of note just to ensure it winds up in the hands of the truly deserved. Such is the case with item #180182185046, a 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R. This particular example is #186 of only 300 made and has only 4,257 miles under its belt. For those who don't remember the Cobra R pedigree, it was the apex of SVT engineering at the turn of the millennium, powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.4L V8 producing 385 horsepower. Make no mistake, the 2000 Cobra R was a track special model with no radio, A/C, heating or even a back seat. While more powerful Mustangs have come and gone since the 2000 Cobra R, it is arguably one of the best handling 'Stangs ever thanks to the attention paid to weight reduction and its competition-oriented chassis tuning. The car is easily identifiable by its deep chin spoiler and large fixed rear wing, though the only time we've ever come across one is in a video game. The bidding for this mint Mustang ends on November 26th, but currently stands at only 11 bids with an offer of $35,100 leading the pack and the reserve not yet met.

Thanks to all who tipped on this!

[Source: eBay Motors]

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: 2009 Mercedes CLC Sport Coupe

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New spy shots have emerged of Mercedes' little C-Class 2-door, the newly renamed CLC Sport Coupe according to WorldCarFans. The front looks to get the same face as the new C-Class, but otherwise doesn't appear to bring anything especially exciting to the party. The interior is the same one that's been doing duty for years now, and the car is expected to use innards from the previous C just to keep the price down. We can expect new engines, including a fairly powerful V6 that should get this hatchback up and going with gusto.

We think Mercedes-Benz is missing a big opportunity to take on the BMW 1-Series in the very entry-level luxury sports car class that's just starting to get interesting. Clearly, however, a game of one-on-one with BMW in this segment isn't of interest to the Benz boys and girls, as the investment is this new CLC Sport Coupe appears to be minimal.

[Source: WorldCarFans]

 

[via] Autoblog

Bimota releases the new DB7, awesomeness ensues

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Love the idea of an Italian twin but worried you'll see yourself coming and going a little too often? Consider the Bimota DB7, which uses Ducati's 1098 Testastretta Evoluzione engine. The price (if you need to ask...) will likely keep this one from getting into the hands of your riding buddies, so you'll be sure to have the only one at your local hangout; and you'll be the envy of everyone else in attendance.

The chassis is a mix of tubes and machined plates, as is the swingarm. Both are beautiful to behold, as is the bodywork - made up of structural carbon fiber, eliminating the need for separate subframes front and rear. The end result is an extremely lightweight bike at just 375 pounds. Rounding out the package are fully adjustable Marzocchi Corse forks, an advanced Extreme Tech rear shock, forged alloy wheels and radially mounted Brembo brakes. This truly is a beautiful bike, and the price will surely reflect the design and engineering that went into its development. Unfortunately... we're not worthy!

[Source: Bimota]

Gallery: Bimota DB7

 

[via] Autoblog

Toyota exec calls Hyundai "strong enemy"

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You know you've arrived when your competitors not only begin acknowledging that you exist, but actually see you as a threat. Hyundai got to enjoy this distinct pleasure today when Toyota's chairman Fujio Cho told a group of Korean journalists that it was a "strong enemy". Not only has Hyundai completely transformed its image in North America from a slinger of bargain basement econo-boxes to a respected purveyor of reasonably priced, well built automobiles, but it's also going after emerging markets like China, Africa and the Middle East as hard as anyone else. Plus, Toyota has directly felt the sting of Hyundai's success, having been forced to rub elbows with the brand at the top of many recent J.D. Power and Associates reports. Still, calling Hyundai a 'strong enemy' is a bit harsh, no? How about "worthy adversary" or "respected competitor"? Toyota really drives home the point that the business of selling cars is like war and that no 'enemy' should be underestimated.

Thanks for the tip, catgirlshyla!

[Source: TradingMarkets.com]

 

[via] Autoblog

Nissan recalling 650,000 Altimas and Sentras

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NIssan has issued a recall for over 650,000 MY 2002 and 2005-06 Altimas and Sentras sold with the company's 2.5L four-cylinder engine, which may suddenly stop running. Automotive News reports that the problem lies with the crankshaft position sensor, which can overheat and stop sending signals to the car's computer brain. If the signal break is too quick for the ECU to diagnose the problem, it stops the engine, which obviously could be extremely inconvenient depending on what the driver's doing at the time. All it takes to fix the problem, however, is for Nissan dealers to reprogram the ECU, which they'll do free of charge, of course. If you've got an affected vehicle, expect a notification from Nissan around December 10th.

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

 

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[via] Autoblog

Lutz says Volt production by end of 2010

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Speaking at the Reuters Auto Summit in Detroit today, Bob Lutz stated that the Chevrolet Volt series hybrid will be in production by the end of 2010. What's more interesting is that he told reporters employees working on the Volt "are becoming increasingly nervous" about meeting that deadline. According to Lutz, however, GM leaders are insisting it be done, so the families of those on the Volt team shouldn't expect to see their loved ones much until after Dick Clark drops the ball on 2010. As we mentioned yesterday, the first test of the Volt's viability will be working prototypes demonstrating the car's capabilities by Easter of 2008. Earlier guesstimates had the Volt entering production and going on sale sometime in 2010, so today's clarification appears to give the General a little breathing room by only promising production to start by the end of the decade.

More after the jump.

[Source: Just-Auto, sub. req'd]

Continue reading Lutz says Volt production by end of 2010

 

[via] Autoblog

German tank bike tops all others

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I ask you, who says the Germans don't have a sense of humor? All right, so it can be an arcane, mystifying sense of humor, but it's there, and that's the point. Tilo Niebel and his gents at the Harzer Bike company in Germany, upon finding they had a tank engine to play with, decided that of all the more reasonable things they could build, they should construct a giant WWII German motorbike with sidecar.

The engine comes from a Soviet T-55 tank (though the article incorrectly says the T-55 was a Panzer -- go here for a Google translation of the original article), which was a diesel V12 with 620 HP. Note the CCCP and crest at the front of the sidecar, which adorns the front of the hood from a Soviet truck. Even better, check out that anvil hood ornament.

The bike is almost 19 feet long, over 9 feet wide, and weighs 9,480 pounds. That means if you tip it, you'll need the assistance of a wrecker to get it back up. If the Jolly Green Giant decides to go badass, his ride has arrived. Makes the Jagged Edge look decidedly mundane by comparison.

Thanks for the tip, Andrés!

[Source: 20 minutes]

 

[via] Autoblog

Raising taxes through speed traps

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As many states and local municipalities struggle to balance budgets and find funding for services like police protection, it seems like many are turning to alternative means of raising revenues. Since politicians are invariably loathe to actually raise taxes to pay for the services that people expect, speed traps are becoming increasingly popular. According to Detroit News columnist John McCormick, not only are more speed traps being used, the fines are getting increasingly punitive. Drivers in Virginia might want to be particularly watchful of speed limits. Surpassing the limit by 15 mph will now cost you $1,250 plus court costs. Topping 80 mph will cost you double that and possibly jail time. All this seems pretty extreme, especially if a driver isn't driving recklessly or the speed limit is set artificially low. Speeding in a residential area is unacceptable, but going 80 on a wide open highway in clear conditions is not necessarily dangerous.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

[via] Autoblog

Nissan can't prevent GT-R markups at dealer level

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Despite floating a plan that would attempt to stop the inevitable customer speculation in the GT-R by voiding the car's warranty if it were sold in the first year, Nissan has come to the conclusion that they are, frankly, powerless to stop it. The company says it gave up on the plan because it wouldn't be fair to the guy who really had to sell his car within that time.

The other folks who Nissan won't be able to stop from making a bundle by marking up the car are its own dealers, who, let's face it, are frothing at the mouth to have a GT-R on display in their showrooms. Honestly, after years of trying to push Maximas and Sentras, if you were lucky enough to get some GT-Rs to sell, wouldn't you add a little cream? For some new shoes for the kids? Especially since there will be only 1,500 sold the first year?

But by law Nissan can't tell dealers what they should and shouldn't charge. Instead, it will "counsel them on why they shouldn't." And when the dealers are finished nodding sagely, everyone can expect them to start adding zeros. It's not all free beer, though: dealers certified to sell the GT-R will need to shell out on additional training for their mechanics, and will need to adjust the car's transmission and drive shafts every three years, for free. That's money they will probably recoup on the markup from just one car...

[Source: Kicking Tires]

 

[via] Autoblog

First Drive: 2008 Saleen S302E and H302SC Mustangs

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click above image to view more high-res photos of the Saleen H302 SC

There might be dozens (even hundreds?) of Mustang variations out there, but when Saleen sends you an invite to drive its new 620-horsepower S302E Extreme Mustang, you take it without thinking twice. You see, they have been working their magic on Ford's pony car for 25 years now, so if anyone knows how to do it right, it's Saleen. Company founder Steve Saleen might no longer be at the helm, but that doesn't mean the company's passion is gone for producing high performance automobiles. In fact, there seems to be a renewed enthusiasm, or what Saleen's General Manager Marques McCammon calls a "reawakening" of the company. Part of this is due to the recent acquisition of ASC (American Specialty Cars), and new key personnel in place including Paul Wilbur as the new President and CEO, as well as Chris Theodore, the father of the Ford GT program, as the new Chief Technology Officer. The two vehicles we drove, the H302 SC and the S302 Extreme, were the first two new vehicles launched under the new leadership. Follow the jump for our driving impressions of these two monster Mustangs.

Gallery: 2008 Saleen S302E and H302SC First Drive



Live Photos Copyright (C)2007 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First Drive: 2008 Saleen S302E and H302SC Mustangs

 

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[via] Autoblog

Audi TT mobile phone lets you keep trademark lawyers on speed dial

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This is likely the only car-shaped mobile phone we've ever seen, and definitely the first one shaped like an original Audi TT. The GSM phone features a 2-inch touch screen, 1 gb of storage, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and 240 minutes of talk time per charge. Unfortunately, it does not come with an English-language manual.

Though the real TT was sometimes maligned as being too small, we get the impression this phone has the opposite problem. We can't (actually, we'd just rather not) imagine what kind of bulge this thing would make in your pants.

It's definitely not a Ferrari mobile phone or even Lamborghini, but you can get yours now for only $160. Or buy in lots of 26 for $151 apiece and give everyone in your family a Chinese ripoff of great German design.

[Sourcer: Shopkami via Carscoop]

Gallery: Audi TT mobile phone

 

[via] Autoblog

Chrysler adding stop/start systems to vehicles

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Chrysler's Frank Klegon says that we should expect to see the incorporation of stop/start systems in a number of vehicles "pretty soon", according to Automotive News. They'd be marketed as "micro hybrid" systems (showing that automakers will jump at absolutely anything to be able to apply the term "hybrid" to a product). The so-called micro hybrids simply kill the engine when the car's stopped, and according to Chrysler, this can net drivers a 5% gain in fuel economy without their having to do anything. (Except spend some money. Cost per vehicle would be "several hundred dollars.") Klegon also notes that more mild hybrid systems and additional 2-Mode implementations are in the works, as well. What say you good readers? Would you pay $300 for a 5% gain in fuel economy?

[Source: Automotive News - sub req'd]

 

[via] Autoblog

VIDEO: Kia mimics Flashdance in disturbing year-end sales ad

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click above image to view video

It's that time of year again when Santa can be seen in the same store window as jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving turkeys. But it's also the time when you can see car sales reps trying their best to get rid of year-end stock. They get a little crazy, and you might say, act like maniacs.

We assume this is what Kia's PR team attempts to invoke with its new ad campaign featuring a reworked version of the song "Maniac" set to the same choreographed dance Jennifer Beals performed oh-so-flawlessly in the movie Flashdance. As the impassioned and perspiring Kia salesman dances around the showroom tossing keys to satisfied customers, the song plays with lyrics like, "He's a maniac . . . and he's selling like he's never sold before."

It's a fun little commercial with a memorably classic tune for a soundtrack and tributes to Flashdance that will at the same time make you cringe and smile. One thing's for sure, though: if Jennifer Beals were dancing like that at a Kia dealership, we might be interested in an '07 Optima.

[Source: Kia via Adage]

Continue reading VIDEO: Kia mimics Flashdance in disturbing year-end sales ad

 

[via] Autoblog

AutoblogGreen for 11.21.07

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Chrysler unveiled drawing for three eco-concepts yesterday that will be coming to the NAIAS in two months' time: the Dodge Zeo, the Chrysler ecoVoyager, and the Jeep Renegade. Hit the links for more. Then check out what Ferrari and Lamborghini are up to as they work for a (slightly) greener world.

 

[via] Autoblog

Online voters name upcoming Alfa hatch "Furiosa"

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Furiosa. That's what the new hatchback from Alfa Romeo will be called, by virtue of an international competition to choose the car's name.

The Italian automaker is getting farther away from the Alfa-numeric (pun intended) nomenclature and giving its models more emotive nameplates instead. The web contest offered online voters a choice of twelve names, and Furiosa got the most votes, beating out Agea, Enos, Everson, Fira, Milo, Mod, Nevo, Solea, Sparvo, Velvetta and Ventura. While some proposals had merit, some of the rejected names were a little cheesy (try to figure out which).

So we can stop calling it the Alfa Junior. The Furiosa is anticipated to make its debut at the Geneva show in March. We're so there.

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

[via] Autoblog

Solar-powered LED road markers could light future roadways

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Night-time travel is a necessary part of the busy world in which we live, but due to decreased visibility, traveling in the dark can be dangerous. The British have shed some light on night driving with the invention of the Astucia SolarLite flush road stud. The stud emits LED light, which is powered by small solar panels. The new stud tech is present on 120 British roads, and night-time accidents are down a dramatic 70% since the devices were installed. Amazingly, the SolarLite road stud gives drivers 900 meters of visibility, which increases reaction times to over 30 seconds. Reaction time with standard reflector studs is just 3.2 seconds.

With thousands of Americans dying on night roads every year, any incremental price vs. reflector studs would likely be a drop in the bucket when compared to the incredible savings in insurance claims alone. The government mandates billions of dollars in safety equipment on our cars and trucks, and both the automakers and customers foot the bill in the name of safety. If the SolarLite road stud is nearly as effective as it claims, the governments incorporating them could effectively reduce the likelihood that many automotive safety features would never need to be deployed.

[Source: Astucia]

Gallery: SolarLite road stud

Continue reading Solar-powered LED road markers could light future roadways

 

[via] Autoblog