Caparo touts safety features of T1, mandatory driver's ed. for owners

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The recent spate of negative press hampering the Caparo T1 hasn't stopped the makers of the clichéd "road-going racecar" from releasing a host of details outlining the finer points of the T1's safety systems.

While the press release after the jump goes into detail about the Caparo's lightweight, yet extremely rigid, carbon fiber composite tub and energy-absorbing snout, and regurgitates all the impressive details and stats surrounding the AP-sourced braking setup that hauls down the 1,256-pound street-legal F1 car from 100 mph in under three seconds, it's the last bit about driver training that caught our attention.

It seems that all owners of the Caparo T1 are required to attend a training course that allows them to experience the vehicle's dynamic pleasures on a closed track. If the T1 is to be driven on the street - something that's legal in the UK, but not highly advised - owners will embark on a separate course that gives them the ins and outs of driving a vehicle with such high limits on public roads.

Caparo is touting the T1 as "one of the world's safest ultra-performance vehicles," although we'd probably ask Jason Plato's opinion first if we had the means of acquiring one.

[Source: Caparo]

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Spy Shots: Suzuki Swift sedan nabbed in India

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As we mentioned in an earlier post today, the Swift hatchback would be a great addition to Suzuki's lineup in the U.S. Much better than a mid-size truck, at least. The Swift is a well regarded little car in markets abroad where it's sold as a three- and five-door hatch, but if this spy shot supposedly taken at Suzuki's manufacturing plant in India is to be believed, a sedan version of the Swift is right around the corner. After glancing at the design, however, we're not so sure that's a good thing. The image was originally hosted on the GM Inside News forums by member indica, and the comments that follow are not flattering. Panel gaps wide enough to drive, well, a Suzuki Swift through and tons of unoccupied space between the wheels and the wells in which they sit are tops on the list of what's wrong with this car, though we think the back end just look fugly. Those taillights look similar to ones used on the Yaris Sedan, and they don't look good on the Toyota, either. Unfortunately we have no information about the Suzuki Swift Sedan other than what this pic provides, but we'll keep our feelers out for more.

[Source: GM Inside News]

 

[via] Autoblog

2008 Chevy Impala 50th Anniversary Edition coming to Detroit

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Click the image above for over 30 high-res pics.

The Chevy Impala is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, and to commemorate the occasion the Bowtie division is offering up a badge-and-trim special edition. What you have here is the garden-variety Impala LT, upgraded for anniversary-edition duty with an FE3 sport suspension, 18-inch alloys, commemorative "50th" Impala badges and a rear spoiler. Inside, the seats are leather and two-toned, with eight-way adjustability for the driver and anniversary embroidery on the headrests. Other edition-specific features include a multifunction steering wheel wrapped in contrast-stitched leather, slightly fancier floormats, and doorsill plates sporting the anniversary logo. It comes in red or black and is, without question, the single most unexciting car GM will be introducing at next month's Detroit Auto Show.

[Source: GM]

Gallery: Chevrolet Impala 50th Anniversary Edition

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Rendered Speculation: Mazda3 interpretation gets it all wrong?

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The blokes over from AutoExpress tapped an artist to photochop the next Mazda3, supposedly utilizing sources within the automaker, and although it looks like an inoffensive evolution of the current model, we're somewhat doubtful that it's an accurate representation of what's to come.

Earlier this week, Automotive News sat down with Mazda's design chief, Laurens van den Acker, who said that the redesigned 2009 Mazda3 would take several cues from the Nagare line of concepts. All of the concepts featured a prominent five-point grille and "flow" inspired creases flanking the sides. In the rendering above, we don't see any of those elements. Instead, it's simply the integration of a few of the cues found on the new Mazda6 and its CUV/SUV siblings.

The Brits assert that the next 3 will be built atop the longer platform slated to underpin the 2010 Ford Focus, featuring a more spacious interior with higher quality materials, with a Mazdaspeed version (MPS abroad) that will utilize the 2.5-liter mill from the new Mazda6.

[Source: AutoExpress]

 

[via] Autoblog

Nissan-built Suzuki pickup confirmed

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Nissan is all about collaboration with its competitors, as evident by the rumor today that it could enter into an agreement with Chrysler to co-develop cars, trucks and engines. Japan's third largest automaker partnered up with Suzuki in 2006, and as Mike Levine from Pickuptruck.com figured out, one big collaboration that has resulted is a new mid-size Suzuki pickup that will be based off of Nissan's Frontier platform and be built by Nissan at its Smyrna, Tennessee plant. Both automakers have now officially confirmed that they're working on the truck together, and the only thing left to wonder is when it will debut and what it will be called. Mike Levine again provided us with an educated guess that the truck will show up at the Chicago Auto Show, and based on recent trademark filings by Suzuki, will be called the Equator. We feel compelled to reiterate our initial concern that entering the mid-size truck market is not the best way for Suzuki to continue increasing its sales in North America, as the segment is shrinking at fast pace. Isn't there a small three-door hatch you'd rather sell in the U.S., Suzuki?

[Source: Suzuki, Nissan]

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Jaguar and Land Rover to build coolest design studio on Earth

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Even though Jaguar and Land Rover might only have a foot or so of visibility into the fog of their business futures, they continue to plan for long-term success. The latest step is a $4 million investment in a "virtual reality center" that will create three-dimensional projections for designers and engineers to study, saving the time and expense of having to build individual models.

Jag and Land Rover worked with four suppliers to create the four-walled studio. Projecting power will come from eight Sony SRX-S105 projectors, each one of them as powerful as the best cinema-standard projector and each one having four times the resolution of HD. With that kind of capability, designers -- wearing 3-D glasses -- will be looking at photorealistic representations of their creations.

When finished in the spring of 2008, it will be the most advanced design studio in the world. We're glad to see the two embattled marques focused on nothing but getting better. Now if Jag could use that studio to make a kick-ass XJ replacement, and make the XF -- as good as it is -- everything it could be, then they'd really have a blockbuster studio on their hands.

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Nissan GT-R dynoed at 475 hp, 428 lb.-ft. of torque

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Japan's BestCar buff book grabbed the keys to a new Nissan GT-R and made for the nearest Super Autobacs. Once they arrived, they mounted Godzilla atop a Dynapack chassis dynamometer, removed the wheels and laid down a few runs to get power figures straight from the axles. The numbers are due for publication in the mag's December 25th issue, but our new friend Jeff made Christmas come early.

The dyno chart shows a peak output of 475 hp at 6,115 rpm and 428 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,130 rpm. Those numbers are incredible close to Nissan's claim of 480 hp and 430 lb.-ft. of twist, but we'll have to wait until a few lucky souls slap the GT-R onto a set of rollers to get some idea of wheel horsepower and torque figures.

Looking over the chart shows very little happening before 3,000 rpm, which is contrary to a number of driving reports we've read so far. Turbo lag has virtually been eliminated on many new models, the GT-R included, so we're assuming that the Dynapack at Super Autobacs wasn't paying attention until later on in the rev range.

[Source: NAGTROC]

 

[via] Autoblog

Chevy Silverado commercial spoils CBS show for fans

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Earlier this year, the CBS show Cane was the seventh most searched new fall show. Since then, we haven't heard anything about it, neither good or bad. That changed this week when someone at CBS had a Homer moment ("D'oh!") and ran a story-spoiling commercial before the plot had run its course on the show.

On the show, cut to: Jaime taking off in a Chevy Silverado into a cane field, being chased by his father, Alex (Jimmy Smits in the lead role), and getting caught in a fire set by a rival. Fade to black. Cut to commercial: a Chevy Silverado bursting through a wall of flames, and a narrator asking "Did you think that stunt with the Silverado was hot?" Cut to viewers asking: "Uh, what the...?"

But come on -- was this really a plot spoiler? Because you really thought it possible that the main character and his son were going to die in a fire in the show's first season? Really? CBS, in fact, did get one angry call. And with that, probably lost the one ardent fan of Cane.

[Source: Winding Road]

 

[via] Autoblog

First nighttime F1 race gears up

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On September 28, 2008 at 8 pm, the first Formula 1 race ever held at night will begin in Singapore. Sixty-eight miles of power cable will provide juice to 1,500 light projectors mounted on 240 pylons around the track. What does that mean? It means three billion watts of power -- about four times brighter than a sports stadium. And that might make it the only night time race that requires sunglasses.

Recent developments in Melbourne, Australia, however, mean that Singapore might not be so special for long. Hella has created a special night lighting system for the Australian Grand Prix, and is waiting on a response from the FIA to move forward with it.

 

[via] Autoblog

2007 SSC Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo for sale

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Getting tired of the staid supercars sitting in your garage? Now is your chance to own the Guinness-verified world's fastest car, the SSC Ultimate Aero which was clocked at an average two-way speed of 255.83 mph - besting both the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX. Motorcars of Las Vegas, the sole distributor of the Ultimate Aero, has chassis #SSC-07-004 on its showroom floor ready for its first owner. This is the first one they have had for immediate delivery, and there are only 15 miles on the odometer. The twin-turbo V8 mounted amidships puts out 1183 horsepower and 1094 lb-ft torque. Other features include a full carbon fiber body, navigation system, back-up camera, and a front lift system to clear speed bumps. If this particular one doesn't suit your taste, you can also commission one to your own specifications.

[Source: Motorcars of Las Vegas]

Gallery: 2007 SSC Ultimate Aero Twin Turbo

 

[via] Autoblog

Spy Shots: 2009/10 Ford Fiesta

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click above image for more spy shots

Brenda Priddy & Co. caught a Euro Fiesta mule filling up its gas tank in North Sweden, and the car can already be seen wearing a few cues inspired by the Verve Concept that debuted in Frankfurt. First and foremost is the large front grille that punctuates the cladding this mule is wearing. This car's beltline also sweeps up dramatically from front to back, and the rear taillights are mounted on the C/D-pillar just like the Verve's. Of course, we're interested in the European Fiesta because after it debuts over there next summer as a 2009 model, it will arrive in the U.S. virtually unchanged the following year as a 2010 model. Expect both three- and five-door hatchback models to be offered, which makes the loss of those model types in the larger Focus lineup a bit easier for us to swallow.

[Photos: Brenda Priddy & Co.]

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