Tag Archives: News

Just Say No To Chillaxin’, But Yes To New Auto Accessories


Willy Wonka

Like a coveted golden ticket hidden within the wrapper of a Wonka Bar, this week’s new product announcement promises a lifetime of wild wonder and rotted teeth. Read up, rinse and spit.

KONI RAID Red ShocksHuffing a sock full of Raid bug spray could leave you feeling like a six-legged character from a Kafka short story. But, equipping your street demon with these boss shocks from KONI will make you feel like Viggo Mortensen’s trusty mustang, Hidalgo, racing across Arabia in the ’04 blockbuster Hidalgo, a movie about a horse named Hidalgo. These suckers are perfect for serious off-road racing, Baja 500-style.

KONI RAID Red Shocks

KONI Heavy Track Red ShocksNeil Diamond said it best (yes, better than The Hollies, you audio-snobs): “He ain’t heavy, he’s my shock absorber.” If the welfare of your suspension system is of your concern, these Koni shocks deliver the goods your rugged off-roader demands…they’re just a notch down from the race-ready RAID Red Shocks.

KONI Heavy Track Red Shocks

Licensed Logo Hitch Covers by PilotGo down the right alley in Hong Kong or Los Angeles’s Garment District, and you could find an unlicensed version of these hitch covers by Pilot Automotive (not to mention knock-off Big Johnson shirts). But, bypassing licensing fees means you’d be stealing bread out of the hungry mouths of mammoth corporations, whose coffers are not yet lined with enough gold-plated diamonds.

Licensed Logo Hitch Covers by Pilot

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Bugatti Veyron Dodges Pelican, Goes for a Swim in Galveston, Texas


Bugatti Veyron in Salt Water - Galveston, Texas

In Galveston, Texas, a local was driving his run-of-the-mill Bugatti Veyron to go prospect some “high-end” land for development.  As the story goes, he was talking on his cell phone when a pelican flew in front of his 16/4, he dropped his phone, swerved to miss the bird,  and hit a patch of mud.  The end result is in the photo above.

Believe it or not, the $1.6 million dollar Veyron comes with a hands-free bluetooth system built in, so I smell something fishy.  Video of it sitting in the salt-water drink after the jump.

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Fords Inflatable Seat Belts to Save Lives & Necks


Fords Inflatable Seat Belt

The idea is ingenious. We already use airbags in out steering wheels, dash boards, pillars, seats and headliners, so why not put one in a seat belt? If it works as intended, it should spread out the impact forces and reduce the amount of bruising that occurs. This could prove a major benefit for children and elderly people, who are often more prone to injuries during car crashes.  The inflatable belts are only being developed for the rear seats; featuring smooth edges and more padding that a sheepskin seat cover, these belts should prove to be more comfortable to wear that traditional belts.  Expect them to be released in the next generation Ford Explorer first, with more vehicles to follow. Get the full details from Ford after the jump.

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Papa Johns Gives Away 35,847 Pizza’s!


Papa John and His Camaro

That’s a lotta pizza-pie, but to get it for free, you had to pick it up in your Camaro.  That’s amore!

In case you missed the headline, the Papa J0hn Schnatter of Papa John’s was searching for his long lost 1972 Z28 Camaro, the one he had to sell to open the very first Papa John’s.   It was a beauty, one that he dearly loved.  After more than 30 years, he decided to leverage his wealth, start a search, make a website and offer a $250,000 reward!

Jalopnik championed coverage of the story, encouraged their readers to help and one of them actually found it!  Now the Papa has been reunited, Jeff Robinson is $250K richer and 35,847 proud Camaro owners have a full belly… I guess there is such a thing as a happy ending.

Unveiled: 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo


2010 Porsche 911 Turbo - Yellow

Out with the old, in with the new. Although Porsche hasn’t made any real changes to the exterior, it’s whats under the hood (boot?) that counts.  And Porsche delivered for 2010; gone is the peppy 3.6-liter, replaced by the Carrera’s beefier 3.8-liter flat-six.  Not only does the new engine have 5.5% more displacement, but it also features direct-injection, which gives a bump to power and fuel economy. What also gives a bump to power? The twin set of variable-geometry turbines they mounted to the boxer.

Power output has been raised to an incredible 500 ponies, and if you can keep your lead foot in check, you can also expect an EPA-estimated 24.1 MPG with the 6-speed tranny.  If you want to go for the 7-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (aka: dual-clutch) system, you get bumped up to an environmentally-friendly 24.8 MPG.  Being green never felt soooo good.  :)

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo - Gunmetal Cabriolet

What else is new? A refined Porsche Traction Management System (PTMS), a more rear-wheel-biased Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and an optional set of super expensive, super light RS Spyder Rims. The Coupe runs $132,800, but you can expect to pay another $11,000 if you want to sport the convertible.  All this amounts to quite an upgrade for the 911, probably Porsche’s way of pushing back on the GT-R.  Check out the full photo gallery after the jump.

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How to Kill a Clunker, the CARS Way


There’s lots of chatter in the blogosphere about the Car Allowance Rebate System, aka CARS, aka Cash for Clunkers. On the surface, it sounds like a good deal; trade in your old gas guzzler and get up to $4,500 towards a new vehicle. Here’s the rough breakdown:

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don’t need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
  • The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

There are a certain vehicles that are excluded from the program, but Edmund’s has put together a list of vehicles that are included. Check it out, your vehicle may apply, but be forewarned that you’re clunker will end up with a similar fate to this one…

Mercedes SLS AMG Runs the ‘Ring


2010 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG

A car that has been largely shrouded in secrecy has just been put to the test on the Nurburgring. The SLS AMG is the next generation of the SLR, featuring aggressive styling cues, gull wing doors, and a brute of an engine. Listen to it roar as it roams the ‘Ring for the full 13 miles. Keep in mind this isn’t the “official” time, this was a preview day. The final production car with a more experienced ‘Ring driver and no co-pilot should yield much faster results.

US Gas Prices by County


US-Gas-Prices-June-2009

It’s officially summer; time for some fun in the sun, cross country road trips and yes, higher gas prices.  The average cost of fuel has gone up 62% in the last six months, but is still 61% lower than the national average 12 months ago.  Compared to last year, $2.61/gallon is cheap.  Compared to the year 2000, gas is 261% more expensive.

US-Gas-Prices-2-Year-Average

OPEC refuses to increase production until oil hits $75-80 a barrel.   The current price of a barrel runs $66, so they are seeking nearly 20% higher fuel prices before they will consider upping production.  The short of it is that gas prices are going to steadily increase over the summer, but it shouldn’t get as bad as it did last year.  The best thing we can do to stave off higher gas prices is to embrace new technologies and speed our adoption of fuel-effiecient vehicles.  Reduce demand, increase supply; learn more at GasBuddy.com.

Oregon Trying to Outlaw Aftermarket Auto Parts


High Performance Tire

In an attempt to look Green, Oregon Governor Theodore Kulongoski is pushing to prohibit the sale of aftermarket auto parts when there are other parts available that will “decrease greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles”. Apparently this bill is focused on limiting consumer choices of tires, which makes little to no sense. The primary target is the high performance lines which, due to their sticky nature, have a higher rolling resistance to the road than all-season and economy rubbers.The slight difference in roll-resistance can often create a loss of 1/4 MPG.

Maybe the Governor is trying to think big, but letting legislatures choose what kind of tires we drive on is probably not the best idea; could you imagine driving a Corvette on a set of cheap all-seasons that don’t offer the type of dry traction a Corvette needs to keep from spinning it’s tires?

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Top Gear Puts the Bugatti Veyron Around the Test Track


Some pretty fast cars have raced around the Lotus-designed Top Gear Test Track. Being at the top of the Power Lap board is almost as prestigious as have a sub-7:30.0 lap time on the Nurburgring. Last nights episode was a big one with the Pagani Zonda F Roadster managing to shave 6-tenths of a second off of the Zonda F’s lap time! To save you from Google’ing it, here’s an updated list of the top 5 fastest cars to have gone around the TG test track:

  1. 1:17.1 – Gumpert
  2. 1:17.3 – Ascari A10
  3. 1:17.6 – Koeniggsegg CCX (with the Top Gear Wing)
  4. 1:17.8 – Pagani Zonda F Roadster
  5. 1:18.4 – Pagani Zonda F

But the Zonda wasn’t the only car the Stig got to drive on last nights episode of Top Gear. He also got to put his foot down in the Bugatti Veyron. Where do you think the Veyron will finish? It’s a pretty heavy car, will it even be in the top 5 or can the 1,000 horsepower on tap overcome it’s handling limitations to let it claim it’s thrown at the top of the Power Board? Make a guess before you watch the video!

Detroit’s Treo Fly to D.C. in Private Jets to ask for a $25 Billion Loan


Detroit CEO's in Washington DC

There’s no denying that the American auto industry is in trouble. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are all saying they could run out of operating cash by as soon as the first half of 2009. If they go down, an estimated 3-6 million Americans would lose their jobs over the next several years. These jobs are made up of the 355,000 people directly employed by the big three and also the companies that rely on domestic auto makers for business; dealerships, OEM manufacturers and financing companies would all go down the drain.

There is no doubt that it would be bad for our economy if Ford, Chrysler and General Motors all go bankrupt. The CEO’s of Detroit are in Washington D.C. today asking for another $25 billion dollar loan that they can use to invest in green technologies and to also pay their monthly bills. Although that seems like a sizable amount of money, it would be split evenly between all three companies. Considering that GM’s monthly operating cost is $13 billion, this loan would only keep GM alive for another three weeks!

I’m all for supporting our American economy, it really is in trouble. But did the CEO’s really have to fly in their private company jets to Washington DC ? Analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group estimates the roundtrip cost at $20,000 for each jet. A first-class roundtrip ticket bought this morning would have cost less than $1,000.

I think we do need to figure out a way to save the American auto industry, but Rick Wagoner (GM), Alan Mulally (Ford) and Bob Nardelli (Chrysler) are not inspiring any confidence with their not-so-thrifty decisions. Congress seems to agree; “There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses,” said the Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman of New York.

Is scary to realize that Detroit’s treo hasn’t yet figured out that saving jobs should come before the preservation of their company perks.

Source: ABC News via AutoBlog – Photo by Mark Wilson

Ferrari F430 Replacement to be Turbocharged and Lighter Weight


The F430 has been one of Ferrari’s top selling models for several years now.  Although it still looks like one of the best supercars on the street, it is due for replacement.  Codenamed the F142, the 430’s successor will be even lighter than the current Scuderia version which weighs a scant 2,750 pounds.  Some of that weight will be shed from the engine by moving to a smaller V8 than the current 4.3-liter.  To make up for the loss of displacement, Ferrari will probably be turbocharging the new model to give it that extra boost and maintain peak performance. It also seems likely that the F142 will look similar to Ferrari’s Mille Chilli concept, pictured above. 

Ferrari’s goal to reduce emissions by 40% by 2012 is, to say the least, very admirable.  Using lighter materials and smaller engines is one logical step for the Italian car maker, so you can expect to see similar treatments across the Ferrari lineup in the future.

Source: AutoBlog