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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Videos

Poor Man's Bentley Gets Juiced: Dodge Adds Viper Engine To 300 C

On: Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 9:16AM | By: Chris Weiss

Poor Man's Bentley Gets Juiced: Dodge Adds Viper Engine To 300 C test 1-1

The boxy Chrysler 300 often draws comparison to a Bentley or Rolls. Kind of the 50-footer of the auto market, the 300 appears to some untrained eyes like a Bentley from distance, but as it draws closer, it's more than clear that it's not a $250,000 ultra-premium, but a Chrysler knock-off. And while Chrysler offers several attractive engine options for the 300, topping off at the 425-hp 6.1-liter SRT HEMI V8 used in the 300C SRT8, the 300 still falls short of 500 to 550 horses worth of Bentley V8 or W12 power. Of course, with a starting price of under $27,500, the 300 doesn't exactly need to compete with the Bentley on every level. Or any level.

But now it can. One enthusiast of yet-unknown origin recently took the Chrysler 300 to the next level by jamming the 600-hp 8.4-liter V10 engine from the Viper under the faux-Crewe hood. In addition to some deep-throated, all-American muscle grumble spewing from the exhaust, the upgraded 300 would certainly be capable of super-Bentley numbers.

Chevy Volt, What The Heck Is It?!

On: Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 11:53AM | By: John Welch

Chevy Volt, What The Heck Is It?! test 1-1

The controversy surrounding the Chevy Volt has turned into the sort of PR nightmare that General Motors is famous for, and has famously tried to avoid. Is it a hybrid? An electric car? A plug-in hybrid?! Any categories I'm forgetting? I can give you my personal opinion, which I have formulated over the last week by myself. This isn't the AutoShopper's opinion in any way—we have had a constant inter-office argument going since Monday. Each editor has his own thoughts on the Volt and what exactly it is; they are welcome to share their thoughts in the comments . . . so are you, dear AutoShopperBlog reader!

The media, including our blog, has muddied a few of the issues here. A hybrid car, by definition, consists of an electric motor piggybacked on top of an internal combustion engine. The Volt, by comparison, features an internal combustion engine piggybacked on an electric motor. Okay, so, by definition, the Volt isn't a hybrid, contrary to what Motor Trend and others seem to think. The Volt does not operate without its electric engine, its main source of locomotion, so clearly, it doesn't fit in the box created by the accepted definition of a "hybrid".

CNN Recognizes ALMS, Covers Petit Le Mans

On: Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 10:05AM | By: John Welch

CNN Recognizes ALMS, Covers Petit Le Mans test 1-1

Despite rumors suggesting the American Le Mans Series has no television package for 2011, the series ended 2010 with as much media exposure as it could have possibly hoped for. Being the second stop of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the event welcomed many news outlets and organizations from overseas, and recieved an unusal amount of coverage from our own North American outlets.

One such member of the media elite, CNN, sent a crew up to Braselton to cover the pre-race ceremonies at Petit. They did an excellent job, speaking with every important personality they could find in the paddock. It appeared that CNN, like all North American news outlets, had never witnessed big time sports car racing before. They made up for their lack of knowledge by asking the right questions, of the right people. Scott Atherton, Doug Fehan, Patrick Long, Giancarlo Fisichella, Allan McNish, Scott Sharp were all interviewed in this piece, and all had interesting things to say. Other North American Series may wonder why attendence and viewership is down; could it be that American race fans are more interested in variety and competition than who the drivers are married to? HHhmmm, food for thought . . .

ALMS Wrap Up Pt.2: Best GT Season Ever Comes Down To The Last Corner

On: Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 10:55AM | By: John Welch

ALMS Wrap Up Pt.2: Best GT Season Ever Comes Down To The Last Corner test 1-1

The LMP classes provided us with fewer thrills than we were hoping for at the 2010 Petit Le Mans, but this minor let down demonstrates the beauty of multi-class racing: the LMP race isn't the only race going on. There are also GT cars, and this year, many GT cars. By the end of 2008 GT1 had grown too expensive for its own good, reduced, in North America, to a near exhibition race between the two defacto-winners, Corvette Racing C6.Rs No.3 and No.4. By 2009 there wasn't even an Aston Martin DB9R racing in the ALMS, needless to say Saleens, Maseratis or Lamborghinis. GT1 had to go, and GT2 had to step up and fill the huge gap left by the massive engined, carbon-braked premier class. No problemo.

How does 6 manufacturers, all fielding two or more fully funded cars, sound? Maybe even a four-way points battle for all three championships: Drivers, Teams, and Manufacturer? You got it, and just for fun, that points battle came down to the last corner on the last lap. Purty dang exciting, especially considering some of the catastrophic accidents seen this season. Those BMWs have been rebuilt, what? Eight hundred times? Since March? Yeah, that sounds right . . .

The Petit Le Mans was a fitting end to a grueling season, the Corvette Racing ZR1s out for blood and everyone else just trying to survive to the 70% mark. Having never gone a season in ALMS competition without winning a race, things looked pretty bleak for the fledging GT2 squad coming into Road Atlanta. New engines and the associated teething problems that come with them have kept the yellow and black fiends out of the winner's circle for nine rounds; would their season end with heartbreak?

Risi Competitzione and BMW Rahal/Letterman enter Petit Le Mans determined to capture the Manufacturers title, while Porsche veterans Flying Lizard Motorsports attempt to use a relaxed strategy to ensure they get the Drivers title, then race balls out to the finish for the Manufacturers and the win. Endurance races have seemed like elongated sprints for the ALMS this season, and Petit would be no different. These cars and others duked it out for 1,000 kilometers and covered the holes in LMP excitement rather well. GTChallenge, a pro-am class made up of Porsche GT3 Cup cars, came down to the wire as well, and what of that silly 911 Hybrid deal? It lasted the entire race, and under different circumstances could have been very competitive. More on the stunning Porsche Hybrid, race results and recap inside the post.


ALMS Wrap Up Pt.1: Peugeot Plays Proud Protagonist, Audi Alarmed Antagonist

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 3:09PM | By: John Welch

ALMS Wrap Up Pt.1: Peugeot Plays Proud Protagonist, Audi Alarmed Antagonist test 1-1

So many crazy things happened before, during, and after the 2010 Petit Le Mans that one post just won't cut it. In the name of clarity and full coverage, let’s start with the Prototype categories.

As we should know by now, the American Le Mans Series generally acknowledges two prototype classes, LMP and LMPC. For longer endurance and ILMC-sanctioned events the LMP class is split into LMP1 and LMP2; LMP2 cars are light and average 550 bhp, LMP1 vehicles are heavier and have more power on tap. It really should be classified "The Diesels and everyone else" as the Audi and Peugeot diesels are nearly unstoppable, under the current rules.

So, for last Saturday's 10 Hour Enduro (or 1,000 kilometers, whichever comes first) in Braselton, Georgia, we had a shoot-out between the dominate diesel entries, another race-within-a-race between the ALMS LMP regulars, and a third contest for LMPC honors. Because of the rule changes between the ALMS and the ACO's Le Mans rule book, the LMP2 class was rendered inert—the real races were between the Audis and Peugeots, the LMP1 Lola of Intersport Racing, the Patron-Highcroft ARX-01c, the Drayson Lola, and the Cyto-Sport Porsche RS Spyder.

LMPC, a new for 2010 category featuring identical (at the start of the season) Courage FLM-09 prototypes, has been hard fought by the Green Earth Team Gunnar and Level 5 Motorsports teams. Going at it tooth and nail all season, these two teams have helped elevate LMPC far beyond its original expectations as a boring spec-class that will only slow down serious competitors in the LMP and GT classes. That hasn't been the case; besides offering extremely economical racing for the teams (a few entries have run the same Chevrolet LS3 crate engine all year) the class went into Petit with a tie in the points lead. Pretty exciting for a "field filler" classification.

New Nissan GT-R, Godzilla Attacks Paris

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Nissan GT-R, Godzilla Attacks Paris test 1-1

In somewhat of a surprise move, Nissan showed the updated 2012 GT-R to a group of press and VIPs at the Paris Motor Show. There have been a number of leaks and spy shots of the next-gen GT-R, but this was the first official showing.

The new GT-R gets a number of very mild exterior updates concentrated in the front including the straked-out front bumper, LED running lights, and new air intakes, which lower the drag coefficient of the sports coupe. Out back, a new diffuser pulls the GT-R helps keep the car grounded.

For those that don't really pay that much attention to bumpers and diffusers, the most interesting change could be the addition of two new exterior colors: Aurora Flare Blue Pearl and Nebula Opal Black.

Unfortunately, Nissan was more than tight-lipped on mechanical and performance changes, delaying those announcements for a few weeks. In the meantime, rumors are indicating a slight boost in the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6's output thanks to upgraded turbos, a new oil cooler and exhaust system. Output is expected to jump slightly over 500 hp (up from 485 hp). The GT-R is also expected to lose about 65 lbs, so we can hope to see a very slight boost in the GT-R's already impressive numbers: 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and 195 mph top speed.

Petit Le Mans 2010; Audi, Peugeot, Hybrids, Oh My!

On: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 4:33PM | By: John Welch

Petit Le Mans 2010; Audi, Peugeot, Hybrids, Oh My! test 1-1

It's been a while since we covered America's most entertaining road racing association, probably because it has been a while since the American Le Mans Series has raced. The Autoshopper was there in March for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, and though we can't make it to Braselton, we will cover every heart-stopping minute of the 2010 Petit Le Mans. To ramp up excitement for the event we have here a primer for the slightly uninitiated, a short guide to the new cars, new teams, and of course, the fearsome diesel monsters that will be murdering the Road Atlanta tarmac on Saturday. 

Two practice sessions down, two more scheduled for today. Venture inside the post for a break down of the new teams, and the time sheets from this morning.

Ford Focus ST Looks Like An Angry Bass, Goes Like A Fast Angry Bass

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 3:48PM | By: John Welch

Ford Focus ST Looks Like An Angry Bass, Goes Like A Fast Angry Bass test 1-1

Perhaps Ford would prefer I use the Piranha as my Focus design comparison fish of choice. Eh, sure, I see it, but I still like Bass better. Think "fast moving, bait swallowing small mouth Guy Harvey shirt" Bass. The aquatic resemblance aside, Ford is finally bestowing one of its turbo-fed hatches on us 'Murrikens, and it is hawt. With 247 bhp surging through the front wheels courtesy of a 2.0 liter EcoBoost mill, the Focus ST should be an enjoyable hatch, and hopefully a harbinger of things to come. RS-badged things. Evil, torque steering to the horizon, dirty noises from the exhaust Cosworthish things.

What we have to go on so far ain't much, but the media shots of the Focus ST and its interior remind us that this car has gone up-market. Way up-market when compared to the US-only, Mexican-built Focus we have been saddled with since 2002. Yes, it's undergone updates, but it is essentially the same Focus originally released eight years ago. That is nearly two normal product cycles for a mass-volume small-car such as this. Almost shameful. Ford knows it, they're using the Focus as a starting point for their global Performance Vehicles strategy. This strategy could result in Ford selling versions of all of their tasty, low-volume, turbo hatches in the States. The wheezy 170 bhp SVT Focus is currently wondering why no one remembers it ever existed . . .

Take a good long look at that interior, it is a thing of beauty. Expensive materials, less hard plastic than a $40,000 Taurus, engaging gauges, a stout shifter, seats that would feel at home in any Akira-style future-cartoon . . . huff huff . . . Lincolns haven't had interiors this nice since 1969. This isn't a new Town Car either, it’s a workaday Focus!

Ford has elevated the small car game with the new Focus ST, set to debut at the Paris Motor Show tomorrow, September 30th.

Chrysler Factory Workers Caught Drinking on Lunch Break

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 10:41AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Chrysler Factory Workers Caught Drinking on Lunch Break test 1-1

Chrysler Group recently reported that 13 autoworkers were fired and 2 others were suspended after they were caught drinking during their lunch breaks. A local television station filmed the Chrysler employees drinking alcohol on the job, then aired the film to the public. According to Automotive News.com, Detroit Fox News channel responded to a tip and “captured workers from the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant guzzling beer and, in some cases, smoking what appeared to be hand-rolled cigarettes or other smoking material.”

Interestingly enough, Auto News also pointed out that the incident occurred within days of Barack Obama’s visit to the Detroit auto plant in which the President praised autoworkers for their worthiness of the federal bailout that saved union workers jobs. The news coverage prompted a high level of response from local Detroit viewers and was the topic of discussion on many of the local Detroit radio stations; the public was reportedly “outraged at the workers who returned to work after the lunch breaks." Viewers also voiced criticism regarding the TV station that aired the report.

The report was considered derogatory for Chrysler’s reputation as consumers questioned the safety of vehicles being produced by intoxicated plant workers. Chrysler was adamant about giving a statement to convince consumers that the plant’s control systems would ensure the quality of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV that was being manufactured there.

Is There Something Strange In Your Neighborhood?

On: Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Is There Something Strange In Your Neighborhood? test 1-1

The Ghost Busters Cadillac is one of the more popular movie vehicles featured on a variety of different top 10 Movie Car lists. Although the “Ectomobile” plays a small role in the film, it is considered the most well known medical movie car of its time. The 1959 Cadillac S & S ambulance with red tailfins, strobe lights, sirens, attached ladder, and more roof gear than a fire truck, is surely one of a kind. The drivetrain sports a 325 hp, 6.4 liter V-8 with rear wheel drive.

Many movie-based replicas have popped up over the years since the famous Ghost Busters movie released in 1984 (thanks, Wikipedia). One such Cadillac cost a whopping $83,000 to turn the old rusting 1959 model into an Ecto-1 lookalike after its owner, Chris Reynolds, found the car in Maryland in 1997. The Cadillac had spent its previous life in church parades for 20 years. The 20 ft. long, 6.5 foot wide vehicle had its roof removed when Reynolds first discovered it.

Reynolds, who is a coachbuilder by profession, decided to create a business opportunity by refurbishing the vehicle, to sell it to someone who wants to use it as a unique rental vehicle for private hire and promotional events.

According to Reynolds: "The car's ghostly presence is in stark contrast to the real life experience of bringing it back to life—and the cost of doing so! The car was about to be scrapped when I discovered it and the restoration has been a real labor of love, and hopefully it will find a worthy home."

While the exterior of the vehicle resembles the eclectic Ecto-1 from the movie, the interior has been designed to look like a luxury limousine. Powered by a 6.5-liter V8 engine, the 2.55 ton car gets a whopping 8 mpg!

The Cadillac is currently listed for sale and will be up for auction on Saturday, September 25th as part of the "Historics at Brooklands," (UK’s premiere auction house), where the vehicle is expected to go for between $96,000 and $109,000.

Other auction highlights at the Historics and Brooklands auction include a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible and a 1933 Singer Nine Le Mans.

UPDATE: The EctoMobile did NOT sell this last Saturday. Expected to go for at least 60 thousand pounds Sterling, the dramatic Caddie did not find any takers. The Singer Nine Le Mans sold, for £30,731.25. The Aston Martin DB5 went the way of the Ecto-1, not meeting its reserve.

Proving The EcoBoost In A Big Way

On: Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:43AM | By: John Welch

Proving The EcoBoost In A Big Way test 1-1

Yesterday I reported the wealth of engine options available for the 2011 Ford F-150. I also posed some difficult questions: would truck buyers shell out their hard-earned money for cylinder counts less than eight? Are V6 engines stout enough to take the abuse meted out by dirt roads, hauling of large mammals, bulldozer relocation, random falling boulders, and anything else a hairy-chested truck commercial might throw their way?

Ford would like to save you some time and shed light on these quandaries. How's a 150,000-mile bench test followed a week of timber hauling followed by 24 hours of race car trailerin' followed by 1,000 miles of Baja running followed by a complete tear-down sound? Ford will do all of that and more to one, randomly chosen 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6. Not a fully built ringer, just a ordinary engine assembly plucked from the bowels of the Cleveland Engine Plant and thrown on the dyno, eager to pass its first test.

Full details on all of the glorious torture and quotes from Ford, inside the post . . .

UPDATE: Weird things going on with the innerwebs. Notice how we imply that there should be a video of some sort in the body of this blog post? Hmmm, yes, it isn't there. Neither is the webpage I got it from. Perhaps it is being updated? Or, just maybe, the randomly selected EcoBoost engine popped? We'll let you know when we find out!