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Categories: Videos

Ferrari Opens Investigation On 458 Italia Fires

On: Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 2:37PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari Opens Investigation On 458 Italia Fires  test 1-1

Much to the delight of fans of pictures of flaming, sizzling supercars (and the blogs that post them), Ferrari 458 Italia models have been burning up like dry brush in the middle of July since the car went on sale earlier this year. In fact, in the few short months that it's been on the road, at least 10 fires and accidents involving the 458 have been reported from California to London to China. Responding to these incidents, Ferrari has opened an official investigation.

Pictures of burning 458s have been popping up regularly on sites like Wrecked Exotics since June. Several of the models involved have been burned into a pile of rims and charred metal, resembling nothing of their former beauty. Incidents have been reported across the U.S. and Europe, with specific locations including London, Paris, China, Switzerland and California. According to Wrecked Exotics, there were 9 incidents of crashes and fires in 458 models over a time period of just 90 days--making for one per 10 days. Overall, the BBC reports that there have been 10 crashes or fires in just three months.

Ferrari released a statement earlier this week indicating that it is opening up an investigation to see if the fires are caused by driver error or a manufacturing defect. Given the sheer number of problems in such a rare car, it'd be surprising if it wasn't the latter.


Mustang Boss Makes a Comeback

On: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 4:30PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Mustang Boss Makes a Comeback test 1-1

The charismatic Ford Mustang has taken on many forms in the past, but there is one model that has remained mostly elusive, with a few “track-only” specials, sold in very limited quantities. That model is the Boss Mustang.  

The new Boss muscle car was modeled after the late 1960s and early 70s famous Bosses that were well known for great looks and high performance. But according to Automotive News: “Ford is quick to point out the new Boss 302 is more than a trip down memory lane.”   

The new Boss was unveiled at Laguna Seca this week.  According to Ford Motor Co, the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 is the “quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever offered by Ford.”

As far as the exterior is concerned, the designers attempted to keep the new Boss in line with the appearance of the 1969 model. The grille is unique to the 2012 Boss, and the front splitter resembles the 302E racer. Aerodynamic changes include a deeper front air dam and a rear spoiler. A black or white roof panel complements the exterior appearance, and the body of the new Boss comes in the nostalgic racing car colors of bright blue, yellow, orange, red, and white.
 


Lamborghini Considering First-Ever Sedan

On: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Considering First-Ever Sedan test 1-1

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann recently gave credence to a possible Lamborghini sedan in an interview with Bloomberg. Winkelmann's statement lends some credibility to the idea that Lamborghini might build a production four-door based on the Estoque concept of the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The sedan would compete with other high-end performance four-doors like the Aston Martin Rapide, Maserati Quattroporte, and Volkswagen AG stablemate Porsche Panamera.

Winkelmann pointed to the possibility of a four-door concisely in an interview at Lamborghini's headquarters in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, stating: “A third model would fit Lamborghini very well. A four-door car would be a very feasible approach.”

According to Bloomberg's report, Lamborghini has not yet made a final decision on the four-door and it will need to make sense in terms of boosting sagging sales.


Why Did the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake Sell for $5 Million?

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 4:01PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Why Did the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake Sell for $5 Million? test 1-1

The 1966 Cobra “Super Snake” was one of the most inspiring automobiles ever designed. On September 7, 1965 CSX 3015 was shipped to Ford Advanced Vehicles Department, just before Carroll Shelby transformed CSX 3015 into the 'Super Snake' Shelby. Shelby was already a world-famous race driver by 1959, when he won LeMans for Aston Martin.

The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake was a race car adapted for street use. Cobras combined Ford V-8 engines and lightweight British AC Ace bodies to create some of the most sought-after domestic cars ever made.

The Super Snake has an outrageous 427cubic inch, 800hp twin Paxton supercharged V8 with a super three-speed automatic transmission. Shelby drove the Cobra in a running of the "Turismos Visitadores" in Nevada. In February 1968, Road & Track referred to CSX3015 as ''The Cobra to End All Cobras.''

The one-of-a-kind muscle car started life as one of 23 Cobra competition roadsters and was made legal for the street with the addition of mufflers, bumpers, and other requirements. The roadster's aluminum body was upgraded with flared fenders that extended over gumball tires.


 

Ford Starts Production of 2012 Focus at Michigan Plant

On: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 12:18PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2012 Ford Focuses . .. Foci? idk . . . test 2

Ford has started the production of the 2012 Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant, located in Wayne, Michigan. Early production of the Ford Focus will involve pre-production vehicles, built to allow Ford to test the final design and perfect the assembly process. The plant will start formal production later in the year.

The Michigan Assembly Plant was originally built to produce the F-150, Expedition, and Navigator. It has been completely redesigned in order to switch gears and produce smaller cars, such as the Ford Focus. Ford tooled the plant so that several variations of the new Focus could be produced there; one such model is the electric-powered version which will be launched in 2012.

The equipment within the plant is flexible enough to be able to switch production without retooling, which is normally very time consuming and expensive, but necessary when changes to the production model are made. For example: if the market suddenly changes and more electric models are being sold, Ford will be able to swiftly modify the productivity without as much overhead cost and produce those models that the market currently demands.

Early production of the Ford Focus at the Michigan plant will involve pre-production vehicles that are built in order for Ford to test the final design and perfect the assembly process. The plant will start formal production later in the year.Ford Starts Production of Focus at New Plant
Early production of the Ford Focus at the Michigan plant will involve pre-production vehicles that are built in order for Ford to test the final design and perfect the assembly process. The plant will start formal production later in the year.

Daytona Construction Well Underway, Piece of Track With Every Daytona 500 Ticket

On: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 11:25AM | By: John Welch


Daytona Construction Well Underway, Piece of Track With Every Daytona 500 Ticket test 1-1

As soon as the last Sprint Cup car disappeared into the Daytona International Speedway garage on the evening of July 3rd, the tarmac surrounding the 2.5 mile landmark began to tremble. It knew its time as the racing surface in Daytona was up. On July 5th, the tarmac realized its worst fears. Crews began disassembling the catch fence surrounding the track, trucking in construction equipment, and making the final preparations for the new track surface.

Now we crawl into August (I say 'crawl' because that is the fastest we can travel when outdoors in Florida; it’s very hot and an elevated heart rate will cause one's head to explode) and The AutoShopperBlog has a few DaytonaConstruction updates for you. Brothers operating cranes, tarmac for free, and month-one progress inside the post . . .


Obama to Announce Early Success of Auto Bailouts

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 5:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Obama to Announce Early Success of Auto Bailouts test 1-1

President Barrack Obama traveled to visit Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Company this week to attempt to sway the taxpayers into believing that the bailouts have had a positive outcome and will result in bringing a financial return. Recent polls have shown that voters are not impressed about the bailouts in general and they are currently unconvinced that the $84.8 billion rescue will result in a financial return. In fact, as many as 48% of the public polled are less in favor of the bailouts while only 17% are more supportive. 

Obama’s speeches will take place in the Detroit area GM and Chrysler plants in what he is calling “an industry revival that has saved millions of jobs," according to the Bloomberg News. In a preview of the President’s speech on ABC earlier this week President Obama stated: “We are going to get all the money back that we invested in those car companies.” The automakers’ recovery “tells a good story” about the U.S. economic recovery, he said.

According to the former head of the automotive task force (initiated by President Obama): “It appears that those of us behind it haven't succeeded in convincing people that it's worked.” According to Ronald Bloom, a recent appraisal of General Motors reveals that the company is worth about $60 billion, the same amount that it took from the taxpayers last year as a bailout.

Bloom also made comment about the number of jobs that have risen in the automotive industry since the bailout, stating, “If we hadn't have stepped in when we did, most observers believe at least a million jobs would have been lost.” All of the Detroit Three have reportedly posted a profit in the first quarter of 2010, and Ford Motor Company realized a net profit that was the highest in two years for the second quarter, a sure sign that the automotive industry is recovering. General Motors has already repaid $6.7 billion in loans and the U.S. hopes to recoup tens of billions of dollars more when the company conducts an IPO scheduled for later this year.

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President Barrack Obama traveled to visit Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Company this week in order to attempt to sway the taxpayers into believing that the bailouts have had a positive outcome and will result in bringing a financial return. 

Lola Produces Prototypes Under New 2011 Regulations

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 2:34PM | By: John Welch


New Lola Chassis test 2

I might have written a little piece on the ALMS Northeast Grand Prix last weekend. In that article I may have stated that Lola will no longer build Coupes. I was wrong; they will no longer build short wheelbase coupes, like the Dyson Mazda, but they will produce a long wheelbase Coupe; think Drayson-Judd. Also, try not to confuse Dyson with Drayson, annoyingly similar team names, I know.

The new Lola Coupe, the B11/80, will feature the same ACO mandated "blow-over" fin as the B11/40 open top prototype. This fin is intended to interrupt a car's momentum if it gets up on two wheels and is trying to turn over, possibly crushing the driver. These regulations were spurred by an accident at Monza in 2008. Stéphane Ortelli's Courage is seen here nearly beheading Allan McNish as it flips and rolls, causing a broken ankle for Ortelli and Gawdawful signage space on the backs of post-2010 LMPs. Funny thing is, this sort of incident has NOT happened since. Scott Sharp's crash at Petit Le Mans last year was caused by hitting an errant Porsche 911 while cresting a blind hill at 140 mph, so it doesn't count. Before going into the new Lola Coupes, I offer video of Ortelli and Sharp, flippity flipping their prototypes into oblivion, inside yon post . . .


Ford Provides Video Details Of New Explorer Off-Road and Safety Features

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 5:05PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford Provides Video Details Of New Explorer Off-Road and Safety Features  test 1-1

A day after its big, hyped-up Facebook reveal, the 2011 Ford Explorer has shown up in a series of videos. Ford uses the short clips to provide some hands-on footage of new features of the Explorer, such as the 4WD system's terrain management and Trailer Sway Control. Ford's photo and video team must have made a killing off of the new crossover.

The 2011 Explorer has been a big story this spring and summer, and continues capturing headlines. Ford introduced the newly ordained crossover on Monday, and followed up with a few videos that provide a closer look at the Explorer in action. More specifically,  the videos help to show consumers exactly what the Explorer's new technological features can do on road and off.


MINI To Take The Countryman Rally Racing

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 11:45AM | By: John Welch


MINI To Take The Countryman Rally Racing test 1-1

The WRC (The FIA World Rally Championship, if you prefer)  has seen its number of factory-sponsored competitors dwindle in the last few years. Hyundai, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, and even the mighty Subaru have all left the sport since 2007, leaving only Ford and Citroen to duke it out in the hills of Acropolis, the snows of Finland, the rains and gravel of Great Britain.

Like every struggling motorsport organization, the WRC decided to change its rules and attempt to attract more manufacturers through lower costs. Naturally aspirated engines are now strongly advised, and turbocharged engines cannot measure more than 1.6 liters. It will be difficult to push this size engine to the 300 or more reliable horsepower the old 2.0 units were making, but in a few years we should see the return of air restrictors as engineers find ever increasing gobs of power.

One of the manufacturers willing to take on the small bore turbo challenge is MINI, and they aren't taking their rally campaign lightly. Teaming up with Prodrive, the company is responsible for building many successful race cars, Subaru's championship winning WRC team included. Utilizing the nearly-new Coutryman model, MINI and parent company BMW plan to live up to the brand's already prestigious racing history. Their last international rally win coming at the 1967 Rally Monte Carlo; the team is anxious to get a car built and testing underway.

MINI will run a limited schedule in 2011, and look for a full campaign from 2012 on. Their deal with the FIA is for 3 to 4 years, and if successful they will commit to the WRC further.


Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory

On: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: John Welch


Lime Rock SlugFest; CytoSport Scores Second Victory test 1-1

So maybe the title of this article is slightly misleading. Saturday, at Lime Rock, CytoSport/Muscle Milk was able to hand the Porsche RS Spyder its second post-Penske victory, but its first over-all victory this season. What in the huh am I talking about? Lime Rock Park saw one, combined LMP class (a very dismal field of five cars) take to the tarmac. CytoSport took its first victory at Sebring, but because the prototypes were still separated into LMP1 and 2, it was only a class victory. Seriously, that race featured a duo of Peugeot 908s; it was over before it began.

Ahem, technically its first victory, Klaus Graff and the CytoSport crew made it as exciting as the limited car count would allow. Raining and slippery during qualifying on Friday, Patron-Highcroft was able to use their tractable HPD V8 to great effect, taking the pole handily over the rest of the field. Saturday's race, however, was completely dry, the changing conditions giving the upper hand to more powerful turbo and 10-cylinder cars. The start was gnashed-teeth exciting, the Dyson Mazda, Intersport Lola and Drayson Lola-Judd all cramming into Turn 1, a piece of real estate barely the width of a country lane. The Dyson Mazda came out of the turn in the lead; followed by Lord Drayson's Union Jack-splattered Lola, Jon Field's Lola coming up in third position.

The Dyson Lola coupe dominated the first few rotations, a sight for sore eyes. Lola will not build any more LMP Coupes, so this may be the last season we see this gorgeous design scooting around American tracks. The Dyson team is to be applauded for taking risks: switching from the proven RS Spyder to the Lola, squeezing nearly 700 bhp out of a 2-liter four pot, laughing in the face of E85, and going straight for IsoButanol. These moves have done much to endear this team to me, and they deserve a victory as much as anyone on the grid. Alas, Saturday, July 24th was not that day . . .