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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Miscellaneous

Ursa Minor's ECAMPER And The Disappearing Honda Element

On: Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 7:09PM | By: Chris Salamone


The ECAMPER Open test 2

For the last few years Ursa Minor Vehicles, a small company in Southern California, has built the ECAMPER. This niche after-market modification was designed to create a luxury camping environment, similar to the VW vans of yesterday. Unlike the old VWs, which required constant maintenance and MacGyver-like abilities to keep running, Ursa Minor banked on the reliability of Japanese engineering by using the Honda Element as a base vehicle. Yet, despite long term technical foresight, Honda quietly announced to discontinue the retro camping box in 2011.


And the Best Auto Ad Of The Super Bowl Is...

On: Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 3:57PM | By: Chris Weiss


And the Best Auto Ad Of The Super Bowl Is... test 1-1

Watching Super Bowl XLV, you probably noticed a few things. A: It was a pretty damn good game—something that you can't say about every Super Bowl. B: Commercials weren't really that great. Maybe it's just that they get so hyped (more hyped than the game itself in a lot of ways) that they have trouble living up to it, but I rarely found myself really impressed. C: Not only did it seem like there was a car ad or two every break, but car ads were some of the best ads of the night.


Daewoo Is Dead; Will Anyone Mourn/Notice?

On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:15AM | By: John Welch


Daewoo Is Dead; Will Anyone Mourn/Notice? test 1-1

We remember the Daewoo brand fondly, don't we? The awe inspiring Nubria, the effervescent Lanos, the stunning Lacetti, the imaginative Matiz . . . wait, we never got the Matiz. Dang it. Our loss. All sarcasm aside, Daewoo has been responsible for more then its share of commuter boxes over the course of the last twelve years. Most Suzukis are actually Daewoos, most small Chevrolets, the Cobalt being the lone exception, are in fact Daewoo-designed vehicles. The Euro-market Chevrolet Lacetti, Spark, Captiva (can anyone say "Saturn Vue"?), and Orlando are all, in fact, Daewoo products. Which begs the question, "why aren't they Daewoos?"

Following the lead of Ford's "One Ford" global platform plan, GM has systematically phased out all semblance of Daewoo badging world-wide, placing bowties where a weird, tri-pointed waterfall once sat. Americans will hardly notice, we haven't had a Daewoo branded product since 2004. The question is, will Korea notice? Also, will Korea be willing to buy enough Chevrolets to give GM a coveted extra percentage point in the Korean market? GM thinks it can expand from 9% of South Korea's new car sales to 10%. They're sending over their best and brightest, begining with the Chevy Camaro. In return GM Daewoo is giving us the new Sonic small car, as well as the Spark/Matiz, possibly by the end of the calendar year. Possibly. Venture inside the post for GM's side of the story . . .


Subaru FT-86 Model To Launch In Geneva

On: Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 5:06PM | By: Chris Weiss


Subaru FT-86 Model To Launch In Geneva test 1-1

If we take a trip back in time all the way to the Tokyo Motor Show of October 2009, we'll find the original FT-86 concept, a sports coupe created through a partnership between Toyota and Subaru. That partnership was always designed to develop both the FT-86 and a Subaru version of the FT-86, but for a long time all we have had was speculation, spy shots, and media-made mock-ups of Subaru's end of the deal.

Well, we won't have to wait much longer to see what Subaru has created with Toyota's help. The company announced that it will introduce its own sports coupe concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March.


 

The Sebring Weekend: Vettes, Vipers And Of Course, The Odd Porsche

On: Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 2:45PM | By: John Welch


The Sebring Weekend: Vettes, Vipers And Of Course, The Odd Porsche test 1-1

Along with the litany of Porsche and BMW models present at Sebring International Raceway had some company, some big, mean, fire-breathing American company. Besides our favorite Germans, an excellent track car can be had from Chrysler and General Motors. We saw a ton of SCCA-prepared Chevy Corvettes and Dodge Vipers in the paddock and they were all very glorious. The PBOC welcomes all comers, and it is evident that our own American muscle is viewed fondly by amatuer racers from around Central Florida, the Carolinas, and Georgia.

Inside the post you will find great photos of the meanest pushrod-pounding track stars littering the SIR paddock, with an odd Porsche thrown in. It must be said that the drag racing that took place on Sebring's famous front stretch was dominated by turbocharged, all-wheel drive Porsches, but that these Yankee beauties were the cars to beat during the hot lap sessions earlier in the day.


The Sebring Weekend: Porsche And BMW In The SIR Paddock

On: Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 1:40PM | By: John Welch


The Sebring Weekend: Porsche And BMW In The SIR Paddock test 1-1

Some people spend their weekends camping, playing video games, going to the beach, seeing a movie, etcetera, etcetera. I spend my weekends schleping around Sebring International Raceway annoying racers with my camera and my ceaseless questions. I'm serious; Sebring is a track that tends to chew up race cars and spit them out, leaving little time for anything other than suspension repairs for earnest participants.

So they weren't real chatty. No problem, their cars can do all the talking for them. Here we have a gallery of some of the nicest/fastest street and race cars in Florida. True to my shameless predjudices, these cars are all Porsche and BMW models, in various states of tune. I have a whole mess of Viper and Corvette images; look for that post tomorrow. For now, enjoy the best of Bavaria, Sunshine State-style . . .


Nissan Strives To Retain Profits While The Japanese Yen Rises

On: Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 5:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Nissan Strives To Retain Profits While The Japanese Yen Rises test 1-1

For financial analysts, spending their days surrounded by facts, figures, and spreadsheets is an everyday occurance. These are the financial gurus who tell us what is right and wrong with the economies of the world. Their pronouncements always have a ripple effect across the globe. Recent analysis has shown that the strong performing Japanese yen has forced Japanese automakers, such as Nissan, to rethink their American export business. Instead of shipping their cars from Japan, it is more economical to build them here. First on the agenda is 100,000 Rogues which are scheduled to be built at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant.


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 1:35PM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly) test 1-1

In recent years, the great pony car war of Mustang versus Camaro has been better than ever. The new Coyote 5.0 in the GT is a bona fide Camaro-killer, and the Corvette-based LS3 is a old school torque-monster ready for any challenge.  

 

But this battle hasn't always been so even. When GM started using its LT1 Corvette engine in its token pony car back in 1993, the Camaro went on a winning streak that lasted seven years straight. Every stock-versus-stock magazine test, and 99% of stoplight races ended in the Mustang staring at the tail lights of the Camaro. Even when the Mustang changed to the more powerful 260 horsepower version of its single overhead cam modular engine in 1999 for its GT, it was already behind the eight ball because GM had upped the muscle car ante a year earlier to its formidable LS1 V8 that laid down a minimum of 305 horsepower. Not to mention the Camaro had six forward gears compared to the Mustang's five, and had a 3.42 rear axle gear (for the manual transmissions), while the GT made due with its "performance" 3.27 gear. 0-60 times for the Mustang hovered around the mid-to-high five second range, and quarter mile times hung around the mid-to-high 13 second department, while the LS1 Camaro times (given equal drivers, of course) were typically several tenths quicker to 60, and on average, about half a second quicker through 1320 feet, which might as well be a lifetime to most racers. The Mustang simply could not keep pace, even with its vaunted SVT Mustang Cobra; its DOHC V8 put down 320 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, but just could not keep pace with the top dog Camaro SS and its more powerful powerplant. But just when all hope seemed lost, a blood-red ray of hope roared out from Ford's Dearborn assembly plant in the form of the almighty 2000 Mustang Cobra R.


Robotic Valet Parking On Its Way In Chicago

On: Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss


Robotic Valet Parking On Its Way In Chicago  test 1-1

Robots parking cars? Even taking into consideration how much technology has advanced over the past couple decades, that still sounds like pure fantasy. It also sounds like pure awesome.

Unfortunately for sci-fi and futuristic cartoon fans, the Green Park Eco Garage in Chicago isn't nearly as cool as human-like robotic servants taking your keys and manually parking your car. Instead, the robotic part refers to an automated parking system that helps cram double the number of cars into a confined city space.


Fords Quick Lane Shops Are Quickly Expanding

On: Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 10:52AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Fords Quick Lane Shops Are Quickly Expanding test 1-1

When you find an auto mechanic that you can depend on, you’ll stick with him through every car purchase you make. In the world of dependable auto mechanics, the Ford Motor Company has come on like gangbusters with their nationwide network of Quick Lane quick-service shops. A look at the numbers for 2010 reveals that Quick Lane’s revenue jumped a whopping 25%. Knowing a good thing when they’ve got one, Ford intends to build on the success of Quick Lane by ramping up the store count and giving older Quick Lane shops a complete make-over.


Dealer Cash Propels End of Year Luxury Sales

On: Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 4:39PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Dealer Cash Propels End of Year Luxury Sales test 1-1

As 2010 comes to an end, luxury automakers such as Lexus, Mercedez-Benz, and BMW are involved in an unofficial race to sell the most vehicles. Automakers are providing large incentives to move as many vehicles as possible in the last days of the year. Although Lexus has been on top for the past decade, this month is different. BMW and Mercedes are running neck and neck for first place.

This month all three major luxury automakers are offering dealer cash and low interest financing, in addition to some great leasing options.