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BMW And Toyota Expand Alliance To Co-Develop Lithium Ion Technology

On: Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 10:42AM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW And Toyota Expand Alliance To Co-Develop Lithium Ion Technology test 2

BMW and Toyota announced this week that they've begun research first announced in December.  The two companies are researching next-generation lithium-ion battery technology for use in electric vehicles and hybrids.

On December 1, the two automakers announced that BMW would supply 1.6 and 2.0-liter diesel engines to Toyota. The parties also mentioned their plans to work on battery technology at that time.

Savage Rivale Shows Its Unique Convertible System (Video)

On: Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 5:25PM | By: Chris Weiss

Savage Rivale Shows Its Unique Convertible System (Video) test 2

If you've never heard of Savage Rivale, don't feel bad. Up until a few months ago, we hadn't either. The Netherlands-based startup is in the process of rethinking the supercar with its Roadyacht GTS. Everything about this car makes it unique, including its innovative roof system, which Savage has shown a rendering of in a short, new video.

While the term "supercar" typically refers to a powerful, fast, lightweight two-door coupe, Savage Rivale extends the term to its funky convertible with four wing doors and four seats. While adding the weight of two rear doors and a convertible system would usually prevent a car from performing with other supercars, Savage claims to have weight down below 3,000 lbs., allowing the Roadyacht's 670-hp 6.2-liter Corvette V-8 to provide a 3.4-second to 62 mph time and a 205 mph top speed.

"World's First And Only Mexican Beaded VW" Visits U.S. (It's Better Than It Sounds)

On: Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 4:30PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by Author test 2

On the first leg of its tour of North America and Europe, “Vochol”—the world's “first and only Volkswagen decorated with beads by Mexican Huichol Indians”—can be seen now through May 6 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Now before you go and dismiss this as a “hippie”-style psychedelic custom VW, let’s look at the facts: all of the intricate, multicolored everything you see on the surface of this 1990 VW Beetle (yes, I meant 1990) has been done—by hand—with “more than 2 million glass seed beads and nearly 35 pounds of fabric, paint, yarn and resin.”

Yep, "two families of Huíchol artisans [eight persons total] devoted more than 9,000 hours” to create Vochol, a name derived from a combination of “vochol”, a popular term for VW Beetles in Mexico, and “Huichol”, the common name of the Wirrárika indigenous group.

But this project is more than 233 lbs. of beadwork slapped on a Bug. And—unlike any groovy, 1960s-era painted version—this one’s important enough to be in the Smithsonian.

No foolin': OPGI's 30th Anniversary Car Show Set For April 1st

On: Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 3:13PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by Author test 2

If you’re the owner of a “classic” GM car you’re probably familiar with Original Parts Group Inc. and their comprehensive catalogs. We’re talking about models like the Chevelle, El Camino, Cutlass, Skylark, GTO, Monte Carlo, Riviera and even 1954 through 1976 Cadillacs.

[Unfortunately, they have no apparent love—or parts—for my ’89 Olds Custom Cruiser. What’s up with that?]

Anyhoo, on April 1, in celebration of the firm’s 30th year of operation, they are hosting a classic car show at their Seal Beach, Calif., headquarters. Free and open to all, it is certain to feature many of the finest examples of each vehicle line I’ve mentioned, not including—so far as I know—any Custom Cruisers.

Still, it sounds like a heck of an event. But you don’t have to take just MY word(s) for it…


Toyota Teases Sporty, New Sedan

On: Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 11:30AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Teases Sporty, New Sedan test 2

The New York Auto Show gets underway next week, so automakers are taking their last opportunities to get us excited for what they plan to display. Toyota has released a teaser sketch of a sporty, new sedan, which should bring a little more flair to Toyota's line.

By all accounts, Toyota is sick and tired of being the reliable worker bee with a great personality. Japan's biggest automaker also wants to be known for its sportiness and emotion. Exhibit A: The GT 86/Scion FR-S. Exhibit B: New slogans. Exhibit 3: This sedan.

Lexus May Produce LF-LC Concept

On: Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:01AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lexus May Produce LF-LC Concept test 2

Sometimes automakers show concepts with the intention that a strong reaction could lead to production. And sometimes a strong reaction convinces an automaker that production is the only logical course of action, even if said automaker had no intention of production when building the concept. The latter appears to be the case with the Lexus LF-LC.

Toyota is currently mulling the possibility of a production LF-LC based entirely on the reaction the sporty two-door received at the North American International Auto Show where it was unveiled and at other world shows. Toyota is looking at how it can create a production model out of a car that was built purely as a conceptual exercise.

Say It Ain't So: Ferrari Considering V-6 Engines

On: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

Say It Ain't So: Ferrari Considering V-6 Engines test 2

The words "Ferrari" and "six cylinder" just don't belong in the same sentence - unless you're talking about classic Dinos. Or future Ferraris. According to a new report, the Prancing Horse is considering offering six cylinder engine options as a means of lowering its emissions and fuel economy numbers.

Ferrari chief Amedeo Felisa told Autocar this month: "Why not six cylinders? It is far away in the future, perhaps, but it is clear perceptions have altered. Even in the US, where until a few years ago eight cylinders was the minimum, it is clear attitudes have changed. We have to think in that direction."

Jeep Teases Three Retro Concepts For Moab

On: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 3:15PM | By: Chris Salamone

Jeep J-12 test 2

Last Friday Jeep enthusiasts got a taste of three new concepts that will appear during the company’s Easter Safari in Moab, Utah. While the teaser images were hardly satisfying, animated and super zoomed, few could really complain. Jeep appears to be taking the whisperings of a future truck model seriously.

For years now, Jeep execs have made off-hand remarks about the second (or third or fourth) coming of a few classic Jeep models. For example, back in May 2011 and after the very same Easter Jeep Safari event, Mark Allen suggested that he was “a big proponent” of reviving the Cherokee nameplate. And Jeep fans aren’t just interested in the deceased, but beloved Cherokee.

The J-10 has also collected a huge following, and even made notable appearances in films like Twister and Tremors. And let’s not forget the iconic cab-over-engine workhorse Jeep Forward Control (FC) which made a recent TV appearance on My Classic Car. Apparently Jeep has picked up the scent, and decided to listen to the company’s adoring fans.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, at the 46th annual Easter Jeep Safari Jeep will unveil six new vehicles – three of which will be the Wrangler Apache, Mighty FC concept, and J-12 concept.

Looking To Save On Gas? Consumer Reports Ranks Subcompacts

On: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 2:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Looking To Save On Gas? Consumer Reports Ranks Subcompacts test 2

Subcompacts have traditionally been good for saving some money up front if you didn't mind enduring a little less power, comfort and prestige. These days, subcompacts not only save you money up front, but their small size and efficient engines save you money on the ever-rising cost of gas. Cars that were once the black sheep of the industry are now kind of cool and relevant.

Well, if you happen to be considering a subcompact, Consumer Reports has ranked its favorites among models redesigned for the 2012 model year.

March Madness Mecum's Way Part 3: Meet MAJOR Muscle Cars In Missouri

On: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 11:43AM | By: Andrew W Davis

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I’ve got to hand it to you, Supreme Being; you’ve got quite a sense of humor. You hard-wired us to impulsively run from things that want to eat us, yet you made us unable to resist cuddling them when they’re young. Similarly, you’ve instilled a sense of “know-better” when it comes to owning—and doing—extremely dangerous things. Case in point: the six vehicles I’ve selected from Mecum’s end-of-March sale in Kansas City, MO.

Now you’ve (hopefully) read my earlier features on Mecum’s fearsome creatures, from the article on some classic, practical vehicles from the 1940s and 1950s to the article on the more modern yet COMPLETELY impractical ones. Well, that’s all fine and good if you’re just into trucks. But what if you wanted to kill yourself in something that’s more “fast” than “four-by”?

Well, fear not, for I have just what you need. And if you think you’re missing out because you’re only getting one "car" feature, just check out the stats on this dirty half-dozen: 12 doors, 24 wheels, 48 cylinders and a (claimed) grand total of 4,612 horsepower. Sound good? Damn right! So what are you waiting for? Get to jumpin’!

Acura RL To Get NSX's Hybrid Powertrain

On: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 10:46AM | By: Chris Weiss

Acura RL To Get NSX's Hybrid Powertrain test 2

Honda introduced the hybrid drivetrain that underpins the Acura NSX before the NSX itself, so it's not all that surprising that the automaker plans to use the system in more cars than just its upcoming Acura sports flagship. According to a new report, Honda also plans to use the hybrid system in its flagship sedan.

Honda chief Takanobu Ito told Auto News that the redesigned RL sedan will use the same hybrid powertrain as the NSX. In fact, the RL might be the first Acura to get the system, as a redesigned RL is likely to beat the NSX to market. The system will allow for better handling.