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And Car Reviews

The AutoShopper Rustang Pt.2: Getting Ready For Five Speeds Of Fury

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 5:39PM | By: John Welch

The Borg Warner 5 Speed  test 2

The AutoShopper Rustang has seen its fair share of modifications in its illustrious life. None of them could be considered complete, especially not the drivetrain. Currently housing 2.73 gears, the pumpkin needs to have it's guts replaced. The bushings hiding inside of the suspension pieces are as brittle as a sun baked Chrysler dash board. They need to go. The tires are dry rotted and flat spotted. The rims are nicked. The top, surprisingly, is perfect. The motor is in, it may see some changes over the coming months but it is in the car. The transmission, though working just fine, is an automatic. The gawd awful slushbox has to go before any other work is completed.

Thankfully, Fox Body Mustangs are about as complicated as the most complicated set of Duplos. Building up the nuts to dissect the ailing Rustang right there in Steve's driveway only required a small amount of alcohol. That was four years ago. Now we are presented with a slightly used (less then 20,000 miles,) Borg Warner T-5, and it seems like it really wants to become a part of the Rustang. It calls to us from the kitchen floor, in a soft, ghostly voice . .. "heel, toe . . . heeel, tooo000oooe . .. "

We ran into a few snags in our attempts to pull the automatic. Those issues and their fixes are clearly explained, inside the post . . .

Chrysler Recalls 367,000 Caravans for Problems with Airbag Deployment

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 4:42PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Recalls 367,000 Caravans for Problems with Airbag Deployment test 1-1

As with all the other moving parts built into any vehicle, sometimes the airbag deployment system can malfunction. That’s what is happening with Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. Chrysler has recalled around 367,000 mini vans to fix the accidently deployment issue.

Chrysler recently announced a recall for the 2010-11 Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500 models with diesel engines for a defective power steering reservoir cap. Now Chrysler is recalling over 367,000 2008 model year Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravans for a potential probelm with its airbags.

New Details On The Alfa Romeo 169

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 2:33PM | By: Chris Weiss

2004 Alfa Romeo 166 test 2

The Alfa Romeo 169 is one of the next cars in the Italian marquee's pipline, set to replace the 166, which went out of production earlier this decade. Some new details have emerged on the car, giving us an idea of what Alfa's upcoming flagship sedan might look like.

GM, Ford, and Chrysler Pay Over $300 Million for Retirees

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM, Ford, and Chrysler Pay Over $300 Million for Retirees  test 1-1

General Motor has spent over $200 million this week paying out inflation bonuses to the company’s more than 250,000 retirees. The United Auto Workers (UAW) retirees will get up to $700 each; an additional 72,000 surviving spouses can receive up to $455.


The AutoShopper Rustang: Our First Whack At A True CarBlog Money Pit

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 12:43PM | By: John Welch

As you can see, this is a Mustang Friendly household . . . test 2

Ahhh yes, the glory of a project car. Something about resurrecting a forgotten Street Fighter from the ashes of neglect makes my blood boil. And boy, this car appears to have been neglected. First, let's review the hunk of crap we affectionately refer to as "The Rustang."

What we have here is a 1988 Mustang LX Convertible, originally equipped with a Ford 5.0 liter V8, making a stout (for 1988) 225 bhp and 300 lb.Ft. of torque. The Rustang came with a white vinyl interior and C-4 automatic transmission. The car was driven for eleven years without a proper tune up. When we tore down the engine, we found the original spark plugs. They were pristine. Inside the block, the cylinder walls were free of scoring, and were still shiny. Though never getting a tune up, the car had its Castrol oil changed religiously, and it shows.

In the fall of 1999 the original owner of the Rustang was caught in a pile up, resulting in enough front end damage to have the car totaled. Steve Speizer, the owner's son, would have none of it. He acquired the stricken Rustang, and went about replacing every part from the bumper cover to the firewall. The first day Steve owned it, the Rustang received a new k-member, new steering pump, new steering rack, new front bushings, a new (ahem, refurbished) crossmember, a salvaged radiator, all new hoses, and a new distributor complete with new plug wires and plugs. Every piece of front end sheetmetal was replaced the next day, after a morning of junk yard tomfoolery. Basically, we pulled the necessary parts and then spent two hours yanking the badges off of burned out VWs and Bimmers.

Fisker Partners With Distribution Company For China Presence

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 10:44AM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Partners With Distribution Company For China Presence test 1-1

China may not be the first place that you think of when it comes to clean air and green vehicles, but it will be one of the first global markets to have access to the American-developed Fisker Karma. According to news reports, Fisker has reached a deal with China Grand Automotive Group (CGA) toward selling, marketing and servicing its plug-in hybrid Karma sedans throughout China.

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

On: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 10:37AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing test 1-1

When is a Cobra not a Cobra?  Any gearhead who has been to a car show can tell you the answer to that seemingly simple question. A Cobra is an original car Carroll Shelby made, and any replica is just an imitation. Or is it? Upon further investigation, it may be a deeper question than at first glance.   

A lot has changed since Carroll Shelby took a mild-mannered AC Ace and stuffed a thumping 289 Ford V8 into it, and then later dropping the legendary 427 into that barely-over-a-ton body to instantly create the Superman of hot rods. Science has evolved, technology has improved, and we as a human race have been introduced to more ethical questions than ever before. Mention the idea of cloning to anyone back in 1965 and it would sound like some obscure science fiction movie. Yet, just about thirty years later, science gave us Dolly, the first cloned sheep. Now, here’s where things get fun. Was Dolly a real lamb? Well one argument says yes, in fact, she was a real lamb. She existed in the world, ate food, breathed air, and walked among us as a creature of Earth. The opposing argument, however, says that she was not even a she, she was an ‘it’, and it was never born, but was created by man in a test tube. ‘It’ was an abomination, and can not, should not, and will not ever be considered to be a real lamb.  

So what does this have to do with a simple automotive column? We will get to that, but in order to do that, first your humble pseudo-philosophical author presents to you the Iconic AC Roadster. An 800 horsepower, 2400 pound street demon that looks a lot like a very famous reptilian car of yesteryear. The facts of this car are simple and simply amazing all at once. Powered by a NASCAR derived 7.0 liter Ford V8, pumping out an aforementioned NASCAR-like 825hp and 680 lb-ft of torque funneled through a Tremec-derived six-speed, this racer is shod with top of the line parts inside and out.

Less Camoflage, More Lambo: Aventador Spotted Out in The Wild

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 5:41PM | By: Chris Weiss

Less Camoflage, More Lambo: Aventador Spotted Out in The Wild test 1-1

The Lamborghini Aventador, or the V12 Lambo flagship formerly known as the Jota, is getting closer and closer to an expected Geneva Motor Show launch. Pictures of a lightly camoed version of the supercar have recently been making their way around Facebook and the greater Internet. These pictures provide one of the best looks yet at the model that will top Lamborghini's future line.

Pricing The Kia Optima: Starts At $18K, Could Climb To $30K, Worth It?

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 1:20PM | By: John Welch

2011 Kia Optima test 2

We have found ourselves in a sort of puppy love with the Kia Optima. The Hyundai Sonata is great, but we prefer the Kia's slightly more angular, imposing appearance. We have reported, breathlessly, on both cars, and have enjoyed every second we have spent with them. The Kia gets the final nod because of its driver-centric interior, sportier suspension, and overall aggression.

Having said that, let's option out an Optima and see if it is as value-conscious as it is stylish. After popping over to Kia's website, we find ourselves confronted with several different models. The LX is the cheapest, and only model available with the manual transmission, and the SX is most expensive. I can tell you right now, unless it were a second car, I would not buy this car until a manual is offered with the turbo engine. Shifting is that important to me.

We will start with the LX, try and find an acceptable Optima for as little as possible, then move on to pricier models in search of the perfect Kia Optima.

Jaguar To Join The Crossover Fad

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar To Join The Crossover Fad test 1-1

It looks like one more premium Euro company will join the likes of competitors such as Porsche in pushing to expand their line-up with a small SUV. A high-ranking Jaguar official told the press last week that Jaguar is considering building a crossover model. Also in the pipeline is an XF wagon.

GM Offers Buyout To Skilled Trade Workers

On: Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 12:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM Offers Buyout To Skilled Trade Workers test 1-1

The United Auto Workers Union (UAW) and General Motors officials announced on December 13th  that the company will be offering a onetime $60,000 payment to entice skilled trade workers into retirement, or to encourage workers to leave the company. The offer is being made to workers presently employed at one of the 13 plants where GM plans to trim its workforce.

The buyout will be on the table until it expires on March 1st, 2011. This announcement comes just days after GM CEO Dan Akerson made it clear that he wants to boost certain key executive salaries to keep them from taking better paying positions with competitors.