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Top Gear USA: Has Potential, Needs Some Work

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 4:34PM | By: John Welch

Top Gear USA: Has Potential, Needs Some Work test 1-1

First of all, let me point out that Top Gear UK was around for 20 years before it was morphed into the program we all know and love today. Jeremy Clarkson has been cracking-wise about cars for a long time; he has a deep, thundering voice, and is very good at belching out sound bite-sized quips while maintaining control of whatever car he may be piloting at the time. Rutledge Wood has been a NASCAR circus clown for the last six years, Adam Ferrara is a stand-up comedian, and Tanner Foust is a race-driver turned SPEEDtv Host-Monkey, and as such has layer upon layer of hokey, Canadian-style television training to shed before he is anything other than wooden in front of a camera. Lower your expectations a might bit, and Top Gear USA can be seen for what it is: a start.

James May and Richard Hammond were both polished writers and public personalities before they began hosting Top Gear. Top Gear UK's producers have a larger budget, more experience and the joys of a British tv schedule working for them—no commercial interruptions equals a 58-minute "hour" instead of a 43-minute "hour". Top Gear USA is haphazard at best, and that isn't the fault of the hosts, producers or the History Channel. Trying to follow in the footsteps of the single greatest television show of all time isn't something one just does . . . it will take many seasons for TGUSA to shine as brightly as TGUK, if it even can. The first episode was not a home run folks, not even close . . . but the second episode displayed significant improvement. Still not "good", but better with the potential to become great.

Ford Completes F-150 Torture Test At Baja 1000 Race

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 2:32PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Completes F-150 Torture Test At Baja 1000 Race test 1-1

Ford utilized an F-150 EcoBoost race truck with the equivalent of 10 years of rugged use to complete a grueling Baja 1000 race in a little over 38 hours; traveling a whopping 1061 miles!

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine used to power the race truck performed spectacularly in the harsh terrain and extreme temperature swings of the Baja California Penninsula in Mexico. The truck endured accelerations at full throttle, and stiff decelerations across the mountains at temperatures that ranged between freezing and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Facebook Fans Will Name the 2012 Mustang Performance Package

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:28AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Facebook Fans Will Name the 2012 Mustang Performance Package test 1-1

Ford Motor Company plans to bestow a new name on the 2012 Ford Mustang V6 Performance Package. By inviting Facebook fans to submit ideas for the best name for the package, Ford hopes to appeal to Mustang fans and sports car enthusiasts alike. The contest will run through mid-December, with the winner walking away with a two-year lease on a new 2012 Ford Mustang V6 equipped with the same performance package that the contest winner actually helped to name!

The Performance Package combines lightweight 305-horsepower all-aluminum V6, a 3:31 performance rear axle, and Mustang GT-based suspension and braking components, with 19-inch wheels and Pirelli performance tires that provide superb grip and an aggressive appearance.

Consumers Invited To Participate In Designing New Toyota Technology

On: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:20AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Consumers Invited To Participate In Designing New Toyota Technology test 1-1

Toyota Motor Co., USA, Inc. announced its new brand campaign, “Ideas for Good,” a unique initiative centered on what the company has been doing for many years—designing new automotive technology with the goal to benefit society in the non-automotive realm. The campaign invites consumers to share their own ideas to improve quality of life beyond the automotive world.

The “Ideas for Good” initiative asks consumers to propose new possibilities for Toyota technologies, and share ideas on how to find new, non-automotive applications for five distinct Toyota technologies that will benefit society.


Honda Still At Work On NSX Successor

On: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 5:37PM | By: Chris Weiss

The still-born NSX test 2

Currently, Honda stands as the only one of Japan's Big 3 to not have a flagship sports car. Toyota has the limited, ultra-expensive Lexus LF-A. Nissan has the less exclusive but more affordable GT-R. And Honda doesn't have a car that comes close. Yet. 

Less than a decade ago, Honda was the only one of those three to have anything in its line that could be referred to as a supercar. That car was the Acura NSX, a 3.2-liter V6-powered car with a distinctive and sporty look. That car faded in the middle of the decade and left Honda without much of a sports car presence. But that all could change. Rumors of an NSX successor are nothing new, but it had looked as though Honda had scrapped any plans for such a car, thanks to the economic meltdown of recent years. According to Motor Trend, the down economy may have set Honda back, but it didn't end the next NSX project. While it might not be the all-out supercar that the LF-A is, it's expected to be a high-performing hybrid.

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid (Model) Shows Up In a Teaser Photo

On: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 5:02PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid (Model) Shows Up In a Teaser Photo test 1-1

Porsche is playing it coy with automotive fans. The company clearly knows just how much the world wants the 918 Spyder Hybrid—in fact, if it weren't for that heartfelt desire, it would have never given the concept a production go-ahead. So in what would otherwise be a rather mundane, snooze-able press release about a €150 million investment in its research and development center in Weissach (yeah, we wouldn't have been covering that on its own), the Porsche brass decided to slip in a little teaser of the 918. While it's just a picture of a designer working on a clay model, it's a little reminder that Porsche R&D= 918 Spyder Hybrid awesomeness. And that we have to cover. Hat tip, Porsche.

Video: Jay Leno Drives the Jaguar C-X75 Concept

On: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 4:40PM | By: Chris Weiss

Video: Jay Leno Drives the Jaguar C-X75 Concept test 1-1

There are few if any high-end cars that haven't made their way through Jay Leno's Garage. Because when he's not making stupid one-liners about Bill Clinton, he's out driving some of the most exclusive cars on the planet. Case in point: the Jaguar C-X75. An incredible but fantastical concept, the C-X75 is based largely on future technology. Yet Jay Leno has already driven it.

GM and Ford Will Rank in Top 10 of Best Performing Platforms

On: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 11:46AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

GM and Ford Will Rank in Top 10 of Best Performing Platforms test 1-1

GM and Ford Motor Company are two automakers on track to build some of the top performing platforms in the world. Both automakers have designed global car platforms that will be the structural base for their top vehicles throughout 2015 model year, according to Daniel Chang, consultant from AT Kearney. The top platform in the world is currently Toyota’s Camry platform. None of Detroit’s Big Three automakers are on the list of the top 10 performing platforms in world-wide auto sales. But all that is about to change; in 2015 Ford’s Focus platform is projected to take 3rd place worldwide followed by GM’s Cruze platform which will be number 4.

Development of new platforms can cost automakers millions of dollars and several years to build. High sales of cars such as the Focus can generate the capital it will take for U.S. automakers to stay competitive in the world-wide market.

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

On: Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 11:00AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

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

Instead of always trying to be ahead of the world on information and breaking news, sometimes it's better to take a deep breath and look back on what has already come to pass. In this next edition of our Haunted Highways series (see Haunted Highways 3000GT VR4 for our last installment), we aim to do just that. 


Some may argue that the Golden Age of automobiles was the mid to late 1960s; however, there is a compelling argument that can be made for the mid to late 1990s as either a second Golden Age or perhaps even a Renaissance. Although instead of huge displacement and grossly overrated horsepower numbers, these later cars used forced induction and new technology to compete on the highest level of production vehicles. 


The second generation 300ZX was perhaps the epitome of automobile technology, having been the first car to have been designed by the CRAY supercomputer way back in 1989. The 300ZX debuted its new style to Americans in 1990 and continued to evolve for the next six years. The long hood and quick abrupt dropped-off rear end had a polarizing effect, but most seemed to love its new styling, especially magazine editors of the time. The new 300ZX won Motor Trend's 1990 Import Car of the Year, as well as Automobile's Design of the Year and made an appearance on both "Ten Best" lists from Car and Driver and Road & Track.  

Automakers Showcase Vehicles That Get 40 mpg or Better At L.A. Auto Show

On: Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 4:40PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Hyundai Elantra test 2

At this year's L.A. Auto Show, new cars with exceptional fuel economy were hard to miss. Most major automakers are starting to focus on improving fuel economy due to the impending government guidelines mandating that cars have an average of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Not only are there many new fuel efficient hybrids and electric vehicles being launched, but also there is an abundance of new combustion engines that are seeing better gas mileage than ever before. In fact many new models for 2011 and 2012 will get 40 mpg or better.

Lamborghini Confirms That Sesto Elemento Production is a Possibility

On: Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 1:31PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Confirms That Sesto Elemento Production is a Possibility test 1-1

Last week we reported that Lamborghini was considering a limited run production of its Sesto Elemento concept that it showed in Paris. That report originated out of rumors and whispers reported on by a French automotive blog, so it was far from confirmed. While Lamborghini hasn't completely confirmed the concept for production, indications from CEO Stephan Winkelmann are that the company is heading in that direction. Due to safety restrictions, the car would be offered as a track-only model.