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Morgan Eva GT Debuts At Pebble Beach

On: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

Morgan Eva GT Debuts At Pebble Beach test 1-1

Independent U.K. manufacturer Morgan debuted its all-new Eva GT grand tourer this past weekend at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach. The sleek, stylish car combines sporty, retro-meets-modern styling with a lightweight chassis and body, enough room for four people and bags in the trunk, and a BMW six-cylinder engine. Those factors help to deliver enviable numbers in all-out performance and fuel efficiency.

Underneath its flowing, elongated hood, the Eva GT features a BMW twin-turbo straight six with direct injection, providing 302 hp and 295 lb-ft. That engine pairs with either a six-speed ZF automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

Despite its rather large, stately appearance, the Eva GT weighs significantly less than 3,000 lbs. (2,750). Morgan kept weight down by using its bonded aluminum chassis and a series of superformed aluminum body panels.

The combination of BMW power and lightweight design open the Eva GT up for a 4.5-second 0 to 62 mph time and a 170-mph top speed. According to Morgan's numbers, the car can also offer up to 40 mpg worth of fuel economy.

RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Chris Rado And World Racing

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 2:25PM | By: John Welch

The BUSINESS! test 2

Before we delve into Chris Rado and his World Racing team’s disappointing weekend, there is a little story I have to tell. Standing in the paddock of Sebring International Raceway, wondering just how hot is was outside, I put down my Canon, wiped my forehead and simply observed the World Racing crew for a few moments. I had spent the last twenty minutes taking as many revealing images of Chris Rado's outrageous Scion tCs as I could, and had yet to actually see Mr. Rado himself. Out of the corner of my right eye I noticed a hauler door open and a fire-suit clad Rado step out into the unnerving Florida sunshine.
I've met a few race drivers in my time, NASCAR guys mostly, and it took all of my limited self-control not to strut right up to Rado and start yakking at the guy as if we had grown up on the same street. Rado inspected his "tame" Scion, the Super Modified FWD contender you see in most of the images accompanying this post; he displayed a scrunched forehead, a serious posture. I decided perhaps it might not be the best idea to bother him at the moment. After 30 seconds of discussion with a crew member, Rado, completely unaware that I was spying on him harder than a jilted Astronaut spies on her fantasy crewmate, displayed true sportsmanship like I have never seen in a race paddock, professional or otherwise.

Without touching either of his own cars, Rado walked over to one of his litany of air compressors and began assembling a hose and air chuck. A flat-black and red Honda Accord pulled up to the left of World Racing's pits, and it's driver, Sean Yearwood, threw the Honda into 'Park' (I know it’s a manual, how do you use that cliché without ‘Park’?) and gingerly climbed out of the Super Modified FWD-class Accord. That is the most important part of this entire story, Yearwood and his Honda compete in the same class as Rado and his be-winged Scion tC. Direct competitors . . . and Rado was actually helping Yearwood out, allowing the Honda driver to use his equipment and spending his own time and energy to make sure the compressor hose was long enough and that the tank was full of air. Never have I seen a racer help his competition out so thoroughly, going out of his way to make sure Yearwood ran his best time, and the fans were entertained. I decided that this act of selflessness had earned Rado a reprieve from my badgering, and did not approach him.

Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest, we can focus on World Racing's insane Scions, Rado's bad racing luck, and the images that accompany his trip to Sebring, Florida.

Ford Gives $50 Gift Card to Customers For Late Fiesta Deliveries

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Ford Fiesta Sedan test 2

Ford Customers who reserved a Ford Fiesta, and are still waiting for delivery, will be receiving a $50 gift card from Ford Motor Co.  Ford decided to be proactive in the situation, taking responsibility by issuing letters to consumers with an apology for delayed delivery of vehicles.

Angie Kozleski, Ford spokeswoman, stated that the company was, in fact, issuing MasterCard gift cards to those who had pre-ordered their new Fiestas, explaining that it was “a token of our appreciation for their patience.”  The number of cards distributed was not revealed by Ford, but it was relayed that each customer who ordered a Fiesta (which was late in arriving) could expect to receive a gift card.

The primary reason that Fiestas are late being shipped to dealerships is due to the after effects of a hurricane in Mexico where the Fiestas were manufactured at Ford’s Cuautitlan plant located close to Mexico City. Hurricane Alex hit northern Mexico in late June, and Tropical Storm Bonnie hit the country shortly thereafter. The storms disabled critical rail lines that Ford typically uses to transport cars north of the border into the U.S., causing many delayed shipments.

First Glimpse of the 2011 Toyota Highlander

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 9:29AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

First Glimpse of the 2011 Toyota Highlander test 1-1

If you are interested in getting a preview of the 2011 Toyota Highlander SUV, keep an eye opened for this year’s Moscow Motor Show scheduled on the 30th of August. Toyota will unveil, for the Russian and Ukrainian markets, a Euro-spec version of the Toyota Highlander, which could hold a great deal of similarity to the redesigned model soon to be launched in the U.S.

The 2011 seven-passenger Toyota Highlander gets styling revisions as well as some equipment rearrangement.  It’s part of a mid-cycle upgrade for a vehicle last fully redesigned in model-year 2008. The 2011 Highlander’s basic form doesn’t change. This Toyota Highlander has three versatile seating rows; it is the only electric hybrid, seven-seat crossover for sale in the U.S.

The 2011 Highlander model targeted for the Eastern European markets is updated with a dynamic redesigned front fascia with sharper looking triangular headlights and fog lights that are set into a contrasting section of the bumper. The lower section of the bumper is completely redesigned, which offers a more sophisticated look that, at the same time, gives the crossover a more rugged appearance.

Toyota has not released any official specs for the Highlander SUV, but unidentified sources claim that the vehicle will come with a 3.5 liter V6 engine delivering 273 hp. The unit will be mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.  The North American market may see a 2.7 liter four-cylinder product. The 2011 Toyota Highlander is also expected to receive a hybrid version, in keeping with the trend of providing more fuel efficient vehicles in the U.S. market.


Koenigsegg Agera: Another Potential World-Record-Breaker?

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 9:10AM | By: Chris Weiss

Koenigsegg Agera: Another Potential World-Record-Breaker? test 1-1

Koeniggsegg is developing its Agera supercar, which it's expected to put into production this year. A successor to the CCR--a previous world fastest production car record holder--may be challenging the current world's fastest car--the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport--and the next-generation Shelby Supercars Ultimate Aero TT for the coveted title. According to Top Gear, the company's leader, Christian von Koenigsegg expressed some interest in vying for the title.

Last month, over July 4 weekend, Bugatti driver Pierre Henri Raphanel drove the 1,200-hp Veyron Super Sport to a blistering, record-shattering 267 mph. Unlike the unofficial 253 mph mark Bugatti had set in 2006, Bugatti made this one stick, with the Guiness Book of World Record staff on hand to put the run in the books.

While achieving the world speed record is a huge accomplishment, it puts a pretty big target on the back end of the Bugatti. Days after the feat, Shelby Supercars teased its own upcoming Ultimate Aero TT, indicating that it plans to give Bugatti a run for its money.

GM Completes IPO Paperwork

On: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 8:58AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 GM Completes IPO Paperwork  test 1-1

In automotive news, General Motors Co. has completed the long-awaited paperwork for its initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The paperwork will be complete after filing with the SEC in a matter of days, according to an unidentified source who asked not to be named because the arrangements are private.

The S-1 filing is only the first stage of the process of getting GM’s IPO initiated. It could be several months before the stock is re-listed on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.

According to Automotive News; “GM updated its several-hundred page S-1 document to add a management risk factor after Chief Executive Ed Whitacre announced on Thursday he would step down and be succeeded by Dan Akerson effective September, the source said.” “The surprise announcement last week was a factor that delayed GM's IPO filing by several days, several people close to the process have said.”

Per Reuters; GM anticipates generating between $15 billion to $20 billion, which will be one of the largest IPO’s in history.  The company plans to use the proceeds to go toward the debt from the bailout last year, in which General Motors currently has $45 billion outstanding. GM will have its line of credit increased by $5 billion, according to a few sources the banks that have agreed to provide the line of credit are as follows; Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, UBS AG and Royal Bank of Canada. The ten banks will also act as underwriters for the stock offering. GM will add more banks while keeping the line of credit at $5 billion in order to reduce each bank’s liability.

The most recent quarterly filing by GM listed Akerson’s appointment as CEO, as well as Chris Liddell as CFO.  "Within the past year we have substantially changed our executive management team," GM said in Monday's filing. "We have elected a new chief executive officer ... and a new chief financial officer ... both of whom have no outside automotive industry experience."

RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Sebring International Raceway

On: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 6:23PM | By: John Welch

RedLine TimeAttack 2010: Sebring International Raceway test 1-1

Sebring is as historic a race track as there is in the world. True, it isn't Le Mans or Monaco, and Americans would most likely name Daytona, Indianapolis, or Talledega before they would Sebring; the fact remains, this former B-17 training facility is hallowed ground.

I love Daytona, very much, but it just doesn't have the same panache as Sebring. The luxury-suites at Daytona are named for companies like General Mills, Lowes, and Fed-Ex; the suites on the front stretch of the Sebring race course are named after Audi, Panoz, and Chapparal. There is an unmistakable difference in historic quality between the two tracks and the events they entertain. Daytona is an enterprise for generating cash-flow, Sebring International Raceway is a beacon of purity in an otherwise tainted marketplace . . .

And the RedLine Time Attack Series fits right in with the philosophies of Sebring, real or completely dreamed up by myself as I struggled to suppress my child-like giddiness, almost vomiting as I ran a trembling finger over the Armco barrier on Sebring's front straight. From this position I was looking at cement that has stood the test of time. Unaltered for nearly 60 years, the front stretch at Sebring is a sight any American-born sports car enthusiast has to take in, at least once, before they die. The RedLine Time Attack event, held between August 13th and 15th, afforded me more access to more parts of Sebring than I have ever had before, and for that I am thoroughly grateful to the event organizers and participants. I hope my home state and fellow Floridians were able to make them feel welcome, as I will be bitterly disappointed if the event does not return to Sebring next year. After viewing the images and reading the stories the AutoShopper was able to collect during this stunning production car-based race, you too will be champing at the bit for the 2011 RedLine Time Attack at Sebring International Raceway, in the middle of nowhere, Florida . . .

The 2011 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150

On: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 9:29AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The  2011 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150  test 1-1

The 2011 Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 merges the reliability and smooth handling of the best selling F-Series Trucks with the infamous style of Harley Davidson. The new 2011 model sports a 6.2-liter V8 engine that is now standard. The F-150 SVT Raptor delivers a whopping 411 hp and 434 lb-ft. of torque, which means this year’s model is the most powerful and capable Harley Davidson F-150 ever built. The truck has the towing capacity of a heavy duty truck at 9,300 lbs.

“This engine has tons of torque and already has been proven in the field with both the F-150 SVT Raptor and Super Duty,” said Mike Harrison, V8 engine program manager. “The exhaust for the Ford Harley-Davidson edition has been specially tuned to feature a throaty V8 rumble customers will love.”   

Standard features for 2011 Harley-Davison F-150 include all the bells and whistles of modern auto technology such as the voice-activated Navigation System, a 4.2-inch productivity screen, power moonroof, and Remote Start System. Features including a standard 4.2-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) productivity screen. The standard voice-activated Navigation System integrates several functions including voice-recognition destination entry, climate control, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio into one system, all displayed on an 8 inch touch screen.

Toyota Gets Political, Stops Exports To Iran

On: Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 9:21AM | By: Chris Weiss

The Toyota Land Cruiser test 2

In 2010, there are few entities that have a worse reputation than Toyota. One of those select few is Iran. The Middle Eastern nation is allegedly developing nuclear weapons, much to the displeasure of an international group that includes the U.S., Europe and the United Nations. The nation vehemently denies these allegations, stating that it's nuclear program is for peaceful, energy-related purposes only. It contends that it has a sovereign right to pursue a nuclear energy program without interference from the international community.

Well, the world ain't buyin' that line, and neither is Toyota. A CNN report last week indicates that it has ceased exports to Iran, a move that analysts say is largely symbolic and meant to strengthen the message to the nation.

Tower Automotive To Be Featured in TheTransformers 3

On: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 5:26PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Tower Automotive To Be Featured in TheTransformers 3 test 1-1

According to the Business Journal of Milwaukee, the movie Transformers 3 was filmed, in part, in the city of Milwaukee at the site of Tower Automotive earlier this year.

The Milwaukee visitors bureau, Visit Milwaukee, announced that the Tower site, on the north side of the city, along with the Milwaukee Art Museum, will be featured in scenes from the upcoming movie Transformers 3.

A cast and crew of about 150 traveled to Milwaukee the week of July 12 to film what Visit Milwaukee calls "a pivotal scene" at the museum.

Why Tower Automotive? It has been predicted that the scene will be focused on automotive design, perhaps, of the new combat robots featured in the movie. Tower is one of the largest suppliers of metal structural components in the United States, and they offer a broad range of metal structures including stampings and complex body and frame assemblies for literally every major automotive vehicle manufacturer—a setting realistic enough for a movie about a plant that makes combat robots!

Low Cost Infiniti G25 Slides In Beneath G37

On: Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 5:12PM | By: John Welch

Infinit G25 Sedan test 2

This is one product unveiling that could be a great success, or a monumental failure. Infiniti plans to sell the G25 in the United States, beginning in September. The G25 will become the base model for the G-Series, expanding the newly redesigned G lineup. Stickering for $31,825, the G25 represents a $2,300 dollar saving versus the G37.

Is that money enough to overcome the 110 bhp defecit? The G37 generates 328 ponies, while the new 2.5 liter V6 (built on the same VQ architecture as the 3.7 liter engine) can muster only 218. It is likely that the G25 will get better mileage than the G37, but it lacks options such as the Sport suspension upgrades and a Navigation system. You can't order them, don't even think about it.

All Wheel Drive is another option suffering strange circumstances. Though it is available, AWD comes only with the Journey option package, a geroup of conviences that includes rearview monitor, automatic temperature control, automatic headlights, heated front seats, and heated outside mirrors. Infinit's rear view camera and interface is one of the best on the market.

Is this car going to be worth it the loss in power? There is a school of thought that says older drivers might shy away from a car possesing 328 horsepower, that it might be dangerous or difficult to control. Large Nissan V6s are infamous for sucking down gasoline like Liza Manelli sucks down martinis. Though no fuel usage statistics have been released, it is conceivable that the G25 could achieve 30 mpg, a huge selling point during our country's current Eco-Buzz.

We will reserve judgement until the G25, on sale in September, is seen on our roads . . .