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Auto Industry News
And Car Reviews

What do we make here in 'Murricuh??!

On: Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 11:08AM | By: John Welch

What do we make here in 'Murricuh??! test 1-1

Back in June the New York Times decided to compile a list of vehicles that are "Made in 'Murricuh". This list is surprising because of all the transmissions we get from France. I'm not kidding, even more than Canada, South Korea or Mexico; it seems France supplies not only our refined gasoline but also the crappy automatic that connects the German motor to the American rear-end in your Ford Explorer.

There are other interesting tidbits on this table, found at The New York Times.

Corvette takes the win at Mosport

On: Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 10:30AM | By: John Welch

Corvette takes the win at Mosport test 1-1

The racing this weekend couldn't have been better. Wait wait, yes it could. The ALMS race could have lasted for ten hours. Fortunately the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. will be raced on September 26. Speed is broadcasting flag to flag. I will stock up on Hot Pockets and bacon, and will not dress beyond boxers that weekend. Last year's race was riveting, and if you check previous posts, this race is shaping up to be less than boring.

Anyway, back to Mosport. After only three starts the Corvette Racing C6.R GT2 was able to claim its first victory in the American Le Mans Series GT2 class. After years of dominating GT1 (to the point where no one could compete, causing the 'death' of the entire class), the Corvette team is a relative newcomer to GT2 racing. The cars are more closely related to their production counterparts, therefore GT2 is a cheaper and less complicated undertaking then GT1. This also translates into large fields of cars, most with some sort of corporate backing. It all adds up to excellent racing.

Belgium GP Recap; KERS is the defining factor

On: Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 2:08PM | By: John Welch

Belgium GP Recap; KERS is the defining factor test 1-1

Formula One is maniacal in its approach to timing and scoring. During a race broadcast we are treated to each driver's times through each sector of the track, on each lap. The track is usually divided into three or four sections, called 'sectors' and each driver has his sector times recorded along with his time for the overall lap. Sector times allow us to see where one driver is fast as compared to a rival. This gives the average fan a ton of insight as to where certain chassis are good and where they are not so good. This could also extend to the driver, or the power plant, in question.

Racing Results from the forbidden LMS

On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:37PM | By: John Welch

Racing Results from the forbidden LMS test 1-1

Aston Martin was able to nail down a 1-2-3 finish at last weekend's Nurburgring 1000km, putting them securely into first place in the LMS. ('LeMans Series', the European equivalent to the ALMS,) Good thing Speedtv.com reports on these things, because they definitely DO NOT broadcast them on television. Why not? Chalk it up to economics, blame it on NASCAR fever that doesn't really exist, whatever the case the average racing fan gets gypped.

A Ginetta-Zytek 09S took the LMP2 crown, being run by the Quifel-ASM Team. GT1 became a battle of attrition, the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R and Larbre Competition Saleen S7-R leading most of the race, both cars retiring with mechanical issues. This delivered the win to Larbre’s Roland Berville, Sebastien Dumez and Laurent Groppi; piloting another S7R. GT2 went to Team Felbermayr Proton’s Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz in their Porsche GT3.

Heres hoping Speed decides to broadcast this exciting series, along with many others they choose to overlook because of advertising concerns . . . ihk . . .

Full race coverage can be found at Speedtv.com


Gems From the International Motoring Press

On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:00PM | By: John Welch

Gems From the International Motoring Press test 1-1

Russian Car Kitsch: From Russiablog.org: "The war in Chechnya is dragging on after twelve years and 18 year old drafted soldiers are still dying on a daily basis; Russian pensioners are saving money by not buying toilet paper, and 80% of the population is barely making the living. But it’s not the same in Moscow. The hot new trend of the season is “airbrushing”". . .

So, that's kind of depressing, but the pictures of Dali-Clocks on Alfa hoods are pretty priceless . . .

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 3:15PM | By: John Welch

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly test 1-1

The Good: Everything about the Ford F-150 Raptor makes me happy. Long-Travel suspension? Check. Huge, CORR-style fender flares? Check. 310 bhp V8, soon to upgraded to 400? Check. Skid plates, unique and strangely attractive grille, vicious rubber and a composed on-road ride? Check, Check, Check, and Check. I've always liked Chevy trucks but this thing is just too good to be believed. It looks like it wants to eat babies without going way overboard (ala SuperSwampers, stupid brush guard, TruckNutz) and apparently the thing is beyond capable. Even though I don't currently have any reason to own one, I'm sure I could make something up.

How could this package get better? The current 5.4 liter mill will be joined by a 6.2 liter option by the end of the year. This thing is so serious it comes with a little red stripe dead at the center of the steering wheel's rim. Use it to make sure your tires are pointing arrow straight when that lurid power-slide gets away from you. Heh, that is the sort of thing that makes a pseudo race-dork like me sweat in his sleep. Edmunds Inside Line has a great image gallery. See the video after the jump  from Motor Trend. Anyone want to inform me what dictionary the word "Heavy-Dutyized" comes from?...

That new Aveo might've been a bad idea

On: Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 9:32AM | By: John Welch

That new Aveo might've been a bad idea test 1-1

As the final Cash For Clunkers results poured in from dealerships across the country, many participants have developed a case of buyer's remorse.

CNW Purchase Path, of Bandon, Oregon, conducted a survey among 1,000 Cash for Clunkers participants. Of the the thousand polled, 17 percent reported "serious doubts that they should have made the new-vehicle acquisition."

The main reason, obviously, is the new $300 bill showing up every month. Apparently some people didn't take into account the fact that they would have to pay for most of that shiny new Focus Coupe. Shoulduh bought a 20 year old BMW, which probably has all the same options (minus that infernal 'Sync' system), is rear-drive, fairly efficient, has huge aftermarket support and receive no bill every month. I'm just sayin' . . .

Source: Edmunds Inside Line

The Purest Auto-Poetry You Will View This Week

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 2:54PM | By: John Welch

The Purest Auto-Poetry You Will View This Week test 1-1

I promise I will not ride Jeremy Clarkson's coattails on a weekly basis. Even though I'll read his column every week, I leave it up to you do do the same. Sometimes however, the jerk is just so achingly eloquent that I feel like it's my holy duty to bring Mr. Clarkson and his articles to your attention. This is one such time. I give you a quote, and then a link, and I hope you are bright enough to devote five minutes of your Big Mac-gobbling day to read it. If not, well, you're a dummie and I hate you.

Per Clarkson: "Not once did the car pitch or lurch. There was never a shimmy from the rear or a squeal from the tyres. We just went up that smooth, brilliant road with the roof down and me looking at the stars flying by as though we were on the Starship Enterprise’s observation deck. It was, I think, the most enjoyable drive of my life: to be in a car that good, with its V10 bark echoing off the limestone and a bit of Steely Dan on the stereo, doing about a million with a man who truly knows what he’s doing at the wheel. This is what those of a Guardian disposition don’t understand: that a car can be a tool but it can also be so much more. It can be a heart-starter, it can be a drug, it can be a piece of art, it can stir your soul and it can get you from Marbella to Ronda before the bar closes."

If that doesn't stir your soul then either you're dead or illiterate. Period. The entire article can be enjoyed at The Times Online

Mitsubishi not a fan of civil unrest

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 1:10PM | By: John Welch

Mitsubishi not a fan of civil unrest test 1-1

Anarchy and violence are interrupting production at a Mitsubishi-owned auto plant in Venezuela. There have been two deaths caused by angry laborer riots.

The Japanese firm said the decision came in response to "indiscipline, anarchy and violence".

The factory, in the Eastern Venezuelan city of Barcelona, also produces vehicles for Hyundai. Forced nationalisation of many private companies under the Hugo Chavez leftist-newspeak-commie government was another factor in the decision, although Mitsubishi said the plant may reopen if "peace and discipline" return.

This story can be found at BBC News

SR8LM pulverizes the 'Ring

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 12:32PM | By: John Welch

SR8LM pulverizes the 'Ring test 1-1

Last week we reported on the constant struggle to own the 'production' lap record at the Nurburgring. Here is a video of the lap in question: A Hyabusa-engined Radical SR8LM screaming around the 'Ring, driven by the narrator, Michael Vargers. Bon-appetite!

Renault may use KERS at Monza

On: Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 10:48AM | By: John Welch

Renault may use KERS at Monza test 1-1

Kinetic Energy Recovery systems were a hot topic before the 2009 F1 season got under way. Every team wanted the advantage of extra horsepower, but the drawbacks associated with the system proved to be insurmountable for most teams. BMW-Sauber went so far as to run KERS on Nick Hiedfeld's F109 chassis but not on Robert Kubica's car. Kubica you see, is not the size of a jockey, like most F1 drivers, and it was determined that managing weight distribution would be to difficult with him in the car. Kubica is a measly inch taller and fifteen pounds heavier than Hiedfeld. In a Formula one car that could be considered the difference between a thimble and an elephant.