Friday, October 1, 2010 02:35
From the Department of We Knew It Was Too Good to Last: 2012 Dodge Viper concept shown to dealers looks like an Alfa. The new Dodge (should we call it Dodgetto, or Alfa Dodgio) and Chrysler (no longer Mercedsler, now Chrysler Romeo) just rolled out the new Viper at a dealership intro—gen-five, as it were—and hey, look, that’s an Alfa!
Not exactly. Well, possibly exactly, not pretty much. Remember badge engineering? The saddest examples were probably indistinguishable ‘80s GM front-drive products like the ChevOldsBuPontMaliCutlaCent 6000 Supreme, but everyone’s doing it. Mazda or Mitsubishu pickups look familiar? How about that small Saab wagon a few years ago? Even the guys at Porsche/Volkswagen (oops, Volkswagen/Porsche) and all their offspring share stuff all over the place (more than they’ll admit). Perhaps boring old badge engineering has gotten an American icon all mussed up too. More...
Thursday, September 30, 2010 02:26
It’s a joke, see? Get it? You can’t get rich quick in the tuner business.
There’s a saying about money and racing that applies to a lot of things. “How do you make a small fortune racing? Start with a big one.” Most cases of money flowing quickly in motorsports are by fraudulent folks, brought about by risky behavior as anchored in reality as a fart in the wind. The big earners, the teams you remember—dynasties with names like Penske, Ganassi or Newman—take time, focus, investment and being good. That goes for tuners, too.
There’s no quick anything for tuners. Well, there’s quick debt, quick problems, quick startup costs, quickly angered customers and a quick death to free time. Speaking from personal experience, not as a shop owner but as a friend or patron of a lot of shops (spend it local, folks), it takes time. Even if you trust a guy as a mechanic, his acumen as a shop owner, tuner or builder needs to be seen to be appreciated. Proof in the pudding, as it were. More...
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 03:34
Want to leap to the front of the curve instead of always chasing it? Want the skinny without the fat? Need to understand why things matter instead of choking on the fluff? Have some insight—it’s on us.
Logical Caterpillars in the Nissan LEAF
Something’s rotten in the tree that sprouted Nissan’s LEAF. For instance, the hype behind the new electric subcompact and how it's being subsidized by Uncle Sam. Electric cars, should they become practical, need to be financially obtainable without dealership welfare. Concepts worth their salt will prove themselves in a free market, but the LEAF comes to the dinner table with $7,500 in federal tax dollars propping up each sale, plus what’s offered by the government in your state. More...
Monday, September 27, 2010 02:25
Okay, we’re so hooked on the Awesome Sauce that we feel the urge to give y’all another week of motorists at their best, rather than the usual pile of shredded metal. This one’s a doozy.
Killer Exotic Euro-Spec & Road-Race Hot Rods
If I could (and I surely would), I’d take everyone deep into Europe, to the charming nooks and crannies where history comes from (and where not a few American GIs put the smack down on the worst kind of folk) and show you some historic auto racing. Weird things, supremely wild, exotic things from European race shops, and some Euro factory efforts too, still compete in vintage hill-climbs and other localized racing and—if you want to be any student of why things are—learn where it came from. “Lancia Delta S4 Bergrennen Hillclimb Subida Oberhallau 2005—DTM BMW M3 Porsche 935—Gruppe B” is a good place to start.
How exotic does the metal in these hill-climb vids get? Wide-body Porsches, factory track-spec’d BMWs, strange little European rally-boxes, and other homologated oddities hidden in garages for most of the year that only come out for action like this. Better yet, the 2010 edition of this event just went down last month. The crown jewel of this video is a real twice-blown (turbo-supercharged) Gruppe B Lancia Delta S4, an honest-to-God excellrific freak that makes so many gearhead-perfect sounds at once you don’t know whether to fall to your knees or faint in ecstasy.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 02:30
From the So Funny It’s Sad Dept., we recalled that Toyota (and other hybrid manufacturers, in theory) are outfitting their happy little smiling, partially electric cars with noisemakers. Seems someone is afraid that silent cars will not be noticed despite being large and shiny and metal and full of people and weighing thousands of pounds and being in the street all the time anyway… Hey look, there’s an upside to that horrible noisy inefficient internal combustion after all – it’s less likely to kill you, or so this story would suggest.
From Fox, in a piece called “Toyota Prius Gets Fitted With a Noisemaker,” the reporter claims a primary use of the optional hummer (the driver can turn it on and off—how’s that for shifting liability?) is to protect older pedestrians, but if recollection serves us, the first thing that went in our grandparents was their hearing. Hmmm. Who’s that over there, your big brother? More...