New York Auto Show 2014

By | April 22, 2014

New York Auto Show

The New York Auto Show is the last auto show on US soil for the season until November when everyone rolls into Los Angeles.  The Big Apple didn’t offer very many big announcements this year but it did bring in a few new redesigns.  We take a look at ten of them.  We’ll start with the boring ones first and work our way to the more exciting models.

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai has sent the Sonata to finishing school and this is the result.  The redesign still looks classy but looses all the stylish lines people loved about the previous version.  The grown up model has filled out a little but retains its sporty look.  The front and rear are more refined and muscular in appearance while the side lines are less pronounced.  Aside from the new looks, the drivetrain options remain the same as the outgoing model.

2015 Toyota Camry

Toyota has redesigned the beloved Camry once again in similar fashion as the Corolla.  The Camry has lost its angular looks and is now gone sleek.  The Camry has grown in length by 1.8 inches and in width (barely) by .4 inches to help give it a more dynamic driving feel.  The electric steering and brakes have been retuned as well.  The nation’s most popular car retains its old drivetrain options and well, it is still a typical Camry; an amazingly good but boring family sedan.

2014 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0

Scion has brought out a not se mellow yellow FR-S called the Release Series 1.0.  The angry looking FR-S is mostly just special edition aesthetics with its body kit and big quad exhaust tips.  The car has also been lowered  which should make the car corner even better.  Other upgrades include a TRD steering wheel and HID Headlights, the latter formerly only available on the BRZ.  The downside?  Still no bump in the power.  Scion isn’t saying how much it will cost but do say it will still be under $30k.

2015 Ford Mustang GT 50th Anniversary Edition

Ford has been busy this past week with Mustang events all over the country and they still found time to pull out a new version of the 2015 Mustang.  This one is the 50th Anniversary Edition.  It will be available in Winbledon White and Kona Blue and will receive a few special touches that include louvred quarter windows, a classic horse corral in the grill, and badging.  The interior will get special treatment as well with stitched two-tone leather and emblems in the headrests.  Ford is only building 1964 of them and they say they will be amongst the first to roll off the line in Dearborn.

2015 BMW M4 Convertible

BMW chops the top off of the M4 and shows it off.  The M4 Convertible is basically the same as the M4 Coupe.  It uses the same turbocharged 3.0L straight 6 with 425hp and the same 7spd dual clutch transmission.  Removing the top mean you can cruise down the boulevard and hear that sweet revving engine all the better!  So what is the problem with it?  It weighs a hefty 4055 lbs.  On the plus side, it is lighter than the previous M3 Convertible by 90 lbs.  Even with all that weight BMW says the car will still do 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds.

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

While it isn’t a new car anymore, Alfa Romeo is finally, FINALLY crossing the pond with this 4C Launch Edition.  The 238hp 4C Launch Edition will be available in three colors and mercifully will not have those hideous bug-eye headlights.  Stiffer suspension, a sport exhaust, carbon fiber mirrors and spoiler, and unique wheels will round out the 500 Launch Edition cars that will be available.  An official launch date is still undetermined for the 4C but with such anticipation of the return of Alfa Romeo you’d better get in line quick if you want one sooner than later.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is considered to be one of the most luxurious cars in the world.  It is actually the most popular amongst government agencies around the globe.  The CL of old was the Coupe version of the car essentially.  It may have looked a bit different but looks aside, it had all the luxuriousness one could want in a big, powerful Mercedes coupe.  Mercedes-Benz recently decided to drop the CL and instead created an S-Class Coupe a few months ago.  AMG has since gotten a hold of it a sprinkled of AMG goodness on it and what a machine!  The S63 AMG Coupe is powered by a 5.5L V8 producing 577 hp and an earthshaking 664 lb/ft of torque!  Even with 4,400 lbs of heft, Mercedes says the car will still hit 60mph in 3.9 sec thanks to the AMG Speedshift automatic transmission and 4matic, Mercedes all-wheel drive system.

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06 Convertible

Chevrolet brought out a new version of the C7 Corvette.  Towards the end of the C6 Corvette’s life, Chevy created for the first time a topless version of the Z06 called the 427 Convertible.  It was everything the Z06 was minus a roof.  In New York, they unveiled the new version, the Z06 Convertible.  It will be, just as the 427 Convertible, everything that is Z06 without the roof.  It will be powered by a supercharged 6.2L V8 making 625 hp and should be a hoot to drive on the track.

2015- Dodge Charger RT

Dodge took this opportunity to show a few new cars.  This new Charger is one of them.  Looking like a larger Dart, the Charger only sees an aesthetic redesign focusing on the nose, tail, and interior.  The look is a refreshing change to the angular Charger from before.  It also reminds us of the original Charger sedan concept from 1999.  The interior gets new gauges, infotainment system, and the steering wheel from the Grand Cherokee.  The drivetrain options will remain unchanged.

2015 Dodge Challenger

 

The other car Dodge unveiled was the refreshed Challenger.  You may not notice the changes right off but they include a new front fascia, BMW styled halo headlights, and all new LED taillights.  Unlike the Charger and Dart’s “racetrack” design these taillights remain unique to the car.  Other changes include similar upgrades in the interior as the Charger and the return of the Scat Pack.  The Scat Pack takes the SRT8 once step further and adds ported heads and high-flow headers to help give the car 485 hp and 475 lb/ft of torque.  The upgrades will also be available on the RT model’s 5.7L V8 giving it a further 58 hp going from 375 to 433 hp.

That wraps up the 2014 New York Auto Show.  The next show is happening now in Beijing which we will bring you coverage of in the coming weeks.

Photos: Autoblog.com

 

Because it’s a Monday…

By | April 21, 2014

And Monday’s are dull and hectic and annoying and a buddy sends over a link to Slow-mo footage of the season opener of the WEC at Silverstone.

Where ex-F1 driver, Mark Webber, and Porsche made their LMP1 debut (V4 anyone??).

Where Audi came to play (and crash) ultra-light weight LMP1 cars with “laser lights”.

Where Toyota came to show off 1000HP of power.

So, enjoy the video. Hopefully it’ll make a Monday easier to handle.

 

Watch An APC Do Donuts In Ukraine

By | April 16, 2014

Ukrainian Tank Doing Donuts

With the high tension in the eastern part of Ukraine, it’s not hard to imagine that some people will find creative ways to blow off some steam. For the driver of this BMD-2, that creative way was taking his 23,000 lb APC out for some donuts in a dusty parking lot.

And damn, can this APC drive do some impressive donuts, especially with a power to weight ratio of just 21hp/ton.

Almost more impressive is the soldier riding the main gun, holding himself steady with one hand and raising his rifle with the other. The Ukrainian version of bull riding, perhaps?

Ford Celebrates 50 Years of Mustang

By | April 16, 2014

2015 Ford Mustang GT

Fifty years ago this week Ford started selling the 1965 Mustang which is often referred to as a 1964 1/2 by Mustang enthusiasts.  When launched, Ford projected sales to fall in just under 100,000 units in its first year.  They surpassed that projection within three months. Ford sold a total of 418,000 during its first model year and 18 months after it’s launch over a million had been sold making it the fastest selling car in history, a record that will likely never be broken.  Little did Ford know what they had just started.

Here we are 50 years later and the Mustang is still alive and kicking.  It is the only pony car to have survived with uninterrupted production.  Not even Chevy’s Camaro can claim that feat since it went on an 8 year hiatus in 2002.  Very few cars have survived 50 years.  That list includes cars like the 911, Corvette, and the original Beetle and Mini Coopers.  Quite a feat.

To celebrate this great accomplishment, Ford is hosting week long Anniversary parties in Las Vegas and Charlotte Motor Speedways.  The events will include car shows, cruises, swap meets, and even sticking a 2015 Mustang on the roof of the Empire State Building.  Many Mustang clubs from the east are driving across America to Vegas to celebrate while clubs from the west are doing the same only ending in Charlotte.  The main events at said venues will officially run from April 16th-20th but expect to see club activities running throughout the month.

Photo by the Author

Racing Blip: 2014 Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase At Long Beach

By | April 11, 2014

Scott Pruett in his #01 Ford EcoBoost / Chip Ganassi Racing takes pole @ Long Beach

Well, it’s the third stop of the season for the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. This stop isn’t quite the endurance race of Daytona and Sebring. Nope this is a “sprint race” by TUSC standards. A whopping 100 minutes of Prototype and GTLM class machine pounding the streets of Long Beach, California in the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase At Long Beach.

Well, despite improvements in the streaming the event over at FansChoice.tv. IMSA/NASCAR doesn’t seem to want to stream a “directors cut” of the event. And it doesn’t appear that they have it on broadcast either??

What I can tell you is that the Ford EcoBoost powered DP cars of Chip Ganassi Racing and Michael Shank Racing took the top two spots for the Prototype category. The DP Corvette of Action Express Racing took 3rd. So what about the BoP (balance of performance) for the P2 cars? Don’t think it really helped. OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan came in fourth.

On the GTLM front, it was #3 Corvette, #55 BMW, #56 BMW. All within 0.307 seconds of each other! In fact, the #3 Corvette Racing set a new qualifying track record for Long Beach!

Despite the growing pains of the newly merged series, the GTLM class is still some damn fine and exciting racing!

What to watch for? This being Long Beach, lots of traffic, congestion, and more then a few wrecks on this high speed street circuit. In fact, think of this as the USofA’s version of Monaco. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the PTC and GTD cars are not making this stop.

How to watch?

Umm. I’ll just let IMSA explain it. Should also check out FansChoice.tv. Or search for your favorite pirate stream.

[photo | IMSA]

 

Weekend Wallpaper: Jim Buell’s MG-TC

By | April 5, 2014

Jim Buell’s MG-TC

Jim Buell’s MG-TC

Reading my earlier articles, you know my history with Morris Garages’ fine products. My ’66 MGB introduced me to the world of endless expense, responsive handling and true performance, not just fire breathing pavement melting straight liners of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated a raw horsepower display as much as anyone but, to me it seemed guiding a high winding small car down a road course with grace and elegance held more appeal than simply devouring anything in your way  behind the wheel of a Detroit built incinerator.

Looking back at my Tommy Hoan article I found remarkable similarity seeing Dave Holmes wend his way through Watkins Glen’s paddock aboard the Tommy Hoan MG-TC and encountering Jim Buell’s MG-TC at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Both bore 1949 vintage. Both exuded class in beautiful race trim, the top of their race groups. It’s hard to miss a vintage MG out on the track. I couldn’t resist tracking down and talking to Jim, of Blanchard, Idaho, at my 1st race day’s end.

As with many vintage car racers Jim and his wife Lori keep meticulous records and history of their 4 wheeled family member. Jim’s TC chassis, TC9806, came to life September 27th, 1949 at MG’s Abingdon on Thames facility. Originally equipped with XPAG engine #10562, body type B280 in Clipper Blue with Biscuit Interior and Fawn hood, this beauty currently sports a well maintained coat of Kelly green. The MG-TC sported a London Area 3rd Air Force sticker on the center bottom of the windscreen (Windscreen! I feel British just saying it!). Appearing in Monterey, California during 1966, the car appears to have undergone restoration with exception to wood fixtures. Stickers displaying the US Navy’s Post Graduate School as well as date Aug ’66 showed on the license plate.

Teardown 1

Teardown 1

In 1968 Bruce Knipe, a Lieutenant serving at Fort Ord, owned the car, named it “Vicky,” and drove it under a British Racing Green body with black hood.  1971 saw the car become property of Steve Thigpen of California’s Carmel Valley changing color again, this time to bright Kelly green, its color to this day. Jim and Lori purchased TC9806 from Steve in 1987. Driving it mostly to club events for 6 years, Jim then parked the TC until a total frame up restoration began in 2000. Beginning with 2 goals in mind,the restoration first sought a car for continuous use in club events, shows and general touring, presenting the car as originally produced.  Secondly, Jim wanted a car which, without too much work, transitioned to a vintage race car showcasing the TC’s racing heritage. Jim says his TC definitely exhibits a dual personality. Jim rebuilt the entire car touching, he says, fondly, every nut, bolt and screw. He keeps it in full race trim with ability to change it to touring condition and back to race ready as the mood suits him. I’m not sure who has the dual personality here….car or owner.

MG-TC Rebuild 1

MG-TC Rebuild 1

 

MG-TC Rebuild 2

MG-TC Rebuild 2

In addition to learning about the car, Jim gave me a little insight into Rolex Monterey’s Motorsports Reunion event. Participation results from invitation only. Not just anyone can drive up declaring their intention to race. Each year’s field of about 550 cars results as the Governing Body of the Historics chooses from several thousand applicants. Jim feels it an honor to be part of the historically significant car field not once but several times.

MG-TC Rebuild 3

MG-TC Rebuild 3

Jim can’t keep his TC on the road alone. At races, Jim receives much needed support from his entire pit crew including former Air Force Chief Master Sergeant, friend and owner of 40 years’ worth of mechanical experience, Jack Harris, wife Lori and Jack’s wife MaryAnn. They work to keep the car’s soul together. Each TC lap enriches Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s history, gracing the storied road course.

MG-TC Rebuilt

MG-TC Rebuilt

Telling me most MG’s race east coast circuits, I would love to see a head to head meet up between 2 great MG-TC examples. Jim says he’d like to run at The Glen and Lime Rock. It’d be pretty cool to watch Jim in TC8906 and Dave Holmes in Tommy Hoan go 4 cylinder to 4 cylinder.

Rebuild photos courtesy of Jim Buell who also offered input on the article.

See you at the track.

Download the full resolution Jim Buell’s MG-TC*

Weekend Wallpaper is a weekly series featuring the automotive photography of the Daily Derbi crew.  This week’s photo is by Neil Eschenfelder

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