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C7 Corvette turbo with 1,000 horsepower promised from Hennessey

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 19:01:00 EST

If you can't wait for the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Hennessey says they will have you covered. The Texas-based company has announced it will offer a spate of upgrades for the 2014 Corvette ranging from a range of bolt-on options all the way up to a 1,000-horsepower, twin-turbo system. Buyers can start with a cold air intake, cat-back exhaust or stainless steel long-tube headers, but Hennessey says it will also offer up three stages of forced induction mayhem should those bits and baubles not provide enough thrust.
Those choices start with a supercharger system good for up to 700 hp, though Hennessey will gladly ditch the blower in favor of two turbos. Doing so will spin the crank to the tune of 800 horsepower all the way up to a certifiably ludicrous 1,000 ponies. There's no word on how much these tricks will cost you - or when they will be available, as we're guessing they haven't gotten their hands on the car yet - but you can head over to the Hennessey site to drop them a line if you're curious.

GM to make most cars LTE hotspots for 2015

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 17:59:00 EST

General Motors isn't the first automaker to deliver in-car Internet access, but a proposed plan announced today could make the technology more widespread than any of its competitors have offered. By the 2015 model year, most Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC products in the US and Canada will offer 4G LTE mobile broadband access. Initially, GM will just be pairing with AT&T to deliver this service, but additional carriers will be revealed in the future.
Current in-car Wi-Fi hot spots are limited to 3G, but GM says that 4G LTE is 10 times faster than 3G service and will allow for full Internet access, including streaming video for entertainment as well as services like real-time traffic updates and navigation driving directions. There is also no need for a paired smartphone with this new system, which should make it easier to use, and GM and AT&T will also be working together to develop new apps for customers.
Buyers can expect to start seeing 4G LTE in their cars starting next year, and GM is already planning to expand the service to other global markets as well. All of the information from GM's announcement is posted in a press release below.

Ford, Toyota clean up in Best Car For The Money Awards

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 15:44:00 EST

The U.S. News Best Cars for the Money Awards picks winners by looking at the average transaction price, five-year total cost of ownership, the regard a car has from the automotive press, reliability figures from J.D. Power and Associates and safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The result, according to the magazine, is "the best combination of critical acclaim and long-term value."
Ford nabbed six of the 21 categories that received awards this year, the Focus, Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Taurus, Escape and Edge getting trophies. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion sub-brands took another five, the Tacoma and Tundra owning the two categories given to pickup trucks. The other ten awards were split between Honda with three, Buick with two, and one each for Subaru, BMW, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Mazda.
Follow the link to see all the winners and read about why they were chosen.

Are you the 2014 Corvette Grand Sport?

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 15:28:00 EST

When are stripes more than just stripes? Follow up question: Is the product development team at Chevrolet really cocky enough to hide the next C7 Corvette variant in plain sight? This very recently spotted, and ostensibly obscured C7 asks a lot more questions than it answers, but there's at least some evidence to support that it might be the next Corvette Grand Sport.
The first and most obvious tip-off that something is up with this 'Vette revolves around those silver stripes. Obviously the stripes themselves don't necessarily denote a new model. However, when Chevy recently launched its "colorizer" website for the Stingray, there was no provision made for racing stripes - solid colors only.
Grand Sport exhibit number two is actually an incriminating lack of badges. The production Corvettes we've seen to date have all carried Stingray badges on their fenders, just behind the vent. The car seen in these images has no such badges, which is an intriguing omission on an car that looks like a production-spec vehicle otherwise.

Official USPS Muscle Cars stamps coming to a mailbox near you

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 13:59:00 EST

As much as our digital lives have cut down on our trips to the post office, there are still times that sending "snail mail" is necessary. With us car lovers in mind and philately in their hearts, the good folks at the United States Postal Service will introduce a new stamp design called "Muscle Cars" starting on February 22.
Designed by artist Tom Fritz, the new collection of stamps consist of five classic muscle cars: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, 1967 Shelby GT-500, 1966 Pontiac GTO and 1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda. In addition to just the stamps, the USPS is also commemorating the new series with plenty of collectable memorabilia. Previous car-related stamps include 50s Sporty Cars from 2005 and 50s Fins and Chrome from 2008.

GM won't sell 2014 Chevrolet SS in Canada

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 11:01:00 EST

Allow us to be the first to extend our condolences to our friends to the north. General Motors has announced the 2014 Chevrolet SS will not be available in Canada. The Globe and Mail reports the automaker has confirmed the high-performance sedan won't hit Canadian dealers, though GM hasn't offered up any reasoning as to why that is.
Buyers here in the US of A, meanwhile, can look forward to getting their hands on the 415-horspower, rear-wheel drive SS by late summer. Something tells us it won't be long after that before Canadian officials start seeing individually imported 6.2-liter V8 four-doors in their neighborhoods. Fortunately, Canadian buyers will still be able to take home the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. The C7 bowed at the Canadian International Auto Show last week, reportedly drawing sizable crowds and interest.

Chevy might've pulled out of NASCAR if it weren't for new Gen 6 car

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 13:31:00 EST

We've been on the fence with NASCAR for some time now. On one hand, it's some of the closest racing anywhere in motorsports, with actual passing and door-handle-to-door-handle action as a matter of course. But on the other, it's become template racing - a personality-driven sport more about the drivers than any sort of loyalty to a particular automaker. The Car Of Tomorrow format really rammed that message home, with a racecar's identity coming down to little more than headlamp stickers slapped on the nose. That's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but we've wondered for some time what's in it for the automakers, who pay big money to stay in a series that has had little increasingly little do with street car sales, let alone innovation.
Apparently General Motors was beginning to wonder the same thing. In a new ESPN report, Rick Hendrick, team owner of Hendrick Motorsports, suggests that GM would have seriously considered leaving NASCAR if it wasn't for the move away from the COT to the new Gen 6 racer. According to Hendrick, GM North America boss Mark Reuss spearheaded the charge away from the 2007 COT and toward a racecar with clearer automaker ties - cars like the new Chevrolet SS racer shown above. Learn more about the fight for a closer-to-production look in the ESPN story at the link.
Now, if we could just get more rear-wheel drive V8 coupes into showrooms....

Next Corvette ZR1 to get 700 horsepower?

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:30:00 EST

Word has it General Motors may offer as much as 700 horsepower in the C7 Corvette ZR1. Motor Trend reports the next Corvette Z06 will continue to rely on its naturally aspirated 7.0-liter V8 engine for thrust, but the lump will deliver substantially more power. How much more? MT says the engine could deliver up to 600 ponies. That's a jump of 95 horsepower over the current Z06, though no figures have been finalized as of yet. Right now, GM is reportedly waiting to see what sort of grunt it can glean from the next ZR1.
The automaker has already made it clear it will resurrect the LT5 name for the new supercharged V8, and if GM is already pulling 600 from the Z06, the big dog ZR1 would theoretically offer 700 horsepower. Either way, the range-topping Corvette will be suitably insulated from its less potent siblings. Stay tuned. We aren't likely to see the Z06 for at least a year, with the ZR1 trailing along at some point there after.

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #321 LIVE!

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 17:45:00 EST

We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #321 tonight, and you can drop us your questions and comments regarding the rest of the week's news via our Q&A module below. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #321
Unibody Ford Ranger replacement

Experimental mid-engine XP-819 Corvette going up for auction

Sun, 17 Feb 2013 13:03:00 EST

It seems to be commonplace that when a new Corvette is in development, rumors swirl about a possible mid-engine layout. As is the case of Chevy's most recent C7 Corvette, these rumors never pan out.
In any case, the idea for a 'Vette with an engine mounted behind the driver can probably all be traced back to a single car, the 1964 XP-819 prototype. Built as an "engineering exercise" back in 1964, the prototype was designed with a rear-mounted engine. History tells us that the idea of a rear-engine Corvette fizzled, and the XP-819 was eventually cut up into pieces and stored at a shop in Daytona Beach, FL.
After sitting for untold years, a restoration project started on the car, and while it isn't yet fully completed, the current owner of the car, Mid America Motorworks, will have the car on display at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance as a "driveable chassis" with hopes of having a fully completed car ready to bring to next year's show.