Runs & Drive.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
Runs & Drive.
Like the Fast & Furious franchise, the Michael Bay-directed series of Transformers movies has become known as much for its bad acting as its impressive lineup of cars. As filming just started for Transformers 4, Bay's website has confirmed two new cars for the next installment as well as a makeover for everyone's favorite tractor trailer hero, Optimus Prime.
Joining the cast of T4 are a "race-inspired" Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. While Bay's website did not supply names for either car, Bugatti is reporting on its Facebook page that the Veyron will join the Autobots. Speaking of the good guys, top Autobot Optimus Prime is getting an all-new body based on a Western Star with a gaudy appearance that was seemingly inspired by Trick My Truck - right down to the six smoke stacks and side pipes!
We all remember the financial crisis that began several years back. At its core was a splurge of subprime lending for housing loans. The housing bubble burst, triggering a collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market. Apparently, those types of loans still exist in the automotive industry, and the market share for these types of "nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime," loans has grown 13.6 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago.
According to an Automotive News report, high-risk lending expanded to 24.8 percent of total loans in Q3, up from 21.9 percent for this time last year. As this level increased, average credit scores of borrowers dropped to 755, down from 763 a year ago. In that time, the average financing amount increased $90 per vehicle, to $25,963.
At 818, Volvo maintains the highest per-owner credit score, while Mitsubishi has the lowest, at 694. The highest rate of borrowers was at Toyota, with 14 percent of the market, followed by Ford with 13.1 percent and Chevrolet at 11.1.
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"