Auto blogThu, 25 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST
If it weren't for his Dale Earnhardt Sr. looks, Blue Nelson could be one one of those soft-spoken, nondescript guys whom you meet briefly and never learn much more about. However, as The New York Times shows in a recent profile and video, behind closed doors, Nelson keeps a fascinatingly eclectic collection of automotive oddities and vintage bicycles.
While his main career is in the movie industry, Nelson's other job is as a car hunter. He takes on clients searching for a specific model and helps them find and restore the dream vehicle that they're after. Hiring him takes some dedication, though, because Nelson doesn't advertise his services. "If people want to find me, they know how to find me," he says in the video.
Beyond being an automotive private detective, Nelson has a fantastically varied collection of vehicles of his own. He likes to have models that people don't usually see, and his garage holds a classic Chrysler New Yorker and an extremely rare Rometsch convertible. Although, the one that means the most to him is the 1962 Porsche 356 convertible that Blue came home in as a baby. Check out the video to learn more about Nelson and his philosophy about forming a bond with a car.
Earlier this month, our friends across the pond at Auto Express released the first in a two-video series that would see them try and build up a second-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata that could best a standard Porsche Boxster around the track. While that first video detailed the mods to the MX-5 - a supercharger, some suspension upgrades and a new set of super-sticky rubber being chief among them - and set baseline lap times for the stock car, today, we have the results of the 5,000-pound ($8,200) upgrade job.
Of course, we aren't going to spoil those for you. You'll need to watch the full video, which recaps the upgrades before digging into a comparison of both straight-line-speed differences between the 2.7-liter Porsche Boxster and blown Miata, as well as their behavior and lap times on the track.
Take a look and let us know what you think in Comments.
Just as the dust settles over the 911 GT3's no manual gearbox kerfuffle, the Germans have gone and yanked the yummy naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 from the Cayenne S and replaced it with a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6. Is nothing sacred in Porscheland?
Perhaps not... but that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Porsche famously once said they'd never build a diesel, but when they did, it was actually rather stellar.
"Well this is stupid." On the surface, that was our reaction to this video, as well. Why would you compare the hottest Porsche Cayman with a crossover of any kind, even if it is the 400-horsepower Macan Turbo?
We're guessing because it'd be bloody good fun, as evidenced Auto Express's latest track battle. To be fair, there is some interesting stuff here. The two do have a similar starting price, separated by less than $3,000 here in the US market. And, factoring in the Macan's hefty horsepower and torque advantages - 60 horsepower and 126 pound-feet - does make for a slightly interesting comparison.
We won't spoil the verdict, so check out the full video from Auto Express, and then let us know what you think in Comments.
Looking at a new Porsche Boxster? First of all, we commend you on your choice, because in its latest iteration, the Boxster has sped out from under the shadow of the 911 and into its own. But now to choose: do you get the base model with 265 horsepower, the Boxster S with 315 hp, or the top-of-the-line Boxster GTS with 330 hp? It's a daunting question, considering the $10k+ price gap between each model that you could put into the gas-and-rubber jar. Same goes for the Cayman, albeit with ten more horses across the board. But as if that's not confusing enough, there appears to be another player on the field. (That is, at least, in certain European markets.)
Appearing on the company's Belgian and Norwegian sites are the Boxster 211 and Cayman 211. As you might have guessed, they pack a less substantial 211 horsepower, undercutting what we know as the base models. Instead of using a smaller engine, though, the Boxster and Cayman 211 get the same 2.7-liter boxer six, just with less power.
As a result, they're a bit slower off the line: the Boxster 211 takes between 6.1 and 6.4 seconds to get to 62, depending on exact specifications, compared to the 5.5- to 5.8-second range for the 265-hp Boxster, while the Cayman 211 is quoted at 6.2 seconds versus the 275-hp Cayman's 5.4 to 5.7 seconds. Fuel consumption and emissions, on the other hand (and as you'd expect), are better in the 211. But while Porsche Norway charges around $10k less for the 211 models, Porsche Belgium charges the same for the 211 models as it does for the next most powerful versions (from which they appear to be visually indistinguishable).
We've already seen photos of the facelifted Porsche Boxster out testing, but we're now seeing these same changes making their way onto the hardtop Cayman coupe. Cosmetically, the next round of Porsche's smallest sports cars isn't vastly different, with redesigned headlamps, LED running lights (like its big brother, the 911), and new taillamps that actually aren't visible on the prototype seen here.
The big news for the updated Boxster/Cayman range is the long-rumored four-cylinder engine. Recent reports suggest we could see four-pots with displacements of 1.6, 2.0, or 2.5 liters, and with output ratings as high as 360 horsepower. Of course, these new four-cylinder mills would be both turbocharged and direct-injected.
It's unclear whether or not the six-cylinder engine range will also be updated when this new Cayman comes to market. In any case, we expect to see it bow in the relatively near future. Stay tuned.
Mercedes-Benz designed the AMG GT to compete head-on with the Porsche 911. It's a clear, singular purpose, and Benz brings a lot of money, technology and race-bred expertise to the fight.
The AMG GT is Merc's followup to the awesome SLS AMG, the retro-modern, gullwing-doored coupe that took us by storm half a decade ago. But this new GT coupe is a more focused sports car than the SLS, rather than an all out supercar capable of extreme performance. It's got a brand-new V8 engine, and state-of-the-art technology that help it to not only be a proper Mercedes, but to be a serious performer.
Mercedes will sell its new baby in two models. The GT S arrives first, in spring 2015, followed by the standard GT in mid-2016. Of course, there's room to grow from there. And while Porsche may have already expanded its 911 range to include a vast variety of models, here's how Stuttgart's icon stacks up against Affalterbach's bad boy.
As the recent US recall of a single Koenigsegg Agera shows, even low-production supercars aren't immune from safety campaigns. Now, there's another example that even the fastest cars can have their faults. The Porsche 918 Spyder is a pretty fantastic vehicle for its ability to mix hybrid fuel economy and incredible amounts of power, but Porsche has a problem on a few units of its halo model.
According to the recall document from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Porsche needs to inspect and possibly repair five 918s in the US because the rear axle control arms may break, which could cause a loss of control while driving. In the full defect notice, Porsche says that it first noticed the problem on June 26 when the parts failed during "heavy duty durability testing (extreme race conditions)" at the Nardo test track in Italy. It transported the components back to the company's lab for inspection, and on July 18 it issued a stop-sale to inspect the suspension parts on the supercar. The automaker also contacted owners by phone to warn them not to use the car on track, until repaired.
The affected 918s will be inspected, and if the cars have the bad parts, the control arms are will be replaced. Obviously, this will be done at no cost to owners. According to a Porsche spokesperson speaking to Autoblog, in addition to the five US cars potentially affected, there were 45 worldwide. All of the cars have now been checked. Scroll down to read the report from the regulator or download the full defect notice as a PDF, here.
Jay Leno's Garage usually focuses on looking at cars new and old, speaking to their owners and then Jay taking a drive to see what he thinks. However, Leno throws his usual shtick to the curb this week to do a full product test of the carbon fiber wheels from a company called Carbon Revolution. If you're not interested in hearing about wheels for 18 minutes, don't worry. They get mounted on a Porsche and are tested back-to-back with stock wheels, and Leno takes the 911 for a track test, too.
While carbon-fiber wheels aren't exactly a new idea, Carbon Revolution's goal is to create a lightweight, one-piece product that can be mass produced. The company even claims that it already has a deal with an OEM automaker to offer them on a vehicle in a few years. The key to the technology is that it doesn't need an expensive autoclave to be made.
In the meantime, the company's carbon fiber wheels are available as an aftermarket option for about $15,000 a set, according to the video. They weigh in at about 15.5 pounds each and offer OEM-levels of stiffness, so they could cut some unsprung mass off of a performance car. Watch here as Jay and his mechanic Bernard lap Willow Springs and give their feedback about what they think of this cutting-edge technology.
Former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking (left in the above photo) could potentially be facing some time in the slammer after all. The last we had heard, he and former Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter (right) had avoided a trial in April due to a lack of evidence. However, an appeals court in Stuttgart has looked at the case again and overruled the earlier decision, finding that the executives should be tried for share manipulation during Porsche's failed attempt to take over Volkswagen in 2008, Bloomberg reports.
The judges in the appeal "list numerous indications that could suggest that there was a hidden decision to increase the stake as they could suggest the opposite evaluation by the lower court," said Stefan Schueler, a spokesperson for the court, in a statement cited by Bloomberg. Wiedeking and Haerter put out their own releases saying that there was no merit to the charges.
The prosecutors allege that Wiedeking and Haerter had a plan to buy up VW stock options in 2008 to take the automotive giant over but hid it from investors. The whole thing was a massive failure and eventually allowed VW the chance to acquire Porsche and forced the two execs to step down. In addition to the criminal investigation, hedge funds have attempted to sue the company multiple times in civil court for the same reason, but they have repeatedly failed.