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Lamborghini Urraco ownership is traumatic but awesome

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:31:00 EST

Gene Ondrusek and his 1975 Lamborghini Urraco have a relationship forged in heartache. He bought the car on a whim in 1987 and had barely driven it when the timing belt snapped thanks to a bad previous engine rebuild. With the interior already a wreck, Ondrusek set off on a restoration that would take years to get the Lamborghini back together.
All of that time arm-deep in the car's mechanicals has turned Ondrusek into a pretty persnickety owner. Passengers have to remove their shoes before getting in, and he has a mat to protect the carpet on the driver's side. However, despite his fastidious temperament, this Urraco isn't a garage queen and gets driven often.
Ondrusek doesn't exactly make the Urraco sound like an unmitigated joy behind the wheel, either. The seating position forces the driver to sit at an angle, and with no power brakes or power steering, the wedge-shaped coupe is not exactly easy to handle at low speeds. Still, all that time fixing the car has clearly created a strong bond behind man and machine, and we think the wedgy, underappreciated mid-Seventies Marcello Gandini design has held up well. Get a feel for both the car and the owner's connection by watching this latest video from Petrolicious.

Chevy gears up Colorado and gives lesser Camaros 1LE and Z/28 support

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:00:00 EST



Desert trails and hot laps; if there's a better way to kick off SEMA I'd like to hear it.
Hanging around racetracks with the folks at Chevrolet is beginning to be a bit of a SEMA tradition for me. Last year, I found myself learning to drag race with near-COPO levels of awesomeness at Las Vegas Speedway; this year it's Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch with a few tricked-out Colorado midsize pickups and a slew of Camaro coupes brandishing all manner of performance parts. Desert trails and hot laps; if there's a better way to kick off the weirdest auto show on the calendar, I'd like to hear it.

Honda squeezes in 9 Fit customs at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST

Honda is displaying a heap of customized Fit hatchbacks at this week's SEMA in Las Vegas. Nine of the modded little econoboxes are on the floor showing off wildly divergent takes on the Japanese automaker's most affordable offering. The company has reason to celebrate the new vehicle, too, because it's been dubbed this year's "Hottest Sport Compact" award at the event.
Six of the custom Fits come from a contest that Honda ran online challenging various tuners to come up with their own take on the new model. People could then follow along online as Tjin Edition, Bisimoto Engineering, Kontrabrands, MAD Industries, Spoon Sports USA and Kenny Vinces worked on the cars. In the end, the version from Tjin (pictured above) with its subdued green paint, huge fender flares and ground-hugging stance was named the fan favorite.
In addition to those cars, Honda also has three other modded Fits on display. Honda Performance Development is showing off one in full B-spec racer trim, Honda Genuine Accessories has an example displaying all of its dealer-installed parts, and there's another model tuned by Bisimoto, as well.

Volvo reveals V60 Cross Country ahead of LA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 11:00:00 EST

Volvo is bringing a model to the Los Angeles Auto Show that isn't afraid to get a little dirty. The Swedish automaker will finally unveil its V60 Cross Country crossover, and it has confirmed that the model will be available in North American markets shortly.
The Cross Country takes Volvo's standard V60 compact wagon and injects a little more off-road capability and visual flavor into the platform. US and Canadian models will arrive with Volvo's 250-horsepower, five-cylinder engine with a standard automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The company says the powertrain should get around 23 miles per gallon fuel economy on the combined cycle.
To be ready to go just a little bit off the beaten path, the suspension sits about 2.6-inches higher than the regular version. The body is also equipped with skid plates in the front and rear, side scuff plates, fender extensions and exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper. Hill Descent Control will also augment capability, as well.

Plethora of 2015 Ford F-150 customs runs the gamut at SEMA

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 10:30:00 EST



Of Ford's customized trucks, two feature the name of famous Ford racers.
Of all the OEMs making appearances at the 2014 SEMA show, Ford owns arguably the most significant group of vehicles, thanks to its new 2015 F-150 and Mustang. While you can look for our Mustang coverage soon, we've managed to sneak out and get snaps of some of a few of the F-150s on display at the company's sprawling, 20,000-square-foot display (look for even more aftermarket F-150 goodness in the coming days).

Mazda previews 2016 Miata Global MX-5 Cup racer

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 10:00:00 EST

At this point, we all know that the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a highly capable racing platform. Mazda even claims that the car is the most road-raced model in the world. Fittingly, then, the Japanese brand is making a huge announcement about the future of motorsport for its next-generation convertible. The MX-5 Cup is going worldwide in 2016 as the MX-5 Global Cup, and all of the racers are getting behind the wheel of the upcoming fourth-gen Miata, similar to the gorgeous redhead pictured above.
"It has long been our goal to see Mazda fans around the world competing in identical MX-5s, and the launch of the 2016 MX-5 Miata is the perfect time to make this goal a reality," said Masahiro Moro, Managing Executive Officer in charge of Global Sales, Marketing and Customer Service for Mazda in the company's announcement.
The racing version makes its grand debut at this year's SEMA show, although at the moment it's really more of a concept. Mazda confirms that the racer uses the 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder, but the other important parts like tires, suspension and safety equipment are not yet determined. The cars "will be sold ready to race from a single supplier," according to automaker's announcement for the series.

2015 Ford Mustang invades SEMA, led by King Cobra

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:30:00 EST

Ford showcased more than a dozen customized 2015 Mustangs at its sprawling 20,000-square foot display this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center as the iconic pony car's 50th anniversary celebration continued at the SEMA Show.
While Mustangs are always a hot commodity at SEMA, the new generation brought increased attention from the aftermarket, as builders like Galpin Auto Sports, Richard Petty's Garage and Vaughn Gittin Jr. offered their takes on the new 'Stang.
The extensive display included a range of Mustangs from mild to wild, with everything from a 600-plus horsepower King Cobra pictured at the top, to paint-and-wheel packages. The new regal Cobra, which we spied early in our SEMA adventure this year, may not be the replacement for the Cobra Jet as we speculated, but it does seem to point the way forward for the next iteration of a supreme Ford dragster. Fat drag slicks out back make it's reason for being abundantly clear, and for tells us that modded car is good for a 10.97-second quarter-mile run.

Scion FR-S SEMA showcars salute sun, style

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:01:00 EST

A brand like Scion is sort of a natural fit here at SEMA, what with the customizable schtick that it's trumpeted since being born in 2002. We've already seen some weird takes on the xB, but SEMA's magic wand has once done interesting things to the FR-S, seen here in a quartet of concepts.
Something that kind of piques our interest is this roofless, let-the-sun-in FR-S, but not in a way that we've seen before. Tuner Jeremy Lookofsky of Cartel Customs put the two-tone, topless FR-S together, and his creation also features an all-metal wide body with an integrated rear spoiler. It's decked out in a unique Azzuro California Blue (looks pretty beachy to us) and includes upgrades like a louvered rear window, 19-inch wheels, a center-mounted exhaust, big ol' turbo kit, KW coilover suspension, upgraded brakes, and a super-powerful audio system.
Also featured in FR-S land is the 10th annual Scion Tuner Challenge, in which three tuners received $15,000 to modify the coupe, taking cues from the Release Series 1.0 that debuted earlier this year. The three cars were done up by Super Street magazine, GT Channel, and Speedhunters. A panel of judges will look at the customs and a $10,000 grand prize will be given to the winners.

Fiat Chrysler quietly sends Pentastar logo out to pasture

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 08:00:00 EST

Logos come and go, and in the case of the famed Chrysler Pentastar, it's on its way back out. The well-known five-sided emblem, which sits prominently atop the massive Chrysler Technical Center complex in Auburn Hills, MI, is officially going to be phased out now that the company has united with Fiat and formed the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
As a nearly 50-year-old icon, though, the fate of the Pentastar has been deeply intertwined with Chrysler's history. Hemmings has an excellent recap of that history, from its development in 1962 by a Chrysler ad agency through to its temporary discontinuation during the disastrous marriage between the American company and Daimler-Benz, and then on to its revival during the time the automaker regained its independence.
If you've been a fan of Chrysler and its brands over the years, you're going to want to give this piece a read. Head over and take a look.

2015 Chevrolet COPO Camaro is the king of our quarter-mile dreams

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 20:01:00 EST

Chevy introduced the fourth generation of its COPO Camaro at the SEMA show today; another limited run muscle car that should set drag racing fans' mouths to salivating.
Just 69 examples of the 2015 COPO will be built (the same as the first three runs of the car), with customers able to choose between 350-, 396 -and 427-cubic-inch naturally aspirated V8 engines, or a supercharged 350. The car on the show stand uses that last one, the supercharged "LSX" V8 with a many 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger.
The hand-built dragsters come fitted with an NHRA-approved roll cage and safety harness, a unique suspension and a solid rear-axle in place of the standard Camaro's independent setup.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car burns rubber into SEMA [w/video]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:26:00 EST

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is showing off a completely redesigned Dodge Charger Funny Car at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas and it's ready to blow through the NHRA timing lights next year. Initially, the shape might look like any of the other entrants in its class burning through the quarter mile, but this is the first comprehensive rethink for the racecar's aerodynamics since 2006, says Dodge.
Draped in classy red and black Mopar livery, the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car tries to share the front and rear styling with its roadgoing counterpart, plus the scallops along the side, but this racer is all about crossing the finish line first.
The major goals for the redesign included making the body stronger and lighter without sacrificing aerodynamics, and that has been done with materials like Kevlar and carbon fiber. However, engineers have accomplished even more. By moving the cockpit further back, they've increased engine clearance and improved driver visibility.

What you missed on 11.4.14

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:00:00 EST

We'll obsessively cover the 2014 SEMA Show
Today is the day that all the craziness that is the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas begins in earnest. We're live from the show floor, bringing the best, the worst and all the rest of can't-miss automotive content from inside and outside the Las Vegas Convention Center right onto your computer screen. You can thank us later.
Two-wheeled highlights from EICMA in Milan

1971 Chevy Corvette Jimmie Johnson Concept is a modern classic [w/video]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:01:00 EST

The Autoblog staff is full of men and women who love cool cars, whether they are old or new, foreign or domestic. And there's a special place in our hearts for the Chevrolet Corvette, which has stood out as a performance icon at a benchmark price since well before the 1971 model you see above rolled off the assembly line in Kentucky.
Thing is, time marches on, and so do the standards of automotive performance. While there's certainly nothing at all wrong with the classic small- and big-block V8 engines the Corvette has been fitted with over the years, the latest pushrod V8 in the current C7 Corvette is the best ever designed and built by The General, equipped as it is with continuously variable valve timing and direct injection to pump out 460 horsepower while still meeting the latest efficiency and emissions requirements.
Chevrolet has teamed up with NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson on the creation seen here at today's SEMA Show. Behind the aforementioned Gen V LT1 V8 sits a six-speed manual gearbox that, like the engine itself, can be found in GM's expansive aftermarket parts catalog. Adjustable coil-over suspension bits replace the stock pieces, and the 18-inch blacked-out wheels were made to emulate the rallye wheels of the 1971 original.

Tanner Foust Racing ENEOS RWB Beetle is more pumpkin than Porsche

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 17:30:00 EST

"Many Porsche owners like the Beetle. The Beetle is a very good car and it looks like a Porsche a little bit," according to Akira Nakai, the man at the helm of Japanese tuning house RAUH-Welt Begriff. "It is similar, but a Beetle is not a Porsche, so we made a completely new design for this Beetle."
We like the VW Beetle for what it is, and these days that's, basically a front-wheel-drive economy car with a bit more fun baked in than is typically seen in its segment. Yes, it once had ties to Porsche - designed as it was by Ferdinand Porsche in the mid-1930s using a similar rear-mounted, air-cooled engine as early Porsche sports cars - but those ties have long since vanished.
That out of the way, Nakai has teamed up with racer and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust to create the machine seen above. Exterior modifications include a body kit that widens the Bug by eight inches, allowing it to hunker down nicely over a custom set of 18-inch Motegi Racing Traklite wheels. We're not sure what, if any, changes have been made to the drivetrain, but rest assured, it's almost certainly nowhere as performance-minded as the 560-horsepower all-wheel-drive Beetle GRC Foust will pilot at the Las Vegas round of the Global Rallycross Championship tomorrow evening...

Chevrolet gives us a Sonic for show and one for go

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:57:00 EST

Amongst the treasure trove of tuning that Chevrolet has brought to SEMA this year, this pair of Sonic hatches is perhaps the most accessible. With one car tweaked for show and the other go, both halves of the SEMA ethos are nicely represented.
The Sonic Performance Concept has been fitted with the company's Performance Stage Kit, meaning cold-air induction for the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and a new exhaust to let it breath more freely. The company tells us that the kit increases power, though it has declined to quantify that assertion, sadly. A track-tuned suspension means the performance Sonic rides lower and should corner flatter, too.
The second Sonic wears an Accessories Concept designation. The concept is essentially a test bed for appearance packages, with matte-black striping, white headlight and taillight rings, a new grille and fresh wheels. Dive deep into the world of modified hatchbacks in our gallery above.

Scion gets weird with '70s-inspired xB and Slayer tC at SEMA

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:30:00 EST

Scion certainly isn't afraid of taking a step into the bizarre at this year's SEMA Show, with at least two concepts that are probably the last thing you would expect from the brand.
First, the company is taking a step back into the 1970s heyday of custom vans with the Scion x Riley Hawk Skate Tour xB seen above. It's painted in an eye-popping shade of orange with an oh-so-retro white, yellow and card red stripe running down both sides. The fenders are connected by a streak of brown, and there's a pop-up skateboard holder on the roof in a matching color scheme to the rest of the body. The Cragar-look wheels trimmed in raised white letter tires and the throwback mirrors really sell the period look. The interior is similarly decked out in disco-era touches like shag carpeting, woodgrain trim and brown leather. In a nod towards the modern, there's a Pioneer media center in the back.
If the xB is too sunshine-feel-good for your style, then the Scion x Slayer Mobile Amp tC goes for an angrier vibe, with inspiration from the heavy metal band Slayer. The exterior is inky black with airbrushed skulls running over each side and the band's crossed-swords emblem on the hood. The motif is carried to the wheels with their blade-shaped spokes. When the custom's suicide doors open, you find a massive Pioneer sound system with a tower of speakers inside that should be loud enough to deafen anyone tempted to turn it up to 11.

First Corvette Museum sinkhole victim restored [w/video]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:00:00 EST

When a sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum opened up in Bowling Green, KY and gobbled up eight important examples of the American sports car in February, videos almost made it look like the hole picked the perfect spot to do the most damage to as many vehicles as possible. None of the cars made it away unharmed, but some were luckier than others. The Skydome sinkhole quickly became a national sensation, and Chevrolet smartly stepped in to offer restoration assistance with the damaged cars. The 2009 Corvette ZR1 Blue Devil shown above is the first such vehicle to complete its restoration process at the hands of the automaker.
The Blue Devil was one of the two examples to debut that supercharged monster Corvette in 2008, and it was on display on loan from Chevy itself when the sinkhole pulled the coupe in. However, the ZR1 was also the luckiest of the bunch because it was actually still drivable after being lifted out of the hole of debris.
Being drivable didn't mean that the 'Vette wasn't harmed, though. The Blue Devil suffered significant damage, including a cracked carbon fiber ground effects, cracked doors and a mangled passenger-side front fender. Mechanically, the car also had bent rear control arms and cracked oil lines. The work only took the restorers at the General Motors Heritage Center about six weeks to bring the ZR1 back to shining condition. Its first stop now is to go on display at this week's SEMA Show.

Five bikes from EICMA you need to know about

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:29:00 EST

Each and every year, the world's biggest motorcycle manufacturers gather together in Milan, Italy to show off the latest and greatest machinery that will soon be offered to dealerships the world over. It's called EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori), and this year's crop of new motorcycles is just as exciting as ever.
We've selected five of the coolest motorcycles shown at this week's show, including models from Aprilia, BMW, Ducati, Honda and Yamaha. Join us down below for a high-performance, two-wheeled Italian journey.

Jeep dealer buries WWII Willys GP in showroom floor

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:00:00 EST

The Willys MB Jeep earned icon status during World War II thanks to its ruggedness, simplicity and go-anywhere ability. Following the war, it didn't take long for the handy vehicles to be scooped up by the public, and a brand slowly grew around the vehicles that has continued to thrive. Fast-forward to present day, where it's not uncommon for auto dealers to try to grab some of the magic of yesteryear by displaying classic models to connect customers with their brands' proud histories. Now, a Canadian Chrysler Group dealer is taking that notion to the extreme by actually making a vintage WWII Jeep part of its foundation.
Bay King Chrysler in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, recently completed its new showroom, and the franchise really wanted to show its dedication to the Jeep brand. As dealer principal Jamie Richter tells Autoblog, the inspiration for the Jeep installation came from his brother, who became fascinated with a home that had a glass floor looking down into its wine cellar. The company already had the 1943 Willys MB to display, but it had originally planned to build a jungle gym around it for customers' kids. Now, the classic is literally in the floor as customers enter. Richter tells Autoblog that customer reaction so far has been "fantastic."
It's certainly a novel way to bring people into the showroom, and seemingly a nice nod not only to Jeep, but to the men and women who served in the war. If you want to see more about how the Jeep was actually installed and what it looks like, check out this video.

Ford announces bevy of recalls, 2 of which are recalls on recalls

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:29:00 EST



Ford has announced five separate recalls, affecting 202,000 vehicles built between 2005 and 2014.
It's not been a great couple of weeks for Ford. On October 30, the company announced a 205,000-unit recall, and yesterday, it was revealed that the Ford brand's year-over-year sales were down over 5,000 units while the company itself was down 3,000 units over through October. Now, the company has announced five separate recalls affecting 202,000 vehicles built between 2005 and 2014.

Forza Horizon 2's latest car pack includes Lamborghini Jalpa, Toyota 2000GT [w/video]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:01:00 EST

With over 200 vehicles to choose from, Forza Horizon 2 players are hardly starving for cars out of the box, but the developers at Turn 10 Studios are happy to give gamers even more choices with regularly released downloadable content. The latest Falken Tire Car Pack is now available with six more cars, with one of them being free for everyone.
The $5 pack has quite a range of vehicles to offer, including the classic 1969 Toyota 2000GT and 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C. There's also the 2014 BMW M4 and 2014 Chevrolet SS. There's even some choices for those who prefer to drive something a bit more obscure, with the 1988 Lamborghini Jalpa (pictured above) and the 1990 Subaru Legacy RS, which also happens to be available to download for free separate from the package.
Scroll down to read all of the details about each of the new cars and to watch a brief video showing them off in the game.

Infiniti recalls Q50 and Q70 Hybrid models

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:30:00 EST

Infiniti is issuing three separate recalls for its Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid and M35 Hybrid covering roughly 13,794 vehicles in North America.
The larger campaign listed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers 5,831 examples of its 2014 Q50 Hybrid (shown above) and 2014 Q70 Hybrid in North America, with 5,412 of those in the US and its territories. According to NHTSA, "due to a software error, the electric motor may stop working while the vehicle is being driven using the electric motor only," creating a "stall-like condition." To fix the fault, the company is reprogramming the motor inverter software, and owners should be contacted in mid-November.
The second recall covers just 890 2014 Q50 Hybrid and 2014 Q70 Hybrid models in North America, with 817 of those residing in the US. It's possible that their transmission housings were damaged during manufacturing, and on affected models, the housing could have a crack that might fracture while driving. Dealers will inspect the transmission and faulty examples will be replaced.

2015 Ford Edge holds line on pricing, starts at $28,100*

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 12:30:00 EST

The Ford Edge gets an updated platform, bolder styling and a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine pumping out 245 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque for the 2015 model year. You might expect that all those new features would result in a big price bump, but you'd be wrong. Ford is keeping costs identical to the 2014 model with a starting MSRP of $28,100 (*plus an $895 destination charge), according to Edmunds. Ford spokesperson William Mattiace confirmed the numbers to Autoblog.
That's a pretty good deal, but the real ticket here might be the model's Sport trim. Buyers get a 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine with over 300 horsepower and standard adaptive steering for $28,600 plus destination. That's just $500 more than the base model.
Pricing for the Titanium trim has not yet been announced, but it'll be a short wait to find out. Mattiace tells Autoblog that full pricing and the configuration for the model will launch on November 5. He has also confirmed that the 2015 Edge will begin hitting dealers in the first quarter of 2015.

We spy the Ford Mustang King Cobra early at SEMA

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:28:00 EST

As is the case with most auto shows, waiting for the reveal of hot new models is the worst part. So, while our own Drew Phillips has been wandering the halls here in Las Vegas since they unlocked the doors for SEMA 2014, we didn't expect him to come back with any big reveals until later in the day. Until this happened.
Meandering by the Ford stand, Phillips eagle-eyed a trunk lid that caught his attention. Popping out from an otherwise draped 2015 Mustang, the matte black lid clearly has the name King Cobra embossed on the rear.
That name is interesting for a few reasons: to start, Ford hasn't used the Cobra name (without "Jet" attached) since way back in 2004, so a new snake is certainly something to take note of. Second, the King Cobra name dates all the way back to the ill-remembered Mustang II, meaning there is a clear link to Blue Oval history here.

Why newly independent Ferrari may be forced into fuel-efficient cars

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:01:00 EST

The repercussions from Ferrari's pending transition into an independent automaker won't be understood for some time, but one of the biggest consequences could be that the iconic Italian marque will be forced into building more fuel-efficient vehicles.
As Wired points out, while Ferrari built fewer than 7,000 cars in 2013, its status as a public company could trigger pressure from shareholders to build more six-figure supercars and grand tourers. In turn, doing so could lead the company afoul of US Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which dictate that any company that sells over 10,000 vehicles needs to maintain a certain fuel economy average across its fleet or risk fines.
With arguably its most popular model, the 458 Italia, hitting just 17 miles per gallon on the highway and its most efficient model, the turbocharged California T, stuck at 18 mpg, Ferrari isn't in a great place to hit the government's mandates (which are somewhat convoluted as Wired explains). The gist of the situation is that Ferrari will either need to continue limiting the number of vehicles it sells each year - a move that's certain to upset shareholders and irk its boss, Sergio Marchionne - or radically improve the fuel economy of its cars at the risk of performance. Rock, meet hard place.

Is Chrysler's 'America's Import' campaign outdated or offensive? [w/poll]

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:30:00 EST

Chrysler launched its America's Import campaign with a splashy ad during the Super Bowl starring Bob Dylan and featuring a whole bunch of patriotic imagery that included Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, factory employees and, of course, the city of Detroit. Since then, the brand has followed the original spot with even more ads using the same tagline. Not everyone is pleased, it seems, including The Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan, who's fed up with the marketing. In an editorial for the newspaper, Phelan claims that it's insulting to the US auto industry and its workers.
"The phrase 'America's import,' with its suggestion that 'import' equals 'better,' feels terribly dated, a relic of the 1980s. It's the rhetorical equivalent of hanging a pastel-hued 'Miami Vice' poster on your office wall," writes Phelan in the piece. Also, since some of the brand's cars are made in Canada, the line isn't even entirely true, he claims. Phelan goes on to praise the company's earlier Imported from Detroit commercials for getting the right message across and showing pride in the city.
While "America's Import" might be the tagline for Chrysler's ads, it's not the whole message. Subsequent ads keep the hard-working, patriotic imagery from the original Super Bowl spot but put a bigger emphasis on the Chrysler 200 that the commercials are meant to sell.

Mercedes previews midsize US van with Metris SEMA concepts

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:02:00 EST

It seems like the commercial van market is booming at the moment. After years of consumers being limited to elderly choices like the Ford E-Series, Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana and various Dodge/Ram models, these days, buyers have fresh options in multiple sizes from companies like Ford, Ram and Nissan. Now, Mercedes-Benz is previewing an expansion of its van lineup with concept versions of a new midsize commercial van called Metris at this week's SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Positioned a step below the Mercedes Sprinter, the North American Metris (sold in other markets under the Vito nameplate) will be initially available in long-wheelbase, rear-wheel-drive form (the European Vito is also available in front- and all-wheel drive configurations). The automaker isn't talking about pricing or specification yet, but when it debuts in the fall of 2015, Mercedes plans to offer the Metris in both passenger and cargo configurations. At this time, a Freightliner variant isn't planned.
While the Metris' actual production debut is still pretty fair away, Mercedes has worked with some upfitters to create custom versions for SEMA to show off the forthcoming model's versatility. Among them, Rado has built a concept vehicle for a fire chief (pictured above) with a striking red and silver exterior, and the interior has been furnished as a mobile command center. The normally power-crazy tuners at Renntech have turned the van into a party machine, complete with a pop-up roof, wild paint and a DJ booth (inset). Garmin has turned its Metris into a golf pro shop, complete with a performance center to help shave strokes off one's scorecard. Finally, a company called HQ Custom Design has added a luxurious interior to show the Metris' potential as an executive shuttle.

Manchester United stars spurning free Corvettes and Camaros

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 08:46:00 EST

High-profile soccer players, or footballers as they're known outside the US, in the English Premier League are known for two things - excellent footwork and a propensity for writing off a wide variety of high-dollar automobiles. Considering their questionable driving talents, then, we'd think the fact that the players of Chevrolet-sponsored Manchester United are ignoring the team's free fleet of Camaros and Corvettes for their own vehicles isn't necessarily a bad thing for the team's sponsor.
Still, Chevrolet isn't happy that its 47-million-pound-per-season ($75.2 million at today's rates) sponsorship, which includes a fleet of 15 Camaros and Corvette Stingrays for the players to use, aren't being used by stars like Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney (shown above). A tabloid shot of one of the players at the helm of a Corvette would be a publicity coup for Chevy, considering the average footballer's preference towards Range Rovers, Porsches and Bentleys.
According to The Daily Mail, the fleet of vehicles has only been used by the workers at the team's Carrington training ground rather than the players themselves. Speaking to The Mail, a Chevy spokesman said players weren't obligated to drive the cars, which are part of a "voluntary drive program."

Motorweek goes retro with '80s hot hatch shootout

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 19:57:00 EST

Motorweek's decades of history on television make it the perfect medium to look back into the automotive past and see how things are different now. It recently added old road test videos to its YouTube channel of the Acura NSX and Toyota Supra, as well as the Ferrari F40. For one of its newest flashback clips, Motorweek has exhumed an affordable five-car challenge of 1986's premiere hot hatches.
By today's standards, this is an eclectic field that features fondly remembered classics like the Volkswagen GTI 16-valve and Acura Integra. However, it also throws in some nearly forgotten contenders like the Dodge Colt Turbo and Ford Escort GT. The angular Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S rounds out the group.
It's fascinating to watch Motorweek run the quintet through the slalom, down the drag strip and on various roads. What's most striking in this clip is the difference in the definition of a performance car between then and now. With its 16-valve, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the GTI is the burliest of the contenders with 123 horsepower, but it still takes 8.8 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. By today's standards, that would make it a plain-jane economy car, and not even a particularly quick one.

Watch this Lamborghini Aventador shoot flames and light itself on fire

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 19:00:00 EST

The stationary revving of high-horsepower, high-cylinder-count Italian engines may be an adolescent pleasure among the world's wealthy, but it's a mechanical display of machismo we're usually prepared to indulge simply because it sounds so great. And it's a spectacle made all the better when one's exhaust spits flames, right? Well, most of the time. Check out this Lamborghini driver, who gets a bit exuberant with his right foot only to have disaster strike.
The driver's Aventador has no problem shooting long flames, and apparently they're hot enough to catch portions of the supercar's body alight. However, the driver's reaction might be even more unbelievable. Watch the video to see what happens - his response certainly isn't how many people would react to their supercar being on fire, perhaps because he isn't completely comprehending what's going on.
One final note; while the video's title claims that the fire is the result of a design flaw, there's not really enough information here to know if that's actually the case. The Lambo could be running an unsuitably modified exhaust or ECU to help it shoot big flames, or the issue could be as simple as debris caught in the rear vents lighting up.