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McLaren, Koenigsegg, Toyota, Ford, Dodge and Corvette Lego kits announced for 2021

Tue, May 4 2021

Lego has announced a slew of car-themed sets for 2021. The six kits comprise nine vehicles and fall under the brick pusher's Speed Champion line of official OEM-licensed kits. News of their arrival comes from German toy retailer JB Spielwaren's pre-order listings, which show three single-car sets and three dual-car sets of matched marques. Starting with the McLaren Elva roadster, the kit consists of 263 pieces and is finished in blue. It seems to have a difficult time capturing the curves of the real-life Elva, but there's only so much you can do with a bunch of plastic blocks. Lego has made several other McLaren kits before, including the Senna, 720S, and a more advanced Senna GTR for the Technics line. Next up is the Koenigsegg Jesko, made up of 280 pieces and finished in white. Though the real-life Jesko is still curvy, this kit does a better job of replicating its aggressive maw, vents and cantilevered rear wing. Rounding out the single-car sets is the 299-piece Toyota GR Supra in yellow. This marks the first time Toyota has lent their license to Lego. Again, it struggles a bit to represent the curvy Supra, relying on printed details like logos and headlights to identify. On the other hand, the Chevrolet two-car does a stupendous job with the 1968 Corvette. The C3 is instantly recognizable as such. The C8-R race car it's paired with suffers from the same issues as some of the previous cars, though. The set contains 512 pieces, and funnily enough the C8 driver has short hair while the C3 driver sports a period-correct wavy mane. The next set is a 627-piece Mopar-themed pair, including a purple (Plum Crazy?) 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A and an SRT top fuel dragster. The race car is spot on, but the Challenger was probably tough to make given the width restrictions. It looks a couple of pegs too narrow compared to the wide proportions of the real deal. Last but not least, the Ford set contains a Bronco R and Ford GT Heritage Edition. Consisting of 660 pieces, the set does an excellent job of representing both cars. The GT looks faithful in its Gulf livery, and the Bronco R looks more like a real Bronco than the actual Bronco R race truck. All in all, it's always fun to see more Lego sets with real cars, and we're glad to see more manufacturers added to the roster. The single-car sets are recommended for ages 7 and up, while the double-car sets have an 8 years and up rating. Price in U.S.

An amazing Group B rally car collection heads to auction

Tue, Jan 26 2021

Kicking off in 1982, the Group B era spawned some of the most fearsome rally cars of all time. The technologically advanced pioneers of all-wheel drive and turbocharging defined a time when automakers had carte blanche to build machines with unrestricted power, without the burden of homologating a large number of road cars to qualify. The results were sometimes deadly, leading the FIA to ban the class after 1986. Now, a collection of seven Group B monsters is headed across the block in Paris as part of the Artcurial auction, held in partnership with France's famed Retromobile show. The show has been delayed to June, however. There's a 1985 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, one of 20 Evo II models that helped the company achieve two championships in Group B's short run. This particular example was driven by world champion Timo Salonen at the 1986 Swedish Rally, where it finished seventh due to an oil filter seal failure. Bruno Saby subsequently drove it at the 1986 Tour de Corse and Peugeot entered it at the 1986 Acropolis Rally as well. It's still registered to Peugeot Talbot Sport and represents a French technological achievement, according to Artcurial, comparable to the Concorde or TGV train. Representing Italy are a pair of Lancias in the iconic Martini livery. The Lancia 037 helped Bel Paese clinch its only Group B victory in 1983, after a hard-fought rivalry with Audi. It's one of the few Group B cars that weren't AWD, achieving its success the old-fashioned way, through lightness and superb handling. A second Lancia, a 1986 Delta S4, was the culmination of the Italian firm's later Group B efforts and one of Saby's favorites. While Group B was no more in 1987, the S4 was the predecessor to the Delta Integrale that would dominate WRC from 1987 through 1992. While the collection also includes greats like a Ford RS200, Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, and MG Metro 6R4, the centerpiece is the Audi Quattro Sport S1. The ultimate Group B machine, it introduced all-wheel-drive and turbocharging to the sport. It also employed the wildest use of wings and air dams to generate downforce. Tunable up to 590 horsepower, it could rocket to 60 mph in about three seconds. The car offered for sale came straight from Ingolstadt, a 1988 model built for the Race of Champions of ex-Group B cars. The collection was amassed in the late 80s and early 90s, not long after Group B's dissolution.

Autoblog Minute: Finalists announced for 2016 Tech of the Year award

Thu, Oct 29 2015

Here are the finalists for Autoblog's 2016 Technology of the Year award. Autoblog's Chris McGraw reports on this edition of Autoblog Minute, with commentary from Autoblog executive producer Adam Morath, AutoblogGreen editor-in-chief Sebastian Blanco, and Autoblog senior editor Alex Kierstein. Show full video transcript text [00:00:00] It's Fall here in Detroit and for us that means it's time for football, autumn beers, and the fourth annual Autoblog Tech of the Year awards. I'm Chris McGraw and this is your Autoblog Minute. Tech of the Year is one of our favorite things here at Autoblog. It's a time when we get celebrate all the best tech from the industry we love most. [00:00:30] - [00:01:00] [Commentary form Adam Morath, Sebastian Blanco, Alex Kierstein] Past winners include, Tesla's Supercharger network, FCA's Uconnect system and the BMW i8. In 2016 we're doing something a little different for Tech of the Year. We've separated our award into two categories. One award for best tech car, and a second award for best technology of the year. The nominees for best car in 2016 are: [00:01:30] the Tesla Model S, the Chevrolet Volt, and the BMW 7 series. The nominees for best tech in 2016 are: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Volkswagen's MiB II with AppConnect, Ford Sync 3, Audi's Virtual Cockpit, the Smart Cross Connect App, and Volvo Sensus. [00:02:00] We're going to announce Autoblog's Tech of the Year winners in January at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit. For Autoblog, I'm Chris McGraw. Autoblog Minute is a short-form video news series reporting on all things automotive. Each segment offers a quick and clear picture of what's happening in the automotive industry from the perspective of Autoblog's expert editorial staff, auto executives, and industry professionals. Green BMW Chevrolet Ford Hummer smart Tesla Volkswagen Volvo Technology Infotainment Autoblog Minute Videos Original Video

FCA to pay buyers $1,700 to swap out of scandal-mired VWs

Tue, Oct 6 2015

FCA is trying to gain some sales from arch-rival VW in the competitive European market by offering potential buyers in Italy up to $1,700 to swap into an FCA group car. While the promotion isn't specifically targeted at TDI owners affected by the emissions scandal, it is clearly intended to turn dissatisfaction with VW's defeat device cheat into additional sales, Bloomberg reports. The 500-1,500 euro incentive (roughly $560-1,700, depending on vehicle) stacks on top of any other rebates or deals applicable, and applies if a buyer brings in any of Volkswagen Group's cars including Audi, Skoda, and SEAT, among (many) others. As Bloomberg notes, it's normal for automakers to offer "conquest" deals – giving a buyer cash for trading in a competitor's vehicle. Those deals aren't usually limited to one company's products, however; FCA's program looks specifically to take advantage of VW's legal and public relations nightmare. FCA isn't the only automaker trying this trick in Italy. Automotive News Europe also reported that Ford is offering approximately $840 in incentives across its entire range to owners of VW vehicles seeking to trade in for a Ford. No word of yet as to whether these incentives will spread beyond Italy or to other automakers.Related Video:

2015 Gordon McCall's Motorworks Revival

Thu, Aug 13 2015

Considered the big kick off of the major festivities surrounding Monterey Car Week, this year's Gordon McCall's Motorworks Revival certainly didn't disappoint. For those unable to make it to the California coast, our own Drew Phillips was on hand to snap some of the beautiful vehicles on display for this gorgeous gallery. Held annually at the Monterey Jet Center, the event is always a feast for the eyes by collecting planes, a gang of exotic supercars, and some the top cars crossing the auction block over the coming days, like a Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda convertible. The Ford GT both new and old was a major attendee at this year's party. Among them, the Petersen Museum brought along an original racecar and a GT40 MKIII to promote an upcoming exhibit. The classics were complimented by the latest version that has continued to keep tongues wagging. The GT wasn't the only classic with a modern update there. Singer used the posh event for the North American debut of its stunning restoration of the Porsche 911 Targa. Shelby American was also at the revival for the public unveiling of the 50th Anniversary Daytona Coupe. On the more modern front, Honda was in attendance with the future NSX and one of the McLaren F1 cars that the company's engine powers. For further proof of the ritzy folks that attend this soiree, Pagani and Koenigsegg both had stands to show off their extremely quick wares.

Mercury rises around sexy Cougar pack

Sat, May 30 2015

With a slightly larger body and a more luxurious interior, the Mercury Cougar doesn't carry quite as much cachet among pony car enthusiasts as the venerable Ford Mustang. But don't try to make that argument around Cougar super-fan Mike Brown. Since starting his Cougar collecting in 1988, Brown has become an absolute expert on the model, and he claims to have owned 400 of the Mercury pony cars in that time. Ten of them are in his collection today, not to mention a heap of spare parts in the garage. Check out some of the rarer members of Brown's fleet and allow him to tell you about them in this interesting interview from Electric Federal.

Ford announces two recalls, 442k vehicles affected in North America

Wed, May 27 2015

Ford is announcing two recalls for North American that affect a total of 442,300 vehicles and multiple model lines. The larger campaign covers the possibility of electric power steering systems that can fail in the 2011-2013 Ford Flex, Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and MKT; the 2011-2012 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ; and the 2011 Mercury Milan. This recall affects 422,814 vehicles in North America, including 393,622 in the United States, 25,195 in Canada, and 3,997 in Mexico. According to the company, an intermittent electrical connection can cause the power steering to cut out, although manual steering would still work. Ford knows of four minor accidents from this issue, but there are no injuries. Depending on trouble codes from the vehicle, dealers will either upgrade software for the power steering control module or replace the steering gear. The second recall covers 19,486 examples of the 2015 Ford Mustang with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a production date between February 14, 2014, and February 10, 2015 at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Specifically, there are 19,095 of these in the US and 391 in Canada. These pony cars can show elevated underbody temperatures, which can lead to degradation of the fuel tank, fuel vapor lines, and parking brake cable seals. There are no reports of accidents, injuries or fires from this, though. To fix things, dealers will install a better-insulated fuel tank shield, add thermal patches around the tank and parking brake cable, and put thermal wraps around the fuel vapor lines. You can read the specific build dates and locations for the models affected by the power steering issue in Ford's press release below the video. Related Video: FORD ISSUES TWO SAFETY RECALLS IN NORTH AMERICA DEARBORN, Mich., May 27, 2015 Ford is issuing two safety recalls in North America. Four minor accidents and no injuries are attributed to one of these conditions.

NHTSA investigating Ford's solution to May 2014 power steering recall

Tue, Apr 7 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a complaint that Ford's response to a May 2014 recall of the 2008 to 2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner doesn't quite go far enough to solve a troubling power-steering problem. Roughly a year ago, Ford recalled nearly a million vehicles after it was found that a problem with the torque sensor's communication with the power steering control module could cut steering assistance for drivers. While manual steering would still be available, the problem was enough to ask drivers to report in to have the PSCM inspected, and if necessary, replaced (along with the torque sensor, or in dramatic cases, the entire steering column). That would only happen, though, if trouble codes were being thrown. If there weren't any problems, dealers were told to simply update the PSCM's software so that any issues between it and the torque sensor would simply throw a visual and audio warning power steering would still be maintained. The petitioner claimed that following the recall work, he still experienced a problem with the torque sensor. According to NHTSA, a claim was made that Ford didn't go far enough in its solution to the problem, and that "the software update itself may in fact cause further issues with the affected vehicle's power steering, causing it to fail, and ultimately requiring replacement of the torque sensor or entire steering column." The petition was filed in early February and is now officially being looked into by NHTSA.

NHTSA investigating 500k Ford and Mercury cars for lighting failures

Mon, Apr 6 2015

The Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis might be long gone as new models in showrooms, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration might check them out yet again for a potential problem. At the urging of North Carolina Consumers Council, the agency may open another investigation into the front lighting control module on vehicles from the 2003-2005 model years, and NHTSA estimates the issue could affect 517,945 vehicles. If the module stops working, it can cause a complete failure of all forward lighting, including the headlights. NHTSA previously investigated the issue in 2008 and 2009 but found no need for a recall, according to Bloomberg. Ford also extended the warranty on the part to 15 years or 250,000 miles. To prompt this new request, the North Carolina Consumers Council received a letter from a woman experiencing the module's failure. Upon further investigation, the council found 604 complaints of this problem on NHTSA's website, including seven crashes. Furthermore, the group has alleged that dealers told customers that the parts to perform the replacement weren't available, despite the extended warranty. According to the government agency, "A defect petition has been opened to evaluate the issue and make a grant or deny decision." Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker tells Autoblog via email, "We will cooperate with NHTSA, as we always do." You can read the council's complete letter to the Feds in PDF format, here. INVESTIGATION Subject : Loss of headlamp/exterior lighting Date Investigation Opened: APR 01, 2015 Date Investigation Closed: Open NHTSA Action Number: DP15002 Component(s): EXTERIOR LIGHTING All Products Associated with this Investigation Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s) FORD CROWN VICTORIA 2003-2005 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS 2003-2005 Details Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company SUMMARY: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received a petition from the North Carolina Consumers Council, Inc. requesting a defect investigation of an alleged defect condition resulting in headlight and/or exterior lighting failure on 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis vehicles. The petition letter is attached for review. The petitioner alleges a defect in the lighting control module that powers the headlights which can result in the loss of vehicle headlights and/or all exterior lighting while driving. ODI has previously investigated this issue under PE08-066 which was closed without a defect finding.

Autoblog's guilty pleasure cars

Tue, Mar 10 2015

Guilty pleasures are part of life don't even try to pretend like you don't have one (or two, or six). In the non-automotive space, this could come down to that secret playlist in your iPhone of songs you'll only listen to when you're alone; or think of that one TV show you really do love, but won't admit to your friends. I've got plenty, and so do you. Going back to cars, here's a particularly juicy one for me: several years ago, I had a mad crush on the very last iteration of the Cadillac DTS. Oh yes, the front-wheel-drive, Northstar V8-powered sofa-on-wheels that was the last remaining shred of the elderly-swooning days of Cadillac's past. Every time I had the chance to drive one, I was secretly giddy. Don't hate me, okay? These days, the DTS is gone, but I've still got a mess of other cars that hold a special place in my heart. And in the spirit of camaraderie, I've asked my other Autoblog editors to tell me some of their guilty pleasure cars, as well – Seyth Miersma, as you can see above, has a few choice emotions to share about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Read on to find out what cars make us secretly happy. Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG This decadent convertible is the epitome of the guilty pleasure. It's big, powerful, fairly heavy and it's richly appointed inside and out. It's a chocolate eclair with the three-pointed star on the hood. Given my druthers, I'd take the SL65 AMG, which delivers 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. That output is borderline absurd for this laid-back convertible. I don't care. You don't need dessert. Sometimes you just crave it. The SL line is about the feel you get on the road. The roof is open. The air, sun and engine sounds all embrace you. It's the same dynamic you could have experienced in a Mercedes a century ago, yet the SL gives you the most modern of luxuries. An Airscarf feature that warms my neck and shoulders through a vent embedded in the seat? Yes, please. Sure, it's an old-guy car. Mr. Burns and Lord Grantham are probably too young and hip for an SL65. I don't care. This is my guilty pleasure. Release the hounds. – Greg Migliore Senior Editor Ford Flex I drove my first Flex in 2009 when my mother let me borrow hers for the summer while I was away at college. The incredibly spacious interior made moving twice that summer a breeze, and the 200-mile trips up north were quite comfortable.