Mazda has set itself a commendable goal. They want to shed 220 pounds off each of their production models by 2015. The entire purpose of course is to reduce fuel consumption. 220 pounds may not sound like much but it would translate to a very impressive 30 percent improvement in global fuel efficiency. You could say Mazda is preparing for bikini season.
Mazda is a conscientious car company with an objective to reduce gas emissions. Their plan is to accomplish this by optimizing on all aspects of vehicle design. Mazda has started by recently replacing a formerly complicated weld assembly with a welding/bonding adhesive process. This enabled engineers to both spread the load throughout the body and reduce the amount of material needed for the construction without compromising the structural integrity. Mazda insists that they are holding off using materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber. They’ve said they feel there is still a great deal of possibilities in high-tensile steel design technology for optimal structure. At the same time Mazda will be integrating technologies such as hybrids and electric vehicles along with their Skyactiv technologies.
Obviously cars can only get so light. There are safety issues at hand that have to be considered. And also function considerations. Super light weight SUV’s for example would be counterproductive. High speed impact collisions would also get extremely messy if every car was a feather weight. But the balance of a lighter vehicle in respect to the amount of power required to propel that car would certainly be welcomed. Especially when considering hybrid and electric vehicles. Not only would it mean lower emissions and better handling capabilities, but also dollars in your pocket.
Hopefully Mazda starts a trend with this. It’s fun to watch car makers challenge each other with new technologies and challenges such as this. It’s a way for each of them to make their mark on the auto industry. And it has to be a joy for any car manufacturer to watch everyone scramble when they drop a concept such as this on the table. And keeping in mind Mazda’s Skyactiv technologies and their proposed concept models such as the Shinari and Minagi, it can be said that they’re looking to establish themselves as a powerful player in the industry. Not to say they aren’t now, but there is room for class improvement for any car company and certainly these moves by Mazda will accomplish that nicely for them.
Share and Enjoy
Nobody ever said security vehicles had to be pretty…but I sure wish someone would. The Russian made Prombron is a prime example of how just because a person has money, it doesn’t mean they have any class. Now there seems to be an increase in demand for high security SUV’s that make the Hummer look like Mini Me’s personal custom made truck. These trucks are enormous. Bus like. It’s hard to tell if things are heating up in the world to put such a demand on vehicles like this, or everything’s just status quo and now the supply is finally meeting the demand.
Enter the Canadian made fully armored security vehicle known as Conquest. The 2012 Conquest Evade will be the second vehicle model offered by the company. First came the Knight XV. It was debuted at the 2011 Top Marques Monaco event. It weighs in at roughly 14,000 pounds and towers over everything at 9 feet tall. The Evade model will be available in late 2012 and promises to be even more grand than the Knight XV. The Evade will share the same astronomical price range of anywhere between $490,000 to $800,000 and will be every bit as intimidating as it’s price tag.
The company owner, Bill Maizlin, has buyers from around the world, many of whom he can’t name. But he can certainly imply. There’s talk of a Sheik from the Middle East demanding immediate delivery of his vehicle and paying a $50,000 delivery charge for its expeditious arrival. And then of course there are the usual posers such as sports figures like Dwight Howard and reality show celebrity Pauly D of Jersey Shore who don’t require the security the Conquest provides so much as the attention grabbing showmanship. It has to be said it’s a tremendous waste of money for these people. The oil baron Sheik from the Middle East I understand. Bill Maizlin has said he’s refused making the truck for certain nefarious individuals, and to that I say bullshit. You don’t go into the business of manufacturing custom made armored vehicles at close to a million dollars a piece to not sell them. That is the sole purpose of these vehicles and it’s highly unlikely that some moral high ground is taken against anyone willing to shell out the cash for one. Besides it can also be argued that if you require a fully armored vehicle such as the Conquest you’re hardly an innocent party. No matter who you are. The 2012 Conquest Evade is for the wealthy person with powerful enemies
Expect the 2012 Conquest Evade to come this fall.
Share and Enjoy
So Mercedes-Benz has decided to throw its considerable weight into the hot hatch competition. Just so you know, they plan on making the hottest hot hatch you can imagine. They’ve announced they will be retaining 85 percent of their F800 concept styling, which likely means the uber futuristic elements to the interior will get the axe in favor of a more current interior. This is to not alienate the target demographic and current Mercedes brand faithful.
No word on the model name yet, but we do know it will be considered part of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class and it will be a three door hot hatch. There will obviously be various trim levels for this car and as far as the engine options are concerned there are several possibilities. It could range anywhere from Mercedes-Benz new 201hp, 1.8-liter four from the C250 all the way to their new 3.5-liter V-6 as a top end optional trim. It can’t be ruled out that there would be a possible turbo and maybe even a hybrid version. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class will definitely be front wheel drive and an all wheel drive is to be expected.
AS far as the price tag goes you can expect the A-Class to start below the C-Class that starts at around $35k. However given trim options and features there will likely be price overlaps into the C-Class, the same as there are on Audi’s A3 and A4 or BMW’s various models.
The great part is that the 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be available here in North America. I say this because it seems the European’s beloved hot hatch hasn’t quite caught on here. Although if Mercedes-Benz has decided to introduce the A-Class to North America we can hope this trend will change.
Other than that there’s not much to report. But isn’t that exciting enough?
Share and Enjoy
Auto maker Fiat has been very busy these past few years, with the whole buying into Chrysler, and all. Keeping the Detroit Giant afloat, and then further collaborating with them to help in the marketing of their now world famous Fiat 500. One of the three smallest cars in America right now. (Scion IQ & Smart For2) So with fame, and notoriety in the US, what has Fiat been doing across the pond?
Apparently Fiat has decided to give their die hard little Panda a well deserved make over. Introducing the 2013 Fiat Panda, one of the smallest cross-over vehicles in the world. Now, let’s very briefly look back on the history of the Panda. The Panda was, and still is an original Italian design from Fiat, and was born in 1980. It started life as a very small under powered, boxy, economical car for people to use in everyday situations. The Panda had become very famous, was soon being reshaped, remodeled, and retrofitted into various styles to accommodate the growing demand. Years passed, and the Panda’s looks were not in keeping with the times, and sales, as well as love for the Panda fell off.
So, in 2003 the Fiat Panda met it’s end, and was no longer produced. Skip ahead 5 years and Fiat designers found a way to make the Panda relevant again. By infusing more modern looks, chic & upbeat styling cues, and oddly enough adding a 4WD drive train, and (Poof!) the Panda was back on it’s feet again. Which brings us to our new model. The 2013 Fiat Panda has a body that is based off of the older 5 door (Tall) Panda, and will come with more features than any other model before it. The 2013 Fiat Panda will come standard with a 4×4, Dual Electronic Controlled, Limited Slip Differential, that allows the driver to basically control the how the power, and torque of the motor is delivered. Depending on driving conditions, the Panda’s CPU will route power to the appropriate wheel, at the right time. Kind of like an ultra tiny Subaru. The 2013 Panda will be offered with only two engine options. The first being a peppy 0.9L, two(2) cylinder engine that makes 84hp, and the second is a 1.3L, four(4) cylinder, 73hp diesel engine. It sounds like nothing much, but in most areas in Europe you don’t really need a lot of horsepower,
The 2013 Fiat Panda, was given a major face lift before it was introduced to the European market, at the 2011 Paris Auto Show. Beefy wheel arches, plump looking door sills, a taller ergonomic roof line, Matte Black accents, and a Silver lower brush guard for those moments of daring off-road adventures, are what makes this Panda look so great. For what it’s worth the Panda has stood the test of time, and has basically been reinvented to keep up with the modern world as we know it. Who knows, it won’t be long before we see a Panda EV, or Hybrid Panda. All it will take is time at the drawing board, and some positive reinforcement. It could happen.
Share and Enjoy
Who would of thought, that when the designers at Lamborghini came out with the Aventador, they would be able to top it with another strikingly fabulous model. The 2013 Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is the new Top Gun making it’s first appearance in Lamborghini’s bad ass arsenal.
The 2013 Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is yet another amazing car that will definitely see the light at the end of the assembly line. The executives at Lamborghini have decided to not only make sure that the Elemento comes to life, but it will be produced in a very limited number. Twenty to be exact, and each one running the very steep price range of…………..wait for it,……..$2.2 million dollars. Hot Damn, that hurt my heart too!! Well apparently there’s $2.2 million reasons why this Lamborghini is well worth it. Let’s take a minute to go over some of the details.
So, 1 of the only soon to be 3 Sesto Elemento’s that will make it to the states will come with the following list of goodies. A sharp edged, Matte Black Complete Carbon Fiber body, was designed with air flow in mind. Red hood vents funnel, and pull cold air from the ground, keeping the nose planted while driving. As you make your way to the rear of the car, you will notice 10 hexagonal openings, and 2 larger openings over the mid-mounted 5.2L V10, that’s produces over 570bhp to the ALL Carbon Fiber wheels. Did you catch all of that? If not there’s more finer details. The two large vents pull in all of the air that courses over the wind screen, at whatever speed you would care to drive at. More triangular lines tease, and lead the eyes to the massive side scoops, in front of the rear wheels. At the ultimate rear of the car, are Aventador style tail lights, covered by a Carbon fiber rear spoiler, which coincidentally hides the Pyrosic made exhaust tips.
The interior of the 2013 Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is similar to the cockpit of a Apache Helicopter. If it were made in 2025. The ridiculous amount of carbon fiber, can only be trumped by the sheer amount of detail that went into designing this experimental meld of space age technology, and speed. The interior of the Sesto, is that of an erupting volcano. Black and Red seem to be battling for you attention, and the Fire Red steering wheel, begs to be held onto. The dash board is rather unusual with it’s emptiness, and skeletal feel. The gauge cluster or lack thereof, inspires the feeling of driving a KTM X-Bow, that was swallowed by an Aventador.
The extreme level of detail that went into this Lamborghini is pretty much beyond measure. There’s no way in Hell that another auto manufacturer is going to top this one, anytime soon. Bugatti has two or more vehicles coming out soon, but I don’t think they will be able to touch this with a 10ft pole. The Sesto Elemento is not a beautiful car, it’s a jaw dropping, panty wetting, evil looking, raspy sounding, $2.2 million dollar machine that will consume your soul, after you’ve fought the Devil to get it back for trading it to him for this car in the first damn place. Lamborghini has set the bar waaaaaay high with this car. We will have to wait and see if somebody out there is willing to jump high enough to compete.
Share and Enjoy
Whether modifying a car for your own satisfaction, or fixing it up for resale, there are many different ways to add some value to your set of wheels. It can be tough to figure out which car accessories will end up making good investments, and which won’t. With so many factors to take into consideration, these tips will hopefully help you make a more informed decision.
1. First and foremost, no matter what type of car accessories you’re considering, search for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) car parts. Typically, when using anything that’s not OEM, you face the risk of having a very unpredictable car accessory for both quality and overall lifespan. So, whenever possible, always give precedence to Original Equipment Manufacturer car parts.
With some types of accessories, however, the manufacturer may not specifically make the product. However, in many cases, you can still find that they offer valuable suggestions on upgrades and specific accessories.
2. Sound systems – Adding a new audio system or upgrading the present audio system is a great way to add value to a vehicle. Top-of-the-line sound systems typically have features like Dolby Digital Surround Sound and DTS Digital Surround Sound. Other options include added compatibility for iPods and other audio devices. Generally, the more options there are for compatibility, the better.
3. Remote systems – This includes remote keyless entry as well as remote startup kits. Also consider a security system with remote control and monitoring features. With these options, drivers can lock or unlock the car electronically and they can also start and warm-up the car from a remote location.
4. Navigation systems – There are many affordable GPS navigation systems, with a variety of options, that car owners can typically be installed quite easily. In fact, many GPS navigation products are portable and the driver can take them along when they leave the car, should they need walking directions.
5. Security systems – If the car does not already have a security system, then this option can make a great addition. There is a wide variety of security systems with many different features and associated costs. Generally, the more basic systems will consist of a standard detection device along with an alarm to scare off possible intruders. More advanced systems may prevent the vehicle from starting and have options to alert the owner during an intrusion or attempted intrusion. Getting a security system is a great way to increase the value of your car, while also protecting it.
Whatever the year and make of your car, as long as you do a little research and create a budget, you will have a much better idea of what car accessories you should get. It might help to have some knowledge about auto mechanics but, overall, fixing up a car can be done the same way you budget for everything else. First, do some research and create a budget for yourself, and then decide how much time & risk you’re willing to put in.
As an author, Jordan McPelt writes about various subject matters, including GM Parts, accessories, and much more. If it has wheels and moves, chances are that you’ve got Jordan’s attention.
Share and Enjoy
Long before smart phones and social media, automobiles were the machines that signified the emergence of a modern mobile society. More than any other object, cars were treated as an extension of yourself, a reflection of your style, money and social status (or lack thereof). LIke people, cars have their own unique personalities that have endeared them to their owners. Cars are a reflection of their eras, and are stamped with the memories of the years in which they were made. Because cars are symbols of their times, they are objects of nostalgia, and people see owning them as a way of recapturing history.
Some people simply study types of cars and their eras, but the most serious students of the automobile actually restore or collect them. To those who don’t care about automobiles, being ultra serious about antique or cars may seem like madness. If it is madness, then it is a madness with some very serious method to it. Unlike people, cars don’t just get old. Depending on how old they are, cars are classed as being Antique or Classic, or Vintage. Here’s how they are defined:
According to the DMV of the state of Pennsylvania, an Antique motor vehicle is a car that was made at least 25 years prior to the current year. Reproductions don’t count. Junk doesn’t count either. In order to be an Antique car, the vehicle has to have been restored or maintained in a condition that is in accordance with the specifications of its original manufacturer. The condition qualification holds for all antique car classes. A Classic motor vehicle was manufactured at least 15 years prior to the current year.
Cars are also classified according to eras, which are: Antique era (1890s to the 1930s), Pre-War Classic era (mid ‘30s to the early ‘40s), War Classic era (early ‘40s to early ‘50s), and Post-War Classic era (1950s to early 1960s). The Classic era extends from the early 1960s to the early ‘80s. Cars made after the early ‘80s are considered modern.
According to auto restoration hobbyist Baron Micah of McDonough, Georgia, restoration of an antique car requires meticulous attention to detail. For total restoration, the entire car has to be taken apart and examined. Every defect has to be noted and fixed. Restoration materials have to match the original. For instance, if the original seat was leather, then the restored seat must also be leather. Rust has to be removed, and steel has to be replaced with steel. Bondo (putty) is not allowed.
Finding original parts or getting the part manufactured is one of the biggest challenges in automobile restoration. Original parts can be found online or purchased from a manufacturer or dealer. There are manufacturers who specialized in making exact duplicates of antique or vintage car parts. For example Lang’sOldCarParts in Winchendon, Massachusetts manufactures and supplies parts for the Ford Model T, or DearBornClassics, a site run by the Eckler’s family, that specializes in Ford cruiser parts.
According to the AntiqueAutomobileAssociationofAmerica the details of a car must also be consistent with the original. Chrome plating was first used on the Oldsmobile in 1925, but it wasn’t used on other cars until 1928. Authentic restorations have to be consistent, and authentic restorations cannot use chrome on vehicles made before those dates. Headlights, batteries, belts and tires have to be consistent with those used by the original manufacturer. Modifications to accommodate disabled persons are allowed, but have to be “done in a workmanlike manner in keeping with the design and era of the vehicle.”
The ultimate objective for restoration of an antique car is to have a fully functioning vehicle that is basically identical to what it was when it first rolled off the lot. For the restoration hobbyist, a fully restored antique automobile gives a sense of pride and accomplishment. It also can bring in considerable cash. Fully restored antique automobiles have been sold on Ebay for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Fact sheet antique and classic vehicles and vintage restoration plates. (n.d.). Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles. Retrieved August 22, 2012 from http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/fact_sheets/fs-ant.pdf
- Official judging guidelines. (2012). Antique Automobile Association of America. Retrieved August 22, 2012 from http://www.aaca.org/images/2012_Judges_Guidelines.pdf
Share and Enjoy
Let’s see, how do I approach this one? OK, the Bugatti Veyron was at one time the fastest production car in the world yes? And of course since then there have been dozens of auto manufacturers, and tuners vying to claim that they can make their cars go faster then the Veyron. After the dust had settled, and the clamor died down, one unlikely name popped up for the next title shot. Bugatti.
For the past few years, Bugatti has been teasing hundreds of thousands of car lovers all over the world with their concept photos of the Galibier back in 2009, but now it seems that the auto maker has become a lot more serious about it. The 2013 Bugatti 16C Galibier will be one of the only four(4) door cars to approach speeds of over 230mph. Wolfgang Durheimer, CEO of Bugatti has made it known that the 16C Galibier Saloon is something that will not only be fast, but be more technologically advanced than anything that anyone has ever been seen from Bugatti.
The 2013 Bugatti 16C Galibier is set to rival it’s older sibling the Veyron, in a few familiar dimensions. First off, styling cues of the Veyron will be noticed in the 16C Galibier. A long and flowing body line will do nothing more than make this vehicle move faster as the driver steps harder on the gas pedal. It’s still being proposed that the 16C Galibier will be producing over 1000hp in it’s first generation models. This will be in part to the Twin Turbocharged 8.0L, W16 motor that will run on E85 Flex-fuel. Being that this is a four door sedan, the motor will be mounted in the front for a change, and any, & all heat that, the monstrous W16 produces will be channeled to the rear of the car via, a very well shielded eight(8) Titanium tipped exhaust system.
The 2013 Bugatti 16C Galibier will of course be completely decked out in the finest of leather, and suede trims. Well actually it will be up to the potential buyer to say if he, or she wants a specific type of material inside of the car. Four fully bolstered seats ensure comfort, style, class, and safety. Fully functional front seats, will come standard with their own built in cooling, heating, and massage options. Just don’t hit those buttons while doing 200mph. As it stands now the 2013 16C Galibier is getting closer, and closer to becoming a car that will appear on the streets. So much so, that the final talks of incorporating that complicated, but brilliant AWD system that currently resides in the Veyron, will definitely find its way into the 16C. Also as another tidbit of news, the 16C Galibier will be offered in a hybrid version. It will come in handy when you have to quietly approach Buckingham Palace when go to visit the Queen. Bugatti is launching a huge campaign of, Over the Top vehicles in the coming years, and they are expected to be taken very seriously by people from all walks of life. But personally, as a Blue Collar man myself, the only thing I will look forward to is seeing one of these great cars in the next car show.
Share and Enjoy
There’s something to be said for – Poowweerrr! (said in my best Jeremy Clarkson voice) and the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 sure has a lot of it. This beefed up Mustang boasts a whopping 662 horsepower and baby, that’s a lot of ponies – especially given the fact that the 2012 model has 550 HP. Now drivers across the nation can honor Carroll Shelby in a proper sendoff. With a top speed of 200+ miles per hour, we expect to see a lot of these babies being snapped up.
You can’t unleash the power of a 5.8 liter supercharged V8 engine without the necessary means to keep it from crashing and burning. Control is essential and the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has seen some serious upgrades to keep the driver’s feet firmly planted on the ground. The front splitter has been redesigned to increase the stability of the car while the driver enjoys cruising along at high speeds. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Shelby without the addition of several performance-enhancing features:
- Brembo Brakes
- Carbon Fiber Driveshaft
- Standard Launch Control
- Gauge cluster that displays braking, G-force and acceleration
- 15/24 City/Highway MPG expectations
- Only available in a 6-speed manual transmission – and really, would you want anything else???
Do these features justify the additional $25,000 price tag over the standard Shelby? The answer is a resounding “yes!”
The features make the car and despite the high performance, it still gets moderate gas mileage and passes the necessary safety ratings testing.
Despite the performance-enhancing features that are prominent throughout the vehicle, you can’t help but wonder why there were no significant upgrades in the interior. With a starting price tag of $55,000 you want to see all the bells and whistles when you set foot in the car. What you get, however, is the basic interior of the standard Mustang model – and that, folks is a disappointment.
Storage space is a bit tight, but really, what do you plan to store in this car? The boot offers reasonable storage space, however. Don’t expect this in the convertible version – the seats do not fold down for your convenience. Virtually no leg room in the back is sure to leave your passengers complaining – just remind them what car they are in and that’ll shut ‘em up.
Setting foot in one of these babies and starting up the engine, you’ll immediately hear one of the angriest engines you have ever encountered. Put your pedal to the medal and listen to the whine of the supercharged engine amidst the roaring. In a straight line this car is capable of smoking the competition – this includes 2012 Corvette ZR1, 2012 Challenger SRT8 and the 2012 Camaro ZL1. Be easy on the corners as this car is easily disgruntled and slips so restrain your inner desire to do fish tails around the corner, lest you wrap it around a tree.
The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is a car you will truly enjoy driving, despite its minor setbacks.
Share and Enjoy
Categories: Production Cars Tags:
Europe has no shortage of spectacular roads to drive. If you’re planning a driving trip to Europe, here are some of the best:
1) Transfagarasan Highway, Romania: Christened the “best road in the world” by the BBC’s Top Gear, the Transfagarasan Highway cuts across Romania’s tallest mountains, the Fagaras, between the provinces of Transylvania and Muntenia. It was constructed in the 1970s by the Romanian military under the direction of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, at a massive cost that wasn’t all financial — 40 soldiers lost their lives building the highway.
The 100-km Transfagarasan is open only a few months of the year, usually from late June through October, because snow and other weather conditions make it impassable the rest of the year. In fact, the Transfagarasan can be closed by snow even in the middle of summer. The highway crosses Romania’s highest mountain, Moldoveanu, reaching a height of 2,034 km and offering spectacular views. Other sights along the way include Balea Lake and Waterfall, the 900-meter-long and unlit Balea Tunnel, and Poenari Fortress, a ruined castle formerly home to the notorious Prince Vlad the Impaler.
2) Stelvio Pass, Italy: Located high in the Italian Alps near the Australian border, the steep, winding Stelvio Pass is an ultimate challenge for drivers and cyclists, with 60 hairpin turns over a climb of 1,871 m over the course of 24 km — an average slope of 7.4%. Even professional drivers have been tested by Stelvio’s twists and turns, but the amazing views of the Alpine landscape are worth it.
The road through Stelvio Pass was originally built by the Austrian military in the 19th century and has changed little since then. As with the Transfagarasan, Stelvio Pass is closed by snow for most of the year, except for June through September, and unfortunately can be very busy during those open months. The Stelvio is best driven from the northwest, so you can have the experience of climbing the “wall” of 48 switchbacks that make up the north face of the pass.
3) Amalfi Drive, Italy: This old Roman road between the towns of Sorrento and Amalfi in southern Italy is carved out of the sea cliff over the Tyrrhenian Sea for most of its 50-km length. However, the Romans didn’t install guardrails, and modern Italians have only put a few in place, so for most of the way on the Amalfi Drive, there’s nothing between you and a sheer drop to the sea — especially if you’re driving on the southbound outer lane.
If your nerves can stand it, however, the Amalfi Drive offers a spectacular contrast between the massive cliffs and the deep blue sea. Stop over in the cliffside resort town of Positano halfway through the drive to relax.