The Truth About Cars » Enthusiasm http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Enthusiasm http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/enthusiasm/ Kuniskis: Dealers Must Prove Themselves Worthy Of Selling Hellcat Challenger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/kuniskis-dealers-must-prove-worthy-selling-hellcat-challenger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/kuniskis-dealers-must-prove-worthy-selling-hellcat-challenger/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910074 Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier. Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat

Dodge dealers wanting to help their customers destroy wannabes with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat will themselves need to prove their worth to the brand before a single car leaves the carrier.

Automotive News reports allocations of the 707-horsepower war machine will be based on the total number of all Dodges sold during the past 180 days, according to brand chief Tim Kuniskis, with a second allocation in December will focus on the previous 90 days of such sales and the traditional 30-day inventory turn.

Further, Dodge will measure how many days each Hellcat remains on the lot after the initial allocation, with the goal of moving them off the lot as quickly as possible if more are to be delivered later on. Kuniskis acknowledges this may be a headache for those who opt to make a market adjustment similar to the one performed at a recent Los Angeles Chevrolet dealership, where a Camaro Z/28 was priced to move at $106,165:

If you want to market-adjust the car, that’s your right. But if your days-on-lot goes above what the other guys that are selling them at MSRP is, they will end up earning the allocation because their days-on-lot will be lower. Some dealers are going to have heartburn with that.

Kuniskis adds that he wants to see each Hellcat out there on the road for all to enjoy instead of sitting in a showroom “with a rope around it” like the Viper, and that his brand “worked hard” to price the beast at an attainable $60,990 with shipping included.

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Volkswagen: Hydrogen Will Struggle Outside of Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/volkswagen-hydrogen-will-struggle-outside-japan/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909146 While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere. According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for […]

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While Toyota and the administration of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are going all in on hydrogen, Volkswagen Group Japan President Shigeru Shoji proclaims FCVs will struggle to make headway elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, Shoji says the government subsidies meant to push Toyota’s Mirai and other FCVs into the marketplace are likely too high for other governments to match. He adds that issues surrounding refueling infrastructure and the handling of hydrogen itself will add to the roadblocks awaiting the technology outside of Japan.

Those comments — echoing sentiments by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other hydrogen skeptics — aren’t lost on either Toyota or the Abe administration. Company representative Dion Corbett says the subsidies are needed to help get hydrogen off the ground, citing the high cost of developing fuel-cell technology. That said, Dion believes demand will not only be the highest in Japan — where Abe envisions a “hydrogen society” of fuel-cells for homes and businesses as well as cars — but in Germany, California and the U.S. East Coast.

Though Volkswagen has its doubts, VW Japan representative Yasuo Maruta says the company is keeping its eye on Toyota’s efforts, planning to be no more than three years’ behind R&D work in relation to Toyota.

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Pre-Production 2015 Honda Civic Type-R Spotted In Croatia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/pre-production-2015-honda-civic-type-r-spotted-croatia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/pre-production-2015-honda-civic-type-r-spotted-croatia/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906473 While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago. Carscoops reports a friend of theirs sent in two photos of the 2015 Type-R as it was shooting a promo in Rijeka, […]

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While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago.

Carscoops reports a friend of theirs sent in two photos of the 2015 Type-R as it was shooting a promo in Rijeka, Croatia, located two hours to the southwest from the nation’s capital, Zagreb.

This particular Type-R — later spotted on a trailer in Slovenia — lacks the concept version’s massive front wheel arches and matching set of front and rear air ducts — as seen at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show — yet maintains the large rear spoiler/LED tail lamp combo.

The Type-R will receive power from a 2-liter VTEC turbo-four punching out 280 horsepower through the front wheels when it begins production next year.

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/2016-mazda-mx-5-miata-unveiled/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 01:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905601 This is it: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata unveiled for all to behold. The fourth-generation MX-5 takes the automaker’s Kodo design language to another level, giving the iconic roadster “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car,” as well as convey agility. Underneath the bio-mechanical skin, the roadster […]

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This is it: The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata unveiled for all to behold.

The fourth-generation MX-5 takes the automaker’s Kodo design language to another level, giving the iconic roadster “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality to the car,” as well as convey agility.

Underneath the bio-mechanical skin, the roadster distributes its 2280 pounds of weight — 200 pounds lighter than the current MX-5 — 50:50 between the front and rear. Under the bonnet, a Skyactiv-G direct-injection gasoline engine sends its power to the back through either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Part of the weight reduction comes from the use of aluminum forward of the A-pillar as well as the rear bumper reinforcements. Lighter suspension components and soft-top materials contribute to Mazda’s so-called “gram strategy,” also.

Behind the wheel, the automaker’s Mazda Connect next-gen connected-vehicle system “efficiently links the driver to the car and the outside world.” Meanwhile, the soft-top can be operated from within the cockpit, the roadster won’t look awkward like the Nissan Z and Murano CrossCabriolet with the top down, and wind control features will keep your hair or hat from blowing away.

The new MX-5 will go on sale in 2015. No price of admission has been announced at this time.

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Los Angeles Chevrolet Dealer Charging Six-Figures For 2014 Camaro Z/28 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/los-angeles-chevrolet-dealer-charging-six-figures-2014-camaro-z28/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/los-angeles-chevrolet-dealer-charging-six-figures-2014-camaro-z28/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905657 A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 would set you back at least $75,000 MSRP were you to head over to your nearest dealership. One Los Angeles dealership, however, is charging a steeper price of admission for the honor of destroying everyone at Willow Springs and Irwindale. Jalopnik subsidiary Car Buying says Felix Chevrolet has a black-on-black […]

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A 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 would set you back at least $75,000 MSRP were you to head over to your nearest dealership. One Los Angeles dealership, however, is charging a steeper price of admission for the honor of destroying everyone at Willow Springs and Irwindale.

Jalopnik subsidiary Car Buying says Felix Chevrolet has a black-on-black 2014 model for the reasonable price of $106,165, a markup of just over $30,000. Though someone in Beverly Hills — or Justin Bieber — may be more than willing to pay that particular toll, the blog found a dealership 40 minutes away in Santa Ana charging $76,645 for a black-on-black Z/28 on its floor. Since Disneyland is nearby, the lucky owner can used the $30,000 they would have spent in L.A. to buy quite a few passes and souvenirs.

Other dealerships whose prices are in the five-figures include Good Chevrolet near Seattle ($86,150); Schumacher Chevrolet near New York ($74,995); and — with the lowest price of all dealerships in the United States — Lorenzo Bomnin Chevrolet in Miami ($66,999).

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Cadillac Announces ATS-V Sedan Debut At 2014 LA Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-announces-ats-v-sedan-debut-2014-la-auto-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/cadillac-announces-ats-v-sedan-debut-2014-la-auto-show/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901473 As if flagship land yachts weren’t enough, Cadillac has gone and announced that the ATS-V sedan will make its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Detroit News reports the sedan’s target is the BMW M3, and is expected to receive its firepower from the CTS V-Sport’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6, capable of […]

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2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6 AWD, Exterior, Side 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

As if flagship land yachts weren’t enough, Cadillac has gone and announced that the ATS-V sedan will make its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Detroit News reports the sedan’s target is the BMW M3, and is expected to receive its firepower from the CTS V-Sport’s twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6, capable of 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque in the V-Sport. The engine is mated to a standard eight-speed automatic that may also see duty with the ATS-V.

In addition, Cadillac will unveil the coupe variant of the ATS-V in 2015, as well as bring the CTS-V sedan to the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The latter will likely have a 600-horsepower version of the Corvette Stingray Z06′s supercharged V8.

Both ATS-Vs and the new CTS-V will arrive in showrooms sometime later in 2015.

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Reuss: Cadillac F-Segment Flagship Is A Go http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/reuss-cadillac-f-segment-flagship-go/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/reuss-cadillac-f-segment-flagship-go/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897282 General Motors global product development chief Mark Reuss revealed Tuesday that Cadillac will press ahead with an F-segment sedan built upon a new platform. The Detroit News reports the new Cadillac will slot above the full-size XTS, and will throw down against the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series. Reuss adds that the flagship sedan […]

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General Motors global product development chief Mark Reuss revealed Tuesday that Cadillac will press ahead with an F-segment sedan built upon a new platform.

The Detroit News reports the new Cadillac will slot above the full-size XTS, and will throw down against the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series.

Reuss adds that the flagship sedan is important for the brand “if it is to compete as a serious luxury carmaker” in the top luxury segment:

What we do there has got to be a symbol of excellence… This is a car that Cadillac needs that will define this brand in terms of innovation and excellence.

The flagship Cadillac is expected to go into production near the end of 2015, and will likely be joined by a compact slotted below the ATS for the lower end of the luxury segment.

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Infiniti Expanding Lineup 60 Percent Within Five Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/infiniti-expanding-lineup-60-percent-within-five-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/infiniti-expanding-lineup-60-percent-within-five-years/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896738 Though the man who steered Infiniti toward its current Q-bound direction has since left for Cadillac, the premium brand is still on track to expanding its lineup on the way towards becoming a full-time player in the luxury game. Autoblog reports the brand will boost its current offerings by 60 percent within the next five […]

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Though the man who steered Infiniti toward its current Q-bound direction has since left for Cadillac, the premium brand is still on track to expanding its lineup on the way towards becoming a full-time player in the luxury game.

Autoblog reports the brand will boost its current offerings by 60 percent within the next five years, expanding to eight coupes/sedans and five crossovers/SUVs for a total of 13 models. While no specifics were revealed by Infiniti Americas vice president Michael Bartsch at this time, he did proclaim an EV is still on the way, as well as a QX30 crossover based upon the Q30 concept.

Further, Infiniti has plans to beef up its IPL division by distributing the firepower among the range. Currently, only the Q60 coupe and convertible are wearing the IPL badge, though the QX30 could be up next for performance-enhancing.

Until then, the brand is bringing the Q50 and Q50 Hybrid to showrooms, and is collaborating with Daimler AG to build 2-liter turbo-fours that are currently Euro-market only.

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US-Spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 Unveiled At Pebble Beach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-spec-jaguar-f-type-project-7-unveiled-pebble-beach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/us-spec-jaguar-f-type-project-7-unveiled-pebble-beach/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=894002 Unveiled at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the U.S.-spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will make its home in a few garages beginning next spring. Autoblog reports the limited edition roadster — developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations — will leave showrooms in 2015 for a base price of $165,000. A tribute to […]

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Unveiled at this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the U.S.-spec Jaguar F-Type Project 7 will make its home in a few garages beginning next spring.

Autoblog reports the limited edition roadster — developed by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations — will leave showrooms in 2015 for a base price of $165,000. A tribute to the D-Type, the Project 7 will have a 5-liter supercharged V8 delivering 575 horsepower to the back, pushing the cat to a limited peak of 186 mph with a nil-to-60 charge out of the gate in 3.8 seconds.

As for what color to paint your roadster, the Project 7 can be had in either Glacier White or Ultra Blue, with British Racing Green, Ultimate Black and Caldera Red as optional colors.

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Report: Hydrogen Gaining Ground On Electricity Within Four Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-hydrogen-gaining-ground-electricity-within-four-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/report-hydrogen-gaining-ground-electricity-within-four-years/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893978 Though EVs currently hold the high ground in the zero-emission vehicle market, a new report claims those vehicles will be giving ground to hydrogen in the near future. According to The Detroit News, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis says a number of factors are coming together to push hydrogen […]

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Though EVs currently hold the high ground in the zero-emission vehicle market, a new report claims those vehicles will be giving ground to hydrogen in the near future.

According to The Detroit News, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis says a number of factors are coming together to push hydrogen to the forefront over electricity, including: investments in infrastructure; falling R&D costs for both vehicles and station equipment; and major automakers throwing their weight behind fuel cells. UC Davis professor and director of Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways Joan Ogden explains:

We seem to be tantalizingly close to the beginning of a hydrogen transition. The next three to four years will be critical for determining whether hydrogen vehicles are just a few years behind electric vehicles, rather than decades.

Other factors include natural gas-based hydrogen production, various consumer incentives from federal and local governments, and large investments in R&D. However, Ogden cautions that adoption of hydrogen as a viable source of transportation may take some time due to low confidence in the fuel at the present.

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HSV Unveils Its Last, Fastest-Ever Ute http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hsv-unveils-last-fastest-ever-v8-interceptor-ute/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hsv-unveils-last-fastest-ever-v8-interceptor-ute/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889305 As a parting gift to the world, Holden is set to built what should be the fastest Ute ever produced, borrowing the LSA V8 from the HSV GTS sedan. Carsguide.com.au reports the ute will receive its power from the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 powering the HSV GTS Sedan, capable of delivering 577 horsepower and 546 ft-lb […]

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As a parting gift to the world, Holden is set to built what should be the fastest Ute ever produced, borrowing the LSA V8 from the HSV GTS sedan.

Carsguide.com.au reports the ute will receive its power from the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 powering the HSV GTS Sedan, capable of delivering 577 horsepower and 546 ft-lb of torque to the back through either a manual or automatic with flappy paddles. Other pieces from the sedan, including a stronger differential and additional engine/transmission cooling systems, will likely make it to the ute.

Suspension and handling, meanwhile, will be retuned pieces from the HSV Maloo over the magnetic-controlled setup found in the GTS Sedan, just in case the lucky owner wanted to haul between 473 kg and 487 kg (1,043 lbs – 1,074 lbs) of hay, depending on transmission chosen.

And we do mean lucky: Only 150 HSV GTS Utes will be assembled, with potential owners paying $85,000 ($79,000 USD) for the honor of driving the fastest ute in the world when it arrives in showrooms at the end of 2014. Though speed is limited to 250 kph (155 mph), the sedan was able to hit 280 kph (174 mph) once the speed limiter was removed.

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Jaguar Lightweight E-Type Prototype To Bow At 2014 Pebble Beach Concours http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/jaguar-lightweight-e-type-prototype-bow-2014-pebble-beach-concours/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/jaguar-lightweight-e-type-prototype-bow-2014-pebble-beach-concours/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889217 Should you find yourself at Pebble Beach this weekend for the golf course’s famed Concours d’Elegance, you’ll be able to gaze upon the prototype for Jaguar’s newest skunk works project, the Lightweight E-Type. Autoblog reports the prototype, known as “Car Zero,” will join Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ Pebble Beach lineup, posing for all the photos […]

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Should you find yourself at Pebble Beach this weekend for the golf course’s famed Concours d’Elegance, you’ll be able to gaze upon the prototype for Jaguar’s newest skunk works project, the Lightweight E-Type.

Autoblog reports the prototype, known as “Car Zero,” will join Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ Pebble Beach lineup, posing for all the photos alongside the Range Rover Sport SVR and F-Type Project 7 during the Concours’ opening reception August 14. Once its promotional activities and testing are complete, the prototype will become a permanent part of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust’s collection.

As reported earlier, the final six Lightweight E-Types are picking up where the series left off in 1964, following the production of the 12th vehicle in the limited edition series. Each of the six will be built-to-order at JLR Special Operations’ Jaguar Heritage workshop, and all will be FIA-certified for historic racing.

The all-aluminum E-Type is driven to anger through a 3.8-liter I6 pushing 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque to the rear 15-inch wheels through a four-speed manual. Each owner will also be presented with a bespoke matching watch from the Bremont Watch Company, just so they can always know when tea (or tee) time is.

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Japanese Officials Pushing Hard With Subsidies For New Hydrogen Mirai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883545 The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free. Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will […]

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The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free.

Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will receive a ¥2 million (~$20,000) subsidy from the Japanese government when the first models go on sale next year, with residents of Aichi prefecture — the home of Toyota — taking an extra ¥1 million (~$10,000) from the local government.

However, paying only as much as ¥4 million ($39,175) for the honor of being one of the new pioneers of the silver hydrogen future might not be enough to bring the Mirai out of the showroom, as fueling infrastructure is nearly non-existent. The Japanese government aims to bring 100 stations online by March 2015 at the earliest, for what it’s worth.

So, where does the “free car” offer come in? Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai reported on a few suggestions made by a government panel on how to spur FCV adoption rates, including offering free FCVs, free hydrogen refueling and toll exemptions. The daily explained that the government’s hydrogen vision “must contain more radical ideas” in order to generate excitement from the public and “catalyze a revolutionary socioeconomic change.” A hell of a way to push the Mirai for Summerslam, one would suppose.

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General Motors Prepares To Enter Diesel Car, Light-Duty Pickup Games http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-prepares-enter-diesel-car-light-duty-pickup-games/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883258 General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get. Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at […]

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General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get.

Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., proclaiming the current Chevrolet Cruze “will be the first of many diesel-powered passenger cars General Motors will offer in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the Duramax V8 offered in GM’s heavy-duty pickups will soon be joined by a 2.8-liter four-pot under the bonnets of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups. Beyond this, Kiefer hints that torque will be the driving factor on where more diesels will go. Thus, light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra may receive diesel engines to compete against the likes of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the upcoming Ford F-150 SFE.

Kiefer concludes by stating GM will introduce more diesel power into the market “as appropriate and as the market accepts them.”

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Roadside Temptation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/roadside-temptation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/roadside-temptation/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:30:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882306 Just a little ways ahead is your favorite spot on the whole trip. It’s a place you always look for as you drive by, craning your neck and slowing down to take in the view. You’ve never stopped there, though. Whether it’s a spouse, the kids, or just a nagging commitment, something always gets in […]

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Just a little ways ahead is your favorite spot on the whole trip. It’s a place you always look for as you drive by, craning your neck and slowing down to take in the view. You’ve never stopped there, though. Whether it’s a spouse, the kids, or just a nagging commitment, something always gets in the way. Or maybe it’s your guilty conscience holding you back. This time, though, you’ve made up your mind. You’re going to stop and have a real look-see around the place. Your pulse quickens as you get closer.

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                Don’t worry; you’re hardly alone. Every car nut falls prey to the temptation at one point or another. Everyone has their own particular affinities, but broadly speaking, the car hoard is a universal attraction. There’s always one in particular that bedevils you, gets inside your head, and demands to be investigated more fully. Whether it’s a scruffy towing and repair place, an old house by the highway, or just an open field, it’s out there somewhere.

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                For me, it was this roadside stash of VWs in northeast Alabama. After several passes by, I gave into temptation. There was no fence, no signs, and no junkyard dog guarding the gravel lot, so I was able to mill about at leisure. My non-enthusiast traveling companion was suitably supportive, even if he didn’t quite understand my excitement.

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                What made this particular collection interesting to me was that it wasn’t strictly segregated by propulsive power. VW enthusiasts tend to be divided into air-cooled and water-cooled camps, with a big generational gap between the two. In this case, several Westmoreland-produced water-cooled VWs were jumbled in with a bunch of Beetles and two Karmann Ghias. That included two Rabbit GTIs, which weren’t rusty but which were disappearing into the underbrush.

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                It also included this rare Rabbit-based Pickup, also known as the Caddy. Unfortunately, it had a much more pervasive case of car cancer. By the looks of the tires, it hadn’t gone anywhere for a very long time and wouldn’t be moving soon.

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                There were the carcasses of several Beetles strewn around the place, including the shell of this rare Sun Bug. Most of them appeared to be beyond saving, but perhaps not for a dedicated VW freak. Doors, fenders, and other parts were there, arranged in stacks and piles. There was a bright yellow Beetle that looked freshly restored in the back of the lot. Maybe this is the parts cache for an enthusiast keeping other VWs on the road.

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                Unfortunately, there was no one around to ask. And there were no signs indicating whether or not this was a commercial enterprise, a private collection, or both. It was a Sunday, and the service station next door was closed. The two places sort of spilled into one another, as is often the case with these kinds of hoards. I’d like to know if anything is potentially for sale. The metal building behind them all was also quite intriguing- what other treasures might it hold inside? Reluctantly, I moved on. I haven’t given up hope, though; this might not be the last word on this collection. Check the thumbnails below for more images.

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Tesla Diffusing Demand For Model X Prior To Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/tesla-diffusing-demand-model-x-prior-showroom-debut/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883178 Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead. Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the […]

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Interested in a Model X? Then you may be better off waiting until the EV SUV actually arrives next year before turning up in a Tesla showroom, or you may end up going home in a Model S instead.

Autoblog Green reports CEO Elon Musk informed participants in Tesla’s Q2 2014 earnings call that the automaker is actively steering customer demand away from the upcoming X, going so far as to convince showroom visitors who want to put their name on a (non-existent) wait list for the SUV to buy the S.

The “anti-sell” tactics are a part of Tesla’s strategy to create at-will demand for the X, citing complaints from Chinese customers who were “upset about waiting too long” before taking delivery of their electric sedans. Musk just doesn’t want U.S. consumers to begin forming iPhone-esque lines for the next big thing from his company. Not yet, anyway.

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Bubble Warnings Loom Large Over US Auto Sales Boom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bubble-warnings-loom-large-us-auto-sales-boom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/bubble-warnings-loom-large-us-auto-sales-boom/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882066 Business is booming on the lot, with the industry on pace to move some 16 million vehicles out onto the highway by the end of 2014. However, some Wall Street insiders are growing bearish with this bull market, blaming easy credit for the surge in demand. Reuters reports the insiders believe the demand is artificial, […]

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Business is booming on the lot, with the industry on pace to move some 16 million vehicles out onto the highway by the end of 2014. However, some Wall Street insiders are growing bearish with this bull market, blaming easy credit for the surge in demand.

Reuters reports the insiders believe the demand is artificial, and should begin to drop once the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates next year. Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas is among those insiders, and has gone as far as to proclaim the demand “peak auto”:

We have little doubt that we’re in bubble territory. We’ve blown through prior (sales) peaks in terms of value, the amount of money people are spending on automobiles. We’re in uncharted territory right now.

Jonas posits demand will actually hit its peak in 2017, when a record 18 million units are expected to leave the showroom floor, before dropping to just 14 million in 2019.

Easy credit is claimed to be fueling the current demand, which, in turn, is also fueling record transaction prices, the current average being more than $30,000 per vehicle. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency goes as far as to claim in a June report that “signs of risk in auto lending are beginning to emerge” as automakers and their financing partners go after subprime consumers with ever-lengthening long-term loans.

However, most industry insiders believe pent-up customer demand is driving the ongoing sales boom, with incentives remaining stable compared to the run-up to the Great Recession six years ago. Inventories, too, are at “a healthy and manageable level,” with production capacity at near-peak, according to Ernst & Young lead analyst Anil Valsan. He expects sales to cool off and plateau in the coming years, rather than the bust Jones is forecasting.

That said, some vehicles are being moved with a much larger carrot than others, like the Cadillac ELR’s $20,000 discount and Chevrolet’s and Ford’s $10,000 discounts on their respective full-size pickup offerings. Jonas believes it’s only a matter of time before the market visits the ER for credit poisoning, warning the next decade in the auto industry will be “more brutal” than the current decade “in almost every way.”

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Stereo Realists: Donald Healey, George Mason and How the 3D Craze Led to the Nash-Healey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/stereo-realists-donald-healey-george-mason-and-how-the-3d-craze-led-to-the-nash-healey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/stereo-realists-donald-healey-george-mason-and-how-the-3d-craze-led-to-the-nash-healey/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 14:25:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876073 Carroll Shelby wasn’t the first person who thought of putting a powerful American engine in a British sports car. Sydney Allard did it more than a decade before Shelby made his first Ford powered A.C.E. and called it a Cobra. As a matter of fact, Shelby raced an Allard J2 in the early 1950s. So […]

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Full gallery here

Carroll Shelby wasn’t the first person who thought of putting a powerful American engine in a British sports car. Sydney Allard did it more than a decade before Shelby made his first Ford powered A.C.E. and called it a Cobra. As a matter of fact, Shelby raced an Allard J2 in the early 1950s. So did Zora Arkus Duntov, whose ARDUN heads were equipped on the flathead Ford V8s that Allard fitted to UK domestic market J2s. Allard’s American customers generally preferred to buy cars without engines so their could fit their choice of high compression OHV V8s that were proliferating in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The most popular engine was the 331 cubic inch Cadillac V8, introduced in 1949. Actually Allard wasn’t the only British manufacturer with the idea of using American muscle in his performance cars. Donald Healey also wanted to use Cadillac engines in his sports cars and traveled to Detroit to buy them. A chance encounter while shipboard with a large man taking stereo photographs, though, changed those plans.

Due to his interest in aviation, Donald Healey’s father secured him an apprenticeship with the Sopwith Aviation Company, where he worked while continuing his engineering studies. At the age of just 16 years old, Healey volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps, earning his wings and then flying combat missions including bombing raids. After being shot down by friendly fire and having a few other crashes, he was declared medically unfit to fly and spent the duration of the war quality checking airplane components. After the war he took an automotive engineering correspondence course and opened up a repair garage, expanding into car rentals. Soon, he found motor racing and rallying more exciting than running the business, which he proceeded to use to prepare cars for competition.

Healey became an accomplished rally driver, competing in nine straight Monte Carlo Rallies, with an overall win in 1931. His success as a driver brought him some attention and in 1932 he was hired by Riley and sold off his garage. In 1933 he joined Triumph as head of experimental engineering, later serving as technical director. He was responsible for the design of a new family of four and six cylinder OHV engines along with the supercharged double overhead cam, all aluminum straight eight for the very limited production Dolomite sports car. Healey was recruited by Joseph Lucas Ltd. in 1937 but returned to Triumph shortly thereafter, rewarded with a seat on the board of directors, eventually rising to managing director.

Unfortunately, by the time he got that job, Triumph was in terrible financial shape and went into receivership in 1939. The Thomas Ward company that bought the assets sold one of Triumph’s two factories, and leased out the other, so without anything to manage, Healey looked for other work, eventually ending up at Roote’s Humber subsidiary, where he worked on armored cars during the second world war. As a member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve he also commanded a training squadron.

Despite his obligations serving the war effort in uniform and in his day job, Healey managed to find time to give thought to reviving Triumph after the war. Perhaps it was a psychological way of coping with the war since much of Triumph’s tooling was destroyed in German air raids on Coventry in late 1940, but Healey and some coworkers at Humber, stylist Ben Bowden, engineer A.C. “Sammy” Sampietro (who later designed the Jeep “Tornado” six as chief engineer at Willys (and later Kaiser) Jeep), and another reserve pilot, James Watt, started working on an all-new Triumph they hoped to build and sell after the end of hostilities.

However, by the time Healey and his team approached Ward with their proposal in 1944, the company had already lost interest in making cars. Also, it is likely that Ward was already negotiating the deal that was concluded later that year to sell what remained of Triumph to the Standard Motor Company, which would revive the brand into how most people today remember Triumph cars. While Healey and his team would not be able to themselves return Triumph to the land of the living, the fact that they’d started with a clean sheet with their design, unrelated to any previous Triumph car, meant that they could continue to develop the project without having to pay royalties or be dependent on Triumph’s owners for components.

Healey used his connections, developed from over a decade in the industry, to find manufacturing space and a supplier, Riley Motors, for the bits they couldn’t make themselves: engines, transmissions, rear ends, and other assorted components. With money raised from family and friends, and a hard to secure manufacturing license in hand, in 1945 Healey started the Donald Healey Motor Company Ltd, with their first cars, a roadster and sedan, going into production in October 1946.

Aaron Severson described Donald Healey’s first cars in his history of the Nash-Healey at Ate Up With Motor (from which much of this post is drawn):

The early Healeys were sleek, low-slung, and surprisingly aerodynamic; with wood-framed aluminum bodies on a steel frame, they weighed around 2,500 lb (1,125 kg), depending on coachwork. They used Sampietro’s independent front suspension, with trailing arms and coil springs. The rear suspension used a Riley torque tube, carried on coil springs and located by twin radius arms and a Panhard rod. The four-speed gearbox was also provided by Riley, as was the engine, an unusual 2,443 cc (149 cu. in.) inline four with hemispherical combustion chambers and twin in-block camshafts. Rated output was 104 hp (78 kW) and 132 lb-ft (178 N-m) of torque.

They were capable of more than 100 mph as they left the works, making them among the fastest cars sold in Britain at the time. They earned class victories in the 1947 and 1948 Alpine Rallies, the 1948 Targa Florio and the 1949 Mille Miglia. Though they performed well, they also were expensive (the roadster was the equivalent of about $6,300) limiting production to just 227 cars through late 1950. Another 120 rolling chassis were sold to customers who wanted custom bodywork.

Donald Healey’s first true sports car was the Silverstone, named after the UK’s most famous race track. Though it shared its Riley mechanicals with the earlier Healeys, the chassis was different, with the engine mounted farther back for better weight distribution and it had a lightweight aluminum body. Top speed was a claimed 110 mph, and it was a better bargain than the earlier cars, starting at just £975 ($2,730) before taxes. In the U.S. they were sold for $3,995.

The Silverstone had cut-down doors, cycle-type fenders, a fold-down windshield, and just about no protection from the elements. Suspension was via coil springs at all four corners, with trailing arms in front and a rear axle located with a torque tube, radius arms and a Panhard Rod. Telescoping shock absorbers replaced the lever action dampers of early Healeys.

One of the first American customers was gentleman racer Briggs Cunningham, who in 1949 bought two Silverstones for racing. Cunningham fitted one of them with the then new Cadillac OHV V8 and a Ford transmission, yielding much better performance over the Riley equipped cars. Healey and his son Geoff, by then a graduate engineer, managed to acquire their own Cadillac engine and they discovered that not only did the V8 have 56 hp more than the Riley four cylinder, and twice as much torque, it weighed no more than the Riley and it improved weight distribution.

It wasn’t just the performance that impressed Donald Healey. He saw the use of an American engine as a way of selling more cars in the U.S. The UK and Europe were still rebuilding after the devastation of WWII while America was experiencing a postwar economic and automotive boom. Donald Healey Motor Company was by then nearly £50,000 in debt and they needed the business.

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In December of 1949, Healey booked passage on the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner and set off for the United States and a meeting with Ed Cole, Cadillac’s chief engineer, later the father of the small block Chevy V8. While on board the ship, Healey, a photography buff, noticed a tall, rather fat gentleman taking pictures with a 3D rig, most likely a Stereo Realist camera, which were popular in the late 1940s and early 1950s (coinciding with the 3D movie craze of that era). Healey approached him to talk about photography and the large man with the interesting camera turned out to be George W. Mason, president of Nash-Kelvinator, on his way back to Kenosha from the European auto show circuit. Both of them being in the automobile business, albeit on different scales, Mason invited Healey for dinner, where Healey told him of his planned meeting with Cole in Detroit. Mason cautioned Healey that Cadillac was selling every V8 powered car it could make and suggested that if things didn’t work out for him in Detroit, he should give him a call in Kenosha.

As Mason expected, at the meeting with Cole the GM engineer told Healey that they had no capacity to spare him some V8s for his Anglo-American sports car project. While Nash didn’t have a V8, they did have a 235 cubic inch six, so Healey went with plan B and a trip to Wisconsin. In Kenosha, Mason made Healey that proverbial deal he couldn’t refuse. Not only would Nash supply Healey with engines, transmissions, overdrive units, and rear axles, they would do so on credit, and, putting the cherry on top, the American company would distribute the finished cars via Nash’s dealer network.

Though the Nash six was heavier than the Riley four, it had great low speed torque and it was durable. Production Nash-Healeys featured a special aluminum cylinder head, fitted with twin SU carbs, that had higher compression. Nash-Healey engines also featured a hotter cam. The improvements lifted horsepower from 115 to 125, with 210 lb-ft of torque at just 1,600 rpm. The prototype was entered at LeMans in 1950 and did fairly well, third in class and fourth overall, beating Cunningham’s Cadillac powered entry.

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The production car, called the Nash-Healey, was revealed at the 1950 Paris auto salon in October. It had a newly styled aluminum body that unlike the Silverstone’s cycle fenders, was an envelope design with integral fenders. It was designed by Donald Healey and Len Hodges and the body was made by Panelcraft Sheetmetal in Birmingham, England. To keep the car consistent with other Nashes, Mason demanded that bits and pieces of the Nash Ambassador, including the grille design, be incorporated. Other Nash parts included headlights, bumpers, hubcaps, and a shortened Ambassador torque tube. The Nash-Healey was also equipped with the Ambassador’s Bendix brakes (drums).

Healey was never completely happy with using the Nash grille, comparing it to comedian Joe E. Brown, known for his rather large mouth. When he revised the car for the European market as the Alvis powered Healey Sports Convertible, Healey had the front end redesigned.

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Regular production of the Nash-Healey began in December 1950, going on sale in the U.S. in the spring of 1951 after being introduced at the Chicago Auto Show. It was available in two colors, ivory and maroon, with leather upholstery, and whitewall tires. The sources say that the first Nash-Healeys had snap in Perspex (acrylic) side curtains that had to be stored in the trunk when not in use but the maroon one pictured in this post appears to have windows that slide up and down. Perhaps they’re similar to the windows on the early Lotus Elans, which were counterweighted but had no cranks. Curb weight was 2,600 lbs. Though the heavier motor ended up causing understeer, in general the Nash-Healey was regarded as having competent handling and a comfortable ride. Zero to sixty time was about 12 seconds with a top speed of 104 mph. Not as quick or as fast as the Silverstone but still very respectable speed for the early 1950s. Reviews generally praised the sports car, though they criticized the bench seat and said that the 10 inch drum brakes were not suitable for fast driving.

Though Nash dealers were enthusiastic about the car as what we’d call a halo vehicle, a showroom traffic builder, the car cost just over $4,000, more than 60% more costly than the next most expensive Nash. Just 104 1951 Nash-Healeys were made. Only 20 are known to exist today, most of them not in operating condition.

While not a huge seller for Nash, the Nash-Healey helped balance the books at Donald Healey’s company, allowing them to proceed with the development of what would become known as the Austin-Healey 100, the first of the so-called “big Healeys”.

A year after his chance shipboard encounter with Donald Healey, George Mason was once again touring the major European auto shows. He was impressed with the work of Battista “Pinin” Farina, of Turin, Italy, particularly the Lancia Aurelia B10. Upon his return to Kenosha, Mason had his protege, George Romney, hire Farina as a styling consultant. Though very little of Farina’s styling suggestions would end up on production cars, Nash promoted the association and the company’s cars bore the Pinin Farina badge.

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One car that did end up featuring Farina’s styling was the second generation Nash-Healey. Farina gave it a new grille with inset headlamps (a styling motif that would eventually show up on the 1955 Ambassador), a one piece windshield and flared rear fenders that kicked up into proto-tailfins. The 2nd gen Nash-Healey was a convertible, not a roadster, with wind-up windows, and later a coupe version was offered.  The bodies were made of steel, instead of aluminum, resulting in significantly more weight and lower performance. Donald Healey’s Joe E. Brown comments notwithstanding, I prefer the look of the original cars, which because of their low production, aren’t as likely to be seen at car shows so they’re not as well known as the later cars. Not only do I think it’s a more attractive design, there is more design continuity between the early Nash-Healeys and the Austin-Healeys than with the second generation cars. The earlier cars have a timeless quality about them. It wouldn’t surprise me if observers thought the earlier cars were actually newer.

Recently there’s been renewed interest in Nash-Healeys in general, and the early versions in particular. The Fast ‘N Loud television show on the Discovery Channel featured a first generation Nash-Healey, hyping the six-figure value of the earlier cars. One reason why that car was on the show is that show star Richard Rawlings’ business partner, Gumball rallier Dennis Collins, whose family owns a successful Jeep, is a serious Healey collector, having owned 200 or so at one time or another, including some historically significant early Healeys.

Click here to view the embedded video.

You won’t get any earlier than this particular Nash-Healey, nor will you find a car with any better provenance. It was part of a retrospective on the evolution of the sports car at the 2014 Concours of America. The little maroon roadster was not just the first Nash-Healey built, it was owned by Donald Healey and it was used for his personal transportation when in the United States. It currently belongs to John Kruse of Worldwide Auctions. The subject of a $400,000 restoration to how it was when Donald Healey drove it, the car has been a winner at a number of car shows and concourses. Kruse bought Healey chassis #N2001 when Collins put it up for auction last year. The reported sale price was half a million dollars, including the auction house’s cut.

Click here to view the embedded video.

While I was buttoning up this post, I discovered that in preparation for that sale, Collins put together a detailed history of the car. He calls it “the first purpose built American Sports Car”. I’ll excuse that little bit of hype, Collins is all about the hype (as you’ll see below). In fact, the Nash-Healey was at best only half American and never built in America (and the Crosley Hotshot was likely the first American sports car) but Collins’ history of the car does fill in a lot of the details, including the car’s competition history:

Winner from day one: the first purpose-built American Sports Car

Like many of life’s treasures, the Nash-Healey’s birth was an unlikely confluence of events. Its beginnings sprang from a chance meeting in 1949 aboard the Queen Elizabeth, between Donald Healey and George Mason, president of Nash-Kelvinator Co. Mason wanted a sports car to improve the image of his automobile company and Healey was on his way to back to England after failing to acquire Cadillac engines from GM for his new sports car. They agreed that motor racing was a necessity in the development and promotion of a sports car. Mason thought his Ambassador engine would be perfect. The rest, as they say, is history: America’s first true sports car, designed from the beginning to go toe to toe with the world’s finest. Conceived with the engineering genius of England’s master car designer and nurtured by the financial backing of a great American industrial corporation, the results were predictable – one of the great cars of the age. As soon as first prototypes were ready, they began to appear on the race tracks of the world among some very famous company.

It is June of 1950, only months after its conception, and the fledgling marque finds itself in the boiling cauldron of motorsports: Le Mans. The factory drivers Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton have driven the freshly constructed Panelcraft aluminum-bodied Nash Healey prototype to the race from the factory in England. They are surrounded by decades of tradition, hundreds of years of European and English engineering expertise and the grand marques of the world, including a first: a two-car Cadillac factory team with the full support of GM, fielded by millionaire sportsman Briggs Cunningham. Our heroes prepare to do battle .

The starting grid is formidable, including 4.5 litre Talbot-Lagos from France, looking  like overpowered lightweight sprint cars. Three Ferraris from Luigi Chinetti’s North America Racing Team, the factory Jaguar XK120s and the Aston Martin factory team are among those who clearly came to win. Two lightweight Allards, one driven by Sidney Allard himself , were now equipped with monster 5.4-liter Cadillac engines with multiple carburetion and were clearly dead serious.

The results after 24 hours: only two of  the 4.5-litre Talbot-Lagos and Sidney Allard in the 5.4-liter Allard have bested the 3.8-liter Nash- Healey. The best the Jaguars can do is 12th and 15th. The fragile Ferraris are all parked, not one of the prancing  horses is prancing at the finish. The Cadillac team can only do 10th and 11th, the beginning of several defeats at the hands of the Nash-Healey for American icon Briggs Cunningham. The Nash Healey is a monster success on the biggest stage in the world. Mason is sold, and authorizes the beginning of production. A star is born.

In the 1951 Le Mans race, Briggs Cunnigham came to play. He entered three Chrysler 5.5-liter Hemi-powered C2Rs. In spite of qualifying second, third and fourth, his best finish of the three cars was 18th as his cars were still somewhat overweight. The Panelcraft alloy bodied Rolt-Hamilton Nash-Healey was to finish a very nice sixth. This was the year of the C-type Jaguar and Dunlop disc brakes, of Jaguar,  Talbot-Lago, Aston Martin, Aston Martin, Nash-Healey and Ferarri 340. Several other Ferraris finished down the list.

But the Nash-Healey’s final factory appearance at Le Mans in 1952 would be the jewel in the crown. Nineteen-fifty two would mark the introduction to the world of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL factory team. It was the 30th running of the 24-hour race and the Germans were not to be denied. The Mercedes-Benz factory was about to conduct a clinic on how to run a professional racing team. (History shows that a young Roger Penske was present, taking careful notes.)

This was probably a world record to date for the amount of money spent by a manufacturer on a motor race (not a government – the Third Reich probably holds that record). The Mercedes-Benz team had, in addition to the requisite dozen or so engineers in the obligatory white lab coats, at least 40 technicians, five fully prepared and tested racing cars (two were spares) and, unusual at the time, two semi trailers fully outfitted as workshops.

I think we all know who was going to win this little fracas. Predictably the Mercedes team finished one-two. Score a victory to Rommel and the Panzers. Let’s list the top five since we are all sportsmen here: Mercedes, Mercedes, Nash-Healey, Cunningham C4R coupe, Ferrari 340. So Briggs Cunningham gets into the top four with his new jillion dollar car, now much lighter with 350hp, and still has to look at the back end of a Nash-Healey. Bummer.

So, is the story here that the little Nash was able to defeat all but the Panzers; or that once again no matter how many millions he spent, Briggs Cunningham could not defeat the Donald Healey design?

No, the story is that for two generations foolish American collectors and vintage racers have fought tooth and nail (and checkbook) over “European purebreds,” and have remained fundamentally ignorant about these wonderful, incredibly sophisticated cars that first took our flag into battle with such distinction.

In addition to its record at Le Mans, the Nash-Healey competed at the Mille Miglia, finishing as high as 30th (out of over 400 entries in 1951) of 173 finishers. Nash-Healeys also competed there in 1952 and 1953. A special car was prepared for the 1953 Mille Miglia driven by American ace John Fitch. This incredibly fast car was well in it until forced to retire with brake (hydraulic) failure.

Sadly, this story does not have an altogether happy ending. As in the American automobile industry in general, style was about to vanquish substance, and these lithe, lightweight alloy-bodied Panelcraft Nash-Healeys would be replaced by the steel bodied Pinin Farina cars in 1952. Longer, wider, tail finned, beauties that looked more like the road going sedans, with hundreds of pounds more “road hugging weight,” they were glamourous to a fault. With racy names like Le Mans and sexy looks, they sadly could not match the performance of the alloy Panelcraft cars, but still embarrassed the likes of Thunderbird and Corvette, sports cars in name only. One hundred four of the alloy Panelcraft production cars were built. According to the Nash-Healey registry, as of today 20 are accounted for. Of these 20, seven are in operating condition. Three can be classified as restored.

Three of these early cars have been presented as entries into the modern day Mille Miglia, one of the most prestigious and exclusive events in historic motorsports. All three cars have been accepted and have run and completed the event.

Now we come to that point in our conversation where we turn to evaluation. We would all like to have the first Gullwing, snatched from the Mercedes-Benz  museum, but that is not going to happen. I am sure, however, we are all arrogant enough to place some value on it. At least seven figures. What seven figures is where we would differ.

How about the first Ferrari? Again seven figures, but what that figures would be would be all over the room. The C4R that finished 4th at Le Mans in ’52? Let’s not be picky, I will take any Cunningham team car.

The point is this: The first 1953 Corvette was not the first American sports car. It is a nice cruiser built on a shortened 1949 Chevy frame, with a fiberglass body constructed by a boat manufacturer. It has the same chance at a sports car event as a snowball in a frying pan. The Cunninghams had their shot, but their results were wanting. They are great cars, are huge money and we all covet them, but they were not around in 1950.

So alone and unafraid we have the alloy bodied Panelcraft Nash-Healeys. Competitive with the world’s finest from the period that the sports cars we crave the most were created.

Now we present the very first Nash-Healey production car. Chassis #N2001 Engine #NHA1001, Panelcraft alloy bodied, hand built. A car that cost $8,000 delivered, when the most expensive Ferrari cost $9,500, another reason they were doomed to be replaced by the easier-to-produce steel Pinin Farina cars that were thousands less. That is why they were exclusive, and that is why there are not many around. In road trim they were 124 MPH cars; and in race trim 144 MPH cars. No other American car came close.

Let’s not quibble. This is the first among firsts. The crème de la crème. The best of the best. This automobile is eligible for the most  prestigious events in vintage motorsports. Today, as it did in the day, it will compete with, and defeat Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Alfa and Mercedes, anything it comes up against. It will win on show field or track, rally or race.

Notes:

1. The white 1952 Nash-Healey was photographed at the preview to RM Auction’s 2014 Motor City auction held in conjunction with the Concours of America at St. John’s. The black 1952 Nash-Healey was photographed at the 2011 Eyes On Design show. A number of observers at the auction preview and at the concours mentioned how the white Nash-Healey was sporting wire spoked hubcaps from off of a Chrysler. Looking at historical photos, it appears that the wheel covers on the black car are also not correct.

2. Due to my own interest in stereo photography and videography I tracked down George Mason’s grandson, to see if the family had saved any of his stereo photos. I’ve found some vintage 3D photos of cars from the Keystone View company and I thought it might be cool to see some 3D pics of cars shot by a guy who ran a car company. Unfortunately, Mason’s stereophotographic oeuvre has been lost to posterity. Please digitize your family’s photos, films and videotapes.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

 

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Icon Looks To Retro-Futurism With Helios Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/icon-looks-retro-futurism-helios-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/icon-looks-retro-futurism-helios-concept/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876681 Known for improving upon Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Broncos and Jeeps, Icon is looking to create a streamliner with a little help from Tesla. Jalopnik reports Helios, the project named after the Greek titan and personification of the sun (not a god of wind as originally published), will pull its looks from a mashup of […]

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Icon Helios

Known for improving upon Toyota Land Cruisers, Ford Broncos and Jeeps, Icon is looking to create a streamliner with a little help from Tesla.

Jalopnik reports Helios, the project named after the Greek titan and personification of the sun (not a god of wind as originally published), will pull its looks from a mashup of post-WWI aircraft, 1930s streamliners and an alternate history where airplanes influenced automotive design a decade before the 1950s.

The Tesla connection — if owner Johnathan Ward can make it happen — will come in the form of the Model X platform, whose selectable AWD and 380-mile range are key features in Ward’s retro-future vision.

Currently, the Helios exists solely on paper, though Ward already has an owner in mind once he and his crew are able to “move mountains” to build:

I’ve got a meeting with Ralph Lauren to talk about something else. He doesn’t know I plan on totally taking over the room and making him buy this car… Most of [his cars] suck to drive except for the McLaren. So… that’s my pitch.

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GM: Colorado, Canyon Aimed At Small Crossover, Pickup Shoppers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-colorado-canyon-aimed-at-small-crossover-pickup-shoppers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-colorado-canyon-aimed-at-small-crossover-pickup-shoppers/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=874897 General Motors’ upcoming midsize truck twins — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — look to do more than attract those seeking a smaller pickup by also seeking out small crossover consumers. Autoblog reports GM wants to go after crossover shoppers for their new pickups, going as far as to bring a Ford Escape for […]

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2015-Chevy-Colorado-3

General Motors’ upcoming midsize truck twins — the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — look to do more than attract those seeking a smaller pickup by also seeking out small crossover consumers.

Autoblog reports GM wants to go after crossover shoppers for their new pickups, going as far as to bring a Ford Escape for a competitive test drive at the automaker’s Milford, Mich. facility during the twins’ media day.

On paper, GM believes the interior quality and exterior styling will be the main draws for those looking at Escapes, CR-Vs and RAV4s. The pickups’ power and utility could also help sway those buyers, along with pricing similar to those on the windows of small crossovers. Mileage, on the other hand, may be less than what said consumers prefer, especially when the aforementioned trio delivers a combined 26 mpg.

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Millennials Start With Sharing, End With Individual Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/millennials-start-with-sharing-end-with-individual-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/millennials-start-with-sharing-end-with-individual-ownership/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=875073 Though companies such as Lyft, Car2Go and Uber aim to help the young and the carless get around town without the need for owning a car — Uber wanting to go as far as to replace car ownership, period — the millennials eventually decide to go all in on individual car ownership. Automotive News reports […]

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hipster lyft millennials

Though companies such as Lyft, Car2Go and Uber aim to help the young and the carless get around town without the need for owning a car — Uber wanting to go as far as to replace car ownership, period — the millennials eventually decide to go all in on individual car ownership.

Automotive News reports the transition from using ridesharing and car sharing services to ownership comes when cohorts of the generational group begin families, sometimes moving out of the urban core to do so. The delays in starting a family and purchasing a car are linked to student loan debt and a recovering, highly competitive job market, pushing the age of first-time buyers to the mid-20s at the youngest.

Meanwhile, those who live in cities like Austin, Boston, New York and Seattle are helping to make sharing services a success, with a projected 3.8 million users coming on-board by 2020. In turn, a total of 50 percent either sell a car or postpone buying a car, substituting ownership for sharing, leading to 1.9 million vehicles sold-off or not bought by 2020.

Though sharing may mean fewer vehicles leave the showroom, overall sales are climbing. Over 16 million units are forecast to head out onto the highway by the end of 2014 according to many an analyst. In the long-term, sharing services may also help send their consumer base to the showroom, with those shoppers looking a vehicle based on what they drove as a member of the service.

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Ford Falcon Receives New Face http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-falcon-receives-new-face-in-its-twilight-age/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ford-falcon-receives-new-face-in-its-twilight-age/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=873042 This will be the face of the last of the V8 interceptors for Ford’s Falcon, and that’s only the beginning. Autoblog reports the Falcon’s new face is in line with the upcoming Mustang, as well as the Fusion and Mondeo. Unlike the front-drivers, however, the Falcon’s new look — beginning with the XR8 — will […]

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This will be the face of the last of the V8 interceptors for Ford’s Falcon, and that’s only the beginning.

Autoblog reports the Falcon’s new face is in line with the upcoming Mustang, as well as the Fusion and Mondeo. Unlike the front-drivers, however, the Falcon’s new look — beginning with the XR8 — will come with firepower in the form of a 5-liter supercharged V8, as well as a trio of six-cylinder engines and the EcoBoost four-pot.

Other touches include LED tail lamps meant to show off the Falcon’s backside to the Commodores trailing behind it, and headlamps with that are specific to the Australian sedan. Beyond this, the Falcon’s facelift is but a mid-cycle refresh for the record books.

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2014 Chevrolet SS To Pace 20th Running Of Brickyard 400 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2014-chevrolet-ss-to-pace-20th-running-of-brickyard-400/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2014-chevrolet-ss-to-pace-20th-running-of-brickyard-400/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871274 Monday, we alerted you that the 2015 Chevrolet SS will come with a manual transmission and Magnetic Ride. Today, the current SS has thrown on some red and silver pace-car clothing to lead its tube-frame brethren over the strip of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400. Autoblog reports […]

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Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard

Monday, we alerted you that the 2015 Chevrolet SS will come with a manual transmission and Magnetic Ride. Today, the current SS has thrown on some red and silver pace-car clothing to lead its tube-frame brethren over the strip of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400.

Autoblog reports the driver behind the wheel of this SS will be none other than actor Chris Pratt, whose latest film, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” will be in theaters August 1. Pratt said it was “a dream come true to drive the pace car” for the Brickyard 400, renamed the John Wayne Walding 400 by sponsor Crown Royal in honor of the Army veteran who lost part of his right leg during the Battle of Shok Valley in 2008.

The silhouette Sprint Cup version of the SS is doing well for itself since the start of its racing career in 2013, winning 16 out of 36 races in the previous season, and claiming nine of the first 10 events in 2014. Meanwhile, the Camaro and Corvette will take up pacing duties for the support events around the Brickyard 400.

Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard Actor Chris Pratt To Drive Chevrolet SS Pace Car At Brickyard

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2015 Chevrolet SS Order Guide Confirms Manual Transmission, Magnetic Ride http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-chevrolet-ss-order-guide-confirms-manual-transmission-magnetic-ride/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-chevrolet-ss-order-guide-confirms-manual-transmission-magnetic-ride/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=870026 Those who were waiting for the Chevrolet SS to have a manual transmission to go with its Australian power, they can now breathe: The order guide confirms the 2015 model will that, as well as the Magnetic Ride suspension. Jalopnik reports one of their commentariat had looked through General Motors’ online Fleet Order guide when […]

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Chevrolet SS

Those who were waiting for the Chevrolet SS to have a manual transmission to go with its Australian power, they can now breathe: The order guide confirms the 2015 model will that, as well as the Magnetic Ride suspension.

Jalopnik reports one of their commentariat had looked through General Motors’ online Fleet Order guide when they came upon the revelations. In addition, more of the commentariat pointed out a number of new colors 2015 SS owners could drool over, including Regal Peacock Green and Alchemy Purple; Dodge and SRT may have to dust off a few oldies to keep up.

2015 Chevy SS Form A 2015 Chevy SS Form B

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Clean-Diesel Sales Up 25 Percent In The US For 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/clean-diesel-sales-up-25-percent-in-the-us-for-2014/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869994 Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year. Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, […]

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Though hardly any of the offerings can be found in a brown wagon with a six-speed manual pushing power to the back, U.S. sales of clean-diesel vehicles have climbed up 25 percent this year.

Autoblog Green reports clean-diesels are set to double their current 3 percent of total vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2018, according to Diesel Technology Forum. The group also noted the 25 percent jump is besting overall sales thus far in 2014, having only seen a boost of 4.2 percent in comparison.

As for the cause of the leap into oil-burning, consumers seeking better fuel economy find a 30 percent gain when the engine quietly purrs, especially when 27 of the 46 available clean-diesel models for the U.S. market are cars and SUVs. Winners include Audi and Chevrolet, both moving 8,100 and 3,000 units through the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, Volkswagen, lost 8 percent in sales during the same period, though still lead the way with 42,000 vehicles leaving the lot.

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