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. Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:00:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Enthusiasm http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/enthusiasm/ More Corporate Average Horsepower, Hellcat Production Going Up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/more-corporate-average-horsepower-hellcat-production-going-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/more-corporate-average-horsepower-hellcat-production-going-up/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:51:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107873 Nothing is more American than a high-horsepower V8 in a muscle car. Thanks to increased demand, roads are going to feature more of that familiar V8 rumble as Dodge ramps up Hellcat production. According to Automotive News, FCA has produced approximately 4,000 Hellcat engines so far this year, even as the company stopped taking orders for […]

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Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine produces 707 ho

Nothing is more American than a high-horsepower V8 in a muscle car. Thanks to increased demand, roads are going to feature more of that familiar V8 rumble as Dodge ramps up Hellcat production.

According to Automotive News, FCA has produced approximately 4,000 Hellcat engines so far this year, even as the company stopped taking orders for the Charger and Challenger models in an effort to get caught up with demand.

“We’ve sold 88,000 muscle cars [this calendar year], Challengers and Chargers, and 4,000 of those have been Hellcats. It’s a small sliver of what we sell, but it really creates a halo for the rest of the lineup,” Tim Kuniskis, head of Dodge and SRT, told the trade publication. “For example, the next highest car, the Scat Pack Challenger, I have essentially a zero-day supply. It’s sold out.”

So, if you’re looking for a Hellcat in the near-ish future, you may be in luck. What’s more American than a muscle car assembled in Canada with an engine from Mexico?

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F1 Fan Study: Everything Is The Same/Different http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/f1-study-everything-samedifferent/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/f1-study-everything-samedifferent/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1105825 A Formula 1 study released yesterday shows that in just 5 years fans have gone from describing the sport as “Exciting” to “Boring” and that the more things change, the more things stay the same. The 17-page report, which polled more than 200,000 fans of the sport, also revealed that fans are growing older and many fondly […]

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Williams-Cosworth FW07D

A Formula 1 study released yesterday shows that in just 5 years fans have gone from describing the sport as “Exciting” to “Boring” and that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

The 17-page report, which polled more than 200,000 fans of the sport, also revealed that fans are growing older and many fondly remember an era that didn’t go over so well in its time.

The study was conducted by the Grand Prix Drivers Association and Motorsport.com, and polled more than 215,000 fans from nearly 200 countries.

Among some of the more surprising responses were the fans’ favorite driver (Kimi Raikkonen), their favorite team (Ferrari) and their favorite era of F1 (2000s). It may not be surprising considering the average age of an F1 fan is 37 years old — the approximate wheelhouse for the Schumacher era. The winningest driver in F1 history finished second in a list of all-time drivers behind Ayrton Senna and ahead of Alain Prost.

While the report may serve as a warning for F1 bosses that the sport is growing dull, uncompetitive and too expensive, it’s very possible that the same sentiment was prevalent 20 years ago.

More than 30 percent of respondents said the 2000-era cars were their favorite (they were panned in their time), 89 percent said the sport needs to be more competitive (despite selecting one of the most-dominant drivers of his era) and the fan’s favorite team is the very expensive, very closed-door, very dominant Scuderia Ferrari.

Among the other interesting answers:

  • Only slightly more than half of respondents think a budget cap would be a good idea (54 percent);
  • Only 40 percent think the Drag Reduction System for passing has worked;
  • Four out of five surveyed think there should be more than one tire manufacturer in F1;
  • Nearly three out of four surveyed say the sound and power of F1 engines are important;
  • Less than half (45 percent) say F1 has the best drivers, although 88 percent say F1 needs to feature the best drivers;
  • And only 60 percent say F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport.

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Yamamoto: This MX-5 Is All You’re Getting, Take It or Leave It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/yamamoto-this-mx-5-is-all-youre-getting-take-it-or-leave-it/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/yamamoto-this-mx-5-is-all-youre-getting-take-it-or-leave-it/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104809 First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5. Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere. Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has […]

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2016 Mazda MX-5

First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere.

Speaking with the folks at TopGear.com, Yamamoto has plainly stated there won’t be a high-output special in the same vein as the NB Mazdaspeed MX-5.

From TopGear.com:

“It’s important not to get hung up on numbers,” Yamamoto-san told us. “Not on power, or torque. No, what is more important is the feeling. The driving experience and feeling is more important than power.

“In my mind it just has to be fun to drive,” he added.

To put it plainly, there will be no additional powerplants, no superchargers and no turbochargers. The most horsepower you’ll be able to buy on the showroom floor will be 155 from the 2.0L four-cylinder engine, take it or leave it.

While a vocal minority will cry foul at the thought of the MX-5 having less power than the outgoing model, we should commend Yamamoto and Mazda on this line-in-the-sand decision, especially when you consider the reasons why.

“It’s got to be affordable. Faster MX-5s means more money,” he added.

But, with the prevalence of turbocharged engines in today’s market, adding one to the MX-5 likely wouldn’t cost much more. According to Yamamoto, though, a turbo would ruin the Miata.

“I never considered using a turbo,” he said, “because naturally aspirated engines are just nice, especially for this kind of car.

“What’s very important to me is the feeling, and that you are happy driving it. I don’t want any more power or torque for the MX-5, but the sensation is important.”

[Photo credit: AutoGuide/Adam Wood]

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TVR Begins Taking Money, Presumably for Future TVR Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tvr-to-begin-taking-money-presumably-for-future-tvr-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tvr-to-begin-taking-money-presumably-for-future-tvr-cars/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104681 British automaker TVR reportedly has a pulse. According to Pistonheads, the small automaker will begin accepting deposits next week for its new car — due in 2017. For £5,000 ($7,826) you can reserve your Gordon Murray-designed sports car July 7. TVR has laid out ambitious plans for a range of cars from the Guilford-based company, including four […]

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British automaker TVR reportedly has a pulse. According to Pistonheads, the small automaker will begin accepting deposits next week for its new car — due in 2017.

For £5,000 ($7,826) you can reserve your Gordon Murray-designed sports car July 7. TVR has laid out ambitious plans for a range of cars from the Guilford-based company, including four Cosworth-powered V8 models on the road starting in 2017.

Current TVR Car Club members can reportedly reserve their cars for £2,500, although no official final price has been set for the new car.

After taking over the struggling automaker in 2013 from Nikolai Smolensky, progress has been slow for new TVR Chairman Les Edgar. Edgar said in 2013 that models could be on the road by 2015, although that date appears to be solidly 2017 now.

“We are a well-funded, well-supported organisation and boast a vastly experienced management team. We are here to stay and we have a fully evolved ten year plan for product and business development, and are committed to deliver on all the targets we have set ourselves – as we have done to date,” Edgar said in an official statement in June. “Despite very deliberately maintaining a low profile since completing the acquisition of TVR two years ago, we have had an enormous amount of unsolicited interest from businesses, individuals and investors internationally.”

It’s likely that TVR will stay on the British Isles for now, with no plans to send cars overseas.

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OFFICIAL: 2017 Audi A4 Goes Bigger, Lighter With Predictable Styling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/official-2017-audi-a4-goes-bigger-lighter-with-predictable-styling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/official-2017-audi-a4-goes-bigger-lighter-with-predictable-styling/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101577 After giving the Audi A6 and A7 a refresh last year, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has rolled out the red carpet for their latest A4 in sedan and Avant flavors. The newest compact model promises to be lighter, more efficient, and chock full of technology as Audi tries to claim the premium segment crown. If you expected […]

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2017 Audi A4 Sedan and Avant

After giving the Audi A6 and A7 a refresh last year, the Ingolstadt-based automaker has rolled out the red carpet for their latest A4 in sedan and Avant flavors.

The newest compact model promises to be lighter, more efficient, and chock full of technology as Audi tries to claim the premium segment crown.

If you expected the new A4 to look like anything other than what’s shown in these shots, you may want to crawl out from under that rock. Just like other refreshed models in the Audi range, front and rear lighting gets a sharper look with a more furrowed brow. The Singleframe grille also ditches the rounded corners for a more angular look as Audi attempts to communicate their technology through design.

Thanks to slightly larger proportions, the all-new interior of the A4 features more space for occupants and technology, yet still manages to weigh over 250 lbs less than the outgoing car thanks to a combination of lighter chassis, body and driveline parts.

Though no North American specific engine details were released, the A4 will be available with a laundry list of seven engines for Europe, all of the four- and six-cylinder variety. Three TFSI gasoline engines – a 1.4L I4, all-new 2.0L “ultra” I4 and 2.0L g-tron TFSI that can burn compressed natural gas or Audi e-gas – and four TDI engines – 2.0L TDI, 2.0L “ultra” TDI and 3.0L TDI V6 in two different tunes – will be available at launch. The tiptronic automatic eight-speed will continue along with a manual box, while a new dual-clutch S tronic replaces the outgoing CVT.

Expect the new Audi A4 to arrive in the United States in April of next year.

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Blame Giulia For Jeep Grand Cherokee Redesign Delay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/blame-giulia-for-jeep-grand-cherokee-redesign-delay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/blame-giulia-for-jeep-grand-cherokee-redesign-delay/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2015 14:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101073 The next iteration of the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been delayed to 2018 or 2019 and, according to reports from The Detroit Bureau, it’s all Giulia’s fault. Speaking with reporters at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Ground during the annual Chrysler Model Preview event, Jeep head honcho Mike Manley stated the brand’s top model won’t be seeing a new […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior-004

The next iteration of the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been delayed to 2018 or 2019 and, according to reports from The Detroit Bureauit’s all Giulia’s fault.

Speaking with reporters at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Ground during the annual Chrysler Model Preview event, Jeep head honcho Mike Manley stated the brand’s top model won’t be seeing a new generation for the next three to four years, but that FCA’s merger rumor mill had nothing to do with the delay.

Reports from the other side of the pond may show the real reason for the delay: Alfa Romeo. Supposedly, the money needed to redesign the Grand Cherokee in the near term has been earmarked for the premium Italian marque which needs $5 billion over the next 10 years.

Manley also reiterated, “There will be only one vehicle” when it comes to the Jeep Compass and Patriot, though Jeep has not made a final decision on which will get the axe.

 

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Lowrider Magazine Founder Sonny Madrid Dead At 70 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lowrider-magazine-founder-sonny-madrid-dead-at-70/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lowrider-magazine-founder-sonny-madrid-dead-at-70/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 20:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100041 The founder of Lowrider magazine, Sonny Madrid, died Monday at 70. The San Jose, Calif. native founded the iconic magazine during the mid-1970s, Hemmings Daily reports, when two events linked to his previous magazines — published as a student at San Jose State University — provided the seed capital needed to launch the first issue […]

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Sonny MadridThe founder of Lowrider magazine, Sonny Madrid, died Monday at 70.

The San Jose, Calif. native founded the iconic magazine during the mid-1970s, Hemmings Daily reports, when two events linked to his previous magazines — published as a student at San Jose State University — provided the seed capital needed to launch the first issue in January 1977.

From there, Madrid and his staff sought to connect every last independent lowrider community as they could, with Madrid leaving the Bay Area in his 1954 Chevrolet sedan delivery to promote the magazine in locales like East Los Angeles — where lowriders began — New Mexico and Texas; the staff expanded outreach further east.

Madrid was also key in the decision to add pin-ups to the front of every issue of Lowrider, beginning with the November 1979 issue. Despite the initial outcry from both male and female readers, magazine sales climbed 15 percent to 20 percent, per figures reported in Charles M. Tatum’s book, “Lowriders in Chicano Culture: From Low to Slow to Show.”

Overall, Madrid’s Lowrider not only covered and helped to grow the lowrider scene, but also promoted the music, fashion and culture surrounding it. However, the original magazine would fold after the December 1985 issue over financial difficulties. The resurrected Lowrider returned in 1988 after former staffer Alberto Lopez bought the magazine from Madrid; Lopez later sold the magazine to publisher McMullen Argus in the late 1990s.

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California’s Black License Plates Are Back In Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/californias-black-license-plates-are-back-in-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/californias-black-license-plates-are-back-in-production/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099905 Thanks to California’s Legacy Plate Program, the state’s classic black license plates are back on the presses. The program, Hemmings Daily writes, was passed in 2012 after Assemblyman Mike Gatto noted the molds used to stamp the black, yellow and blue plates made in separate eras between 1963 and 1982 “were just sitting there in […]

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CAblackplate_700

Thanks to California’s Legacy Plate Program, the state’s classic black license plates are back on the presses.

The program, Hemmings Daily writes, was passed in 2012 after Assemblyman Mike Gatto noted the molds used to stamp the black, yellow and blue plates made in separate eras between 1963 and 1982 “were just sitting there in Folsom prison,” per Gatto’s legislative director Aaron Moreno. Moreno adds the molds were found intact once the dust was cleared, paving the way toward reintroduction.

However, the three plates could only be made if each one garnered a minimum of 7,500 pre-orders between January 2013 and December 2014. While the black plates blew away the rest with 20,000 pre-orders to date, the yellow and blue plates only had few thousand each.

When the new plates leave Folsom in the next few weeks, there will be two key differences between the 2015 edition and the originals made between 1963 and 1969: the “63” stamped in the right-corner sticker window will not be there, and the plate overall will be covered in a reflective coating as required by law. Otherwise, it will appear as if stamping never ceased.

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SPIED: Fiat 124 Spider Sports Long Hood for Small Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/spied-fiat-124-spider-sports-long-hood-for-small-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/spied-fiat-124-spider-sports-long-hood-for-small-motor/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:16:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099897 This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work. Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose. While this addition to the Fiat lineup is quite covered in camo in these photos, it’s easy to see the roadster will rock a longer hood than […]

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124 Spider_011

This is the first ever set of spy shots of the upcoming Mazda MX-5 Miata based Fiat 124 Spider with near-production body work.

Damn, honey, you’ve got a big nose.

While this addition to the Fiat lineup is quite covered in camo in these photos, it’s easy to see the roadster will rock a longer hood than the Mazda MX-5. However, it looks like other elements stay quite similar to the original on which it’s based, including the curved windshield surround and proportions of the rear deck.

If rumor is to be believed, the new Fiat 124 will be powered by the same 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder found in other Fiat products. Power will be sent to the rear via a six-speed manual transmission and possibly a six-speed dual clutch or conventional automatic.

We will likely see the Fiat 124 in all its glory this November at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Expect sales to start next year.

The new Fiat will be built alongside the MX-5 in Japan.

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Lotus Resumes US Operations, Moves US HQ To Detroit Area http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lotus-resumes-us-operations-moves-us-hq-to-detroit-area/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1099441 After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area. The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide […]

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Lotus Evora 400 Circa Geneva 2015

After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area.

The U.S. subsidiary of Lotus will relocate its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Mich. from Lawrenceville, Ga. by the end of July 2015, where it will share facilities with Lotus Engineering, AutoGuide reports. The move would allow both divisions more ability to grow, and would improve efficiency of operations.

Meanwhile, the first car to make its way across the Pond will be the 2017 Evora 400, sale of which are set to begin this December. The 3-Eleven track car and a proposed crossover are expected to follow.

Finally, Lotus’ U.S. dealership network recently expanded by four to 47 total showrooms, with more planned for the future. The four newest additions are in West Covina and Thermal, Calif., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Calgary, Alberta.

(Photo credit: Lotus)

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GM Releases Official Images of 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/gm-releases-official-images-of-2016-chevrolet-camaro-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/gm-releases-official-images-of-2016-chevrolet-camaro-convertible/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:10:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1098985 Inevitably, this is the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, sporting a slew of changes that do not include improved visibility over the current model. Unfortunately, this is the only manufacturer-provided image of the new Camaro Convertible showing its top in the closed position, making it difficult to judge if Chevrolet has improved the number one complaint of […]

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2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

Inevitably, this is the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, sporting a slew of changes that do not include improved visibility over the current model.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

Unfortunately, this is the only manufacturer-provided image of the new Camaro Convertible showing its top in the closed position, making it difficult to judge if Chevrolet has improved the number one complaint of every owner and automotive journalist to jump behind the wheel of their pony car. However, there are a number of changes to note.

Firstly, the top is now fully automatic, lacking a manual locking latch. You can also open and close the top at speeds up to 30 mph and remotely operate the top with the provided key fob (while stationary, of course). It drops 200 lbs versus the outgoing ‘vert, which should make it a better handler like the coupe we covered previously.

GM says it’ll begin deliveries in early 2016.

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Lucky Cruisers Weekend: How Czech US Car Fans Party http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lucky-cruisers-weekend-czech-us-car-fans-party/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/lucky-cruisers-weekend-czech-us-car-fans-party/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089577 Imagine a campground in the heart of Czech Republic – a place normally populated by a few families on a cheap holiday with their diesel Škoda, a tent or a caravan, and a beer. And now imagine it’s chock-full of American cars. Hundreds of them. And of all kinds. From rough traditional hot rods to […]

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IMG_7220

Imagine a campground in the heart of Czech Republic – a place normally populated by a few families on a cheap holiday with their diesel Škoda, a tent or a caravan, and a beer. And now imagine it’s chock-full of American cars. Hundreds of them. And of all kinds. From rough traditional hot rods to gleaming ’50s fin-tailed landyachts and shiny ’60s muscle cars. From Mustangs and Camaros of all generations to Jeeps and trucks. Boxy sedans from ’70s and ’80s. Modern Challengers and Voyagers. And even some PT Cruisers or Calibers, which get laughed at. Occasional there’s a $500 Buick Century from ’80s, which doesn’t get laughed at.

It may sound like some weird dream, but it’s the actual reality of an event called Lucky Cruisers Weekend. I’m there to enjoy the atmosphere and spirit, to bring the experience to you, my dear readers. I’m not driving my Chrysler LHS, because I managed to find a fool who gave me some money for it. I’m also not driving my diesel Alfa Romeo 164, because it would get turned into a trash can.

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I’m doing this one in style. My bottom is pampered by rich, white Corinthian leather. My eyes switch between checking the green digits of the instrument cluster and looking over the long, maroon hood with a Pentastar made of Cartier crystal and, weren’t it for the fact that no one uses the citizen radio in the Czech Republic of the 21st Century, I would be tempted to try and do my impression of Burt Reyonlds into the dash mounted CB. I’m sure Frank Sinatra would approve, even though I’m listening to Rádio Country (the only thing I’m able to get a good tune of), which is terrible even if you like country.

At this point, I’m pretty sure you either know exactly what I’m driving (in which case I tip my imaginary hat to you), or I managed to totally confuse you with the previous paragraph. The latter is more likely, because I’m driving a 1982 Chrysler Imperial. It was Chrysler’s last V8, RWD, personal luxury coupe. It borrowed the platform, venerable-but-slow 318 engine and Corinthian leather from the Cordoba, then added trippy design – similar to the bustleback Seville and that Fox-bodied Continental TTAC’s own Sajeev Mehta so lovingly restores – and finished it with lots of wacky electronics like digital instruments or dash-mounted CB. It was conceived by the genuis of Lee Iaccocca and promoted by his good friend, the Ol’ Blue Eyes. However, unlike the decidedly unsexy K-car, it just didn’t work on the market, which makes it much more interesting now.

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At this point, it’s probably clear that I’m not going to cover this event as an outsider trying to make sense of things as was the case with GTI Treffen at Wörthersee a few weeks ago. American cars have been my main hobby for almost half of my life. It’s been a decade since a bought my first American car and started to be a regular at the US car meets. Picking up the Imperial at my friend Petr’s place, I once again felt the combination of joy, sadness and maybe even a little jealousy. The fancy barn full of interesting old metal (some his, some of other friends) makes me grateful to be able to experience it, but it also brings memories of all the cars I had to sell a few years ago.

Bit this is no time for nostalgia. It’s Friday afternoon and there’s going to be a party.

Even miles away from the place, it’s clear that something strange is going on. You can see American cars in Czech traffic occasionally, but seeing a 1970s Eldorado here, late ’60s Olds 4-4-2 there and a classic Mustang in the opposite direction is not your typical Friday afternoon.

IMG_7251Coming to the venue on Friday is advisable for two reasons. First, the Friday night is a much better party than Saturday when everyone is hungover. And second, the “civilians” don’t come on Friday, which means there is no traffic jams around the camping grounds and no need to risk some pedestrian’s bottom damaging your precious hood ornament.

Even so, there’s a lot of cars already – I’m arriving as number 140 or so, and before the sun sets, we’re at 200. A decade ago, when I started frequenting these events, a US car meet with two hundred cars in attendance would be fairly huge, probably the second biggest in the season. Today, there are more meets and more cars at each of them.

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Since it’s Friday and the campground isn’t totally choked with cars yet, it’s time to do what the “Cruisers” part of the LCWs name is about. The unique part of this meet is the fact that it’s encouraged not to leave your car parked all weekend, but actually drive it around the venue. The paths form something of two figures of eight intertwined and there are cars slowly driving around constantly. Friends greeting friends from the car windows, people hitching rides in friends’ rides or even in cars of people they just met, an eclectic mix that’s typical for European US car meets. Those who are not “cruising” are gathering around hamburger stands, beer stands or making their own barbecue. Some others are going for a swim in a small lake.

For the most part, it still feels a lot like the old US car meets a decade ago where there were only a few dozen people who mostly knew each other. The spirit still remains, though with a lot more people and a lot more cars – since importing US cars (and especially classics) became much easier in the 2000s and Czechs became richer, the old cars started flowing in. A decade ago, anything from the ’60s was unique and revered. Now, ’60s and early ’70s classics outnumber the beaters from ’80s and the numbers of modern muscle and modern trucks are starting to be really significant.

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But what keeps together such a diverse group, driving everything from a pristine ’59 Cadillac or ’30s antique to a modded ’05 Mustang or a ’01 Town Car? If there’s any common theme besides the fact that we all love American cars, it’s probably the style of the 1950s. In the last few years, most US car meets in the country started following the rockabilly/pin-up/vintage ’50s style that’s so popular in Germany and Scandinavia. It used to be  if you went to a US car event, you either ignored any “style” (which most people still do) or you had to have a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, cowboy shirt and generally look like the ’80s German idea of a Texan. Now, while you still see these kind of outfits, there’s more of a “hotrodder/rockabilly” style permeating the scene amongst the gents. For girls, it’s pin-up. Even girls who are not into it in the “normal life” often dress up. There’s a pin-up contest and, of course, rockabilly bands playing live on the stage.

The cars cruise around well into the night, but more and more drivers switch the steering wheel for a beer and the whole thing starts to become more and more of a party. I retire from driving quite early and the rest of my evening is nothing to be discussed about on a family-friendly site like this. Let’s just say I wake up shortly before noon the next day not feeling very well and minus one pair of glasses.

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Waking up in a really hot tent (it’s one of the first true summer days here) and to the sound of countless V8s is really quite a unique experience. A hamburger, coffee and a swim cures the worst from the night before and the main day of the event begins. There’s no cruising for me today. First, I feel I really shouldn’t get anywhere near a steering wheel for at least a few more hours. Second, while the campground seemed nearly full with 200 cars yesterday, we’re now over 500 and I’m blocked from going anywhere anyway.

The Saturday tends to be more of family-friendly fun for spectators at Lucky Cruisers Weekend. Hundreds – or even thousands – of “civilans“ come to look at American cars, buy stuff, listen to the music and eat burgers. In a typical year, this means the place is jam packed with people and even loses lots of its charm for actual US car owners, who can’t really socialize with one another in the huge crowd. This year, though, the bad luck for organizers was good luck for the rest of us. On the same weekend, there was a huge airshow in my nearby hometown of Pardubice and lots of people apparently preferred to see the P-38, B-25, Hurricane and some other WWII warbirds fly.

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Even so, the Saturday is probably quite similar to any big car meet in America or elsewhere in the world. People sit around, drink beer and cook barbecue, stand around food stands, walk around cars, look at them, take a pictures and ask their owners silly questions. Plus, of course, this being in Czech Republic in the beginning of summer, lot of gazing is spent on girls. Which is, by the way, another sign of how the times are changing – a decade ago, there weren’t many pretty girls at US car events in Czech Republic. There were old, fat guys everywhere and all the girls were with young guys at “tuning parties“ reliving their Fast & Furious fantasies. As the tuning events dwindled, the US events soared in popularity. It’s hard to say whether it’s just a question of fashion or if it’s got something to do with maturity, either of individuals or the car culture as a whole. With the simultaneous rise in popularity of trackday events, JDM meetings, classic car show and other interesting stuff, I’m starting to suspect it’s the latter.

The Saturday program continues with prizes for best cars of show – which I’m not really interested in and just a sight of 52 cups makes me feel really glad about turning down a place in the jury – and a car auction. Just one car is on sale – a 1977 Chrysler New Yorker, belonging to the same friend who loaned me the Imperial. It is, though, the first time such an auction is being held here and people seem to be really interested. I guess it’s not the last time.

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Shortly after the auction, I leave to attend other duties at my local pub. The Saturday evening is usually uneventful and Sunday, with all the hungover people and cars leaving home, is even a bit depressing. When I’m driving through the gate, I have no idea that my expectation of “uneventful evening” couldn’t be further from truth.

Have you wondered how cruising around the campground in old, cool and valuable cars gets together with the presence of a few hundred people who are mostly drunk? Well, apparently not so well.

Not long after my departure, a young pin-up girl manages to shove a borrowed ’70 Charger into a custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a ’71 Thunderbird that belongs to one of the organizers, and a ticket stand (thankfully empty by the time). No one’s hurt and the cars are repairable, as is the bike, but it is likely this means the beginning of a slow end to the two-faceted car event. The days when you could have a party for hardcore US car lovers and a huge family-friendly event with hundreds of cars in one place are probably gone. The scene is growing and the big events will probably become much more policed and much less wild than they were. The party life will probably move to smaller, more specific events where people still know each other and are able to stop anyone trying to do anything stupid.

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On one hand, it’s necessary and inevitable. On the other, I will probably miss the quaint, crazy Czech US car meets when they’re finally gone.

@VojtaDobes is motoring journalist from Czech Republic who previously worked for local editions of Autocar and TopGear magazines. Today, he runs his own website, www.Autickar.cz. After a failed adventure with importing classic American cars to Europe, he is utterly broke, so he drives an Alfa 164 Diesel he got for free. His previous cars included a 1988 Caprice in NYC Taxi livery, a hot-rodded Opel Diplomat, two Dodge Coronets, a Simca, a Fiat 600 and Austin Maestro. He has never owned a diesel, manual wagon.

Photography: Radek “Caddy” Beneš

The Cadillac on the left is powered by 6.5 TD engine from Chevy van and came to the meet from Sweden. Classic Firebird and half-japanese Dodge Boxy Caprice was the typical car at US meets decade ago A 73-74 Charger. With "01" on the side :( Classic Cherokee is one of the most popular US cars in CZ Some people picnic in style Totally restored '67 Mustang and its proud owner To some people, Edsels are cool Strange whitewall tires Two different ways to treat a classic Mopars in early 60s were crazy A perfect example of '60 Polara Every meet needs a '59 Caddy Craziest fin of all time Edsel, once again Mid-50s Caddy Fullsize convertibles, like this Pontiac, are very popular A nicely preserved early 70s Buick Conversion vans are quite popular in Europe Freshly restored '71 Monte Carlo There's lot of modern metal as well And cars need a good polishing 2nd gen F-bodies have a great following in Europe ... and some of them take on the 70s look A typical American classic in CZ. A Mercury road yacht. Mid-50s cars are still rare, but the numbers are growing.  A 55? Caddy. Freshly restored '69 Road Runner (clone) A beautiful '70 Charger This is one of the last pictures of the car before crash A slightly "hotrodded" '89 Caprice STW Pin up and a '70 Deville Another pin-up, and a '60 Dodge Polara The Polara was one of the coolest cars of the meet Girls liked the Polara This '70 Fury belongs to same guy as the Imperial I drove Crazy detailing on '60 Polara 4th gen F-bodies are popular as well ... and once again the "batmobile" Polara Strangely for a Mopar of this era, the steering wheel is round ... but the fins are crazy ... and the face is unique Full convertible experience with an old F-body Four-door Electra. Cars like these are prime material for importers KITT No, it doesn't talk A big rig came as well '59 was truly a crazy year '59 LeSabre '73 Eldorado Furry dices are popular even here '70s Eldorado and '70s Ranchero The typical layout of the 65-66 Oldsmobile dash Photography is to new-school Another '59 Work in progress... Burgers and American cars go well together Landbarges, a muscle car and a lot of Mustang in the background You can even find C1 Corvettes in CZ Late-model Mustang. Common, not very popular. IMG_7357 Pin-up dance Rockabilly A '57 or '58 Buick convertible another shot of the 73 Eldorado A wonderful '66 Pontiac. The owner also has '65, '67 and '68. Another one of the beautiful Monte Carlo This car was in auction Even a 4-door Buick in brown can be a coveted classic here A nice early 70s Pontiac Once again the diesel Caddy from Sweden '66 Impala, one of the prettiest cars of the meet A Buick, cruising Eldsel was popular Edsel at the center stage Pontiac Bonneville cruising Boss Hogg came to town Poor student's Lincoln Continental Lincoln is a great party vehicle Professional cars are popular as well If you have money, you can bring a house Cadillacs are among the most popular brands ... easy to see why an Astro, a Tahoe and a classic Cadillac. typically eclectic Inside a living room Lebarons are quite common, as they were imported officially Who needs a 1 ton truck to tow a truck? Another New Edge Mustang Modern Camaros come to meets, too These belong to a pair of brothers. All with 302, I think Sajeev will approve Freshly finished. Still overheats. Cruisin' in a diesel The photographer's car This '69 Eldorado was a birthday gift Once again, a sedan in beautiful shape '60 Polara, belongs to owner of US car magazine Once again the Polara Myself in Imperial Cheesy hood ornamets are a must! Beginners V8 sedan! If you don't have money, a turbo four will have to do A '71 Thunderbird and a '66 Bonneville Thunderbird's dash A typically varied group Before leaving, we met up at my hometown An Imperial and a conversion van Big Chryslers from different decades A cool '79 Lebaron with a 318

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Honda Brings LMP2 Prototype To 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/honda-brings-lmp2-prototype-to-2015-pikes-peak-hill-climb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/honda-brings-lmp2-prototype-to-2015-pikes-peak-hill-climb/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1096017 Having taken on Daytona and Sebring, Honda will bring its HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype to Pikes Peak for the 2015 edition of the historic hill climb. The HPD ARX-04b will be piloted by IndyCar and former F1 driver Justin Wilson, with power to come from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, AutoGuide reports. The car will also […]

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Honda HPD ARX-04b

Having taken on Daytona and Sebring, Honda will bring its HPD ARX-04b LMP2 prototype to Pikes Peak for the 2015 edition of the historic hill climb.

The HPD ARX-04b will be piloted by IndyCar and former F1 driver Justin Wilson, with power to come from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, AutoGuide reports. The car will also be the first full-carbon monocoque vehicle sanctioned by Pikes Peak authorities, where it will compete in the Unlimited class.

Honda says the effort is to test how the HPD’s chassis handles the climb, and what the high altitude will do to the production-based V6.

The 2015 edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will occur June 28.

(Photo credit: Honda)

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2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Given The Green Flag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2017-jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-given-the-green-flag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2017-jeep-grand-cherokee-trackhawk-given-the-green-flag/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 18:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095993 Per inside sources, the green flag has been given for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with testing already underway. The Trackhawk — codenamed Project K — is undergoing powertrain testing using 2016 Grand Cherokee bodies, Motor Authority reports. Said powertrain will be none other than the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 found in the Charger […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Per inside sources, the green flag has been given for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, with testing already underway.

The Trackhawk — codenamed Project K — is undergoing powertrain testing using 2016 Grand Cherokee bodies, Motor Authority reports. Said powertrain will be none other than the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 found in the Charger and Challenger Hellcats, good for 707 horsepower. A ZF eight-speed auto will funnel the raw power to all four corners, with zero to 60 coming in 3 seconds, topping out at 200 mph.

For those whose hearts aren’t hardy enough for the most brutal and metal of all Grand Cherokees, the same sources state the Grand Cherokee SRT would gain a new name and a revised 6.4-liter HEMI V8 set to generated 490 horses.

FCA remains mum on the subject for now, of course.

(Photo credit: Jeep)

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Nürburgring Management Bans Manufacturers From Attempting, Publishing ‘Ring Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nurburgring-management-bans-manufacturers-from-attempting-publishing-ring-times/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095969 Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring. During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, […]

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BMW M5 Ring Taxi

Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the best or the worst thing to happen: The ‘Ring time is no more on the Nürburgring.

During filming of “APEX: The Story of the Hypercar” — a documentary following auto manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Koenigsegg over three years as they battle for halo-car dominance, with the ‘Ring as the backdrop — director J.F. Musial said he received a phone call from Koenigsegg founder and CEO Christian Von Koenigsegg, informing him the track’s management had banned all manufacturers from attempting and publishing times achieved on the famed course. Koenigsegg had planned to put his One:1 through the pace prior to the ban.

The ban stems from an accident during a VLN race in March involving driver Jann Mardenborough, where a spectator was killed as a result. Management reacted by imposing a speed limit at the site where the accident occurred, followed by similar limits on other high-speed portions of the ‘Ring.

While management is set to review the limits at the end of this year, manufacturers are barred from making lap-record runs, even if the entire track was closed to the public for said runs. However, a run recorded by Lamborghini with its Aventador SV was allowed — under the claim the run happened before the limits were in place — while WTCC is permitted to ignore the limits altogether.

(Photo credit: elyob/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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New Top Gear Presenter Reveals Talent Search For Co-Presenters http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/new-top-gear-presenter-reveals-talent-search-for-co-presenters/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/new-top-gear-presenter-reveals-talent-search-for-co-presenters/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 18:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095273 BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans is the new lead presenter for “Top Gear,” but now he needs at least one other at his side, and it could be you. According to Top Gear magazine, the host began his audition search Thursday, which is open to any and all comers: The way Richard and James were […]

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Top Gear Talent Search

BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans is the new lead presenter for “Top Gear,” but now he needs at least one other at his side, and it could be you.

According to Top Gear magazine, the host began his audition search Thursday, which is open to any and all comers:

The way Richard and James were found was by auditioning, so what we’re going to do is hold auditions. Not just for famous people, ex-famous people, up-and-coming famous people, but for people who are watching the show.

Male, female, old, young, it doesn’t matter. The one thing that does matter is that you’ve got to have a real appetite for cars, and you’ve got to know something about cars.

You can be a mechanic, you can be an amateur racing car driver, you can be a guy who’s a fireman but who’s been building his own Land Rover in his shed for five years, but you’ve got to know about cars…

Those who wish to live the dream are asked to record a video clip no longer than 30 seconds, filmed from the waist up with “no stunts, no gimmicks,” just talking. Candidates must be over 16, but they can be from anywhere in the world.

Finalists will be invited to audition live before Evans and the show’s production staff, though the host offered no guarantees a member from the public would be selected, stating such a selection would “only happen if there’s anything good.”

Details on where to send the clip will be announced Friday.

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BBC Radio 2 Presenter Chris Evans New Presenter Of Top Gear http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bbc-radio-2-presenter-chris-evans-new-presenter-of-top-gear/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/bbc-radio-2-presenter-chris-evans-new-presenter-of-top-gear/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 18:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094753 It’s official: BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans will now be the new presenter of “Top Gear,” an appointment supported by Clarkson, Hammond and May. Evans explained how he came into the new role during the June 17, 2015 edition of his morning show, Top Gear magazine reports, which began with a phone call last […]

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Chris Evans Circa July 2009

It’s official: BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans will now be the new presenter of “Top Gear,” an appointment supported by Clarkson, Hammond and May.

Evans explained how he came into the new role during the June 17, 2015 edition of his morning show, Top Gear magazine reports, which began with a phone call last Wednesday from BBC Entertainment chief Mark Linsey.

During the phone call, Evans learned Richard Hammond and James May would not be returning to the show after all following the dismissal of Jeremy Clarkson, and was asked if he would take up where they and former producer Andy Wilman left off. He had previously stayed out of what he called “a chess game” involving all three of his friends, preferring to let the matter resolve itself.

Once the situation changed, Evans deliberated with “TFI Friday” sidekick Will MacDonald his wife Natasha for a day on the proposal, deciding to accept the role after taking into account his long career in radio and television.

Prior to the announcement, Evans contacted his friends. May said he would “talk about things” with him over the next few days, Clarkson gave him his best wishes — and a piece of advice Evans couldn’t say on the air — and Hammond texted Evans was “designed and built” to host “Top Gear.”

As for who will join Evans when production begins in the next few weeks, he says one of his co-presenters would “definitely, 100 percent” be female, The Telegraph notes. His contract is for three years, and will pay £3 million ($4.7 million USD).

[Photo credit: Paul Williams/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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US House Resolution Would Allow Factory-Direct Turnkey Replica Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-house-resolution-would-allow-factory-direct-turnkey-replica-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-house-resolution-would-allow-factory-direct-turnkey-replica-vehicles/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1091529 Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model. U.S. House Resolution 2675 — the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015″ — is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and […]

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Factory Five Mk4 Roadster

Has the thought of assembling a replica vehicle put you off of buying one? Thanks to Congress, you may soon be able to buy a factory-direct turnkey model.

U.S. House Resolution 2675 — the “Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015″ — is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Gene Green of Texas. According to Autoblog, the resolution would grant low-volume vehicle manufacturers — those producing no more than 500 units per year — the right to sell their wares direct from the factory with no assembly required, instead of only shipping them as kits to their customers as occurs now.

Though the vehicles would still need to follow safety and environmental standards as set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, those standards would be applied separately from high-volume manufacturers.

HR 2675 was introduced last week, and will arrive before the House Energy and Commerce Committee at a yet-to-be-determined date.

[Photo credit: Factory Five Racing/Facebook]

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Patent Filing Reveals Smaller Sibling To Honda NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/patent-filing-reveals-smaller-sibling-to-honda-nsx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/patent-filing-reveals-smaller-sibling-to-honda-nsx/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 20:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090761 While the Honda S660 may never see these shores, the automaker may have a baby NSX in mind for the U.S. market based on a recent patent filing. Seven CAD illustrations culled from the filing show a vehicle pulling cues from both current and first-gen NSXs with some S660 for good measure, AutoGuide notes. The […]

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Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-01

While the Honda S660 may never see these shores, the automaker may have a baby NSX in mind for the U.S. market based on a recent patent filing.

Seven CAD illustrations culled from the filing show a vehicle pulling cues from both current and first-gen NSXs with some S660 for good measure, AutoGuide notes. The illustrations are said to have been created in Honda’s U.S. design studio.

Based on is there, the model may likely have either a mid- or rear-engine layout; whether it will follow in the NSX’s hybrid tire tracks — a setup featuring a twin-turbo V6 and three electric motors good for 550 total horsepower — with its own version remains to be seen.

For now, though, this is close as anyone is going to get to a U.S.-market Beat or S2000 revival. It also wouldn’t be the first time Honda has contemplated such a vehicle, as the automaker has been working on similar designs since at least 2012.

Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-01 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-02 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-03 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-04 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-05 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-06 Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-07

[Image credit: Honda]

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TVR Reborn: Gordon Murray Engineered Machine Set For 2017 Launch http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tvr-reborn-gordon-murray-engineered-machine-set-for-2017-launch/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/tvr-reborn-gordon-murray-engineered-machine-set-for-2017-launch/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:01:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084329 TVR, along with announced partners Gordon Murray and Cosworth Engineering, is planning a rebirth for the storied British shed-built brand for 2017. The new car is expected to be powered by a unique Cosworth-developed V8. But, don’t hold your breath, as we’ve heard this story before. Led by current owner Les Edgar – a Brit who […]

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tvr-sagaris-wallpaper-1

TVR, along with announced partners Gordon Murray and Cosworth Engineering, is planning a rebirth for the storied British shed-built brand for 2017. The new car is expected to be powered by a unique Cosworth-developed V8.

But, don’t hold your breath, as we’ve heard this story before.

Led by current owner Les Edgar – a Brit who founded video game developer Bullfrog Productions before it was assimilated into Electronic Arts Europe – and a three-seat executive board, TVR has been on a long road to producing sports cars again in the U.K.

Edgar purchased the entire company from Nikolai Smolensky in 2013 after it nearly died on the vine. Back then, Edgar stated TVR would start producing a new two model range of cars in 2015, priced between 50,000 and 80,000 GBP.

We are now half way through 2015 and there’s a complete lack of new cars being produced by the Edgar-led TVR. That’s not to say the company has been dormant over the years since Edgar took over the marque as it has been providing “genuine parts” for current owners.

In 2014, Edgar revised the timeline, stating a new R&D facility had been established in southern England and new cars could be expected in two- to three-years time, putting TVR’s rebirth somewhere between 2016 and 2017. It seems the timeline has now shifted solidly to 2017 with the latest announcement from the British company.

The now-slated for 2017 car has received engineering input from Gordon Murray, famous for his involvement with the McLaren F1, and will be powered by a Cosworth V8 that’s likely to be sourced from an existing design. TVR says the car will be priced similarly to how their cars were in the past.

Aside from his interest in TVR, Edgar has been involved in Aston Martin’s return to GT racing. It’s possible the reborn TVR could follow suit.

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Ford Drops 526 HP, 5.2L V8 Into Shelby GT350, GT350R Mustangs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ford-drops-526-hp-5-2l-v8-into-shelby-gt350-gt350r-mustangs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ford-drops-526-hp-5-2l-v8-into-shelby-gt350-gt350r-mustangs/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1083561 Future Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustang owners will have plenty of firepower for the strip and track, thanks to Ford’s new 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V8. The new flat-plane crankshaft engine generates 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, delivering 102 horses per liter of displacement. Redlining occurs at 8,250 rpm, making the V8 the highest-revving […]

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Shelby GT350 Mustang 5.2L V8 TTAC Style

Future Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustang owners will have plenty of firepower for the strip and track, thanks to Ford’s new 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V8.

The new flat-plane crankshaft engine generates 526 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, delivering 102 horses per liter of displacement. Redlining occurs at 8,250 rpm, making the V8 the highest-revving unit used by any of Ford’s lineup, while 90 percent of its peak torque occurs between 3,450 rpm and 7,000 rpm.

The power generated by the 5.2-liter will be funnelled to the back via a Tremec TR-3160 six-speed manual, the only transmission available aboard the Shelby GT350 and GT350R. The six-speed uses a die-cast aluminum case and clutch housing for increased stiffness, and the dual-mass flywheel and dual-clutch disc were both optimized to reduce inertia and weight.

The engine itself is based on an aluminum engine block whose cylinder walls use Ford’s patented plasma transferred wire arc cylinder-liner technology, replacing iron cylinder liners with an electroplate coating. Further weight savings include a gun-drilled flat-plane forged-steel crankshaft, and a high-capacity composite oil pan whose baffling can handle sustained high-speed cornering and hard braking situations.

Ford 5.2-liter V8 01 Ford 5.2-liter V8 02 Ford 5.2-liter V8 03 Ford 5.2-liter V8 04 Ford 5.2-liter V8 05 Ford 5.2-liter V8 06 Ford 5.2-liter V8 07 Ford 5.2-liter V8 08

[Photo credit: Ford]

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Jeep Grand Cherokee To Receive Hellcat Power As Trackhawk http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/jeep-grand-cherokee-to-receive-hellcat-power-as-trackhawk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/jeep-grand-cherokee-to-receive-hellcat-power-as-trackhawk/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 18:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077482 Looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee with more altitude than the Altitude? How does a Hellcat Cherokee sound? By the middle of next year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will hitting showrooms ready to do to Mid-Ohio and Pomona what the Trailhawk does to Moab, Car and Driver reports. Power for the high-performance SUV will […]

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2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude front

Looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee with more altitude than the Altitude? How does a Hellcat Cherokee sound?

By the middle of next year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will hitting showrooms ready to do to Mid-Ohio and Pomona what the Trailhawk does to Moab, Car and Driver reports. Power for the high-performance SUV will come from either a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter Hemi V8 found in the current Grand Cherokee SRT — good for 475 horses — or an optional supercharged Hellcat V8, whose 707 horses and 650 lb-ft of tire-destroying torque could likely take the Trackhawk from nil to 60 in under four seconds.

The Trackhawk could also do away with four-wheel drive, as engineers are facing difficulties blast-proofing the Grand Cherokee’s driveline against the raw power the Hellcat V8 delivers; electronically limiting torque in lower gears is also under consideration.

Price of admission is expected to begin at $65,000, with competition to include the Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes ML63 AMG, BMW X5 M, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

[Source: Kamil Kaluski/The Truth About Cars]

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Tokyo 2015: Toyota Three-Seater Concept Set For Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tokyo-2015-toyota-three-seater-concept-set-for-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tokyo-2015-toyota-three-seater-concept-set-for-debut/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 20:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076986 Coming to the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota is set to bring a three-seater open-wheel concept based on the Lotus Seven which could see production. Power for the concept is said to be from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid pushing 100 horsepower through a CVT to the back wheels, Motoring.com.au reports. Dimensions include a weight of […]

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Toyota i Road and Other Car in Grenoble

Coming to the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota is set to bring a three-seater open-wheel concept based on the Lotus Seven which could see production.

Power for the concept is said to be from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid pushing 100 horsepower through a CVT to the back wheels, Motoring.com.au reports. Dimensions include a weight of 1543 lbs — thanks to carbon fiber — an overall length of 146 inches, and an overall width of 68 inches.

The publication’s source on the matter says the vehicle’s competition would include the Mazda MX-5 and Honda S600/S1000 should the concept hit the assembly line, a scenario which could occur if the concept proves to be a hit among the press and public alike. Pricing would start at $30,000 AUD ($23,000 USD), with the showroom-ready version bowing at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show before global sales kick off in 2018.

[Source: Toyota]

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Italy Falling Out Of Love With Mopeds, Scooters Due To Changing Trends http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/italy-falling-out-of-love-with-mopeds-scooters-due-to-changing-trends/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/italy-falling-out-of-love-with-mopeds-scooters-due-to-changing-trends/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 19:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076282 Like France falling out of love with diesels, Italy is falling out of love with mopeds and scooters due to changing trends. Data published by the National Association of Motorcycle, Bicycle and Accessories — ANCMA — shows moped sales crashing 97 percent, falling from the peak of 600,000 in 1980, to 26,727 units in 2014, […]

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Vespa In Ravenna, Italy Circa August 2011

Like France falling out of love with diesels, Italy is falling out of love with mopeds and scooters due to changing trends.

Data published by the National Association of Motorcycle, Bicycle and Accessories — ANCMA — shows moped sales crashing 97 percent, falling from the peak of 600,000 in 1980, to 26,727 units in 2014, Al Jazeera English writes. Sales of 125cc scooters aren’t doing so well, either, slowly declining from 173,343 units sold in 1955, to 37,388 in 2014.

The causes for the decline? According to ANCMA’s motorcycle chief Claudio Deviti, “the younger generation is just not as interested in mopeds as it used to be,” with technology the key reason. Deviti says the smartphone has taken the place of the moped in fostering friendships among young consumers.

Another factor is Italy’s ongoing economic downturn, weakening spending power as maintenance costs for mopeds rise. In the moped’s heyday, all one needed was the money buy such a vehicle. Over 50 years later, the average cost with licensing, stamp duty, and insurance comes to $2,250, $1,350 without. Cosenza, Italy moped mechanic Attilio Brisci explains:

Today mopeds are simply too expensive for the great majority of Italian households. People have two choices: renounce the use of the moped, or simply go without insurance at the risk of getting caught. I would say the average of those who do these is 50–50, with percentages getting higher the more one goes farther south.

[Source: Luca Sartoni/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Wörthersee GTI Treffen: Where Volkswagens Rule http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/worthersee-gti-treffen-volkswagens-rule/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/worthersee-gti-treffen-volkswagens-rule/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:36:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073658   If you’re into Volkswagens – especially of the modified variety – Wörthersee is to you what Sturgis is for Harley riders or Carlisle to Mopar fans. Thousands and thousands of VW fans take over several small, quiet towns around a beautiful mountain lake and turn them into a festival of belly-scraping Volkswagens, Audis, Seats […]

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Old one and new

Old and new.

If you’re into Volkswagens – especially of the modified variety – Wörthersee is to you what Sturgis is for Harley riders or Carlisle to Mopar fans. Thousands and thousands of VW fans take over several small, quiet towns around a beautiful mountain lake and turn them into a festival of belly-scraping Volkswagens, Audis, Seats and Škodas.

And there’s beer. Lots and lots of beer.

It’s probably the same story with all big enthusiast gatherings. In the beginning, there was a bunch of dudes who shared a taste for a certain kind of car and wanted to get together occasionally. Years came and went. The small, underground gathering turned bigger and eventually massive. Somewhere along the way, business came into the picture, and the party turned into massive show.

Or, in some cases, a county fair on steroids, which is the case with Wörthersee.

Unlike, say, a biker meet or some hot rodder gathering, the GTI Treffen was never really a “counter culture” event. When about a hundred owners of Golf GTIs came to Reifnitz for the first time in 1982, the GTI was just a quicker version of a sensible family hatchback, and the oldest one was not even 8 years old by that time. Not exactly the German equivalent of a souped-up ’32 Ford.

That's how an original Golf II Rallye looks like

An original Golf II Rallye looks like this.

The event was even conceived with the idea of boosting local tourism from the very beginning. In the next three decades, the gathering grew and grew, gained corporate sponsorship from VW itself, and became world famous.

So, how does GTI Treffen look and feel now, after more than three decades since its birth?

I spent three days at the venue itself and in a nearby lakeside town to find out. Here’s the outcome.

The most important thing about Wörthersee is it’s not just one event. It’s two. The “official” one that Škoda wanted me to see – the one with massive stands for all the VW Group brands, plus several tuners and aftermarket brands – looks a bit like a typical motor show that’s been moved from a big hall to a tiny city. The concepts are unveiled, hot girls (sort of – as a Czech, I have high standards for that) are posing around shiny, gleaming cars, as are rally drivers, designers and sometimes even corporate bosses. I’ve even heard the reason for GTI Treffen’s relationship with Volkswagen Group is due to Ferdinand Piëch living nearby – and now that he’s resigned his chairmanship, the amount of money spent on the event will diminish.

The new Scirocco GTS

The new Scirocco GTS

The official, corporate money fueled event is not of major interest, though. The real reason to come here is not to look at some concept cars and factory tuner specials. I came to see what the real volks bring to Treffen.

From what I read, it’s best to come at least a few days – or even a week – before the main, four-day event. I couldn’t do that, but I tried spent as much time as possible walking around, taking pictures and inhaling the atmosphere. I wanted to find out what it was all about.

Getting a grasp of the car culture involved isn’t as easy for me as it may seem. While I’m European, and modifying Volkswagens is one of the prevalent automotive cultures of our continent, I was never into it and I didn’t grow up around people with cars like these. I know American car enthusiasts and their events. I hang around some people with JDM machines. I know people with vintage cars, Italian cars, old Benzes and Beemers. I’ve been active in the “old” Ford community in the past. I even know some guys with air-cooled VWs – but a slammed Golf? Covering an event full of those is about the same for me as if you sent a hipster from Seattle to write about a Nickelback concert.

Bunch of Russian guys, drinking beer

A bunch of Russian guys drinking beer – not vodka, unfortunately.

The basics are, of course, similar to any other automotive gathering. People who share a taste in cars come somewhere and then either park their cars, sit around and drink beer, or drive their cars around while others watch them, drinking beer, before they park their cars in the evening and go for a beer. One could even suggest that with most such events, the cars are nothing but a vehicle, while the beer is the purpose.

With Wörthersee being in Austria, which is in between Bavaria and Czech Republic, it’s quite clear that the beer will be of utmost importance. And it is. As is blaring pop music and scantily clad women. It’s important to note Wörthersee is on the very south edge of Austria near the Slovenian border and the climate here is closer to northern Italy than it is to Central Europe. The temperature hovered around 28 degrees C for most of the event.

Old school?

Old school?

Since I’m no Jack Baruth and I wouldn’t even know what to do with them, I left the girls alone and concentrated on the cars.

The access to the town’s center is restricted during the event, so only “cool” cars can come and cruise there. The others gather around Reifnitz or in other small towns on the lake. Looking at the long stream of “selected” cars in the town, I can’t help but think they look awfully similar to each other. That’s something that can be expected at such a gathering, and the comparison with American or JDM enthusiast events, which came up in my head, is probably a bit unfair. After all, Volkswagens aren’t the most diverse cars in the world and it’s hardly any surprise they look similar.

But there’s still one difference when compared to, say, a VW Beetle gathering. If you randomly choose five VW Beetles from such gathering, they’ll probably be totally different, even if they’re the same car. Odds are, one will be a totally stock, vintage example. The second may be some Cal-look beast, the third can be a tangerine-colored custom monster in the style of ’70s street rods, the third may be a “rat” and the last one in yet another, totally different style.

Yes, those are '50s style Moon caps on a Golf

Yes, those are ’50s style Moon caps on a Golf

Look at cars at GTI Treffen and you don’t see as much variety. Basically, the only thing you’ll see there is a lowered Golf on huge wheels. There will be a few stock Golfs, and a few VW cars that are not Golfs, but they’re usually Golf-based or similar enough to a Golf that it doesn’t matter. In a few rare cases, you get huge Golf-like cars with Audi badges, and in even rarer ones, you’ll see some air-cooled stuff and a handful of supercars. Other than that, it’s Golf, Golf, Golf, Seat, Golf, Golf, Passat, Škoda, Golf, Golf… you get the idea. Even the non-Golf cars are Golfs in one way or another.

What is really interesting, though, is that even though everyone uses basically the same canvas, they use it to paint very different pictures. I guess if you started with anything other than a stanced FWD Volkswagen on large wheels, you would be shot in Wörthersee, or at least not allowed to have any beer, which is similar. At the same time, everyone wants to stand out and be different, so people get creative.

Alex Roy would approve?

Would Alex Roy approve?

The result is a strange but very vibrant car culture, taking many styles of modified cars around the world and melting them into one.

You can’t change the basics. You’ll always have a low hatchback, wagon or maybe sedan – coupe or convertible, in very rare cases – with a front-mounted engine driving the front wheels. Similar lines. Low suspension. Big wheels. And, since the culture is based on Golf GTI and inspired by racing and rally cars, you need to make you car at least look fast.

At the same time, actually going fast has pretty much gone out of fashion for these guys. Many of the cars here may look fast, but only in the same way a Hot Wheels does: oversized wheels, air suspensions, no-profile tires and so on. To make the most of the areas where there’s some space for creativity, owners spend lots of time, money and effort on paint, stickers and various add-ons to make their cars unique. On the surface, these cars are much closer to lowriders than typical American hot rods or JDM tuner cars.

Need to stand out? Try a blackboard hood and a giraffe

Need to stand out? Try a blackboard hood and a giraffe

And one of the ways to be unique is to give your car a theme. Sometimes, it ends up with something like “LeMons race car meets artisan lowrider”. You see Golfs in camo paint and with military insignias as stickers. You see Golf or Passats with U.S. patrol car black-and-white paint. You see old stuff on the roof racks of MkI Golfs and you see cars made to look like rat rods. In fact, it’s surprisingly popular to use hot rod and rat rod style details, like chrome Moon caps, or insignia and stickers, like Maltese crosses.

In the end, it’s like you took all the world’s car cultures and applied them solely to Golfs. It’s a bit strange for the outsider, but it’s definitely interesting to watch.

The stuffed moose is probably drunk on Jäger A pristine, nearly stock Audi Quattro Old Golf Rally with just a few tasteful mods Two ways to do a Golf II When even a supercar isn't low enough Rat rod. Made of Golf II. Want a nice Golf? Call! Totally pristine, original condition Golf I Yes, those are '50s style Moon caps on a Golf Old one and new Need to stand out? Try a blackboard hood and a giraffe Chicks like Golfs, too A statue of a Golf II, made about two decades ago. Family fun in a Golf I Cabriolet The new GTI on the main street That's how an original Golf II Rallye looks like Bora in camo Bunch of Russian guys, drinking beer Stickers Old school?? "quattro" stickers. How 80s. Gulf Racing VW Caddy. Those colors! Alex Roy would approve? A classic on a fancy wheels Wheels are everything That's not broken, that's stance! Matte Seat Changing the wheels Some famous rally driver Rally car and its Wagon cousin Girls at Seat Girls with Seats Rieger tunes many VAG cars Aircooled ones come, too. Everything looks good in Martini colors Some modern metal This rat rod was everywhere A really nice Polo Some really rich hippies An old school Beetle with Porsche wheels Even Up! can be stanced You can also buy stuff It's hot, so people seek water A LONG line of cars Scirocco lying on its belly Yet another US Police car What's this?? BS would approve Octavia sells wheels Lots of taillights US trucks are popular here as showcars Flat black Beetle The new Scirocco GTS A Golf based supercar Really fast Golf once more Das Auto

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