Category: Enthusiasm

By on December 17, 2015

Cuban Yank tank

If recent reports that you may soon be able to hop a flight from Miami to Havana, Cuba have you scrambling for your passport to spy Che’s Chevrolet and Fidel’s Oldsmobile, tranquilo.

According to Reuters, although commercial airlines in the U.S. may resume service to Cuba after a 54-year blackout, travelers to the island country still need to fall within 12 different criteria to enter the country, and “car watching” isn’t specifically one of them.

Journalists, humanitarians, doctors and people named Tom Morello still get to go.

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By on December 12, 2015

Volkswagen Microbus CES teaser

Multiple outlets are reporting that the vehicle seen in this teaser photo from Volkswagen is none other than an electrified version of the Microbus concept and it will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. The photo follows an earlier report by Autocar (which has since been updated with the same photo and new text) that said Volkswagen would bring a new Microbus to the Las Vegas convention.

We won’t disagree. We also won’t hold our breath for a production model.

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By on December 12, 2015

montero

According to a report last week from Japan’s Nikkei, the Mitsubishi Montero — known as the Pajero in other global markets — is totally, completely, and utterly dead. Mitsubishi will instead focus on crossovers and electrification going forward.

Mitsubishi had teased “The Return of a Legend” earlier this year before the Chicago Auto Show, which many in the automotive press — including TTAC — thought might be a replacement for the flagship SUV. The automaker showed instead its Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV.

According to the Nikkei report, Mitsubishi has all but stopped development on a new Montero/Pajero. The large SUV was last redesigned for the 2006 model year, but that generation didn’t make it to the United States.

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By on December 7, 2015

In my life, I’ve officiated exactly two LeMons races thanks to the good graces of Murilee Martin. At those races, I’ve watched tech inspectors go over seats, belts and harnesses with more scrutiny than border guards in Israel. To be sure, it’s astounding to me how much safety needs to be welded, worked and crammed into a “junker” from the outside — most people never see that. But even I wondered sometimes why tech was so hard to pass.

There are myriad things that can go wrong on a racetrack. However, there are only a few things that can save lives when those things go wrong. For those lifesaving devices, there’s no substitute or corner-cutting, and there are reasons why good teams spend more on a cage and brakes than they ever spend on an engine.

Case in point: Coming up on a blind crest and running face-first into the rear of a stalled car and everyone is OK after.

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By on December 1, 2015

911 Turbo S und 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Proving that all turbo Porsches aren’t created equal, Porsche announced Tuesday its eye-wateringly expensive 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S hardtop and droptop versions that make up to 580 horsepower and dropkick the car from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds.

In the trunk is Porsche’s 3.8-liter flat-six married to twin turbochargers that spin up 540 horsepower in the Turbo and 580 hp in the Turbo S (20 more than the outgoing models). The Turbo produces 523 pound-feet of twist (553 pound-feet on overboost in the Turbo S) on the way up to its 7,000 rpm redline (7,200 in the Turbo S). Porsche didn’t directly specify its gearbox, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the new 911 Turbo will only come with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic because of course it will.

Both cars for the first time feature a quasi-antilag turbo system that reduces delay from the turbos by interrupting the fuel injection during changes in throttle position, according to the automaker.

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By on November 29, 2015

Classic Porsche Center

Porsche announced Friday that it opened its first classic Porsche center in the Netherlands, the first among nearly 100 centers that will sell, service and make money on maintain old sports cars.

The network will eventually include a center (or centers) within North America, according to the automaker.

Porsche says that nearly 70 percent of all the cars that it has made are still on the road, and that its centers would be staffed with specially trained technicians that can identify and work on any problem. (Plus, Singer can’t make all the money on old Porsches.)

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By on November 26, 2015

2015-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-016-sm

Editor’s note: Outside of our exclusive scoop of Volkswagen’s Goodwill Package, news that a Corvette Z06’s engine failed at the hands of a Fox News journalist was our top daily news piece of the last 12 months. It originally ran July 18th, 2015. The cause of the failure is explained here, though whether that is the true reason of the failure is open to discussion.

While track testing the latest Z06 Corvette, Gary Gastelu of Fox News experienced an issue that’s becoming a trend for Chevrolet’s supercharged sports car: engine failure.

“After a few lapping sessions, the engine in mine unceremoniously called it quits,” reports Gastelu in his review.

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By on November 24, 2015

press01-model-x-driving

After Tesla is done delivering Founders and Signature editions of its Model X SUV, the company will offer a 70D model later next year with a 220 mile range for $80,000 plus $1,200 for shipping. A 90D, with a range of 257 miles and quicker sprint up to 60 mph, will be offered as well, but the company hasn’t disclosed how much that will cost.

Automotive News reported that the automaker updated its online configurator for potential customers to configure their base cars. A 70D Model X with every option checked tops out around $100,000.

The public Model X page only lists the 90D as deliverable next year, which Automotive News speculated could mean that the company may make the 70D available later in the year or 2017.

Tesla may need to sell 500,000 cars by 2020 to meet projected goals by shareholders.

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By on November 21, 2015

3349519_1

If you were to buy a 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV near North Caldwell, New Jersey, you’d expect to shell out nearly $10,000 for an exceptionally clean ride from a dealer, according to Edmunds. Yet, this particular example of GM’s brashly designed full-size SUV sold for nearly 12 times that amount: $119,780.

Why?

Well, this one was driven by a garbage man.

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By on November 18, 2015

IMG_5052

Finally, a Fiat in North America that isn’t a 500.

The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is what happens when you give a spectacular chassis to the Italians and let them fit it with a torque-happy turbocharged engine.

The new roadster, which is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, was revealed today at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. It will be powered by what we all suspected — a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 160 horsepower and 184 lbs-ft of torque. A pair of six-speed transmissions, one manual and the other automatic, will send that turbo power to the rear wheels.

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