Category: Look What I Found!

By on May 20, 2016

Mini Clubman Hitch Pixelated, Image Source: Mini

Mini, the British brand built atop the idea of British fashionability, has been incredibly style conscious ever since BMW brought it back from the depths of English oppression. Its iconic Cooper still wears a silhouette that harkens back to the original, but offers modern safety equipment and enough room for life-sized humans. You can order the Union Jack placed on virtually any body panel. And those center-mounted speedometers — as much as they put Flava Flav on notice — were a charming touch, if completely useless.

Yet, posh Britons are a fairly easy bunch to embarrass. For example, flatulence is met with mortified exclamations of “My word!” before said flatulator escapes to another room to make tea.

So, with that in mind, how the hell did the Clubman’s tow hitch make it past the censors?

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By on March 31, 2016

Ralph Nader and Flaming Pinto Shirt, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The Chevrolet Corvair and Ford Pinto have long been derided as death traps — one for its tendency to crash into stuff backwards, and the other for roasting its occupants alive. They also share something else in common: you can see both at Ralph Nader’s museum (though, in the Pinto’s case, it will be in the form of a t-shirt).

Ralph Nader, who’s famously known as the guy who mercilessly destroyed the reputation of an innocent air-cooled Chevrolet or a hero who made big corporations think about their customers’ lives at least a little bit, is apparently a man with a sense of humor.

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By on March 6, 2016

Second-generation Nissan NV200 Passenger Spy Shot, Image: © 2016 The Truth About Cars

It’s Spy Shot Weekend at TTAC. In addition to the Chinese metal driving around Ann Arbor we published yesterday, here are images of what could be a next-generation Nissan NV200 Compact Passenger van plying the highways of California by way of eagle-eyed TTAC reader Felix.

The current NV200 van is only available in cargo van or Taxi of Tomorrow guises. The latter landed the City of New York in a lengthy legal battle.

The van in the photos has all the hallmarks of being a Nissan prototype, including similar camo to that used on other Nissan models, explained spy photographer Brian Williams in an email.

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By on March 5, 2016

Red flag Michigan

TTAC reader Morpheus (who has an awesome name by any standard) sent in this shot of a Chinese limo driving around Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Hongqi H7 isn’t built by some neo-capitalist Chinese outfit, either, as the brand has been in existence since 1958. It’s also properly presidential. Hongqi (which translates to Red Flag) has built limousines for The Party’s higher-up ranks in the past.

But why is it parading around Ann Arbor?

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By on March 1, 2016

eliostock2

(Caveat: I know nothing at all about stocks, bonds or other financial instruments.)

After automotive startup Elio Motors raised approximately $17 million dollars in a Reg-A+ stock offering the company crowdsourced from small investors via StartEngine, it said its shares would be listed on the OTCQX exchange to provide those investors with liquidity.

It’s probably too early to call Elio another Tesla (whose own market capitalization probably exceeds its actual value), and I don’t know how many of those investors are going to sell their stock so soon. But, if they did, they would have more than doubled their money in less than two weeks as of Monday’s close. Read More >

By on February 7, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 12.14.52 PM

No, the State of Colorado isn’t blowing up grandmas for doing 10 mph under the limit in the left lane. But the state’s Department of Transportation is keeping people safe by clearing avalanches with World War II artillery.

Armed with a 105 mm howitzer — possibly an M101A1, though please feel free to correct us — the Colorado DOT clears avalanche prone areas by shooting shells up to 7 miles away into the mountain tops. Those shells have a secondary charge that explodes on impact to trigger a controlled avalanche.

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By on January 9, 2016

GrandNational 011

If you were looking for at least one wild-ass auto show rumor to see you through the weekend, look no further: Bloomberg (via AutoGuide) is reporting that Buick may show “a sporty coupe concept” this weekend prior to the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

The sports car, reported to be “about the size of the Chevrolet Camaro,” is expected to debut Sunday night. AutoGuide is now speculating that model will be called — drum roll, please — Grand National!

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By on January 5, 2016

Faraday Future (FF) FFZERO1

Faraday Future revealed its FFZERO1 Concept in Las Vegas on Monday night. It is a striking artifact that continues to keep the company’s product plans mysterious. This “car of concepts,” as Head of Design Richard Kim called it, is an extreme expression containing select elements that foreshadow the company’s production vehicles.

We now know that Faraday Future (they like to be called FF) can design a theoretical 200+ mph, 1,000 horsepower, single-seat hypercar. Even in a world full of extreme cars, this one looks futuristic. But this is not an attempt to compete with Bugatti, Koenigsegg, or Ascari. It’s an extreme test-bed, right down to the drag reducing, heat-dissipating pair of see-through “aero-tunnels” channeling air directly through the vehicle.

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By on December 30, 2015

Winterkorn, sending the wrong signals. Picture courtesy focus.de

Where do you end up if you’re the former CEO of a company guilty of cheating diesel emissions tests, the fallout of which wipes out billions of dollars of value from said company? Business Insider’s “The 15 biggest career crashes of 2015” list, of course.

That, and Nissan prices the new Sentra, oil is still on a well-lubricated downhill slide, Jeep is now online in India, and more … after the break!

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By on December 7, 2015

Jeep Czech Republic Moose Test Photo

Oops! Have you tried maneuvers like this? #Jeep

One great thing about PR and marketing is that you can often turn a massive fail into a great win — like when a Slovak PR agency for Mercedes-Benz posted a picture of the new CLA Shooting Brake next to a pool.

A random commenter said he’d like them to take the Merc for a swim. Mercedes’ PR agency replied, “If your post gets more than 1,000 likes, you can choose whether we reverse or powerslide the car into the pool.”

Naturally, the post got nearly 2,000 likes within hours. Mercedes responded with a nicely done video of CLA Shooting Brake getting drowned by a Black Stig, promising they would hire their social media manager back if more than 1,000 people shared the video. In the end, Mercedes drew a great deal attention to their new rakish wagon and lost nothing.

Unfortunately for Jeep Czech Republic, sometimes a fail is just a fail — like a few days ago when the official Czech importer of Jeep posted the photo you see above of a Grand Cherokee getting up on two wheels.

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