The Truth About Cars » Tuners The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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 (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 » Tuners Los Angeles 2013: Hyundai’s Veloster Turbo R-Spec “Reverses” Halo For Automaker Thu, 21 Nov 2013 05:13:11 +0000 Hyunda Veloster Turbo R Spec 01

Bowing at the LA Auto Show is the Veloster Turbo R-Spec, aimed at pulling in tuner-oriented shoppers through a halo inversion designed to, someday, have them drive away in a Genesis sedan.

The R-Spec is driven by a 1.6-liter turbo-4 pumping out 201 horses and 195 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels, and weighs just 2,800 lbs thanks to a severe dieting regimen that actually removed luxury amemities from the base Veloster Turbo. Not only does this diet keep the price down, but it also allows the R-Spec to do 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

In return, the R-Spec was given a B&M short shifter, higher spring rates all around, torque vectoring control to keep the turbo hamster from going off the road in a hard corner, and a healthy dose of red, from the front splitter to the leatherette seats.

The price of admission? Just $22,110, making the R-Spec the most affordable turbo Veloster around.

Hyunda Veloster Turbo R Spec 01 Hyunda Veloster Turbo R Spec 02 Hyunda Veloster Turbo R Spec 03 Hyunda Veloster Turbo R Spec 04 ]]> 20
What’s Wrong With This Picture: GM Hearts Cycling After All Edition Tue, 01 Nov 2011 17:40:33 +0000 Having royally pissed off all of cyclist-dom with a tone-deaf, multi-brand ad in college newspapers, GM just so happens to have a concept car for the SEMA tuner show featuring a mountain bike. Not that the two are in any way related though, as NASCAR racer Ricky Carmichael is the creative force behind the concept. The 15-time American Motorcycle Association champion explains in a Chevy press release

The car looks so cool, colorful and fun to drive. I live my life on the go and this Sonic really represents that active lifestyle and my desire to have fun when I’m off the race track.

See? Cycling is cool… as a hobby. On the other hand, maybe the bike just a way to escape the photoshopped beach when this slammed Sonic inevitably gets stuck in the sand. Or perhaps it’s there as a reminder that even if you want to drive a Sonic you may be stuck on a bike, as Automotive News [sub] reports that GM has to idle production of the subcompact for two weeks over a parts shortage. Either way, it’s an improvement on shaming cyclists into buying cars.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Sonic meets cycle... Chevrolet Sonic All-Activity-Style Concept Chevrolet Sonic All Activity Vehicle Chevrolet Sonic All Activity Vehicle Chevrolet Sonic All Activity Vehicle


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Nissan Leaf Owners Take The Lead In Improving Efficiency Sat, 15 Oct 2011 19:10:18 +0000

One of most common complaints that traditional “car guys” have about the modern auto industry is that cars have become so complex and computerized that repairs and modifications have become too complex for their mechanical skillset. But, on the other end of the car guy spectrum, EV enthusiasts are taking over the mantle of the homebrew automotive modifications. The New York Times reports that Nissan Leaf owners are taking the lead to fix issues with the first mass-market electric car, creating more reliable state-of-charge indicators and rapid-chargers, tipping the balance of power from the manufacturer back to the savvy, hands-on consumer.  And as EV enthusiasts build communities, share their experiments and improve vehicles like the Leaf, automakers like Nissan are listening.

Despite the antipathy between old-school auto enthusiasts and their new-wave EV counterparts, these two groups have more in common than you might realize… which can only be good news for the larger automotive culture.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: An Archetype’s Progress Edition Wed, 28 Sep 2011 15:39:05 +0000

I’m no fan of tuned cars, particularly the garish, over-the-top bodykit jobs that seem to curse the high end of the European sportscar market. And yet, when I saw these pictures of the new Porsche 991, as tuned by the Russian house TopCar, something strange occurred to me: this was the first picture of the new 991 that I could instantly recognize as the new model. And then I read, over at Pistonheads, that the 991 will be sold with only minor design changes through 2025, a 14-year lifespan for a model that’s barely distinguishable from its predecessor. And all of a sudden, this garish Russian tune-job started looking a lot better. It may not be subtly tasteful, but there’s an undeniable hunger to its flared-and-scooped styling. It’s trying to be something different, while Porsche’s design evolution has ground to halt. We hear that Ford, which has enjoyed great success working a retro groove with the last couple of Mustangs, is “moving on” to craft an entirely new, non-retro Mustang for the next generation. It seems that we’re going to have to wait about 14 more years for Porsche to similarly realize the benefits of making its flagship a “living document.” In the meantime, if you want a 991 that looks like it has moved with the times, you may just have to look at the aftermarket…

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Porsche 991, tuned by TopCar. 991bytopcar2 991bytopcar1



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What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Most Interesting Tuned Cayenne In World Edition Sat, 10 Sep 2011 14:43:28 +0000 What does it take for a tuned Porsche Cayenne to be featured at TTAC? It must be nothing less than the most interesting tuned Cayenne in the world. And your eyes don’t deceive you… that’s exactly what you’re looking at. The Eterniti Hemera may or may not have advantages relative to the competition from Mansory, Ruf, Gemballa et al, but its story beats all of them (with the possible exception of Gemballa, er, hollow. Eterniti burst onto the scene when a Twitter squatter managed to spread all kinds of speculation about the company, including that it would use licensed RedBull F1 technology, adding to rampant speculation that the company was somehow associated with Nissan’s Infiniti brand. Of course Bertel Schmitt tracked down the truth, and even though Porsche no longer associates itself with its former dealer and Eterniti founder Kenny Chen, Bertel could have told you nearly a month ago that the Hemera would be a tuned Cayenne. So, though this glorified bodykit of a car may seem like something of a letdown, its strange social-media-parable storyline makes it… the most interesting tuned Cayenne in the world.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Pan-hemera? hemera1 hemera


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What’s Wrong With This Picture: I’m Looking For Something That Says “Dad Likes Leather” Edition Thu, 18 Aug 2011 15:08:20 +0000

What’s next for the whale penis leather upholsterers at Russia’s gauchest tuning house, Dartz? How about a wrapping a Ferrari F430 in leather-grain vinyl? Sophisticated! [via GTspirit]
f430leather Are you a "leather daddy"? f430leather2 f430leather3 f430leather4 f430leather5 f430leather6 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Quote Of The Day: The Ultimate Data Machine Edition Tue, 09 Aug 2011 23:47:17 +0000

The source of today’s Quote Of The Day, a BMW M Division engineer, is clearly not a native English speaker, but he reveals just where performance cars like the new M5 are going when he says:

More and more demand is from our test engineers from the referring(?) departments and they come over and 80%, 90% are only working on the electronic systems. The other 10, 20 percent are working at the car, under the car….

Of course, the M engineers aren’t developing a car from the ground up here, but it’s still amazing that the workload is so unevenly weighted towards electronic rather than, for lack of a better term, “greasy hands” work.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: MINI’s Untouched Niche Edition Mon, 27 Jun 2011 14:50:16 +0000

Since cementing its premium-retro-cutesy positioning in the marketplace, MINI’s been leveraging its two platforms into a niche-munching binge. Soon the MINI lineup will range from cozy Coupe to two-door “Sport Activity Vehicle,” and will include two convertibles, multiple versions of the two-door hatche, two-and-a-half-door hatch, and four door SUV. So what’s missing? A Moke? A Delivery van? What about a re-interpretation of the old Mini Pick Up? You and I may feel like the MINI brand  already has plenty of niche offerings, thanks, but here is indisputable proof (found in a supermarket parking lot) that the market thinks MINI hasn’t chased enough niches. Carry on then, lads…

IMG_0339 IMG_0342 IMG_0341 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_0337 IMG_0338 Oh MINI, how did you leave this niche unfilled? ]]> 16
What’s Wrong With This Picture: Brand Management Edition Wed, 13 Apr 2011 14:26:37 +0000

Typically, when a focused, well-branded company like BMW buys storied brands and then tries to combine them, the results are less than ideal for all involved. Thus far, BMW had actually been doing a fantastic job with its MINI and Rolls-Royce franchises, expanding into new niches while revitalizing potent brands with high-quality products. But putting the two together? It’s not clear how many buyers will line up for this Rolls-fettled MINI Goodwood (price estimated as high as £50,000), but at least the thing has good historical precedent in the Peter Sellers Mini-Rolls. And compared to some of the modern attempts to create premium city cars (hello Aston Cygnet), that makes this über-priced MINI-mashup something more than a mere cynical play for profits and C02 emission average reductions. In fact, it’s something of a tribute to BMW’s stewardship of two brands that could well have been botched over the past decade or so. Hit the jump for details on the Mini Goodwood’s posh appointments.

According to Autocar, the 1,000 units of limited edition Rolls-prepped MINIs will feature

a bespoke cabin whose spec was overseen by Rolls-Royce interior designer Alan Sheppard. It features elements synonymous with the Sussex-based luxury brand, including walnut burr veneers on the instrument panel and door pulls, Corn Silk beige leather on the fascia, centre console, seats, door sides and pillar trim, and deep lambswool fleece carpets.

Even the roof lining, sun visors and boot compartment cover are coated in a Rolls-Royce-spec cashmere blend. Rolls’ own typeface features on the speedometer and revcounter, and there’s a piano black finish on the steering wheel-mounted controls and centre console switches.

The car’s exterior mixes Cooper S parts — specifically, the front and rear bumpers — with the non-vented bonnet of the Cooper D. The standard colour will be metallic Diamond Black, which was developed, again, by Rolls-Royce Design — but Mini’s own Reef Blue metallic will be offered as an option.

Underneath there’s a standard Cooper S turbo petrol powertrain, producing 181bhp and 177lb ft (192lb ft on overboost). That’s enough for the Goodwood edition to hit 62mph in 7.0sec. The transmission is a six-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic will be a cost option.

Standard kit in the Mini Roller will include xenon headlights, Harman Kardon speakers, automatic climate control and parking sensors.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail minigoodwood4 minigoodwood2 minigoodwood13 minigoodwood1 minigoodwood14 minigoodwood10 Is this a MINI... or a Rolls-Royce? minigoodwood11 minigoodwood12 minigoodwood5 minigoodwood6 minigoodwood minigoodwood7 minigoodwood3 minigoodwood8 ]]> 38
What’s Wrong With This Picture: If You Love Something, Let It Go Edition Tue, 15 Mar 2011 16:10:11 +0000

“Fine. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain”

-Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

What is it about human nature that forces us to destroy the things we love the most? Jaguar’s E-Type died long ago, shuffling off this imperfect mortal coil to take its place in automotive Valhalla. And, if we really loved the XKE, that’s where we’d let it stay, swathed in the immortality of the glorious yet out-of-reach past. Instead the E-Type is being destroyed in the name of love… and on the 50th anniversary of its birth, no less. For between €500k and €1m (depending on the number of takers) Switzerland’s Robert Palm will modify a new Jaguar XKR into this hollow mockery of the E-Type’s epic proportions and classic design cues. Called the Growler E 2011, this 600 HP beast is neither a high-quality, faithful resto-mod like the Eagle E-Type, nor a truly modern interpretation of the classic. Instead, what we have here is a wire-wheeled lesson in learning to let go.

growler1 growler3 growler5 Respect yourself... Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 35
What’s Wrong With This Picture: Put That Top Back On Edition Sun, 06 Mar 2011 16:31:42 +0000

I just returned from the press launch of a certain, shall we say unexpected convertible. The kind of vehicle that makes you stop and wonder what’s being put in the water at a certain product planning department. Look for a review tomorrow, but in the meantime, as a kind of innoculation, consider this Subaru STI drop-top modified for Manchester Subaru. It’s one thing to chop the top off a car that doesn’t lend itself to convertible versions, but it’s quite another to add picnic basket-handle roll bars and then top it all off with a huge rear spoiler. It’s no Transvertible,  but death is still too good for this little monster. Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-2 Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-6 Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-7 Subaru-STI-Cabriolet-3 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Taste Invaders Edition Thu, 17 Feb 2011 21:25:35 +0000

In his recent review of the Lexus LX570, Michale Karesh noted that he

struggled to make this 5,995-pound, technology-packed, luxurious SUV make sense.

Apparently he’s not the only one. From the looks of things, the Japanese tuning house Invader Technologies is having a hard time making the LX570 make sense… at least to anyone who’s not a drug-addled, mobbed-up Russian gangster. I suppose that, by post-Mansory tuning standards anyway, the Invader L60  isn’t exactly breaking new ground… still, I’m amazed by how freshly insulted my optical nerves feel.

invader4 invader3 invader2 invader6 invader5 Oh yeah... drink it in! Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail invader invader3 invader invader2 invader6 invader5 Oh yeah... drink it in! Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail invader4 ]]> 19
Cadillac Knows What The Kids Want Wed, 02 Feb 2011 22:53:31 +0000

Yeah, yeah, we know… wood and beige leather are out, edgy and blacked-out are in. But did anyone expect that these hot, youthful trends would give rise to a murdered-out factory special Cadillac CTS-V Coupe? Now, more than ever, this thing is “Darth Vader meets Don Draper.”

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: That’s Not A Gullwing, This Is A Gullwing Edition Wed, 05 Jan 2011 19:52:51 +0000

The tuning house Gull Wing America have a huge thing for vintage Mercedes models, resulting in such bizarre creations as a re-interpreted W-121 and a retro-fied SLS. But for its latest project, GWA has taken on the most ambitious gullwing Mercedes ever, the “forgotten gullwing” known as the C111. Based on a tubular steel chassis, and sporting a 400 HP Mercedes V12, the “Ciento Once” is more of a re-interpretation than a strict replica. Still, it’s heartening to see such an influential yet forgotten car re-appear on the automotive scene, if only as a one-off prototype.Perhaps it will even inspire the the boys in Stuttgart to come up with their own “take two” on the great gullwing C111.

Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-6a34c47d-442652 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-d4c8a6c8-442653 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-f3d01461-442649 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-86513074-442655 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-756a3d5e-442654 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-70f679af-442643 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-b8679b2e-442644 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-Cockpit-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-4b7a1e42-442646 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-56622b61-442645 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-f4f42663-442647 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-416b2de4-442651 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-Cockpit-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-9557275c-442648 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-355f2444-442642 Gullwing-America-Ciento-Once-Mercedes-C111-f498x333-F4F4F2-C-f887b0cf-442641 ]]> 17
What’s Wrong With This Picture: Leaf It To The Tuners Edition Mon, 27 Dec 2010 18:29:28 +0000

While Brabus digs deep for ideas to keep its tuning business relevant in the EV era, Nissan has a less sophisticated approach to electric car tuning: the bodykit. According to Nissan, the Nissan Leaf Aero Style Concept includes new wheels, skirts, mirrors, front bumper and LED daytime driving lights. Because, in the words of the firm’s press release:

Equipped with an aero body kit that accentuates Nissan LEAF’s distinctive silhouette and character lines, this concept car expresses an image of futuristic sport EV driving.

Emphasis on “image.” The rest of the EV tuning equation is still largely a mystery.

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The Mercedes Hot Hatch: Fantasy Meets Reality Sat, 18 Dec 2010 16:05:40 +0000

This is the B55, a silly one-off project by workers at Mercedes’ Rastatt plant that involved shoving an old “55″ AMG engine into a new B-Class, running a driveshaft through the “sandwich floor” and hooking it up to an old E-Class wagon rear axle. The result: 383 HP, a 0-60 time in the 5 second range, and what Autocar terms “surprisingly mature dynamic properties.” Possibly even more surprisingly, the whole project was done without a lick of help from the nutters at AMG, and required no frame modifications. Best of all is how  comfortingly old-school the project is: the days of turning an FWD compact car into a V8 RWD beast are rapidly drawing to a close. Need proof? For the next-generation of A/B-Class, AMG is going in a very different direction, creating an “A25 AMG” which will use a two liter turbocharged four-banger, putting around 300 HP through a dual-clutch transmission and Haldex AWD. This “STI by AMG” will doubtless be infinitely more practical, efficient and useable than the B55′s old-school V8/RWD setup… but more than a few gearheads will be sad to see these kinds of unhinged anachronisms ride off into the sunset.

b551 That thing got enough power? (courtesy:Autocar) b552 ]]> 6
What’s Wrong With This Picture: Raptor Hunting Edition Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:38:45 +0000

Where did GMC get the idea to take a short-bed pickup, widen the track, fit some Fox shocks and generally beef it up to create a factory off-road “halo” truck? Oh right, from Ford. If you’re not convinced that Detroit still has at least one foot firmly stuck in the past, this halo niche-chasing behemoth should help clear up some of that doubt.

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Brabus Breaks New Ground In EV “Tuning” Wed, 08 Dec 2010 00:33:18 +0000

With electric cars becoming the new big thing among car lovers with more money than sense, it’s clear that the world’s many tuning houses will try to get in on the action sooner or later… but how? Brabus has offered tuning packages for the Tesla Roadster since shortly after the EV sportscar launched, but the treatment has always been basically skin-deep: wheels, spoilers, lighting, and best of all,

several simulated engine sounds including that of a typical V8 combustion engine, a racecar engine and two futuristic soundscapes named ‘Beam’ and ‘Warp.’

Which is all well and good, but it highlights a real problem: tuners simply can’t improve the performance of EVs without replacing the batteries or reprograming the entire car. For a company like Brabus that’s used to turning crazy-fast Benzes into super-crazy-fast ‘bahn burners, this has to be a frustrating state of affairs. So what’s a tuner to do? Instead of dialing up the power, the future of EV tuning may just be in making these already-green cars even greener.

In pursuit of this new marketing strategy, Brabus has partnered with the German utility company RWE for its TESLA Roadster Sport BRABUS Green Package, an upgrade that’s available only in the German market. We’ll let the presser explain:

The exclusive BRABUS customization program for the first electric production sports car includes the RWE-BRABUS high-tech quick charging station for the customer’s garage and environmentally friendly RWE Eco Electricity for 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles). Also included is a one-year RWE car electricity pass for free use of all public RWE charging stations… The purchase price includes the professional installation of the stylish high-tech charger in the customer’s garage. The quick charger is three times faster than charging the two-seater at a normal household power outlet and environmentally friendly RWE Eco Electricity for the first 30,000 kilometer (18,641 miles) is free. In less than six hours the open-top eco sports car is fully charged for an operating range of some 350 km (220 miles). Eco-friendly power is available away from home as well. The Green Package also includes a one-year pass for free use of all public RWE charging stations.

The only problem with this strategy is that it can only be locally implemented. Still, as EVs grow in popularity, one can imagine more tuning houses partnering with local utilities to offer renewable-based home charging as well as local public charging station access to go with aftermarket wheels, spoilers and yes, simulated engine noises. Welcome to the brave new world of EV “tuning.”

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Ask The Best And Brightest: Infiniti AMG? Mon, 06 Dec 2010 19:44:52 +0000

Infiniti recently got into the in-house tuning game, by rolling out the Infiniti Performance Line as an answer to Lexus’s F line, Audi’s S line, BMW’s M line and Mercedes’ AMG-tuned hot rods. Nissan’s luxury brand may have been a bit late to the profit-puffing game of performance sub-branding, but better late than never, right? Maybe not. Now that Renault/Nissan and Daimler have hooked up to share engines and architectures, it seems that the alliance is considering making AMG power available to Nissan’s luxury brand. Citing “sources in Japan,” Autocar reports that

Infiniti’s hot models could carry ‘Powered by AMG’ badges as part of Nissan’s recent tie-up with the Daimler group…

One powerplant on the shortlist is Mercedes’ forthcoming turbocharged 3.5-litre V6. It would replace Nissan’s venerable 3.7-litre unit in Infiniti’s G range and could be tweaked to produce up to 400bhp.

Sources say the IPL version of the M, Infiniti’s 5-series rival, could end up using AMG’s 6.2-litre V8 — and be priced north of £60,000. That would allow the M IPL to undercut the E63 AMG but rival Jaguar’s XFR on price.

But will the exclusivity of Affalterbach-tuned Mercedes models be hurt by sharing engines with Infinitis? Would the damage be the same if Infinitis got the engines but not the badges? After all, the VQ V6 is hardly exclusive to the G Series, and a switch to a Mercedes engine could impact on everything from the Nissan Z to the Infiniti FX35… unless the Infiniti is willing to alter the IPL-spec G37 to be the only Mercedes-powered G. In short, the challenges of what Infinitis to offer with AMG engines are nearly as great as the challenges Mercedes will have to face by losing the exclusivity of its AMG engines. After all, it’s one thing to sell AMG engines to a supercar firm like Pagani, but an upstart Japanese luxury brand doesn’t offer the same brand-halo benefits. Should Daimler let this happen, or should the AMG badge and engines stay exclusive to tuned Mercedes models?

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Quote Of The Day: Shelby Cobra And The Pursuit Of Distinctiveness Edition Fri, 05 Nov 2010 17:19:50 +0000

It is one thing to recognize the legendary status of Mr. Shelby and the original Cobras, including the 427 S/C, and quite another to assert that purchasers and potential
purchasers view Cobra continuations or replicas, sold primarily as kits, which employ the Cobra 427 S/C Design as coming from a single source.  The fact that Cobra replicas, sold primarily as kits, which employ the 427 S/C Design, have been sold by numerous third parties for more than three decades, including between 2002 and 2009, precludes us from drawing that conclusion.  Accordingly, we find applicant’s evidence based on media coverage of Mr. Shelby and all of the Cobras not probative of the issue of acquired distinctiveness.

That’s right, the Shelby Cobra has been officially copied to death, according to a recent ruling by the US Patent Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board [in PDF here]. The board’s finding was complex, as proving “distinctiveness” takes a lot of doing, but the upshot is that so many Cobra replicas have been built, consumers don’t actually think of the original (Shelby-designed) Cobras when they see one. Had Shelby sued every single kit car maker since day one, he’d have the legal rights to his design, but in the years since 1968, the term “Cobra” has come to mean more than the specific Shelby Cobra 289 or Shelby Cobra 427 S/C. In fact, a survey used to try to prove the distinctiveness of the Shelby designs in the eyes of consumers may have even used a photo of a 289 to illustrate a 427 S/C… even the guy running the survey wasn’t sure. The moral of Caroll Shelby’s legal battle to own the rights to anything resembling an original Cobra: never stop suing the kit car makers. Or, just be happy with the millions of dollars and legend status you’ve already accumulated.

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Buick Regal GS: No AWD, One Second Slower Than Projected Thu, 04 Nov 2010 22:10:40 +0000

Pity the Buick Regal GS. Since the idea of a hotted-up Opel Insignia was floated for the US market, fans imagined that Opel’s epic Insignia OPC would be headed stateside, complete with 325 horsepower, 2.8 liter turbocharged V6 and all wheel drive. Buick reps quickly ruled out the turbo-six engine, as GM’s corporate order demanded that the engine be limited to “premium” Cadillac and Saab models. Then we found out that the Regal GS would have the same turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder engine found in its Regal Turbo sister model, tuned from 220 to 255 horsepower, leading us to conclude that

That engine can reportedly be tuned to an easy 310 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, making the “base” Regal CXL with the 220 hp 2.0T engine a much smarter buy. Unless the idea of tuning a Buick is simply more cognitive dissonance than you can handle. Otherwise, the only thing the GS really brings to the table is AWD and a bodykit with more front-end venting than the United States Senate.

Well, now it’s time to knock another item off the list: Automotive News [sub] reports that the GS will not get AWD because

We really don’t think consumers will want that feature… It does take away from some of the performance capability of the vehicle.

Which is doubly strange considering that AN is forced to note that

The Regal GS will accelerate slightly slower than expected, with estimates having it reach 60 mph at less than seven seconds. In January, executives said the production car would accelerate about one second faster.

D’oh! With the Regal Turbo hitting 60 in about 7.5 seconds, it’s beginning to look like the GS really is all about the bodykit. The saddest part of all this: the GS will still technically be “the sportiest Buick ever,” and will certainly be marketed as such, just as the Regal Turbo is now.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Stealth Fuzz Edition Mon, 01 Nov 2010 19:55:37 +0000

You’re driving down the road at a spirited tempo when you see a big, black, tuned Taurus. No biggie, right?

Wrong… at least, as long as Ford’s SEMA-bound Interceptor Stealth Concept helps police departments get past the car’s wrong-wheel-drive problem. And between its insanely stealthy looks, and its lack of previous cop-duty baggage, Interceptor Stealths will be hell to spot on enthusiastic drives. Here’s hoping they end up on detective duty rather than traffic patrols…

Ford Taurus Interceptor Stealth Concept aurusintereptorstealth1 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail aurusintereptorstealth2 aurusintereptorstealth4 aurusintereptorstealth3 ]]> 27
TTAC Project: The Zombie Sierra Sat, 30 Oct 2010 16:29:46 +0000

I’m going drifting. I’m going drifting dressed in the finest English brown velour ever to roll out of Dagenham, England. I’m going drifting in what this week’s Curbside Classic should have been, a 1983 Ford Sierra. And with that, I rejoin TTAC after a long hiatus due to our wonderful country sending me to various deserts to hunt for Osama bin Laden.

I have survived, although my Hilux did not after one ill-placed Taliban rocket sent shrapnel through the radiator. I also relish returning to write for one of the finest audiences I know, the Best and Brightest.

Sajeev “Piston Slap” Mehta and I concocted a plan worthy of poetic balads (or at least a YouTube auto-tune) late this Friday night. We were commenting on how the Ford Tempo really should have been the Ford Sierra. Ford did eventually import the Sierra in the Merkur XR4ti guise in 1987, yet, how successful would the Sierra have been should they have built it from the start in the United States back in 1984? It was RWD, had independent suspension on all four corners, came with a wide variety of engines, looked great, and sported the finest shades of brown that year, specifically “Rio Brown”. Horsepower ranged from 59bhp in the 1.3L Pinto to 201bhp in the Cosworth. Ford could have used the 2.0L four-cylinder, and the 2.8L fuel-injected Cologne V6, and had a real winner on its hands.

Instead, Ford graced us with the Tempo, and lost money on the expensively imported, and mismarketed Merkurs.

Sajeev and I continued to talk while perusing the classifieds in the United Kingdom, the source of my recently purchased, and absolutely mint condition 1986 Peugeot 205 GTI (more on that later). Sodding a lark, I discovered the holiest of holies. An unmolested, low-mileage, one-owner, completely rust free, Rio Brown Ford Sierra 2.0L. Ghia optioned, with the rear curtains intact. The brown velour interior might surround an automatic gearbox lever, but no matter, we decided we have plans for this most humdrum, but ultimately awesome (and aerodynamic!) vehicle.

Sajeev possesses several 5.0L Ford V8′s. And an intact Thunderbird Turbo parts car. I have the ability to purchase and register a European car in Germany, and have it exported. The planets aligned. The first TTAC project vehicle has come together. And at this point, we need your suggestions, yes, the Best and Brightest shall have some input on how awesome, or terrible, this vehicle shall become. Which V8, turbo 4, or even V6 (SHOtime?) shall we use?

I say a 5.0L Mustang engine with a manual gearbox conversion. Sajeev suggests the GT-40 infused 5.0L and electronic-automatic duo from an Explorer. I say full custom aftermarket coil-over suspension to handle the power. Sajeev wants OEM-spec Ford Cosworth bits from England. The “Sierra of Brownshire” should arrive in Texas in late-winter, after I return from Operation Enduring Freedom, allowing you, the B&B plenty of time to convince of our course of attack, and us enough time to come to our senses.

EDITORS NOTE: We posted one shot of the (so Brown!) Sierra Ghia in question on our Facebook page for comments and queries. Facebook Fans, here are your answers:

Kevin M:  Goofy-fun daily driver is the intention, as it is a 5-door hatch. Though the Sierra’s 2700lbs curb weight will make it super fun to drive, if we spring for aluminum heads to keep the 5.0 as light (?) as the stock iron motor. Rob A: the exchange rate won’t let that happen, its not gonna be a $500 LeMons car anyway. James M: No, this is not Cammy Corrigan’s car, she wouldn’t be caught dead in a Sierra Ghia! Scott M: we don’t have a ‘busa motor lying around, plus there are several 5.0 Merkurs rattling around the Internet for proof.

Igor, bring me the Five point Oh.... 83fordsierraghia1 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail 83fordsierraghia2 83fordsierraghiaintbrown2 83fordsierraghia3 83fordsierraghiaintbrown 83fordsierraghia4

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Tuners To SEMA New Charger First Edition Mon, 25 Oct 2010 14:45:17 +0000

The 2011 Dodge Charger’s unofficial debut came in the form of a police cruiser which mixed things up at the Michigan State Police trials this year. And though they’ve showed off a few teasers of the new full-sized Dodge, the updated Charger’s official debut won’t come until the annual Las Vegas tuner-fest known as the SEMA show. Which begs the question: when will Dodge start marketing this car to consumers that are neither law enforcement officers nor criminals? We kid… sort of. Meanwhile, this rendering gives you some idea of what Dodge’s less-classy customers might do to their own 2011 Charger. Still interested?

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Trade War Watch 16: Hot Wheels Just Got Hotter Mon, 25 Oct 2010 12:30:45 +0000

It’s been some time since since we had a “Trade War Watch” on mounting trade tensions in the auto industry, and thank goodness for that. In this economic climate of cuts, currency swings and bankruptcies, what we need are things which will make the situation worse, right? In May I reported about how the EU put a 20.6 percent tariff on aluminium wheels from China. The EU did this in response to complaints from domestic manufacturers. Naturally, this left a sour taste in China’s mouth. Well, over 5 months later, you’d think that the EU would have calmed down and this nasty business would be swept under the carpet, right? Erm, not quite….

Bloomberg reports that the EU have not only turned the temporary tariff into a 5 year tariff but increased it from 20.6 percent to 22.3 percent. Chinese exporters like YHI Manufacturing (Shanghai) Co. and Zhejiang Wanfeng Auto Wheel Co. will get hit by this new tariff. But not only will they get stung, but also BMW and Renault will because they buy these wheels from Chinese suppliers. Thus, the price of their cars will rise. The tariff is expected to be imposed by November the 11th.

Naturally, the EU defended this move by claiming that the benefits of this duty outweigh the disadvantages which come on the carmakers. Aluminium wheels are about 1 percent of the total cost of a car, therefore, the cost increase can’t be no more that 0.22 percent according to the EU. “Even this maximum cost impact appears limited in the view of the turnover achieved by car makers,” said the EU. Some automakers have threatened that this move would force them to move production abroad, but the EU dismissed this threat as “disproportionate”.
We”ll keep an eye on the news to see how (or indeed “if”) China hits back. Remember, the EU have far more to lose by China imposing tariffs on EU goods than the other way around. After all, China is far more important to the EU as a market than as a manufacturing center. The EU has 501,064,211 potential customers for Chinese products. China has 1,338,612,968. In this poker game, the EU are holding a four of a kind, China’s got a royal flush.
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