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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Archive for December 2009

Boss & 5.0 Mustangs are back

In 2011 happy consumers will once again be able to roll in a 5.0 with the ragtop down so their hair can blow. Yessir, the 5.0 is back to the tune of 412 ponies and 390lb-ft of torque. That’s up from about 175hp in the version Vanilla Ice putzed around in several decades ago. 

The new five-point gets to 60mph in roughly 4.5 seconds, is capable of 25mpg on the highway, revs close to 7,000rpm, “And it can run at that speed all day,” says Mike Harrison, an engineer who has spent the past two years leading the 5.0 development team. “The heart of this engine is in its breathing,” Harrison says. (2) 

(See sources1 & 2 below for the engineering details) 

Transmission options will include a six-speed manual or automatic. Available performance upgrades will feature a Brembro brake package with 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500 Mustang, special 19-inch allow wheels and summer performance tires. The whole car should cost under $45,000. 

(See the new 5.0 in New Videos)

Adding to the hype of the 5.0’s return, Ford Racing will produce fifty Boss 302 R Mustangs. The turnkey racecars are replicas of the Mustang driven by the great Parnelli Jones in the 1970 Trans Am series against the likes of Camaros and Barracudas. 

Racing features on the new Boss include race seats, five-point belts, data acquisition equipment, racing shocks and springs, Brembro brakes and R compound racing tires. All this and more make the car track ready and legal to compete in the “Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge”. Orders for the car can be placed at any Ford dealer with delivery expected in late 2010. For a base price of $79,000 you’d be crazy not to buy one. (3) 

*Friend MotorSpaceNW on Facebook! 

Sources:

(1) http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posteddriving/archive/2009/12/29/preview-2011-ford-mustang-gt-5-0l-v8-is-back.aspx
(2) http://www.motortrend.com/auto_shows/detroit/2010/2011_ford_mustang_gt/index.html
(3) http://www.autoweek.com/article/20091228/DETROIT/312289998
Picture: AutoWeek

A belated holiday tale for MotorSpaceNW

 

A dolphin air freshener, anti-seize lubricant, a box of spark plugs, a polyester travel blanket and a battery powered screwdriver. These were the car related gifts I received early this Christmas morn. As they lay spread out in front my pajama booties in the living room, I thought to myself: “Such nice things! What good tidings for the New Year!”

Then the buzz from the Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee gave out and I experienced a creeping dread that these gifts, as sweet as they were might really be tools of damage control considering I drive a 1991 Dodge Dynasty. You know, the one with the Othello Yellow racing stripe on the passenger doors courtesy of a Highway 12 guardrail? The one who’s muffler fell off several months back, several months before the right rear tire exploded on account of not having being rotated since George Bush Senior was in office? 

I began to ponder these expensive incidents in relation to my gifts as the smell of Christmas bacon filled our family’s home. My Aunt and Uncle cracked open the first of their morning beers. Several cans of Rainier and a plate of Christmas omelet later I came to a drowsy epiphany on the living room couch: 

My half-beloved car, the Dyno, the Dynoceros, Gramps McDrug Dealer, a rolling mixture of pride and shame, was dying. Not all at once, but three, four, five hundred dollars at a time. Trying to keep her running on a blogger’s pittance was a fool’s game, and as everyone knows, trying is always the first step towards failure. 

If anything were to go wrong with the Dynasty in the near future that would cost more than a couple hundy to repair, the most financially responsible option would be to scrape off the VINs and find a thick patch of bramble on the outskirts of town. Yes. That was the only thing left to do. 

My eyes grew heavy and heavier with the comforting thought of mason jars filled to their brims with pinched pennies. The dolphin air freshener stared at me blankly from within its plastic casing. I fell asleep. 

And woke up… in the Dynasty. 

Hanging from the rearview mirror was the Dolphin. It swung about, spreading the scent of…dolphin. 

“Helloooo, Brandon!” he beamed. “Do you know where you are?”

His voice sounded like an educational mascot, the kind that sugarcoats explanations of the world’s horrors for second graders, crossed with the ghosts of Christmas. 

A quick glance out the window revealed it was dawn. We were traveling westbound on Highway 12 nearing Othello. The road was spotted with snow and ice. 

“That’s right ass****, you’re reliving the day you drove the Dynasty into a guardrail on the way home for Christmas vacation. At this very moment a poor exchange student back in Pullman is worried sick that your car isn’t equipped with proper snoooww tires – if you had stayed the night she would have made you an omelet in the morning!” 

THWACK! Shards of yellow and white paint exploded in a foggy cloud as the Dynasty slid uncontrollably into the guardrail. A hubcap took flight from the impact like an off-kilter discuss. A German girl’s voice yelled something about a sweater I had forgotten. In the rearview mirror a car full of Mexicans traveling behind us was laughing at me. 

“They’re right to laugh at youuuu!” the Dolphin wailed, “If you hadn’t been too cheap to buy studded tires the Dynasty would still be in mint condition! And you should have responded to Ladina’s Facebook messages! Whoooo!” 

My eyes dropped from the Ford Aerostar in the rearview mirror. I descended into darkness. Just as quickly, the tiny gleam of the Dolphin’s eye appeared in the nothing and began to expand against the black, bringing into focus the light of a new reality - the present. 

“Look dowwnnn!” the Dolphin commanded. 

He was now full sized. I was riding him, looking down upon my sleeping body in the living room with my car gifts. 

“Ohhhh, Brandon! There you are, surrounded by the choicest holiday presents from Schuck’s Auto Supply, and all you can think about is how much money you would save by pushing the Dynasty into a braaamble patch!” 

“Could we skip to the vision of the future,” I snipped impatiently, “I need to wake up and catch the game pretty soon here.” 

“Very well,” the Dolphin said forebodingly, “Hold on!”

With a mighty flip of his tail we rode off into the instant black nothingness once again, only this time there was a long awkward pause while we waited for the next vision to take form. Without a scene to narrate, and possibly because I was riding him bareback in my pajamas, the Dolphin fell uncomfortably silent. 

“So…” I offered, “Is it cool leaving a trail of rainbow glitter wherever you go?” 

“It sucks” the Dolphin replied defensively, “I’m totally not into that sort of thing.”

“What sort of thing?”

“What are you trying to say?” 

“Uh… how about that vision of the future?”

“Yeah, how about that?”

The Dolphin tossed me off his back and with a mighty flip of his tale batted me into the darkness. I awoke back on the couch in the living room, the smell of bacon still rife in the air. At my feet the Dolphin sat lifeless in his package. But upon it there was a note that hadn’t been there before. It read:

Dear Brandon, 

No man is poor in spirit who spends money on a car he loves but can’t afford. The future begins now, by installing those new spark plugs in the Dynasty. 

P.S. 

If you’re really that broke, just take the insurance off it and watch your ass. 


Sincerely, 


The Dolphin 

Toyobaru FT-86 love child

 

 
Toyota and Subaru are having a baby, twins actually. Dubbed Toyobaru by the automotive press, the joint project is more officially known as the Toyota FT-86 concept. Subaru fathered the powertrain and chassis; the body appears to have been ladled directly from the Toyota gene pool. 

Buzz has it Subaru plans to release their own variant of the car at some point in 2011. Being a Sube, it will come equipped with all-wheel drive and a version of the FT-86’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter flat-4 that puts out 250 horsepower, or 50 more than Toyota’s car. Subaru’s version will also be a bit larger than the Toyota, due to a stretched platform. Both cars will run around with a six-speed manual gearbox. 

Prices are expected to hit in the $30,000 range for the more powerful all-wheel drive Subaru, about $5,000 more than the Toyota. Edmonds Inside Line says that the price/options differences should keep the cars from directly competing with each other, and from possibly stealing sales from the Subaru Impreza WRX. 

Keep in mind that we’re still only talking about a concept car here. Regardless, this guy thinks the FT-86 could be the most attractive non-Lexus machine to pop out of Toyota in a long while. Check it out in new videos and see the pictures here: 

http://jalopnik.com/5375233/toyota-ft+86-concept-behold-the-new-ae86

Sources: 

(1) http://www.insideline.com/subaru/toyobaru-new-details-on-subarus-version-of-the-toyota-ft-86.html

Picture: http://www.popsci.com/files/imagecache/article_image_large/files/articles/toyota_FT_86_concept.jpg

Kepler Motion: 200mph Hybrid Supercar

 

Last week at the Dubai International Motor Sow, the guys from Kepler introduced the Motion, equipped with what they call “dual powertrain” technology. This means the front wheels are powered by a 250hp electric motor while the rear wheels are driven by a 550hp Ford Ecoboost twin turbo V6. For the mathematically impaired, that’s a total of 800hp with AWD, enough to push the Motion to 60mph in less than 2.5 seconds with a top speed of 200hmph. Yikes!

Other supercar features include launch control, carbon fiber composite Monique chassis and body, active suspension and carbon ceramic brakes. Only fifty of the cars will be produced with delivery beginning in 2011. 

(Check out the spiffy video of the Motion in New Videos) 

For all-electric action in the world of racing and beyond, also see “World’s fastest street legal ELECTRIC CAR” in New Videos. It’s about a Portland man who runs sub 11.5-second quarter miles in a homemade all-electric Datsun. 

Sources: 

http://www.autoblog.com/2009/12/14/kepler-motors-motion-supercar-to-debut-at-dubai-motor-show/

GM pulls plug on Saab

News came today that General Motors will be forced to kill Saab after a deal to sell the Swedish brand to Spyker Cars fell through. GM plans to wind-down the automaker over the course of three months. From the press release:

“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution,” said GM Europe President Nick Reilly. “We regret that we were not able to complete this transaction with Spyker Cars. We will work closely with the Saab organization to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner. This is not a bankruptcy or forced liquidation process. Consequently, we expect Saab to satisfy debts including supplier payments, and to wind down production and the distribution channel in an orderly manner while looking after our customers.”

For anyone out there with a Saab or two in their garage, GM said the automaker will continue to honor warranties and provide service and spare parts. 

BUT WAIT! There could still be hope for Saab’s survival… sort of: A week ago, GM sold the tooling for the Saab 9-5 and some Saab Technologies to Bejing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. What the company will do with the “Born from Jets” DNA remains to seen.

Sources: 

(1) http://www.autoweek.com/article/20091218/CARNEWS/912189997
(2) http://jalopnik.com/5429575/saab-is-dead
Picture: http://martinklasch.blogspot.com/2009/01/design-saab-logos.html

Nissan, Feds bring electric cars & 1,000 charging stations to Puget Sound

Next year the Puget Sound will serve as one of five main testing grounds in the nation’s early attempts to build an electric car infrastructure. Nearly 900 Seattle-area drivers will have the chance to purchase and drive the all-electric zero emission Nissan Leaf for $28,000 to $35,000, before a handy $7,500 federal tax credit. 

As the fleet of Leaf drivers wisp about the Northwest region, scientists from the Idaho National Laboratory, an applied-engineering lab that does federal energy research, will monitor how the cars are driven, where they are charged and how often the charges take place. The data will help federal and local governments decide how to build a charging network that’s planned to one-day support electric cars nationwide. 

For starters, about 40 charge stations will be located in public places around the Sound. Leaf owners will be able to use the car’s GPS navigation system to locate the nearest charge spot, where juicing up will take only 15-25 minutes – relatively quick compared to other electric cars on the market. The first 900 people to buy the Leaf will have a free charger installed at their homes, which utilizes the same 220-volt plug in that’s used for the average clothes dryer. 

Funding for the endeavor comes from part of a $100 million federal Department of Energy economic-stimulus grant that will eventually build more than a thousand charging stations throughout the region.

The future is electrifying! …Sorry. 


Sources:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010468141_electriccars10m.html
Picture:

Brabus GLK V12: World’s fastest SUV at 200mph (with LCD monitors)

You probably wouldn’t guess the Mercedes GLK pictured above is capable of 200.3mhp. But the V12 emblem on the hatch is a dead give away that it is, thanks in part to 750HP and 811 lb-ft of torque (limited electronically from 995 lb-ft). Who in Parnelli Jones’ name would do such a thing? German tuner Brabus, of course. From the press release:

“To achieve this kind of performance, the engine – based on the latest Mercedes 600 twelve-cylinder engine – was completely re-engineered in the BRABUS engine department. Displacement is increased from 5.5 to 6.3 liters with the help of a special crankshaft, larger cylinder bore, special pistons and piston rods. In addition the three-valve heads are precision-machined and fitted with special camshafts.

For maximum power yield the BRABUS engineers have developed a special twin turbo system with two larger turbochargers and more efficient intercoolers. Free-flow metal catalysts and a fully stainless-steel high-performance exhaust system custom-tailored to the GLK body let the BRABUS SV12 R 750 Biturbo engine breathe more freely.” (1)

For those who find traveling at 200mph somewhat less than stimulating, the backs of the front seats are outfitted with “Custom-tailored consoles” that each features an integrated seven-inch LCD screen and a DVD player. The rest of the luxury interior doesn’t look anything short of Mercedes-level either with wood trim or carbon fiber trim panels for the dashboard, doors and center console in “any color imaginable.” 

For all the technical goodies on how Brabus managed to make the GLK go stupid-fast in posh style, read the rest of the release at: http://jalopnik.com/5424535/worlds-fastest-street+legal-suv-brabus-glk-v12-hits-200-mph.

Sources: 

http://jalopnik.com/5424535/worlds-fastest-street+legal-suv-brabus-glk-v12-hits-200-mph

Dartz builds tribute car for Pamela Anderson whale penis outrage

Not so long ago, Russian armored carmaker Dartz cancelled plans to include whale-penis leather interior in their Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition, due largely in part to complaints from Pamela Anderson and PETA. Now Dartz has built a “Penisguard” Volga, presumably to celebrate their newfound love of whale-penis brought about by Anderson.

For some reason, the customized car is outfitted with a shark snout and tail, and an ass-view painting of Anderson in her classic Baywatch swimsuit, beside which is written, “Penisguard”. A sailor hat perched atop the roof reads “WHALEWATCH”. 

Below is the actual press release (seriously): 

WHALE PENIS ON WHEELS RETURNS. IT'S BULLETPROOF.

NOT INSIDE – BUT OUTSIDE.

Thanks Pamela Anderson all world whales now can be sure about their penises. Nobody will cut them to make car seats.

Regarding that Whales make an ocean summit were they make a decision to make WHALE-THANKS-GIVING-CAR.

And they order to make this car to DARTZ – team which shocked whales with seats idea.

Of course this is just joke, but after SAVE the WALES wave DARTZ make a decision to make own SAVE the WALES show car.

This car was made from the same kevlar fiber we use for our car bulletproofing – so we can tell that whale on hood is also bulletproof.

Our guys work two weeks around the clock to make this show car, we stopped some works with our RED DIAMOND (which is already booked) as we are funny people – and sometimes stop to make serious things, making some funny things instead. We are not serious professionals in fish world – all we know that caviar is good with Vodka – but we think this hood whale is a copy of Blue Wale – which have biggest penis on planet Earth.

We will be happy to present this car to Pam Am – she can use it…. like she want's :-) .

But more we dreaming to make a photosession with our Luxury Tank and Pam, under motto

I'D RATHER DRIVE NAKED THAN ON WHALE PENIS :-) ))))…….

We can make this session at Top Marques Monaco 2010 or Cannes Festival 2010 were we also are planning to present this car – and of course present Pam WHALEWATCH car after photosession!

- Leonard F. Yankelovich (1)

If you find this at all confusing or hard to believe, be sure to read up on the whole story here:

http://motorspacenw.com/member/blogentry.php?b=742&u=144&page=0


And: 

http://motorspacenw.com/member/blogentry.php?b=720&u=144&page=0


Sources/Picture: 

(1) http://jalopnik.com/5422729/dartz-car-commemorates-pamela-anderson-russian-suv-whale-penis-scandal

GM to repair, possibly auction Woods’ Escalade/Dutch driving tax from Amsterdam

In the wake of Tiger Woods’ notorious early morning crash, GM took pity.. On the Escalade. GM now plans to repair and possibly auction off the battered SUV, as it was one of several vehicles Woods agreed to be seen in after his promotional deal with Buick ended last year. Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell explained:

“The vehicle will be repaired, firstly. This is a promotional/marketing vehicle — the kinds of cars used for advertising, public displays, photography, etc. That makes this a little different than a garden-variety car repair - given its special usage.”

Caldwell said the repaired Escalade could go back into service as a promotional vehicle, be repurposed for other internal duties or be sold off, most likely through an auction. USA Today believes that if the SUV does go before the gavel, it might be best to sell it as is: 

“Ironically, we expect the car — with its bashed-in front end and windows broken where Woods' wife took a golf club to it, is worth more in damaged condition than repaired. A lot more.” (1) 

I would agree. Repairing Tiger’s Escalade makes about as much sense as patching up Abraham Lincoln’s top hat. And now to Amsterdam:

The Dutch government will soon tax drivers by the mile in hopes of clearing up traffic jams and reducing carbon emissions. Average size passenger cars will pay 0.03 Euro per kilometer ($0.07 per mile) with higher charges during rush hour and for traveling on congested roads. Bigger cars, trucks and commercial vehicles will be charged more for being dirtier. Tiger Woods' doomed excursion would have been taxed approximately $0.18. The AP reports: 

“When the plan takes effect in 2012, new car prices will drop as much as 25 percent with the abolition of a purchase tax and the road tax, which now totals more than euro600 ($900) per year for a mid-sized car.” 

Passage of the “kilometer tax” comes after 20 years of debate surrounding the touchy issue of privacy; the GPS devices installed in the vehicles will track the time, hour and place each car travels and the information will be sent to a billing agency. 

The Traffic Ministry said that the GPS information would be “legally and technically protected,” and the data would not be accessible to the government for other purposes. “The privacy of road users is protected,” it said. (2)


Sources: 

(1) http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2009/12/gm-tiger-woods-cadillac-escalade-to-be-repaired-eventually-auctioned/1
(2) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ggzUbQMWph8GplMdWzjDEnKD7ZJQD9BVD87O1
Picture: USA Today

Tiger Woods’ mysterious low-speed wreck

Tiger Woods is in the automotive news for crashing a Cadillac Escalade through a fire hydrant and into a neighbor’s tree at 2:25 a.m., several days before he was scheduled to host his Chevron World Challenge. 

Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor said officers arrived on the scene to find the former Buick spokesman lying in the street with his wife, Elin, by his side. From ESPN: 

She told officers she was in the house when she heard the accident and “came out and broke the back window with a golf club,” Saylor said, adding that the front-door windows were not broken and that “the door was probably locked.” 

“She supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground,” Saylor said. “He was in and out of consciousness when my guys got there.” (1)

Woods had lacerations to his upper and lower lips and blood in his mouth. The crash knocked him unconscious for nearly six minutes, according to a call report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Orlando Sentinel reported. 

Airbags did not deploy in the crash due to the low speed at which it took place. From Jalopnik: 

“U.S. regulations require deployment of airbags in crashes at least equivalent in deceleration to a 23 km/h(14 mph) barrier collision, or similarly, striking a parked car of similar size across the full front of each vehicle at about twice the speed.” (2)

How then did Woods manage to run off the road so slowly? The Florida Highway Patrol said alcohol was not involved in the wreck, although the accident remains under investigation. Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said charges could be filed if there was a clear traffic violation, although troopers still do not know what caused Woods' SUV to hit the hydrant and the tree. (1)

Coincidently or not, the accident took place early Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving, two days after the National Enquirer published a story alleging Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess… 

Purely for the sake of speculation, consider how many extramarital affairs result in the guilty person’s car being smashed with a hammer, baseball bat, or whatever other blunt sporting object might be handy in Tiger Woods’ mansion at the time. Cough (golf club). 

“We don't believe it is a domestic issue,” Montes said. 

Sources:

(1) http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?id=4693657
(2) http://jalopnik.com/5414063/tiger-woods-seriously-injured-in-car-crash-near-florida-home
(3) Picture: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2006/09/tigerenclave.jpg

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About this blog

Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.

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