If there’s ever been a definite sign times are changing rapidly in the auto industry it came this month with the reveal of the 2013 Unimog. The river fording, brick wall obliterating, apocalyptic survival ride of choice is now boasting that it can… be greener. It appears that in order to survive upcoming Euro V1 emissions standards, Unimog’s newest claim to fame will be the way in which it manages to take good care of Mother Nature.
Todd Harrell of the popular rock band 3 Doors Down was arrested by Nashville Police Friday night and charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication. Harrell was driving his 2011 Cadillac CTS at high speeds when he clipped a 2003 Ford F-150, causing the truck to careen over a guardrail and down an embankment where it flipped over.
Somewhere in Ford’s headquarters a room has been cleared out to make room for all the high-fiving that must be going on there. The tallies are in, and according to Polk’s annual vehicle-registration review, Ford sold 1,020,410 Focus’s worldwide in 2012, which makes it the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world. But that isn’t the only flattering news Polk gave the blue oval this year.
Ol’ Opie Taylor is at it again. Ron Howard’s upcoming movie, Rush tells the larger than life true story of Formula One racecar drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda as they battled for the 1976 F1 Championship. By the looks of the trailer, cast, and what we already know of the plot, you shouldn’t have to be a racing fan to enjoy Howard’s latest project.
When Detroit Electric first opened shop in 1906, petroleum-powered automobiles were still battling electric cars to become the horse alternative to beat. Before they shut their doors in 1939, the electric pioneers put close to 13,000 pure-electric vehicles on the road. This month they’re ready to pick up where they left off after a 74 year hiatus with the reveal of the SP:01 at the Shanghai Motor Show. Detroit Electric claims their newest model will be the fastest all-electric production car on the market, and they certainly aren’t letting anyone forget about their motor city heritage.
Hats off to GM Authority, whose stalkerish coverage of everything General Motors apparently extends to the United States Patents and Trademarks Office. The Authority uncovered GM recently applied for a handful of trademarks revolving around the “Chevelle” nameplate, which raises the question if we might soon be treated to a new Chevelle for the first time since 1977. The answer depends on how you interpret the titillating small print of the trademarks process. GM Authority reports:
Last month the EPA proposed all 50 states should be required to obey a new set of rules that would have them sell lower-sulfur fuel by 2017. Shockingly, the oil industry isn’t taking kindly to the proposition, arguing the standards would increase the cost of fuel and would actually worsen pollution. In reality they’re at least half right.
That’s about all there is to this despicable story. Police in Moscow are now carrying out stops on ambulances after companies began advertising “ambulance-taxis” for $200, or 6,000 roubles per hour on the Internet. The National Post reports the ambulances “use their sirens to scatter traffic and deliver harried businessman to meetings on time.”
Remember when Cadillac’s were bloated land yachts with pillow-soft suspensions? If Elvis were to see his beloved American luxury brand today he’d mess his leather jumpsuit. Cadillac’s new direction is aimed at world-beating performance. Their biggest stab at the likes of BMW and Mercedes thus far is the 2014 CTS; a car General Motor’s deemed worthy to introduce their first ever twin-turbocharged V6 - the most powerful six-cylinder engine GM has ever produced.
The big three only have so many legendary nameplates they can reanimate from the glory days of the muscle car. Chevrolet played Camaro’s most valuable card this month with the reveal of the 2014 Z/28. If what Chevy says proves to be true, it won’t be the most powerful Camaro money can buy, but it will certainly be the fastest model they’ve ever built for the track that can be driven there from home.
The Nurburgring is the Mecca of the automotive world, and as of this month, it’s for sale. After going bankrupt last July, a state-appointed liquidator was appointed to sell the government-owned motorsports complex. Of an initial 50 interested buyers, no more than ten are still haggling over an asking price of roughly $161 million. News of the impending sale is leading auto enthusiasts throughout the world to fear a privatized Nurburgring will put a price tag on the track’s culture.
The Kardashian sisters are probably better poster girls for capitalism than feminine equality. That isn’t stopping them from considering legal action over an ad that featured them bound and gagged in the back of a Ford Figo. Paris Hilton smiles from the driver’s seat and a slogan reads “Leave your worries behind with the Figo’s extra-large boot”.
Former American Idol judge and Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler is no stranger to fast times. His lust for life extends to the road where he’ll now be able to feel the wind in his lips at 275mph. He recently purchased one of only five Hennessey Venom GTs produced last year for a cool $1.1 million. Before anyone questions what good could possibly come from Steven Tyler driving at close to 300mph, it should be noted that he uses his new toy to grab headlines for charity.
Ford is banking hard on their turbocharged EcoBoost engines to increase fuel-efficiency without sacrificing horsepower. Road and Track confirmed via an anonymous source this month the 2015 Mustang will feature a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, not only to save fuel but also to overpower the Stang’s current V6:
During a presentation at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference this month, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made it clear GM is committed to making oil dependency an issue of the past. His announcement that GM is close to revealing a 200mile electric car was tempered with a warning: As he sees it, adopting a single gasoline alternative isn’t a smart move.
Extricating crash victims from an electric car is a real-life game of Operation, only with much, much more electricity. Both first responders and passengers are in danger of being exposed to high-voltage components that aren’t likely to let them off with a giddy tickle. Complicating matters further, the location of the danger points vary from vehicle to vehicle.
To continue doing their jobs safely, emergency crews now have to be trained on the model-specific anatomy of electric cars. For the sake of education, Tesla donated a sacrificial Model S to the Fremont Fire Department’s Jaws of Life recently.
They call him “The Punisher”. Born Alexei Volkov, the Russian bus driver is famous in the city of Zelenograd for ramming motorists that cut him off. Better yet, Volkov records the smash-ups with a dashboard camera to maintain his innocence. A compilation of the footage spliced together from his YouTube channel can be enjoyed here. If it doesn’t make you cheer for vigilante roadway justice you might be better off riding the Punisher’s bus.
As I write this, a prank video for Pepsi starring Jeff Gordon and a Chevrolet Camaro is approaching 31 million views on Youtube, two weeks after being posted. It doesn’t matter the whole thing was staged with actors, or that Jeff Gordon was replaced by a stunt driver. The scenario alone struck social media gold.
The hot new way to make an easy buck in Las Vegas isn’t at the slot machines, but on the highways. According to a recent report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there have been nearly 100 suspected staged car accidents in and around Sin City in the past 12 to 28 months. Twenty five of the suspicious wrecks involved big-rigs. From the perspective of a car insurance fraud, causing an accident with an unsuspecting truck driver makes sense for two main reasons.
Well this is embarrassing. While topping off at an Israeli gas station today, President Barack Obama’s presidential limousine, known as the “Beast” was accidentally filled with diesel fuel instead of gasoline.