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Ford Transit customs ready to work for SEMA

Posted Oct 31st 2014 10:15AM

Ford Transit Vegas Off-Road Experience Transit

Ford Designed Travel TransitFord's booth at the SEMA Show this year looks to have two, big themes. The Blue Oval is bringing over a dozen takes on the 2015 Mustang to the event, and it's now also announcing five customized versions on the 2015 Transit to join the modded pony cars. Each of the vans shows off a different use for the spacious commercial vehicle, from plush luxury to offroad ruggedness.

You probably don't think of the Transit as hitting the trails, but that's just what the take on the design from the Vegas Off-Road Experience (pictured above) is for. The company gives people the opportunity to drive a desert race truck, and this custom is meant to drive them to events. It should be able to take on the terrain a little better with off-road wheels and tires and fender flares, but inside passengers get serious luxury thanks to a 60-inch LED TV and video game systems.

Alternatively the blazing red Designed Travel Transit (right) is all about long road trips. The interior features four captain's chairs with heating, cooling and massage functions, and there's a 4K 50-inch TV to watch. For a touch of added class, the floor is made from hickory.

Ford Formula DRIFT TransitFormula Drift is going purely for function with its Transit (left). It's meant to be a support vehicle during competitions, and the interior is packed with fire and safety equipment, plus a Kawasaki Mule support vehicle. The series actually plans to use this custom during events next year.

Detroit Custom Coach wanted a vehicle for VIP travel in the city. It seats eight and features a cocktail bar, wood floor and TVs inside.

Finally, Galpin Auto Sports is displaying its Transit Skyliner yet again. It's basically the ultimate in luxury cruising with four captain's chairs, a bar and a 52-inch retractable movie screen with 7.2 surround system. There's even matching luggage. Scroll down to read all of the details about this quintet of customs in Ford's official press release.

News Source: Ford

Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series to debut in LA for $260k

Posted Oct 31st 2014 9:30AM

2015 Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series

Driving a Porsche should feel like a privileged experience. But if you need one with extra space in the back, and have been turned off by the success of the Panamera that has made it ubiquitous, you may be intrigued by Porsche's latest reveal.

Set to debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the new Panamera Exclusive Series stands out with some unique touches. It's based on the top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo S Executive, which tells you it comes with the 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 in top 570-horsepower spec, but also with the extended wheelbase that provides for extra space in the otherwise crowded rear seat. And that's not all.

Porsche Exclusive has also given this special-edition Panamera a unique two-tone black and brown paintjob, a set of 20-inch Sport Classic wheels painted black, and an interior done up in Nappa leather – two-tone black and brown to compliment the exterior – with dark walnut and piano black trim and a pair of 10.1-inch rear-seat touchscreens.

Porsche will only offer 100 examples worldwide, each individually numbered and equipped with a set of fitted Poltrona Frau leather luggage – all yours for $263,900 (plus $995 destination). That makes it over $63k more than the base price on the Panamera Turbo S Executive that was already the most expensive model Porsche offers this side of the 918 Spyder (pipping even the 911 Turbo S Cabrio) and also one of the most expensive four-doors on the market.

News Source: Porsche

Land Rover to build Discovery Sport at new Brazilian factory

Posted Oct 31st 2014 8:45AM

Land Rover Discovery Sport in Sao Paulo

Looking forward to getting your mitts on a new Land Rover Discovery Sport? Well you should, because it promises to be a markedly better product than the Freelander/LR2 it replaces. Just don't assume it will necessarily be built in the UK, as just about every Land Rover has in the company's 66-year history.

The new Discovery Sport (pictured above in Sao Paulo) will, of course, be built in the UK, at the Halewood plant where the Evoque is made and which has in the past handled the Freelander, the Jaguar X-Type and a variety of Fords. But it will also be assembled for local consumption at JLR's new factory in Changsu, China. And, according to the press release down below, it will also be made for the Latin American market at the new factory being built in Brazil.

The new plant is being built in Itatiaia on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and will come online in 2016. Once it gets up to speed by the end of 2020, it will have the capacity to build 24,000 vehicles each year, ratcheting its workforce up from 400 when it opens to nearly 1,000 when all's said and done.

The Discovery Sport will be one of the products made there for the local market, but it surely won't be the only one. As in China, we expect the Evoque will be built there as well, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the new Jaguar XE join it in the near future, either. Don't expect the Brazilian-made vehicles to be sold in the US, though: those will likely still be imported from the UK... at least, that is, until the facility said to be under consideration for the southern United States opens its doors.

News Source: Land Rover

Hyundai beefs up HB20 R-Spec in Brazil

Posted Oct 31st 2014 7:59AM

Hyundai HB20 R-Spec Concept

If you've been following the news from the Sao Paulo Motor Show, you'll likely have seen not only a series of new concept cars, but also a whole mess of production vehicles you never knew existed because they were developed specifically for the Latin American market. One of them is the Hyundai HB20.

Hyundai Brasil makes the HB20 in Sao Paulo for local consumption in three forms: there's the HB20 hatchback, HB20S sedan and HB20X crossover. It's the former which it has transformed into the R-Spec concept you see here.

Decked out in matte blue, the HB20 R-Spec concept packs an aggressively upgraded aero kit, extra cooling ducts, 17-inch alloys, LED headlights and an interior with leather trim and striped seats. Even if we don't know what's under the hood, it all looks pretty convincing, and makes us wish Hyundai would offer it Stateside as part of the Accent family with which it shares its underpinnings.

News Source: Hyundai via Autoweek.nl

On the trail of the Aston Martin racer who helped change WWII

Posted Oct 30th 2014 8:00PM

Jock Horsfall, MI5

Arguably one of the most crucial operations of the second World War, Operation Mincemeat was a British disinformation mission responsible for misdirecting Axis forces towards Greece and Sardinia, and in turn, opening up the Italian island of Sicily. That led to the downfall of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and opened up the soft underbelly of Hitler's Third Reich.

While we won't go into all the details of Operation Mincemeat (it really is worth studying, though), an integral aspect required the transport of a dead body from Hackney, London, 400 miles north to Holy Loch, Scotland as quickly as possible. The corpse, which was disguised as a major in the Royal Marines and loaded with faux sensitive documents pointing to a landing in Greece, needed to be appropriately fresh. That's where Aston Martin racing driver turned MI5 operative Jock Horsfall came into play.

The body was loaded into Horsfall's customized 1937 Fordson van, and hustled north. For the rest of the story, you'll need to take a look at Xcar's recapping of Horsfall's fateful journey while at the helm of an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, the far more civilized successor to the English legend's black 2 Litre Speed.

News Source: XCARFilms via YouTube

What you missed on 10.30.14

Posted Oct 30th 2014 7:30PM

uturn

Review: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

The Cadillac ATS Coupe is a good handling, well appointed sporting machine... that looks a lot like its four-door sibling. After a week-long test run with Caddy's newest deuce, we hash out what its like to live with, and ask ourselves if this ATS feels special enough to run with the mainline European competition.





How not to give away a Chevy Colorado

Chevy regional manager Rikk Wilde has seemed to let the big stage get the better of him last evening, bumbling his delivery when presenting the keys to a new Chevy Colorado to World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Wilde's extolling of the truck's virtues included it's "technology and stuff" along with some other sweaty-palmed moments, all captured on video. The good news: later today this story got a happy ending.




Cadillac's SRX-replacing XT5 is underway

If you're a member of the Cadillac SRX Fan Club, get ready to make new t-shirts. The American luxury brand seems to be prepping the new crossover that will live in the SRX's old lineup spot, this time wearing the all new XT5 badge (as part of Caddy's larger naming refresh). Our boys with the expensive telephoto lenses checked in with our first look at the XT5, here.




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Mazda6 Coupe coming along with more Mazdaspeed models?

Posted Oct 30th 2014 7:00PM

Mazda Shinari Concept

The predecessor to the Mazda6, the Mazda 626, was sold in a multitude of body styles across the globe. It could, of course, be had as a sedan, but a two-door coupe, known stateside as the MX-6, was also available on the same platform. Now, a new report from Motor Trend claims that a two-door version of the modern Mazda6 could be on the way.

This would be remarkable for a number of reasons, as automakers have been abandoning this type of non-luxury coupe for decades. A class that counted entries from Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, Dodge and Chrysler is now occupied solely by Honda with its Accord Coupe.

Ignoring that, though, MT claims we'll see a two-door Mazda6 in the second half of 2016. When that new variant arrives, it will be with an even more dramatic version of the sedan's Kodo design language. Mazda could rely even more heavily on styling inspiration of the Shinari Concept, which already informs the design of the current 6 sedan, when the two-door model arrives.

As for the eagerly anticipated, third-generation Mazdaspeed3, we'll also be waiting until 2016 for that one, according to MT. When it arrives, though, it should be appropriately wild, offering up 300 turbocharged horsepowers from a blown, 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engine. Unlike the past two MS3s, the next-gen model will reportedly (finally) adopt all-wheel drive, likely in the form of some lightweight contraption. As if that's not enough good news, Motor Trend also seems to think a Mazdaspeed2 and a reborn Mazdaspeed6 are on the way. It scarcely needs mentioning, but we're doing our happy dance over this news.

News Source: Motor Trend

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

Hyundai sells its 10,000,000th Elantra

Posted Oct 30th 2014 6:14PM

2014 Hyundai Elantra

There aren't many nameplates that have sold over 10 million units in the history of the automotive industry. In fact there have only been ten, and now Hyundai has joined the list for the first time with the Elantra.

Launched 24 years ago, the Elantra has far and away been Hyundai's top selling model. Now in its fifth generation, the Elantra is sold as a coupe, sedan and wagon, and under the Avante name in its home market. It's one of the top selling cars in the world, and Hyundai has earned the right to crow that it has sold its 10,000,000 of them globally. That means that, on average, Hyundai has sold more than 45 new Elantras every hour of every day of every year since its introduction in 1990.

Other models in the 10 Million Club include the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, VW Beetle and Golf, and the Ford Model T and F-Series. The latter might still be considered the most impressive, selling over 34 million units – the vast majority in the US – to be America's top-selling vehicle for over 30 years running.
Related Gallery2014 Hyundai Elantra
2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra2014 Hyundai Elantra

News Source: Hyundai

Scion shows tC Release Series 9.0, Giants fans rejoyce

Posted Oct 30th 2014 5:30PM

2015 Scion tC Release Series 9.0

The timing is perfect. Really, Scion couldn't have done any better, unveiling the latest member of the Scion tC Release Series – number 9.0, a stylish black-and-orange looker – barely a day after the San Francisco Giants, whose color scheme is black and orange, won the World Series. Also, one day before Halloween.

The Scion's well-timed color scheme is the product of Jeremy Lookofsky of Cartel Customs. The company's styling treatment also includes the custom body kit and orange seatbelts.

The Release 9.0's two main performance enhancements include a center-exit exhaust and TRD lowering springs. Beyond that, though, the changes are largely aesthetic. Black wheels, accents and badges round out the exterior changes, while the cabin features orange contrast stitching on the steering wheel and seats and orange paint on the dash and shifter surround.

Scion will build just 2,000 tC Release 9.0, with prices starting at $23,190 for a manual-trans model and $24,340 for an automatic. Those prices, of course, don't include the $770 in destination charging. Interested customers can look for the limited-edition model to arrive in dealers in January 2015.

Scroll down for the full press release.

News Source: Scion

Perfectly restored Tucker 48 gets 15 more minutes of fame

Posted Oct 30th 2014 4:58PM

Tucker 48 Restoration

There's something about the sheer audacity of the Tucker 48, sometimes also called the Torpedo, that makes this quirky American sedan so intriguing even 60-plus years after its introduction. Preston Tucker was only ever to complete 51 of them, and several of the remaining units were sold at auction after the company went bankrupt. Despite all of that, with its air-cooled flat-six engine hanging out back and Cyclops-like center headlight, the car has continued to withstand the test of time.

The Tucker 48 in this video is the 46th example made and is now completely restored to its original glory. The work from Nostalgic Motoring, a Michigan restoration shop that knows its Tuckers, leaves the sedan in absolutely immaculate condition, and company owner Mark Lieberman takes viewers on a full tour of the car and its features. Check out the clip to learn a little more about these rare, American vehicles.

News Source: CivicCenterTV15 via YouTube, Oppositelock

Jaguar opens new engine plant in the UK

Posted Oct 30th 2014 4:30PM

Jaguar Land Rover Engine Manufacturing Center

The heads of Jaguar Land Rover are having a busy couple of weeks opening factories. Just days after inaugurating the company's first overseas plant in China, the automaker's new Engine Manufacturing Center in the UK is being inaugurated, as well. The plant near Wolverhampton, England, marks the first time in decades that JLR is building its own powerplants in-house. Further signaling the importance of this launch for the business, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were on hand and even tweeted about it.

The factory's first major project is to build JLR's latest Ingenium four-cylinders, starting with the 2.0-liter diesel version. "Our new Engine Manufacturing Centre is an important step in advancing the competitiveness and capability of the UK automotive sector. The production of in-house engines will support the expansion of the UK supply chain providing critical mass for inward investment," said Trevor Leeks, plant operations director in the automaker's announcement.

Opening the doors to the Engine Manufacturing Center has been years in the making for JLR. The plant was first announced in September 2011 and broke ground in June 2012. Building it cost the company 500 million pounds ($800 million) and created 1,400 new jobs. Of course, being a state-of-the-art factory, considerations were made to make the place as energy efficient as possible. That meant installing the UK's largest solar array with 21,000 panels to produce about 30 percent of the site's electricity needs.

This isn't even the end of JLR's continued construction. The company's Special Vehicles Operations team is getting its own new facility in England. The automaker is even rumored to be considering one in the US. Scroll down to read the business's full release about the engine plant's opening.

News Source: Jaguar Land Rover, Twitter

Obama administration eyeing new NHTSA boss after safety lapses

Posted Oct 30th 2014 3:59PM

General Motors Recall Congress

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn't had much to celebrate this year. The botched handling of major recall campaigns from General Motors and for faulty Takata airbag inflators haven't put the agency in the best light. Also, its new VIN lookup for safety campaigns, which should have been a major step forward, crashed the first time it was really needed. Clearly, something must be done, and it appears that the government's solution might be an overhaul of the bureau, starting at the top.

According to insiders speaking to Reuters, acting NHTSA boss David Friedman (pictured above) is unlikely to be nominated to take the job long term. Furthermore, the feds are already searching for his replacement, and the new director is expected to be announced soon. The changes might go even deeper, though. According to Reuters, both Congress and the Department of Transportation, which oversees NHTSA, are conducting their own inquiries into the agency.

It's certainly not Friedman's first visit to Capitol Hill this year. He already testified in front of the Senate, and a report from the House Energy and Commerce committee claimed that NHTSA's incompetence allowed GM's problem with ignition switches to be undetected for so long. It hasn't been an easy tenure at the organization for Friedman. He only started working at the safety watchdog in May of 2013, and took over running things around the beginning of the year when David Strickland stepped down.

While it could be argued that NHTSA is doing an incompetent job this year, understaffing might also play a roll. The Office of Defects Investigation that actually researches and reports recalls has just 51 people who keep an eye on safety and only $10 million of NHTSA's budget. With over 544 recalls so far this year, it may keep them spread a bit too thin.

News Source: Reuters

Image Credit: Evan Vucci / AP Photo

FR-S with Targa-style top leads Scion's SEMA brigade

Posted Oct 30th 2014 3:31PM

Scion FR-S Targa

Scion xB VanThe Scion brand seems to be a bit rudderless in the auto industry at the moment. The company just doesn't seem to know what audience it wants to appeal to. For this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the automakers is kind of just going wild with bizarre customs like a turbocharged FR-S with a targa top (pictured above).

Taking the roof off of a FR-S isn't an entirely new idea, but this targa-top version at SEMA is certainly a new take. In addition to just chopping a panel out of the roof, the custom also adds a louvered rear window in an especially cool touch that lends an '80s coupe vibe. To take the wild look even further, the car wears a bespoke wide body kit with an integrated rear spoiler and center-mount exhaust, and all of the bodywork is done in metal. Being for the premiere aftermarket show, performance also has to play a role, and the upgrades include a Greddy turbo kit, coil-over suspension from KW and big brakes from Wilwood.

If the FR-S seemed just slightly inspired by the '80s, the xB for the show goes for a look that's a decade older with inspiration from '70s conversion vans and skateboarding. With design help from skateboarder Riley Hawk, the custom is painted in shades of groovy earth tones with bubble windows in the rear, and the cargo box on the roof stores skateboards. The interior features touchstones of the time with a mix of wood-grain trim, shag carpet and comfy brown leather.

Finally, Scion is going metal with a custom tC inspired by the band Slayer. The exterior wears a custom paint job with the band's logo, airbrushed skulls, red lights and even swords shaped into the wheels. The ghoulish look makes it inside too, but so does a Pioneer sound system to replace the rear seats. It should be deafening, and according to Scion, some of the band members are going to demonstrate it by playing guitars through the setup at the show.

All three of these customs are weird in their own way, but you certainly can't call any of them boring. Scroll down to read all about them in the company's announcement, and check them out in more detail in the gallery.
Related Gallery2014 Scion SEMA Lineup
2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup 2014 Scion SEMA Lineup

News Source: Scion

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Season 5 trailer percolates interest

Posted Oct 30th 2014 3:00PM

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee makes its debut in one week, and after seeing the full trailer for this season, we can't be more excited about it. We've known about the lineup of comedians for quite some time – Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Hart, Fred Armisen and Amy Schumer will all be there – but this is our first look at the cars of season five. And boy, are there some good ones.

From the trailer, we can see a Ferrari Daytona, a Ford Mustang Boss 302, a Frogeye Sprite, a first-generation Chevrolet Corvette, a Porsche 550 Spyder (we're guessing this is a replica) and a Saab Sport, interspersed with smaller clips of what looks like a Land Rover Defender and some sort of droptop Mercedes-Benz. Oh, and there are issues with a few of the vehicles, meaning that not only will there be typically humorous conversation, but more than a few amusing situations for Seinfeld and his guests.

Season five of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee premieres on November 6, at noon. Be sure to check back here for the full first episode.

News Source: Crackle via YouTube

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