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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


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

Acura NSX prototype gets back on track

Posted Oct 30th 2014 2:30PM

Acura NSX prototype

Developing a new vehicle is not without its complications, we're sure, but usually things follow a fairly predictable progression: you develop a prototype, you test it, test it and test it again, then you put it into production. What you don't expect is that your prototype will burn to the ground, but that's what famously happened to the NSX which Honda engineers were testing a few months ago.

Fortunately, the Acura NSX prototype is back on track, both literally and figuratively, as you can see from this latest batch of spy shots snapped at the Nürburgring. This camouflaged prototype looks pretty much the same as the last one, only, you know... less crispy. Which is to say, it looks pretty much ready to hit showrooms.

The naysayers may point out that Honda chose colder and damper weather to put the NSX back into testing – thereby mitigating the risk of another fire – but we're sure the Japanese automaker has been working hard to fix the flammability issues, whatever may have caused them, over the past few months. At least, we hope they have.

Image Credit: CarPix

Nissan breaks annual EV sales record with two months to spare

Posted Oct 30th 2014 2:00PM

The 2014 Nissan LEAF is available in three trim levels: LEAF S, SV and SL, along with option packages offering advanced systems such as Around View? Monitor and 7-speaker Bose? audio. Enhancements for 2014 include the addition of the RearView Monitor as standard equipment on all models (previously part of the Charge Package) and one new exterior color ? Gun Metallic (seven total available colors).

Nissan has sold more pure EVs in the US this year than any other automaker, ever. And there are still two selling months left.

Last year, Nissan sold a record 22,610 Leaf electric vehicles in the US. This year, through the end of September, Nissan sold 21,822 Leafs and has been selling more than 2,000 a month for the last seven months (in some cases, over 3,000). Basic math skills make it clear that 2014 would handily beat 2013, so now we get to play the guessing game to figure out by how much.

Nissan isn't yet saying what October sales were (the month isn't over yet, and we're expecting the numbers on Monday) but if we look up the general trend for the last quarter of 2013, sales stayed steady (compared to the previous months) in October and November and then shot up in December. Given the overall increase in 2014 versus 2013 (up 36 percent through the end of September), who wants to bet that Nissan will sell more than 30,000 Leafs this year? Anyone?

Compare Leaf sales with the other plug-in vehicle that went on sale alongside the Leaf at the end of 2010: the Chevy Volt sold over 23,000 units in 2012 and 2013 but is way down so far this year (14,540 through the end of September). An updated Volt will go on sale in the second half of 2015. Nissan has not disclosed when a new Leaf will go on sale. Nissan has sold over 142,000 first-gen Leafs around the world and over 64,000 in the US.
Related Gallery2013 Nissan Leaf
2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf2013 Nissan Leaf

Ford recalling 205k Edge and Lincoln MKX units for possible corrosion

Posted Oct 30th 2014 1:30PM

2007 Ford Edge

After the horrible weather last winter, it's hard to look forward for the season to return this year. For those readers in much of the country, the snow is going to be flying soon, and with it comes salt on the roads. That means Ford's regional recall for the 2007-2008 Edge and Lincoln MKX arrives at the perfect time because they are at risk for corrosion.

The campaign covers 204,448 examples of the models in 21 states, plus the District of Columbia and some provinces of Canada. In total there are 186,024 vehicles in need of repair in the US and 18,424 in Canada.

According to Ford, it's possible for the area, "under the reinforcement brackets where the fuel tank is mounted" to corrode. If this happens, there might be a gas smell in the vehicle or even a fuel leak could develop. In fact, the automaker reports that one fire could be related to the problem but no injuries or accidents are reported.

To fix the issue, dealers will inspect the fuel tank for corrosion and will either replace or repair it, if necessary. Scroll down for the company's full announcement of the recall, including the complete list of affected states and provinces.

News Source: Ford

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Chevy presents Colorado with 'technology and stuff' to World Series MVP [UPDATE]

Posted Oct 30th 2014 12:45PM

Chevy presents Colorado to World Series MVP

UPDATE: Chevy was quick to turn Wilde's nervousness into social media pay dirt this afternoon, embracing the "technology and stuff" line with a hashtag on Twitter, and even a starring role on the Colorado's consumer website. That's what you call lemonade, folks.

Being named the Most Valuable Player in the World Series has its perks. For one, it means you're pretty much the best baseball player in the world. You'll probably never have to pay for a drink, too. But it also means you get... a brand new Chevy!

Every year Chevrolet gifts a new car to the MVP at the World Series, just as it does at the All-Star Game and at the Super Bowl. It's a good marketing gimmick, associating the brand with winners and stuff that America likes. So long as you can get someone to verbalize that relation at the handover ceremony. But the Bowtie brand seemed to fall short when it asked one of its regional managers, Rikk Wilde, to make a little speech and give San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner the keys to his new Chevy Colorado.

Wilde's speech was a little awkward, to say the least, but at least he made sure to point out all the "class-winning... and, you know, technology and stuff."

News Source: Bleacher Report


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