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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

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    2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe
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    Autoblog Podcast #402
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    Translogic 161: Detroit bike culture explored
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    2016 Nissan Maxima spotted for first time
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Harry Metcalfe channel hits YouTube with '54 Series I Land Rover

Posted Oct 21st 2014 7:59PM

Harry Metcalfe with his Land Rover Series 1

If we know our history of automotive journalism, Evo magazine owes its existence to one Harry Metcalfe. The British supercar owner and enthusiast started the publication back in 1998 and served for many years as its editor and then editorial director. But after some two decades at the helm, Harry's stepped back, leaving the magazine to Nick Trott and his staff to run. So what's he up to now? Why, he's launched his own YouTube channel, of course.

Harry's Garage will naturally focus on the numerous supercars and other such rarities which Metcalfe has amassed over the years, but will also feature some of the new metal and events to which he's earned access over the course of his long and distinguished career. But in one of the first videos produced specifically for his new channel, Harry shows us the ins and outs of one of the slowest vehicles in his private fleet: a 1954 Land Rover Series I – specifically an open-top, 86-inch-wheelbase version – the precursor to the Defender 90 and a veritable British motoring icon. Watch the review below and the introduction to Harry's Garage below that.

News Source: Harry's Garage via YouTube (1), (2)

What you missed on 10.21.14

Posted Oct 21st 2014 7:31PM

uturn

2015 Mercedes S550 Coupe2015 Mercedes S550 Coupe

Mercedes has a new flagship coupe coming to a dealership near you, and we just tool the keys to one such machine, a 2015 S550 Coupe Edition 1, to be exact, all over the great State of Rhode Island. The autumn weather was lovely, the changing colors were beautiful, and the newest Benz was pretty much a perfect vehicle with which to take it all in. Read on for all the details.





Michigan Governor Rick Snyder'Anti-Tesla' bill signed into law in Michigan

Is House Bill 5605 accurately described as being 'anti-Tesla?' Well, that depends on who you're talking to. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder doesn't seem to think so, and State Representative Aric Nesbitt, who introduced the bill itself, has specifically stated that it's not directed at the electric-vehicle manufacturer. Tesla, for its part, seems to disagree, as do a large number of its adoring fans.





putting fuel in carEPA to mandate new mileage test procedures

"Your mileage may vary." We all know what it means, and we all expect at least some variance between what we actually record with our own cars versus what was originally displayed on that car's window sticker when it was new. Thing is, some automakers have recently been found to have been rating cars after testing with inaccurate procedures, and the EPA is planning to put that problem to an end.



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Harley-Davidson 'Captain America' bike from Easy Rider nets $1.35M at auction

Posted Oct 21st 2014 6:58PM

Easy Rider Captain America Motorcycle

The famous, custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle nicknamed Captain America from the '60s classic Easy Rider sold for $1.35 million at auction on October 18, or just over $1.6 million after applicable fees. That was a new record price ever paid for a cycle, according to Hemmings, and It handily beat auction house Profiles in History's original estimate of as much as $1.2 million. However, a revelation about a possible problem with the bike's authenticity came to light just before the sale that could have been fit for a movie itself.

Part of Captain America's allure was that there was supposedly just one left. A total of four motorcycles were reportedly made for the movie – two each for Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper's characters. One of those was crashed in the film's finale, and the three others were allegedly stolen prior to the premiere. Future Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty worked on the set as a mechanic and was given the wrecked cycle at the end of production. He restored it and sold Captain America years later. Memorabilia collector Michael Eisenberg was the last owner and put the bike up for this action.

A recent report from The Los Angeles Times found a possible issue with that story because Haggerty sold a different Captain America in 1996, and he claimed that motorcycle was the genuine article. To be clear, this wasn't the bike that just sold for $1.35 million. When asked, Haggerty told the newspaper that the original authentication was a "mistake", and the latest sale was for the real one.

The LA Times also spoke with Fonda to try to unravel things. He had previously authenticated the just-auctioned Captain America but now regrets it. At the time, he didn't know about the earlier sale. Fonda's not sure which one is real.

Unfortunately, really figuring things out might not be so easy. Like Eisenberg told The LA Times, "Dan Haggerty is the only guy who knows."

News Source: Hemmings, The LA Times

Image Credit: Profiles in History

US Ford Focus RS to be imported from Europe

Posted Oct 21st 2014 6:29PM

Ford Focus RS Spy Shots

Rumors about the forthcoming Ford Focus RS are flourishing into what sounds like a very impressive new hot hatch. The latest scuttlebutt gives the first indication about when we might see a few of these fast Focuses on roads here in the US.

Unnamed insiders reportedly confirmed to The Truth About Cars that Ford plans to launch the Focus RS in the US in 2016. However, getting one might not be so easy – the boosted powertrain means the car would likely need to be imported from Europe. That's likely going to keep the total number available in the US rather low. The sources estimate a price tag that's a bit more expensive than the top Focus ST3, which starts around $28,500, plus $825 destination.

It seems that a pretty potent package comes for all of that cash, though. The Focus RS reportedly uses a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making between 325 and 350 horsepower, with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system to get that muscle to the road. The test mules also wear more aggressive front and rear fascias, dual exhaust tips, larger brakes and sticky tires. It sounds like a great formula on top of the already enjoyable Focus ST.

These latest reports certainly corroborate the Focus RS' chances in the US. Autoblog asked Ford for an official statement about the hatch's chances in the US, but company spokesperson Monique Brentley told us, "We don't speculate on future products." However, things have looked good for the RS since a prototype was spotted testing here months ago. Since then, others have been photographed driving at the Nürburgring.
Related GalleryFord Focus RS Spy Shots
Ford Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy ShotsFord Focus RS Spy Shots

News Source: The Truth About Cars

Image Credit: CarPix

Next Mercedes G-Class won't think outside of the box

Posted Oct 21st 2014 5:44PM

2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

Anyone that was afraid that Mercedes-Benz would follow the example of the Land Rover Range Rover and soften the looks of the iconic Geländewagen when it came time for a redesign need not worry. The iconic off-roader's brutalist design aesthetic will carry on, as it's essential to its character.

"It has to continue as it looks today," Daimler AG boss Dieter Zetsche told Bloomberg. "It's not a vehicle that pretends. The G-Class is the original."

That doesn't mean that the G won't seem some changes soon. Regulatory changes will force some design modifications for 2016, while Mercedes might also take the opportunity to up usable space, widening the SUV by around four inches and dropping the roof slightly, a person familiar with MB's plans told Bloomberg.

Mercedes is at something of a crossroads with the G-Class, facing increased competition from the hot-selling Range Rover and staring down the barrel of new ultra-lux competitors from the likes of Bentley and others. Meanwhile, Bloomberg describes the company as trying to shed a "stodgy reputation." These challenges, though, shouldn't impact the future G-Wagen's abilities, though.

"When it comes to the combination of off-road capabilities and luxury, there's no alternative," the SUV's chief, Gunnar Guethenke told Bloomberg. "The G-Class provides the genes for all Mercedes-Benz SUVs."

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Has Hendo created the Model T of hoverboards?

Posted Oct 21st 2014 4:59PM

Hendo Hoverboard prototype

We all think of the same exact thing when we hear the word "hoverboard:" Back To The Future. After Marty McFly is transported into the future to fix the mess his future family has gotten itself into, he hops onto a contraption in an unfortunate shade of pink that looks like a skateboard without wheels. According to the original writer of the scene, the thought was that a hoverboard would float on an invisible magnetic field, allowing its rider to hover inches above the surface of the ground on a cushion of air.

That was all the way back in 1989, and we still have exactly zero actual hoverboards merrily hovering their riders to and fro with jackets that dry themselves and shoes that automatically lace themselves to the proper fitment. Our collective selves let out a sigh we've been holding in since BTTF Part II stopped showing on the big screen... But wait.

A company called Hendo has created what may be considered the very first working prototype of a real, actual hoverboard. It's not without faults – the fact that it only works on certain metallic surfaces being perhaps the biggest, followed by its lack of directional stability – but it most definitely hovers, and you can most definitely ride it. And it's just the beginning of what the company and its inventor have in mind for the hovering technology.

According to Greg Henderson, inventor of the Hendo, this creation represents "the Model T of hoverboards," meaning that it's very early in development, not that it will be the first such machine mass produced. Future applications include planes, trains and automobiles, naturally, but also as a way to earthquake-proof permanent structures like buildings and bridges.

Check out the videos down below for more on this unique creation, and be sure to follow its progress if you're interested in Kickstarting its future.

News Source: The Verge, Engadget

Image Credit: Engadget

Autoblog Podcast #402

Audi A3 TDI Road Trip, Luxury Car Features We Love

Posted Oct 21st 2014 4:44PM

Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #402 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Brandon Turkus talk about the Audi A3 TDI Challenge and luxury car features we not-so-secretly love. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #402:

play


Topics:
In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Brandon Turkus
Runtime: 01:17:40

Rundown:
  • Intro & Garage - 00:00
  • Audi A3 TDI Challenge - 42:51
  • Luxury Features We Love - 01:00:05
  • Q&A - 01:09:17

Get the podcast:
[UStream] Listen live on Mondays at 10 PM Eastern at UStream
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com

Review the show in iTunes

Aston Martin testing modified Vantage at the 'Ring

Posted Oct 21st 2014 4:15PM

Aston Martin Vantage prototype

Aston Martin is on the verge of a renaissance that stands to be the biggest shift for the British automaker since it went independent in 2007 – if not since Ford took it over in the early 1990s. It's got a new chief executive, a new engine deal in place with Mercedes-AMG, a new platform under development and – if the new Lagonda sedan is anything to go by – maybe a new design direction in the works. And what do we have here? A test mule that could foreshadow one of the first new models of this new era.

Spied undergoing testing at the Nürburgring (where else), this prototype looks for the most part like the existing V12 Vantage S, but with what look to be even wider wheel arches. The question, then, is what those widened wells are there to accommodate, and the most likely conclusion would be that new Mercedes engine.

Aside from the lack of grille slats inside that trademark opening in the nose and the competition-spec alloys inset in those arches, there's not much else to go on. But that Aston is testing such a prototype at all is evidence enough that work is under way on something exciting, so watch this space.

Image Credit: CarPix

How to drive a monster truck, as told by Monster Jam drivers

Posted Oct 21st 2014 3:28PM

How to drive a monster truck

On the surface, it's easy to write off monster trucks as big, dumb and dangerous vehicles, but when you start looking deeper, they get a lot more impressive. At least for the people competing in the Monster Jam series, there's a commitment to safety and some seriously cool engineering to make all of those huge jumps and stunts possible night after night. Of course, driving one of these behemoths isn't exactly easy, either.

Not only do drivers have to deal with bouncing around all the time, they also have in the region of 1,500 horsepower at their disposal, all of which is being channeled into something with some pretty bizarre handling characteristics, too. Just think about it: How many competition vehicles can you think of that sport massive tires and separate controls for the front and rear steering?

If you want some advice, check out this video to hear from the men and women of Monster Jam who are behind the wheel practically every night and then have to fix them to crush more cars the next day.

News Source: Gizmag via YouTube

Michigan Gov. signs 'anti-Tesla' bill, but says rules could change

Posted Oct 21st 2014 2:43PM

Governor Snyder Michigan Anti-Tesla Bill Screen Grab

Don't look for a Tesla store in Detroit anytime soon. Even though the company says a Motor City service center is "Coming Soon," another hurdle was placed in the company's way today when Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5606 into law. The law was introduced by State Representative Aric Nesbitt, who said it is not "anti-Tesla at all." Still, 5606 does clarify and strengthen the state's laws against an automaker selling vehicles directly to consumers, which is why Tesla called on its supporters last week to ask Snyder not to sign the bill into law. That didn't work.

The bill passed the Michigan legislative chambers with overwhelming support last week (106-1 in the House, 38-0 in the Senate) and Snyder said that his team's research found it "doesn't change current law at all." He nonetheless thought it was worth signing, and you can watch him explain why in the video below. He also mentions a letter he attached to the bill saying he's open to future discussions regarding direct vehicle sales. He does not mention his campaign support from numerous auto dealers.

We have asked Tesla for a comment on this latest development and will let you know when we hear back. Last week, the California automaker called the legislation "harmful to consumers."

News Source: Gov. Rick Snyder

Takata airbag victim looked like she had been stabbed

Posted Oct 21st 2014 2:15PM

Germany Japan Automotive Supplier

We generally take certain principals for granted. The more water you drink, for example, the healthier you'll be. The more time you spend reading car news on Autoblog, the better informed you'll be. And the more airbags your car has, the safer you'll be. Because airbags equal safety. But that's not what some unfortunate drivers of vehicles equipped with Takata airbags are finding, and tragically finding out the hard way.

A woman named Hien Tran of Orlando, FL, was killed by what looked at first like stab wounds on her neck. It later emerged that the fatal injuries could have been inflicted by the faulty airbag on her Honda Accord. Tran bought her Honda secondhand, and may not have been aware that the airbag issue had not been addressed by its previous owner in a previous recall in 2009.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death, but it wouldn't be the only death resulting from the malfunctioning Takata airbags – in fact, there have been two prior deaths caused by the exploding debris. The units, employed particularly by Japanese automakers like Honda (which owns part of Takata) and Toyota, are the subject of a massive recall involving some 14 million vehicles from 11 different automakers.

One possible explanation for this problem revolves around a propellant that, particularly in humid climates, could deploy the airbag unexpectedly, in some cases even sending metal shards from the airbag's casing flying through the cockpit. To date there have been some 139 injuries reported.

The urgency of the matter has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue an "act immediately" warning to owners of affected vehicles to get their airbags fixed. However there may not be enough parts for all the airbags in all the millions of affected vehicles to be replaced immediately. Some automakers concerned are addressing the issue first in warm-weather regions before replacing airbags in vehicles located elsewhere, but it will likely take some time before all the problematic equipment is repaired or replaced.

News Source: The New York Times, Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Jens Meyer/AP

Total oil exec killed when plane collides with drunk snowplow driver

Posted Oct 21st 2014 1:30PM

France Earns Total

Sad news out of Russia today, as it's being reported that Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of France's Total Oil, has been killed along with three other people after their plane collided with a snow plow on the tarmac of Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport.

The plane de Margeri was on, a Dassault Falcon, was to fly from Moscow to Paris, after the 63-year-old exec meant with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. According to a statement by Russian authorities, "Investigators are looking at a mistake by the air traffic controllers and the actions of the driver of the snow plow. Apart from that, they will also check the versions of poor weather conditions and mistake by the crew."

"At the current time, it has already been established that the driver of the snow plow was drunk," the statement added. Investigators, meanwhile, have seized all video and audio recordings leading up to and during the incident, Russia's TASS News Agency reported.

De Margeri has been with Total since 1974, when he graduated from Paris' Ecole Superieure de Commerce business university. He took the helm of the French oil company, Europe's third largest, in 2007. He was affectionately known within the company as "Big Mustache."

"It's a huge loss to the industry and its future focus," former Shell Oil CEO John Hofmeister told the BBC. "What he has done for Total in repositioning the company to return to integrity and sound operations is deeply respected and highly regarded."

According to the BBC, Total did not have a succession plan in place, only indicating that de Margeri's successor would come from within. The company's board will be assembling as soon as possible.

News Source: BBC

Image Credit: Jacques Brinon / AP

Jay Leno takes a Surfin' Safari in a 1937 Ford Woodie Restomod

Posted Oct 21st 2014 12:44PM

1937 Ford Woodie Restomod

Woodie wagons were a major part of surfing culture in the 1960s, offering coastal style and a ton of room, and they even earned a mention in the Beach Boys' classic song Surfin' Safari. This week, Jay Leno's Garage takes a look at two modern, restomodded examples of these style icons.

Unlike a lot of restomods, builder Scott Bonowski keeps these wagons looking almost completely stock on the outside, and all of the upgrades are hidden underneath the timber. You can't tell by looking at it, but the '37 Woodie (pictured above) has independent front and rear suspension, disc brakes and a Ford 5.0-liter V8 under the hood.

Beyond the mechanical aspect, the craftsmanship into the wood is astounding. Bonowski claims there are between 30 and 50 coats of varnish on this wagon. It makes these woodies as much of a piece of fine furniture as a vehicle to drive.

Leno might be taking his garage to television sometime soon, but until then, we still get to enjoy Jay heaping some love on fantastic cars once a week. Take a tour of two of these intriguing classics in his latest video.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

Beauty Masks A Formidable Beast

Posted Oct 21st 2014 11:57AM

2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe

This is the most beautiful car currently offered by Mercedes-Benz.

With apologies to the aggressive and undeniably attractive Mercedes-AMG GT, the brand-new successor to the supercar throne vacated by the dearly departed gullwinged SLS, the S-Class Coupe as seen in the images scattered through these pages is particularly evocative, with flowing lines from front to plunging rear that somehow recall early pre-war streamlining while still coming across as thoroughly modern and completely refined. It's a shape that will get noticed in traffic, generating gentle nods of approval, subtle stares and longer-than-normal glances from those with discerning automotive tastes, without attracting the kind of pre-teen attention garnered by less practical, though similarly expensive, machinery.

Considering the shapely bodywork parked before me set against the shockingly beautiful autumn colors of Rhode Island and the sweet, salty smell of ocean tides, the actual driving dynamics of the S550 Coupe I was about to experience seemed, for a brief moment, to be superfluous to the experience at hand. That is, it felt that way until slipping into what may be the most comfortable and accommodating driver's seat ever made, a move affording me the chance to revel in the cabin's almost overwhelming embrace of accoutrements and technology.

Vital Stats

Engine:
Twin-Turbo 4.7L V8
Power:
449 HP / 516 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
Warranty:
48 months / 50,000 miles
Base Price:
$119,900
As-Tested Price:
$150,000 (est)

News Source: Copyright 2014 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL

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