Introducing the Autoblog Weekender – Click above to find out what you missed
We cover a lot of automotive ground here at Autoblog every week, but even with our obsessive watch on the industry, things still get away from us. So we hereby present the Autoblog Weekender, a place where we might be able to leave no story unturned.
This week Hannibal and Face stop by along with some freaky hip dude called Reggie White, the Tucker Torpedo Convertible controversy is not over, the Nissan GT-R challenger for the FIA GT1 series takes a bow in high-res photos, as does Heffner's R8 Twin Turbo, somebody puts wood paneling on a Smart Fortwo, and who knew Bentleys could tow in reverse?
And that's not even the half of it. Follow the jump for the week's leftovers, and let us know what you think of the first Weekender in Comments.
1. We Love it When The A-Team Comes Together
Click above to watch The A-Team trailer
About the only things we learned from this trailer are that Neeson isn't Peppard but is till plenty badass, B. A. Baracus drives an orange Lamborghini, and it looks good enough for us not to blow the $12 we've been saving to go see it. But don't take our word for it – watch the trailer, fool!
2. AMG Considering a Small Sporty Benz to Compete with BMW's M1?
BMW has got such great response from its M1 prototype that it looks like the hot little travesty coupe is going to make it to production. That could be one of the reasons Mercedes own house of hotness, AMG, is considering a sporty car on the marque's MFA small-car platform that would result in some sort of A- or B-Class 'Bahnstormer. We don't doubt the massive talents of AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg and his cohorts, but looking at the source material we can't help but think they have a long road to hoe if it gets the green light. And that's after they re-engineer the platform from front-wheel-drive to rear-wheel-drive... Hat tip to Mo and Michael!
3. When GT5 Eventually Gets Here it Will Have Everything
We gave Sony a hard time yesterday for fouling up the room with talk of Gran Turismo 5 coming some time after the Sun explodes March. It is only fair, then, to remind people that this game might be taking so long because Polyphony is throwing everything at it. A partial list of features includes: at least 1,000 cars, all with modeled cockpits and 170 of them with interior damage modeling, Indy and NASCAR cars and tracks, high-def uploads straight to YouTube, complete weather algorithms, and night/day racing on all tracks. The only thing they could possibly add to a list like that is, oh, a real release date. Hat tip to Read!
4. Bob Lutz Wouldn't Mind a "Gradual Increase in the Federal Fuel Tax"
Turns out that long-term business strategy doesn't mix well with consumer tastes that swing with oil prices that are themselves swinging with speculator fervor and whether an OPEC minister sneezed this morning. Again vying for the Calling It Like It Is award, General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said, "If the rise in gasoline prices is gradual, I think that all of us in the industry would frankly welcome that, because there is nothing more illogical than forcing fuel-saving technology when gasoline is extremely cheap." Can he get an "Amen?" Hat tip to Jeremy!
The Heffner Performance R8 Twin Turbo looks as good as it sounds, and ogling photos of it makes us want to ask for a moment of silence from the congregation. And when you're finished being silent, please donate. As much as you can. Because we need onethree seven of these. Hat tip to Toby.
6. The Nissan GT-R Officially Joins the FIA GT1 Championship
2010 Nissan GT-R for the FIA GT1 Championship – Click above for high-res image gallery
Nissan Motorsports has partnered with two race teams for this year's inaugural FIA GT1 Championship: UK-based Sumo Power GT, and Swiss Racing Team (we'll let you guess where that one's from). That makes it the only Japanese marque among the six that will contest the series created to replace the FIA GT Championship. It will do battle with Reiter's Murcielagos, Matech's GTs, Aston Martin DBR9s, Maserati MC12s, and our local boys the Corvettes. A recharged Formula One, Danica and Piquet in NASCAR, and now this? This is how you start a new decade of racing.
7. Speaking of Racing, Maybe You've Heard of the Dakar Rally?
The Dakar Rally has spent the past week bombing all over Argentina and Chile, and there are but two stages left – today's and tomorrow's. At the time of writing, things are looking pretty well sorted. Frenchman Cyril Despres, riding a KTM, is leagues ahead his competition and looks set to take his third Dakar crown on a motorcycle. Carlos Sainz remains leader of the auto pack and seems set to deliver Volkswagen its second consecutive Dakar win. But it is the Dakar. Last year Sainz tumbled out practically in sight of the finish, so we'll do no more to jinx him. For a hugely beautiful look at the race, the Boston Globe's Big Picture has a buffet of high-res photos of the week's action. Hat tip to Sixdoublefive321!
8. Perhaps the Tucker Torpedo Convertible Never Lived, or Maybe it Did, But it Will not Die
First there was a Tucker Torpedo Convertible slated for auction at next week's Russo and Steele event in Scottsdale. Then the Tucker Automotive Club of America (TACA) wrote a note to say, "Hold on, we're not sure there's any such thing as a factory-built Tucker Convertible." The arrow-sleek droptop is still scheduled to be auction, so because there's probably a lot more at stake than just huge sums of money, Benchmark Classics head Justin Cole has responded with his own statement about the car's veracity and provenance. Click the link to have a read and then decide which side of the fence you want to be on.
9. Mopar Throws Down for 2010 with an e-Store, New Hemi Crate Motors, and Mopar TV
Lost in the Detroit Auto Show brouhaha was Mopar – as in Chrysler – throwing a bunch of new products at us, including a first for the United States. The Pentastar's performance brand has a new e-store where you can find any of the 100,000 or so parts for Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Ram, and Jeep that the division offers.
Some parts that might interest you most are the new aluminum-block crate motors and a bigger-bore six-cylinder for Jeeps. The new aluminum HEMI engine blocks range from 6.1 liters on the low end, to an "engine-builder's special or 'X-Block'" that can be blown out to 468 cubic inches (approx. 7.6 liters). The weight savings can amount to 98 pounds compared to the cast-iron lumps in Chrysler's SRT8 offerings. If your name is "Jeep" then you might want to check out the new 4.7-liter inline six, the Stroker long block. It puts out 265 horsepower and 290 pound-feet and will fit any Jeep that used the 4.0-liter.
Finally, because there still isn't enough to do in a car, Mopar is the first in the country to offer live, mobile television in your car. The dealer-installed option puts FLO TV and its 20 channels on your car's tiny screens, and will cost $629 plus labor. You can scroll down to for the press release on Mopar's new momentum.
– Bentley Flying Spur Does a Runner Sprinter Van
Remember the Subaru WRX "pulling" the semi out of the snow? What this video of a Bentley rescuing a Sprinter lacks in size disparity it makes up for in the financial gap. And towing in reverse. Thanks for the tip, Matt!
– When will Mini Be Classified As a Cult? Mini releases an iPhone app that's essentially a social network for Mini owners. In other news, the company begins making Kool-Aid, starts work on a minibus called the Mini Borg. Hat tip to Jaxon.
– First Raptor Definitely Rocks, Finally Gets Rolled
Time for another moment of silence, but this time it's to pay your respects to the first crumpled Ford Raptor. Services will be held next week... Hat tip to Jason.
– Would that be a Smart Woody?
If this little guy is the Jeopardy answer, we're going to guess the questions is, "Um, really?" Hat tip to Landry.