The Autoblog Weekender – Click above to find out what you missed
This week's bag of news is all about cars, cars and cars. Was anyone else aware that the Canadians know a thing or two about tuning Lamborghinis? That's a new one on us. Peugeot and Dodge have new logos, and the Pugs have a new, Ratatouille-esque commercial that involves a blender, a bicycle and a three-wheeled car. The as-yet-unveiled Nissan Patrol Safari gets caught with its doors open, and a bespoke Ferrari, the P450 Superfast Aperta, gets introduced in Florida. It's a little odd. And when some Mercedes engineers get a prototype SL Coupe stuck in the snow and it takes two other Mercedes' to rescue it, let's just say a good time was had by all. Except the Mercedes engineers. Finally, back to those Canadians, while those first lads will get crazy money for their wares, another Canuck wants crazy money for a 1975 Pontiac. Must be the weather. Follow the jump for the feast.
1. The SR Hamann Renaissance Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. Because dessert should come first.
This one's about the photos, because easing into the weekend with a tasty treat is the right thing to do. This bit of dessert, tuned Canada's SR Auto Group, wears Hamann side skirts and front lip, 20-inch Pur One Monoblock wheels in gloss black, amps and speakers like you wouldn't believe, and it's all wrapped in a Leios Frost coating. They've got a Murcielago SV project underway as well that's quite the looker as well – if you're into that kind of thing...
Romania is the home of Vlad the Impaler, that road, some of the most beautiful women you've ever seen and, we've just found out, Wooden Trucks Translyvania. Made of beech, the scale models are designed and built by Dan Butiri, and we need to emphasize the world "built." Each truck is composed of at least 240 pieces of wood that are held together with 500 flathead screws, and one truck takes eight weeks to complete. Note the details like the moving bench seat inside the dump truck cab and the locking slide for the fifth wheel on the logging truck. Butiri uses no lacquer and no glue, and these aren't merely models, they are works of art. Nor are they cheap: the dump truck is €3,550 ($4,921 U.S.). On the other hand, that really isn't so much to pay for one man's hand-craft genius... Hat tip to John
3. The New Dodge Logo is Aimed at... Whom, Exactly?
If you've seen the Dodge commercial narrated by Dexter's Michael C. Hall, you might have thought it concluded with the word "Dodge" superimposed on black flag with red stripes. You'd be partly correct: what it actually ended with was a dynamic version of the Dodge logo – the word "Dodge" with two slashes at the end. We have no idea how that is meant to speak to guys who'd rather eat nails than yogurt and sing songs whose only lyrics are "Men men men men, men men men men" (the prototypical Dodge buyers), but we suppose Dodge – or perhaps Fiat – has a plan. AB reader Lee caught a glimpse of it in a video on Chrysler's blog The Firehouse, and there it is at the D.C. Auto Show. Dodge. Now with more... stripe. Hat tip to Lee
Top Gear is 200 issues old as of last month – that equates to 17 in magazine years. The pub has noted the occasion by listing the 20 most notable cars the Top Gear show hosts have driven and that "kept [them] coming back for more." Of course it wouldn't be a Top 20 list without some surprises. One of the finalists is a Fiat Panda. Another is a FordEscort. And then there's Jeremy's hair. In the words of Awesome X from Frisky Dingo, "My God." Hat tip to Will
6. More Racing! SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Championships Goes to VS
U.S. cable channel VS is putting together the oddest assortment of sports programming ever – not that we have any complaints. The network that's already got the NHL, Professional Bull Riders, the Tour de France and the IZOD IndyCar Series has just added World Challenge to the roster for 2010, which means, of course, it will no longer be called the SPEED World Challenge. Last year coverage of World Challenge's three categories (GT, GTS, Touring Car) was limited to 60 minutes; this year that goes to 90 minutes, all in weekend timeslots. The first race is in St. Petersburg on April 8. That Camaro will be there. Have your DVRs ready. Hat tip to Cypher09
Audi's running its third consecutive Super Bowl commercial this year (with, um, Cheap Trick?) and the home of the four rings has a social media campaign to go with it. On the face of it, it sounds absurd: the campaign revolves around the Green Police, "an enforcement team created to protect and conserve the environment." Exactly the kind of sentiment the Super Bowl crowd is not after. Then you find out that the Green Police force's aid to Mother Earth comes in snippets of advice such as the proper napkin-to-sandwich ratio (which happens to be the same as the napkin-to-schwarma ratio), and in the revelation that a power strip is a "Mother Nature hater." You can check the videos at the link below. Come on, Super Bowl. And... um, Cheap Trick?
8. The Ferrari P450 Superfast and a few other Ferraris happened by Palm Beach last week...
The annual Cavallino Classic dropped in on the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach last week, bringing with it the gleaming gaggle of classic and modern Ferraris. The local Florida car guys at Moto Bullet were to capture the action, which saw Ferrari 250 GTOs, F40s, 250 TRs, and a 750 Monzato doing round at Palm Beach Raceway, and the the introduction of the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta. It's kinda funky. A weekend's worth of photos if you just click the link below.
Nissan's thunder machines, like the Infiniti QX and this thing, the Patrol Safari, are rumbling toward reveals. The Patrol was caught early, inside and out, replete with an interior that is more pleasurable than the exterior might lead you to think. Nevertheless, think 'large.' Hat tip to Zach
This is a shout-out to all those Saab owners who took to their cars in a global call to anyone willing to save the company. There have been more then 55 convoys involving more than 5,000 Saabs gatherin in various quadrants of our little planet, with people in some cases manning and crusing the battlements in weather too cold for penguins. And there are more coming, even though Saab's been saved! When Plymouth, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn had to turn in their badges and retire – every one of them with massively more buyers than Saab – none of them saw this kind of uprising from their owners. When Lincoln and Mercury were looking at the uplifted axe, people said "That's a crying shame" and then followed that with "Anyway, what's for dinner?" Sure, Saab has been on the rocks for a while, but there has to be something someone can do with this kind of brand fervor. Spyker, is that you?
11. Is There Something We Don't Know About This Car?
If someone can tell us why this dealer is trying to get $10,000 for this 1975 1979 Pontiac Grand Le Mans, we're all ears. Is it the AM/FM radio? Or the wood-grain dash? No, really, we'd love to know. Hat tip to Brad
– The French make commercials as lovably kooky as their cars Peugeot's running a commercial called Motion Emotion that takes a Pixar-esque look at the company's history, from its bicycles to its blenders, 3-wheeled cars, Le Mans winners, and future electric offerings. And like Dodge, the commercial takes the opportunity to show off the new Pug logo. On the other side of the world and the flip side of irreverent, the roaring lion launched the Chinese-market 408, a 308-based sedan, in China. Hat tip to Nicolas
– The Monte Carlo Rally ended last weekend
This is just a reason to post racing pictures. Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen the Monte Carlo Rally in their M-Sport FordFiesta S2000... but we're in love with that Skoda, and there was no reason not to throw that Peugeot in. The Brazil Rally is the next round of the IRC. Hat tip to Faisal
While BMW was testing its M5's traction control in the snow, the coming S-Class coupe was getting stuck in it. They called a Mercedes ML to come pull it out. That didn't work. So they called a Mercedes S-Class to come pull it out. That didn't work. Then they used the ML and the S-Class to pull it out. Success. If that's what you call that. A photo gallery of the event is at the Speedlux link below, if you want to savor the moment. Hat tip to Eel
– If you really want to know...
C-Span devoted a slice of airtime to interviews with three auto execs: Chevrolet General Manager Jim Campbell, Ford Group VP Susan Cischke, and BMW NA Chairman and CEO Jim O'Donnell. If you want to hear from some new voices on the industry and their companies, they're worth a watch. Or you could just take Autoblog's word for everything. Like you do anyway.
Jim Campbell, General Motors Company, Chevrolet General Manager
Susan Cischke, Ford Motor Company, Group Vice President -
Jim O'Donnell, BMW of North America, Chairman & CEO -