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Do red states buy more trucks?

Posted Nov 1st 2014 9:01AM

Ford F-150

Tuesday marks mid-term elections here in the United States, which is kind of a big deal if you've gotten tired of constant campaign advertising. But as Election Day approaches, the constant voices attempting to forecast the results are only set to increase. The latest member of that growing fray is True Car, which has teamed with RealClearPolitics.com to attempt to predict the winning party in this year's elections based purely on what the best selling car in their state is.

TC identified so-called "truck" states and "car" states based on the best-selling bodystyle, with trucks, including SUVs, and cars tacking on hatchbacks, wagons and small crossovers. Trucks dominate, covering 34 states, while the remaining 16 states, including political giant California, purchase more cars than trucks. True Car and RCP cross-referenced those stats with the 36 states holding senate races on Tuesday, looking at their voting pattern in the 2012 presidential election and the projected leaders for Tuesday's race.

The results are fairly clear. Truck states, which in themselves are dominated by the Ford F-Series, are leaning Republican or have a strong history of voting for the GOP in the past, while car states tend to lean the other way. There are, naturally, a few exceptions. Truck-driving, Democratic-voting states include Oregon, New Mexico, Hawaii, Minnesota, Illinois, New Hampshire and Delaware. Car-driving conservatives, though, are fewer and further between, though, with South Carolina as the sole state.

Scroll down for the press release from True Car.

News Source: True Car

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Chocolate-covered Audi TT is more treat than trick

Posted Oct 31st 2014 8:01PM

Chocolate-covered Audi TT

'Tis the season of chocolate, and as we sit at our desks eating entirely too many Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, we're left salivating over this particular Audi TT. Aside from the fact that it's the new, third-generation model, which is a darn desirable in and of itself, it's also covered in chocolate. Yes, chocolate.

There are 27,000 individual pieces on this two-door coupe, and they've been affixed courtesy of Belgian chocolatiers Joost Arijs. The sweet car was developed for a lifestyle and design exhibition in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Take a look at the confectionary-covered coupe in the video from WOW TV.

News Source: WOW* Trend Magazine via YouTube

What you missed on 10.31.14

Posted Oct 31st 2014 7:31PM

uturn

Franz Ferdinand carSuper spooky cursed and haunted cars!

It's Halloween, you guys! So naturally, the internet is full of stories about ghosts and goblins and pumpkins and witches. But there are plenty of spooky things to talk about in the automotive space, and we've put together a list of five cars that have strong evidence to support them being cursed or haunted, if you believe in that sort of thing. Check 'em out, here.




BMW i8The BMW i8 causes a scene in northern MI

We took 14 cars up to Petoskey, MI earlier this week as part of our testing for the 2014 Technology of the Year Award. And while the group was indeed full of hot metal, one specific car kept on grabbing the attention of passers-by: the BMW i8. Everywhere we went, people had plenty to say about this futuristic-looking creation. We've listed some of our favorite quotes, here.




Dodge Viper SEMASEMA Preview: Mopar madness

Are you ready for next week's SEMA show? We thought so. There's certainly been a lot of news from various automakers on this front, but we recently had the chance to get up close and personal with the Mopar customs that'll make their way to next week's show in Las Vegas. Editor Greg Migliore gets in front of the camera to show us what's hot from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles this year.




Top Stories

Nurburgring bought by Russian billionaire

Posted Oct 31st 2014 7:01PM

AUTO-PRIX-F1-GER

The Nürburgring is among the greatest racetracks of the world, with decades of fantastic motorsports history born on the snaking course. However, it seems that running the place as a business is about as difficult as learning the 12.9 miles of corners on the Nordschleife. After a long bankruptcy sale, things appeared to be looking up for the track when a Düsseldorf-based business called Capricon bought the circuit for 77 million euros, plus the promise of future investment. However, just months after being sold once, the 'Ring has yet another new owner: Russian billionaire Viktor Kharitonin.

According to the German business magazine Wirtschafts Woche, the change in ownership came because Capricorn wasn't keeping up with its payments for the track. The company's boss Robtertino Wild was supposed to pay regular 5-million-euro ($6.3 millIon) installments but reportedly missed the second payment. When he couldn't come up with the funds, Kharitonin stepped in to take over for Capricorn's share. According to the magazine, the Russian has not only already paid the missed amount, but put the money down for December early. He has also set up a company called NR Holding AG to run things.

Kharitonin is a founder of Pharmstandard, Russia's largest pharmaceutical company. According to Wirtschafts Woche, Forbes estimates his net worth at over $1 billion and puts him as the 1,342nd richest person in the world.

While Kharitonin now has a controlling stake in the 'Ring, he's not the sole shareholder. According to the local Rhein Zeitung newspaper, Capricorn's bid only covers two-thirds of the track; the remaining third belongs to German motorsports company GetSpeed.

According to Rhein Zeitung, there are no changes to any of the tracks future events or races at this time.

News Source: Wirtschafts Woche, Rhein Zeitung via Jalopnik

Image Credit: Tom Gandolfini / AFP / Getty Images

JT Nesbitt surprises once again with Bienville Legacy

Posted Oct 31st 2014 6:30PM

Bienville Legacy

JT Nesbitt is an artist when it comes to shaping metal and composites into custom vehicles. He really built a name for himself with his creations at Confederate Motorcycles, like the Wraith, but a few years ago he set out on his own to found Bienville Studios. The company's goal was to branch out beyond cycles into crafting cars too, but to finance the project Nesbitt had a Kickstarter to build a bike called the Legacy. The final result has definitely proved this guy's skill.

The look of the Legacy takes Nesbitt's work from Confederate and kicks it up even further. The bike has a very industrial design with a girder-style front end and lots of exposed fittings. However, it's clear that each piece is well thought-out and is there for a specific reason. According to Asphalt and Rubber, portions of the damping are done with mountain bike components, and chassis adjustments are made with just an allen wrench. The rugged look extends to the gauges that are in a style that would be appropriate for something steam-powered at the turn of the 19th century, and at the heart of this sensational cycle is a beautiful V4 with its exhaust pipes coming out from each side.

Bienville is making just three units of the Legacy, and each one is tailored to its owner. The video above gives a peek at some of the detail work, and the gallery below shows off even more of the bike. There are also even more videos featuring different aspects of the bike on its website.

News Source: Bienville Studios, Asphalt and Rubber, Richard Thompson III via Vimeo

Image Credit: Bienville Studios

Infiniti SUV recall marks latest chapter in Takata airbag saga

Posted Oct 31st 2014 5:43PM

2013 Infiniti QX56

Automotive parts maker Takata is having a rough year with millions of vehicles equipped with its airbag inflators being recalled. However, it looks like there might still be problems with the company's quality control, if a new recall by Infiniti is any indication.

The Japanese luxury brand is recalling 1,912 total units of the 2013 Infiniti QX56 and 2014 QX80 in North America because of a manufacturing flaw with their Takata-supplied inflators for the driver's side front airbag. Of those, 1,848 are in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Specifically, the outer baffle could be the wrong component and cause too much pressure to build up inside. According to documents submitted to NHTSA, it's possible in a crash for the part to rupture spraying metal shrapnel at occupants. At this time, Infiniti has not had any reports of this actually happening to drivers.

While this problem sounds nearly identical to the issue affecting millions of earlier vehicles, it must be noted that this is a different fault. According to the notice being sent to dealers on NHTSA's website: "This particular Voluntary Safety Recall Campaign is unrelated to two earlier campaigns that involved Takata passenger front air bag inflators on some older model Infiniti vehicles. This issue involves a much newer inflator and is a different, more isolated, Takata quality control issue."

Unfortunately, the parts to fix the vehicles aren't yet ready. According to Infiniti, it should be four or five weeks from when it submitted this recall to NHTSA on October 23 before vehicles can be repaired. According to the letter to dealers, concerned owners can ask for a loaner vehicle in the meantime.

This latest campaign comes at the worst possible time for Takata. According to Reuters, it's already having trouble supplying replacement parts for its other inflator recall. NHTSA is also asking automakers to keep testing the parts for faults, and if more problems are found, they should expand the campaigns even further.

According to Automotive News, NHTSA is sending 36 questions to Takata that it must answer by December 1 or face a fine of up to $35 million. It includes requests for documents pertaining to the recalls, a report of every death or injury and the company's production capacity to build inflators. The agency did something similar with GM's ignition switch recall earlier this year. Scroll down to read Infiniti's statement on the recall and NHTSA's report.

News Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [1], [2], [3], Reuters, Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Michael Harley / AOL

Makeup company shows you how to apply a car-crash face for Halloween

Posted Oct 31st 2014 5:00PM

Car Crash makeup how-to

Still deciding on what to wear for Halloween? There's not much time left to choose, but this clip might help you decide, especially if you want something gory that might scare a few people too.

The step-by-step guide here shows how to apply makeup to look like a very grisly car-crash victim with injuries like a missing eye and exposed teeth. The costume definitely isn't for the faint of heart, but the actual process to put it on doesn't look that hard. The technique even includes a few common household items, but you might need a friend's help on some parts.

Going this route certainly shows more creativity than just buying a something from a store. Give the clip a watch to see how it's done.

News Source: Ellimacs sfx makeup via YouTube

Top Gear's Clarkson in trouble again over beer tweet

Posted Oct 31st 2014 4:28PM

Jeremy Clarkson

Ah, if we had a nickel for every time we wrote this sentence, we'd be quite well off: Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again. The notorious host of the BBC's wildly successful Top Gear, Clarkson's latest controversy surrounds a tweet he sent while filming a special for the show in northern Australia.

Apparently, the 54-year-old Englishman chose to broadcast that he was driving with a beer in his car's cupholder. Now, there's nothing wrong with driving a vehicle, sober, with an unopened can of suds in the cabin. You don't get into truly illegal waters until the top has been popped, which Clarkson never admitted to. Still, that hasn't stopped a rather vicious rebuttal from the masses on Twitter, accusing the host of condoning drinking and driving.

One user called the host "a bloody idiot," although a fair few came to his defense, pointing out that he never said he was drinking the beer. Still, for someone that can so effortlessly court controversy, it seems like a pretty absent-minded move on his part, especially considering the rather short leash he's on with the BBC.

This is also not the first time Clarkson has raised the public's ire when it comes to drinking and driving. Clarkson and co-host James May were accused of encouraging the risky behavior by drinking gin and tonics while driving to the North Pole, as part of a previous TG special.

Take a look below for Clarkson's latest attempt at swallowing his own foot.

News Source: The Telegraph, Twitter

Daimler buys 25 percent of MV Agusta

Posted Oct 31st 2014 3:45PM

MV Agusta and Mercedes AMG partnership

BMW obviously builds motorcycles, and Volkswagen Group owns Ducati. Now, fellow German automaker Daimler is hopping into the two-wheel game by buying a 25-percent stake in Italian sportbike maker MV Agusta for an undisclosed price.

According to Daimler's press release, its Mercedes-AMG division is actually the one that's going to be working with MV Agusta in a "long-term partnership," including coordinated marketing and sales. The automaker is also appointing a member to the motorcycle company's board of directors. At this time, there's no mention of actually co-developing models together, though.

"MV Agusta and Mercedes-AMG are a perfect brand fit: Two complementary companies that stand for design, high performance and excellence. Mercedes-AMG will help MV Agusta to further expand globally and to accelerate our growth," said MV Agusta president and CEO Giovanni Castiglioni in Daimler's announcement.

The support of a huge automaker like Daimler might be the jolt that MV Agusta needs at the moment. The company was founded in 1945 and built a reputation for crafting racing-winning motorcycles. However, in recent years things have been tough. Harley-Davidson wasn't able to turn the situation around, and the bike maker has been searching for a buyer for much of this year. First, Fiat was rumored to be interested. More recently, Daimler was reported to be considering purchasing a minority stake. Apparently, that deal worked out in the end. Scroll down to read the official announcement of the purchase.

News Source: Daimler

World's Fastest Hearse now up to 1,300 hp, looking for more records

Posted Oct 31st 2014 3:00PM

World's Fastest Hearse

Unfortunately, for many people, a ride in the back of the hearse is the last chance they ever get to be in a car. In the case of "Madness" from AMS Performance, it could get folks to their final resting place faster than anything else around.

Based around an actual hearse from a 1996 Chevrolet Caprice originally converted by Superior Coaches, Madness has been the ongoing project of AMS Performance Vice President Arne Toman for years. The idea was partially inspired when he saw the Guinness Record for the fastest hearse was a a 13.72-second quarter mile, and that seemed quite beatable.

In the video above, under the hood of this beast is a Chevy LQ4 6.0-liter V8 out of a van with light mods like new cams and valve springs. However, it also has a turbo running at around 23 psi that brings power to around 1,000 horsepower. It makes this hearse go like a bat out of hell, It can hit 60 miles per hour in about 2.3 seconds at the strip, but the interior still has air conditioning, a stereo and all of the original equipment to carry a casket in the back.

Since shooting this video, AMS has installed an upgraded 6.0-liter mill, a new rear differential and stronger transmission, and they reportedly allow power to be bumped to 1,300 hp. It should make the quarter mile go even faster. Check out this clip to see what a 1,000-hp hearse can do at the drag strip, and scroll down to read even more about it.

News Source: AMS Performance, Amstuned via YouTube

ETC

2015 BMW i8 sets everyone's tongues wagging in Northern Michigan

Posted Oct 31st 2014 2:15PM

2015 BMW i8 in Northern Michigan's Tunnel of Trees

2015 BMW i8 parked in front of Good Hart General StoreLike few other cars we can remember, people want to talk about the 2015 BMW i8. Drive one, and you'll soon find out what we mean. They stop you at gas stations. They accost you in Walgreen's parking lots. They stream out of neighborhood bars, beers in hand.

At least, that was our experience this week during Autoblog's Technology of the Year testing. We had the pleasure of driving the plug-in hybrid BMW sports car up to and around Petoskey, MI, a resort town where seeing such exotics is rare enough, let alone in the off season. It made for some interesting conversations – so we began writing down some of the comments the butterfly-doored coupe inspired. Here's a sampling:
  • "Wanna race for pinks? I'll go easy on you." – Acne-covered teenage pizza delivery driver in a sad-looking Ford Taurus parked at a Valero gas station near Grayling (which incidentally didn't actually have gas).
  • The proprietor of the Good Hart General Store, a quaint food emporium/post office nestled into the area's famed M-119 'Tunnel of Trees' route, gestured toward me and then said to a woman in the store: "I've almost got him talked into $5,000 and my Jeep." Her laughing response: "Yeah, bullshit!"
  • "Is that a 'boy car' or a 'girl car'?" – Female cashier at Pond Hill Farm, a farm/pumpkin patch/trout pond/tasting room/pickler/pig race complex.
  • "Is that a Lamborghini, or is that a Ferrari?" – Father with son carrying pumpkins.
  • "Well, you must be quite pleased with yourself." *Pauses and again looks at i8* "Understandably." – 20-something woman carrying a tiny sweatered dog.
  • "That looks like you're driving the future." – Walgreen's clerk who followed us out to the parking lot after we stopped to buy some pens.
  • "I have to ask, with that gorgeous car, are ya'll lost?" – Friendly patrol officer who followed us for eight miles through the Tunnel of Trees, only to turn around and question us in front of the Legs Inn.
In short, this road-bound flying saucer attracts more attention than any exotic we've driven. We're just glad it's so good to drive, or all the impromptu conversations it inspired would've been a lot more awkward.

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL

Hyundai/Kia's Prius rival to arrive by 2017

Posted Oct 31st 2014 1:29PM

Hyundai Prius-fighter spy shots

The Toyota Prius is the undisputed king of the hybrid market, but Hyundai and Kia are hoping to challenge its reign in the coming years with their own dedicated model. However, in all likelihood this is the same technology being shared between them. "We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars like hybrid-only cars, plug-in hybrid cars and fuel cell hydrogen cars," Hyundai Motor CEO Kim Choong-ho said to Reuters, during the launch of another vehicle in South Korea.

While Kim didn't say when the model would be ready, Autocar in Europe spoke to people at Kia, who said that the company's own hybrid was two years away and codenamed the DE. The initial vehicle is reportedly a five-door hatchback that's about 169-inches long, with more conventional styling than the Prius. Its powertrain is reportedly based around a 1.6-liter engine with electric assist. A plug-in version might follow later, and other bodystyles on the platform are possible. A recently spotted test mule might show the current state of development on the project (pictured above).

According to Reuters, the decision for the new vehicle comes in order to meet tighter emissions in some markets. However, it seems like a challenging move for the US market. Hyundai already sells its Tucson fuel cell in limited quantities and the Sonata hybrid, and Kia has the Optima hybrid and Soul EV. Industry analysts are also predicting that hybrids might have a hard time versus internal combustion engines in the coming years. In addition, Toyota is rumored to get fuel economy close to 60 miles per gallon for some versions of the next Prius. All of these factors make selling the models here a potentially difficult undertaking.

News Source: Reuters, Autocar

Image Credit: Glenn Paulina / KGP Photograhpy

An inside look at Mopar's SEMA fleet

Jeeps, Rams And A Viper Head For Las Vegas

Posted Oct 31st 2014 12:45PM



Mopar is heading to the SEMA show in Las Vegas with a fleet of customized vehicles that appeal to enthusiasts of all stripes. There's a Dodge Viper ACR concept that follows in the lineage of the supercar's great road racing past, and a custom Ram ProMaster that might just be the ultimate outdoor party machine.

We got an inside look at Mopar's cars that will be on display at the show, which also include a Dodge Challenger T/A concept, two crazy Jeeps and a Ram 2500 Outdoorsman that could change the way you camp. While these are some of our favorites, Mopar is bringing plenty to SEMA, so let us know your top choices in the comments section.

Five cursed and haunted cars

From Franz Ferdinand To James Dean, Things That Go Honk In The Night

Posted Oct 31st 2014 11:57AM

fog in the city

Any kid lucky enough to grow up in Detroit is familiar with the Henry Ford Museum. It's huge, full of shiny things and a great place to take a child and let them burn off some energy. After several field trips and weekend outings however, the dusty concept vehicles and famous aircraft tend to lose their punch for youngsters. As a fifth grader, I was already gazing on the museum's many gems with glassy eyes. On yet another school trip, we made our way to John F. Kennedy's death car, a gleaming black Lincoln limo. The aging volunteer docent told our little group something I had never heard before.

"You know, this car is haunted. Several employees have reported seeing a gray presence right here," he said, pointing to the back passenger side seat.

I perked up. Now here was something I had never heard before. A haunted car? Sure, it happened in Goosebumps, but this was real life. It made sense, in a way. Cars can be violent, emotional places. That's certainly the case with JFK's limo, as well as the other four cars on this list. And maybe those gut-wrenching deaths can permanently doom a car.

Image Credit: The Surrey Advertiser, Wikicommons, Getty, Wikicommons, Renault

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