Skip to main content

We obsessively cover the auto industry…

32 New Articles in the last 24 hours Hide

Long Term
2015 Subaru WRX: Accident, wheels and tires

  • Long Term
    2015 Subaru WRX: Accident, wheels and tires
  • Quick Spin
    2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe
  • Teased
    Acura NSX coming to Detroit, the wait is almost over [w/video]
  • Podcast
    Autoblog Podcast #410
Tip Us
ETC

Lister founder Brian Lister passes at 88 years old [w/video]

Posted Dec 18th 2014 10:14AM

Brian ListerThe founders of most automakers aren't still with us. Enzo Ferrari, Ettore Bugatti, Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, Kiichiro Toyoda, Soichiro Honda and so many others have long since left this world. Those who are still with us – like Christian von Koenigsegg, Horacio Pagani and Elon Musk – got into the game much later. Brian Lister hit the scene a long time ago, but until just the other day, he was still with us. But now his time on the racing circuit has come to an end.

The founder of Lister Cars, one of Britain's most legendary racing constructors, was born on July 12, 1926, the scion of a proud family of engineers. After training as an engineer himself, he joined the Royal Air Force just after the end of the Second World War, and soon after started trading up the chain of British sports cars. He built his own chassis powered by an MG engine in 1954 and the legendary Lister Knobbly was born.

Subsequent developments saw Lister upgrade first to Bristol power, then Maserati and most famously Jaguar and (for the North American market) Chevy engines. He remained involved in the industry for many years after, building and setting up numerous racing cars for Le Mans and other sports car races. Sixty years after the debut of the original, Lister came back with the continuation Knobbly, the first example of which Brian Lister inspected himself before he passed on this past Tuesday, December 16, 2014. He was 88 years old, and will undoubtedly be fondly remembered as his work endures.

British television presenter Quentin Willson interviewed Brian Lister just a week before his passing, and we've included the minute-and-a-half-long clip below along with the press release from the reborn Lister Motor Car Company detailing its founder's life.

News Source: Lister

Did Neil Young just spill the beans on a 2016 Lincoln Continental? [w/video]

Posted Dec 18th 2014 9:30AM

Neil Young Memorabilia

Neil Young may be better known as a singer-songwriter and rock n' roll icon than he is for his involvement with cars, but the Canadian-born musician is not without his automotive credentials. His latest book, after all, is titled "Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars," and one of his most famous songs, "From Hank to Hendrix," was written about his old station wagon. But does that mean he's got an inside line on new cars coming out?

In an appearance on CNBC's Mad Money with Matt Cramer this week, the Y in CSNY was plugging Pono, a portable music player and service he developed. During the segment, which you can watch in the video clip below, Young mentioned that his company was working on a new in-car audio integration with Harman, which as we know just signed a deal with Lincoln.

Here's where it gets interesting: The Godfather of Grunge mentioned that Pono and Harman were preparing to put the system in the 2016 Lincoln Continental. The thing is, Lincoln hasn't made a Continental for a dozen years now. Does Neil know something we don't, or did he simply misspeak? He is, after all, working on an electric-converted '59 Continental he calls the LincVolt, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine he got mixed up. But maybe, just maybe, it was the first bit of leaked info that Ford's luxury division is planning on shifting away from its MK-based naming scheme and reviving at least one iconic nameplate.

News Source: CNBC via The Detroit News

Image Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP

Volvo planning exit from motor racing

Posted Dec 18th 2014 8:45AM

Volvo Polestar in STCC

Volvo is in the midst of a rebirth of sorts. It's completely revitalizing its product lineup, it's rolling out new powertrain technologies, and as it announced just the other day, it's completely changing directions when it comes to its marketing and sales approach. That will include selling new cars online, pulling out of all but the most essential global auto shows, and ceasing its sponsorship of all activities save for the Volvo Ocean Race. But what about its racing activities on land?

According to the latest word from Down Under, its motorsports efforts could could be getting the axe as well. Motoring.com.au reports that part of Volvo marketing director Alain Visser's plan for the Swedish automaker is to withdraw from the touring car series in which it participates. In partnership with Polestar, the company current competes in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship and in the V8 Supercars series in Australia. It has also competed in the World Touring Car Championship and was tipped to return to it in the near future, but that prospect – as well as the fate of its existing programs – now looks to be in doubt.

That doesn't necessarily mean Volvo will be speeding off the racing circuit quite so quickly, though. Polestar reportedly has a contract with Volvo to represent it in the STCC through 2015 and in V8 Supercars through 2016 – so we wouldn't be surprised to see Volvo stay on the grid at least until those contracts run out.

Beyond that, however, is anyone's guess. If Gothenburg finds that its racing activities - victorious ones, especially – drive more sales, it could very well opt to keep funneling in the cash. But if it's looking to trim spending and finds its motorsport programs don't adequately drive its safety- and environmentally conscious image, the Swedes could call it quits for the foreseeable future.

News Source: Motoring.com.au

20 stolen Red Bull Racing trophies recovered from lake

Posted Dec 18th 2014 7:59AM

APTOPIX Korea F1 GP Auto Racing

When is someone happy? When he loses something and finds it again. If that old Yiddish proverb is anything to go by, the guys at Red Bull Racing must be at least a little happy right now, because they've recovered some of the trophies that were stolen from the team's headquarters earlier this month.

For those just joining us, the incident in question involved a band of bandits driving a silver SUV through the front of the Red Bull facility in Milton Keynes, UK, stealing some 60 or so trophies from the display case in the lobby. But now some of those trophies – hard-earned from four Formula 1 World Championships and 50 grand prix victories – have been found.

According to the statement released on the team's website, about 20 of the stolen trophies have been found discarded in a lake – Horseshoe Lake near Sandhurst, to be specific. Apparently, the thieves got rid of the stolen trophies when they found they had no intrinsic value. The rest may still be discovered, but if they've got much silver, gold or other precious metals in them, they could end up melted down for their market value.

The team says it intends to have replicas made of the trophies that aren't recovered. Here's hoping that won't be necessary, though.

News Source: Red Bull Racing

Image Credit: Lee Jin-man/AP

Fiat Abarth Zagato lovechild is a double bubble worth the trouble

Posted Dec 17th 2014 8:00PM

1957 Fiat Abarth Zagato 750 GT Corsa

The Italian automotive industry is filled with legendary names: Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Lamborghini, De Tomaso, Pagani... but the names Fiat, Abarth and Zagato belong up there right beside them – especially when they came together on a vehicle as singular as this one.

It's a 1957 Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato Corsa, and it's a rare little monster indeed. It's based on a Fiat 600, tuned by Abarth and rebodied in classic double-bubble form by Zagato. There were only about five or six hundred of these made, and only 21 of them were Corsas. Its owner, Carl Gustav Magnusson, had one just like it when he lived in Europe, and entered it five times in the Mille Miglia. But after selling it and moving to America, he found another – with matching numbers – scooped it up and has enjoyed it ever since.

Fiat and Zagato took a modern stab at a similar formula a few years ago, and if it had ever reached production, an Abarth version would likely have followed. But alas it never did, so the closest we'll likely ever get is to join the videographic artisans at Petrolicious as they tell the story of this beautiful little classic in the video above.

News Source: Petrolicious via YouTube

What you missed on 12.17.14

Posted Dec 17th 2014 7:33PM

uturn

Mercedes S63 AMG Coupe2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe driven

There's a whole lot to love about the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe – it's sexy, powerful, and immensely comfortable. We've already driven the standard S550 with its 4.7-liter, twin-turbo V8, but now, managing editor Jeremy Korzeniewski gets behind the wheel of the far more potent S63 AMG Coupe. Beauty, brains, and a hell of a lot of brawn. Read all about it, here.




Acura NSXProduction Acura NSX confirmed for Detroit

Finally. No, FINALLY. After seeing several conceptual versions of the long-awaited Acura NSX, the production version will officially show itself at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show next month. For now, Acura has released a few teaser images and a short video about its super coupe, and to say we're on the edge of our seats would be a vast understatement. Bring it on.




lexus fLexus teases new Detroit-bound F model

In more Detroit Auto Show hotness, Lexus has given us a glimpse of something fast that'll make its debut next month. Honestly, we aren't totally sure what to expect here – some sources say GS F, while others report IS F. Either way, it's an F-badged something-or-other, and we'll know more once the Detroit show officially kicks off in just a few weeks.




Top Stories

New Toyota Mirai videos continue questionable hydrogen claims

Posted Dec 17th 2014 7:00PM

2016 Toyota Mirai in White

"Toyota engineers were simultaneously working on a brand new technology that met all the driver's needs with an even smaller carbon footprint."

Toyota has released a number of new promotional videos for the hydrogen-powered 2016 Mirai. Most are exactly what you'd expect: pretty, full of promise and vaguely informational. But there was one line in the Product Introduction video that caught out ear.

In the Product Information video about the Mirai, the narrator goes into a short history of Toyota's green car advances. After talking about the Prius and the Prius Plug In, making EVs for urban commuting and the rest of Toyota's advanced fuel programs, we hear this: "Never satisfied though, Toyota engineers were simultaneously working on a brand new technology that met all the driver's needs with an even smaller carbon footprint, one that took its lead from nature itself." You can watch the video (and four others) below.

Plug In America co-founder Paul Scott told AutoblogGreen, "Show us the math! Toyota claims the FCV has a smaller carbon footprint than their EV, but every paper I've read indicates the FCV uses 3-4 times as much energy to travel a given distance as an EV. If they are making this claim, let's call them out to prove it. Show us the math!" There's some math that comes out in favor of EVs here and here.

"BEVs and FCs have a very similar carbon footprint, dependent on fuel source." – Toyota's Jana Hartline

Plug-in vehicle advocate Chelsea Sexton went further. "Assuming appropriate comparisons in energy feedstock, basic science doesn't support the notion that the footprint of an FCV is smaller than that of an EV," she told AutoblogGreen, explaining that "appropriate comparison" would mean using similar energy generation methods for both hydrogen and plug-in vehicles. Not the tendency, she noted, "of H2 fans to compare FCVs based on solar-based electrolysis to EVs running on coal-bases electricity and similar shenanigans." Besides, Sexton said, "focusing purely on efficiencies entirely misses the biggest struggles that FCVs face in the market, namely fuel price, inconvenience, and market fear, even if the vehicles themselves are initially subsidized. An average consumer won't understand the true energy equation, but even if not yet sold on a full EV, he'll grok that a Chevy Volt provides most of the "long range, fast fueling" promise of FCVs today at a fraction of the cost and no compromising."

Toyota says the video does not directly compare EVs to fuel cells. Instead, said environmental communications manager Jana Hartline, "The video outlines our portfolio of technologies that have been developed over the last 20 years (hybrids, PHVs, EV) then references the simultaneous development of fuel cell technology. The commentary is merely noting that 20 years ago we started working on fuel cell vehicles that have a lower carbon footprint than traditional vehicles and even hybrids. BEVs and FCs have a very similar carbon footprint, dependent on fuel source." Watch the video below (again, it's the Product Information one, and the quote above starts at around 1:45) to get your own take on what the comparison is.

Toyota, through its Lexus arm, had to retract a pro-hydrogen ad earlier this year when it was discovered that the ad made incorrect claims about H2, including that there were "20 states with an 'established infrastructure' for hydrogen."

News Source: Toyota, Plug In America, Chelsea Sexton

Here's how to get your mug on the world's fastest car*

Posted Dec 17th 2014 6:32PM

The Bloodhound SSC, trying to be the first car to go faster than 1,000 mph, front three-quarter view..

Next fall, the Bloodhound SSC will line up on a South African plain and try to go faster than 763 miles per hour, the current land speed record. If it does that, then it will try to break its own record one year later by going 1,000 miles per hour. The team behind the effort is running an Indiegogo campaign to raise 50,000 pounds ($78,251 US), and if you contribute, you can get your name or your sexy selfie on the navy blue flanks of the fastest car on the planet. (*You know, if it breaks the record.)

The money isn't just going to the speed effort; while they work on the car, the Bloodhound crew runs a thorough, hands-on education program that shows schoolkids how math and engineering can be more exciting than graph paper and scientific calculators.

You can donate any amount you wish, with 15 pounds enough to get your name on the tailfin, 50 pounds to get your school's name there, 500 pounds to nominate a business name and 1,000 pounds to have your Snapchatted face travel 1,000 mph. You know the cliche: it's all for a good cause, folks. But this time it's true. Check out the video to see more.

News Source: Bloodhound SSC via Indiegogo

Sacré bleu! PSA mulling moving Paris headquarters to cut costs

Posted Dec 17th 2014 6:00PM

FRANCE-TRANSPORT-PSA

PSA Peugeot Citroën has been based in its current offices, located less than half a mile from the iconic Arc de Triomphe in Paris, for a half century now. But the latest word has it that the French automaker is planning on leaving the historic location as part of its plans to cut costs.

According to Bloomberg, chief executive Carlos Tavares recently presented a plan to the company's supervisory board to abandon 75 Avenue de la Grande Armée for a new location about an hour away from the city. The headquarters would be moved to the company's assembly near Poissy, while around 500 of the 1,500 employees based at the headquarters would be moved elsewhere in the French capital.

The automaker – which produces vehicles under the Peugeot, Citroën and recently emancipated DS brands – is in the midst of a massive restructuring plan. It sold part of its shares to the French government and part to Chinese automaker Dongfeng at the expense of the founding Peugeot family, and named new top executives, including Tavares and board chairman Louis Gallois, formerly of Airbus, pictured above in front of the headquarters building.

The aforementioned restructuring also resulted in PSA sell the building in question back in 2012 for over $300 million – it has been leasing it back for 50 million euros (>$60M) per year. If the move goes ahead, it would be implemented gradually through the end of 2016.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Eric Piermont / AFP / Getty

Mercedes-Benz USA considering moving south

Posted Dec 17th 2014 5:31PM

MBUSA HQ in Montvale, NJ

Mercedes-Benz may be a German automaker first and foremost, but it's a global operation. Among its many offices around the world, the company employs some 800 staffers at its US headquarters in New Jersey. But that office could be moving down South in the near future.

According to reports in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal and Automotive News, Mercedes is looking into relocating its American head office from Montvale, NJ, where it's been based since 1972, to one of several locations under consideration below the Mason-Dixon line.

Among the front-runners is Atlanta, where Porsche bases its North American operations. The presence of a trained workforce, necessary infrastructure, compliant officials and proximity to a major hub for international air traffic could make the Georgian metropolis an attractive proposition for Mercedes. Several locations in North Carolina are also said to be under consideration, as well.

Either way, MBUSA's relocation to the South would put it closer to its assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, AL, and to the Port of Brunswick near Savannah from which it ships out those vehicles made in Alabama to points overseas. The relocation project is reportedly being handled by commercial real-estate firm JLL Inc, which is helping Toyota handle its relocation from southern California and Ohio to Texas.

Sources don't expect, however, for New Jersey to let Mercedes go without a fight. The state's Grow NJ Assistance Program could offer MBUSA an attractive incentives package to stay in Montvale. The company previously planned in 1998 to relocate to Pearl River, NY, but ultimately ended up staying in Jersey.

2016 Nissan Titan gets video teaser ahead of Detroit debut

Posted Dec 17th 2014 5:01PM

Nissan Titan Frame

The Detroit Auto Show is going to be quite an event for pickup fans thanks to introductions of the new Toyota Tacoma and at least the rumor about the future F-150 Raptor. In addition to them, Nissan will finally unveil its next-gen Titan after months of teasing and spied glimpses.

With just a few weeks before the big show, Nissan is giving us one more glimpse of the new Titan on video. This time the company plays up the pickup's American development, but the highlight for fans are the brief shots of its frame and Cummins 5.0-liter diesel V8. The engine is rumored to pump out over 300 horsepower and about around 550 pound-feet of twist. Check out the clip above another chance to see just a little more of the next Titan.

News Source: Nissan Newsroom via YouTube

How Nissan's NYC Taxi of Tomorrow has turned into a nightmare

Posted Dec 17th 2014 4:30PM

Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

"Why can't we have competition? Why did the city think there had to be exclusivity?" – Taxi Association

Nissan's takeover of the lucrative New York City taxi market hasn't exactly gone according to script. An agreement that should have seen the company become the exclusive supplier of taxis for the next ten years has resulted in nothing but headaches, controversy and legal challenges, despite the $1 billion deal between the Japanese marque and the Big Apple.

The opposition to the Nissan deal has been fierce since day one, Automotive News reports in a sweeping writeup of the Taxi of Tomorrow saga, with the Greater New York Taxi Association – which represents nearly a third of the city's taxi owners – putting up a fight against the new van cabs.

Whether it's the monopolistic nature of the Nissan deal – as we said, under the terms of the deal Nissan would become the sole distributor of taxis for New York cabbies – the NV200 taxi's limited reliability record, or concerns over the company's ability to supply the cabs, the Taxi Association has fought tooth and nail against the so-called Taxi of Tomorrow, AN reports.

"Look, Nissan is a good company. And the NV200 is not a bad car. If it turns out that people like it, then great – they should be able to sell them here," Ethan Gerber, an attorney for the Taxi Association told Automotive News. "But why can't we have competition? Why did the city think there had to be exclusivity? It stifles competition and stops innovation."

"Why couldn't we just have standards for the taxi, and if Toyota and Ford wanted to offer an identical vehicle that might be somehow better or more competitive, why can't they?" Gerber asked.

News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Nissan

2016 Toyota Tacoma teased again

Posted Dec 17th 2014 3:59PM

2016 Toyota Tacoma Front Teaser

Toyota is following up its muddy teaser of the back of the 2016 Tacoma with a dusty new one that shows the truck's face for the first time. Without seeing more of the pickup, it's impossible to make any educated judgments, but the company appears to be taking the Taco's styling in a new direction.

The 2016 Tacoma features a hexagonal grille outlined in chrome and a narrow intake underneath visually connecting the foglights. The headlights take on a squinting look, and this shot suggests LED running lights at the outer edge (perhaps just for top-level trims). You can also just make out a bit boxier of a flare for the front fender.

The truckmaker hasn't announced anything about the Tacoma's powertrain, but we spied a prototype testing several months ago with a six-speed manual transmission. That one reportedly rode on a modified version of the current model's frame, as well. Toyota apparently has high hopes, though, because it's ramping up production at the Taco's factory in Mexico by 41 percent.

The truck debuts at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show on January 12, and you can read Toyota's to-the-point press release about it below.

News Source: Toyota

2016 Lincoln MKX spied in production form

Posted Dec 17th 2014 3:29PM

Lincoln MKX spy shots

We're getting our first quality look at the next-generation Lincoln MKX in production guise thanks to these fresh spy shots, and they suggest styling that hews very closely to the concept from earlier this year.

Compared to the showcar, the headlights aren't quite as well integrated into the grille, but these LED units still attempt to nicely wrap the split-wing grille across the entire face of the vehicle. Beyond that, the two vehicles quite similar, though. The shape of the lower air dam is practically identical – just with some extra plastic for the production version. The hint of a character line running down the side also makes the resemblance easy to spot, despite this tester's polka-dot camouflage. At the rear, the taillights stretch across the hatch with integrated exhaust outlets below. Even the twin-spoke wheels are comparable to the concept.

Also, look carefully at these spy shots, and you can notice Lincoln apparently testing two different trims. One has LED headlights with front and rear parking sensors (pictured above), and the other shows projector lights with the sensors only at the rear.

The next-gen MKX will launch in 2015 and will be the first model in Lincoln's lineup to benefit from the deal with Harman to use its high-end Revel audio system. Check out the gallery to get a mildly camouflaged sneak preview of the company's future luxury crossover.
Related GalleryLincoln MKX Spy Shots
Lincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy ShotsLincoln MKX Spy Shots

Image Credit: Chris Doane Automotive

Loading

Loading
Autoblog iPhone App
Shop for a vehicle