Monday, January 30, 2012

Seriously? NOS Yugo parts? LMAO!

Ran across this gem on Craigslist a few nights ago. For $200, you could be the lucky owner of a piece of automotive history. An original, shrink wrapped 1986-1989 carb for a Yugo. That last Yugo I saw had to have been about 10 years ago, and it was tubbed out and pro-streeted, likely not sharing but a few original factory parts. On a side note, I also saw some Yugo rubber bumpers for sale by another seller. Some things should just stay tucked away in the corner of the garage collecting dust.

Brand NEW 1986-1989 Yugo carb

Henry Ford Museum opening revamped auto displays

Henry Ford Museum has finished their extensive revamp/restoration of their automotive display. Much of the Museum had been under renovation over the past couple of years. While I can't confirm all the work is done, as we let our memberships lapse last summer, I will promise to renew in the coming months and check out the new display.

Henry Ford Museum revamped auto displays

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 Detroit Autorama: February 24-26, 2012

Just a quick reminder, the Detroit Autorama is just around the corner. This year's show will be February 24-26, 2012. I will once again be attending two days, both Friday and Saturday. Show coverage with pictures will be posted shortly after. My dad will be attending this year, after missing a few. The fact that the Challenger project is moving forward seemed to be all the incentive he needed.

Hours of the 2012 Detroit Autorama

Friday - 12pm - 10pm
Saturday - 9am - 10pm
Sunday - 10am - 8pm

2012 Detroit Autorama official site

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chevy's New Nova: Code 130R


Chevrolet Code 130R. A concept vehicle that seems to have been designed with a great chance of going to production.

Ok, so maybe it's not called the Nova, and considering the age group they are going for, perhaps resurrecting the Nova name plate is not the direction they want to go. Yet do people really get excited over names like "Code 130R?" In my opinion, "Nova" should still get the nod.


The Code 130R (that's seriously just way too much to say) really caught my attention at this year's show. I liked the styling, as it blended today's Chevy face with a Camaro rear, and packaged it into a small car. I couldn't help but envision the first generation Nova the more I looked at it. It reminded me of the Nova not because of it's styling, but in regards to size and weight, and a market that really no longer exists. While similar cars in size exists, they lack excitement and performance in my opinion. There isn't a car this size currently built that gets my blood pumping. I will admit though, it wasn't until I saw the Scion FR5 that the gears in my head started turning, and I realized the true potential this Chevy has.

Here is how to lay it out in my opinion. Make minimal to no changes to the concept design. Secondly, make it light. The Scion is in the 2,700 lbs range, which equates to an excellent power to weight ratio. The majority of sales will include 4 & 6 cylinder engines. However, offer up a 5.3 LS (327) as an SS option. Keep it under 3,000 lbs with the V8, offer it with a 6 speed transmission, and you should still have a 32+ mpg car with the V8. You don't have to go crazy with the power, but 325 hp or so would be nice. I realize that you could put a turbo 4 or 6 in it and still achieve 300+ hp, but I'm from the mindset that likes the sound of a V8. I really don't care if the 4 banger makes the power if it sounds like a Hoover. It absolutely HAS to be rear wheel drive!

Lastly, you need to keep the price in check. I would love a new Camaro, but I'm not sure I will ever bring myself to spend $35,000+ to get a Camaro optioned the way I'd like. Even if I could, I am greatly disappointed in the fact that it weighs nearly 4,000 lbs, and would get the same or worse mileage as my daily driven 1989 Pontiac Formula. I mean seriously, aside from the 426 hp, where is the 20+ years of technology? Build this new Nova, fully optioned, V8 powered, and backed with a 6 speed, all for around $22,000, and I would seriously consider buying one.

I really liked the Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice, but felt they were a bit heavier than they needed to be, and didn't have the type of power available I would have liked to see. A new Nova could fill the void left by the Solstice/Sky. Lastly, offer it in a convertible, to satisfy the topless crowd. I honestly feel this could be not only a hot seller, but one of the best handling/performing cars for the price to come out of GM in years. What do you think? Should GM build such a car? I suspect that some version of this car will go into production, but I fear it will be wrong wheel drive, 4 cylinder powered, lack the handling, and weigh 3,500+ lbs, and most importantly, not be of any interest to this potential buyer.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

North American International Auto Show: Coverage and Photos

The North American International Auto Show is now in full swing, and yesterday I attended my first of two planned visits. Without a doubt, the industry as a whole is much healthier than it has been in years. Most all auto makers had new product as well as concepts on display. Some were promising, while others looked like epic fails. Overall though, this was a great year for the show! It wasn't until after I looked through my photos that I realized just how good things are for performance enthusiasts. There haven't been so many high powered rear wheel drive cars on the market in years. These ARE the new "good ol days."

The current Bentleys aren't like the old ones. Gone is the brick faced front in, replaces with smooth flowing aerodynamics lines that go nicely with the swept back windshield. Truly a beauty that lives up to it's reputation.

I had read about the Audi A3 ahead of time, and it was suppose to be a big deal now that it's heading to U.S. shores. I fail to see the big deal.

This Audi on the other hand, this is a car to get excited about.

The future of BMW? Well, perhaps at least ONE possible future option.

This future option is more like it!

The new BMW 3 series.

Smashed Bug. I"ve never been a fan of the Bug, regardless of era. That said, this one is the best of the bunch. I think it's because it doesn't look so bubbly.

A Porsche was never meant to have 4 doors.

A West Coast Customs Kia. Perhaps this ends the old cliche, maybe you CAN occasionally polish a turd.

The Dodge Challenger Yellow Jacket, live and in color.

The Dodge Super Bee.

I was very disappointed with the Dodge Dart. I was hoping for an aggressive little rice rocket, one that would change the face of compact cars. What I saw was just another average looking small car that does nothing to excite me.

The Boss. Probably the best all around bang for the buck when it comes to throwing a car around corners.

Though the nod goes to the Dodge Charger in my book, the 300 is still one of the best looking family cars on the market.

Best looking Scion ever built in my opinion, which normally wouldn't be saying much. This car however, will bring the Scion to a whole new market. Rear wheel drive, sporty styling, 2,800 lbs, and initially a 200 hp engine. That's lighter and more powerful than my first car, a 1989 Pontiac Firebird with a 305 V8! With a rumored stripped down model and a possible turbo version, this car will be a hot seller. If this wasn't an import, this is the kind of small car I would actually consider....if it wasn't an import.

Toyota Alfa Romeo?

Reminds me of a Star Wars character. I believe he may have been a Jedi.

The Lexus LFA. This is another damn good looking car! After years of bland cars (in my opinion), the imports seem to be onto something regarding their styling.

The Lexus LF-LC is another ALMOST. The styling is so close, maybe 80%, but then they had to go and ruin the rear. The front needs a little tweaked as well. The side blended ground effects remind me all too much of the 1991-1992 Firebirds, which I thought were gaudy. That said, I love the overall shape of the body. With some cleaning up, this could be a styling hit.

Cadillac's XTS, their new flag ship. Oddly, this will be Cadillac's only front wheel drive based model, though as with this model, all wheel drive is available.

The Cadillac ATS, aka BMW 3 Series fighter.

2013 Chevy Malibu. Not bad looking, but not my cup of tea.


The Chevy Miray. Here is another very attractive small compact car that does it for me. The lower portion/ground effects are a bit too much for me, but with some cleaning up, this could be one sweet car as well. Sadly, concepts like this lose most of what makes them cool by the time they go to production.

The rear of the Miray really does it for me! I would suspect that this styling will be included in the next Corvette, as you can't help but see the Vette's heritage. Sadly, that would likely mean such styling would NEVER be used on a small car like this, as it would be viewed as taking away from the Vette's noise.

The 2013 ZL1 Convertible. Chevy's most powerful Camaro convertible ever built.


Chevy Code 130R. Another good looking small car. This car has a lot of potential, as it looks as though it is production ready. This could fill the void left by the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky.

The rear of the Code 130R resembles the Chevy Camaro, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't like the placement/look of the tail pipes, but a nice tip or mesh screen exits while relocating them higher in the bumper is an easy fix.

Chevy Tru 140S. I feel as though this car has been done, as it's a bit too Mitsubishi Eclipse-ish for me. Not that the round/bubbly Eclipse was a bad looking car, but it just makes the design dated about a decade.

The Nissan GT-R. Another successful competitor in the performance market. I will say however, I've never been a fan of the front end styling.

The Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet. A convertible? This is a first, and quite possibly the first in a new market. The styling itself is ugly as can be, but the idea of a convertible is almost enough to make up for it.

The Nissan 370Z. Nothing over the top, nothing too gaudy, and worthy performance.

The Lincoln MKZ is a very sharp looking car. Why Ford decided to base it on a front wheel drive platform is beyond me. By doing so, in my opinion, they took themselves out of the luxury car market. BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Dodge and Chrysler have all come to realize that the luxury car market prefers rear wheel drive. I can't see Lincoln making it passed another decade, and Ford will in turn wave the white flag to the luxury segment. Such a shame, as this car has a lot of potential.

Ford Mustang Cobra GT500 Convertible, strapped to a dyno and ready to flex it's muscles.

The 2013 Ford Fusion...another "not my cup of tea car." It seems to be a good all around car, but like the Malibu, it simply is what it is. These cars just look bland to me, and blend in among the Camrys and Accords of the world, not unlike so many other cars on the road.

The Acura NSX. I was always intrigued by the former NSX, but always thought the deck over the mid mounted engine looked unproportional to the rest of the car. In this concept, they have resolved that issue, while remaining a mid-engine sports car. In addition to being all wheel drive, it is also set to be a hybrid.

Dodge Charger outfitted with a ton of stuff from the Mopar Parts bin. Most notably, the 426 ci modern hemi. If the recorded audible exhaust note was any indication of what this car sounds like, it has to be one beast of a car.

Hyundai Genesis, a company I once would have never imagined would enter into the "modern muscle" market. From the reviews I've read over the past couple years, it seems to be a worthy competitor.

The Falcon Motorsports F7. Hands down, the show stopper for me. This car was on display last year, tucked away in a low buck rope display in raw, unpainted form. It's light weight/high power showed enormous potential though. This year, the finished product exceeded my wildest dreams. This is the type of car I'd love to see it's mark in the super car segment. Designed and built right here in Michigan, it is as hot as they come.

Simple, straight to the point, no frills interior. Just my style.

Again, a simple, straight to the point, and classic look at the rear of the car. Perfect in every way. With 620 hp of Corvette power and a curb weight of 2,785 lbs, this car has to be a rocket, and deserving of a future entry of it's own. For more info: Falcon Motorsports F7

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept

I keep hearing about the reinvention of the Lincoln brand. While I think the MKZ looks sharp from what I've seen so far, I tend to disagree with Ford that they are going to be competitive in the luxury car market. The reason why is simply: Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, all rear wheel drive, and built upon their own platforms.

Ford is once again starting with the Ford Fusion (which also looks to be a sharp car) and turning it into a "luxury" car. Also, the rest of the competition has long since realized what Europe has known for years, a true luxury car that lives up to an owners expectations starts with being rear wheel drive. While Ford has done many things right during these past few years to come out on top in many ways, this re-invention of Lincoln is off to a bad start in my opinion.

2013 Lincoln MKZ Concept

The 2012 North American International Auto Show is Underway

The 2012 North American International Auto Show kicked off with the press preview days. As expected, numerous cars were unveiled making their debuts. Below are some of which have already made the internet. I will be attending this year's show, possibly twice, and will be reporting back with pictures and opinions by next week some time.

2013 Lincoln MKZ: The reinvention is underway for luxury brand

Buick pushes into emerging small luxury crossover market with Encore

Honda unveils redesigned Accord coup

Nissan aims for right balance with redesigned Pathfinder crossover

Holly-made $250K sports car boasts carbon fiber body, 'Vette engine

Toyota shows off an electric fututre

Chrysler reveals 700 minivan concept

New Ford Fusion comes in many flavors

Mercedes shows power, efficiency

6 Vehicles displayed at Detroit Auto Show as BMW seeks to keep luxury lead

Chevy aims for millennial market with two concepts

VW aims hybrid, EV at U.S. consumers

Ford is betting big on electric, plug in vehicles

Honda looks to rebuild Acura's momentum in performance car

Scion unveils new FR-S sports car, and a racing version

Mercedes SL roadster is widened and lengthened

Dodge: Dart is revolutionary car

Korean automaker Hyundai won't rest of its laurels

Porsche 911

Audi Q3 coming to U.S. in 2014

Bentley Continental

Lexus LF-LC at Detroit Auto Show

VW Bugster

Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept

Mini roadster debuts amid monster sales

North American International Auto Show

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Official Press Release: 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Yellow Jacket

2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8® 392 Yellow Jacket Creates Buzz at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

Special limited-edition Dodge Challenger SRT8® model features exclusive Stinger Yellow exterior and interior appointments

Proven 392 cubic-inch (6.4-liter) HEMI® V-8 engine provides pulsating 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque across a wide rpm range while also delivering 23 miles per gallon on the highway

Two-mode adaptive damping suspension system offers selectable suspension tuning and automatically adapts to road and driver inputs for optimal vehicle control

Exclusive SRT® heated steering wheel features mounted paddle shifters for hands on the wheel shifting both on road and at the race track

Available 18-speaker Harman Kardon® audio system, with innovative GreenEdge® technology, offers 900 watts of power

Arrives in U.S. dealer showrooms in first quarter 2012

November 9, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Chrysler Group's Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team today announced an exclusive production run of special-edition 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8® 392 Yellow Jacket models featuring Stinger Yellow exterior paint and interior appointments.

Based on the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, the Challenger SRT8 Yellow Jacket features a Stinger Yellow body color and black grille surround to match the standard black body-side stripes that highlight the newly developed Yellow Jacket logo on the rear fender. New 20 x 9-inch, five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels with black painted pockets provide a unique performance look.

Inside, the standard leather seats feature an exclusive Stinger Yellow accent band with embroidered Yellow Jacket logo and silver accent stitching. The driver's seat also features a full adjustable lumbar position with seatback tilt, memory and an easy-to-reach release handle, while the front-passenger seat adds tilt and slide with memory, which makes it even easier for passengers to get in and out of the back seat.

"The Challenger SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket adds another piece of performance car nostalgia to our rear-drive muscle coupe lineup in 2012," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports. "The Stinger Yellow paint and interior accents speak directly to the performance enthusiast who appreciates a memorable and collectible color that helps deliver even more excitement and exclusivity."

The original Dodge "Yellow Jacket" show car, which evolved from the 1970 Challenger, was shown at various auto show exhibits beginning in late 1969. Painted pearlescent Honey Gold, the roadster was powered by the 426-cubic inch HEMI V-8 and carried a number of the famous Dodge "Scat Pack" performance features, such as a unique front spoiler, wider tires, heavy-duty suspension and brakes, and manual transmission, along with the Rallye instrument cluster and shaker hood.

A limited number of 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket models will be built for the U.S. market. All Dodge Challenger models are built at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

The Challenger SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket will be available for ordering in December at Dodge dealerships nationwide and will be arriving in U.S. dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2012.

About the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8® 392
For 2012, the Dodge Challenger SRT8® 392 adds even more high-tech performance features to solidify its place as the brand's ultimate modern American rear-wheel-drive muscle coupe. With 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque from the proven 392 cubic-inch HEMI® V-8, the balanced performance approach of the Challenger SRT8 392 provides outstanding straight-line acceleration, world-class ride and handling, high-performance braking and the most up-to-date technologies that deliver more driver excitement and control.

The standard Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission and a dual-disc high-performance clutch are proven performers that were first offered on the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10®. Both automatic and manual models feature a standard limited-slip differential to maximize performance.

The optional five-speed automatic transmission features new, standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters that join the center console mounted Auto Stick, allowing for a choice of spirited shifting on both the road and the race track. Both methods give the driver the ability to manually select specific gears on the transmission.

Standard Fuel Saver Technology (four-cylinder mode) in automatic transmission equipped models allows the engine to operate economically on four cylinders or use the power of all eight cylinders when needed. The EPA fuel economy miles per gallon (mpg) (City/Hwy) ratings for the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 are 14/23 for both manual and automatic transmission models.

The adaptive damping suspension (ADS) system is new for 2012 and tuned specifically for the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. The ADS system on the Challenger SRT8 392 features the fastest turn-in and most nimble handling characteristics of any SRT product.

In the "Sport" setting, the system provides the highest damping rates allowing the driver to push the handling envelope like never before. In "Auto" mode, a wide range of on-road and driver inputs – such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral/vertical accelerations – automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions.

Drivers can easily choose between settings to quickly change the shock damping and harshness characteristics from "Auto" for everyday commuting to "Sport" for more spirited driving situations.

The handling result is .90g capability on the skid pad – the most of any production Challenger and on par with some of the world's best-handling performance coupes.

The standard SRT performance brake package produces world-class stopping power of 60 to 0 mph in just 117 feet from 14.2 inch (front) and 13.8 inch (rear) vented/slotted rotors with four-piston Brembo fixed calipers painted red. The three-mode electronic stability control system with knockback mitigation also includes four-wheel ABS, all-speed traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, Brake Assist and Hill-start Assist (HSA).

The 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 accelerates from 0-60 mph in the high 4-second range; runs the quarter mile in mid-12-second range with the automatic transmission (high 12-second range with the manual); goes from 0-100-0 mph in the low 15s, reaches a top speed of 182 mph with the manual transmission (175 mph with the automatic).

The large front splitter and integrated front fender spats and body-color rear decklid spoiler provide stable high-speed aerodynamic balance while the front fascia chin spoiler also improves aerodynamic drag and is accented in black for a more aggressive look.

Unique "392 HEMI" badges flank both fenders touting the historically significant V-8 engine that remains true to its high-performance roots and powers the highest rated Challenger in terms of horsepower and torque ratings. From the rear, the 4-inch rectangular exhaust tips deliver the 392's performance exhaust note while adding the styling cue of a serious muscle car.

The race inspired and high-performance interior begins with the new, exclusive SRT® heated steering wheel that features mounted paddle shifters for hands on the wheel shifting both on road and at the race track. All audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) controls are accessible from the horizontal spokes on the steering wheel.

The trapezoidal instrument panel features a four-bomb gauge cluster with chromed accent rings and unique SRT graphics. Inside the cluster, the SRT-exclusive Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with performance pages gives the driver trip information, multimedia information from the Media Center radio, along with instant feedback on 0-60 mph acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, G-forces, one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times.

The 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 features more than 35 advanced safety and security features, including standard Keyless Enter-N-Go and three-mode electronic stability control (ESC) with segment-exclusive Ready Alert Braking and Rain Brake Support safety features to improve overall vehicle handling and performance.

For maximum convenience and to keep passengers connected, a wide array of connectivity, infotainment and mobile multimedia options are available on the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

New for 2012, the Dodge Challenger SRT8 features an available 900-watt, 18-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon. The system offers world premier innovation, featuring a 32-volt TPS (Tracking Power Supply) 12-channel Class D amplifier that delivers outstanding acoustics and brings multi-dimensional, quality sound for all interior occupants.

The new system uses GreenEdge® speaker and amplifier technology to offer superior sound quality and high Sound Pressure Level outputs with minimum energy consumption. GreenEdge amplifiers alone outperform traditional amplifier efficiency by up to 55 percent, representing a net efficiency of more than 90 percent in some cases. The speakers are tuned for maximum efficiency and perfectly matched to the amplifier output.

The innovative Uconnect® Media Center 430, 430N and 730N radios integrate a 6.5-inch touchscreen display with a hard drive where more than 150 hours of music and photos can be stored. Uconnect Media Center radios also offer two navigation options, including segment-leading Garmin® Navigation guidance and mapping (Uconnect Media Center 430N), or premium GPS Navigation with SIRIUS Traffic (Uconnect Media Center 730N). Both navigation solutions feature SIRIUS Travel Link, providing real-time weather, fuel prices and more while on the go.

SRT Track Experience
Owners of any Chrysler Group SRT vehicle receive one day of professional driving instruction as part of the SRT Track Experience, designed to maximize their driving knowledge and skills on the street or track. Sessions are held throughout the year at selected tracks.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee - Photo by Brian Vance

As I browsed through the magazine rack, the February 2012 issue of Motor Trend caught my eye. What caught my eye? The bright yellow Super Bee on the cover. I read the article with great joy, as I thought a stripped down, affordable, fast modern muscle car was long over due. This seemed to fit the bill, and the label "knuckle dragging beast" shortly into the read seemed right up my alley. Then, I got to the end of the article and was rather disappointed.

This Super Bee model does succeed in omitting many of the "luxury" items I personally could live without. Gone are the leather seats, front and rear heated seats, heated/cooled cup holders, 19 speaker premium audio system, LED reading lights, adaptive damping suspension, and navigation system (though a smaller touch screen, I could do without, remains). Other items were also deleted, though that's all the article listed. So far, the car sounded promising, dropping nearly 100 lbs of weight.

The 4.4 second 0-60 times are impressive, along with the 12.8 second 1/4 mile times, the curb weight is where my disappointment set in. So, how much does this Charger placed on the Jenny Craig diet weigh? Even after dropping nearly 100 lbs, she still weighs 4,271 lbs! There is nothing light weight or stripped down about that. While the car has plenty of power, I am sure that it lacks the seat-o-the-pants acceleration a muscle car needs to have in my book. Having test drove the Dodge Challenger R/T a few years ago, I came to the same conclusion. The Challenger is sharp, rides as comfy as a family car, and it's 370 hp gets the car going. Yet the quick acceleration of the needle in the dash just didn't put a big smile on my face. Is it fast? Hell yeah. Does it feel fast though? Nope, not to me.

I will give Dodge credit though, as they may be on to something. Perhaps in the near future, in an effort to meet the mpg standards put forth by the government, all future models will be put on a serious diet. Then, when a "stripped down/luxury void" model goes into production, that 100 lbs less will mean something. It doesn't need to be a feather weight, as it is still a 4 door family car, but give me a 3,600, or even a 3,700 lb Charger with 470 hp, AND A MANUAL TRANSMISSION!, then we can talk. Two tons of fun? Ain't gonna happen.

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee