Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jumping a Suzuki Sidekick

This is absolutely amazing! Keep the volume down if at work, the one spectator pretty much busts a night once the guy lands.

For those that don't know about Big Red

Consider this your formal introduction. Big Red is the baddest of the baddest. A Nascar heart in a muscle car body. A 220+ mph car that effortlessly blasts across the desert.

Big Red Camaro does the Texas Mile

Big Red. The Legend. Man, I just love the way this engine sings when the rpm's get up there. Music to my ears.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.  What can I say?  It's one badass car.  The LT1 (I really can't believe they are using that name a 3rd time) is truly a piece of work.  Variable valve timing, displacement on demand, and direct injection.  All the while, reportedly set to achieve 30+ mpg while making 450+ hp.  Show me another sports car, or ANY car for that matter, achieving those numbers.  Here are a some shots from it's world debut at the North American International Auto Show.

This red beauty was bolted up on the wall, while a drab gun metal gray Vette was on display on the floor.  For the life of me, I can't figure out GM's obsession with such plain colors.  They did the same thing unveiling the Camaro ZL1 a few years ago, with the same ugly ass gray.  I like the red. I like the black side vents and ducts atop the 1/4's. The hood vent though, I think would look better in the body color, same for the roof.  I don't like the way the black breaks up the body color.  Paint those a-pillars red too.

They absolutely nailed the styling on the new Vette.  The body lines are sharp, and plentiful.  It is apparent that it's a Corvette, and yet you would be hard pressed to find similarities with former models.  It has been very tastefully evolved into more of a worldwide contender amongst the European counterparts.

The flat shoulders on the 1/4 panels look tough.  Maybe it's just an illusion, the but 1/4 panels don't look so big and flat with the C7.  Quite possibly, thanks to the sharper lines and flat shoulders, which create an obvious break in the body lines.

The interior appears to have been upgraded, and hopefully the seating complaints past Vette owners have had has been addressed.

Interior shot with the door panels.

Here was a display on the wall of the interior.  Sadly, the plexiglass cover didn't allow for a shot without a glare.  Still, it gives a much better overall view of the revised interior.

Some have complained about the rear of the car, and how it looks too Camaro-ish.  There is not doubt that you can see a slight amount of Camaro styling, but there is no confusing this for a Camaro.  While probably my least favorite part of the car, I don't find it as bad as many other have.  It still looks a bit fat to me, and very similar in design to many other sports cars, which leads me to believe that a lot of it is for functional reasons to diffuse the under car air.

I actually kinda like the quad tips.

I like the stance of the car, or maybe I should say the side design.  It almost has a crouching look to it.

I still don't understand the Stingray.  There is a time and a place for nostalgia, and the Corvette isn't it. Why bring back a nameplate from decades ago, and place it upon your halo car, a car featuring the best of the best technology and performance?  The same is true for the LT1 engine.  The name has been recycled 3 times now, though inititially the LT-1, the names the same.  While the little stingray emblem is cool, it looks out of place in my opinion.

This is the best of the best, and will surely take the Corvette to another level.  I will say this, with each generation, they are running out of rungs to climb.  Could the ZR1 be the undisputed champ, alone at the top?  I'm sure we will have to wait another year or two to know the answer to that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bombshell Buick

I know a badass car when I see one, and it seems Hot Rod Magazine shares my taste in cars.  This last summer when we stopped off to Bonneville during speed week, one of the first cars we stumbled upon was the custom Buick you see below.  Low and behold, the very same car showed up in a full feature in the March 2013 issue of Hot Rod.

Not sure I mentioned it, but while near the starting line at Bonneville, I was but a few feet away from David Freiburger in his goofy ass hat.  He was busy snappin' pictures, and I was too caught up in the moment watching the cars run to bother saying hello.  Any way, it's a very good article I wanted to share.  It also gave me reason to repost a few of the pictures I took at Bonneville.



Hot Rod: Buick Bombshell

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 SRT Viper GTS vs 2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Battle of the baddest! While the ZR1 slightly takes the edge, these cars are truly amongst the heavyweights of the world now. It will be interesting, with a new Vette hitting the road in 2014, what is in store for the next generation ZR1, assuming there will be one. I'm guessing a slight bump in power, and a little more refinement. While both cars are rock bottom bargains compared to the other cars in their class, both are likely to never be within grasp for myself. Yet that doesn't mean I can't still appreciate them for what they are. Toys for the rich.

Roadkill: Episode 11

After 11 episodes, I have to admit, this is a very entertaining series. My favorite amongst the Motortrend series, as Freiburger and Finnegan simply make the show. At 21:50 into the video, I realize why I like these two so much. I would have the same reaction in that situation. YEAH BABY!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Roadkill: Episode 10

These guys down under are absolutely nuts! More about the burnouts than the race!

Roadkill: Episode 9

I will give these guys credit, they got balls. That said, there is absolutely nothing about this event that looks remotely fun to me.

Roadkill: Episode 8

This car just doesn't do a thing for me. The engine is cool, and the injection badass though. I love 55's too, but have just never been into the straight axle gasser cars.

Roadkill: Episode 7

Draguar! Oddly enough, there is part of me that would like to see Hot Rod build this car into the fire breathing monster it could be. Why? I guess for no other reason, because it's different.

Roadkill: Episode 5

Lamborghini vs Rat Rod. It doesn't get any more polar opposite than this.

Roadkill: Episode 4

Snow storm, parking lot, engine Summit Racing. I have done more than my share of roadside repairs, but an engine swap in a parking lot? That's one I don't care to add to my resume.

Roadkill: Episode 3

Makes me wanna own a Ford Bronco.

Roadkill: Episode 2

They failed to accomplish any of their goals. They had car troubles every step of the way. Yet overall, they still make it look fun.

Roadkill: Episode 1

Freighburger and Finnegan have a way of making a roadtrip from hell seem like fun. Almost makes you wanna go buy some p.o.s. in another state and see if you can make it home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 North American International Auto Show Coverage

This year's North American International Auto Show felt good.  It felt healthy.  It felt like the industry was finally back to it's old self, and Cobo, in the midst of a massive $300 million renovation and expansion, was already looking drastically improved.

The cars are the stars, no doubt about that, and this year didn't disappoint.  I, being a diehard 'Merican, will even admit that there were a handful of them foreign jobbers that caught my interest.  Not enought to entice me to buy one, but enough where I can admire what they are doing.  Here is just a sampling of the cars, along with my two cents.

This Acura NSX was badass, no doubt about it.  A always thought the former model was pretty cool, but the area where the engine was, behind the rear window, just seemed oddly long and flat. This concept version is much more to my liking.

I'm not really sure what EV-ster means, but a nice little car just the same.  It looks like a ride that could fill the void left by the Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse.  Or do they still make the Eclipse?  Either way, its a good looking little 2 seat convertible, and quite possibly the best looking Hyundai ever built.

I believe my dad said it's up to 662 hp now.  The car needs no introduction, as if you don't know what it is, then I really couldn't explain it to you.  While the Camaro is my #1 modern pony, I will concede, the Mustang nails the overall package.  It's light, has plenty of power (even the regular old GT with it's 400 or so ponies), it's comfortable, and the sight lines inside the car are fine.  By comparison, my lone complaint regarding the Camaro is it feels like the roof is chopped, diminishing your ability to see.  Don't get me wrong, the Camaro looks a lot cooler, and I would still take one over the Mustang.  The Challenger is even more driver friendly, bringing along a nice cushy ride to boot.  My lone complaint about the Challenger is that it's a pig.  It looks like a pig, and at 4,200-4,400 lbs, it has the heft to back it up.

The new Lincolns are sharp.  They did a great job with the styling, and they appear to be a very well built car.  That said, it still seems to come up short in regards to being a luxury car.  Front wheel drive and small displacement engines, they just don't scream luxury.  More so, it's the front wheel drive. Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac, and I will even include the Chrysler 300, all rear wheel drive.  I just feel that you can't compete in the same market category without offering a similar product.  For that reason, I don't foresee Lincoln being included in most peoples shopping for luxury models in the near future.

Again, they did great regarding the styling.  Perhaps the best looking Lincoln rear in recent times.

This is Ford's F150 concept, the Atlas.  I loved the styling, though think they could tone down the grill just a bit.  It was also V6 powered, though assisted by their twin turbo system known as ecoboost.  Ford took a gamble, offering a V6 with very respectable power and torque in a market dominated by V8's.  They still offer V8's, and it will be interesting to see which engine survives over the next 5-10 years, as the V6 could very well claw its way to the top.


Granted, it's only a concept, the interior looked nice as well.

Not a bad looking convertible from Infiniti, though at a time when sharp edge body lines seem to be dominating, it comes in soft in regards to the styling.

This Infiniti was more like it!  A much better style, dare I even say, aggressive?  The best looking Infiniti ever in my opinion.

This was parked next to the WRX, it's the BRZ, and a much better looking car in my opinion.  While I didn't sit in this one, I did sit in the WRX.  I can only say that the owners who exhibit an almost cult following must have more of a function over form relationship, as the interiors were as bland as one can imagine.

Kia apparently trying to capture some of that "build your own car" fame that Scion enjoyed a few years back. Nothing I'd want anything to do with, but I can appreciate a car company allowing it's buyers to build the car they want.

The Nissan 370Z, still a good looking car and worthy candidate from Nissan.

The Nissan GT-R, a notch above the 370Z, and a few notches above it in regards to styling.

The next generation GMC truck...yawn.  They couldn't design a truck that actually looked like a new truck?

The Chevrolet sibling, also boring.

The new Chevrolet Impala.  While it looks like a very nice car, I still question why GM continues to recycle names and options to undeserving cars.  Front wheel drive?  200 hp?  There is nothing "Impala" about it, and I don't think a V8 300 hp version would be worthy of SS badging either.

The King of the show, and deserving of it's own entry.  Stay tuned for a more in depth look at the new Vette, with more pictures, and much more to say.  Let's just say that while the Vette could run with the big dogs power-wise, it just wasn't on par with the best of the best regarding styling.  This new Vette takes the fight too them, with enough new vision to break out of the Corvette mold, which shared styling through evolution since 1969 in my opinion.  There is no denying it's a Vette with just a quick glance.  It's a Vette no doubt, but it's a different kind of Vette. Again though, I question why they brought back the Stingray, or the well worn LT1 engine.  There is nothing nostalgic about this Vette, and with an average buy today that is 60 years old, they won't connect with a younger generation by labeling it a Stingray.  The LT1 has nothing in common with the original LT-1, or the LT1 of the 90's, why use it again?  For such a high tech engine, why not reuse LT5 if anything?

The ZL1.  A worthy car, deserving of it's badge of honor. Rightfully pays homage to the 69 ZL1.

The Challenger.  The best all around pony car in many ways.  From a performance standpoint, it comes in third place.  That's not to say that if I was to drive Route 66 out to California again from Detroit that it wouldn't be my #1 choice.  What it lacks in handling, it makes up for with a comfy ride. Truly a boulevard cruiser in every sense of the word.

A Lexus with the cow pusher option.  Ugly!

The Dodge Viper.  Excuse me, the SRT Viper (I think?).  Fiat decided to separate the Viper from the Dodge brand, and the upcoming Cuda may also share the same make.  The Viper is very much like the car discontinued a few years ago.  So much so, that only those who know their Vipers will be able to tell it's the new version.  It will be interesting to see how that gamble plays out.  Will the Viper faithful, or those interested in a Viper, look beyond the fact that the car has looked basically the same since the concept first appeared at Cobo back in 1989? That's around 25 model years!

Wait for it....

Wait for it...

The Ram Cummins Diesel, the most powerful in it's class.  850 ft/lbs?  30,000 lbs towing capacity?  Trucks have come a loooooong way, and this one leads the pack these days.

This car does nothing for me. Yet they did think outside the box, but I'd rather have an El Camino.


The Cadillac ELR.  Best looking Hybrid ever!  This car looks downright nasty. Would it be asking Bob Lutz too much to take one and drop an LS9 in one?  A la the Fisker Karma.

The New Cadillac ATS, the BMW 3 series fighter.  A great looking car that looks only slightly smaller than the CTS.

Porsche's Pan-American.  Ugliest Porsche ever, and a disaster you wouldn't think other respectable car companies would follow.

Then, we stumble upon a hideous offering by Ferrari.  Really?  Ferrari?  If not for the sexy ass car next to this train wreck, I would have lost all respect for Ferrari.

This Ferrari saves face.  I will be the first to admit, I don't know a lot about Ferraris.  I don't own a single book on them.  I probably haven't even ever read an article more than perhaps a Motor Trend review putting their latest offering up against the Vette and other competition.  That said, when it comes to super cars, they are the gold standard that everybody else tries to reach.

Maseratti holding their own with a nice looking convertible.

Maseratti's International debut of their Quatroporte.  At least this is a decent looking 4 door that appears proportionate.  I would still take the 2 door convertible, but I didn't want to vomit when I saw this one, so it had that going for it.

This is the latest offering from Scion, and a car that appeared in concept form (I think) at last year's show.  I was probably more impressed with this car than any other foreign car at the show.  I even planted myself in the seat, to see how it felt.  It's rear wheel drive, light (like 2,700 lbs light if I recall), and around 200 hp.  It is a car that would probably best fit in with the Mazda Miata, or MX-5 as I think they call it these days.  The styling was rather nice too.  Nothing over the top, but very tasteful.  I am pretty sure it's a 4 seater, but the rear seat was more worthless than a new Camaro or Mustang.  All said, I imagine this would be a very fun car, one that will likely appeal to the younger crowd.

This was in the Toyota display.  The whole body was a moving billboard.  Great, advertising taken to a whole new level in the very near future.

A Camry concept.  I still don't understand the large black grill opening some automakers are putting on the front of their cars.  Other than that, it was a nice looking car, and the best one in the Toyota display, after their funny car of course.

I asked the model near this Funny car, with a straight face "Is this a concept car or do they already build this one?"  (a few seconds of silence before she responded) Hahaha....she thought I was serious at first.

The Volvo S60.  They are really making the Volvos look different these days.  Having never really been a fan before, I can't really say they are doing anything to win me over with this one either.

Convertible C70.  Again, it really just doesn't do much for me.

NOW THIS IS A CROSSOVER! I have heard the term Crossover thrown around for I don't know how long, 10 years maybe?  They have always been either SUV's or cars in my book.  I don't care if it was built on a frame vs a unibody.  If it looked like an SUV, it was an SUV.  This VW on the other hand, I immediately recognized it as a crossover.  It looked like a chopped SUV, or a raised car, or more accurately, both. It was cool because it was different.  It was cool because, well, it just plain looks cool.  This, I believe was a concept, and powered by a diesel/electric powertrain.  I really don't know if this is going into production, or simply a concept car for VW.  For their sake, I hope they build it, as it's a game changer in my opinion.  Well done VW!

We all know the Bug, and it's getting dated even with the new version a year or two old.  This however, is the Fender in Fender guitars.  They did to the dash something I had never before seen.  They made it look like the body of a guitar, and it looked awesome!

I mean honestly, is that not the coolest thing you've ever seen?

Not a bad looking VW, but nothing real eye grabbing.

The Mini Paceman.  A slightly stretched Mini.  If I were ever to drive a small car, nothing I see any time in my near future, I could probably stomache a Mini.  Why?  It's not really the styling, or performance, or interior.  It's simply a car that for whatever reason, looks fun.

BMW Z4.  Sharp.  Good power.  Rear wheel drive. Again, a benchmark for other cars.

Low. Sleek. Powerful. I believe this was a concept, but one sharp BMW to say the least. I could probably use a little less "bling-bling" wheels, but other than that, it looks like its going 100 mph standing still.

An elegant tank.  I'm not sure there is any other way to best describe this Bentley Continental.  While I may never understand the $300,000 price tag they demand, they do appear to be a high quality car, and it screams luxury.

A new Smart car, for the Hollywood types though? (per the display)  I'm not sure I see that, but it's a "nicer size" Smart car at least.

Is it smiling or is it angry?

I wasn't sure what to expect when Tata Motors bought out Jaguar.  What did the company based in India have planned for the historic Jaguar brand?  I will say this much, this is not only one of the best damn looking Jaguars ever, it is amongst the coolest looking cars at the show.

Dare I say, that cat's ass is the cat's ass?

The SLK by Mercedes.  If money was no object, I may very well have to have one of these in my collection. I'm not sure a cooler gull wing car has ever been built.

2013 North American International Auto Show - Photos