It's Official: The Camaro Cometh
The all-new Camaro is on the way-GM has confirmed it will be built (did anyone doubt that after the Challenger became a go?). The next-gen Camaro is to arrive in early 2009 and should be a pretty spot-on redux of the concept model-a rear-wheel drive with IRS, a V-8 and V-6, and auto or stick transmissions.
Meanwhile, Ford was nipping at the ankles of all these big musclecar announcements by making its own: The Shelby GT will be produced, which will be an upscale (both in performance and looks) Mustang GT but a downscale Shelby GT500 (both in performance and looks). Or you could call it an affordable, retail version of the GT-H rental car.
When the Experimental Aircraft Association held its Gathering of Eagles fundraiser this year, it wasn't some kit plane that stole the show. Nope, flyboys and other flying fanatics were fixated on the trifecta of important automotive words listed in their program: Ford Shelby Hertz-specifically an '06 GT-H that was auctioned off for $250,000. Let the stupid-money for these cars begin.
Return of the Little Women
They're back, and this time they're musclecar-themed! A couple of months ago, we showed you the import minis, including Luscious and Candy. Now these 1:18-scale girls have gone retro in costume and pose for our world (Joyce, Mimi, and Missy, among the new offerings). They're hand-painted and posed just as you'd want a girl to do with your fullsize car if only she'd listen to how you wanted it done and you would not sound like a perv. They'll classy-up your toy collection. Visit motorheadminiatures.net for more info.
Porsche's New Motorsports Center
Four buildings located in Weissach, Germany, will be stuffed with workshops, race-vehicle manufacturing areas, and other high-tech thingies to make up the all-new Porsche Motorsports center. There will be designated sections for working on Carrera Cup and customer race cars, engines, transmissions, prototypes, and other race machines.
Everyone seems to be sick of "best" lists, so let unleashing of "craptastic" ones begin. Both Wikipedia and Forbes have jumped on the bandwagon, choosing their picks based on lousy fuel economy, lousy safety ratings, and lousy resale. According to Forbes, some of the worst American cars for 2006 were the Grand Prix, the Crown Vic, and the Dodge Ram 1500.
Meanwhile, Wikipedia went with an age-defying list, the biggest flops in automotive history, be it unreliable (such as the Yugo), terribly designed, or no sales. And yes, a few have earned cult status despite their repulsion at launch. Among 'em?
It's what we all experience after a robust helping of beans or broccoli, but it's also technology: Paint fumes are being turned into electricity. Yeah, it sounds like something crazy Uncle Larry would have percolating in his garage/workshop/lab. But in this case, crazy Uncle Larry is Ford. It's taking paint emissions from its Michigan Truck Plant and generating 55 kilowatt-hours of electric power every hour. What happens is that fluidized carbon beads can pull volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the paint-air emissions. The cleansed air emissions then go back to the environment, and the VOC flow to a generator and bam-you got yourself electricity. It saves money and energy on the spot.
Most Recalls for 2006
Business Week has compiled a list of the vehicles with the most recalls for this year. Here's a sampling of some of what went wrong.
Corvette, Hummer H2, Cadillac Escalade, and a few other GM models: 123,592 NHSTA potential affected units. Power-steering hose may not be built to spec. Turning the wheels fully to one direction or the other could cause the hose to crack and leak fluid.
Dodge Charger and Magnum, Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler 300, among other DaimlerChrysler models: 256,406. The cup plug in the auto tranny that holds the Park shaft may not have been installed right and might prevent it from shifting into Park.
Toyota Prius: 170,856. The issue was the intermediate shaft and sliding yoke in the electric power-steering system could crack when large forces were applied.
Flossin' Their Mad Ride
Interested in this Lincoln Navigator? You'll have to get in line-Burkitt & Burkitt hopes to hand-encrust the SUV with 1.5 million Swarovski crystals. Excessive, you say? We say crunkin. Crystals are the artsy way the Burkitts like to decorate stuff, although back in 1988, they used 23,000 gold British coins to cover a limo.
New Phrase MPG Maximizer
An add-on device that promises your car will get better fuel economy in these hard times (or in easy times, but no one cares then). Some are said to actually increase emissions in the process, but at least they also may void the warranty.
Could Your Name Mean You'll Wreck?
Insurance provider Admiral says its research has shown that drivers named Ben and Sophie are more likely to be involved in an accident. Runner-up boy names were Dean and Alex, while you should plan to take a cab if it's Natalie or Maria's turn at the carpool. In terms of safest, Ian and Ann were least likely to have an accident.
*A Japanese research team is said to be planning to have a race car in the Dakar rally in January that will be fueled by tempura oil.
*Shell is starting to experiment with the return of pump attendants in places like Germany.
*The Department of Homeland Security is going to install radiation-detection devices at points of entry in major cities to spot dirty bombs and nuke material. Scanning commercial traffic is also on the agenda.
*Tennessee was the 30th state to adopt the Move Over law, which carried a fine of $50 if a driver didn't move over for stopped police, fire, tow, or other help/government-related vehicles. But now, Tennessee has bumped it to $500 with possible time in the slammer.
*Remember when we told you Ford wanted to bring back the Fairlane name-but for a minivan? Looks like that won't happen. Did we use our power for good?
*A Lithuanian restaurant chain wants to trademark the smell of pizza.'African animal tempura. Yum!
Great Race World 2008
It may seem at times this renowned event is almost less of a race and more of a parade of the hottest in vehicle technology. Get over that-it's both. And Great Race World 35,000km, New York to Paris 2008 will be no different. Alternative-fuel and hybrid-powered vehicles will represent for the first time. Showcasing green technology and promotion of renewable energy usage will put participants in the running for a $1 million Innovation Prize for the Innovation Technology division. But Great World Race won't just be about being green. The Classic division is for '69-or-earlier cars, including musclecars, and will have a purse of $500,000.
The '08 race starts on February 12 in New York City and will finish at the Eiffel Tower on May 1. If you're interested in participating, the deadline for submitting the application is December 31, 2006. For entry fees and other info, go to greatrace.com.
Frozen Squirrels And Cows Licking Cars
Norwich Union Insurance has provided for public consumption its list of the top 10 strangest motor-vehicle claims from the past 12 months. It's a U.K. insurer, hence the weird words.
1. "A frozen squirrel fell out of a tree and crashed through the windscreen onto the passenger seat.
2. "The car was parked when a reindeer fell on the bonnet."
3. "As I was driving round a bend, one of the doors opened and a frozen kebab flew out, hitting and damaging a passing car."
4. "A herd of cows licked my car and caused damage to the paintwork."
5. "A zebra collided with my car when I was at a safari park."
6. "While I was waiting at traffic lights, a wasp went down a trouser leg, which made me hit the accelerator and prang the car in front."
7. "I couldn't brake because a potato was lodged behind the pedal."
8. "My parked car was hit by a bull that had escaped from an agricultural show."
9. "A cow jumped on my quad bike."
10. "As I came over a hill, I hit a cow in the middle of the road, which then hit the bonnet and shattered the windscreen with its rear end. (The cow survived.)"
Ken Duttweiler just completed testing on a 402ci Gen III small-block using EFI and one of these Magnuson High Helix superchargers. With ported heads and race gas to get that last little bit of power, Duttweiler was able to crank out an astonishing 770 hp. Duttweiler also said he thought there was more power left in the engine and that it could easily have made 790 hp. Amazing. -Jeff Smith
NMCA Car Craft Street Race Class And The Turbo StreakWhen Centerville, Maine's Tim Meagher showed up at the NMCA race in Columbus, Ohio, in his '90 Fox-body Mustang to compete in the Car Craft Street Race, other competitors raised their eyebrows at the turbocharged entry.
Although turbos have not been competitive in the class, everyone knew after seeing Michael Fratena's Camaro win at Bowling Green, Kentucky, that the combo, when applied correctly, could provide more than enough performance to garner a win. That said, Meagher and his 331ci small-block-powered blue 'Stang got instant credibility.
Meagher didn't do anything to prove otherwise either as he captured the top qualifying spot with an impressive 9.19 at 148 mph and continued to the runner-up slot in his first race.
At the recent NMCA/NMRA Super Bowl of Drag Racing held at Route 66 Raceway, Meagher took it a step further and won the event over Tim Hendricks. The win made Meagher the fourth different winner in the class and helped put him into the '06 title chase. "It was not an easy race for us at all," Meagher said of his Chicago win. "We managed to get it done with the turbo and also while running on drag radials. We're the only car in the class to run on the BF Goodrich drag radial, and it seems to be working really well for us," he added.
Meagher also said we've not seen all the car can do yet, either. "Once we get a little more time to work on it and get a few more laps with the car, I know we'll be a top-notch contender," he said. If Meagher's prediction holds true, this won't be the last time you read about him. And by the way, with two final rounds in his first two races, he already is a contender in the eyes of his fellow racers.
To compete in or learn more about the Car Craft Street Race Class or NMCA racing series, visit fasteststreetcar.com. You can also sign up by calling 866/694-3475. -Scott Sparrow