There will be only 100 of these on the road-and all have been presold through Roush-authorized Ford dealers. The Stage 3 BlackJack is from Roush Performance and was actually designed by Jack Roush himself. Sure, sure, he's involved in all the vehicles that the company builds, but this design came straight from his noggin, and his alone. What he dreamed up has a Roots-style supercharger, a special intake manifold (helping the V-8 make 430 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque), an aerobody kit, polished billet-aluminum pieces in the engine compartment, a suspension package, and special emblems, including a Stage 3 badge that has been engraved with the signature of the guy who hand-assembled the car. Here's hoping he didn't use his porn name. There would be nothing worse than a cool car with a "Mr. Whiskers Carpenter" plaque riveted to the engine compartment.
Summer Nats? Where?!?
Yeah, it's time for the Car Craft Summer Nationals again, and this year the GM Performance Division is bringing its collection of interesting historical engines to put on display. Not only can you see the weirdo Olds SOHC 455 prototype and turbo Buick experiments but also some of the more famous engines like the 409 and '69 DZ 302. The CC Summer Nationals is held in St. Paul at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, July 20-22. Join us for the DynoMax Dyno Challenge, a national competition of horsepower and torque, the Baer Brakes Speed-Stop Challenge, the Miss Car Craft Summer Nats contest, a burnout contest, a car corral, a family fun zone, a performance marketplace, and a whole lot more. There is information at familyevents.com and CarCraft.com.-Douglas R. Glad
Ahem, not that. Jada Toys offers a line of tricked-out cars called Chub City, and Burger King is using some of the toys in its Kids Meal, such as Street Ride and Shift Launcher. Decals will be included so that consumers can dress up their Chub. Ahem, not that.
Dodge Demon Returns
Hey-that's not a musclecar! The Dodge Demon is back, although this time it's a concept. A concept roadster, no less. The rear-wheel-drive sports car has a six-speed manual trans, 172hp 2.4L (wow, screams "sports car"), and some other stuff you probably don't care about, since if put into production it would be a competitor to the Pontiac Solstice, not the Chevrolet Camaro.
What Are You Doing, Oh, 245 Days From Now?
Sometimes we think we waste too much time surfing the Al Gore machine. But honestly, how else could Glad get his very legitimate and often necessary Dancing With the Stars fix if not for YouTube? Then we found a Web site that truly shows the level of entertainment we will accept on the Internet. At dodgechallengercountdown.com you'll find . . . that the domain name pretty much sums it up. This treatment is usually reserved for end-of-the-world preparation, but here, the days, hours, minutes, and seconds are for the February 6 unveiling of the '08 Dodge Challenger. It's like watching paint talk about the Challenger-and yet you'll still be hooked.
Petty Goes SRT
The Chrysler Group and Richard Petty Driving Experience are bedfellows, expanding the SRT Track Experience to now be open to owners beyond Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep SRT vehicles. The pro-driving instructional program started in 2005, featuring classroom and track driving lessons, and now has added an opportunity to ride along on a hot lap with a Richard Petty pro driver. More than 60 events are taking place this year (go to drivesrt.com for details), with driving geared toward the particular facility, such as Autocross, Full Throttle Challenge, Advanced Car Control, and Drifting.
Top-Selling Cars in 2006
Automotive News did the work, so we're happy to put their long nights and days of research to good use here. The top 20, ladies and germs:
1. Toyota Camry
2. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
3. Honda Accord
4. Honda Civic
5. Chevrolet Impala
6. Nissan Altima
7. Chevrolet Cobalt
8. Ford Focus
9. Ford Taurus
10. Ford Mustang
11. Chevrolet Malibu
12. Pontiac G6
13. Hyundai Sonata
14. Chrysler 300
15. Ford Fusion
16. Chrysler PT Cruiser
17. BMW 3 Series
18. Nissan Sentra
19. Dodge Charger
20. Pontiac Grand Prix
Insuring A Modified Car
The London-based beatthatquote.com is an online price-comparison service, and it did some research and figured out that modifying a vehicle could lead to a 171 percent rise in its insurance. That huge number reflects a markup in the premium with a lowered suspension. The "bargain" markups were 25 percent for a spoiler and 50 percent for tinted windows.
Pontiac and Yahoo have launched pontiacunderground.com as a place for enthusiasts to talk about, look at, and research all that is Pontiac, be it new or old models. You can upload photos and videos, read a blog, find clubs, vote in polls, and burn through endless hours of Pontiactainment.
$5.5 Million Auction Sale: It's a Record
The car: Carroll Shelby's personal Cobra 427 Supersnake owned by Harley Cluxton III
The place: Barrett-Jackson Auction
The cash: $5.5 millionThe bucks brought in on this car broke a previous B-J record by $1.5 million. So you may be floored to learn that just a week prior to this sale, Meguiar's was called in. The car had been recently painted, but because the refinished aluminum body had swirls, scratches, and slight sanding marks, it needed a fixer-upper. Meguiar's used its new Solo "One Liquid" System to restore the shine. Hot Rims Mag & Aluminum Polish and Hot Shine Tire Gel were also swiped on to gloss things up further. Not a bad business card.
What Would Wheels Do?
Don't waste your time looking for Jesus to show up in potato chips or window frost. MHT Wheels is carrying the Dub Blessinem wheel for cars and trucks (in 22- and 24-inch sizes), so the religious experience can be right out in the driveway. We'd still charge for admission.
Chevrolet's got two newbies on the block this year: the Ron Fellows ALMS GT1 Champion Z06 and the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Replica convertible. Both will have interior and exterior ways to ID them (such as the Ron Fellows' Arctic White and the replica's Atomic Orange paint). The Fellows is unique in another notable way, too. It's the first signed special-edition Z06 in Corvette history. Only 399 will be made-300 for the United States, 33 for Canada, and 66 for export. Its MSRP will be $77,500, or $79,945 for OnStar and navigation, the only optional equipment. There will be 500 production Replicas, all convertible, which will set you back $66,995, or $68,245 if you choose the optional paddle-shift six-speed automatic transmission.
Ron Fellows gets a car named after him because he made Corvette Racing king of the GT1 class in the ALMS. He also helped develop the C5.R race car, twice won in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series, and had 19 SCCA Trans-Am wins.
7-Second Reads*North Korea's Kim Jong II is confiscating most Japanese cars. He's a wee bit perturbed about sanctions Tokyo has put on his country.
*Is Hollywood going to remake Vanishing Point yet again? If they are rebuilding the Bionic Woman, it's a safe bet on this ditty about a '70 Dodge Challenger R/T.
*The Center for Auto Safety is asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate tire and front-suspension issues on '04-'06 Pontiac GTOs.
*Monster Garage's Jesse James' West Coast Choppers has been fined more than $270,000 for bikes built between 1998-2005 that were said not to meet California Clean Air Act standards. *Who is Chex cereal's most popular driver? Wait, make that NASCAR's most popular cereal. No, most popular . . . eh, go to mostpopulardriver.com and you'll figure it out.
Taurus Collectibles Aren't Worth What You ThinkOne could call the death and rebirth of the Taurus a slapdash thing, what with the Sharpie barely dry on the tombstone before-surprise!-Ford announced that the car would be back after about eight months of being dead. We thought this only happened in soap operas! The '08 model will arrive this summer, replacing the Five Hundred. There will be more than 500 improvements, as well as a new all-wheel-drive system, a new powertrain, and, we're guessing, a minor chip on its shoulder.