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2008 Ford Mustang Bullit & 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 - Straight Scoop

Photography by Courtesy of the National Corvette Museum, Susan Thompson

Bullitt Proof
Ford kinda got it wrong. The marketing folks have targeted the new Bullitt toward "McQueen fans." Hello? How about fans of a 315hp/325-lb-ft V-8 and a tuned chassis and suspension, not to mention an affordable limited-edition performance package for $31,075? True, it's inspired by the '68 Bullitt flick starring Steve McQueen, which happens to be celebrating its big 4-0 in '08 Mustang form. That's why you'll find it in the same Dark Highland Green as the movie car (or close enough-the movie car was Highland Green Metallic), and also sans any exterior badges and logos like the screen version. Upgrades for this model over the regular 'Stang include 3.5-inch exhaust tips, performance brakes, a 3.73 rear axle with limited slip, a Ford Racing power pack, a modified H-pipe, a special upper grille, and sport leather seats.

You: Sports Car Designer
None of us can claim to be immune from making catty remarks about the styling of today's cars. Think you know what would look cool as a sports car, convertible, or even race or street machine? Heck, have an original concept-vehicle idea? Scoot on over to a place like Best Buy and grab Topic Entertainment's Sports Car Designer computer program, which is said to function nearly the same as the ones actual automakers use. Millions of design options are available; it will even let you pick the engine-inline or V, up to 16 cylinders, bore-and-stroke, racing cams and ports, forced induction, and other real-world features. Plus, it's up to you where to place stuff like headlights, taillights, and door handles. We'd put everything on the roof.

Richard Petty College
The new building that will be home to Randolph Community College's classes in Automotive Repair and Automotive Systems will officially be anointed Richard Petty Education Center when it opens this fall. Inside the 20,000-square-foot building (which has 15,000 square feet of new space) will be 10 workstations, a high-tech paint booth, computer space, a rejuvenated classroom, and more. Petty Enterprises is even donating memorabilia for the lobby. Why Petty? He's Randolph County's native son.

Supersizing the National Corvette Museum
There's expanding, and then there's adding 47,000 square feet. The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is in the process of growing, including beefing up its hall of fame and library/archives, plus Corvette Boulevard (basically the equivalent of a Main Street) will display 12 new Corvettes straight from the factory as they wait for their owners to come and collect them. The museum changes should be completed in 2009.

Butt Out
"In accordance with a new Tennessee state law, all grandstand, terrace, suite, and restroom areas at Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway will be nonsmoking ... Guests may still smoke in our concourse area, but grandstand, terrace, and suite seating areas will be nonsmoking." So there.

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators handed the Associate Press the results of one of its surveys. The topic? Vanity plates. The scoop? The state-by-state look at their popularity revealed that out of the 9.3 million in the United States, 1 in 10 can be found in Virginia, or 16 percent of all personalized plates. New Hampshire came in next with 14 percent, followed by Illinois with 13.4 percent. GR8.

Gold Member
In 2008, Chevrolet embarks on the fifth consecutive year of enlisting a Corvette to be the pace car for the Daytona 500. It also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500, and you know what that means! Gold something! In this case, it's the pace car, right down to iridescent-coated wheels. Aside from gold skin and a lightbar/strobe system, it's nearly the same as the street Z06.

The Thundertruck Giveaway
The guys at Peak and Herculiner gave away the Thundertruck F-150. You know, the one crammed with suspension bits and a beefy 5.4? Anyway, the girl who won it is from Kirkland, Washington, and her name is Carol Kraber. She received the keys to the Thundertruck from Herculiner's Pro Bull Rider, Wiley Petersen.

After Kraber took the truck for a spin, she was heard saying, "Wow, was that fun! Holy mackerel does she pack a punch when you step on the pedal." And " Talk about fun. She does indeed corner like a Corvette. It was a true rush to press the gas. I swear, she sets you back in your seat when you zoom." For more of Mrs. Kraber's technical insight additional quotes visit

Challenger Pricing
The SRT8 will be the first Dodge Challenger out of the box, and in limited edition. So while people are overspending on eBay, what will be the actual going rate? When it arrives in the spring, the MSRP will be $37,995. The SRT8 will be available in black, silver, and Hemi Orange and will have dual hood stripes as an ode to Challengers gone by.

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