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1966 Batmobile - Auto News and Events

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA

Goodyear Goes Wrangling
Is your mind free of obscure, useless knowledge? Then let us clutter it up! It's important that you know that Goodyear will brand the race tires it fits to vehicles in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as "Wranglers" instead of "Eagles" during 2004.

"In reality, the tires are the same as those used under the Eagle name, with the only difference being the sidewall nameplate," explained Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of global race tires. "We will be using the same Goodyear tires for the Craftsman Truck Series as we will for the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series next year when they race at the same track on any given weekend."

Goodyear's race tire warehouse in Concord, North Carolina, will convert tires from Wranglers to Eagles (or vice versa) for Craftsman, Busch, or Nextel teams.

Focus RS8
We've seen Focus subcompacts converted to rear drive and V-8 before, but this one was the cleanest and most intriguing yet. Built by Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) and based on the European market Focus RS, the RS8 uses an all-new suspension with pieces inspired by Kugel Komponents' kit up front and a 8.8-inch solid rear axle in the back on coil springs. Four-wheel disc brakes and 18x8-inch European RS wheels inside Michelin rubber are supposed to keep this rocket planted to the ground and somewhat stoppable. The 420hp, fuel-injected Cammer itself is backed by a Tremec five-speed manual transmission. Where's the production version?

FR100 Panel Truck
Based on the same chassis as the FR100 pickup shown last year, the FR100 Panel Truck uses a '53 F-100 body over a tube chassis using the front suspension from the FR500 Mustang project and a modified IRS from the SVT Cobra. The UPS paint job just makes it that much more bitchin'. With an Eaton blower, the injected Cammer in this wicked panel is projected to make 600 hp ... which should be enough to challenge the 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.

By the way, this truck is officially certified as a part of the UPS fleet as truck number 019530. If only we lived in a world where all UPS trucks were this nasty.

Viper SRT-10 Carbon
The Viper also got the lightweight treatment in the form of this Viper SRT-10 Carbon. Coming in about 150 pounds less than a standard Viper, this one uses a carbon-fiber hood, decklid, and custom hardtop along with lightweight 18- and 19-inch diameter wheels (18s in front, 19s in back).

More interesting than the diet were modifications made to the 8.3L V-10. A throttle-body for each of the cylinders, matching velocity stacks, a cowl induction air intake, oversize valves, and massaged heads pump the monstrous engine's output up to 625 hp from the stock 500. Remember when 500 hp used to seem like a lot?

Jay Leno's '55 Buick Roadmaster
This seemingly innocuous '55 Buick Roadmaster, owned by Tonight Show host Jay Leno, was on hand at SEMA to showcase the new 572 big-block. Leno bought this car when he was a struggling young comic in Los Angeles and supposedly lived in it for a while. It was saved from decrepitude by Leno's own shop in Burbank, California.

The stock appearance is completely deceptive; the chassis features a mix of C5 front and C4 rear suspension pieces, the wheels are really 17-inchers in diameter, and those wide whitewalls are really Z-rated performance tires. In other words, the car is totally a sleeper. That is, it's a sleeper until the moment the ignition is turned over and the 572's carburetor sucks in the hood and spits it out the exhaust system with a monstrous belch.

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