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1966 Batmobile - Auto News and Events

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA

In August, Guinness World Records certified the '03 Lightning as the "World's Fastest Production Pickup Truck" after an example hit 147 mph around the five-mile high-speed oval at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds. "This may seem like fun and games, but high-speed stability is critical for a performance vehicle, even a pickup truck," says Tom Chapman, Ford SVT chassis systems supervisor and driver for the record-setting run. "The SVT F-150 Lightning is just as stable and planted at 147 miles per hour as it is at 55 mph; only the scenery's going by faster. That stability is a testament to the solid foundation of the Ford F-150, and the performance engineering found in Ford SVT products."

Expect a response from Dodge when the production Ram SRT-10 is available to challenge this record.

Australia Gets the Cool Stuff, Part XXVIII
Proving once again that GM is keeping too much of the good stuff down under, GM's Australian subsidiary Holden announced the new Crewman four-door light utility vehicle. Based on the same chassis and platform as the '04 Pontiac GTO, the Crewman is available with V-6 or, in the case of the Crewman SS, full V8 power. It's not just any V-8 either, but a lusty 5.7L LS1 making 225 kilowatts! Let's see, 225 kilowatts is (sounds of ruffling papers and tapping on a $5 solar-powered calculator) 302 hp!

While the GTO has an independent rear suspension, the Crewman, like other Aussie utes, uses a leaf-spring and solid-axle rear suspension for ruggedness and load carrying. Otherwise the four-door cockpit carries over almost directly from the four-door Holden Commodore with room for five.

OK, here's the deal. Slap some Bow Ties on this thing, call it an El Camino, and we'll buy two.

PT Dreaming
It's now almost a tradition that at the time of the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, Chrysler releases a new special version of the PT Cruiser in celebration of the event. The Series 3 PT Dream Cruiser arrived just in time this past August.

Built around the 220hp turbocharged version of the '04 PT, the $28,810 Dream Cruiser features special two-tone blue and silver paint, blue-tinted glass, special chrome exterior accents, 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels with special center caps, and two-tone upholstery and heated seats inside.

The Series 3 is the seventh special-edition version of the PT Cruiser and follows the Flames, Woodie, PT Dream Cruiser Series 1, PT Turbo, Chrome, and Dream Cruiser Series 2. And we hear there's a convertible due next year.

Big Tire Is Better
Head into Detroit from the Metro Airport and you can't miss the giant Uniroyal tire along I-94. Built originally as a Ferris wheel for the 1964 New York World's Fair, the big whitewall has stood silent sentinel at the gates of the Motor City for decades. It was about time it was spruced up.

Uniroyal will spend more than $1 million updating and renovating the 80-foot-tall tire. While it's thrilling that Uniroyal will add its Web address to the tire's sidewall, how about dumping the hubcap for a good set of Torq-Thrust II wheels, huh?

Wagon Blaster
Europeans won't be getting a version of Dodge's upcoming Magnum sports wagon this year. Instead they'll get a wagon version of the Chrysler 300C that should be quite similar to this concept shown at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

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