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1966 Batmobile - Auto News and Events

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA

Even though the H3T is smaller than other Hummers, it still weighs in at a stout 4,650 pounds. So it's not small. Don't expect all of the H3T Concept's features to make it into production, but most will. A version of this truck should be in showrooms some time during 2005.

More and More Ram
Probably the most active performance battle among what used to be called "Detroit's Big Three" is the one to see who can build the most powerful turbodiesel pickup. Dodge fired the latest salvo in this battle with new Cummins "600" turbodiesel making a simply stunning 600 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm and 325 hp at 2,900 rpm. This trumps the previous champ, Ford's 6.0L Powerstroke turbodiesel introduced last year, which makes 560 lb-ft of heave at 2,000 rpm and 325 hp at a relatively free-revving 3,000 rpm. The extra pulling power means that, if properly equipped, the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty can now tow 16,400 pounds-that's a ton and a half better than a Ford F-350 with the Powerstroke.

Priced at just $135 more than the previous "High Output" Cummins, the 24-valve, 5.9L six is available lashed to either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an automatic (with a number of gears yet to be announced). The 600 has so much torque, says DCX, that it is capable of zero-throttle launches-that is, it will leave the line while the engine is still at idle-even under load. It's also pre-equipped to accept an exhaust brake should you really want to rile the neighbors.

The Cummins 600 should be on sale now.

Just Fabulous
Do you remember the mid-'60s TV show Thunderbirds? You know, the show filmed in "Supermarionation," meaning it was a bunch of puppets running to save other puppets while flying around in cool aircraft. Yeah, well, if you remember it, you're really old. And if you don't remember it, you've been missing something cool in one of those ironic, sort of ways.

Anyhow, Thunderbirds is coming to the big screen featuring real human beings, and the glamorous Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward's legendary six-wheeled pink "FAB1" is coming too. However, unlike the FAB1 in the old TV show, which was a Rolls-Royce, this one will be a Ford-a Thunderbird in particular (Rolls wasn't interested in licensing its trademarks for this film, and Ford's compatibility was obvious). Ford was directly involved in developing the 27-foot pink beauty, which features a bubble canopy and can (at least fictionally) turn into a jet and hydrofoil. The styling cues lifted from the current Ford Thunderbird are obvious, including the front grille shape and the hoodscoop. Other Ford concept and production vehicles are also in the film, which is set in the year 2065.

What's really underneath all that pink fiberglass and movie magic? Who knows? And really, who cares?

Soon Appearing in a Rearview Mirror Near YouChevy has added a police package version of the Tahoe SUV to its 2004 special service lineup. Like the previous Special Service Tahoe, this two-wheel driver has been engineered as a day-to-day patrol vehicle with high-speed pursuit capabilities. The suspension has been upgraded for better handling, and it rolls on P245/75R16 S-rated tires, which means the speed limiter cuts in at about 125 mph-should you have a reason to know that.

Power for the cop Tahoe comes from either the Vortec 4800 or 5300 V-8s backed by the 4L65-E four-speed automatic transmission. The interior is stark, but so is the interior of most cop cars, and it's pre-wired to accept all sorts of lights, radios, and shotgun racks. A four-wheel-drive model will also be offered for agencies that need one.

If you're not a police department, you can't buy one of these. However, it's rumored there's a civilian Tahoe SS on the way that uses the Special Service's suspension package inside a more comfort-oriented civilian wrapper.

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