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1966 Batmobile - Auto News and Events

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA

The new LX chassis is DaimlerChrysler's first rear-drive platform since the old New Yorker left production after the '89 model year. In the Airflite, power comes from a heavily styled 3.5L V-6, but this platform is fully capable of supporting V-8s, and at least one Hemi-powered version will be in production for the 2005 model year. The high-performance Mopar musclecar could very well be back in full force by the middle of this decade.

The Airflite looks muscular without being cartoonish, the front end shares a family resemblance to the Crossfire, the wraparound windshield is reminiscent of '65 Imperial, and the pillarless four-door design is something the world desperately needs. We're also growing fonder of the sweeping Marlin-like roof too-despite our best efforts to continue mocking it.

Our advice to DaimlerChrysler is to drop out a couple of doors, toss in a 5.7 Hemi, and call it Barracuda.

Anti-Ballistic Lincoln
There are great forces out to get you. Everybody knows it but-and this is the sinister part-no one will talk to you about it. Sure your doctors are dismissing your thoughts as delusional paranoia, but they're in on the conspiracy too. How will you be safe? How will you be safe?

What you need is the new Lincoln Town Car Ballistic Protection Series (BPS)! It's an armored vehicle that will protect you from small arms fire whether it comes from black helicopters or that grassy knoll over there. It's not perfectly impregnable, so you'll still have to look in the shadows for agents of the CIA, KGB, and AARP, but it offers some protection.

To fortify the Town Car, Lincoln has employed five basic technologies. Advanced ceramic composite materials are used as a bulwark along most of the vertical surfaces and they work by breaking up bullets and dispersing their energy. Ballistic steel is used on other surfaces and supplements the ceramics in others. Ballistic transparencies make up the windows, which, at nearly twice the standard thickness, can stop rifle shots. An interwoven Aramid blanket insulates the bottom of the BPS to keep shrapnel from intruding from below. Polymer inserts allow the tires to keep rolling up to 30 miles at 30 mph after they've been shot out.

"About 300 OEM tests will be performed on Town Car BPS, including crash tests, which will make it one of the most thoroughly tested armored vehicles in the world," said Lauren Schafer, director, Lincoln Special Engineering Operations. "Additionally, we've conducted extensive ballistic testing at independent labs to validate the ballistic performance of our materials."

Despite the armor, the BPS Town Car is designed to appear to be any other Town Car clogging the Hertz lot. Because when you've been targeted (and you have been) anonymity is your only friend. The irony that you're driving a car designed to protect you from assassination that's named after someone who was assassinated is just something with which you'll have to live.

Magnificent Magnum
The merger between Chrysler and Daimler-Benz is paying off. Coming some time in the next year is a return to rear-wheel drive for Dodge and Chrysler large sedans (think Intrepid and Concorde). Much of the engineering expertise for rear-drive cars is coming from Daimler, which has never stopped building rear-drive cars. Think about it; the last Chrysler rear-drive passenger car was sold in 1989 and the last time the company designed an all-new rear-drive car was, like, 1970. Anyone who was at Chrysler then is probably in the twilight of his or her career now.

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