Car of the Day

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Diesel Do

October 3rd, 2008 · No Comments

There have been a few diesel stories making the rounds in the last few weeks.  A VW TDI Jetta has set a new world record.  After 20 days and 9,400 miles John and Helen Taylor averaged 58.82 miles per gallon.  The record is actually for a cross-country drive.  The Jetta actually was getting better gas mileage as their trek eneded and averaging over 60mpg as the engine was breaking in and starting to work more efficient.

Volkswagen diesels are nothing new, they’ve been around for years and they have come a long way in terms of refinement.  The VWs have come such a long way that VW is ready to share thier TDI power plant with their corporate cousin Audi.

This week at the Paris Auto Show Audi is introducing a new A4 TDI concept that is rated at 59mpg.  Diesel engines are popping up all over the place in luxury cars and economy cars alike.  

If mpg is a top priority in your next car, whatever the type of car.  Do some research and find yourself a diesel option to test drive.  You just might be surprised.

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→ No CommentsTags: Audi · Cars · VW

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Cars of “Life”

October 2nd, 2008 · 2 Comments

The NBC TV show Life started its second season this week.  Life is a very underrated show.  Wikipedia says this 

Life centers around Detective Charlie Crews, who at the start of the first season (set in 2007) is released from Pelican Bay State Prison after serving twelve years of a life sentence. In 1995 he was wrongfully convicted of the triple murder of his business partner and his family. Thanks to the efforts of his lawyer Constance Griffiths, DNA evidence exonerates him of the murders. Having lost his job, his wife, his friends, nearly all contact with the outside world and even his grip on reality for a time while in jail, he emerges enlightened by the philosophy of Zen, a fixation with fresh fruit and an obsession with solving the murder that nearly cost him his life and exposing the conspiracy that framed him for it. After successfully suing the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD, he is reinstated to the police force and receives an undisclosed but substantial monetary settlement.

Life is a great show and I enjoy it on many different levels.  However, this site is about cars and one of the levels I enjoy Life is its cars.  Since Dective Charlie Crews recieved a $50 million settlement from the city he has the ability to purchase some great rides.  

The first car we see Detective Crews driving is a Bentley Continental GT Coupe. 

Crews spent time crusing around in his Bentley saying he loves this car and saying he is not attached to his car.  Unfortuntely one of the episodes ends with the Bentley being totaled by a tractor.  I was crushed to see such a fine automobile crushed.  

However, the next time we see Charlie Crews driving a car it is this.

A Buick Grand National.  Someone attached to this show has great taste in cars.  It looks like that the people behind Life don’t want just a single car attached to their main character. In the previews for next week see a glimpse of Detective Crews’ next car, a Maserati.  Stay tuned for more cool cars on Life.

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Bentley · Buick · Cars · Life · TV Cars

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Remember the Contour SVT?

October 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment

The Special Vehicles Team at Ford have been tuning vehicles for some time now.  They’ve tuned plenty of Mustangs, a few trucks, the Focus and even the Ford Contour.  

The Contour SVT was 200hp 2.5 liter naturally aspirated V6.  At the time it was called the best handling FWD sedan for sale in America.  It was built for 3 years from 1998 to 2000, a little over 11,000 of these little hot rods were produced.  

SVT took a slightly different approach when building its high performance economy sedan than most other car companies at the time.  If you had a small sedan with sporty intentions it was most likely to a be a turbo-charged or high performance 4 cylinder.  The Contour SVT took a page from BMW and built a quick reving 6 cylinder albeit in a “V” configuration instead of BMW’s inline 6 format.  

The problem with rare and special cars like the Contour SVT is the enthusiasts know about them and snatch them up or modifiy them away from their original setup.  A search of Autotrader shows a 2000 Contour with only 37k miles or only $8,000.   

If you’re an enthusiast with a limited budget, don’t settle on used Kia, just take a short trip back in time and pick up one of these little bad boys.  It may be a bit of hunt, but it will be worth it.

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→ 1 CommentTags: Cars · Contour SVT · Ford

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General Lees

September 30th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Growing up one of the coolest cars around was the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard.  

The General Lee has aged well and is now a classic muscle car.  They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and there is some serious General Lee imiation occurring out there in the realm of General Lees.

There are some funny things that have been turned into a General Lee vechicle and that subject would make a great article.  As I started my research I found that an imitation General Lee article has already been written.  

Artcar Central wrote a funny article entitled 25 Ways to Spot a Fake General Lee.

Here are a few General Lees not included in the Artcar Central article.

How about an actual gondola spotted in Venice, Italy? What is Italian for “yee-haw”?

I’m pretty sure the General Lee wasn’t made in Germany.

How do you make a mini-van cool?

Check out the fine work over at the Artcar Blog. They even give a tip on how to spot an original General Lee.

 

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Cars · General Lee · Miscellaneous · Movie cars

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Fav 5 Automotive Articles from Last Week - 9/26

September 29th, 2008 · No Comments

Here’s a quick run down of some of the best automotive articles of the week.

Enjoy!

 

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→ No CommentsTags: Cars · Fav 5 · Miscellaneous

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Alltop, Roy Orbison and Car of the Day

September 28th, 2008 · No Comments

A few month’s after Roy Orbison’s death his song “You Got It” was released and reached #1 on the adult contemporary chart.  

The chorus to that song said “Anything you want, you got it. Anything you need, you got it. Anything at all, you got it.”

And that is Alltop.  Anything you want, you got it. Alltop is a meta-site that has done an amazing job of organinzing the blogosphere and news reports.  

Alltop is now including Car of the Day updates in their listing of Automotive information.

And speaking of  Roy Orbison he owned some fine cars in his life.  One of his cars sits in the Corvette Museum, could just as easily sit in the Rock and Roll hall of fame. It is a gorgeous 1967 427 Corvette Convertible.

As Roy would say, “Mercy!”

 

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More Tales From the Strip

September 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment

By John Allen - Denton, Texas 9/24/2008

What follows is a detailed acount of a 2004 Saab 9-3 Linear versus a 2004.5 VW GLI.  The Saab is driven by John, the VW by Simon.  The following account is accurate and was written by John.

This is the story of a grudge race that happened this Wednesday evening at the 1/8th mile track in Denton. These cars have raced a couple times, and although the GLI has the Saab on HP and Torque the 9-3 has managed to win. This is the story of their latest rematch.

It was a cool night. The sour smell of burning clutches hung in the air. The mood was charged with excitement for Simon was getting his rematch. John and Simon raced a couple preliminary heats to get the adrenaline pumping and to shake the jitters out of their bodies. Simon with great exuberance, John however knew it wasn’t the main event and worked on technique.

At 9:45 both men knew it was time. The tension filled the air. The crowd was hungry with anticipation. It was the main event. The final race for the T-Shirt. No quarter asked, and none given.

As the drivers pulled up to the staging area, John felt a calm wash over him. He knew if he could win the start it was over and he was full of confidence. With good reason, he had on his lucky racing shirt and had proved his mettle in the past.

The lights came on and the racers were off in a flash of light and brilliance. (Sort of) John’s cat like reflexes gave him a reaction time of 0.0277, less than three 100ths of a second. The pressure got to poor Simon. His car did not move for 0.2264 seconds, giving the Bronze Saab a 2 tenths of a second head start. But, would it be enough?

At 60 feet John held a strong lead of .2 seconds and felt comfortable in the drivers seat. His tires were sticky on the pavement with no slippage or hopping. The race started to change at 330 feet. Simon was slowly climbing back into it. Even though he had almost no chance he would not give up. He was only 0.0293 seconds behind, and closing.

It was too little to late for Simon. John was the winner by a margin of .0692 seconds. John drove back to the pits and was greeted by his fans with cheers and admiration. His sweetheart was waiting with open arms and a kiss.

The night was John’s, and Simon had to drive home alone, thinking about the next time. (again)

John Allen is a guest writer for “Car of the Day” and is a regular drag racer and Saab enthusiast.

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→ 1 CommentTags: 1.8t · Cars · Miscellaneous · Saab · VW

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Remember the Dodge Daytona?

September 26th, 2008 · No Comments

A few years ago Dodge hit a major performance home run the with the SRT-4.  It was heralded as one of the best bangs for buck that a person could get their hands on.  It was basically a 230hp Neon with potential for a lot more power.  

Back in 1993 Dodge produced their last and best Dodge Daytona.  It was a 224hp turbo-charged sports coupe with more style than the SRT-4 and nearly as much power.  

I’m not an expert on turbo Dodges, there is a whole club about all the turbo Dodges that were ever made.  I did find this great write up about the Dodge Daytona R/T IROC at starbangers.com.  It is a Motor Trend article from 1993.  

There is also a green Dodge Dayton IROC on Autotrader right now with only 19k miles for $9,950.  

That may sound like a lot for a 15 year old Dodge.  This IROC is one of 800 so it is a rare turbo Dodge and it has amazingly low mileage. 

These cars paved the way for the modern Dodge turbos and packed a serious punch, but they have some design flaws, but there is a good aftermarket and body of knowledge to help a Dodge owner fix those flaws.

And of course if you want more information about anything Dodge or Chrysler you can always a wealth of information at www.allpar.com

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→ No CommentsTags: Cars · Daytona · Dodge

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GT500KR vs GTO

September 25th, 2008 · No Comments

For those of you who don’t know the GT500KR is a Carroll Shelby version of the GT500.  The GT500KR is a Mustang GT with 540hp coming from its supercharged 5.4 liter V8 engine.  Each GT500KR starts its life off as a simple GT500 and then is sent to Las Vegas to Carroll Shelby’s speed shop and is converted into a KR.  KR stands for King of the Road.  The price tag on a GT500KR is nearly $80,000.  There is only plans for 1571 of this cars to built in the US for next 2 years.  

Tonight I raced number 250 in my GTO and won and then I promptly lost the next race.  While my 2006 GTO is fast, it is really out of its league with the GT500KR. The only reason I got a win was because this was a new GT500KR with a driver trying to figure out how to put an estimated 511rwhp to the ground.  Apparently the GT500KRs are a bit underrated. By the end of the night he was running almost half a second faster than me and trapping nearly 10mph faster than my lowly GTO.    The GT500KR is really in a whole different league than my GTO.  The only reason I got a win was because it was one of his first runs down the track.  

It was great to see such a rare car running at the track.  I may never see another out there.  Most people aren’t buying their GT500KRs to run at the track.  This car was trailered in and still had the window stickers on it and factory plastic over the seats and parts of the dash.  

The owner admitted that a person would be better off buying a GT500 for only $46,000 and then adding the bits that make the GT500KR a better car.  However just adding the bits that make a KR the King of the Road wouldn’t create another GT500KR.  A KR is a rare special car touched by the engineers at Carroll Shelby’s speed shop and when you get that car you get a piece of automotive history.  

The GT500KR is also the car that is used as the basis for the new Knight Rider TV show. It is the modern K.I.T.T.

Keep an eye out for the all the Shelby GT Mustangs.  There is a Shelby GT350 and GT350-H which are 4.6 liter V8 powered Mustangs with performance more like the slighty quicker Mustang GT.  However, if you see any GT500s, remember that those cars are powered by the same engine as the Ford GT supercar.

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→ No CommentsTags: Cars · Ford · GT500KR · GTO · Mustang

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The V8 Muscle Sedan Nobody Wanted

September 24th, 2008 · No Comments

So the M45’s styling was an acquired taste (and by acquired taste I mean ugly) but, not everyone cares too much about styling.  It looked a bit like a Japanese version of a wiseguy car. 

Once again a marketing flop coupled with depreciation is your friend.  The Infiniti M45’s base price in 2003 was $42,845 but could optioned to more than $10,000 over the base price.  It was a decent deal than and it is a great deal now.

The first Infiniti M45 featured a 340hp V8 that could move this luxury sedan to 60 mph in just under 6 seconds.  The complaints about the M45 center around styling and a small backseat for a car of this type.  However the praises center around the heart of this car that beats under the hood.  It was heralded as a budget V8 BMW 5 Series.  

If you don’t think the styling is artocious and are looking for an interesting car in the $15,000 neighborhood, then check out the M45.  Find one, visit it in person, checkout the high end luxury features and options, including climate-controlled seats, (heated and cooled) laser-based cruise control, Infiniti voice recogonition audio, HVAC and DVD based navigation.   What you will find is a great car that nobody wanted.

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→ No CommentsTags: Cars · Infiniti · M45

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Fav 5 Automotive Articles from Last Week

September 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

Here’s a quick run down of some of the best automotive articles of the week.

Enjoy!

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→ No CommentsTags: Cars · Fav 5 · Miscellaneous

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Warning: Do Not Read This Article!

September 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

Ok.  Not this article, but this article.  Inside Line is a favorite place of mine to get some great car comparisons and new car news.  They usually provide me a sneak preview of what to expect in my mailbox via the standard car magazines.

Today I was extremely excited about their new featured article, “Clash of the V8-Powered Titans - The Audi RS5 meets the M3″.

When I clicked on the article I was sent to a page with over 1500 words all about Audi vs. BMW.  There were action shots of the Audi and BMW sparring on a road course somewhere.  I was getting ready to settle in for possibly one of the best comparison articles of the year.  

But as I started reading, I noticed that there was a lot of extra marketing info about the cars and the manufacturer’s philosophy behind the cars.  What it came down to was really just an article previewing the Audi RS5 and how looks compared to the benchmark.  This article is not a comparison test.   It isn’t even a first drive.  It is just a tease.  

Inside Line is anticipating a potential showdown between the RS5 and the M3 CSL.  However, the M3 CSL may not even make it to production because there isn’t enough demand for a such a niche vehicle. 

The interesting thing about the Audi RS5 and its little brother the S5 is how they get their power.  The new S5 and S4 will no longer be powered by a V8, but a turbo-charged V6 like the older S4’s.  The V6 S4 and S5 will have 350hp and that equals 10 more hp than last years V8 S4.  The RS5 goes the turbocharged V8 route to 450hp out of its 4.2 liters.

Ok, so the article wasn’t that bad, I was just disappointed that what looked like a comparison test was just a tease.  You can read the full tease at Inside Line.

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→ No CommentsTags: Audi · BMW · M3 · RS5

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America Gets Jipped

September 21st, 2008 · 2 Comments

Sometimes I think Japan and Germany still have a mini-grudge against the USA because of how WWII turned out.  

Japan’s Honda Motor Cars has a for a long time kept their very best Civic to themselves in the form of the Civic Type-R.  Another hot rod Civic has been making the rounds as Honda thumbs its nose at America with the new Honda Civic Mugen RR.

The RR is Honda’s 237hp Civic that is nearly track-ready.  Take a Honda Civic Type-R and let Mugen tune it and you end up with this little gem that the American car buying public will never get a chance to buy.  Actually, no body is going to get a chance to buy the best Civic.  The RR started its life sold out.  There are only 300 of these confusing little cars.  Confusing, because this car has a serious identity crisis.    It is basically a full-on track car that started its life as an economy car.  

And on the other end of the scale is another car that is making the rounds in the automotive test fleets and that is the Audi RS6.  The Audi has more than twice the power and cylinders of the Civic.  It is powered by a 571hp twin-turbocharged V10.  Ahhh, I love the smell of overkill in the morning.  

The meanest A6 has a conservative factory 0-60 estimate of 4.5 seconds.  It will be faster than that.  

There are no plans to bring this version of the Audi RS6 to the USA.  Are the Germans still bitter?  They actually plan to bring the next version of the RS6 to America in 2012, but a lot can change in 4 years.  The one thing the RS6 isn’t, is a deal.  This sedan is on sale right now in Germany for $126,000.  That puts the RS6 in some rarified company, but it has the horsepower to back it up.  

If you really want one of these cars I would suggest the one of the 1000 Honda Civic Mugen Si’s that came to America this year.

Or if you need a RS Audi sedan you can buy the 420hp Audi RS4.  

You can read more about each of these cars at Inside Line.

Honda Civic Mugen RR

Audi RS6

Honda Civic Mugen Si Sedan

Audi RS4

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Audi · Civic Si · Honda · Mugen RR · RS6

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The Supercharged Econocar — Redline Style

September 19th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Redline is Saturn’s performance division. Redline doesn’t have near the history or credibility that AMG or BMW’s M division, but they are busy making Saturns better.

The Saturn Ion Redline was made from 2004-2007. It featured a 205hp and 200lb-ft torque supercharged power plant. There are other little hot hatches that have similar horsepower numbers but can’t match the strong torque of the supercharged engine. The Ion Redline hits 60 seconds in 6.1 seconds.

The numbers aren’t bad, the styling is ok.  The interior features a boost gauge and Recaro seats and comes with a manual transmission, the way sports cars gears were meant to be changed.  Unfortunately, the Ion Red Line is front-wheel drive, which it means it front wheels have to do all the work of steering and putting the down to the pavement.

On paper it looks like Saturn has produced an average sporty compact car.  On the surface there are a number of cars like this or even better than it on the market.  Cars like the VW GTI, the Honda Civic Si, and the Nissan Sentra SE-R.  However, the Ion Red Line is fantasticly fun drive.

This car is worth the test drive.  I’ve had the opportunity to run this car around a short autocross course and it really impressed me with how fun this car is to drive.  You could feel every single one of the 205hp and the strong torque curve of the little eco-tech engine.   

The Saturn Ion Red Line is one of those cars that deserves a test drive.  You can find slightly used examples on Autotrader.com with about 30k miles on them for less than $15,000.

If you see a little Ion sitting in a used car lot with a “Red Line” on it. Take it for a spin, it is a fun car.

The subtle silver square with a Red Line is your clue to find Saturn’s sporty side.  And if the Red Line seems familiar it is GM cousin to the Chevy Cobalt SS.  

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Follow Frank Bullitt on His Historic Chase

September 18th, 2008 · No Comments

Modern GPS tracking technology meets classic movies and Steve McQueen on the internet.   This technology comes courtesy from Seero.com.  Seero is a website that puts videos and GPS together.  

They’ve taken the one of the most famous movie chases and put the video side-by-side with a GPS tracking map.  It even “tells on the movie” a bit by skipping across town when the movie chase doesn’t follow actual geography.  

Seero also has mapped the first chase from Smokey and the Bandit.  

So if you’ve got a long ways to go and short time to get there check out this interesting mix of classic movie chases and modern technology.

Thanks to folks at Ridestory.com for doing a great write-up about all things Bullitt and introducing me to Seero.

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→ No CommentsTags: Bullitt · Cars · Ford