Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stillborn Cars: 1956 Tucker Carioca

We have all heard the tucker story about the infamous torpedo and its premature death, but after the Tucker Corporation was shuttered another story began, one much less documented, the story of the Carioca. Like DeLorean tucker did not give up, he began work on a new car with the help of Brazilian investors.  He enlisted the help of the famed Russian American designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky to design this new vehicle. CLICK READ MORE

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2013 Chevrolet Traverse

Chevrolet’s three row Lambda crossover has aged so well that it’s hard to believe it’s five years old already, the Traverse is still very competitive, it even fared very well in a motor trend comparison that pitted it against several much newer SUVs, including the Ford Explorer, and the Honda Pilot, both of which scored worse than the Traverse. That being said, the Traverse does have its down sides too, the exterior styling is rather bland, and the interior materials are sub par, Motor Trend went as far as to say that if these two areas had been better, the Traverse could have easily taken first place. At the Chicago Auto Show GMC began the revamp of the Lambdas with the 2013 Outlook Acadia, and last week GM announced that Chevrolet Traverse would be the second to receive the updates. CLICK READ MORE

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chevrolet Strobe?

So a long time ago I reported on the possibility of Chevrolet getting a version of Buick’s Encore, perhaps called the Strobe, and now L'Automobile Magazine has obtained Patent renderings of this Vehicle. The car shares absolutely no sheet metal with the Encore; even the door skins are unique.
The Strobe has a more upright front end, blockier fender flares, a more traditional crossover DLO,
a more Captiva like rear end,
and a front fascia that looks like a Cruze and an Equinox had a love child. So because it shares no styling, why does it still look like an Encore? Well I think this can be attributed to two things, 1: one the Proportions, and 2: the fact that it’s a patent rendering does the car no justice, I think it will look allot better, and less like the Encore when it’s in production, but it doesn’t look too bad now. I might try to “Paint” the car in Photoshop to give us a better Idea of what it will look like if I get the time. It’s unclear whether or not this will come to America, as reports have both confirmed and denied it, but if it does, we can probably expect at least some lighting changes, but judging by spy shots, I’d be willing to bet it gets a more Sonic like face if it makes our shores. I hope it does come here though because Chevrolet needs something to go up against the other small SUVs like the CRV and Rav4, But I’d like to pose a question to you guys, would you rather Chevrolet get this or the Meriva?

2014 SRT Barracuda?

If you missed it like I did, 60 minutes did a special on Chrysler this weekend, and according to Allpar, the Long Rumored, and heavily anticipated SRT Barracuda may have been teased. The car, spotted behind Ralph Gilles, definitely has the appearance of vintage muscle, but heavily modernized, which fits what we have heard in reports on the future Barracuda.  Click Read More

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Forgotten Concepts: 2001 Ford Forty Nine


The original 1949 Ford that inspired the car was very revolutionary; it featured a Lifeguard body with integrated fenders, and slab styling. The design brought Ford into the 1950s, something Ford hoped the forty nine’s retro design would do for the brand in the new millennium.

Two forty nines were built, one a Coupe, and One a Convertible, Riding on the same DEW98 rear-drive platform that it shared with the Lincoln LS, the Jaguar S-Type the Ford Thunderbird. The Forty Nine also shared its engine with the trio, though it wore “Powered By Thunderbird Badges” on several locations around the car. Under the hood the AJ-V8 is smothered in satin black, stainless and chrome metal finishes, No power figures were ever released. Click Read More

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stillborn Cars: 1966 Packard V12

By the Late 1950s the once high end Packard brand had been reduced to dressed up Studebakers, which were christened by the media as “Packardbakers”. They were over decorated and oddly styled, and consumers did not exactly take well to the new cars.  It was clear that something needed to be done to save the brand. Several ideas were thrown around, including one to import the French Facel Vega Excellence Sedan and update it with Packard Styling, but Studebaker Packard’s alliance with Mercedes Benz prevented this from happening. So Packard Designers began work on an all new model for 1966, resurrecting the famous Packard V12.
At least two prototypes were built, one for a sedan, and one for a coupe. The Design was way ahead of its time; the car actually looks like something that could have been built in the 1990s, in a good way.
Click "read more" to find out more information

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mystery Voltec Mule

Earlier today spy photographers just Outside GM’s Proving Grounds captured photos of an absolutely ridiculous looking Volt sporting 20” rims wrapped in custom rubber. The natural response to the car is “What were they thinking!?” but then after you see that all important blue “M” on the plate you realize there is more to this car than meets the eye.

So if this is a Mule what is it for, well we don’t really know, but the most likely guess is the Cadillac ELR, the ELR is the upcoming production version of the infamous ConverJ concept. Because it is a Cadillac Larger wheels are a given, and this “Volt” seems to have the same slightly elevated ride Height rear end as the production intent ELR, but that could just be a visual trick. If this is the ELR don’t expect to see these wheels on the production version, the ELR will most likely get specifically made wheels the same size as these, but with a unique design.
So, What Else Could it be? Well there is a Voltec Buick on the way, but it’s expected to be a crossover, although you never know, this could end up wearing a tri-Shield Badge. Another Possibility is that this is just a mule for Voltec 1.5, which is set to debut soon, but I Can’t see Chevrolet adding 20” wheels to the updated Volt. 
So with all things considered, it’s most likely the Cadillac, but it could be a host of other things as well, let me know in the Comments what you think it is, and Head over to Autoblog to see the rest of the Photos:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2013 Cadillac SRX

Even though Cadillac’s SRX gets allot of hate It is still a very Important vehicle for the brand (Guys, Not every Car in the line can be a RWD 500+ Horsepower brute) . It was actually Cadillac’s top selling model last year, moving over 56,000 units. Cadillac plans to keep the SRX up to date, and even though it has yet to see a decline in sales since the new model launched, a refresh is already in the works.

Car and Driver has managed to snag some spy photos of a development mule for the updated crossover on two occasions, one was almost a year ago when a mule for the now cancelled PHEV SRX was spotted sporting a new grille and an updated interior, and then once again this week a new mule was spotted bearing the same exterior (and presumably) interior updates, this new one also brings what car and driver thinks is a Cruise Control Radar to the table.

The new grille is blacked out on the mules, but the production model will be drizzled in delicate strips of chrome, or polished metal for a very premium look, as will the lower grille that has been redesigned as well to match. it’s nice that every Cadillac will be getting a unique grille, and Im actually glad they didn’t make the lighting look like the units on the ATS and XTS, it helps differentiate the model. I’m also expecting to see the light pipe infused door handles that we have been seeing on new models make their way to the SRX. No changes have been made to the rear, and It didn’t need any, I’m a huge fan of the Cadillac signature Verticle lighting, and I think it’s at its best on the SRX with the subtle fin design.

The Interior ditches the telescoping display and its analog controls for the Cadillac CUE system, and the Steering wheel is updated with the new unit found in the XTS and ATS.  A new instrument panel is also on the way, but it appears that this is as far as the interior changes go.

So once again GM is simply adding more features to an already very capable crossover. Head Oer to Car & Driver to see the rest of the photos:

2013 Chevrolet Traverse

Chevrolet has released the first official photo of the 2013 Traverse, which will be unveiled alongside the new Impala at the New York Auto Show. GM has been in the Process of revamping its seven Passenger Lambda SUVS, they started with the Acadia, and the Traverse will be the next to get an Overhaul. In the teaser GM released today we see a new interior, which has a strong resemblance to the Acadia, though it has more Chevrolet cues. including unique dash appearance, though the layout is the same. We are most likely looking at the Range topping LTZ model, with French Stitched leather appointments on the seats, dash and door panels. The rest of the plastics are expected to be upgraded to soft touch materials, like in the Acadia. I think the driver’s side will most likely have the Camaroesque Instrument panel, and more Chevy oriented styling. From what we can see of the infotainment system, it has gained MyLink, but that was to be expected. Overall this should make an already great crossover even better, as the Travers’s only real drawback before was the interior.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Tease

For months we have all been waiting on the edge of our seats for information on the 2014 Impala, and today we got some, from GM themselves! We have learned that the next large front wheel drive sedan from the Bowtie brand will bow at New York, and we now have the first official image of the car. The photo confirms my suspicions that the mules we have been seeing are wearing LaCrosse Sheetmetal, as the pillars don’t match those found on the test cars. What we do see in the teaser is a very slim C pillar (by today’s Standards) Surrounded by tasteful chrome trim with clean chiseled accent lines. We also get a preview of the Chevrolet Coke bottle rear shoulder s, like the ones on the Malibu and Camaro, and the Decklid appears to flow into the pillars. The Impala also keeps the traditional logo that is also found on the Current Model. It’s about time we saw a proper Impala that does justice to this storied name, and if the rest of the car is like this teaser, it should be quite the looker, expect to see the whole car around the fourth, and I will do my best to keep you guys updated every time something new is leaked.

Sibling Rivalry: Ampera Vs. Volt

Thingsare looking up for the 2012 European Car of the year, Despite Delays theChevrolet Volt’s Sister Car the Opel Ampera is selling pretty well, themajority of current owners have traded in higher end cars like BMWs, Audis andBenzes, and this year’s Ampera orders have already come very close the numberof Volts sold in America last year, with over 7,000. And with 8 months left inthe year it seems very likely that the Ampera will at least meet the new salesgoal of 10,000 units. This could be because Europeans are more open to the Ideaof an electric car, but I think styling could play a bigger factor in thesales. The Volt and the Ampera are somewhat pricey, and rightfully so, they areboth engineering masterpieces, but the Ampera’s styling is considerably bolder,a further departure from the ICE cars, which is a very good thing in myopinion, because the people with money to spare who are looking into, say anAudi, might find the bolder look more appealing and may be more inclined topurchase an Ampera, than say a Volt, because it has the distinctive look of a car that doesn’t use gasoline. So bring on the ELR!
Just thought I’d put thatout there, It could also be that they don’t have politicians attacking it, anddestroying their own industry, but Volt sales here are slowly picking up aswell, what do you all think? Let me know in the comments.

Citroen DS9 Spotted Naked!

With all these teasers and leaks in such a short period of time did anyone actually expect the Citroen DS9 would wait for its official unveiling before it ended its three day long striptease? Journalists from the French magazine L’Automobile have managed to capture the first fully unveiled images of the new halo car at a photo-shoot.

The DS9 looks very muscular, it’s beautiful, quirky and Unique in its concept form, representing Citroen’s lineup in a very good way. The Car has sort of a sedan body with a hatch roofline, if that makes sense, I really like how the whole body is sculpted, giving it sort of a windswept look that suggests constant motion. it definitely has a strong presence from its heavily Chromed front end which reminds me just a little bit of the Acura NSX, to its shapely rear that evokes the rest of the DS lineup, especially the DS5. I’m not normally a fan of purple, except on the Pontiac Firebird, but it looks pretty good on this car. The Journalists present claim the DS9 fills a similar footprint to that of the Metropolis, this is kind of surprising, but I was guessing around 12-14 feet long, so I wasn’t that far off.
Head over to L'Automobile to see the rest of the photos

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Citroen DS9

The Metropolis will officially be using the DS9 Moniker, conspicuously leaving room between it and the DS5 nameplate. The Model will be China Only and the rest of the DS range will accompany it overseas. The first live photo of the DS9 was captured the other day during a photoshoot, and though it is mostly covered, we can tell that the car keeps allot of the Metropolis’s lines, but there are also quite a few borrowed from the GQ Concept.
The Original concept was 17 feet long, but thanks to this photo we can tell that the DS9 is a fair amount shorter, the average height for a man in France is 5’ 8.5” so I took this man’s height, which is represented by the red bar and rotated it to line up next to the car, now because this is not a complete profile, and the car itself is at an angle, we cannot make anywhere near exact measurements, but it is obvious that the car is not 17’

2013 Opel Astra MCE

Recent spy shots have given us a strong hint as to what Opel has in store for us in the upcoming Astra refresh.
The Astra will get a new Corsa inspires front fascia with a larger smile, new projector style foglamps sporting chrome accents, a new grille with a slimmer chrome bar that curls up at each end. The bumper itself is much less defined, and while it looks a great deal more like the Corsa, which I think is a very smart looking subcompact, I think I actually prefer the old Astra’s muscular creases.
The new rear bumper actually looks less like the Corsa, the license plate cove is redesigned to have more harmony with the lower bodywork, and a chrome spear has been affixed to the body crease.
You don’t really notice these changes until the cars are next to eachother, and it really doesn’t make too much of a difference to me anyway. If it ever does come to the US the front end at least would most likely be completely redesigned, which brings me to the same rant I give every time I talk about the Astra, Dear GM let us buy this car! You already build a version in China, the Buick Excelle Xt, and we have the Astra’s Sedan Counterpart here already, and sales of the Verano have been great so why not capitalize on that and add variants, I would love to be able to buy one of these, give Buick a competitor to the high end golfs GTIs, it makes perfect sense, yet we still can’t get it here. Head over to World Car Fans to see the Photos!

Hello Again, Remember Me?

Nissan's plan to resurrect the Datsun nameplate as an entry level brand for emerging markets. Nissan's third brand will likely be nothing more than rebadged Dacias, and thankfully, will never reach our shores, where enthusiasts still remember the Datsun marquee fondly.

Lexus LS

Lexus may have teased the all new LS in an introduction video for the refreshed RX, we can tell that like the rest of the Lexus line the car will get the new spindle grill, though on the LS it will be surrounded by heavy chrome trim, and very detailed angular headlamps with multiple projectors, and on this particular model, very unique brightwork accents.

John Z. Delorean's Forgotten Dreams

On March 16th 2005 the world lost one of car design’s greats, John Z. DeLorean. Delorean is best known for cars Like the GTO, or the Firebird, and who could forget the DMC 12, but we are going to be discussing Four cars designed by DeLorean that never made the production line.
The first of the four is the DMC – 80 as DMC began running into financial troubles DeLorean looked into various options that could help keep the company afloat, one of these options was commercial busses. Presumably busses would have sold better than sports cars, and so the DMC-80 was born. The Bus would have been American built, with three options of water cooled 6 cyl powerplants, and two options for transmissions. Development was fairly far along and brochures had been printed by the time the project was killed.
The Second car was the 1984 DeLorean Sedan, a four seat Delorean with an uncanny resemblance to the Lancia Medusa. The car was a joint venture between DeLorean and Guigario, it is unclear how far it got, the initial intent was to build 10,000 a year, the only physical evidence we have ever seen is drawings, but contracts state that a working prototype had been built in 1981. Four types of doors were considered, traditional Gullwings, Front Gullwings with standard doors in the rear, four standard doors, or extra large gullwings.
Here’s where things start to get confusing we know that in the late 1990s and early 2000s DeLorean was working on two new models, the DMC2 and the Firestar, to fund the models he started DeLorean Time a watch brand that manufactured $3000 injected stainless steel watches, the purchase of one meant the owner had the opportunity to purchase one of the first new DMC vehicles when they reached production. Details of the two cars are very hush hush, and because of the secrecy surrounding the projects the known information about the two has blurred and it becomes hard to identify which specs belong to which model.
We know the Firestar would have been based on the original DMC 12, but it would shed its stainless steel panels in favor of Carbon Fiber ones which would have shaved the weight down to, believe it or not, just over 1,500lbs, it would have been larger as well, and had a wing of super bird proportions sprouting out of the tail. It was confirmed that the Firestar would have kept the DMC12’s Iconic doors, The Original DeLorean’s weak engine would have been replaced with a ford sourced 500HP V8 that would have pushed the DeLorean from 0-60 in 3.2, so good news for Marty because 88mph would not have been a problem at all, as the car would have had a top speed of 215MPH. A working prototype was built and a few grainy photos exist of it today.
The DMC2 is much less documented, reports exist that it would have been based on a Ferrari Chassis, Delorean Himself said it was a mid engine 13L V12 mill, it was also said to be extremely aerodynamic. The DMC2 was reportedly Developed in Texas, and nearing completion when it was killed. No photos exist of this car the pictures to the left were believed to be the DMC2 but are in fact it’s the Norwood A12.
Delorean passed away in 2005 taking his plans along with him, but his legacy lives on in DMC, the company that won’t Die, after considering using the Pontiac Solstice to make a Comeback DMC will be manufacturing Electric Sports cars, John Z. DeLorean’s Iconic cars and the tragic scandal associated with them have outlived him.