Monday, October 26, 2009

Countach vs. Stingray: Real?

Last week Carscoop posted a Japanese commercial for Gran Turismo PSP, which very convincingly shows an '88 Lambo trading paint with a '69 'Vette. There seems to be some debate about how "real" the video is, but there is no debate at all that it is awesome:

Vehicle Event Detected

You hear the one about the Hennessey CTS-V that pulled so hard off the line that OnStar thought it was in an accident?

Apparently .99g is enough to get a helpful and concerned OnStar operator to give you a ring. I wonder if the airbags could be tricked in the same manner...

Monday, October 05, 2009

A rear-drive V8 Chevy sedan? Yes, please!

Ah, crap:
New Chevy Police Cruiser

The good news: GM has announced that it will bring the Australian-built Zeta sedan platform back to the U.S.

The bad news: It's fleet-only. Specifically, it's a police cruiser.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

And Then There Were Five

At last count, there were a total of six McLaren F1s in the US, at least until this past Monday. Jalopnik has the full story and another photo, but the important math is 6 + fire = 5.

McLaren F1 on fire

Photo and video via Carscoop

Monday, April 27, 2009

Edwards Finishes Talladega on Foot

Carl Edwards is known for the backflips he does after winning NASCAR races, but he flipped under completely different circumstances on the last lap of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega:

Carl Edwards flips on last lap at Talladega

Nudged by eventual winner Brad Keselowski, Edwards got upside-down into the catch fence along the front straight, throwing debris into the crowd and injuring eight fans. Edwards climbed out of his car and finished the race on foot.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jag is Back!

Largely absent from big-league racing since the demise of the Trans-Am series after the 2005 season, Jaguar is set to make a return to sports car competition later this summer. Rocketsports racing, still headed up by the venerable Paul Gentilozzi, has announced it will enter a new Jaguar XK-R in the GT2 class of the American LeMans Series mid-season in an effort to prepare for a full 2010 campaign. The Jag will join the already impressive entry list including Ferrari F430 GTs, Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, BMW E92 M3s, a Panoz Eperante, Chevy Corvettes, a Ford GT, and a Dodge Viper, making for some of the most diverse racing anywhere in the world.

RocketSports Racing Jaguar XK-R

More information on the Rocketsports Racing Jaguar XK-R entry can be found at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ruf CTR Yellowbird

Recently a lot of attention has been paid to Nuerburgring lap times, with Nissan, Chevy, and Dodge posting incredible numbers. Between the raw speed and the incredible engine notes, the videos of these hot laps are breathtaking as they display not only sheer velocity, but the required poise of both car and driver.

At least, poise would appear to be required. Poise, stability, razor-sharp handling, a helmet... All apparent requirements. Unless you're the driver of the car that kicked off the Nuerburgring lap time craze back in 1987: the Ruf CTR Yellowbird. "Breathtaking" doesn't begin to describe this classic in-car footage:

Who We Are - LymanSS

Once the founder of a performance parts business, LymanSS currently maintains an impressive stable including among others a Cadillac, an electric Honda Fit, and multiple Corvettes.

Who We Are - Kevin

When he's not driving his Camaro around California, Kevin's automotive attention is focused on the UAW, nearby auto shows, and planning out a drag car.

Who We Are - GregC

GregC has gone from one icon to another, trading his Jeep Wrangler for a Ford Mustang, and the Mustang for a Taurus SHO, to get himself around suburban Massachusetts.

Who We Are - Frank

Frank's Lotus Elise is a departure from the long list of criminally-underrated American cars he's owned previously. He is based in San Francisco, where he is continually frustrated by the uninformed choices of the drivers around him.

Who We Are - Cope

Growing up in a Ford family, Cope recently traded his beloved (but beleaguered) Mustang for a Subaru BRZ, and has rediscovered the joy of driving sideways. Cope has spent time in both Boston and Los Angeles driving fast, following motorsports, and searching for empty stretches of pavement.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Speeding Ticket Insurance

There are many good reasons to avoid speeding tickets, from the insurance premium increase to the fact that you'll probably end up late for whatever you were speeding to get to. The ticket fine itself is painful even if it's not ultimately the biggest concern, and Terrence Boyd wants to help. Boyd's insurance company, which apparently does not have a web presence, is offering a policy to cover you against fines associated with speeding tickets.
The NY Times, Autoblog, and others have brought up a few good points to consider before signing up, including the fact that the company, Ticket Insurance, does not go to court to contest the tickets, does not deal with insurance company points or premiums, and can't guard against getting your licence revoked. However, for anyone looking to take some of the sting out of an unpleasant experience, Ticket Insurance might be worth a look.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Rental Bliss: 2007 Chevy HHR LS

Chevy says HHR stands for Heritage High Roof and is a throwback to the Nomad or car-based Suburban. I say there are two succinct ways of describing the HHR: "Chevy's clone of the PT Cruiser" or "a Cobalt wagon".

The HHR's exterior styling is all over the place. Here's what I think happened. Some committee or focus group came up with three distinct design themes: "clone a PT Cruiser," "resurrect the Nomad," and "Cobalt-sized Tahoe." Then an executive told a junior designer: give me something that's all three of those at once or you're fired. The result is a Frankenstein, and it's ugly.

The interior treatments are decent for an economy car. Most of the pieces are standard, utilitarian, inoffensive GM parts. There are a few nice touches that give the interior a touch of personality. Like the 09 Malibu it has a two-tone dash reminiscent of a Tri-Five Chevy. Also like the new Malibu, there are Chevy emblems embossed all over the place. The gauges use a handsome retro font and chromed needles. The doorpulls are large chrome circles, which is a little gimmicky but adds some character.

Interior ergonomics are good; the controls are laid out conveniently and visibility is excellent. The HHR uses an upright seating position as you'd find in a CUV, which adds substantial legroom and makes the rear seats servicable for adults. Chevy chose to finish the cargo area in hard plastic, which looks chintzier than carpet but is substantially more durable and easier to clean.

The HHR shares the Delta platform and 2.2L Ecotec I4 with the Cobalt, and drives much the same, which in this case is a compliment. Both cars' dynamics are tuned appropriately for their role as family cars. The suspension stays smooth on the highway or over bumps, yet is firm enough to feel poised on the highway and contain body roll within reasonable limits. The electric power steering box is on the numb side, but not offensively so. Acceleration was always adequate, and the car logged respectable fuel economy. It's not a sports car by any stretch of the imagination, but it never made me gnash my teeth either. Like the Cobalt, the HHR is available with a Sport package that improves power and handling, and an all-out Super Sport (SS) trim.

I am an unabashed fan of wagons. They combine the handling and economy of a sedan with the space and utility of a CUV. The HHR is no exception. Underneath the ugly exterior is an all-around good car with no serious faults. It even has some semblence of personality, a scarce commodity among modern value-oriented cars. It's a pity it's hideous. This thing could be a home run with an exterior refresh.