By Jonathan Wong
With the ZR1 grabbing all the headlines of late, it's easy to forget about the other pumped-up performance thoroughbred in the Corvette stable--the Z06. However, that's about to change, because Chevrolet is taking some of the ZR1 goodies and transplanting them over onto the Z06 for the 2011 model year, such as the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and magnetic select ride control system.
The features will be standard on a new 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition, which Chevy is using to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Corvette's first 24 Hours of LeMans race. In addition to the brakes with dark gray painted calipers and suspension, a black version of the 20-spoke wheels wrapped with Michelin PS2 tires, body color spoiler, black carbon-fiber rockers, the splitter from the ZR1 and the carbon-fiber raised hood (which is 11.5 pounds lighter than the standard composite hood) also appear on the Carbon limited edition.
Design students create a new Tesla concept vehicle.
Maybe that's because of its "by kids, for kids" approach. Tesla's fleet expansion moves at a seemingly glacial pace and currently includes a super-expensive sports car (the Roadster), as well as a more moderately priced sedan (the upcoming Model S), but nothing for the 20-something segment that wants a compact, affordable, fun-to-drive model. Tesla's solution? Let that same demographic design their own concept.
Of course, it helps if the 20-somethings happen to be 11 master's degree students in Transportation Design at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Turin, Italy. Tesla's own chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen, acts as their mentor and supervisor for the semester -- which is exactly how the IED Eye came about.
The result of the collaboration is that slick design seen up there, which reminds me of a more compact, more extreme version of the design language shared by the Honda Accord Crosstour and the upcoming BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo large hatch. Most notable is the roof structure, with a paneled design that allows it to become a semi-open vehicle and, rather than simply a traditional rear hatchback door, actually opens up to provide a loading bay in the manner of a pickup truck.
The only Eye concept in existence is at the Geneva Motor Show, but for a better look at the design, check out the video after the jump.
Washington Post finds prevalent overlap beween the automotive industry and regulation.
In short, "As many as 33 former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration employees and Transportation Department appointees left those jobs in recent years and now work for automakers as lawyers, consultants and lobbyists and in other jobs that deal with government safety probes, recalls and regulations," according to the Post. Likewise, former Cabinet officials -- such as former Clinton Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater, hired last week by Toyota -- are on those manufacturers' payrolls.
Chevy to launch new social networking campaigns at festival.
The campaigns revolve around new or emerging applications with which the manufacturer hopes to connect with consumers. The first is a collaboration with Austin-based social networking company Gowalla; users, via a mobile phone and the Gowalla application, can "check in" at various locations to update friends as to their whereabouts and activities. For SXSW, users may receive Chevy-specific messages and offers -- for example, select users who check in at the Austin airport may receive an offer of a free ride downtown in the new Chevy Equinox.
By Hans Greimel, Automotive News
Ikuo Maeda, the new design chief at Mazda Motor Corp., earned the nickname "Speedy" for his lead-footed driving on the race course and off.
He may be the only standing auto executive to have had his license revoked--twice.
It's only natural then that Maeda, who took the design reins last April, views himself as the rightful guardian of Mazda's zoom-zoom brand heritage. And he has the bloodline to prove it.
Not only did Maeda design the bold, muscular silhouette of today's RX-8 sports car. But a generation before, his father--himself a Mazda stylist--designed the RX-8's spiritual ancestor, the original RX-7.
"I was a real car lover long before I started designing cars," Maeda said in an interview at Mazda's headquarters in this western Japanese port city.
"There are lots of car enthusiasts at Mazda, but I think I'm at the top."
Manufacturer faces possible class-action lawsuits that could cost billions.
The suits are based at least partly on a recent move by Kelley Blue Book to lower the resale values of Toyota models affected by the recall by an average of 3.5 percent.
On March 25, in San Diego, a panel of federal judges will consider the cases to determine if and how the suits can be grouped and whether the cases have enough merit to move forward. If the decision is made to group all similar cases, nationwide, into a single class, the repercussions for the Japanese automaker could be stunning. Consider, for example, if every one of the millions of Toyota owners affected by the recall joined the suit and was subsequently awarded just $1,000 as reimbursement for the drop in value of their vehicles. Toyota could end up paying out billions of dollars.
By Kathy Jackson, Automotive News
Toyota maintains that the fixes being made to correct unintended acceleration in millions of recalled vehicles are sufficient.
But at a press event Monday, company officials said they are willing to bring in as many independent researchers as needed to resolve the issue once and for all.
“We don't think there is a ghost issue out there,” said Kristen Tabar, general manager of electronic systems at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
But she conceded that “we need to verify claims, facts and evidence."
“Until we do that, we can't say there is nothing,” she said.
Toyota has recalled nearly 6 million vehicles in the United States to fix both sticky pedals and floor mats that could trap an accelerator and hold it open.
Study predicts 466 million electric motos will be on the road by 2016.
Mainstays of the moto EV crowd -- such as Mission Motors, Zero Motorcycles and Brammo -- are already offering their wares to consumers who seem thirsty for a near guilt-free form of transportation.
Explore New Cars
More on MSN Autos
About Exhaust Notes
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.
Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5