Grand Sport a Grand Time
When the Corvette and its buyers start getting bored, Chevrolet has the answer: Let’s do a special-edition Corvette! This has been going on for a half-century, with varying degrees of success. Some models or option packages are modern classics, like the original Z06 from 1963: This was a race-ready Corvette with a massive 36.5-gallon fuel tank, created by 'Vette godfather Zora Arkus-Duntov to sneak around GM’s self-imposed ban on factory racing. Only racers and other in-the-know buyers knew to check off the Z06 option box, which added a hefty $1,818 to the Sting Ray’s $4,252 base price -- and since only 199 were ever built, a primo Z06 can fetch a cool $1 million today.
The downside has been a welter of self-serving commemorative or “anniversary” Corvettes, including several Indy Pace Car models. These tend to add little or nothing to stock 'Vette performance while slapping on lurid paint schemes and decals so tacky that the cars appear to have been conceived by a 14-year-old NASCAR fan who may have found his way into daddy’s Wild Turkey.
So it’s always reason to cheer when Chevy gets it right, as it has with the reborn Z06 and ZR1 models. Yet those cars -- especially the 638-horsepower ZR1, which runs $110,000 -- are out of reach for many of the Corvette faithful. Well, allow me to tout the new Grand Sport coupe and convertible, themselves named for the Corvette prototype racers of a bygone age, along with limited-edition models from ’63 and ’96.
Mix and match the colors and options on your dream Rolls-Royce Ghost with the new app.
So you want to build your dream Rolls? Now you can.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said its first app for the iPhone and iPod touch is now available at the App Store. The app allows you to configure your own Ghost, Rolls' newest model.
The Ghost app allows you to choose from the thousands of design combinations available at Rolls-Royce dealerships. There are 12 paint finishes, three wheel styles, visible exhaust tips and a Silver Satin hood.
Shell Helix Ultra has one of the coolest car commercials we've seen.
Shell Helix Ultra and the creative team at JWT have made a damn cool car commercial. In order to show how their particular oil works in an engine, they created a completely clear (and oversized) engine, housed in a glass car. No computers, no CGI -- nothing but a whole bunch of research, plenty of man-hours, incredible amounts of labor, add some cameras and ... action.
The best part of this video, after the jump, is the behind-the-scenes details showing how the 30-second spot was made.
Really, it doesn't need much more introduction than that. Enjoy.
By Dale Jewett
Rally and gymkhana driver Ken Block is torturing tires with a Ford Fiesta these days. So our Microsoft friends at Turn 10 Studios, makers of Forza Motorsport 3, have their version of Block and his rally Fiesta sliding their way around some open space and through the warehouse available for viewing. So here you go. And keep an eye out for the subliminal advertising of your favorite car-enthusiast magazine.
Natural-gas-powered Honda Civic reaches another retail market.
Despite the fact that compressed natural gas burns far more cleanly than gasoline and is also far less expensive, in the U.S. the only commercially available CNG-powered car is the Honda Civic GX NGV, and up until recently it was available only in California, New York and Utah, where CNG refueling stations are (relatively) available. Oklahoma has just been added to that list, as well, boosting the number of major markets to just four.
As China reigns as the world's largest auto market, the industry is styling cars for its tastes.
China is now the world's largest market for automobiles, and as this article over at CNet points out, size matters.
Everything from extended wheelbases to extra-roomy back seats to high-tech features to fuel-efficient 3-cylinder engines are incorporated with at least a partial eye to China's incredible demand for cars. GM, whose Buick vehicles have been far more popular in China than the U.S. of late, even has a word for the design language: the C-factor.
The most expensive speeding ticket -- ever.
As with any law, the particulars vary from country to country. In some places, like Switzerland and Finland -- previous countries of origin for world's most expensive speeding fines -- speeding tickets are calculated based on a combination of the severity of offense and the offender's net worth to discourage the ultrawealthy from flaunting the law, which led to the aforementioned fines of about $290,000 and $200,000, respectively. Those records have not only been broken, but shattered.
In the Netherlands, egregious speeding can be punished, in the most severe cases, by the forfeiture of the vehicle being driven, which recently led to the seizure of a Bugatti Veyron priced at about $2.35 million. And get this: The Veyron's owner wasn't even driving the car.
By Greg Migliore
Add the mighty Chevrolet Corvette to the list of recalled cars.
General Motors is recalling some 2005 and 2006 models for a steering-column problem. About 40,000 cars produced between March 2004 and January 2006 could be affected.
The problem is that repeated movement of the tilt-and-telescoping steering column could cause a signal interruption, resulting in a warning message appearing and the brakes coming on.
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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