Find by category:

Exhaust Notes

The Lighter Car News, All in One Place

An Aston Martin for Stirling Moss, Audi in America, Ford operators for when your sync has sunk.

By Sam Smith Jul 13, 2011 6:43AM
(Stirling Moss Aston Martin Cygnet. Image courtesy Aston Martin.) Welcome to your Wednesday light-news roundup -- an occasional feature in which we cover news bits that don't deserve their own blog post but are interesting nonetheless. 

This isn't going to be a regular thing, more a when-we-feel-like-it gathering of odds and ends. We'll bring together the small-time news happenings of the day or week that we find interesting, provide a source link for each and leave you room to comment. Weeks may go by between installations, but we'll guarantee that the bits will be worth your while. 

In this first installment, we'll cover Stirling Moss' wife's wheels, Audi's plan to colonize America, and Adam Carolla's wheeled weiner (seriously), among other things. All below the jump.

Also: Moss, the Cygnet isn't cool, not even for your wife. I'm sorry. It's just not. 

Moss buys his wife an Aston Martin Cygnet: Legendary British racing driver Stirling Moss recently purchased an Aston Martin Cygnet for his wife, Susie (above left). The Cygnet is essentially a badge-engineered version of Toyota's iQ city car; it was created to give Aston customers a low-cost commuting option and to help elevate the marque's corporate fuel-economy rating. 

In case you weren't aware, the Cygnet is roughly the size of a smart fortwo but about a thousand times more horrible. It wears an Aston Martin grille but is in no way an Aston Martin. It's the first substantially offensive offering from a brand long-known for building amazing, gorgeous, quintessentially British machines. 

Moss's car is painted Aston Martin green, a tribute to his days racing cars like the 1956–1959 DBR1. We'd say this smells like a public relations stunt designed to give the Cygnet some enthusiast cred, but that would be cynical. So let's just say it's odd. And painful. And -- OK, fine. It smells like a PR stunt. 

(Audi North America Plant. Image via Getty.)Audi is definitely going to build cars in North America: Like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen before it, Audi has decided to build an assembly plant in North America. No details have been released, and there's no word on where the plant will be located or when it will come on line. The move is likely driven by the German marque's strong U.S. sales and long delivery times. "It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S.," said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. "The only question is when." According to Automotive News, all relevant decisions will be made within the next three years. 

Also, the A5 receives a face lift for 2012, and images of said lift were just released. Thankfully, it did not get screwed up. That car is pretty. Very, very pretty. 

(P.S. -- Did anyone else have a Jeff Spicoli moment when they read that Stadler quote? Totally? Bit out of character for a stiff German exec? Totally. Totally.)

(SPEED TV's The Car Show. Image courtesy Autoblog.)Adam Carolla's "The Car Show" premieres tonight on Speed: Yes, yes, we know what you're thinking -- why is Sam Smith not on it? Well, kiddies, Sam isn't on it because he's just too special for television. Or maybe it's because he forgot to comb his hair all pretty on the day of the screen test. Or maybe he called and called and called "The Car Show," but it was totally all washing its hair whenever he wanted to take it out to a nice dinner-movie-dragstrip combo date. Kids today! Always up on the MyFace Tubespaces, never having enough time to wash their hair and go out on dates with nice Jewish kids from Kentucky who just wanna play with cars on the tellervision. Sigh.

But now I'm rambling. Judging by the few clips I've seen, the show might be entertaining. (Get your wheeled wiener here.) And at least it's not American "Top Gear,' which is borderline painful. Give it a shot. 10 p.m. EDT on Speed.

(Ford Sync. Image via Getty.) Ford tests live-operator troubleshooting for Sync: Ford is testing out a service where customers/owners/drivers/users/whatever you call people who buy cars with Skynet built in can get assistance from a live operator in the event of a problem. As The Wall Street Journal so succinctly put it,
The Operator Assist test announcement follows a number of reports about difficulties for drivers trying to use Sync. In a recent J.D. Power and Associates study of initial quality, Ford’s score fell dramatically due in large part to complaints about Sync and other electronic systems meant to make driving easier and less distracting.

For the record, I've always found Sync impressive in capability but somewhat difficult to navigate. Take that with a grain of salt, however, as navigation is not my strong point. I have occasionally gotten lost in my own bathroom. 

Annnnnd -- that's a wrap. Tune in next time, whenever that may be, for the next installment of all the news that you don't necessarily have to know about. We like writing this stuff. It'll be back.

[Source: Automotive News; Autoweek; WSJ]

Jul 13, 2011 12:22PM

Ford ( and GM, Chrysler and...) and you manufacturers all have these great widgets stuck in the dash that can tell us so much about about what is playing on the radio and sattelite and what has mileage is and even communicate via email.

Why can't it just tell me why the MIL/Check Engine light is on, instead of having to find some grease monkey looking for their next "boat-payment" (CarTalk) ?? !!

Jul 13, 2011 7:01AM

Thanks, Sam!  I look forward to the next installment.

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
MSN Money


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