Posts Tagged ‘glass tint’
The all-new Huracán takes the place of the Gallardo, the most popular Lamborghini model ever.
Powered by a 5.2 liter V10 engine that generates over 600 horsepower, it will run from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds, and to a top speed of 201 mph.
If you can’t make it to the Geneva show, here’s everything you need and want to know about the latest and maybe greatest Lamborghini supercar.
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As of late, Honda hasn’t been a brand associated with fun-to-drive cars. The new Civic Si barely satisfies our pallets for performance, but there is a a model worth caring about that has long been absent from the lineup. It’s the 280-horsepower Civic Type R (concept), and in this fiery guise, it looks epic.
This burning hot hatch will be the first model to employ Honda’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC engine (when produced). The inline-four will put down close to 280 horsepower, all sent to the front wheels, of course.
With all that power, Honda has big plans in mind for its latest hot hatch. They want the Type R to be the fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nurburgring, surpassing the current 8:07.97 lap time set by the Renault Megane 265 Trophy. Game on.
Of course — with any Type R — we likely won’t see it in the US. The Euro-only hatch is currently on display in concept form at the Geneva Motor Show and will likely go on sale later in the year with minor changes. We are red-hot with jealousy.
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The British supercar company had already announced that it was set to launch a new super-fast sports coupe at the motor show, but then proceeded to take the wraps off a spider version too.
Like the McLaren 650S, the 650S Spider has an output of 650PS (641bhp) and combines elements of the company’s existing range of supercars to create something faster than the 12C, yet more comfortable than the rang-topping P1.
McLaren describes the car as a ‘no compromise’ high-performance open-top sports car, and looking at the performance figures, that’s no exaggeration.
With a 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 3.0 seconds, it is equally as fast as the hardtop version off the line but does lose out by 0.2 seconds in the 0-124mph (200km/h) — 8.6 seconds compared with 8.4 seconds for the coupe. However, it’s still good for a top speed of 204mph (329km/h) and 24.2mpg (11.7 l/100km) on the combined cycle.
The fact that the figures for the spider are so close to those for the hardtop are a testament to McLaren’s engineering expertise. The convertible is only 40kg heavier and most of this weight is due to the two-piece roof and the motor that retracts it. And that motor is no slouch either. The roof can be raised or lowered in under 17 seconds and at speeds of up to 19mph (30km/h).
No one ever doubts McLaren’s technical abilities, but sometimes the company is criticized for its lack of adventure. For example, the traction control systems in its cars are difficult to turn off, and sometimes the cars, though fabulous to drive, can lack personality.
The 650S Spider attempts to address this via its rear window. With the roof down, it can be kept in place as an extra wind buffer, or, with the roof up can be lowered to let air and engine noise into the cabin for more drama.
It’s a small step, but one in the right direction for people who would usually be heading to the Ferrari or Lamborghini dealership.
The coupe version of the 650S will cost £195,250 (roughly €240,000 or $325,000) while the Spider will cost a little more at £215,250 (€260,000 or $350,000).
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REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:
Selling large, non-luxury sedans is an increasingly tough game.
In other words, for a large sedan to succeed, it can’t coast; it has to be a really good vehicle.Chevrolet’s new Impala is just that, according to a wide range of critics. Car & Driver calls it “a once-proud prizefighter … eyeing a big comeback.” Consumer Reports rated it a 95 out of 100, the highest grade it has ever given a sedan.
Rebuilt from the ground up—as opposed to being “refreshed”—the Impala was a big and expensive bet on a shrinking segment. The returns for General Motors (GM) have been handsome, as the Impala has come to dominate an overlooked market.
From June, when the new Impalas hit dealerships en masse, through January, Chevy has sold almost 103,000 of them in the U.S.—40 percent more than its closest competitor, the Dodge Charger. Last month, as the whole auto industry skidded, Impala sales surged by 12 percent.
“We’ve been extremely happy with it and really proud,” says Chevy spokesman Chad Lyon.
How did Chevy pull off such a sales coup? By not making a racket. The Impala, hermetically sealed in laminated glass, is the quietest car Chevy has ever made, according to Lyon. In addition to so-called passive measures such as triple door gaskets and cavity baffles, it also has active noise cancellation—microphones in the cabin that measure and muffle engine noise.
It’s also a really safe car, thanks to 10 airbags and a bunch of error-canceling features currently touted by luxury leaders: “crash-imminent braking,” lane-drifting alerts, and cruise-control that adapts to changes in the road ahead.
“It’s not one silver bullet,” Lyon said. “It’s the sum of the parts, everything from fuel economy to the way it handles.”
This isn’t the car for a 30-year-old guy who watches Top Gear. And it’s not the car for a family with a big dog. But for a middle-class couple that just wants a safe, smooth ride while zoning out to NPR or gabbing on the Bluetooth, it makes a lot of sense.
Turns out, there is no shortage of people falling into that category. Impalas used to be bought by Chevy loyalists trading up from a Cruze or a Malibu and by the managers of rental-car fleets. The current iteration is winning more retail buyers and market share from other companies, according to Lyon. It’s also attracting more affluent drivers—one reason Chevy has been able to push the average selling price up by by about 17 percent, to $30,000.
“It’s starting to do a lot of things for us, even beyond some of our expectations,” Lyon says. “People actually want to be noticed in these vehicles.”
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As Consumer Reports prepares to release its 2014 Autos Spotlight, which includes our highly anticipated Top Picks, we asked our Facebook followers to tell us what’s the best car on the market in the U.S. today.
From the followers’ initial submissions, we asked people to “vote” on the six most popular models*: Ford Mustang, Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry*, Toyota Prius, and Toyota RAV4.* All have been considered good, safe, reliable models, earning the distinction of a Consumer Reports recommendation. From these, the Subaru Outback won, garnering a quarter of the votes.
Subaru Outback: 25 percent
The genre-bending Outback wagon stood out amid a crowd of popular models. Reading through the comments, it is clear that the Outback’s esteem is elevated by owners like Amy, who wrote, “I love my Outback! The best car I have ever owned.”
In our tests, the Outback has earned a solid overall test score, but there are several higher-rated wagons. The key to its appeal is the rare blend of adventurous styling, frugal fuel economy (for the four-cylinder), generous interior space, and winter-ready features.
Ford Mustang: 22 percent
Celebrating 50 years as a motoring icon, the Mustang is the only American-branded model to make the list. The current car remains at the apex of an impressive performance legacy, staying true to the original concept. One commenter noted, “That’s no contest. Make mine a Mustang!”
With prices beginning under $23,000, the Mustang starts with 305 horsepower and climbs seemingly to the stratosphere with 662 hp. Available as a coupe or convertible, the Mustang can be configured to suit many personalities and budgets, remaining engaging and entertaining throughout its product line. Look for a redesigned Mustang in late 2014.
Toyota Camry: 17 percent
A perennial hot-selling sedan, the Camry is roomy, quiet, refined, fuel efficient, and reliable, earning it a high rank among our ratings, and placing it in high-esteem among drivers. As Chris wrote on our wall, “All great choices, but my pick is the Camry.” The same can be said in the marketplace, which is currently crowded with smart choices in the segment and yet routinely sees the Camry as the most popular.
Toyota Prius: 17 percent
Even after all these years on the market, the Prius remains a revolutionary car, and its recognition as such is clear. The key is that the Prius is no one-trick pony. As Al points out about his Prius, “Best car I have ever owned—fuel efficient and reliable.” Fuel economy is excellent at 44 mpg overall and 55 mpg on the highway in our tests. And despite its hybrid complexity, the Prius remains one of the most reliable cars in our annual survey. Plus, for a small car, it is relatively roomy, with a large back seat and good cargo space. Yes, there is much to like, especially at today’s gas prices.
Hyundai Sonata: 10 percent
That this curvaceous sedan made the cut is further proof that Hyundai has risen to be tough mainstream competitor. No question: the Sonata delivers a lot for the money. Its 200-hp four-cylinder engine is smooth and responsive, yet delivers an impressive 27 mpg overall. Good handling, a supple ride, and comfortable seats are other pluses. (We’d suggest skipping the hybrid version, which didn’t score as well in our tests and returns relatively mediocre fuel economy for a hybrid.)
Toyota RAV4: 10 percent
A popular choice among the vibrant small SUV contenders, the Toyota RAV4 stood out to our Facebook followers. As we have seen in recent surveys, small SUVs represent a sweet spot in the marketplace that small car owners aspire to and larger vehicle owners are looking to downsize to. While it created this car-based, soft-roader category in the last century, we feel there are better alternatives today.
The people have had their say. Soon it will be our turn.
Consumer Reports will release its 2014 Top Picks at 12:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 25.. Until then, share your thoughts on our Facebook wall and name your dream car. Our staff will be doing the same. See you there!
The only caveat here is the Toyota RAV4, which had its recommendation revoked after a recent poor performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap crash test. The Camry also briefly lost its recommendation for the same reason, although modifications to the 2014.5 Camry returned this popular sedan to favor.
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The U.S. auto industry announced in 2013 that it was back in full force with unit sales increasing to 15.6 million, up better than 7% from 2012, and crossing the 15 million mark for the first time since 2007.
A combination of an improving economy, lower unemployment rates, and historically low lending rates have encouraged consumers to jump into what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase their dream car at a very attractive lending rate.
Needless to say, a lot of thought and effort goes into which car a consumer will purchase. Consumers often look at fuel economy, read reviews online, test drive the vehicle (perhaps a number of times), ask for advice from family and friends, and also plot out how much they’re willing to spend on their vehicle over the life of a loan if they choose to finance it.
One thing that consumers often overlook, though, is the dependability of the vehicle they’re considering buying. For a new car buyer, the expectation is that they’ll encounter few maintenance problems for the first couple of years, and if they do, that their warranty will cover those snafus. For a used car purchaser, dependability is everything since there’s rarely any warranty attached to a used car purchase.
Not only is dependability important for your pocketbook in that more dependable vehicles will cost less to maintain, but it’s also the silent advertiser for a brand. As J.D. Power & Associates has demonstrated through its research, 56% of car owners who report having no problems return to the same brand, while 42% who reported three or more problems kept their same brand of vehicle with their next purchase. Therefore, vehicle dependability can, at least partially, help us predict which brands’ sales may move higher and which brands may struggle based on this vehicle dependability-brand loyalty correlation.
America’s five most dependable automotive brands
To that end I turn to J.D. Power & Associates annual vehicle dependability study for 2014. The study itself looks at three-year-old models from a number of brands (i.e., all 2011 models) and asks consumers if they experienced one or more of 202 noted problems. J.D. Power then ranks those car brands from top to bottom based on how many problems were reported per 100 vehicles, commonly known as its PP100 metric. Dependability is especially important this year when you consider that J.D. Power’s study uncovered the first rise in reported problems, especially engine and transmission problems, since 1998!
Let’s have a look at the five top automotive brands according to J.D. Power’s study and then note what brands really stood out, as well as which brands faltered.
As a warning, you may be shocked to discover which brand decisively took the No. 1 spot in vehicle dependability!
No. 5: Buick (112 problems per 100 vehicles)
Rising from the sixth spot into the top five this year is Buick, owned by General Motors(NYSE: GM ) which had consumers report just 112 problems per 100 vehicles as opposed to 118 PP100 in last year’s study from J.D. Power. The real standout for Buick was the Lucerne which took top honors in the large car category, besting Toyota‘s (NYSE: TM ) Avalon and Ford‘s (NYSE: F ) Taurus. As Foolish auto analyst John Rosevear notes, Buick is doing a really nice job transitioning into a global brand.
No. 4: Acura (109 problems per 100 vehicles)
Honda Motors‘ (NYSE: HMC ) Acura was another big mover in 2014, vaulting higher by four spots to fourth place from eighth with 109 PP100 reported compared to 120 PP100 last year. Like GM’s Buick, Acura only took top honors in one category (compact premium CUV) with its RDX, but it also claimed a tie for the third-highest rating in the midsize premium CUV category with the Mercedes-Benz M-class. Honda and Acura are relatively synonymous with economical but dependable vehicles in the U.S., making this ranking not too surprising.
No. 3: Cadillac (107 problems per 100 vehicles)
Chalk up another victory for General Motors which can claim its second top-five brand for dependability in Cadillac. Year over year, Cadillac surged 11 spots to No. 3, with vehicle owners reporting only 107 PP100 compared to 128 PP100 last year. This huge jump came in only second to Jaguar which vaulted 13 spots higher in J.D. Power’s rankings. Cadillac took home the top honors for its large premium CUV, the Escalade, as well as large premium car, the DTS, which tied for the top spot with the Lexus LS. Cadillac has certainly done its best to focus its efforts on a slightly younger crowd, and these improved dependability ratings should help.
No. 2: Mercedes-Benz (104 problems per 100 vehicles)
Jumping three spots in 2014 to No. 2 with only 104 PP100 compared to 115 PP100 reported in the prior year is Daimler‘s (NASDAQOTH: DDAIF ) Mercedes-Benz. What’s particularly interesting here is that Mercedes-Benz didn’t win any of the 22 vehicle categories as outlined by J.D. Power, but it did place or show in quite a few which speaks to its overall consistency. Mercedes-Benz ranked second in midsize premium car with its E-Class sedan/wagon, second in large premium CUV with its GL-class, second in compact premium CUV with its GLK-class, and tied for third with the Acura MDX in the midsize premium CUV category with its M-class. Simply put, if consumers are going to pay a premium price, they expect premium results, and Mercedes-Benz appears to be delivering on that promise.
And the real shock (at least to me)…
No. 1: Lexus (68 problems per 100 vehicles)
I guess it shouldn’t be that much of a shock since Toyota-owned Lexus was first in last year’s ratings as well, but I recall shortly after I got my license, nearly two decades ago, how I was admonished from buying a Lexus because of their dependability issues. This rating simply confirms how far the brand has come in less than two decades as its PP100 of just 68 is light years ahead of second-place Mercedes-Benz, and even lower than the 71 PP100 that J.D. Power reported last year. Lexus tied its LS for top large premium car with the Cadillac DTS, was the top midsize premium car with the GS, and nabbed both the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in compact premium car with the ES and IS, and midsize premium CUV with the RX and GX.
Here are J.D. Power’s full rankings based on PP100:
Source: J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study.
Obviously brands in the top five can be construed as winners, but General Motors, Toyota, and Honda deserve special recognition since they brought home eight, seven, and six, of the top category awards, respectively – that’s 21 of 22 categories won by just three companies!
As I stated above, Toyota and Honda generally build no-frill vehicles, choosing instead to focus on improving fuel economy and storage space. The end result for years has been a reliable vehicle that will get the consumer from point A to B with ease, and without too many automotive issues.
The real shock here is the dominance by General Motors’ vehicles and the total absence of Ford, save for a runner-up effort in the midsize pickup category with its Ranger. GM is hoping to translate these key wins into strong sales for its recently redesigned trucks, the Silverado and Sierra, which it hopes will give Ford’s dominant F-Series a run for its money. Early sales of GM’s Silverado have been mixed with winter weather and parts shortages eating into total unit sales, but as Foolish auto guru John Rosevear recently pointed out, it’s actually spending fewer days on dealership lots than either of its foes, signaling that GM may indeed be on the up-and-up.
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Let me plant this scenario in your head, as I’d bet this has happened to a majority of you reading this right now. I’ll admit, it’s happened to me. Here’s the scenario:
You’re at the car dealership, and you’ve picked out the car of your dreams, or perhaps something to get you from point A to B and/or handle that new addition to your family. You discuss financing options with the dealership and pat yourself on the back for negotiating a notable reduction in price from where you started. By at this point in time, you’re quite proud of yourself. You drive the car off the lot and feel like a victor for what might be days or weeks.
Then, one sunny afternoon (or since I live in Seattle, stormy winter’s night) while checking the resale value of your car online, you realize that with just a couple thousand miles on what is essentially your brand-new vehicle it’s worth thousands, or perhaps even tens of thousands of dollars, less now than what you paid for it just months prior.
This is the plight of the new car purchaser. Consumers can certainly trade down to used cars for a cheaper sticker price, but they’ll often pay the penalties of buying as-is with no warranty and could be in line for a number of repairs. If these same consumers choose a new vehicle, their warranty will cover a number of repairs and maintenance options, but they’ll deal with their vehicle immediately depreciating once they drive it off the lot.
What the new car purchaser would really prefer to do is find that common ground between buying a new car and not having it depreciate rapidly over time. Unfortunately, the average new car in 2014 is expected to lose 60% of its original value after five years. Thankfully, we have Kelley Blue Book to help us out.
Kelley Blue Book recently released a report detailing 10 car models that hold the highest resale values after the five-year mark. According to its figures, all 10 of these car models maintain at least half of their original value after five years. As a car enthusiast, perhaps nothing surprised me more than what car model held the No. 1 spot!
By understanding which models deliver the best resale, we not only can make smarter decisions as consumers, it could point to which vehicles are likely to drive automakers’ sales higher moving forward.
Here are the 10 car models with the highest resale values (all models are 2014).
10. Dodge Challenger: resale value at 36 months (60.8%) / 60 months (50.5%)
Behold the ongoing rebirth of the American muscle car! Because of consumers’ seemingly insatiable appetites for horsepower at the moment, seeing the Dodge Challenger squeak in at No. 10 isn’t a surprise in the slightest. The Challenger is maintaining high interest among consumers for its reasonable price point — ranging from a tad over $26,000 up to nearly $46,000 — and heart-pumping 305 to 470 horsepower. An aggressive, sleek look coupled with unbridled power should keep Challenger sales rolling strong in 2014.
9. Chevrolet Silverado 1500: resale value at 36 months (59%) / 60 months (50.6%)
What a difference a remodel can make forGeneral Motors‘ (NYSE: GM ) Chevy Silverado. It’s been roughly eight years since the vehicle has had a major redesign, but it’s clear from initial sales of the vehicle that GM has had trouble simply keeping up with demand. Although sales have stagnated over the past two months, as Foolish auto analyst John Rosevear pointed out, the average number of days a Silverado sits in a car dealership’s lot before being sold is lower than both of its major domestic rivals. That proves the demand is there and gives us a primary reason Silverado’s resale value is so high.
8. Honda CR-V: resale value at 36 months (63%) / 60 months (50.7%)
Why Honda Motor (NYSE: HMC ) ? Simple: reliability. Consumer perceptions can go a long way to boosting the value of a vehicle in the auto sector, and Honda vehicles exude the idea of being economical, maintaining good gas mileage, and requiring less long-term maintenance relative to their peers. The CR-V is the perfect blend of the above, blending the space of an SUV into a compact form, while still providing reasonable gas mileage and the expectation of years of drivability without issues.
7. Chevrolet Camaro: resale value at 36 months (63.7%) / 60 months (51.9%)
Have I mentioned that Americans are really fascinated with the resurgence of the American muscle car? Perhaps no vehicle has captivated the attention of consumers than the Chevy Camaro, which is the best-selling muscle car — topping Ford‘s (NYSE: F ) Mustang and the Dodge Challenger — since 2009. In 2013, the Camaro nosed out the Mustang for the top spot in muscle-car sales and actually left the Challenger eating its dust. With extremely reasonable price points and an engine that cranks out 323-580 horsepower depending on what model you choose, the Camaro’s future and its resale value looks bright.
6. Toyota Tundra: resale value at 36 months (63.7%) / 60 months (52.3%)
We have to jump all the way up to the No. 6 spot to see our first appearance of a Toyota(NYSE: TM ) vehicle — but here’s a hint: You’ll get used to it! The Tundra is a bit of a curious case, as it’s not even close to being among the top 20 vehicles sold. Instead, Ford’s F-Series pickups, the Chevy Silverado, and the Dodge Ram run circles around the Tundra in terms of total units sold. What’s curious is that it holds the most superior resale value of the bunch, likely having to do with consumer perception of its superior reliability, as well as the fact that it can actually come with a number of equipment add-ons that can give it an edge over its peers.
5. Chevrolet Corvette: resale value at 36 months (67.5%) / 60 months (53.5%)
Surprise! Americans like muscle cars! General Motors is surprisingly cleaning up on thisKelley Blue Book list, but it does have a major redesign of the Chevy Corvette to thank for that.
In years past, you pretty much had to sign over your first born to park a Corvette in your driveway. But the redesign, which comes complete with a new hydroformed aluminum chassis, can be had for a bargain-basement $52,000 MSRP and delivers 455-460 horsepower. As long as longtime Corvette enthusiasts don’t balk at the stylistic changes, there’s a good chance the Corvette will remain on this list for some time to come.
4. Toyota 4Runner: resale value at 36 months (66.6%) / 60 months (56.2%)
Sometimes minimal change is for the best, as we see with the No. 4 spot on Kelley Blue Books’ resale value list with the Toyota 4Runner. It’s been four years since there’s been a major resdesign of the 4Runner, and this appears to be one of those situations where the automaker says, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!” The 4Runner relies on consumers’ perception of reliability for the Toyota brand and the fact that few midsized off-road capable SUVs remain on the market.
3. Jeep Wrangler: resale value at 36 months (70.3%) / 60 months (59.1%)
In addition to unbridled horsepower, the resale value of genuine off-road vehicles is unparalleled with the Jeep Wrangler. This is the second year in a row the Wrangler has held the No. 3 spot, and it’s the highest-ranked American-made brand on the list. With genuine off-road-capable vehicles becoming difficult to come by these days as automakers move more toward luxury features, the Wrangler is likely to remain on this list because of this niche aspect.
2. Toyota Tacoma: resale value at 36 months (73.7%) / 60 months (61.9%)
Yet again, another Toyota vehicle in the top six! Like the previous Toyota models, the historic reputation of Toyota is what appears to drive the value of these vehicle down at a much slower pace over the long term. With few frills added, the Tacoma is simply a reliable midsize truck that consumers can drive the wheels off of without worrying too much about repairs or gas mileage.
And the No. 1 vehicle for best resale value is …
1. Toyota FJ Cruiser: resale value at 36 months (81%) / 60 months (70%)
That’s right … the FJ Cruiser. Perhaps one of the odder-looking vehicles on the road takes the best resale value yet again and clinches Toyota the position as top dog for resale value in the U.S. The FJ Cruiser’s leading resale value comes from a combination of unique styling, which simply has no comparison, as well as its ability to successfully navigate off road. Being able to combine city and utility functions into a unique body styling earns the FJ Cruiser the honor of America’s best resale value vehicle.
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Today’s restomodders, replica builders, and tuners take an obsessive approach to performance. These vehicles are modified to a level of detail so far beyond their original roots that they are better described as brand-new production cars and trucks rather than upgraded versions of the original.
John Hennessey has been creating a steady stream of high-horsepower four-wheeled insanity since 1991. In 1993, when he turned his attention to Dodge Vipers, a legend was born. Over the last two decades, each generation of Hennessey Viper has produced some very serious numbers and taken down plenty of competitors at track tests. His latest, the Venom 1000 Twin Turbo, makes and astonishing 1120 hp and runs through the quarter-mile in 9.7 seconds.
But perhaps the company’s most interesting vehicle is the Venom GT. Here is a widened, stretched, and modified Lotus wearing carbon-fiber bodywork. This featherweight no longer uses a Toyota four-cylinder engine; instead, the Venom draws its power from a twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter, 1244-hp Chevrolet LSX V-8. Woof. That pushes the car to a speed of 265.7 mph and makes it one of the fastest in the world, and one of the world’s greatest thrill machines.
Icon Thriftmaster Pickup
Icon began as a top-level restoration house for Toyota Land Cruisers back in the late 1990s, and they continue to restore vehicles to original condition. But it is Icon’s wildly reimagined Land Cruisers, Broncos, and Chevy pickups that take modified restoration to an obsessive level. Company founder Jonathan Ward upgrades every aspect of these vehicles. If suitably robust and beautiful upgrade parts don’t exist, he builds them—expense be damned.
Thriftmaster trucks, based on 1947 to 1953 Chevrolet trucks, are marvelous performers thanks to a modern supercharged (and emissions-legal) GM crate engine, a capable Art Morrison road race-style chassis, and a detailed and luxurious interior. Even the doors of this truck are cool: Icon redesigned the door’s latch mechanism as well as all the cranks and pulls, so now this door closes with a solid thunk and the windows power up and down using the original window crank as switches. We particularly like the bison-hide bench seat filled with Tempur-Pedic foam cushions. Ward even re-created the original Chevrolet font for the Icon badging on this vehicle.
Singer Vehicle Design Porsche 911
For 50 years Porsche‘s 911 has been an icon of performance. Though today’s 911 is a sophisticated and evolved sports machine, plenty of purists prefer the 911s of the past. Singer Vehicle Design takes some of the best characteristics of these classic 911s and melds them with modern technology and impeccable craftsmanship to create what many have called the ultimate 911.
The chassis comes straight from the early 1990s 964-series 911, the last and most evolved of the air-cooled Porsches. The flat-six cylinder engines come in either a relatively tame 3.6-liter 270-hp version or a wild 360-hp 3.6-liter version, and both are paired to either a five- or six-speed manual.
Beyond the specs, it’s Singer’s details that are truly breathtaking. Though the body looks just like the classic 911, it’s actually a new and subtly flared custom amalgam of different models built from carbon fiber (except for the doors), which saves about 500 pounds. Though the exterior lighting recalls the original small bumper 1964 to 1973 cars, the lamps themselves are modern Bi-Xenon units with polycarbonate lenses. The brightwork around the car isn’t just reproduction chrome pieces but special nickel-plated pieces. And those wheels are cool, new 17-inch forged replicas that allow for larger tires.
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering Reaper
For more than 40 years GM specialist Lingenfelter has produced some truly potent machines, including stock Corvettes tuned to become monsters, such as a 1000-hp version of today’s C7 Stingray. Their latest vehicle, the Reaper, was unveiled recently at the Chicago Auto Show. It’s a collaborative effort between Lingenfelter and Southern Comfort Automotive to produce a high-performance off-road truck based on the Chevy Silverado, one aimed to rival Ford’s Raptor.
Under the hood is one of two supercharged V-8s, the more potent of which is a 6.2-liter block that’s been supercharged to deliver 550 hp. The Reaper’s unique look is the result of a 3-inch taller Ride Tech suspension and aggressive new body panels that are flared to make room for 33-inch tires. Reapers can be ordered and delivered to select Chevy dealers and carry a three-year warranty. We’re ready to take the Reaper out to some rough terrain to see how it stacks up against the Raptor.
Shelby American 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra 289 FIA
The late Carroll Shelby’s legendary Cobra is the granddaddy of small-batch tuner cars, though the term tuner seems a bit flip for such a storied and influential supercar. But at its roots, that’s what the Cobra was. Shelby took a big Ford engine and had AC rework the chassis of their Ace sports car to accept it. To mark the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the 289 Cobra, Shelby American will be building just 50 limited-edition continuation Cobras with either a fiberglass body or a more expensive aluminum one.
Plenty of companies have built Cobra replicas over the years. But the most highly prized ones aren’t replicas at all, but this kind of “continuation”—small batch production cars built by Shelby American. This anniversary tribute model is one of the coolest the company has ever created.
VL Automotive Destino
The Destino is the one car here you can’t buy yet. And frankly, we’re not sure when or if it will ever hit small-batch production. But the idea behind the car is just too cool. VL wants to repurpose the leftover chassis and bodies of the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karmas (the company’s assets are planned for auction on Feb. 12) by installing a new powertrain. Former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz owns half of VL and plans to use his formidable connections to create a Corvette-powered sport sedan with the Fisker’s concept car looks.
Should the Destino reach production once Fisker’s bankruptcy proceedings are resolved, VL says it will offer the car with either the LT1 V-8 from the current C7 Stingray or a LS9 V-8 with more than 600 hp, made famous in the ZR1 Corvette. Katzkin, an interior-parts supplier would handle the custom leathers and finishes for the Destino. And to give the car a unique look upfront, there’s a more traditional grill that replaces Fisker’s original.
Our fingers are crossed for this one. A four-door with Corvette power never goes out of style.
Superformance Caterham Seven
Superformance is a small-batch builder of replica cars from South Africa whose designs represent the legendary American performance machines of the 1960s. They include Cobras (Superformance calls them Mark IIIs), Daytona Cobra coupes, and GT40s. Superformance cars are accurate and well-built. Their inventory has always been heavy on brawny American V-8 sports cars.
Now, for the first time, Superformance will be the official U.S. distributor for the Caterham Seven. It’s based on the Lotus Seven, the definition of a lightweight and rewarding open-air sports car. When production ended, Caterham bought the rights to build these cars from Lotus, and the Seven has been in production more or less uninterrupted since 1957.
Caterham Sevens destined for our shores are available in five models of increasing capability and speed. And like the Superformance cars, the Caterhams will be sold as a rolling chassis with third-part installation of the powertrain. Caterham says a top-level CSR with a 260-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder Ford engine will hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. We can’t wait to see these Caterhams on our streets.
Legacy Classic Trucks Power Wagon
Save for the Willys MB, no other American 4WD vehicle has a more decorated military history than the WC series Dodge trucks—Power Wagons. Legacy Classic Trucks of Jackson Hole, Wyo., has become one of the premiere restorers and restomodders of these icons. The company offers its Legacy Power Wagons upfitted with heavy-duty hardware, because Legacy intends its customers to use them as real trucks.
Under that domed hood, a buyer can opt for either a modern 425-hp Chrysler Legacy Magnum V-8 or a 3.9-liter Cummins diesel, both backed by a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Why not the 6.7-liter Cummins from today’s Dodge trucks? It just won’t fit. In either case, the power gets routed to a tough Atlas transfer case and down to Dana 60 front and Dana 80 rear axles with locking differentials. That’s extreme-duty truck stuff. So is the standard 16,500-pound-capacity winch and optional 42-inch tires. We’d have at least one of these in our dream garage.
American Expedition Vehicles Brute Double Cab
Jeep hasn’t had a pickup truck in its lineup since the Comanche ended production in 1992. But in 2004 Jeep revived the idea with the Gladiator, a name it borrowed from its mid-1960s full-size pickups and applied to a modern concept pickup built on the bones of the modern Wrangler.
Well, it’s 10 years later and we still don’t have a Jeep pickup. But American Expedition Vehicle (AEV) builds the Brute Double Cab to fill the void. AEV has been building and modifying Jeep Wranglers for 15 years. The Brute Double Cab is based on a 14-inch stretched version of the current Wrangler Unlimited chassis and fitted with a 5-foot composite bed. The DC350 model wears a 3.5-inch suspension lift, 35-inch-tall tires, and a Warn winch for off-road excursions. If you have an older Jeep Wrangler and want the utility of a pickup box, AEV has a Brute conversion for the 1997 to 2006 TJ Wranglers too.
Brabus B63S-700 6X6
We’ve left the wildest small-batch vehicle for last. Legendary German tuner Brabus has taken the insane 500-plus-horsepower, 6-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6—already perhaps the most wonderfully looney small-batch production vehicle on the planet—and gone a little further. Are they nuts? Of course. Thanks to new turbos supplying more boost pressure, the 5.5-liter engine pumps out 700 hp. That’s enough to move this 9000-pound beast to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.
There’s lots more fun stuff here too, such as the exhaust valve button on the steering wheel for Loud or Quiet. There’s plenty of carbon-fiber bodywork to dress this beast up too. Inside, the interior gets retrimmed in Alcantara and (in this case) fire-red leather.
Don’t expect to see one of these small-batch machines in the wild—unless you happen to visit Dubai on vacation.
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There’s supposed to be a clear difference between cars designed for the street and those built for the track. The line between the two gives us both the excitement of race day and a reasonable chance of coming home from the corner store alive. Sometimes, however, the distinction between the two types of vehicles grows ever-so-blurry, as the following cars show.
Porsche 991 Turbo S
This latest incarnation of the legendary 911 has a twin turbo-charged engine that turns out 560 horses, along with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed sequential double-clutch transmission. Porsche claims it can go 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. With a ride like this, even the geekiest kid from your local high school would have his choice of dates to the prom.
Whether he would return from the event in one piece is another question entirely.
Corvette C6 ZR1
With a supercharged 6.2-liter engine under the hood capable of 638 horsepower, this is by far the baddest production Corvette to date. It boasts a top speed of 205 mph. Compared to the Porsche, however, it’s a real slouch acceleration-wide, taking a full 3.1 seconds to go 0-60. Something tells me the difference is hard to notice.
Mercedes-Benz CL65 Bi-Turbo
With its 12-cylinder twin-turbo powerplant, this isn’t exactly your dad’s Mercedes. 0-60 time is a relatively sedate 4.2 seconds, though with 621 horses under the hood you’d probably shave a few seconds off the daily work commute, even if you carpool.
Lotus Exige S
This speedy little ride shows what a 1.8-liter Toyota engine can do when it’s turbocharged and inserted in an ultra-light auto body. With a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds and a 0-100 of 9.98, this Lotus will turn heads faster than it will set the local cop’s nerves on edge. Park it in your garage next to the family mini-van and ask Junior which vehicle he would rather use for his new pizza delivery job.
Jet-Powered VW Beetle
No, your eyes don’t deceive you; that’s a VW Beetle with a jet engine sticking out of its behind. This vehicle is the odd-man-out for this list, but I included it because it is street-legal in California. Its owner, Ron Patrick, put his PhD in mechanical engineering to good use, building this high-powered bug in his garage. Patrick took advantage of the fact that CA laws allow the addition of a secondary engine, so long as the original production motor is left unmodified. On his site, he discusses how law enforcement has been trying to figure out a way to ticket him for years, with no success.
The jet engine is a General Electric model T58-8F. It spins up to 26,000 rpm and is rated for 1350 hp. Top speed and 0-60 times are unknown because, as Patrick says, “I built the car to thrill me, not kill me.” Smart guy.
This winter continues to be ugly, and it’s times like this that your hour-long commute on the interstate can turn into an unexpected adventure, leaving you stuck in a snowy ditch miles from help.
In most cases you can expect to be there for no more than a few hours, says Tony Nester, founder of the Ancient Pathways survival school in Flagstaff, Ariz. and author of the e-book A Vehicle Survival Kit You Can Live With.
“Statistically, you’re more likely to encounter small scale episodes where there’s a blizzard, you spin off the road and you’re there for maybe a day or overnight,” he said. (Nester is also an EMT.)
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is essential any time of year, but in bad weather, especially, the stakes are higher. “You’re your own first responder,” says Nester. He recommends Adventure Medical Kits ($79, amazon.com) because they are designed for remote medical needs. “These are superior to the average Red Cross kit,” he says.
Leatherman’s top-selling multitool can help you MacGyver your way out of any number of situations. “For a vehicle they’re outstanding,” says Nester: “A snowmobile, an ATV—anything with a lot of screws and wires where you need to make small-scale repairs and you have to improvise.” $60, acehardware.com
Sleeping Bag or Wool Blanket
Wrapping up to conserve body heat can save your life: “If you’re stuck in your vehicle and the heat’s not working, [a sleeping bag] will allow you to take care of that critical priority of staying warm and fending off hypothermia,” says Nester. “You can get ones these days that scrunch down to the size of a loaf of bread or smaller for $50 to $100.” He suggests taking the sleeping bag you use for camping and “throw[ing] it in your vehicle from October till May.” Marmot’s Trestles 15 (left) is an affordable cold-weather bag that insulates down to 15 degrees (Starting at $102.91;amazon.com). Cheaper options include REI’s Polar Pod (middle), rated to 31 degrees ($65-$80; rei.com), and the Siesta +25 (right), rated to 25 degrees ($50; rei.com). And if you don’t have a sleeping bag, a wool blanket is better than nothing.
Getting stranded in the snow without a way to dig your car out is not a pleasant situation to be in. “I have a Lifeline shovel, which is a collapsible telescoping shovel made from aircraft aluminum,” says Nester. Popular among snowboarders who ride in avalanche country, these lightweight shovels can help you get out of a ditch. $19; Amazon
Duct Tape (or Gaffer’s Tape)
Duct tape—“or gaffer’s tape if you want to take it a step further, because it is laced with fibers”—is one of the ultimate survival tools, says Nester. “I once used it to fix a leak in a radiator hose, and I’ve used it to repair a cracked sole on a boot and patch clothes. If you can get pink or orange, it can double as a signalling device if you wrap it around a nearby tree or pole”—or your car’s antenna.
Nester has also gotten in the habit of using it to tie a loop around all the critical tools in his pack: “on my lighter, on my sparking rod, on my Leatherman.” He learned this lesson the hard way. “I was going to light a fire once and I pulled out my lighter and dropped it in two feet of snow. [Now] when I go to pull out my lighter and my knife it’s attached to my wrist until it goes back in my pocket.”
That high-output tactical flashlight may be useful in a pinch, but its batteries won’t last long. Because you don’t know how long you’ll be stranded—and might want to use your hands—Nester suggests throwing an LED headlamp into your emergency kit. “LED ones will last a couple days,” he says. “I go a step further and add lithium batteries—they cost a little more but they’re definitely worth it.” Look for a headlamp with a strobe feature for signalling, he says. Black Diamond’s new Spot headlamp lasts up to 200 hours on its lowest setting, includes a strobe feature and a red LED to preserve night vision ($40;blackdiamondequipment.com). Last year’s model is still available for cheaper ($30), and you can also find plenty of budget options at your nearest Walmart or outdoor outfitter.
You can use carpet strips 12 inches wide and 4 feet long for traction if you get stuck in the snow, says Nester. “I find they work better than spreading cat litter,” he says, referring to a common trick for getting unstuck. “[These are] what’s used in the Jeep community for when they go off-roading and get their wheel or axle stuck in the mud.”
Glow sticks be a great passive lighting device for your vehicle’s interior, a distress signal and also increase visibility “if you’re changing a tire on a poorly lit section of highway,” says Nester. He hastens to add that glow sticks typically have a shelf life of two years, so be sure to check expiration dates once a year. Industrial grade Cyalume sticks sell for $3.75 eachand last up to 12 hours. (1000bulbs.com)
Whether you’re just driving half an hour to work or road-tripping to the ski mountain, you should dress as if you’ll be spending time outside—or have the right clothes with you. “If I get stuck in the road, at least I have all this stuff,” says Nester. “A layering system is key. People who go cross-country skiing have it down to a science, but the key is you want to avoid having [your clothes] be 100-percent cotton.” Besides your t-shirt and sweatshirt that you may be wearing, he says “Throw in some quality wool pants, a wool sweater. Wool retains its insulation even when it’s wet.” Nester also recommends carrying a winter coat, Sorel Pac boots, wool mittens and socks, polypro long underwear and sunglasses.