Archive

Archive for March, 2010

One Dead 2010 Cadillac SRX Inspires Change at GM

March 25th, 2010

2011 Cadillac SRX 2.8T

I don’t have to tell you that it’s not good when cylinders explode in an engine.

That’s especially true on a vehicle with just 2,000 miles on the odometer, and especially especially true when it happens to a 2010 model costing over $50,000.

Yet that’s exactly what happened to a Cadillac SRX 2.8T, all because someone ignored the “premium fuel recommended” sticker.

Apparently, the risk of ignoring such advice can result in something GM calls a “major knock event” and an outright explosion of cylinders. Ouch.

Here’s what happened:

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, Gas for your car..., General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

New Cadillac XTS Coming

March 24th, 2010

Cadillac XTSCadillac’s XTS Platinum concept, shown at Detroit last January and pictured here, will indeed be built, according to Motor Trend. It looks suitably gorgeous, very Cadillac-esque, if you will, and should give a boost to sagging sales of the STS and DTS, which it will replace.

The debut 2012 models will likely include (says MT) a plug-in hybrid derived not from the Volt, but from the Saturn Vue, with a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 (350 hp total). A twin-turbo version of the 3.6 has also been mentioned along with, maybe, a small-block V8: lots of possibilities. What is clear is that there won’t be an extended-range EV: That idea went down the drain with the Converj.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Domestic Cars, General Chat, Hybrid Cars

The Great Horsepower Wars: GM vs. Ford

March 24th, 2010

2010 Camaro

There’s a war raging in Detroit!

Ford and General Motors are trading jabs, each trying to one-up the other in a quest to be the fastest and most powerful. It’s the classic spirit of competition: Each wants bragging rights for having the cars and trucks with the most power, torque, and miles per gallon. It’s seriously entertaining to watch, especially when the numbers come down to a single digit of difference.

Just as one automaker announces a new engine with class-leading numbers, the other has a trick up its sleeve to retake the lead.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Domestic Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

Green Update–>Infiniti, Mitsubishi, the P-Eco, and Other Electric News

March 23rd, 2010

Infiniti Essence conceptCarlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan, came on strong last year at the Tokyo Motor Show, where he announced that Infiniti was building a concept “stylish, compact, high performance four-seat luxury Infiniti with zero emissions.” Recent reports say the new EV will use the Nissan Leaf platform, though the car will be much faster than the Leaf. It may or may not look like the Essence concept pictured here.

The gnostic Mr. Ghosn had these further remarks to make about EVs:

We want lots of buyers quickly, so we are making a family car. We have no intention to make a niche EV. Besides, big vehicles are too heavy for today’s batteries, which is why our car will be compact.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Electric Vehicles, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Green Updates, Hybrid Cars

What Happened to the Midsize Truck?

March 23rd, 2010
Toyota Tacoma

The perfect-sized pickup?

Today’s pickup trucks are a compelling choice for people who need a rig with massive cargo and towing capacities. That’s especially true when looking at choices such as the new Ford Super Duty and Chevy Silverado HD.

I just wonder how many people really need the full capability most full-size trucks offer.

And therein lies the rub with modern pickups: With power for towing and a thirst for fuel, most trucks are excellent choices that just might not make sense for the majority of buyers.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs

Is Chrysler Coming Back from the Dead?

March 22nd, 2010

Chrysler has had so little to offer the market that some days we thought the company had rolled over and died. Now there is news that the Fiat 500 Electric will definitely come to these shores. And there is a new engine for many Chrysler vehicles. And a government initiative is supporting the Ram Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

We told you about the Fiat 500 Electric when it appeared at the Detroit Show in concept form. Now the company commits to producing the car for the U.S. market, coming in 2012, says Chrysler. The gas-powered 500 will arrive late this year. All we know now is that the production electric will have a lithium-ion battery pack and a “high power electric powertrain module,” according to the press release. Well, we’d rather have the Abarth, but we’ll take this. It will be competing against cars like the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric.

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Hybrid Cars, Trucks & SUVs

For Sale, Cheap: Vintage Jaguar and Aston Martin

March 21st, 2010
A 1974 Jaguar E-Type

A 1974 Jaguar E-Type

The city of Pasco, Washington, is probably better known for vintage Camaros than Aston Martins, but that’s where an unusual auction will take place at the end of this month.

The Port of Pasco recently demolished a mini-storage building to make room for an office complex. When a renter of one unit moved out, he seems to have forgotten a couple items most of us would try a little harder to remember:

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Classic & Vintage Cars, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Building Your Own Bugatti: The Kellogg Type 57/59 Roadster Special

March 19th, 2010

I know a fellow named Budd Blume here in Oaxaca, and we had lunch a few days ago. Budd is an old-fashioned car nut who has built, owned, raced, and been otherwise involved with some of the world’s most interesting cars. I mentioned that I had just done a post on the new Bugatti Galibier sedan, and so he started talking Bugatti lore.

Turns out a guy named Bob Shaw whom Budd knew in Chicago owned a Type 57 engine and chassis back in the late 1950s and wanted to have a body built for it. Well, the story gets somewhat complicated, and Budd lost track of things until he recently found (on the Internet) that indeed the car had gotten built and was an absolutely unique jewel, to the point of getting blessed by the Bugatti Trust with a legitimate historical production chassis number.

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Auto Racing, Car Minded, Classic & Vintage Cars, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Is the Most Reliable Car Brand Also the Cheapest to Insure?

March 19th, 2010

Just because a car is deemed very reliable doesn’t mean it’ll be a bargain to insure.

The U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study rankings were released by J.D. Power and Associates on Thursday, and Porsche, believe it or not, sits on top. Porsche beat out Lincoln, Buick, and Lexus with the fewest problems reported per 100 vehicles.

Porsche recently topped another survey, too, as the 911 Carrera GT2 was named the most expensive car to insure by the folks at Insure.com.

In fact, Porsche had two of the top five most expensive 2010 models to insure.

To see the rest of the most expensive cars to insure, and the five least expensive, keep reading…

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Domestic Cars, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

McLaren: New Company, New Car

March 18th, 2010

McLaren MP4-12CWhere do they get all the money? I don’t know, but they do have the talent. McLaren has an enviable record in F1 racing, and they have developed truly great cars in the past. But their newest, announced today, aims to be better than the German and Italian competition, including the Ferrari 458 Italia.

The MP4-12C claims to have advanced the state of the art in performance sports cars by using unique and innovative technology: The car is built around a carbon-fiber tub, its bespoke engine produces immense torque at low weight, a seven-speed clutch gives instant shifts, hydraulic roll management precludes the use of roll bars, an electronic Brake Steer feature controls yaw rate and understeer—in both braking and acceleration—etc., etc. Read the details in detail at Autoblog, and ogle some good pix.

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Auto Racing, Car Industry News, Car Minded, Exotic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat