Crazy Concepts—and Possible Build-Outs—from BMW

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept

There are strong rumors once again that BMW intends to build something like last year’s Vision EfficientDynamcs concept (above) as a hybrid, now to be called the M8, with more than 600 horsepower. Instead of diesel power, they’re now saying a gas engine plus two electric motors and a 31-mile all-electric range. And speculating 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds.

The original concept was always just that—a base for developing advanced technology—but now MotorAuthority reports that BMW may well develop a two-seater based on the Vision ED and the M1 Homage of 2008 (see image after the break).

And they may well actually produce this thing in 2013, in quantities of 5,000 to 10,000 at a “reasonably affordable” price.

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Ford’s Curve Control a Potential Safety Risk

Ford Explorer's Curve Control

The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer hasn’t been officially revealed yet, but the anticipation for the latest edition of the storied ‘ute continues to build.

Ford seems perfectly content to keep the final product under wraps while slowly releasing features the new Explorer will feature. The latest touted feature comes wrapped with the cutesy and marketable name of Curve Control.

Imagine for a moment that you are exiting a freeway at 65 mph. The exit ramp turns much more sharply than you anticipated, and you have that moment of panic when you think you might become one with the concrete wall.

That’s when Curve Control gets involved.

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Green Update–>Tesla’s IPO Hits Big

Tesla Store, Los Angeles

Tesla Store, Los Angeles

We’re happy to report that the Tesla IPO has been a success. They have sold 13.3 million shares at $17, raising $226 million, 27 percent more than anticipated. The first IPO by an American auto company since Ford’s in 1956 has seized the imagination of at least some investors.

Virtually all the stories reporting on this have stressed the fact that the company has never made a profit, expects big losses going forward, and makes a very pricey vehicle that few Americans have shown much interest in buying.

Those who have read our coverage of Tesla probably know that these arguments would never dissuade someone who sees the long-term growth possibilities in the company (and the electric car industry). One writer has gotten the message: see “5 Reasons Why Tesla Stock is Worth It.”

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Finds of the Day: Rare, Classic and Future Classic Cars for Sale

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle

After reading the post yesterday by jgoods on Barrett-Jackson’s recent auction in California, I began wondering about the possibility of finding fun, vintage cars without going to such auctions.

After all, his post did say, “For every numbers-matching LS6 ‘70 Chevelle SS convertible, there were ten daily-driver VW Beetles” at the auction. It’s pretty common knowledge that we don’t need to go to a B-J auction to find a used Beetle.

Surely, then, it’s possible to browse used-car listings and find auction-quality vehicles for a fair price. I spent a good portion of the day yesterday browsing through the CarGurus DealFinder used-car listings and, while I didn’t stumble upon any $250,000 Chevelles, I did uncover some tasty treats:

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Two Chevelles Top Out the B-J Orange County Auction

1970 Chevy Chevelle LS6

Earlier this month we told you about the Barrett-Jackson car auction to be held in Orange County this past weekend. In case you missed it, about 60,000 others didn’t, and local bloggers pumped up the Internet with stories of how much money was being made.

The auction produced no really spectacular sales, nothing comparable to the $5 million paid for Carroll Shelby’s 427 “Supersnake” Cobra in 2007 (video here). But two beautiful 1970 Chevelles brought over $250,000 each, showing the value that good muscle cars still bring.

At $253,000, including buyer’s fee, the blue 454-cubic-inch V8 convertible, shown above, represented the auction’s top price. The car is a complete frame-off restoration of what the catalog called “arguably the pinnacle of the muscle car heap,” and as such is very rare.

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Racing to 500 Horsepower: Mustang GT, Camaro SS and Challenger SRT8

Dodge Challenger SRT8

There was a time, not too long ago, when I could count the number of 500-horsepower cars on my fingers.

Five hundred ponies was a magical number relegated to the Lamborghinis and Ferraris of the world. Today the 500 Club is filled with the likes of BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes and Porsche, with the club expanding down-market even further toward Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge.

A ridiculous amount of power is, or soon will be, available to nearly anyone who wants it. How long before America’s famous stablemates Mustang, Camaro and Challenger hit the 500-hp mark?

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Poll: What Car Would You Sell Everything to Own?

Lexus LFA and Ferrari 458 Italia

Sell everything for a car?! When we started talking about the idea, my writing buddy tgriffith sent along a story about a guy who really did that—sold his belongings, bought a Lamborghini Gallardo, and drove it all over the U.S.

For the truly afflicted CarGuru, it could make some kind of weird sense to indulge in this ultimate act of consumerism, as long as you reserved enough cash to enjoy your supercar—which Mr. Lambo didn’t quite do.

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Car Dealerships: Some Business Basics

We know: Most people dread car shopping and fear dealers. The reason for most of that anxiety is, frankly, a lack of knowledge about how dealers operate and what to expect in the buy-sell transaction.

In the spirit of being a good knowledge broker, we thought it was time to talk about how dealerships are structured and offer stories and tactics to get you comfortably (we hope) through a sometimes complicated transaction. This is the first of a three-part series we’ll do on Thursdays.

It is not an easy time to be a car dealer. Compared to a projected growth of 11 percent for all U.S. industries, car dealers are looking at consolidation, restructuring, and a 6 percent job decline through 2018.

As dealers will be cutting back on front-line staff, it’s more important than ever to do your homework before you even walk/drive in. First, let’s talk about how dealerships are typically organized.

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Cars Coming Soon->Jeep Eyes a Pickup, Honda Gets Smart on S2000

Jeep Gladiator concept

The compact pickup market has been all but abandoned.

Honda has lost all sense of sportiness.

Hyundai has eyes toward taking over Honda’s fading place in the car world.

Aston Martin never fails to tantalize, tease, and satisfy.

Today we have insights into all these observations, including a possible entry from Jeep into the small-pickup market, a potential revival of the Honda S2000, a Hyundai 429-hp 5.0-liter V8, and one new Aston Martin every year for the next six years.

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Tesla CEO Announces Three New Models… Coming After 2012

The Tesla Roadshow

The electrifying Elon Musk, Tesla’s boss, is on the road touting the company’s IPO (coming possibly this week) and business plan. He revealed that three new models, based on the Model S sedan to debut in 2012, are also in the works: a cabriolet, a van, and a crossover/SUV (renderings above).

Also coming—and this sounds very interesting—will be a liquid-cooled, quick-change, removable battery pack for the S. Down the road in 2015, Tesla plans a smaller-platform, entry-level luxury car.

Musk has compared his operation to something “closer to an Apple or a Google than a GM or a Ford.” We are impressed by his confidence and salesmanship. Whether he can deliver on these happy projections is another matter. Tesla right now has a lot going for it, and I think the IPO will be a success.

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