Thursday, April 30, 2009

Duesenberg Model J

Due to the current economic climate, we are going to see a number of brands disappear from the automotive landscape. Here is one that disappeared due to the Great Depression! Most of you probably do not know this manufacturer! Duesenberg was an automobile company that started in Auburn, Indiana....producing cars from 1913 thru 1937. Approximately fifty percent of the cars manufactured still remain as collector cars. Currently, Duesenberg models J and SJ are among the most prized collector cars. A Duesenberg in good condition can be worth in excess of several million USD.
In 1913, brothers Fred and August Duesenberg founded the the Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company in Iowa to build sports cars. The two brothers were born in Germany and were self-taught engineers. Duesenberg cars are considered some of the very best cars of the time, and were built entirely by hand. A Duesenberg won the the Indianapolis 500 race in 1924, 1925, and 1927.
The cars were extremely advanced, offering features such as dual overhead camshafts, four-valve cylinder heads, and the first hydraulic brakes offered on a passenger car.

In 1926, E.L. Cord, the owner of Cord Automobile, Auburn Automobile, and other transportation firms, bought the company in 1926.....he was a business legend in his day. The newly revived Duesenberg company set about to produce the Model J, which debuted in 1928. The standard Model J produced 265 hp. with a top speed of 119 mph. The supercharged version, called the SJ, was reputed to do 104 miles per hour with a top speed of 135–140 mph. Zero-to-60 mph (100 km/h) times of around eight seconds. Duesenbergs generally weighed around two and a half tons; up to three tons was not unusual, considering the wide array of custom coachwork available.

The interior and body of the car would be custom-made by an experienced coachbuilder to the owner's specifications. The bodyworks for the Duesenbergs came from both North America and Europe. The finished cars comprised some of the largest, grandest, most beautiful, and most elegant cars ever created. The chassis cost $8,500 ($9,500 after 1932); the completed base model cost $13,500; and a top-of-the-line model could reach $25,000 at a time when the average U.S. physician earned less than $3,000 a year.

The Duesenberg quickly became one of the most popular luxury cars in America and also in Europe, driven by the nobility, rich and famous, among them Clark Gable, Gary Cooper(each driving one of the two very rare SSJ 125″ short-wheelbase convertibles), the Duke of Windsor, the King of Spain Alfonso XIII, who was very keen on motoring, chose his now missing Duesenberg J, among his cars, to go to exile after the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic.

Duesenberg advertising claimed it was the best car in the world, and their world-beating performance and extreme opulence tended to back that up. to some of the last supercharged models to produce 400 hp (298 kW). Duesenberg ceased production in 1937 after Cord's financial empire collapsed due to the depression.

After World War II, August Duesenberg tried to revive the Duesenberg name, but was unsuccessful; several later attempts were also unsuccessful.
My take is these cars were from a different time....excellent examples of a wealthy era! Obviously, they were expensive for their day! Today, they will cost a new owner a small fortune!
Information coutesy of Wikipedia!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Can Chyrsler Be Saved?

The talks between the Chrysler and some of the lenders broke off yesterday! Chrysler will go into a government sponsored bankrupcy probably on Friday. Apparently, the government had worked out a deal with the largest banks, which they have given billions of loans in support. But, some of the hedge funds were balking at taking a hair cut! Obviously, no one wants to lose money on their investment, but the current situation is dire.

One of the difficulties for Chrysler in the negotiations is that are a number of different parties involved.....Fiat, four major banks, forty hedge funds, the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Chrysler dealers. Apparently, for this restructuring to work all the parties involved would have to cooperate. Most if not all would have to take a substantial haircut...that is the million dollar question. Apparently, the hedge funds were the creditors that would not accept what they were offered in negotiations.

The Chrysler production plans are to produce Fiat designed vehicles in the U.S. for sale here and abroad. Car & Driver has an excellent flowchart that shows which vehicles will be produced going forward.

My take is that Chrysler will be put into a government sponsored bankruptcy! If Chrysler survives, the government will have saved Chrysler! So here are a couple of the autos that probably be produced!

Chrysler executives said the day is coming when the whole Chrysler fleet has electric powertrains. "The goal is to achieve fundamental technology, get economies of scale, improve our ability to make the future generations more robust, less cost, smaller, more powerful, better performance," according to Bill Press V.P & President. "Ultimately it will lead to a transformation of our entire fleet that will be in some manner electric drive."

The Dodge EV development vehicle, also called Dodge Circuit EV sports car, is a two-passenger, rear-wheel-drive, all electric sports car that combines a lithium-ion battery pack with a 200-kilowatt motor, capable of generating 268 horsepower. That's enough to propel the vehicle to 60 miles per hour (mph) in less than 5 seconds and to reach a top speed exceeding 120 mph (190 km/h). This car would be in build in cooperation with Lotus Motors and is almost identical to the Tesla Roadster.

The Dodge Zeo is a concept car, which is a four passenger sport wagon, powered by a single 268 hp. electric motor in coordination with a lithium-ion battery pack. It is a rear wheel drive 2+2 that can go 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. It has an effective range of 250 miles (400 km). between charges.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1445 Miles On A Tank Of Gas

My son Brian suggested that I do a post on the Ford Fusion Hybrid! In a ground breaking event for Ford, Ford has developed their own hybrid system. The system was developed internally within Ford, and does not utilize any of the Toyota Synergy drive components.
The first car to have the system installed is the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is the most fuel efficient mid-sized sedan in America. Please see my February post labeled Can Detroit Build Hybrids?
In an effort to promote the new Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford initiated a Fusion Hybrid 1000 mile challenge. Ford attempted to drive more than 1000 miles on a singe tank of gas. The Ford hybrid team drove for more than 43 continuous hours – on a single tank of gas. The Ford Fusion Hybrid was an average vehicle with no modifications for the race. A team of Ford hybrid engineers, a fuel efficiency expert and a NASCAR star drove the car for more than 43 continuous hours. See the Ford press release!

The results, of the the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 1000 Mile Challenge, are that the Ford Fusion Hybrid actually averaged 81.5 mpg. and finished the challenge after going 1445.7 miles on one tank of gas.

The mileage-maximizing techniques that the Ford team used are:

  • Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure
  • Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking
  • Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions
  • Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear
  • Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine
  • Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag
  • Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic
  • Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and
  • Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum
    Click here for more Eco-Driving tips

The Ford Fusion Hybrid starts at $27,270, and is eligible for a $3400 federal tax rebate. The EPA rating for the 2010 Fusion hybrid is 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway. This model gets the better fuel economy of competing Toyota Camry Hybrid mid-size sedan.

My take on this is that this shows how far that hybrids have been developed. Congratulations to Ford for developing a such an effective green vehicle. There will be many more developments over the next several years.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Maserati Gran Turismo

This will be the last of the luxury supercar posts for the short term, but they are cars that instill such passion. Passion describes today's post of the beautiful Maserati Gran Turismo!
The Gran Turismo is a true 2+2 coupe. It is not the fastest versus it's competition! It does not have a lot of the electronic gadgets found on much of the heated and cooled seats, no adaptive cruise control, no night vision, or overly complicated stereo system. It is a gorgeous car with a unique driving is an incredibly smooth driving car. What this car has in abundance is panache! Check out this Maserati video!
Maserati is an Italian manufacturer of racing cars and sports cars. Maserati was originally founded in 1914, and competes directly with Aston Martin, Jaguar and to a lesser extent Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW. Maserati has been owned by the Italian car giant Fiat S.p.A. since since 1993. Prior to that Chrysler under Lee Iaccoca owned Maserati.

The Gran Turismo comes in a huge number of colors, nineteen exterior colors, ten interior leather colors and believe it six colors for the brake calipers. A 4.2 liter V-8 generates 405 hp., the performance numbers are approximately 0-60 mph. 5.1 seconds, with a top speed of 177 mph.

Pricing for the Gran Turismo starts at $117,500 USD. My take is that this is not an average persons car, but a car that car enthusiasts should aspire to own. It is car that people find very rewarding!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bentley Continental GTC Speed

My blogging friend, Hilary Melton-Butcher of Positive Letters, appeared to be so excited at my post on the Bentley Continental I decided that I would do a special post for her. Her mother is terminally ill...which is an extremely difficult time for her. So, I thought that her favorite auto the Bentley Continental GTC would be appropriate. The GTC is the convertible version of the Continental GT.

The standard Continental GT is equipped with a 6.0L, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, producing 552 hp., with a top speed of 198 mph (319 km/h).
The GT Speed bumps that up to 603 hp., with a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds.

The Continental GTC Speed ads a dark chrome grille, 20” multi-spoke sport wheels, twin rifled sports tail pipes. Inside lies a world of luxury; Mulliner diamond quilted leather seats, knurled chrome sports lever encased in hide, 3-spoke leather steering wheel with aluminium inlays.

The price for the GTC starts at £137,000 in England and $237,695 USD in the U.S. The Continental GT Speed is the first production Bentley officially capable of reaching 202 mph (325 km/h).

My take on this car is the it is an exceptionally beautiful exclusive vehicle.
The reason that I picked the Continental GT Speed is that it is faster and looks better with the 20 inch wheels. Hilary tell the driver to take the day will want to take this beautiful machine for a Sunday drive yourself. See the
GTC video!

Information via Wikipedia!

Ford Posts $1.4 Billion Loss

Prior posts have brought up the precarious state of the auto industry in the the U.S. and the world. Ford announced yesterday that it lost $1.4 billion dollars for the first quarter of 2009. OK, that is a huge number for any corporation!

Ford stock was up 11% percent yesterday on the news. Wall street had been expecting a larger loss based on the first quarter severe downturn of 37% in sales from 2008. So, Wall street voted with their pocketbooks and purchased the stock based on perceived positive news.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally has turned around the company since joining in the company in 2006. One of his first major moves was to obtain $23 billion bank loans in 2006. He had to mortgage every asset the company owned including the Ford blue oval.

Since Ford was able to obtain financing in 2006, they have been able to weather the financial crisis much better than GM and Chrysler. Mulally had the vision to know that if times were tough that cash is king. His financial acumen is paying huge dividends now...Ford has not needed a government bailout. Ford currently over $21 billion dollars in cash! They project that they have sufficient funds to go thru 2010 without any additional government support.

My take on this is that Mulally has done a superb job at Ford! They have not had to beg for government money...instead they can focus on getting to profitability.

There are two potential problems! First, if GM or Chrysler file for a chapter 11, that may negatively impact some of the automobile suppliers which could possibly disrupt Ford's ability to produce cars. A Chrysler bankruptcy appears eminent at this time! Second, if sales continue at this negative pace or get worse then they would require governmental assistance in 2011.
Check out the article written by Ken Bensinger of the LA times!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo Concept

I noted this unusual 5-series concept that BMW has developed. The Gran Turismo is based on the new 5-series which debuts in 2010. The Gran Turismo has a length of 196.8 inches makes three inches shorter than the 750i sedan and almost five inches longer than the X6 SUV.
The styling appears to make this vehicle a SUV/Crossover, but it has all the dimensions of a station wagon. BMW actually produces a 5-series station wagon. BMW for years called this concept a Progressive Activity they have dropped that name in favor of the 5-series Gran Turismo.
Many auto writers compare the Gran Turismo to the Mercedes-Benz R-Class since there are no other vehicles that are similar. The R-Class sales have been dismal, Mercedes has put substantial incentives on the vehicle.
The concept show is a 2+2 version, but the actual production version may be a 2+3 There’s no third row but the back seat area is large, along with a substantial storage space in the back. See the Car and Driver Video!

BMW hasn’t officially announced the engine choices but it's 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six will likely be the most popular engine. BMW will also probably offer the 3.0 liter turbo diesel with 265 hp, which should get a low 20 mpg EPA rating. The Gran Turismo is a rear wheel drive vehicle, with all-wheel drive optional. Pricing for the Grand Turismo is expected to start at $45,000 USD.

The Gran Turismo should be in showrooms in the Spring of 2010. How the Gran Turismo fits in BMW's SUV model line up X3, X5, and X6 SUVs is questionable!

My take is that this is a stylish form of a station wagon. BMW is trying to use a marketing gimic to sell a station wagon, since station wagons have a low public perception in the U.S.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bentley Continental GT

The Bentley Continental GT not a car for an average budget, but is still a beautiful car to admire. The Continental GT, a 2 plus 2 grand touring coupe, was first manufactured in 2003.

What is not well known is that Bentley is owned by the Volkswagon Group!
OK, it does not look like any other Volkswagon, yes that is correct....but it actually shares many technical components with the
Volkswagen Phaeton. The Phaeton is sold in Europe and was brought to the U.S. but was discontinued in 2008 due to slow sales.

The Continental GT is equipped with a 6.0L, twin-turbocharged W12 engine, producing 552 hp , with a top speed of 198 mph (319 km/h). The Continental GT also comes with all wheel drive as a standard feature.
Check out the Continental GT video!

The convertible version of the Continental GT is shown above. The Continental GTC was first introduced as 2007 model. Pricing for the GTC starts at $217,200.

Bentley started production on the Continental GT Speed in 2009, horsepower increased to 603 hp, with a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. The price for this model is $223,900 USD or £137,000. The Continental GT Speed is the first production Bentley officially capable of reaching 202 mph. Check out the exhaust note of the GT Speed sounds great!
My take on the Bentley Continental GT is that it is a wonderful machine. Although, a dream for is still something worth aspiring for!
Information via Wikipedia!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ford Mustang GT

The new and revised Mustang has to be one of the best new models that Ford will introduce for 2010. A really hot pick out of their offers is the Mustang GT. The automobile magazines think it is the best Mustang every, probably the best out of the new muscle cars Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The Mustang has been in production in various forms since 1964, that is one of the longest production runs of any model. Besides the coupe a convertible version is available also.

The chief designer of the 2010 Mustang is Doug Gaffka, who was responsible for the 2008-2009 Bullitt and other Ford vehicles. The new Mustang's exterior is an evolution of prior Mustang...sculpted for a leaner, more muscular look with better aerodynamic performance.

The Mustang's interior styling has improved with higher quality interior surfaces, available real aluminum trim, and improved fit and finish.

The 2010 Mustang GT's 4.6 liter V8, has been revised to the same specifications as the 2008-2009 Mustang Bullitt's 4.6 L V8, with 315 hp. The performance statistics are impressive the 0-60 mph is 5.1 seconds, braking is exceptional at 70-0 mph.- 164 ft and the skidpad is .92. Take the new Mustang GT for a spin!
Options for the 2010 Mustang include Ford SYNC, which is an incredible system, dual-zone automatic climate control, an updated navigation system with Sirius, a capless fuel filler, and a reverse camera system to aid in backing up.

The 2010 Mustang will be scheduled for a launch date during the Spring of 2009.
Information provided by Wikipedia!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

EPA Proposing New Limits on Greenhouse Gases

The new Obama administration is in Washington and there are going to be some changes. The EPA on Friday declared that industrial greenhouse gases are a danger to human health, opening the door to a wave of new regulations to reduce carbon dioxide and many other gases that effect global warming.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is federal governmental agency charged with regulating chemicals and protecting the air, water and land. The EPA was started by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970. It has been responsible for the environmental policy of the United States.

The facts are that these new EPA regulations can substantially impact cars and trucks. Autos account for almost 25% of the nations output of global warming gases. This ruling will also impact a number of other major manufacturing industries.

This ruling marks a fundamental shift from the Bush Administration, which did not believe that global warming was caused by greenhouse gases.

The bottom line is that the auto industry has fought these types of EPA ruling for years. The auto manufacturers have successfully lobbied congress to block many of the the past EPA initiatives. Now that the auto industry is on the ropes and in a precarious state and dependant on the new Obama administration for funding.

My take is that this will materially impact the auto manufacturers in the United States and probably the world. Auto manufacturers will have to produce vehicles that get better fuel economy, meanwhile generating fewer greenhouse emissions.
Some of the immediate effects will be that Detroit will have to produce less gas guzzlers, drop higher output motors, produce small more fuel efficient motors, and produce many more hybrids and electric vehicles. The bottom line is that cars will materially change over the next several years.

Go to
LA Times article by Jim Tankersley and Margot Roosevelt for more information.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt is a game changer from General Motors (GM), in fact this could be one of the vehicles to save the venerable brand. The Volt is a plug in hybrid to be produced by GM, unlike current available hybrids like the Toyota Prius, the propulsion of the Volt is accomplished by the electric motors, it has a regular gas engine which recharges the batteries, but the gas engine does not power the wheels.
It's lithium-ion batteries have a range up to 40 miles (64 km), which exceeds the daily commute of 75% of Americans, which is an average of 33 miles (53 km). A small 4 cylinder gasoline engine drives a generator to provide a longer range. This effectively extends the Volt's potential range to as much as 640 miles (1,030 km) on a single tank of fuel, but the range could be extended indefinitely by refueling the vehicle. The Volt's lithium-ion battery pack can also be fully charged by plugging the car into a 120-240VAC residential electrical outlet.

Since the current Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) definition of a hybrid vehicle states the vehicle shall have "two or more energy storage systems both of which must provide propulsion power, either together or independently", the company has avoided the use of the term "hybrid" when describing its non-conforming Voltec designs. Instead GM has described the Volt as an electric vehicle equipped with a "range extending" gasoline powered internal combustion engine. However, the combination of an internal combustion engine and electric motors in such a configuration is most often referred to as a series hybrid.

An optional feature will be a a thermovoltaic solar power roof, allowing the owner to charge the battery by leaving the vehicle in sunlight. GM has decided on a new descriptive terminology to distinguish it from traditional hybrids. They are calling the Volt an E-REV, for extended-range electric vehicle, although it still qualifies as a hybrid.

The estimated production plans are 10,000 first year with a ramp up to 60,000 units in the second year. Production in the U.S will be done at GM's Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly. GM is considering building all of the Volts for the European market, branded Chevrolet, Opel and Vauxhall, at their Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port in the United Kingdom. GM indicated that the Volt would be available for sale in Europe in 2011, then available in Australia by 2012.

General Motors was reportedly in disagreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency regarding how the Volt should be tested to determine its official fuel economy rating. The EPA reportedly wants to alter the method of testing currently used for all other hybrid vehicles. If tested with the same EPA tests used by other hybrids, the Volt's ability to use the energy stored in the batteries would result in it achieving a fuel economy rating of over 100 mpg, which would make the Volt the first mass-produced automobile to achieve such a rating. Currently, the 2010 Toyota Prius has a combined city/highway rating of 50 mpg.

Pricing for the Volt in the U.S. is estimated at $40K plus, with a government tax incentive rebate of $7500 bringing the price to around $32.5K. Pricing in the U.K. market would be estimated at GBP£20K, less a government tax incentive rabate.

My take on this vehicle is that the Chevrolet Volt will be a game changer in a number of different ways. First, it will help to get GM sales and image back on track after the anticipated government sponsored bankruptcy, second it is a mass market vehicle that can change the hybrid landscape, which Toyota dominates presently. Third it will be a major milestone on the way to energy independence!

Shown below is the original Volt concept vehicle!

Information via Wikipedia!

Friday, April 17, 2009

PUMA Concept

Is this your next ride? The Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (PUMA) is here. PUMA is an experimental electrically powered road vehicle, created by General Motors and Segway. The car uses two wheels, which are placed side-by-side similar to one half of a car. The PUMA design transfers the two-wheeled self-balancing characteristics of a Segway PT into a vehicle that can carry two passengers side-by-side at up to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) for a distance of up to 35 miles (56 km).

The first public prototype was demonstrated on April 14, 2009, being formally announced by General Motors in advance of its display at the New York International Auto Show. Segway's CEO and President, James D. Norrod claimed that the use of General Motors' sales network worldwide could allow for PUMA sales to exceed the number of Segway PT models sold to date.
Norrod stated that using a "Neighborhood Electric Vehicle" size of lithium-ion batter would give the PUMA a range of 35 miles (56 km), and could be recharged in about three hours at a cost of .35 US cents. The prototype weighs approximately 300 pounds (140
The vehicle uses Segway's gyroscope dynamic stabilization technology to maintain balance across two parallel wheels while driving. In addition to the main driving wheels at each side of the vehicle, there are small stabilizing wheels at both front and rear to to support the vehicle whilst parked and to limit the maximum leaning angle.
One idea proposed is that the vehicle would make use of its Global Positioning System (GPS) determined position to avoid crashes with other vehicles. The position of the vehicle would be transmitted to other vehicles using a communications technology. By all of the vehicles knowing the position of vehicles, it would allow each of the cars to drive itself to avoid obstacles including other vehicles and pedestrians. The developers claim that crash-avoidance systems would obviate the need for airbags and would include seat belts exclusively for "comfort purposes".

Information provided via Wikipedia!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tesla...The Future Has Arrived!

Everyone that reads my blog is aware that I am an incredible fan of the Tesla Motor Co. Three things have truly impressed me about this company. The incredible vision by the pioneers of this electric vehicle (EV) company.....GM had the lead, money and engineering staff.... but lacked the vision. The second thing that impressed me is the incredible engineering..... GM, Toyota, Ford, Nissan etc have substantially larger engineering staffs than Tesla but have not been able to match Tesla yet.

All this has been done on a shoestring budget for a few million dollars. Yet, they have developed the new electric vehicle technology with the Tesla Roadster that is incredibly fast 3.9 seconds 0-60 mph, the incredible
Ferrari F430 is 3.6 seconds. Actually, the Tesla Roadster is the first electric vehicle on the roads of the U.S. and Europe.

Tesla unveiled the Model S on March 26, the all-electric family sedan that carries up to seven people and travels up to 300 miles per charge. Reservations immediately began streaming in online and at showrooms in California. This historic vehicle is likely to be the world's first mass-produced, highway-capable electric vehicle when production begins in late 2011. The surge of reservations already proves that there's pent-up demand for a car that doesn't compromise on performance, utility or efficiency.

The Model S does 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds and will have an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. A 17-inch touchscreen with in-car 3G connectivity means you can listen to Pandora Radio or consult Google Maps, or check the car's state of charge remotely on your iPhone. The Model S can be recharged from any 120V, 208V or 240V outlet or quick-charged from an external direct current supply in only 45 minutes.

The anticipated base price of the Model S is $57,400, a US federal tax credit will reduce the cost $7,500. The reservation fee of $5,000 is refundable. Three battery pack choices will offer a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles per charge. The company has not released for pricing for options and higher mileage battery packs. If you account for the cost advantage over the life of the car vs. an equivalent internal combustion engine car at a cost of $4.25 per gallon (a likely future cost in the United States, and a bargain right now in many parts of Europe), the Model S is equivalent to a gas guzzler with a sticker price of about $35,000. Importantly, those savings are realized immediately if you lease a Model S, so there is no need to wait years to earn back the price difference.

Tesla also is taking reservations
for the Model S Signature Edition with a $40,000 reservation fee, which is also refundable. Tesla will produce only 2,000 Signature Edition cars, which will be the first built and have unique interior and exterior features. Signature Edition cars will be evenly split between US and European customers.

The Tesla Roadster is more than twice as enercy efficient
as a Toyota Prius and delivers approximately 244 miles per charge. Tesla delivered over 100 Roadsters to customers in March, marking the first triple-digit delivery month in the company's history. Tesla delivered over 170 cars in the first quarter – more than the total delivered in 2008. Tesla has delivered about 330 Roadsters so far. The base price of the Roadster is $101,500 after a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Le Rallye Monte Carlo Late last month, the Roadster set another impressive a feat of 241 miles on a single charge of the Le Rallye Monte Carlo d'Energies Alternatives. And the Roadster still had an estimated 38 miles left on the charge! This appears
to be an absolute record for a production EV.The challenging course, sponsored by l'Automobile Club de Monaco, went from Valence, France, to the Principality of Monaco. Terrain was mixed and included high-speed driving on highways, urban streets and up and single-carriageway roads that wind through the Alps.The Roadster was the only car to finish the rally after a modified Porsche 911 dropped out.

Tesla's is opening a regional sales and service center in London's popular Knightsbridge district. This will be the first of three European stores that they plan to launch this year. The London facility will open this spring at 49-51 Cheval Place, formerly the Segrave Supercar Club. The location is approximate to Harrod's department store and close to Heathrow Airport.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, a sports car buff and a fan of the Tesla Roadster, announced this week a plan to introduce 100,000 EVs and to build 25,000 charging stations in the capital. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said EVs would be one cornerstone of his economic recovery plan.

Information via Tesla Motors!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ferrari F430

Today, I thought a Ferrari F430 would be in order since Ferrari manufactures such fabulous machines! Ferrari has typically been know for their supercars, and in Europe for their racing prowess. Not only are Ferrari's state of the art super cars, they are art works....exceptionally beautiful designs. Ferrari's are hand built in a state of the art plant located in Maranello, Italy.

Ferrari was founded in 1928 by Enzo Ferrari, the company was engaged in racing and manufacturing race cars before moving into production of street legal sports cars vehicles in 1947. Enzo never wanted to manufacture cars but he needed the cash flow to support his racing activities. Ferrari has raced mainly in Formula One, where it has enjoyed tremendous success.
After years of financial struggles, Enzo Ferrari sold the company's sports car division to the Fiat group in 1969 to ensure continued financial backing. Enzo Ferrari retained control of the racing division until his death in 1988 at the age of 90. Earlier that year he had overseen the launch of the Ferrari F40, the last new Ferrari to be launched before his death, and arguably one of the most famous supercars ever made.
The F430's all aluminum chassis was produced in partnership with Alcoa and is virtually identical to that of the previous model, the Ferrari 360. In the F430 it has been slightly re-worked and shares a lot of common parts including the same roof, doors, front windshield and passenger compartment to engine glass.
The MSRP for a Ferrari F430 is between $168,005–$227,000 in the United States. The F430 is sold starting at about £120,000 in the United Kingdom, approximately 175,000 in the European Union and $389,000 for the base model in Australia.

The brakes on the F430 were designed in coordination with Brembo, resulting in a new cast-iron alloy for the discs. The new alloy includes molybdenum which has better heat dissipation performance. Another option Ferrari is providing are ceramic composite discs. Ceramics have much higher resistance to heat and brake fade than metals, the F430's brakes offer not only excellent performance but also a longer lifespan. Ferrari claims the brakes will not fade even after 300-360 laps at their test track. Check out this Racing Flix video!

Car and Driver magazine found the car's performance worthy of the Ferrari heritage, and recorded a 3.5 sec 0-60 mph acceleration run in the F430. This makes it the third-quickest Ferrari road car ever made, following the Enzo and the 599 GTB. That particular recorded time was made on a European spec car, which has an unusual feature...launch control, which launches the car from a standing start at high RPMs. Launch control is unavailable in U.S. presumably due to liability issues. The U.S.-spec F430 can do 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds .

Information in this post is via Wikipedia!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Ford started the muscle car wars with the Mustang, Chrysler came to play with the all new Dodge Challenger and Chevy is last to the ball game with the 2010 Camaro. Today's post is on the supreme Challenger which is the SRT8, which is a beast.....extreme power! The SRT8 outperforms it's legendary predecessor the 1970 Hemi Challenger, which in mint condition is worth in excess of $250K.
The new Challenger is a two door coupe which shares common design elements with the first generation Challenger, despite being significantly longer and taller. The chassis is a shortened wheelbase version of the LX platform that underpins the 2006-2009 Dodge Charger and 2005-2009 Chrysler 300. All 2008 models were SRT8s and equipped with the 6.1 L Hemi and a 5-speed AutoStick automatic transmission, which outperforms the legendary 1970 Hemi Challenger. The entire 2008 run of 6,400 cars were pre-sold, which many were sold for above MSRP.

The base model Challenger is powered by a 3.5 L SOHC V6 with 250 hp. attached to a four-speed automatic transmission. A R/T version is available with a 5.7 L (345 cu in) HEMI V8 producing 375 brake horsepower and coupled to either a 5-speed auto or 6-speed manual transmission.
The 2009 SRT8 is available either with a 5-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. Standard features include Brembo brakes, a sport suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, heated leather sport seats, keyless entry, Sirius satellite radio, and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels in addition to most amenities offered on the lower R/T and SE models such as air conditioning and cruise control. In addition, the 2009 will have a true "limited slip" differential. Check out the Motors TV video.
Pricing for the SE Challenger starts at $22,945, wit the SRT8 at a steep $42,645.
Shown below is a classic 1972 Dodge Challenger!

Information for this post is from Wikipedia!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Aston Martin Lagonda Concept

My British blogging friend Hilary Melton-Butcher with Positive Letters mentioned the Aston Martin Lagonda one day. A new and controversial Lagonda concept was announced, so I thought it would be an appropriate post. The new Lagonda concept is controversial since Aston Martin has produced only sports cars with the exception of the original Lagonda. The new Lagonda appears to be an crossover SUV.
The original Lagonda was a luxury four-door sedan (saloon in Europe) built by Aston Martin between 1976 and 1989. An example is shown in the photo below, 645 examples of this model were produced at an average selling price was £150,000.

Lagona was established by Wilber Gunn, an American from Ohio, who went to England to setup a European branch of his brother in laws steam engine manufacturing company. Lagonda is the name of a district close to Lagonda Creek in Ohio.

Aston Martin was about to go out of business in the mid-1970s and needed something to bring in some much-needed cash. Traditionally, Aston Martin had developed 2+2 sports cars, , but the Lagonda — the model being named after a grand sporting marque — was a four-door sedan(saloon) with a brand new V8 engine. As soon as it was introduced, it drew in hundreds of deposits from potential customers, helping Aston Martin's cash reserves.
Throughout the history of the Lagonda, these hand-built Lagondas were among the most expensive sedans in the world. The only other "production" cars to approach its lofty price tag were the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirt/Silver Spur, Bentley Mulsanne, and the Maserati Quattroporte.
A number of "series" was produced during the lifetime of the model, including a face lift in the 1980s which attempted to round off the car's razor-like lines and removed the troublesome pop-up headlights, which had proved unreliable.

The Lagonda was the first production car in the world to use computer management and a digital instrument panel, although the computers in many of the original cars are failure-prone. The development cost for the electronics alone on the Lagonda came to 4 times as much as the budget for the whole car. The second series used cathode ray tubes for the instrumentation, which proved even less reliable than the original model's LED display.

The Lagonda's striking design and opulent, club-like leather interior, together with its then-state-of-the-art instrumentation, contrasted starkly with its decidedly "old world" 4-cam V-8 carbureted engine and Chrysler 3-speed "TorqueFlite" transmission, which combine to provide a single-digit mpg. rating.

Information on the original Aston Martin Lagonda provided by Wikipedia!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

2010 Audi R8

Since this is Easter Sunday, I thought some eye candy would be appropriate! Here is the beautiful Audi R8, which is Audi's supercar. The 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI is shown above. Audi has been coming up in the automobile world lately with some spectacular designs, see my Audi A5 post.

The mid mounted 4.2 liter V-8 engine with 420 hp. and can accelerate the R8 to 60 mph. in 4.4 seconds with a maximum speed is 187 mph. The engine is modified for dry sump lubrication, which is a method used normally in race cars to insure that oil is available to be pumped. The R8 is based on the Audi Space Frame, which is manufactured with aluminum and magnesium, which contributes to the car's relatively light weight.

To produce the R8, seventy workers fit 5,000 unique parts by hand. The factory produces 15 cars a day. It has also been credited as the only car in the world to undergo a CT Scan. Ninety-five lasers inspect the entire car in five seconds to ensure that over 220 measurements are within 0.1 mm of the programmed plans. The two seat coupé is currently available in Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Audi AG owns Lamborghini, very little of the R8 is shared with the Lamborghini Gallardo, including the transmission.The R8 is made distinct by its exterior styling, cabin, engine, and pricing. Audi also unveiled the 2010 Audi R8 5.2 FSI quattro last December 2008. The engine is based on the engine in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 but is detuned to produce 518 hp. The R8 V10's performance numbers are enhanced as a result, Audi estimates the new 0-62 mph time as only 3.9 seconds. The R8 5.2 FSI will also have carbon ceramic brakes available as an option.
Audi pioneered and developed Quatrro, which is standard on the R8. Quatrro is an all wheel drive system that other auto manufacturers are starting to see the advantages of all wheel drive.
Pricing starts at $117,500 for the R8 4.2 liter, the estimated based price for the 5.2 liter starts at $162,500. For the exhaust note click here for video!

The Audi R8 has received a huge number of accolades, Automobile Magazine awarded the R8 the 2008 Automobile of the Year European Car magazine rated the R8 as Car of the Year. Check out this new variant
Audi R8 video V12 TDI. Shown below is the original LeMans concept.