After a successful practice session at the Bonneville Salt Flats with a speed of 274.2 mph, Triumph Motorcycles will attempt to set a new outright motorcycle Land Speed World Record during September, 2016. Today’s record, held by Rocky Robinson since 2010 riding the Top Oil-Ack (sic) Attack Triumph is 376.363 mph over an 11-mile course. Whether these are motorcycles is debatable. What’s not, is how bloody fast on two wheels they go.
Despite having a good course surface for testing, Triumph said that the salt wasn’t yet capable of supporting a top-speed run. In consultation with Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme course manager Mike Cook, Triumph is targeting September dates as the best shot for optimal course conditions required for a record attempt. Continue reading
General Motors is, ironically, adding 2 million Flint water bottles into its Do Your Part recycling program. GM is part of the reason there are so many that need recycling. The plastic from the bottles will be washed, flaked and processed to make the Chevrolet Equinox V6 engine covers, insulation for the so-called The Empowerment Plan that supplies coats for the homeless, and air filters for ten GM plants. It’s part philanthropy; and part profit derived from the misfortunes of poor people without corporate or political lobbying power.
The Flint water crisis, of course, is a sordid chapter in the questionable record of two-term Republican governor Rick Snyder. General Motors acted disgracefully as well, and was in the middle of it. Snyder was part of a political philosophy where his appointee who was running the city – an emergency services manager that seized power from elected officials under Michigan law – had the people of Flint – home of GM – unhooked from the fresh water of Lake Huron.
To save money under this ideological tragedy, the public was supplied from the extremely toxic, above all untreated Flint River water with dire and ongoing health consequences. The water bottles now in play at GM came about when the lid blew off of what were multiple cover-ups about how unsafe at any sip or any exposure the water was – even though government officials clearly knew about the poisonings as they kept lying that the water was safe to use, to drink, to wash with.
The newly announced Tesla Model S P100D comes with a 100 kWh battery pack that increases range to an estimated 315 miles on the EPA cycle and 613 km on the EU cycle. This makes it the first EV to go beyond 300 miles and the longest range production electric vehicle by far. As battery technology improves, expect similar announcements from other automakers also on premium vehicles. In a market hobbled by range anxiety, reasonably prices EVs are needed.
The Model S P100D with a so-called and appropriately named “Ludicrous” power management mode is the third fastest accelerating production car ever produced, according to Elon Musk. Zero-to-60 mph times are 2.5 seconds. Musk was silent in a blog post as what this max power mode does to range.
Post Office revenues should increase with all the mailings of recall notices.
Safety recalls continue to increase during 2016 for a variety of assembly, design, electronic, mechanical and programming errors. The latest batch culled from NHTSA filings provide an overview on how complex vehicles have become, and the ways they can end up with unsafe conditions.
Troubling is the number of vehicles on the road with unfixed recalls – particularly older ones – in spite of automaker efforts to contact owners. At some point, a pressure group, the National Safety Council, or NHTSA is going to propose a national vehicle registry. It’s the logical conclusion of NHTSA’s goal of 100% completion rates. Continue reading
Mahle Powertrain is opening new North American facility in Plymouth, Michigan later this year, which will add 20 jobs. The new Mahle site has a four-wheel-drive chassis dynamometer, seven vehicle lifts, five powertrain test cells and a wiring-and-instrumentation laboratory. Continue reading
Too bad for the original buyers, but Ford Performance will now offer the Ford GT for two additional production years. This brings the supply of the carbon fiber supercar to a total of four years – final numbers unknown. Potential additional customers who already applied to purchase a Ford GT but were turned down will have to “update their request” when the next application window reopens in early 2018.
What direction do you think prices are heading in this marketing move – part sleaze, part reality that acknowledges demand. Ford claims the announcement came after letters were sent to potential customers notifying them of their application status to purchase the GT. To be fair in these kinds of exotic car situations there is rampant buyer and seller speculation that is the normal course of business on corrupt Wall Street. (Hillary Clinton’s campaign did not respond to queries as to whether she was on the preferred list.)
Chevrolet Camaros on the Avenue during the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Camaro was celebrating its 50th Anniversary in Royal Oak, Michigan when a late afternoon rain storm prematurely shut the Woodward Dream Cruise down. Notably absent was Ford Motor even though it has “Mustang Alley” every year in the city of Ferndale on Nine Mile road – the very southern edge of the Cruise.
This is likely the largest gathering of Mustang owners in the world. The Ford Mustang, of course, was on sale well more than a year ahead of the first Camaro. Mustang established and defined the pony car segment. There were no Ford Motor photos, no press releases, nothing but silence during the Cruise, unless you count the local shopper.
A trend is becoming apparent here. Communities south of 13 Mile road are living the old dream, so to speak, by doing the same old stuff. Remember Ferndale, arguably, founded the Cruise as a fund raiser for a soccer team.
Meanwhile North of 13 Mile road – starting with the Camaro under glass, and all the way up to Dodge’s street legal racing in Pontiac – the Dream is expanding.
What to make of the Cadillac Escala? First we had crossovers – car-based SUVs that transformed the business; think Lexus LX 300 and hundreds of subsequent followers, no matter how late, including – gasp, God Save the Queen – the Bentley Bentayga.We also had premium minivans ala Chrysler Pacifica eventually sold sort of as crossovers / SUVs, even though they were in the market first.
Now here comes Cadillac Escala, a four-door hatchback large sedan that GM hopes to peddle at premium prices. That is if and when it goes into production. Yes, a four-door large-car luxury hatchback.
Escala is Spanish for scale, but in our view – given its size – grande en Espanol, will be displayed this weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Cadillac’s press materials did not include a picture of the opened hatch – the front end was prominently played up along along with a decidedly un-hatchback Gulfstream jet. This leads AutoInformed to speculate that Escala customer clinics went so badly that the hatch is dead on its concept car arrival. However, Cadillac’s bold new grille is prominently on display in gushing media releases. Continue reading
The Historic Vehicle Association illuminates a glass box containing the first Camaro built in 1966. The gold pony car stays on display at the Woodward Dream Cruise through Saturday, August 20th. The exhibition celebrates Camaro’s 50th anniversary and introduction of the 1977 Camaro model that took place in Detroit in August 1966.
The first Camaro – VIN 123377N100001 – was completed at the GM Assembly Plant in Norwood, Ohio on May 21, 1966. It was the one of 52 pilot prototypes produced, 49 at Norwood; three more made in Los Angeles. The car is a base model with a 140 horsepower, 230 cubic-inch inline 6-cylinder engine. The seat belts, wheel covers and whitewall tires were options. Base price for the Camaro – $2,466. Continue reading
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have finalized big truck rules that would eventually improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution.
It’s long overdue.
The goal is to reduce the negative effects of climate change, help U.S. energy security and prompt manufacturing innovation. Vehicles and engines are covered for model year 2018 and beyond. When adopted, the U.S. will have the most stringent truck emissions rules in the world.
The final standards are predicted to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons, save vehicle owners fuel costs of ~$170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. EPA and NHTSA have extended the comment period to October 1, 2015, but initial reactions indicate broad agreement with the regulations
The Phase 2 proposal responds to a President Obama directive to develop new GHG and fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks that reach well into the next decade. Continue reading
A 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Coupé aérodynamique ‘Goutte d’Eau’ body by Figoni & Falaschi was the winner of the Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award. In its inaugural year, the award brought six automobiles from top Concours events to compete for the title of the most exceptional car in the world.
“It has been said that the look of the Talbot-Lago Teardrop epitomized speed, aerodynamic efficiency and elegance. Its form was perfect for an object in motion, resembling raindrops as they fall to earth,” said Michael Kadoorie, chairman of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotel’s, and parent company of The Peninsula Hotels. Continue reading
Ford Motor wants a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 for a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service. The car will lack a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals. It is being specifically designed for commercial mobility services, such as ride-sharing or ride-hailing, and will be available in high volumes. Ford is investing in or collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development. (See Society of Automotive Engineers-rated level 4-capable vehicle) Continue reading
SAE today announced that executives from Uber and Intel Corporation will provide their thoughts on the future of technology, how personal mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT), and autonomous driving are “converging.” Continue reading
McLaren Automotive has released details of the new McLaren 570GT ahead of its debut on the 18th fairway at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this Sunday. The car is the first example of the recently-introduced 570GT to receive the attention of McLaren’s custom team of craftsmen and designers. They have added styling, feature and material enhancements – such as an Electro-Chromic Roof – that are all destined to become available through the MSO Defined portfolio.
“This is the second consecutive year that McLaren Special Operations has used the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance to demonstrate our capabilities on Sports Series cars,” said Paul Mackenzie, Executive Director of McLaren Special Operations. Continue reading