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Archive for October, 2007

Unusual Pontiac: American Body, Canadian-Built

October 26, 2007 Leave a comment

A Pontiac with an American body but built in Canada. That’s the unusual car owned by Wayne Intwert. You want to ask Pontiac Canada of such possibility? Well, I’d love to own an unusual car you know.

Wayne loves his 1948 Torpedo 6 Silverstreak as a reminder of a younger, quieter Edmonton. It was the proverbial bug in the ear that convinced him to purchase a seemingly ordinary car hiding an extraordinary secret under a cloak called vintage.

Autos Canada narrates:

Halfway through a trip to California, Wayne stopped his 18-wheeler to call his brother Ron, who the previous day told him about a 1948 Pontiac Torpedo 6 Silverstreak sitting in a Winterburn car lot.

After telling his brother he wasn’t in the market for an old car, he changed his mind and asked his brother that night in 1993 to take it for a test drive to see if it was worth a deposit.

It wasn’t until about 10 years later, after the deposit was paid and the car completely restored, that somebody familiar with that type of Pontiac noticed something unusual about it.

Until that time Wayne correctly understood that his collectible had been manufactured in Canada. A vehicle history report from GM’s vintage services department indicated Wayne’s Torpedo 6 rolled out of GM’s Oshawa, Ont., plant in October 1948.

But the stranger who approached Wayne about his car that day noticed that not quite everything about his rare car was, well, Canadian.

“I feel kind of happy that it is a different (Canadian) car with an American body,” Wayne said. “For a time after its restoration, I was starting to get a little bored with it, but now that I understand what I have, I’d never sell it.”

Wayne’s car is a survivor. Slightly more than 2,500 Torpedo sixes had been built on a 119-inch wheelbase chassis made for a straight-six engine. About 156 of those sported a larger American-style body on the same chassis dimensions from the same Oshawa plant.

Wayne’s car is a complete original with no steering, suspension, braking or performance modifications. He said the car required only $20,000 of restoration because it had been relatively well-preserved before his brother test drove the vehicle. He said the car is of a time when vehicles were built with sturdiness and less emphasis on speed or performance like the ’60s muscle cars.

While the car is a relatively rare car, Wayne said he thinks it’s not really part of the local collectible car scene simply because it’s not a celebrated muscle car icon. “I don’t really fit in this car-club business because most of these club people are into big power and muscle. I’m personally not into those muscle cars because I think they’re kind of scary,” he added.

Wayne said the vehicle holds a lot of fond memories during a time when the city was relatively young. “I really enjoy it because it is such a relaxing car to drive. It’s a safe ride because it is a heavy car that doesn’t pose an overwhelming temptation to speed, but its handling and steering is respectable even by today’s standards,” he concluded.

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Safer And More Agile Cars For The Future

October 24, 2007 Leave a comment

The auto industry is one dynamic industry. Automakers never rest on their laurels if they want to stay profitable. This is true even for companies which develops and manufactures the parts that the automakers use on their vehicles that the buyers buy. Take Bosch for example, the German corporation which produces automotive parts and systems, power tools, home appliances, and others. Said company is participating at the first ever North American Vehicle Dynamics Expo and it will showcase new technologies which will make vehicles of tomorrow safer and more agile.

At the said event, Bosch will have representatives tackling different technologies that they have developed. According to The Auto Channel, these will be the presentations on their booth at the event:

  • Scott Dahl, director of marketing and product planning, Chassis Systems Controls Division, Robert Bosch, LLC, on Oct. 25 at 9:30 a.m. will discuss how ESC is an enabler of value-added functions and technologies that, when networked together, create unique vehicle dynamics functionality.
  • Dr. Kay Stepper, marketing manager, Chassis Systems Controls Division, Robert Bosch, LLC, will speak on Oct. 24 at 10:15 a.m. on VDM and drivetrain, suspension and steering technology advancements that improve chassis characteristics.
  • Joseph Miller, engineering manager, Chassis Systems Controls Division, Robert Bosch, LLC, will address the event on Oct. 26 at 11:35 a.m. on the unique possibilities and special consideration for stability systems for SUVs and light trucks, particularly in off-road driving situations.

Bosch will be showcasing different technologies which they have developed. These technologies are designed to complement Bosch’s Electronic Stability Control technology. The Auto Channel lists these features that Bosch will showcase at the event:

  • Dynamic Steering Angle Control (DSA) is an ESC-controlled modification of front steering using Active Front Steering to improve stability, make steering easier and decrease braking distance.
  • Dynamic Wheel Torque Control (DWT), which debuted on the 2008 BMW X5, improves a vehicle’s agility by increasing engine torque and lightly braking the wheel if the vehicle enters a turn, for instance, at a high rate of speed. This offers the driver improved cornering with less steering effort.
  • Dynamic Steering Torque Control (DST) is an ESC-controlled steering torque modification for guiding the driver in specific situations using electric power steering, motivating the driver to increase steering input.
  • Dynamic Roll Stabilizer Force Control (DLF) also is an ESC-controlled function that creates roll-torque distribution between front and rear axle using active roll stabilizers. This improves cornering and reduces the effects of understeering and oversteering.
  • Dynamic Damper Force Control (DDF) improves steering ability and brake performance by modifying damping coefficients using Continuous Damper Control technology.

Expect these technologies to be available on future vehicles, as sure as one can find Honda Accord floor mats for sale online. Apart from the aforementioned features, the auto parts manufacturer will also showcase other safety features for automobiles at the event.

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Top 10 Snow Cars By NADAguides.com

October 20, 2007 Leave a comment
Christmas time is coming and winter is fast approaching. Now NADAguides.com is revealing another list – Top 10 Go-In-The-Snow Vehicles. Of course, as a driver you have to know the latest cars which can be driven well on snowy roads that can provide you safety. NADAguides.com reveals this top ten list.

NADAguide’s Top 10 Go-In-The-Snow Vehicles:

  • 2008 Audi A4 Sedan – $28,900 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Cadillac STS – $42,390 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Chevy Tahoe – $34,095 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Ford F-150 – $17,345 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Hummer H2 – $55,510 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Jeep Wrangler – $18,660 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Land Rover LR3 – $48,525 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Subaru Outback – $21,995 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser – $22,545 Base MSRP
  • 2008 Volvo XC90 – $36,210 Base MSRP

The famous maker of Volkswagen catalytic converters was not included on the top ten list but a German car maker topped the list. And it was followed by the 2008 Cadillac STS on the second rank. The 2008 Chevy Tahoe took the third spot making the 2008 Ford F-150 and the 2008 Hummer H2 conquer the fourth and fifth list respectively.

The 2008 Jeep Wrangler was seen on the sixth spot with the 2008 Land Rover LR3 on the seventh spot leaving the 2008 Subaru Outback on the eighth spot. The ninth place went to 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser with the 2008 Volvo XC90 covering the tenth.

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Ford Sync Wins Award

October 12, 2007 Leave a comment
Dearborn automaker Ford is in the middle of its toughest battle yet with lowering sales. But FoMoCo’s turnaround plan is slowly taking the company back to profitability. With the demand for fuel efficient cars increasing, FoMoCo has developed a hybrid of its own. The automaker believes that Americans love SUVs thus they created a fuel efficient SUV in the Ford Escape Hybrid. But the automaker did not stop at just providing consumers with fuel efficient vehicles; they also worked with Microsoft in the development of the Ford Sync.

The said system has earned praises from auto journalists. The said technological breakthrough is now becoming popular among consumers just like Acura exhaust parts are to Acura owners. Recently, the Sync was given the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award at the Hearst Tower in New York City reported the autochannel. According to the report, this year marks the third time that the award was given. It is supposed to be given to “recognize products that set new benchmarks in design, creativity, and engineering as well as individuals and teams that are helping to improve lives and expand possibilities in the realms of science, technology and exploration.”

James Meigs, the Editor-in-Chief of popular Popular Mechanics, said: “Popular Mechanics is, at its core, devoted to recognizing innovations that re-imagine the role that technology and science play in our lives. All of this year’s group of Breakthrough Product Award winners do just that – and demonstrate the wide range of industries that can be transformed through smart, creative engineering.”

Theautochannel.com reported that the people behind Popular Mechanics sought the help of experts and academics. They are asked to give a list of worthy nominees for the award. Then, after the nominees are submitted, Popular Mechanics’ Board of Advisors reviews the nominees. Their findings help editors a lot in determining who will win the said prestigious prize.

Jim Buczkowski, the director of Electrical Systems and Engineering at Ford, received the award on behalf of the team who made the Sync a reality. He thanked the staff of PM for recognizing Sync as a “game-changing technology that will make in-car connectivity more affordable and more widely available than ever before.” Amen to that sir. The Sync system will be exclusively available to Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles through 2008.

Chuck Tannert, the senior editor for PM who wrote about the Sync, said: “The system is as flexible as a Romanian gymnast.” LOL. “Since its functionality is software based, adding capability simply entails downloading a file. Voice command is another sweet spot – the best we’ve tried,” he added further.

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Ford Transit With A New SportVan Model!

October 10, 2007 Leave a comment
Are you ready for another big surprise? Hold on to your Audi pressure plate because Ford has something hot that can blow you off from where you’re standing! Are you ready for this? The Transit is extending its offered range by bringing out the new Ford Transit SportVan!

Yes it’s here! The new Ford Transit SportVan model is powered by a remarkable new powertrain options including, for the very first time, a new Durashift 6-speed transmission on the Transit front-wheel-drive (FWD)! All FWD variations are power-driven by a 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine. On the other hand, there are three different power outputs offered. The amount produced by the most powerful version has been improved from 130 PS to 140 PS!

According to Ford.com, the latest six-speed transmission for the FWD alternate is a partnership with one of Ford’s continuing partners – GFT (Getrag Ford Transmissions). Ford’s Transit assembly plants and Kocaeli in Turkey and Southampton in the UK will both be producing this innovative derivative.

“By giving the most powerful FWD variant a new six-speed transmission we’re able to offer our customers an even greater Transit portfolio. A lower load floor for easier loading and unloading, a larger load space with extra interior height and outstanding manoeuvrability are all attributes that customers recognise in our FWD option. Our new six-speed transmission retains all of these vehicle attributes while delivering up to ten per cent better fuel economy and more comfortable cruising,” says Christine Lund, the Chief Programme Engineer for Commercial Vehicles.

The new 140 PS six-speed transmission powertrain is offered to improve SQ&V (sound quality and vibration) as well. The expanded gear range and the twin mass flywheel obviously develops the SQ&V and at the same time obtains a perfect launch performance because of the superior torque delivery from the engine and a shorter first gear.

“The new six-speed transmission for FWD will primarily attract customers in the two tonne cargo segment who seek improved performance, a good towing capacity of up to GTM 5,500kg, power and torque for motorway cruising and long-distance driving. Urban customers are more likely to spend much time in traffic and require less power. These customers will be satisfied with the five-speed transmission for occasional highway use. Adding six-speed to the high power FWD derivative will complement the six-speed transmission that already exists on the mid-power 115 PS and high-power 140 PS RWD models,” says Henrik Nenzen, the Director for Commercial Vehicles, Marketing Sales & Service.

“The new Durashift six-speed transmission for FWD ensures Transit will continue to compete effectively in an increasingly competitive market segment. Our philosophy with Transit is clear – we continue proactively to offer existing customers the choices necessary to match their exact requirements, we bring to market affordable new technologies as they become available, and we continue to ensure that Transit remains an attractive, contemporary and technology-packed option to bring new customers to Ford,” said Phil Collareno, Ford of Europe’s Vehicle Line Director for Commercial Vehicles.

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“Holiday Holla” For Teen Drivers!

October 10, 2007 Leave a comment
The coldest season of the year comes with fun and thrills to teenagers. Winter season means fun and staying happy as snow flakes gather around the roofs and windows. It’s going to be a white Christmas soon! In spite of the excitement brought by winter season, are you aware that this time of the year is the deadliest season for teen drivers? Yes, it’s sad but true…

Although studies revealed this tragic fact, there are ways on how teens can prevent or lessen the numbers of teen fatalities caused the number 1 killer of teens… car crashes! This winter holiday season, teenagers from all over the country will gather up together to “sing a different kind of tune” as their own way on how to help lessen the numbers of teen deaths in car crashes.

Keep the Drive – that is the statement of the campaign! It is a teen-headed smart driving movement sponsored by The Allstate Foundation. The campaign encourages teens to take part in the “Holiday Holla,” a competition that tests teens to rewrite and carry out conventional holiday carols with the latest, captivating lyrics about smart driving. The movement aims to increase awareness among teens about teen deaths related with car crashes in the first online “carol-aoke” contest of its kind. Participants will also have the chance to win $15,000 and meet and perform their song in front of platinum-selling country artist Taylor Swift.

“This contest is a fun and creative way to make teens and their parents aware of how dangerous the holiday season is for teen drivers,” said Swift, who will help select the final winners during an event at the Mall of America on Dec. 8, 2007. “Holiday Holla combines humor, music and witty-but-meaningful lyrics as a unique and effective way to encourage teens to step into the driver’s seat and positively influence their peers.”

“This is a serious issue that affects all teens. Keep the Drive has created a cool way to help teens like me become activists and do my part in reducing the number of preventable car crashes this holiday season. I’m hoping teens all over the country will enter and spread the word about smart driving and maybe win some great prizes,” said Jessica Mann, 17, a National Keep the Drive Crew member.

According to TheAutoChanel.com, the Allstate Foundation conducted a national survey of teen driving attitudes and behaviors. 47 percent of teens said their friends are a big influence on how they drive as revealed in the survey. Major results included:

  • Fifty-six percent of teens make and answer phone calls while driving.
  • Thirteen percent write and/or read text messages while driving (with 12.5 million teen drivers in the U.S., that’s 1.72 million teens writing/reading text messages while driving).
  • More than 50 percent of teens believe that drinking and driving is the leading cause of crashes. In reality, less than 25 percent of teen car crashes are caused by drunk driving.

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Maserati Cars Parking In New York

October 6, 2007 Leave a comment

New York is getting ready for another Columbus Day Parade as they celebrate their 63rd year of the event. To give more justice to the elegance and brilliance they promise to bring every year, the event promises to bring more Maserati cars to the line up. We may not see the Acura car cover on the event because only Maserati cars will be there.

Are you excited to know the models showing on the 63rd Columbus Day Parade? I have seen this list on The Auto Channel and I am giving it to you:

1929 / 1931 Maserati Spyder – V16:
This car is made in 1931 and was named Maserati Zagato Spyder. This super car is powered by a huge V16 capable of releasing the world’s speed record of 152.9 mph in 1929. It was reproduced in 2003 and was the first winner at the Pebble Beach Concours.

1953 Maserati A6GCS MM Spyder:
The first car was the Series II was a factory racecar and since it was revealed, it immediately earned milestones in 1953 and 1954. It even received the first place winner in the prestigious Louis Vuitton Concours at Rockefeller Center in 2000.

1955 Maserati A6G54 GT Frua Berlinetta:
It was seen at the 1955 Turin Motor Show and was sold to Italian music legend Domenico Modugno. He was famous as the writer and the singer who co-authored the lyrics for “Volare,” which has been awarded with lots of recognition including Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1958. As with the car, it also won the Best of Show in the Villa d’Este Concours held at Cernobbio, Italy in 2003.

1958 Maserati 3500 Vignale Spyder:
The model was produced between 1958 and1964 and was regarded as a high model.

1960 Maserati 5000 GT:
This car was somehow identical to the model in Iran called Shah back in 1959. It was actually displayed at the 1959 Turin Motor Show and used the Maserati 450 S race car engine which is capable of producing a top speed of over 170 mph.

1970 Maserati Ghibli Spyder SS:
This car actually went into production back in 1969 but as an SS model. It was a rare model and only 25 units were produced. You will see the model at the 2007 Columbus Day Parade owned by a Neapolitan businessman who got it in 1970 so he can win the love of a girl in Naples. They got married and are together until this time.

1971 Maserati Ghibli SS:
The first car was seen at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. The dashing design was made by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a famous car designer back in the 20th Century. He made it and gave it 360 hp V8 so to spur to the top speed of 185 mph.

2004 Maserati MC 12:
The car was available for racing for 37 years. This car wears a 2L engine part running on a 630 horsepower delivered by the monstrous V12. The two door car also won the FIA GT Manufacturers Cup back in 2005.

2007 Maserati Quattroporte Automatic:
This car is considered the most stylish sedan among the bunch. It was given a V8 engine capable of producing 400 horsepower.

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