Friday, November 30, 2007
Knievel's death was confirmed by his granddaughter, Krysten Knievel. He had been in failing health for years, suffering from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that scarred his lungs.
"It's been coming for years, but you just don't expect it. Superman just doesn't die, right?" Rundle said.
Though Knievel dropped off the pop culture radar in the '80s, the image of the high-flying motorcyclist clad in patriotic, star-studded colors was never erased from public consciousness. He always had fans and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
Knievel also dabbled in movies and TV, starring as himself in "Viva Knievel" and with Lindsay Wagner in an episode of the 1980s TV series "Bionic Woman." George Hamilton and Sam Elliott each played Knievel in movies about his life.
He also formed the Butte Bombers semiprofessional hockey team, acting as owner, manager, coach and player.
Roger B. Smith, Former GM Chairman And CEO, Dies At 82
DETROIT – Roger B. Smith, who led General Motors in the 1980s through a period of significant change, passed away here November 29 after a brief illness. He was 82.
Smith was appointed chairman and CEO on January 1, 1981, and led the world's largest automaker until his retirement on July 31, 1990.
Smith directed GM during a revolutionary period in the auto industry, a time of expanding global business, tough new environmental and safety standards, and increased competition from import brands.
During Smith's tenure as chairman and CEO, GM introduced its first front-wheel-drive midsize cars, formed NUMMI, a joint venture with Toyota to manufacture cars in California, created Saturn, and acquired Electronic Data Systems and Hughes Aircraft Corp.
"Roger Smith led GM during a period of tremendous innovation in the industry." GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said today. "He was a leader who knew that we have to accept change, understand change, and learn to make it work for us. Roger was truly a pioneer in the fast moving global industry that we now take for granted."
Prior to being elected chairman, Smith had been an executive vice president and a member of the GM Board of Directors since December 1, 1974.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, on July 12, 1925, he received his formal education in Michigan. He graduated from Detroit University School in 1942. He received his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1947 from the University of Michigan and was awarded a master's degree in business administration there in 1953. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946.
Smith began his GM career in 1949 as a general accounting clerk in the Detroit Central Office. After a series of promotions, he became treasurer of the Corporation in 1970 and vice president in charge of the Financial Staff and a member of the Administration Committee in 1971. The following year, he became vice president and group executive in charge of the Non-automotive and Defense Group. In 1974, he was elected executive vice president, with responsibility for the Financial, Public Relations, and Industry-Government Relations Staffs.
Smith was the originator in February 1978, of the General Motors Cancer Research Awards, designed to recognize basic and clinical scientists throughout the world for hallmark accomplishments in research on the cause, prevention and treatment of cancer.
In the international world, Smith's leadership in promoting free trade was recognized by many countries where General Motors operated. He was awarded gold medals by the heads of state of Austria, Belgium and Spain, as well as the French Legion of Honor. He served on the U.S. Presidential Commission on South Africa.
On the national scene, Smith served on two presidential commissions. He was chairman of both the Business Roundtable and the Business Council. He was a trustee of the California Institute of Technology and received honorary doctorates from several universities. Smith served on the boards of directors of Citicorp, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson and PepsiCo. He served as chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee of the New York Stock Exchange that originated the concept of "circuit breakers" to moderate large price fluctuations in the stock and option markets. His leadership in finance and industry was recognized by awards from leading associations and publications across the country.
In state and local affairs, Smith served as chairman of the board of the Economic Club of Detroit, Detroit Renaissance and the Detroit United Foundation. He served on the board of directors of many other charitable and educational organizations.
Smith is survived by Barbara, his wife of 53 years; four children: Roger B. Smith Jr., Jennifer A. Ponski, Victoria B. Sawula, and Drew J. Smith; and six grandchildren.
Services will be private. The family asks that contributions, in lieu of flowers, be made to the Roger B. Smith Memorial Fund to Benefit the Fight Against Cancer at William Beaumont Hospital, c/o of the Beaumont Fund, P.O. Box 5802, Troy, MI 48007-9620.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
- The American muscle coupe is back, packed with modern technology and innovation
- Demand for contemporary version of iconic pony car drives Dodge to accept orders for the 2008 Challenger SRT8® beginning Dec. 3, 2007
- Introduction begins with limited-edition Dodge Challenger SRT8 models – each with numbered dash plaque
- Complete, broader Challenger lineup details and pricing still to come
- 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 models feature 6.1-liter HEMI® V-8 and are available in Black, Silver or HEMI Orange
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Echoing the glory days of grand prix racing, this Boxster recalls the winning #42 1960 Porsche Type 718 RS 60 Spyder. The very car that went on to win overall at the 12 Hours of Sebring race in 1960, with Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien at the wheel.
Based off the Boxster S, the RS 60 Spyder will feature unique styling cues, 19 inch Porsche Sport Design wheels, Special GT Silver Metallic Paint, and the oh so sexy Carrera Red leather interior.
The engine is going to remain relatively stock. A special sport exhaust system will help to boost the horsepower to 303hp. So you're getting an 8hp boost over the stock 295hp.
On the inside you will find Carrera Red leather sport seats, a combination of stainless steel and GT Silver dash and interior accents, and of course special RS 60 badging. The instrument cluster will be sans the hood that typically is found. This is to give the car more of a race car feel. The dials will also be painted GT Silver. There will be a choice of an optional interior. Rather than red, a dark gray natural leather, with a black top will be offered.
Porsche is limiting production to 1,960 cars, and as of this writing will be offered only in the UK & Ireland. Pricing will be set at £45,400.
Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder Echoes Sporting Heritage
Porsche is presenting a new version of the mid-engined Boxster roadster at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy on December 5 - 16. In its distinctive design, features and philosophy, the Boxster RS 60 Spyder echoes the classic motorsport era of the 1960s, and in particular the success of Porsche sports cars during that period.
After countless class wins around the circuits of Europe and America, in 1960 the Porsche Type 718 RS 60 Spyder beat competitors with much larger engines to score its first overall victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, USA, one of the most prestigious long-distance sports car races, courtesy of Hans Herrmann and Olivier Gendebien.
The new Boxster RS 60 Spyder reflects the sporting character and design purism of that successful mid-engined two-seater sports racing car. The RS 60 Spyder is based on the acclaimed Boxster S model, but differs significantly in terms of its performance and features.
Externally, the RS 60 Spyder is distinguished by a unique front spoiler and 19-inch diameter Porsche SportDesign alloy wheels, which spacer plates have moved outwards purposefully in the wheel arches. A modified sports exhaust system combined with dual tailpipes increases engine output to 303 bhp as well as adding further definition to the car's appearance. Completing the sporting orientation to the driving experience is Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) which adds further dynamism to the Boxster chassis.
Distinctive GT Silver Metallic paintwork is accentuated by the contrasting natural leather interior in Carrera Red. The roof is also finished in red. As an alternative, there is also the choice of Dark Grey natural leather in conjunction with a Black roof. The tail light clusters are also finished in red.
Inside, door trim strips made of stainless steel proudly bear the "RS 60 Spyder" model designation. The leather interior trim is further distinguished by a textured surface on the centre sections of the sports seats and the centre door linings, and this also extends to the steering wheel rim and handbrake lever. Completing the sporting ambience is a bespoke gear lever.
Complementing the exterior appearance, the faces of the instrument dials have a GT Silver Metallic finish and with this model not having the usual hood over the instrument cluster, the large central rev counter and the two circular dials on either side bring something of the flair of a racing car to the cockpit.
Further features include the windscreen surround finished in black, as well as the centre console, the seat backrests and the roll hoops all finished in GT Silver Metallic and thus harmonising with the seat belts also finished in Silver.
Reflecting its model designation, the Boxster RS 60 Spyder is limited to 1,960 examples, each one proudly bearing a silver-coloured plaque on the lid of the glove compartment.
The Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder will be priced from £45,400 including VAT, and deliveries in the UK and Ireland begin from March 2008.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Why the big turn? Simple. Over production. The Big Three lean towards overproducing their vehicles. Then they slap on huge discounts and rebates. Those combined with the over abundant supply of Taurus, Impala, and Stratus fleet and rental cars. Helps to absolutely destroy the resale value of those cars.
Volkswagen is the surprise comeback kid on the survey list. They have steadily grown over the last 5 years. Thanks to big boosts in quality, fuel efficiency, European styling, and exceptional value.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Chrysler LLC is no stranger to having over the top introductions at the Detroit show each year. Their biggest to date was by driving the redesigned Jeep Wrangler through the plate glass windows of Cobo Hall, ala The Blues Brothers. They also pulled a similar stunt in 1992 with the Grand Cherokee. Though they drove up the steps of Cobo Hall and then trough the window from the outside.
With Chrysler under new managment, this years Detroit show will be all the more important to impress the worlds automotive press.
Along with the Dodge Caravan, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300, the Ram is a cornerstone in the automaker's lineup of vehicles.
Chrysler and the City of Detroit are both keeping tight liped about this one, with good reason too. This could go down as the most incredible new vehicle introduction in history... at least until 2009.
Source: Detroit Free Press
Friday, November 23, 2007
When the GT500 went in to production the 1st one for sale was sold at the Barrett Jackson Auction for some crazy money. And the car wasn't even built yet. Since then we have seen many first run special cars go across the blocks at B-J each year.
Thus year though we will see a different kind of Barret Jackson special car. One that you can actually buy. Well 100 people can actually buy as there will only be 100 made. If you live in Arizona or Las Vegas, Nevada. You can go down to your local Ford dealer and pick up one of the 2008 Barrett Jackson Edition Shelby GT Mustang. Offered in both coupe and convertible, each will come only in black with "Barrett Jackson Red" stripes. And special B-J signature door sill plates. Oh, and an autographed photo of Carroll Shelby, Craig Jackson, Amy Boylan and Steve Davis.
The rest of the package is made up of black 18 inch wheels, a Ford Racing tuned 319 horsepower V8, flow through exhaust with x pipe crossover, 5 speed manual trans with a Hurst short throw shifter, front strut tower brace, and Ford Racing Handling Package. That adds special dampers, larger sway bars, and a 3.55:1 ratio rear axle.
Not a bad package for only $39,000. Though I'm sure dealers will mark them up since there's only 100 to go around. Though I highly doubt that the dealers are going to match or exceede the $250 per car donation(built in) that will go to the Carroll Shelby Children Foundation. So buying one is for a good cause. Now to get my tickets to Arizona.......
Source: Ford, Chelby, Barrett Jackson.
Exclusive 2008 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GT Unveiled in Arizona
- 2008 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GT Production is Scheduled for 100 Total Units
- Black Exterior with "Barrett-Jackson" Red Stripes and Other Touches Included
- Cars Will Be Sold Through Arizona Ford Dealers
- A Portion of Proceeds from Sales to Benefit the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation.
With an MSRP beginning at US$38,980.00, a total of 100 2008 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GTs, in both coupe and convertible body styles, will be sold through Arizona Region Ford dealers beginning today. The purchase price of each car will include a $250 donation to the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation.
"The Arizona and Las Vegas Ford dealers have been strong supporters of mine over the years, which is why Shelby Automobiles joined with Barrett-Jackson and Ford Motor Company to create a limited edition car just for their customers," said Carroll Shelby, CEO of Shelby Automobiles. "And I'm pleased that a portion of the sales will benefit an endowment we're building at the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation. This is a rare chance for enthusiasts to enjoy a very special car and support a great cause."
Ford is a strong supporter of Barrett-Jackson and has sponsored its Family Value Day that kicks off the automotive lifestyle week in Scottsdale. Family Value Day was designed to attract a new generation of car enthusiasts by offering discounted tickets for adults and admitting children under the age of 12 for free.
"Barrett-Jackson's unrivaled lifestyle events celebrate America's love of the automobile," said Ford Motor Company Phoenix Regional Sales Manager, Tim Stoehr. "Their passion for the automobile has resulted in a unique venue to share our vehicles with the public. This limited edition car symbolizes our high octane relationship and gives a few lucky people the chance to own a piece of the Barrett-Jackson experience."
Over the past 37 years, Barrett-Jackson has evolved from an auction primarily attended by dedicated collectors and dealers into a retail automotive lifestyle event that is broadcast live worldwide. Shelby Cobras, GT350s and GT500s have been among the most popular cars to cross the auction block.
"We have a long tradition of selling the best Shelbys in the world because they are among the most desirable cars ever built," said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. "Over the past several years, we've worked with Ford Motor Company to raise almost a million and a half dollars for Carroll's Foundation by offering new Shelby cars for sale. It was natural to celebrate our connection to these cars with a very limited edition Shelby."
From the black 18-inch wheels to the Shelby Cobra roadster hood scoop, the car is mean. The engine is upgraded with a Ford Racing package to pump out 319 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque through a high-flow exhaust system with X-pipe crossover. The Shelby GT comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission featuring a Hurst short-throw shifter; a five-speed automatic transmission is optional. The package includes a Ford Racing Handling Pack with special-tuned dampers, unique sway bars and a 3.55:1 ratio rear axle assembly. Overall ride height was dropped and a front strut-tower brace added.
"The Shelby GT was designed to deliver an exhilarating driving experience," said Amy Boylan, President of Shelby Automobiles. "In addition to the 'go faster goodies,' each will receive special badges and equipment, as well as a photo of one of these cars signed by Carroll."
Unique features of the Barrett-Jackson edition will include:
-- Black exterior with "Barrett-Jackson Red" LeMans Hood and Side Stripes
-- Barrett Jackson Edition Door Sill Plates
-- Black interior with the Shelby GT serial number plate
-- Special Gas Cap Insert
-- Autographed photo of Carroll Shelby, Craig Jackson, Amy Boylan and Steve Davis
"As someone who has been personally involved with Shelby cars for the past three decades, I'm very proud to be part of this limited edition car," noted Steve Davis, President of Barrett-Jackson. "Rarity and documentation are two of the keys to collectability, which is why only 100 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GTs are scheduled to be built. Each car will come with complete documentation and be included in the factory authorized registry."
The Barrett-Jackson Shelby GT will be displayed at the Arizona International Auto Show from November 22-25.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Though it will not look anything like the concept car. The first test of the Volt will come by Easter of 2008. Which is a polite way of saying we have testing prototypes built and ready to go, or at least very close.
GM's hopes are to move above Toyota in the marketplace. Toyota is currently the industry leader in the "Green" market. GM currently has two suppliers for the lithium-ion batteries working overtime to further enhance the durability and performance of the batteries.
Sounds very exciting to see this much development. Especially when the concept was just unveiled at Detroit in January 07. This should definitely have Toyota standing on their toes.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Stiff competition from the Chevy Malibu, Mercedes C-class, Audi TT, Honda Accord, Subaru WRX, and Mitsubishi Lancer, and many others.
Congrats to Cadillac.
DETROIT - The editors at Motor Trend, one of the world's premiere automotive authorities, announced today that they have chosen the Cadillac CTS as the 2008 Motor Trend Car of the Year.
"Cadillac is truly honored to receive one of the world's most coveted automotive awards," says Jim Taylor, Cadillac general manager. "This is a very meaningful reward for our team that created the all-new 2008 CTS, and a powerful statement to consumers everywhere about Cadillac's product renaissance."
The Motor Trend Car of the Year honor highlights the wide acclaim the 2008 CTS sport sedan has earned around the world and with consumers since its launch earlier this fall. Luxury cars buyers are responding similarly, with CTS U.S. sales jumping 75% in October.
The full report from Motor Trend appears in the January issue of the magazine (on newsstands in early-December) and online at http://www.motortrend.com/. Cadillac was the first automaker ever to win Motor Trend Car of the Year in the magazine's inaugural year of 1949, and again in 1952 and 1992.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
The C63 is also the first AMG model to offer a 3 stage ESP program. ESP Off, ESP Sport, & ESP Off. Sport mode allows for more aggressive driving and higher drift angles. Excellent for race track use. The rest of the suspension has been given the AMG treatment as well. Stiffer shocks and springs are used in all four corners. A limited slip differential is used in the rear end. 18 inch wheels, and AMG designed composite disc brakes. 14.2 inches in the front, 13 in the rear. With 6 piston and 4 piston calipers round out the package.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Pricing is set at $34,995 MSRP, though a release date has not been mentioned.
The new Aveo5 will be available in two trim levels LT and LS. Power comes from a 107 HP 1.6 liter Ecotec 4 cylinder. Standard features come by way of dual front and side air bags, 60/40 split rear seat, body color accents, OnStar, keyless entry, cruise control, and air conditioning. Heated mirrors, XM satellite radio, ABS, and a sunroof round out the optional extras. Though these are standard on the LS model.
Styling is fresh and crisp. And truly marks this as a world car for General Motors. But the big news is that the Aveo5 may become the lowest price automobile in the United States. Pricing has not been announced. Though it should come closer to the release date in mid 2008.
- Three trim levels will be offered in the U.S. market – Luxury, Premium Luxury and the 420hp Supercharged model.
- The XF is a four door Jaguar that combines the style and performance of a sports car with the refinement, space and sophistication of a luxury sedan.
- Class-leading torsional stiffness delivers refinement and dynamic performance – underpinning the driver-focused yet remarkably comfortable driving experience.
- The XF will be available at launch in the U.S. with two different engines – 4.2-liter naturally-aspirated V8 and 4.2-liter supercharged V8 – all featuring Jaguar's proven six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddles as standard in the XK sports car.
- With its dramatic styling, powerful yet beautiful lines and a distinctive face, the XF is the first sedan to exemplify Jaguar's new design language.
- Using only the finest materials, which are applied in a very contemporary way, the XF's interior is crafted to create a truly warm and bespoke environment.
- Challenging convention, the XF offers sophisticated instrumentation and intuitive technologies. Upon entry, the start button pulses, like a heartbeat. Start the engine and the JaguarDrive SelectorTM rises into the palm of the hand, while rotating vents turn from their flush, 'parked' position to their functional open position.
- The coupe-like lines of the XF (which are similar to the XK's) belie the amount of space inside: there is room for five adults in comfort, generous interior stowage and a trunk capacity of 17.7 cu. ft., plus the opportunity to fold down the rear seats and add a further 14.8 cu. ft.
- Key driver aids on the XF include Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control and Engine Drag Torque Control. And, for the first time in a Jaguar, Understeer Control Logic which decelerates the car and helps to restore grip to the front wheels when required.
- Jaguar-exclusive Bowers & Wilkins 440-watt Surround Sound System is available on all three trim levels.
- The first cars will be delivered to U.S. customers in March 2008.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14, 2007 - Hyundai unveiled its highly anticipated Concept Genesis Coupe during a press conference at the Los Angeles International Auto Show today. The concept car heralds the introduction of an all-new, rear-wheel drive 2 + 2 sports coupe scheduled to join the Hyundai lineup in the spring of 2009. Following the introduction earlier this year of the Concept Genesis sedan, Concept Genesis Coupe signals Hyundai's second step in broadening its appeal to driving enthusiasts.
The Sonic Orange concept is complemented by a Ballistic Black carbon fiber hood, roof and ground effects for reduced weight. Strong hints of the production version are highlighted in its "Z" bodylines and powerful curves. When the production sports coupe arrives, it likely will be the most affordable 300+ horsepower car on the market, and the most dynamic performance car yet from Hyundai.
Designers used the Day Light Opening (DLO -- a designer's term for the side glass) from the HCD9 Talus Concept on the Concept Genesis Coupe.
The look of Concept Genesis Coupe was in part inspired by LeMan's race cars, drifters and by Jada Toys Dub City™ die cast vehicles. The front and rear stance of the Concept Genesis Coupe can be described as sinister. "Beauty and danger co-exist in the design of the Concept Genesis Coupe," said Eric Stoddard, senior creative designer. "When viewed from a distance, the car is beautiful to look at. But up close it can appear a bit menacing and even a little intimidating."
The concept's rocker panels are drawn close to the ground making the bodysides extra thick and the daylight opening extremely thin, allowing the wheels to be slammed up into bulging fenders. To complete the aggressive sports car look, the depth between the fenders and the greenhouse has been maximized.
Three large heat extractors sculpted into the hood are designed to cool just about any powerful engine. When the concept becomes reality, three large openings in the front fascia will allow for better engine breathing. The dual exhaust tips integrated into the rear fascia repeat the design theme of the front cooling ducts and are surrounded by a large carbon fiber air diffuser. An arching roofline and tapering greenhouse highlight the exterior profile and emphasize the car's broad shoulders and wide stance. Concept Genesis Coupe rides on 20-inch polished aluminum deep-dish wheels with Hankook 255/35 ZR front tires and 275/35 ZR rear tires.
PRELIMINARY PRODUCTION CAR DETAILS
• Transmission type: 6-speed manual
• Front brakes: Brembo, 340 mm disc, twin-piston calipers
The anniversary vehicle is a Passat Variant BlueMotion 1.9 TDI in arctic blue silver metallic with 77 kW (105 HP). The Passat is one of the most successful Volkswagen models throughout the world and also one of the most popular midsized models in Germany.
“Fifteen million Passats produced in 34 years are a fantastic achievement which everyone at the Emden plant can take pride in together with all the other members of the Passat family at plants throughout the world,” Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann stressed.
Plant manager Pavel Vacek added: “This round figure has a very special significance for our plant. Of the 15 million Passats produced in total, 5.9 million were made in Emden. This indicates the tremendous importance of the model as a symbol for our plant and our region."
Works Council Chairman Peter Jacobs commented: “13 plants around the globe have been involved in the Passat success story since 1973 and the model has provided work, security and income for people throughout the world. The Passat has become a flagship of the Volkswagen brand. At Emden, we are proud of the Passat and we share this success with our colleagues at plants around the world.
On the presentation of the vehicle in Emden, Sybille Beckenbauer said: “I am very pleased that Volkswagen has actively supported the charitable work of the German Bone Marrow Donor Center (DKMS) for many years. By presenting the 15 millionth Passat, Volkswagen has provided the DKMS with even more mobility, flexibility and safety. This is important for the large number of tissue typing campaigns organized by the Center for leukemia sufferers throughout Germany. Potential stem cell donors are included in the world’s largest donor database.”
The popularity of the Passat with Volkswagen customers throughout the world is underlined by the accolades received by the leading mid-sized model from specialists, journalists and customers over the past few months. In particular, the Passat BlueMotion has been awarded the coveted “Auto Environment Certificate” by the ÖKO-TREND institute; the Passat is therefore one of the most environmentally compatible automobiles of 2007.
Pricing is set at $69,850. So it's up there in price, and I'm sure the car is well worth the wait. Cars should start showing up at dealerships starting in June of 08. Finally no more skyline ownership through video games.
Sculpted performance bucket seats give the driver and passenger a comfortable driving experience, and soft pads are utilized on the dash in front of the passenger and both doors to give an extra level of comfort. The rear transaxle layout of GT-R, with a flat floor and narrow center tunnel, allows GT-R to have an optimal driving position.