Among the annual “big” international auto shows,
stereotypically, the Los Angeles gig is about “green” cars, the Detroit circus
is about “power”, the Geneva salon is about “exotics” and the New York event
focuses on “traditional American luxury.” And while both Cadillac (with its new
2014 CTS) and Buick (with its refreshed Regal and LaCrosse) will be showing off
new versions of their traditional American luxury sedans, the relatively fresh genre
of crossovers will dominate the debuts during this week's Big Apple media days.
MSN Autos LIVE at the 2013 New York International Auto Show
Join us as MSN.ca Autos hits the auto show floor in New York, March 27 and 28, during the media preview day. Get expert updates and opinions on vehicle announcements throughout the day. You can also submit comments and questions on what cars and technologies you'd like to see and share your thoughts with us!
Here we go again. Another Hyundai concept, another hint
the Korean brand is (yet again) ready to shed its downmarket image and play
with the big boys in the global luxury car market — or least that’s what my
first impression was after seeing sketches of the new HND-9, the latest in a
string of new Hyundais that suggests the automaker moving upmarket — and fast.
Officially, Hyundai isn’t saying the HND-9 is the next Genesis
Coupe. Only admitting in a release ahead of the show car’s debut at this year’s
Seoul auto show that the rear-wheel-drive two-door “hints at Hyundai's
next-generation luxury sports coupe design.” And whereas the current Genesis
two-door is seen as an entry-level sports coupe, the HND-9 packs a substantial
365 horsepower, 3.3-litre turbocharged and direct-injected six-cylinder and styling
that screams Italian supercar more than Korean bottom-feeder.
But the new HND-9 concept is only one clue that Hyundai is
looking to move higher up the automotive food chain. Even above Japan’s
Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus premium brands.
Vancouver approves unique condo-car factory development plan
By Steve Mertl for MSN Autos
Vancouver’s city council has green-lighted a unique condominium project that incorporates longtime coach builder Intermeccanica, which occupied the downtown site until last fall.
Council’s planning committee unanimously approved developer Scott Cressey’s plans to reinstall Intermeccanica on the ground floor of his Meccanica condo complex after a mid-March public hearing.
The project is located in a light industrial area on the south side of False Creek that’s transitioning into a residential neighbourhood, which includes Vancouver’s Olympic Village.
Project manager Jason Turcotte told Passing Lane that council approved zoning for the plan with no changes. City documents show planners needed assurances the design would deal with the roof venting of noxious gases from the manufacturing process, as well as potential noise issues.
President Obama's limousine replaced after filled with diesel
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
The nerves of the US Secret Service were probably already on edge in preparation for President Obama's first official trip to Israel, but things got considerably worse for the advance team earlier this week. Getting the presidential limousine - nicknamed The Beast for its tank-like appearance and construction - prepped for service, apparently one of the American agents somehow filled the tank with diesel fuel rather than gasoline. In the best of times, that's a costly and time-consuming fix: if the engine hadn't been started, they could just siphon the diesel from the tank, fill with gas and be done. Otherwise, it could require expensive flushing and more to get things cleaned up properly without damaging the engine.
We're not sure how the American agent in charge wouldn't know that the limousine runs on gasoline and not diesel. And also that in most parts of the world, the diesel pump nozzles are always larger and won't fit in gasoline 'necks' to prevent this very problem.
Here's where a little forethought might have helped: the limousines are built on General Motors commercial truck chassis before getting the customized bomb-proof 'tank' body put on top, and is ostensibly designed to mimic a Cadillac. However, you'd think that given the power, torque and reliability of modern turbo-diesels in heavy-duty applications that one of those would be used underhood. Obviously a gasoline V8 of we're assuming very large displacement is there already, and gets about eight mpg (US)...
Would it be smart for the US to have several variations of limousine available, meaning regular ones for home and countries with larger, more open spaces, and others that are smaller and more maneuverable when visiting abroad? Let us know.
Fangio's famous 1954 Mercedes-Benz GP car on sale at Goodwood
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
Juan-Manuel Fangio of Argentina is regularly considered one of the gratest Formula 1 drivers to ever turn a wheel in anger, made even more amazing when you consider the complete lack of safety gear and racetracks with little margin for error.
Unlike some drivers who stayed with one team or manufacturer over their carrer, Fangio jumped around from team to team, but remains the only driver to win Grand Prix titles for four different squads: Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz.
It's that final team whose wares will be offered at a Bonham's auction to be held during the Goodwood Festival of Speed this coming July. The W196 is described as Mercedes-Benz' first 'true' post-war Formula 1 machine and it debuted a number of important technologies, including fuel injection, a fully-independent suspension, inboard disc brakes, a spaceframe chassis design, and more. The 2.5-litre straight-eight engine was the first from Mercedes-Benz not to feature forced induction, but still produced a quite-incredible 260-ish horsepower.
The first W196 cars were fully enclosed to allow higher speeds, but after the first few races in '54, Fangio asked the team to build some with exposed wheels that would allow him to better position the car around the infamous Nurburgring racetrack, a 23-kilometre track in Germany that Brit Jackie Stewart later nicknamed the Green Hell.
The first open-wheel W196 - chassis number 00006/54 - was given to Fangio for the German Grand Prix, which he won easily. Fangio repeated in the same car at the following event in Switzerland, and helped secure his second driver's championship.
Bonhams is estimating this incredible piece of history could fetch between $40-$50 million, which if sold would make it the most expensive car ever sold.
SRT introduces track-ready Viper TA ahead of NY show
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
When the latest SRT Viper debuted a year ago at the New York Auto Show, it garnered plenty of attention for its more civilized interior and convenience toys. Those toys must have bothered some hardcore Viper fans since the only concessions to comfort found in the first two generations were a lousy radio and air conditioning...
Now, a year later and SRT has an answer to all the critics who called the new Viper compromised and unfinished. The Viper TA - or Time Attack - is a factory-designed performance machine bred exclusively for on-track work. Think of it like a Porsche 911 GT3 or Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca compared with their 'regular' road-biased siblings.
New Hurst Trans Am leaves little to the imagination
By Mark Atkinson for MSN Autos
Since the Trans Am died when Pontiac did - i.e. not long before the new Camaro hit the streets in 2010 - there have been more than a few fans who have been itching to buy a new one. And while there are a number of companies who have stepped into the gap to fill those urges with modified Camaros, none seem to have the same level of preparedness as the ones from Trans Am Depot.
Based in Tallahassee, FL, the shop started back in the early '90s catering to fans of Pontiac's pony car, and when the GM brand rolled over and died, Trans Am Depot figured it could just start building its own cars to fill any pent-up demand.
The latest offering is the Hurst Edition Trans Am, the first time the legendary shifter company partnered on a T/A since 1997. Besides the obvious Hurst shift kit, the head-turner is available in the company's iconic silver and black paint scheme. The carryover colours include the 'black-and-gold' made famous by none other than Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit, or the white-and-blue of the same era. And yes, the shaker hood, screaming chicken stickers and 'Bandit-esque' wheels remain part of the package.
And of course, T-tops.
Mechanically, the Trans Am gets lowered and a stiffer anti-roll bar is added, but customers can add anything from better headers and custom exhaust, forced induction (supercharger or twin-turbo), a full coilover kit and more.
Trand Am Depot just released their latest commercial, which you can check out below. Depending on your work's policy, it might be slightly NSFW. Otherwise, enjoy!
So would you shell out for an 'official' Trans Am or stick with whatever current modern muscle car tickles your fancy? Let us know in the comments.
Does General Motors have too many of the same cars?
Clockwise: Chevrolet Impala, Buick Lacrosse, Cadillac XTS — They're all different ... sort of.
By John LeBlanc for MSN Autos
On sale later this year, General Motors is
previewing its new 2014 Chevrolet Impala in San Diego, California this
week. No doubt, you’ll read forthcoming reports that the 2014 version is a much
better vehicle than the out going version. Seeing how the current Impala uses a
platform first seen in 1988, that shouldn’t be a stretch. But as much of an improvement the new Impala should be over the outoing model, how much different is than than other similarly
packaged sedans in General Motors' lineup?
If you happened to be clicking through MSN.ca, there’s a good chance you saw a viral video of Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver extraordinaire, putting a Camaro through its paces — and scaring the living bejesus out of an unsuspecting used car dealer. It’s both funny and cool — there’s nothing like seeing a sports car (or any car, really) being put through its paces.
Alas, the whole thing is fake. According to ABC, a Pepsi spokesperson admitted that it wasn’t Gordon who did the driving, though the reactions of the salesman are “100 percent genuine.”
As something of a gearhead, I couldn’t help but notice a couple of things wrong — it’s usually the little details that give things away, and here it’s no different. On watching the video again, the whole thing seemed too polished, too slick, and too loaded with product placement (why are all the cars in the videos brand new Chevys?). The big giveaway was the star car.
The black Camaro featured in the ad? According to the bright numbers on its windshield, it’s a 2009. The thing is, the reincarnated Camaro didn’t appear until 2010. Also, the perfectly placed cameras that snagged the interior shots show the car having Chevy’s new MyLink touchscreen system, which is new for 2013. And what about that perfectly situated can-holder on the upper dash? Oops.
So yes, it’s not real, but most car chases aren’t. Watch it as you’d watch any action flick, and, if you happen to be a car enthusiast, check your encyclopedic knowledge at the door.
Reportedly, the first word to come out of his mouth was "car," and since then it's evolved into a life-long passion. Justin is a fan of passionately engineered vehicles, but in general, loves the industry as much as the cars it produces. Justin is the Assistant Editor of MSN Autos, and manages The Passing Lane.
Mark has a decade’s experience driving and writing about thousands of vehicles, and two decades before as an inveterate car nut and race fan. He’s also a first-time father, so you’ll need to excuse the occasional half-awake daddy rant about how his daughter’s car-seat won’t fit.
After a career in advertising and marketing, John decided to turn his jaundiced eye towards the world of cars. Since then, he's become one of Canada's most vociferous critics of the industry, delivering objective analysis of the new car scene.