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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Superior Glass Works gives 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Nomad 25 chances to live

In 1954, General Motors was in its best form and could choose what to see or not to customers. One of these products, presented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in New York, during the Motorama event, was the Corvette Nomad, a station wagon based on the North American automotive icon. It never reached production (not as it was presented, once there was a 1955 Chevrolet Nomad), but Brad and Donna Peterson, owners of Superior Glass Works, have decided to give this great looking car a chance to come to life. In fact, it will have 25 chances to do so as the Superior 54 Sport Wagon.

Only 25 of these beautiful cars will leave Superior Glass Works at a cost of US$ 125,000 each. But do not be mistaken: "Superior Glass Works does not produce complete ‘turn-key’ cars. They will be shipped without paint or interior", said Brad Peterson to MotorTips. Therefore, the cars will be sold as Complete Rolling Packages, what includes a fiberglass and balsa reinforced plastic body, a set of custom-crafted window glass and chrome trim, power windows, power door locks, air-conditioning, custom frame (designed and built with Art Morrison Enterprises), with Morrison’s front cross member, steering arms, sway bar, power rack and pinion steering and the Corvette C5 suspension.

The car has been prepared to accecpt any LS-Series Chevrolet V8, what includes the fantastic LS9 that powers the Corvette ZR1. " An engine is not provided with the base package, but can be provided as an added-cost option", states Peterson.

The car you see in the pictures is the Superior 54 Sport Wagon that will be presented at the 2009 MSRA's Back to the 50s, an event that will happen from June 19 to June 21, 2009 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The official public presentation of the car will be there. According to Peterson, the car "will be more finished than what you see in those pictures". If the car already looks gorgeous unfinished, we can imagine what it will become in its final form. And in the hands of those able to pay US$ 125,000.

Source: Superior Glass Works via

Friday, 5 June 2009

Mitsubishi follows Subaru and presents its electric vehicle, i-MiEV

Subaru has announced it will start selling the electric car Plug-In Stella EV to customers by July 2009. Mitsubishi has seized the World Environment Day, last Friday, to present another electric vehicle to customers, the i-MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle). In fact, this presentation is only useful for Japanese authorities and corporations, once the car will only be delivered to regular consumers by April 2010. Even considering this, the new i-MiEV may be worth waiting for: it goes farther than Stella (160 km, against 90 km of range from the Subaru), it is roomier (2.55 m of wheelbase) and it is cheaper (4,380,000 yens, against 4,725,000 yens, or a little more than US$ 44,300 against US$ 50,000). Some may also say it is better looking than Stella, and we will be obliged to agree.

The same subsidy that Stella owner candidates will be eligible to receive can also be applied to i-MiEV. In other words, the car can cost 1,390,000 yens less, or about US$ 14,000. In other words, when i-MiEV starts to be sold, in 2010, it may cost around US$ 30,000.

The i-MiEV is based on one of the most fantastic kei cars available in Japan, the Mitsubishi i. Although it is only 3.40 m long, 1.48 m wide and 1.60 m tall, it has an amazing wheelbase of 2.55 m, 5 cm longer than Honda Jazz/Fit, for example. The original vehicle manages to have such a roomy interior due to its engine, which is placed just ahead of the rear axle. Mitsubishi calls it a rear midship engine. This is what Volkswagen was planning to do with the future Lupo, known as the up! concept, but the German company apparently gave up on this idea. Too bad...

The i-MiEV follows the same sort of engine arrangement. It uses a single shift gearbox due to the amazing torque electric engines have in any condition. It is 200 kg heavier than a regular i (1,100 kg, against 900 kg), what has surely made it present a worse performance. Speaking of it, Mitsubishi does not refer to top speed or acceleration figures. Engine specs are almost equal to Subaru Plug-In Stella EV: 47 kW (64 bhp) from 3,000 rpm to 6,000 rpm and 180 Nm from 0 to 2,000 rpm.

Charging times vary according to the source of energy output. In case you only have a 110V outlet, it will take you 14 hours to fully charge the battery. In a 220V outlet, full charges take 7 hours, what would allow someone to get home, plug the car and use it again the next morning. Anyway, Mitsubishi will also offer quick-charge stations throughout Japan in order to allow at least 80% of charge in around 30 minutes.

Inside the car, the gearbox selector will have three positions, besides the regular R, N and P: D, for driving with full power, Eco, which saves energy and B, for maximum regenerative brake bias. The displays will present to the driver the necessary data in order to avoid surprises (or being out of energy away from home): power consumption, energy recovery, battery residual charge indicator and a range indicator which calculates how far can the driver go the way he has been driving for the last few kilometres.

Mitsubishi will produce the same car for Peugeot and Citroën in order to become the French carmakers first electric car, as it already does with Peugeot 4007 and Citroën C-Crosse, both badge engineered versions of Mitsubishi Outlander.

Source: Mitsubishi

Thursday, 4 June 2009

VW Robust will have a new name: Amarok

There are almost no more misteries surrounding the next midsize pick-up truck from Volkswagen. We already have a good idea on what it will look like with the VW Pick-Up Concept presented in Hannover last year. Now we have the final name for it: Amarok. In inuit language, it means wolf, even though it does not sound nice in other languages.

Amarok will very likely keep the technical specs from Pick-Up Concept, or else, it will be 5.18 m long and will have a great variety of body options, as well as diesel, petrol and flex fuel engines. The pick-up truck will be sold in South Africa, Australia and most countries of South America, as well as in some European countries. Produced in Pacheco, Argentina, it will be officially presented at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Source: Argentina Auto Blog

Subaru will start selling the Plug-In Stella EV in Japan next July

Although Volkswagen and other big carmakers say electric cars will not be feasible until some years from now, Subaru has taken a step ahead and will start to offer to Japanese customers an electric car. Called Plug-In Stella EV, the car is based on the Stella, already for sale in Japan, and will cost 4,725,000 yen (something around US$ 50,000). Subaru expects to sell 170 units up to March 2010.

The price, as it often happens with electric cars, will have a subsidy of 1,380,000 yen (a little more than US$ 14,000) and may reach a final price of 3,345,000 yen (almost US$ 35,000).

The new Subaru Plug-In Stella EV is 3.40 m long, 1.48 m wide and 1.66 m high. Although it seems tiny, it weighs 1,010 kg. This is due to the weight of lithium-ion batteries. Top speed is 100 km/h, with a range of 90 km. The batteries can have 80% of their charges in 15 minutes with a quick charging system. In regular use, it takes the batteries 8 hours to recharge in a 110V outlet and 5 hours on a 220V outlet. The electric engine generates 47 kW (64 bhp) and 170 Nm.

Source: Subaru

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

"Icons of Speed and Style" will sell special vehicles connected to customisation

Next September 26 will be a special day for lots of car collectors that are in love with custom cars. In this day, at Petersen Automotive Museum, in Los Angeles, California, RM Auctions will offer real pieces of customisation history. We could speak about all of them at once, but it is much better to have a look at each one instead. Be our guests.

This baby is known "Killer Car" and there are reason for that. This 1970 LS6 Chevelle Convertible was driven by Ray Allen to win in almost all NHRA-sanctioned races it entered in 1970 and was crowned as the 1970 Super Stock World Champion. Completely restored, the car was already sold in an auction in 2006 and reached US$ 1.2 million. This time, the initial offer for it will be US$ 500,000 and top bids are expected to reach US$ 700,000. Hard times...

The Alexander Brothers, Mike and Larry, counted on the help of the talented designer Harry Bentley Bradley to buid this 1965 Dodge Deora Custom Pick-Up. This one-of-a-kind vehicle was based on Dodge A100 and became one of the most popular custom cars ever built. So much that Bradley left General Motors to work for Mattel and help create great Hot Wheels designs. The lowest price expected for it is US$ 350,000 and may increase up to US$ 500,000.

This is one of the cars that the famous drag car racer "Big John" Mazmanian had the chance to change: a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette. It was driven by his nephew, Rich Siroonian, to drive the car, what led them to win class honours at the 1962 Winter Nationals. The car was equipped with a 283 bhp small block engine, a four-speed transmission and Positraction. But they were not satisfied and placed a supercharger to help the engine generate even more power. Siroonian won the Bakersfield March Meet with it. The car competed until 1963, when Mazmanian exchanged it for a 1941 Willys. The minimum bid expected for it is US$ 300,000; the maximum, US$ 400,000.

The 1964 Road Agent custom car is another one that must have been known by dozens of kids in the 1960's and 1970's as a toy (such as Deora). It was built by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. These kids are the same guys that now may be able to buy the real thing. The car was powered by a rear engine, the same one that powered the Chevrolet Corvair, and uses its transmission as well, only turned upside down. The chassis of the car was unique, made of chrome molybdenum steel tubes. If the front suspension seems familiar, that's because it is a 1937 Ford suspension with a VW torsion bar. This incredible-looking vehicle will start at US$ 250,000 and may reach US$ 350,000 if things run as expected.

Another sibling of Dodge A100 is the "Little Red Wagon Wheelstander", created by Bill "Maverick" Golden. Instead of the "slant six" engine that powered this pick-up truck, Golden chose to put a 426 (7-litre) Hemi engine ahead of the rear wheels. This is what made the A100 raise its front wheels and hold them there throughout the drag race. The least RM Auction expects for it is US$ 200,000. The top price may be US$ 300,000. Or more, of course.

This car is based on a 1932 Ford Five Window Coupe. Don Tognotti bought it for US$ 200 in 1960 and started adding interesting stuff to it, such as a 1951 Firepower 331 (5.4-litre) engine with four Stromberg 97 carburetors and a 1937 DeSoto transmission. The final cost of the car was US$ 4,056.22 at the time. "The Avenger", as it was named, won its class at the 1961 Grand National Roadster Show. The car now will be sold for a minimum of US$ 200,000 and may reach a price of up to US$ 250,000. Quite an investment, considering it is also driveable.

Bizarre stuff are normally very close to geniality. Ray Farhner has reached both with its 1850 "Boothill Express". This is the only Kustom Kar ever to be exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Based on a Cunningham Hearse that was drawn by four horses, it carried Bob Younger' body, one of the members of Jesse James Gang, to Lee's Summit Historical Cemetery in 1889. Considering the way the driver is located in this car, he should already drive the car from inside the hearse, especially when you know it is powered by a 500 bhp Chrysler Hemi engine. Prices may vary from US$ 150,000 to US$ 200,000.

This is the 1940 Westergard Mercury, but you may consider it one of the first custom cars of the world. It was created by Harry Westergard for a man named Butler Rugard, who wanted to have fadeaway fenders, just like the first concept car of the world, Buick Y-Job, had in 1938. Westergard is considered as the grandfather of custom car masters. As such, his Mercury's creation price may range from US$ 125,000 to US$ 175,000.

This 1960 Lincoln Continenal Mark V Limousine was bought at Schilling Motors in Memphis, Tennessee, for US$ 10,544.50. It was delivered to its owner on February 29, 1960. Any clue of the guy who owned this car? Elvis Presley. The car was customised by Hess & Eisenhardt, the same company that created the Lincoln X-100 Limousine in which John Kennedy was murdered, and had everything a car of that time could have, such as two separate units for front and rear air-conditioning and rear power privacy glass. Even though his first owner was "The King", the car is not the king of this list. It is expected to reach a minimum price of US$ 80,000 and a top value of US$ 120,000.

"The Wizard" Top Fuel Dragster is the first car ever to win two Top Fuel World Championships in sequence. Bennie “The Wizard” Osborn managed to do that in 1967 and 1968. His car became world famous and has also turned into a widely known toy. Its price, anyway, is no game at all: minimum of US$ 75,000 and an expected top of US$ 100,000.

These are fantastic vehicles. We just hope them to reach loving hands and careful owners. For the sake of history.

Source: RM Auctions

SCOOP! - Reader photographs Peugeot 207 Pick-Up (based on the 206) in Brazil

Last February the reader Bruno Francisco da Silva sent us a very nice picture of the future Peugeot 207 Pick-Up, the first car-based small pick-up truck from the French automaker. Although it is called 207, it is, in fact, a 206 with a 207 face, a car that will be called 206+ in Europe. And so should it have been called in Brazil, also, but that's another story... Now the reader Vinicius Davoli Rossi has sent us more pictures and they present us to details we had not been able to spot before. Check them out with us.

"I was filling up my gas tank and the pick-up parked beside me to refuel, too. I grabbed my cell phone and took these pictures", said Rossi.

With the same suspension used for 207 Escapade, a sort of a crossover version of 206 SW, the new 207 Pick-Up is currently under development, as you can see by the heavy disguise, and it will be presented by the end of 2009. Exports are certain, or else, this vehicle will also be sold in most South American markets. Besides the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre flexfuel engines, it will also offer two diesel options, a 70 bhp 1.9-litre and a 90 bhp 2-litre. According to Rossi, it resembles a lot Chevrolet Montana, known in other South American markets as Tornado.

If you manage to find and photograph a new car running around, disguised or not, and want to share you finding with us, do not hesitate to contact us andsend us your pictures. Please do not forget to authorise us to publish them. We will be glad to share them with our other readers, as we have done with Rossi's picture!

Source: Vinícius Davoli Rossi