Drive Away 2Day

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2014 Maserati GranCabrio MC : Current Models
2014 Maserati GranCabrio MC : Current Models

Inspired and encouraged by the considerable success of the GranTurismo MC Stradale, which was warmly received by customers thanks to a masterly translation and adaptation of racing characteristics for use on the road, the new GranCabrio MC completes the open-top range with a highly sporty and aggressive look, while maintaining the strengths and characteristics of a true grand tourer, ideal for long journeys.

The new, sporty look can be seen in each stylistic element of the GranCabrio MC’s bodywork. Inspired directly by the cars of the Maserati Trofeo MC World Series and the GT4 version, the new design perfectly blends sportiness, dynamism, the search for aerodynamic perfection, elegance and style. These stylistic elements already partly characterised the GranTurismo MC Stradale and the GranTurismo Sport, and seamlessly unite form and function.

The car, 48 millimetres longer than the GranCabrio and GranCabrio Sport, is characterised by a front end which is inspired directly by the MC Stradale, adopting a profile designed to optimise the aerodynamic lift and flow. These differ from those on other versions of the GranCabrio due to the increased car length and other aerodynamic elements at the rear end. Thanks to experience gained in racing and above all to specific analysis of fluid dynamics, the new GranCabrio MC has an aerodynamic lift coefficient (measured at 140 km/h) which is 10% lower at the front and 25% lower at the rear compared to the GranCabrio and GranCabrio Sport. The bonnet incorporates two generous air outlets at the centre to optimise cooling of the powerful V8, and two more air outlets to cool down the brake discs have also been added to the two front wings.

Initially introduced on the GranTurismo Sport the new headlights, which adopt LEDs for the daytime running light (DRL) function, complete the new look of the GranCabrio MC. Though they maintain the external shape seen on the other three versions in the GranCabrio range, the new headlights adopt the most modern technology, perfectly enhanced with an extremely sporty look thanks to the matt black colour of the structure.

The bi-xenon unit inside the headlight also incorporates Adaptive Light Control, which follows the movement of the steering by up to 15 degrees. The rear is characterised by the large spoiler, for greater negative lift at high speeds. Inside the spoiler, built into the luggage compartment, is the third brake light. The standard version comes in the same colour as the body and it is also available, within the various car customisation packages, with a carbon finish.

The bumper has been completely redesigned at the bottom to make the new model even sportier and at the same time ensure optimal aerodynamic efficiency. The circular exhausts have been moved to the centre of the bumper and the specific layout of the air ducts, built into the lower part of the bumper, ensure greater streamlining, stabilising the air flow from the underbody.

Finally, the dynamism of the GranCabrio MC is accentuated by the 20" MC Design rims, available in glossy Titanio or matt Grafite, and made using flow-forming technology. In addition to being lighter, they feature the traditional Trident, skilfully worked into the double-spokes.

The interior of the GranCabrio MC has received a thorough overhaul with particular attention paid to ergonomics.

The new seats, completely redesigned from both an aesthetic and functional point of view and enhanced with high-quality materials, now ensure the optimum balance of comfort and performance, elegance and functionality. The new structure of both the front and rear seats now incorporates the headrest and is enhanced by an upper, central trim, with a design inspired by the car’s front grille. Particularly important, especially with convertible cars, is the attention paid to the rear passengers. For this reason, the frame for the front seats, which is also available in a completely carbon-fibre version, has been completely redesigned to ensure 20 mm more legroom for the rear passengers. Particular attention has been paid to the ergonomic and comfort-related aspects of driving. The seats, with an increased profile to enhance their wrap-around structure and lateral containment, ensure sporty driving while guaranteeing superior comfort, even on very long journeys.

The steering wheel features a new design, with the rim flattened at the top and bottom for greater manoeuvrability, also for sports and high-speed use, without interfering with the driver’s legs. The rear seats have been redesigned according to the same logic: maximum comfort, maximum passenger restraint in sports driving and ample use of quality materials. To complete the new, super-sporty look of the new GranCabrio MC, it incorporates the Trofeo-design steering wheel paddles as standard, with increased dimensions as seen on the GranTurismo Sport, and an aluminium pedal unit.

Engine and performance
As with the most sporty GranTurismo in the range (the GranTurismo Sport), the GranCabrio MC also adopts the new 4.7-litre V8 engine, which delivers 338 kW (460 HP) together with substantial torque of 520 Nm at 4,750 rpm. The pistons, positioned at an angle of 90°, are made of reinforced, hardened aluminium, as is the engine block. The crankshaft, with five-point balancing, is made of high-strength steel. The timing system, with a system of two chains per bank, features dual variable valve timing. The new power unit, in combination with the MC Auto Shift transmission, is now able to propel the GranCabrio MC, in closed soft top configuration, to a top speed of 289 km/h with acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.

Automatic transmission (MC Auto Shift)

Like other sports models in the Maserati range, the GranCabrio MC also adopts an automatic six-speed ZF transmission able to transfer all the power of the 460 HP V8 engine to the ground. Calibrated specifically for application on the sportiest version in the GranCabrio range, the MC Auto Shift transmission features five operating modes. It can be used in Auto-Normal, Auto-Sport, Manual-Normal, Manual-Sport and Ice modes.

In Manual mode, gear changes are carried out directly by the driver through the steering wheel paddles, as with a truly manual gearbox. In Manual-Normal mode, the driver can change gear until the threshold value is reached, while in Manual-Sport mode the gear is maintained until the driver next changes gear, even if this may result in over-revving and the intervention of the limiter. On the GranCabrio Sport, Sport mode includes super-fast mode, which derives directly from the GranTurismo Sport and the Quattroporte Sport GT S and permits gear changes that are 50% faster. This mode includes automatic blipping (short burst of acceleration) when downshifting with the Launch Control system, called MC Start Strategy (which operates only with MSP deactivated). Using the MC Start Strategy, the driver holds down the brake pedal, presses the accelerator pedal and then releases the brake pedal when the optimum engine speed is reached (2,300–2,500 rpm).

Chassis and suspension
Performance, safety and comfort were the guidelines that Maserati engineers followed when designing the chassis for the new GranCabrio MC. In light of the experience gained with the GranTurismo MC Stradale, it is fitted with single-rate dampers, to give maximum emphasis to the car’s sporty character, which guarantee greater rigidity in order to ensure optimum road holding in all driving conditions, without detracting from maximum passenger comfort.

Braking, always powerful and safe, is guaranteed by Maserati’s patented Dual Cast system, which includes brake discs with aluminium bell and steel braking surface, 360×32 mm at the front and 330×28 mm at the back.

This system guarantees the best pedal feeling and braking efficiency, which translates to an excellent stopping distance of 100 to 0 km/h over just 35 metres. In addition to the conventional holes to optimise cooling of the discs, they also feature grooves which allow the film of water, which deposits on the discs when driving on wet surfaces, to be eliminated and ensure that the operation of the pad’s friction material is restored in order to ensure maximum power and braking efficiency at all times.

The one-piece aluminium alloy brake calipers, produced by Brembo and available in various colours, are also six-piston at the front and four-piston at the rear. This configuration ensures greater uniformity in braking, a constant clamping force and the sensation of a stable and reliable pedal, reducing brake wear at the same time.

In deference to Maserati tradition, the monocoque chassis is made with different materials to ensure maximum weight reduction and maximum torsional rigidity. The use of high-strength steels for the structural part and the use of aluminium and composite materials for the moving parts, ensure maximum performance in complete conformity with the spirit in which the new GranCabrio MC was conceived.

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Sources : 2014 Maserati GranCabrio MC Photo | 2014 Maserati GranCabrio MC Article
Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Cars
Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Cars

One of the more popular Jeep Safari concepts was the lightweight Pork Chop. Following in its foosteps is the Stitch, a 2013 Wrangler Rubicon lightened to a stunning 3,000-lb. curb weight. That gives it a power-to-weight ratio similar to that of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

Jeep designers shaved weight where ever possible: the frame, axles, body and interior. The audio system and all heating and air conditioning components have been removed. The front seats are taken from the new 2013 SRT Viper and the rear seats have been removed. Sections of the body have been cut out, the doors have been removed, and the hood is a custom carbon fiber version of the one found on the Jeep Wrangler 10th Anniversary Rubicon. The standard roll cage has been replaced with a chrome moly unit, and the Full-Traction lower control arms, floor pan and GenRight fuel tank are made of aluminum. Even the frame and axles were modified to remove weight.

Off-road hardware consists of a Mopar cold-air intake and Mopar exhaust kit, Mickey Thompson 35-inch off-road tires on lightweight 17-inch aluminum wheels, custom DynaTrac Pro Rock 44 axles with 4.88 gears and ARB front and rear lockers, King shocks with pneumatic bump stops and Tom Woods drive shafts .

Unique design details include a windshield that has been chopped two inches, a clear yellow vinyl soft top, black leather SRT Viper seats and center console with a yellow instrument panel and seat backs, Truck-Lite LED headlamps and the previously mentioned carbon fiber hood. The black body panels are wrapped in a unique, see-through silver architectural fabric that hides the cut panels at some angles, and makes them visible at others.

In some ways, the Stitch may be a hint of what is coming with the next generation Wrangler; as customers and governments demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, the Wrangler’s heavy weight is becoming a liability. The question becomes, how do you take out the weight without hurting the durability, reliability, and capability? Stitch may provide some hints of what Jeep is looking at.

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Sources : Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Photo | Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Article | Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Photo 2 | Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Photo 3 | Jeep Wrangler Stitch Concept Interior Photo
BMW, Toyota Agree On Joint Sportscar...
BMW, Toyota Agree On Joint Sportscar Platform : News

BMW and Toyota have agreed to develop a joint platform for sportscars, BMW's development chief Herbert Diess told a German newspaper.

"We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car. What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung today quoted Diess as saying.

BMW and Toyota in June 2012 signed an agreement to cooperate on various areas including lithium-air batteries and lightweight technology.

They also said at the time they would study the potential for a joint platform for a mid-sized sports vehicle in a feasibility study to be completed by the end of 2013.

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Sources : BMW, Toyota Agree On Joint Sportscar Platform Photo | BMW, Toyota Agree On Joint Sportscar Platform Article
2013 Bugatti Veyron : Photos
2013 Bugatti Veyron : Photos

Sources : 2013 Bugatti Veyron Photo
1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille...
1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille : Classic Cars

As the name implies, Hispano-Suiza was a cosmopolitan marque, with Swiss and Spanish origins and a parallel manufacturing base in France. Swiss engineer Marc Birkigt had designed the Barcelona-built Castro, which became the basis for the first Hispano-Suiza of 1904. Over the years, he developed a strong reputation for building everything from T-head fours, overhead-cam engines, a water-cooled V-8, and also the innovative H6, which was described by British historian T.R. Nicholson as “the last word in advanced transport for the rich.”

The 12-Cylinder Hispano-Suiza

Birkigt was mindful of the developments in multi-cylinder engines going on in the United States and elsewhere in Europe, and he was determined to build one of his own. In 1929, he began work on what would become the J12, Type 68. The engine was a new design, a V-12 with pushrod overhead valves, twin alloy cylinder blocks mounted on a common crankcase, and a seven-main-bearing crankshaft with side-by-side connecting rods. A vast displacement of nearly 9.5 liters and convex pistons resulted in a horsepower of 220, and rubber engine mounts were adopted for the first time.

A prototype chassis was tested during the summer of 1931, and the Type 68 was shown at the Paris Salon that autumn. Its sheer size dominated the show, despite the presence of the massive Maybach DS8 Zeppelin. At ? 200,000 (then $8,000 or £2,200), it was very expensive. Customers included the Shah of Persia, Emile Dubonnet, Lord Anthony de Rothschild, C.T. Weymann, and the Maharajah of Indore.

Chassis number 13506 – A Newly Discovered History

It had been previously known that factory records indicate that chassis 13506 was constructed on the large 4,009-millimeter (157.8-inch) wheelbase and that it was shipped to Smith & Co., Hispano’s agent in London. The car was apparently delivered to its first owner, a Mr. Batcock of 1 Melville Road, Sidcup, Kent, by Motor Distributors of Leeds, which was also located in Sidcup.

Although the coachwork had long been previously attributed as having been built by Saoutchik, due to that attribution being printed in Johnnie Green’s The Legendary Hispano-Suiza, a newly discovered letter, written in 1976 by previous long-term owner John Ellis, of Kildare Co., Ireland, indicates that the coachwork is actually by Rippon Brothers, of Huddersfield.

Ellis was a motorcycle manufacturer, as well as an early collector who was active in the 1950s and ’60s. He had an enviable collection of pre-war veteran and vintage marques, including examples of Mercedes-Benz, a pair of Isotta Fraschinis, and this Hispano-Suiza, among others. In the letter, a copy of which is on file, Ellis clearly states, “The chassis number was 13506, engine number 321099. The sedanca body was by Rippon Bros., of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, as far as I remember.”

Rippon, whose history dates back to 1555, is known for its fine craftsmanship. According to Nick Walker’s reference on British coachbuilders, “As to quality, in the thirties a Rippon body could only be compared with those of a very few other coachbuilders…a Rippon body was correspondingly expensive, and the company therefore tended to build on only the best chassis.”

Then, the presence of a Rippon body on a J12 Hispano-Suiza chassis should not come as a total surprise, and those familiar with the products of Saoutchik will also note that the coachwork, while extremely fine in construction, is more understated than is typically associated with Saoutchik.

John Ellis presumably owned the car throughout the 1950s and ’60s, and after he sold off his collection, it was lost from sight. It then appeared in the May 1982 issue of the Hispano-Suiza Society Newsletter as having been discovered by new HSS member John Upton, of London. It was later offered by Upton in the March 1984 newsletter, having been fully restored. Upton’s advertisement is important, as it identifies the car by chassis number and depicts it still wearing its original registration, JX 4926, which is also clearly legible in a period image that depicts the car when it was new.

The Hispano was then exported to the United States, and after residing for a short time in the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn, it was a part of the Imperial Palace Collection from 1989 through 1999, and then it spent time within the Atwell Family Collection in Texas. John O’Quinn acquired the car from the Atwell family in 2006, at which point it joined his large collection in Houston.

The car has most recently been entrusted to Chris Charlton’s revered Classic Car Service, of Oxford, Maine, who performed a great deal of mechanical and cosmetic sorting of the engine, which has been returned it to its proper operating order. The car had lacked power, due in part to the fact that the original magnetos had been replaced with Lucas distributors. Amazingly, Charlton’s shop was able to source correct new old stock Scintilla magnetos and caps. There was also work and adjustments done to the carburetors, timing, clutch, and transmission, and new brake cables were installed. In addition, all of the wiring contacts were cleaned to ensure that the lights functioned properly.

As offered, the paintwork is presentable, with some minor blemishes that could be attended to, and the brightwork is generally good. The doors shut nicely, and the glass is all excellent. The hood is similarly excellent, and valuable Marchal lighting is fitted all around. The interior is understatedly elegant, as would be expected from a coachbuilder to the aristocracy, and it is done in Oxblood leather with matching carpeting. The wood trim is beautifully presented, and twin cabinets are mounted on the division partition. The driving compartment is upholstered and carpeted to match the passenger space, which has Jaeger instrumentation. The dials for the adjustable shock absorbers, which are often missing, are present and in good condition. Under the hood, the engine compartment is sanitary and generally well detailed. It has the correct whittle belt for the fan, which is now all but impossible to find.

Handsome and formidable, this Hispano-Suiza is equally desirable as a candidate for public performance or as a prized addition to any private collection. Few Classic Era motor cars hold the cache of a Hispano-Suiza. With its stunning coachwork and the large, powerful 12-cylinder engine, this is a particularly special example. Offered with clarified history, including a copy of Ellis’ 1976 letter, as well as copies of the period image and aforementioned copies of the Hispano-Suiza Society Newsletter, this J12 is eminently eligible for any number of tours or automotive events around the globe.

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Sources : 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille Photo | 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille Article | 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille Rear Photo | 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille Engine Photo | 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille Interior Photo | 1935 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet deVille Interior Photo 2
Gaming vs. Reality on a Race Track : Videos

Gaming vs. Reality on a Race Track : Videos

Host : Viagame

We recruited one of Sweden's best gamers, custom built a gaming rig in a Renault Renault Mégane Red Bull Edition and took it all to Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona for the gaming challenge of a life time.

And oh. Our urge to push the boundaries of gaming doesn't end here. Actually, it has just begun. So stay tuned to be the first to know about all our upcoming experiments and events.

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Sources : Gaming vs. Reality on a Race Track Photo | Gaming vs. Reality on a Race Track Video
Honda Urban SUV Concept Cars
Honda Urban SUV Concept Cars

Honda is busy making good on its promise to produce sedan and small-crossover variants of its next-generation Fit subcompact; this Urban SUV concept debuting at the 2013 Detroit auto show previews the latter. The new, Mexican-built Fit arrives next year, but the production Urban SUV (which will be built at the same facility) won’t hit the U.S. for another year after that. Given how cool the crossover concept looks, we hope it comes with a less snore-geric name.

I’ll Take a Juke, Please, But Hold the Weird

In terms of size and price, the Urban SUV will slot beneath the cash-cow CR-V in Honda’s crossover lineup, putting it in the same league as the Nissan Juke and Kia Soul. Among this competition, the Honda definitely hews closer to the Juke’s sporty brand than the Kia’s urban funkiness. The concept gets aggressive yet sophisticated styling and a semi-circular, coupe-like roofline. Honda exaggerates the faux two-door appearance with door handles hidden in the C-pillar trim. Even though the roofline likely won’t be as sexy on the production car, it probably won’t be drastically less so—look close and you can see how the designers cleverly broke the side-window shape from that of the roof’s (presumably) to eke out more rear headroom.

Up front, the Urban SUV wears an adaptation of the same grille and fascia treatment found on the newest Accord, while the sides of the vehicle are minimally adorned with two sharp character lines that sweep from the front and rear fender bulges. Taken overall, the Urban SUV concept looks a lot like an Acura-ified Juke, minus the Nissan’s, er, character, and it’s darn attractive.

Honda purists concerned that the automaker has skewed too far toward the form side of the form/function scale with the new crossover shouldn’t be worried. The littlest Honda SUV will ride on the Fit’s Global Compact Series architecture, complete with the Fit’s signature centrally located fuel tank, which lives beneath the driver’s seat to free up floor space in back. As a result, the Urban SUV will get the Fit’s clever folding/flipping/flattening Magic Seat rear bench, which should afford more cargo-carrying configurations than you’ll ever need.

Details regarding the Urban SUV’s interior and powertrain will be forthcoming, but Honda’s fuel-efficient (and still-hilariously named) Earth Dreams technology will be part of the mix. Expect a small-displacement four-cylinder engine and the choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Honda promises “next-generation telematics and a modern interior.” Whew—for a second there we were worried that Honda was planning to fit its newest small car with a cassette player, a brick-sized car phone, and the dashboard from a first-generation CR-V.

The tiny Fit is the best-driving car in its segment—one of the many reasons we’ve elected it to our 10Best cars list every year it’s been on sale in the U.S. If Honda can deliver the Fit’s basic dynamic and packaging goodness into the Urban SUV’s taller package, we see no reason why it couldn’t expand on the small hatchback’s success. This is especially so if the production model is even three-quarters as attractive as the Urban SUV concept.

The good news is that Honda’s concepts usually don’t change much before reaching consumers. But may we suggest a better name? We’re thinking a cheeky spinoff of the Fit’s pun-inviting moniker (this car can Fit a ton of stuff!) like “FitAll” (tall Fit) or “Fitbyfour” (do you really need this one spelled out?) might be appropriate.

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Sources : Honda Urban SUV Concept Photo | Honda Urban SUV Concept Article | Honda Urban SUV Concept Photo 2
1960 OSCA 750 S : Classic Cars
1960 OSCA 750 S : Classic Cars

With racing in their blood, the Maserati brother's Ernesto, Ettore and Bindo had a slight addiction with designing and building the best. (And never knowing when a challenge was out of their reach.)

They Maserati name had been famous from 1926 to 1940 and followed a certain creed to develop a car to compete in the 1100 ccm racing class. Selling their business to Adolfo Orsi after their 10-year contract ended at Maserati, the brothers began their next venture.

Starting another race car company after World War II, the brothers came up with a new brand of Italian sports car with possibly the most difficult pronouncing name for a race car that became known as OSCA.

The MT-4 Officina Specializzata Costruzione Automobili Fratelli Maserati was produced in Bologna, Italy and sold between $325,000 and $375,000.

With less than 200 models made in 1947, sales were competitive and the OSCA became incredibly popular and desired by the elite.

Not originally in the design, the OSCA eventually became modified to accommodate a Simpson Special land-speed record engine. Winning ten records at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, this motor has remained in the OSCA since being fully restored.

The OSCA was designed with 4 cylinders, with a 1.092-litre engine.

Some car engines made by OSCA during 1951 from 1962 were entered in Formula One events and ranked first in the World Sportscar Championship.

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Sources : 1960 OSCA 750 S Photo | 1960 OSCA 750 S Article
2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster : Current Models
2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster : Current Models

It takes roughly 21 seconds to raise the 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster’s top from its lair under the back tonneau to its rightful place behind the windshield. This seems like an entirely reasonable amount of time until you find yourself pulled off into a side parking lot, mashing the top mechanism control button in impatient fury as the entire volume of the Pacific Ocean dumps into the cabin courtesy of a surprise thunderstorm. It’s also just long enough to coax you to the same realization that’s splayed across the face of every bemused onlooker: You’re the jackass who should have bought the coupe.

The Nissan Z family doesn’t have a very successful history in convertible guise, and like its forbearers before it, the 370 is at its best when its long, dramatic roof and hatchback derriere are in place. But that doesn’t mean the 370Z Roadster is a completely neutered version of its hardtop twin. Far from it.

There’s no avoiding the fact that with the canvas top up, the car looks a bit ungainly. Like the 350Z Roadster, the 370Z Roadster’s roof ends in an abrupt bustle, shearing the machine of the hardtop’s menacing profile. The top goes down in a bit of clunky ballet as the fiberglass tonneau opens its maw, revealing the deep storage well. With the folding roof stowed, the Roadster shows itself to be plenty attractive. Big, bold rear hips define the shape, and the long axle-to-dash ratio helps give the machine the classic proportions of some of my favorite European roadsters.

Amazingly, putting the top down doesn’t do the 370Z any visibility favors inside. The rear bulkhead sits at approximately ear level, which means the driver gets stuck with a mirror full of seats, roll hoops, and little else. It’s like the Roadster’s wearing substantial shoulder pads. The view ahead remains as good as it’s ever been. The big, tachometer-centric gauges are easy to read and appropriately sporty, if a bit down-market, and the mesh-and-leather seats in this tester look as good as they feel.

Yes, that’s a big automatic shift lever sticking from the transmission tunnel. Nissan graced this particular Roadster with the company’s seven-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox isn’t the millstone I expected it to be, thanks in part to spot-on shift logic and very quick gear changes. Think dual-clutch speed. Is it as good as the six-speed manual and its rev-match trickery? Of course not, but it won’t get in your way should you decide to wring the car’s neck, and it’s substantially more refined than the dual-clutch gearbox in the company’s GT-R.

Bump around town, and the Roadster’s too-stiff suspension will do its best to remove your molars by force. Every encounter with broken pavement or an expansion joint is an exercise in potential spinal injury, complete with a healthy helping of cowl shake. But point the nose toward and uninterrupted stretch of undulating asphalt and the car starts to come alive. That venerable 3.7-liter VQ V6 under the hood abandons the uninspired drone of low rpm once the tach swings past 4500 rpm, opening up into a brawny chorus. With the top down, the sound’s magical.

There are 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque on hand, and the grunt on tap is good enough to hustle the 3510 pounds of convertible around without too much effort. That’s nearly 200 pounds more than the hard top, and as such, it takes a bit longer for the Roadster to get up to speed. Expect sprints to 60 mph in around 4.7 seconds.

Despite the extra heft, the Roadster feels good and light on its feet. Turn in is quick, and those stiff springs and aggressive dampers come into their own with a little fast action on the steering wheel. The handling is surprisingly neutral, and the optional big brake kit does a great job of keeping the party from getting too out of control. There’s a pair of 14-inch rotors up front pressed by four piston calipers, and two-piston calipers squeeze 13.8-inch discs out back.

For those buyers looking for a quick weekend tourer capable of carving up and down a good mountain pass, the 370Z Roadster scratches most of the right itches. That is, except what is possibly the most important one of them all: price.

While the 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster starts at an already steep $41,470, this tester, in kitted-up touring trim and with the optional Sport package, will set you back $51,365. Like the hardtop iteration, the 370Z Roadster is easily outclassed by younger blood worth similar coin or less. Buyers can fetch a Mustang GT Convertible Premium for around $40,000, and while that car’s chassis may not be as taught as the Z, the heady 420-hp 5.0-liter V8 engine makes up for a stack of woes. It also returns fuel economy identical to the 370Z Roadster’s 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway when both are equipped with their respective automatic gearboxes.

Technically, you can also buy a stripper Porsche Boxster for the gussied up Roadster’s asking price, and I likely don’t need to tell you how glad I’d be to give up fanciness like leather heated and cooled seats, satellite radio and the like for the kind of driving bliss the Boxster delivers. Turn your eye toward the BMW stable, and options like the Z4 or 135is make strong arguments against the Z.

The 370Z finds itself in a sea of damn impressive competition, and hacking the roof off adds more compromise and expense to a vehicle that doesn’t need any help convincing buyers to look elsewhere for their jollies.

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Sources : 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster Photo | 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster Article | 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster Interior Photo | 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster Photo 2
Horacio Pagani Interview : Videos

Horacio Pagani Interview : Videos

Host : XCARFilms

We talk to Horacio Pagani, founder of Pagani Automobili, the Zonda and the Huayra. We find out how the son of a baker could move to Italy and start up a supercar company to rival Ferrari and Lamborghini.

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Sources : Horacio Pagani Interview Photo | Horacio Pagani Interview Video
Michael Schumacher In Coma With...
Michael Schumacher In Coma With 'serious Brain Trauma' After French Ski Crash : News

Former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is in a critical condition in a coma after hitting his head while skiing, the French hospital treating him says.

The 44-year-old German "was suffering a serious brain trauma with coma on his arrival, which required an immediate neurosurgical operation," the hospital in the south-east French city of Grenoble said in a statement.

French media reports initially said he had since undergone a second operation, though doctors treating Schumacher have denied those reports.

Schumacher suffered a brain haemorrhage, according to a medical source cited in French media.

He had been skiing off-piste with his 14-year-old son in the French Alps resort of Meribel, where he reportedly owns a property.

Resort director Christophe Gernigon-Lecomte earlier said Schumacher was wearing a helmet and was conscious "but very agitated" during the transport to the University Hospital of Grenoble.

"He has been taken to a hospital in Moutiers," Mr Gernigon-Lecomte said.

"He fell around 11:00am and hit a rock with his head."

Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kahn confirmed the accident in initial comments before the gravity of the situation became apparent.

"He was taken to hospital and is receiving professional medical attention. We ask for understanding that we cannot give out continuous information about his health," she said.

"No one else was involved in the fall."

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Sources : Michael Schumacher In Coma With 'serious Brain Trauma' After French Ski Crash Photo | Michael Schumacher In Coma With 'serious Brain Trauma' After French Ski Crash Article
2005 Mercedes-Benz CL500 AG Excalibur : Photos
2005 Mercedes-Benz CL500 AG Excalibur : Photos

Sources : 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL500 AG Excalibur Photo
2013 Buick Verano : Current Models
2013 Buick Verano : Current Models

 The first thing we need to draw your attention to is what is NOT included on the new 2.0-liter, 250-hp, turbo direct-injected version of the baby Buick Verano. There is no GS badging, or T-Type, or any other Buick boy-racer nomenclature. Also absent are great yawning grille openings to gobble up engine-intake and brake-cooling air. The urge to fit dubs with rubber-band-sidewall tires has also been resisted. Eagle-eyed observers will only find a tiny "T" badge, an ever-so-demur decklid lip spoiler, and dual exhaust outlets on the outside, with a set of brushed metal pedals as the only interior clue to the car's added performance.

Perhaps the most surprising news is that, despite Altman's not-a-sports-car protestations, the Verano T will be available with a six-speed manual transmission. And it's not the Regal GS' slightly notchy box, but rather a slicker-shifting GM-built unit not currently available in any other North American vehicles. Oh, and remember that cool No-Lift-Shift feature that debuted on the Cobalt SS (it keeps the turbo boiling and prevents over-revving while you clutch to swap cogs)? It's here too, and using it is probably how you get that 6.2-second time. How "healthy?"

Try an extra 70 hp and 89 lb-ft, bringing the totals to an SAE-certified 250 hp at 5300 rpm and 260 lb-ft at 2000 rpm when running on premium fuel, which is recommended but NOT required, though performance drops slightly on regular. That rating subdivides those of this same engine in the Regal Turbo and GS (220 and 270 hp respectively), and, mounted in the nose of Buick's lightest car, it's said to capable of zipping to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. If true, that's 2.1 seconds quicker than our last Verano, and matches the performance of our quickest Regal GS (which they DID try to make into a sports car). Fuel economy figures aren't finalized yet, but Buick expects to hit 30 mpg highway.

Other improvements to the Verano line include the addition of standard IntelliLink Sirius/XM stereo/info service, which also tethers to your smart phone via Bluetooth to provide fully integrated Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio access through the head unit. The system is easily controllable via voice, touch-screen, or dedicated buttons -- sort of the belt, suspenders, and Sansabelt approach.

A rearview camera is now standard on all models, and Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert is bundled in the convenience, leather and premium packages (all Verano Ts include the top premium-package). Pricing won't be available until closer to the Verano T's fall on-sale date, but we're promised it will undercut its closest competitor, the Acura ILX 2.4-liter, which rings in at $30,095 (and boasts just 201 hp). I'm not allowed to share my driving impressions until the final tuning is complete later this year, but I can tell you that the punch list of tuning tweaks I suggested was mighty short.

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Sources : 2013 Buick Verano Photo | 2013 Buick Verano Article 

2014 Volkswagen Eos : Current Models
2014 Volkswagen Eos : Current Models

Want a convertible that's somewhere upscale of budget rental-car convertibles like the Chrysler 200, more refined than ragtop versions of pony cars like the Ford Mustang, more affordable than luxury convertibles like the BMW 1-Series Convertible or Audi A5, and more practical than roadsters like the Mazda MX-5 Miata? Your options in what sound like a middle ground for convertibles are surprisingly limited--and the understated and often overlooked Volkswagen Eos is one of your only picks.

While in appearance it's strictly a cruiser, a much more flamboyant personality lurks within—and, in our opinion, the Eos is one of the best-designed (and oft-omitted by shoppers) convertibles on the market.

Design-wise, the 2014 Volkswagen Eos is about as conservative as you can get with a convertible. It's handsome and straightforward, but inoffensive almost to an extreme. Inside, the swoopier cabin look and high-quality trims and materials add up to a much more charming impression.

There's also way more charm from the driver's seat than you might expect, given the exterior. Every Eos sports a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (2.0T), paired with a dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). The DSG changes gears smoothly yet very quickly, doubling down on the engine's robust torque curve and bringing out a zippy, responsive feel. Handling is light and responsive, and overall this is a fun-to-drive small coupe.

Transitioning from coupe to convertible is really one of the things the Eos does best. Its retractable hardtop arrangement is tight, quick, and nearly flawless. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work in conjunction, unlatching the roof from the windshield header, flipping, folding, and tucking it neatly under the metal trunklid. The design looks neat, and it results in a handsome side profile up or down. We have noticed that wind turbulence isn't as great as it could be at speed, and the wind deflector itself is quite noisy.

Interior comfort is superb--especially if you're a larger adult and if you're sitting in the front seats. Compared to Volkswagen's hatchbacks like the Golf--and even the Beetle--the driving position is a bit more laid back, and the seats feel a little more plush and better bolstered, as if this were truly making a play for the luxury-coupe market. The back seat is tight--more like that of a cozy 2+2--but it's easier to get into and out of than in most rival models, and that itself makes it quite usable for an evening cruise with the kids. Cargo space is limited--in part because of the neat folding top--but you can carve out a few extra cubic feet by flipping up a movable trunk liner and leaving the top up.

For 2014 the upmarket Lux model of the Eos has been discontinued, leaving the base Komfort, the more spirited Eos Sport, and the top-of-the-line Executive. The Sport gets a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps, and an eight-speaker touch-screen audio system, as well as black exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, brushed stainless-steel pedals, and adaptive front lighting with bi-xenon headlamps. Executive equipment includes a rearview camera system, a navigation system, a different 'Kansas' alloy wheel design, and 600-watt Dynaudio premium audio with ten speakers and HD Radio. VW's Car-Net telematics service is newly available, and Komfort and Sport trims have a new (and much-improved) navigation ssytem.

Pricing may prove a sticking point for some shoppers, though; as the base Eos starts just a few thousand dollars higher than where you'd think it might be in the market. For 2014, it starts at around $35k, and the Executive tops $42k--which puts it just a couple grand below the more prestigious Audi A5 Cabriolet.

On Styling
The 2014 VW Eos is a practice in understated design and conservative styling. There's not a tremendous amount of charm in the design, but it's also straightforward, handsome and seemingly built to be as unoffensive as possible.

The Eos wins points for being attractive regardless of whether the top is up or down–a feat for four-seat convertibles–and it's styling is softer than just about any other car in the segment. The relationship to the VW Golf is obvious from nearly every angle, so it never looks awkward or unattractive–which can't be said about the Chrysler 200.

Inside it's a different story; its interior feels a step above most other Volkswagen models, with a streamlined look and upgraded materials. You won't find 'sexy' as a descriptor that applies here, but the interior layout is a bit more rakish than that of the Golf and GTI, with smoothly contoured interior trim detailed with just the right amount of brightwork.

On Performance

There are only two ways to have the Eos–if you're counting transmissions–but its engine lends a little bit of pep and personality no matter how you slice it.

The 2014 Eos is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower. It's teamed only to a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission called 'DSG.' The former manual transmission option is no more. We prefer DSG anyway, thanks to its quick gear shifts and excellent use of the engine's power and torque.

In a class of overweight convertibles, the Eos is one of the lightest, at 3,500 pounds; and it handles that way. The Eos handles with more finesse than its relaxed boulevard-cruiser looks imply. It's firm enough to power through tricky corners, planted in higher-speed sweepers, and remarkably secure-feeling for a front-driver. Dynamically it's no sports car, but with quick steering, strong, reassuring brakes, and the responsive DSG transmission, it feels very eager.

On Quality

There aren't many choices in the four-seat convertible segment for less than $30,000, leaving the 2014 Eos as one of your only options. Sure, you could have the Ford Mustang or Chrysler 200, but their back seats are virtually unusable, making the Eos the most comfortable vehicle in this market.

The look and feel of the cabin is top-notch, with a nice premium look and feel to the materials and trims that's rivaled only in the CC sedan and Touareg SUV. There's some road noise, but not any more than you're notice in Ride quality is firm but supple enough to soak up medium-sized potholes. Some road noise is present, but it's actually less than you'll find in a number of sporty coupes--and far better, of course, than other convertibles.

When it comes to layout and convenience of the convertible layout, it just doesn't get any better than this. In less than 25 seconds, a total of eight electric motors work in conjunction to unlatch the roof from the windshield header and flip and fold it under the metal trunk lid. There's also a setting for opening the front section of it only, as a sunroof. Otherwise, stow the top away and you still have about 6.6 cubic feet--about enough for most carry-ons.

The front seats in the Volkswagen Eos are very comfortable; the driving position is just a little more laid-back than in Volkswagen's other cars, and the seats themselves feel a bit better-bolstered than in its lower-priced models like the Golf.

In the back seat, there's enough space to fit medium-sized adults for short trips, but it's still better used as luggage space for those up front. There's not much leg room in back, which forces the driver and front passenger to move their seats up close to the dash.Volkswagen's folding hardtop wins over the Chrysler 200's optional hardtop.

On Safety
The 2014 Volkswagen Eos scores well for safety, making it a solid choice for those who would normally steer clear of topless cars for those concerns.

The Eos does have a couple of especially important features that aren't included in most convertibles. A pop-up head protection system in the Eos, which automatically deploys when the car senses a rollover is imminent, is a standout in this more cost-conscious end of the convertible market—employing a host of sensors to deploy just before it's needed, when a rollover is anticipated. There's also an optional Park Distance Control and a Technology Package that includes upgrades to the lighting system--including an adaptive, swiveling function for the headlights.

Anti-lock brakes, stability control, and airbags that protect the head and upper body on front passengers are all among the standard features on the Eos. So is a pop-up roll bar tucked behind the rear seats.

Crash-test results have been good, but they're hardly conclusive because only one of the agencies has tested the Eos, and even in that case it hasn't been run through the entire battery. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says it's a "good" performer in frontal, side, and rear tests, but because it's a convertible, it doesn't get the roof-strength test and is kept from Top Safety Pick Status. It also hasn't been tested in the new small overlap frontal impact test. The federal government, which tests only a few dozen vehicles a year through its NCAP test program, hasn't tested the Eos.

On Features
The 2014 VW Eos may lack a few of the most current infotainment technologies, but it has an otherwise impressive set of standard and available features. And, there's a Sport trim that's packaged attractively for an affordable price.

You can also look at Komfort and Executive trims of the Eos–all of which come with standard power mirrors, locks and windows, and the power-folding hardtop. Bluetooth connectivity is also standard, as is a LCD touchscreen to control the audio system.

Vinyl upholstery--"leatherette" is the marketing word--is the standard upholstery on $35,195 Komfort models, along with 17-inch wheels and tires, cruise control, automatic climate control, a navigation system with a five-inch touchscreen, and Bluetooth.

The Sport trim lands just above the base Komfort model, at $37,925. It includes a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps, and an eight-speaker touch-screen audio system. It also gets black exterior mirrors, a rear spoiler, brushed stainless-steel pedals, and adaptive front lighting with bi-xenon headlamps.

The $41,695 Executive edition gets 18-inch wheels, wood and leather trim, a rearview camera, a better navigation system, and parking sensors. It also features a 600-watt Dynaudio premium audio with ten speakers and HD Radio.

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Sources : 2014 Volkswagen Eos Photo | 2014 Volkswagen Eos Article | 2014 Volkswagen Eos Interior Photo | 2014 Volkswagen Eos Photo 2 | 2014 Volkswagen Eos Photo 3
Rolls-Royce 200EX : Concept Cars
Rolls-Royce 200EX : Concept Cars

These are the first photos of the Rolls-Royce 200EX concept car to be shown at the Geneva auto show in early March.

The 200EX is a lightly disguised version of the so-called RR4, a smaller and less-expensive car that fits below the Phantom in the Rolls-Royce lineup and is designed to compete directly with the Bentley Arnage—which is due to be replaced itself in early 2010 with an all-new model that will debut at the Frankfurt show in September. The new Roller is very handsome and undeniably a Rolls-Royce, sharing the suicide-door layout of the Phantom. As you’d expect for a car that will sticker for between $250,000 and $280,000, the interior is gorgeous.

Rolls says that 80 percent of the RR4 parts are proprietary to the company and that the monocoque structure is unique to this car. It even says that the car’s V-12 engine, which will be built by parent company BMW, is all-new and unique to Rolls-Royce. Maybe, but we suspect it will be shared with the upcoming BMW 760Li, just tuned differently. The Phantom’s V-12, for instance, is a lower-revving version of the outgoing 760’s engine that’s optimized for quietness and low-end torque.

Rolls-Royce is playing coy with details on the car for now, but it did divulge key dimensions. At 212.6 inches long and 61.0 inches high, with a wheelbase of 129.7 inches, it’s a big car—a BMW 750Li is more than seven inches shorter, for instance. Proportionately, though, it’s smaller than the Phantom, which rides on a 140.6-inch wheelbase and is 229.7 inches long overall.

The car will go on sale in 2010. It doesn’t yet have a real name, but trawling Rolls-Royce’s storied past, we kind of like Spirit (Silver Spirit) or Wraith (Silver Wraith). Somehow, we doubt that Rolls will resurrect the Camargue nameplate, but we can always dream. Stay tuned for more details.

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Sources : Rolls-Royce 200EX Photo | Rolls-Royce 200EX Article
1995 Ascari FGT-GT1 : Classic Cars
1995 Ascari FGT-GT1 : Classic Cars

Ascari Cars Ltd. is a British automobile manufacturer based in Banbury, United Kingdom founded by Dutch millionaire Klaas Zwart. The company was named after Alberto Ascari (1918ñ1955) who was the first double world Formula One champion. Besides manufacturing cars, Ascari also manages a racetrack, Race Resort Ascari.

Their first offering, the beautiful Ascari FGT, was styled by Lee Noble in the early 1990s but the project took some time to come to fruition. The first concept car was not unveiled until 1995.

Seventeen road going cars were built, although many of these are believed to have been destroyed. One works racing car was constructed for Klaas Zwart to contest the British GT Championship. This is that car. Zwart entered the car with much success in the 1995 season, winning at Silverstone, and coming 5th in the Le Mans 4 hour race. The car was further contested in the 1996 and 1997 British GT Championship seasons, after which it was returned to the Ascari factory, where it was stored until 2009.

Having been awoken from its slumber, this stunning and unique race car underwent a “nut and bolt” rebuild to a very high standard, being returned to final 1997 season specification. All work was completed by an ex-Ascari team mechanic. This highly original example is described as being in excellent condition, and comes with a generous spares package which includes front bodywork and various suspension and steering components.

Verified as the original and only works racing FGT by the Ascari factory, this unique example presents an unrepeatable opportunity to buy a genuine 1990s GT1 contender with fantastic provenance.

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Sources : 1995 Ascari FGT-GT1 Photo | 1995 Ascari FGT-GT1 Article
Honda's Rose Parade Float To Break...
Honda's Rose Parade Float To Break Length Record : News

Soichiro Honda's company built its reputation on the backs of reliable, efficient, rather diminutive things. The Super Cub/Passport motorcycle. The wee 600s and the slightly larger original Civic. Now firmly ensconced in the nation's industrial/consumer fabric, Honda's intending to break a size record in that most American of pageants, the Tournament of Roses Parade. The company's been the cavalcade of floral floats' marquee sponsor since 2011, but felt this year's fête was the appropriate time to rewrite the entry in the parade's longest-float ledger.

Here's the thing, though. Honda already holds said record, having constructed a 207-foot behemoth for the 2005 Rose Parade. For their 38th year as an entrant in the event, they're upping the float-length ante to 274 feet, making the float nearly as long as the field at the Rose Bowl. The float's prime mover is designed to evoke the upcoming NSX — with Asimo serving as the mini-train's engineer, natch. The middle three platforms will show off a Honda engine, a gargantuan robot arm, and a pair of 30-foot LED screens reflecting images of parade spectators. The caboose features HondaJet cues.

And how many flowers will it take to cover the massive display? Honda's "approximate" estimate is a rather precise 8,980. Which seems like a pretty substantial figure until you realize that around 18 million blooms are used in the parade each year. Dag.

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Sources : Honda's Rose Parade Float To Break Length Record Photo | Honda's Rose Parade Float To Break Length Record Article
McLaren F1 GTR Longtail : Photos
McLaren F1 GTR Longtail : Photos

Sources : McLaren F1 GTR Longtail Photo
2014 DDR Motorsport Green Miami : Videos

2014 DDR Motorsport Green Miami : Videos

Host : DDR Motorsport

This is our special version of the Miami GT, the Grand Prix Edition. This model comes with a FRP Composite and Carbon fiber body, GT3 Cup car rear wind, Concavo CW-5 20" x 9.5" front wheels, Concavo CW-5 20" x 10.5" rear wheels, Ksport Kontrol Pro Fully adjustable coilover shocks in the four corners, Brembo 6 pistons front calipers and 15" cross drilled rotors, Brembo 4 pistons rear calipers and 12.5" cross drilled rotors, MOMO Mod 80 Steering wheel, MOMO Start seats, MOMO Shift knob, TAKATA Drift II seat belts and Dakota Digital gauges.

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Sources : 2014 DDR Motorsport Green Miami Photo | 2014 DDR Motorsport Green Miami Video
2013 Lotus Evora Sports Racer : Photos
2013 Lotus Evora Sports Racer : Photos

Sources : 2013 Lotus Evora Sports Racer Photo
Volkswagen Concept T : Concept Cars
Volkswagen Concept T : Concept Cars

The Volkswagen Concept T was first seen at the 2004 North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit, Michigan.

The Concept T crossover vehicle displays attributes similar to both sports coupes and off road vehicles, and aimed to fill a gap in the international vehicle market.

The Concept T in its aim to achieve both roles has ended up looking like an expensive dune buggy.

The unusual two tone styling which connects the recessed head lights, tail lights and high level exhausts also gives the visual effect of lifting the body away from the wheels.

The Concept T's impressive upswinging doors are hinged off the A-pillars and swing both outward and upward. The high mounted rear view mirrors help the driver see over the high, wide rear arches.

The concept T also features an easily removed T-bar roof as well as a removable rear roof section to effectively make it a convertible with a roll bar.

Volkswagen powered the Concept T with a 3.2 L V6 developing 241 bhp, propelling the concept to a respectable 144 mph.

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Sources : Volkswagen Concept 1 Photo | Volkswagen Concept T Article
1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible : Classic Cars
1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible : Classic Cars

When purchasing an antique car that has been restored, “who” performed the restoration is an important factor to consider. The restorer should be an expert in the model, intensely knowledgeable in regards to the accuracy of fit, finishes, and trim, and they must be able to return the car to exactly as it was when it left the factory, or better.

This Dartmouth Green 1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible was restored by Jack Smith, assisted by Wayne Moore, and like its companion, the 1939 DeLuxe Coupe also offered at this sale, was restored to the highest possible standards. The expectation was that the rumble seat ragtop would be a 1,000-point show car, capable of winning another AACA Grand National Award, just as the Coupe had accomplished.

The car was in the right hands, as Mr. Moore had previously restored several 100-point 1939 and 1940 Fords for Benny “Mr. Ford” Boodle, the late past president of the Antique Automobile Club of America, known for the numerous truly outstanding and accurate Ford restorations that he brought to AACA meets over the years. Accordingly, the work performed on this fine Ford was absolutely “second to none,” with no expenses spared, to make the convertible the best that it could possibly be in every detail.

Beautifully finished to those exacting standards, this is as “concours-ready” as a 1939 Ford Convertible can be, and having not been shown and driven only test miles since its restoration, it is still a completely fresh car that is ready to present to judges. With its sporting color choice, elegantly complemented by brown leather, a tan cloth top, and wide whitewall tires, it is extremely eye-catching, even among a field of other Fords. Its offering here provides a special opportunity to buy a newly restored and exquisitely finished example of one of the Blue Oval’s sportiest designs, from one of its finest years.

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Sources : 1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible Photo | 1939 Ford DeLuxe Convertible Article
2014 Honda Civic : Current Models
2014 Honda Civic : Current Models

For 2014, the Honda Civic sees a number of significant changes. Coupes get restyled front and rear ends, while all Civics see slightly upgraded interiors. All but the natural gas and hybrid versions get slightly more powerful engines, and the previous automatic transmission has been replaced by a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The LX coupes and the Si trims gain firmer suspension tuning. Finally, a few new upscale features debut, including keyless ignition, a larger touchscreen display, enhanced smartphone integration and a blind spot camera.

Keeping the Civic at the top of its game is a perennial priority at Honda. After hearing from reviewers and consumers that its redesigned 2012 Civic lagged behind other small sedan rivals in interior quality, features and cabin noise isolation, the company swiftly broke out its tool kit for a repair job. In a rare move for an automaker, Honda updated the Civic just one year later to fix these very issues. Now for 2014, Honda has kept its foot on the gas to ensure the Civic sedan and coupe stay on an upward trajectory.

Starting things off for the 2014 Honda Civic is a revised 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a new, more efficient CVT that replaces the five-speed automatic transmission in most models. The resulting combo promises even better fuel economy, and indeed, if Honda's claim of a 35 mpg combined EPA estimate (for the HF model) is on target, the Civic is again a fuel economy leader among non-hybrid small cars. New upscale features are also part of the 2014 plan as you can now get a keyless ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen interface with enhanced smartphone integration and a blind-spot camera display. Honda hasn't forgotten about car buyers who enjoy driving, either: The LX coupe and Si coupe/sedan models receive firmer suspension calibrations to provide more responsive handling. Additionally, Honda says that the new CVT provides slightly quicker acceleration to go along with the increased fuel mileage.

Meanwhile, all the previous perks on this compact Honda remain, as the Civic continues to offer roomy seating, impressive crash test scores and a generous standard features list that, even on entry-level trims, includes Bluetooth, a rearview camera, an iPod interface and Pandora functionality. It's also quite easy to find a Civic you like given the availability of sedan and coupe body styles and the mix of trims that ranges from the green-oriented Hybrid and Natural Gas models to the sporty Si.

Regardless of which version appeals to you, the 2014 Honda Civic is an excellent choice for a small sedan or coupe. Still, there are very worthy rivals in the form of the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda 3, which offer competitive value, feature content and interior quality. Civic Hybrid shoppers will find that the Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid are strong alternatives, and performance enthusiasts considering the Civic Si should also test-drive the entertaining and refined Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI. Overall, though, we're very impressed with the Honda Civic.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Honda Civic is a compact car offered in coupe and sedan body styles.

The standard Civic coupe and sedan come in LX, midrange EX and top-of-the-line EX-L and EX-L Navi trims. The sedan is also available in a fuel-efficient HF trim.

Entry-level LX models come equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a one-piece fold-down rear seatback and cruise control. Electronic features include a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, SMS text messaging functionality and a four-speaker (six for the coupe) sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and Pandora radio functionality.

The fuel-efficient HF sedan starts out with standard features similar to those of the LX sedan, then adds a few upgrades designed to deliver maximum mpg. These include low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic cast-aluminum wheels, wind-cheating underbody panels and a rear spoiler.

The EX model adds to or supplants those features with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rear disc brakes, keyless ignition/entry, a sunroof, a right-side blind spot camera, a 7-inch central touchscreen display, smartphone integration (HondaLink, which includes Aha radio and Apple-based Siri Eyes voice command functionality) and a 60/40-split-folding rear seatback. EX coupes get an upgraded seven-speaker sound system, while EX sedans step up to a six-speaker sound system. The EX-L model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats. The sedan version of the EX-L also includes an eight-way power driver seat. As you'd expect, the EX-L Navi adds a navigation system.

Complete equipment information on the 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid, Natural Gas and Si is forthcoming.

Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive 2014 Honda Civic is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 143 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. For the Civic LX sedan, Honda offers either a five-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT (in place of the conventional automatic transmission offered previously). For the EX, EX-L and HF sedans, the CVT is standard. For the coupe, manual transmission availability is extended to the EX.

With the CVT, Honda says the Civic LX, EX and EX-L will achieve an estimated 33 mpg combined (30 city/39 highway). The Civic HF is even better at 35 mpg combined (31 mpg city/41 mpg highway), according to Honda. With the manual, fuel economy drops a bit to 31 mpg combined (28/36).

Complete engine and performance information on the Civic Hybrid, Natural Gas and Si is forthcoming.

The 2014 Honda Civic comes standard with stability control, antilock brakes (four-wheel discs with the EX and Si), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. EX/EX-L versions also include a right-side blind spot camera (LaneWatch). This year's updated HondaLink system also includes emergency crash notification.

In Edmunds brake testing, a 2013 Civic EX came to a stop from 60 mph in a longish 130 feet. A 2012 Civic Hybrid was a bit better with a stop of 124 feet.

In government crash tests, the Civic sedan received a top five-star rating overall, with four stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side crash safety. The coupe received four stars overall, with four stars for frontal and five stars for side crash categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Civic sedan and coupe its highest possible rating of "Good" in its small-overlap frontal offset, moderate-overlap frontal offset, side impact and roof strength tests. The Civic's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the 2014 Honda Civic maintains its familiar driver-oriented two-tier dash display, which includes a 5-inch monitor on the top tier that displays information for audio, hands-free phone use and various vehicle systems. Materials quality is solid, as nicely textured, premium-looking surfaces are found throughout.

Most of the cabin's controls are well-placed, and the keypads and menu buttons on the steering wheel are intuitive enough for anyone who's spent time with a smartphone. The Civic boasts even more tech amenities for smartphone users this year, thanks to the latest HondaLink system, which operates through the available 7-inch touchscreen to provide voice control (Siri Eyes) plus a variety of search, audio and social media functions. Currently it's only compatible with iPhones, but Honda says Android compatibility is in the works.

In the Honda Civic sedan, legroom and headroom for front passengers is competitive, while rear passengers benefit from more legroom than in rivals like the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus. The Civic offers 11.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity in the coupe and 12.5 cubic feet in the sedan, which is less capacity than in the Cruze and Focus sedans. The hybrid models sacrifice trunk space to the battery pack, leaving 10.7 cubic feet. The large fuel tank needed for the natural gas model curtails trunk space even further.

Driving Impressions
The Honda Civic has long been one of the better-driving cars in its class, and this tradition continues with the latest version's precise, well-weighted steering and confident handling. The Civic also offers one of the most comfortable and composed rides in the class. With last year's refinements, it's also pretty quiet at freeway speeds, something you couldn't say about older Civics.

Power from the gasoline-fueled 1.8-liter engine is merely adequate, but its strong fuel efficiency and typically refined character nevertheless make it a winner. We've yet to drive the 2014 Honda Civic with its new CVT, but if the larger Accord's CVT is any indication, you can expect quick responses and unobtrusive operation.

You can expect sluggish acceleration from the Natural Gas Civic, while the Civic Hybrid offers a far more refined driving experience than you'll get in Honda's Insight hybrid.

The Civic Si is certainly the most fun to drive. Refined suspension tuning, quick steering and the additional torque provided by the larger engine give the Si a sharp and playful attitude around town or on curving roads. However, it's outgunned by stronger competition in this class, as most rivals beat it in straight-line acceleration and handle as well or better.

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Sources : 2014 Honda Civic Photo | 2014 Honda Civic Article | 2014 Honda Civic Photo 2 | 2014 Honda Civic Engine Photo | 2014 Honda Civic Interior Photo
Mercedes Smartwatch Application : Accessories
Mercedes Smartwatch Application : Accessories

20 years ago, some clever Kraut at Mercedes-Benz wagered that the future of not only technology but also of automobiles would be shaped in Silicon Valley. Accordingly, Mercedes was the first global automaker to open its own research facility in the “home of innovation.”

It’s taken two decades, but Mercedes is finally starting to show some results from its years of tech toil – tangible ones, at least. The new Pebble Technology smartwatch that runs the Mercedes Digital DriveStyle app is the perfect example.

Now partnered with Pebble Technology, Mercedes has reworked its Digital DriveStyle app to seamlessly integrate with the Pebble smartwatch, which will be on display at CES 2014.

Mercedes owners sporting the Pebble smartwatch will be able to interact with their car, both while behind the wheel and also from afar. According to Mercedes, the Pebble smartwatch effectively acts as a remote screen for your smartphone.

From behind the wheel, drivers can use the watch to stay up-to-date on accidents, road construction, or stalled vehicles. One of three customizable watch buttons allows users to also access roadway hazard alerts, auto-routing, Siri activation, remote-controlling media, or nearby traffic conditions.

When away from the car, the Pebble smartwatch can also be used to access vehicle information like fuel level, door-lock status, and vehicle location.

At first glance, this seems really, really cool. If you pause for a second, though, and think about it, you’ll quickly realize that there’s nothing that this watch does that A.) Your car can’t already do on its own. And B.) Your smartphone can’t also already do.

Are you really going to look at your watch for traffic alerts when your Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment unit right in front of you is giving you the same information? No.

To that end, do you need to know your car’s fuel level from far away? If you do, will you ever need to know so urgently that pulling your smartphone from your pocket takes too long? Again, no.

We’ll be on the floor of CES 2014 and we’ll give the watch a go. Hopefully for Mercedes and Pebble Technology’s sake, it’ll have more features to wow us. For now, though, we’re nonplused.

Mercedes-Benz is a German automobile manufacturer, a multinational division of the German manufacturer Daimler AG. The brand is used for luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz but traces its origins to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft's 1901 Mercedes and to Karl Benz's 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first automobile. Mercedes-Benz's slogan is "Das Beste oder nichts" (English: "The best or nothing"). Mercedes-Benz is part of the "German Big 3" luxury automakers, along with Audi and BMW, which are among the best selling luxury automakers in the world.

Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz's creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, financed by Bertha Benz and patented in January 1886, and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year. The Mercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz's and Gottlieb Daimler's companies into the Daimler-Benz company. Throughout the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz produced the 770 model, a car that was popular during Germany's Nazi period. Adolf Hitler was known to have driven these cars during his time in power, with bulletproof windshields. Most of the surviving models have been sold at auctions to private buyers. One of them is currently on display at the War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. Mercedes-Benz has introduced many technological and safety innovations that later became common in other vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is one of the best known and established automotive brands in the world, and is also one of the world's oldest automotive brand still in existence today, having produced the first petrol-powered car. For information relating to the famous three-pointed star, see under the title Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft including the merger into Daimler-Benz.

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Sources : Mercedes Smartwatch Application Photo | About Mercedes-Benz | Mercedes Smartwatch Application Article | Mercedes Smartwatch Application Photo 2 | Mercedes Smartwatch Application Photo 3