Category Archives: Manufacturer news

Dare to be Different at SEMA and the Hot Vehicles Winners

This year’s SEMA Awards for the top trending vehicle models in four categories were announced on Tuesday November 5, 2013 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The Ford Mustang was named Hottest Car, the Scion FR-S took the Hottest Sport Compact honors, the Ford F-Series won Hottest Truck and the Jeep Wrangler received the Hottest 4×4-SUV award.

I was pulling for the Chevy Silverado and the Corvette Stingray, so I guess I struck out; there but no complaints with the Scion FR-S and Jeep Wrangler winning.

Dare to be Different

One of the fun parts of SEMA, is the over the top, just because I can, attitude of many of the cars.  Enough said

Enjoy the Views

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Chevy Cranks Up for SEMA

At the world’s largest convention of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories, the SEMA Show –Specialty Equipment Market Association – one of the highlights is the Chevrolet display; and the chance for a sneak preview at the Media Party held on Monday night before SEMA opens.

Besides catching up with various executives and seeing some great cars, Chevrolet brings in a few celebrities to spice up the night.  Fortunately these celebrities have straight connections to the cars featured at this press event.

This year NASCAR racers Ricky Carmichael (and AMA racer and X Games champ) and Jeff Gordon were there to delight the crowds. Some of the featured cars were:

Ricky Carmichael’s Chevy All-Activity Sonic concept

The All-Activity Sonic concept was introduced by Carmichael and had a cold air induction, a lowered suspension and enhanced braking.Spark EV Tech Performance concept

Sonic Chevy
Ricky Carmichael’s Sonic

Chevy Spark EV Tech Performance concept

Chevy “powered up” this all-electric tire smoking mini-car, the Spark, with an instant on 400 lb-ft of torque –http://route66pubco.com/wp-admin/post-new.php more than the classic 1969 Camaro SS muscle car with a 350 V-8 – for exhilarating acceleration. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in only 7.5 seconds.

Electric car
Amped up Chevy Spark

2014 Chevy COPO

It seems that Chevrolet always has a new version of the legendary COPO drag cars for SEMA, and they didn’t disappoint this year with a light blue version.  Very well designed and ready for the drag strip as is.  This year will feature new front and rear fascia and be limited to the fabled 69 cars.

Light Blue drag car
2014 COPO Camaro

Gran Turismo C7 Corvette Stingray

A flat blue Corvette that will be featured in the latest version of Playstation’s Gran Turismo was promoted.  All week at the Chevy display show goers will be able to play an advanced version of the game.

blue Corvette
Corvette Stingray from Gran Turismo

Restored 1978 pick up

This truck was a restored beauty and featured a new crate engine package from Chevy.  The E ROD 5.3 L package is a plug and play emissions compliant powertrain.

Black truck
Restored Chevy Pickup with E ROD power

Jeff Gordon’s SS

His SS came with a red satin (flat) finish was an awesome car with subtle power touches.  A LS3 engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission were the power plant for the SS.

Red SS
Red Satin SS from Jeff Gordon

2014 Camaro Z28

The road worthy Z/28 in all black was released at this event.  Featuring Brembo brakes, less weight and a LS7 engine helps make this track car a worthy competitor and lives up to its namesake.

Black camaro
Black Z/28

Transformers 4

Three cars from the 2014 Transformer movie were on hand to be admired; a new Bumble Bee Camaro, a Sonic and bright Green Corvette Stingray

 

Green Corvette
Green Transformer Staingray
Yellow Camaro
Transformer 4 Bumble Bee Camaro
white Sonic
Chevy Sonic from Transformer 4

Good times, good cars, good people.  SEMA cranks up in full power mode in a few hour son Tuesday November 5th.  More details at Chevy Performance.

 

 

Predictions for SEMA Show 2013

SEMA Signage
SEMA

SEMA – the Specialty Equipment Market Association – show starts officially on Tuesday November 5, 2013 in Las Vegas.  Car Nirvana is spread over 2 million square feet of interior space and even more cars are positioned outside.  I figured if Hot Rod Magazine can prediction what the SEMA 2013 will highlight, I can predict too.

Predictions for SEMA

I’ll be more modest and only give you five trends to be spotted at SEMA this year.

Prediction #1

Car of the Year – Has to be the Corvette Stingray.  This is the after-market convention after all and there has been no more pent-up demand, than seeing the Corvette C7 hit the streets.

prediction corvette is SEMA's car of the year
Corvette Stingray

Prediction #2

Flat is back.  We’ve seen variations of flat paint jobs in the past, and that trend is going to explode.  Both from the mainstream manufacturers but also the specialty shops.  And contrary to some opinions, it takes as much prep work on a car body to spray it flat as it does for the shiny clear coats.

Prediction #3

Step up the transmissions.  Used to be standard to row through four speeds, but not that Detroit is issuing out sheet metal with 7 speed transmissions to help up the EPA gas mileage, so will the aftermarket.

Silver truck
Sweet Trucker

Prediction #4

Truck of the year?  Got to be the Chevrolet Silverado.  Demand is back up for trucks, that’s where the money is and that’s where General Motors has hit a home run.  It might be apolitical to have two winners from the same manufacturer, but the Silverado deserves it!

Prediction #5

Retro is back with a passion.  Clothing, accessories, and cars will all be showing an old fashioned look.  Woodies, rat rods, salt wagons will all be highly visible.???????????????????????????????

Stayed tuned and we’ll see how many of these predictions you might agree with after Friday and the show wraps up.

 

 

Nissan Rogue unveiled with candid pictures

One of the advantages of being in Arizona for car guys is the chance to see new, unreleased “mules” on the road.  Arizona is home to most of the car manufacturers for proving grounds.  But these cars don’t just stay inside the fenced grounds, as these spy shots of the Nissan Rogue show.  “Mules” are test cars used by the makers to test things out in real road conditions.

They wander around the Arizona geography and get a chance to try out these prototypes on twisty roads, interstate highways and with elevations changing from sea level to high mountains.  Of course the area is known for the opportunity to test in high heat conditions, but the cars get a chance to experience all of what Arizona climates offer.  They often are loaded up with plenty of telemetries recording all sorts of feedback from a myriad of sensors.

Of course the manufacturers aren’t keen on the public recognizing these cars.  Besides sporting manufacturer plates these cars often have geometric black and white wraps to help disguise the final shape and design of the cars.  But plenty of photographers go out on the hunt to track down a shot of these beauties.

2014 Nissan Rogue

Recently two Nissan Rogues, which will have a new release in 2014 were seen out and about on the Arizona highways.

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It’s rare to see these cars stationary, but the drivers have to take a break on occasion!

Gas Monkey Garage COPO Camaro Sold at Barrett Jackson

Gas Monkey Garage

Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman team up in Dallas, Texas to form Gas Monkey Garage.  Their “Fast N’ Loud” TV show is a hit on the Discovery Channel, where Richard buys a relic; Aaron and his crew update the ride and then “flip” the car to a new buyer that keeps Richard in beer money.  The show gets great ratings, has a loyal following and has a familiar format.  Grab a car, make a ridiculously short deadline and stand back to watch the resulting havoc.

Barrett-Jackson Reno, Nevada

At the January 2012 Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona one of their creations, a 1931 Ford, was auctioned off for $12,870 by one of those buyers.  So I guess that seller flipped a flipped car?  And at a loss, since the buyer on TV bought it for $21,000.

Gas Monkey Garage decided on a different plan for the just concluded Barrett Jackson auction held at Reno, Nevada last month.  They took a brand new 2013 Chevrolet COPO Camaro added some decals and auctioned it off for $137,500 (We always list the selling price of an auctioned item with all related buyer’s commissions.)  Not bad for a car that isn’t street legal.

COPO Camaro

COPO stands for Central Office Production Order and was used by Chevrolet to offer limited runs of unique setups of their cars to selected special dealerships and those “in the know”.  The most legendary COPO was the 1969 Camaro made for Fred Gibbs, with 69 cars sporting an aluminum ZL1 monster motor.  In muscle car collections; this is the mother lode.  In 2012, Chevrolet resurrected the COPO Camaro but with a severely limited run of only  69 cars.  These COPO’s are not street legal, lacking most of the NHTSA safety requirements, and are strictly designed for the drag strip.  They are lean and mean.

SEMA

At the 2012 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association) show, the GM folks showed off their only COPO convertible, painted in Inferno Orange.  Of course having a drag car racer, without a hard top, might make it hard to pass a tech inspection but it looked great; once you cleared off the slobber marks!

front view of 2012 COPO Camaro
Only convertible COPO Camaro

 

2013 Gas Monkey COPO

Well Chevrolet said let’s do it again, and made a limited run of 69 COPO Camaro’s for 2013 and Richard Rawlings got his hands on one and added a few extra touches and decals before auctioning it off in Reno.  This COPO might be featured in an upcoming episode of their television show and I’m guessing Richard Rollins took advantage of the engine build option and went back to Michigan to be part of building “hands on” the LS7 427 cubic inch engine for the 41st Camaro.

The Camaro was fitted with a NHRA chorme-moly cage and a solid rear axle and looked mean and lean.

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Selected photos courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

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Porsche 911 Celebrates 50th Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911.  For perspective the Corvette is celebrating 60 years with their seventh generation of the American sports car.  This is presently the fifth incarnation of the 911 and is treasured for both its sleek design and focused engineering.  The first model was labeled a “901” but due to trademark issues had to change it to the now iconic 911.

911 Porsche
911 comparisons

Porsche 911’s Humble Beginnings

It is rare for a model to stay in constant use for half a century, but even the original first generation was known for setting the industry standards for superior engineering.  Imagine that in 1963, the first 911 came with such advanced features as overhead cams, dry-sump oiling, seven-main-bearing bottom end, 5-speed transaxle, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and advanced independent suspension. There are even cars being manufactured today that can’t hold a candle to that design.

Porsche always had a high level of engineering design but ironically, the fir

st generation Porsche 911’s were blinding fast but treacherous to drive, but over time the handling was improved.  The exterior lines of the 911 seem timeless and stately.

Porsche 911 Celebrations

Across the globe various venues are hosting events to celebrate the 50th Anniversary epoch.  The Silverstone Classic in July had a great event.  Originally hoping for 911

Porsche’s to roar along the circuit, they couldn’t stop the demand and ended up with over 1200 cars hitting the race track. Here’s the details on the event.

You just had to know the Frankfurt Auto show in Porsche’s backyard would do the 911 proud and the factory pulled no punches with a knockout event. Porsche had a driving party at their test track at Weissach,Germany.  And their museum is having a special exhibition as well

Daily Driver Capable

Thanks to its own 50-year racing history, today’s Teutonic 911 is one of the highest-performance cars, but still is tame enough to be a daily driver.  Few cars can claim to be favored by three generations of drivers.

 

Photo courtesy of Porsche

Woodward vs. Pebble Beach – Car Shows – Auctions

Classic Cruiser
Classic Cruiser

Decisions abound on this weekend.  In Michigan you can choose from two unique car events – Woodward Dream Cruise and the Back to the Bricks car show; while in California you have an abundance of car shows and auctions concluding with the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Woodward Dream Cruise

Woodward Dream Cruise resurrects a moving car cruise along 16 miles of Woodward Avenue.  a million folks line the highway as FOURTY thousand of American muscle cars go out for the a cruise through eight communities.  Surrounding towns have held impromptu shows in the days leading up to this Saturday.  Detroit manufacturers bring out concept cars, historical cars and lots of steel eye candy.  And if you are not up for exhaust fumes and a few tires chirping and burning  you can truck over to Flint, Michigan.

Back to the Bricks

Back to the Bricks takes over the streets of Downtown Flint and allows for a car show of classic American iron.  And inside the Bricks show is a sub set of cars, the Corvette Reunion.  With upwards of 700 Corvettes there alone, there is plenty for all to see.  Plus in the days leading up to Saturday there were a variety of car related shows and cruises.

Pebble Beach and Monterrey, California

On the left coast along Monterrey, California classic cars of all calibers are out in force, cruising and selling.  Five separate auction houses hold unique auctions this week.  The familiar names of Mecum and Russo Steele are joined by Bonhams , RM and Gooding to offer twelve days of classic car auctions.  This are too offers a variety of downtown car shows and cruises plus the Rolex Monterrey Motorsports Reunion of historical race cars and the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  The price for admission to the Pebble beach show?  A hefty $250 in advance, yes that is per person!  I think I’ll watch in on the web instead.

This is clearly a weekend I wish I could be in two (or more) places at once.