Category Archives: Manufacturer news

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.

Chevrolet Bowtie Logo Celebrates 100th Anniversary

View in gold of Chevrolet's Bow Tie emblem
Chevrolet Bow Tie from SEMA 2012 Show

Just in time for the Woodward Cruise outside Detroit, Michigan, the Chevrolet bowtie logo, recognized  globally as the Chevy emblem celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

In 1913, Chevrolet co-founder William C. Durant introduced the signature Chevy Bow Tie on the 1914 Chevrolet H-2 Royal Mail and the H-4 Baby Grand, centered at the front of both models.

The bowtie has adorned 215 million Chevrolet’s over the last century.

Current version of Chevrolet's bow Tie emblem
Chevy Bow Tie

While the bowtie has been present for 100 years, the details surrounding its origin are still uncertain and a bit of lore surrounds it. One popular story has Durant tearing a piece of wallpaper from  a Parisian hotel that held the now famous design.  Mr. Durant’s widow claimed he saw a similar logo in a  newspaper advertisement while in Hot Springs, Virginia.  In fact a ad for a coal company did sport a similar design as far back as 1911.

Regardless of the inspiration, it is one of the most recognized car manufacturer symbols and one that doesn’t even have a name inscribed or attached to it.  In this global economy, perhaps that’s best?

Chevrolet bow tie emblem
A timeline of the transformation of Chevrolet’s emblem – the Bow Tie

Some images © Chevrole