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Translogic 163: Acton Rocket Skates

  • Translogic 163: Acton Rocket Skates
  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 LA Auto Show
  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG S 4Matic stands out in the LA crowd
  • 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the newest KODO designed crossover

How to turn a Dodge airport tug into a trail slayer

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 8:00PM

Dirt Everyday Dodge Diesel Truck Build

Sometimes, having a ton of fun requires takes a ton of work. Just nine days before the so-called Ultimate Adventure 2014, the folks behind 4-Wheel & Off-Road had 40 tasks to complete in order to turn the ratty truck pictured above into a machine that could excel on treacherous off-road trails while still being able to handle highway jaunts. Much of process behind the build was chronicled on the latest episode of Dirt Every Day.

The team's vehicle started life as a 1990 Dodge tug truck that spent part of its life hauling around airplanes. The builders hung on to the Cummins six-cylinder diesel, but they tossed out practically everything else for the project, with some seriously heavy-duty replacement parts for the transmission, transfer case, axles and a whole lot more. The process was certainly a ton of work, but the end result looks like a fantastic crawler.

Sure, it might have been easier to bring a truck that was already prepared, but where would the fun in that have been? Stay tuned until the end of the video for a few glimpses of the completed Dodge and peek at some of the punishment it goes through.

News Source: Motor Trend Channel via YouTube

Why you should run out and buy a vintage Aston Martin Lagonda right now

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 7:00PM

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin LagondaAston Martin has a reputation for crafting some of the world's finest luxury GTs, and with a little help from James Bond, it has also become a quintessential British brand. While the company's models are known for combining speed and luxury, they certainly aren't recognized for being inexpensive. However, there might be a way to get the Aston badge and potentially make a little extra money if you ever decide to divest. Bloomberg suggests looking outside the mainstream by taking a closer look at the original wedge-shaped Lagonda (above).

First shown in the mid '70s, the Lagonda looks like nothing else on the road before or since. Early models feature pop-up headlights and styling so sharp the sedan appears to be slicing through the air, even while sitting still. Later revisions softened the design slightly, and even Aston Martin's modern reinterpretation (inset) doesn't go as far as its predecessor. The interior is what really makes the Lagonda famous (or infamous), though. With instruments displayed on LEDs or CRT screens, depending on model, it's like the science fiction in there. Power is provided by a 5.3-litre V8 quoted at around 280 horsepower, according to Aston Martin.

Unfortunately, the Lagonda's avant-garde styling and reputation for unreliability hasn't garnered much love for the super saloon over the years. Aston Martin only made 645 of them by the time production ended in 1989. The tide appears to be turning, though, and the sedan's value is rising strongly. According to Bloomberg, citing Hagerty, prices currently average about $44,000, up 61 per cent since 2010, and the later, somewhat more reliable examples are up 85 per cent. Perhaps those values are soaring because those lining up for the new Lagonda (a.k.a. Taraf) are looking for a historical counterpart to display alongside their next car.

Head over to Bloomberg to get the full story on why it might be time to reconsider these once unloved four-door Astons.

Related GalleryAston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin LagondaAston Martin Lagonda

News Source: Bloomberg, Aston Martin

Image Credit: Aston Martin

BMW 2 Series to wear 230i, M240i nameplates

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 5:59PM

BMW M235i

BMW might not be done tweaking its naming scheme quite yet. Of course, at this point, the jumble of numbers on the back of the Bavarian models has no connection to what's under the hood. So there's not much reason to stop changing the monikers now.

As Autoblog reported a few months ago, BMW is slotting upgraded, turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines called the B48 and B58, respectively, into the 3 and 4 Series. If this happens, the 328i/428i would become the 330i/430i, and the 335i/435i would turn into the 340i/440i.

Obviously, this change hasn't happened yet, but the same member of 2Addicts, a portion of the larger Bimmerpost community has now claimed that the 228i and M235i would get the same treatment. They would become the 230i and M240i, respectively, with the new engines.

The exact source of this information isn't entirely clear. The user claimed to have access an inside source of future BMW model data. In one update to the thread, the person warned that the info isn't for certain but considered it "BMW's best laid plans."

The decision to alter model names with the introduction of new engines would seem to make at least some sense. We wish the numbers didn't seem plucked out of the air, though.

News Source: 2 Addicts, F30 Post

Why turbo compounding may be the next big thing in powertrains

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 5:00PM

Cutaway of a turbo compounding setup in a gasoline engine.

Turbo compounding is the process of using a turbo run off exhaust gasses to provide additional power to the crankshaft via gearing or a hydrodynamic coupling, or to power a generator that distributes energy via a power electronics module. The technology isn't new - the aerospace industry introduced the concept in the 1940s - but an article in Car and Driver says it could be "the next big thing in energy recovery" for automotive engines.

Turbo compounding is a way to take advantage of wasted exhaust gasses to provide more power to the engine. In the cutaway above, the compressor in the upper right (blue arrows) is powered by the turbine wheel to its left (red arrows) to send boosted intake air to the engine. The turbine, however, is also sending exhaust gas down the plumbing to its left, where another turbine connected to a shaft drives a set of gears, essentially a high-ration transmission ultimately connected to the crankshaft in the lower left.

Bowman, which engineers electrical compounding systems for power generation and heavy vehicle sectors, says its solution can increase efficiency by to seven per cent with no negative impact. Mechanical compounding is said to supply gains of around five percent, but can have a negative impact depending on engine load.

Engine maker Detroit Diesel won the Truck Writers of North American Technical Achievement Award for its DD15 engine that uses mechanical compounding, and Scania and Volvo also use the tech for their truck engines. When it comes to automaker implementation, we might be looking at Formula One engine makers first: the new 1.6-litre turbo V6s use electrical compounding to run the MGU-H motor/generator to power a battery that provides extra boost during a lap.

News Source: Car and Driver

Google Glass may be dangerous to both drivers and pedestrians

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 4:00PM

Google Glass Tesla Model S

The debate over wearable tech like Google Glass continues to rage, with questions still being raised about the safety of using the technology while driving. Now, a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, is claiming that not only is Google Glass dangerous to drivers, but it poses a real threat to pedestrians, as well.

According to the Cal study, the concern doesn't focus so much on the distraction posed by the technology, but the ability to create blind spots for its wearers. In particular, and unsurprisingly, the worst blind spot was caused in the upper right corner of the right eye, where the display is located. According to The Daily Telegraph, the study recommends that those driving or riding a bike avoid using the wearable, due to the way it impedes peripheral vision.

"The Google Glass hardware produces a significant blocking effect of the right peripheral vision," UCSF clinical ophthalmologist Dr. Edward Koo told the broadsheet. "The defect would not be compensated by the left eye and thus may negatively impact daily activities such as driving, cycling and running."

The news comes as a particular blow for Google and its automotive partners, like Mercedes-Benz, The Telegraph reports. With these findings in hand, Koo and his team have confirmed that they'll be developing larger, wider-reaching study into the effect on visibility and attentiveness and the effects, and that it will be done in conjunction with Google.

News Source: The Telegraph

Image Credit: Jurvetson - Flickr CC 2.0

Mitsuoka manages to make Orochi even weirder with Evangelion edition

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 3:00PM

Mitsuoka Ocochi Evangelion Edition

Sports cars don't come more bizarre than the ungainly Mitsuoka Orochi. We thought we were rid of the puckered-face, Toyota-powered Japanese oddity when Mitsuoka revealed the Final Edition earlier this year, but it seems the Orochi has a little more left to give of its awkwardness, as you can see from this latest Evangelion edition.

Created in tribute, such as it is, to the cult classic Neon Genesis Evangelion anime television series, this limited edition Orochi is distinguished, as you can plainly see, but its colorful treatment that makes it look like something George Clinton (of Parliament-Funkadelic fame) would drive.

Aside from the psychedelic paintjob, the Evangelion edition is essentially the same as any other Orochi, right down to the 3.3-litre Toyota-sourced V6 and five-speed automatic transmission. It's based on the Gold Premium spec and comes fully loaded with nav, backup camera and Alcantara upholstery.

Only eleven examples will be made, available by application at 7-Eleven convenience stores across Japan (yes, really), each carrying a price tag of ¥16,000,000 – about $155k at today's rates. Which may seem like a princely sum, but if that's what it takes to send the Orochi into retirement once and for all, we say it's well worth it.

Related GalleryMitsuoka Orochi
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News Source: Mitsuoka, 7 Eleven

BMW says SUVs killed the sports car market

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 2:00PM

2014 BMW Z4

In many ways, we're living in a golden age of automotive performance. After all, it's possible to show up at a Dodge dealer, hand over about $60,000 and storm away with a 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat. Or for those who prefer a touch more luxury, the BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63 and latest Cadillac ATS-V offer between 425 and 503 horsepower, depending on your pick, with a bit more poshness. However, none of these powerful vehicles fit the classic definition of a two-place, droptop sports car, and according BMW head of sales Ian Robertson, that's because the segment is very much in the doldrums.

According to Robertson, two factors seriously wounded the classic sports car market. First, the global economic crisis of a few years ago put a serious hurt on sales, according to Bloomberg. Further worsening the situation, the boom in popularity of luxury SUVs and crossovers in the past few years hasn't allowed for much recovery. Even car-hungry China hasn't helped much because of the smog in many cities and preference among some of the very rich there to be chauffeured.

Combined, Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK sales peaked around 114,000 units a year in 2007, but they are only expected to reach 72,000 annually by the end of the decade. Robertson is pretty pessimistic about the market's comeback too. "Post-2008, it just collapsed. I'm not so sure it'll ever fully recover," he said to Bloomberg.

Despite the downturn, there's no reason to start eulogizing the sports car. The ones that are available or are coming make for some fantastic offerings. They range from the V8 power of the Chevy Corvette to the more lithe styling of the upcoming 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Plus, a new Audi TT droptop is on the way. There's no reason to write the segment off yet.

News Source: Bloomberg via Live Mint

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 AOL / BMW

Hear this sports announcer realize moment when ball hits his rental car

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 12:00PM

Cricket ball hits announcer's rental car

We don't tend to cover a lot of cricket on Autoblog – the sport or the insect, really. It's just somewhat rare that either of them intrude upon the automotive domain. However, it's hard not to at least muster a grimace – or even a laugh – when watching this cricket announcer calling a game, only to see a ball sailing out of the stadium and land right on the roof of his rental car.

What are the odds?

It's amazing to watch as the sportscaster initially shows almost no response, and then the gravity of his misfortune starts to sink in. In just over a minute, he goes through a spectrum of emotions, with hints of anger and depression, plus outright denial by the end. Check out the video below to witness this announcer's fantastic reaction.

News Source: Sam Je via YouTube, Jalopnik

Infiniti Synaptiq concept 'spinal lock attachment' makes you one with your car

Posted Nov 23rd 2014 11:00AM

A rendering of Infiniti's SYNAPTIQ concept created for the LA Auto Show Design Challenge.

The theme of this year's LA Design Challenge is "Sensing the future" and asks, "How will cars interact with us in 2029?" Infiniti has kicked off entries in the LA Auto Show's yearly visionary party with its low, wide and versatile Synaptiq concept. Less a car and more of a set of interlocking pieces, the Synaptiq is termed a "universal fuselage pod," a teardrop-shaped capsule with a liquid-crystal canopy that can be fitted to different propulsion devices: a Formula One-like chassis, a desert buggy rig and a jet airframe.

Yet it answers the challenge not by being able to fly through deserts and air, but with its human-machine interface. The driver/pilot wears a Synaptic S.U.I.T. (Symbiotic User Interface Technology) fitted with biometric sensors and synthetic muscles, and through a "spinal lock attachment," he or she is made one with the car.

You gaze upon its gewgaws in the gallery above, and read more about it and other concepts from Acura, CALTY, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Peterbilt, Qoros, Subaru and Volkswagen that vied for the King of the Future title at last week's LA Auto Show.

Image Credit: Infiniti