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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

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Hendo hoverboard is real and here's how it works

Posted Oct 22nd 2014 11:00AM

Hendo Hoverboard prototype

Well, it's not hot pink or made by Mattel... but the Hendo hoverboard is real and we want one (even if it costs $10K to buy). We all think of the same exact thing when we hear the word "hoverboard:" Back to the Future. After Marty McFly is transported into the future to fix the mess his future family has gotten itself into, he hops onto a contraption in an unfortunate shade of pink that looks like a skateboard without wheels. According to the original writer of the scene, the thought was that a hoverboard would float on an invisible magnetic field, allowing its rider to hover inches above the surface of the ground on a cushion of air.

That was all the way back in 1989, and we still have exactly zero actual hoverboards merrily hovering their riders to and fro with jackets that dry themselves and shoes that automatically lace themselves to the proper fitment. Our collective selves let out a sigh we've been holding in since BTTF Part II stopped showing on the big screen... But wait.

A company called Hendo has created what may be considered the very first working prototype of a real, actual hoverboard. It's not without faults – the fact that it only works on certain metallic surfaces being perhaps the biggest, followed by its lack of directional stability – but it most definitely hovers, and you can most definitely ride it. And it's just the beginning of what the company and its inventor have in mind for the hovering technology.

According to Greg Henderson, inventor of the Hendo, this creation represents "the Model T of hoverboards," meaning that it's very early in development, not that it will be the first such machine mass produced. Future applications include planes, trains and automobiles, naturally, but also as a way to earthquake-proof permanent structures like buildings and bridges.

Check out the videos down below for more on this unique creation, and be sure to follow its progress if you're interested in Kickstarting its future.

Thanks, Marty McFly: Hoverboards Could Be Coming in 2015

News Source: The Verge, Engadget, via AOL On

Image Credit: Engadget

Formula 1 racing back to Las Vegas?

Posted Oct 22nd 2014 10:30AM

Formula One World Championship

"There's a million countries that would like to have an F1 race," said the sport's commercial director Bernie Ecclestone to The Independent recently, "but they can't afford it." Las Vegas wouldn't fall into the latter category, but while not exactly a country unto itself, it is apparently at the top of the former list.

According to a report in the British newspaper, negotiations to bring Formula One back to Vegas after a 32-year absence are in advanced stages. Track designer Hermann Tilke has reportedly visited the city with an eye towards setting up a street circuit that would incorporate a run down the famous Las Vegas Strip. Just when it might happen, however, remains unclear.

The development comes amidst a resurgence of F1 racing in North America. As recently as 2009, there was not a single grand prix on our fair continent after the Canadian Grand Prix was dropped from the calendar. But that race returned in 2010, joined by a new US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, starting in 2012. And while the proposed race in the New York/New Jersey area seems to have stalled, a new race is set to join next year's calendar in Mexico.

If the Vegas GP shapes up, we'd be looking at four races in North America alone – a vital market for the series, its sponsors and participating automakers where NASCAR (which races at the nearby Las Vegas Motor Speedway) is the far more popular form of motorsport and even IndyCar arguably has a bigger following.

The last time the F1 circus visited Las Vegas was for the lackluster Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which was held on an uninspired track set up in the casino's parking lot in 1981 (when it was joined on the calendar by Long Beach) and 1982 (in parallel with races in both Long Beach and Detroit). The new race would have to offer a more engaging layout, but as far as locations go, Vegas certainly has the infrastructure to deal with the influx of tourists who'd come to town for the spectacle.

News Source: The Independent via ESPN

Image Credit: alessio mazzocco/Flickr

Canadian Ford Focus RS to be imported from Europe

Posted Oct 22nd 2014 10:00AM

Ford Focus RS Spy Shots

Rumours about the forthcoming Ford Focus RS are flourishing into what sounds like a very impressive new hot hatch. The latest scuttlebutt gives the first indication about when we might see a few of these fast Focuses on roads here in North America.

Unnamed insiders reportedly confirmed to The Truth About Cars that Ford plans to launch the Focus RS in North America in 2016. However, getting one might not be so easy – the boosted powertrain means the car would likely need to be imported from Europe. That's likely going to keep the total number available in North America rather low. The sources estimate a price tag that's a bit more expensive than the top Focus ST, which starts around $29,999.

It seems that a pretty potent package comes for all of that cash, though. The Focus RS reportedly uses a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder making between 325 and 350 horsepower, with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system to get that muscle to the road. The test mules also wear more aggressive front and rear fascias, dual exhaust tips, larger brakes and sticky tires. It sounds like a great formula on top of the already enjoyable Focus ST.

These latest reports certainly corroborate the Focus RS' chances in North America. Autoblog asked Ford for an official statement about the hatch's chances in North America, but company spokesperson Monique Brentley told us, "We don't speculate on future products." However, things have looked good for the RS since a prototype was spotted testing here months ago. Since then, others have been photographed driving at the Nürburgring.

Related Gallery2015 Ford Focus RS Spy Shots
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News Source: The Truth About Cars

Image Credit: CarPix

How China is at war with its pickup trucks

Posted Oct 22nd 2014 9:00AM

Great Wall Wingle5

Create a law, and people try to find some way to get around it. That's basically a fact of life whether you're in Canada or the People's Republic of China. For example, recently in the PRC, a man attempted to convert his pickup into a sedan to avoid road tolls, and photos of the vehicle became a story in Chinese media. The whole incident shined a light on the government's antagonism towards trucks (like the Great Wall Wingle 5 pictured above).

According to Automotive News, this intrepid driver made his attempt during the National Day earlier in October. For the holiday, China removed its road tolls for sedans, which made it free for them to drive on highways. This fellow apparently had places to go, and he converted his four-door truck into a "sedan." Although, his undertaking was pretty mediocre by just installing a sloping bed cover with a hatch on the back of his pickup. The endeavor didn't fool police, either, because they fined him for the scheme. Still, it was a noble effort, we suppose.

Not many owners are willing to go to the lengths of this guy, but trucks in China are fighting an uphill battle for popularity. According to Automotive News, a legal loophole means that in some cities, all pickups are classified as commercial vehicles, and they are kept from entering. Those limits keep sales to less than two percent of the country's massive auto market, and those numbers are continuing to fall. No wonder automakers like Great Wall want to sell models in the more pickup-friendly North America.

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News Source: Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Great Wall

Next Mercedes G-Class won't think outside of the box

Posted Oct 22nd 2014 8:00AM

2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

Anyone that was afraid that Mercedes-Benz would follow the example of the Land Rover Range Rover and soften the looks of the iconic Geländewagen when it came time for a redesign need not worry. The iconic off-roader's brutalist design aesthetic will carry on, as it's essential to its character.

"It has to continue as it looks today," Daimler AG boss Dieter Zetsche told Bloomberg. "It's not a vehicle that pretends. The G-Class is the original."

That doesn't mean that the G won't seem some changes soon. Regulatory changes will force some design modifications for 2016, while Mercedes might also take the opportunity to up usable space, widening the SUV by around four inches and dropping the roof slightly, a person familiar with MB's plans told Bloomberg.

Mercedes is at something of a crossroads with the G-Class, facing increased competition from the hot-selling Range Rover and staring down the barrel of new ultra-lux competitors from the likes of Bentley and others. Meanwhile, Bloomberg describes the company as trying to shed a "stodgy reputation." These challenges, though, shouldn't impact the future G-Wagen's abilities, though.

"When it comes to the combination of off-road capabilities and luxury, there's no alternative," the SUV's chief, Gunnar Guethenke told Bloomberg. "The G-Class provides the genes for all Mercedes-Benz SUVs."

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News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Harry Metcalfe channel hits YouTube with '54 Series I Land Rover

Posted Oct 21st 2014 8:00PM

Harry Metcalfe with his Land Rover Series 1

If we know our history of automotive journalism, Evo magazine owes its existence to one Harry Metcalfe. The British supercar owner and enthusiast started the publication back in 1998 and served for many years as its editor and then editorial director. But after some two decades at the helm, Harry's stepped back, leaving the magazine to Nick Trott and his staff to run. So what's he up to now? Why, he's launched his own YouTube channel, of course.

Harry's Garage will naturally focus on the numerous supercars and other such rarities which Metcalfe has amassed over the years, but will also feature some of the new metal and events to which he's earned access over the course of his long and distinguished career. But in one of the first videos produced specifically for his new channel, Harry shows us the ins and outs of one of the slowest vehicles in his private fleet: a 1954 Land Rover Series I – specifically an open-top, 86-inch-wheelbase version – the precursor to the Defender 90 and a veritable British motoring icon. Watch the review below and the introduction to Harry's Garage below that.

News Source: Harry's Garage via YouTube [1], [2]

How to make car depreciation work in your favour

Posted Oct 21st 2014 6:58PM

Whether your car is new or used, it will slowly, but surely lose its resale value over time. And while taking good care of your vehicle (with these handy tips) will allow it to retain more of its value, nothing you do will preserve all of it from depreciation.

On average, a vehicle will lose between 15 to 20 per cent of its value per year, which means that it retains only 40 to 55 per cent of its original value after three years ti,e. Used cars aren't immune to this either, which is why some say they are also waste of your money, although it can be argued both ways.

However, if you want to save as much money as possible upon trade in time or deciding to sell your vehicle, there are a few ways to make car depreciation value work in your favour... Click here to continue reading and find out how.

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Learn to drive a monster truck with Monster Jam driving pros

Posted Oct 21st 2014 6:00PM

How to drive a monster truck

On the surface, it's easy to write off monster trucks as big, dumb and dangerous vehicles, but when you start looking deeper, they get a lot more impressive. At least for the people competing in the Monster Jam series, there's a commitment to safety and some seriously cool engineering to make all of those huge jumps and stunts possible night after night. Of course, driving one of these behemoths isn't exactly easy, either.

Not only do drivers have to deal with bouncing around all the time, they also have in the region of 1,500 horsepower at their disposal, all of which is being channeled into something with some pretty bizarre handling characteristics, too. Just think about it: How many competition vehicles can you think of that sport massive tires and separate controls for the front and rear steering?

If you want some advice, check out this video to hear from the men and women of Monster Jam who are behind the wheel practically every night and then have to fix them to crush more cars the next day.

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News Source: Gizmag via YouTube

Here's how people spec'd their C7 Corvettes in 2014

Posted Oct 21st 2014 5:00PM

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

The Z51 option pack was hugely popular full-stop, with a total of 21,105 examples in all bodystyles ordered.

For its first year out of the gate, the 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray did very well for itself, selling 37,288 units worldwide with 34,678 of the new sports cars hitting the market in the US alone. In fact, the total number was one of the best figures for the Corvette in the modern era. But the full breakdown of all the 2014 C7's sales data has hit the web from The National Corvette Museum blog, and it has given us the chance to be nosy and find out what people really want from this latest model.

Individually, buyers seemed to really want some extra performance from their new Vette, because the coupe with the Z51 package was the most popular model, with 15,431 made (41.4 per cent), followed by the standard coupe with 11,134 built (29.9 per cent). The Z51 option pack was hugely popular full-stop, with a total of 21,105 examples in all bodystyles ordered with its added performance pieces – that's 56.6 per cent of the year's production. If anything, we're surprised the bargain-priced grouping didn't net an even higher percentages.

Despite people clearly wanting performance, customers' transmission preferences unsurprisingly skewed towards automatics. The six-speed auto had 24,088 orders (64.6 percent), while the remaining 13,200 were seven-speed manuals. When the 'Vette was closer to launch, the seven-speed represented about 38 percent of the production, so it only fell a few per cent over the entire model year.

Interestingly, some options were practically a universal choice among buyers. Some 31,173 cars (83.6 per cent) had the box for the optional performance exhaust ticked. Also, 30,427 people (81.6 per cent) ponied up for navigation.

When shopping for colours, customers really wanted to own a little red Corvette. Torch Red was the most popular paint shade with 7,197 made. In fact, it, Arctic White and Black were the three most popular hues, representing 51.7 per cent of total orders. The least wanted was Lime Rock Green with just 1,566 sold, and it has been discontinued for the 2015 model year.

These details are just scratching the surface at all of the info to be gleaned from this data. Check out the The National Corvette Museum blog for the full table.