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HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance

  • HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance
  • 2015 Lincoln Navigator
  • 2015 Infiniti Q70L
  • Mercedes-AMG GT vs. Porsche 911 [w/poll]

Aficionauto drives Vin Diesel's fast and furious 1970 Dodge Charger

Posted Sep 15th 2014 8:00PM

Dodge Charger from Fast and the Furious

The Aficionauto host Christopher Rutkowski has a real passion for original and replica cars from movies and television, whether they are from James Bond, Jurassic Park, or incredibly obscure Japanese shows. However, he might have outdone himself this time because he hopped into one of the biggest automotive stars of contemporary cinema. This 1970 Dodge Charger appeared in Fast & Furious and came back in Fast Five, where Paul Walker actually drove it. The menacing, black muscle car will make its return to the franchise in the seventh film, too.

The Fast and Furious Charger is a real beast no matter how you look at it. The interior is nothing more than two seats and a roll cage, and as the video shows, this thing vibrates constantly like a coiled mass of muscle ready to strike. The camera can barely stay in place most of the time. Also, Dom's Dodge is more than happy to do a smoky burnout and leave the driver partially deaf afterward from its wonderful, ear-splitting engine roar.

The Aficionauto also interviews the man who controls the keys to this beast. Bob Hartwig was once an F-15 pilot, but he also loved Hollywood vehicles. Now, he's a partner at Picture Car Warehouse, a company with about 850 cars that supplies vehicles to film studios. This Charger definitely seems to be Hartwig's favorite in the collection, as it should be.

News Source: The Aficionauto via YouTube

Decelerating from a 627 km/h land speed record run might trigger your fire system

Posted Sep 15th 2014 7:00PM

Danny Thompson Challenger 2 Fire Extinguisher

Have you ever had one of those days where everything was going smoothly and then, in a split-second, there was utter chaos? Racer Danny Thompson recently got a fantastic story to tell when he was taking his streamlined Challenger II land speed car for a test run. Everything appeared perfectly normal, and then things went very bizarre in a blink on an eye.

We covered Thompson last year when he was raising money to complete the car and take it to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Danny is the son of famous racer and engineer Mickey Thompson, and the Challenger II is an updated version of the same vehicle that his dad attempted to set a piston-powered land speed record with in 1969.

For the project, Danny pulled the Challenger II out of mothballs and upgraded it to modern safety standards. He also ditched the original Ford engines in favour of two, nitro-fueled V8s with a claimed combined total of 4,000 horsepower, which made it really more of a Challenger 2.5.

For this test, the Challenger II made it to over 390 miles per hour (627.6 km/h) with no problem, but then it was time to slow down. Danny pulled the 'chutes and got a very messy surprise to go with it when the fire suppression system kicked on due to the sudden deceleration. Check out the video to see how Thompson reacted.

Related Gallery1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner
1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner1968 Challenger II LSR Streamliner

News Source: thompsonlsr via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright ThompsonLSR

Tesla Gigafactory $1.2 billion deal details lets EV company sell direct and more

Posted Sep 15th 2014 6:30PM

Movie Tax Breaks, Insurance Companies Losing Out

Tesla Battery Factory

Now that the Nevada-based deal for the Tesla Motors Gigafactory has been made official, we've got more details on the automaker's $1.2-billion benefits package. As originally reported, this is the broad breakdown:
  • $725 million for a 20-year 100 per cent sales tax abatement
  • $332 million for a 10-year 100 per cent property tax abatement
  • $120 million in transferable tax credits
  • $75 million in transferable tax credits worth $12,500 per job times 6,000 jobs).
  • $27 million for a 10-year, 100 per cent modified business tax abatement
  • $8 million in discounted electricity rates for eight years
New reports say that one way that US legislators freed up some money ($125 million) was by ending a long-standing tax break for insurance companies. Legislators also eliminated some tax credits for movie companies to give the money ($70 million) to Tesla. One surprising side benefit for Tesla is the ability to sell its EVs directly to customers in the US state of Nevada. While Nevada hasn't been a big player in the EV dealer fight issue, it seems the company's right to sell its cars there is secure.

What does Nevada get out of the deal? Well, a lot of publicity, for starters, but also a big new employer... Requiring that at least half of all the workers at the $5 billion Gigafactory be from Nevada. (although there is a way for Tesla to get waivers around this if needed).

Add that all up and you get what state Assemblyman Ira Hansen called, "arguably the biggest thing that has happened in Nevada since at least the Hoover Dam." Not everyone is so positive. A Las Vegas schoolteacher told the Nevada Appeal, "I think it is kind of ironic that a renewable energy, a green energy car company we are courting to come to our state, that one of the things we are giving them is free energy."

You can watch a video of the September 4th Tesla/Nevada announcement and read the governor's press release about signing the bill below.

News Source: Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada Appeal, Reuters, Automotive News - sub. req.

Image Credit: Cathleen Allison / AP

HIGHLIGHTS: 2014 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Posted Sep 15th 2014 6:00PM

Before we had the automobile, we had horse-drawn carriages; and where there is an opportunity to travel in personalized vehicles, there will be people competing for top honours in the beauty, design and style department. It's said that in 17th century France, the aristocracy was so enamoured with how stylish, grand and beautiful their carriages were, they decided to begin showing them off on weekends and holidays. Thus, the Concours d'Elegance was born and today's event is a celebration for the finest and rarest antique, vintage and classic cars.

The 2nd Annual Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance was held over this past weekend by the stunning Cobble Beach Resort on Georgian Bay, and it was undoubtedly a roaring success. Similar to the infamous Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, a gorgeous golf course played home to some of the most desirable, interesting, and rare cars in existence.

Click here for more highlights from the 2014 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

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HIGHLIGHTS: Lucas di Grassi wins inaugural Formula E race after big crash

Posted Sep 15th 2014 4:59PM

Beijing ePrix kicks off

It's been a long time coming, but the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship finally took place this weekend with the first race in China, officially kicking off a new era of electric racing on the international scene with the 2014 Formula E Beijing ePrix.

Despite starting back in sixth place, Nick Heidfeld quickly made his way up the grid.

With all the seats full, racing scion and former ice racer Nicolas Prost claimed pole position for the Renault-supported e.dams team, followed by former F1 driver Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt for the Audi Sport ABT team. The following slots were also taken by ex-grand prix pilots Karun Chandhok (Mahindra), Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport), Nick Heidfeld (Venturi), Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin), Charles Pic (Andretti), Sebastien Buemi (e.dams) and the controversial Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing). Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing), Sam Bird (Virgin), Jérome d'Ambrosio (Dragon), Takuma Sato (Amlin Aguri), Ho-Pin Tung (China) rounded out the rest of the starting grid, while Katherine Legge (Amlin Aguri) and Michela Cerruti (Trulli) started at the back of the grid. Surprisingly, experienced racing drivers Jarno Trulli (Trulli), Bruno Senna (Mahindra) and Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) failed to meet the qualifying threshold.

Despite starting back in sixth place, Nick Heidfeld quickly made his way up the grid as the race electrified. By the mid-race car swap, Heidfeld – a former grand prix driver, Formula 3 champion, Le Mans class winner and Goodwood lap record holder – was up to second place. That's when things literally took a turn for the worse... READ MORE

News Source: Formula E

World's quickest street-legal vehicle is... 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup

Posted Sep 15th 2014 4:00PM

Larry Larson's 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup truck

In the pantheon of performance cars and trucks that have come across our radars, there exists a clear dividing line between those designed solely for use at a racetrack – be that a road circuit, oval, dirt track or drag strip – and those that can be driven to and from such a track. Which makes sense, since any car that can legally be driven on the road must comply with a number of varied and complicated requirements that include proper safety glass, lighting bits, bumpers and treaded tires, while machines destined to live out their lives off our nation's highways need to do little more than go fast and provide a modicum of safety for its driver and any competitors.

All of that (probably unnecessary) preamble explains why there's so much interest in claiming the title as the world's quickest street-legal vehicle. And there's a new king on that ballyhooed throne. The location was a quarter-mile strip of asphalt in Tulsa, OK, the competition was the 2014 Drag Week event hosted by the boys at Hot Rod, the driver was Larry Larson and the vehicle was, get this, a 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup truck.

Video evidence can be seen below, and we suggest you head on over to Hot Rod to read more about Larry and his steel-bodied pickup after seeing for yourself what it's capable of. Yes, it certainly pushes the boundaries of what we'd consider "street legal," but it's an impressive accomplishment no matter which way you slice it.

News Source: Hot Rod Magazine via YouTube

Top 10 most affordable new cars of 2014

Posted Sep 15th 2014 3:00PM

The top 10 most affordable cars on the market are not necessarily the ones with the cheapest starting sticker prices. Buying a new car is a multiple year commitment, and expenses like repairs, depreciation and fuel mileage can really add to a car's overall cost.

Kelley Blue Book recently listed the top 10 most affordable cars, based on five year cost-to-own projections. While many of these do have low sticker prices and are among the cheapest new cars in Canada, they are also most affordable because they have great resale values, fuel economy and often cost a lot less to insure.

Click here to see the most affordable new cars for 2014.

Top 5 Cheap Hybrid Cars of 2013

News Source: KBB via AOL Autos

Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Autoblog Canada / AOL

Nissan GT-R hits 327 km/h on public highway before it all goes wrong

Posted Sep 15th 2014 2:00PM

We are going to start with the disclaimer: do not try this at home. Ever.

That covered, we've been intrigued with a video that is making its rounds on the enthusiast forums. Shot from a dash cam, with a full performance overlay, it shows a modified 800 horsepower Nissan GT-R (with its twin-turbocharged engine bored and stroked to 4.3-litres) flying down a public Russian highway late at night. While we've viewed a similar lawless videos countless times before, what happens next is the real surprise.

As the GT-R driver hits 327 kilometers per hour, the right front tire unexpectedly loses pressure and instantaneously disintegrates from the centrifugal force (even though the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 is a run-flat tire, it doesn't stand a chance at four times its rated zero pressure speed). Shrapnel from the tire blows out the right front HID headlight (explaining the momentary flash of light) and the steel front quarter panel is peeled back like the lid on a can of sardines... but the driver holds it together and controls the Nissan to a safe stop, which takes place over an agonizing 32 seconds.

Regularly checking tire pressure and the tread surface are great ways to reduce the likelihood of a blowout, but road debris and heat buildup are variables that are hard to control. We don't know why this GT-R owner's tire blew, but we do know that they did nearly everything right from that point forward - hold the vehicle steady, lift off the accelerator pedal, gently apply the brake and coast to a safe stop. Aside from the extensive damage to the right front clip, there is a happy ending to the video because the driver did not panic and slam on the brakes - a mistake that likely would have sent the GT-R careening out of control.

One more thing: the video doesn't tell us who the driver is (for obvious reasons), but we are confident that they should be easy to identify by the bloodied lips from joyfully kissing the pavement once the crippled GT-R came to a stop... CLICK HERE TO WATCH

News Source: LiveLeak via MotorAuthority

Mercedes-AMG GT attacks Circuit of the Americas

Posted Sep 15th 2014 1:00PM

Mercedes-Benz is having a banner year with its Formula One team. Through 2014, the constructor has 454 championship points; ahead of its nearest competitor (Red Bull-Renault) by a margin of 182 tally marks. We're sure they can almost taste the champagne.

It's fitting then, and a little big cocky in a good way, that Mercedes has released a video of its newest sports car at an F1 venue. In this case, the car is the lovely Mercedes-AMG GT S, and the racetrack is Austin's Circuit of the Americas.

Having seen the official photo set and scratched the surface of the technical specifications earlier this week, we're excited to finally hear the thing run. As you might guess, the deployment of 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque from the twin-turbo V8 is a motivating experience. Crank up your volume, and hit that play button. (Oh, and Mercedes shot the thing in 4K, too, so those of you with expensive televisions/monitors should take heed to the settings.)

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News Source: Mercedes-AMG via YouTube