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Autoblog

BMW M5 turns 30, celebrates sideways

Posted Apr 14th 2014 10:58AM

BMW M5 birthday celebration

BMW has a secret, and it's not telling. The brand's M Power blog is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the M5 and is taking a look back at previous models of its Autobahn-storming sedan, but it says that it will end "with a surprise." The celebration kicks off with a short video showing the latest M5 making some smoky donuts.

The original M5 debuted in 1985 and was the company's most expensive model at the time. Still, it packed a 3.5-litre six-cylinder generating a claimed 282 horsepower (286 PS), which was rather potent in its day. The company touted it as the world's fastest production four-door sports sedan at the time.

BMW won't reveal the surprise until it has chronicled all five generations of the M5, but it wouldn't be shocking to see an anniversary edition model appear sometime later this year. Scroll down to check out the video of the muscle sedan celebrating its birthday the only way it knows how.

News Source: M-Power, BMW, World Car Fans via YouTube

Image Credit: Related images copyright BMW

GM midsize SUVs lead safety tests, Honda Pilot disappoints [w/videos]

Posted Apr 13th 2014 6:01PM

2014 Chevrolet Equinox

General Motors finally has something to celebrate about. The 2014 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain aced the latest round of small overlap front crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety among nine midsize SUVs, and they both scored a Top Safety Pick+ accolade. However, Honda, Mazda and Kia fared badly with their entries earning Poor ratings in the Overall safety category.

The Equinox and Terrain were the only vehicles among those tested to score Good ratings in every category of IIHS testing. The group praised updates to 2014 models that strengthened the front structure and door-hinge pillars, which helped keep the dummy's movement in check.

The Toyota Highlander was actually tested in December 2013 but results were included in the recent test. It also scored Top Safety Pick+ rating but received only Acceptable results in the organization's Overall, Structure and Restraints and Kinematics categories. To earn the award, a vehicle must have Good or Acceptable scores, plus offer some form of front crash prevention technology.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer all received Marginal scores in the Overall category, and the Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9 and Honda Pilot had 'Poor' scores. The Pilot showed one of the worst examples of intrusion into the cockpit in the test when the parking brake pedal moved inward more than 16 inches, and the steering column moved over 5 inches to the right.

The new small overlap front crash test replicates a collision where 25 per cent of the front end strikes a barrier at 65 km/h (40 miles per hour). It focuses a lot of energy into a small area, which makes it a very difficult test of a vehicle's integrity. Scroll down to see videos from each of the crash tests and read the full results.

Everything you ever wanted to know about getting started in road racing

Posted Apr 12th 2014 4:00PM

9.22.13 - Road America SCCA National Championship Runoffs - GT Lite starting grid

For many auto enthusiasts, one of the higher items on their bucket list is to go racing on the track – whether it's a road course, dirt track oval or even a drag strip. But what if you want to make racing into a regular hobby? While each type of motorsport carries its own challenges and costs, the folks over at Winding Road have been running a fascinating series of stories showing what it takes to compete on road courses focusing on how to earn an Sports Car Club of America Competition License.

The articles are meant to take someone with no track experience through becoming a fully licenced amateur racing driver; diving into negotiating the multiple sanctioning bodies, rules and paperwork. The series goes into depth on everything that you need to know from what safety gear to select to attending race school and even what to expect during your first event. It's all separated by common questions you like "What might I want to know about learning a new track?"

If you're even curious about becoming an amateur road racing driver this seems like an invaluable series. Conveniently, it even keeps a tally of what everything costs. Head over to Winding Road to check out the sixth part in the ongoing stories; noting that all of the previous entries are linked at the bottom of the page, as well.

Original Captain America bike found in private collection

Posted Apr 12th 2014 2:00PM

Captain America Motorcycle

Decades before Chris Evans took on the role of Captain America and brought the comic book character a new round of popularity, Cap starred in two TV movies in the late 1970s – Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon. They are both incredibly cheesy movies with the hero busting a red, white and blue motorcycle out of the back of a groovy van for action scenes. While the films might not hold up, Gary Davis, the stuntman behind them, is a fascinating personality.

Road & Track found Davis accidentally when it discovered his massive collection of vintage motorcycles for sale on Craigslist in the San Francisco Bay Area. It turns out that, in addition to being Cap's stuntman in the '70s movies, he also had roles in Terminator 2, Speed and a ton of other movies. Davis is also a huge motorcycle fan and stored his collection in a warehouse on his property, which includes at least two dirt tracks to race them on.

The piece seems to barely scratch the surface of the enigmatic man. In addition to all of the motorcycles, stunt work and even some vintage racing, Davis is also building a zip line in his backyard while R&T is there. Even if you're not a fan of old bikes, Hollywood action movies or just a really interesting profile, the photos that go along with the story are fantastic.

News Source: Road & Track

Image Credit: Chris Cantle / Road & Track

Stirling Moss-crashed 1956 Maserati 450S to be auctioned in Monaco

Posted Apr 11th 2014 5:00PM

1956 Maserati 450S Prototype by Fantuzzi

RM Auctions has some very special and expensive Italian sportscars of the 50s and 60s consigned for its auction in Monaco on May 10, but the one that currently carries the highest estimated value at between 4 and 5.5 million euros (CAD$6.1 - $8.3 million) is a 1956 Maserati 450S with some very interesting provenance.

The Maserati started its life as a six-cylinder 350S that Stirling Moss drove in the 1956 Mille Miglia race. Unfortunately, the brakes failed, and it crashed into a tree and nearly into a ravine. Moss and his co-driver weren't injured, but the car was kaputt.

Maserati repaired it and used the chassis as a test mule for its new 5.7-litre V8 racecar called the 450S. It featured an extended wheelbase to fit the larger engine and a new body with a single seat. The racer hit the track again at the hands of Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM but retired with transmission issues. Later that season, it crashed again at the 1957 Mille Miglia at the hands of driver Jean Behra. After that, the car sat around the workshop until it was sold without an engine in 1965.

After kicking around several owners, the 450S received a restoration in the 80s with a correct V8 engine being installed, and it made its grand reemergence in the 1987 Mille Miglia. According to RM, it has mostly sat on display in a climate-controlled environment since then.

The 450S is a rarity, with Maserati only building 11 of them, counting the prototype. While the test car proved temperamental on the track, the other cars won at Sebring and the Swedish Grand Prix in 1957. Scroll down to read the full history of the car, and be sure to check out the gallery for some great photos.

News Source: RM Auctions

Image Credit: Cymon Taylor / Courtesy of RM Auctions

F1 car models made from paper will blow your mind

Posted Apr 11th 2014 11:00AM

Paper Red Bull RB7

There is an old saying that goes, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." The short film Paper Dreams illustrates just how true that is and includes some beautifully detailed automotive models to get the point across.

Paul started crafting paper model kits as a hobby, and as he grew up, he began creating whole paper cars from scratch. Eventually the detailed miniatures even included usually unseen elements like water pumps and suspension pieces – even the wiring. The movie tells the story of how crafting a replica of a Red Bull RB7 from 6,500 parts eventually got Paul his dream job.

It's amazing what the combination of time, effort and talent can create. Scroll down to watch this inspiring story and marvel at these fabulous models.

News Source: Answers via YouTube

25th Anniversary Panoz Esperante Spyder officially debuts

Posted Apr 10th 2014 5:58PM

Panoz Esperante Spyder 25th Anniversary Edition

Less than a month since the Esperante Spyder and Spyder GT 25th Anniversary Editions were first shown in very rough prototype form, Panoz has finished the first car – a standard Spyder – with an aluminum body painted in eye-catching red paint with carbon fiber accents and a tan leather interior. For the moment, it sits in the entranceway of the company's new headquarters in Georgia.

While the look of the car is only a slight evolution over previous Esperantes, underneath the skin there are some notable upgrades. The chassis is now made from a mix of aluminum, carbon fibre and steel. It also now has a revised front and rear suspension, improved anti-lock brakes and a programmable gauge cluster. Buyers can choose between either an aluminum body on the Esperante Spyder or a full carbon fiber exterior for the GT.

Depending on the model, the powertrain options include a 430-horsepower, 5.0-litre V8, or a supercharged, 5.4-litre V8, available in tunes of 575 and 800(!) horsepower. Regardless of engine choice, all models are available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

Pricing for the standard 25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder starts at US$181,320, and the GT has a listed starting price of US$229,000. If you're in the market for an Esperante, act fast. The company intends to only build a limited run of 25 copies for the anniversary. Scroll down for all of the details on the new Spyder.

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News Source: Panoz

Production Lexus NX photos leak online

Posted Apr 10th 2014 4:00PM

Lexus NX

Lexus NXThe first photos of the new Lexus NX crossover have leaked onto the web over a week before its official debut at the Beijing Motor Show. These pictures are pretty blurry, but there is no mistaking that they show off the Japanese luxury brand's smaller, premium CUV.

While the teaser only gave us a glimpse at its pointed strip of LED running lights and angular grille, the new image proves that the CUV is definitely not afraid of sharp edges. However, compared to the original concept, it looks almost sedate. The production version drops the knife-like side mirrors for more conventional units, and the grille appears narrower. The vertical intakes at the edges of the front are dulled slightly but still present. The NX is indeed a polarizing vehicle – we'll be interested to see it in person. After all, we've grown to like the new IS after our first, shocking reaction. We should give Lexus some credit, too, for not following the premium CUV styling herd.

Seen elsewhere, these's an exterior photo that hints at a powertrain configuration. The bumper reads NX 300h, which likely indicates that there will be a hybrid version of the CUV. This is likely the same combined 220-horsepower system with a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle engine and electric motor found in the IS 300h in Europe. There is no word on whether that model will be sold here. It's rumoured to be offered with a new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder as well. More details about the new Lexus are expected in China later this month.


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Crazy cement truck rollover crash caught on camera

Posted Apr 10th 2014 12:59PM

Cement Truck Crash

If you've been having an easy day and haven't received your daily dose of unmitigated terror, then this video is for you. Dr. Guan Zhu, a Texas A&M professor, caught the above view on his dashcam in College Station, TX, as a cement truck ran a red light, lost control and rolled into his Toyota Sienna minivan.

Although he received only minor injuries, Dr. Zhu says that he blacked out during the accident. The truck driver also avoided serious injuries, and the Sienna took the hit rather well too. Scroll down to watch the footage and report from KBTX. Hopefully, this is as close anyone else ever gets to a terrifying event of this nature.

News Source: KBTX

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