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Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars

  • Detroit Auto Show prankster 'damages' hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars
  • 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk [w/video]
  • 2017 Jaguar XE
  • Ford reveals new F-150 Raptor packs 450 horsepower

Buick celebrates 110 years by naming most significant model of each decade

Posted Jul 7th 2013 8:00PM

1963 Buick Riviera

In May of 1903, Buick began work on its first vehicle, the 1904 Model B, the first example of which was sold to a doctor in Flint, Michigan. That first sale was appropriate since later on, Buick became known as a "doctor's car." The Model B is the first of 11 cars chosen by Buick to highlight each decade of the company's 110-year history.

The 1916 D-45 Touring with a six-cylinder engine was Buick's highest seller that year, and helped push overall sales past six figures for the first time, making Buick the top-selling automotive brand. In 1931, Series 50 got an eight-cylinder engine, which helped the company survive the Great Depression. The 1936 Century was the first Buick that could hit 160 kilometres per hour (100 miles per hour), the 1949 Roadmaster had a supporting role in Rain Man, the 1953 Skylark had Italian wire wheels and the owner's name engraved on its steering wheel.

Then we have the iconic 1963 Riviera, the V6-powered 1975 Regal, and in 1987, the legendary GNX. With a turbocharged, intercooled V6 pumping out 276-horsepower it could hit 96 kilometres per hour (60 mph) in just 4.6 seconds. In 1999 Buick built the first car in China, the Century, and that country remains the brand's largest market.

To represent the current decade, Buick chose the 2008 Enclave because it introduced the company's current design language and brand focus to the market. You can see photos of all these memorable Buicks in the gallery and read more of the brand's history in the press release below.

News Source: Buick

First new Datsun in decade sketched, set for Indian reveal

Posted Jul 7th 2013 6:00PM

Datsun hatchback rendering - official

Nissan's Datsun nameplate revival will begin with two models bound for the Indian market. Nissan has released sketches of a five-door hatchback based on the Micra (codenamed K2) and a top-down view of a hood that could potentially be from a sedan.

The company's press release says all will be revealed on July 15 in New Delhi, India. The Datsun lineup will be first offered in 2014 to that country's ride-deprived residents as well as Indonesia and Russia. Later in 2014, South Africa will join the list.

We've heard Nissan plans for Datsuns to share platforms with company-owned Lada. In January, we heard the projected price tag could be around $3,000 to compete with Chinese imports. The official press release (which can be read in full below) says nothing about either of these reports, however.

But if a small, super-low-cost Datsun sounds good, you'll be disappointed to hear that North America will most likely never see the brand sold here again. Click here for more and watch a video on the low-cost brand from Nissan.

News Source: Nissan, Indian Autos Blog

Fiat's 'Environmentally Sexy' online matchmaking site amuses us all

Posted Jun 20th 2013 7:58PM

Fiat 500e ad

Oh, Fiat. You're so witty and attractive and... environmentally sexy? That's the idea put forward by the automaker's latest 500e marketing campaign, which is centered around the company's "dating" site,

Visitors answer a series of questions to be matched with their perfect Fiat 500e. Questions such as:
"Honestly, I'm here because I..."

A. am really lonely
B. love match sites
C. am extremely sexy

There are some humourously cute testimonial videos featuring Ryan the playboy sipping a wheatgrass, goat cheese smoothy and his way hot girlfriend, Sofia, who is a lawyer and Italian gameshow hostess. They were brought together not because of their love for each other's looks, but because of their love for the Earth. Ahhh. Isn't that sweet? Trust us, it is when Sofia says it.

The site is a good 20-minute time-waster and a unique way for Fiat to show off its electric car without getting all greenpreachy. Videos and press release below.

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10) Colour / Paint 9) Stripes / Graphics 8) Music / Stereo 7) Brand Loyalty 6) Exterior Design 5) Ahh, that new car smell 4) Be Organized 3) Noise

325 km/h Vencer Sarthe supercar to be revealed at Salon Prive

Posted Jun 14th 2013 11:16AM

The last time we heard about Dutch supercar upstart Vencer was a little more than a year ago when it announced it would call its one offering Sarthe. Vencer says the Sarthe will be officially unveiled to the UK in early September at London's Salon Privé.

The Sarthe sure seems to bring the supercar goods. Vencer says it will be a tube steel and chrome-moly chassis attached to a honeycomb aluminum floor. Top Gear says a "510-bhp Corvette V8" sits behind the driver, to which a six-speed manual is bolted. Vencer says the car's carbon fibre bodywork helps keep the weight near 1,390 kilograms (3,064 pounds). Light weight and high power team up to propel the supercar to 96 km/h (60 mph) in just 3.8 seconds and then to a top speed of 325 km/h (202 miles per hour).

Air conditioning, electric windows and locks, "in-car entertainment," an alarm and ABS are the standard accoutrements, but customers can request extras.

Speaking of customers, there won't be very many since production will be "low volume." Pricing hasn't been announced, but the London coming-out party will feature English afternoon tea, champagne and a lobster luncheon. So, bet on including that in the eventual sticker price.

Read the official press release below.

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News Source: Vencer via Top Gear

Stay in this converted 1918 gas station when you're in New Orleans

Posted Jun 5th 2013 9:45AM

New Orleans converted gas station hotel

New Orleans has great charm, awesome parties and some of the best food in the nation. We highly recommend a visit. And if you want to add some automotive flavor to your trip, this converted 1918 Sinclair gas station would certainly do the trick.

The 2000-square-foot loft-style house is packed with automobilia like the classic-car nameplates as drawer pulls in the kitchen, the Flexbeam-style lights in the bathroom, the antique gas pump in the dining area, or the disembodied bumper from a '60s-era DeSoto hanging above the house's only bed. Hubcaps line one wall in the den and a garage-style sliding door lets in sunshine and fresh air.

The owner says the NO streetcar is within walking distance, but says there's a Harley-Davidson rental shop nearby if you want your own wheels.

At US$1,800 a week, this gas-station-turned-inn is no discount hotel. But where else will you be able to cook breakfast below the red neon glow of a Mobilgas Pegasus?

News Source: Air BNB via Thrillist

Italian border agents find $6M in gold bars hidden in car

Posted Apr 5th 2013 7:57PM

Gold bars confiscated from motorist by Italian police

Border police in Italy struck gold when they dug a little further into a car trying to pass into Switzerland. The car's occupants, a family of five, claimed to be on an "Easter vacation."

But police said their nervous behaviour prompted them to go on an Easter egg hunt. The officers eventually found a dozen gold bars worth at least $6 million hidden in a storage compartment. Police say the 53-year-old driver of the car was a legal representative at a Swiss company and couldn't provide an explanation for where the gold originated or why it was in his car. The police confiscated the gold and the family's car. The driver faces charges of money laundering.

Based upon our extensive experience with gold smuggling, we recommend that next time, he form the gold into body panels for his car. It's a much more effective strategy. At least until a double-nought spy comes looking for you.

For more, watch the full news report video below.

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News Source: SwissInfo via AOL Autos

Honda confirms 2014 Odyssey and Acura MDX for New York Auto Show

Posted Mar 23rd 2013 2:00PM

Look beneath the seats of a Honda Odyssey and you'll likely find a handful of that iconic loop cereal loved by toddlers nationwide. And to show that Honda understands its minivan's target market, it is using the breakfast staple to announce its plans to reveal the updated 2014 model at next week's New York Auto Show. While the announcement is creative, it unfortunately lacks much in the way of information, leaving us with little more than a vague teaser alluding to "some innovative new features."

As expected, Honda has also confirmed we will see the production version of the 2014 Acura MDX in New York. We expect the 2014 MDX to look very much like the prototype we saw in January at the Detroit Auto Show with only slight differences. The 3.5-litre i-VTEC V6 will be offered with all-wheel drive or, in a first for MDX, front-wheel drive.

You'll find the official press snippets for both below, and we'll have live images and details on both from the New York Show. Until then... Cheerio!

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News Source: Honda

Image Credit: Gallery images copyright 2013 AOL

How nasty, foot-long "wandering meatloaf" snails could improve car batteries

Posted Mar 16th 2013 6:00PM

Underside of Gumboot Chiton marine snail

"Slow" and "ugly" are words used to describe some hybrid cars and, coincidentally, the gumboot chiton. Soon the two may have even more in common thanks to a discovery by researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

Gumboots, also known as the "wandering meatloaf," are foot-long marine snails that roam tidal zones, scraping algae from rocks by using up to 80 rows of magnetite-tipped teeth. Magnetite, the "hardest biomineral known on Earth," not only strengthens the gumboot's chompers, it makes them magnetic as well. New teeth are grown continuously and enter the "wear zone" as old ones wear out.

Click through to keep reading the slow-moving, slimy details and then check out a battery tech video.

Automotive photography SpyCamp is summer fun for the most hardcore car enthusiasts

Posted Mar 16th 2013 2:00PM

If long hours of solitude spent in the searing hot Arizona desert, punctuated by mere seconds of fleetingly frantic excitement sound appealing to you, then you're the perfect candidate for Brenda Priddy's SpyCamp.

Brenda will host the first class of her SpyCamp this July in an undisclosed location 530 km from Reno, 200 km from Las Vegas. After checking in to your (less than) luxurious accommodations, you'll enjoy a pizza dinner with Brenda at a "famous 'car tester' bar" then spend four very hot days waiting to get that perfect shot of a camo-covered car. Afterward you'll get Brenda's unvarnished critique of your "talents."

The camp application states Ms. Priddy is "not a tour guide," so participants shouldn't expect fun-filled days of frolicking in the sun with the "World's Most Famous Spy." In fact, the app also states, "I DO NOT bail people out of jail and/or pay for traffic violations." So campers, behave!

Included in your US$775 cost (US$1,250 for two) is a "famous BP&Co. SpyCamp 2013 wristband" and a free adrenaline rush. Not included is travel to and from the area, hotel (US$77.95 a night for five nights), car rental (which you'll definitely need) and fuel costs.

For more info, contact spycamp2013 at gmail dot com (written this way so she can avoid spam).

Click through to watch a camo-covered Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen caught on video.