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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

Toyota builds world's first 'outdoor website' for RAV4 promo

Posted Sep 7th 2013 8:00PM

toyota rav-4 outdoor website with bike rider

This whole thing started with the premise that Toyota's target RAV4 buyers are people who spend their time cycling, hiking, and generally not in front of computer screens. These people are therefore not able to benefit from the full website experience that Toyota has built for the RAV4. We should clarify that the video below is for Toyota South Africa, and maybe RAV4 buyers there really are the disgustingly outdoorsy ideal that us bacon-eaters are not living up to.

Toyota's agency partner, Hello Computer, set up a 1.8-kilometer track at a cycle park that replicated sections of the automaker's website with real physical displays and interactive feedback. Riders were asked to leave their mouses and hit the trail on a mountain bike to experience the RAV4 Outdoor Website and learn about the vehicle.

That seems like a lot of effort for something that's available on the smartphones of these hyper-active people who aren't in front of computers, but hooray for creatively conquering a problem that didn't exist. Hey, let's not be complete wet blankets – maybe some of the cyclists that ran the Toyota gauntlet got a RAV4 for their to- and fro-ing after the experience.

Check out these photos and a video showing the outdoor website below.

News Source: Toyota South Africa via YouTube

Image Credit: Live images copyright 2013 Seyth Miersma / AOL

eBay Find of the Day: Back To The Future Marty McFly 1985 Toyota SR5 pickup tribute

Posted Aug 6th 2013 10:31AM

With DeLorean time machine replicas thick on the ground, it was only a matter of time before someone started recreating the other vehicles in the McFly garage. At the end of the first Back to the Future movie, Marty returns to 1985 to find his sweet-looking Toyota SR5 truck all waxed and ready for his date. That truck always did look great in the movie, and now's your chance to own this close facsimile.

This Back to the Future replica Toyota is on eBay with a price of US$14,500, which the seller claims is half of what's been invested. Perhaps that's true, but it's still a nearly 30-year-old truck that's covered 280,000 miles (430,000 km). The seller does say the 22RE engine has been recently rebuilt, along with the rest of the drivetrain, and there's new paint, too. The attention to detail is admirable, and if you've always admired Marty's '80s-chic 4x4, now's your chance to own it.

News Source: eBay Motors

SRT gets first stand-alone ad campaign

Posted Jun 17th 2013 2:57PM

2014 srt viper in carwash

SRT has more models on offer than Chrysler. It has as many models as Ram, with hotted-up versions of the Dodge Charger and Challenger, Chrysler 300, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, plus the exclusive SRT Viper. Dodge is still the top of the choice heap, but SRT wants to wave its freak flag high after building its roster somewhat quietly. Since SRT can't roar through everyone's neighborhood, its taking to television with its first-ever advertising campaign.

You may have already been lucky enough to catch one of the Body and Soul spots that launched June 8 on cable. There are 30-, 60- and 90-second versions of the commercial, and a web-only full version that clocks in at 2:15. It's a nice piece of evocative writing by David Morring, who served as Creative Director for agency The Richards Group.

"We wanted to infuse our first-ever SRT creative campaign with grit, beauty, longing, desire and nostalgia," said Olivier Francois, Chrysler's Chief Marketing Officer. SRT President and CEO Ralph Gilles also weighed in about the campaign, saying "it's the feeling of when you get behind the wheel and step on the throttle for the first time and feel the power of the engine. It's that feeling and legacy that Chrysler Group has forged with owners and ther vehicles over the last cetury; something that SRT brand is creating with a new set of consumers for the first time." Keep reading to see the spots for yourself, read the press release, and see if they nailed it.

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News Source: SRT via YouTube, [1], [2], [3]

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic

Posted Jun 15th 2013 6:00PM

Memoirs of a Hack MechanicWhen you self-identify as a hack, that means you're proud of it, and Rob Siegel is proud of being a hack. He even has rules for what makes "a good kludge," which he delineates in his book, Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic. Rob Siegel, you see, isn't just a backyard wrench-twirler. His column, The Hack Mechanic, has been a fixture in the BMW Car Club of America's official magazine, Roundel, for decades. Now, Bentley Publishers has given Siegel a wider platform for musing about cars, while really not talking as much about cars as you'd think.

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic bills itself as "a memoir with actual useful stuff" – an apt description. It's not a how-to manual for fixing your car, and it may be more helpful keeping your life in balance than it is with carburetor balancing. That's no bad thing, and Siegel himself explains how classic manuals like John Muir's How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive and books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Shop Class as Soulcraft serve more like manuals for self-discovery than fix-it books.

The tone and Zen-seeking flavour of those books makes Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic an easy read that often makes you chuckle (because you've been there) or marvel at the clever solution to a potential landmine of a repair ("cascading failure" is Siegel's apt descriptor). Talking about the process of auto repair not from the "put-tab-B-into-slot-A" perspective, but from the "stand back and look at the big picture" point of view that the book takes is due, in part, to the author's day job as an engineer. It's good advice, and it's why the book has appeal beyond fans of Neue Klasse Roundies.

The actual useful stuff is exactly that, especially the section that covers tools and shop procedures. Knowing the right kind of equipment to buy, where to spend the money, and where you can find bargains is key to getting the job done in an at least somewhat enjoyable fashion, and that's all well-covered by the book. Another nugget of gold is a detailed section of repairing air conditioning systems, because without AC, your summer enjoyment season with a car lasts about five weeks until it's too sweltering to use, forcing you back to your Toyota Corolla. And nobody wants that.

Memoirs of a Hack Mechanic is a book that will feel right at home next to your spiral-bound How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, and it's written with a breezy, conversational tone that lets you get to know the author even if you haven't been reading Roundel for 25 years. It's less a car manual than it is a how-to guide for living with this particular addiction, from buying to keeping to selling cars that entertain you, and that's why it's a worthwhile addition to your library.

Another R/C movie car chase mini movie, but this one's really an advert

Posted May 20th 2013 2:00PM

When a video touts itself as "probably the greatest hollywood-style RC action movie car chase ever," (sic) you should set yourself up for disappointment. That's not to say that this joint effort, a clearly well-funded partnership between LA Muscle Sports Supplements and Fast & Furious 6, isn't fun and polished, but just lately we've posted some very entertaining small-scale car videos like this and this.

Still, it's cool to watch an R/C Camaro slide wide around turns amidst warehouse shelves full of LA Muscle product. Just as in real life, zooming around gets the attention of the constabulary, and a passel of police cars gives chase, which leads our Camaro protagonist to... J-TURN! It is a cool video, tied to a movie that we know is full of some fantastic cars and you can bet that the full-sizers will do stunts that are even more jaw-dropping.

Invest in watching the minute long video below.

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News Source: Matti B via YouTube

2013 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport

Posted Apr 18th 2013 2:59PM

2013 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport - front three-quarter view

"Oh yeah, Toyota still makes the Tacoma." Admit it, that's what you just said to yourself. It's a perfectly natural reaction, but the Tacoma has been quietly anchoring its segment for years, outselling every other compact pickup without making too much of a fuss. Toyota hasn't neglected the Tacoma – it was updated in 2012 with a revised nose and interior as the most notable changes.

In a world awash with high-value full-size pickups all vying for your attention, the Tacoma still charms more than a few buyers out of their cash. I hooked a Tacoma for a week to see whether it still has enough to recommend it.

Hit the jump to continue reading our full driving notes on the 2013 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport.

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Dan Roth / AOL

eGarage video features Helmut Bott's personal Porsche 959 prototype

Posted Apr 12th 2013 7:57PM

silver porsche 959 prototype sitting in the brumos porsche collection

"We thought we were going to build a super-911," said Peter Schutz, former CEO of Porsche AG of the development of the Porsche 959. That was before it started getting expensive. At that point, Helmut Bott, Porsche R&D director got frightened. Costs ballooned because of the all-wheel drive, sequential turbocharging and other technology Porsche had never even thought about when it set out to build a 911 to compete in Group B. Schutz continued, "The amount of resources we were committing got totally out of hand." Instead of pulling the plug, Bott doubled down and drew on the strength of his brilliant team to build a car whose impact is still echoing aross the industry.

"It's probably one of our most prized possessions" says Don Leatherwood, Director of the Brumos collection where Dr. Bott's personal prototype resides, and where Frazer Spowart went to see the car and create a video for eGarage. Check out the sights and sounds of the 959 before it was the 959, and get personal takes on the car from Hurley Haywood, Peter Schutz and Don Leatherwood.

Keep reading to watch the video.

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News Source: eGarage

2013 Best Cars for Families

Posted Apr 8th 2013 7:30PM

Enthusiasts are all talk. The best-selling cars are rarely the ones that set our hearts aflutter, and that's because while we're ogling glossy pictures of lust-worthy automobiles, Mr. and Mrs. Average Family are ponying up the money to actually park a new rig in the driveway. For these family-focused buyers, the wants and needs are different than the set of requirements you start listing when you want to go weekend autocrossing.

With that in mind, a recent report has set about naming the best family vehicle across 19 categories for 2013. "With such a broad range of award winners," says Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of U.S. News Best Cars, "any family can find the best car for their lifestyle."

The rankings result in a strong showing for General Motors, and the winners are nearly split right down the middle between foreign and domestic nameplates. Even given the workaday mission of family vehicles, there are still some winners we'd gladly pilot as the kids trash the interior.

Check out our gallery of winners, and keep reading to see the press release with full results below.

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Watch Top Gear USA try to outrun The Stig in an apocalyptic Camry

Posted Mar 12th 2013 4:58PM

Modified pink Toyota Camry for Top Gear USA - video screencap

The Stig makes his return to Top Gear USA on the History Channel tonight, though it looks like the circumstances could be better. The upside is that Rutledge Wood, Adam Ferrara and Tanner Foust appear to have built themselves a Road-Warrior-iffic late-1990s Toyota Camry complete with an electric fence. The Stig chases down his prey with, naturally, a Panther. Seems appropriate.

Looking more closely, it almost seems like a Camry body was bolted atop a truck frame, and you'd expect something like a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor to be the most menacing Panther, but the Stig does a good job being scary in a Lincoln Town Car. The only way to know for sure what went down is to watch tonight.

Click here to check out a video clip, and hit the photo gallery for some shots you'll only find here on Autoblog Canada.
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Image Credit: Gallery images copyright 2013 Michael Klein / BBC Worldwide