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Every year the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada gets together for Test Fest, one of the most respected new vehicle reviewing days thanks to a well honed set of standards. The event has taken place in the Niagara region over the past couple of days, with awards being handed out this morning. While The Garage is not part of AJAC at this point, thanks to the joys of Twitter we can share our friends findings with you right away.
Meet the 2009 CCOTY category winners:
A while back we posted one of the funniest videos ever, of an Irish rally crew losing their minds. While funny, that one pales in comparison to today’s offering.
Laddies Pat Horan and Pat Baker are really hustling along in their “vintage” 1600 cc Vauxhall Nova when they get caught behind a Group N WRX! The ^%$&^% dirty &(*^(^ wanker finally brake tests the boys in the Nova. What a &*^(&*^!!!
Put on the headphones for this one, or make sure there are absolutely NO kids or co-workers around for this one. If your wife/girlfriend/mom/you are the sensitive type, then you might want to make sure they don’t hear it either! Otherwise, it really is funny!
Source: Youtube via Autoblog
ps – A bit of googling shows that Horan also rallies a wicked looking Fiat 131. Very cool!
General Motors presented The Garage with a unique opportunity-to review their newest crossovers, the Chevy Equinox and the GMC Terrain back to back. I jumped at the chance, but I was skeptical of the Terrain. After a week with the Equinox, I couldn’t understand why there was even a need for the Terrain. When GM picked up the Equinox and handed me the keys to the top-spec Merlot Jewel Metallic SLT2 with all-wheel drive, I thought for certain the only thing the GMC would do was eat sales from the Chevy.
After a week with the Terrain, my first instincts proved false. A good Merlot needs time to breathe for the full flavor and characteristics to bear themselves out, and my Merlot-hued Terrain proved to be no exception.
Us North Americans tend to suffer rather short memories when it comes to cars, and I was reminded of this during my time with the Nissan cube. The cube is, well, different. I remember growing up in the 1970’s, spotting tiny Datsuns, Hondas and Subarus, and these cars looked like they landed from another planet. This was a time when the expression “foreign car” was a spot-on description for these curious beasts from Japan.
Japan never stopped making odd, jaw-dropping small cars, they just stopped importing them here. US-based design studios now cater to our tastes. But the cube is a direct link to the Japanese cars of my childhood, and I am glad it is finally available here in North America. This “mobile device” as Nissan calls it makes the Scion xB look dull in comparison. I knew the cube would add some needed spice to Nissan’s line of affordable cars, but what would be it like to live with one? [Read more…]
Tech porn magazine Popular Mechanics drives over 100 new cars every year. Then, they compile their fave list of cars and trucks in a slew of sensible categories. Here then is PM’s 4th annual winners:
Performance: Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Design: Chevrolet Camaro
Value: Kia Soul
Fuel Efficiency: Toyota Prius
Versatility: Subaru Outback
Fun to Drive: Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Off-Road Ability: Ford F-150 Raptor
Technical Innovation: Lexus Remote Touch
Luxury: BMW 335d
Workhorse: Ford Transit Connect
The only vehicles here that I haven’t driven are the Transit, Prius and GT500 in their current version. I must admit that they’ve chosen well, with the possible exception of Versatility. I’m not sure which of the many versatile cars I’ve driven this year would be my fave, but I do know that there are several that impress me more than the Subaru.
I’m beginning to think that we need to have our own annual test here in The Garage. Anyway, you can read the full deets of PM’s Awards here.
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With the news that Ken Block is moving to Ford in an effort to tackle the WRC, there are also the naysayers who are determined that he can’t do anything more than showboat. While it is true that the talent pool is pretty deep in Euro rally, Block has shown that he can go pretty deep himself when he needs to. Of course the question is, can he perform at a world class level for extended periods?
Video after the break.
Fisker announced today the purchase of a former GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware, where it plans to build a smaller, more affordable plug-in hybrid than the Karma (pictured above). The car, simply known as “Project Nina” will be a family oriented plug-in hybrid priced under $40,000 after rebates. In other words, priced around the Chevy Volt. Production is hoped to begin near the end of 2012.
The plans are ambitious, but Fisker shines a bright light in a country that has been bleeding manufacturing jobs. By 2014, Fisker hopes to create 2,000 factory jobs, and 3,000 jobs for vendors and suppliers. Fisker claims full capacity at the plant will be 75,000 to 100,000 cars a year, with about half of all production exported.
Fisker is buying the plant for $18 million USD from Motors Liquidation Co., better known as “Old GM.” The company will invest $175 million to retool the plant before production begins in 2012. The last cars GM built at the Wilmington plant were the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, and Opel GT. GM ceased production of the trio of tw0-seater sports cars in Spring of 2009.
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Brits are a funny lot. What some may call stubbornness, others might call nationalistic pride. Either way, that hard headed manner is what has led them to win wars. It helped create the BRM Grand Prix car and it most likely had a role in creating the simply incredible Ultima brand of motorcars.
Strangely it would seem that that same pigheadedness has prevented the folks at Top Gear from sending the British built supercar out onto their test track at the hands of The Stig. The story seems to be something about the TG folks thought the Ultima, a road legal car, could not cross a speed bump.
And so, the current Top Gear test track record sits at 1:10.7. That blistering time was set by 7 time World Champion and poster boy for good sportsmanship, Michael Schumacher in his personal Ferrari FXX. If you are not aware, the FXX is pretty much Ferrari’s ultimate track day weapon for well heeled owners. It is not road legal. Somehow I doubt that it will cross a speed bump.
Following the Top Gear record run, the folks at Ultima were certain their road legal GTR, with a few track day suspension settings, could make short work of that record. With the track booked for months in advance, Ultima waited until the folks at McLaren allowed them to grab a few laps on their time. The result?
The Ultima GTR turned in a 1:09.9, almost a full second faster than Schumi and his track only toy. Then, just to prove a point, they drove the car back to the factory!
Press release, photos and video after the break.
What you see above is the hot looking 2008 Car FX Mustang put together by the folks at Car FX. You can read all about it at 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords. The short version is that this beast has all sorts of performance goodies, full track suspension, interior upgrades and the like. Names like Roush, Paxton, Fidanza, Ford Racing, Tokico, Corbeau and more. A 4 point Autopower roll cage is also listed. It puts out 600 horsepower. In other words, this is one wicked beast.
A word about roll cages: a 4 point cage is actually a simple roll bar, nothing more. A quick glance at just about any road race or rally rule book will show that a cage must be mounted upon steel plates that are then mounted to the floor. it has been a long time since I’ve built a race car, but the standard size used to be 1/4″ thick plate that measured roughly 6×6″ and welded or bolted through the floor to prevent it from puncturing the floor in the event of a roll over.
Have a peek at the sequence after the break captured by ThienNam Ninh.
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