29th July 2014

Lightning Strikes Oshkosh: Ford F-35 Lightning II Mustang Auctioned at AirVenture Air Show

Lightning Strikes Oshkosh: Ford F-35 Lightning II Mustang Auctioned at AirVenture Air Show

Around here, most Ford Mustang stories count as feel-good editorial, but here’s a real feel-good story that’ll probably make you say “Awwww!” and possibly make you do a fist pump at the same time. On Thursday, July 31, one very special 2015 Mustang will be auctioned off at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with proceeds going to benefit the EAA’s Young Eagles program. The program has provided free introductory flights to 1.8 million youths since 1992, according to the EAA, “helping inspire and motivate the next generation of leaders, aviators, and innovators.”

Now for the fist-pump part: Dubbed the F-35 Lightning II Mustang after the fast, if controversial, new F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, this slammed, one-off 2015 Mustang GT fastback will be one of the first Mustangs to be sold anywhere. It looks completely bad-ass with glossy and matte dark-silver paint along with yellow hood stripes, mirror caps, and brake calipers. Blue and yellow rear-end graphics mimic the tail livery of early-production examples of its airworthy namesake, as does the gold tint on its windows. The car sits on lowered Eibach springs and custom black and yellow Forgiato 21-inch wheels, while the exhaust system is modified with larger, ceramic-coated cans. And no car could be named after a fighter jet without sporting one serious aero kit—the F-35 Lightning II Mustang slices through the air with carbon-fiber components including a ground-scraping front splitter, sill extensions, a rear diffuser, and a stand-up rear spoiler. The final touches come in the form of an F-35 badge on the rear panel, and the flags of nine U.S. allies give colorful display on the lower doors.

Ford F-35 Lightning II Edition Mustang

The interior sports an intense, high-contrast mix of black and yellow bits, with aggressively bolstered Recaro racing seats, a modified instrument cluster, a custom audio system, and sill plates, as well as F-35 Lightning II embroidery on the floor mats, door panels, and seatbacks. All that’s missing is a joystick; the new owner will have to settle for a conventional six-speed manual shifter instead.



This isn’t the first time that Ford has built a special-edition Mustang in support of EAA Young Eagles. Every year since 2008, Ford has whipped out a one-off Stang to be auctioned at the air show, each one commemorating different aircraft, with last year’s Thunderbirds Edition Mustang celebrating the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force’s demonstration team. All together, Ford vehicles have raised $2.5 million in support of the Young Eagles—again, awwww! To see more of them, go to www.FordAirventure.com. If you want to see this one in person—or bid on it—you’re gonna have to catch a flight to Oshkosh.

Lightning Strikes Oshkosh: Ford F-35 Lightning II Mustang Auctioned at AirVenture Air Show

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29th July 2014

Technologies and Companies Work Together for a Cleaner, Smarter Energy Future


We are geeked about smart grids.

Integrating renewable energy and electric vehicles is the future of vehicle charging.

In short, these different green technologies are working together to improve the efficiency of the energy infrastructure as a whole.

Now the industry is working together to make EVs a more viable choice for consumers and EV charging a less energy intensive drain on the electric grid.

Today we announced we’re partnering with seven other global automakers, 15 electric utilities and the Electric Power Research Institute to develop and implement a standardized smart grid integration platform.

For the first phase of the program, EPRI and the participating companies will be working to develop a standardized Demand Response solution.

Demand Response is when a utility sends a signal to an energy management company communicating the supply and demand needs to the electric grid. That company then communicates with designated PEVs in the area to manage their energy consumption in accordance with the grid’s needs.

“If such a service were ever to be implemented for consumers that opt-in to it, they could receive a financial benefit or other incentive for allowing their vehicle charging to be managed,” said Tim Nixon, Chief Technology Officer, Global Connected Consumer, GM. “This would also allow utilities to help reduce stress on the grid and costs to all utility customers.”

The goal of this program is to develop a cloud-based, central server that would receive grid requests from a utility and then translate and standardize that request. The role of the automotive manufacturers will be to develop and deploy technologies that are compatible with these smart grid communications.

GM currently has been working with companies like TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. to research, test and develop potential real-world solutions like Demand Response.

Connecting cars to the grid is just one way we’re connecting you to what’s important.

Want to learn more about vehicle-to-grid technology and what it means for EV drivers and everyday consumers? Check out the interview above with our global manager of renewable energy, Rob Threlkeld.

The post Technologies and Companies Work Together for a Cleaner, Smarter Energy Future appeared first on FastLane.

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29th July 2014

Independents of Speed, American: John Hennessey

Independents of Speed, American: John Hennessey

From-the-Aug-2014-issue-of-CAR-and-DRIVER-magazine-626

Age: 51

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Company: Hennessey Performance Engineering; 35 employees in a 36,000-square-foot facility with its own drag strip in Sealy, Texas, and five more employees at a satellite facility in Lake Forest, California.

Past projects: Beginning with his own 1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4, Hennessey has tweaked, supercharged, and turbocharged Vipers, Camaros, F-150 Raptors, Corvettes, and more.

Current project: Venom GT, a 1244-hp, twin-turbocharged, 7.0-liter V-8–powered $1.2 million version of the Lotus Exige. Hennessey tested it at more than 270 mph and claims that it is the world’s fastest production car. It all depends on what your definition of “is” is. He plans to build 26 Venom GTs.

C/D: How do you decide what cars to concentrate on modifying?

JH: Twenty years ago, a car like the Viper might be popular for three to five years. Now my theory is that what’s cool changes every 18 months. So now I’m constantly looking to see what’s the next cool car. Today it’s obviously the C7 Corvette. And we do a lot of Raptors, too. There’s always an ebb and flow.

Independents of Speed, American: John Hennessey

Hennessey Venom GT

C/D: Why do you do this?

JH: It’s a passion or addiction. When we can build a Venom GT and deliver it to a guy like Steven Tyler and he says to me: “I work a lot and I travel a lot, and when I’m home I drive my Venom every day. It’s one of the things in life that gives me enjoyment.” That’s satisfying.



C/D: Does top speed still matter?

JH: It matters to me personally. I didn’t want to build the Venom GT and have some qualifications like “the fastest around the Nürburgring.” I wanted to say we’re the fastest. It was a matter of pride.

C/D: What’s been your biggest screw-up?

JH: Well, that’s a long list, to be honest. The biggest thing I had to overcome, back 10 or 12 years ago, was my pride. I got to a point where we had been featured in plenty of magazines and on covers. And I just thought, “We build great cars, and customer service and turnaround times—they’ll just have to wait because we have such a great product.” I had the product, but I wasn’t paying attention to the back end of the business. And it caught up to me. I found out the hard way that it’s a big deal.

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29th July 2014

2014 Honda Civic HF Tested: Unvarnished Penuriousness

2014 Honda Civic HF Tested: Unvarnished Penuriousness
Here’s a casebook illustration of why alternative technologies such as hybrids and electrics are having a rough go in the marketplace: traditional automobiles just keep getting better, too, sometimes by sharing the same “advances” pioneered by their supposed betters. In the HF trim level tested here, Honda offers a low-cost/high-mpg Civic appealing to frugal-minded car-shoppers who might otherwise land in a smaller B-segment hatch (such as Honda’s own Fit) or a hybrid. By scratching off its equipment list hefty hardware such as a glass moonroof, power adjustable heated seats, and climate control while making a few judicious changes (notably adding underbody panels to reduce drag and using low-mass, low-drag aluminum wheels), the HF gets both improved fuel economy and a sticker price of only $20,730. READ MORE ››

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29th July 2014

Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer Rips You Into a Dystopian Automotive Nightmare [Video]

Mad Max Fury Road

The team behind the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road movie sure have an acute sense of timing, having released the ultrableak full trailer just before a Monday. As you slide more deeply into the work week, let us present the dystopian, depressing, hopeless postapocalyptic future, as imagined through the lens of director George Miller. Previously, we brought you a glimpse of what cars to expect in the movie—now see some of those rides in action. Lots of action. Explosion-filled, Michael Bay–esque levels of action. 



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28th July 2014

24 Hours of LeMons Chicago: The Winners!

Randomness 4
For the 24 Hours of LeMons’ fifth visit to the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, we started things off with inspections of some strange-O engine-swapped machinery on Friday, then ran one long race session that started on Saturday morning and finished at midnight. With the lack of a break between sessions, mechanical problems tended to knock cars out of contention for class leads but heightened a near-panic-stricken sense of urgency among the teams that wanted their cars kept on the track at all costs. We saw much madness, much heroism, and much disappointment, and we rewarded nine teams with sure-to-be-cherished LeMons trophy hardware. Here are your 2014 Doin’ Time In Joliet 24 Hours of LeMons award winners.

Class A Winner 3
Only a few Nissan Z-cars have done very well in LeMons racing (though Z-based teams have been very numerous over the years), which tells us that the three teams that have won multiple races (one of which is Saab-powered) are nearly alone in overcoming the reliability problems of the breed. Team Back To The Past just added another win by getting 318 laps with their ’85 300ZX at Autobahn. These guys weren’t driving the fastest car on the track— in fact, 41 teams (out of 96 total) racked up quicker best lap times than did the Back To The Past Nissan— but they raced cleanly, didn’t hurt the car, and practiced impeccable pit-stop strategy, and in the end they’d won by a not-very-comfortable fraction of a lap over the LemonAid Racing BMW 325i. Back To The Past won the 2012 Heaps In the Heart of Texas race, followed by 2014 North Dallas Hooptie race, and now they are the Class A and overall winners of the 2014 Doin’ Time In Joliet race.

Class B Winner 1
In Class B, Point-O-Eight and their BMW-ized Ford Escort GT took the class win by four laps, finishing with 306 total laps and P10. This team has been competing in Midwest Region LeMons racing for a few years now, and they’ve gone from hard-luck parts-breakers to solid class contenders during that time.

Class C Winner 1
The Schnitzelwagen 1972 Volkswagen Type 3 Squareback glommed the Index of Effluency trophy at the 2012 Autobahn race, but that wasn’t enough for those air-cooled Volkswagen fanatics. They wanted a Class C win as well, and after a half-dozen attempts (involving many broken engine components) they’ve reached their goal. Der Schnitzelwagen’s drivers beat their closest class rival, the Windy City Racing BMW 2002, by four laps.

25 - 24 Hours of LeMons Chicago Inspections
There were several strong candidates for the Most Heroic Fix award at this race, but Milwaukee’s Pabst Blue Racing team out-sweated the rest, the team members shredding their knuckle flesh to the bone in most relentless fashion while patching their rear-wheel-drive-converted, Cadillac Northstar V8-powere Nissan Maxima together in time to catch the checkered flag.

Heroic Fix Winner 2
The PBR car broke a connecting rod on the second lap of the race, punching big holes in both sides of the engine block. Many teams faced with a much less severe problem— say, a blown head gasket in a Honda Civic— just pack up and go home at this point. The idea of obtaining and swapping a big, complicated engine in a weirdly fabricated mid-engined race car would seem as difficult as pushing a peanut all the way to the top of Pikes Peak with one’s nose to such a team, but Pabst Blue Racing is made of sterner stuff.

Heroic Fix Winner 3
The one bright spot for PBR was the ease of obtaining a junkyard Northstar in the Midwest on a Saturday afternoon. Illinois junkyards tend to be well-stocked with early-90s Cadillacs, and it wasn’t long before an allegedly good engine (the donor car had the word “RUNS” scrawled on its windshield) was back at the PBR pit space. The entire much-modified Cadillac suspension subframe had to be dropped out the bottom of the Maxima, followed by hundreds of large and small tasks to be accomplished in order to get the replacement engine installed.

Heroic Fix Winner 1
Nearly 12 hours after the first engine blew up, the Pabst Blue Racing Maxima was ready to go with its new engine. Unfortunately, it overheated just three laps after its glorious return to the track, and the team finished 96th out of 96 entries. So what? A well-earned Most Heroic Fix trophy!

I Got Screwed 1
The LemonAid Racing Geo Metro managed to win both Class C and Index of Effluency trophies, three-cylinder engine and all. After the LemonAid guys got an overall win in their BMW 3-series (yes, the one that they made into a rolling monument to Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha) last year, they decided they wanted a tougher challenge, so they opted for a powertrain upgrade in their Metro.

I Got Screwed 6
Yes, that’s a BMW M50, driving the Metro’s rear wheels. This beautiful abomination ended up weighing more than the team’s E30 (excess weight tends to be a problem with swaps like this), but the team had high hopes for its road-racing success. Sadly, it suffered many mechanical failures, wasn’t especially quick, and turned a mere 43 laps.

I Got Screwed 2
Meanwhile, the LemonAid E30 spent most of the race in P1, but a late-innings black flag for a dramatic off-track excursion gave the lead to the Back To The Past Nissan. For ruining their perfectly good Geo Metro with a backbreaking 10,000-man-hour drivetrain swap and missing the overall win in their BMW due to a single driver mistake, we gave Team LemonAid the I Got Screwed award.

Don't Listen To Judge Phil 2
The United Partnership of Pentastar Racers were well on the way to taking home a Most Heroic Fix or I Got Screwed trophy— racers who choose members of the extended Chrysler K-Car family tend to be major players when it comes to those two awards— when their 1992 Plymouth Sundance Duster clanked to a halt early in the race.

Don't Listen To Judge Phil 6
The Mitsubishi 6G72 V6 engine under the Sundance’s hood refused to run correctly, due to undiagnosable fuel-delivery and/or ignition and/or cosmic-ray problems. The members of the United Partnership of Pentastar Racers are, to a man, engineers employed by Detroit auto manufacturers, but curing the maddening ailments of their engine controls seemed beyond the abilities of modern science. They tried swapping fuel injectors, then arrived at the junkyard too late to buy a replacement engine computer.

Don't Listen To Judge Phil 5
At that point, I offered a terrible suggestion: cut a hole in the flat top surface of the 6G72′s intake manifold and mount a random carburetor borrowed from any team that would loan one out for a few hours. By the same means, scrounge up a low-pressure electric fuel pump and a crappy fuel-pressure regulator and provide the carb with the correct fuel flow. At first, the UPOPR engineers were too fastidious in their engineerdom to even consider such a hair-raisingly crude kludge (keep in mind that these guys scratchbuilt their own digital instrument cluster and then added wireless telemetry for the exhaust-gas temperature of each of the engine’s cylinders), but a combination of race fever and the offer of all the needed carburetor-related bits from the crazy New Zealanders of Apocalyptic Racing did the trick.

Don't Listen To Judge Phil 3
In a very short time, the Aisin carburetor was mounted onto a freshly-hacked hole in the Mitsubishi’s intake, the linkage and fuel plumbing was in place, the hood had been sliced to clear the carb, and the team just needed to wait for the RTV to cure in order to get back onto the track.

Don't Listen To Judge Phil 4
It worked! Two more laps of racing, with the car hitting 85 mph at one point. Then the RTV sealant began running, causing huge vacuum leaks and sending the Plymouth back to the pits. Still, it was one of the most triumphant moments in all of LeMons hooptiedom, and for that we honored the United Partnership of Pentastar Racers with the created-for-the-occasion Never Listen To Judge Phil award.

Judges Choice Winner
The 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court justices always choose a recipient for the Judges’ Choice award, and this time the judges (which included Hooniverse writer Eric Rood and radial aircraft engine-powered MR2 builder Marc LaBranche) gave the trophy to a team that didn’t even bring a race car to the track. Team Muenster Energy suffered repeated trailer and tow-vehicle mishaps on their way from Wisconsin, damaging their race car beyond repair in the process. Rather than just give up, they came to the track and watched the race, offered to lend a hand to teams in need of assistance, and generally had a much more positive attitude than we see from most teams who don’t get to race at all. The LeMons Supreme Court justices approve of this, and so we gave Muenster Energy the Judges’ Choice award.

Org Choice Winner 3
The Organizer’s Choice went to a team that put a lot of effort into making their Mustang into a convincing flying pig, complete with heavy and drag-inducing oil-drum snout and huge plywood wings, even though they often contend with the fastest teams for an overall win. The Flying Pig Racing car looks spectacular on the track, and it generally finishes in the top five (this race, it was P3).

Org Choice 1
We think that all the quick teams should decorate their cars this well.

IOE Winner 4
The top prize of LeMons racing is the Index of Effluency award, given to the team that accomplishes the most with the least likely vehicle. About halfway through this race, we decided that two teams stood out above all the others in the IOE race: the Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing Ford EXP, and the Afunzalo Racing Fiat X1/9.

IOE Runner-Up 2
Whichever of those two got the most laps by the time the checkered flag waved, we decided, would get the Index of Effluency trophy.

IOE Winner 2
The Fiat, while very slow, was slightly quicker than the Ford, but the two stayed neck and neck for hour after hour.

IOE Runner-Up 3
Then, disaster struck! Actually, disaster (in the form of repeated mechanical woes) had been striking both teams all day, but the EXP suffered a catastrophic balljoint failure late in the afternoon and came in on the hook with the front wheels pointing in markedly different directions.

IOE Winner 3
The EXP was repaired amazingly quickly, but the Afunzalo Racing Fiat X1/9 built up enough of a lead to beat Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing by six laps. Congratulations, Afunzalo Racing!

Randomness 5
Not enough LeMons coverage to satisfy your hooptie-racing jones? You can check out more photos of the Doin’ Time In Joliet race here, you can follow the updates from LeMons HQ on the 24 Hours of LeMons Facebook page, and you can always keep up with the latest LeMons news at the Inexplicably Presented By Car and Driver LeMons Roundup page.

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28th July 2014

What you missed on 7.28.14

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Daily U-Turn

First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge PrototypeInfiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

It's quick - 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast - top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.



Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheelsPolaris Slingshot

The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.



Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.



Top Stories

What you missed on 7.28.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28th July 2014

2014 Kia Forte5 SX Turbo Automatic Test: Closing the Hot-Hatch Gap

2014 Kia Forte5 SX Turbo Automatic

When we first tested Kia’s five-door-hatch version of the Forte (there are also sedan and coupe, ahem, Koup variants), we were critical of its maker’s claim that the car was “ultra hot,” noting that a 7.5-second 0–60 run doesn’t qualify for hot-hatch status. READ MORE ››

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28th July 2014

All-New 2015 Ford F-150 Pricing Goes Live, Starts at $26,615

All-New 2015 Ford F-150 Pricing Goes Live, Starts at $26,615

We’ve learned much about the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 in the last few months: that it will make substantial use of aluminum; the output, weight, and tow ratings of models with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 and 3.5-liter V-6; and now we know how much the 2015 F-150 will cost. Ford has released pricing info, and the base XL and XLT models will increase by $395; that translates to $26,615 and $31,925, respectively.

Ford has simplified the lineup as well, going from ten models to five. In addition to the XL and XLT, there will be Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels. The price for the Lariat increases by $895, to $39,730. King Ranch models go up by $3615, to $49,690; Platinum models by $3055, to $52,155.

With the price increases come increased standard features. The XL and XLT receive a 2.3-inch “productivity screen,” a 4.2-inch LCD screen in the center stack, and a telescoping steering wheel. The XLT adds BoxLink, a flexible cargo-box system and a power-locking tailgate—features not available on the 2014 F-150. The XL and XLT are offered in regular-cab, rear-wheel-drive models with a 6.5-foot-long cargo bed.

The Lariat adds to the above list of features an eight-inch gauge cluster, LED cargo-box lighting (not offered on 2014 models), heated/cooled front seats, power-folding sideview mirrors, and a rearview camera. The Lariat is offered in both SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum Crew Cab 4x4

The King Ranch builds upon this with quad LED headlights, LED taillamps, and first-ever LED spotlights built into both sideview mirrors. In addition to the locking tailgate, there is a power remote release, 110-volt front/rear power outlets, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, push-button start (not available on 2014 models), a heated steering wheel, real wood trim, and rear heated seats. The Platinum tops it all off with massaging front seats and inflatable rear seatbelts. Both the King Ranch and Platinum models are standard with the SuperCrew and 5.5-foot-long bed and rear-wheel drive.

As far as powertrains are concerned, the XL and XLT have the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6; upgrading to the turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 runs you $495. Moving up to the turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 costs $1995. The Lariat offers the 2.7-liter V-6 as standard with the 5.0-liter V-8 available depending on wheelbase. The 5.0-liter V-8 is standard on both the Platinum and the King Ranch, with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 a $400 option. Regardless of powertrain, a six-speed automatic transmission is standard and four-wheel drive is available.



The all-new 2015 F-150 is kicking sand in the faces of its competition in all the factors that matter: price, performance, and value. How the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, the Ram 1500, and the Toyota Tundra will fight back remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: It’s going to be an epic battle for every inch of market share.

All-New 2015 Ford F-150 Pricing Goes Live, Starts at $26,615

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28th July 2014

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat: In-Depth with Drive-Mode Controls and More! [Video]

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat: In-Depth with Drive-Mode Controls and More!
James Wilder, SRT’s Vehicle Integration Manager, explains the new Challenger Hellcat’s performance pages including launch control and drive-mode controls. Watch the video here.

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