24th October 2014

LeMons New England: Many Audis, Many Forgotten GM Cars, and the World’s Most Evil Vanagon

10 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The 24 Hours of LeMons has returned to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the third annual Halloween Hooptiefest, and we’ve got some fascinating machinery among the 130 or so entries that rolled into the garage for our traditional Friday car inspections. Let’s take a look!

21 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
First of all, the Mod Squad Vanagon made everyone stagger back in awe. The recipe: Take one third-gen Toyota MR2 that was wrapped around a shopping-mall light pole in a fit of ill-advised hoonage, take a Vanagon body and chop 11″ out of its height, do some cutting and pasting. Yes, it is now an MR2 with a giant box-shaped airbrake and 800 pounds of additional weight… and one of the greatest race cars we have ever seen. Will it be faster than the GoWesty LeMons Vanagon, with its VR6 power? We’ll see on Saturday.

06 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
We have more Audis at this race, by far, than we’ve seen at any previous LeMons event. This is partly due to the five identical V6-powered Audi 90s brought by the four-rings-loving G-Tron Racing team, but we’ve got at least another four of the things at this race. Since A V6-engined 90 was the first Audi to take a win on laps in LeMons, there’s a small chance that we could see another Audi win (but that’s not the way to bet). Meanwhile, we also have more Subarus than at any previous race, so it’s conceivable that the car company that sports the Pleiades on its logo might manage to claw out its first LeMons overall win.

04 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The LeMons Supreme Court’s traditional BRIBED stencil for the ’14 Hooptiefest refers to recent events that have put New Hampshire on the national radar screen.

13 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The crazy Russians of Sputnik Racing have converted their Nissan Quest minivan into an excellent Monty Python and the Holy Grail-themed racing machine. We see a lot of Monty Python-themed LeMons teams, but never one with a cast this large, not to mention the first Black Knight costume that actually pumps “blood” from the arm stumps.

08 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
Speaking of medieval costumes, the Game of Crumple Zones Acura Integra team (winners of the Organizer’s Choice trophy at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey race) have constructed a “throne” out of a radiator and tire irons harvested from their local junkyard. The team also wears “crowns” made from old head gaskets and “rings” made from hose clamps.

07 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
Halloween may be the most LeMon-y holiday, and we saw many good costumes. Here’s a team that has chosen to dress not as characters from Smokey and the Bandit but as fans of the movie. That’s a distinction that’s probably lost on most normal people, but we get it.

05 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The Merkurian Falcon team is back with their Skid Row Star Wars costumes. That Wookiee is looking pretty mangy.

02 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The first team to bring a Volkswagen New Beetle to our series put together a credible Rocky Horror Picture Show theme.

09 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
Three Pedal Mafia celebrated Halloween by reprising all of their costumes from previous races.

15 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The Lemontarians added a Chevrolet Citation X-11 to their stable, and the team put together a gigantic wedding party, complete with matching bridesmaids.

16 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
Two members of the team got married 20 years ago, and their honeymoon car was the groom’s daily-driver Citation X-11. So the team recreated both the car and the wedding for our race.

18 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
This Mustang had competed in East Coast LeMons events for the last couple of years with a four-cylinder Pinto engine and a giant wing on the roof. For this race, the team converted the car into a Mad Max Falcon XB.

17 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
Now, we’ve seen a more accurate Mad Max Aussie Falcon replica in our series, but did that car have a right-hand-drive conversion? This team imported a European Ford Granada steering box from the UK to make this happen.

20 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
In what may be a first for a Fox-body Mustang, his car now has Datsun L28 power, courtesy of the now-stripped-and-crushed Spaceballs-themed Datsun 280ZX.

19 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The team even brought cans of Dinky-Di meat-and-vegies dog food!

11 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
With so many members of the Volkswagen Golf/Jetta family here, it takes something like this to stand out from the crowd.

12 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
The Super Grover Rover P6 is back for another shot at Class C glory.

14 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
If you’re looking for your first 24 Hours of LeMons car (and you don’t feel like choosing one of our wish-list cars), you could do a lot worse than an early Chevy Cavalier wagon. This car will be competing in Class C against the likes of the Sputnik Quest and the Super Grover Rover this weekend.

03 - Halloween Hooptiefest 24 Hours of LeMons Inspections
To see how the first day of racing at the ’14 Hooptiefest sorts out, check in on Saturday night.

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24th October 2014

Artist Peter Max’s Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video]

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Peter Max - A Retrospective - 1960-2014

Sometimes, the stories that lead to cars turning up at auction are as interesting as the vehicles themselves. That's absolutely the case with the Peter Max (pictured above) collection of vintage Chevrolet Corvette models that are scheduled to cross the block in the spring of 2016.

Max is perhaps best known as a '60s pop artist who mixed vibrant colors with iconic imagery. However, classic car fans around New York City might know him better for storing a collection of 36 vintage 'Vettes in public parking garages for decades. The assortment is pretty special because it consists of one example of every model year from the original 1953 up until 1989, according to The New York Times.

Unfortunately, New York parking garages aren't really known for their cleanliness, and photos show the artist's Chevrolet collection neglected, caked in dirt and dust. After moving the collection around between several locations in the past few years, Max finally brokered a deal to sell them all off for an undisclosed price earlier this summer.

The collection's new owners are rehabbing the cars in preparation for selling them off. They're hoping to keep them all together as a set, but they're also apparently ready to let them go individually if that doesn't work, a move that will likely build buzz around these cars as they move toward the auction block.

The most bizarre part about these Corvettes is how Max acquired them. Without spoiling too much, it involves a 1989 contest from the cable music channel VH1. Scroll below to watch a video about this fascinating collection, then go read the whole story over at The New York Times.

Continue reading Artist Peter Max's Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video]

Artist Peter Max's Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24th October 2014

2015 Subaru WRX STI2015 Subaru WRX STI Tested: If You Want Action, It Has the Traction

2015 Subaru WRX STI
If competition improves the breed, then the corollary is that the lack of competition invites stasis. And the Subaru WRX STI has only one natural predator: the dead-car-rolling Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the product of an enterprise that seems a little on the fence about whether it wants to sell cars or get deeper into the uranium business. READ MORE ››

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24th October 2014

Chrysler Gives 2015 200S a Much-Needed Mopar Upgrade for SEMA

2015 Chrysler 200S Mopar
The 2015 Chrysler 200 is strikingly handsome—particularly for its price range—but the mid-size sedan needs something more distinctive to stand out in its crowded segment. Ahead of next month’s blowout SEMA show, we got a peek at the juiced-up 200S that Chrysler will display at the Vegas extravaganza. Now this is more like it.Most notable is the car’s improved stance. Dropped down on a Mopar coil-over kit, the sedan looks decidedly more sinister. Chrysler says the dropped suspension will sharpen the car’s handling response, an area that definitely needs improvement. Matte-gold 19-inch wheels accent the black car and are designed to show off the slotted rotors of the Mopar big-brake kit. A new body kit (chin spoiler, side sills, and a mini rear diffuser) enhances the lower-and-wider look.

The mission of this customized 200S goes beyond dressing up the stature of Chrysler’s mainstream four-door—it also serves as a rolling business card for the Mopar catalog. The big-brake kit will be available almost immediately; the body kit will hit the Mopar catalog in the first quarter of 2015; and the 19-inch wheels, coil-overs, and intake and exhaust will come sometime soon after that.



Customers who aren’t keen on tinkering with a brand-new Chrysler themselves will find these Mopar accessories available via Chrysler’s online car builder, working in conjunction with the Mopar Custom Shop. Once a customer configures the car and the factory builds it, Mopar sends it to one of several Custom Shops around the country to have the accessories installed before the car is delivered. It’s not old-school hot-rodding, but it’s the factory-approved way to give Chrysler’s mid-sizer a little more street attitude.

2015 Chrysler 200S Mopar

2014 SEMA Show full coverage

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24th October 2014

Dodge Dart R/T Concept: The High-Performance Compact Dodge Needs to Build

Dodge Dart R/T Mopar concept
Dodge has a fascinating history of building hot compacts, one prominent example being
the Omni GLHS by Shelby, while the Caliber SRT4 marked a low point in terms of style and refinement. For the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas, the carmaker has taken its sensible Dart and tweaked it significantly to make it digestible to more discerning enthusiasts.

Painted in bright orange with matte black as a contrast color, and fitted with a prominent rear spoiler and diffuser, this Dart R/T concept looks pleasantly aggressive. But it also looks rather refined, thanks to a revised front fascia that turns the grille into a slit, while creating a large lower air intake visually separated by a body-colored strip. This feeds more air to the intercooler, Dodge says. We say it just looks cool.



The flat-black aluminum hood incorporates a large duct that not only appears awesome, but also feeds extra air to the unspecified engine’s intake box (the hood will be available as a Mopar add-on beginning early next year). Fiat-Chrysler claims the Dart R/T concept seems “poised to strike fear in the competition.” We wouldn’t go that far, but we will say that the package is an impressive improvement over the already sleek-looking Dart. With 18-inch lightweight wheels, a big-brake kit, and adjustable coil-over suspension from the Mopar catalog, it promises better road manners, too.

Who knows—this concept may actually inspire a series-production variant and add another chapter to Dodge’s remarkable history of compact high-performance beasts. Given the Dart’s general “meh”-ness, we think such a car can’t arrive quickly enough.

Dodge Dart R/T Mopar concept
2014 SEMA Show full coverage

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24th October 2014

Frosty Tide: Jeep Bringing a Pair of Curiously Named Renegade Concepts to the 2014 SEMA Show

Frosty Tide: Jeep Bringing a Pair of Curiously Named Renegade Concepts to the 2014 SEMA Show
The connotations might seem undesirable, but here is some “frostbite” you wouldn’t mind getting and a “riptide” you might wish to get caught in. We are talking, of course, about two special variations of the diminutive 2015 Renegade, which Jeep has prepared for the upcoming mod-crazy SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The Renegade Frostbite, painted in white with blue front grille surroundings, partially blue wheels, and blue mirror caps, plays a somewhat Arctic theme. The motif carries on through the interior; the “pearl seats” are covered in material by Katzkin, the self-proclaimed “world leader in automotive interiors.” Skis and snowboards can be placed atop the Mopar roof rack, and the Frostbite packs a modicum of additional SEMA-esque upgrades, including a rock rail guard. If you love it, you can acquire some of the Frostbite’s graphics as accessories.



While the Frostbite conveys a wintry mood, the Riptide is styled for the summer—specifically, for a summer shaped by surfing experiences. The “Vibrance Grandeur Blue” paint job would look right at home on the shores of Hawaii; it is complemented by black accents all over the vehicle. The blue interior, on the other hand, features contrasting white design elements.

Compared to beach cars and buggies of the past, the Riptide is downright practical. Appropriately, a surfboard is fitted to its roof.

Frosty Tide: Jeep Bringing a Pair of Curiously Named Renegade Concepts to the 2014 SEMA Show

2014 SEMA Show full coverage

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24th October 2014

Mopar ProMaster and Ram 2500 Concepts: Hospitable Outdoorsiness, Indoors at SEMA

Mopar ProMaster and Ram 2500 Concepts: Hospitable Outdoorsiness, Indoors at SEMA
As Chrysler’s in-house performance-parts brand, Mopar has historically gone large at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas. This year is proving to be no different, with muscle cars, trucks, and compacts galore showcasing wares from the division’s extensive parts and accessories catalog. Of Ram-style note are the ProMaster Hospitality Van and the Ram 2500 Outdoorsman pickup.

The upfitted ProMaster has been converted into what Mopar calls a “mobile lounge” featuring a refrigeration unit (read: five kegerators) that allows hosts to serve their esteemed guests a variety of frosty cold ones. The repurposed Fiat Ducato’s high walls see duty as merchandise displays. Cabinetry is installed to store merch, files, and canapé knives, and the whole extravaganza got finished off in Mopar Blue graphics with a low-gloss black lower section.

Mopar ProMaster and Ram 2500 Concepts: Hospitable Outdoorsiness, Indoors at SEMA

Decidedly less domesticated, the Ram 2500 Outsdoorsman (a label Ram has used before for a trim level) is painted “Swamp Thing Green”—presumably to evoke memories of Aaron Robinson’s 1942 Dodge WC-54 military ambulance. It’s accented with a camo scheme from Mossy Oak and employs bed-mounted utility hoops to create a Conestoga wagon-style tent, making it perfect overland conveyance for those who aren’t afraid to die of dysentery.



Suspended by Bilstein shocks and a Mopar leveling kit, the Outdoorsman stands tall on 35×12.50 BFG Mud-Terrain T/As wrapped around 17-inch bead-lock wheels, offering a hint of brodozer stance. Flared front fenders and assorted Mopar accessories complete the look.

If only they’d included the ProMaster’s beverage-refrigeration system, the thing would make for a damn fine mobile duck blind.

Mopar ProMaster and Ram 2500 Concepts: Hospitable Outdoorsiness, Indoors at SEMA

2014 SEMA Show full coverage

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24th October 2014

Dodge Challenger T/A Concept Brings Old-School Muscle-Car Flair to SEMA

Dodge Challenger T/A concept

Dodge’s beastly Challenger has always been about raw, retro muscle-car style, and the company’s eye-searing Sublime Green–painted Challenger T/A concept takes that formula and cranks it up to 11. Whipped up to tickle show-goers at the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas, this special Challenger channels the spirit of racing driver Sam Posey’s original number 77 Challenger T/A, a track animal that defined ’70s-era pony-car racing.

Sure, the matte-black-over-lime-green color scheme may be a bit disco, but mechanically, the Challenger T/A concept is wholly modern. Chrysler’s familiar 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 sends power to the rear axle via a six-speed manual—the same drivetrain found in the 2015 Challenger R/T Scat Pack—provides motivation, and it breathes through a functional Viper-style hood scoop. For even more airflow, the Challenger’s running lights—the inboard units up front—have both been replaced with a hollowed-out Air Catcher ram-air intake tube. The mighty 707-hp 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat utilizes an Air Catcher on the driver’s-side running light only.

Dodge Challenger T/A concept

The T/A’s lightweight 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels with a wicked matte-black finish come from the Mopar catalog, and they’re fitted over Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers and two-piece slotted and vented rotors. Other Mopar goodies include an active exhaust system, which can divert flow from the standard rear-exit mufflers to the considerably louder (and infinitely cooler) side pipes, as well as aero bits such as a front splitter and an aggressive decklid spoiler.



The Challenger T/A’s details are what really give this impressive car its ’70s Trans-Am flair, though. To wit, just check out those hood pins, the lack of rear seats, and the half roll cage with mounts for four-point harnesses. Everything is both functional and intimidating, a truly powerful combination, so forget that there aren’t 707 ponies under that unruly hood and tell Dodge to build the T/A for real.

Dodge Challenger T/A concept

2014 SEMA Show full coverage

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24th October 2014

Rare McLaren F1 for Sale On Craigslist for Nearly $8 Million: Believe It—Or Not

McLaren F1 on Craigslist? Seems TOTALLY legit...
Cruising Craigslist for a classic supercar that’ll really stand out from the crowd? Look no further. Here’s a legit 1994 McLaren F1 for sale in San Diego that’s definitely for real and not at all a scam.

READ MORE: What it’s like to drive the McLaren F1

The listing is short and to the point. “Original 1994 Gray McLaren F1 7.89 million,” the seller promises. This example reportedly has 78,436 miles on the odo—pretty damned high for a car that cost over $1 million new and appreciated faster than diamond-crusted gold bars after all 106 examples were produced. But c’mon, this seller seems legit—after all, he or she points out that the car has lost 13 horsepower over the years.

Look, don’t worry about the fact that the listing only features two small, grainy pictures that also happen to be the same ones that I just found in a 10-second Google search. Never mind as well that they’re two entirely different cars (see mirror placement). All those million-dollar hand-built exotics look the same in silver anyway.



READ MORE: Ex-Andretti McLaren F1 sells for $10 million

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta take advantage of an opportunity. Especially when it’s the opportunity to fork over nearly $8 million to a Craigslist scammer who’s too lazy to even try to convince you that there’s a rare supercar at the other end of that anonymous Craigslist email address.

via the Petersen Museum

This story originally appeared on roadandtrack.com.

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24th October 2014

Student-Designed Visio.M EV Concept: How BMW’s i3 Should Have Looked

TUM Visio.M

BMW’s i3 electric hatchback is a lot of things—efficient, futuristic, packed with technology—but it isn’t exactly what you’d call handsome, at least not in the traditional sense. Students at the Technical University Munich (TUM), with backing from both BMW and Daimler, have come up with a solution—well, more of an alternative—in the form of an electric car that looks remarkably similar to the i3, albeit better-looking. The students’ i3 lookalike is called the Project Visio.M, and it is a plug-in electric car with a focus on light weight, safety, and practicality. On looks alone, the students nailed it. The two-seater concept car is definitely more conventionally attractive than the somewhat tall and amorphous BMW i3. We even dig its name, which seems like a riff on BMW’s Vision concept, the hot show car that presaged the production i8.

TUM Visio.M

Underneath the skin, Project Visio.M shares a lot with its ugly duckling step-sibling from BMW. Like the Bimmer, the Visio.M is built around a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque frame; the composite material is as tough as steel but half the weight. That wonder material helps the Visio.M weigh in at a featherweight 1180 pounds, 1053 pounds lighter than the last i3 we tested and way lighter than any road-legal car you can buy today.

Thanks to its low mass, the Visio.M doesn’t need a lot of power to get it going. As such, in spite of the 187-pound, 13.5-kWh battery, which holds about half the juice of the Nissan Leaf’s electric heart, and a 15 kW electric motor, the Visio.M is capable of a very competitive 99 miles of driving range and a top speed of 75 mph.



To be truthful, the Visio.M is still very much a concept. Tricks like lightweight polycarbonate windows either aren’t legal or simply aren’t wanted in most markets, and even the thriftiest buyers expect basics like sound deadening (which the Visio.M lacks). The university team that developed the Visio.M has no plans of making it a reality, but the fact that they could make a viable electric vehicle that uses the same high-tech construction techniques and materials as the i3 without resorting to bizarre styling makes the future of high-efficiency motoring look a little brighter.

TUM Visio.M

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