It is not very often when three letters can carry with it such a long standing legacy of motorsport greatness. Those same three letters embody the ethos of a company’s relentless vision to defy technology at the time and push beyond it’s boundaries. When the letters GTR is said, it immediately conjures up mental images of four round tail lights speeding into the distance. Nissan’s Skyline GTR is one of the automotive industry’s greats to come out of Japan from a time when Italians and Germans dominated the racing field and to this day not only rivals the best of the best in the industry, but is the bar which others compare against.
Most who know the GTR know it as the Skyline. Nissan acquired the company Prince who manufactured the Skyline back in the 60’s. Since then, Nissan created a high performance version of their standard vehicle and badged it with GTR and history began to write itself. The Skyline GTRs were built between 1969 and 1974 but took a hiatus until the late 80’s and production of GTRs started up again from 1989 to 2002. Although what we know today simply as the Nissan GTR is still manufactured to date, the Skyline name has since been dropped post 2002. Although the name no longer lives, the underlying DNA of the Skyline undoubtedly lives on.
When it comes to digging deep and pulling yourself up, no name personifies and embodies this belief more than Alex Zanardi. Born Alessandro Zanardi, the Italian is a professional race car driver and paracyclist. For those of you who don’t know Zanardi’s story, it likely strange to read that he is a paracyclist, and also a professional race car driver. One must be asking themselves how that can be possible. Well, the story of Alex Zanardi is no ordinary story.
Zanardi began racing karts at age 13. He built his kart from the wheels of a dustbin and pipes from his father’s work. In 1988, he joined the Italian Formula 3 series, with a fifth place as his highest finish. In 1989, Zanardi took two pole positions and three podiums despite his team’s switching to unleaded fuel, which reduced his car’s engine power. In 1991, he moved up to the Formula 3000 series with the Il Barone Rampante team, themselves newcomers to the series. He won his F3000 debut race, scoring two more wins that season and finishing second in the championship.
The basis of Lotus was founded on the simple philosophy of its originator Colin Chapman, “Simplify, then add lightness”, he said. This was the founding philosophy of the company and to this day that formula lives on in one of the company’s most iconic vehicles, the Lotus 7. Although that model name has not survived time, and hasn’t even survived ownership from the same automaker, the car itself lives on under the Caterham name.
Looking at the history of creations at Lotus, you can see that their designs uses the least number of parts in its products, but relies on the highest levels of engineering to retain the parts function while yielding the least amount of weight and maximizing durability. This translates into a vehicle that doesn’t rely on sheer horse power for speed. Rather, the formula results in a vehicle that is nimble and all around fast no matter where it is on the track.
Ford…Chevy….Dodge…these three companies have been at it head to head since the beginning trying to out do one another by producing cars that are better, faster, and stronger than the other. These companies are fueled off of that competition to try and design and put out the best American sports car. Whether it be the Mustang, the Camaro, or the Charger, the pursuit for performance has never stopped. Take the Mustang. Ford is now currently on their sixth generation which has spanned development from 1964 to current day. Each generation uses the best technology available at the time and tries to develop a vehicle that pushes past the standard boundary. Throughout the generations, aftermarket tuning shops have taken the automaker’s mass produced vehicles, and put their own touch to squeeze out even more performance.
Jump forward to 1991 and the name John Hennessey comes to mind. Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE) and their team of gear heads took the automakers competition against each other out of the equation and united all three of them by designing performance packages that can be added on to the stock vehicles to make them go faster. Based out of Texas, HPE designs and manufactures go fast parts out of their 36,000 square foot workshop and showroom facility. Today, consumer brand loyalty still exists. Ford buyers stick with their Mustangs and Dodge buyers stick with their Chargers. But both customer bases have a common ground of wanting high power modifications and spending wads of money at Hennessey to get there.
A very exposed large SUV from Volkswagen has been spotted testing out in China. The North American market hasn’t seen or heard much about the large three rowed SUV since the concept vehicle debuted at the Detroit Auto Show back in 2013. With the SUV market being so dominant in North America, it is still a wonder if the large SUV will make it onto North American soil.
Curiously, the vehicle is first spotted in China before the US given the great demand of these types of vehicles here. Currently the car spotted in China is called the Teramont, but it will likely get rebadged if it hits North American soil. Not shockingly, the production car looks a lot like the CrossBlue concept. True to current VW standards, the front headlights get the full LED package and the angular design element continues to the rear. The Teramont really looks like a jacked up version of the current generation Passat that’s available in the European market.
Here’s to hoping that we get another SUV in the Volkswagen lineup because as it stands it’s a little thin.
Or is it really? According to some sources, there seems to be a claim that the Rock is taking a page out of his wrestling days and fabricated the fake feud to promote the Fast 8 movie as well as an up coming WWE match. However, what doesn’t add up is the fact that the feud is pretty one sided. If this is in fact fake, there should be more banter back and forth to drive up the drama. In this case, it’s been pretty one sided.
The likelihood of the feud being legit is pretty high. Ultimately, the Fast and Furious franchise is a money printing machine. There has been a loyal following to the movie franchise and the lead characters from the day it premiered in theatres over 15 years ago. Realistically, the movie doesn’t need a lot of hype and will still make boat loads of money.
Whether or not the feud between Diesel and The Rock is real is yet to be determined.
Ford is issuing a recall that impacts approximately 88,000 of their vehicles in North America. These vehicles include the Flex, Taurus, the Police Interceptor sedans, and also Lincoln’s MKS and MKT all produced between 2013-2015. The issue has been identified as a faulty fuel pump control module which could result in the vehicle not starting, or worse, stalling during operation.
At this point, no accidents have been linked to the recall. If you do own one of these vehicles, contact your local dealership for more information about the recall. The dealership will inspect the vehicle and replace the fuel pump control module at no cost to vehicle owners.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! The long awaited car of redemption from Mazda may finally be coming. For those of us who loved the RX7 from the 90’s but loathed its predecessor the RX8, here comes the RX9 to totally redeem things for Mazda. News is starting to surface that Mazda executives have greenlighted the designs and production of the next generation RX.
Although the name is not official, the RX9 moniker follows suit to what Mazda used as a naming convention for their last generation replacement to the RX7. At this point, there is not much information to share about the RX9 as everything is still in the design phase. To stay competitive in the market place, it’ll likely push out somewhere in the vicinity of 400hp. Power, of course, will come from a rotary engine. However, displacement and forced induction details are unknown. What will be interesting to see is whether Mazda can somehow integrate their rotary technology with EV technology just as many other manufacturers are doing today.
More information about the car will slowly start to come about. We know that prototypes will likely start surfacing in 2017 and production date sometime in 2019. Regardless of the little information we have, what we do have now is hope and that’s enough to hold us over.
Lexus’ LC 500 has been a highly anticipated car since it was unveiled at the 2016Detroit Auto Show. Although Lexus has their “F” line of performance oriented cars, the LC500 was designed from the ground up to be a performance car. So much so that the head honchos at Lexus hired in a group of outside engineers during the road and track development phase.
Now that performance equation has been one upped again with Lexus stating that the car will make it to production with more power than originally planned. That’s always good news! The LC500 will be powered by a tuned 5.0L V8 which will pump out 471 hp and 398 lb/ft of torque. This is all thanks to a fully reworked intake and exhaust system. All of that power will be channeled through Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission.
Tesla’s goal is to bring EV technology to the mass population. They furthered this mission by introducing a new two year lease program for the Model S and the Model X which makes both vehicles more affordable to broaden their customer base.
With the new lease plan in place, buyers can have the Model S for as low as $593 a month, while the Model X will start at $730 a month. But the old saying “no good thing comes for free” is the case here. Buyers are restricted to the base Model S 60 or Model X 60D and they are required to pay a down payment of $6000, pay a $695 acquisition fee, and also put down one month’s lease payment up front. So even though the monthly payments is more affordable, buyers will have to fork out over $7000 right off the bat.
Once you own the car, you will be limited to only driving 10,000 miles per year. However, you can purchase extended mileage for the vehicle in options of 12,000- or 15,000-miles. If you want to take advantage of the deal, you have until September 12 to do so.