Tag Archives: Jalopnik

The Holden HSV GTS Is The Most Powerful Australian Car Ever

We’ve already seen a render of the Holden HSV GTS, the 575 horsepower screaming version of our Chevy SS and the real version is just as bonkers, albeit a bit conservative on the outside.

Spy photos featured in GoAuto News show the car entirely uncovered and wearing the HSV no-we-aren’t-BMW twin-nostril nose.

Underhood, or so we hear, is a 575 horsepower 6.2-liter LSA engine featuring a massive supercharger. You may also know this engine as the powerplant behind the Camaro ZL1.

The Aussies expect a 0-to-62 mph time of under 4.5 seconds and enough torque to spin the nation’s toilets the proper direction.

Kids Learn Distracted Driving From Watching Their Parents

This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that’s actually important — all in one place at 9:00 AM. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn’t your time more important?

1st Gear: I Learned It By Watching You!

A study from the University of Michigan found that 90% of drivers admitted to using a technology-based distraction like a cell phone in front of their kids in the past, reports David Shepardson. Wait, we thought only teenagers were doing it?

We’re not actually surprised, of course, as it’s one of those universal activities we all know we shouldn’t do. What’s interesting is that parents with kids 1-to-12 years in age are more likely to have been in a crash than other cohorts.

However, the study included things like "getting directions from a navigation system" or "changing a CD" as a distraction. Indeed, those are distractions, but it’s not the same as googling facts about Joe Pesci.

2nd Gear: Chevy Is Making Big Gains In China Thanks To Soccer

Hey, remember that time GM fired Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick because he spent $600 million to get GM on a soccer jersey?

Turns out that the Manchester United sponsorship is having a large impact in soccer crazy China. Here’s a key line from The Detroit Free Press:

“The point is for China, this is just a home run,” said Richard Choi, director of Chevrolet marketing in China, in an interview at a Shanghai Chevrolet dealership. “Not to mix my metaphors.”

China is the world’s biggest car market and any help GM can get there is a win for them. Though Ewanick was allegedly fired for not properly disclosing the cost of the deal, we’re curious to hear what his response will be to the success of his program.

3rd Gear: U.S. Is Selling More Of GM

The Treasury will continue to offload GM stick reports Reuters. Roughly 241.7 million shares remain in the hands of the government and both the current administration and the GM leadership would like to see that number drop to zero.

So far the U.S. has taken back about $30.4 billion of the $49.5 billion that was used, via TARP, to save GM’s bacon. At the current rate of about $32 a share, the government will still lose billions on the deal.

4th Gear: Skoda’s New Car Is Worth A See

This year’s Wörthersee Volkswagen meet has already seen a Seat Leon Cup Racer and the Audi TT Ultra Quattro Concept. Now we’re getting a hint of Skoda’s contribution, the "Skoda Rapid SPORT."

There’s no hint at the drivetrain but the vehicle gets "Corrida Red" and "Steel Gray" colors, large 19-inch wheels, and flared fenders. Yipee?

5th Gear: India Strong

In our guide to driving in India we touched on the ceaseless clamor that accompanies all but the most remote sojourns within the country.

From this report in The Wall Street Journal we learn that a group of anti-honking crusaders are trying to educate the country’s drivers as to when (and mostly when not) to use the horn:

Do honk to let someone know they’re stuck at a light/ Do not honk because the light is red, there’s a full moon, it’s your sister’s birthday, you just saw a bird.

Reverse: A Merger Of Non-Equals

On this day in 1998, the German automobile company Daimler-Benz—maker of the world-famous luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz—announces a $36 billion merger with the United States-based Chrysler Corporation.The purchase of Chrysler, America’s third-largest car company, by the Stuttgart-based Daimler-Benz marked the biggest acquisition by a foreign buyer of any U.S. company in history. Though marketed to investors as an equal pairing, it soon emerged that Daimler would be the dominant partner, with its stockholders owning the majority of the new company’s shares.


Neutral: Soccer Good? Soccer Bad? Who will have the last laugh in the Man U deal? GM if it fails. Ewanick if it succeeds? GM if it succeeds. Ewanick if it falls?

Photo Credit: Getty/AP Images

I tracked a 360 and Gallardo last Saturday.

And lived to tell about it. Seriously, after seeing umpteen photos of toasted Italian exotics on Jalopnik there was a small part of my psyche that thought I might have a front row seat to yet another crispified critter from Maranello or Sant’Agata. Well, glad to say it didn’t happen and it was an incredible experience.

Random dude in the Ferrari.

As an early Father’s Day gift, my amazing wife got me a voucher for a 5-lap High Performance Driving Experience from Circuit One (http://www.circuit-1.com) – a company that offers hot laps on road courses set up at race track/stadiums etc. Drivers currently have a choice of either a 360 Modena or AWD Lamborghini Gallardo coupe (in my case I paid extra to drive both) and can buy 2-7 laps around the course with a driving instructor in the right seat. Not being a huge fan of the Gallardo, I went with the Ferrari.

The extent of the driver briefing was one of the instructors’ explaining turn apexes to the group and how you had to go slow to go fast. (this didn’t make sense until I got out onto the track) He also explained what the racing line through a turn looked like and when to brake and accelerate. Now when it comes to high-performance driving I’m an admitted noob, and I don’t think for one second that I’m the reincarnation of Ayrton Senna. The quick briefing ended when we were told to have a good time and that we could go as fast as we were comfortable with. I can see that statement coming back to bite them at some point.

Having second thoughts?

I climbed into the Ferrari, and had one of the track guys take the requisite photos of me in the car, and then belted in and started up. My instructor Ray was a great guy to ride with; very patient and relaxed. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was a little concerned about overcooking one of the turns and pirouetting off the track, my squealing like a little girl being caught by the in-car camera. Both cars are paddle-shift autoboxes, and Ray said we’d use the automatic function to keep things simple. I wasn’t going to argue with him, although the next time I go I wanna use the flappy shifter. Above all else Ray emphasized smoothness; in leaving the line, accelerating, and turning & braking.

Turbineguy in the 360.

The course was set up with a left dogleg after the start line with a chicane midway through the straight, until a 90 degree left hander meant getting on the brakes hard. Accelerating out of the turn there was a four-cone slalom set up before braking again for a 180 to reverse and run the slalom again. Next, a 90 degree right hander and back through the chicane and right dogleg which opened up to a high-speed straight allowing for serious velocity before braking hard for a sweeping right-hander back to the pit area. It took 2 or 3 laps to get comfortable with the course and remember where the turns are. As confidence grew so did the level of aggressiveness that I attacked the course with. By the 5th lap I was flying through the chicane and slalom, and matting the accelerator in the straight hitting 80mph before getting on the brakes hard for the right hand turn. (Course B)

Road courses at Thompson Speedway.

By the time I’d finished my 7 laps, I was thoroughly tweaked on adrenaline and needed another fix. I think this is probably common, so I suppose it was no surprise I walked back to the trailer to buy a few laps in the Lamborghini. I had to wait for maybe 20 minutes while the guys that were behind me got their turn, then I climbed into the Gallardo with the instructor and fired it up. The difference between the Ferrari and Lambo was like night and day. The Ferrari idled quietly with a nice burble, and didn’t become intrusive until you got the engine up over 5000 rpms at which point it screamed like a banshee. In contrast the Gallardo’s exhaust snarled and popped at idle, and full throttle sounded like hell breaking loose right behind you. Even with a power advantage over the 360, we were told the added weight of the Gallardo’s AWD meant both cars were fairly evenly matched in performance. The Lamborghini accelerates brutally – there’s no other way to describe it. Besides the sensation of being shoved back in the seat by 500hp, the V10′s howling exhaust intensified the experience. (both windows were wide open) I got the distinct impression that this car wanted to kill me and wouldn’t tolerate any stupidity.

Yours Truly in the Gallardo.

The car handled the turns similarly to the 360; it’s not like I came anywhere near its potential but the most impressive part was its rolling acceleration. The car just lunged ahead and built up speed very quickly once the engine got into the fat part of its power curve. I have no idea where the engine was shifting at, being laser-focused on the course but I did bang off the limiter once or twice in the low gears so I’d guess it had to be near 8,000rpm.


All too soon the two laps were done, and we returned to the pit area and shut down. I just sat for a few moments taking it all in, listening to the exhaust pinging and hearing half of what Ray was saying about did I feel the back end get loose on the last straight or not? (I did) Bottom line, wringing out a supercar on a road course is probably the most fun you can have with your pants on. Thrashing somebody else’s supercar on a road course just heightens the experience. Icing on the cake, as they say. I sure hope I don’t have to wait until Father’s Day next year to do this again.

John Z. DeLorean is my spirit animal: A Clash Of 1980s Titans

This bout of manic, faux-drugged madness was spurred by an innocent discovery of a 1981 ad for Cutty Sark whiskey, starring a certain John Z. DeLorean.

Ah, yes, 1981! An innocent year, one that was full of hope for young John Z (be careful to distinguish the syllables), whose eponymous DeLorean had just begun to take over the world of flamboyant automotive showboating. But across the ocean from Belfast, in sunny Wilmington, Calif., Gerald "Jerry Garcia" Wiegert was embarking on a dangerous journey himself, full of hope and investor ass-kissing. He had just built his first supercar, the Vector W2, which had twin turbos duct-taped to a small-block Chevy for a total of 600 horsepower. It could go 200 mph, said Wiegert, which would be useful for escaping duped investors and running towards new ones, running so far away.

The Kings of the Automotive World in the 1980s were DeLorean and Wiegert. The kings of wedges, synthesizers, bad taste, speed, style, flagrant underboobs falling out of Members Only jackets (which they still make!). This isn’t the Kings of Comedy, however; there can only be one. I innocently claimed the mantle for John Z. DeLorean, by tweeting the following:

Upon which a challenger rose from the desert, approaching at a speed sufficient to shake fiberglass panels helter-skelter:

This proxy Contender for the Cocaine Throne would be Kurt Niebuhr—fellow automotive scribe and photo editor. He took the path of Wiegert and turbocharged vaporware, foolishly believing that he could dethrone the man who sired the car that launched a thousand Marty McFly fandoms. Hah! There could be just one way to settle this: a Coke-Off. DeLorean supplied the product, but Wiegert seemed to not need any. Remember: don’t get high on your own supply.

DeLorean: We fight on my terms. You know the rules. Let the Coke-Off begin. *rips bag open with penknife*

Wiegert: Super. That bag of heaven just cost you a G. Snort up. I just twin turbo’d a small block Chevy.

DeLorean: My boys in Belfast are gonna Wankel your ass with the DMC-12. You just wait.

Wiegert: Malcolm Bricklin called. He said you’re crazy. Oh, I just made up the name Aeromotive. Aero. Motive.

DeLorean: Did you know the DMC logo is the same BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS? Did you get any overspray on your tires when you painted your only prototype from eye-searing teal to eye-searing purple?

Wiegert: Teal?! I didn’t use Teal until the W12. In the 90′s. Good on you cracking on paint colors. What colors are your DMCs?

DeLorean: Have you seen the gold DMC? It’s not puerile, it’s classy and sophisticated. Like me. And my whiskey. Hold on, my suitcase is all out of baggies. Let me call Jimmy Hoffman.

Wiegert: Nice. The doors accentuate your eyebrows. Know what you’re missing? A topless chick [NSFW, obviously].

DeLorean: You can tell by my Ming The Merciless eyebrows that I am intrigued but not impressed.

Wiegert: I don’t care where she’s from or where she’s going. Only that my 625-hp car looks rad.

DeLorean: Seriously, feel this hood. It’s as smooth as the yoni on that 15-year old girl you call a "model."

Wiegert: I’d love to, but I tripped and fell into that wheel gap.

And so on, and so forth. There’s an exciting and thrilling conclusion to this battle of plaid stallions, culminating with the arrival of Giorgio Moroder, that four-eyed dork. For even more and wholly sensical references to Ollie North, nubile Vector models, Operation Urgent Fury, fingerless gloves, Cristina Ferrare, Tab, Finnegan’s Wake (Joyce was Irish, but not that kind of Irish), Cracker Jacks, the Talbot Tagora, and other vital topics of note, read the full version at Autoweek.com.

Opening A Beer Bottle With A Tractor Is The Most German Thing Ever

Forget Beethoven, forget Goethe, this is the most German thing you will ever see: highly precise industrial machinery…being used to open a bottle of beer.

If you’re wondering what it’s actually like to hang out with regular working class Germans, this is how their brains work. You’ve trained for years on this Bagger front-loader, the Arbeitstag is over and it’s time for a good Feierabend, so just crack open ‘n Bier and get drinking.

(Hat tip to $kaycog!)

Watch A Rollover Turn Into A Massive Pileup Crash At NASCAR

A tight passing move by rookie Ricky Stenhouse led to a multi-car crash at Talladega today, sending Kurt Busch spinning and flipping and taking out Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick, and a bunch of others in the Aaron’s 499.

It appears as if Stenhouse looked to squeeze in between the wall and J.J. Yelley’s #36 car, sending #36 spinning into Kurt Busch, who flipped on top of Ryan Newman’s car.

The announcers are totally unfazed, however:

Has Ryan Newman had cars on top of him before here?

I think the 2009 race.

I think you’re right.

It looks as if no one except for Stenhouse’s rookie pride was hurt.

David Ragan in car #34 ended up taking the checkered flag.

Minivan Racing Is Always The Best Motoring

Welcome to Sunday Matinee, where we highlight classic car reviews or other longer videos I find on YouTube. Kick back and enjoy this blast from the past.

What do you get when you combine a bunch of Mazdas, some Hondas, a race track, some drivers, and an extremely enthusiastic Japanese announcer?

Best Motoring Superbattle 2000, of course!

The last time we brought you a Best Motoring video, we showed you a bunch of supercars, but this is the weekend, so why don’t we take it easy? This time we’ve got a Mazda Premacy, a Honda Odyssey, a Honda Stream , and a Mazda MPV stormin’ round the track. It’s clearly a fight for the ages, as you hear four cylinders (and only four cylinders) roaring and ready to leap out of the hood of each minivan.

Alright, so it’s not exactly Formula One- but slow-car-fast is always better than fast-car-slow, and this is definitely some good racing.

The British Touring Car Championship is the UK’s answer to NASCAR

The BTCC is Britain’s largest race series. It visits nine of our best race circuits and features race-prepped sedans with 300bhp, 2 litre turbocharged engines. The cars look like their road-going counterparts but that’s where the similarity ends.

I attended the race meeting at Thruxton circuit in Hampshire. It’s the UK’s fastest race track with average speeds of 113mph in the BTCC cars. There are 3 BTCC races with Porsche, Ginetta and Formula Ford races in-between.

Here’s my report of a great day at the races.

The Greatest V12 Engined Coupes

The V12 is the king of all cylinder arrangements. Sure, you can have something more exotic if you want just raw power, like the W16 in the Bugatti Veyron or a massive Straight-8 like in an old Duesenberg, but almost every timeless classic has twelve pistons arranged in a "V."

The V12 is inherently perfectly balanced, and that many pistons spinning along will always be able to sing a beautiful tune. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad V12.

This isn’t about the engine alone, however, it’s about the car as well. Sometimes the engine lets down the car, as in the case of the Jaguar E-type, whose Lucas electrics caused constant problems, and sometimes its the car that lets down the engine, like the McLaren F1 (Totally kidding! Just making sure you’re awake. Put those pitchforks away).

We decided to select this topic as the much-loved Aston Martin V12 Vantage is coming to the end of its production run, and as it meets that magical criteria of "small car-enormous engine" it is our honorary winner for today.

What do you think is the best V12 engined coupe, though? Show us in the comments!

Photo credit: Simon Ingram

Is A Diesel-Powered Mazda Miata In Our Future?

Could you really stand the thought of a diesel Mazda Miata? Mazda engineers are apparently toying with the idea of the fourth-generation of the roadster, due in the next couple of years, being available with a super-efficient, yet totally uncharacteristic, engine.

That’s according to Autocar, at least, which wrote this week that the upcoming Miata – also engineered and built alongside the newest Alfa Romeo Spider – is being considered with one of the SkyActiv diesels trickling throughout Mazda’s lineup. Although the next-gen Miata is much more likely to have small SkyActiv gas engines, it sounds like engineers are looking for ways to add power and further improve fuel economy.

Maybe the thought of a diesel Alfa roadster is less controversial, but only because the previous GM-based Spider and Brera coupes were offered with Fiat four and five-cylinder diesels. To me at least, a five-pot turbodiesel Alfa Spider actually sounds kinda cool. And since the Alfa will supposedly get different engines than the Mazda, a Fiat diesel could be in the pipeline. But I couldn’t imagine a Miata having something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a diesel droptop, and something like the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI makes perfect sense. Come to think of it, a TDI Beetle cabrio is probably more in keeping with the car’s image than the Turbo model. But the Miata is all about balance and lightness and a diesel version just doesn’t seem in keeping with the purity of the car. It is better than trying to fit some kind of hybrid system to it, though.

What do you think, Miata fans? Would you turn your nose up at the sight of a diesel Miata?

Photo: Mazda