Monday, January 31, 2011

Volkswagen teases possible 2012 Beetle.

Volkswagen teased us today with commercial for us to watch this coming Sunday, Feb 6th during the Super Bowl. Judging from the rally striped 6 legged kind of beetle briefly shown, we're going to get some sort of glimpse of the all new 2012 Beetle. Look for "Black Beetle" this Sunday.

According to VWs media release,   "In “Black Beetle,” the first spot for The 21st Century Beetle, cutting-edge CGI creative goes etymological, creating a photo-real lush kingdom where the Black Beetle rules, runs, navigates and out performs all the other creatures. The ad is an homage to some of the greatest car chase scenes in the history of film and TV. With the fast-paced and explosive song “Black Betty,” rerecorded by Jon Spencer and the Blues Explosion, the Beetle ad revs to life even though it does not feature any actual images of the car, a bold move for any automotive brand. The iconic shape of the Beetle and its performance attributes are prominently showcased in the spot, further building anticipation of the reveal."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Video of the 2012 VW Beetle reveal on Oprah

Remember when we published the story about the 2012 VW Beetle reveal on Oprah not too long ago. Here's a clip of the show courtesy of Volkswagen showing the reveal and everybody loosing their minds in a good way. We can't wait to see more of the next Beetle in coming months.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A classic GTi

Spotted at the 2010 Carlisle Import/Kit Car Nationals.

More So Cal hot roddin.

More from So Cal Speed Shop's open house.

Another great example of a traditional hot rod.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From the interesting files: 1928 Grahm-Paige Sound Train

This find comes from our friends at Hemmings Motor News. And this certainly qualifies as an interesting "What Is It?". This is a 1928 Grahm-Paige limousine, one of 15 or 16 built that would travel cross country promoting various products.

According to the seller's description, "Based on the Graham-Paige Model 837 long wheelbase limousine, the Sound Train hood is modified to resemble the boiler of a railroad locomotive and fitted with all manner of locomotive-themed lights, bells, whistles and accessories. The passengers’ compartment is trimmed like a luxurious parlor car and modified with an observation platform at the back, complete with overhanging roof, elaborate railing and upholstered bench seat. Each front fender has a small seat where a child or glamorous lady could ride, and an effective sound system can play appropriate music or public announcements. This example is largely original and unrestored and has many of its railroad-themed accessories, lights and features. It runs and drives, but is aged, tired and in need of restoration."

We certainly have never seen another, but despite the odd factor it caries, makes this classic one cool ride in my opinion.

Source: Hemmings Blog.

R.I.P. Peter Yates

A name that should be familiar to any car enthusiast, Peter Yates. Director of of the famed car chase legend, Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. Has passed away at the age of 81.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Yates family.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Porsche unveils 918 RSR hybrid race car in Detroit.

Hot off the heels of Porsche's release of the 918 Spyder in 2010 and the 911 GT3 R hybrid, we have the brainchild of both cars. The 918 RSR. Using further developments gathered from testing and racing of the 911 GT3 R and the stunning good looks of the 918 gives us this new closed roof purpose built race car. Porsche says the styling emulates the famous 917 race cars of the 1970s, which you can see if you pay attention to the details. Porsche hasn't released any details on when we will see the 918 RSR on the track, but I would guess soon.

Featuring a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, the 918 RSR is powered by a V8 engine from the successful RS Spyder race car and now has an output of 563 hp at 10,300 rpm. Twin electric motors in the front wheels each contribute 75 kW, or a total of 150 kW, to the peak drive power of exactly 767 hp.  Additional power generated during braking, is stored in an optimized flywheel accumulator. This additional power will be available for a full 8 seconds when fully charged.This will all be put to the ground via a 6 speed "Constant mesh transmission".

Source: Porsche Cars North America.

Press release:

World premiere in Detroit: mid-engine coupé as a technology test bed
Detroit, Jan. 10, 2011 -- Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is continuing to extend its performance and high efficiency competence via intensive development work in the field of hybrid technology. With the Porsche 918 RSR, the manufacturer of sporty premium vehicles is presenting a high-end synthesis of 2010's successful hybrid concepts. The two-seater mid-engine coupé 918 RSR clearly reveals what happens when the technology fitted in the 911 GT3 R hybrid and the design of the 918 Spyder are transferred to a modern, innovative super sports car.

With its highly-efficient flywheel accumulator, the 911 GT3 R hybrid racing car proved to be an attention magnet during competition racing on the Nuerburgring Nordschleife circuit, during the American Le Mans Series races (ALMS) in Road Atlanta/USA and the ILMC run in China's Zhuhai. It demonstrated its massive performance potential under realistic motor racing conditions against top competitors. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid, referred to internally as the “Race Lab" actually surpassed the high expectations of Porsche Motorsport. Competitiveness, high reliability and exemplary fuel efficiency combined with top performance under-scored the Porsche technicians' basic idea of generating additional power in an intelligent manner. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid obtains its additional power from its own vehicle dynamics when braking. Porsche is now transplanting this technology into the mid-engine coupé 918 RSR, the motor sports version of the 918 Spyder concept car.

From the tradition established by classic Porsche long-distance race cars such as the 908 long-tail coupé (1969) and the 917 short-tail coupé (1971), the Porsche designers created a link to the postmodernism of the “form follows function" philosophy. In the 918 RSR, the lines' elegant flow is dominated by muscular wheel arches, dynamic air intakes and a pulpit-like cockpit. A visible fan wheel between the ram air intake tubes and a rear spoiler with RS Spyder dimensions additionally emphasize the racing laboratory function. The new “liquid metal chrome blue" color which has been created underscores the sculptured curves of the forms, whilst the typical Porsche hybrid orange color on brake calipers and the body's longitudinal stripes lends remarkable touches.

Motor racing technology also dominates within the particularly light, torsionally stiff carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque. The V8 engine is a further development of the direct injection engine from the successful RS Spyder race car and now offers an output of precisely 563 hp at 10,300 rpm in the 918 RSR. The electric motors on the two front wheels each contribute 75 kW, i.e. a total of 150 kW, to the peak drive power of exactly 767 hp. This additional power, which is generated during braking, is stored in an optimized flywheel accumulator.

In the 918 RSR, the two electric motors offer a torque vectoring function with variable torque distribution to the front axle. This additionally increases agility and improves steering response. Mounted upstream of the rear axle, the mid-engine is integrated with a racing transmission also based on the RS Spyder race car. This further developed six-speed constant-mesh transmission with longitudinally mounted shafts and straight-toothed spur gears is operated using two shift paddles behind the racing steering wheel.

The vehicle's functional equipment underscores its puristic motor racing character. Whether it be the characteristic doors which open obliquely upwards, the air intake in the roof bet ¬ween the wing doors, the quick-action locks on the front and rear CFRP lids, the two roof-mounted aerials for pit radio and telemetry, the RS Spyder-like small, lateral front flics or the air splitters beneath the front lip or no-profile racing slicks on 19" wheels with central locking, the vehicle can be clearly recognized as an experimental racing laboratory.

In contrast to the 918 Spyder concept car, unadorned racing atmosphere predominates in the interior of the 918 RSR. The figure-hugging bucket seat's brown leather covering cites the history of the gentleman driver; the gear flashes on the racing steering wheel and a recuperation display on the steering column in front of the display screen supply the pilot with information. Instead of the futuristic, ergonomically avant-garde centre console with touch-sensitive user interface from the 918 Spyder concept car, the 918 RSR's cockpit is split by a minimalistic console with rocker switches. Instead of a second seat, the flywheel accumulator is positioned to the right of the console.

This flywheel accumulator is an electric motor whose rotor rotates at up to 36,000 rpm to store rotation energy. Charging occurs when the two electric motors on the front axle reverse their function during braking processes and operate as generators. At the push of a button, the pilot is able to call up the energy stored in the charged flywheel accumulator and use it during acceleration or overtaking maneuvers. The flywheel is braked electromagnetically in this case in order to additionally supply up to 2 x 75 kW, i.e. a total of 150 kW, from its kinetic energy to the two electric motors on the front axle.

This additional power is available for around eight seconds when the system is fully charged. In the successful 911 GT3 R Hybrid, this additional power can also be used as a consumption aid depending on the racing situation, e.g. to delay pit stops or reduce the fuel tank volume and therefore the weight of the vehicle.

With the new 918 RSR racing laboratory, Porsche is now elevating this motor racing hybrid concept to an experimental level. In the 918 RSR, “Porsche Intelligent Performance" equates to research into methods for further sustainable efficiency improvement under the intensified conditions of the race track, lap times, pit stops and reliability – a metier in which Porsche has been demonstrating its success for over 60 years.

Finally, the starting number, 22, pays homage to the anniversary of a further triumph. Back in the days when overall victories in Le Mans were not yet an entirely routine matter within the Porsche racing department, the pilots Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep were the first to cross the finishing line in 1971's 24-hour classic. The distance record set by their Porsche 917 short-tail coupé – 5335.313 kilometers (3315.21 miles) at an average speed of 222.304 km/h (138.13 mph) – did not remain unbeaten for an eternity, but for exactly 39 years until 2010. At the time, the 917 in the Martini colors was also an experiment and far ahead of its time: a magnesium space frame set new standards in Porsche's lightweight construction domain.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Breaking News! Volkswagen releases 2012 Passat ahead of NAIAS debut.

Ahead of it's debut in a few hours, Volkswagen has released their press release on the new 2012 Passat, formerly known as the New Midsized Sedan. Looking at the photos, you can't help but be impressed with the Passats all new styling. In this case, a vast improvement over the previous Passat. We're not sure which is more impressive, the $20,000 base price or the 43 estimated miles per gallon.

The 2012 ushers in a new era for VW.  Along with the all new Jetta, VW is aiming to  take control of the automotive world. The Passat will be the first Volkswagen to be completely assembled in the United States since the the Rabbit and Golf in the 1970s and 80s. The new factory in Chattanooga Tennessee will be the new home of the Passat for the US market.

The New Passat will be powered by a standard 2.5 liter inline 5 cylinder motor or optional 2.0 liter TDI diesel or 3.6 liter VR6.

Source: VW

Press release:

Wolfsburg / Herndon / Detroit, January 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Volkswagen of America, Inc., today announced the world debut of the all-new Passat, a transformational car in Volkswagen’s ambitious growth plan for the U.S. market.

Designed in Germany and made in America, the Passat was developed as a larger vehicle with premium features and handling characteristics that will perfectly match it with the tastes and lifestyles of Americans. It will be built in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the world’s newest, most advanced and environmentally responsible auto assembly plant.

The new Passat, the largest ever, is the only midsize sedan that offers superior German engineering at an accessible price. The Passat TDI — the only clean diesel option in the segment — is expected to deliver 43 miles per gallon on the highway, with a range of approximately 800 miles.
Final pricing will be announced in the spring, but the Passat will start at around $20,000 when it arrives in dealer showrooms later this year. It will come with premium standard features that include automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity.

The new Passat offers best-in-class legroom, Volkswagen’s Care Free Maintenance program (3 years/36,000 miles) and the safety of Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System.
Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga plant that will produce the Passat is part of a $4 billion investment by the company in the U.S. market. The environmentally friendly facility includes a revolutionary paint shop that significantly reduces emissions. A state-of-the-art $40 million employee training center ensures adherence to Volkswagen’s exacting quality standards.

The Passat will set new benchmarks for safety, driving performance and environmental responsibility in the midsize segment.

Engine and Transmission

The all-new Passat offers three drivetrain options: a responsive 2.5L gasoline engine, a remarkably eco-friendly 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel and a powerful 3.6L VR6.

The 2.5L five cylinder engine (170 hp/177 lb.-ft.), which is being offered in the Passat for the first time, will be mated to a standard 5 speed manual transmission. As an alternative, the 2.5 multi port injection engine may be paired with a 6-speed automatic.

The quiet, four cylinder 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel (140 hp/236 lb.-ft.) has the power of a six cylinder gasoline engine and the fuel economy of a hybrid. The Passat TDI is expected to deliver 43 miles per gallon on the highway, with a range of approximately 800 miles. Volkswagen’s TDI clean diesel engines, which come with a NOx storage catalytic converter, are among the cleanest engines in the world, fulfilling emissions requirements in all 50 states. Optional on the Passat TDI will be Volkswagen’s legendary 6-speed DSG transmission.

The 3.6 liter VR6 (280 hp/258 lb.-ft.) makes the new Passat a top-flight sport sedan. It offers power and luxury-class driving comfort, with European-type restraint in its fuel consumption — estimated at 28 mpg on the highway.

Gear shifting on the new Passat VR6 is handled by a standard 6-speed DSG; the dual-clutch transmission is considered the most efficient automatic in the world. This technologically advanced six-speed transmission incorporates an automatic dual-clutch system that instantly engages and disengages gears without the need for a clutch pedal. With a special computer controlling the process, one clutch is engaged on the next gear while the clutch from the previous gear is released. The results are crisp, quick shifts, without the loss of power that is experienced with a traditional manual gearbox.

Premium Features

The Passat will be offered in three trim levels, S, SE and SEL, with a total of 16 equipment levels. All will offer first-in-class safety and comfort.

The Passat’s safety features include Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response Systems, which initiates automatic safety protections in a collision — the fuel supply and high consumption electronic equipment shuts off; the doors unlock; the battery terminal disconnects from the alternator cable; the hazard lights switch on.

The Passat also comes with a tire pressure monitoring system, ESP electronic stabilization program, ABS with braking assistant, Hill Climb Assist (with manual transmission), six airbags and an extremely rigid body structure to protect the driver and passengers.

The Passat sets new standards for comfort, with a significantly larger rear seating area, best-in-class rear seat legroom, well-designed controls and superior touring properties.
Other standard features include automatic climate control, power windows all around, air conditioning, insulating glass, a distinctive analog clock at the center of the instrument panel, cruise control, outside temperature display with frost warning, radio-CD system (MP3-capable, plus external audio input) and Bluetooth connectivity.

Premium options include 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels, power seat adjustment, leather, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel, a touchscreen satellite radio, a choice of Volkswagen’s RNS 510 or RNS 315 navigation systems, front fog lights with static cornering lights, wood decor, new ambiance lighting, memory driver’s seat, power passenger seat, and keyless access with push button start.
The Passat will also offer the new Fender premium audio system, designed exclusively for Volkswagen. In a partnership that combined quality automotive engineering and quality sound engineering, Volkswagen and Fender teamed up to bring the raw emotion of live music to the driving experience.


The Passat’s balanced proportions give it a unique, timeless and dominant styling reflecting the “design DNA” developed by Walter de Silva, the Italian design chief for the Volkswagen Group, and Klaus Bischoff, the German design leader for the Volkswagen Brand. The signature clean design, with a predominance of horizontal body elements, reinforces the Passat’s position as the sophisticated choice in the midsize segment. The bottom line: this car looks much more expensive than it actually is.

The key identifying feature of a strong brand is the styling of its front end. Here the Passat displays the new horizontal brand face, with the grille and headlights forming a single unit. Unlike models in the compact class, the Passat’s grille is sculpted in a three-dimensional shape. Moreover, the grille stands more upright and makes a more distinctive and elegant impression in its stricter geometry.

From the side profile, the muscular ridge in the sill area creates a lively interplay of light reflections. Powerfully sculpted wheel arches emphasize the dynamic properties of the Passat. In the balance of the side profile, the roof lines flow toward the back with a nearly coupe-like cut of the rear window. Three side windows create luxury class style with a long, extended glass surface.

The rear section is also dominated by horizontal lines. The lines of the large taillights rise toward the sides, underscoring the dynamics of the elegant rear styling. Another unique feature here is the design of the two-part taillights (integrated in the rear fender and trunk lid).


The Passat shows the look of considerably more expensive cars. The new, larger Passat is 191.7 inches long and has a 110.4 inch wheelbase, which translates into a noticeable increase in rear seating space.
Like the exterior, the interior is also marked by a clean and geometric formal structure. Interior styling consistently follows the maxims of functionality. Controls are attractive and easy to operate.

The instrument panel is similar to that of Volkswagen’s flagship vehicle, the all-new Touareg. Chrome trimmed gauges surround a digital multifunction display. A high-end chrome look is also applied to the air vents in the cockpit, and to the surrounds of the radio, navigation system and the climate control panels. The rotary light switch and parking brake handle button are also treated in chrome. Except for the base version, all other Passat trims have chrome interior accents on the window, mirror adjustment and trunk opening switches.
The upper and lower instrument areas are visually distinguished by various decorative accents, depending on the equipment version. Decorative elements in “Titan” design are used in the S version; the elegant “Titan Silver Printed” decor is used in the SE version, wood décor “Autumn Nut Burl” is featured in the exclusive SEL version. The accents not only upgrade the instruments, but also the center console as well as the door trim panels.

The seats are exceptionally comfortable. Even in the base version, the driver’s seat is adjustable eight ways, including lumbar support.

The new Passat and the all-new Jetta are expected to be the sales leaders in Volkswagen’s plan to significantly increase market share in the United States. The company’s strategy is built on a broad portfolio of products that offers cars accessible to the majority as well as vehicles for car enthusiasts.

Thank You

We want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and Thank You for 14,000 hits to our site. Without you, our loyal readers, none of this would be here.

It's stock. I swear

Not what you would normally expect from a beetle.

Old speed at its best.

A little more winter day dreaming.....

Summer can't come soon enough.