Monday, February 28, 2011

The VW New Bulli concept. Is this the next Microbus?

We've been hearing rumor that Volkswagen has been working on an entirely new Microbus. In 2001, VW showed a smart looking concept at the North American International Auto Show that was received well and even got a nod for production that would late be canceled. All this despite the public's longing for a new van from VW since the demise of the Eurovan in 2003 and the mediocre sales of the re-badged Routan.

Volkswagen is now unveiling the New Bulli at the Geneva Auto Show later this week. As Volkswagen puts it, "Some visions need to mature before they yield something new". While I see some similarities to the Concept Microbus of ten years ago, I also see a lot of the Up! concept cars from last year. And it definitely pulls some technology from those cars as well. The New Bulli is a zero emissions vehicle powered by a fully electric motor producing 85 kW of power and 270 Newton meters of torque. All of this makes for a range of 300 Km and will go from 0-100 Km in 11.5 seconds. Not to shabby for an electric car.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Bulli concept is the interior controls. rather than traditional dials and switches, all infotainment is controlled via an iPad. So yeah, there's an app for that. Like the exterior, the interior is also very retro and reminds the driver and passengers of the history of the Bulli.

While much smaller than the original Microbus and certainly much smaller than the 2001 concept, I would venture to say that the size would be similar to maybe a Scion xB than a traditional minivan. But that's just my guess.

Press Release:

Comeback of an automotive free spirit:
World debut of new Bulli by Volkswagen in Geneva

New compact van concept has pure electric drive
Original model of the Volkswagen Bulli was first van in the world
Wolfsburg/Geneva, 28 February 2011 - The Volkswagen bus, like no other car, stands for the spirit of freedom. It debuted over 60 years ago in 1950 with a contagiously simple design. Its internal Volkswagen code name was T1 for Transporter 1. The Germans called it the Bulli, and to Americans it was the Microbus. It was driven on all continents. And the world’s first van is still appreciated by a fan base which spans the globe. Now Volkswagen is reinterpreting the compact original form of this automotive legend and sending it into the future – in the form of a concept vehicle for a new generation Bulli! It is spacious like it was in 1950, it is as inspirational as ever, and it has clean styling like never before.

In this vehicle, Volkswagen is finishing what it started in 2001: ten years ago, the vision of a new Bulli led to an unforgettable concept vehicle known as the Microbus. But some visions need to mature before they yield something new. Now, the time is right for this vision. That is because the concept was sharpened, and the necessary, sustainable technologies are now at hand. More compact and affordable than the earlier concept vehicle, it is now being shown in Geneva. The new Bulli – powered by an electric motor and fitted with six seats and infotainment control via iPad.

This concept has the potential to establish a new, fifth brand of people carrier next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and its large counterpart – the Caravelle. The Bulli could even become an icon like the T1 Samba that still trades at extremely high prices today – one of those few vehicles that simply do not fade with time.

Zero emissions – up to 300 km on a single battery charge

Thanks to highly advanced drive technologies, the Bulli being shown in Geneva is what is referred to as a ‘zero emissions vehicle,’ because the concept is electrically powered. Zero emissions at the tailpipe. The Bulli’s electric motor outputs 85 kW of power and an impressive 270 Newton metres of torque. As is usual with this type of drive, its maximum forces are generated from standstill. The silent motor is supplied with energy from a lithium-ion battery with a maximum storage capacity of 40 kWh. This electrifying combination enables driving ranges of up to 300 km – a high value for an electric car. When the Bulli’s battery is charged at an "electric refuelling station" specially designed for electric vehicles, the charging process takes less than one hour.

The new Bulli accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds, and its top speed is 140 km/h (electronically limited). Its range and driving performance not only make the compact vehicle ideal for short distances; but also ideal for most commuters and recreational activities with zero tailpipe emissions.

Naturally, the concept can also incorporate Volkswagen’s extremely efficient petrol and diesel direct injection engines as alternative drives. Engines with 1.0 or 1.4 litre displacement that are fuel efficient yet strong; this is downsizing by the book. Ideal for anyone who wants to cover maximum distances with minimal fuel consumption.

Bulli – the idea goes back 64 years

Without the Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon, the T1 might not have existed, and of course neither would the Bulli concept vehicle at Geneva. That is because Pon was the person who on 23 April, 1947, sketched a picture of a compact bus in his notebook. Actually, the Dutchman’s drawing was a simple side view of a radically shortened public omnibus placed over the wheelbase of a Beetle with an "m" for "motor" written on it. That was it. The world’s first van was born. Great ideas usually just take a few strokes of the pen, but then they require a dedicated effort to implement them. Volkswagen designers took this sketch and created the bus that became an automotive icon with the characteristic "V" in front.

The Bulli concept vehicle now follows in the footsteps of the original bus and demonstrates the concept of maximum space utilisation with the characteristic "V" with VW logo at the front end and the cleanest of proportions. In the process, the concept vehicle’s design follows the maxims of the new Volkswagen "design DNA." Retro? Hardly. It is a Volkswagen! The team led by Walter de Silva, Head of Volkswagen Group Design, and Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand, developed the "design DNA" for the modern era based on styling principles of the bestselling Beetle, Golf I and T1.

Design – visual world of a masterpiece

The new edition of the Bulli is 3.99 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.70 metres tall. The T1 was somewhat longer and taller, but narrower. With a wheelbase of 2.62 metres, the Bulli utilises the overall length very well. Also striking here are the Bulli’s relatively large track widths (1.50 m front and rear) in relation to body width.

Front end: Like the Samba bus before it, the Bulli being presented in Geneva also has two-tone paint – in this case white and red. The "V" on the bonnet, is kept white. The bonnet does house the engine: instead of rear-wheel drive with a boxer engine, as on the Samba, the Bulli has an electric motor located forward of the front axle and front-wheel drive. Here it is a compact integral drive whose primary components are an E-motor, high-voltage pulse inverter and DC/DC converter for the 12-Volt electrical system.

In keeping with the Volkswagen design DNA, there is a horizontal layout of the narrow dual headlights with L-shaped LED daytime running lights and turn indicators implemented as LEDs arranged in an inverted L shape at each outer corner. Incidentally, LEDs not only exhibit tremendous luminous power and long life; due to their low energy consumption they are ideal for the electrically powered Bulli of 2011. Located between the headlights in the bonnet is, as always, the VW logo. On the level beneath, one finds – once again arranged in a horizontal line – the air intakes for the passenger compartment and for battery cooling or for cooling the alternative conventional drives.

Finally, the bumper that is seamlessly integrated in the front end completes the design. Laterally, it exhibits a large round fog light on each side, another air intake in the middle, and a front spoiler in black below. This line matches the lines of the side sills.

Side profile: The Bulli’s two-tone paint also distinguishes the sides. Treated in white is the entire area above what is known as the character line. Originating in the wings is a white stripe that runs to the distinctive D-pillars; above them, the entire roof section is painted in this colour. The continuous line of windows creates an especially striking contrast between the white sections. Here the visually slender black pillars executed in the style of the 2001 Microbus concept are visually striking. Painted in red are the door mirror housings protruding from the line of windows.

Beneath the character line is the red body area. Design elements such as the distinctive wheel housings, the additional shape modulation in the door surfaces above the side sills and the headlights that wrap around to the sides with minimal seams are details that would not have been possible to manufacture in this form and precision on a T1. Concealed in the sandwiched floor behind the sills is the 1,450 kg Bulli’s lithium-ion battery. The white door handles are practical, opening in the direction of pull. The 18-inch alloy wheels are especially attractive. At their centres are stylised chrome hubcaps – another tribute to the bus of years past. Shorter than ever are the overhangs at the front and rear.

Rear section: The Volkswagen design DNA with its horizontal lines also dominates the rear of the new Bulli. Viewed from the bottom upwards, above the body-coloured bumper (including black, stylised diffuser) there is the tailgate that extends across the entire width of the vehicle. In the tailgate, the narrow LED rear lights continue a theme from the Microbus concept of 2001. At the centre, but smaller than at the front end: the VW symbol. When all six seating locations are fully occupied, there is a 370 litre bootspace behind the tailgate.

Interior space – melding of car and iPad

Like the body design, the interior is also marked by a level of clarity whose consistent application can only be found at Volkswagen. The passenger compartment – immersed in light during the day thanks to its panoramic sunroof – also harbours some surprises.

A practical highlight: like the T1 in times past, thanks to its level floor the new Bulli is also equipped with a single bench seat in front. The van offers space for three in the rear as well.

An infotainment highlight: a removable iPad in the centre console serves as a multifunctional touchscreen. Along with Internet-based iPad applications and the media centre, it also handles control of such functions as Bluetooth hands-free telephone and a navigation system. Integrated right on the iPad mount are controls for the climate control system and the centrally located hazard warning switch.

Typical Volkswagen: all cockpit details are clearly organised and designed to be intuitive. Running laterally across the entire width is a line with air vents. In front of the driver, there is a speedometer in the shape of a semicircle. A colour multifunction display, also semi-circular in shape, can be used to view and control (via multifunctional keys in the steering wheel and on it) the navigation system, telephone, trip computer and media centre – the entire unit of speedometer and multifunction display also communicates with the iPad. The key word here is sound: a system produced by legendary guitar and amplifier manufacturer Fender (USA) ensures that the music sounds as though it were being performed live. At Woodstock in 1969, Jimi Hendrix played "The Star-Spangled Banner" – the American national anthem – on a Fender Stratocaster guitar.

What is not found in the Bulli is a tachometer (unnecessary with an electric motor) or a conventional gear shift or gear selection lever (also unnecessary with an electric motor). The latter is replaced by a rotary switch to the right of the driver, which is used to activate forward and reverse gears. A pushbutton in the same switch is used to start and stop the motor. Another rotary switch to the left of the driver is used to control the lighting functions.

Seats become reclining surface in an instant

The outer and middle seat positions of the front bench seat can be folded down (2/3 split); the rear beach seat, meanwhile, can be completely stowed. When the rear bench seat is stowed, cargo capacity increases to 1,600 litres. In addition – and here the new Bulli is reminiscent of its legendary ancestor – the seat system can be transformed into a large reclining surface with just a few manual movements. This turns the compact MPV into a compact camper – the ultimate companion for a weekend trip.

At least as important for many users, however, is that the seating system should not only be versatile but also offer maximum comfort. The seat position is comfortably high and is equally relaxing. As an added benefit, it offers an optimised view forward as well. And that is how it was in the T1 too. Contributing to peace of mind aboard today’s vehicle is the fact that the new era Bulli is equipped with all conceivable safety features. And that is the crucial difference: the car has essentially been reinvented since the days of the first T1 aka the Bulli aka the Microbus.

Source: Volkswagen

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just some old Ford

How long do most people hang on to a car? 5 years, 10 years? How about 30 or 40 years? That's just the case with this 1964 Galaxie. The owner purchased this car in the mid 1970s while in the Army as just a car to drive. The Galaxie ended up being owned by a moonshiner and packed quite a punch thanks to a 427 R code V8 backed by a 4 on the floor. That makes for one impressive package. It may not be an original R code, but it's still one heck of a cool ride and it makes for a great story and video. Enjoy this film from Ben Pender-Cudlip.

Some Old Ford from Ben Pender-Cudlip on Vimeo.

Source: Vimeo

The Brooks Walker Fifth Wheel

 You think about the advancements today with self parking cars and it makes you wonder what took so long. Truth is, the idea of making parking cars easier has been around since at least the 1950s. 

A few years back we spotted this 1953 Packard at an area car show with a similar invention by a gentleman named Brooks Walker of San Francisco, Ca. It may very well have been created by the same gentleman that crated the Cadillac in the video above.

We did a Google search and were able to turn up some patent designs from Mr. Walker that date back to 1928. There are a few other similar patents out there, however Mr. Walker's seems to be the most thought out and engineered example. This patent from 1932 seems to be the most similar to the one in the video, but the application seems nearly identical to that on the Packard we saw. We also found this Life magazine article showing off Walker's invention.

Now the big question. How does it work? The spare tire is mounted to s separate frame that connects to the drive shaft that can be lowered from inside the car electronically or hydraulically. This lowers the spare tire to the ground lifting the drive wheels of the car off the ground. This allows the spare wheel the drive the car in to a parking spot.

Simple as that. It's a very cool idea in theory even if it may not be the most practical. Since there's little info on Brooks Walker's Fifth Wheel, we hope this will help to serve as a memory to his idea.

Friday, February 25, 2011

More Rods

Another traditional rod day.

Just a nice classic looking 29 Model A.

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix adds additional racing classes for 2011

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is an event that we support and have participated in every year since 1997. Every year continues to get bigger and better and 2011 with the 29th annual event is no exception. Big news is that sanctioning for the vintage races held at both Schenley Park and at BeaveRun raceway has been transferred from the Vintage Sports Car Club of America(VSCCA) to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Association (PVGPA). This means that now the race classes will be expanded to cover cars made well into the 1970s and thusly, lowering costs to racers participating in the events by $50.

Also new for 2011 will be improvements to the Schenley Park race course. This is welcome news as 360 days a year the course serves as public roads around and through Schenley Park and the Schenly PArk Golf Course. This includes repaving and the addition of new timing equipment.

On the car show side of the event, Porsche will serve as the 2011 Marque of the Year and along with the Allegheny Region of the Porsche Club of America celebrating their 50th anniversary. They are planning for this to be one of the largest Porsche gatherings in the U.S.

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is unique in the world of vintage sports car racing in that all of the racing takes place on city streets, just like in the old days. Since 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has raised over $2.5 million dollars for the benefit of the Allegheny Valley School and the Autism Society of Pittsburgh with 100% of the proceeds from the races and combined car shows going to charity.  And has grown from a weekend event to a 10 motorsports festival filled with car shows, races, parades, parties, and much more.

This year the PVGP is set for July 10th through the 24th with race weekend and the famed international car show taking place July 23rd and 24th. The full schedule is available at

Press release:

Vintage Racers,
As the 2011 racing season draws nearer, we are very excited to welcome everyone to the 29th renewal of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Plans are underway and we anticipate another outstanding event at Schenley Park.
The best news is that Schenley Park will be less expensive in 2011. For those participants who enter early, the entry fee will be reduced by $50. In addition, there will be an option for the entry of a second car at nearly half price. Other benefits are available for those who want to enter both the Schenley Park and the BeaveRun races together.
The PVGP continues to encourage sponsorship of cars. Sponsorship funds directly benefit children and adults throughout Pennsylvania with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities through the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School. We anticipate continuing a car sponsorship program for 2011 with many benefits for both the sponsors and drivers.
We are going to continue the traditional large PVGP tent at the head of the paddock. It will be the site for the Friday night Happy Hour get-together and the Saturday night driver/volunteer dinner. Plans are underway to expand and upgrade the menu for the Saturday night dinner. As in the past, we will hold all driver meetings at this location and it will remain open during the event for dining and other functions.
Based on comments from prior participants, there will be changes in the dining arrangements. A continental breakfast will be provided on Saturday and Sunday mornings and is included with your entry. In addition, there will be several food vendors offering a wide variety of lunch items at reasonable prices. We hope that this will provide more flexibility and convenience for participants who make their own dining arrangements.
Improvements to the race course include repaving the start/finish straight as well as a permanent transponder line. If you have a transponder, you will be timed. Rentals will be available but limited. It is recommended that participants have their own transponder. As has been the case over the past several years, we are continuing to expand the eligibility in each of the groups to accommodate more cars. Rest assured that we are not going to open up eligibility to those cars that do not fit the unique course that is Schenley Park. We will not compromise safety for the cars, drivers or the spectators. All participants at Schenley are strongly encouraged to take notice of the PVGP Driver Policy as excessive exuberance or unsafe driving will not be tolerated.
Porsche will be the featured marque for 2011 and it is expected to draw a large number of participants in the marque race as well as a large representation on the show field. In addition, if participants wish to paddock together, we strongly encourage that they send the PVGP their space requirements. We are anticipating a large entry this year and paddock parking is expected to be very tight.
As Competition Director this year, I look forward to maintaining the tradition and uniqueness of the only city street road race in the country. I have been working in many capacities at the PVGP since its inception in 1983 and expect that the 2011 event will continue to provide all of the fun for participants and spectators that it has in the past. All of the PVGP team, including, Jim “Rocky” Farrar, Race Director, Mike Connolly, Assistant Race Director, Donna McDonough, Chief Registrar and all the other outstanding volunteers welcome and offer you the opportunity to enjoy and participate in the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, recognized worldwide as a premier vintage racing event, through the spectacular Schenley Park in Pittsburgh.
Please join us in making the 29th running of the PVGP the very best ever.

Richard Barnes – PVGP Schenley Park Competition Director 412-767-8611
Jim “Rocky” Farrar - PVGP Race Director
Mike Connolly - PVGP Assistant Race Director

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is the most iconic car of all time?

This year, Jaguar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the launch of the E-type. The E-type is considered by many as THE car that defined the 1960s and is one of the most iconic cars of all times. This leads us to wonder what other cars are truly iconic cars. The Ford Model T? The VW Beetle? Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing? 1959 Cadillac? the 1986 Ford Taurus? How about the 1968 Corvette? Give us your insight and we'll compile a list of what our readers say are the most iconic cars of all time.

Jaguar to unveil the baddest cat of them all. The XKR-S.

Jaguar is billing the XKR-S as the most potent production car they have made in their 75 year history. And what a great way to celebrate it. Full specs won't be released until March 1st, but we do know that the XKR-S will pack a supercharged V8 making 550 horsepower with a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. The styling is much bolder than the current XKR especially in this bright blue hue teased to us. We do spy a touch of carbon fiber on the front fascia and on the rear spoiler and of course there's lots of piano black trim which makes for a very cool look. Still, nothing beats a fast cat in traditional British Racing Green. 

Press Release:


Jaguar will launch its most potent series production car ever, the all-new XKR-S, at the Geneva motorshow on March 1.

This all-new model will significantly broaden the appeal of the XK range, offering enthusiastic drivers a compelling, fresh choice in the luxury GT class.

With an uprated supercharged V8 engine, overhauled suspension and a new aerodynamically-driven design, the XKR-S is the ultimate expression of Jaguar’s long held duality of purpose: GT luxury with incredible performance.

“The XKR-S is a bold and exciting new model for Jaguar,” said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s new Global Brand Director. “We expect to attract both loyal and new Jaguar driving enthusiasts who still want the comfort, opulence and class only a Jaguar can offer, combined with inspirational performance.”

The XKR-S produces 550PS and 680Nm of torque, enough power to offer a top speed of 186mph (300km/h). Its performance credentials speak for themselves: 0-60mph takes 4.2 seconds, with 0-100mph dismissed in just 8.6 seconds.

The XKR-S is not merely the quickest Jaguar ever, but also the most agile, responsive and driver-focused. It exploits the XK’s strong, lightweight aluminium body architecture to maximise both handling and economy. Alongside its incredible performance, the XKR-S is the only car in its class that emits less than 300g/km CO2.

Bespoke suspension changes to the front and rear offer ultimate precision, control and driver appeal, while a reprogrammed Adaptive Dynamics system allows the enthusiastic driver to explore the edges of the handling envelope.

Full details, images and video of the XKR-S will be available on Geneva press day – March 1.

Alongside the exciting new XKR-S, Jaguar will be marking the 50th anniversary of the E-Type with the first in a series of celebrations that take place during 2011.

Jaguar will be hosting E-Type drives at the Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva, where the original car was launched by the marque’s founder Sir William Lyons half a century ago.

The appeal of E-Type transcended the automotive world. Such is the inherent rightness of its proportions, stance and purity of line, that it is a permanent exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Its influence is still apparent in Jaguar’s modern range - products that offer a peerless blend of performance, comfort, cutting-edge technology and award-winning design.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director. “Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. We’re looking forward to celebrating achievement and looking forward with our all-new sports cars in Geneva.”

Source: Jaguar

59 Caddys are cool

But you can't get much cooler than a Series 75 limo that's slammed to the ground.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Volkswagen reveals new 2012 Golf Cabriolet

After an 8 year absence from the marketplace. Volkswagen is bringing back the famed Golf Cabrio set to unveil at the Geneva Auto Show. No details on when the new Cabrio will hit the U.S. yet, but the car specs are very similar to the current 6th generation Golf/GTI with some cues taken from the GTI. Perhaps maybe the U.S. will see a GTI version? Who knows. The styling is crisp and fresh, but looks similar to the Eos in my opinion since the Golf has lost its trademark roll bar hoop. That said the top mechanism takes merely 9.5 seconds to drop and will fit flush into the body with the top of the roof acting as a boot. Probably most impressive is the fact that the new Golf Cabrio will be offered with diesel engine options as part of the six available choices.

Advance sales are set to begin tomorrow in Germany, but as we mentioned earlier, no mention of the U.S. market. It's questionable if we will get the Golf Cabrio because of the current Eos and the out going New Beetle convertible (no mention if the next Beetle will go topless). It may very well be possible that we won't see the Golf purely because of these two cars just as VW won't bring the Scirocco to the U.S. for fears of taking sales from the GTI. But then again, anything is possible.

Press Release:
Wolfsburg, 23 February 2011 - In its presentation of the new Golf Cabriolet at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show, Volkswagen is writing a new chapter of a global success story. The four-seater has an innovative soft top with an electro-hydraulic drive that opens the Golf’s top in just 9.5 seconds.

The new Volkswagen’s styling follows that of its hard-top three-door counterpart, but it shows a high level of independence with a new rear section, lower profile roof line and more swept-back angle of its front windscreen frame. The convertible’s image is especially dynamic when ordered with optional bi-xenon headlights. Always a standard feature: the LED rear lights like those of the GTI. Other standard safety features offering peace of mind are the automatically deploying roll-over bar, front airbags, side head/thorax airbags, knee airbag for the driver and ESP.

The new Golf is one of the quietest convertibles today. Its soothing quietness is attributable to the new soft top that was optimised in specific ways. It also has a standard hydraulic drive that opens the Golf’s top extremely quickly. The top can also be opened or closed during driving at speeds of up to 30 km/h.
Ideal for cruising with a convertible are the six turbocharged direct-injection engines whose power outputs range from 77 kW / 105 PS to 155 kW / 210 PS. Four of the petrol engines (TSI) and one diesel (TDI) are available with the DSG dual-clutch gearbox; while three of the engines are available with energy-saving BlueMotion Technology. Just how efficiently the new Golf Cabriolet handles fuel is illustrated by the 1.6 TDI with 105 PS and BlueMotion Technology: It only consumes 4.4 l/100 km (equivalent to 117 g/km CO2).

In Germany, advance sales begin tomorrow with prices starting at 23.625,- Euros. Essentially, all of the features offered in the classic, hard top Golf are also available in the new Golf Cabriolet. The only feature that will definitely not be offered is a sunroof …

Source: Volkswagen

Monday, February 21, 2011

Formula 1 season opener Bahrain Grand Prix canceled

Well, it should come as no surprise with the unrest in the Middle East that it would eventually affect the Formula 1 racing schedule. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa determined it would be in the country's best interest along with the FIA's that the Bahrain Grand Prix be canceled for this year. The Bahrain Grand Prix was set to take place March 11th through the 13th with practice at least a week or so prior. So this cancellation was bringing it down to the line for the Formula 1 teams. The next scheduled race is the Australian Grand Prix which will take place March 27th and will start the 2011 Formula 1 season.

1990 Mercedes travels over 1 million Kilometers

We all know Mercedes Benz diesels are the automotive equivalent of a bank vault, with thousands covering well over 100,000 miles. News from Mercedes of Canada is that they have found one that has covered 1,110,000+ kilometers under the ownership of its original owner. Robert Miles from Ontario and his 1990 300D (W124) chassis have stood the test of time. That calculates out to roughly 690,000 miles on the original engine and trans. 

Mr. Miles used the car for daily transportation every day since he purchased the car new. Traveling over 5,000 kilometers each month. Mr. Miles credits the cars longevity on the superb service he's received from Mercedes technician Peter Hagen Jr. Congratulations to Mr. Miles on the honor.

Source: Mercedes Benz Canada.

(Press Release)
Mercedes-Benz Canada is pleased to announce today that Mr. Robert Miles of Port Dover, Ontario, has driven more than 1,110,000 kilometres in the 1990 300D he purchased as a brand new car in the winter of 1989. This significant milestone was reached without any modifications to the engine or transmission. As a traveling insurance salesman, Mr. Miles relied on his car for many years to transport him to client meetings and house calls back and forth across the province. 
The Mercedes-Benz 300D is one of the many memorable cars that have made the Mercedes-Benz brand and the E-Class family of cars so highly popular. Currently in its ninth-generation, the E-Class is still considered to be a benchmark in the luxury segment and one of the world’s best business sedans. 
“Indeed, my 300D was a vital part of my business. I simply could not afford to miss a meeting or be delayed. There is no doubt that this very reliable vehicle was crucial to my success over these years,” said Mr. Miles. “I was driving an average of 5 ,200 kilometres a month which meant I had to ensure that the scheduled maintenance was always kept completely up to date. I made a conscious decision to have the car serviced at the same dealership even after the warranty expired. I developed a wonderful relationship with my Mercedes-Benz technician, Peter Hagen Jr, who nurtured this car like his own for more than twenty years. Despite the long distances I would travel, my mind was at ease; I always knew that Peter’s diligence and my trusted 300D would take me back home to my family safe and sound.”
Even with countless hours on the road, Mr. Miles was never involved in an accident in his office-on-wheels, and was also never wary of driving his beloved Mercedes-Benz through the most extreme weather conditions. Despite the lovely patina it has accumulated over the years, Mr. Miles’ car is still in good condition. It truly epitomizes the unmatched quality and exemplary durability that is inherent in every Mercedes-Benz vehicle.
“Mercedes-Benz vehicles are engineered to stand the test of time. Mr. Miles’ personal story highlights what kind of longevity is possible through regularly scheduled maintenance, and also demonstrates the benefits of a strong and trusting relationship between a customer and his or her dealership,” said Marcus Breitschwerdt, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. “I would like to personally thank Mr. Miles on behalf of our entire organization for his loyalty to the brand and to his dealership throughout the years. In addition, I would also like to recognize and applaud Peter Hagen Jr. and the Mercedes-Benz Oakville staff for their dedication to excellence in customer service.” 
He adds, “It was 125 years ago when our company’s founding fathers invented the automobile; they made a historic promise to always offer our customers the absolute best automotive experience in the industry. Today, our collective and unwavering resolve remains squarely focused on upholding this guarantee and ensuring that the three-pointed star continues to represent the benchmark in the luxury segment.”

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Drive it like Steve McQueen

Coming soon to a garage near you, if you are the lucky bidder. The 1970 Porsche 911 S driven by Steve McQueen in the opening scenes of the cult classic Le Mans will soon be crossing the auction block. Current owner Frank Gallogly has consigned the car to RM Auctions Monterey sale later this year. The owner won't disclose his asking price for the car and the details on the auction have not been released yet by RM. Once they are made available, we will pass on the details here.

The car is a slate gray 1970 911 S that was purchased by McQueen's Solar Productions from Porsche to drive while on location in France. Many assumed it was the same Porsche that Steve McQueen owned in the states, however that car was a 1969 model in the same slate gray. The 911 came equipped with air-conditioning, a Blaupunkt AM/FM radio, leather interior, electric sunroof, aluminum wheel trim rings and driving lights. As with any vintage car, some restoration work has been performed over the years which included a fresh coat of paint and a new windshield. The car was thought to have been lost for decades, but the truth was the car was sent back to Porsche for some modifications before being sent back to McQueen in California. The car was later sold when Solar Productions filed for bankruptcy. The car changed hands a few times with each owner knowing exactly what they had. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Penske calls it quits with Smart

Yes you heard that correct. Penske Automotive is giving up distribution rights to the Smart brand and all duties there within. However, this does not mean that Smart is simply going to vanish from the U.S. .Mercedes Benz will pick up where Penske is leaving off and will continue to offer Smart for years to come.

Since coming to the United States in 2008. Smart has sold over 45,000 cars in this country.

Source: Mercedes Benz

(Press Release)

Mercedes-Benz USA Intends to Transition the Distribution of smart from Penske Automotive Group
MONTVALE, N.J., Feb. 14, 2011

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) and Penske Automotive Group (NYSE: PAG) today announced they have started negotiations to transition the distribution rights, management, sales and marketing activities of smart USA from Penske Automotive Group to Mercedes-Benz USA. The transition is expected to occur by the end of the second quarter of 2011.

The proposed change marks a further step in implementing the future growth strategy of the smart brand. It also reflects last year's reorganization at smart headquarters in Germany, where smart is now managed as an independent brand, but is fully integrated into Mercedes-Benz Cars business unit of Daimler AG.

"We are very excited about working toward integration of smart into the MBUSA organization, and look forward to working with our dealer partners to exceed customer expectations for this unique vehicle," said Mercedes-Benz President and CEO, Ernst Lieb. "The addition of smart, combined with our Autohaus dealer initiative, will help us build upon the tremendous momentum the Mercedes-Benz brand has achieved here in the U.S."

"Introducing the smart brand to the U.S. has been a unique opportunity for us," said Penske Automotive Group Chairman Roger Penske. "Over the last three years I've experienced the passion consumers express for the brand as we delivered over 45,000 vehicles. Aligning smart distribution with Daimler, as it is worldwide, is the logical next step for the smart brand in the U.S. This alignment will enable the smart brand to grow through the Mercedes-Benz dealership network and lead the way in conservation and meeting future fuel economy standards."

The addition of the fuel efficient smart fortwo and smart fortwo electric vehicles to Mercedes-Benz USA's product portfolio underscores the company's commitment to meet even more stringent fuel economy standards in the future. The smart fortwo achieves EPA estimated 41 mpg in highway driving. Manufactured by Daimler AG, smart is currently sold in more than 40 countries, and more than 1.2 million smart fortwo have been sold worldwide since 1998. Since then, smart has established itself as the think tank for urban and electric mobility for Daimler AG and plays an important role in the Corporation's plans to make innovative future mobility concepts such as car2go available in Europe and the United States.

Dear smart Owners,

I wanted to take a moment and let you know that today Penske Automotive Group announced plans to transition the smart USA business to Mercedes-Benz USA. It was important to us that you hear this news from us and not via news reports.

As a loyal smart owner this is good news for you. The brand will continue under the responsibility of Mercedes-Benz USA, a natural home for the smart brand given the product is designed and engineered by Mercedes-Benz. This transition will be seamless for you. You will be serviced in your market as you are today. Your warranty does not change. We are working through all the transition details which we anticipate to be complete by no later than the end of June. We of course will continue to have open dialogue with you through the next few months and please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions.

Thank you for your continued loyalty to smart.

Long hidden Tucker sees light of day again.

From our friends at Hemmings and the Tucker Automobile Club of America comes news about one of 51 1948 Tucker Torpedos that was all but forgotten in South America.

Roberto E. Lee of São Paulo, Brazil. purchased Tucker number 1035 in the late 1960s with the intentions of restoring the car for his museum. Sadly this did not happen before his death a few years later. After Lee's death the museum closed while his family argued over ownership (seems to always happen huh?). Originally there were over 100 cars in the collection with several that were stolen or sold over the years. Vandalism also plagued the closed museum during the past few decades.

However some light has shown on the collection with a recent deal completed between the city of Caçapava and the Lee family for the city to take possession of the remaining 27 cars in the collection which includes the Tucker and an equally rare Alfa Romeo grand prix car in exchange for the rights to develop the property for another use. The story doesn't end here though. The remaining cars from the collection have now joined another small car museum in the city and restoration/preservation work on the Tucker is to begin soon.

The Tucker is unique as it has been heavily modified since first coming to South America in 1948. The unique dashboard has been replaced with one from Buick and the rear engine has given way to a front mounted engine transplant. So the restoration folks will have their work cut out for them as they progress. Especially since you can't just go down to the local Pep Boys and order replacement parts for a 1948 Tucker.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Datsun 510: Against All Odds

This very cool vintage film has been brought to our attention. In 1971 Datsun was locked in battle in the Trans American Challenge series with cars built by legend Peter Brock of BRE and piloted by John Morton and Mike Downs to win the 10 race series. This film shot by Datsun and the Sports Car Club of America has rarely been seen in recent years. and chronicles the 1971 season.

This is a great bit of racing history to watch Datsun duke it out against Alfa Romeo, BMW, Fiat and Volvo. It's just a tad under a half hour long and makes for something good to watch during your lunch break. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update: VW releases Black Beetle Super Bowl commercial

Just days after giving us the teaser commercial for the 2012 Beetle, appropriately named Black Beetle. VW released the the full commercial to the world today days before its scheduled appearance in the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Enjoy.

As an added bonus, here is VW's other spot for the Super Bowl featuring a tiny Darth Vader and the all new 2012 Passat.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jay Leno's 66 Ford Galaxie

Jay Leno and the crew at the Big Dog Garage have been hard at work on this 66 Galaxie 500 for quite a while now and it's finally finished. The car replicates to an extent an identical 66 that his dad ordered new in 66 and Jay later totaled. The car started out as a one year only 7 liter 428 V8, that Jay replaced with a Roush 427 that makes well over 600 horse power with a 6 speed trans and 4:10 gears. The crew also updated the suspension, added Wilwood disk brakes and vintage air conditioning. All of this without changing any of the body panels. Throw on a set of classic torque thrusts and some redlines and to the un-suspecting you have quite the sleeper.

Jay Leno's 1966 Ford Galaxie 500