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Today hot auto news

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Kia recalling 2001-2004 Optima sedans in rust-prone states over subframe corrosion

06/10/2009   [Original: NHTSA via Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Kia

The 2001-2004 Kia Optima is being recalled in several states for corrosion of the front subframe. The recall covers some 36,538 examples sold in the U.S. in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia - all areas typically noted for being high rust threats due to their difficult winters and use of road salt.

According to the recall, internal corrosion of the front subframe can weaken the mounting points near the lower control arm, leading to everything from irregular tire wear to abnormal stress levels in the system that may contribute to a cras.

The recall begins this month, but neither Kia nor NHTSA have outlined a potential fix in the recall notice posted after the jump.

Continue reading Kia recalling 2001-2004 Optima sedans in rust-prone states over subframe corrosion

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Crockett and Tubbs' whip will live

10/27/2006   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Etc., Supercars, Ferrari

The Volo Auto Museum is in the process of restoring the Ferrari Daytona Spyder replica used during the first two seasons of Miami Vice. The vehicle, which was reportedly used and abused by the star, Don Johnson, was left out to pasture and is now undergoing a full restoration to bring it back to its former glory.

The replica of the Spyder was built off a 1980 Corvette C3 and spawned countless copycats and subsequent lawsuits from Ferrari. After the first two years of filming the series, Ferrari decided to give up two Testarossas in an effort to stem the tide of replicas flooding the market.

Some of us can think back to a few key moments in our childhood that began our automotive obsession, for this writer, the Daytona Spyder was one of them.

We'll keep you posted on the progress and follow up on its impending debut at the museum this December.

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French Connection: Villeneuve to drive Peugeot 908 at Le Mans

01/14/2007   [Original: Peugeot via Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Green, Hirings/Firings, PSA

Having unveiled the 908 LM racing car at the Paris show this past September, Peugeot is gearing up to race their new car in the European Le Mans Series. The French company is serious about competing at Le Mans and in the entire series, and they've signed on some key drivers to get them to victory lane.

The biggest name is none other than Jacques Villeneuve. For those coming late to the game, the French Canadian driver recently left Formula One and is trying to make his way into NASCAR. With his efforts looking less-than-likely to materialize for the 2007 season, Jacques is joining the Peugeot racing program in a bid to become the first driver ever to have won the F1 championship, the Champ Car title, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As if his CV wasn't full enough as it is...but unfortunately, despite the enormous success of his early career, subsequent seasons in F1 were less than spectacular, to put it mildly.

Joining Villeneuve behind the wheel of the 908 are Nicolas Manassian, Stephane Sarrazin, Pedro Lamy, Marc Gene (of Ferrari test-driving fame) and three-time Champ Car champ Sebastien Bourdais. Eric Helary, who won Le Mans for Peugeot in 1993, joins the new team as a test and back-up driver.

The Peugeot 908 follows the smashing success of the Audi R10 diesel racing car with an all-aluminum twelve-cylinder common-rail direct-injection twin-turbo diesel with the latest advanced particulate filter system. Between the green power, the big-name drivers and the return of the French carmaker to the series, there are a lot of reasons to keep an eye on Peugeot this season, kicking off at Monza on April 14.

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Chrysler set to recall some 2006 Dodge Rams

02/18/2007   [Original: Detroit News via Autoblog]
Category: Dodge, RR of the Day

There are cheap recalls and there are expensive recalls. Luckily for the Chrysler Group the current recall of 86,333 '06 Dodge Rams built between Nov. 7, 2005, and April 27, 2006 amounts to little more than adding grease to wheel bearings. Unfortunately for 2006 Ram owners if this issue is left unchecked it can lead to road noise and vibration and can eventually result in a loss of control and a crash. The folks over at Chrysler did a nice job of catching the issue early and publishing the recall without dragging their feet.

No cases of lost control have been reported due to the defect.

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Amateur car design: How fast do your dreams go?

07/04/2007   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Etc.

I was young when I set up my first automotive company. It was small, as you might expect of a corporation founded by a 14-year-old. CJT Inc. produced only two vehicles. The MF2000 was a super-swoopy, gullwinged sports car with a tri-turbo V-12 that ran on either hydrogen or unleaded. Our other vehicle was an unnamed sport truck I swear GM stole and now, 22 years later, calls the Avalanche (what does that say about GM design? Hmmm).

Both cars, of course, were totally on paper and in my head. In fact, this may be the first time I've ever told anyone about them. They were awful-looking things, of course, since most of the design cues were taken from the mid-80s domestics I saw in my small rural hometown and a few over-the-top Italian supercars.

How many "amateur designers" reading this right now are nodding in agreement, remembering high school notebooks with 20 variations on the 911 profile, but only one page of physics notes?

A.J. Starkey of Texas is one of us armchair car designers. Starkey says his sketches are not meant to attempt to improve upon the pros, but instead are his escape from a relatively mundane cubicle-worker's life. He submitted to Autoblog his take on the admittedly gorgeous Dino rendering of Ugur Sahin. Starkey's take (seen above, with more here.) utilizes more design cues of the past, keeping the rear air intake lower on the body, and generally being more true to classic Ferraris.

Continue reading after the jump.

Continue reading Amateur car design: How fast do your dreams go?

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So, anything out there you'd like to strap a jet engine to?

05/17/2008   [Original: YouTube via Autoblog]
Category: Etc., Videos, Humor, Special/Limited Editions

Click on the image above to watch the video

Those of you who'd like to power your daily driver with a jet engine but are a little too concerned about the complexity of a turbine should take a look at the good old pulse jet. With a slightly crazy but active community still working on the German World War II engine design, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything on wheels that hasn't seen a buzzing pulse jet strapped onto it somehow. Something with two wheels? Sure. How about something with four wheels and a couple thousand horsepower? Heck yeah! As you can see in the video pasted after the break, the venerable pulse jet has seen plenty of duty on race and show cars, and there's not much in this world thats cooler than a jet-powered automobile. Just don't start it in front of your neighbor's house and you'll be fine.

Continue reading So, anything out there you'd like to strap a jet engine to?

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Transformers' Barricade upgrading Ford Mustang to Audi R8?

01/20/2009   [Original: TFormers.com via Autoblog]
Category: Audi, Toys, Lifestyle

Click image above for a high-res gallery of the Transformers Audi R8 action figure

There's no doubt that the Audi R8 is one bad car, and new images of a toy action figure for the upcoming Transformers movie Revenge of the Fallen proves that it's bad on the silver screen too... especially wearing a Decepticon badge on its posterior. According to various interweb reports, Audi's mid-engined supercar will take the form of Barricade in the highly-anticipated Transformers sequel, due in theaters on June 26th. We have no idea if this means that the Mustang won't be making a return appearance in the TF movie franchise, but if Bumblebee remains a Chevrolet Camaro as we expect, having a Ford Mustang across enemy lines just seems natural. That said, an epic battle between the Centennial Corvette Autobot and the Audi R8 Decepticon does seem rather appropriate. We'll just have to wait and see how this all plays out in a few months.

Gallery: Transformers Audi R8 action figure

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Saleen's new owners in the running for Viper acquisition?

02/09/2009   [Original: AutoWeek via Autoblog]
Category: Chrysler, Dodge, Saleen

Click above for high-res gallery of the Dodge Viper ACR

Saleen's future has been in upheaval the last few years. First, company founder Steve Saleen left, then the company's assets were sold off to private investors. Its new owners plan to continue making superchargers and bolt-on parts, but Saleen's turnkey Racecraft and S lines could face the axe, while the company's former keepers retain ownership of its supercar manufacturing business while they figure out what they can do with it.

Meanwhile, Chrysler has been looking to sell of its Viper operation, but while Saleen could have been a contender in years past, in its current condition few expect it to make such a large acquisition. That may be a false assumption, however, as silence is speaking louder than words. Understandably, Chrysler's management is not disclosing the identities of the three potential buyers with which it is discussing the future of the Viper enterprise, but Saleen's new owners are likewise refusing to comment. That kind of silence can be as deafening as a Saleen exhaust note, leaving us to wonder if the company's new owners could turn the broken shards of a once-great American company into a new powerhouse with the Viper packing the punch.

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New Indy engine could be delayed, three manufacturers in the mix

02/06/2009   [Original: USA Today via Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Audi, Honda, Porsche, Volkswagen, FIAT

Competition is a good thing, right? If so, IndyCar racing is slated to improve within the next few years as the series branches out to include multiple engine suppliers. As it currently stands, Honda, which has been the sole engine supplier for IndyCar since 2006, will continue with its current contract through the 2010 season at least. IndyCar organizers would like to have a few new contracts in place by 2011, but the slow economy and fewer dollars earmarked for motorsports may push that date off until 2012.

In addition to Honda, which would like to stay in the series, Audi, Fiat, Porsche and Volkswagen are all currently negotiating with the racing league to offer alternative powertrain options. The current engines all displace 3.5 liters and are limited to 10,300 rpm, making about 650 horsepower running on ethanol fuel. The next contract will likely call for engines displacing 2.0 liters and feature turbocharging and direct injection. Both four cylinder and six cylinder options are being considered.

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GM officially debuts Holden Cruze, shows off Australian Volt

02/27/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Economy, Hybrids/Alternative, Sedans/Saloons, Green, Misc. Auto Shows, Holden, Australia

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Holden Cruze

Late last year Holden, the Australian arm of General Motors, announced it would be getting a new small sedan based on the global platform underpinning the Chevy Cruze. At the time, it was assumed that the Holden would feature revised sheetmetal and possibly a new name, but now that the wraps are off, it's clear that the only things changed are the badges, grille and location of the steering wheel. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the new Cruze is a looker regardless of what brand name is affixed to the front.

Hit the jump to check out the Holden Volt.

Continue reading GM officially debuts Holden Cruze, shows off Australian Volt

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