Friday, September 21, 2018

A car that we’re glad exists: Nissan announces pricing for the 2019 Versa Note

2019 Nissan Versa Note
Photo: Nissan Media Newsroom.
With a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder powerplant that makes 109 horsepower, the 2019 Versa Note is not an enthusiast’s dream. It does not exactly qualify as a hot hatch that’ll take you on a thrill ride. That’s in spite of Nissan press materials that seem to be trying to hint in the direction of the hot-hatch vibe, with their reference to the vehicle’s “sporty hatchback design” appealing to buyers looking for “an added level of style to go with a hatchback’s 5-door utility.”

But new cars are expensive today. And with MSRPs for 2019 ranging from $15,650 to $18,360, which Nissan announced on Wednesday, the Versa Note gives you a lot for the money.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Don’t forget: the Dammerman Car Collection goes up for sale Friday at the Saratoga Auto Auction

Dammerman Car Collection
Photo: Saratoga Auto Auction.
If you’re interested in bidding on pristine-quality mid-century American muscle cars, sports cars, or other collector-quality American vehicles of various vintages, you might not want to overlook the second annual Saratoga Auto Auction, which runs this Friday, September 21, and Saturday September 22, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

‘Off-road cruise control?’ Ford’s new Trail Control feature for the F-150 Raptor actually sounds like a good idea—but maybe they should position it a little differently

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor with Trail Control
Photo: Ford Media Center.
By Bill Hayward
If you’re like me, you use cruise control as a means of restraint in higher-speed situations, to try to keep the velocity a little lower and decrease the odds of your driving pleasure being interrupted by red-and-blue lights when you’re on a long roadtrip in your favorite silky-smooth, miles-devouring highway cruiser.

Monday, September 10, 2018

If you're not yet hip to the wonders of diesel culture, steer your cable box to Diesel Brothers on Discovery tonight

Diesel Brothers with Jose Caballero
Photo: Discovery Communications.
According to Discovery Communications, tonight's episode of Diesel Brothers on Discovery Channel and Discovery Go (Monday, September 10 at 10 PM ET/PT) is a big one.

In the episode, the fun-loving, truck-building men of Dieselsellerz, known for crazy online videos and over-the-top diesel builds, will be showing a better side of the American spirit to a Hispanic-American family that, as graphically documented in a smartphone video that went viral, was unfortunately exposed to some of the worst of 'Murican behavior when their truck broke down at a campground.

Friday, September 7, 2018

It’s a little late to announce back-to-school specials, but for a college kid with around $20K to spend, the 2019 MINI Oxford Edition is a pretty cool idea

2019 MINI Oxford Edition 2-Door and 4-Door versions
Photo: BMW Group Press Club.
Cars that are relatively inexpensive when new but still offer some level of an enthusiast-oriented driving experience aren’t exactly plentiful on the market these days.

And now that the industry—in the U.S., at least—seems to think everyone wants a crossover, “cheap sports cars” might become even harder to come by.

But there are a few around, like the Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ twins and, of course, the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

And then there is MINI.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Lexus previews the 2019 RC Coupe, with official reveal promised for the Paris Motor Show in October


Photo: Toyota USA Newsroom.
Personal luxury coupes may be all but extinct among American automakers, but continuing apace with the category is Lexus, announcing refinements yesterday for the 2019 RC and offering a preview ahead of an official reveal set for October.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ford says ‘Nothing to report’ on Mustang Mach 1 50th anniversary plans

Photo: Ford Media Center.
So it seems that it’s official: Ford won’t be doing anything in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Mustang Mach 1, which made its debut in 1969.

“I have nothing to report for Mach 1,” Ford spokesman Jiyan Cadiz told Auto Enthusiasts Newsblaster, in an email. “As you probably know, we played with the nameplate trim earlier this year. But as far as our current Mustang lineup goes, our focus for 2019 is Mustang Bullitt—celebrating 50 years of the iconic movie and movie car, plus an upgraded Shelby GT350.”

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Be still, my heart: the Jaguar E-Type is coming back—sort of.

Silver Jaguar E-Type Series I roadster
Photo: Jaguar Newsroom
By Bill Hayward
Three days ago, it was officially announced that the childhood dream car that I’ve never owned is making a comeback of sorts.

And I almost missed the press release in my inbox.

But I finally found it, and my heart almost skipped a beat when I read it: Jaguar Classic confirmed on Thursday that they will offer all-electric E-Types for sale, branded as E-Type Zero to emphasize the zero-emissions profile of the powertrain.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Can we talk about size for a moment? Car size, that is?

2nd-generation Toyota Yaris and 6th-generation Toyota Corolla
From top: 2nd-generation Toyota Yaris and
6th-generation Toyota Corolla.
Photos: Toyota USA Newsroom.
Size perception can be very, very relative and subjective. And if there is one thing that can demonstrate that for us, it’s the fluctuations that have taken place in car sizes over the years.

By car size, I’m referring to every dimension: overall and curb weight, overall height, overall width, wheelbase, you name it. And the relative nature of how we perceive car size can apply to all of these dimensions. Just how deceptive and relative our perceptions of car size can be was driven home for me recently, when I realized something about two vehicles my next-door neighbor owns.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

GM’s Mark Reuss at Holden Headquarters: ‘Make no mistake, we’re moving to a driverless future’

Holden engineer Rob Trubiani. Photo: GM Holden Pressroom
So how do you feel about the future of autonomous motoring—or of a so-called “driverless future?”

If you’re reading Auto Enthusiasts Newsblaster, chances are you have mixed feelings at best about autonomous vehicles in general. And, looking 10 or 20 years ahead, you’re probably a lot more comfortable with the vision of a world in which you still have at least a choice about whether you or a computer will be in control of your personal vehicles.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

T-Birds go up to 11: in defense of the 11th-generation Ford Thunderbird?

Yellow 2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird convertible
2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird. Photo by IFCARE (Wikimedia Commons).
By Bill Hayward
Although I do remember running across a short news story or two when the new, retro-styled 2002 Ford Thunderbird was about to debut, I have to say that these cars were essentially not on my radar at the time—even less so ever since, until very recently. 

Part of the reason for that, of course, is that at the time I was at a much more of a practical-minded lifestage when it came to vehicle needs. Transportation options like minivans and SUVs were top-of-mind, not two-seater roadsters. It was just this year that I started thinking again about the 11th-generation Ford Thunderbird and getting curious about what I might have missed by not paying attention when it was still in production.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Is Ford actually going to miss the 50th anniversary of the Mustang Mach 1?

Photo by Bill Hayward for Auto Enthusiasts Newsblaster.
By Bill Hayward
Fall is just a few weeks away. We’re already deep into end-of-model-year season and the new model-year launch season. The launch of the 2019 Mustang Bullitt edition has been essentially a year-long process, and the Bullitt press cars are out and working their way through the journalistic food chain.

But the model year we are entering is 2019. And 50 years ago, something very big in the history of Mustang happened: the launch of the first Mach 1. 1969 was an important year for Mustang performance packages. In addition to the Mach 1, the Boss 302, Boss 429, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT500 packages were available.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

44 sports cars, convertibles, coupes, and more from the Dammerman collection up for no-reserve auction in Saratoga Springs next month

American sports cars, convertibles, and coupes from the Dammerman collection
Photo: Saratoga Auto Auction
The Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York, announced yesterday that 44 vehicles from the personal collection of the late GE executive Dennis Dammerman will be up for sale with no reserve at the Saratoga Auto Auction on September 21 and 22.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Will the next Dodge Charger be a badge-engineered Alfa Romeo Giulia? Let’s assess the pros and cons

Front view split screen of Dodge Charger SRT and Alfa Romeo Giulia
FROM LEFT: Dodge Charger SRT and Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Photos: FCA US Media Website. 
The untimely loss of Sergio Marchionne is of course tragic—for his family, for FCA, and for the automotive industry.

Yet the true extent of his legacy in transforming the automaker he led may still lie ahead for us to see.

While listening to the most recent episode of the Motorweek podcast yesterday, I heard the panelists discussing a set of related automotive rumors that I had somehow missed: rumors about the design future of the Dodge Charger.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rolls Royce is taking a selection of their bespoke motor cars on a summer tour of some of Europe’s swankiest leisure destinations

Handcrafted surfboard mounted atop a Rolls-Royce
Photo: BMW Group PressClub.
If you're part of the crowd that uses the word summer as a verb and need an extra thing or two to do as you lounge about in some of Europe’s most swanky leisure destinations this season, you just might have a chance to include Rolls Royce spotting as one of your ways of passing the time. But you'd better move quickly.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Let's all pause for a moment and give the 10 millionth Mustang the moment of honor it deserves

Formation of cars celebrating the 10 millionth Ford Mustang
Photo: Ford Media Center
What can you say about a single American automotive model that forever changed the everyday car owner’s sense of what the driving experience can be, and that has now endured for more than half a century?

On Wednesday, Ford marked a major milestone in automotive history with the production of the 10 millionth Ford Mustang at the Flat Rock Assembly plant in Michigan. Just to reach that production number with one brand, now in its sixth generation, is a momentous achievement.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Should hybrid owners use a special fuel additive? David Kaiser of LIQUI MOLY says "Yes"

Porsche Cayenne plug-in hybrid
Porsche Cayenne plug-in hybrid crossover. Photo: Porsche Newsroom.
If you drive a hybrid, should you be worried about the health of its internal-combustion “backup engine?”

David Kaiser, head of research and development at LIQUI MOLY, an automotive lubricant and additive manufacturing company based in Germany, says you should.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Brother, can you spare 2 million Euros? Then you just might be able to get one of the 99 MILAN RED hypercars that will be produced.

MILAN RED hypercar
Photo: MILAN Automotive GmbH
The MILAN RED, a new hypercar from the Austria-based startup MILAN Automotive GmbH, made its official debut at the company’s first official press conference last Thursday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

One of the most stunning concept cars we've seen all year is... wait for it... a Hyundai

Hyundai Le Fil Rouge concept car.
Photo: Hyundai Media Center.
On Friday, one of the most visually stunning sports coupe concepts that we’ve seen in the past year will be on display for the first time at the 40th Annual Concours d’Elegance of America in Plymouth, Michigan, which runs July 27–29.

And that concept car is coming from none other than Hyundai.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Fear the pinch: The market for technology to keep us safe from the hazards of automotive power windows is growing 10 percent per year, report says.

Selected statistics on the global automotive power window anti-pinch technology market.
Infographic: Technavio.
If you’re like me, you sometimes feel a little ambivalent about all the technology that, while convenient and helpful in many ways, can make our automobiles so bleepin’ complex these days. Not to mention that truism that has been long-uttered by those resistant to change that every additional accessory or tech feature in a car is just another thing that can break.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Classic Car Show podcast with Steve Rinaldo and Jim Weber is back. And now I want to buy a Model A Ford and get DNA tests for my cars.

Henry Ford drives the 20 millionth Model A Ford. Photo:
Ford Media Center.
Earlier this week, I was thrilled to find that The Classic Car Show podcast has returned to cyberspace, with new episodes posted on America’s Web Radio.

Back in February, when we published a story on some of our favorite automotive podcasts, I mentioned that I was a little worried about the future of The Classic Car Show, distributed on America’s Web Radio and hosted mostly by Steve Rinaldo, Jim Weber, and occasional guest hosts.

Monday, July 16, 2018

10,000 Lakes Concours, set for Sunday, to feature ’35 Duesenberg, ’71 Hemi ’Cuda, a Batmobile, and more

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ, photographed at the Louwman museum.
Another example will be on display Sunday at the 10,000 Lakes
Concours d'Elegance. Photo by AlfvanBeem (WikiMedia Commons).
Tickets remain available for the 6th annual 10,000 Lakes Concours d’Elegance, set for Sunday, July 22, on the Excelsior Commons along the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2017 Ferrari motorsports documentary set for wide video on-demand release July 24


In case you missed the documentary Ferrari: Race to Immortality when it launched with mixed reviews to DVD last fall, you will soon have another viewing option. According to an announcement from Freestyle Digital Media, the film will launch widely to video on demand platforms on Tuesday, July 24.

Auto Enthusiasts Newsblaster will publish additional details about viewing options as we receive them. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the trailer above.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

So which U.S. automaker might be getting ready to make motorcycles with enhanced location-based services?

Dodge Tomahawk concept motorcycle.
Dodge Tomahawk concept motorcycle. Photo: Elambeth (posted to
Wikimedia Commons).
Yesterday, a technology company called Comtech Telecommunications Corp issued a press release boasting about a new $1.9 million contract with a leading U.S. automotive manufacturer to develop a new navigation product.

What was odd about the press release is that the U.S. automaker involved was not named. But the press release did tease one tidbit: it said that the manufacturer will use Comtech’s navigation product “for two of its top vehicle programs, including motorcycles.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bridgestone confirms continued sponsorship of biennial 1,878-mile race of solar-powered cars

Solar-powered race car at the starting line of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Darwin, Australia.
Photo: Bridgestone media website.
With some motorsports events and venues, you can be confident that nearly every enthusiast knows about them. Even if you’re a newcomer, it won’t be very long before you start stumbling across references to the benchmark events of the sport, like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Monday, July 9, 2018

It’s ba-aaaack! Toyota’s motorsports program makes it official: Supra will return to the track in 2019 NASCAR season

Toyota's Supra build for the 2019 NASCAR Xfinity Series
Toyota Xfinity Supra. Photo: Toyota USA Newsroom
Toyota announced last week that the automaker’s official racing program will return the Toyota Supra to the track next year, with the debut set for Saturday, February 16, 2019, in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Are 9th- and 10th-generation V8 Ford Thunderbirds underrated?

Red 1992 Ford Thunderbird parked in a crowded lot.
10th-Generation Ford Thunderbird. Photo by Charles01
(posted to WikiMedia Commons).
So yesterday I was making a quick stop at McDonald’s, to grab my daughter a couple of McChickens and myself an Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich and a coffee, when what I eventually realized was a 10th-generation Ford Thunderbird caught my eye.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Meet the new 2019 Buick LaCrosse ST.

A red 2019 Buick LaCrosse ST speeds past an office complex.
Photo: Buick Pressroom
Chevrolet may be moving in the direction of phasing out larger sedans like the Impala, but look on the bright side: we still have the Buick LaCrosse.

Personally, my taste has always run most toward the first-generation Buick LaCrosse, which clearly shared many styling cues with the last-generation Buick Riviera coupe—an example of which I am a proud owner.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Industry group says car-care business owners, employees should be very afraid of Trump administration’s proposed tariffs.

U.S. autoworkers build Hyundais on an Alabama assembly line.
U.S. workers build cars at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, LLC.
Photo: Hyundai Media Center.
If you’re an employee or business owner in the U.S. car-care industry, the Auto Care Association thinks you should be afraid. Very afraid.

According to the trade group, based in Bethesda, Maryland, an economic study they commissioned finds that proposed tariffs of 25 percent on imported automobiles and car parts could cost the auto parts manufacturing sector 17,800 jobs, resulting in wage losses of $1.4 billion for affected workers.

Connected-vehicle tech company Autotalks scores a reported ‘several million dollar’ investment from Hyundai.

Digital illustration representing the connectivity of vehicle-to-everything technology with smart cities and roadway infrastructure.
Photo: Hyundai media center.
In April we ran a story on Autotalks, an Israel-based semiconductor company focused on the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications technology space, after they announced a collaboration with the Connected Motorcycle Consortium to enhance safety-related communication between motorcycles and other vehicles with which they share the roads.

Yesterday, Autotalks revealed that they have embarked on a major new collaboration—this time with a major global automaker. Through a direct investment in Autotalks, Hyundai Motor Company seeks to drive chipset technology for connected cars into its next generation.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

This week’s flurry of Dodge announcements points to FCA aligning to fill voids Ford, GM are leaving in the market.

Selected submodels from the 2019 Dodge Challenger & Charger lineup.
Photo: FCA Media website.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) issued a flurry of Dodge-division announcements late this week that, although they tell us little that we didn’t know already, further clarify their strategic direction for Dodge going into the 2019 model year.

The Dodge announcements give us a snapshot of an automaker that is continuing to stay the course with two of their current strong suits: fleet sales and performance-focused passenger cars.