The defective ignition switch that led General Motors to recall an additional 3.4 million large sedans earlier this month was manufactured in China, according to a report filed with safety regulators obtained by Reuters.
The switches can be knocked out of the run position, much like those affecting the Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM small cars, turning off the engine and safety systems like the airbags. Unlike GM's previous ignition switch recall, though, this latest issue will see dealers simply modify the key rather than replace the ignition switch outright, despite the fact that the switches were "slightly" below torque specifications.
If what GM is claiming about this switch's origin is true, it'd mark the second high-profile recall of a part manufactured in China, following Aston Martin's (relatively) huge recall due to faulty accelerator arms in over 75 percent of the cars it had built since 2007.
For what it's worth, from our perspective, the link between the Aston plastics and this GM switch seems just a bit too tenuous for us to put a lot of stock in GM's problems stemming from the location of its parts supplier, especially when the related investigation into its corporate culture has resulted in so many other culpable actors.
Aston Martin has owned the Lagonda nameplate since the late '40s, but in the roughly 70 years since that acquisition, the use of the name has been kept largely exclusive for four-door models. The two most famous modern Lagondas are the angular, futuristic sedan built in the '70s and '80s and the infamously ugly SUV concept from the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. UK magazine Car claims that the classic name could make its return on a svelte four-door as soon as this summer, which makes sense considering our spy shooters recently caught what looked like a modernized incarnation of the 70s super saloon last month.
Interestingly, while Aston Martins are rare birds as-is, Car says that the neo-Lagonda could be even more scarce - its sources suggest that the model could be limited to under 100 units. That's because Aston Martin's Q customization service is reportedly taking up construction duties for the project, and with its small team, that means production is going to be slow, limited and very expensive.
Even covered in camo as spied above, there's something special about the new car. The squinting headlights and thin A-pillar echo the '80s model in a modern way and make this four-door look a lot sportier than the Bentley, Maserati and Rolls-Royce models that it will likely compete against. It's rumored to be using composite body panels to keep weight down.
The powertrain is said to be an evolution of the Rapide, Aston's sole existing four-door model. The Lagonda would use Aston Martin's 5.9-liter V12 with power tuned to around 600 horsepower, backed by an eight-speed automatic replacing the Rapide's elderly six-speed unit. That would put power just short of an Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, but the composite panels could lend it a weight advantage.
The latest rumor only indicates the Lagonda's unveiling sometime later this summer, with no exact date or location. Still given the relative completeness of the test car, it doesn't look like it could be too far away. We can't wait to see it when the camo comes off.
Aston Martin may be more about luxury GTs than performance-obsessed supercars, but when it comes to racing, it's no holds barred. Aston Martin Racing has developed competition-spec versions of the Vantage and DB9, and even done a few LMP1 prototypes. But while some have been powered by V8s and others by V12s, the one underlying commonality is that they have all - in contrast with championship-winning diesel and hybrid prototypes - been powered exclusively by internal-combustion engines burning gasoline. That's what makes this announcement noteworthy.
At Le Mans last weekend, the factory team announced a partnership with the Hanergy Global Solar Power & Applications Group that will see solar panels installed on the roof of the Vantage GTE it fields in the World Endurance Championship. Only the thin panels won't be powering the wheels, boosting the engine somehow or powering the batteries for a hybrid assist. They'll be used to power the air conditioning system. Which may seem inconsequential, but when you consider that the AC typically saps power from the engine - and it can sap quite a lot on a hot race day - that could amount to a serious performance advantage while keeping the drivers comfortable.
While the system wasn't ready to use at Le Mans last weekend, temperatures at the French track don't get too high, so the air-con wouldn't likely be a big factor. The team (operated on Aston's behalf by Prodrive) does expect, however, to have the system up and running in time for next round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, where it can get insufferably hot. Aston and Hanergy also hope to install the system on the V12 Vantage GT3 and V8 Vantage GT4 it supplies to customer teams, and install solar panels on the roof of the new facility Prodrive is building in Banbury, UK.
Continue reading Aston Martin to race with solar power
Commenting on the rush of events that rocked beginning and end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Paul Truswell of Radio Le Mans said "the race is about the ability to endure, not just the ability of drivers to do what they do for a long time." The entire race machine, all the way down to the pit boards and radios, has to survive the stress and abuse of the entire day. This was the race to prove those words.
There were two Toyotas, two Porsches and three Audis, five of the seven led the race at some point, six of the seven ran in the top three. Toyota will be hugely disappointed that it didn't win when its car and drivers were so, so strong, but they gave Audi the kind of scare we haven't seen since the best of Peugeot's days, and Toyota did a better job of it even in the loss. Porsche blew away everyone's expectations, falling 3.5 hours short of a fairy tale ending that would have made Disney cry.
But Le Mans doesn't really do fairy tales. Well, not that fairy tale. Audi's Twitter handle during the event was #welcomechallenges. As usual, Le Mans answered for the entire field.
Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans defines 'endurance'
Paul is a Brit living in Southern California and still connected to his native land by, among other things, being a collector of all things James Bond. That led to him buying a 1967 Aston Martin DB6, having lusted after a DB-series car since he was nine, and fitting it with every "accoutrement" from James Bond's 1964 DB5 in Goldfinger and Thunderball.
Getting features like the slicer wheel caps, console-activated oil slicks, blast shield and radar screen fitted required Paul to find his own Q-Branch director, this one named Brian Uiga, a gent who had done the same with his BMW 7 Series.
As for what it took, Paul said, "We got together and planned the project and set a budget, and... the plan didn't work and the budget was toast." Still, they got it done - including the ejector seat - and it only required drilling one hole. You can see the result in the video below.
Continue reading Giving this '67 Aston DB6 the James Bond treatment only required drilling one hole
Think of Roger Moore zipping around Europe in an Aston Martin thwarting evil plans, and you'll probably think James Bond, right? Wrong. Because though 007 has driven a variety of Astons in the various films over the years, none of those were in the Moore era. He drove a Chevy Impala in Live and Let Die, a Mercedes in The Man With The Golden Gun, a Lotus Esprit in both The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, a Range Rover in Octopussy and a Ford LTD in A View to a Kill. But that wasn't the only jet-setting do-gooder Moore played. He drove a Volvo as Simon Templar in The Saint, but after that and before his Bond days, he got his turn behind the wheel of an Aston in a television series called The Persuaders!
The show starred Moore as Lord Brett Sinclair and Tony Curtis as American playboy Danny Wilde in a TV series that ran on both ITV in the UK and ABC in the US. It sadly only ran for one 24-episode season, but remains a cult classic. The series was as much about the cars as it was the stars, with Curtis speeding around Europe in a Ferrari 246 GT Dino and Moore in this yellow 1970 Aston Martin DBS. And it just sold at auction.
As Octane pointed out when it drove the car for its September 2013 issue, the car was loaned to the show's producers and, though it packs the 4.0-liter inline-six of the DBS, was fitted with the wheels and badges of the Aston Martin V8 that followed - just without the eight-cylinder engine. It was sold to a private owner after the show finished filming and then bounced around different owners before collector and enthusiast Mike Sanders bought it and subsequently sold it to one Ed Stratton. Ed brought it back to show spec, took it to Villa d'Este, had Moore and Curtis sign the inside of the trunk lid, and now put it up for auction.
The star of Bonhams' 15th annual sale at the Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell this past weekend, the DBS sold for a record £533,500 - equivalent to almost $900k at today's rates - contributing to £8.7 million ($14.6m) in total sales that day. Find the press release below, along with a video of a pretty great scene from The Persuaders! with both Moore and Curtis.
Continue reading Roger Moore's 1970 Aston Martin DBS sells for $900k [w/video]
It's a pretty fair bet that we've all had "that" teacher. The educator that stood out above all the others while we were in school and not only taught us, but made us into a better person - our very own Mr. Feeny, Mr. Belding, Mr. Holland or even Mr. Miyagi.
The Windsor Star has the story of one such teacher and her troubled student that went on to help design some of the most desirable cars in the auto industry. Karlene Berry spent 30 years as a teacher, and among her many, many students is Michael Lehti, the product of a broken home and self-described has having "never been the greatest academic."
What Lehti could do, though, was design cars. With the help of Berry's class, he overcame his early obstacles and went on to work with the design team on the Aston Martin One-77 (pictured above) and the RUF CTR3, among other vehicles.
With Lehti and Benson's old school closing, the pupil reached out to his teacher 32 years after graduation to say "thanks" and pay tribute for her impact on his life. Head on over to The Windsor Star, and check out this inspiring story.
Aston Martin may be known more for its two-door GTs and cabrios, but it has made a handful of four-door sedans. They've historically worn the Lagonda name as either a nameplate or marque, and that's just what we seem to have here.
Spied running along familiar test routes in the UK, this prototype is reportedly registered to Aston Martin and based on the current Rapide S, complete with the company's long-serving AM11 6.0-liter V12. Only whereas the Rapide packs everything in tight on a short wheelbase - albeit with more room in the back than the two-door DB9 or Vanquish - this prototype appears to be riding on a stretched wheelbase.
Over that lengthened frame, Aston's Q customization department has apparently draped custom bodywork with lines that seem to blend elements of the last Aston Martin Lagonda sedan that wedged its way in between 1976 and 1990 on the one hand, and Zagato's pair of Centennial concepts presented last summer on the other. One thing it clearly is not, however, is the Lagonda crossover concept which Aston revealed to mixed reviews at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2009.
The big question is where this sedan is heading (beyond its test route). We could be looking at a highly exclusive creation for a handful of wealthy clients, or at a production model to relaunch the Lagonda brand as has long been anticipated. We're hoping it's the latter, but we'll just have to wait to find out. Judging by how close it looks to completion, it shouldn't be too long.
We're usually pretty enthused every time Turn 10 Studios unveils another of its monthly car packs for Forza Motorsport 5. It means we'll have an entirely new batch of vehicles to play with when the work day finally ends, whether that means we race, tune, style or simply crash them. This latest car pack, though, the Meguiar's Car Pack, is arguably one of the most interesting that we've seen.
On the surface, there are some pretty standard cars here. The BMW M3 DTM car is going to be an extremely cool addition to the game, as is the Aston Martin V12 Zagato. Where this car pack gets interesting, though, are in the number of classics on offer. Sure, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air might not be too special in a game like Forza. We could say the same of a 1967 Chevelle. What about an Aston Martin DBR1, though? Or the bootlegger's dream - the 1940 Ford De Luxe Coupe? Yes, there are some seriously weird gems in this car pack.
Both the 1973 Mazda RX-3 and the underappreciated, Lotus-tuned Ford Cortina are featured here, while we can add one more Alfa Romeo to Forza's stable with the gorgeous 1986 GTV-6 (this writer is still holding out hope for the appearance of a Montreal or SZ in a future car pack). Rounding out the group is the Dodge Dart Hemi Super Stock.
Turn 10 put together a short video composed of in-game footage of the cars. Scroll down and have a peak at the video, as well as the press release, which describes each car. The Meguiar's Car Pack for Forza Motorsport5 is currently available for download, and costs $9.99 (naturally, it's free for Season Pass owners).
Continue reading Classic metal may make new Forza 5 pack our favorite ever [w/video]
Episode #379 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Brandon Turkus, and Seyth Miersma talk about the Lamborghini Huracán, the Ferrari LaFerrari, Aston Martin's upcoming new platform, and the 25th anniversary of the Acura NSX's debut. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the new rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #379:
New Aston Martin platform
25th Anniversary of Acura NSX
In the Autoblog Garage:
2015 Volvo XC60 T6 Drive-E
2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S 4Matic Wagon
2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0L EcoBoost
Hosts: Dan Roth, Brandon Turkus, Seyth Miersma
Intro and Garage - 00:00
Huracán - 31:34
LaFerrari - 50:01
Aston Martin Platform - 01:01:28
Acura NSX - 01:11:34
Q&A - 01:20:13
Get the podcast:
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