Celebrities auto news

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Jay Leno gets his denim mitts on Dodge's new Challenger Hellcat

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Dodge, Celebrities

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is definitely the performance car of the moment. The fact that in the near future, people will be able to buy a 707-horsepower muscle machine straight from a major automaker for $59,995 and with a factory warranty almost seems absurd. We drove it recently and found the Hellcat to be just as much of a beast as its numbers would suggest. Now, it's a certain comedian's turn behind the wheel in the latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage.

This week's guest is Dodge President and CEO Tim Kuniskis, and he's there to drop all sorts of interesting factoids about the Hellcat. For example, its Pirelli P Zero tires retail at around $300 each, he says. That makes its smoky burnouts a rather expensive proposition. Kuniskis, who recently hinted at a mystery Woodward Dream Cruise debut, also talks about the genesis of the 2015 SRT project with a goal to get over some of the standard Challenger's weight and size disadvantages. The fix is a supercharged V8, massive brakes and other goodies to smooth over the platform's more glaring shortcomings.

Leno appears to get a big kick out of the Hellcat. However, he can't seem to stop bringing up his desire to drive one with a six-speed manual. They obviously exist, but Kuniskis has an eight-speed automatic for the retired Tonight Show host to try out. Of course, as with any Hellcat video, there has to be at least one burnout. Despite the expensive tires, it seems like enthusiast's law at this point - and dear ol' Jay wouldn't want to break any rules, would he?

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Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Commercial Trucks, Nissan, Celebrities

Bret Michaels for Nissan Commercial

Mötley Crüe isn't the only 1980s hair-metal band getting into the world of auto promotion. Poison frontman and reality show star Bret Michaels is following their lead and doing some advertising of his own. Where the Crüe have been all over the airwaves in recent years with a Super Bowl ad for Kia and music licensing with Dodge, Michaels has taken a very different route by becoming the pitchman for Nissan Commercial Vehicles.

The videos run the gamut to advertise predominantly the NV line of full-size vans, but the NV200 shows up a few times too. The star of this new campaign is Michaels' full-length music video (above) for the song Tough Love. It's basically a parody of all of those '80s rock ballads where the bands would slow the tempo down a little and reveal their softer side. Michaels rocks out at the Nissan proving grounds in Stanfield, AZ, while showing off the evaluation process and strutting around like a proper rock frontman. There are also a bunch of shorter videos (below) with the singer highlighting each part of the vans' torture testing. Although, the dialogue in these come off a bit more stilted. With these '80s metal bands getting into advertising, can it be long before Warrant is shilling for Fiat or Ratt for Mazda?

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Elon Musk to get spot on The Simpsons

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Celebrities, Humor, Tesla, TV/Movies

Tesla Motors IPO

It's hard to believe that The Simpsons is moving into its 26th season, but there's good news for auto enthusiasts, especially of the EV variety. The show's executive producer, Al Jean, confirmed on Twitter that Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk would have a guest spot on the show in the upcoming season. Even better, it sounds like a pretty significant role.

Elon Musk in ep 1/11 and not a "kiss ass" celebrity guest star turn: Burns tries to kill him, and we reveal Musk's master password.

- Al Jean (@AlJean) July 29, 2014

According to Automotive News, Jean first announced the episode during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. It's titled "The Musk Who Fell to Earth" and has Mr. Burns somehow losing all of his money to the Tesla boss. With his name prominently in the title, it gives the indication that Elon's role is going to be a lot bigger than just muttering a few lines in one scene and then walking away.

This is technically Musk's second appearance on The Simpsons. An earlier episode featured Elon Musk as a fragrance of the fictional ASK Body Spray. Tesla put up a screenshot of it on their blog and said, "You know you're famous when you get featured on the Simpsons." Apparently, the CEO is an even bigger deal now with this guest-starring gig.

Of course, The Simpsons has made at least two, great contributions to the automotive world - the Homer and the Canyonero. Our only hope is that Musk can somehow feature EV versions of them both in his episode.

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Washington QB Kirk Cousins splashes out on... Grandma's old conversion van

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Etc., Celebrities

Kirk Cousins van

The Washington Redskins might not be the best team in the National Football League, but it may have the most diverse player parking lot. Usually, professional athletes are seen driving around in luxury sedans, SUVs and exotic sports cars, but some of Washington's players seem to have a more bizarre style.

Last year, Mazda restored Washington running back Alfred Morris' 1991 Mazda 626 with around 275-man-hours of labor to bring it to better-than-new condition with quilted leather seats and an upgraded audio system. But Morris is getting a run for his money in terms of parsimonious wheels, from the team's young quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins showed up to training camp in a 14-year-old, seven-passenger conversion van, obtained from his grandma. His wife even recently tweeted a photo of it.

First road trip in the conversion van! Looking forward to the start of a new football season as we drive to Virginia! pic.twitter.com/YXwVGiND9I

- Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) July 21, 2014

The van originally belonged to Cousins' grandparents. But after his grandfather passed, Cousins' grandmother had no need for it and sold the van to her grandson. Cousins told The Washington Post, "it's perfect for driving the hour-and-a-half from Ashburn to the games." He and his wife also plan to use the van for road trips.

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Jay Leno puts focus on some retro-inspired BMW bikes

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Videos, BMW, Motorcycles, Celebrities, Special/Limited Editions, Design/Style

Quartet of retro-inspired BMWs

Jay Leno puts eight wheels on display this week for Jay Leno's Garage from a quartet of retro-inspired BMW motorcycles. They are the creations of husband and wife team Larry and Carol Romestant, who build each one in their home garage.

Larry is a former aerospace engineer who loves BMW bikes, especially the K models. Now, he's combining his passion with a real talent for fabrication to build his own cycles with his wife. With Larry and Carol the only ones working on these projects, it takes them six to nine months to build each one. In addition to the old-school looks, the motorcycles are supposed to be a bit more user friendly than stock. For example, one of them ditches the standard five-speed gearbox in favor of a six-speed unit to be a little more comfy when cruising at high speeds.

Since there isn't enough time to take all four of them for a ride, Jay picks his favorite to test out on the open road. Scroll down to see which one he chooses.

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Washington rookie QB Kirk Cousins splashes out on... Grandma's old conversion van

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Etc., Celebrities

Kirk Cousins van

The Washington Redskins might not be the best team in the National Football League, but it may have the most diverse player parking lot. Usually, professional athletes are seen driving around in luxury sedans, SUVs and exotic sports cars, but some of Washington's players seem to have a more bizarre style.

Last year, Mazda restored Washington running back Alfred Morris' 1991 Mazda 626 with around 275-man-hours of labor to bring it to better-than-new condition with quilted leather seats and an upgraded audio system. But Morris is getting a run for his money in terms of parsimonious wheels, from the team's rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins showed up to training camp in a 14-year-old, seven-passenger conversion van, obtained from his grandma. His wife even recently tweeted a photo of it.

First road trip in the conversion van! Looking forward to the start of a new football season as we drive to Virginia! pic.twitter.com/YXwVGiND9I

- Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) July 21, 2014

The van originally belonged to Cousins' grandparents. But after his grandfather passed, Cousins' grandmother had no need for it and sold the van to her grandson. Cousins told The Washington Post, "it's perfect for driving the hour-and-a-half from Ashburn to the games." He and his wife also plan to use the van for road trips.

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Mad Max Fury Road shows a new road warrior in its latest trailer

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Ford, Celebrities, TV/Movies

Mad Max Fury Road Trailer

Mad Max is finally returning to the big screen nearly 30 years after its last installment. The new, long-awaited Mad Max: Fury Road will bow in 2015. This doesn't appear to be just some cash-in, nostalgia-based reboot, either. George Miller wrote and directed the latest entry, just as he did all three previous movies in the series. The teaser trailer, released at San Diego Comic-Con, has hit the Web, and its dark view of the post-apocalypse looks, if anything, even more grim than the earlier ones.

Mel Gibson is no longer the titular hero, with Max now being played by Tom Hardy. Thankfully, the supercharged Pursuit Special still appears to play a role, though. Charlize Theron co-stars as a woman fighting against the horrors of the post-apocalypse, just like Max.

From the trailer, the latest installment seems to be playing up the sci-fi elements more than the previous films with modern, computer-generated special effects. Don't worry, though, there are still a good number of real-world shots on display with cars going up in fiery explosions and actually crashing. With a release not scheduled until next year, there's still time to catch up on the series, and it's well worth it for some of the best vehicular stunts ever put on film. Scroll down for an early preview of Mad Max: Fury Road.

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Jaguar teaches Mena Suvari and Sebastian Stan how to drive the F-Type

07/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Jaguar, Celebrities

Jaguar F-Type Coupe R at the Circuit of the Americas

Automakers conduct driver training programs on racing circuits around the world for a variety of participants: journalists, customers, even celebrities. And at a recent session of the Jaguar Performance Driving Academy at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, the Leaping Cat marque had a couple of the Hollywood types in the paddock.

In addition to the various (evidently well-heeled) members of the public, learning how to pilot the new F-Type Coupe R on the track this time around were actors Sebastian Stan and Mena Suvari. You might recognize Stan from his roll as Bucky Barnes in the Captain America movies and Suvari from such red, white and blue favorites as American Beauty and the American Pie franchise, but both got a first-hand taste of one of Britain's finest courtesy of Jaguar.

So how did it go? Well, as one of the less-famous participants put it, it was #awesomesauce." We couldn't possibly reproduce in words her enthusiasm in person and on camera, so you'll just have to watch the video below to see for yourself.

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BMW begins restoring Elvis Presley's 507 [w/video]

07/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, BMW, Celebrities

Elvis Presley's 1957 BMW 507

Imagine the King of Rock n' Roll driving a car and you'll likely picture a pink Cadillac or a yellow De Tomaso shot full of holes. But Elvis also owned a 1957 BMW 507 roadster, and now that roadster is returning home to BMW headquarters.

The 507 was a rare bird, of which only 254 examples were ever made. They were sold mostly to celebrities and royalty, but Elvis Presley was a GI when he bought it while stationed in Germany. The example that he bought had been displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, used as a press car and raced by Hans Stuck (which is how Elvis came to see it in the first place), so when he took delivery of it second-hand, the dealership had a new engine installed. It was originally white, but legend has it that Elvis got tired of women writing their phone numbers on the side of it in lipstick that he had it repainted in red.

Stories differ on what exactly happened to it next, with some saying that he returned it once the lease was up and other saying that the army shipped it back to him in the States after his tour was over. But what we do know is that the car sat for many years, neglected but sheltered from the elements. Now it's heading to the the BMW Museum in Munich, where it will be on display until August 10, after which the BMW Group Classic department will undertake a comprehensive restoration of the star-studded roadster that's expected to take two years of work.

Read more in the Google-translated press release below and scope out the pre-restoration photos in the gallery above. For more information on the 507 model, feel free to watch the video we embedded with the press release.

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Sarah Palin blames speeding ticket on Sammy Hagar

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Etc., Government/Legal, Toyota, Celebrities

Palin Republicans Conservatives

Rogue or no, Tea Party darling and former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is still subject to traffic laws. That means when Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55," comes on the radio, she's still expected to keep a moderate pace, and even her celebrity status isn't enough to get her out of a speeding ticket.

"I wasn't speeding. I was qualifying," Palin allegedly told the celebrity gossip hounds at TMZ. She was nabbed going 63 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone while driving her Toyota Tundra in her hometown of Wasilla, AK on July 16. Palin, according to the website, amusingly blamed her lead foot on the Hagar track.

Palin was cited for driving 10 to 19 mph over the speed limit, which carries a $144 fine in addition to a $10 "police training" surcharge, according to The Detroit Free Press.

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