Convertibles auto news

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Rolls-Royce developing new convertible

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Rolls Royce, Luxury

Rolls-Royce Wraith convertible prototype

Rolls-Royce is not a company that makes a lot of different vehicles, but of the ones it does, it tends to offer several versions. That's how we end up with sedan, long-wheelbase, coupe and (in the former's case) convertible versions of the Phantom and Ghost. And now Goodwood has confirmed development of another model.

Although details in the press release below are few and far between, it does promise to "deliver effortless, open-top touring... with an engaging and exhilarating driving experience." CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös added: "We are currently developing an exciting and thoroughly contemporary interpretation of a pinnacle drophead tourer which will introduce even more discerning men and women to Rolls-Royce ownership."

What that tells us is that the new model - set to reach showrooms "by mid-2016" - will be a convertible that's exciting to drive and more youthful than the Phantom Drophead Coupe. In other words, and in all likelihood, we're looking at the convertible version of the Ghost-based Wraith fastback (like the one we recently spotted undergoing testing, pictured above). Expect it, then, to carry the same 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12, but with the added rush of wind in your hair.

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R&T chases down a burglar in the million-mile Miata

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, Economy, Sports/GTs, Mazda, Read This

Road and Track Million-Mile Miata

Is the answer always Mazda Miata? We discussed this in passing on the Autoblog Podcast earlier this week, and most assuredly the answer is "no." For example, the little MX-5 would be a terrible people carrier, and it'd be useless off road. You can't really tow anything of substance with it, either. Still, if push came to shove, it's satisfying to know that the diminutive roadster could eke out a career as a chase vehicle for the police.

That fact was proven when Road & Track editor Chris Cantle did something that he himself recognizes as "stupid." Upon returning home, Cantle discovered a "twenty-something" actively burgling his home. The resulting story is easily one of the more entertaining episodes to come out of the 1990 MX-5's service to the team at R&T and, we're guessing, will be one of the highlights of the Million-Mile Miata challenge.

Be sure to head over to Road & Track for a full retelling of the chase from Cantle, as well as a follow-up on the saga.

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Ducati Diavel lines up against Corvette Stingray on the drag strip

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Videos, Chevrolet, Motorcycles

Ducati Diavel vs Corvette Stingray

Car vs Bike: It's a story we've heard told and seen played out countless times before, but it's one of which we never get tired. Or seldom, anyway, especially when it pits such lust-worthy machinery against each other.

In this latest drag race is the Chevy Corvette Stingray Convertible piloted by sports and stock car racing veteran Tommy Kendall, lining up on the drag strip against the Ducati Diavel Carbon ridden by AMA racer Rich Gadson. Both are highly accomplished in their respective disciplines and come from famous racing families - so the competition comes down mainly to the vehicles.

The Vette, of course, has more power, but while the Ducati may be more of a cruiser than a sport bike, it's got all the muscle you could ask for on the drag strip. So which one takes the cake? Watch the video to find out.

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BMW 6 Series Convertible gets a little work done for 2015

08/03/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Convertibles, BMW, Luxury

BMW 6 Series Convertible spy shots

Truth be told, I've never really found the modern BMW 6 Series to be a particularly attractive car, in Coupe, Convertible, or sedan Gran Coupe forms. This current generation certainly looks a whole lot better than the Bangle-fied Six that came before it to my eyes, but on the whole, I find much of the car's design to be fussy and awkward. There's a new 6 Series on the way, scheduled to arrive sometime in 2017 or 2018, but to hold us over until then, BMW is freshening its current range, as evidenced by this convertible prototype our trusty spies recently caught testing.

Will the changes to the current 6 Series be an improvement? Perhaps. Up front, there are restyled headlamps and a new front bumper, and at the rear, BMW has redesigned the LED taillamps to bring them more in line with the rest of the company's offerings. Aside from those modest tweaks, we don't expect much more to change on the Big Six - the interior will likely carry over with some minor tweaks (or new colors), and it's possible the powertrains could be massaged gently for gains in either power, efficiency, or both.

Whether you think this new look is pretty or not, this freshened 6 Series will likely debut sometime next year, while BMW's engineers and designers craft the all-new version. See it from several angles in our gallery, above.

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Aston Martin crafts one-off equestrian-themed DB9 Volante

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Aston Martin, Luxury

Aston Martin DB9 Volante Equestrian Edition

Ask most people what kind of cars Aston Martin makes and they'll probably tell you it makes sports cars. But it doesn't. No, Aston Martin actually makes luxury GTs that focus at least as much on fine craftsmanship as they do on outright performance. In other words, any Aston Martin - from the 'entry level' V8 Vantage to the flagship Vanquish - packs an unrivaled attention to detail. But for those looking for that extra measure of exclusivity and intricacy, there's Q by Aston Martin. And this is its latest project.

Similar to the Ferrari Tailor Made program, Lamborghini Ad Personam, Porsche Exclusive or Rolls-Royce Bespoke, Q by Aston Martin is dedicated to meeting the specific needs of individual customers who want their luxury GT crafted just so.

We've seen several specially crafted and eye-catching Q projects at auto shows around the world, created to showcase what the division can do. This one was commissioned by a dealership in Los Gatos, CA. Starting with a DB9 Volante, the Q division gave it an equestrian theme with saddle tan leather with diamond-quilted ivory Alcantara trim, light burlwood veneer, specially-embroidered horse-head logos and saddle-style luggage fitted to the rear console. The exterior is finished in Ashen Blonde metallic with ten-spoke diamond-turned wheels in satin champagne and Howlite stone-inlaid logos.

This one-off DB9 will be auctioned off at the Menlo Charity Horse Show, held August 5-10 at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, CA, with proceeds to benefit the Vista Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

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Parents of terminally ill child sue after son dies following make-a-wish-style ride

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Government/Legal, Porsche

Porsche Boxster

Some stories are so sad and depressing, they make you want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. This is one such story. 14-year-old Raphael Wittman was suffering from an unspecified form of terminal cancer when he was invited by the children's cancer charity Kinder Krebs Hilfe to a charity drive organized by Porsche Forum Austria. During the drive, the Porsche Boxster Wittman was riding in was involved in a head-on collision. Both of his legs were broken and he bit off his tongue in the wreck. He died seven weeks later, in a Vienna hospital. Now, his father is suing the charity, claiming that the accident robbed his son of the will to live.

"The accident set off a chain of events starting with the doctors putting him on new medication for the cancer he had. He was always a fighter, but suddenly he was saying that he was not going to fight any more," Franz Wittman told Austria's Kurier, according to The Guardian. "We would have had a wonderful last time together [on vacation] but it never happened because of the accident."

Father and son were originally planning to go to Tenerife to spend time together, although those plans were cancelled following the accident.

Franz Wittman is angry that in the weeks following the accident and his son's July 5 passing, the family was not contacted by the Porsche Forum or Kinder Krebs Hilfe, aside from the gift of an iPhone given to Raphael from the driver that was behind the wheel, The Daily Mail reports. Any compensation from the legal action, Wittmann says, is "not for me, it's for my son."

"We are speechless," Karin Benedik, the head of Kinder Krebshilfe, told The Guardian. "We helped this family, and now our name is being dragged through the mud. We don't want to say any more because we need to see what the accusations are, but as far as we're concerned we were not the organizers and are not responsible."

Wittman's lawyer, Dr. Astrid Wagner, seems to think her client is on sound legal footing.

"It was a charity event but these things should be properly organized and that means that the should be insurance as well as anything else," Wagner told The Mail.

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'Blood Muscle' auction to sell impressive collection of ill-begotten classic cars

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Time Warp, Convertibles, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Auctions, Government/Legal, Chevrolet, Ford

Blood Muscle auction

The old saying goes that if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. But being a criminal can involve more than just taking a trip to the big house; it can also mean losing possessions purchased from any ill-gotten gains. Still, one man's loss is another's gain, and if you're in Lodi, NJ, on September 12, you stand the chance to buy some of the ultimate muscle cars from the US Marshals in what is being gruesomely nicknamed the Blood Muscle auction.

The grisly moniker was earned because all of the vehicles belonged to the president of a blood testing company who is facing prison time for alleged bribery, according to Hemmings. After all, they are muscle cars bought with actual blood money. The seven-vehicle collection includes some of the ultimate muscle cars ever made, and the original buyer clearly had an eye for rarity.

This cornucopia of V8 power includes a teal 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang, an orange 1970 Plymouth Superbird, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS convertible and perhaps most prized of all - a trio of 1969 Yenko Chevys with a Chevelle, Nova and Camaro all represented. From the included photos, all of them look to be in fantastic condition.

A.J Willner Auctions, which is coordinating the sale, has authenticating documents for all seven vehicles on its website. "This is a live auction, all bidders will need to attend and bid in person with the required $10,000 cashier's check as a deposit on them," the company says about the event. If you can get past how the cars were purchased, there could be some bargains here.

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We go Unplugged to celebrate Mazda Miata Month

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Videos, Mazda

Chances are good that you, loyal Autoblog reader, have long since chosen to follow us on Twitter and 'like' us on Facebook. (If you haven't, feel free to take a second and do so right now.) Anyway, if you're one of our social media posse, you might have already heard that we're smack dab in the middle of Miata Month. We've gotten Mazda to loan us a couple of MX-5 Miatas, allowing us to say a protracted, tear-filled goodbye to the current generation (NC) of the beloved roadster, just before it exits stage right and ushers in the next generation.

You'll see a few more Miata Month items here on Autoblog after we've said our final farewell, but we absolutely wanted to make sure we created some great video evidence of our month, as well. Right down below, then, in its unfiltered-audio splendor, is the Autoblog Unplugged version of the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata PRHT. Your author had a pretty great time wringing out the roadster for the creation of our short vid, and we really hope you dig listening along.

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Bentley putting Mulsanne-based Azure, Brooklands back on the table [w/poll]

07/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Coupes, Bentley, Luxury

Bentley Mulsanne Vision concept

Big plans are afoot at Bentley. The quintessentially British automaker has just about signed off on the final version of its new SUV, and will surely roll out more versions of the Continental in the coming years, but that's not all. It's said to be considering a new sports coupe smaller than the Continental GT, but the latest reports coming in from the UK suggest that it also has plans for the Mulsanne's platform.

Currently, the Mulsanne is only available in one configuration, but Bentley is widely expected to be bringing a new, more powerful Mulsanne Speed to the Paris Motor Show this fall with around 550 horsepower. That's not all, however, as word comes in that the Flying B marque is planning to re-introduce both the Azure and the Brooklands as competitors to the Rolls-Royce Phantom DHC and Phantom Coupe, respectively.

For those who don't remember, the Azure and Brooklands were a pair of two-doors based on the Arnage that preceded the Mulsanne at the top of Bentley's range. The Azure was a convertible and the Brooklands a fixed-roof coupe, both of them larger than the Continental GT and powered by the company's evergreen (yet decidedly un-green) 6.75-liter V8.

Both were phased out, however, along with the Arnage before the current Mulsanne was introduced in 2010. And ever since then, Bentley has been rumored to replace the duo with new versions based on the Mulsanne. But despite having shown the Mulsanne Vision convertible concept to a select group of customers at Pebble Beach a couple of years ago, the project was shelved.

So what's changed, you ask? The guard, that's what. When Bentley unveiled the Mulsanne Vision concept, Wolfgang Dürheimer was the CEO. Then he was relieved of his duties, and Wolfgang Schreiber, who replaced him, nixed the project's development. Now that Dürheimer is back in charge at Crewe, it seems like the convertible is back on the table. "And if we do the Azure," Dürheimer told Auto Express, "the Brooklands just comes automatically." That is, of course, unless Bentley decides to do something out of the ordinary and make a four-door convertible "parade car" instead.

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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.

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

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