Special/Limited Editions auto news

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Mercedes reveals armored S600 Guard

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Mercedes Benz, Special/Limited Editions, Luxury

2015 Mercedes-Benz S600 Guard

It's not every day that Mercedes rolls out a new S-Class, but when it does, Benz usually makes the most of it. Since revealing the latest W222-generation model just last year, the Silver Star automaker has revealed a steady stream of variants, including sedans, coupes and AMG models. You can bet there will be more to come, including Pullman and Maybach versions to make Mercedes' flagship model even more luxurious, but for some buyers there can be no greater luxury than safety. And for just such buyers, Mercedes has now revealed the new S600 Guard.

Joining the E-Guard, M-Guard and G500 Guard, the new S600 Guard offers what Mercedes claims are unprecedented levels of ballistic protection. Rather than buying an existing S-Class and sending it for retrofitting, the German automaker fits it with components made of aramide, polyethylene and a special steel compound right on the assembly line. It also gets polycarbonate-coated glass and underbody reinforcement to make the S600 Guard the first vehicle to meet the top VR9 level of ballistic certification against firearms and explosives.

Despite all the modifications, the S600 Guard is said to be virtually indistinguishable from a standard S-Class, and provides the same level of comfort you'd expect from the flagship Mercedes. The cabin can be configured in either four- or five-seat layouts, and in addition to all the usual luxuries, Mercedes has equipped the S600 Guard with opaque roller blinds, opaque roller blinds, a panic alarm system, automatic fire suppression system, emergency fresh air system and beefed-up hydraulic power windows.

The S600 Guard is powered by the same 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 as the standard S600 with 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque channeled through a seven-speed automatic transmission. You can expect performance to be more lethargic due to the added weight, however, with the top speed electronically limited to 130 miles per hour. Mercedes also gives the armored sedan a recalibrated air suspension, larger brakes and Michelin PAX run-flat tires with tire pressure monitoring system.

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GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings [UPDATE]

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its trucks in a bid to lower its base curb weight, and therefore its gross vehicle weight.

For those that need a refresher, GVW is the combination of a truck's curb weight plus its payload. Gross vehicle weight rating, meanwhile, is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can handle, and it's also used to classify pickups. In Ford's case, tweaking the GVW by removing parts allows it to station the F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups. This is despite the fact that it's hewn from stiffer stuff than the average Class III and has the elevated towing capacity to prove it.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

UPDATE: This story originally stated that gross vehicle weight rating was a combination of curb weight and payload. To clarify, GVWR is a fixed figure, which a vehicle's curb weight and payload cannot exceed. The story has been edited to reflect this.

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GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its vehicles in a bid to lower its base curb weight and therefore keep the truck's gross vehicle weight rating down.

For those that need a refresher, GVWR is the vehicle's curb weight plus its maximum payload. A lower GVWR allows Ford to station its F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups, despite the fact that internally, it has the makings of a more brutish Class IV truck.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

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What you missed on 7.28.14

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Videos, Cadillac, Ford, Infiniti, Scion, Motorcycles, Special/Limited Editions, Luxury, MISC, Racing

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge PrototypeInfiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

It's quick - 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast - top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.

Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheelsPolaris Slingshot

The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.

Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.

Top Stories

  • Translogic takes a look at the 2014 Cadillac ELR
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  • Scion xB to be replaced by Auris hatchbach, iQ dead after 2014
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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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Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video]

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Coupes, Toys, Celebrities, Special/Limited Editions, Design/Style, TV/Movies

Hot Wheels Darth Vader Car

Hot Wheels Darth Vader Toy CarLet's face it; Darth Vader is a thousand times cooler than Luke Skywalker. The hero might get the girl, but in the case of Star Wars, it's his sister. Vader, though, controls the Death Star, two of them in fact. It turns out that the Sith Lord has a meaner car too, at least thanks to Hot Wheels.

With Star Wars a hotter property that the surface of Tatooine thanks to the new movie due in 2015, Hot Wheels has partnered with the brand to sell replica vehicles and playsets later this year. It's kicking off the new toy line with a life-size, fully operational, one-off Darth Vader Car at San Diego Comic-Con on July 23.

According to Hot Wheels to Autoblog via email, the Darth Vader Car "was designed in-house at Mattel" and built by Picture Car Warehouse. It uses a tuned LS3 V8 to send 526 horsepower to the rear wheels and has a backlit, side-exit exhaust system. The nose piece is made from carbon fiber, and it rides on a custom set of wheels from MHT. If you can't make it to San Diego to see the Vader, don't fret. "It will certainly be making appearances after Comic-Con for fans," said a company spokesperson.

The earlier image we saw of the car looked downright ugly, but the Sith's helmet made the transition into real life with a lot more menace. You could easily imagine the Vader as a very wicked-looking hotrod. The triple headlights and split windshield are especially nice touches.

If you happen to be at the con, you can even buy the 1:64 toy version of the car that comes in a case that looks like Vader's red lightsaber, plus a commemorative box, for $40.00. There will also be a limited number on sale after the show at Hot Wheels Collectors. Scroll down to watch the Vader Car in action with some very over-the-top dialogue and read the full announcement of the official vehicle of the dark side of the force.

Continue reading Hot Wheels reveals life-size Darth Vader car at Comic-Con [w/video]

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US Marines testing GUSS automated vehicle that could save lives

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Tech, Videos, Military, Special/Limited Editions, Off-Road

The machine you see in the video up above is the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate. Called GUSS for short - because who doesn't like a handy-dandy nickname - this vehicle, as it's proper name suggests, is capable of operating without a driver.

It's possible to get in and drive, as you'll see in the video below, but the novel part of GUSS is that it uses a series of sensors and on-board computer programming to navigate itself over all kinds of terrain, day or night, no matter the weather. The machine above is undergoing testing by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab during Rim of the Pacific 2014 at Kahuku Training Area on Oahu, Hawaii, according to the video's description.

Based on a military machine that's more like an armored ATV than a Jeep, GUSS is only capable of moving at speeds up to five miles per hour, which makes it a bit less useful than, say, an automated HMMWV, but it's still just a prototype, and we're sure the technology will spread.

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Chop the top of your new Dodge Viper for $35,000

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Dodge, Special/Limited Editions

Prefix Performance Dodge Viper Medusa convertible

We have good news, and we have bad news. First, the good: It's now possible to get a brand-new Dodge Viper roadster, which is nice, considering we're in the dead of summer and many of us like wind-in-the-hair motoring. Now, the bad: This is not a factory option from the automaker, instead coming courtesy of an aftermarket company called Prefix Performance, and that means it's going to cost you some serious coin.

Called Medusa, this drop-top Viper was created without the knowledge or consent of Dodge, but that's probably fine because Prefix works with the automaker already for the final preparation of the American supercar, including paint. According to the company, the current, fifth-gen Viper was built with a convertible version in mind, so no chassis strengthening is required. From the looks of the somewhat grainy photos available, the conversion appears of very high quality.

Want one? Well, that means you're going to need to procure a Viper - Prefix has 10 units ready for transformation as it stands - and that's going to cost at the very least $102,485. Then, you'll need to write a check for an additional $35,000 for Prefix to surgically remove the car's roof. Thing is, for that kind of cash, a prospective owner could buy, among other very nice options, a Viper hardtop and a loaded Miata, or a Corvette Stingray convertible and several pockets full of change. Or, perhaps a new Viper hardtop and a used, first-gen Viper convertible?

If you're still interested (and we wouldn't blame you if you were, regardless of the value debate), we'd suggest getting in touch with Prefix and getting yourself in line. In the meantime, feel free to check out the images above and below.

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Leno lives the lowrider life with a pair of Chevy Impalas

07/21/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Time Warp, Convertibles, Coupes, Videos, Chevrolet, Special/Limited Editions, Design/Style

Jay Leno lowrider

Jay Leno gets low in his latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage by showing off two custom lowriders based on a pair of '60s Chevrolet Impala classics and talks to some experts in the field. The whole culture surrounding these cars is a product of Southern California; so it makes sense for Golden State Jay to finally put a spotlight on them.

Leno focuses on different flavors of lowriders. First, there is a sinister-looking '66 Impala coupe with simple black and chrome styling. It's just a clean-looking vehicle without much bling to attract attention, but it still shows a great eye for detail. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the '63 Impala convertible shown above with a tuned 409-cubic-inch (6.7-liter) V8 that just screams "look at me!" from every angle. Owner Brandon Brusca says that the paintwork alone took nearly five years to complete. Possibly even more impressive is its hydraulic system made from airplane parts. The attention to detail is pretty incredible, with portions of the suspension featuring engraving that most people would never see.

Jay admits that lowriders aren't really his style, but that doesn't keep him from gushing about these classic Chevrolet cars. The amount of work and that goes into them is something that any auto enthusiast ought to appreciate. Scroll down to watch Leno take a cruise.

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Chevy reveals SS pace car at the Brickyard

07/21/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Chevrolet, Special/Limited Editions

Chevy SS Pace Car

Last season Chevy reskinned and rebranded its NASCAR stock racer after the new SS, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before the Bowtie brand's latest muscle sedan would be pressed into duty as a pace car. And now that time has come.

At the Sprint Cup race next weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, actor Chris Pratt (of Parks and Recreation, Zero Dark Thirty, Moneyball and upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy fame) will drive this specially prepared, red and silver 2014 Chevy SS around the Brickyard at the front of the NASCAR pack during the John Wayne Walding 400.

It's a momentous occasion for oval racing fans, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of NASCAR racing at Indy, but it's hardly the first time Chevy has set the pace at the Brickyard. In fact, every NASCAR race ever held at Indy has been paced by a Chevy, and this year's will be a Bowtie blowout, with a Camaro ZL1 pacing the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge support race, a Corvette convertible setting the pace at the United SportsCar Championship race and a Camaro 1LE serving for the Nationwide Series event.

The race officially entitled (deep breath now) "Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com" takes place next Sunday, July 27. Considering that the Chevy SS won 16 of the 36 races last season and 9 out of the first 10 this year, chances are pretty good that it'll take the checkered flag at the Brickyard, adding to the eleven consecutive wins Chevy has taken at Indy up until now. Let's just hope the pace car doesn't burst into flames this time like it did at Daytona.

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