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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.

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First 100 vehicles announced for Forza Horizon 2

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Toys

Forza Horizon 2 Car List

With its September 30 release date just over two months away, Turn 10 Studios has slowly started releasing the car list for Forza Horizon 2, the sequel to 2012's Forza Horizon.

While the final list will be on the smaller side, with just over 200 vehicles, as per usual, those that were selected are decidedly different from your average sports car. We've included the entire list below, in the press release, but we thought you'd like to see some of the highlights right here.

First, there are a number of new entries to the Forza universe, led by the 1973 Renault Alpine A110 and the 1954 Jaguar XK120. Both of these sportsters should prove excellent companions on the scenic European roads of FH2. They're also joined by freshman entries like the 2013 Vauxhall Corsa VXR, as well as a few funkier and more interesting vehicles, like the 1963 Volkswagen Type 2 and the venerable Willys MB.

As for the main, 100-car list, the vast majority are offered in Forza Motorsport 5, although for the first time, many are offered as standard rather than downloadable extras. Cars like the Audi RS2 Avant, Abarth Fiat 131, Jaguar D-Type and the Lotus Eleven are included as standard vehicles. They're joined by cars that originally launched with FM5, like the 1994 Mazda MX-5, 1997 BMW M3, and Audi R8 V10 plus.

Scroll below for the full volley of details on the initial 100 cars. Forza Horizon 2 will hit shelves on September 30, exclusively for gamers on the Xbox One.

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Grand Theft Auto V fans remake Sopranos intro

07/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Toys, TV/Movies

The Sopranos Grand Theft Auto V

There is no shortage of things to do in the open world of Grand Theft Auto V. One of the more popular, though, is recreating iconic scenes from TV and film on the sprawling landmass that is San Andreas. We've already seen a famous scene from Terminator II get the GTA treatment, and now, it's the turn of everyone's favorite mob boss.

Yes, someone has gone and developed a very faithful recreation of the opening sequence of TV classic The Sopranos on GTA. YouTuber 8-Bit Bastard is no stranger to these recreations, and the expertise on this latest effort is evident.

Scroll down for the full reenactment of The Sopranos opening. We've also included a second video, which shows the original product with the GTA version, side by side. Take a look, and then head into Comments and let us know what you think.

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Yep, Lindsay Lohan is suing Rockstar Games over Grand Theft Auto V likeness [w/video]

07/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Government/Legal, Toys, Celebrities

Lindsay Lohan Grand Theft Auto

2014 Sundance Film Festival -Emmett, Furla, Oasis Films Press ConferenceWell, it's official. We will have a courtroom battle between fallen starlet Lindsay Lohan and Rockstar Games, maker of the infamous Grand Theft Auto series. We last reported on the Lohan/Rockstar case back in December, when rumors were swirling that the then-27-year-old would sue the video game publisher.

In the suit, LiLo alleges that Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive used her likeness for one of the game's non-playable characters, Lacey Jonas, without permission. Lohan also cited an image on the game's cover in her suit.

"The portraits of the Plaintiff (Lohan) incorporated her image, likeness, clothing, outfits, Plaintiff's clothing line products, ensemble in the form of hats, hair style, sunglasses, jean shorts worn by the Plaintiff that were for sale to the public at least two years" the suit, obtained by Forbes, reads.

It's unclear just how much money Lohan will be seeking in her suit. Forbes reached out to the Digital Media Law Project, which indicates that the Mean Girls star doesn't really have a leg to stand on.

"As a general matter, you will not be held liable for using someone's name or likeness in a creative, entertaining, or artistic work that is transformative, meaning that you add some substantial creative element over and above the mere depiction of the person. In other words, the First Amendment ordinarily protects you if you use someone's name or likeness to create something new that is recognizably your own, rather than something that just evokes and exploits the person's identity." the DMLP said.

Unless Lohan can prove that Rockstar blatantly ripped off her image for GTA, a series that's notorious for its parodies, it doesn't seem like this case will have much traction. In any case, feel free to scroll down below for a video from TMZ discussing the issue from a few months back.

Continue reading Yep, Lindsay Lohan is suing Rockstar Games over Grand Theft Auto V likeness [w/video]

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Grand Theft Auto V Independence Day Special is patriotically hilarious

07/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Toys

Grand Theft Auto Online Independence Day Special

With Independence Day celebrations well underway, Grand Theft Auto Online is back with a slew of new vehicles, weapons, articles of clothing and jobs that are so star-spangled awesome that the only thing you'll be able to utter while playing is, "'Murica!"

Of course, there are few things more American than a monster truck... unless said monster truck bears an Old Glory motif, a pair of American flags and a highly patriotic name like "The Liberator." That's right, the new Vapid Liberator monster truck is available for you to terrorize San Andreas with. The new bruiser is joined by the Sovereign motorcycle, which bears a similar color scheme. And those are just the vehicles that are coming with the GTA Online Independence Day Special.

Of course, the vehicles are the main thing that we care about, but there is a lot more coming to the game with this latest pack. Scroll down for a short video of the all-new Vapid Liberator monster truck in action. You can also take a look below for the full press release detailing the new stuff for this holiday weekend.

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Ford pits The Stig against Gran Turismo 6 in Focus ST Goodwood run

07/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Videos, Hatchbacks, Ford, Toys, UK

Ford Focus ST Goodwood

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is one of the world great automotive gatherings. So, it was the perfect event for Ford to give the refreshed 2015 Focus ST its world debut in front of a loving public. It even surprised us with a new diesel-powered version, as well.

The Blue Oval really put its focus on making the ST a better driver for this refresh. It left its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder alone to still pump out a respectable 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The changes like a retuned front suspension, electric power steering and improved interior made the hot hatch an even better place to spend time behind the wheel.

To prove that the Focus ST is still as potent as ever, Ford set up a one-on-one race up the Goodwood Hill. But instead of putting the two cars side-by-side, former Stig from Top Gear UK, Ben Collins, piloted the real model up the course, and his rival drove the virtual version in Gran Turismo 6. The two hot hatches set off at the same time to see whether reality could beat the virtual world, and the finish was actually extremely close. Scroll down to watch the video and find out the winner of this battle at Goodwood.

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Latest Forza Motorsport 5 car pack leaves us scratching our head (in a good way) [w/video]

07/02/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Toys

Forza Motorsport 5 Hot Wheels Car Pack

As we scrolled down the roster of the latest car pack for Forza Motorsport 5, the Hot Wheels Car Pack, our expression became bemused over the strange mix of vehicles that we now have at our disposal. This is quite unlike any of the other sets of DLC Turn 10 Studios has offered.

Sure, there are the typical headliner cars - the Lamborghini Veneno and 2015 Audi S3 - that will appeal to the mainstream racing fan or auto enthusiast. But this latest car pack is so jammed full of nuggets of automotive weirdness that it's hard not to get excited.

The Hot Wheels pack has no shortage of racers, with a particular focus on historical offerings. A 1939 Auto Union Type D covers the pre-war era of Formula One, while a 1967 Lotus 49 and a 1952 Ferrari 375 represent post-war racing. For a modern twist, a Mazda USF2000 car slots in below the Indy Lights car from the Nürburgring booster pack.

From here, things get vintage and weird. There are a pair of delightfully offbeat coupes, in the form of a 1974 Toyota Celica GT and a 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT (here's hoping we get a vintage Holden Monaro in the future). Those two are joined by a 1956 Ford F-100, which your author already plans on converting into a dragster with vinyl flames down the side (because that's what all vintage pickups should be).

The new ride we're most excited about, though, is the 1983 GMC Vandura G-1500. Yes, that's the van from The A-Team, and we're sure it will prove to be an excellent canvas for the artists of FM5 to cover with airbrushed, fire-breathing unicorns and mystical, gray-haired wizards (or just poorly painted letters that read "Free Candy").

This latest car pack is the final monthly car pack for FM5, although Turn 10 is quick to point out that while the monthly updates are over, there will still be new batches of cars made available to gamers. As for the Hot Wheels pack, it's available now on Xbox Live for $9.99.

Scroll down for the press release from Turn 10 Studios, as well as a video of the newest additions to Forza Motorsport 5's vehicle roster.

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Kaz and Shiro talk Gran Turismo 7 details, Titan Nismo and more in AMA

07/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Trucks/Pickups, Nissan, Toys


US-DETROIT-AUTO-SHOWOne of the greatest innovations to come about thanks to the gigantic popularity of Reddit is the Ask Me Anything (AMA) question and answer format. The AMA becomes especially worthwhile, of course, when the person(s) answering the questions have detailed information or insight on products we love.

So, in the case of the recent AMA session with Gran Turismo creator and mastermind Kazunori Yamauchi (above), and his buddy and Nissan chief designer Shiro Nakamura (right), it was basically must-read stuff.

The pair really lived up to our expectations, too, with Kaz offering a lot of useful information about the future of the Gran Turismo franchise (especially the upcoming GT7 for Playstation 4), and Shiro promising to bring some interesting new ideas back to his colleagues at Nissan.

We'll start there, as Shiro's bit is quicker. Perhaps the most interesting response to a question that the Nissan designer gave all day was when he was asked about any interest in doing a Nismo-tuned Titan. Probably nothing more than a flight of fancy at this point, but Shiro's response was enthusiastic:

"A Nismo Titan? A very interesting idea. We've never thought about it. If you think about it, a big-engined truck is almost like a sports car. Two passengers, fun to drive - it's a fun idea. I will take your request back to the office with me."

Ford Raptor, watch your back.

As for Kaz, well, the Polyphony Digital head honcho was dropping tantalizing knowledge all over the forum. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The "fantasy" tracks from GT5 and earlier may be making a return in GT7. Fans of El Capitan, Tahiti Maze, etc. should keep their fingers crossed.
  • When asked creating a Formula 1 game, Kaz responded "There's some distance there to actually making that into a game, but who knows - you might just discover it all of a sudden." We're not sure if that indicates promise for inclusion in Gran Turismo, or a new title.
  • For whatever it's worth, Porsche's exclusion is from GT is "not an issue between Polyphony Digital and Porsche."
  • A major update to the sound engine is coming in GT7 (hurray!), but nothing is planned for the July update to GT6.
  • Apparently, Shiro would love to see the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge in a GT game, when asked he responded: "Sure. Why not? We like the design and we like the performance. We'll start working with Yamauchi-san immediately."
  • A beta version of track maker is around now, Kaz says it's in his hands. But no timing yet for when it'll be offered for players.
  • Perhaps most importantly: Kaz won't rule out including the Subaru BRAT in some iteration of GT. "I won't say we won't include it." It's hard to type with this many fingers crossed.
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FIA Online Championship coming to Gran Turismo

06/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Toys

FIA Online Championship on Gran Turismo

Gamers know that you can't get much closer to the action than in the latest installment of Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo simulator series for the PlayStation. But just how close is that virtual reality to actual reality?

According to the FIA, extremely close. At the FIA Sport Conference that just wrapped up in Munich, Jean Todt (president of the motorsport body) and Kazunori Yamauchi (of Polyphony) announced a partnership that grants FIA certification to four circuits digitally rendered for the game. We don't yet know which tracks those are, specifically, but Silverstone appears to be one of them, and our money's on the other three being drawn from circuits currently used in Formula One - say, Suzuka, Monza and Spa - and will extend to other tracks in the future.

The burgeoning partnership between the FIA and Polyphony doesn't end there, however. The two are also collaborating on the launch of a new FIA Online Championship next year. We don't know much about the digital racing series yet, but according to the statement below, it will offer "the large number of Gran Turismo players and motor sport fans the opportunity to engage with real motor sport." Read more in the press release below.

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Here's Aston Martin's DP-100 racer for Gran Turismo in all its virtual glory [w/video]

06/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Aston Martin, Toys, Design/Style

Aston Martin DP100 Vision Gran Turismo Concept

After a little bit of teasing, Aston Martin is finally unveiling its Design Prototype 100 Vision Gran Turismo Concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that makes it into Gran Turismo 6 in July. With the DP-100, the company's designers have gotten a chance to shrug off the shackles of realism and create the first-ever Aston Martin "road car" with the engine mounted behind the driver.

Designed and engineered over the course of six months by the Aston Martin Design team, the crew started from a clean sheet of paper and were allowed to design whatever they liked with no concerns about production feasibility. At the front, there's the brand's classic grille shape, but otherwise the concept is completely original. The shape of the DP-100 is beautifully simple, looking like a collection of intersecting arches in profile.

Of course, in Gran Turismo 6, gamers are going to want to race the car more than look at it. The DP-100 employs Aston Martin's famous V12 engine coupled with two turbochargers to produce 800 horsepower. Active aerodynamic aids keep it planted during cornering, as well.

Aston Martin previously hinted that it might show off a physical version of the concept at this year's Goodwood Festival. Although, we haven't seen it yet, the concept would fit perfectly next to Nissan's own Vision Gran Turismo design at the celebration of all things automotive. Scroll down to watch a video of the DP-100's designers talking about the car and read the official release.

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