Thursday, January 28, 2016

Opel GT Concept - General Motors European Branch

Opel GT Concept

It's probably been a long time since you heard the car brand name “Opel” and sports car in the same sentence, in fact, if you're young enough, like me, you probably never heard the word sports car describing an Opel period. But the General Motors European branch is trying to change that with a very cool looking Opel GT Concept set to make an appearance at the Geneva International Motor Show Switzerland.

A Small Opel With Big Features
The little two-seat coupe has a lot of big features that prove that Opel is looking to move forward with up-to-date innovations that can attract younger people and compete with the many other compact sports cars in today's auto market.

According to Opel's CEO, Karl-Thomas Neumann, “the concept is no business case, but more of a brand investment.” The idea behind the Opel GT concept is to see the reaction of the consumers and see if something like the GT is something that consumers are really looking to get into.
Although the Opel GT is just a concept and has a long way to go to become a real production car, the '68-'73 Opel GT was also just a concept in 1965, but in just three short years it was in production and making the Opel name popular.

Like many concepts, the Opel GT Concept is built with many innovations that might not make it into production even if the Opel GT sports car does. The first one is the noticeable red front tires and wheels that are designed to look much like a roller skate wheel. You also might notice a set of doors that flow seamlessly into the windows with a silver tint to match the vehicle. It looks pretty cool, but government rules would keep the idea out of production unless some laws are changed.

Another innovation that is pretty cool is if you look closely you will notice that there are no side mirrors. The side mirror's duties are relieved by two cameras mounted on both sides of the rear-wheel arches and then displayed on right and left side monitors inside the vehicle. With that fanciness, you may also notice that there are no door handles. You open the doors by an invisible touch-pad integrated into the red stripe that divides the two-tone paint job. 

The Opel is Fun, Small with Power to Match
The sports car power is supplied by a three-cylinder aluminum engine block with a turbocharger. The power is converted to a six-speed transmission that can be controlled with steering wheel paddle shifters. The combination gives the Opel GT 145-hp, which may not sound like a lot for a sports car, but this car only weighs about 2,200-lbs.

Opel Concept

Along with some other cool perks like duel exhaust that pokes out of
the rear bumper, panorama glass roof, and a patented door design that allows the doors to partially open into the front wheel-well for easier parking in tight areas - this Opel concept might be something we might see making headlines in the near feature – maybe even with Buick emblems on it. If you look closely at the Buick Avista Concept and compare it with the Opel, the cars look very similar, and it wouldn't be the first time that Buick slapped badges on an Opel.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 Buick Avista Concept Car

The North America International Auto Show always brings us the latest and greatest new cars, trucks and SUVs that the auto industry has to offer. They also bring us cool concept cars that may or may not make into production in the near future. For the 2016 NAIAS, there were many concepts that stood out this year, but perhaps the one concept that stood out the most and has the biggest chance of making it into production sooner than later is the 2016 Buick Avista concept.

A Luxurious Interrior Cool Enough For Space Travel 
The Avista is built on the Camaro Alpha chassis, which leaves room on the inside for four passengers to enjoy the comfort of  Mist Gray leather seating inserts, 3-D printed door and seat trim and exposed carbon fiber and aluminum accents. The future of Buick's IntelliLink technology is also displayed throughout the dash and is controlled by touchscreen controls on a widescreen instrument panel display. The touchscreen technology is also displayed on the center console that stretches all the way to the back seat passengers.

From the driver seat, the driver can feel like he is captain of his own spaceship with the digital futuristic instrumental panel that smoothly integrates into the dash and flows seamlessly with the rest of the interior components. And, in your spaceship like Buick, it may also sound like you are somewhere out in space with the most up-date next-generation QuietTuning and air-quality control, including advanced noise cancellation technology, ionic air purifiers and aromatherapy.

“There is elegant simplicity in the Avista’s surfaces, which speak to the purity of the car’s performance, and a timeless beauty that’s a hallmark of Buick design,” Bryan Nesbitt, executive director Global Buick Design says. “It was designed to capture the spirit of the perfect drive for all passenger.”

Driving a Buick Full of Technology and Power
Buick really has not been known for power punching cars outside of the '86 and '87 V-6 turbocharged Grand Nationals. And before that you have to go back to the muscle car era, when Buick was producing 455-cu-in torque monsters to find fun fast worthy cars to drive. But Buick knows that Buick fans are ready for some more technology driven fast and fun cars.

If the Buick Avista makes it to the market the way it sits as a concept, it will receive a 3.0-liter V-6 400-hp twin-turbo engine that will be matted up to a 8-speed automatic transmission. 400 horses is good, especially when you are getting it out of a V-6 that will use Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) with Start-Stop technology to bring you some very good mpg averages. And along with all that awesome power comes an awesome ride, the wide stance and 20'' rims not only help the car look great, but also works perfectly with General Motors iconic Magnetic Ride Control for nice and tight cornering.

Smooth, But, Bold Exterior Excellence
The exterior profile of the Buick Avista's wide stance, gives the vehicle an aggressive sportier look. With the intent to attract younger customers, Buick put a lot of effort into making the Buick standout with bold and futuristic looking head and taillights, 20'' aluminum rims, a big mesh front grill with the Buick emblem front and center.

“The Avista embodies the dynamic soul of Buick,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick Sales, Service and Marketing. “It is a modern expression of the brand’s heritage of sophisticated performance, communicated with beautiful elegance.” 

A lot of times these cars never even make it into production, and if they do they are deturned, toned down versions from their concept start. But the market is hungry for a vehicle like this. It was not long ago the Chevy Volt sat in front of us as a concept vehicle and one mesiley year later it was rolling off the assembly line, in other words let's keep our fingers crossed, it could be here in no time.

Friday, January 1, 2016

1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary (LT-4) SLP Edition


Anniversary Editions are always fun. Special stripes, badges and performance up-grades find their way on to a limited number of stock versions of a vehicle to celebrate the special year. Although Anniversary Editions usually see minor changes, that wasn't the case when it came to the 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary SLP Edition. All of the 30th Anniversary Camaros (RS, Z-28 and SS) seen an eye-popping color scheme and 30th Anniversary badges placed throughout the interior, but a few SS Camaos (US 100 – Canada 6 – Prototype 2) got much more than just a few minor up-grades and a cool looking color scheme.

What This Special Camaro SS Was All About

The color scheme was a throwback to the 1969 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car. Just like that pace car an Arctic White paint job was accompanied by a set of Hugger Orange racing stripes that graced the hood, roof and the deck-lid of all of the 1997 Anniversary Editions. But don't let that fool you, they all may have looked the same and had the same embroider badges on the seats and the floor mats, but only a select few got to wear the all important 330-hp badge indicating an LT-4 under the hood.

Almost all of the Anniversary Editions came with stock engines that matched their trim package, but a few lucky SS Camaros got to take a trip to SLP Engineering after they rolled off the line for some really tremendous up-grades. SLP Engineering was able to get their hands on extra leftover LT-4 motors that were used in the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport a year earlier. Before SLP bolted these LT-4 motors into the Camaros, they broke each of the engines down and had them balanced and blue-printed. On paper the LT-4 was documented to get 330-hp at 5,800 RPM and reached its max torque at 4,500 RPM. But many car enthusiast and automotive professionals believe this motor that had 10.8:1 compression was definitely under-rated.

So take that Camaro SS with the LT-4 up grade and add a Borg-Warner T56 six-speed manual transmission, a performance exhaust, a lightweight drive shaft, Bilstein sport suspension (optional level III Bilstein suspension package) and a Torsen limited slip-differential, and you can get from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and get down the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds. In this day-in-age with the explosion of technology in the auto industry that may not seem so amazing, but back in 1997 that was the fastest American sports car on the market to that date. There were no American sports cars at that time that could be bought from a dealer that went that fast.

Identifying a 1997 Camaro SS 30th Anniversary LT-4 SLP Edition

So how do you tell if what you're looking at or what you own is one of these rare 30th Anniversary SLP LT4 SS Camaros? Regular SS 30th Anniversary Camoros are commonly mistaken for these very rare SLP Editions, and that's because there easy to pass off as one. All of the SLP LT4 Editions rolled off the line and out of the factory as a LT-1 before being shipped off for the special treatment. With no special SLP badges outside of one 330-hp sticker above the rear-bumper, which can be easily duplicated, there's not much to go on in the means of finding SLP info, even the VIN# alone won't let you know if it's a true SLP LT-4 Edition, it will only tell you that it was a LT-1 at one point.

The first thing you can do to find out the info you want is look at the trim options. If it has t-tops or is a convertible, it's definitely not a true SS LT4, they only came with a hard-top. Next, again, skip the VIN# for now because that won't tell you anything. To get to the bottom of your research, you want to look inside the door for an SLP sticker and or look at the RPO code. The RPO code should indicate if it has been in the hands of the SLP engineers. But if you're still not sure what you are looking at, you can always call SLP Engineering, they are sure to have records of what Camaros they got there hands on.

If you do have a true LT-4 SS 30th Anniversary Camaro in your sights, you're looking at a true collectible. These cars will eventually sell on the Barrett Jackson block like the COPO Camaros do right now. They're good-looking, powerful, rare and fun to drive.
Happy Hunting