Tuesday, December 25, 2018

2020 Detroit North American Auto Show Moves To June To Skip The Cold

Image result for detroit north american auto show

It's been no surprise that in the last few years and counting the Detroit North American Auto Show has been failing to achieve attendance goals. And when attendance is down, car automakers drop out.

As of right now, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi have already dropped out of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. That’s really not that big of a surprise considering automakers like Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Jaguar, and high-end exotic and luxury brands like Bentley have been absent from the prestigious Motor City auto show for years now.  

Guilty As Charged
I love cars and worked in some way shape or form for the auto industries for many years. I try to make it every January, but I've skipped a few times just because of the cold. It always seems to be the week of the auto show that the weather temps drop to a bitter cold making it extremely miserable walking to Cobo Hall where the auto show is held.

Walking down the side streets with towering building on both sides of you turns the streets into a wind tunnel, a wind tunnel that sometimes feels like sub-below temps blowing you from side-to-side. So you have to bundle up to get to the auto show, then you have to coat check everything, and it really just becomes a big hassle when you can stay at home and watch Auto Week.

What’s New For The 2020 North American Auto Show in June?
  • Plenty of courted off space for outdoor exhibits for automakers. 
  • Live Music Venue.
  • Outdoor conference room for world-class speakers. 
  • A mini test drive track for interested car shoppers.
  • Outdoor food court with food trucks from some of the best culinary hotspots in Detroit.
  • Fun and games. 
  • And much more. 

Image result for 2020 Detroit North American Auto Show

Image result for 2020 Detroit North American Auto Show

Image result for 2020 Detroit North American Auto Show

This exciting indoor-outdoor event that will be held right after the Belle Isle Grand Prix will really help the Motor City seem like the Motor City again.

"The potential to create a month-long automotive festival in Detroit starting with the Detroit Grand Prix, going through our show and concluding with the nationally-celebrated fireworks on the river, will provide an unmatched festival-like experience for all attendees," Detroit Auto Show executive director Rod Alberts said in a press release. "June provides us with exciting new opportunities that January just didn't afford."

The first annual “No Holds Barred” Motor City Showdown legal drag race in September at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport was a huge success. This further lead Detroit into making more changes to really make the Motor City the Motor City again and just a great city all around.  

Detroit is really becoming a great place to visit. There is plenty of great places to eat, visit, shop, listen to music, and drink. A far cry from what it used to be three decades ago.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harley J. Earl: Four Important Contributions Given To The Automotive Industry

Harley J. Earl started his career at General Motors in the design department as Head of Design. After proving his skills to be invaluable, General Motors appointed him to become Vice President of the corporation.  

This move by GM would make Mr Earl the first ever appointed top executive of a major corporation in American history. Every executive prior to Earl was grandfathered into their positions.

So what made him so desirable?

What made General Motors go so far out of character to appoint Mr Earl and his abilities to a Vice President position?

Not only was Earl’s ability to design vehicles incredible, but he also had a knack that no one else did, he could tap into what the consumer wanted.  

Instead of designing vehicles that General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford deemed as profitable, he wanted to design and build vehicles that consumers wanted to see and drive. This idealism scared General Motors, but ultimately they saw the rise in public excitement, vehicle sales, and of course, profits.

Here are just four of Harley J. Earl’s important contributions to the automotive industry.    

1. Freeform Sketching and Hand Sculpted Clay Models: Harley J. Earl was a coachbuilder by trade. By honing and adjusting his craft, he became a pioneer of car design by introducing the use of freeform sketching and hand sculpting clay modeling. Bringing this skill to the industry helped create some of the finest bodylines on vehicles that we’ve come to know and love today.

2. Chevrolet Corvette: Earl decided that America needed a real sports car, one that resembled the English and European sports cars that were getting built overseas after WWII.

With Earl’s already established reputation in the automotive industry, he didn’t think he would get too much pull from other executives by presenting the thought of taking on such a risky project like creating a sports car, and he didn’t.

He went to Chevrolet’s general manager, Ed Cole, with a secret project called the “Project Opel”. With complete confidence in Harley Earl, Mr Cole gave him the okay with no hesitation. Not more than a year later, in 1953, America would get their first glimpse at what would become the most iconic American sports car ever built, the Chevrolet Corvette.  

3. First Concept Car: The 1939 Buick Y-Job was the first-ever concept car built. Earl recognized early the need to get the public's reaction on a vehicle's appearances and performance before one is put into production.

Under Earl’s supervision and direction, the General Motors’ styling division created something similar to what they hoped would become the next production car for Buick. With enough interested and feedback from the public, GM was able to put a vehicle into production that turned out to be very successful. With such success with the “concept car”, to this day the concept is used every year by every large automotive corporation in the world.  

4. Tailfins: If you like the look of classic cars, then you know you like the look of tailfins. They’re stylish, they’re sexy, and the design of them are credited to Harley J. Earl. First appearing on the Frank Hershey 1948 Cadillac, they became an iconic look that was used throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

After the public’s acceptance of the look, Detroit car builders, especially Chrysler, went into competition to see who could design the most complexed, biggest tailfins that could fit on the back of a car while still looking awesome.

An American Automotive Pioneer

Some of the coolest invention and designs the public gets to enjoy from the automotive industry is credited to Harley J Earl. Without him, who knows if we would have the Corvette, the ‘57 Chevy, concept cars among many other great things we get to enjoy.

You don’t hear about him too much, but we should always remember one of the great pioneers of the automotive industry.

Monday, October 8, 2018

2020 C8 Mid-Engine Corvette Just About Ready For Unveiling

It’s about that time, the cats just about out of the bag and the mid-engine C8 Chevrolet Corvette’s most recent run around Nürburgring raceway has given us a lot to look at.

The 2020 C8 Corvette is getting ready to shred its camouflage. Most all rumors from credible sources all have the same info in common, and that is we will most likely see the first version of the 2020 Vette at the North American International Auto Show.  

But thanks to some great spy photos and some insider info,  we can get a pretty good grasp of what to expect at the Corvette’s international unveiling. Corvette is trying to keep the C8 from falling into a class like the Ford GT, a high-priced limited edition exotic sports car. To accomplish that goal, the new C8 Corvette will be using the C7 Spaceframe to keep cost down.

The C7 Spaceframe is a beautifully designed frame that is more than capable of handling the speeds and the cornering that the C8 will be expected to handle.

The body of the C8 Corvette does feature a lower and wider stance than the C7 Corvette which is much expected. The short front overhang and the big front air dams really make the Corvette look much more like a European supercar. But since Corvette is looking to make a much bigger presence in the global market, the look makes sense.

You won’t find vertical lifting doors (Lambo doors) on these new Corvettes, but you will find a set of dual rear calipers and a set of dual buttress supports placed on both sides of what most people think will be a see-through glass engine cover.

Now The Fun Stuff: Powerplants

When the C8 Corvette was tested at the famous Nürburgring raceway, from what everyone could tell it was being tested with the first engine that will be available with the mid-engine Corvette. That engine is the C7 Stingray 6.2-liter V8 that will put out 500-hp.

Later in the year, a 5.5-liter V8 engine should arrive with a flat plane crank and a DOHC setup pushing out about 600-hp. The next move after that will be to implicate a twin turbocharging option that should boost the Corvette’s 5.5-liter horsepower engine up to 800.  

Corvette has also mentioned plans for a hybrid option. Some old school American car enthusiast might cringe at this idea, but if Corvette wants to compete in the supercar market globally, then they have to get with the times. This new hybrid option will add an electric motor to the front wheels while the twin-turbo engine will be supplying power to the rear wheels ultimately giving the Corvette hybrid a rating of 1,000-hp.

What’s Happening in Bowling Green, KY

About 15 months ago, Corvette closed down their Bowling Green Corvette Plant in Kentucky to make $700 million dollars in upgrades so that they can efficiently mass produce the C8 mid-engine Corvette. The plant will reopen to the public sometime in January 2019.

Unfortunately, with such a massive move to upgrade the plant to accommodate the new C8 Corvette, one can only speculate that Corvette planned for the ZR1 to be the final hooray for the C7 and front engine Corvettes altogether.  

Friday, September 21, 2018

New 2019 Chevrolet Camaro Online Configurator. Plus Lower Prices And New Technology

If shopping for the perfect car that has everything you want - the right color, wheels, accessories and more - becomes too tedious of a job for you, then Chevrolet has something new you might find fun and interesting.

The new 2019 Chevrolet Camaro Online Configurator is a way to build your dream Camaro without leaving your house. Using Chevrolet's configurator located on their website, you can get a 180-degree visual of what the exterior and interior of a particular Camaro will look like based on the options and configurations you choose. You will also get a net price of what the Camaro will cost and a location to the nearest dealership that has a Camaro on their lot that has all the bells and whistles you're looking for.

The configurator supplies you with seven different Camaro categories that you can customize. Pages include configuration, trims, colors, packages, exterior, interior and accessories. The configurator interface is easy to use and you can customize everything from wheel size and tire options to interior color and seating options.

Refreshed 2019 Camaro
There are not too many big changes to the new Camaro, but a bolder, stronger looking front end will be added to the already menacing looking sports car. The Camaro LS, LT, and RS models get a new front fascia that is a little sleeker looking whereas the Camaro SS front end will receive a bigger front fascia somewhat resembling the Silverado's new bold look.  

The four-cylinder turbo trim models, including the new 3LT trim model, will offer you a more sophisticated, custom 1LE suspension option. Although not your big engine Camaro - pumping out 275 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque - you can still have a lot of fun in these four-cylinder sports cars.     

The Camaro SS offers you a newly advanced 10-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. This trans includes a line lock control and custom launch control technology for a better drag racing experience. Also, on higher end Camaro trims, a new Gen 3 Chevrolet MyLink Infotainment System displayed on an eight-inch-diagonal color touch-screen will be standard.

New Pricing
The Camaro 1LS will drop from $26,900 to $25,995, while the Camaro 2LT will drop approximately $3,000 from last year’s previous price tag. Since the Camaro has fallen behind the Mustang and the Challenger in terms of sales, Chevrolet’s sales strategy is to focus on lower prices for high-volume Camaro trim models.

One last surprise the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro configurator lets us in on is the “Crush” orange exterior paint option will again be available. This color made its last debut on the 2017 Camaro alongside the Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary special edition vehicle.  

Monday, September 3, 2018

Corvette C7.R To Race In China For The First Time Ever

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What’s Chevrolet's latest move to increase sales for the Corvette overseas? Bring their coolest Corvette they have to race at places they haven’t raced yet.   

Corvette will close out the 20th season of FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with its first-ever factory-run race in Asia. The Corvette C7.R Redline special edition will run the 6 hours of Shanghai on the weekend of November 16-18.

The Shanghai International Circuit is a venue that offers 16 turns in 5.45-km (3.38-miles) per lap. Like all WEC races, this track is designed to test the vehicle’s speed, endurance, stability, fuel economy and, of course, the driver’s skills. Built in 2004, the motorsports venue already host many racing championship circuits including the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix.

“Corvette Racing has proven itself as a world-class racing program,” said the Chevrolet director of Motorsports Competition, Mark Kent. “Competing in the Shanghai race provides us with an additional opportunity to test ourselves against the top manufacturers and teams in the FIA WEC.”    

Chevrolet Redline Edition

Chevrolet's decision for making the move toward racing the Redline edition Corvette C7.R instead of the tradition yellow and black C7.R is because of their plans to sell the special edition Corvette in China and other countries in that region.

The Redline edition isn’t just limited to the Corvette. This special edition trim was first introduced at the 2015 SEMA Show and is implicated on select Chevrolet trucks, SUVs, sedans, compacts and sports cars. Some of these other special edition models will join the Corvette in the overseas sales campaign.      

Scott Lawson, general director of Chevrolet for SAIC-GM tells us, “Chevrolet plans on strengthening their brand in China by boosting their product lineup and their overall customer and ownership experience. We have been rolling out more youthful and sportier Redline editions to help reach younger customers, the ones that are most likely to branch out and buy a sporty looking Chevrolet.”

Either way, global exposure and sales will keep profits up and stock prices steady if not rising.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Detroit Dragway - Remembering The Legendary Race Track

Flashback Friday: Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! At <b>Detroit Dragway</b>!
Detroit Dragway was located in the then not so populated Brownstown Township of Michigan just outside of Detroit. This legendary dragstrip opened in 1959 and closed its gates in 1998.

The shutdown was mainly due to two reasons. The first reason was Detroit Dragway needed a renovation, but the proposal to do so was turned down by Township residents in 1994. The extra traffic congestion and noise pollution were not what the now populated upscale Brownstown Township wanted. The other reason for closing down was a lack of business due to a much nicer updated track [Milan Dragway] only about an hour away.

Although Milan Dragway did not in no way have the history that Detroit Dragway had, it did, however, have much-needed safety regulations and creature comforts to attract more racers and spectators on a weekly basis.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

"Sunday, Sunday, Sunday at Detroit Dragway", that used to be the catchphrase broadcasted across the radio waves when main events were being promoted. Although by time I was old enough to go racing with my Dad the real history and charm of the track had already passed on and big NHRA names were no longer showing up, the tracks legendary stories, records and photos prove that there's no doubt the big time drag racers would always show for the big events.

In 1959 and 1960, Detroit Dragway hosted the U.S. Nationals for the first time putting them on the map and paving the way to host many more great racing events. Big names like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta (a hometown hero), Shirley Muldowney, the Sox & Martin team, the Ramchargers team and much more would come to compete and put on a show.

<b>Detroit Dragway</b>

Detroit Dragway: A Dragstrip with a Purpose

One great thing that Detroit Dragway did for the surrounding cities was it gave illegal street racers a place to race legally. Growing up in Michigan, I witnessed and joined in on the street racing fun. Telegraph Rd. among many other Detroit highway roads were a hub for street racers, and Detroit Dragway was a place to go close by and legally race.

Another service Detroit Dragway provided was a place for promotion. “The Big Three” seen the dragstrip as a great place to promote their products. What better place to put their new performance vehicles on display than a racetrack that is right next to the then biggest automobile manufacturing city in the world (The Motor City).

Nothing Stays The Same Forever

Things have changed through the years. Detroit may still be nicknamed “The Motor City”, but it definitely is not the biggest automobile manufacturing city in the world anymore, and by most accounts, it is still broke and struggling.

Street cruising/racing on Telegraph, Outer Dr., and Grand River disappeared in the late 70’s and early 80’s but made a huge comeback in the late '90s and early 2000s. But after a police task force was formed to rid the city of the dangerous pastime and a few heavy hitting raids cost many of us big fines, suspended driver’s licenses and all-around big headaches, we mostly stick to drag racing legally and safely now. Although there may be some strays out looking for that kind of trouble still, there's not even enough of them for the Detroit Police Department to keep the street racing task force up and running.

<b>Detroit Dragway</b>

White Knuckle Racing
I did get to race at Detroit Dragway a few times before it was shut down. I was always hearing these stories about a big dip at the end of the track after the finish line, and I'm here to tell you it was there. I don't know if I would say it was dangerous, but it was an eye-opener when you crossed the finish line (hence the need for renovation).

Racing at Detroit Dragway was fun. There was a slight feeling of danger and fear when racing at that track, almost like you were crossing your fingers in hopes that you made it down the track and back to the pits safely. Milan Dragway doesn't really give you that feeling, but that's because the track is up to code and their safety team is 110% awesome.

Nowadays, Milan is where racers from the southeast side of Michigan and beyond go to do their drag racing. I recommend it to anyone, it's a nice facility and a nice place to race. And I can tell you from experience that the price of emissions is a small price to pay opposed to being caught in an underground drag racing sting.

Gone But Not Forgotten

The once famous Detroit Dragway located at Sibley and Dix in Brownstown Charter Township is now a warehouse facility. Most who live with-in the surrounding high-class bossie neighborhoods don't even know what kind of history was bulldozed down to keep their neighborhoods quiet.

But for those of us who do remember "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday" being shouted out on the oldies rock station, we knew what it meant. We knew that loud and fast cars would be lining up at the gates, then finding their spots in the pits, and eventually funneling into the staging lanes to wait for their chance to compete for a trophy win, bragging rights and a payout at the Detroit Dragway quarter-mile.  

DETROIT DRAGWAY – Just another part of drag racing history gone but not forgotten.

first trip to <b>detroit dragway</b> was in 1961 when my cousin took me i ...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 to Pace the Indy 500 - Here’s Why It Gets the Honor!

Image result for 2019 corvette zr1 Indy 500 pace car

With its aggressive look and big bold front end and rear spoiler, this Corvette looks like it’s ready to take on every supercar on the planet, and with its overwhelming power and handling abilities, it is.

Let’s take a look at some of the 2019 Corvette ZR1 hard hitting numbers and influential features that helped it earn its right to be this years Indy 500 Pacecar.
The monster 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that sits under the aggressive looking hood of the Corvette ZR1 cranks out 755 horsepower. That horsepower combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission or a seven-speed rev-matching manual transmission pushes this ZR1 from 0-60 in just 2.8 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 10.6 seconds at 134 mph. If that still leaves you a little under impressed, then maybe the 212 mph average top speed at the track in Papenburg, Germany can open your eyes to just how well this Corvette performs.  

What makes this LT5 ZR1 6.2-liter engine so much more potent than the Corvette Z06 6.2-liter V8? The engine the ZR1 gets has been upgraded with a bigger Eaton supercharger, bigger throttle body, a beefier camshaft and uses both port-and-direct fuel injection for an increase of 105 ponies over the Z06.

Image result for 2019 corvette zr1Helping this massive LT5 engine perform well even at high speeds for long periods of time is a much larger front fascia than the average Corvette. The ZR1 front fascia includes huge air dams and fender vents to help push as much cool air into the 13 radiators as possible. The ZR1 also offers plenty of other large exterior features. The front splitter is noticeably bigger than the Z06 front splitter and the ZR1 rear spoiler just dwarfs the ZO6 rear spoiler. Along with some other awesome carbon fiber add-ons, the 2019 ZR1 Corvette creates 950 pounds of downforce. Now it should be noted that if you don’t plan on doing any major competition circuit racing, you probably won’t need the massive rear spoiler, and if you think it looks intrusive, you can order your new ZR1 with a Z06 rear spoiler for a more reasonable look.    

So how does this turn-key race car drive as a daily driver with an average driver behind the wheel? When the Corvette is switched to Touring mode, you will get to enjoy a quieter exhaust, looser steering characteristics and a softer suspension. Outside of being very careful with the aggressive acceleration, this new 2019 Corvette ZR1 has the ability to offer you a very easy driving powerful supercar that leaves you confident in your driving abilities. And if you do want to test your driving skills at high speeds, the Michelin Super Sports tires and magnetic suspension offers you the same easy handling attributes at high speeds as it does in everyday driving situations. For a car that can reach 200+ mph and go 10 seconds in the quarter-mile, its ability to let you handle the car at ease at any speed is incredible. And of course, stopping has never been an issue with Corvette’s high performers. Six-piston carbon ceramic Brembo brake calipers are used in the front and four-piston calipers are used in the rear.  

Obviously, the interior of the Corvette ZR1 cabin is just as high-tech as the exterior and drivetrain. An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment center host all of the goodies and connectivity capabilities you would expect out of a high-end General Motors vehicle. Included with that system is a rearview backup camera, a front end camera so you don’t mash up your front splitter, and a powerful Bose system so you can jam away on long car cruises.

Coming Soon
The most powerful and capable Corvette ever built is now available at select dealerships. The full load of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 coupes and convertibles should be coming to all qualifying dealerships later this year/early next.

So what can you expect to pay for this 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1? Around $122,095 for the coupe and $126,095 for the convertible (no word on the extra cost for the Indy 500 Special Edition).

Image result for 2019 corvette zr1 convertible

To see this 2019 Corvette ZR1 in action, tune into ABC, Sunday, May 27 for the official Indy 500 Race.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1951 Buick LaSabre Concept - More Tech Than Some Brand New Cars Have


Back in 1951, this convertible Buick LaSabre was not just extreme looking, it was way ahead of its time. It had technology advancements that weren't even thought of yet and would give us a sneak peek into the future of the automotive industry.

Harley J. Earl was the lead designer of this beautiful piece of machinery. From 1927 to 1958 he was General Motors' Head-of-Styling and had his hands in the cookie jar of many breakthrough designs and technology projects throughout his career.

One of the first things that really set this car apart is the fact that it could function on gasoline and methyl alcohol. There were separate fuel cells for both sources and an easy way to switch between the two from the convenience of the driver seat. It also had one of the first smaller engines that could produce high horsepower, much like what we see in today's vehicles. This beauty used a 215 cubic-inch V-8 HEMI aluminum block that was topped off with dual carbs, aluminum heads and a supercharger that produced 29.5 PSI. All this was good for 335-hp @5,500-RPM. In 1951 that was an outstanding number for such a small engine.

The styling was nothing short of artwork for this Buick LaSabre. Earl designed the first wraparound windshield that was said to give the driver a panoramic view. It also saw the likes of GM's first rear brake coolers that used functioning rear scoops on the back quarter-panel. They were designed not only to cool the brakes but also the battery that was positioned in the back.

One of the very noticeable features that people hadn't seen too much of was the hidden futuristic headlights that would pop out from behind the grille with a flip of a switch. Also, the Buick LaSabre had a feature on it that to this day is only really used on Indy and Formula-1 cars. The automatic jack system was the first of its kind and allowed you to work under your car without a floor jack or jack stands. Maybe today that doesn't sound like much, but think back to 1951 and the stock emergency jack that would be provided for you if you had the unfortunate flat tire. Oh yea, remember, there were no cell phones to call TripleA or a friend and no OnStar type systems.

Another feature that may really stun you is the automatic sensors that could recognize rain and put your rag-top and windows up without you being around to control them. The Buick even had a backup source of power so if your battery were to die you could still at least control features like the radio, windows and the rag-top.

This car was designed from Earl's imagination and his love for jet-airplane designs. The sleek styling-lines and the flamboyant curves are what really sets this Buick apart. The interior even showed a little bit of aeronautical passion in it with a dashboard that included an altimeter, tachometer and a compass. Earl adopted this 1951 Buick LaSabre as his own and drove it till he had about 50,000 miles on it before handing it over to the GM museum in the 1960's.