The property in the midst of an older industrial estate looks more like a car graveyard than a collection’s home. Behind the wire fence rest a good dozen incognito casualties, protected against weather by yellow covers or gray tarp. Behind the gate, however, a tightly packed array of shining BMWs from the ’60s and ’70s await us in what is half warehouse, half workshop. When he ran out of floor space, 48-year-old Rey (last name withheld on request) started stacking the surplus stock on hoists.
Right now the head count is 52, but it fluctuates as this makeshift enterprise seems to buy and sell cars on a whim. “I once had 14 2002tii models in various stages from neglect to perfection,” recalls the former football player who made a small fortune as a broker in the dairy business. “Presently, I’m down to three. I also have three carburetor-fed 2002ti models, which I actually prefer to drive. They are that bit more responsive.” He rotates regularly through his treasures, taking each vehicle for a spin or a longer journey about three times a year. Favorites? “As far as modern cars go, the M2. From more recent times, the 3.0 CSL and the E30 M3. Out of the older stuff, I love the 02 series and Neue Klasse from the base 1600 to the up-market 2000tilux.”
Four experts manage this place: Michael, a retired German racing school instructor and M1-homologation specialist; the local mechanics Dave and Jason; and Rizzo the Prague ratter. The what? Just a few pounds of guard dog, which allegedly owes its name to the medieval keepers of Prague’s Hradschin Palace, kept rodent-free by a squadron of these big-eyed, shark-toothed rat catchers.
Rey buys some of his toys in bulk and others individually, sometimes merely to save a rarity from the shredder. Among the patients awaiting treatment are a rusty 2000C coupe, a half-finished Malaga Red 2002ti, and a U.S.-market-only L6 with front-end damage. Unlike most classic car buffs, Rey does not necessarily insist on originality. “I own several Alpinas that, strictly speaking, aren’t originals,” he says. “And I do like crazy one-offs like the wild, wide-body 345i powered by a 745i motor, the stealth 2000 saloon equipped with a later-day 2.2-liter M3 unit, or the rear-engined lightweight 700RS roadster of which only two have survived.”
In addition to nine Alpinas, he owns an interesting fleet of high-performance models. Among them: 15 ti and tii models, the aforementioned CSL, and a bunch of early M3, M5, and M6 models. Having started his collection in 1992, he is still chasing a number of cars, among them the ballsy 1800tisa (only 200 were made), an M1 project car, and a 2002 turbo that doesn’t need an awful lot of work. “Trouble is, to make a small fortune on classic cars requires a big fortune to start with,” he chortles. “So I’m constantly looking for relatively affordable sleepers like certain limited-edition models, rare color and trim combinations, and older stuff such as the 502 Baroque Angel or a 3200CS Bertone.”
Money being no object, what else would he buy? “Any two-door 502 would be nice to have, also a 503 coupe, and of course the out-of-reach 507,” he says. “I also fancy something older, like a 327 or 328, both in open- and closed-top form.” How about a Z8 or an i8? “Nice, for sure. But too modern, too difficult for us to work on.”
The post Meet SoCal’s Phantom BMW Collector appeared first on Automobile Magazine.
ROYAL OAK, Michigan — The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt will chirp the tires loudly enough to surprise a musclecar driver in the next lane, though it offers nothing as ludicrous as a Ludicrous Mode. It rolls slightly taking a tight cloverleaf onramp at-speed, takes a set and corners flat and neutrally, with a nice, sharp turn-in. And it will brake itself in 45-mph city traffic if you choose low gear, as road test editor Eric Weiner did while commuting between Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit with the car. This electric hot hatch is fun to drive — or at least as fun as it gets on Michigan roads.
“I genuinely enjoyed commuting in the Bolt,” Weiner says. “I always drove in Low mode for one-pedal driving most of the way, especially in stop-and-go traffic during rush hour on the freeway. Pleasantly light steering makes the Bolt easy to juke in and out of traffic gaps and the super-stiff chassis handled the broken roads with shocking poise. Probably helps that the battery is a structural element to the chassis. Harsh impacts are apparent, but they seem to get soaked up by the chassis.”
Chevy marketing likes to highlight the Bolt’s crossover/utility vehicle ride height and interior volume, but the battery pack’s low placement in the dedicated electric vehicle platform keeps the center of gravity low, which makes handling acumen almost a natural feature like the quick starts that are provided by an electric motor’s instant torque — especially in the Tesla Model S.
We already confirmed the new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle’s hot hatch status by naming it one of our 2017 All-Stars. We enjoyed the quiet BEV on the twisty sports car roads that carve through Nevada’s Mount Charleston and on the Speed Vegas circuit on the edges of Sin City.
The Bolt, with its EPA-estimated 238-mile range, and 128 city/110 highway MPG-e was launched more than half a year before Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3. While it has none of the visual sex appeal of the Model 3, which is to be priced an estimated $2,500 below the boxy Chevy, Weiner likes the Bolt’s big greenhouse, its large windshield, thin a-pillars, and low beltline.
“Some might knock the hard plastics in certain parts of the interior,” he adds, “but I think Chevy did a good job of combining lightweight, sturdy and easily cleaned surfaces that in many cases are made from recyclable materials.”
Despite all the glass, the car’s interior never heated up much for Weiner’s commute during an unseasonably cold early spring. For this critic’s short, five-mile commute however, the heated seats and heated steering wheel were enough.
The biggest revelation is how the Chevy relieves range anxiety on daily commutes, even in cold weather. We never saw more than 187 miles of range on the Bolt’s dash, but we felt liberated by such numbers. Although my home has an outdoor 120-volt outlet off the driveway, the Bolt’s portable charger cord must reach over a gate installed to keep the collies in the back yard, and so it was easier — and as effective — to leave the Chevy unplugged at night and charge up at the office using our Nissan-sourced 240-volt charger.
I also tried using a Nissan EVgo fast-charger located on Woodward Avenue in neighboring Ferndale (it’s next to the Dunkin Donuts just south of Nine Mile Road).The car was already juiced up to 158 miles of range, causing the fast-charging process to slow down. A half an hour at 43 amps and an $11.95 charge to my American Express pushed the Bolt up to 188 miles of range, with both the charger and the Bolt’s dashboard gauge indicating that the battery level was about 93 percent.
For Eric Weiner, who is a renter, these infrastructure-related challenges are the Bolt’s only downside.
“There aren’t really a ton of fast-charging options as of right now, so if you need a quick jump, you’re mostly out of luck. I used the PlugShare app to located available stations,” he says. “For most people using the Bolt EV for their daily commute, a home-installed Level 2 charger is definitely the answer.”
The Bolt’s dash gauges offer a low-end, a high-end, and a middle-estimated range. The aforementioned 188 miles was the upper level, with the low-end estimate being 131 miles and 160 miles being the middle. After leaving it unplugged on a Monday night, the Chevy Bolt woke up Tuesday morning with 74/91/107 miles left. It got me to a connected car conference in Dearborn and back to the office, where I plugged it in again at 72/89/106 miles range. Though a full charge takes nine hours at 240 volts, a charge of about six hours that afternoon got it to a healthy 129/165/194.
Weiner saw the lowest estimate range during the Bolt’s stay with us when he brought it back that Thursday to the office from Ann Arbor with no overnight charge. The dashboard indicated a low estimated range of 45 miles, mid of 55 and high of 64 — enough to get him back to to Ann Arbor if necessary.
Obviously, owning a Chevy Bolt can turn you into a numbers geek, if you aren’t one already. The good news is now you can be a car geek, a numbers geek, and an environment geek without giving up practicality and without spending more than $40,000, at least after applicable tax credits.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt Premier Specifications
||$41,780/$43,510 (base/as tested)
||Permanent magnetic drive/200 hp, 266 lb-ft
||4-door, 5-passenger, front-motor, FWD hatchback
||128/110 mpge (city/hwy)
|L x W x H
||164.0 x 69.5 x 62.8 in
The post One Week With: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt Premier appeared first on Automobile Magazine.
In the latest video to top our weekly viral video charts, Hyundai helps finish a 100-year old expedition.
This Plymouth ‘Cuda was loaded with just about every possible factory option back in 1971, and sold for a not-insignificant $5,291, but who could have predicted it would be listed 46 years later for a staggering $1,299,000? Only the most serious Mopar collectors can decide whether it’s really worth nearly $1.3 million, but that’s the sticker price RK Motors Charlotte has on this original-condition muscle car with just 2,010 miles on the odometer.
The car was originally purchased by Zach “Dr. Zacho” Reynolds, the heir to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco fortune. According to RK Motors Charlotte, Reynolds had an insatiable appetite for fast cars and motorcycles and virtually unlimited funds, which is what produced the Hemi ‘Cuda you see here. The car was ordered new from Ed Owens Chrysler-Plymouth in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Reynolds checked virtually every option box. Some of those options included a 426-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) Hemi V-8, A727 Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission, Dana 60 rear end with Sure Grip differential and 4.10 gears, dual exhaust, a vinyl top, rear spoiler, rear window louvers, quarter panel sport stripes, Hemi fenders, black vinyl interior with split front bench seat, power windows, and an AM/FM stereo with cassette player just to name a few. RK Motors Charlotte touts this car as the “highest optioned Hemi ‘Cuda known to exist.”
This also might be the best preserved example in existence, as the car is unrestored and completely original. It even has the original factory-fill fluids and 1970s air in the original Goodyear Polyglas GT tires. Part of Dr. Zacho and the R.J. Reynolds family legacy is also included with the car, as the ashtray still contains the tobacco tycoon’s Winston cigarette butts. Exactly why this car is in such exceptional condition and has so few miles on the clock is unknown, but consider that Reynolds was a millionaire and probably had many other rides to choose from. Reynolds died in a plane crash in 1979, so he also didn’t have too many years to enjoy the car.
Other than the low mileage, what makes RK Motors Charlotte think they can ask more than $1 million? The seller points out that most people who ordered a ‘Cuda with the Hemi didn’t choose many other options, either because they were going to race and wanted as little weight as possible or because the big engine upgrade, which increased the ‘Cuda’s price by nearly 30 percent at $884, was all they could afford. If true, that makes this fully loaded Hemi ‘Cuda very rare. If it makes you feel any better, the current price is actually marked down from previous years. RK Motors asked $2.5 million for the ‘Cuda in 2012, and lowered the price to just under $2 million in 2014. Think you might take it home for $1.3 mill? Head over to RK Motors Charlotte for more details on this pristine survivor.
Source: RK Motors Charlotte
The post Loaded, Well-Preserved 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda Asks $1.3 Million appeared first on Motor Trend.
After a slow start, Genesis is starting to get its feet under it thanks in part to the efforts of marketing wizard Manfred Fitzgerald, who has been leading the brand for the better part of a year, and chief designer Luc Donckerwolke. Genesis chose the bright lights of the 2017 New York auto show to present a concept version of its first SUV, the GV80, which is due out in 2019.
The first Genesis crossover will target the likes of BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE. As far as concept cars go, the GV80 is a convincing effort, so let’s hope it won’t lose too much of its appeal in the transfer to production. Although the first Genesis plug-in hybrids are allegedly around the corner (the GV80 is reportedly propelled by a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell powertrain), no full EVs are expected before 2021. Instead, insiders are predicting two more crossovers, one smaller and one larger than GV80, plus a family of new or revised sedans modeled after the 3/5/7 Series hierarchy.
The most intriguing effort, however, is bound to be the compact G70, which is due late this year and was engineered with a little help from Albert Biermann, father of the M3 and M4. Although all G derivatives are rear-wheel drive, they, like the corresponding SUVs, are based on three different architectures — so complexity still rules at Genesis as it navigates its relationship with its Hyundai corporate parent.
As far as Europe goes, it looks like the first Genesis cars won’t arrive until 2020, when a small-scale operation will focus on Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.
The post Future of Genesis Involves SUVs and Sedans, Hybrid Power appeared first on Automobile Magazine.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama (HMA) kicked off mass minivan production of the all-new lower, wider, and sleeker 2018 Honda Odyssey.
It’s just in time too, especially since the new Odyssey goes on sale this spring. Over 1,500 cheering and chanting plant employees were on hand to welcome the latest Honda minivan off the line.
“This is a celebration for our entire Honda team of associates who have been committed to bringing an all-new, high tech, family-friendly Odyssey to our customers,” said Jeff Tomko, president of HMA, in a statement.
“I congratulate all of our associates for their commitment to quality for this new vehicle, which ushers in a new level of features and functionality with the goal of creating new value for our customers.”
Aside from the Odyssey, the Honda Pilot, Ridgeline, and Acura MDX are all assembled at the Lincoln, Ala., plant. The V-6 engines under their hoods are also built there.
Honda’s 2018 minivan is available with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 280 hp — up 32 horses from the last model.
The V-6 is mated to an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission for more refined performance says Honda. It’s locally sourced and is produced at the nearby Honda Precision Parts in Tallapoosa, Georgia.
Other goodies in the next generation minivan include reconfigurable Magic Slide Seats, CabinWatch and CabinTalk monitors to keep tabs on second and third row passengers, and a Cabin Control App to access system functions from your smart phone.
The latest Odyssey is the fourth generation of the popular minivan to be built in Alabama. Honda has been building Odysseys at the Lincoln plant since 2001. Over 4 million vehicles and V-6 engines to date according to our sources at Honda.
Pricing hasn’t been announced on the 2018 Odyssey, but is expected to start above $29,850, which was the price of last year’s base model.
The post 2018 Honda Odyssey Production Begins appeared first on Motor Trend.
It’s great when automakers let the classic cars in their vast historical archives out for some exercise once in a while, but too often these treasures are only handled with kid gloves. Aston Martin apparently takes a different approach with its heritage cars, and to celebrate the opening of its new St. Athan production facility, the automaker turned its $80 million vehicular archives over to three cheeky professional drivers.
In the new video, World Endurance Championship drivers Darren Turner and Nicki Thiim team up with Aston Martin Chief Engineer Matt Becker to drive some of the best cars from the collection. They ham it up for the camera, pretending to sneak into the archives under the nose of a sleeping security guard before snatching the keys to a trio of Aston’s historical V-8 models.
No fancy track footage here – the trio executes some noisy donuts in the middle of an abandoned hangar. It’s rare to see these cars driven in such anger, considering the low production numbers of the Virage and Vantage V8s.
Next, a priceless 1960s racing prototype is brought out of retirement, joining a current Aston GT3 car and the wonderful Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 LMP1. After a short Bond-esque sequence with a DB5 and the low-volume DB10 from “Spectre,” the pint-sized Cygnet city car is stalked by a rowdy Vulcan and the voluptuous One-77.
After the trio enjoys some smoky drifts in the four-door Rapide, they make their way over to three covered cars in a separate hangar. The first two are revealed to be the forthcoming Valkyrie hypercar and the large DBX concept SUV. Before they can uncover the third car, they’re forced to flee the scene before CEO Andy Palmer catches them trespassing.
Watch Aston’s historical archive get put to use in the video below.
The post Aston Martin Flogs Its $80 Million Heritage Collection in New Video appeared first on Motor Trend.
Not satisfied with your new Mk. 7 VW Golf GTI? Drop ABT a line. The German tuner remains one of the premier stops for go-fast VeeDubs, and hop-up packs for the current GTI is ABT’s bread and butter.
If you’ve got a desired level of performance, chances are ABT can make it happen. According to the ABT website configurator, the 210 hp GTI can be pushed all the way up to the 310 hp limit, if you’re willing to brave extensive powertrain modifications. It’s got the soundtrack to match the new power as well, thanks to a new quad-tip exhaust system and new downpipe with sport catalytic converter.
Visually, ABT offers up a heap of tinsel and trim to separate the relatively demure hatch from the crowd. Nearly every corner of the GTI is massaged, incorporating new aerodynamic tidbits from ABT. Up front, a new front spoiler and front grille blend with new side skirts, rear skirt, trunk lid attachment, and mirror caps. New 18- to 20-inch wheels are available as well.
The ABT GTI rides on more aggressive springs than the regular car, dropping 0.8-inches on the front and 1.0-inch on the rear. If you want to go lower, An adjustable kit is available, ranging from a 0.4 inch to 1.6 inch drop in the front. Around back, the kit cuts 0.8 inches to 1.8 inches, depending on setting.
Finally, to keep things from getting too out of hand, ABT says it upgrades the front brakes to keep things on the straight and narrow when it’s time to rein in the extra firepower.
Get in touch with ABT for pricing information.
The post ABT Offers Powertrain and Visual Upgrades for the 2017 Volkswagen GTI appeared first on Automobile Magazine.
Google, Apple, and Uber are just some of the prominent tech companies that are working with driverless cars right now. And it looks like Amazon.com is also embracing the trend, albeit in a completely different way.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has formed a team that is examining the potential uses for autonomous cars in its business operations. The team was created more than a year ago and has consisted of about a dozen employees, the report says, citing unnamed sources briefed on the matter. Instead of creating its own autonomous vehicles, the team is simply thinking of ways these cars can be of use to Amazon in the future.
It’s likely that Amazon sees the vehicles as a solution for delivering packages more efficiently, especially given the company’s recent push to deliver more of its own goods itself. According to the report, Amazon could use autonomous trucks, forklifts, and even drones to help bring goods to people more quickly and on shorter notice. It’s not such a new idea: Ford recently laid out a radical vision for a drone-launching van that can deliver packages to consumers in high-rise buildings. Meanwhile, companies including Volvo and Otto have already conducted tests on autonomous big rigs.
The program is apparently still in the early stages, and unsurprisingly, Amazon remains tight-lipped on the matter. But it makes sense that a variety of companies would start thinking of ways to leverage such new technologies, although it could be a long time before we see this plan come to fruition.
Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)
The post Amazon May Deliver Goods With Self-Driving Vehicles in the Future appeared first on Motor Trend.
New York's attorney general has reached legal settlements with 104 dealerships it identified as having sold vehicles without disclosing open safety recalls.
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