AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Honda shocked the lawn-care community with its “Mean Mower,” a ride-on tractor powered by a motorcycle engine. It’s capable of blitzing from zero to 60 miles an hour in just 4 seconds! This grass-annihilating machine is leaving Great Britain and crossing the Atlantic to make a special appearance at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
With the world’s largest aftermarket parts expo, the SEMA Show, kicking off tomorrow, it’s going to be easy to catch the modification addiction. But don’t just slap a bunch of stickers and neons to your car and call it a day. Why not give your ride an extra boost of adrenaline? Consider these performance modifications and browse to eBay Motors to see what’s available for your car.
A Russian car dealer is redefining the word ridiculous by offering a gold-plated Porsche 911. Rather than going the slightly more popular route of gold chrome wrapping, this example features 44 lbs of gold plating instead, with etchings on the metal designed by respected Russian artist, Denis Simachev.
The first aftermarket tuner BRZ has been rendered by Sydney, Australia-based performance company Tunehouse, known for its work on Holdens, Fords, and a variety of German and Japanese imports.
Teaming up with Cosworth, Tunehouse is looking to replace Subaru’s 200-hp boxer engine with a more robust Cosworth 2.6-liter crate motor, equipped with an HKS turbocharger, intercooler, billet crank and flywheel, and finally an EcuTek engine control unit. Tunehouse expects all this work to amount to an output of at least 330-hp . Other pieces of hardware reserved for the BRZ include KW Variant coil-overs, Whiteline stabilizer bars, uprated bushings, and a limited-slip differential. The BRZ will also receive 18-inch Advan wheels wearing Federal RSR tires (245/35R18 front, and 285/30R18 rear).
While the modifications planned for this particular BRZ are quite extensive, Tunehouse’s project is just the beginning of what’s in store for the future, as more and more tuners begin to get their hands on a Subaru and reveal daring projects of their own.
Discuss this story at SubaruBRZForum.com
Custom builders have been able to create some unique and exciting cars from Toyota’s dull model lineup in the past, so it only stands to reason that amazing things are happening as tuners tinker with the new Scion FR-S.
We’ve already seen an in-house performance build from TRD as well as a specially prepared 600-hp FR-S drift car, but tuner Cartel Customs, a California-based company, created the FR-S Speedster you see above.
Starting the FR-S transformation first by lopping off the top, Cartel left a lower windshield in place, installed sloped side windows and a double-bubble deck lid for classic speedster looks. Cartel repainted the car without a body kit to keep the FR-S from having body lines that were overly fussy.
Inside, they treated the car with a redesigned, vintage sports car inspired custom interior, featuring center stack gauge clusters, a bare-bones racer steering wheel and loads of stitched leather everywhere you can imagine — oh and the sound system is gone too.
In addition to a dramatic internal surgery, Cartel also made a few mechanical changes starting with an upgraded clutch, exhaust, and suspension. New brakes, wheels and a carbon fiber rear wing also went into the package.
Look for the Cartel Speedster FR-S make its official debut at the 2012 Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix.
GALLERY: Cartel Speedster FR-S
North American tuner companies were invited to Toyota Headquarters in Torrance, California to measure the new Scion FR-S and take a closer look at the car to begin the process of drafting future tuning parts. Many tuners were present at the event and the response to Scion’s new sports car has been overwhelmingly positive across the board.
Present at the session include the tuning industry’s heavy-hitters AEM, DC Sports, Whiteline, and ACT. Wheel companies Velox and König and audio specialists Scosche were present as well. According to Motor Trend, whom were present at the measuring session, many more companies were still scheduled to take measurements after they departed.
A number of Scion FR-S models were provided by Toyota for the tuner’s disposal. Audio specialists dismantled the interiors to measure clearance for stereo systems. Taking it even farther, performance intake systems tuner Airaid went ahead and digitally mapped the engine bay with a 3D scanner. According to Airaid engineer Clayton Rietz, the intake system in the FR-S is similar to the set-up in the Toyota Tacoma, which Airaid has already made an intake system for. Assuming that an FR-S intake will be a straightforward tweak from the Tacoma, performance parts for the FR-S may make it to the market quickly after the cars official on sale date.
What’s more, a close look during the session revealed just how much of the hardware belongs to Toyota’s project partner, Subaru. Suspension, exhaust and brake components are all stamped with the Subaru emblem. Performance suspension specialists Whiteline noted that many parts appear shared with existing Subaru cars, making an aftermarket suspension system only a test fit away.
In terms of wheel fitment, the Hellaflush community will be delighted to know that the inner lips of the front fenders are already smoothened and fender rolling will not be a necessary task when performing an ultra-flush wheel fitment. Both front and rear brake calipers are very compact, effectively eliminating clearance issues. Several wheel experts also suggested the possibility of fitting 10-inch wide wheels in the rear without the need for modification.
With a car so tuner friendly, the new FR-S is not only well positioned to become an instant hit, but should bring forth a resurgence to aftermarket tuning as well.
Discuss the Scion FR-S at www.fr-sforum.com
GALLERY: Scion FR-S Measuring Session
[Source: Motor Trend]
The Dodge Dart is being billed as Chrysler-Fiat‘s foray into the increased efficiency market that is growing quickly in the U.S. Now, Dodge customers who are already planning on buying one when they become available in 2013 have a little more to look forward to.
Mopar is offering a list of accessories and a few performance parts to spiff up the little sedan, though nothing in the go-faster department. So far, we’re aware of the following: a brake upgrade including new calipers, rotors and pads and an 18-inch wheel upgrade are the only available mechanical improvements.
Beyond that, you can opt for a hood scoop, carbon fiber grille insert, a matte black chin spoiler, oodles of chrome pieces, rocker panel extensions and much much more. In fact, there are 150 total accessories. That should be enough to make sure that your Dart will be different than any other on the road, if you want to spend the money to make it that way.
Aside from that, Dart owners can take advantage of options like a smart phone app to do everything from remote start to checking tire pressure. Remote 3G wifi will also make it a potential mobile hotspot and wireless charging for cell phones and mp3 players adds some tech flair. All of these goodies will be available from the get go when the car launches.
If it wasn’t abundantly clear before, it is now: the Dart is aimed squarely at a young, plugged in and constantly connected crowd of consumers.
GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart
See AutoGuide’s First Look Video of the new Dodge Dart below:
Discuss this story at Dartforums.com
Honda has announced its lineup of vehicles for the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon, the automotive aftermarket expo of Japan. The Honda exhibit will feature a variety of models including automobiles, motorcycles, power products, racing vehicles and other highlights in order to convey the joy of mobility and motorsport excitement.
Honda Access Corp., manufacturer of genuine Honda aftermarket parts, will exhibit an all-new N BOX Custom minicar, which just went on sale in December 2011. Called the FLASH BOX, the custom Honda features a special body color, reflective decal sheets and LEDs used as a decorative element in both exterior and interior designs. Honda Access will also display a custom build based on the Freed Hybrid compact minivan. Known as the Freed Wa, the car aims to evoke traditional Japanese culture through inspirations from the ancient Japanese art of lacquering, and flowers that are featured on the car that represent the four seasons. The last car from Honda Access is the Honda BEAT Auto Salon Special, featuring genuine BEAT Accessories and special aero pieces. Finally, the last custom Honda car at the exhibit is the Freed Spike Transportation Version, loaded with off-road motorcycles.
As for Honda’s motorcycle exhibit, the NC700S, NC700X, and Integra midsize motorcycle that debuted at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show will make an extra appearance at the Tokyo Salon as well. The CB 1100 VT1300CX will be featuring new genuine aftermarket parts and accessories to grab the attention of motorcycle tuners.
A fantastic racing season for Honda, the RC212V motorcycle that brought home the riders’, team and constructors’ championship for 2011. Honda’s GT500 class Supger GT HSV-010 GT race car and a racing CRZ will also be on display.
GALLERY: Honda at Tokyo Auto Salon 2012
From the Toyota GT86 to the Tacoma, TRD has been hard at work developing performance accessories for Toyota’s line-up. In its latest project, TRD introduces a number of tuning upgrades for the new Toyota Aqua, known as the Toyota Prius c in markets outside Japan.
Available performance mods include a sport exhaust system with chrome tailpipes, larger alloy wheels as well as a suspension package that lowers the Prius c’s ride height. For aesthetics, TRD is offering a new front apron with additional air vents and optional LED lights daytime lights, matching side skirts, roof spoiler, and a rear diffuser in a matte black finish. For an added touch, TRD also offers a unique push-start button.
TRD promises to release more accessories and modifications in the near future.
Keep an eye out for the North American debut of the Prius c at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
GALLERY: TRD Toyota Aqua/Prius C
Yakima debuted their new WHISPBAR roof rack system at the 2011 SEMA Show last week, and AutoGuide got an exclusive look at their new portable wind tunnel, which Yakima brought along to SEMA to showcase the reduction in wind noise that their new WHISPBAR can bring.
AutoGuide got a demo of the wind tunnel itself and we had the chance to take some video as well. Check it out after the jump.
Another day, another Toyota FT-86 leak. A concept development that has received more facelifts and nose jobs than most production cars get in a whole life cycle, today we reveal one more.
FT86Club.com has leaked a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) brochure showing pictures of an accessorized FT-86 with a unique aero package as well as a list of parts from TRD that will be available as upgrades.
Notable add-ons include TRD aero kit, “high response” quad exhaust, a selection of 18 inch wheels, 6-piston front and 4-piston rear Brembo brakes, full length adjustable suspension, and strut tower brace.
Let’s hope this Toyota has power adders in its future as well!
GALLERY: Toyota FT-86 TRD
Discuss this story at FR-SForum.com
BMW used this past weekend’s Indianapolis MotoGP to unveil its new F10 M5 safety car. The BMW was fitted with an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system that sounds amazing. Other goodies that set this safety vehicle aside from all other standard M5′s include high performance coilovers, new front and rear spoilers, Recaro bucket seats and 20-inch rims.
The M5 has been entirely redesigned but the biggest change is the switch from a high-revving V10 to a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The new engine will crank out 552 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The car is capable of achieving a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, not bad for a car weighs around 4,000 lbs. Pricing has not been announced but the M5 will probably sell for around $85,000.
Check out the video after the jump!
Where would the Ford Mustang be without its legions of aftermarket supporters? There’d be no Shelby, for starters. And there would be a shortage of Fox-bodies doing burnouts with straight pipes in the K-Mart parking lot.
But Ford’s latest technical service bulletin aims to put a damper on all this modifying—at least for warranty purposes. It’s not for any potential mechanical issues; rather, tweaking the 5.0-liter engine could “cause damage to the powertrain and/or void the factory powertrain warranty…attempting to increase the engine output via recalibrating the PCM may result in poor drivability, DTCs, or component failures.”
These aftermarket modifications could alter the fuel and spark settings, damage the pistons, and throw off the knock sensor, which Ford technicians have been told to watch out for. They will also see if there have been any aftermarket parts installed, such as exhausts, superchargers, nitrous systems, and intakes, though fuzzy dice and 8-ball shift knobs are still fair game—for now.
“Customization is a big part of the Mustang ownership experience,” said a Ford spokesman. This is designed to alert people to the possible damage and warranty ‘voiding’ one can incur if they modify their vehicles beyond factory specifications.”
Though Mustang enthusiasts shouldn’t be too despondent over the potential loss of their warranty/nuking of their engines: after all, they said the same thing about another cult-status sports car, a vehicle whose popularity and success couldn’t have happened without its endlessly modded counterparts. That car was the Nissan GT-R. And while true-blue Mustang enthusiasts might not get along with GT-R drivers, they can both take heart in knowing that both cars have both survived against such warnings and corporate hand-wringing. You’ll take our cold-air intakes from our cold, dead hands!
[Source: Mustangs Daily]
A Jurassic Park Jeep Sahara Edition Wrangler replica was up for grabs earlier on eBay and it looks pretty sweet. The graphics are painted on, instead of vinyl use, giving it better longevity. There’s even a pretty cool light bar that is still functional with each of the four lights being controlled by individual joysticks mounted to the dashboard.
The Jeep feautes a 4.0-liter I6 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. BF Goodrich All-terrain tires as well as a CB radio antenna and rear orange fog lamps were mounted on top of the taillights. A very rare air conditioning option as well as an impressive list of parts also came included. The 1995 Jeep has 118,000 miles on it but the level of workmanship and maintenance performed on it make it worthwhilel.
How much did this piece of movie history cost? Only $9,000, which makes it a good choice of vehicle for those being chased around by hungry dinosaurs.
BBS wheels are arguably one of the most famous brands in the automotive industry. Appearing on everything from Volkswagens to Formula 1 race cars, the high-quality German made rims have been a staple of both the “show” and “go” sides of the industry for decades. But reports out of Germany state that BBS filed for bankruptcy on December 30th.
This isn’t the first time that BBS has undergone financial turmoil. In 2007, the company also filed for bankruptcy, and managed to pull through. This time, it appears that the company’s precarious situation got the better of it, although partner company IG Metall was apparently planning a large investment in BBS just before the filing.
Bed extenders on a pickup can often be a blessing or a curse. If you’ve got large bulky objects that need to be held in place, like a bunch of 2x4s, or small trees they can be great, but at the same time, if you’re loading items like flat pack furniture or breeze blocks they just get in the way, eating into valuable cargo space.
Detroit based designer Mike Jou, was tired of the major compromises brought by traditional bed extenders, so he elected to design his own for the Ford F-150. Jou’s version, dubbed the Plastech Bed Extender, features four individual folding sections, allowing multiple configurations to suit different types of cargo (most tubular extenders have just one or two), plus it can be stowed compactly inside the box when not in use. It also incorporates LED lighting to facilitate loading items at night, plus power outlets and also a first aid kit.
Despite offering more flexibility than rigid extenders, Jou’s design also uses fewer parts, requiring just 22 total components and 20 fasteners, most existing designs use around double the number of parts and yet the bars on these are fixed!
Jou has tested a working prototype on a late-model F-150 with a hard tonneau cover and from our analysis the results speak for themselves. Given that Ford already touts the versatility of the cargo box features on its current F-150, it would seem a no brainer to add a version of Jou’s extender as a dealer option.
The Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T (the R-Spec model in particular) was built to appeal to buyers who like to modify their vehicles. One of the top tuners in the United States, AMS Performance, has begun developing performance parts for the Genesis Coupe 2.0T – a car that until now has been mostly ignored by the tuning industry. Among the first products they’ve released for the 2.0T is a front mount intercooler kit, a direct bolt-on solution that increases internal airflow by 60%.
Combined with AMS’s soon to be released turbo kit and the requisite fuel system upgrades, Genesis Coupe 2.0T owners can look forward to a serious increase in horsepower, one that should allow them to give Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and Subaru Impreza WRX STI owners a run for their money.
We’re excited to see a reputable tuner getting started on a Genesis Coupe project car, as this Hyundai has a lot of potential and in 2.0T form bringing back rear-drive performance at a lower price point.
We’ll be sure to report back when AMS is “done” with the 2.0T build-up and we encourage you to follow the full development process by AMS, detailed on their blog.
See after the jump for a few extra pics of the new(and upcoming) parts:
The sub-$20,000.00 2010 Kia Forte Koup has made quite the splash amongst the younger demographics with its attractive price tag and 2.4L 173-hp engine. Its attractive, stylish yet aggressive lines clearly make a statement that Kia has stepped up to the plate to play ball, capturing a market that used to be almost exclusive to Honda, Acura and Scion. But much like their Japanese counterparts, Kia has looked towards marketing with customization and personalization, especially with the hip Forte Koup. The result? The Kia Forte Koup SX-R with a fine collection of accessories that have Forte Koup SX owners going wild for. The major disappointment for those in the US? It’s currently only available in Canada.
The buzz was started with the official debut at the Toronto Auto Show and a little less than a month later the orders are coming in. The Forte Koup SX-R will be made available to Canadian Kia dealers by mid-May with pre-orders starting now. The aesthetics of the Forte Koup has been further complemented with a front chin spoilers, new side skirts, and a rear lip spoiler. Minor details on the outside come in the form of chrome “R” badges while the interior receives “R” branded door sills. Engine performance has been enhanced thanks to an AEM Performance drop-in air filter and performance axle-back exhaust system. The car rides lower and stiffer thanks to a set of Eibach Pro lowering springs (1.3-inch drop) and a front upper strut brace. No custom car is complete without a fine set of wheels and tires and Kia delivers in a big way with a set of 18-inch Europa wheels wrapped with, surprisingly, Yokohama S-Drive performance tires. The Kia Forte Koup SX-R is available in three attractive colors: Titanium Silver, Racing Red and Black.
Now all these accessories will be available for order through Canadian Kia dealerships only for those already cruising around in Forte Koup SX. American enthusiasts will probably have to open up their wallet a little bit for freight across the border, but we anticipate many of them to be willing to do so. If you’re interested, contact any Canadian Kia dealership and reference accessory bulletin AY10 007. It’s exciting times for Kia owners and we can’t wait to see what’s next from the Korean manufacturer.
Gallery: Kia Forte Koup SX-R
While most of the popular aftermarket manufacturers in Japan are welcoming the hybrid craze with open arms, Spoon Sports has been quiet as of late. This can mostly be attributed to the fact that Spoon focuses and specializes with the Honda platform, and quite honestly, Honda hasn’t had an attractive enough hybrid platform in the recent years. But this is all about to change, with the CR-Z gaining a lot of momentum as the new “hot-hatch” appealing to passionate Honda aficionados worldwide. Needless to say it’s a perfect fit for Spoon Sports and their tuning prowess.
We’ve seen the entry from Mugen and in typical Spoon Sports fashion, they’ve thrown down the gauntlet as well. Going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mugen and Spoon Sports were the most respective pair of brands for JDM Honda fanatics stateside. In fact it’s easy to argue that Mugen and Spoon Sports delivered a rivalry on its own with their prestigious and rare parts, many of them carrying a hefty price tag once they were on American soil. There’s no mistaken that this CR-Z has been Spoon-inspired.
There’s none of the traditional yellow and pastel blue to be seen, yet, but the CR93 wheels have been refinished in a stylish dark blue in true Spoon fashion. As with almost all of Spoon Sports’ projects, the focus is on excellent tuning and track-ability. They paid close attention with suspension and brake upgrades lowering the vehicle with coilovers in the front and a traditional shock/spring combination in the rear. 15-inch slotted rotors along with upgraded calipers are probably overkill for the hatch, but we believe Spoon has much more in terms of performance up their sleeve.
Specializing in naturally aspirated performance over the years, Spoon is currently tuning their staple N1 exhaust system along with ECU upgrades for the CR-Z. No concrete numbers have been released yet, which is understandable given how new the technology is. We have faith though and it will be an exciting time to see two of Honda’s most notorious brands battling it out on the track again, this time with CR-Z hatchbacks hopefully flying the colors we’ve grown and love over the past decade.
GALLERY: Spoon Sports CR-Z
[Source: Spoon Sports]
The widebody kit is the obvious addition to the X5 xDrive48i’s otherwise conservative shell. The new front bumper, side skirts, fender flares and rear bumper make quite an impact. All body parts are manufactured from OEM quality PUR-R-Rim (aka polyurethane) and are designed to not only increase airflow to the brakes and engine, but also reduce lift on the front axle – which is important as G-Power rates the Typhoon at a top speed of 171 mph.
Inside those massive fenders, which increase the width of the X5 by 2.8-inches, are some impressively sized 23-inch wheels. Up front the wheels measure 11-inches in width and outback 12-inches. Both front and rear receive 315/25/23 tires.
As for the all-important engine modifications, G-Power worked with sister company ASA Engineering to develop a supercharger for the 4.8-liter V8. The ASA T1-521 hd blower bumps output by 170hp for a total of 525hp at 6100 rpm. Torque gets an equally serious boost to 443 ft-lbs at 5300 rpm.
Because of all the extra air the new supercharger introduces into the V8 engine at 8.7 lbs of boost, G-Power also upgraded the fuel system with high flow injectors and reprogrammed the ECU to make it all work smoothly.
G-Power claims a 0-62 mph time of 5.0 seconds with 124 mph coming in just 18.4 seconds.
For additional information visit:
GALLERY: G-Power Typhoon
More on the G-Power Typhoon after the jump: