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.
With whacky choices like the Holden Commodore Maloo available, it might take more than a powerful V8 to catch an Australian customer’s attention.
You know there’s trouble in paradise when the newly-appointed Australian CEO of Mistubishi calls his company’s products overpriced and wonders why anyone buys them.
When it comes to hero cars, Batman and his bat mobiles or James Bond and his Aston Martins don’t have anything on Mad Max and the devilish rides he and the lawless motor tribes drive.
Thanks to leaked images from the set of the latest Mad Max: Fury Road, we get a sneak peek to see what sort of machines will be featured in the film.
A reported 130 cars and motorcycles will be used to perform almost 200 stunts. The leaked picture shows an oversized truck trailer bed carrying a double-bodied ’59 Cadillac coupe, each featuring two supercharged V8s connected by a planetary gear. Known as the “Gigahorse”, the pair of monster Cadillacs with monster engines are mounted on top of a monster-truck chassis. Finally, to top it all off, the Gigahorse also sports a four-bladed cow catcher.
In the past, the 80′s classics were filmed in the Australian outback over stretches of desert roads. However, Director George Miller believed that the area is “too green” and doesn’t offer the same dystopian landscape as it did years ago. Instead, shots of road wars will be set in the deserts of Namibia.
Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson for the role as the new “Mad” Max Rockatansky. The heroine role has been appointed to Charleze Theron, as Furosia. According to Miller, Fury Road will be filmed back-to-back with the sequel, Furiosa. In total, Miller confirmed that three scripts have already been written for Mad Max’s return. Get ready for a trilogy if the first film is well received.
Mercedes-Benz drag cars are pretty rare. But how about a Mercedes-Benz minivan drag car?
Down in Australia, one enthusiast was determined to go big, go bold and be different, and to do so he got his hands on a Vito van and turn it into a complete drag car.
From there, it was gutted and changed into a full tube chassis race car packing plenty of carbon fiber body components and a 632-cubic inch big block Chevy powerplant. Combine that with a full drag setup suspension and wheelie bars, and you know this thing means business.
While most everyone would probably be pointing and laughing at this absurdity making its way to the Christmas tree, the ensuing massive burnout hints that this naturally aspirated (for now) Vito has more than meets the eye.
It’s already done some impressive 9-second passes and it could be entering the 8-second territory once the nitrous gets hooked up.
Check out a video of the Vito tearing up the drag strip below:
Bill Kwong, Lexus Communications Specialist, said the LX 570 and Toyota Land Cruiser will feature an updated body style, but that the interior and drivetrain would remain almost completely the same.
The truth is, the LX models don’t sell very well in the U.S., meaning changes are more in tune with what European and Australian consumers, who show Lexus more love, and like the LX’s Land Cruiser-based underpinnings. For example, Yankees bought close to seven Cadillac Escalades for every LX 570 in 2010.
If the decision becomes final, it means a big change considering the company has designed, engineered and built the Commodore on Australian shores for 64 years.
In an interview with OptusZoo News, the chief engineers behind the Commodore confirmed that 2014 may be the last year the line is made in Australia. The decision likely came from owner General Motors in an effort to increase cost efficiency.
Australian Senator Kim Carr couldn’t confirm to Left Lane News what will happen to the jobs that will dissolve as a result of the change, but said the Australian government is discussing possible investment by GM in the country.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The kid confused the gas pedal for the brake in his Toyota Hilux pickup truck and careened into his mother, who was sitting in front of the motor vehicle registry. The mother was pinned against the wall and thankfully survived after being rushed to the hospital, albeit with severe leg injuries.
It’s not known whether the driving examiner was also injured, but he won’t be passing the 17-year old.
Ford’s Australian high performance FPV division Black Concept sedan has been given the green light for production after their a concept version was unveiled last month at the 2011 Australian Auto Show.
Following the excitement and positive feedback received at the show, the company decided to produce the car. The concept is based on FPV’s existing Falcon-based muscle sedan. The production carwill be sporting a unique version of the Mustang Boss’ 5.0-liter V8, mated to an Eaton supercharger, producing 449-hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.
The FPV GT Black Concept sported a black paint finish, 19-inch black alloy wheels, black tailpipes and a track-tuned suspension. Stopping the GT will be easy because it comes equipped with six-piston front and four-piston rear brake setup. On the inside, there’s a display screen with a reverse camera and, you guessed it, black leather. Unfortunately only 125 of these stealth bombers will be made, so Aussie buyers will have to act quickly. It has not been confirmed as to whether all of these performance accessories will make it to the production vehicle, but FPV has said that some pieces will appear on the production vehicle.
Gallery: Ford FPV Black Concept
[Source: Motor Authority]
And not the steakhouse either, where suburban G-Wagens are usually sighted. No, Mercedes-Benz is launching a rescue mission deep into the heart of Australia’s outback, where six of its off-roaders have been stranded.
Five standard G-Class models and one “military-spec” example are stuck somewhere along the Canning Stock Route, where they blew their shock absorbers while crossing some rough terrain. Fourteen people have been stranded and are now waiting for Mercedes-Benz to fly in replacement parts to a remote airfield near their base camp.
Luckily for the team, they have ample provisions and are in little immediate danger (as long as they watch over their babies for dingoes). But the 14-day crossing of the Outback still has 800 kilometers to go, across the aptly-named Great Sandy Desert.
“When we undertook this journey we were well aware of the punishment that the vehicles would endure,” said Horst von Sanden, a managing director of Mercedes-Benz Australia. “We put in place a group of very experienced Outback operators who have the expertise and logistical knowledge to cover off any eventuality. “I have complete faith in the team out on the Canning and the thorough logistics and preparation the team have put in place.”
The military G-Class is the only vehicle to not break, rather unsurprisingly: it is similar to ones used by the Australian Defence Force, and in civilian markets is known as the GProfessional. It will meet the rescue flight at the airport and deliver parts to the stranded team.
This is Benz’s attempt to complete the first crossing of the Outback by car, 1,900 kilometers total across the desert: if there ever was a car to have faith in for completing dangerous off-road expeditions, it is the mighty G-Class. Now that the even mightier Outback has claimed another victim, though, we’re not so sure.
[Source: The Land]
A man in Sydney, Australia nearly got away with a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer—if he hadn’t left his driver’s license behind. D’oh!
Snidely Whiplash here had his license photocopied by the sales manager prior to driving the 2007 Lancer with a salesman. On the road, the salesman pulled over to allow the man to take the wheel, and when the man got in, he locked the doors so the salesman couldn’t get back in the car, and took off. The finest detective minds were called to track down the infamous criminal mastermind: they drove to the address listed on his license, where the stolen car was parked right in the driveway.
Police arrested the man with assault, intent to take and drive a vehicle, and criminal hilarity.
[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]
Police have impounded five high performance Nissan Skyline’s after a YouTube video was shot of six cars racing through Adelaide’s Heysen Tunnel in Southern Australia. The sixth car involved was a light-coloured Skyline, and is still at large, but police are confident they will find the driver.
The five men arrested, aged 21 to 34 face a range of driving offences in releation to the race in May after the cars reached speed of 89 mph in a 55 mph zone. Police used the YouTube video along with closed circuit cameras from the area to identify the cars. Linda Fellows, officer in charge of traffic support, said the cars will be impounded for 28 days.
“Police will take every opportunity to investigate dangerous driving behaviour and take people off the roads if they can’t obey the rules and drive responsibly,” Superintendent Fellows explained. ”We have a rising road toll and it’s actions like this that can result in further carnage and road trauma. Police will not tolerate the public being put at risk by the reckless and irresponsible actions of a few.”
[Source: Herald Sun]
Over the last decade, this Aussie racing series has expanded beyond its island home, having staged races in China, New Zealand and the Middle-East. Now it is looking at the United States to stage a race, and it will probably be at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This circuit is being built especially to host Formula-One races in the coming years, and since the Australian V8 Supercars are an FIA sanctioned race series, it makes sense to race at this new circuit.
V8 Supercars boss Tony Cochrane has said that the series is looking to expand to six new overseas venues, while retaining all the currents stops in Australia. This could include some European and Asian destinations, plus the ever attractive American market.
You’ll have to wait some time before watching these V8 Supercars race in the flesh. The FIA has approved new races for this series for 2013. By then the new circuit in Austin should be complete. We can’t wait to see Holden (GM) and Ford racing head-to-head on our shores.
[Source: The Age]
Mazda is very excited to show off its Freestyle Cab version of its BT-50 pickup at the upcoming Australian International Motor Show that will be held in Melbourne on July 1st-10th. The BT-50 receives Mazda’s now infamous Freestyle door configuration that was first revealed on the RX-8. By utilizing the unique door configuration, the BT-50 Freestyle gives a way to comfortably seat four while retaining a large carrying capacity.
Improvements have also been made from the current BT-50 offering by utilizing the Freestyle door configuration. In the rear, seat cushions have been lengthened by just over twp inches, giving way to better thigh support and better fitment for child seats. The seatback height has also been increased by slightly over five inches.
Most importantly, the BT-50 Freestyle benefits from a larger carrying capacity. Mazda has been able to increase the overall cargo volume by 51.3-cubic feet, a 9.4-cubic feet increase from the currently existing model.
Unfortunately for the North American market, Mazda still has no plans of bringing the BT-50 Freestyle to North America.
GALLERY: Mazda BT-50 Freestyle
The famous Australian V8 Supercars series may be making the Trans-Pacific voyage to North America. Many world-renowned racing drivers like Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Jacques Villenueve and Sebatian Bourdais have moved to compete in the V8 racing. Furthermore, the international coverage of the series has grown immensely, prompting many international companies to invest in the series.
Organizers of the series have previously rejected the notion of coming to North America however, with all these factors aligned, the series would benefit from a new market. General Motors is also interested in the idea, which would hopefully begin as early as the 2013 season. In the meantime, organizers could hold a race as part of a stand-alone three-day weekend event like the Formula1 or Indy which have both had tremendous success in North America.
Forget the Hummer, the Chevrolet Suburban or the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. The Toyota Land Cruiser is bar none the off-roader. Whether it’s serving UN peacekeepers in far-flung conflict zones, traversing the Australian Outback or ferrying American kids to grade school, the Land Cruiser has done it all, and we salute its six decades of outstanding service.
While the newest 200 Series LC is a big, plush luxo-truck, and the FJ40 quickly becoming a pricey collectors icon, lucky residents of certain markets, like Australia can still purchase brand-new versions of older Land Cruisers, specifically the Land Cruiser 70 Series, which comes in a Cab Chassis (think pickup truck), Wagon and the bad-ass “Troop Carrier” version, fitted with a gnarly 4.5L V8 diesel engine and a proper manual gearbox. Of course, such a vehicle costs about $76,000, so only rich eccentrics or well funded anti-government militias need apply.
Hit the jump to read the official press release