Thursday, January 26, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around the Auto Blog Block for Friday, January 27, 2006


It's been All Ford, All the Time in many parts of the automotive blogosphere this week, but there were other unmitigated outrages, rolling ridiculosities and pompous perplexities as well, so how 'bout let's get this show on the road:

At Auto Extremist, Peter DeLorenzo attended Ford's "Way Forward" news conference and found himself thinking that "it's a flat-out miracle this iconic American company has managed to survive this long." As always, Peter has much more to say on the topic and he isn't, how you say, "deeplomatique."

Auto Spectator was present at the Washington Auto Show unveiling of Ford's Escape Hybrid E85, which is the world's first hybrid capable of operating on different kinds of fuel. "If just five percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet were powered by hybrids operating on E85 ethanol, oil imports could be reduced by about 140 million barrels a year," Ford claimed, according to Auto Spectator.

GM's continuing losses moved Carpundit to post links to its previous posts on the topic.

There is a familiar maxim in recovery circles that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. That might well have been in the mind of Cars! Cars! Cars! with this post on Detroit's problems and CNN's recent report on same.

Would you be interested in a Jeep Grand Cherokee V-6 with 262 horsepower? If your answer is yes, you need to go directly to Carscoop here and read all about just such an animal. Never enough horsepower, whether you're puddle-jumpin' or apex-strafin', right!

Guess whose going to be both team owner and driver of one of the initial three Toyota Camry Nextel Cup teams? Mikey Waltrip, that's who! Fast Machines has the rest of the story here.

You lay in bed at night wondering what would happen if a Eurospec M6 encountered a couple of superbikes while running with speedo and tach buried to the right on a Portugese four-lane, right? No? Well, even so FosFor Wheels has the video. Sounds to me like the M6 has a bit more road noise at 155 mph than I would have expected.

Lincoln Zephyr gets a much-needed power boost with addition of the 3.5 liter Duratec V-6, the same powerplant we will be seeing in the forthcoming Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. Gear6 has more here.

Paul Newman turned 81 Thursday. Has any other 80-year-old ever competed at Daytona or LeMans? Or won an Oscar? Grant's Auto Rants provides a detailed explaination for why both of those questions are on point with the ageless salad dressing entrepreneur. My personal favorite Newman moment was in 1987 at Summit Point Raceway when he chewed Tom Cruise from one end of their race trailer to the other. Why? Cauz Cruise couldn't keep his friggin' race car (a Sports 2000 as I recall) out of the weeds for more than a couple of laps at a time. Believe me, there was no failure to communicate in that cozy little chat.

Now this is what I call a vivid metaphor: "Calling that logic is like calling putting your brain in a Cuisinart 'thinking out of the box.'" Go here to discover what inspired this literary masterpiece from Jalopnik.

If these graphs by Jonathan Fry don't make your mouth water, check your pulse:

"The new high-performance BMW Z4 M Coupé generates 343hp and 365Nm of torque from its 3.2-litre straight-six cylinder engine. Maximum power is generated at 7,900rpm while 80 per cent of the maximum torque is available from 2,000 rpm.

"The renowned power and flexibility of the 'M' engine contributes to a zero to 62mph time of 5.0 seconds and propels the car to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Power is transferred to the road via a six-speed short-shift manual transmission."

Jonathan has much, much more detail about the hardtop Z4 here.

Just-Auto.com's Dave Leggett is among the most thoughtful observers of the auto industry, so it's no surprise that he links to an outstanding piece on continuous improvement in Industry Week as the start of his answer to the question: Why is Toyota so successful? Why isn't Leggett being published on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal?

No, no, no ... this cannot be true! Lamborghini building an SUV? Please say it ain't so, Left Lane News.

Ya think they like it? "The C-pillar and beltline are about the only exterior cues taken straight off the 1969 Camaro, but the concept looks exactly like a Camaro should. The bodywork over the rear wheels makes it look super wide, and it has an old GTO-style gas cap back there." That's MPH Blog on the Camaro Concept. Check out their mullet observation, too.

If you are wondering about whether you really need to use premium in your gas tank, Austin Davis has the answer over at My Honest Mechanic. And may I say it is a high octane response? No, you'd rather I didn't say it? Sorry.

They're getting a new Civic in Malaysia, too. Paul Tan has a reader's snaps of a moderately disguised tester on the road. I wonder, do Malaysian hot rodders refer to the Civic as the "57 Chevy of today's youth" over there?

Folks are paying less for auto insurance up in Ottawa this year than they were last year, according to QtAutoNews. Now there's something in Canada I hope makes it down this way.

More on Toyota's NASCAR plans, another radical chopper custom and the phase-in schedule for NASCAR's COT racer, all at Racedriven.com.

That Volvo C30 displayed at Straightline looks very aggressive, don't you think? Seems there is an internal debate within Volvo over the proper marketing strategy for the little screamer. Let's hope the folks advocating all-wheel-drive win the debate.

The Auto Prophet speculates that the new "low cost" factory Ford plans to build in North America will be located in Mexico or Canada. For the record, my crystal ball has a very large sombrero in it, if that means anything.

Is there a corn cob in your car's future? John at The Car Blog - as well as a trio of U.S. senators representing Corn Belt states - thinks there is more than a kernel of truth in the view that there better be a corny future there.

Only my man Robert Farrago at The Truth About Cars would find automotive significance in the 1817 museum tour of Marie-Henry Beyle. True, automobiles were still decades away at the time, but that tour teaches us something about today's consumers. Farrago calls it "Automotive Stendahl Syndrome." I just got my M5 tester today and I know exactly what he's talking about. Go here and you will, too.

Meanwhile, Joe Sherlock's latest take on The View Through the Windshield yields the conclusion that he is indeed a "Chalcedon compliant Merlot drinker." If you have to ask, odds are excellent you aren't, but if you insist on finding out for sure, go here. Either way you freely choose to go, it was predestined.

And finally, TheCarConnection explains why the hyphen is gone from DaimlerChrysler. This is truly a no more BS story. BTW, that's Chrysler's first-ever SUV in the photo atop this week's Carnival of Cars. They call it the Aspen.

Now, if you are looking for those "other unmitigated outrages, rolling ridiculosities and pompous perplexities" I mentioned at the outset, go here. See ya next week!