Friday, February 03, 2006

CARNIVAL OF CARS: A Drive Around The Auto Blog Block for Friday, February 3, 2006

It's Super Bowl Week in Deetroit, State of the Onion Week in Washington, Dee Cee, and the third day of the second month of the Year of Our Lord 2006. Obviously, that means it's time to fire up the ole buggy and head out for Carnival of Cars!

Peter DeLorenzo at Auto Extremist took note of President Bush's observations on the sad state of affairs in the domestic auto industry and concluded that "it's clear that a large majority in our U.S. capitol are clearly clueless and out of touch when it comes to the problems facing Detroit and the problems looming for America's manufacturing base." Yep, Peter, but why limit that clueless part just to the manufacturing base?

Like DeLorenzo, E. L. Eversman had Dee Cee in sight this week and found some encouragement in the fact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a four-year plan to deal with potential safety issues connected to alternative fuel vehicles. We're elated to know the Auto Muse is elated.

For Mercedes Benz enthusiasts, Auto Spectator re-published the German automaker's news release on the AMGized SL55 and SL65.

Ever see an Altica? Autoblog's Stuart Waterman has details if you haven't seen an Altica and therefore are not aware of the fact that this critter is a new Renault sportwagon concept to be displayed at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show.

Speaking of the State of the Onion, Carpundit now has a very clean keyboard, having taken the opportunity afforded by the evening's festivities to vacumn it thoroughly. Must be one of those Librulz.

Lotsa Yadda Yadda over at Cars!Cars!Cars! about stuff like the real news behind the apparent sales recovery at Ford, the paucity of Solstices, hybrid trucks from GM, and ... well, lotsa stuff. And YOU ARE STILL EXPECTED TO POST COMMENTS! Got it?

Who makes the most powerful truck in Yerrup? Why, Volvo, of course. It's the 660 horsepower, 16 litre V-10 powered FH16. Carscoop has photos and details. Let's see, V-10, big horsepower ..... a Ford Viper maybe? Nah!

What do "sand castles, laser printers and candle wax" have to do with designing cars and trucks? Check out this post from ConsumersHero where you will find that it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or a new song to be unveiled to the world at half-time by the guys who also sing about ceiling wax.

Things aren't looking good for the IRL's Texas Motor Speedway date in June, according to Fast Machines, quoting a Dallas Morning News story.

So have you hacked your Prius yet? FosFor Wheels links to a (remember, I don't make this stuff up!) piece explaining how to do it and get rid of things like annoying noises. How long till the aftermarket offers the Prius Super Chip?

No more Ford GTs will be built. No more Lincoln LSs, either. That's what Gear6 reports.

If you like to drive perhaps a bit too much, then you aren't a suitable candidate for the purchase of a Mercedes Benz E350 with the 4Matic powertrain. That's the gospel according to my man Robert Farago, posting over at Mike Spinelli's Jalopnik.

There will definitely be an Ascari team competing in the European rounds of the GT3 series, reports Jonathan Fry. What a wonderful name for a race car, even if it is built in Jolly Ole England rather than next to the Autostrada of Italy.'s Dave Leggett has the low-down on why DC's Dieter Zetsche has such high hopes for a surge in diesel popularity in the U.S.

Speaking of the Autostrada and Italy, Left Lane News has a bunch of artist sketches of what a new Alfa Romeo coupe could look like if the Institute for Applied Art and Design gets the nod to do the real thing.

Folks in the executive suites at General Motors and Ford would do well to read Dave Wasserman's account of two meetings called to attack the problem of declining domestic market share. Go here to Motor Alley. Question: If the rest of us can figure out this stuff, why can't the high-six-figure suits in Detroit and Dearborn?

Molto Adagio Mario. Cool. Here.

Then there is the F-word, which My Ford Dreams thinks is none too cool.

What do you do when the check engine light comes on, you replace the cat but the car still fails the emissions test? Dave Austin at My Honest Mechanic has some timely suggestions for an appropriate response.

Toyota appears to be grooming another Matrix-inspired entry, this one the forthcoming redesigned Corolla. New Car Blog has a sketch.

Paul Tan has lots of interesting news and analyses on Proton's past, present and future. There is a new deal with Mitsubishi, among much else, but Tan thinks it's time to simplify the product line. Too bad things didn't work out with KR.

Remember what Confucius said about the journey of 10,000 miles starting with a single step? Or something along those lines. Qt Auto News says you can now set forth on the Journey of 10,000 songs in your iPOD blasting in your Merc. Better plan a long trip if you intend to listen to all 10,000 songs.

Don't miss the shot of Chip Foose's Impressions, which just won the America's Most Beautiful Roadster title. calls it "incredible" and I must say I agree. And I never got that into hot rods.

Serious Wheels has the Abt treatment of the Audi Q7.

Suzuki had a great January, according to Straightline.

Did Car & Driver's John Phillips go too far in the March issue with his characterization of the Motor City's mayor? The Auto Prophet wants to know.

The Car Blog still likes the Ford Expedition.

I ask you - has a transmission ever previously been described with more beauty than this by The Truth About Cars' Rob Schweitzer: "Once rousted, the Vitara's autobox is a bullish conductor: the five-speed shifter arpeggiates the gears upward like a fleet-fingered prodigy." I dare say Schweitzer has exceeded all previous scores.

On the other hand, gazing out The View Through the Windshield Joe Sherlock goes Bill Wilson on us with this assessment of the coming hybridized Escalade: "This is like adding a splash of water to each glass of scotch you drink in the belief that it will keep you from getting drunk."

BTW, the photo above this post is of the Ford Reflex small car concept.

And that, friends and neighbors, is the last word on this spin around the Auto blog block. See you next week.