In this section of the blog, you can find articles about things about cars and the automotive industry that blow our minds or just make us laugh out loud.
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Manchester United sponsorship is looking less like a great deal for Chevrolet every year

Chevrolet-Manchester_United-shirt-sponsorship-dealThe seven-year, $ 559 million sponsorship deal that Chevrolet signed in 2012 with English Premier League football/soccer club Manchester United is starting to look like a costly mistake as time goes by. The deal already cost General Motors global marketing chief at the time Joel Ewanick his job, two months after it was signed. Ewanick then defended his decision by declaring “It was clear that the deal would bring Chevrolet increased brand exposure, purchase consideration and awareness around the world worth “over four times” the sponsorship’s cost. […] We crunched more data than I’ve ever seen. We had three separate media and consulting firms take a look at it and tell us what they thought it was worth. […] The way this was going to work over time, I would say that for the amount of money we were talking about, it was the biggest no-brainer I’ve seen.”

However, less than eighteen months after the official announcement of the deal, and even before the Chevrolet bowtie logo was supposed to appear on the official Manchester United shirts, General Motors announced it would withdraw Chevrolet from the European market. GM officials were quick to point out that Manchester United has a worldwide fan-base and that the English Premier League is the most watched football competition in the world, reaching an estimated 643 million households in 212 countries around the world. On top of that, the club’s regular appearance in the UEFA Champions League would still offer the brand the worldwide exposure it was looking for, as this competition is watched by 360 million households, some of which should be incremental to the EPL viewers.… Continue Reading …

How to put a Ford Mustang on top of the Empire State Building

Ford-Mustang-taken-apart-Empire-State-BuildingFor the two days preceding the New York Auto Show, Ford will put a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible for display on the top of the Empire State Building, again. Again? Yes, they’ve pulled that trick before, in 1965 to be exactly. So for everyone who will be in the Big Apple on April 16th and 17th, make sure to take the elevator up to the observation deck, and observe a bright yellow Mustang.

Except it won’t be a stock Mustang, as it is impossible to use a helicopter to fly the car all the way up, because the huge steeple on what was once the world’s tallest building makes that exercise a bit too tricky. Instead, the car will take the same route you will take to see it: the elevator. Only problem is: the entrance is only 36 inches (90 cm) wide, and the Mustang will have to fit through that in order to reach the 86th floor.

Ford-Mustang-classic-1965-taken-apart-Empire-State-BuildingSo what the engineers of an external engineering firm will do, is chop the brand-new, not even available to customers, Mustang into 6 pieces… Continue Reading …

6-wheeled alternatives to the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6

Mercedes-Benz-G63-AMG-6x6The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 is an automotive extravagance, absurdity on 6 wheels. Or, as Mercedes call it themselves: the automotive declaration of independence. Other people would call it an unnecessary waste of (natural) resources, but as Top Gear have shown in their review, there are some very important things you can do with the 6×6. For example: jumping sand dunes, climbing rocks and driving through a swimming pool full of people, which are of course very sensible things to do.

More is always better when it comes to power, and the G63 AMG 6×6 proves that for certain on-road, but mostly off-road activities, the same goes for the number of wheels. But what if you come up short on the € 380.000,- / US$ 525,000 / £ 315,000 excluding taxes Mercedes is asking for this six-wheeled monster?

Well, there are some alternatives for you, which you may be able to pick up for less money than that.… Continue Reading …

Controversial Cadillac ELR commercial parodied

For those of you who haven’t seen or heard about the recent “poolside” commercial for the Cadillac ELR, which was a viral hit on YouTube because of its controversial “American Pride” theme, watch it here:

In short: it features what Cadillac hopes will be a typical buyer of the ELR, a Plug-in Hybrid coupe which is technically based on the Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera, but will only be sold in North America, for a price tag that’s double that of the Volt. It starts with the actor standing in his bermuda shorts by the pool of his $4 million home, asking why “we” work so hard (although I don’t see any callus on his hands) and talking about how the Americans take only two weeks off in August while other countries spend the whole month with their lazy asses on the beach. … Continue Reading …

A new kind of retro: naming a model after the company’s founder

As manufacturers are running out of inspiration for another retro styled car, a trend for which Volkswagen is credited since it introduced the New Beetle back in 1997, I have started to notice a new trend: retro naming. And with that, at this moment, I don’t mean re-using model names from the past, like Alfa Giulia or Chrysler 300, which could be the subject of an entirely different article, but I mean using the first name of the company’s founder as a model name.

Ferrari-EnzoFerrari started this trend in 2002 when the Italians decided to name their supercar Ferrari Enzo. While the model’s two predecessors, F40 and F50, were named to celebrate the company’s 40th and 48th anniversary in 1987 and 1995 respectively, the Italians may have been a bit too quick with the development of their next supercar. It was already completed and ready to be sold in 2002, so the Italians must have called for an emergency board meeting during lunch time:

  • “Oh mama mia! Grande catastrofe! Gianni, what do we do now? The F60 is already finished!
  • — Eating spaghetti —
  • “When is the 60th anniversary, Alberto?”
  • — Drinking Chianti —
  • “That’s another five years, Vincenzo! We cannot wait that long! The Germans are working on a Carrera GT, which is much better than ours. We need it to be sold out before they finish their car!”… Continue Reading …

50th Anniversary of the Škoda 1000 MB

Skoda-1000-MB-50-year-anniversary-frontAfter 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, this month, it is the Škoda 1000 MB which turns 50 years old. The first Czech mass-produced car made its debut on March 21st 1964 as the successor to the Škoda Octavia. It also was the first Škoda with rear wheel drive, a rear engine and unibody construction, making it a milestone in the nearly 119-year history of Škoda, as it marked the beginning of what would eventually evolve into a long line of rear-engined Škodas, although this was still a fairly popular layout for a compact car in that time. Other rear-engined, rear wheel drive models during that period are among others the Volkswagen Beetle, Simca 1000, Renaults Dauphine and R8, NSU Prinz, Hillman Imp and the Fiats 500 and 600.

Revolutionary technology

The 1000 MB was a revolution for Škoda, as it was built in an all-new production plant in Mladá Boleslav (hence the MB in its name), its design was radically different than the brands previous models,… Continue Reading …

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series true to its spiritual grandfather Pontiac GTO

This year, AMG will celebrate its 45th birthday. And 45 years is also what separates these two cars, which have more in common than just their color. The Pontiac GTO is considered the founder of the car segment that furiously wrote history under the name “Muscle Car”. The AMG has got all the credentials to be called a German Muscle Car, and the Black Series version even tops it off with a little more of all the good stuff!

mercedes-benz-c63-amg-black-series-vs-pontiac-gto-1967

No way red is the color of standstill!

This will make you see red! And it will make you see double as well! Driving a fast car can bump up your testosterone, especially with these two candidates. One may not look so mean, but the other makes no secret of its brutal power. And the color looks good on both of them. While he persistent nonsense that red is not the right color for a real man’s car still lingers in some social circles, these theorists better take note that both the GTO and the AMG were also available in Purple or Vanilla Cream. In both cases there would be no doubt about the “cool-factor”. And trust me, color is just one of the smallest commonalities in these two cannonballs that could tear off the blacktop if you would let them and if the tires would survive that challenge. No, the family ties are deeper and have nothing to do with their respective brands. Let’s just call them soul mates.… Continue Reading …

Martini Racing Collection at the Louwman Museum

Martini-Racing-Collection-Louwman-Museum

If you have been a regular viewer or attendee at any kind of auto racing in the 1970s, ’80s and early ‘90s, there’s no way you’re not familiar with the Martini Racing Cars. A combination of dark blue, light blue and red stripes on a silver or white background are the iconic livery of one of the first major sponsors in auto racing, and these colors have made their mark on some of the most exciting and thrilling decades in racing history. Martini has been connected to auto sports for over 45 years, and during that period Martini Racing teams have dominated every important racing event. The success story includes victories at Le Mans, Formula 1, World Rally Championships and DTM. For the youngsters among my readers: as much as you can see Red Bull at every major extreme sports event these days, Martini was at every auto racing event back in the “old days”. At any auto racing event the Martini colors would be omnipresent and impossible to miss.

Until May 4th 2014, a small but significant piece of the Martini Racing history is brought together and is on display at the Louwman Museum in Den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands). Usually, you would have to travel to at least 4 different museums and even then you wouldn’t see all of these cars, as some are part of private collections. The cars in this temporary collection are combined into four main categories: Rally Cars, Touring Cars, Formula 1 Cars and Endurance Racing Cars.… Continue Reading …

85 exceptional Volvo’s in a wooden shed

Swedish-Collection-Volvo-760-GLE-HoneckerSo you think Volvo’s past is filled with nothing but boring station wagons, tailored to the safety conscious family man? Then a museum full of Volvo’s must be the epitome of sleeping aid! Think again. Volvo has been a supplier of government- and diplomatic vehicles for decades, and they have built some very beautiful 2-door coupe models over the years as well, some drawn by Italian designer Bertone. In fact, Volvo’s past is much more exciting than just the current line-up of cars. Some of the most interesting cars of this past have been put together in The Swedish Collection.

Hans Blokzijl is a Dutch entrepreneur and mass-collector. His most famous collection is born out of his passion for Sweden and for Volvo automobiles, he has created a private museum of exceptional Volvo cars and paraphernalia in a shed on the property of his tree nursery. It is a collection of exclusive or otherwise special models of the Swedish brand, some of which even the official Volvo museum in Sweden is jealous of. His private museum opened to the public for one day only today, giving visitors a look into the past and present of Volvo.… Continue Reading …

CARicature News: German Autobahn toll will depend on your speed

German-Autobahn-tollThe famous German Autobahn will soon no longer be unlimited. Unlimited free kilometers, that is. Chancellor Angela Merkel has reached an agreement with the ruling parties to introduce a toll system in order to pay for the huge costs for maintenance of the high-speed motorways.

Rumor has it the toll pricing may depend on the speed a car drives on the Autobahn. Fast drivers will pay a higher price-per-kilometer than slower drivers, as the left-wing party Die Linke has requested. According to party-leader Gregor Gysi, “The rich are able to buy faster cars, so if they want to drive them at high speeds, they should pay more, it’s only fair”.

Angela-Merkel“Because of the poor state of our infrastructure, safety may be jeopardized if we do not invest in maintenance”, Merkel said. “But there is no money available in our current budget, so we had to choose: introduce a speed limit of 90 km/h (55 mph) or introduce a toll system, which should generate enough revenue to pay for road maintenance”.

 

Pricing is not yet announced, but expect the highest speed bracket, with an average speed >250 km/h (155 mph), to have a similar price-per-kilometer than a lap around the famous Nürburgring, which costs € 27,- for a 20,8 km lap, equal to € 1,30 per kilometer (US$ 1,10 per mile).… Continue Reading …