Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Corvette Engineers Create High-tech Auto Sunscreen

Until now, exposed-weave carbon fiber, one of the coolest looks for fast, hot cars, was unavailable to consumers because the sun degrades the material on the exterior surface.

In fact, experts thought putting exposed carbon fiber on the outside of any retail car was nearly impossible. Painting over the carbon fiber was the only option. All that has changed due to an industry-first technology breakthrough: "sunscreen" for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

"Everyone said it couldn't be done, and we were crazy for trying," said Mark Voss, senior design engineer for the ZR1.

Undaunted, Voss and his team worked for three years on their own time to develop a glossy, UV-resistant clear coat that allows exposed carbon fiber to be used on the body of the car. It also shields the carbon fiber components from chips and scratches.

"Our challenge was finding a way to give our customers exposed-weave carbon fiber with the durability they have come to expect from a Corvette," Voss said. "Other automakers have opted for fake attempts at a carbon-fiber look. With the Corvette ZR1, we wanted to give customers the real deal."

Carbon fiber on the Corvette emerged from the technology transfer between the production Corvette and the Corvette C6.R that race in the American Le Mans Series. Carbon fiber reduces weight and improves stiffness compared to steel. Carbon fiber is approximately one-fifth the weight of steel and one-third the mass of traditional composite panels. That means a lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicle with a lower center of gravity for better handling on the road and on the race track.

For a consumer vehicle, exposed-weave carbon fiber, with its honeycombed appearance, offers the fuel efficiency of painted carbon fiber, but has a unique aesthetic.

The ZR1 features exposed-weave carbon fiber on the roof panel, roof bow, rocker moldings, front fascia splitter, and the underside of the hood. The ZR1 has carbon fiber floor panels as well, although not in the exposed-weave format. For the Corvette Z06, carbon fiber fenders and floor panels come standard with an optional package that includes splitters, rockers and roof panels.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Land Rover LR4 HSE Wins Off-Road 2011 4x4 Competition

Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine has named the 2011 Land Rover LR4 HSE the winner of its coveted 4x4 of the Year award. This is the 29th year of the enthusiast magazine's in-depth competition of new 4x4 vehicles, and the first time a Land Rover product has taken home the award.

The Land Rover LR4 HSE topped the field of four worthy competitors and ranked high in every category of this year's in-depth test. The grueling 1,000-mile trial evaluates each vehicle's suspension, engine, transmission, and transfer case along with the style and creature comforts the vehicle provides. Most importantly, the 4x4s are judged heavily on how well they perform off-road. This year's competitors also included the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford F-150 Raptor SVT, and Lexus GX 460 Premium.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

General Motors Offers Green Options for Business Fleets

Fleet owners have additional choices to make their vehicles more sustainable and environmentally friendly:

* Fuel efficiency: GM offers 12 models with EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon highway ratings that use innovative engine advancements like Active Fuel Management to deactivate cylinders and Spark Ignition Direct Injection. For example, the new Chevrolet Cruze Eco model featuring a 1.4L turbo engine is expected to get up to 40 MPG highway when it goes on sale in early 2011.

* Flex-fuel vehicles: GM offers more flex-fuel vehicles than any manufacturer with 19 models that run on up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline or any combination of the two. GM is on track to make more than half of its vehicle production flex-fuel capable by 2012.

* Hybrids: GM offers the only hybrid pickup trucks in the market—the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. An additional four hybrid models accompany the pickups – the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and GMC Yukon Denali Hybrids.

Monday, October 18, 2010

State Farm Data Shows October Most Dangerous Teen Drivers

Newly analyzed State Farm® claims data shows the trend continues - October remains the most dangerous month of the year for teen driver crashes nationally. In California, the numbers aren't much different; February tops the list as the most accident prone month for teens, followed closely by October.

According to claims data spanning the last seven years, the highest number of injury or collision claims filed by 16- and 17-year old drivers continues to hit a high point in October, spiking by about 15 percent when compared to other months of the year. State Farm evaluated its extensive claims database from 2003 – 2009, and in every year, October continues to register the most claims across the United States and portions of Canada. About 70 percent of states show October as being among its top three months for teen accident claims.

October remains the most dangerous month of the year for teen driver crashes

* Nationally, October remains the most dangerous month of the year for teen driver crashes
* In California, February tops the list followed closely by October
* Teens are conflicted; State Farm survey shows 70% of new drivers are nervous about being in a crash or hurting someone, yet 57% of teens say they text while driving
* Parents can play a major role with their teens

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Buick Virtually Clones Toughest Roads

It's a technology that would captivate anyone who grew up on video games. What if you could create an exact digital replica of one of the world's most challenging roads and then drive virtual cars on it to see what happens?

The inventors at Buick found a way to do just that. Istanbul native Mine (Mee-NAY) Tasci is part of a team of engineers that created an innovative road scanner that makes a micro-detailed 3D digital representation of some of the toughest real-world road surfaces. Then she drives equally detailed digital Buick vehicles on the digital roads to test for quality and reliability.

"Just like a photo scanner, we can scan the surface of a road to create a three-dimensional digital representation," said Tasci. The scanner works with cameras and a laser to determine a 3D model of a road surface down to 1mm of fidelity.

An interesting application of this new technology involves a road leading to Mexico's Cerro del Cubilete shrine. It's a twisting, rocky path that winds its way up toward one of the most important religious shrines in Mexico. Each day, pilgrims from throughout Mexico are jostled and bumped as they traverse the stone road of Cubilete.

If ever there was a road that could bring out vehicle rattles, squeaks and vibrations, Cubilete is it. "Customers who drive on that road complain about steering rack noise," said Tasci. "That's why we wanted to recreate this road so that we can test and ensure that our vehicles are up to the challenge of driving on roads like this one."

Buick submits new vehicles to rigorous virtual testing well before a physical prototype ever sees the light of day. Testing on challenging roads like Cubilete allows Buick engineers to find and address issues early on in the development cycle. "In the end, it leads to higher-quality, quieter and more comfortable Buick cars and crossovers," said Tasci.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tips for Fall Automotive Care and Cleaning

Fall is the time to get your house in order, both inside and out. It's also a good time to clean your car and get it ready for winter.

- Vacuum your car thoroughly. Include the dashboard, hard-to-get-to crevices and upholstery and around seams and seat belts where food can accumulate.

- Clean windows inside and out. Make sure to use a soft, absorbent disposable towel designed for the task.

- Clean spills off the garage floor. As soon as oil spills, place a clean, disposable and absorbent shop towel, such as Scott Shop Towels, on the floor to absorb the spill, but don't rub as that pushes oil into the concrete.

- Clean your DIY tools thoroughly. If you do your own work on your car, make sure to wipe dust, dirt and debris from hand tools with a clean, disposable shop towel. Soak hand tools in dishwashing detergent and dry thoroughly with another clean, disposable shop towel. Clean power tools by wetting a fresh disposable shop towel with cleaning solution and then wringing it out so it's damp, not dripping. Wipe down the surfaces of the tool and dry thoroughly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

2011 Dodge Charger

With its iconic character, contemporary fastback four-door coupe proportions, world-class performance, craftsmanship and refinement, and state-of-the-art connectivity features, the all-new 2011 Charger is the Dodge brand's flagship that proudly delivers premium, world-class E-segment sedan precision at an incredible value.

The efficient and aerodynamic exterior of the 2011 Dodge Charger is spiritually inspired by the iconic second-generation Charger from the late 1960s, featuring a design that is sure to strike an emotional chord with Dodge performance enthusiasts of all generations.

With its sinister "ready to attack the road" face, the all-new Dodge Charger puts the world's best E-segment sedan competitors between its new "split crosshair" signature grille. Its sculpted all-new body is a conscious nod to its deep heritage and muscle-car roots. The Charger's profile is also a modern affair, a result of countless hours in the wind tunnel, from its lower hood line, faster windshield and radically raked back headlights to its tighter wheel openings, lower sill and race-car-like flat underbody, the Charger effortlessly cuts thought the air with its attitude intact. The aluminum hood features dual "scallops" that bring a sculptured, performance look to the front end, while large body-side scallops deliver a striking undulating A-line across the doors. Running front to rear is the iconic horizontal "coke bottle" or "double-diamond" body-side styling that creates a tapering silhouette accented with muscular front and rear fenders and gives the Dodge Charger one of the most distinct profiles on the road. Defining the fastback's wide stance is an all-new signature taillamp design that incorporates 164 illuminating LEDs to form its signature "racetrack" graphic and gives the new Charger its unmistakable character from blocks away.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ford's Hot-Selling Fiesta to Make 2010 SEMA Debut

Ford Fiestas will take center stage on the Ford stand at this year's SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show, to be held Nov. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The all-new Ford Fiesta features an expressive, vibrant design, sharp reflexes, and a global track record that will redefine U.S. small car customers' expectations. With 15 available class-exclusive features and technologies and best-in-class highway fuel economy of up to 40 mpg, Fiesta brings efficiency and convenience together in one package

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sanyo, TomTom, Mazda Co-op on New CarNav

SANYO Consumer Electronics Co., Ltd. (SANYO CE), a consolidated subsidiary of SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO), in cooperation with TomTom NV (TomTom), have developed a new built-in car navigation system. From the beginning of 2011, the new built-in car navigation system will be offered by Mazda as an option on its new Mazda5 compact van in Europe.

SANYO CE and TomTom have been working hand-in-hand to develop a built-in car navigation system which can take on global competition, since September 2009, by harnessing both TomTom and our strengths.

The new car navigation system features an integrated 5.8-inch touch screen monitor with SANYO’s audio video solution and a communication module. TomTom’s car navigation technology, “TomTom® Live Service”, including “TomTom® HD Traffic”, a real-time traffic service and “TomTom® local search with GoogleTM”, provides customers with real-time information.

A Future Millionaire’s First Used Sports Cars

A Future Millionaire’s First Used Sports Cars

How to Get Approved for a Car Loan |

How to Get Approved for a Car Loan |

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One Stop Motors Provides 5 Tips for Winterizing a Car

One Stop Motors Provides 5 Tips for Winterizing a Car

Inside the World’s Most Opulent Private Jets

For over 30 years, aviation photographer Nick Gleis has shot aircraft for the biggest aviation companies and the wealthiest of private clients. He is as likely to receive assignments from presidents, dictators or royalty as he is from Gulfstream, Boeing or Lear. Gleis’ photographs of large private jets are only one subset of his titanium portfolio, but they are by far the most intriguing. They are views into the expensive tastes of heads of state from around the world.

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