Holy reserve price, Batman, the original Batmobile is going on the auction block! The iconic car from the original TV series is based on the 1955 Lincoln Futura concept, which was designed by the Lincoln Styling Department and built by Ghia Body Works in Italy. In 1965 renowned customizer George Barris transformed the Futura into the Batmobile in just 15 days. The car will be offered at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 19. more
In Back From The Dead news is word that the recently defunct Saab marque might return after all. National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the company that bought the carmaker, is mulling over producing a gas-engine 9-3 next year, followed by an all-electric version the year after. more
Cars ads have been getting more and more subtle as TV viewers become accustomed to, and wary of, the same old sales pitch time after time. This ad is so subtle that it’s not actually clear whether it’s trying to sell you a car, or break up your marriage. Follow the jump the see the video. more
Boys will be boys, but when those boys are Formula 1 drivers they can get a little crazy after a race. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lotus driver and race winner Kimi Raikkonen unleashed some inappropriate language during the podium interview. Then Red Bull driver and two-time F1 Champ Sebastien Vettel, perhaps annoyed at being made to start the race in pit lane after his pole-sitting qualifying time was disallowed, added his own spice to the verbal stew. Interviewer David Coulthard, himself a former F1 driver, tried to pass off Vettel’s gaffe as the result of English being his second language, to which Vettel replied by pouring fake champagne over Coulthard’s head. F1 management was not amused, and sent all the teams a strongly worded letter suggesting a little more decorum would be appreciated. Check out the video after the jump. more
Ever wonder what it would be like to drive a Formula 1 car while drunk? That’s pretty much how it feels until you get the hang of controlling this ViewCam 360 video of Red Bull Racing driver Sebastien Buemi cutting hot laps. (Warning: you’ll need a good broadband connection to get the full effect. Lacking that, three or four shots of bourbon ought to work just as well.) more
The Motor Accident Commission of South Australia (MACSA) put together a safety campaign that’s designed to change public attitudes about what it calls “low-level speeding.” It took 18 hours and 17 people with up to five layers of body paint to make the final print ad. Here’s a video showing the process. more
A lot of cars these days have “throttle by wire,” a system whereby the gas pedal isn’t connected to the engine at all, but to a control unit that adjusts engine speed electronically. Now Nissan is taking that technology a step further by eliminating the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the steering rack. more
If you’ve had the airbags in your car replaced anyplace other than a dealership within the last three years, better scoot on over to NHTSA’s website and give it a read. A few counterfeit airbags have made their way into the supply of real ones being sold to repair crash-damaged cars. This video shows the fairly dramatic difference in performance of these bogus bags. The first example barely inflates, while the second one… well, see for yourself. more
Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher is retiring—again—after three uneventful seasons. The Schu retired the first time at the end of the 2006 F1 season, from Ferrari, but came back in 2010 to race with Mercedes-Benz. Since his return, his results have been unremarkable, and some insiders grumbled that he was taking a seat away from younger, more deserving drivers, while others criticized him for risking his reputation by hanging on for so long after it was evident he wasn’t going to improve is meager finishes. more
If you walk into your local Chrysler dealership to put a down payment on a new Viper, don’t be surprised if you’re told to go elsewhere. That’s because Chrysler will “approve” only about 150 dealers—out of more than 2300 nationwide—to sell the 640-horsepower car. Dealers will be getting letters this week telling them how they can qualify to receive a Viper to sell.
The racing debut of the Delta Wing, the oddest and most closely watched entry in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, came to an abrupt halt early in the race when it was bunted into the fence by another car. The team isn’t waiting until next year to try again, but has instead entered the 10-hour/1000-mile Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta in October. The Delta Wing is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged Nissan engine, and features a pair of 4-inch-wide tires in its narrow nose. more
IndyCar driver Mike Conway has had some bad days on ovals, including two bad wrecks in the last three years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, one of which resulted in a season-ending back injury. So Conway has decided to sit out the season finale on the high-speed two-mile oval at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Calling it the hardest decision of his racing career, Conway added, “I’ve come to realize I’m not comfortable on the ovals and no longer wish to compete on them. I want to stress that I am not finished racing and, to this end, I would love to continue with Foyt Racing, but that’s something we need to discuss in the future.” Tough-as-nails team owner A.J. Foyt will likely have a few choice words to add to that discussion, but since this is a family-friendly website, we won’t speculate about what they might be.
Evil never sleeps, nor does it stay home when it rains or snows, so to make sure the good guys have what it takes to chase down the bad guys in all kinds of weather, Dodge is introducing all-wheel drive on the 2014 Charger Pursuit police car. The AWD option will be available only with the 370-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8, and pundits are guessing its fuel mileage will be about the same as the civilian AWD Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans. more
The V8, the engine that gave birth to America’s hot-rod culture, is fast disappearing from cars all over the world. The culprit is ever-tightening emissions standards, which are forcing automakers to turn to smaller-displacement powerplants. Even luxury marques like Infiniti are feeling the bite. The company’s president recently told an Australian motoring website that people shouldn’t expect to see V8s in any of the cars currently on the drawing board. In place of the V8, many manufacturers are going with V6 engines, or turbocharged four-cylinders.
On the heels of Chevrolet signing on to become the sponsor of England’s Manchester United football (soccer to Americans) club in 2014-2015, and subsequent to the carmaker’s offer of luxury cars to all first-team members, Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson has put the brakes on players under the age of 23 ordering anything sporty, like, say a Corvette. Players under the age limit can still avail themselves of Chevy’s offer, but only if Ferguson approves their choice. more
Just as the man riding a bicycle while smoking a cigarette claims he’s getting exercise, drivers who have terrible habits say they're good drivers, according to a survey commissioned by Ford. A study of more than 2500 U.S. drivers found that 99 percent of them think they’re good drivers, even though 76 percent eat or drink while driving, 53 percent talk on handheld cell phones, and 37 percent drive when they’re too tired. As a result, 57 percent of these “good” drivers have had an accident or close call with a vehicle in their blind spot, 48 percent have hit or almost hit something while backing out of a parking space, and 38 percent avoid parallel parking. Makes you wonder how bad the bad drivers are.
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the governing body of world motorsport, is gearing up for a new racing series for electric cars, with the first race scheduled for 2014. The FIA calls the new Formula E class "a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades" and plans to hold races on city-center tracks. One company preparing an electric racer is Drayson Racing Technologies, which says it can build a car that goes 200 mph and 0-60 in 3 seconds. But the same problems that limit the sales of electric cars, including long recharge times, affect e-racers, so instead of swapping batteries in pit stops, teams will just roll out a second, fully charged car. more
Luke Skywalker, your racecar is ready. Actually, this is “Monster” Tajima during a practice run for the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The car is all-electric, and the absence of engine noise lets you hear the squeal of the tires in corners, and the gravel pinging off the bodywork as Tajima gets too close to the edge of the pavement.
Luxury cars come equipped with the best of everything—at least that’s the theory. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says some luxury cars don’t come with enough protection in a new test that evaluates a car’s crashworthiness by slamming it into a fixed barrier so that only part of the front end absorbs the impact. Eight 2012 model luxury or high-end cars were rated as marginal or poor in the test. Acura TL and Volvo S60 were the only cars to pass the new test.
What if the famous tunnel that’s part of a lap at the famous Monaco GP were longer? Say, 1.5 miles? How fast would a Formula 1 car get up to in that distance? About 190, if this video is any indication. That’s how fast ex-F1 driver David Coulthard took the Red Bull Racing Running Showcar through the Lincoln Tunnel that links New York and New Jersey. The tunnel, by the way, is just over 21 feet wide.
The test drive, long a highlight of the car-buying process, is fading away as more and more buyers choose cars based solely on magazine and website reviews, and buy them without ever driving the car first. This trend worries dealers, who see the test drive as their most effective tool for swaying undecided buyers, and also point out, apparently with a straight face, that you can’t always believe what you read, in contrast to what you hear from car salespeople, who are renowned for their unflagging honesty, integrity, and detailed product knowledge. more