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1/31/2005

Media Against SUVs? — You Decide

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 11:40 am

Michelle Malkin brings to our attention that WNBC.com in New York has posted an anti-SUV story this morning. Read the wording carefully. This is not the first time the major news media has attacked SUVs and it surly won’t be the last.

Man In Wheelchair Struck, Killed By SUV In Bronx

Police said 41-year-old Juan Jimenez was crossing Broadway near 230th Street at about 5:44 p.m. when a late model black Mitsubishi SUV hit him and pinned him under the vehicle with the wheelchair.

The vehicle then fled the scene, leaving Jimenez in the street. … “

This type of journalism tries to demonize a whole class of vehicle out of bias against their size, fuel economy and status level. Those of us that are vehicle enthusiasts need to be aware that this bias exists in order to help protect our right to buy and drive what we want.

As Michelle notes,

The vehicle fled the scene? This ant-SUV bias is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

It sure is, Michelle. It sure is!

Where Will Maserati Go?

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 11:25 am

One of the stories in today’s online Automotive News involves Ferrari spinning off Maserati. (subscription required to read story)

Ferrari to spin off Maserati in preparation for its IPO

Hoping to improve its balance sheet, sports car maker Ferrari is expected to approve Monday the spin-off of its loss-making Maserati luxury sports car subsidiary to Fiat group. The move is seen as a preliminary step toward an initial public offering of Ferrari shares later this spring.

What might this mean to us on this side of the pond? A couple of possibilities are:

  • Future Maseratis would be engineered by Fiat or Alfa instead of Ferrari.
  • Maserati and Alfa would get combined and spun off as a luxury-sports group to stand on their own.
  • VW could come back into the picture and get Maserati from Fiat to have access to the new Masser’s alloy body platform.
  • GM could agree to the forced buyout of Fiat now that it would get Maserati, too.

Who knows? Guess we’ll see if Mr. Goodwrench is going to have to learn Italian!

1/28/2005

What to Buy?

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 10:24 am

We should all have such a problem! One of our good buds is wanting to get away from his tricked out GS400 (chipped, big brakes, lowered, cat/back, yadda, yadda) and go with something a little more Western this time. An STS-"V” would be perfect, but that’s not available until the end of the year and this purchase will happen in the next few months. So here’s the short list:

Cadillac CTS-"V”

Chrysler 300C - SRT/8

Mercedes CLS

Let us know which one you would choose via the comments, and if you know of something else in the same league that is available now that you would rather have, tell us that, too!

1/27/2005

Pontiac, maybe there’s life after all!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 6:03 pm

[Welcome Fastlane visitors! Take a minute and read our story on Cadillac and then let us know which performance car you would recommend to our friend.]

I am a long time Pontiac enthusiast and was encouraged today to discover on Bob Lutz’s Blog, some insight into the marque’s immediate future. Seems like there is a lot of great new product coming out in the next few years.

I hope they don’t kill the Bonneville as a model name, it would be really cool if they made it a high-performance sports wagon like the Dodge Magnum Hemi! Hopefully they will get the next GTO right, style-wise as the performance is certainly there right now, especially with the new 6.0L powerplant!

Cadillac, You’ve come a long way, Baby!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 5:53 pm

If you’ve been to any of the major car shows these last few years you might just wonder “What the heck is going on at Cadillac"? Even their TV commercials are aggressive and feature Led Zepplin tunes. I mean, Cadillac is an old man’s car, right?.

Well, times do change, and so has Cadillac. At the 1999 North American Auto Show in Detroit, Cadillac introduced the Evoc show car and in 2002 the Cien supercar concept to a stunned automotive press. British designer Simon Cox, inspired by the F-117 Stealth Fighter, penned the Cien to embody the new Art & Science design language of Cadillac. A 750 hp 7.5-liter mid-engined Northstar XV12 gave the look some real grunt.

Cadillac Cien
Cien Show Car - LA Auto Show 2003 - photo: ABDesign

The Evoc foreshadowed the XLR production vehicle, which has been on the streets for a year. XLR, a production sibling of the C6 Corvette, shares the hydroformed frame of the new Vette along with its aluminum honeycomb composite floors, touch to open door latches, and magnetic shock absorber systems, all which debuted on the Caddy.

Cadillac Cien
XLR Production Model - LA Auto Show 2005 - photo: ABDesign

Now Cadillac has launched its “V” series of production performance vehicles. Beginning with the CTS-V, the STS-V will join the fray this fall followed by the XLR-V. Cadillac V-series is much the same as AMG is to Mercedes or “M” is to BMW. “V"-Series models were created for Cadillac to showcase its performance models and parts. The CTS-V was given the LS-6 Vette engine that delivers 400 horsepower and a tire-spinning 395 pound-feet of torque! The new STS-V will feature a supercharged Northstar V8 with 440 hp and 430 lb/ft of torque and a 0-60 time of less than 5 sec. Truly world class performance numbers.

Cadillac Cien
STS-V Performance Model - LA Auto Show 2005 - photo: ABDesign

Acceleration is cool you say, but what about handling? That’s the most important development at Cadillac, as far as I am concerned. Since the development of the Sigma platform from which the CTS was the first production model, each Cadillac, the CTS, XRS, XLR and the STS have all had their final ride and handling packages evaluated and perfected at Germany’s Nürburgring. Road & Track Magazine weighs in thusly:

The importance of Germany’s Nürburgring in Cadillac’s renaissance cannot be overstated. It is the one place where all the major manufacturers test, where the stopwatch separates the poseurs from the real deal.

Jim Taylor, who was the vehicle line executive involved in the Sigma platform before becoming Cadillac’s current general manager, used his experience and connections at Opel to test the original CTS at the Ring. To him, testing at the track is the critical element that differentiates the merely good from the truly great.

“You look at the hardware kings, which are the Germans. How do they get there differently?” Taylor says. “They may have some actual parts that are different, but you can buy that stuff. The real difference lies in the black magic in developing a car, finalizing its handling in a truly demanding test environment.” The 14-plus miles and more than 175 turns of the Nürburgring is that environment.

“Any glitches or shortcomings of the car in handling, cooling or brake feeling come to the fore very quickly and by quite a large margin at the Nürburgring,” says John Heinricy, GM’s director of high-performance vehicle operations. “If you make a car competent here, there’s no place it can’t handle.”

Indeed, the powers that be at GM were so taken with the development potential of the Nürburgring that they created the Milford Road Course, which incorporates part of the “Ring” into its 20 turn handling loop design and can be configured in a multiple of ways. With an elevation change of over 100 feet, initial development can be done at the MRC, with final evaluation and “street cred” runs done at the actual Nürburgring itself. In R&T Jim Taylor continues:

There are certain elements of sustained high-speed running at that track we can’t replicate here. And also, there is an element of being in the performance club…it’s not just how quickly you can go around a turn, it’s the lap time around the whole Ring. Doing it in 8 to 8 1/2 minutes puts you into the club.”

So if anyone is actually wondering, this is why Cadillac is featuring a performance theme in its advertising, and why the 0-60 acceleration time of a new Cadillac is important. They really do want to be “The Standard of the World” again. They are not there yet, but are certainly on the right track! If you are a real, concerned American and are shopping for a beautifully designed performance vehicle, you owe it to yourself and to your country to consider a Cadillac. It sure feels good to be able to say that again! (db)

BTG Cadillac Parts

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Filed under: — GM Guy @ 4:33 pm

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Filed under: — GM Guy @ 2:37 pm

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