'HotWheels' Blog

      We're Talking All About Cars Here, & Trucks, & SUVs!


A New Car Blog is Now Online!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:19 am

Always looking out for great writing about all things automotive, we would like to introduce you to a brand new automotive blog, Tapscott Behind the Wheel. Created by Mark Tapscott, who has been writing his weekly newspaper column “Behind the Wheel” for nearly two decades, his new blog will be the Internet home for these articles. In his own words:

So, even if the prospect of heel-and-toe downshifting while braking an open wheel race car from 150 mph for a 50 mph hairpin, or revelling in the tearing-sheet scream of a Ferrari V-12 at full song at 3:30 a.m. during the Daytona 24 Hour or experiencing the intoxicating 10,000 rpm lunge of a Suzuki Bandit 600S isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you still might discover a pleasurable distraction from numbing spin, analysis, ranting and facts of the Blogs and politics.
That sure sounds like “our” cup of tea, Mark! Welcome to the world of automotive blogs.


The Summer “Solstice” - A Real Deal!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 6:33 pm

Today on the GM corporate blog, Fastlane, Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz announced the final pricing for the new Pontiac Solstice:

When Solstice goes on sale this summer, it will, officially, be priced at $19,995 — and that includes the $575 destination charge. You heard it here first.
And this is for no “stripper” model as it will feature a five-speed manual transmission, 18-inch wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, a glass rear window instead of plastic, and a CD-player — all standard equipment.

Solstice concept at the 2003 LA Auto Show — photo: ABDesign

Now what we are really interested in is the GXP version that we hope will be available not too far after launch. Please, Bob, don’t make us wait a year for that one!

Tax by the Mile - States are Saying, “You Feel Me?”

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 8:52 am

Let’s say you have a pang of conscience, or are just tired of huge gasoline bills, and go out and spend the extra dough on one of these new hybrid cars or SUVs. Now you are getting significantly better gas mileage, aren’t spending your kid’s college money at the pump, and generally feel better about yourself because you are doing something good for the environment, too. But noooooooooooooo! What you are really doing, according to the EPA and states like California and Oregon, is hurting the state’s economies by lowering the revenue they get from gasoline taxes. Less fuel bought = less taxes collected = “We’re really gonna git you now, sucka’!”

So, facing declining tax revenues, what’s a future-thinking state legislature gonna do? Well, cars are “smart” now, they have computers in them and everything! They keep track of how fast you drive, how much time the vehicle spends at any given speed, like driving in stop-&-go traffic, etc. Most are even equipped with a GPS (global positioning satellite) device — think “On Star” from GM — that lets the car know exactly where it is on the planet to within a foot or so. Here’s where it gets real fun. CBSNews reports today that some states, facing projected reductions in fuel tax revenue due to increased use of more fuel efficient vehicles will have to start taxing motorist “by the mile".

Officials in car-clogged California are so worried they may be considering a replacement for the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called “tax by the mile.”

Seeing tax dollars dwindling, neighboring Oregon has already started road testing the idea.

“Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it’s as simple as that,” says engineer David Kim.

As outlined above, they can track you via your GPS system to monitor “where” you drive, in the city or in rural areas, and via the car’s computer to track “when” you drive, during rush hour, middle of the night, etc. CBS goes on:

The new tax would be charged each time you fill up. A computer inside the gas pump would communicate with your car’s odometer to calculate how much you owe.

The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use. That’s an idea that could break the bottleneck on California’s freeways.

So go ahead and buy that Honda Insight, Toyota Prius or Ford Escape hybrid, pay the extra three grand over a regular vehicle, and sleep better at night, all while knowing that you are hastening the days of Big Brother that Mr. Orwell predicted way back in 1848.


Bob Lutz’s Field of Dreams

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 5:05 pm

In his latest FastLane blog post, Field of Dreams, Bob Lutz reveals some of his personal automotive-business history and also announces that a great new era of car design is upon us. Go there and see the pic of the Kadett he turned on its back while he was at Opel in the ’60s! Lutz is truly an industry icon, and those of us that are rooting for GM to finally and completely get its act together wish him all the best. He wraps up by saying:

It makes it a very exciting time to be in this business. Because we’re getting
back to what it’s all about: Building the stuff that dreams are made of.
OK, I’m dreaming of RWD, 400+ HP, 4-seater, IRS, under $40K & great looks — Bring it on, Bob!

GM, Fiat Put Option — Over and Done

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 10:32 am

Oh well! My dreams of going down to my local Saab or Cadillac dealer and picking up a new Alfa Brea or Maserati Quattroporte will remain just that, dreams. It was announced today that Fiat and GM came to an agreement that dissolved the “put” option that would have forced General Motors to buy the automotive part of the Fiat companies. Reuters reports:

MILAN (Reuters) - General Motors Corp. will pay Fiat 1.55 billion euros ($1.99 billion) in a deal to drop an option which would have forced the U.S. giant to buy the Italian firm’s loss-making car unit, GM said in a statement.

In the statement, GM said both the Fiat-GM Powertrain and the purchasing joint ventures would be dissolved.

GM will also acquire an interest in “key strategic diesel engine assets and other important rights” through the deal.

GM will return its 10 percent stake in Fiat Auto. … “

After all those 0 percent auto loans, dealer cash allowances, consumer rebates and all, what’s an easy 2 billon dollars between friends anyway?


300C SRT8

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:47 am

Today, Wards Auto World Online takes an up-close-and-personal look at Chrysler’s latest SRT performance model, the 300C SRT8, and comes away much impressed!

When can you call a 4,160-lb. (1,888-kg) fullsize sedan nimble? When it’s packing 425 hp from the all-new Hemi 6.1L V-8 found under the hood of the ’05 Chrysler 300C SRT8.

The 300C SRT8 is the second vehicle in the Chrysler stable to wear the badge of the SRT performance-tuning unit, following the Crossfire SRT6. Engineers and designers were careful not to go overboard on the styling of the 300C SRT8, largely because the Chrysler-brand interpretation of the SRT performance formula is more subdued than the extrovert styling expounded by Dodge-badged SRT models.

“For us, Chrysler is sophisticated, refined performance technology,” says Dan Knott, director, Street and Racing Technology (SRT)-Chrysler Group. “The individual who is sitting at a light in a Chrysler SRT, he or she knows in their gut they can blow the doors off of the guy sitting next to them. In a Dodge, it’s much more about bad, bold and in your face.”

We can’t wait to get our hands on one as well, and our BTG Motoring affiliate will be right there with the first and best aftermarket accessories for this new domestic “super sedan", just like it has been for the “regular” 300C. Wards wraps up their comments with these words:

Chrysler has once again raised the bar when it comes to performance and affordability with the 300C SRT8. While its horsepower rating falls a bit shy of some of its performance division-tuned competitors – including the Mercedes Benz E55 AMG (469 hp) and Cadillac STS-V (440 hp) – it’s pretty darn close.

The 300C SRT8’s $39,995 base price is the ultimate equalizer. The cost is nearly half the $79,500 base price of the E55 AMG. On a performance-for-dollar scale, the 300C SRT8 may be the most logical buy in the performance-sedan segment.

Now that’s what we’re talking about!


Not Just a ‘One Trick Pony"!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:19 am

Ward’s Auto World
reports today that the executives at the Chrysler branch of Daimler/Chrysler are determined to keep the hot buzz going for the 300C and it’s stablemate at Dodge, the Magnum.

Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, Chrysler Group says it already is pursuing derivative options for its LX rear-wheel-drive platform, including a possible stretched version.

The auto maker vows it will not repeat the mistakes made with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was an initial hit that commanded long waiting lines for delivery to which Chrysler over-reacted by adding production at a second plant in Graz, Austria.

“We don’t see the 300 as a one-car wonder. It’s not going to be like the PT that was strong only a few months,” says Eric Ridenour, executive vice president-product development at Chrysler Group. …”

300C Convertible Show Car Interior — SEMA ‘04 (photo by ABDesign)

We certainly hope that Chrysler follows through with its plan to offer more variations of this dynamic and exciting platform. A convertible and/or a limo would be great places to start! For those of you lucky enough to already own one, here is a high-flow 300C intake system to consider, and here is a cool stainless steel 300C exhaust system!

My hat’s off to Chrysler for its bold interpretation of the classic “Big American Car"! I just hope that GM steps up and brings out some new affordable product with this much style and in-your-face attitude, and that they do it soon.


Keystone Restyling Reborn

Filed under: — maiers @ 2:38 pm

We’re proud to announce that Keystone Restyling, one of BTG Motoring’s premiere lines of aftermarket hoods, has joined forces with the manufacturing giant Core Molding Technologies (CMT) of Columbus Ohio. CMT has steadily grown its marketshare in the FRP market and now enjoys relationships with every major North American-based truck manufacturer and leading companies in other segments including the ever growing aftermarket for custom products.

The major changes include the technology used in manufacturing their hoods. The majority of aftermarket hoods available today use the antiquated spray-up/chopper gun method of composite production. CMT employs wet layup of true fiberglass "cloth" which results in a much superior, incredibly stronger final product. Finish times for the installer are therefore minimized as there is much less cleanup and surface prep before final paint and installation.

Keystone Restyling hoods take full advantage of this technology. Their product line includes applications for Chevy, Dodge, Ford and GMC truck lines plus Acura, Honda and Mitsubishi passenger cars. Order fullfilment times have been streamlined by this new alliance and product is now shipping upon demand.

BTG Motoring, for all your car, truck or SUV parts and accessories

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