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31 Oct 2014

Perfectly restored Tucker 48 gets 15 more minutes of fame

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Tucker 48 Restoration

There’s something about the sheer audacity of the Tucker 48, sometimes also called the Torpedo, that makes this quirky American sedan so intriguing even 60-plus years after its introduction. Preston Tucker was only ever to complete 51 of them, and several of the remaining units were sold at auction after the company went bankrupt. Despite all of that, with its air-cooled flat-six engine hanging out back and Cyclops-like center headlight, the car has continued to withstand the test of time.

The Tucker 48 in this video is the 46th example made and is now completely restored to its original glory. The work from Nostalgic Motoring, a Michigan restoration shop that knows its Tuckers, leaves the sedan in absolutely immaculate condition, and company owner Mark Lieberman takes viewers on a full tour of the car and its features. Check out the clip to learn a little more about these rare, American vehicles.

Continue reading Perfectly restored Tucker 48 gets 15 more minutes of fame

Perfectly restored Tucker 48 gets 15 more minutes of fame originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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31 Oct 2014

Five cursed and haunted cars

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fog in the city

Any kid lucky enough to grow up in Detroit is familiar with the Henry Ford Museum. It’s huge, full of shiny things and a great place to take a child and let them burn off some energy. After several field trips and weekend outings however, the dusty concept vehicles and famous aircraft tend to lose their punch for youngsters. As a fifth grader, I was already gazing on the museum’s many gems with glassy eyes. On yet another school trip, we made our way to John F. Kennedy’s death car, a gleaming black Lincoln limo. The aging volunteer docent told our little group something I had never heard before.

“You know, this car is haunted. Several employees have reported seeing a gray presence right here,” he said, pointing to the back passenger side seat.

I perked up. Now here was something I had never heard before. A haunted car? Sure, it happened in Goosebumps, but this was real life. It made sense, in a way. Cars can be violent, emotional places. That’s certainly the case with JFK’s limo, as well as the other four cars on this list. And maybe those gut-wrenching deaths can permanently doom a car.

Continue reading Five cursed and haunted cars

Five cursed and haunted cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Oct 2014

Chinese protesting VW recall fix nationwide

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Wen Jiabao Visits Volkswagen Factory

This is unquestionably the year of the recall in the United States with an estimated 544 campaigns so far (and counting) that cover around 52 million cars. The repairs are almost starting to seem normal at this point, but apparently the same can’t be said for China. That country’s buyers are protesting Volkswagen for its handling of one recent safety action.

The issue concerns VW’s 1.1-million-vehicle recall in China and North America to fix the rear suspensions on some models of the Beetle, Jetta and the Sagitar. If the rear suspension is damaged in an accident, some parts could subsequently shatter while driving. To rectify the problem, the company is adding a part that makes a sound signaling if an inspection is required. Chinese buyers also get a 10-year warranty on rear-suspension repairs related to the campaign, according to Bloomberg.

The recall affects around 581,000 vehicles in China, which seems moderate by current US standards, but consumers are very displeased with how the campaign is going. They believe that VW is downplaying the severity of the problem. According to Bloomberg, there were recently protests at dealers in Shanghai and Shenzhen with people holding up banners and handing out leaflets against the brand.

The protesters have urged even more demonstrations around the country in the coming weeks, and some have requested that VW either replace the entire rear suspension or refund buyers. According to Bloomberg, at least 340 Sagitar owners have employed a Beijing law firm to sue the automaker. They claim that some vehicles have had rear suspension problems without being involved in an accident and that the company’s handling of the campaign has been unsatisfactory.

Chinese protesting VW recall fix nationwide originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Oct 2014

FCA recalling 33k vans and SUVs for TPMS problems in two campaigns

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Ram ProMaster

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is issuing two, separate recalls covering a total of 33,443 examples in the US of the 2014 Ram ProMaster, 2014 Jeep Wrangler, 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and 2014 Chrysler Town & Country because of potential problems with the tire pressure monitoring system in the vehicles.

The first campaign is for 23,053 units of the 2014 Ram ProMaster. It’s possible for the TPMS to not recognize the location of the data coming from the sensors in the wheels. If this happens, then the low tire pressure warning light comes on and potentially gives the driver a false positive. If the warning isn’t cleared, and drivers keep going, they might not be aware of another tire that actually has low pressure. This fix for this is a software update.

The second recall covers 10,390 examples of the 2014 Wrangler, Grand Caravan and Town & Country. According to FCA, it’s possible that a test mode for the TPMS is still on since being shipped from the supplier. On affected vehicles, it could cause inaccurate pressure readings. The repair involves disabling that mode on the TPMS module.

Neither issue is responsible for known injuries or accidents, and affected customers should be advised by mail in November. Scroll down to read FCA’s statement about both recalls and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report for the ProMaster campaign. The agency has not yet published a similar announcement for the other repair.

Continue reading FCA recalling 33k vans and SUVs for TPMS problems in two campaigns

FCA recalling 33k vans and SUVs for TPMS problems in two campaigns originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Oct 2014

This Porsche 356 family keeps it outlaw

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Rod Emory was the founder of Emory Motorsports in Burbank, CA, and the scion to a family tradition of building “outlaw” Porsches that are almost as cool as the cars themselves. The lovingly modified Porsche 356s are lovely artifacts, and their story, along with the story of their builders, is pitch-perfect for the Petrolicious oeuvre of beloved classics.

Tune in for the history lesson, and then stick around for the car candy.

Continue reading This Porsche 356 family keeps it outlaw

This Porsche 356 family keeps it outlaw originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

NHTSA probing Ram recall pace, communication

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Ram 1500

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it’s looking into Chrysler Group’s handling of a pair of recalls affecting roughly one million Ram pickup trucks. Reuters is reporting that the regulatory agency is focusing on the availability (or lack thereof) of parts and “poor communications” from the automaker in its investigation.

Customers have been advised in accordance with the regulations governing recalls,” Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Reuters via email. “We are continually replenishing our supply of replacement parts. Chrysler Group regrets any inconvenience our customers may have experienced.”

NHTSA disagrees, arguing that the recalls, which affect 972,000 trucks from 2003 to 2012, are being delayed by the lack of parts.

“We have concerns with the administration and execution of these safety recalls and accordingly have opened an investigation to collect further information from Chrysler about the details of administration and execution of these campaigns and the logic that supports the strategies used,” NHTSA wrote in a letter to Chrysler earlier this month, Reuters reports.

Over 1,000 consumers complained to NHTSA, prompting the probe, according to documents acquired by Reuters. Customers claimed that they attempted to have the recall work performed after Chrysler announced repairs would begin in January, only to be told by dealers it could take months for parts to become available.

NHTSA probing Ram recall pace, communication originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

Why basing car recalls on geography is stupid

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Air Bag Recall

Geographic or regional recalls – the practice of recalling vehicles based on their geographic location – may seem to make sense. After all, why recall a corrosion-prone spare tire carrier (as Toyota did in 2010 and 2012) in areas where rust isn’t a major factor, or humidity-prone airbags (as per the Takata case) in dry climates? But the latest analysis suggests that the practice could be dangerously flawed.

Speaking with safety experts and congressional advocates, TheDetroitBureau.com notes that the Takata airbag issue does not necessarily only affect vehicles located in states with high levels of humidity on which the massive recall campaign has focused. The problem in this case revolves around is the essential mobility of automobiles. For one thing, owners of vehicles registered in northern states (like “snowbirds” based in the northeast but spending the winter in Florida) that have not been the focus of the recall may spend extended periods of time in southern states that are, but would be left outside the geographic region addressed by the recall. For another, used vehicles are often shifted from one part of the country to another, potentially transcending such regional lines.

While the high-profile case of Hien Tran – who was apparently killed by shrapnel from the faulty airbag in her Honda Accord in Orlando, FL – may make the case for regional recalls, the three other known fatalities resulting from the problematic airbags were registered in Oklahoma, Virginia and California. Those are all states which aren’t particularly humid and were thus left outside the scope of the regional recall.

Issues like these have prompted lawmakers including Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthan (D-CT) to call for new safety regulations that would eliminate the practice of geographic recalls. “To issue a selective geographic recall is absolutely irresponsible and reprehensible when people living in other states may be equally at risk,” Sen. Blumenthal said in an interview with the Bureau.

For our part, we can definitely see the point in limiting the practice of regional recalls. But in the case of the Takata debacle, where automakers lack the spare parts to enact the recall on millions of vehicles across the country at once, perhaps the best approach would be to start in those states with high levels of humidity and gradually work outwards to encompass all vehicles fitted with the troublesome equipment, regardless of where they’re registered.

Why basing car recalls on geography is stupid originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs

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2014 Ram HD

Between GM’s ignition switches and Takata’s airbags, it’s been a big year for recalls, but they keep rolling in. The latest comes from Chrysler, which has announced a pair of recalls for certain heavy-duty pickups and SUVs.

The first issue revolves around the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine available in the 2010-2014 Ram HD trucks, including 2500 and 3500 series pickups as well as 4500 and 5500 series chassis cabs. In the affected units, “a terminal connector near the fuel heater may be subject to friction-induced corrosion,” according to the first of the two announcements from Chrysler below.

The problem could result in overheating and fuel leakage. Chrysler launched its investigation following cases of overheating, none of which actually started a fire, much less an injury or accident. As a precautionary measure, however, Chrysler is instructing service technicians to replace the terminals on an estimated 381,876 Ram units around the world – the vast majority of those (314,704) registered in the US, another 59,432 in Canada, 1,803 in Mexico and 5,937 abroad.

The second recall involves the 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee. In the affected units, Chrysler has found that a debris cover can disrupt a circuit board’s functioning and disable the vehicle’s stability control system. Chrysler reports that it isn’t aware of any injuries or accidents resulting from this issue, either, but to fix the problem, Chrysler technicians need only upgrade the software. This recall affects 184,186 units globally – 132,223 in the US, 8,871 in Canada, 4,742 in Mexico and a further 38,350 abroad.

Continue reading Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs

Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

Chevy SSR gets shot at redemption vs. El Camino in Generation Gap Bowtie brawl

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Chevy SSR versus El Camino SS

It usually takes several years to figure out if a car’s design is standing the test of time to become a future classic. When new, the Chevrolet SSR was derided at practically every turn, largely for its retrofuturistic styling and Trailblazer-based underpinnings, but now some time has passed. Maybe it’s time for a revaluation.

This week Generation Gap aims to find out if the SSR’s time has finally come, but it’s putting the unusual pickup against the stiffest competition imaginable – a 1970 El Camino SS 454. They are both expressive Chevrolet pickups, but one of them is a better-regarded classic, and the other remains a bit of an automotive punchline.

A stock 2004 SSR would lose easily to the high-performance El Camino, and Generation Gap has attempted to even the odds just a little with an example tuned by Lingenfelter. Its 5.3-liter V8 features a supercharger to boost power to a claimed 385 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. Getting on the throttle is greeted by a scream of blower whine from under the hood, which is actually rather impressive.

However, the newer Chevy is fighting a previous heavyweight. The El Camino packs a 7.4-liter (454-cubic-inch) V8 pumping out 360 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque through a Muncie four-speed manual. It’s just one of 325 made that way for that year.

Check out the video to see if it’s time to reconsider Chevy’s iconoclastic folding hardtop convertible muscle pickup.

Continue reading Chevy SSR gets shot at redemption vs. El Camino in Generation Gap Bowtie brawl

Chevy SSR gets shot at redemption vs. El Camino in Generation Gap Bowtie brawl originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 Oct 2014

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 is a love letter to Steve McQueen

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1967 ferrari 275 gtb/4

There have been plenty of movie stars who’ve been into cars, but few genuine aficionados like Steve McQueen. The legendary King of Cool was known for driving his green Mustang and Porsche prototypes on the big screen, but in his private life, he loved his Ferrari.

There was, of course, his iconic 250 GT Lusso, but back in 1967, the actor and sometimes racer also bought a rare 275 NART Spyder. Sadly, that car was totaled a mere two days after he took possession, and there were no replacements available. So he bought this hardtop 275 GTB/4 instead.

Ferrari’s Classiche department recently restored the car to pristine condition and RM Auctions sold it for over $10 million, but there’s more to its story than its celebrity provenance and high hammer price. Listen to the guys who worked on it for McQueen tell the car’s story in this latest video from the Aficionauto.

Continue reading 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 is a love letter to Steve McQueen

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 is a love letter to Steve McQueen originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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