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Jimmy Hoffa’s Body

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  • On 02, Jan 2012

“If you’re looking for the bones of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, you may need look no further than the General Motors headquarters. According to a new book by Hoffa’s former driver and mob goon Marvin Elkind, Hoffa’s corpse rests below the cement foundation of the Renaissance Center. Elkind co-wrote Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob with a Canadian journalist, and according to one passage, reported mob boss Anthony Giacalone told Teamsters delegates to “Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys,” as he nodded to the foundation of the Renaissance Center during a conference in Detroit in 1985.

Thin evidence? Sure, but the news is just as credible as any of the other theories concerning Hoffa’s dissappearance. From a burial under the end zone of the old Giants Stadium in New Jersey to cremation at a Hamtramck waste disposal facility, plenty of urban legends surround the union leader’s vanishing act. Something tells us no one’s going to be ripping up the floor boards at the RenCenter looking for musty bones anytime soon, however”

Source: Autoblog

Jerekmy Clarkson in Trouble Again

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  • On 02, Jan 2012

“Pretty much every time Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson opens his mouth these days, someone takes offense, which does make it hard to tell whether Clarkson is actually offensive.

The latest complaints have come after the Top Gear Christmas special, in which Clarkson and his posse go to India on a “trade mission.” According to The Telegraph, the BBC has received 23 complaints about the show, in which Clarkson is charged with making insensitive remarks about Indian clothing, trains, food and history.

Clarkson’s “funny” bits on the show included dropping his pants in front of Indian dignitaries and outfitting a Jaguar XJS with a toilet seat and then driving around Indian slums, according to the report. Clarkson reportedly described the Jag as “perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots.”

While we haven’t seen the episode, we do know that the XJS has a reputation for crapping out with some frequency.”

Source: Autoblog

New Material for Cars

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  • On 02, Jan 2012

“Automakers are being pinched to increase safety and improve fuel efficiency, but those two goals often work against each other. That could change thanks to a material that is 99.99-per cent air.

Ward’s Automotive reports that the California Institute of Technology, HRL Laboratories and the University of California-Irvine have combined to develop a micro-lattice material that is said to be 100 times lighter than Styrofoam and strong like steel. We’d call this material paper-thin, but the truth is even more impressive: the material is comprised of tiny woven tubes that are 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.

The U.S. Department of Defense is obviously interested in this material for top-secret projects like next-generation aircraft, but the micro-lattice is also of great interest to the auto industry. The material could greatly reduce weight and drag, which would in turn significantly increase efficiency. At the same time, the material can reportedly almost completely recover after stress of up to 50 per cent and has impressive energy absorbing characteristics. That means the material could also be a safety asset, which is good news for automakers and consumers.

Cal Tech Professor Julia Greer adds that the material could ultimately replace any non heavy-steel component that isn’t already light in weight. A material with less air would reportedly be the next step in the evolution of lightweight metals, and the scientists are working on a nano-lattice that can do just that.

We don’t know much about these micro and nano materials, but we’re guessing it will be a while before the materials are inexpensive enough for automotive applications. But if the U.S. government and airplane manufactures can jump aboard and bring down the manufacturing costs, we could see this type of material helping automakers achieve those 50+ mile per gallon fuel economy (less than 4.7 L/100 km) standards.”

Source: Autoblog

$20M Lexus Mega Dealership

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  • On 27, Dec 2011

“Like those in the downtown core of many North American cities, many of the car dealerships in downtown Toronto are a little rough around the edges. Many have been dealerships of one sort or another for decades and have often been converted from another use from decades before that. These are not the type of place that consumers expect to visit when they purchase an expensive luxury automobile. They expect opulence and exclusivity. Lexus Downtown plans to give it to them.

This latest high end store overlooking the Toronto skyline will cover a massive 108,000 sq.ft. of space and will cost a whopping $20 million to build. The six story building will feature 14 service bays and a third floor event space that even has a proper kitchen for the resident chef. A two lane drive through with high speed doors will ensure that car owners never have to step foot out in the weather when they come in for service.

When “guests” (Lexus speak for customers) arrive to pick up their new ride, they will take an elevator to the delivery bay. Staff may have a challenge explaining all of the features of the new car to guests who are dazzled by the view of the city through floor to ceiling windows.”

Source: Autoblog

Steve McQueen’s Race Suit

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  • On 27, Dec 2011

“Two bits of automotive movie history at a Profiles in History auction held earlier this month have drawn massive bids from collectors. As you may recall, Steve McQueen’s racing suit costume from Le Mans was poised to go under the gavel with the auction house estimating the Gulf Oil suit would fetch between $200,000 and $300,000. Hemmings says that by the time the last bid came in, the suit had fetched a staggering US$984,000, thereby proving that when it comes to celebrity auctions, few names can draw dollar bills quite like McQueen. The actor’s Porsche 911, which he drove in the film, recently sold for US$1.25 million.

McQueen’s Le Mans suit wasn’t the only big draw, however. The same auction also saw a DeLorean DMC-12 used in the filming of Back to the Future III pull sizable bids of its own. The flux-capacitor-equipped gullwing met the auction house’s estimates with a towering final bid of US$541,200. Great Scot, indeed.”

Source: Autoblog

Subaru Promises Rally Return

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  • On 27, Dec 2011

“Unlike most cities, Japan’s capital city plays host to two major automotive exhibitions: the Tokyo Motor Show and the Tokyo Auto Salon. While these terms may be interchangeable when it comes to European expos, in Tokyo, they connote two different shows altogether. The first is the Motor Show, where new concepts and production models are unveiled by the world’s automakers. The Auto Salon is more of a tuner expo along the lines of the SEMA show in Las Vegas. So after Subaru made its long-anticipated splash at the Tokyo Motor Show with its new BRZ, now it’s heading to the Salon with some modified versions.

First up is a version of the BRZ Concept STI, packing some prototype carbon-fibre components, suspension upgrades, Brembo brakes and more. Subaru has also teamed up again with aftermarket tuner Prova (which shares its name with the traditional license plates carried by prototypes in Italy) for a BRZ Black Edition. And you can bet there will be a handful or two of other tuners eager to show what they can do with the new rear-drive sports coupe, as well.

Subaru itself will also be showcasing an upgraded Impreza called the G4 STI with all manner of performance enhancements, and will, at long last, announce its return to a number of different motorsport disciplines. The Super GT300-spec BRZ, which we already know about, will be displayed alongside the Legacy-based racer it replaces. But there will also be a WRX STI that’s slated to be fielded at the Nürburgring 24, and Subaru will also be announcing its return to professional rally competition, though not the World Rally Championship series it left years ago, it will contest the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.”

Source: Autoblog

Pikes Peak May Be Extended

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  • On 27, Dec 2011

“2012 will be the first year that the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be held on an entirely paved road, and while many who have long been involved with the event are bemoaning the loss of the gravel sections, the full tarmac course has peaked interest in the race. In fact, event organizers are considering adding a second race day for 2013. This time last year only 46 racers has expressed interest in participating in the event, but that number is already up to 170 for next year’s race.

“The interest is astronomical compared to last year,” says Tom Osborne, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb board chairman. “We’re seeing all kinds of unique new cars.” Osborne says that the race will likely have to hold a qualifying for 2012 to limit the number of entries into each class.

While you can count us in the group that will miss the gravel, we’re duly excited to see what sort of new cars show up to Pikes Peak in the next several years.”

Source: Autoblog

Juke-R Making its Racing Debut

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  • On 27, Dec 2011

“The Dubai Autodrome will play host to a very special guest for the 2012 Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai race.

In addition to the scads of GT3-spec BMW Z4s, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs, Ferrari 458 Italias and Porsche 911s, the pace car running in front of them will be none other than the Nissan Juke R.

The 480-horsepower GT-R/Juke mash-up hasn’t made its debut in front of the public yet, so unless Nissan has a surprise up its sleeves before the race, which is scheduled for the weekend of January 12-14, this will be Juke R’s coming out party. We won’t be on hand to snag shots of the R in Dubai, but rumour has it that it could make its first North American appearance at the Chicago Auto Show.”

Source: Autoblog

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