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Happy Birthday Nissan

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  • On 01, Jun 2012

“It was on this day in 1934 that the “Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha” (translated to Automobile Manufacturing Co. Ltd.) took on the name we now know it as – Nissan. The name comes from a shortened form of Nihon Sangyo, the company that became the 100% investor at a stockholder’s meeting.

Just a year later, Nissan already had its first full assembly plant up and running, producing the Datsun Model 14. They also settled on a logo. Unfortunately, with World War II just around the corner, Nissan Motor Co. would then become Nissan Heavy Industries, producing vehicles for the Japanese Army.

It wasn’t until 1949 that Nissan would again become Nissan Motor Co. where over the next several years, they would form a “technical cooperation” alliance with Austin of England. It was also around this time when Nissan would acquire the Prince brand. You may not have heard of them, but it was Prince that came up with the original Skyline in 1957. For reference, the Skyline above is a 3rd generation. Without them, we might not have the Godzilla GT-R we know and love today.

Despite the continued use of the Datsun name, Nissan dropped it entirely in the 1980s, but not before slapping the badge on the legendary Z-cars. Nissan is bringing the name back, but only for developing markets.”

Source: Autoblog

Real Life MacGuyver

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  • On 28, May 2012

“According to Merriam-Webster, ingenuity can be defined as “skill or cleverness in devising or combining” or “cleverness or aptness of design or contrivance.” We’d say that’s an apt description of a Frenchman named Emile who reportedly found himself stranded in the deserts of Northwest Africa after breaking a frame rail and a suspension swingarm underneath his Citroën 2CV.

What to do? Why, disassemble the broken hulk and build yourself a motorcycle from its pile of parts, of course! As the story goes, Emile was able to use the inventive machine to escape the desert, though not before convincing the local authorities that he wasn’t an insurgent and paying a fine for importing a non-conforming vehicle…

Since Emile was the only soul in the area, nobody has been able to confirm the veracity of the events that led to the little French runabout’s conversion into a makeshift motorcycle. That said, judging by the images you can see here (apparently from the March 2003 issue of 2CV Magazine), this Citroën-bred two-wheeler does indeed exist, and it was definitely fashioned from parts scavenged from an old 2CV.

Emile, wherever you are, we take our hats off to your real-life MacGuyver skills, sir.”

Source: Autoblog

Top gear DeltaWing

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  • On 22, May 2012

“Think back to childhood for a moment. What did you do when you wanted, say, a new skateboard, but mom and dad were dragging their heels about ponying up for one? That’s right, you built your own, out of bits of scrap plywood and some old wheels discarded by an older sibling. And it sucked.

We see the same situation playing out here. The children at Top Gear are absolutely gaga for the DeltaWing race car, which Nissan will be campaigning at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. And even if they are Top Gear, nobody at Nissan is going to just give them an experimental race car for futzing around. So they are building their own. Or at least a simulacrum of the DeltaWing, out of what appears to be junk.

Details are scarce, but the image gallery Top Gear has on its website tells enough of the story that we’re pretty sure they aren’t going to come anywhere close. Not only does the 498 kilogram (1,100-pound) curb weight of the revolutionary race car present something of a challenge when you’re basically welding the thing up from scratch, but whatever that ancient engine sitting in the nose of the Top Gear project is, we’re plenty sure it won’t be packing the 300-plus horsepower of Nissan’s turbocharged four.

But just as your pre-pubescent charm and pluckiness eventually prevailed in the skateboard scenario, we’re thinking Top Gear might be on to something with its fanboy-ish DeltaWing replica. After all, mom may have embarrassed you in the skate shop, but she did get you the real thing, didn’t she?”

Source: Autoblog

Toyota CEO Lists Favorite Cars

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  • On 22, May 2012

“During a meeting of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota president Akio Toyoda offered a “Chapeau!” to his fellow CEOs by listing his favorite cars from other makers. He listed just one vehicle from five makers represented on the board, in alphabetical order: the Honda NSX, Isuzu Bellett, Mazda Cosmo, Mitsubishi Pajero (Montero in the U.S.) and Nissan Skyline.

Toyoda didn’t give his reasons for choosing these car beyond each being “memorable.” Even so, going through the list any car enthusiast knows the Honda (Acura in the States) NSX needs no introduction nor explanation. The Mitsubishi Pajero is probably as well known for it’s off-road excellence as it is for its name change in Spanish-speaking lands due to the word “pajero” – all the more intriguing when it’s apparently named after an Argentine cat, Leopardus pajeros. And although the “Skyline” moniker was made famous overseas by the GT-R, the Nissan Skyline that Toyoda references has a long history and is our Infiniti G.

The Mazda Cosmo (pictured) was an Italian-esque little coupe produced from 1967 to 1995, the first series production vehicle with a two-rotor rotary engine. The Isuzu Bellett was that firm’s in-house replacement for the English Hillmans it was rebranding, the first Japanese car to get GT badging (it would also get a GT-R version), and it would cover just about every segment with sedan, coupe, station wagon and pickup truck variants.”

Source: Autoblog

GM Scales Back Marketing

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  • On 22, May 2012

“The overhaul of General Motors’ marketing battle plan isn’t finished. The Wall Street Journal reports that Joel Ewanick, GM’s global marketing chief, is giving the brand a hiatus from Super Bowl advertising, believing it’s just got too expensive and that variety is called for. Thirty-second spots for next year’s big game are projected to cost US$3.8 million.

The development comes quickly after GM decided to stop buying ads on Facebook citing a lack of effectiveness (to which Ford responded), and comes during a year of realignment efforts throughout the company: a global review of accounts began earlier this year and some were quickly let go, a brand new agency was created for Chevrolet and set up shop in Detroit, and personnel are being realigned.

The General’s global ad spend in 2011 was US$4.7 billion, and word is that GM doesn’t plan on spending less, it only wishes to spend better – Ewanick says the changes made so far will net the company US$2 billion in savings over the next five years. It’s clear he’s looking to unlock more efficiencies; observers say that GM is also trying to improve its ad performance overseas and find better ways to reach demographics that have migrated in all directions and to all media.”

Source: Autoblog

Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept

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  • On 22, May 2012

“There was nary a peep of discontent about the looks of the Subaru Advanced Tourer concept revealed at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. But when everyone was clamoring for Scooby to transfer the Advanced Tourer’s looks to a production vehicle, never once did people ask for that transfer to be foisted on the WRX. A report in Motor Trend, though, says that’s what’s happening: the concept “was actually an early look at the next-generation Subaru WRX.”

MT’s sources said the front end Advanced Tourer’s front end will go onto the WRX, with other aspects of the concept made more aggressive to suit the personality of Subaru’s rally-ready racer. And if the concept also presages the next WRX’s dimensions, then you can expect the next-generation sedan and hatchback to be larger (though in truth we don’t anticipate a big gain in footprint).

Notice the name “Impreza” hasn’t appeared anywhere in our discussion yet. Subaru is reportedly dropping the name in an attempt to get more ‘Likes’ for the WRX by making it more approachable, so the next model will relinquish its association with the Impreza line and be more performanced focused even as it is receives a better interior and is morphed into a “more-mature sporty grand tourer.” Engine choices are still being debated for the car due in 2015; the rumored options include 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinders and a hybrid version of the 1.6-litre.”

Source: Autoblog

Nissan GTR Dominates

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  • On 14, May 2012

“After eight days, 5,300 kilometers, nine tracks and untold bloody knuckles and zip ties, the song remains the same: Leh Keen and the No. 3 TopSpeed Motorsports Nissan GT-R emerged victorious at the 2012 Tire Rack One Lap of America on Sunday. Keen, his co-drivers Doug Wilks and Lawrence Richard, and their 2010 GT-R put on a clinic, remaining atop or near the top of the leaderboard of every event, from road courses to ovals to drag races and autocrosses.

If Keen’s name sounds familiar, it’s either because you follow racing – the Georgia native is a multiple Grand Am Rolex GT series champion, currently campaigning a Porsche 911 GT3 with Brumos Racing – or because you follow One Lap (this is the third victory in a row for Keen and his second victory in a row at the wheel of the black and green GT-R). In fact, the top three spots this year were all occupied by Nissan’s heavyweight, with the No. 4 2009 GT-R of Todd Treffert and Tyson Timperley and the No. 7 2012 GT-R of Hugh Bate and Craig Kahle rounding out the podium. A total of seven GT-Rs entered this year’s One Lap, though none were officially sanctioned Nissan efforts.

Of course, for most competitors and fans, Brock Yates’ One Lap isn’t actually about winning – there’s no prize money doled out and trophies are modest. The event is more about the camaraderie among driving enthusiasts that inevitably results from one of the most unique and challenging tests in motorsports – a week-long pressure-cooker test of man and machine.”

Source: Autoblog

Lotus Evora GTC

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  • On 14, May 2012

“You might say the same for any number of automakers, but in this case it rings particularly true: Lotus wouldn’t be Lotus without racing. It’s what forged the company at its outset, and that hasn’t eluded the management team lead by Dany Behar. Say what you will about his overly ambitious plans to expand the company’s product portfolio – he’s also lead the company (or at least the brand) into a variety of racing series, and this is its latest product.

A further evolution of the Evora GT4 Enduro, the new Evora GTC packs carbon-fiber body panels in place of fiberglass and plexi windows to help trim 30 kilograms (66 pounds) off its the GT4’s curb weight that’s now down to 1,130 kilograms (less than 2,500 pounds, depending on customer specification).

The 4.0-litre V6 carries over with 450 horsepower and an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, both of which are further enhanced by new traction control and Bosch ABS, with eighteen-inch competition alloys packed into flared fenders.

Having already undergone exhausting testing at the company’s Hethel test track, the Evora GTC has already found its first customers that will be fielding theirs in the Grand-Am series and Britcar MSA Endurance Championship.”

Source: Autoblog

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