Slow CODA Sales AND a recall?

Slow sales is never a good thing.  Unless the product is a niche product.  With CODA, the tiny start-up electric car company based out of Los Angeles, CA, sales have been slow.  Horribly slow.

CODA’s been mum about sales figures since March (when the cars started showing up in the showrooms).  But, NHTSA recently recalled ALL CODA vehicles.  CODA won’t tell how many that is, but it seems that CODA has only sold about 78 (if that much) units since March.  The recall will fix a side-airbag problem:  The airbags may or may not deploy in the event of a crash.  Why?  Because they were not installed properly in Benicia, CA.  Oops.  This could mean life or death for CODA.  Here’s to hoping there’s no more problems with the car.

One of the World’s Oldest Luxury Automobile Makers is 110 (and two days)!

Happy Birthday to you, Cadillac!  110 years and two days ago, Cadillac was formed by Henry Leland.  Henry Leland took the remnants of the Henry Ford Company, and started Cadillac.  110 years and two days later, Cadillac is still very much a part of the luxury automobile industry.  In honor of the 110th anniversary of Caddy, here is a list of the top five coolest Cadillacs from Motor Trend.  After that, I will add about one or two to the list.  Feel free to comment with your favorite Caddy.  I can’t wait to see what your favorites are!

1937 Cadillac Phaeton model 5859 — Look up classic beauty in the dictionary, and you’ll see an image of the custom-built 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood V-16 shown here. The Phaeton model 5859 was built by coachbuilder Fran Roxas who relied on the original blueprints of Cadillac designer John Hampshire. The original sketches of the powerful V-16 car served as inspiration for the Ciel concept car.

1937 Fleetwood Cadillac V16 300x187 image

1937 Cadillac Phaeton model 5859

1949 Cadillac— The 1949 Cadillac was a major step forward for the company, as the outgoing car’s ancient L-head V-8 was replaced by a flathead V-8 that put out 10 more horsepower (160 versus 150). The new engine was about 200 pounds lighter, revved higher, and got better fuel mileage. The Cadillac was also named as Motor Trend’s very first Car of the Year!

1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

1959 Cadillac Eldorado — This beauty incorporated new styling, with sharp and massive tailfins that have gone down in automotive history. Its twin-bullet taillights, and jewel-like grille added to its appeal, and let’s not forget its name translates to “the golden one” in Spanish.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible

Cadillac Ciel concept — The Cadillac Ciel is just a concept, but it’s still one of the most gorgeous cars we’ve ever seen wearing the brand’s logo. Cadillac Ciel Concept Left Front Driving 300x187 image

The Ciel concept stunned spectators at Pebble Beach last year with its effortless combination of strong retro themes with Cadillac’s current design language. The four-door convertible wears rear-hinged “suicide” doors, and is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6 liter V-6 mated to a hybrid all-wheel-drive drivetrain producing an estimated 425 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque.

Cadillac CTS-V (second generation) — Where do we even begin? The CTS-V is fast, has a wonderfully composed chassis, and looks like a million bucks on the road. How do we know? We had a CTS-V in our garage for a year, and nearly everyone who got seat time with the beast fell in love.

2009 cadillac CTS V

2009 Cadillac CTS-V

Here’s my list of MY favorite Cadillacs:

2003 Cadillac CTS:  The 2003 Caddy CTS was a game-changer for Cadillac.  This was one of Cadillac’s darkest days, and the CTS is really what saved Cadillac from becoming limos.  It was the first sporty Cadillac since the mid-50’s.  This is a beautiful car that deserves a lot of recognition.  Over 300,000 were sold before production ended for the first generation in 2008.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

2003 Cadillac CTS

Cadillac Escalade:  All three generations.  The Cadillac Escalade was introduced for the 1999 model year in response to the Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes-Benz ML320/350/500, and the Lexus RX300.  The first generation didn’t sell well.  The second generation sold very well.  Money was looser than it is now.  People bought Escalades because they could.  The third generation is currently the best-selling Cadillac of the 21st Century.  According to the National Highway Loss Administration, the Cadillac Escalade is the most-stolen vehicle in the U.S.

1999 Cadillac Escalade

P.S.  Google Images is always a good place to find nice pictures of a Caddy that you want to attach for the comment.

The Ferocious New Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Attacks Yet Again!

Ford and Carroll Shelby both shared one awesome wish:  to build a production Mustang that would reach at least 200 mph, yet be tame enough to drive around town.  Their wish finally came true, and Carroll Shelby lived to see it happen!

The all-new, epic-cool Mustang GT500 weighs almost 3850 pounds (down by almost 50 from last year’s model), can do burnouts 24/7, reach 205 mph in 5th gear (as Ford claims), have almost as much torque as a Dodge Ram 2500 with the optional Cummins Turbodiesel, and get 18 mpg.  That’s gonna be kinda hard for Chevy and Dodge to beat.  It has more horsepower than the 638-horsepower Chevy Corvette ZR1, and makes ten MORE horsepower than the new Dodge Viper!  Plus, it gets pretty much the same gas mileage as a Challenger R/T.

To handle all that ludicrous power, Ford had to beef up the Tremec TR60 transmission to a 3.31:1 final drive ratio.  Because of all that power pounding the ground, Ford has HUGE brakes that have a 14 INCH diameter on the front.  The brakes are Brembo vented disc brakes with a six-piston caliper.  The back is almost as scary, with 11.8 inch vented discs with one piston calipers.  That’s what you’ll need when you need to stop from 205 mph on the Interstate 5…

The massive supercharged 5.8 liter engine was first fired up in late December.  It took almost two months of constant tuning to get the engine power consistent in power delivery.  The supercharger is the same one that GM uses on their blown LS9 Corvette engine.  That supercharger is an Eaton TVS Series 2300 supercharger.  Ford’s SVT (Special Vehicle Team) engineers went a bit crazy (in a very, very good way!) by cross-drilling the block and heads.  The camshaft profiles were updated, along with many other changes including making the block all-aluminum and carbon fiber.  They also added a larger cooling fan, a higher-flowing intercooler pump, and a much larger intercooler heat exchanger.  All of this contributes to the 200+ mph top speed (UNGOVERNED) of the GT500!

Ford states that the new GT500’s engine is the most powerful production V8 in the world.  Of course, the ridiculously fast Koenigsegg Agera R and SSC Aero TT both best 650 horsepower, delivering well over 1000 horsepower EACH!  But, if you define production as mass production, Ford’s strong statement DOES ring true.  The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is faster, lighter, seats two, has only 638 horsepower, yet 604 lb-ft of torque (four more than the GT500).

Just about anybody who has driven the previous GT500 will tell you that it had WAY too much power for the tranny to put down at one time.  Ford apparently realized this large problem and ditched the ancient 3.55:1 final drive ratio in favor of a better 3.31:1 final drive ratio.  The 0-60 times of the old GT500 were often electronically limited, and were not much faster than the less powerful GT.  SVT also optimized every gear except fourth to get maximum power down to the ground as quickly as possible.  To keep the transmission from burning out too quickly, SVT added a dual-disc clutch and a carbon-fiber driveshaft.

For those interested in beating a Camaro ZL1 on a road course should get the optional Performance Package, which adds a Torsen limited-slip differential, and an SVT-designed Bilstein suspension system.  The suspension has electronically adjustable dampers with two driver-selectable modes:  Normal and Sport.  Normal will allow more comfort on the underfunded roads of the U.S., while Sport tightens up the suspension, basically eliminating body roll in corners at track days.

The Track Package is also available when you click the Performance Package option.  The Track Package further adds onto the Performance Package by adding an:  external engine cooler, rear differential cooler, and a transmission cooler to fight heat soak at track days.  The seemingly chubby 3850 pound GT500 rides on second Generation Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar tires that are positioned on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged aluminum wheels.

Because of an all-new Mustang coming out for the Mustang’s 50th anniversary in 2015, this will most likely be the last major update for this amazingly successful pony.  Here’s to hoping that there will be an AMAZING 2018 Mustang GT500 (as 2018 will be the 50th birthday of the GT500)!  See ya suckas!  VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Here’s the link to the Ford website (which does have the Mustang GT500).

http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/

The Two Italian Space Ships from the 80s Face Off Again!

I’m sorry that I didn’t post on Friday.  I’ve been fighting an ear infection, and I had high school orientation.  I hope this post garners forgiveness from your kind and sympathetic hearts…  Match of the 80’s, Lamborghini versus Ferrari.  Let’s all take take a nostalgic trip.

Drawn in 1970 by the infamous designer, Marcello Gandini, the man who penned the now-infamous Lamborghini Muira and Lancia Stratos, the Lamborghini Countach was a radical departure from what Ferruccio Lamborghini would have imagined.

First shown to the world at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the Countach wowed the breath out of just about everybody there.  The Countach’s design still takes one’s breath away, when lucky enough to view one.  It’s amazing how far the borders of reality are.  The Countach pushes them until you remember it’s a car, not a ride to space.

Of course, I’ll have to start somewhere on the Countach.  How about the name?  The name is actually a quite vulgar Piedmontese expression when a man sees an attractive woman.  Countach is actually pronounced coontash.  It quite literally means “What a piece of a@%!”  Some rumors say that Nuccio Bertone of the design studio walked in and said, “Countach!”

Let’s see what we’ve reviewed.  We’ve reviewed the unearthly design, the right-out-of-South Park-name,and now we’ll move on to Satan’s orchestra of an engine and exhaust.   If you own a Countach, you could quite possibly put up posters throughout town, and charge a good deal of money to let various strangers listen to you start the Countach from a cold start.  All it takes is a simple twist of the key, and then that massive 5.2 liter V12 bangs, rumbles, roars, sets off car alarms, and does other destructive-sounding sounds as it gets all the way up to 3000 rpm in less than two minutes.

The Countach is as much fun to drive as it is to admire.  But, beware of the clutch that will requires at least 50 pounds of pressure to move, and the steering is almost as hard to navigate, requiring just about 35 pounds of pressure to manhandle the steering wheel to the left or the right.

1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000QV And 1993 Ferrari 512 TR Rear Left Side View  photo

On the other hand, the Ferrari Testarossa is a much more civilized car that will keep pace  with the much louder Countach (if you lose the Countach while in the Testarossa, you’ll definitely hear it!).  Motor Trend’s Senior Editor, Jonny Lieberman found the 1993 512 Testarossa to be a much more fun car than the larger-than-life Countach.  Why?  Because the Ferrari is faster, it shifted better, it rode better, it turned into corners better, and in just about every way that a car can separate itself from it’s competitors, the prancing horse pranced away from the bellowing, rumbling, raging bull.  Don’t put Lamborghini down.  The Countach is certainly a good car.  It’s just not a great car to drive.  The monstrously extroverted Countach feels primitive and much older than the Testarossa.  It’s amazing how much two supercars can feel so different.  That’s what five years will do to you.

For Jonny and those of you who had posters of the Countach, it’s a score for you.  But, for my generation (and any other generation), it’s a score for both of the cars.  I’d take either of them.  Just throw me the keys, a driver’s license, insurance papers, and anything else needed, and you won’t see me for a while.

P.S.  the Countach and Testarossa are MUCH safer than a Morgan!

Lots of Cute, Tons of Fun, and a Gigantic Smile in the New Morgan 3 Wheeler!

It has two cylinders.  No doors.  No frills.  A curb weight about 1200 pounds.  Lots of zoom, and some vroom.  But, is three wheels taking weight reduction a bit too far?  Nope.  From 1919 to 1950, the British automaker, Morgan produced over 9 MILLION units.  About ten or eleven years ago, Pete Larsen, who works at Liberty Motors in Seattle, basically designed a three wheeler by himself.  Charles Morgan, who is the grandson of Morgan’s founder, HFS Morgan, heard of Pete’s creation, bought one, and took it to the factory.  Ten years later, the iconic Morgan 3 Wheeler is back.

This car is not meant to be a track day warrior.  Nay, it is meant to be a car where the driver is involved, mesmerized, and captured (dare I say it, captivated) by the charm of the car at sane speeds on normal roads.  The 80 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque are sent to the rear wheel by a five-speed manual transmission taken from a Mazda Miata.

Getting into the car itself deserves a paragraph of its own, so read up…To get into the car while it is running, I recommend the driver enter the car by getting into the passenger seat (on the left side), climbing over the unnaturally high center console (while avoiding the gearshift lever – ouch), and plunking oneself into the drivers seat.  It’s as simple as that…

The one thing that may surprise you is the lack of electronic nannies.  This car is old school.  And proud of it.  Going down a road at 60 mph will feel like you are going 100.  With the smell of hot oil, rubber screeching on pavement (the back end LOVES to swing out), and the wind in your face, life couldn’t be better.  The steering is rack-and-pinion, and to turn the wheel, you must keep your right elbow hanging out of the car.  However, it is a lot of fun!

The car only costs a mere $50,000.  Can I buy one, Mom?…

Is This a Hint of What Will Come?

I’m not sure if you’ve seen the latest batches of pictures that Porsche recently released of the 918 prototype, you were likely scratching your head.  Why?  Because Porsche initially painted this forthcoming supercar in a bland black-and-white paint pattern based upon the historic Martini Racing colors.  Well that color experiment went belly up.  Porsche repainted.  Check out the Martini Racing inspired color choice.  Here is a sneak peek, and you’re in some very good luck…

Porsche 918 Spyder in Martini Racing Colors

This photo was taken by a Porsche photographer at the Nürburgring racetrack, where it was doing many grueling laps.  Porsche has been pretty much mum about releasing technical information about the 918 recently. Us car enthusiasts can only wait until September 18, 2013 (9/18!), when Porsche will release this lovely car.  Here’s to hoping that Porsche will do what Ford did with the GT:  Replicate the old factory racing livery colors on the production 918.

P.S.  Is it just me, or does this possibly herald a new era of Porsche competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?  I encourage you to watch the Steve McQueen movie, Le Mans.  I also encourage you to remember the following thought; I’d LOVE for my loyal subscribers to buy me one when it comes out (it is expected to go for approximately $1.4)…   I don’t want to disappoint you by not showing you a picture of one of the historic Porsche 917’s:   Fonds d'ecran: Martini Porsche 917K Le Mans 1971

My Baby’s Running!

Remember when I told you that I was having some technological issues last week?  Well, thanks to a different IT department (NOT the Apple Store!), everything is fixed and just itching to be published.  I now have a YouTube account called unmuffled auto news.  I just added my first video yesterday to my channel (exciting, I know!)!  So, click the link provided, and enjoy the show!

Don’t you just LOVE the sound of a big old American-made V6?  VROOOM!