The 12 Stunning Detroit International Auto Show Debuts!

The Detroit International Auto Show always has a lot of cool new debuts.  As one might expect, a LOT of new American metal debuts there.  But, foreign cars are also starting to be debuted at Detroit more and more.  Enjoy my top 12 debuts

  1. 2015 Ford F150:  With the majority of the 2015 Ford F150 made out of aluminum, the 2015 Ford F150 lost almost 700 pounds.  In terms of design, Ford clearly heard the raving about the Atlas Concept.  The 2015 F150 looks almost exactly like the Atlas!  In terms of engines, Ford’s taken the liberty of making smaller, more powerful engines the norm for the F150.  The base engine is a 3.5-liter V6 (the same one residing under the hood of the Explorer).  Ford also dropped the thirsty 6.2-liter V8 from the lineup.  The only available V8 is the splendid 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8 shared with the Mustang.  The 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 stays, but the EcoBoost has a smaller EcoBoost sister engine.  The smaller EcoBoost engine displaces a seemingly small 2.7 liters, yet makes as much power as the outgoing 3.7-liter V6.  All four engines will be mated to Ford’s six-speed automatic, but don’t be surprised to see the 10-speed automatic being co-developed with GM come into the mix sometime soon.  I can’t wait to see the 2015 F150 in person!
  2. 2015 Chrysler 200:  Chrysler’s been hit hard the last five or six years.  First, it’s bankruptcy.  Then, it’s being bought out completely by Fiat, then it’s just about every model coming out of the Auburn Hills factory being blasted with hate mail from every single automotive magazine in the U.S.  Chrysler’s trying to make up that image.  The design of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is simply stunning.  Based on the Dodge Dart’s platform, the 2015 Chrysler 200 will be instantly recognizable to anybody who has seen a 2013 Dodge Dart.  Chrysler’s trying to make the 200 easier to live with.  It’s got standard pass-through storage, better ergonomics, and most things in the cabin are electronic.  The 9-speed automatic that is used in the Jeep Cherokee will be standard across the line.  A 2.4-liter TigerShark 4-cylinder engine borrowed from the Dodge Dart is standard.  The step-up engine is a 295-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6.  I don’t know about you, but Chrysler just might be able to make an extremely competitive car in an extremely competitive segment.
  3. 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe:  Cadillac’s seen a massive resurgence in past years.  The 2008 CTS won Motor Trend’s 2008 Car of the Year trophy, and the 2013 ATS and 2014 CTS have both been praised for their good looks and fun-to-drive factors.  Just about everything is shared with the ATS sedan.  That’s a good thing.  The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has 295-lb-ft of torque available at 3000 RPM.  Amazingly, the ATS coupe is said to weigh just 45 more pounds than the ATS sedan.  Cadillac’s even partnered with AT&T, Verizon, and T Mobile to ensure that the ATS Coupe has 4G LTE hotspot connectivity.
  4. 2015 BMW M3/M4:  BMW’s become obsessed with turbocharged engines.  Not only do they offer more performance, but they reduce weight and give better fuel economy.  The 2015 M3/M4 have a twin-turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine that makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 425 horsepower.  The standard transmission is a six-speed manual (score for the purists), and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission borrowed from the M5 is optional.  BMW says that they cut 175 pounds compared to the E90 generation M3, so the 2015 M3/M4 should weigh about as much as an E46 M3.  The M3/M4 look extremely aggressive.  The front ends have massive air intakes, a bulging power-rise hood, and a wider front and rear track compared to the standard 3/4 Series models.
  5. 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ZO6:  The 2015 ZO6 makes 625 horsepower (13 less than the ZR-1), and it has an 8-speed automatic transmission that shifts faster than a Porsche PDK transmission.  Chevy’s offering THREE aerodynamics packages borrowed from the C7.R race car, and it has the seven-speed manual transmission from the regular Stingray standard.  GM says that the 2015 ZO6 shattered course records at the Milford proving grounds on its FIRST time at the track!
  6. 2015 Ford Mustang:  Since I’ve already covered the 2015 Ford Mustang, I won’t spend too terribly much time on the 2015 Mustang.  Ford won’t answer many questions about the 2015 Mustang, which means that they’re still working on it.  Whatever.  It looks great, and I expect it to handle much better, as it’s been redesigned from the ground up!
  7. 2014 Porsche 911 Targa:  Finally, Porsche’s come out with the return of the iconic 911 Targa.  The 911 Targa doesn’t have the sliding top like previous Targas.  The Porsche 911 Targa is sure to bring back fond memories for many.  Because it’s a Porsche, expect to be set back at least $100,000 for a Targa 4S.  I can’t wait to see the 2014 911 Targa in person!
  8. 2015 Subaru Impreza WRX STI:  Subaru has made it’s reputation for making pocket rockets.  The 2015 WRX gave some hope for enthusiasts.  It’s equally at home rocketing down a gravel road or zooming around a track.  The STI improves on that.  It makes 305 horsepower (it uses the same engine as the previous generation), but it looks a whole lot better than the previous generation.  It looks more like a DTM race car combined with a WRC rally car.  Subie won’t tell ANYBODY how much the STI will weigh.  That’s a shame, because previous Subaru WRX STI’s have been plump.
  9. Kia GT4 Stinger Concept:  I think that I can safely agree with everybody here that Kia seriously needs to stop making amazing-looking concept cars until it decides to build them.  The GT4 Stinger has four seats, a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual.  Naturally, one’s mind drifts towards the Subaru BR-Z and Scion FR-S, the natural competitors to the GT4 Stinger.  Before Kia shoves this car into some secret bunker at the 38th Parallel, they need to build this car.  The engine is essentially a depowered version of the 400-horsepower engine used in the Pirelli World Challenge Optimas.  Kia, are you reading my thoughts?  If you are, BUILD THIS CAR!
  10. Toyota FT-1 Concept:  Toyota’s trying to appeal to enthusiasts.  The last car that did that?  The Supra.  Toyota’s FT-1 looks stunning, and it’s even available in Gran Turismo 6!  Toyota won’t tell what’s under the hood.  We all know that the Supra engine is dead.  Lexus is experimenting with high-powered 5.0-liter V8s in the IS F, and I could easily see the IS F’s engine under the hood of this stunning concept.  Even if Toyota doesn’t build this car, it still shows what future Toyota styling might look like.
  11. Volvo XC Concept Coupe:  Volvo’s made it’s living with industry-leading safety advances, but safety doesn’t sell millions of cars.  So, Volvo’s started cranking out extremely promising concept cars.  Considering that Plug-in Hybrid is etched into the fenders, it’s obvious that the XC Concept Coupe is definitely a hybrid.  Volvo stresses the fact that the XC Concept Coupe has “rich XC Heritage.”  Considering Volvo’s been making SUV’s since 1997, one could agree that the XC Concept Coupe would look stellar as a shooting brake.  
  12. Audi A8 L Security:  Some fullsize  luxury sedan buyers want theirs to be bulletproof.  Audi’s joined the fight against gunfight victims with the A8 L Security.  The A8 L Security is beefed up to an extreme.  It takes 450 man-hours to make all of the bulletproof components for the A8 L Security.  It is able to withstand sub-caliber machine gun fire, and buyers can even opt for an emergency exit system that blows the hinges off the doors, as well as a fire suppression system and an emergency fresh-air system.  The extra weight will substantially hamper performance, but the driver and passengers can get out of a sticky situation safer.

On a separate note, I have to go in for surgery next week.  During my time in the hospital, I will not have access to a computer, and I probably won’t be up to publishing anyways!  I don’t know how long I will be out for, but keep yourselves entertained with the Motor Trend Youtube Channel!  My favorite show is Roadkill.  I think you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.  You can start watching the videos now at

A Life Dream…Come True

Meet the Lucra LC470.  It’s powered by either a monstrously underrated Mercedes-Benz AMG 6.2-liter V8, a Chevy Corvette LS3 engine, or a Chevy Corvette LS7 engine.  Luke Richards, the founder of Lucra Cars, founded the company in 2006.

Let’s start with some history on Lucra. When Luke was growing up in England, his father always had a sports car of some sort (lucky guy).  His father’s sports cars were great in the curves, but absolutely slow on the straightaways.  Coming over to America as a teenager introduced Luke to the big American muscle cars with the rumbling V8’s.  They were brutally quick on the straightaways, but throw one into a curve, and you’d better have something to hold onto!  Luke was so dissatisfied with the European and American cars that he began the search for a car that was the best of both worlds. For the next 20 years or so, Luke pursued a variety of automotive-related careers.  His first automotive job was a lock boy at a local car dealership.  He eventually became a trusted confidant of the owner of the dealer group.  Next was a job in San Diego where he sold rare and vintage sports cars.  However, demand outpaced supply, and Luke moved on to be a plane pilot.  After he decided that flying private planes for people wasn’t his thing, Luke moved onto building and selling classic Porsche 356 Speedsters.  During this time, he became friends with Chuck Beck, a legend in Porsche Speedster replicas and race car design. Finally, Luke decided that all of his car-related knowledge and jobs had paid off.  Luke founded Lucra Cars in 2006.  Luke started design of the car in 2005, but it took him until 2010 to build the car. Luke procured the knowledge and experience of Beck to help him embark on creating his dream car.  The eventual result?  The 2010 Lucra LC470.  Beck had built a knock-off of the legendary 1958 Lister Cars road racer roadster, but it was about the same size as the original Lister.  Luke, who stands at well over six and a half feet tall, simply couldn’t fit. With the knowledge of Beck, Luke helped build a car that was larger and more comfortable.  Luke and Beck successfully created a car with a smooth, flowing body that captured the timeless lines of the 1958 Lister.  Since the 1958 Lister was extremely aerodynamic, the Lucra LC470 has extremely good aerodynamics and timeless styling.  Luke wanted the LC470 to have optimal performance.  So, Luke wooed a well-known NASCAR frame builder to engineer the LC470’s chassis so that the single-piece carbon fiber body would fit perfectly.  While building the frame, special attention was paid to the fact that the weight distribution had to be nearly perfect, so the LC470 could offer optimal weight distribution, balance, and maneuverability.  The result?  The Lucra LC470 handles like a go-kart on steroids.  It will easily pull over 1G cornering – if the driver is willing! Most of the parts for the LC470 are custom-made.  That’s not to say that all of them are.  There are three engine choices:

  1. Mercedes-Benz AMG 6.3-liter V8 (Welstec Supercharger is optional).  This engine is tried and true on streets.  It’s seen service in the E63 AMG, C63 AMG, G63 AMG, and the SLS AMG.  This engine will make other drivers take their hands off of the steering wheel to plug their ears!  It’s rated by AMG at 563 horsepower in the SLS, which is where the engine is pulled from.
  2. GM 6.2 LS3:  The LS3 is a very good, powerful engine.  It powers the Camaro SS, the Corvette C6, the much-beloved Pontiac G8, and the all-new Chevy SS.  This engine is powerful, and it makes about 480 horsepower.  It may be rated at 430 in the Corvette, but it really makes more than that.
  3. GM 7.0-liter LS7:  The LS7 saw duty in the Corvette C6 ZO6.  It currently is powering the Camaro Z/28.  It makes 505 horsepower in the Corvette Z06.  Lucra tweaks the LS7 to make 630-680 horsepower.  This engine sounds spectacular, and it makes the car a monster.

Tremec Transmissions makes a special five-speed manual transmission for the LC470.  Why no six-speed?  An extra gear adds more weight.  Opting for the LS3 will propel the LC470 to 60 mph in a mind-boggling 3.4 seconds.  But, the LS7 and AMG engine will take you to 60 in a freaky 2.7 seconds.  That’s on par with a Porsche 911 Turbo S and Bugatti Veyron Super Sport! The Lucra LC470 is a car like no other.  It’s like a modern Shelby Cobra, but it’s got handling that’s world’s better.  Yeah, I know that the Cobra is from the 1960’s.  But, give me the keys to an LC470 with the LS3 and the keys to a Cobra with the 289 cubic-inch V8, and I will happily gush affections about both!  I might even let my dad drive the Cobra… I haven’t seen one in person, but I will!  Luke says that the LC470 evokes a primal reaction.  I don’t doubt him.  The pictures that I have are stunning, and I would happily stand for hours just staring at one!  Luke has dozens of hilarious stories to prove it – he drives an LC470 daily.  I’ll share one of his stories with you. Luke was literally hunted down by a Hollywood celebrity while enjoying breakfast with friends in Hollywood.  While he was sitting at a table with some friends enjoying a wonderful breakfast, he saw a woman pacing intensely outside of his car.  This happens a lot to Luke.  But, this lady had driven past Luke’s parked LC470, parked three blocks down, and then walked to his car.  This would be funny, but it gets better!  The woman correctly assumed that the vehicle’s owner was inside that restaurant, and approached the Maitre d’ to track down the owner of this captivating car.  After she was reluctantly pointed to Luke, she pushed her way through the crowded restaurant, and upon arriving at Luke’s table, takes off her aviator glasses, looks at Luke, and says, “Hi, I’m Sharon Stone.  Now, is that your car?”

Overall, the Lucra LC470 is a car that is a masterpiece, and a dream come true for Luke – and many enthusiasts.  I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that the Lucra LC470 is a dream come true for you.  For those of you who have been lucky to own a 1958 Lister, or have seen one in action, I hope that the LC470 brings back fond memories.

I have attached the Motor Trend Youtube Channel video documenting the Lucra story, as well as the LC470.

You can spend time on the Lucra website at:

Enjoy the pictures that I have attached of the LC470 for you to drool over…

I'd take the LC470 in a different color combination - how about red and white?  But, it still looks stunning
I’d take the LC470 in a different color combination – how about red and white? But, it still looks stunning
This picture of the epic burnout of the LC470 from the Motor Trend Youtube Channel was pulled off of the Lucra website.  I just think that this action shot is awesome!  Thanks to Lucra Cars for having such amazing pictures!
This picture of the epic burnout of the LC470 from the Motor Trend Youtube Channel was pulled off of the Lucra website. I just think that this action shot is awesome! Thanks to Lucra Cars for having such amazing pictures!

Tell Nissan What to Do With That 1996 Maxima from That Great Craigslist Ad!

For those of you who missed that awesome Craigslist video ad that was filmed and edited by Luke Aker of Ikonik Films, for his rather heavily used 1996 Nissan Maxima, you can watch it at:

After that, continue to read my equally amazing post!  Nissan USA re-purchased the car from Luke Aker for $1,400, and they want to know your opinions on what to do with the car.  Yep, that’s right!  Nissan is letting all of the people who read Motor Authority to tell Nissan USA what to do with the car.  Do you want to put the high-performance, high-tech GT-R engine, transmission, and AWD into the car?  Do you want to restore the car to Concours-levels of restoration and have Nissan USA tour the car?  Should it be donated to charity as-is?  Should they light it on fire and hurl it across an empty field?  Put on your thinking cap, and think of the most awesome thing Nissan USA could do to the car?

Submit your suggestions for Nissan in the comments section of the Motor Authority article.  Nissan will pick its favorite handful of suggestions, which they will have Motor Authority put up on their website for a vote.  The favorite vote will decide what to do with the car.

I know that I usually don’t talk about things from another car enthusiast magazine, but this just sounded like too much awesome to resist!

My idea for the Maxima?  Restore it to brand-new condition and then put GT-R running gear in it.  But, they should make it RWD for pure burnout factor!

Tell me your idea, as well as posting your idea on the Motor Authority article.

You can post your ideas on the Maxima at:

The Highly Anticipated 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Will Cost $75,000!

For me, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro will always hold a special place in my heart.  Maybe it was the 2006 Camaro Concept that I saw many moons ago.  Maybe it was the 1969 COPO Camaro I saw at the Sonoma Raceway Dragstrip at the summertime Wednesday Drags (I highly recommend going there – admission is $10 for spectators, and $25 gets you a place to drag race your vehicle from 4-10 PM!  Also, Top the Cop is cool [$25 for students allows high-school students to drag race cops in full uniform and squad cars!]).  Maybe it was Hot Rod Magazine’s 1967 Crusher Camaro.  Whatever it was, I feel a sense of longing and lust for the Camaro.  Every car has it’s own faults.  For the Camaro, it’s the fact that you’ve got about as much visibility as a military bunker.  The terrible gas mileage in performance-oriented models doesn’t help, either.  Whatever.  Chevrolet offers a Camaro for every enthusiast and every budget.  The base V6 Camaro is a pretty good deal.  It’s got a sweet 312-horsepower V6 that gets pretty good fuel economy ratings for something it’s size.  The Camaro SS takes it up another notch.  It makes 426 horsepower with the manual transmission (the only way to drive a Camaro!) from a slightly detuned Corvette LS3 engine.  For those who like the car to shift for itself, you’ll have to deal with a mere 400 horsepower!  The ZL1 takes the Camaro to a whole new level of performance.  It makes 580 horsepower from a detuned LS9 engine (from the beloved C6 Corvette ZR1), and it makes the same amount of horsepower with both a manual transmission or an automatic transmission.  This is a true bruiser.  The Z/28 makes 500 horsepower from the splendid 7.0-liter V8 previously found in the Corvette ZO6.  When Chevy announced that they were bringing back the storied Z/28 name, I felt that Chevy would finally do it right again.  Let me give you history on the Z/28 package/model in the Camaro.

The first-generation Camaro Z/28 debuted in 1967.  It came around because Chevrolet wanted to start dominating the SCCA Trans-Am series.  The Shelby GT350 Mustang team was simply leaving bits and pieces of Chevy’s pride at American road courses all over the country.  Chevy was infuriated.  Thus came along the Z/28.  The SCCA Trans-Am series required that all cars had an engine displacement of 305 cubic inches or less.  Chevy’s smallest Camaro V8 was the 327-cubic inch V8.  The next-smallest V8 that Chevy had was the 283-cubic inch V8.  By putting the 283 parts on the 327, Chevy created a 302-cubic inch V8.  It was officially rated at 290 horsepower, but dynomometer tests showed the car easily made 350 horsepower.  Racing versions made at least 450 horsepower.  The 1967-1969 Camaro Z/28 came with the 302-cubic inch engine, a Muncie M21 transmission, J56 heavy-duty front disc brakes, along with racing-spec rear drum brakes.  Positraction was highly recommended.

The second-generation Camaro Z/28 (1970-1974) had much more handsome styling, more power, and better everything.  There were some significant differences with the new Camaro Z/28.  First of all, the LT-1 350-cubic inch V8 was essentially a Corvette LT-1 with 10 less horsepower (360 vs. 370).  The reason that the stock Z/28 came with the LT-1 is because the SCCA Trans-Am series allowed for engines to be destroked.  Another big mechanical change was the availability of an automatic transmission in the Z/28.  Appearance and sales went off a cliff with the federally-mandated aluminum bumpers with rubber strips.  To avert everybody’s eyes from the ugly bumpers, Chevy made gigantic Z/28 decals and a big power bulge hood.  It worked.  Sales went back up.  Also, airline passengers could spot a Z/28 from 20,000 feet in the air.  Chevy was so disappointed with what happened with the Z/28 that they discontinued the Z/28 until 1977.

1977 was still the second-generation Camaro, and it marked the rebirth of a legendary car.  The 1977 Camaro Z/28 still had the big bumpers, but they were body-colored.  The 1977 Z/28 made a weak 185 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from an emissions-choked 350 cubic-inch V8.  The emphasis was on handling, not outright acceleration like previous Z/28’s.  The hood scoops found on the 1979 Z/28 became fully functional in 1980.  Chevrolet added a cold-air intake to the Z/28.  Power jumped up from 175 horsepower to 190 horsepower.  California was the loser on this deal.  They had to deal with a 165-horsepower 305 cubic-inch V8.  Poor Californians.

The 1982 Chevrolet Camaro was the 3rd-generation Camaro.  The Z/28 still had an emphasis on handling, which was a good thing.  The 305 cranked out all of 145 horsepower. The 165-horsepower 350 cubic-inch V8 wasn’t going to win any drag races, either.  When the Camaro Z/28 was chosen as the 1982 Indianapolis 500 Official Pace Car.  Chevrolet was so happy that they built 6,360 Camaro Z/28 Commemorative Editions.  All 6,360 Commemorative Edition Z/28s were blue and silver with Indy 500 graphics.  1983 helped out the Z/28.  A five-speed manual became standard equipment for the first time.  Chevrolet somehow managed to squeak out 190 horsepower from the 305 cubic-inch V8.  Booyah.  The Z/28 got exciting with the introduction of the 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 IROC-Z.  Fuel injection kicked carburetors out from the Camaro for good.  Chevrolet’s engineers tuned the port fuel injection system in the Z/28 get 215 horsepower from the 305 cubic-inch V8.  The 1987 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Z/28 IROC-Z got the 350 cubic-inch V8 again (Chevy dropped the engine from the Camaro Z/28 lineup in 1984).  It was rated at 220 horsepower, and was only available in IROC-Z Z/28’s.  From 1988-1990, there was no Camaro Z/28.  In 1991, Chevrolet dropped the IROC-Z, as Dodge took over the IROC series.  So, the Z/28 came back.  1992 marked the end of the 3rd generation Camaro.  It was also the 25th anniversary of the Camaro.  Chevy gave the Camaro new (in my eyes, better) looks with the Heritage Appearance Package.

2014 marked the return of the storied Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.  Powered by a 500-horsepower, 7.0-liter V8 (the same engine found in the Chevrolet Corvette ZO6), the Z/28 isn’t all about handling like its ancestors.  It has a Tremec six-speed manual, a limited-slip differential with helical gears, carbon-ceramic brakes, Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, forged 19-inch alloy wheels, Recaro seats, and a 300-pound weight advantage over the portly 4,120 pound Camaro ZL1.  In addition to all of that, it is one of the first production cars in the world to have race-proven, spool valve adjustable suspension dampers, which allow engineers or mechanics to adjust the suspension to use four-way damping control.   Stiffer spring rates and higher bushing rates allow for higher cornering speeds.  Much of the development testing for the 2014 Camaro Z/28 was done at the Nürburgring, where the 2014 Camaro Z/28 posted an astonishing 7:37.47 in the rain!  Even though it has 500 horsepower going to the ground through rear-wheel-drive, it still beat cars that were built to go around the Nürburgring, like the Type 991 Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Audi R8 V10 Plus.  While $75,000 is expensive, you get a lot of car for the money.  Plus, those in Audi R8s will scoff at you…until they eat your burnt hydrocarbons!

Sales will start near the end of January, 2014.  The first deliveries to customers will begin in April.  The very first 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, with the VIN #0001, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Arizona Auction taking place on January 18, 2014.  I can’t wait to see the new Camaro Z/28!  How about you?

Enjoy the video of the 2014 Camaro Z/28 giving a 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca a run for its money…and customers!

Also enjoy the pictures of every generation of Camaro Z/28!  I have also attached pictures of vintage Camaro’s that dominated tracks during their time!