Barris’ Super Van to cross Barrett-Jackson auction block



He was the zany creator of many custom vehicles and now George Barris’ converted 1966 Dodge Tradesman A-100 van, know as the Super Van for a movie, will soon cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block with no reserve upon it.


According to the website, it was originally designed by Barris as “The Love Machine” and reincarnated by him for the movie “SuperVan” according to his website originally known as “Vandora.” It was used for many movies and TV shows after that, such as the Hill Valley Transit bus (where it was painted green) in “Back to the Future II,” “Sea Quest” and the 1970 movie “Solar Crisis” as a white vehicle in the last two flicks respectively. The van has been completely restored to its “SuperVan” look and has since been signed by George Barris.

Around 2003, the Guild of Automotive Restorers began a restoration on the van that brought it back to its Super Van configuration.

Power comes from a 318 inch, 8-cylinder engine that mates to a 3-speed manual tranny.

SuperVan_03_1000In the “van era” Barris paid more attention to the interior where he included a rotating circular bed, a U-shaped sofa, color TV, a French-style telephone, tape recorder, crystal chandelier and copious amounts of plush carpeting and solar panels.

Sporting more glass than a greenhouse or the AMC Pacer’s fishbowl shape, the front windshield lifted up entirely in one piece as did the side glass.

Courtesy photos from and websites.


Transformer movie truck up for auction at Barrett-Jackson

1992 Peterbilt Optimus Prime Transformer (Courtesy Barrett Jackson photos)

1992 Peterbilt Optimus Prime Transformer                                      (Courtesy Barrett Jackson photos)

There’s a lot of interesting metal ready to move at the upcoming Barrett Jackson auctions in Arizona.

For movie fans, right up there will be this 1992 Peterbilt from the “Transformers” movie that was Optimus Prime®.

According to legend on the B-J website the movie’s director was smitten by the lines and size of the truck, even through he know he would face intense criticism for his choice, in the same way he did for selecting a GM Camaro in place of the original VW Beetle that was known as the beloved robot Bumblebee. Both of Bay’s picks ended up enthralling new audiences as well as diehard fans of the sci-fi series.

The more aggressive truck, was also used as Bay’s tip-of-the-hat to Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film, “Duel.” This vehicle is one of the tractors used, it was a picture and stunt vehicle and is being sold “as-is” and “with all faults” and is subject to execution of a Paramount Waiver. Of course, it may not pass emissions in your town or state and is not currently street legal.

The truck’s bonafides are below:

VIN 1XP5DB9X1ND320786
Exterior Color BLUE/RED FLAMES
Interior Color BLACK/RED
Cylinders L6 DIESEL
Engine Size 14.6L
Transmission MANUAL

Mini Clubman ALL4 stickers for $25,900


  • The MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4 comes with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $25,900; Cooper S variant starts at $29,450
  • Prices do not include additional $850 for Destination & Handling

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – The market launch of the new MINI Clubman sees the latest model generation of the British brand embark on its advance into the premium compact segment. Additional momentum is now provided by the all-wheel drive system ALL4. The new MINI Clubman ALL4 guarantees an even sportier yet particularly supreme type of driving fun. What is more, its power transmission to all four wheels raises MINI versatility, everyday practicality and long-distance suitability to a whole new level. In this way, the new MINI Clubman ALL4 further establishes its position as an exceptional talent in the compact segment – with the unique versatility of its body concept, individual style and premium quality, as well as outstanding agile handling properties due to the newly developed version of the ALL4 all-wheel drive system.

Similar to the engines and transmissions developed for the latest members of the MINI model family, the new generation of the all-wheel drive system ALL4 optimises both the efficiency and sporty the flair of the models in which it is featured. The power transmission system of the new MINI Clubman ALL4 consists of a power take-off bevel gear on the front axle differential, a dual-section propeller shaft and a rear axle differential with an electrohydraulically controlled hang-on clutch. Its control system is interconnected with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). This enables distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear wheels to be adapted instantly and precisely to the given situation on the road at all times. In this way, ALL4 not only optimises traction and driving stability in all weathers and road conditions but also enhances agility during acceleration and when taking bends at speed.

The alternative to the characteristic MINI front-wheel drive is offered in conjunction with two particularly powerful engines of the latest generation. The 3- and 4-cylinder engines with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology are characterized by spontaneous and spirited power delivery which can be used for even sportier acceleration in conjunction with all-wheel drive. The 134-hp Cooper Clubman ALL4 and the 189-hp Cooper S Clubman ALL4 come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and optionally with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. 

With the launch of the new MINI Clubman ALL4, the choice of model variants of the new MINI generation available in the premium compact segment now increases to four. This makes the range of the British brand in this vehicle category even more attractive. Two engines are available to choose from, either of which can be combined with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The high-quality suspension technology, which can be optionally supplemented with Dynamic Damper Control, guarantees typical go-kart feeling with both agile and secure handling properties as well as outstanding driving comfort. All engine variants of the new MINI Clubman also share the innovative vehicle concept of a 6-door car with a generous, versatile interior that is both high-end and distinctive in its design. Four side doors, the characteristic split doors at the rear, five fully-fledged seats and a luggage compartment whose volume can be expanded from 17.5 cubic feet to as much as 47.9 cubic feet by folding down the rear back ensure the highest level of functionality and versatility ever offered by a MINI. The matured premium character of the new MINI Clubman is highlighted by the extensive range of standard fittings including dual-zone automatic climate control, MINI Connected infotainment with 6.5-inch display and support for third party app integration, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming and electric parking brake. Every MINI Clubman also includes MINI Driving Modes and the MINI Excitement Package including LED interior and ambient lighting and a projection of the MINI logo onto the ground from the exterior mirror on the driver’s side when opening and closing the car.

The full range of optional equipment to increase driving fun, comfort and individuality is also available for the new MINI  Clubman ALL4. In addition to modern driver assistance systems such as MINI Head-Up-Display, Driving Assistant, rear view camera and Parking Assistant, this also includes such features as LED headlamps, Comfort Access including non-contact opening of the split doors, electrically adjustable seats for driver and front passenger, a panorama glass roof, What is more, exclusive MINI Yours and John Cooper Works options are available as well as the navigation system Professional including MINI   Touch Controller and the complete MINI Journey Mate in-car infotainment program.

Exterior design: classic shooting brake concept in a modern interpretation.

The new MINI Clubman introduces a contemporary interpretation of the tradition-steeped shooting brake concept. Its distinctive proportions, unique in the compact segment, are characterised by a dynamically stretched silhouette, a powerful shoulder contour, a long roof line and a sloping rear. With a length of 168.3 inches, a width of 70.9 inches, a height of 56.7 inches and a wheelbase of 105.1 inches, it is significantly longer than both its predecessor and the MINI Hardtop 4 door. The car’s distinctive appearance is also accounted for by the horizontal rear lights and a combination applied to a MINI for the first time to reduce aerodynamic drag: Air Curtains – air inlets in the outer areas of the front apron – together with the air outlets known as Air Breathers, which are positioned behind the front wheel arches.

In addition to the circular headlamps set in a chrome frame, the hexagon contour of the radiator grille and the strikingly curved powerdome on the bonnet, typical MINI design features also include the side turn indicator elements known as side scuttles and the black surrounds on the bottom edge of the body. Other equally characteristic aspects are the short overhangs and the large track, which indicate the car’s stable stature and – together with a low centre of gravity – contribute to a handling agility that can now be felt more intensely with the all-wheel drive of the new MINI Clubman ALL4.

Exclusive design features are indicative of the powerful engine in theMINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4. The front apron has a distinctive shaping and there are large cooling air inlets for the brakes. What is more, the Cooper S Clubman ALL4 has an additional opening on the bonnet and a chrome rib in the radiator grille bearing a red “S” with a chrome surround. The chrome side scuttles likewise bear an “S” logo. At the rear of the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4, striking features are the aerodynamically optimized bumpers with diffuser element and two widely spaced exhaust tailpipes. In addition, the two all-wheel drive variants of the new MINI Clubman can be identified by their conspicuous “ALL4” inscriptions on the front side panels.

The range of exterior paint finishes available for the MINI Clubman has been expanded at the launch of the all-wheel-drive models to include the new Digital Blue metallic. The roof and exterior mirror caps can be optionally finished in one of the contrasting colors white, silver or black.

Interior: lots of space, distinctive design with sporty flair.

P90207069_lowRes_mini-cooper-s-clubmaComfortable freedom to move on five fully-fledged seats, versatile space and a distinctive cockpit design – these are the characteristic features of the new MINI Clubman interior, whose high-end ambience is supplemented with a particularly sporty touch in the all-wheel drive models. A clear sign of the more sophisticated character of the MINI Clubman is its exceptionally wide instrument panel with cockpit facia frame. This design feature is also echoed in the door trim panels and centre console. With the new MINI Yours Interior Styles option, the striking door trim design is highlighted by means of indirectly illuminated decorative strips.

P90207071_lowRes_mini-cooper-s-clubmaThe central instrument typical of the brand is integrated particularly harmoniously in the dashboard. A red toggle switch located underneath the central instrument serves as the engine start/stop button. The centre console reaches up to the dashboard and provides space for a storage compartment and two cupholders as well as the switch for the standard electric parking brake and the standard MINI Controller. The standard trim of the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 also includes sports seats for driver and front passenger as well as black chequered dash surfaces.

The new all-wheel drive system ALL4: fast and precise, compact and efficient.

Power transmission to all four wheels now enriches hallmark brand driving fun in the new MINI Clubman ALL4 with the addition of a particularly appealing aspect. The electronically controlled all-wheel drive system distributes drive torque between the front and rear axles as appropriate to each specific situation on the road. This enables highly spirited acceleration and increases agility when taking bends at speed. What is more, ALL4 ensures supreme traction and optimized driving stability in all weathers and road conditions. In this way, the all-wheel drive system underscores the character of the new MINI model in the premium compact segment, which is defined by versatility as well as outstanding everyday practicality and long-distance suitability.

The latest version of the all-wheel drive system ALL4 is particularly compact and weight-optimized in its design. The new construction principle also promotes the efficiency of the MINI Clubman ALL4. The drive power delivered by the engine via the manual or Steptronic automatic transmission in the form of engine speed and torque is initially fed to the front axle differential. An integrated single-stage power take-off bevel gear diverts the power and relays it to a propeller shaft leading to the rear axle. Here power transmission to the rear axle differential is effected in a continuously variable manner via a hang-on clutch, depending on the given situation on the road.

In normal driving situations with active Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), the new MINI Clubman ALL4 uses front-wheel drive as is typical of the brand. This enables a reduction in lost torque of up to 30 per cent in power transmission to the rear axle. If necessary, the hang-on clutch can relay torque to the rear wheels within a fraction of a second by means of an electrohydraulic pump. Fast and precise adaptation to the given situation on the road is possible because the all-wheel drive system is interconnected with the driving dynamics system DSC. Its control unit permanently calculates the ideal power distribution between front and rear wheels. Not only are the wheel rotation speeds and the current longitudinal and lateral acceleration figures taken into account here but also the road speed, accelerator position, engine torque and steering angle as well as the settings of the driving dynamics system and the standard MINI Driving Modes. Based on this data, it is possible to identify early on any risk of drive slip when setting off, in the event of a particularly intense load requirement or during dynamic cornering; in this way it is possible to anticipate and counteract any tendency to lose traction or any oversteering or understeering of the vehicle. Thanks to intelligent control, ALL4 feeds all the power of the engine to the place where it can be converted most effectively and efficiently into driving fun.

The propeller shaft of the ALL4 system is designed as a dual-section tubular shaft. Its joints permit compensation of component movements. The front and rear joint provide the interfaces to the power take-off bevel gear and the hang-on clutch, while it is attached to the body in the area of the central joint. The front section of the propeller shaft also serves to absorb deformation energy in the event of a collision. The efficiency-optimized mode of operation of the ALL4 system is also supported by the hang-on clutch. This can be operated in a particularly energy-efficient mode when there is no power transmission to the rear wheels.
It is instantly activated whenever necessary, however, and directs the appropriate amount of drive torque supplied by the propeller shaft to the rear wheel differential, from where it is transmitted in equal parts to the right and left rear wheel. Differing wheel rotation speeds arising from the specific situation on the road are compensated for in the usual way by means of differentials on both the rear and front axle. Drive slip is suppressed by the driving dynamics system DSC by means of selective braking on individual wheels.

Taking the form of an electronic locking function for the front axle differential, the standard Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) optimises traction when accelerating out of bends by means of selective braking. In DSC Off mode, this prevents spinning of the front wheel on the inside of the bend and transmits drive power to the outer front wheel instead. The Performance Control function is another standard feature that helps enhance agility in the MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4. (Part of optional John Cooper Works Exterior package in the MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4.) It supports precise steering into bends even before the threshold range is reached and regardless of the DSC mode selected. Braking on the two wheels on the inside of the bend impacts positively on the car’s self-steering response and suppresses the risk of understeering. Other functions of the driving dynamics system DSC include the anti-lock brake system ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Cornering Brake Control (CBD), the braking and drive-off assistant, the brake dry function and Fading Brake Support. It is also possible to activate the DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) mode at the press of a button, permitting controlled slip and thereby facilitating set-off on loose sand or in deep snow.

Two engines with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology: a lot of power efficiently distributed over four wheels.

The power distributed as needed by the all-wheel drive system ALL4 between the front and rear axle is produced by highly powerful 4-cylinder engines of the latest generation with MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. These make for sporty driving properties and are also able to demonstrate their qualities in the area of efficiency in the new MINI Clubman ALL4. Thanks to the optimized weight and efficient mode of operation of the new all-wheel drive system, the boost in terms of driving fun and supreme forward thrust only involves a very slight increase in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions as compared to the respective models with front-wheel drive.

With a peak output of 189 hp, the 2.0-litre engine in the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 is the most powerful engine in the compact model’s portfolio. Its technology package comprises turbocharging, gasoline direct injection with centrally placed injectors, fully variable valve control in the form of VALVETRONIC as patented by the BMW Group and variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust side (double VANOS). It mobilises a maximum torque of 207 ft lbs at 1 250 rpm.

With the standard 6-speed manual transmission, the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 accelerates in 6.7 seconds from standing to 60 mph, while in conjunction with the optional 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission the standard sprint takes just 6.6 seconds. The top speed is 140 mph in each case. Regardless of transmission, this represents an improvement in 0-to-60 acceleration of 0.3 seconds compared with the front-wheel drive Cooper S Clubman.

The advanced engine technology helps the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine in the MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4 achieve superb acceleration, especially at speed, without sacrificing fuel economy. The power unit generated a peak output of 134 hp and puts its maximum torque of 162 ft lbs on the line at just 1250 rpm. The engine is combined as standard with the 6-speed manual transmission and is available for the first time with the 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. This enables a run from standing to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds. Innovative transmissions for increased driving fun and efficiency.

The transmissions available for the new MINI Clubman ALL4 have also been newly developed for the current model generation of the brand. The 6-speed manual transmission is characterised by low weight, high internal efficiency and shift comfort optimized by means of carbon friction linings for the synchroniser rings. A gear sensor also enables active engine speed adaptation for especially sporty shifting when accelerating and increased comfort when shifting down (rev matching).

With its broader gear spread and smaller engine speed steps, the 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission provides an especially favourable basis for efficient, comfortable and sporty driving. An 8-speed Steptronic sport automatic transmission is optionally available for the new MINI Cooper S Clubman ALL4 that offers even shorter shift times and is operated in manual mode by means of shift paddles on the steering wheel. It also has a Launch Control function for traction-optimized acceleration with maximum dynamic performance from standing.

Typical MINI suspension technology, characteristic go-kart feeling. 

In conjunction with all-wheel drive, too, the high-quality suspension technology with a single joint strut axle at the front and a multilink rear axle provides an ideal basis for the agile handling known as the go-kart feeling. The large track width and long wheelbase of the MINI Clubman ALL4 benefit the model-specific interpretation of this construction principle.
The new development of all front axle parts has resulted in an optimisation of kinematics as well as component stiffness and weight. The particularly stiff wheel suspension on the rear axle also enhances the agile handling properties of the MINI Clubman. Dynamic Damper Control is available as an optional extra. This allows the damper program map to be adjusted via MINI Driving Modes.

The new MINI Clubman ALL4 comes as standard with the speed-related Servotronic steering support for the electromechanical power steering. Both all-wheel drive model variants come off the production line with alloy wheels. The Cooper Clubman ALL4 comes with 16-inch light alloy wheels, while the Cooper S Clubman ALL4 features 17-inch light alloy wheels. The range of special equipment features includes additional light alloy wheels sized 17 to 19 inches.

A complete set of safety features, innovative driver assistance systems, intelligent connectivity. 

In addition to the torsionally stiff, rigid and also weight-optimized body structure, a complete set of standard safety features also contributes to the outstanding occupant protection of the new MINI Clubman ALL4. This comprises eight airbags, as well as 3-point belts on all seats. A tire pressure display for each individual wheel is also included as standard.

The driver assistance systems offered for the new MINI Clubman ALL4 serve to increase both safety and comfort. The MINI Head-Up Display which extends from above the steering column promotes concentration on the road. In addition to the cruise control with brake function, the Driving Assistant system is also available. This comprises not just camera-based active cruise control as well as collision and pedestrian warning with initial brake function but also high beam assistant and speed limit sign detection. Additional options include the Parking Assistant and rear view camera.

The unique MINI Connected in-car infotainment program is also available in its entirety for the new MINI Clubman ALL4. The standard MINI Connected infotainment system includes a 6.5-inch display,and offers extensive integration of smartphones in the car, allowing the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driving experience by means of apps. Operation is intuitive and reflects hallmark brand style, using the MINI Controller in the centre console and the color display in the central instrument.
The features of the MINI navigation system Professional include an 8.8-inch version of the on-board computer and the MINI Touch Controller with touch-sensitive surface.

The current version of the MINI Connected App comprises new and exclusive functions to increase comfort and driving fun. The online search function makes it easier to find addresses. The applications Sports Instruments and Force Meter can be used to show information on the central instrument display such as the level of current engine power and torque in use and longitudinal and transverse acceleration. The new function Streetwise provides the driver with tips for an optimum route even before the journey gets underway. The Technology Package includes an 8.8-inch display with navigation and enables use of the Journey Mate app including innovative functions for trip preparation and support as well as Real Time Traffic Radar with highly precise, up-to-date traffic information.

The Clubman ALL4 will go on sale in April at MINI dealers across the U.S. Customers looking to build or pre-order a new MINI Clubman ALL4 can use the configurator that will be available at in late January or visit their local MINI dealer. For full vehicle specifications, please see the detailed product news release here.



2017 Audi R8 on sale with 610 hp for $162,900


  • More powerful and more dynamic than its predecessor, the R8 V10 plus generates 610 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque with a top track speed of 205 mph
  • The all-new Audi R8 and R8 LMS racecar were co-developed and share approximately 50 percent of the same parts, including the V10 engine
  • Track-tested around the world, the R8 LMS will make its US racing debut at the ROLEX 24 at Daytona on January 30, 2016

Faster, more efficient, and more capable both on and off the racetrack, the all-new 2017 R8 is the most powerful Audi production model ever. The R8, with its breathtaking performance, high-revving naturally aspirated motor, precise handling and driver-focused interior, embodies the automotive distinction that has become synonymous with the four rings.

2017 Audi R8
Featuring the same naturally-aspirated V10 engine found in the R8 LMS racecar, a completely new application of quattro® all-wheel drive, and a more functional yet technologically advanced cabin, the R8 is the pinnacle of performance for Audi, with no other model bearing a closer tie to racing. Featuring an updated seven-speed S tronic® dual-clutch transmission, which can shift gears in 120 ms, the V10 model, with 540 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque reaches 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and top track speed of 199 mph. The new top model, the R8 V10 plus with 610 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, catapults from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and can achieve a top track speed of 205 mph. Weighing approximately 77 pounds less than the R8 V10, the V10 plus features standard Audi carbon ceramic brakes, carbon fiber rear diffuser, front lip spoiler, exterior mirror housings and fixed rear wing spoiler, and for the first time ever in the US, racing shell seats.

news-2017-audi-r8-v10-plus-coupe-rev-13Racing Heritage and DNA
Embodied in the R8 DNA is know-how acquired on the racetrack and from the legacy of Audi endurance racing. For the first time ever, Audi co-developed the all-new R8 with the all-new GT3 race car, the Audi R8 LMS. Both the new Audi R8 and the R8 LMS made significant performance gains, thanks to the close cooperation between race car engineers, motorsports specialists and developers. The result was just under 50 percent common parts shared between the two models including the V10 engine and a new ASF® aluminum construction with innovative light-weight multi-material construction. Design cues throughout the R8 also harken back to its racing roots, such as the prominent wheel arches and vertical lighting design, which are suggestive of the R18 LMP1 racecar.

Powertrain and Performance
The Audi R8 has always embodied the essence of a true high-performance sports car. Each R8 model leverages a mid-engine drivetrain layout – directly inherited from the original R8 prototype that secured five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new R8 offers two updated versions of the infamous high-revving, naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 FSI® engine and a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, which integrates with the Audi drive select system. Available on the R8 for the first time, Audi drive select offers four modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual, and on R8 V10 plus models, an additional “performance mode” with dry, wet, and snow programming which allows for enhanced performance based on the selected road condition.

A new fuel injection system combines the benefits of indirect and direct injection and uses an intelligent engine management control unit to help optimize fuel injection and distribution based on engine load.

Seven speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission
The new transmission not only focuses on high levels of performance and acceleration but also emphasizes efficiency. On V10 models, the gear ratio configuration is referred to as 6+overdrive, with the top track speed being reached in the 6th gear. V10 plus models feature a gear set uniquely suited for high-performance oriented driving with no overdrive gears. In this set up, gears 3 through 7 feature shorter ratios that provide a closer shift pattern, allowing the V10 FSI® engine to remain at a higher RPM to allow for increased performance. In this configuration, the top track speed is reached in 7th gear.

As another benefit to the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, both R8 models offer a launch control program that allows a heightened level of acceleration through precise engine speed and an automated clutch release.


R8 V10 5.2-liter V10 FSI® seven-speed S tronic® with quattro® AWD 540 hp @ 7,800 – 8,700 rpm 398 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
R8 V10 plus 5.2-liter V10 FSI® seven-speed S tronic® with quattro® AWD 610 hp @ 8,250 – 8,700 rpm 413 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm

Designed for performance
As in racing, the aerodynamics of the Audi R8 have been optimized to help balance drag and downforce. The underbody features drag reduction panels to ensure a smooth surface and NACA ports, which allow additional air to be channeled through the engine bay or to other critical drivetrain components. The drag coefficient is 0.34 with adaptive rear spoiler retracted or 0.35 with it extended, and 0.36 with the fixed rear wing spoiler.

Chassis and Suspension
The chassis for the high-performance sports cars also employs technologies from racing. The R8 uses a double-wishbone design for both the front and rear suspension systems. The suspension weight is kept low through the use of forged aluminum control arms, while local dynamic rigidity has been enhanced by connecting the control arms directly to the ASF® chassis.

The all-new R8 also features a completely unique application of the quattro® system. By default, the majority of torque is transmitted to the rear wheels, however, given certain driving conditions, the R8 has the ability to send up to 100 percent of all available torque to the front axle. This is made possible by new technologies such as the electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch on the front axle, torque vectoring, and quattro integration within the Audi drive select system.

Design and Body
The mid-engine concept provides the basis for the striking design of the new Audi R8. With the cockpit positioned forward and a long flowing roofline that extends to the rear of the vehicle, the new R8 has an unmistakable silhouette that instantly conveys its racing DNA. The strong shoulder line is now uninterrupted by the new two-piece design of the Audi sideblade and the hidden door handles. Dimensions are similar to the previous generation but further emphasize the flat, wide and muscular characteristics of the R8 – decreasing half an inch in height and length but increasing half an inch in width.

The new R8 utilizes Audi expertise in lightweight design through an all-new application of the iconic ASF® lightweight chassis, through the use of 13 percent carbon fiber materials. The new multi-material construction has not only helped lessen the vehicle’s static and dynamic weight, with the V10 plus weighing 88 pounds less compared to the previous generation and the V10 weighing 143 pounds less, but also allows for improved chassis performance with 40 percent greater rigidity.

Finally, new R8 models also feature an exhaust system with integrated twin-trapezoidal exhaust outlets and variable exhaust flaps that, once opened, provide an electrifying exhaust note. The V10 plus models come standard with black exhaust outlets mated to a sport exhaust system for increased aural excitement.

Design and body highlights include:

  • Singleframe® grille with three dimensional honeycomb design and Anthracite Gray finish
  • Full LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals
  • Standard on V10 models are 19” 5-V-spoke design cast aluminum wheels in silver finish and standard on V10 plus are 19” 5-double-spoke design forged aluminum wheels  in matte titanium finish
  • Adaptive rear spoiler (V10) or carbon fiber fixed rear wing spoiler (V10 plus)
  • Two-piece sideblade design

news-2017-r8-coupe-v10-plus-9Interior features
Like the first generation R8, the interior is defined by the monoposto, the large arc that pays homage to the shape of a racecar cockpit, with driver-oriented, easy-to-operate controls and functions. Behind the wheel is the Audi Virtual cockpit, which replaces the classic instrument panel and instead features a large, high-resolution 12.3-inch display, delivering vibrant color at 60 frames per second. Available for the first time on an R8 is news-2017-r8-coupe-v10-11Audi connect®, offering infotainment features such as 4G LTE connectivity, destination entry via myAudi, travel information, Internet radio and a Wi-Fi® hotspot for passenger use. Also, with available Audi connect, Google Earth™ satellite maps appear across the entire virtual cockpit allowing the driver to better navigate each turn in the road or the track ahead.

Additional interior features include:

  • Standard 18-way power seats with Fine Nappa leather for V10 models; standard on V10 plus models is a racing shell seat offering more lateral support and contoured seat styling.
  • Three-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel with shift paddles and two steering wheel-mounted satellite buttons (engine Start/Stop and Audi drive select). The R8 V10 plus steering wheel adds two additional satellite buttons for the Performance mode selector and Sport exhaust.
  • Bang & Olufsen® Sound System featuring 13 speakers capable of producing 550 watts of pure, crisp sound (standard V10, optional V10 plus).

With uncompromised performance and unmistakable design, the R8 model line has represented the pinnacle of Audi performance since its introduction in 2008, and this all-new 2017 R8 is no exception.

Competing as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, the all-new R8 LMS will make its US racing debut at the ROLEX 24 at Daytona on January 30, 2016.

Watch as the first generation R8 passes the baton to its worthy successor the all-new 2017 R8:

Pricing Detail

Model year 2017 R8 starting manufacturer suggested retail prices:

MODEL   Starting MSRP
R8 V10 $ 162,900
R8 V10 plus $ 189,900

Prices above exclude destination charge ($1,250), taxes, title, options, and dealer charges.

Ram Rebel revels in top truck honors

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

Ram 1500 Rebel Wins Four Wheeler’s 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year Award
Off-Road Capability, Impressive Power, Suspension life Ram 1500 Rebel Rise to the Top


There’s a lot of pickup talk with Ford’s four-door Raptor, Nissan’s new XD Titan, the new Toyota Tacoma and a diesel offering being added to the Colorado Z71  and GM’s downsizing some of its SUVs to seemingly take on Jeep among others in the off-roading, go-anywhere market.

However a popular off-road magazine, FOUR WHEELER, picked the Ram 1500 Rebel as the the top truck for its prestigious 27th-annual Pickup Truck of the Year award.

FOUR WHEELER’s Pickup Truck of the Year award program is an invitation-only shootout open to all-new or significantly revised pickup trucks for the upcoming model year. For 2016, the field of vehicles included four entries:

  • Chevy Colorado Z71, 2.8L I-4 turbodiesel
  • Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X, 5.0L V-8 turbodiesel
  • Ram 1500 Rebel, 5.7L V-8
  • Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road, 3.5L V-6

Each vehicle is judged in a variety of terrain and conditions ranging from 0-to-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration and 60-to-0-mph braking distance at the racetrack to real-world situations on the highway, down back roads, in traffic, and excruciating off-road terrain. Vehicles are judged on a wide range of criteria, including off-road performance and survivability, interior appointments and amenities, quality of construction, and the ability to perform in rigorous off-road environments.

The Rebel’s impressive list of model-specific features includes a powdercoated front bumper with powdercoated billet silver skidplate; new front towhooks; new LED foglamps; new 17-inch wheels; 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires; Power Wagon wheel arch moldings; blacked-out trim; an aluminum twin-snorkel sport hood; special blacked-out grille; tire-tread-pattern-embossed seats with custom stitching and embroidery; deep, all-weather rubber floor mats; Bilstein shocks; and an air suspension that is 1 inch taller than a standard Ram 1500 at default ride height.

The heart of the Pickup Truck of the Year–winning Rebel was the optional 5.7L V-8 engine, which produced 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque and was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This, along with the traction-enhancing optional Anti-Spin rear differential, helped the Rebel earn the fastest 0-to-60-mph time (7.5 seconds) and the fastest quarter-mile time (15.8 seconds) of the four contenders.

Judges praised the Rebel’s performance with positive comments, saying it was a “rocket” in the city and on the highway and it propelled the truck with “conviction.”  Even with that impressive power, the Rebel returned an impressive best tank of 24.4 mpg.

“If there’s one word to describe the Ram 1500 Rebel, it’s balanced,” said Four Wheeler Editor Christian Hazel. “It has admirable towing and payload capacity, good on-road handling, brisk acceleration and strong braking, a comfortable interior with convenient storage and amenities, a smooth ride, and huge off-road capability in all terrains. No matter what Four Wheeler threw at the Ram 1500 Rebel, it just flat out worked with no drama, no excuses, and no compromises. And that’s why the Ram 1500 Rebel was the vehicle the Four Wheeler judges overwhelmingly chose not only as the 2016 Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year, but the vehicle they’d most like to take home if they had the chance.”

The Ram 1500 Rebel won Four Wheeler’s 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year award only after completing a demanding weeklong test comprised of more than 1,000 miles of evaluation including performance testing; highway, back road, and city traffic driving; fuel economy calculation; RTI chassis articulation; interior comfort and functionality; exterior off-road attributes and protection; and, of course, off-road capability in a wide range of terrain—all important disciplines in which truck owners expect their vehicle to be competent. In addition to these, interior and exterior styling, tire selection, and a host of other subjective categories are factored into the final tallies.

To thoroughly test each vehicle, the competition began at TEN’s facility, where empirical data collection began by measuring how far each vehicle could drive up a 20-degree ramp before a tire lifted off the ground. This measurement was divided into the vehicle’s wheelbase to determine its RTI, or Ramp Travel Index score. This indication of suspension flex and wheel travel loosely translates into a vehicle’s ability to retain tire contact patches when traversing uneven off-road terrain and is factored into our test vehicles’ overall empirical score.

At Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., each vehicle was subjected to 0-60-mph and quarter-mile acceleration testing as well as 60-0-mph braking performance using a RaceLogic Performance Box for data acquisition. After empirical testing, judges were invited to take each vehicle on a hot lap over the course to safely test chassis dynamics, electronic stability, and ABS function. With the track testing complete, the vehicles are caravanned through the high deserts of California, stopping frequently for judge rotation, note taking, and scoring.

The rest of the weeklong test involves driving the vehicles all day, every day, over a series of on- and off-road trails to test as many different terrains as possible. Testing locations range from below sea level to more than 10,000 feet in elevation, and the vehicles are subjected to every form of off-road condition, including deep sand; rocky trails; off-camber, loose-dirt hill climbs; rockcrawling; steep descents; near-vertical climbs; snow; water fording; and more. FOUR WHEELER takes its position as the “world’s leading 4×4 authority” to heart, and when it puts the Pickup Truck of the Year stamp on a vehicle, you can rest assured it’s thoroughly tested to be off-road capable.

When all the testing is complete, the judges make their final notes and calculations, and then the numbers are tallied for the following categories: Trail Performance (30 percent), Empirical (25 percent), On Pavement (20 percent), Interior (15 percent), and Exterior (10 percent). For 2016, the Rebel dominated four of the five scoring categories to collect a generous point spread ahead of the Second-Place finisher. This outstanding performance earned the ’16 Ram 1500 Rebel the title of 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year.

Are you ready for winter driving? Think again.

Ford-Dealership-165-e1435000900285BY GERRY MILES

It’s easy to think that since we live here, and have done so on a regular basis that we’re skilled enough to handle each season’s snowstorms no matter how hard they pelt us as we wish for spring and summer’s unseasonably warm temperatures.

The folks over at, led by Craig Fitzgerald who (hardly) never met an old car with rear-drive he didn’t like equipped with studs that could handle the white stuff with aplomb, have compiled a complete guide to all things winter weather related for vehicular travel that can be found by clicking on this link.

More appropriately, they call it their “Ultimate Guide to Winter Driving.”

There’s links, guides, the difference of front-wheel vs. rear-wheel driving cars and handling or how not to have them handle in the snow and more.

It’s also done in conjunction with Car Talk ( yes those fine folks in the People’s Republic of Cambridge, MA (their fair city) led by Ray Magliozzi who enjoys a laugh almost as he does actual and factual information with Craig Fitzgerald.

Click the link and you’ll be sure to find something that will make your winter trip much safer and eliminate the need to replace a perfectly good set of Fruit of the Looms that no bleach can clean just because you were foolish behind the wheel.

Jaguar XF to add diesel all-wheel-drive and boost chassis dynamics

2016 Jaguar XF

2016 Jaguar XF


  • All-wheel drive (AWD) now available globally with the clean, refined 180PS four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engine, delivering the ideal balance of all-weather performance and efficiency
  • F-TYPE-derived Intelligent Driveline Dynamics technology maximises traction and performance benefits of AWD while preserving rear-wheel drive agility
  • Adaptive Surface Response mode for Jaguar Drive Control delivers even greater composure in even the most adverse conditions
  • The lightest AWD diesel in the class thanks to Jaguar’s Advanced Aluminium Architecture
  • Configurable Dynamics now available for all 180PS diesel automatics, enabling individual settings for suspension, steering, throttle and transmission for a tailored driving experience
  • Adaptive Dynamics continuously variable damping technology now available on 180PS diesel models with manual transmissions
  • Euro NCAP five-star safety rating and full suite of advanced driver assistance systems
  • Outstanding usability and practicality: segment-leading rear seat space and luggage compartment volume (540 litres)
  • All Ingenium diesels – including AWD – benefit from 21,000 mile/ 24 month service intervals
  • Exceptional total cost of ownership: best-in-class residual values, lowest overall service costs
  • CO2 emissions for the range from just 104g/km – the lowest of any non-hybrid in the segment
  • 180PS Ingenium diesel introduced to North America with rear- and all-wheel drive
  • Updated range available from Spring 2016 (market dependent)