COOL PROJECT: GRAN TORINO GETS A NEW BOSS

‘Shotgun’ Ford Engine will Power Classic ’72 Sportsroof

Enthusiast Tom Marcucci is spending the cold winter shoehorning a Boss 429 engine into his pristine ’72 Gran Torino. The car is a low-mile, original-paint virgin, while the engine is 429 engine fitted with original Boss ‘9 heads. It’s a project Marcucci has planned for a long time and held back only until he found the perfect project car. He hopes to have the car on the road this spring, with the biggest anticipated challenge being the creation of custom headers. Marcucci plans to back the big, bad Boss engine with a Viper 6-speed trans. We can’t wait to take a ride!

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OFFICIAL FORD LICENSE PLATES — FOR AUSTRALIA

Limited-Edition Plates cost $695 AUD

If you’re a resident of the Australia state of Victoria, a die-hard Ford fan and have $695 in your pocket (about $705 in American dollars), you can pony up for a limited-edition and government-issued “Ford Performance Vehicles” license plate. Only 1,000 will be issued and they feature the Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) logo. FPV is the Australian equivalent of SVT.

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SURPRISE! NEW SUPERCHARGED CAMARO IS DUBBED ZL1 (with gallery)

CHEVROLET ‘PARKS’ Z28 NAME IN FAVOR OF INFAMOUS COPO CAR DESIGNATION

From about 2 minutes after the fifth-generation Camaro went into production, speculation swirled about rumors of a high-end model that would use the supercharged, 556-horsepower LSA engine from the Cadillac CTS-V. As one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry – prodded by plenty of spy photos – the enthusiast community knew this car would be called Z28.

At the Chicago Auto Show today, Chevrolet shocked everyone when it announced the supercharged model will be called ZL1. It’s scheduled for an early 2012 release and we’re told the ZL1 name was chosen because the high-tech, maximum-performance mission of the car didn’t square with the spirit of the original Z28. Here’s what we know about the new Camaro ZL1:

  • It will be powered by a version of the supercharged, 6.2-liter LSA, but with unique intercooler and other features to fit it in the Camaro’s engine compartment
  • The transmission will be the CTS-V version of the Tremec 6060 six-speed, with a dual-mass flywheel and twin-disc clutch. There’s also a shorter-throw shifter, but it’s not the Hurst shifter
  • The car will have “active” exhaust – a version of the Corvette-style system that enables two levels of flow and sound
  • A completely revamped rear axle system, with a larger cast iron differential housing replacing the SS’s aluminum housing
  • Magnetic Ride Control will be standard. Similar to what’s offered on the Corvette, the dampers use computer-monitored dampers filled with magnetorheological fluid for real-time damping that seems to defy the laws of physics – and it’s not an inexpensive feature
  • Larger front disc brakes, featuring two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers
  • Electric power steering.

We’ve been told, too, that the entire suspension and chassis system was completely revamped to drastically improve the Camaro’s on-track driving dynamics – changes we can expect to filter through other models soon enough. Reportedly, the Camaro’s tendency to plow through corners with terrible understeer has been corrected. Chevy reps took pains to explain the ZL1 isn’t simply a more powerful Camaro, but a complete package that transforms it into a true world-beating touring car with great track capabilities.

From an appearance standpoint, the ZL1 has subtle body mods, but all were done for the sake of reducing lift or creating downforce. The most noticeable change is an extractor-style hood, which features a raised section made of carbon fiber. The vents draw air out of the engine compartment and over the top of the car, rather than allowing it to push down on the ground, where it would contribute to lift. The car rides on massive 20×10-inch front wheels and 20×11-inch rear wheels, which are larger than the SS wheels, but weigh less.

 The new ZL1 is expected to go on sale a year from now. Start saving those pennies and returnable bottles.

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DODGE INTRODUCES 2012 CHARGER SRT8

New 6.4-Liter Hemi Delivers 465 Hp/465 Lb.-Ft.

Reinforcing the recent tradition of manufacturers introducing high-performance models at the Chicago Auto Show (away from the more critical eyes of the larger media pool at Detroit), Dodge used the Windy City venue to announce the 2012 Charger SRT8. The basics include:

  • 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine rated at an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque
  • All-new active valve exhaust system (said to improve fuel efficiency with the standard cylinder deactivation system)
  • All-new paddle-shift technology
  • Two-mode adaptive damping suspension, which allows for selectable suspension tuning and also automatically adapts to road and driver inputs for proper vehicle control
  • Brembo brakes, with 4-piston calipers and slotted rotors measuring 14.2 inches in front and 13.8 inches in the rear.

Exclusive new front and rear fascias, along with a new rear spoiler, distinguish the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8.The grille, grille surround and Dodge crosshair feature high-gloss black finishes and the SRT badge. A newly sculpted hood features a 6.4 L (liter) badge and black air exhauster for added engine cooling. In the rear, the Charger’s new signature “racetrack” taillamp design with 164 illuminating LEDs receives new 4-inch round dual exhaust tips and an SRT8 decklid badge. Unique side-sill cladding is painted to match the body color and a newly designed underbody belly pan features integrated brake ducting to improve cooling and brake fade performance at all four corners.
Inside is an all-new, leather-wrapped, SRT-exclusive steering wheel that features a unique rim section with a flattened bottom surface that showcases the SRT logo. The standard paddle shifters flank both sides of the new steering wheel behind the new contoured palm rests. For the high-performance look, carbon-weave, fiber aluminum interior trim pieces are integrated into the new instrument panel and shifter bezel. The front seats have unique, aggressive bolstering and perforated suede insert fabric to help “grip” the driver and passengers, keeping them in place during spirited driving. Heated and ventilated front seats are standard. Reactive headrests also are standard. The SRT logo is embroidered in the seat backs.

Dodge says the ’12 Charger SRT8 will go on sale later this year.

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CAMARO PACE CAR REPLICAS COMING THIS SPRING

Chevrolet to Build only 500 Examples of Retro Pace Car

Last month, Chevrolet announced a new Camaro convertible — styled similarly to the iconic ’69 pace car — will serve as this year’s Indianapolis 500 pace car. At the Chicago Auto Show today, Chevy announced 500 replicas will go on sale later this spring. To suggest they’ll go fast would be an understatement. They could build 3,500 of the retro-styled pace cars and they’d still be gone in the blink of an eye. So, if you want one, you’d better jump on your dealer today — that is, if he’s going to get one… And sell it if he does.

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Pomona Gallery to Host Drag Racing Exhibit

Collaboration with NHRA Motorsports Museum Recalls Pomona’s Drag Racing Roots

Commemorating 60 years of drag racing in Pomona, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and the dba256 Galley/Wine Bar, in downtown Pomona, are pleased to present Pomona Drags – an exhibit of early drag racing in Pomona. It opens to the public this Saturday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m. during the popular Art Walk in downtown Pomona. The exhibit will be displayed only for a month, through March 12.

“Pomona Drags” examines the beginning of drag racing in Pomona which led to the formation of the first motorsports sanctioning body, the National Hot Rod Association in 1951. The Pomona Police Department, specifically Chief Ralph Parker and Officer Bud Coons, were instrumental in founding drag racing at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds under the banner of the Pomona Valley Timing Association. The first NHRA sanctioned drag race was held at Pomona in April, 1953. Several large-scale photographic images depicting the birth and rise of drag racing in Pomona will be displayed including artifacts and memorabilia from National DRAGSTER and the Wally presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California. 

This sounds like a great diversion for anyone visiting the area for the Winternationals, which kicks off Feb. 24. The dba256 Gallery/Wine Bar is located in the historic Arts Colony in downtown Pomona, on the corner of Third and Main. The address is 256 S. Main Street, Pomona. Their Web site is: www.dba256.com and the phone number is 909-623-7600.

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NEWS BRIEF: Ford Announces Increased Production

Dearborn’s Automaker ups First-Quarter Estimate by 13%

At the National Auto Dealer Association convention in San Francisco, Ford announced plans to increase first-quarter production by about 13 percent — bringing the estimate to about 550,000 vehicles. The includes the possibility of adding new, job-creating shifts, along with continued overtime at many of the company’s plants. [Source: Detroit News]

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Chevy Revives “See the USA” with Glee

Popular TV Show Evokes the Past with Musical Number

The Camaro convertible, Cruze, and Volt were featured in a dream sequence commercial in which the “Glee” cast sings   “See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet,” bringing to life for a new generation the classic jingle popularized by Dinah Shore in the 1950s.

“We saw this as an opportunity to cap off an unprecedented day for Chevrolet,” said Joel Ewanick, global chief marketing officer of General Motors. “The ads shown during the Super Bowl highlighted key Chevrolet products in a traditional way, but the ‘Glee’ tie-in is a new realm for integration with a hot show on the big day.”

The two-minute Chevrolet spot aired during a special “Glee” episode after the game, with silver Chevys on a white background in a scene reminiscent of a 1930s Hollywood musical. The cast sang and danced around the Chevys while performers dangled from the ceiling by white sheets.

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CLASSIC COMMERCIAL: 1980 Trans Am

Tanya Tucker Starred in a Music Video-Style Promo for Pontiac’s F-Car

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With this weekend’s big football game — the name of which cannot be mentioned, for fear of NFL reprisal — much of the attention around it is focused on the television ads. Not that we would, for a second, believe you’d spend your time on this Web site rather than watching TV, we nonetheless present an ad from another era. It’s a 2.5-minute look at the “new” 1980 Trans Am, with a spandex-wearing Tanya Tucker singing “King of the Road” as she vamps around the car. Classic!

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Livernois Motorsports Builds High-Compression 5.0-Liter

Naturally Aspirated Combo helps Deliver 11.15-sec. ET

 

Dearborn-based Livernois Motorsports (livernoismotorsports.com) has wasted no time in cracking open Ford’s new “Coyote” 5.0-liter to draw out more power. They’ve built a high-compression version, using a prototype Ford Racing intake, which pumps the new 302 engine’s output from the factory 412-hp rating to more than 500 horses. Here’s how they did it:

  • Custom Livernois-designed pistons with “stegosaurous”-style tops – peaks at the center of each valve relief that displace more air in the cylinders to increase the compression ratio from 11:1 to more than 12:1.
  • Forged H-beam connecting rods in place of the stock powdered-metal rods, measuring the stock 5.93-inch length
  • CNC-ported intake and exhaust ports in the factory four-valve heads
  • Ford Racing Performance Parts prototype high-rise intake manifold, similar in design to the forthcoming Boss 302. Its tall, straight intake runners deliver greater velocity at high rpm, much like an old-school tunnel ram.

 

The engine retains the stock camshafts and the exhaust blows through 1-7/8-inch long tubes. Backed by the stock six-speed automatic transmission in Livernois’ in-house test ’Stang, the engine was good for 441 rwhp – or about 520 at the crank.

 

“It’s an experimental engine to see what works,” said Livernois’ Dan Millen. “Already, we can see that the engine needs more camshaft. The intake delivers at high rpm, but we need the camshafts to reciprocate. We’ll work on that next.”

 

 

With the custom pistons, this recipe isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective way to add 100 horsepower, but it provides a glimpse at where the burgeoning new 5.0-liter world is headed. And the all-forged rotating assembly is the right foundation for forced induction (except for “bumpy” high-compression pistons heads) – although the 5.0’s super-thin, 0.060-inch-thick factory cylinder liners may be a cause for concern under boost. Nevertheless, this naturally aspirated combo works. Livernois’ Mustang has already posted an 11.15 ET at 122 mph, with a non-too-svelte race weight of 3,680 pounds.

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