Building replicas of famous movie cars is nothing new. After the second version of Gone in 60 Seconds came out, the streets soon filled with Eleanor lookalikes. However, it’s taken a good long time for a replica of the most famous Mustang of all to take shape. The Steve McQueen thriller Bullitt features a Mustang so iconic that Ford has released two separate special edition models taking the movie’s name to pay homage for what McQueen has done for the name. But you just don’t see any classic Bullitt Mustangs driving around. Well, Gateway Classic Mustang has something to say about that as they have partnered with the Steve McQueen Estate to produce a modern rendition of the 1968 Ford Mustang featured in the movie. Each car will start out as an original ’67 or ’68 fastback and is fitted with a 450-hp V8, Keisler five-speed transmission, Baer brakes, coilover suspension front and rear and American Racing wheels. Gateway Classic Mustang is currently taking orders for the vehicle, but prospective buyers will have to contact them for pricing.
For the first time in its eleven-year history, Kia Canada Inc. exceeded the 6,000-vehicle sale mark with 6,777 Kias being sold in April. Led by the Forte line-up, including the sedan, 5-door and Koup, Kia experienced a 34-percent growth versus last year’s sales, as well keeping its industry-best sales streak alive and well at 28 months. Along with setting company-best sales records, April turned out to be a big month for Kia in other areas as well, with the debut of the 2012 Kia Rio sedan and the 2012 Kia Soul urban utility vehicle, plus the North American debut of the Rio 5-door, at the New York International Auto Show. Both the Rio and Soul will feature Gasoline Direct Injection that offers more power and increased fuel economy, while resulting in less-harmful emissions.
With the old V10-powered BMW M5 now at the end of its production life, BMW has decided to tease us, as they always like to do, with a couple of renderings of the 2012 BMW M5 concept that was shown at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. While its muscular good looks ensure that this is an M-division vehicle, sources say that under that bulging bonnet lurks a high-revving V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology that generates 578 hp, directed to the rear wheels. The full official specs and details on the M5 have not been released as of yet, but we should get a little more insight on the car soon.
With BMW showing off its new M5, Lexus didn’t want to be left out in the cold. While Lexus has a competitor to the M3, the GS350 is no match for the pomp and circumstance of the M5. So Lexus has a unique-looking creation that was unveiled at the New York Auto Show, dubbed the LF-Gh. With “LF” in front of the “G”, one would surmise that this vehicle would be an ultra-high performance four-door rocket based on the GS-Series sedan, with LF-A flair and performance. However, while the LF-Gh is quite the looker, like it or not, the real beauty is in the details. Lexus General Manager of Design, Kengo Matsumoto, describes the vehicle as a “study of characteristics that are contradictory and difficult to execute together.” In that mind, designers aimed to perfectly blend style, performance, efficiency, and environmental compatibility in a premium, grand touring sedan while trying to leverage advanced, new technologies. As a concept, don’t expect to see one on the street any time soon, but Lexus says that design cues such as the spindle-shaped grille will likely make their way to production units across the model line.
Just after Honda launched the Insight back in 1999, Toyota brought the Prius to Canada in 2001, and since then has never looked back, as Toyota quickly took a dominating lead in the hybrid market. Today, Toyota’s hybrid technology can be found on no fewer than eight Toyota and Lexus models, with Nissan licensing the technology for its Altima Hybrid. The Prius is also getting its very own line of new vehicles with Toyota’s new Prius family coming soon, and Toyota has announced that it plans to add ten new hybrid models by 2012. It therefore comes as no surprise that Toyota is leading the way in hybrid vehicles, and to punctuate this, it has just announced that it has sold over three-million units world wide. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced global cumulative sales of its hybrid vehicles have topped the three-million mark, with more than 3.03 million units sold worldwide as of February 28, 2011 (52,995 of those sold in Canada).
It wasn’t so long ago that we were reporting on a Canadian-bred supercar, the HTT Plethore LC-750. Well, Canada now has a second competitor in the supercar market, and it’s ready for the street. The brainchild of Vancouver based, Korean businessman Jahong Hur, the De Marcoss GT1 is ready to take on the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Pagani. Built by Multimatic in Markham, Ontario, the GT1 employs the standard array of highly sought-after and expensive materials meant to lower the vehicle’s weight and increase speed. One such bit of technology the GT1 features is the same Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers that Multimatic cooked up for various F1 teams including this year’s Red Bull RB7. The four-way adjustable pieces can crop the vehicle’s ride height by over an inch to allow for both a street and a track set-up. While most start-up supercar builders automatically reach for a GM LS-series V8 to handle the power, the GT1 gets its motivations from a 5.4-litre supercharged V8 engine, loosely based on the Ford GT mill, mounted amidships and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s expected to produce 800-plus horsepower, 700-plus pound-feet of torque, a 7,000 rpm redline and a 0-100 km/h run in the 3.5 second range.
The VW Bus was an icon of a vehicle. No other minivan on the planet holds such a dedicated cult following than the old rear-engined Bus. As a result, VW created the rather popular Microbus concept back in 2001 to help bring back the character of the long-since extinct van. However, last March, VW pulled the wraps off another distinctly flavoured concept minivan, this time named the Bulli. Despite the odd name, there is word out of the UK, where Autocar Magazine is saying it believes the Bulli could be headed to production in the near future, re-designated as the Microbus. Word has it that the Microbus production vehicle would be built on the third generation Audi A3 platform and would have the Scion xB, Mazda5 and Ford C-Max in its sights. VW Canada comments that the vehicle is being studied for the North American market and time will tell if there is a right fit. The concept vehicle is powered by a 113-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which can reportedly be charged in less than an hour. Whether or not the electric drivetrain also makes it to production is not known, but let’s hope VW recaptures some of its extremely popular past.
The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger Enforcer has arrived, providing law-enforcement a secondary option to the Ford Taurus Interceptor we reported on several issues ago. The all-new Dodge Charger Enforcer’s suspension tuning, heavy-duty anti-lock vented disc brakes (ABS), front and rear stabilizer bars, 18-inch performance tires on steel wheels and two-mode police-specific Electronic Stability Control (ESC) calibration have been specifically tuned for the rigours of pursuit. Designed with the guidance of the Dodge brand’s Police Advisory Board, the 2011 Dodge Charger Enforcer’s mobile-command interior features a Police Interface Module for easy equipment integration, police-duty front seats, column-mounted automatic transmission with Auto Stick, red/white LED interior lighting for night-vision equipment, and more. Behind its menacing face, the Dodge Charger Enforcer offers an all-new standard E-85 capable 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine with variable valve timing and available 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine.
Toyota has taken another step in the long and painful march to making the FT-86 concept become production reality with the unveiling of the latest incarnation of the vehicle. Now dubbed the FT-S, this latest concept version has made serious steps towards production-ready trim, only it won’t bear the Toyota logo, rather a Scion badge. The car pays homage to the iconic AE86 Toyota Corolla GTS, a car still as popular today as it was to Toyota performance enthusiasts back when it was considered a new car in 1985. Toyota tells us that the FT-S Concept previews a new addition to the Scion family coming in 2012. So, short of just coming out and saying it, you are most likely looking at a slightly smarter version of what will be on sale in the very near future, but enough playing around with concepts, just give it to us.
China Getting Tough With Foreign Auto Makers
The rise of the Chinese automotive market has been a saving grace for several manufacturers who have been hit with the hard times of Europe and North America. With cheap production costs and taking over as the world’s largest consumer market, China has been an important part of any car maker’s business plan. However, the Chinese governmental rules regarding the automotive sector are about to change for the worse for foreign automakers. Manufacturers who want to increase production by as much as 30 percent may be required by governmental law to sell that percentage under a new low-cost Chinese name. The move is not to create more brands, but to gain intellectual property, as the imports have had a distinct technology advantage over Chinese domestics. The new laws would see Chinese carmakers receive the fruits of each foreign manufacturer’s years of R&D. Whether or not the foreign manufacturers are willing to give up their profits for their IP is yet to be seen.
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