October 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Not a lot has been happening at defunct British sports car maker TVR in the past few years. The company was bought by Russian rich kid Nikolai Smolenski from late founder Peter Wheeler when it was in serious financial trouble, he didn’t do much with it, declared it bankrupt to clear its debts, then bought the company out of bankruptcy. After that there has been little news for badge fans except for a court case with a TVR remanufacturer and some rumours about using an American V8 to power the firm’s new car.
The V8 issue finally appears resolved with the Corvette’s 638-horsepower LS9 winning the deal. The new TVR car it will be used in is to be called the MD-1.
The question almost everyone is left asking is, will the car be at all British? With Smolenski looking to draw a line under the Wheeler era once and for all it seems unlikely. Although, currently the MD-1 is being developed by a UK firm, but Smolenski says production could shift take place in Europe or South Africa just as easily.
So could a South African-built, American-engined TVR still be a TVR like the Griffith or the Tuscan(pictured)? Smolenski thinks TVR fans wouldn’t think so, but he doesn’t really seem to care.
Wherever it is build the new LS9-powered MD-1 will be exclusive, with just 250 made annually when it arrives in 2012.
September 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The Holden Cruze sedan has been on sale here in NZ for quite a while, but now the first images of its hatchback sibling have been released. The images show the Cruze hatch in concept form and wearing a Chevrolet front end, but still provide an accurate idea of what we can expect from the production version.
The Holden-designed Cruz hatch will be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later this month and will be marketed as a global model for GM, being Chevrolet badge in most countries. However, assembly for Australian and NZ markets will be carried out across the ditch from late 2011.
In terms of styling Holden’s Cruze will likely get a different nose, badges, and of course, right-hand drive to help it stand out from its Chevrolet cousin.
The Cruze Hatchback show car, designed and built by Holden at its Port Melbourne design studio, is the result of a full year’s worth of work using input from GM designers around the world.
Richard Ferlazzo, Holden’s chief designer, says, “Our brief was to create an alternative body style to the traditional sedan that retained the same dynamic proportions that has made Cruze such a success around the world. We are very proud of the result which will be tailored further for the Australian market and given an appearance consistent with the rest of the Holden portfolio next year.”
Despite what appears to be a smaller shape, Holden claims luggage capacity in the Cruze Hatchback will be very close to the 400 litre capacity of the sedan, and the rear seats feature a 60/40 split fold.
Continue reading “Holden Cruze hatchback revealed in Chevrolet form” »
August 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
After recently releasing images of the Holden-developed Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle and ‘Detective’ variants last month, GM has now released footage of the WM Statesman-based saloon patroling American streets.
GM has also confirmed that the Detective variant will be offered to enforcement agencies from October this year, and will be delivered to buyers by April 2011. Orders for the Police-liveried Caprice PPV will be taken from October. So far, it’s unknown if any American police departments have placed orders.
The ’9C1′ PPV was first revealed at Holden’s Port Melbourne headquarters late last year before getting its first US unveiling at the LA Auto Show in December.
The previously unseen 9C3 Detective variant has been developed specifically for use by plain-clothed police and federal agencies. Its mechanical configuration is almost identical to the 9C1 patrol vehicle, the Detective more comfortable seating and cupholders.
Both vehicles receive GM’s 6.0 litre V8, producing 265kW and 384Nm and utilising Active Fuel Management and the petrol- and E85 Ethanol-friendly FlexFuel system.
While the Holden-based vehicles look worthy of replacing the old Ford Crown Victoria in US law-enforcement fleets, the Caprice is just one contender in a competitive field. No decisions have been made yet.
Holden claims that the Los Angeles Police Department has been interested in the WM-platformed Caprice for some time. If the car is selected as the LAPD’s next patrol vehicle, its order alone could total some 20,000 cars.
Continue reading “Holden-based Chevrolet Caprice Police vehicle ready for U.S service” »
July 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Over in the States, GM spends mega bucks annually on advertising its ever growing model range. While most of these marketing dollars are pumped into the ad campaigns for volume models like the Malibu, Equinox and Traverse, the Corvette has just got its own dedicated television spot. The Vette needs little introduction but occasionally the public need to be reminded exactly how awesome it is.
The new ad, debuted in the States earlier this week and shows off the top-rung Corvette ZR1. That’s the the supercharged one with 638 horses under the bonnet. The Corvette and this ad might just prove that America still builds rockets. Check it out below. Continue reading “Corvette ZR1 gets all new TV commercial (+video)” »
July 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Chevrolet is using this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed event in the UK to unveil the right-hand drive Chevrolet Camaro. The iconic musclecar is scheduled to begin sales in the UK market sometime during the first six months of 2011.
The example to be shown off to the Goodwood crowd will be powered by the 426-horsepower (318 kW) 6.2-litre V8 LS3 engine, shared with the US-spec car, which rpoduces up to 420 ft-lb (569 Nm) of torque. UK customers will not initally be given access to the 400-horsepower 6.2-litre L99 V8 that comes with Active Fuel Management, allowing it to use only four of eight cylinders to save on petrol.
The engine will most likely come mated to the same Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission available in the States. This will help the car reach 100 kph in 4.6 seconds, but Chevy is only confirming that the U.K. spec car will have a sub-five second 0-100kph sprint, and an electronically-limited top speed of 250 kph.
Chevy is bringing a Transformers-themed version to Goodwood, in full Bumblebee kit, complete with gimmicky Autobot badging. Confirmed specs and pricing will be made available closer to the UK Camaro’s launch next year.
May 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
A timelapse video from the factory at Ray Mallock Ltd. showing the build of the Chevrolet Cruze WTCC
April 28th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
The old small block Chevy, there’s no other engine in history that evokes quite as much nostalgia. General Motors now looks poised to push its mighty mouse motor well into the future by adding new technologies designed to clean up the mill’s emissions and improve economy. According to recent reports the small block is expected to be used in American vehicles from sportscars like the Camaro and Corvette to pickup trucks and SUVs.
GM announced that all of its next-generation small block V8s will use aluminum engine blocks in addition to being E85 compatible. Direct injection will also be added to the small block’s technologies and will help with much needed improved efficiency and greater power production. Finally, the combustion chambers will see a redesign that will further promote fuel efficiency.
An update of this nature to an existing engine line doesn’t come cheap and requires a suitable investment. GM are set to invest nearly $900 million US and will add or retain more than 1,600 jobs to make it all possible. Looks the the small block Chevy is getting dragged into the future.
April 20th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Hennessey Performance takes its 725 HP LS9 HPE700 Camaro to MSR Houston for road course testing.