31st January 2011

Lexus tabs American tuner, CEC, to build modified LF-A supercars

Looks like the Lexus LF-A supercar will be having its own tuning program real soon. Recently, Lexus North America and Los Angeles-based auto tuner, CEC, struck a partnership where the latter will be tasked to create a tuning program for the LF-A supercar. The program will be limited to just three models with each car coming with a number of modifications that will be built specifically to the whims of each of the car owners.

According to CEC, the whole scope of the tuning program will only cover aesthetic improvements, which means that the car’s overall performance will be kept untouched.

Claus Ettensberger, founder of CEC and the guy who was the first to get a speeding ticket in the Lexus, said: “We looked at the LFA and what Lexus engineers had done, and knew it would be crazy to try and improve it from a performance or engineering standpoint.”

Despite having no performance upgrades, CEC still managed to boost the supercar’s output with another 10 horsepower – from 560 to 570 horsepower – while slicing off the shift time to .15 of a second.

The three modified LF-A’s have yet to be revealed, but word that somebody’s actually building them is getting us all excited about the possibilities of what they’re going to look like. It might be tooting their own horn, but according to Sherif Yassa, CEC’s vice president, the three modified LF-A’s will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

“We believe these three CEC Tuner Edition LFAs will be the most expensive and rarest of all the LFA supercars that Lexus will manufacturer and sell worldwide,” said Yassa.

Knowing what we know about Lexus and CEC, we’re not doubting them the least bit.

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31st January 2011

Dacia Duster to tackle Pikes Peak with 850-hp Nissan GT-R engine?

Dacia Duster to tackle Pikes Peak with 850-hp Nissan GT-R engine?



Dacia Duster Andros Trophy – Click above for high-res image gallery

We know that looks like snow in the picture above, but imagine all that white stuff as the winding circuit that ascends Pikes Peak instead. The legendary (and brutal) Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been dominated by the likes of Suzuki’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in years past, and while Rhys Millen has been eager to win back his daddy’s title, reports indicate that both Tajima and Millen could have a new challenger to deal with this year.

The challenge could come from the Andros Trophy – the French ice racing series that attracts big names from F1 like Alain Prost and Jacques Villeneuve. As much about the drivers as it is about the cars, the Andros Trophy series has been dominated by two names over the past several years: the aforementioned quadruple F1 champion Prost, and Jean-Philippe Dayraut. The former won the trophy in 2007 and 2008, the latter in 2009 and 2010, and the both of them are currently tangling for the 2011 title.

Prost switched from the Toyota Auris in which he won the trophy twice to the specially-prepared Dacia Duster pictured above. Dayraut left his Skoda Fabia to Villeneuve in favor of the BMW 1 Series. If reports prove accurate, however, it could be Dayraut taking the Dacia to Pikes Peak. French reports say Dayraut’s people approached Tork Engineering (the firm that set up Prost’s Duster) to make a Pike’s Peak challenger using the engine from the Nissan GT-R (Dacia is part of the Renault-Nissan alliance) with a projected 850 horsepower and a curb weight under 2,000 lbs.

With those kinds of stats – and that kind of driver – the Dacia hillclimber is shaping up to be a a monster. And Monster Tajima had better take notice.

[Source: Le Blog Auto]


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31st January 2011

Scott Burgess: Automakers deliver on compact promise

The compact segment, once the bastion of inexpensive grocery-getters, commuters and first-time car buyers, has become nearly as cutthroat as the midsize car segment. With every new vehicle that arrives, the bar is raised higher.

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31st January 2011

Making dad’s business her own

Almost seven years after her dad’s death, Valery Voyles often recalls his guidance. Voyles, now 54, took over Ed Voyles Automotive Group of suburban Atlanta in 2004 when Ed Voyles died just five weeks after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

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31st January 2011

News & Rants: Latest Reviews From MotherProof.com

Your definition of a family car depends on the size of your family. If your family is on the smaller side, you’ll want to check out MotherProof.com’s reviews of the 2011 Chevy Cruze, 2011 Subaru Outback and 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. If you have a large family or a small family that needs a lot of room to spread out, take a look at our 2011 Honda Odyssey and 2011 Land Rover LR4 review. Here are our latest reviews:

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30th January 2011

Boink Your Dealers

Troubled BYD has even more problems: Dealers defect the Chinese car maker, because the alleged master of the electric vehicle has perfected one ancient tradecraft: The art of channel stuffing. A Beijing BYD store switched to another brand because BYD required them to carry a whopping six times the monthly selling rate on the lot. The poor dealer that moved 70 BYDs in a good month was sitting on a steadily restocked inventory of 400 units.

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