Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a safe and happy New Year!

We are looking forward to another busy year sharing stories in 2013!

New-Year-Car

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Craig Jackson’s Garage

Here at RedlineNorth, we’re always on the look out for quality videos about cars and car people.  Recently, we came across an interesting video which is a bit of a combo on the series Cribs.  It’s a behind the scenes look at Craig Jackson’s house and his out of this world garage.  Yes, Craig is the CEO/Chairman of Barrett-Jackson and has some sweet rides to say the least.

Nissan Leaf warranty to now include battery capacity loss

Nissan USA announced yesterday that all existing and future Nissan Leaf’s sold in the US will have the battery covered under warranty for capacity loss for the first five years, or 60,000 miles of ownership. That is, if the battery capacity declines by over 30% (providing less than 9 out of the available 12 bars on the gauge), the battery will be fixed or replaced under warranty.  Nissan is the first electric vehicle manufacturer to offer such a warranty and could be a game changer.

Nissan Leaf owners to gain warranty coverage for battery capacity loss

Nissan Leaf owners to gain warranty coverage for battery capacity loss

The longevity of the battery contained within electric vehicles has been a concern for some consumers and could have a negative impact on purchases.  Like the batteries powering today’s smart phones and laptops, over time the capacity of the battery will decline due to the nature of the battery technology itself.  This is a common occurrence and depends on a number of factors include but not limited to type of use, extreme temperatures and the number of charge cycles.

While replacing a mobile phone or laptop battery can be expensive, it’s no where near the cost of replacing the battery powering an electric vehicle which makes up a significant amount of the cost of the vehicle itself.   By offering this warranty Nissan is differentiating itself in the electric vehicle market.

Time will tell how much impact this will have on the sales of the Leaf, which to date have not lived up to initial expectations. That being said one could argue the initial expectations for all electric vehicles sales over the short term were exaggerated to begin with.

It will also be interesting to see if any other electric vehicle manufacturer will follow Nissan’s lead and start covering battery capacity loss under the warranty of the vehicle. The Nissan announcement did not include any information on how much this new warranty coverage will cost the company.

Further details on the new Nissan warranty coverage will be communicated in the new year.

Read the original announcement

Source: Automotive News, MyNissanLEAF.com

GYMKHANA FIVE: THE MAKING OF

One of our favourite car video series is Ken Block’s Gymkhana, which shows off the driving skills of rally car driver Ken Block as he drives through a variety of on- and off-street courses.

The latest installment in the series, released back in July 2012, is Gymkhana Five which is set in San Francisco. However, it’s just this week that the making of video for Gymkhana Five was released by Ken Block and DC Shoes.

The video provides an in depth look at the video production process, from the many hours of scouting out locations, to vehicle preparations, to takes and re-takes.

The making of video runs approximately 10 minutes and is well worth checking out even if you aren’t a rally car fan.

The original Gymkhana Five video can be found below:

Memorable Car Ads & Promotions from 2012

In the spirit of end of year lists, the RedlineNorth team has compiled a few of the most memorable car ads and promotions from 2012.  With the sheer amount of car advertising out there each year it can be sometimes hard to distinguish one commercial from another. The following were selected for creativity, humour and thinking outside the box, or in the first example, thinking inside the box!

Hot Wheels Promotion

In this promotion Hot Wheels placed a life size replica of a hot wheels box around the cars of unsuspecting shoppers at a mall.  When the shoppers returned to their vehicles they found their vehicle had been turned into a Hot Wheels car. Quite a simple, yet creative way to get your product noticed. Source: Adweek, Comunicadores

Hot Wheels Promotion

Hot Wheels Promotion

Life size Hot Wheels box

Life size Hot Wheels box

Lightsaber Insurance Ad

Does your car insurance company cover damage caused by flying lifesabers? Well this insurance company in Asia does.  In this funny commercial for a free in-car camera by DBS insurance, one just never knows what can happen to your car in a parking lot when you’re not around!  The RedlineNorth team loved the concept of this ad and the CGI work.

DeLorean NYC Taxi

Okay, this doesn’t quite qualify on a 2012 list as it was created for a student advertising competition a couple of years ago, the RedlineNorth Team thought it was worth a mention.  This NYC DeLorean Taxi is alas not real, but is a pretty cool mock up nonetheless.  Take me up to 88 mph and step on it!

delorean-cab-1 delorean-cab-3 delorean-cab-4

Source: Hypervocal

Fiat 500 Abarth

Entitle Not All Bad Boys Are Created Equal this Fiat 500 Abarth commercial features Charlie Sheen tearing around a mansion in a black Fiat 500 Abarth.  The commercial shows him wearing an ankle monitor after being sentenced to house arrest.  The video has garnered over 4 million views since it launched in March of 2012 and proves Charlie’s still got it. Fiat has been creating some very creative commercials for the Abarth recently, including this one entitled the Immigrants.

The Bark Side

Shown as a teaser for a longer Volkswagen 2012 Super Bowl ad, this Volkswagen commercial shows off the lyrical talents of a group of dogs barking a recognizable tune. This ad went viral and has been viewed almost 18 million times, while the longer Super Bowl commercial has been viewed over 55 million times, proving the marketing power of anything Star Wars.

The RedlineNorth team looks forward to seeing what the advertising agencies will come up with in 2013 and we won’t have to wait that long as the 2013 Super Bowl is just around the corner.  You can bet at least one or two automakers will be launching some new commercials during the game.

2013 GMC SLT Sierra 2500HD

A relative of RedlineNorth offered to give us a sneak peak of his newly delivered GMC Sierra 2500HD truck. We thought this would be an interesting story for readers since it is quite a different focus from our usual coverage.

Model Specs: GMC 2500HD series, SLT, Crew Cab, 2WD, 6’6″ box

Uncle Don1

The owner and his wife are retired educators and use this “Grand Daddy” of trucks to haul their Jayco Eagle fifth wheel to various locations in the U.S. Sunbelt over the winter months. Based in Southwestern Ontario, Canada they plan to put lots of miles on this rig over the next few years so they decided to go all out with the available bells and whistles.

Uncle Don2

Based on the pictures it looks like their annual drive down to the sunny US is more comfortable than watching Sunday afternoon football in most people’s living rooms.

Uncle Don3

Powertrain Specs:

  • Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel engine with 397 hp at 3000 rpm and 765 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm (for pulling a Jayco Eagle fifth wheel trailer)
  • Engine can run on B20 fuel – 20 percent biodiesel
  • Smart exhaust brake which (when engaged) will slow the truck on downhill grades   a savings in brake pads and rotors as well as more control when towing our trailer
  • Exhaust is  connected to a special catalytic converter which reduces the oxides of nitrogen to nitrogen gas and water by using a urea based solution or Diesel Emissions Fluid (DEF)
  • Six speed Allison 1000 transmission provides tap-up/tap-down shifting, auto grade braking and a tow/haul mode
  • Eaton locking rear differential permits both rear wheels to benefit from the power transmitted through the system
  • Four wheel disc brakes with 14 inch diameters and twin piston calibers (and the usual ABS) provides more confidence while trailer hauling when emergency or even normal stopping is required.
  • Stabilitrak Electronic Stability Control which detects when a wheel is about to spin laterally and then applies the necessary brake(s) to regain control.
    • This control system provides hill hold assist as the driver’s foot moves from the brake pedal to the gas pedal.

Uncle Don5

Some of the Interior features include:

  • Front, heated, leather Captain seats with 2 position driver memory
  • On-Star communication and assistance service
  • XM Satellite Radio played through a Bose Premium sound system
  • Electric rear window defogger (very useful in a crew cab)
  • Steering wheel controls for radio, Bluetooth and cruise

Exterior features include:

*Some features are aftermarket and did not come from GMC dealer
  • Large, heated camper type mirrors with integrated turn signals and bottom-mounted convex mirrors that are great for monitoring proximity to curbs or trailer tires.
  • Extang tonneau cover to protect cargo and increase fuel economy by reducing wind drag by the tailgate.
  • Line-X coating of the truck box and side rails reduces abrasion by movement of stored items
  • Bug/stone deflector on hood
  • Luverne nerf bars
  • Wheel house linings to reduce noise
  • Cloud-Rider stone guards on all four wheels to protect the front of the trailer as well as the sheet metal of the truck

Many readers may wonder why the owner chose a two wheel drive truck over a 4×4 drive version. Well, there are a couple of reasons why they went the two wheel drive route. Firstly, a front differential adds significant weight, increases maintenance costs, and reduces trailering capacity for both ball hitch and fifth wheel hitch trailering.  Secondly, the owners rarely require the traction ability of a 4×4 wheel vehicle and they appreciate the added fuel economy from the diesel powered 2WD on their long trips to the southern US.

Payload Specifications:

  • GVWR
    4536 kg/10,000 lb
  • Payload
    1378 kg/3037 lb
  • Fifth wheel trailering
    7893 kg/17,400 lb
  • Ball hitch trailering
    5897 kg/13,000 lb

Uncle Don4

Rolls Royce Rally Car?!

Rolls Royce is the epitome of a luxury vehicle. From its wood interior, rear coach doors, hand stitched leather seats and even a hidden umbrella, the vehicle exudes class.  It will take you to your corporate meeting or Learjet in style and elegance.

Now check out this video from Europe of a Rolls Royce Phantom driver taking his vehicle off road for a little impromptu rally car action. Not exactly what this $400k+ vehicle is intended for, but you got to admire the drifting in this beast of a car!

We’d hate to see the repair bill after this little jaunt in the country!

A few specs on the Phantom:

Weight: 5,809 lb
Engine: V12
Horsepower: 453 hp
0-60 mph: 5.7

Urban Outlaw

Urban Outlaw is a portrait of Magnus Walker, the rebel Porsche customizer who turned a hobby into an obsession, and an obsession into a successful business. From a workshop in downtown Los Angeles, Magnus obsessively harvests fragments from donor 911s, grafting them onto vintage frames to create one-off automobiles with the spirit of Ferdinand Porsche but an ethos entirely his own.  Specializing in 1964-1972 models, Magnus is a genius fabricator and a real life artist of the automotive industry.

Magnus-Walker-Porsche

For any enthusiast, this is a must see video and I guarantee after watching you will be interested in Porsches if you were not interested before.

Source: Urban Outlaw, Dean’s Garage, Vimeo.com

The Real Thing

RedlineNorth has come across a great video about Bodie Stroud, a custom hot rod builder, who restored a classic Mustang using an extremely rare and powerful motor built specifically for legendary racer Mario Andretti’s 1969 Can Am series race car. It’s quite an undertaking, with great results. Enjoy!

Buick Grand National and GNX

Looking back, the American cars of the 1980s were not fast, slick or exciting which was so contrary to the wild life of LA’s Sunset Strip or Miami’s South Beach. We can’t imagine how deflating it must have been pulling up to the club valet in a two ton, V8 powered coupe so suffocated with smog technology it was producing an anemic 140 horsepower.  What a difference from today, where you can walk in to any North American dealership and drive away in a 425+ horsepower rocket ship branded Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang.  Nevertheless, there were two American models from the 1980s that did represent the era’s excess and decadence and that is the Buick Grand National and Buick GNX.

1987 Buick Regal GNX

1987 Buick Regal GNX

The Buick Regal Grand National debuted in 1982 following Buick’s victory of the NASCAR Grand National racing series in 1981 and 1982.  This was an era where manufactures attempted to capitalize on their NASCAR success with the old adage: “What wins on Sunday, sells on Monday”. The 1982 models were not painted black, which may confuse those not familiar with them since they all started out as charcoal grey Buick Regals that were shipped off to a subcontractor for final touches.

The malevolent burnout

Built to do burnouts

In 1984 the Grand National returned with the all black paint scheme along with the infamous turbocharged 3.8 L V6 which included sequential fuel injection, distributor-less computer controlled ignition, and potent punch of 200 hp and 300 lb·ft  of torque. The power of the engine was improved slightly every year and minor changes cosmetically were made but for the most part the 1984-1986 models look the same.

However, for the Grand National’s final year in 1987, Buick introduced a new model called the GNX priced at a very expensive $29,900. Produced by McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC, Buick underrated the GNX at 276 hp and a very substantial 360 lb·ft of torque. Designed and created to be the “Grand National to end all Grand Nationals.”, changes in the GNX included the addition of a special Garrett T-3 turbocharger with a ceramic-impeller blowing through a more efficient and significantly larger capacity intercooler with a “CERMATEL (Ceramic/Aluminum) coated” pipe. In addition, it was also equipped with a low-restriction exhaust with dual mufflers, reprogrammed Turbo Hydramatic 200-4R transmission with custom torque converter and transmission cooler.

Buick's V6 engine - Way ahead of its time

Buick’s V6 engine – Way ahead of its time

Performance for this Black Knight was measured with a quarter mile time of 13.5 seconds at 102 mph (164 km/h) and a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.7 seconds – this was faster than a Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Countach. The GNX really was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing: and auto journalists who tested the car experienced this first hand.  For example, the esteemed Car and Driver editor, Csaba Csere is famously quoted as saying after his first run “the tires, made not the squealing sound…it was a harsher sound, almost like the tread was being ripped off the tires.”

Infamous stance

Infamous stance

Unfortunately, it was a very short run of only five years and consequently the last Grand National rolled off the Buick City assembly line in Flint, Michigan on December 11, 1987.

To mark this somber silver anniversary, a new documentary film has been created called Black Air which details the history of the Grand National from many different perspectives including the enthusiast, the collector, the media and even from those at General Motors responsible for designing the infamous G-body coupe. The film is created in a very doc style, reminiscent of the visceral characteristics the Grand National exuded when it rolled off the line.

From all accounts, the film does a solid job of portraying the story of why this low volume, American muscle car is the object of obsession for many automotive enthusiasts a quarter century after the last one came off the line.

In the film, the story is told about building the last Grand National ever, which is significant not only to the model but it marked the closure of that particular line and resulted in many of the line workers losing their jobs at Buick City. However, the true spirit of this iconic machine is revealed in footage of the workers cheering as the last car comes off the assembly line.  Not only does the film capture the heart and soul of the Buick Grand National and GNX it acts as a poignant reminder of America’s auto industry in the late 1980s.
Source: Autoblog.com, Wikipedia and GNMovie.com