We Are Driven – Automotive Tuning Culture Documentary

On June 9th a new documentary on the tuning car culture and lifestyle will be released called We Are Driven. The film makers spent a year and a half visiting countless shows, meets and track days to gain more insight into what the aftermarket tuning culture is all about. For those that are in the scene, or simply interested in understanding what the culture is all about check out the trailer below and watch the movie when it’s released on June 9th.  Based on the trailer it looks like the movie promises to have some beautiful cinematography and editing as well.

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MegaSpeed Custom Car & Truck Show 2013

International Center
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
March 22-24, 2013

This year was the 2nd year for the MegaSpeed Show and they came to play with a strong list of big name guests and legendary car personalities including; American Graffiti stars, Chip Foose, Ken Block and Formula Drift pilot Chris Forsberg. It’s no easy feat putting on a huge car show when the weather is essentially still cold and wintry. Hence, the show is held indoors in the sprawling complex made up of close to 500,000 sq. ft of exhibit space. The event draws a broad range of auto enthusiasts and provides something for everyone since the show cars span from all genres and eras of enthusiast styling.  Check out a glimpse of what the show offered and make sure you add it to your Spring calendar next year.

458 Italia Ferrari

458 Italia Ferrari

64 Impala

1964 Impala

1940 Dodge

1940 Dodge

1987 Buick GNX

1987 Buick GNX

Fiat Abarth

Fiat Abarth

Cadillac

1940s Cadillac

Crazy custom Ford Fairlane

Crazy custom Ford Fairlane

Ford 100

Ford F-100

Nissan 300ZX 2+2 with 800-1000 HP and Aston Martin DB9

Nissan 300ZX 2+2 with 800-1000 HP and Aston Martin DB9

Low rider Impala

Low rider Impala

1970 Ford Maverick

1970 Ford Maverick

Mini Cooper with Honda VTEC engine

Mini Cooper with Honda VTEC engine

Porsche Speedster

Porsche Speedster

1990s 993 Porsche wide body

1990s 993 Porsche wide body

2013 Dodge Dart SXT Review

2013 Dodge Dart

2013 Dodge Dart

2013 Dodge Dart SXT

Base Price: $17,995
Price As Tested: $22,590
Engine: 2.0L I4 DOHC (also available 1.4L turbo)
Horse Power: 160 hp
Transmission: 6 speed automatic (6 speed dual clutch automatic and 6 speed manual also available)
Fuel Efficiency Rating: 8.6L/100 km City/5.8L/100 km Highway
Key Competitors: Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Corolla.

Starting life as a full size vehicle in 1960, the Dodge Dart moved to a mid-size car in 1962 and finally became a “compact” in 1963 until 1976 when it was discontinued in the United States.  In 2013, Chrysler resurrected the Dart into what we see today using a modified Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform (source).  The new Dodge Dart made its debut at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show back in January 2012. The development and launch of the Dart is a significant milestone for Chrysler as it has been eight years since their last compact sedan the Dodge Neon was available to North American consumers.

Dodge Dart debut at NAIAS 2013

Dodge Dart debut at NAIAS 2013

The 2013 Dodge Dart is available in six different trim levels from the base SE model starting at $15,995, SXT ($17,995), RALLYE ($19,495), Aero ($19,795), Limited ($23,245) to finally the GT model of which Canadian pricing has yet to be announced.

RedlineNorth recently had an opportunity to review the SXT model, which sits just above the base SE model, and provides a number of features, including a 8.4 inch touch screen.

Dodge Dart_20130311_28

The first thing you notice about the Dodge Dart is the aggressive exterior styling. The split cross hairs at the nose of the vehicle show that it’s unmistakably a Dodge. The sweeping projector headlights, lower grill and positioning of the rear tail lights across the length of the body all add to its sporty look. In addition, our tester came in a Redline Red paint colour of which we were particularly partial to.

Dodge Dart_20130311_24

Dodge Dart_20130311_27

Upon sitting in the driver seat of the Dart SXT you immediately notice the 8.4 inch touch screen display system, which Dodge calls the Uconnect 8.4. It’s simply massive and makes good use of all the extra real estate as on-screen buttons were spaced apart and easy to select.  Unlike other smaller screens which are forced to located everything in close making it more difficult to select the right button. Another pleasant feature is the vast amount of customizing options available through the touch screen menu including everything from headlight on/off as well as doors & lock timing to Auto-On Comfort & Remote Start. For the traditional audiophiles, the Dodge Dart does includes a CD player which is tucked away in the arm rest.  While many have migrated to downloadable music it’s good to see Dodge recognizing that many folks still use compact discs and have provided that option.

Another feature within the interior of the Dart is the 12 volt power supply which illuminates at night and provides light to the in-dash storage compartment, making it easier to find items in the compartment without having to turn on the interior lights.

Ample rear legroom
Ample rear legroom

Rear legroom was plentiful and a rear centre arm rest with pass thru is provided, both features provide some extra comfort for those longer journeys. The cargo area in the trunk was cavernous providing loads of room for gear.  The combination between rear cargo and interior passenger space places the Dart right up there in terms of available interior volume in its class.

Dodge Dart_20130311_26

The  2.0L I4 engine in the Dart SXT produces 160 horse power and 148 lbs of torque. Acceleration was generally good with the automatic transmission, although the 6 speed manual with the optional 1.4 L turbo engine (and 184 lbs of torque) would likely suit drivers looking for more power.  The Dart will do 0-60 mph in 7.6 to 7.9 second

Dodge Dart_20130311_16

The Dodge Dart provides great value for someone looking for a compact sedan with all the functionality one would expect from a 2013 model.  However, it also comes with an added bonus not available in all compact models and that is, “personality”.  Whether it’s your daily commute or a road trip with family the Dart is always poised to please.

Electric Vehicle News

News this week that Volvo will be bringing its Plug-In Hybrid Electric Diesel V60 to the New York Auto Show next week as it is one of the finalists for the 2013 Green Car of the Year Awards.  The V60 is the world’s first production diesel plug-in hybrid. The diesel engine paired with the electric motor and battery offering 50 kilometers of pure electric range will provide a combined fuel economy of 130 MPG. Of course being an electric there will be instant power off the line and the V60 will reportedly do 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. In addition, the diesel engine will provide that much more range compared to gasoline.  No definitive answer as to whether the diesel version of the V60 PHEV will be coming to North America (Source Autoblog Canada).

World's First Diesel PHEV

V60 World’s First Diesel PHEV

Volkswagen also recently announced that it will be launching a pure electric version of its up! car. The Volkswagen e-up! will use the new Combined Charging System which will use a single plug for charging at Level 2 and Level 3. Unfortunately, the e-up! won’t be coming to North America at this point, however, other electric models from Volkswagen are expected to make it over to this side of the Atlantic including the e-Golf. Unlike the V60 the acceleration performance of the e-up! will not be as pronounced and will reportedly reach 0-60 mph in 14 seconds.  This is relatively slow by North American standards, however, it will travel 93 miles on a single charge which is very respectable as far as electric vehicles go.

Volkswagen e-up!

Volkswagen e-up!

Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen and Don “the Snake” Prudhomme

Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen and Don “the Snake” Prudhomme are retired American drag racers who had one of the most interesting rivalries in the history of the sport. During the late 1960s, they revolutionized the NHRA drag racing circuit as well as entertainment sports marketing when they attracted Mattel’s Hot Wheels Division to sponsor them. Over the course of the sponsorship in the early 1970s, they were able to buy the best racing equipment and build their brands all across the US drag racing circuit.

Don and Tom

Don and Tom

During this time, Tom McEwen raced in his red 1970 Plymouth Duster, named “Mongoose” and Don Prudhomme raced his yellow 1970 Plymouth Barracuda named “Snake”.

Tom "the Mongoose" McEwen

Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen

Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme

Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme

Both drivers gained even wider public attention from Mattel’s “Hot Wheels” toy versions of the cars that were released in 1970.

Here is a clip of the two cars in all their glory.

Coincidentally, a new feature film titled “Snake & Mongoose”is scheduled for release in September 2013. The film will explore one of the greatest rivalries in racing history as well as how these two unlikely figures revolutionized entertainment sports marketing. Check out the film’s most recent trailer.

International Harvester Scout

A true original, the International Harvester Scout was a pioneering American off-road vehicle manufactured from 1961 to 1980. It laid the foundation for more advanced North American SUVs to be developed on its legacy as a true 4×4. Initially created as a competitor to the Jeep, the Scout was introduced as a commercial utility pickup in 1960.

Early model

Early model

In late 1965, the Scout 800 model was launched offering customers many improvements in comfort and design including; bucket seats, better instrumentation, heating systems, optional rear seats, and more engine choices including a 4-cyl, 6-cyl, or V8.

Scout 800

Scout 800

The Scout and second generation Scout II were all produced in Fort Wayne, Indiana as two-door trucks with options of either a half cab pickup or removable hard or soft top. Scout II’s were manufactured from mid year 1971 to 1980. It is most identifiable by its different front grilles which changed slightly throughout the years.

Convertible and hardtop models

Convertible and hardtop models

Targeted at the “outdoorsmen” the Scout II appealed to those who spent time in the wild and wanted a vehicle that would get them to the destination and have room for all their gear. International Harvester was successful with their target market and this was long before the SUV became cool as a “Yuppie” family vehicle.

Marketing materials

Marketing materials

I remember my Grandfather saying he wanted a Scout which was sort of funny since with his age and declining health he really was more of an armchair angler and hunter then.  Unfortunately, he never did get his Scout but not all was lost since it instilled in me a keen interest in SUVs and to date I have owned two different SUVs. Mind you, none of them have been anywhere close to as inspiring as the Scout….

Way ahead of its time

Way ahead of its time

During its 20 year run (1960–1980), 532,674 Scouts were produced, a truly remarkable number for a relatively small player in the auto world. Unfortunately, the party came to a abrupt end with the demise of the International Harvester company and the last Scout rolled off the production line on October 21, 1980.

Going topless

Going topless

Scouts were and still remain an amazing foundation platform for 4×4 enthusiasts to built a serious off road machine with.

Serious off roader

Serious off roader

Many of these machines are still on the road doing what they were designed to do more than 40 years ago when that original design sketch came to be. The International Scout is a true icon in America’s auto history and certainly deserves more credit than it gets today.

Source: Wikipedia

2013 Buick Verano Turbo Review

2013 Verano Turbo

2013 Buick Verano Turbo

2013 Buick Verano Turbo 1ST Package

Vehicle Type: Front wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base Price: Starts at $30,900 (CAD)
Price as Tested: $33, 245 (CAD)
Transmission: 6 speed automatic (also available 6 speed manual)
Engine: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel
Competitors: Acura ILX, the Audi A3, Ford Focus ST and the Mazdaspeed 3

The Buick Verano debuted in North America in 2012 as the first compact marketed by Buick since the 1997 Buick Skylark and has enjoyed good sales numbers to date.   RedlineNorth had a chance to review the 2012 model and what stood out most to us then was its overall sportiness for a four door sedan and its superior level of fit and finish.

The 2013 Verano includes the release of a new turbocharged engine, borrowed from the Regal GS and offering increased power, as well as stiffer suspension and subtle exterior styling changes. With Canadian sales of Buick passenger cars up 23 per cent in 2012, the new turbocharged Verano adds another dimension for Buick to continue its stellar pace.

For the 2013 model year Buick offers two engines for the Verano; the standard 2.4L ECOTEC I-4 providing 180 hp and 171 lbs of torque and an optional 2.0L ECOTEC I-4 Turbo engine taken from the Regal GS.  The turbocharged engine produces a whopping 250 hp and 260 lbs of torque and will do 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds.

Despite this additional power there is very little reduction in fuel efficiency, thanks to GM’s innovative turbocharger technology. The 2.4L standard engine offers a combined fuel rating of 9.9L per 100 km which increases to only 10.1L with the turbocharged engine.  It should be noted that premium fuel is recommended for the turbo engine.

Happily, the turbo version of the Verano is offered with both automatic transmission and a 6-speed manual.  With the dramatic decline of manual transmissions offered these days in the North American market it’s nice to see General Motors still provides the manual offering.

Verano Turbo_20130226_18

During our test period we especially enjoyed the stiffer suspension the turbo model provides as it hugged the road in the corners and provided excellent stability when accelerating.  The steering felt accurate, however, there was a bit of softness overall, the kind you would expect in a four door sedan as after all it’s not a sports car.

There are very few visual clues to distinguish the turbo model and these are limited to the dual exhaust, a small ‘T’ beside the model name and a rear deck spoiler.  While the Verano shares a number of Buick styling cues from the waterfall grille, portholes and chrome accents, it does have a much sportier and more aggressive persona than your father’s Buick, but it’s still hard to shake that stately sedan look.

Verano Turbo_20130226_14

The interior of the Verano has a wealth of luxury features from beige leather seats, dual zone climate control, and a heated steering wheel to a more understated, but desirable feature which Buick calls QuietTuning.  QuietTuning provides additional acoustic insulation, sound deadners, and triple-sealed doors all intended to provide a quieter ride.  When driving at highway speeds the Verano did provide a noticeably quieter environment, which adds to an increased sense of luxury in the vehicle. While the interior won’t be mistaken for a Bentley, the car does offer some excellent features and an attention to detail to help make those daily drives that much more comfortable.

Leather wrapped heated steering wheel adds a touch of luxury

Leather wrapped heated steering wheel adds a touch of luxury

Storage in the Verano is more than adequate with 396 L of cargo room. The trunk space is very roomy, especially for this class of vehicle. However, it would have been nice to give up a bit of the space in the trunk for more in-cabin room. Depending on your stature, the Verano could feel a bit cramped around the driver’s seating area. Overall cabin ergonomics are good with an easy reach of stereo, climate control and navigation controls, although things still felt a bit too close at times.  In addition, rear leg room felt quite limited and may be challenging on long journeys, especially with adult passengers.

Intelligent system comes standard in the Verano

IntelliLink system comes standard in the Verano

All Verano models except for the base model now come with a Side Blind Zone Alert feature.  When overtaking, or being overtaken, a visual indicator appears in the side mirror alerting the driver to the presence of another vehicle.  The Blind Zone Alert was used extensively throughout our test period with the Verano, so much so the reviewer was looking for the warning indicator light in their own vehicle afterwards.  This feature should not be under rated and is a welcomed addition to the 2013 model.  Other additional safety features included in the Verano are ten standard air bags, a collapsible pedal system, which allows the pedals to detach during a crash to reduce the risk of leg or ankle injuries and the inclusion of the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to help reduce the risk of rollovers.

A serious competitor in its class

A serious competitor in its class

The refinements made to the 2013 Verano Turbo, including the advanced safety features and the addition of the 2.0L turbo charged engine are a welcome addition to an already well equipment compact sedan. As a result of the new engine, suspension and steering have been tweaked to support the extra ponies under the hood and Buick has done a good job here.  The interior offers a number of luxury features, including Quitetuning providing a noticeably quieter ride as well as a leather wrapped heated steering wheel, a nice touch for those cold Canadian winters. There is plentiful trunk cargo space in the Verano, however, interior cabin space is a bit lacking with regards to rear leg room.   Overall, Buick has done a great job with the Verano Turbo and it is a very worthy competitor in its class.  Buyers in this market segment should seriously consider adding the turbocharged edition of the Verano to their short list.

Rally Mexico 2013

Many of you have already likely seen the World Baseball Classic game from Saturday which saw Canada and Mexico in a bench clearing brawl. Well, if you haven’t go ahead and check this out as it is really is quite the spectacle.

On a related note, last weekend’s Rally Mexico is one of the toughest races on the WRC‘s annual schedule given the high altitude geography of the course.  French Volkswagen driver and Team Red Bull member Sebastien Ogier won the event by more than three minutes to take his second straight WRC victory.

Sebastien-Ogier-Mexico_2911755

Volkswagen Motorsport chief Jost Capito dedicated the team’s victory to the team’s engine builder after the Polo R WRC took the checkered flag. Capito was quoted ironically “To win with that engine in the neighbourhood of the country’s Volkswagen plant makes us very proud people”.

Source: Autosport.com

Here is a nice video monage of footage from the Rally Mexico event.

Germany Tour Part 2 – Mercedes-Benz Museum

Unfortunately, nobody from Team RedlineNorth is taking in the sights and sounds of the this week’s Geneva Auto Show so in lieu of real coverage we wanted to revisit Europe by doing a post on Mercedes-Benz. Recently, a RedlineNorth community member traveled to Germany to tour some of the holiest car sites in the world including Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum. A lifelong car enthusiast, he was kind enough to share his trip photos of this ultimate once in a lifetime Benz experience.

Located in a sprawling complex in Stuttgart, Germany, the Mercedes-Benz museum is home to some of the rarest and most beautiful of all Mercedes-Benz models.  If you ever have the opportunity to check it out it for yourself it is worth every minute.  This is only a brief snapshot of the museum but hopefully does provide a glimpse into what is available to see. The images below are in chronological order as per the model dates.

The early years

The early years

The beginning

The beginning

When cars still looked still like stagecoaches

When cars still looked like stagecoaches

Open limo

Open limo

Saloon style

Saloon style

Sunday driver

Sunday driver

Iconic 300SL Gullwing

Iconic 300SL Gullwing

Another Gullwing

Another Gullwing

Racing history

Early racing history

Modern racing history

Modern racing history

Popemobile

It would not be a Mercedes-Benz museum without the Popemobile

A little history about Benz:

The origins of Mercedes-Benz go back over 125 years to 1886 when Karl Benz created the Benz Motorwagen, then the first ever gasoline powered car. However, Benz was not alone in his invention as a year later, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach’s added a gasoline engine to a stagecoach to produce a car of their own. Interestingly, in spite of these major developments, the first Mercedes-Benz branded vehicles were not produced until 1926, after the merger of Karl Benz’s and Gottlieb Daimler’s companies into the now iconic Daimler-Benz company.

Jaguar F-Type

It’s been a while since there has been this much hype from a British automaker so we thought it was time to revisit the Jaguar F-Type. With its recently infused capital from India’s Tata Motors, Jaguar has got its Mojo back and is now bringing its “A” game to the big dance.

2014-jaguar-f-type_100403591_m

Launched as Jaguar’s first two-seat sports car in 51 years, the F-Type is truly a special car and its pedigree could not be any better as Jaguar’s last two seat sports car was the infamous E-Type.

EType

At the time of its launch in 1961, Enzo Ferrari famously declared the E-Type as the world’s most beautiful car and today, surviving E-Types are still symbols of automotive beauty. It’s in a rare class of its own as the E-Type remains as one of only six cars appearing in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Of course, having introduced with a brief history about its famous father the real question is does the new F-Type have the goods to create the same type of future impact?

Well, we won’t know that answer until we see sales numbers at the end of 2014 but so far media reaction as been very positive. To keep these good feelings rolling, Jaguar has opened the purse strings and is currently spending a ton of money on a variety of marketing projects for a wide global audience.

Let’s be honest though it can’t be that hard to leverage one of the worlds most iconic brand’s along with the sex appeal of a two seat sports car convertible. Nevertheless, Jaguar has come to play by hiring some of Hollywood’s top guns including the sultry songstress Lana Del Rey as the face of the F-Type along with acclaimed director Ridley Scott and Emmy winning actor Damian Lewis to star in a short film about the F-Type.

Check out this edgy video of Lana Del Rey singing the exclusive track “Desire” the official soundtrack of the F-Type. We have to say, the song and video sure makes us younger folk want an F-Type so we only can imagine what it does for the mid-life crisis crowd.

Here is the F-Type teaser clip about the upcoming short film scheduled for release in March 2013.

For the full details on the F-Type and to keep posted on developments be sure to read Jaguar’s new microsite at Ftype.com.