The News for June 21st, 2013

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  Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week:

  • Aston Martin drops the top on the Vanquish

  • SRT reveals the Viper GT3-R track day special

  • Chevrolet releases performance figures for Corvette Stingray

  • Barrett-Jackson and Hot August Nights are joining forces

  • Galpin Auto Sport and others bring a Tonka truck to life

  • Tesla Motors reveals 90-second  battery swap station for Model S

 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

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The redesigned Aston Martin Vanquish was revealed about a year ago, so Aston thought it was time to drop the top with the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. All the performance and construction technology from the Vanquish is carried over, obviously, which makes this one of the most advanced convertibles to ever come out of Gaydon. With this, Aston Martin hopes to bring the thrills of open top motoring to the super GT class.

The Vanquish Volante is the first Volante ever to feature a full carbon fiber body and also has the stiffest body structure yet. That will be useful when 565 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque is being squeezed out of the 6.0-liter V12 and put to the road via a six-speed automatic gearbox. The only mechanical thing that’s new here is the lightweight cloth top, which takes just fourteen seconds to fold at speeds up to 30 mph.

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With the top tucked beneath a tonneau and aerodynamically tuned decklid, the car’s striking  interior is on display for the world to see. Full-grain Luxmil leather with Alcantara inserts and satin chrome trim pieces line an interior crafted after that of the One-77’s. The One-77’s center console is claimed to be one of the interior’s most striking elements, but it’s also got a practical side to it as it’s been optimized for driver and front seat passenger access. Another feature owners will love is the improved trunk space compared to the DBS Volante. Whether the top is up or down, the trunk’s capacity increases by 50%.

The desperately pretty Aston Martin Vanquish Volante will go on sale early next year for a mere $297,995.

And remember the V12 Vantage S I covered a few weeks back? That was just priced at $184,995 and it too has a 565 horsepower V12 to play with.

[Source: Aston Martin, Autoweek]

SRT Viper GT3-R

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This week, SRT unveiled a new racing version of the SRT Viper headed to a sports car track near you. The SRT Viper GT3-R is being built for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and a host of other international GT3 racing series.

The project was lead by Riley Technologies, who boast 9 consecutive wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, in conjunction with SRT. The two parties have already collaborated to bring the Viper back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the GTS-R, which is happening this weekend. The GT3-R is described as a direct descendant of the GTS-R, as it shares the technology developed for the engine, chassis, suspension, electronics, and aerodynamics with its big brother.

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The GT3-R still uses the mighty 8.4-liter V10 power plant we’ve come to expect from it, and it’s paired with a six-speed Xtrac sequential transmission with paddle shifters. The racer’s highly-efficient aerodynamic package and brake setup (six-piston front, four-piston rear) help give it superb control, while a multi-disc race clutch helps the driver to get the most out of the V10.

This is a new chapter among many in the Viper’s rich history of sports car racing, and it’s a chapter that happens to cost $459,000 with deliveries starting late this year.

[Source: SRT, Autoweek]

2014 Corvette Stingray performance figures

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Chevrolet’s 7th generation Corvette is edging closer to showrooms throughout North America, so what better way to speed up orders than to release some official performance specs? We’ve known for a while what kind of power the Stingray’s 6.2-liter V8 would produce (450 horsepower), but we didn’t know what all of the car’s mechanical goodness would translate to on the track. Until now.

The all-important 0-60 mph sprint will take just 3.8 seconds, which is faster than [insert some competitor’s offering here]. The also important quarter mile sprint takes twelve seconds flat with a trap speed of 119 mph, and braking from 60 mph to zero is done in 107 feet, which is arguably the most important statistic here. Maximum lateral acceleration is rated at 1.03 G, which contributed to the Stingray’s 2:51.78 lap around Virginia International Raceway.

All of those numbers were measured with a Stingray equipped with the Z51 Performance Package ($2,500) and Magnetic Ride Control ($1,795). The Z51 Performance Package adds an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, and advanced cooling. A Corvette Stingray with this setup would cost $56,590. The only modifications the car had for this test was a racing seat and harness as well as a fire extinguisher in case it decided to become Italian mid-lap.

[Source: Chevrolet]

Barrett-Jackson at Hot August Nights

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On August 8th, 2013, Barrett-Jackson will be bringing its auction to Reno Tahoe to join forces with Hot August Nights. These two titans of the classic and collector car community will be joining forces to host Hot August Nights Auction Presented by Barrett-Jackson for the first time.

Tens of thousands of attendees are expected to watch many hundreds of classic, collector, exotic, and custom cars cross the auction block as they also gather to celebrate the classic car for an entire weekend as you’d expect from Hot August Nights. Some of the featured cars for sale include the first production 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport, the proceeds of which will go to benefit the Society of Automotive Engineers STEM outreach programs, which work to get young students into math and science.

Two other featured cars destined for the auction block include a pristine 1958 Chevrolet Corvette featuring a 283cid V8 with two four-barrel carburetors and an optional four-speed automatic. The full restoration took place in 2007 with all documentation and the car will go on the block with no reserve. The other featured car is a 1936 Ford Custom 5 Window Coupe which features a 327cid V8, five-speed, custom body, paint, and striping, and a beautiful pearl white interior. This one was featured on the cover of Rod & Custom magazine and also has no reserve.

This is destined to be an event that can’t be missed, as classic car fans and collectors will be under one roof, celebrating the things they love most and/or buying them.

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]

Life-Sized Tonka Truck is finally a reality

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Several months ago, I got to report on the efforts to produce a life-sized Tonka truck customized by Galpin Auto Sports (GAS), Fab-Fours, Highway Products, Kelderman, and others. After many hours of work, GAS and Funrise Toys, the licensee and manufacturer of Tonka, unveiled the finished product that has been appropriately named the Tonka T-Rex, and it looks like this.

The Tonka T-Rex is based off a 2012 Ford F-250 with a Powerstroke diesel and will soon be released as an official toy (in a much smaller size) in Fall of 2014. In the meantime, the real Tonka T-Rex will be used as a marketing platform and a charity fundraiser slated to participate in various holiday toy drives, parades, and off-road events. Also, it will surely make a child’s day when it rolls past, which is one of the many reasons why GAS and others involved were so passionate about this project.

To see when the Tonka T-Rex will be visiting your area, head on over to Tonka’s Facebook page for updates.

[Source: Galpin Auto Sports]

Tesla highlights plans for 90-second battery swap

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Yesterday, Elon Musk and Tesla Motors unveiled their ambitious plans for the future of electric mobility. By the end of the year, select Tesla Supercharging stations will be fitted with automated machinery that can swap out a depleted battery pack for a new one in just 90 seconds, or faster than you can pump a couple gallons of gas, without ever having to get out of the car. This kind of flexibility was designed into the Modle S’s battery pack from inception, but we’ve just now gotten confirmation about how the system will work. The 20 minute Supercharging station will continue to be free, but this 90-second battery swap will cost about the same as a tank of gas.

Our pal Blake Z. Rong got to witness the press event last night and has a detailed report up on Autoweek along with video. You’ll want to head on over for the details, because it’s an amazing, or day I say it, electrifying display.

[Source: Tesla via Autoweek]

10 Comments

  1. Also in the news, southern Alberta is in the midst of some heavy, heavy flooding. Since I know there are Calgary people around here somewhere, everyone's okay right? Most of the Calgary people I know have been evacuated, but are otherwise fine.

    1. I haven't been up with the non car news this week (summer semester is wrapping up) so I didn't hear much about that. Everyone up there, Hooniverse reader or not, is in my thoughts for sure.

  2. That blue… It's awesome!
    Also, I guffawed at "The only modifications the car had for this test was a racing seat and harness as well as a fire extinguisher in case it decided to become Italian mid-lap."
    Thank you Greg.

  3. Must…play….with Tonka! A total BroDozer but still very cool. Knowing there is a real deal out there makes me want to pick up the toy. The lettering inside the wheel lips is also a cool touch.

  4. It's amazing what a performance bargain the Corvette remains. The Aston's makeup is starting to look a little thick. And nice that we still have the Viper to kick us around. And although I think swapping battery packs is very problematic, Tesla continues to kick serious butt.

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