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Chevrolet SS Performance

It’s not too often that us auto industry buffs get a chance to toot our own horns by calling our shots and being right. To be honest, most of the time we end up being wrong when we start calling our shots. But when we do smack that nail right on the head, we like to let you know about it ASAP…

On that note, remember the long trail of breadcrumbs that we have been following since 2011? If you don’t, allow us to refresh your memory:

May 29, 2011: TopSpeed reports, via GM Inside News, that GM will start importing the Holden Commodore to the U.S. for the first time since the G8 was discontinued.

April 20, 2012: TopSpeed reports that the “SS” moniker was officially trademarked by GM, after 51 years of using it on various models. Some other experts claim this was just to protect the “SS” trim levels, but we knew better.

April 26, 2012: TopSpeed digs up a report about OnStar botching a test run of their site and mistakenly displaying the 2014 SS Performance and Cadillac ELR .

Now we have real-life news on the Chevrolet SS front, as GM has officially released, FINALLY, something that we have all pretty much known for at least a few months. For the 2014 model year, Chevrolet will import the Holden Commodore and badge it as the Chevrolet SS – no “Performance” after it. Chevy will have the SS on showroom floors starting in late-2013.

Not only is the SS coming to showrooms, it will also run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Its debut will occur at the 2013 Daytona 500 race.

Finally, we can put to bed the ongoing mystery of Chevy’s odd breadcrumb trail and start focusing on the next in line, the yet-to-be-announced Cadillac ELR .

Click past the jump to read GM’s official press release on the Chevy SS.

Ford Mustang GT

Since its inception midway through the 1964 model year, the “original” pony car, the Ford Mustang , has remained an America-only model. The last Ford overseas we recall seeing was the four-cylinder 1967 ‘Stang from Tokyo Drift , and we almost cried at the sight of that monstrosity of ricer meets muscle. There are now rumors floating around – mostly sparked by our friends at Popular Hot Rodding – that the Mustang is heading overseas.

We are all well aware of the fact that the Mustang is being redesigned for the 2015 model year. Apparently, a part of the releasing of the Mustang in Europe is that this redesign is turning the beloved Mustang into a car that meets the European Union pedestrian safety regulations. According to Popular Hot Rodding, this means that a redesign rivaling the Mustang II may be afoot, which is being dubbed the “Mustang III.”

This is a scary moment for Ford and it really needs to tread carefully, as the Mustang II nearly killed off the Mustang name altogether. It was to a point that the Ford Probe – yeah, remember that thing – was slated to be the replacement for the Mustang. Fortunately, the Mustang pulled through and is now thriving as a muscle car again.

This Euro-inspired redesign comes on the heels of the U.S. government possibly raising the average fuel economy requirements to an astronomical 56.2 mpg by 2025. This doesn’t mean that the Mustang needs to hit 56 mpg, but that the average of all Ford vehicles sold must be at least 56.2 mpg by 2025. This also puts the V-8 Mustangs that Ford has worked so hard on lately on the chopping block during this redesign.

Could this mean the return of a turbocharged four-cylinder to the Mustang lineup, or maybe even a transplantation of the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 engine from the Taurus to the Mustang? It very well could, and that could spell disaster for the Mustang. Ford definitely needs to tread carefully with this redesign, or we could end up with the Mustang II all over again.


The Varley Electric Vehicles evR450 announced a few days ago is no longer the only electric supercar from Australia. Ian Denner has announced a new electric roadster that sounds very promising. Called Arcspeed Electric Roadster, this particular car started its life back in 2006 when it was intend to be produced in limited number, but as a gasoline-power car.

Back then Denner dropped the idea and later on he came with the idea of transforming the roadster into an electric one. The Roadster uses in fact the same powertrain as the evR450: two electric motors, each with 210 HP and 385 lb-ft of torque for a total output of 420 HP and 770 lb-ft of torque. The electric motors will take their power from a battery pack that consists of 500 individual lithium-ion phosphate batteries mounted in the cockpit floor. Also, just like with the evR450 the Roadster will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.

Denner hopes to put the car into limited production series and to price it less than $100,000.


We knew that the Ferrari 458 GT3 was fast, but we didn’t know that it would be the type to be wiping away lap records without even breaking a sweat.

But that’s what the car achieved at the Australia’s world-famous Bathurst circuit recently when it clocked a time of 2:04.9 seconds at a weekend practice session, blowing away the previous record set by the Audi R8 GT3 by a whopping four seconds.

The record was achieved by the 458 GT3 being run by Maranello Motorsport, which was making its debut in an Australian circuit. On top of its record-breaking GT3 run, the 458 GT3 also blew away the fastest lap set by a V8 supercar - a 2:06.8 lap time that was set by a Holden Commodore last year.

"The 458 is a great car. It’s worth the wait and really is amazing how the time we spent at the factory with Michelotto has paid off with the car so quick and stable so quickly."

“It’s terrific to not need months to dial it in. There’d been a lot of people with stopwatches around the track and to now have confirmation of the new record during the team’s first test is very exciting so we’re looking forward to the racing,” said Mark Coffey, the Managing Director of Maranello Motorsport.

Despite it’s record-shattering lap time, it remains to be seen how the 458 GT3 will fare in a real racing environment. Nevertheless, the record is still all sorts of impressive considering how much time lies between the old and the new record.

The Stig is an intimidating character that even the most professional of racers can’t help but be in awe of. At least that’s what the Stig likes to think of himself. We can’t blame him for the lack of oxygen in his head. Lord knows how long it’s been since he last took that helmet off, but whatever you think of him, the dude is a polarizing figure that needs someone of equal stature to put him in check.

Enter Ken Block.

The world-class rally driver recently teamed up with Top Gear ’s resident test driver for a promotional gig for Top Gear Australia magazine. The two are scheduled to be in the cover of the November issue of the magazine and you can expect that article to be a must-read.

Before that issue hits newsstands, though, Top Gear Australia bought a camera crew to a race track to film the two drifter extraordinaires participate in a one-on-one Hoonigan show in Melbourne, featuring Block’s Monster Rally Fiesta and the Stig’s ride-of-choice, the Australian-born Ford Falcon FPV.

Check out the video after the jump and wait for the dramatic climax in the end. There’s plenty of rubber-burning, tire-shredding action in this 90-second promo video.

This is what you call dedication and drive! Tasmanian driver, Jason White, was about four seconds behind in the final stage of the Targa High Mountain when he knew he had to put the pedal to the metal and make up time. White took his Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale to its limit where it literally burst into flames. While others would pull over and take care of the safety issue, White sped on knowing exactly the time he needed to underscore the team who was driving a Nissan GT-R .

Despite his fiery experience, White still took the top spot at the race, achieving a full ten seconds ahead of the pack. Luckily, the race ended right in front of the Mt. Buller fire station and his Lamborghini only suffered minor damages.


The whole world is going electric or hybrid , at least they plan to when all the kinks have been worked out, so it shouldn’t be at all surprising that the automakers of the world have hit the ground running with new technology. Even Australia is getting in on the action, and a small company by the name of Varley Electric is getting its turn. This automaker has just unveiled their evR450 - the first Australian electric supercar - at the 3rd annual Australian Electric Vehicle Conference.

The evR450 is powered by two locally sourced Ultramotive electric motors, each with 210 HP and 385 lb-ft of torque for a total output of 420 HP and 770 lb-ft of torque. This setup will sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, while top speed will be limited to 124 mph.

The electric motors will take their power from lithium-ion batteries that will ensure an autonomy range of 93 miles, but this can be extended to 186 miles with a range-extension package.

The new evR450 will go on sale in January 2012 and will be priced at around $210K.


Back in 1969 Holden was unveiling its first concept car - the Hurricane. It was a a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-seat sports car incorporating a remarkable array of innovative features and technology, much of it years ahead of its time. Now the company has restored that concept as an experiment "to study design trend, propulsion systems and other long-range developments".

The restoration process has begun back in 2006 and is now finally ready for a first display to the public at the Motorclassica, car show at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building from October 21-23.

"The entire team has done a fantastic job in bringing this beautiful concept back to life,” Paul Clarke, Holden’s manager for Creative Hard Modelling said. "The Hurricane plays a crucial role in Holden’s story and the company has such a great sense of history and heritage that it was very important to bring RD 001 back to life. It’s been a challenging but incredibly rewarding process."

Hit the jump to read more about the 1969 Holden Hurricane Concept.


This is what happens when a concept car receives great praise; a production version, albeit a limited edition, soon follows. Last month, Ford Performance Vehicles introduced the FPV Concept at the Australian International Motor Show to tremendous praise. The fallout has resulted in a limited edition version of the car, called the GT Black.

Similar to the FPV Concept, the GT Black kept the all-black finish that made it so popular. It’s dressed in a Silhouette Black paint finish complemented by matte black stripe decals on the entire car, including the bonnet, front and rear bumpers, rear diffuser, rear wing, and even the upper and lower grilles. Heck, even the fog lamp bezels have been finished in black! Rounding out the exterior feature are a set of 19" five-spoke alloy wheels finished in - you guessed it! - gloss black.

Inside the car, there’s plenty more of that all-black treatment. The seats are dressed in black leather. The Interior Command Center comes in black and the gear shift badge found on manual transmission models also comes in a unique black finish. Suffice to say, the FPV GT Black Limited Edition does its name justice, wouldn’t you say?

Then there’s the engine, which we assure you doesn’t come in black. What it does come in is a 5.0-liter Miami supercharged V8 engine with an output of 455 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 420 lb/ft of torque from 2,200-5,500 rpm.

The Boss GT -based muscle car will only be limited to 125 units with each model coming with a unique build badge and certificate of authenticity, making it a true special edition muscle car that should attract its fair share of attention.


After being announced back in March , two Ford Mad Max Interceptor concepts made their world debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne. The two concepts were designed by Ford Australia in cooperation with Top Gear Australia in order to celebrate the revival of the Mad Max action movie genre.

"We’re delighted that both our readers and the social web community have warmed to the car," TopGear Australia Editor, Stephen Corby, said. "The level of interest has really taken us by surprise, particularly with on-line media."

The company presented two 40% size clay models weighing in at around 130 kg (286 lbs) and dressed to the nines with all of the detailing and trim highlights. The two concepts were designed by Nima Nourian and Simon Brook and use industrial-strength weaponry like "tasers" mounted in the front of the cars to zap bad guys on bikes straight off the road. Other futuristic movie features include a titanium-lined body shell to interrupt police scanners and wheels with extendable spikes to shred enemy vehicles.

"It has given our team a lot of scope to really extend their imaginations The team has been able to get quite creative because the Mad Max car is not constrained by the normal design parameters imposed by a real-world vehicle."


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