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Europe

Europe


Recently, we haven’t had much good to say about Lotus and trust us, that is not by choice. We actually love Lotus and everything it once stood for in the performance car world. Unfortunately, it has undergone some serious changes and the CEO that it had decided to abandon what we all loved about Lotus.

In addition to the woes that Lotus underwent on the retail car front, it also underwent similar struggles on the racing front. Due to funding issues, its engines fell drastically behind the competition and its newly-signed-up partners all abandoned ship. It’s only two remaining partners ended up finishing dead last in May.

Part of the problem was that due to funding issues, Lotus entered its revised engine plans for approval by INDYCAR too late and it was stuck running its original engines. Well, it looks like the downpour of bad news is starting to dry up for Lotus, as Lotus’ INDYCAR manager, Oliver Picquenot, was quoted saying "Lotus has been working with outside engineering firms, in conjunction with Mr. John Judd and his enterprise.”

This obviously means that INDYCAR has finally given Lotus its much-needed permission to upgrade its engine via its engineering partner Engine Devel Devel opments Ltd. This should give lotus the chance to at least close the INDYCAR-estimate 2.5 percent gap between its engines and everyone else’s, and Lotus is saying that it expects huge improvements.

So let’s hope for the best here and see if Lotus can make some money off of racing, or at least garner a little interest via finishing better than dead last to help calm its rocky seas.

Just an update, resigned Caterham Managing Director , Ansar Ali, is still a free agent and we already see a good fit between him and Lotus. So we’ll continue to monitor that situation, as well as Lotus’ INDYCAR improvements, as it tries to dig itself out of the hole a certain “someone” put them in…

To say we absolutely love every Shelby Cobra to death is an understatement. This also breeds a little hatred in our hearts for those that take a hacksaw to them and start modifying stuff. However, here are some modifications to Shelby Cobras that we can stomach and some that we completely fall in love with at first sight. Magnis Jinstrand’s modified Shelby Cobra just happens to fall squarely in the latter classification…

This beautiful example of automotive genius boasts a disgustingly sexy 6.0-liter Mercedes V-12 with an equally disgusting loud-mouthed supercharger strapped to its intake. There’s no information on the power pushed out by this mean machine, but judging by the above video, we would have to estimate it to be in the 700-horsepower range.

The exposed supercharger really just does it for us. Not only does it look awesome, but it is about the only whining that I can say I want to hear while driving a car. This blower obliges by providing plenty of it in audible goodness.

We are unsure what other modifications this Cobra has on it and we are also unsure if this is actually a real AC Cobra or not. Chances are that it’s a kit car sitting on a custom chassis, especially given how well it handles. Regardless of its authenticity, it is still one sexy beast. We will update you if we happen to come up with any of the vehicle’s specs. Until then, crank your speakers up and enjoy.

Mini Cooper & Cooper S

The web tying varying automakers to one another is a very complex, yet delicate thing. One strand heading the wrong direction can cause an automaker to break off another connection, and we see it every day. One prime example was when AMG hacked off its advertising ties with Ducati just because Audi bought the company. Really, what do motorcycles have to do with your competing with Audi in the automobile realm?

Well, we have another bit of info to pass on in regards to one partnership killing another. Recently PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen , increased its stake in a partnership with GM affiliate, Opel, to develop four vehicle platforms together. This leads BMW to believe that PSA will not have the ability to fulfill its partnership duties in reference to BMW’s developing Hybrid platform.

A BMW spokesperson said “We are discussing conditions for the exit of PSA but we will not make any payments,” in an interview with Reuters. In addition, PSA has accepted the fact that this new relationship with GM will force it to “change the conditions” in its partnership with BMW. This likely means that BMW will buy-out PSAs share of the investment in the project and take development into its own hands.

This will not, however, affect the other relationships that BMW and PSA have going on. The largest of these relationships is the partnership between the two to build the MINI Cooper ’s engine.

We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this development and let you know if anything else pops up. For now, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case.

Source: Reuters

The Camaro was first launched in 1967, in response to the overwhelming popularity of the Ford Mustang, which hit the market three years earlier. It carried on as a North American model only, just like the Mustang, for 35 years before being discontinued. It picked up where it left off as a North American model in 2010 when Chevy re-introduced it.

In 2013, the Camaro is set to makes its biggest move ever, as for the first time ever, the Camaro is heading over to the European market, legally. For many years, Camaro enthusiasts had to spend thousands of dollars in shipping fees, taxes, and registration to import a Camaro into Europe, but that’s all over for 2013.

Ford is still massaging the new Mustang body for release in Europe, making a model that is almost unrecognizable as a Mustang, but Chevy isn’t going that route. The Euro-Spec Camaro, on the surface, is just about identical to the American model. Now, under the skin, the Euro-Spec is a little different than the American version, but not in the way you would expect it.

Click past the jump to read our full review on the Euro-Spec Camaro.

Ahh, rumors in the automotive world spread just about as fast as the rumor that the captain of the football team was kissing the head of the girls’ chess team under the bleachers at the homecoming dance… And we love ‘em. The latest rumor is an interesting one that actually has a fair amount of validity.

Lancia is one of the many companies under the protective umbrella of Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. and it loves to borrow its models from Chrysler , add a few small touches, and call it their own. One of the latest models to make the Lancia conversion was the Chrysler 300 Chrysler 300 , which prances around Europe bearing the name “Lancia Thema” (image above). That’s not the rumor though, as we already know all about that.

The rumors being whispered are that Lancia really wants a full-size coupe for its European market and the only car available to possibly satisfy this itch is the Chrysler 300 . Ask any custom coach builder and he will tell you that turning a four-door body into a two-door car is not as tough as you may think, but going the other direction is nearly impossible.

So, if Lancia decides to hack up the B-pillar on the 300, shorten the opening a little and slap two fewer doors on the 300, would this model make it to the U.S.? The two-door full size car essentially died with the downsizing of vehicles in the late-1970s, but a small niche market may be in order.

This also spawns the possibility of Chrysler finally satisfying its nostalgia buffs by taking the two-door blueprints that Lancia would create and turn that into a two-door Charger . The pair of extra doors have always been a thorn in the side of Charger buffs, so Chrysler could breathe a little extra life into both models – not like the 300 needs more life, but extra sales can’t hurt – by offering two-door models of each.

This is certainly an interesting rumor to ponder and we are more likely to see pigs fly before we see a two-door 300 and Charger, but we’re telling you there’s a chance.


Carroll Shelby touched the lives of many people in the automotive world. During his racing career, he greatly changed the fortunes of Aston Martin by helping the British automaker take home a 1st place overall finish in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Shelby was not alone in this victory, as his co-driver, Roy Salvatori, and the car’s chief engineer, Ted Cutting both had heavy influence on this notorious victory.

Sadly, the automotive world has lost all three of these men this year, all within a handful of weeks of each other. First came Cutting’s death on March 22nd, then Shelby’s passing on May 10th, and finally capping off with Salvatori’s passing on June 3rd. Aston Martin feels that all three men deserve the proper send off and what’s better than bringing the car that all three of these men had a hand in to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Unfortunately, it appears as if this 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 will not be making a tribute run around the course, but it will be present for the pre-race festivities. While this is not quite on the scale of the thousands of cars that gave Mr. Shelby a moment of noise in tribute, it is still a gesture that proves Aston Martin truly feels that Carroll Shelby, Ted Cutting, and Roy Salvatori are extremely important to its storied racing history.

Our hats have to go off to Aston Martin for rolling out the old DBR1, we are very curious to see what kind of condition it is in. We are willing to bet it is exactly as it was the day it pull out of Le Mans boasting the checkered flag on June 21, 1959.

Infiniti Etherea

Since its launch in 1989, Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, has been more of a BMW and Mercedes-Benz alternative rather than a competitor. Typically, Infiniti buyers want a luxury car, but don’t want the costs or stigma that comes with owning its German counterparts. For these reasons, Infiniti has really been more of a background luxury lineup, even when compared to Lexus .

Infiniti feels that now is the time to change and it plans on starting this change right in BMW BMW and Mercedes’s back yard: Europe. According to Renault Renault -Nissan Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, by 2016, Infiniti is expected to sell 100,000 units in the European market, nearly 10 times the cars it sold in 2011. The plan is to build a lineup around the 245-horsepower hot hatchback that Infiniti teased via a concept car dubbed the Etherea in Geneva. This hatchback, which is due out in 2014, is expected to account for at least 50 percent of the 100,000 total sales.

As we said, these are very lofty goals for a car company just hitting a certain market, especially one as crowded as the European one is. Add in the fact that the hatchback segment is especially crowded in Europe and you have one heck of a difficult task to undertake. Given Infiniti continues to produce high-quality cars, it is attainable, but it will require some heavy advertising to overtake other makes in the market.

In the same breath, Ghosn also stated that Infiniti plans to increase global sales to 500,000 units by 2016. That seems slightly more realistic, as it is only an increase of 146,000 total sales. For now we’ll just say that we’re skeptical that Infiniti will actually hit the European sales number. We definitely wish the best to Infiniti, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this situation.

The thing with people who love cars and have the money to splurge on them is that if they’re not impressed with the stock model, they can go crazy with aftermarket enhancements.

Take this particular Rolls-Royce Ghos t for example. Built by Polish interior specialist Carlex Design, this project called "Ghost Save the Queen" isn’t your typical interior enhancement because as Carlex Design puts it, "we are not afraid of challenges and seek original solutions, which produce stunning interior innovation and unique solutions."

With that in mind, Carlex Design backed it all up with an exterior that has been painted in a stunning Deep Green paint finish. The luxury limousine was also given a number of upgrades, including the use of luxury ostrich and kangaroo leather, the presence of a royal crown embroidered in the seats, plenty of chrome parts, and wool rugs that have a pile length of 2.5 cm.

The embroidered royal crown, in particular, is an ode to the Queen, something that you would’ve probably guessed considering that the name of the program is, after all, "Ghost Save The Queen."

All told, the entire build took two months to complete, and certainly, if a picture did paint a thousand words, it would be foolish to underestimate how far these guys do take the phrase "unique solutions" seriously.

Saab 9-4X

We reported just a few days ago that despite twice being bumped out of the bidding war for Saab, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, reentered the bidding with a $552 million bid. Apparently, this was still seen as an unsafe bid and the Chinese firm was again stuck with the highest bid, but no car company to show for it.

This time around, it looks as if Saab has finally found itself a home. Sweden-registered and Hong Kong-based firm, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, has been awarded the folded automaker and what’s left of its assets, according to a Swedish newspaper. The winning bid is estimated to be between $208 million and $250 million. That is less than half of the last reported bid by Youngman, which really shows that the Chinese firm was either demanding the parts operation, which the NEVS AB deal does not include, or just not seen as a trusted bidder.

The deal is expected to be finalized and pen is expected to hit the “Sign Here” line in about a week, if the reports are accurate. After that, NEVS AB can take complete ownership of what’s left of Saab, which is little more than an S, a pair of As, and a B. We are not aware of NEVS AB’s plans with Saab, but we can say with a lot of certainty that it will involve alternative fuels (i.e. electric, hydrogen, hybrid, etc.)

We have yet to receive official confirmation on the deal, but this looks to be the real deal, FINALLY. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available on the ongoing Saab saga.

Posted on by Alexander + 2

Ever wonder what it would be like to sit in the wings as the newest, hottest supercar desperately tries to conceal its newest generation? Feel at home with a camera in your hand and money in your pocket? PistonSpy Tours is now offering a few lucky people a chance to do just that as they embark on a trip through some of the most popular testing grounds in the world for the opportunity to catch these cars in action.

For a fee ranging from £700 to £1100, these lucky folks will be able to tour either Germany, Italy/Alps, or Sweden with a guide to take pictures or videos of vehicles that have not been introduced to the market just yet. The tour will last four days and will include pick up/drop off at the airport, fuel used during the trip, hotels/guest houses, breakfast and evening meals, and the vehicle that will be shared during the trip.

At the end of this adventure, guests will be able to take home a gallery of their shots and will also get the chance to sell them to the automotive press to make some extra cash. All in a day’s work during this remarkable working vacation!

This trip is only being offered for a short time and only 1-3 guests will be able to join the guide, so make your reservations quick! Contact pistonspy.mobile@gmail.com for more information.

Source: PistonSpy

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