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Saab 9-3

As Saab closes up its latest chapter, which included bankruptcy and many months or “We’re sold, wait, no we’re not” turmoil, we were left wondering what happened to the 900 (ish) Saabs that got held up at port whenever the failed car company filed for bankruptcy. Well, now that Saab has been liquidated to the point that only the 900 cars remain, we now have an idea what’s going on with them.

According to reports, all 900 cars will be auctioned off to varying companies and exporters. Only 300 of these leftover Saabs will make their way into dealerships and the dealers have the option to either put them up for sale at a 30- to 50-percent discount and sell them or strip them down for parts. Obviously the most profitable game would be to strip them down, but it may take a while to sell off all of the parts. So we may be in for some super-cheap Saabs hitting what remaining Saab dealers there are.

The majority of the leftover Saabs will be auctioned to exporters and rental companies. So, for an American to snag up one of these Saabs he has to either find a dealership close enough that actually wants more stock on its lot or pick one up after the rental car company is done with it – AKA after it has been thrashed to within an inch of its life. Who buys a used rental car anyways?

According to the inventory report, there are 67 company cars, which include a 1960 Quantum IV and a `70 Sonnett III, over 450 9-5s, 400 9-3 sedans, 60 9-3 wagons, 12 9-3 convertibles and 28 9-4X crossovers.

So thus closes another part of the Saab saga. Now we just have to see what NEVS can do with the bankrupt Swedish automaker.

Former F1 banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, is expected to be sent to jail for corruption and abuse of trust, and in an effort to have his sentenced reduced, he’s going down swinging.

The former BayernLB risk officer has admitted to receiving $44 million of bribe money from F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone. The DAPD news agency quoted Gribkowsky admitting to the Munich state court that the bribery charges were "essentially true." On top of that, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport also quoted the former banker saying that Ecclestone offered him "a huge pile of money." Apparently, that ’huge pile of money’ is around $44 million.

For his part, Ecclestone has denied bribing Gribkowsky, although he did admit to paying off Gribkowksy after the latter threatened to snitch to the UK tax authorities to do a tax inquiry on the 81-year old Formula 1 boss.

All this drama in the circus that is Formula 1 isn’t entirely new to a lot of folks. But this raises concerns on just how political the sport can be. If the sport’s most powerful man can admit to paying off somebody just to keep the UK tax authorities out of his nose without even the slightest inquiry, you know something’s wrong with that picture.

Source: BBC
Will.I.Am's IAMAUTO Car

For a while now, Black Eyed Peas member, Will.I.Am, has been prancing a DeLorean DMC-12 wrapped in a body kit and some rather odd looking headlights around calling it a (ahem) “Concept car ” for his new “car company” dubbed “IAMAUTO.” In reality, this is literally nothing but an uglier version of the original crap box that hit the market in 1981.

Saying that any rendition of the DMC-12 could be uglier than the original may seem rather impossible, but this monstrosity takes the cake. Its sheer ugliness is not the news though. The news is that the LAPD has recently impounded this “concept” car. Though we wish we could say it was impounded for lowering property value, we cannot, but it is for an equally boneheaded reason.

Will.I.Am was caught driving this thing around L.A. without a license plate, registration, or VIN plates. We venture to say that list can also include insurance, as you typically cannot insure a car without a VIN.

So why did Mr. I.Am decide to take his “concept” on an un-plated and extremely illegal spin? According to reports, the musician said he just wanted to feel what it was like to drive his concept car on the street. Um, a few problems… First, that is no more a concept car than a 1987 Fiero with a Ferrari kit is a concept car. Secondly, you are a multi-millionaire pop star, pay to have the thing registered before driving it or take it to a track to drive it!

We’re not here to pass judgment on the guy, but please use that 3-pound hunk of water, lipids, protein, carbs, soluble organics, and inorganic salts inside of your skull (A.K.A. your brain) next time you think about taking an un-plated and unregistered car for a spin.

A silver lining in the whole situation is that Will.I.Am was, according to reports, extremely cooperative with the police. So we have to give him credit for that, at least.

See, we told you this saga wasn’t over just yet… So when Lotus chose to fire Dany Bahar after an investigation that apparently revealed that he had used Lotus funds to inappropriately deck out his rental homes that were already paid for by Lotus, Dany decided that was a prime opportunity to milk even more money from the spiraling sports car builder, in the form of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

That’s right; according to a report from MSN U.K., the former head of Lotus has denied the allegations that he incorrectly used funds and is suing the British automaker. So not only did he collect £1.2 million ($1.48 million) per year as his company spiraled down the drain, but now he wants a little bit more money from Lotus, who needs to save every dime it can if it hopes to ever recover.

Here’s TopSpeed’s own solution to the problem. Hire the guy back, give him his old job, and have him sign a non-disclosure form that also waives his right to sue for the previous termination. Next, call him into a board meeting and fire him for the overall performance of Lotus in his three years as its head.

If I perform poorly at work and cost my company millions of dollars, I get fired. My boss wouldn’t have to dig up some weird financial slight on my behalf. Just call me into his office, tell me that I was not performing, and send me on my merry old way. That is it… Then again, maybe this whole investigation was to avoid having to pay a severance package to Bahar, which would likely be several million dollars, and that is the fuel powering this alleged lawsuit.

As expected, Lotus and Bahar are not available to confirm or deny whether this lawsuit is actually happening or not, which points to the likelihood that it is happening.

Source: MSN U.K.

We all know that when you buy or sell anything of significant worth, the gummament is not too far away with its hand out asking for its share. It doesn’t care which side it comes from, just as long as someone pays “The Man.” Well, when VW AG decided it was time to buyout the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche and get its former ownership group completely out of the picture, we were talking billions of Euros, €4.5 billion to be exact.

Well, even in Germany, “The Man,” or better yet “Der Mann,” is there in the form of the Baden-Württemberg Finance Mini Mini stry asking for his cut of the deal, which would total about €1.5 billion ($1.9 million). This was just about the breaking point of the entire deal, as a part of the buyout was that VW pays the tax.

After five months of massaging the numbers, looking at the laws, and manipulating things in ways that would make a business ethics major cringe, VW and Porsche are about to pull off this deal 100 percent tax free. How they pulled this off was simple enough… The only real sticking point was the fact that VW had to find out how to manipulate the deal into a corporate restructuring, as opposed to a sale.

To achieve a restructuring classification instead of a buy-sell classification, VW gave Porsche the €4.5 billion buying price, but included in that price a single voting share of VW stock… Yeah, that’s it. One little piece of paper that says “I can vote on important issues” saved VW €1.5 billion. Gotta love those tax attorneys.

The deal has yet to be approved by state authorities, but sans any omissions or errors, this looks to be a final deal that gives VW the title to Porsche, instead of just a rental contract.

Saab 9-3

few days ago, we let you know that several sources were reporting that bankrupt Swedish automaker, Saab, was finally sold to Hong Kong-based, Sweden-registered renewable energy company, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS). This in turn booted Youngman out of the bidding war for the third time, but we had not yet seen any official reports. Well, we now have all something official.

NEVS’ boss, Karl Johan Jiang (interesting mixture of names) announced at a news conference that NEVS indeed won the folded automaker and that NEVS will indeed use the “Saab” name on its cars. NEVS was awarded the Saab factory, its tooling company and the 9-3’s architecture, which is odd, as BAIC purchased the intellectual rights to the 9-3 several months ago. We assume that BAIC got the drivetrain rights and Saab retained the underpinnings and body.

NEVS also let us know that we will not be without a new Saab vehicle on the road for much longer, as NEVS is currently developing an EV car based on the 9-3’s architecture that it was awarded and that car should be released in the next 18 months. Sales will start in China, then eventually move worldwide.

Unfortunately, NEVS’ bid did not include the 9-4x or 9-5 rights, so other than the 9-3, Saab will be starting all over again with brand new models, if it ever gets off of the ground. Given the Saab 9-3’s somewhat sporty nature, we expect to see a higher performance EV made of it. It definitely won’t be a screamer, like the Tesla Model S , but also not as slow as a Nissan Leaf .

There should be loads more information coming down the pike in the next 18 months, and we will update you as often as we can. Until then, congratulations to NEVS and the “Saab” name for making it through this long saga.

The Queen of England may not have the power that she once had, but she certainly remains a powerful figure in the hearts of all British folks. On June 2, 2012 the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne, which brought about a celebration dubbed the Diamond Jubilee – “Diamond” indicates 60 years, for those wondering.

In the festivities, the Queen was spotted riding around in a rather luxurious automobile that one of our readers keenly pointed out is either a Rolls-Royce or Bentley , and he turned to us for help identifying the car and telling him a little about it. Figuring he is not the only person interested in the topic, we felt that a full-on review was in order.

As it turns out, after a good amount of research, we have found out that the queen traveled around in the Jubilee in a 2002 Bentley State Limousine. This is no typical Bentley limo either, as it is fit for a… Well, Queen, of course!

Click past the jump to read our full review of the Queen’s ride.

Carroll Shelby: The Life of a Legend

At this point, nearly a month after his death , we all assumed that Carroll Shelby was peacefully laid to rest in a plot of land or cremated, so his ashes may stay with his family or spread as he saw fit. According to a report by TMZ, neither of these scenarios are true, as his family is now fighting over who has control over his deceased body.

On one side we have Shelby’s children that are claiming that their father signed paperwork leaving the eldest son in control of the deceased former racecar driver’s body. It looks as if Shelby’s long estranged wife, Cleo, is fighting the children stating that being his wife, she has full rights to his remains. She is fighting this despite the fact that Carroll was in the midst of annulling their 14-year-long marriage citing her lying about numerous personal things, such as her assets and even her real name.

She is also arguing that there is no way that Mr. Shelby could have signed any papers giving his son control, as he did not have the “physical capacity or eyesight” to read, understand, and sign off on the papers.

Until this is all sorted out, Mr. Shelby’s body is stuck at the medical examiner’s office in a freezer, which is not the place for this automotive hero. He needs to be laid to rest in the place that he made clear he wanted to be prior to his death. If his estranged wife truly does care, she would allow him that right.

There is a silver lining to this whole thing and that’s that the annulment Shelby filed for in April is still pending and a judge does have the right to approve an annulment even after death. So in the end this could all be resolved with one tap of a gavel from a judge and Mr. Shelby can rest peacefully.

Source: TMZ

There comes a time in every person’s life where sacrifices must be made and the biggest moment of sacrifice is when you have a child. I know that my son comes first in everything. There is not a single thing in this world that I would put before his health, safety, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way.

Enter in a woman (we know her name, but we’ll spare her some privacy) from the Denver, Colorado area, and you have a woman that made the “mistake” (her words, not ours) of putting $7.00 worth of gasoline in a child safety seat, as the young child sits in the seat next to the car seat with a lap belt around him.

After picking up what appears to be a 2-gallon gas can of fuel, she apparently couldn’t find any other better place to sit it other than her child’s car seat. So she removed her son and placed him on the adult seat and securely strapped in the can of gas in the child seat.

Fortunately, she was stopped by the Aurora Police Department during a random seatbelt checking campaign and she received a slew of tickets. One of the officers snapped a picture of the terrible site and posted it on the Colorado DOT’s Facebook page, which now has 704 comments, most of which comment on the horrendous lack of safety, and 2,031 shares.

To make matters worse, on this undisclosed woman’s Facebook page she posted on May 30th “So I jus [sic] got pulled over! No license again....but I didn’t go to jail! Thank God! This time I learned! !!!” This leads us to believe that not only was she driving with her son in the worst possible position – in a regular seat with a can of gas within reach – but she was doing so without a valid license, which she has done before.

It’s not our job to judge, so we will just say that no matter what, the safety of you children always comes before a can of gas…

So picture that you just snagged up a car for, let’s say $3,800, and it is a great car that you completely fall in love with. A year later, you find out that the car was illegally seized according to a court ruling and you have to hand the car over to the heirs of its original owner. You’d be pretty upset, right? Well, add three zeros to that price and you that exact situation unfolding in Germany.

A Dutch car collector purchased a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster from RM Auctions last year for a whopping $3.8 million in California. When the collector shipped the car back to Germany, the German government seized the car stating that it was illegally taken by an American military official around 1945 and shipped to the U.S., as the heirs of the pricy automobile are claiming that the American serviceman stole the vehicle and hid it in the U.S.

Typically, Germany has a 30-year statute of limitation on this sort of case, but a German court stated that since the car was not in Germany for 30 years, the limitation clock never started, which is an odd interpretation of statute of limitations laws. The strangest thing is that between 1945 and 1970, no one has any idea where the car was and what was being done with it, so there is technically no proof that the car was not in Germany, and we find the ruling a little off the wall.

We certainly hope that the buyer can recoup at least a majority of the $3.8 million he used to purchase the car from the seller. Also, there has to be some U.S. law on the books that puts RM Auctions on the hook for selling a car with a shady and undocumented past that just may cost the collector millions of dollars.

One thing’s for sure, if this car wasn’t worth $3.7 million, we are willing to bet that the heirs couldn’t have cared less about getting back the property… We’ll keep you updated as this story progresses.

Source: Bloomberg

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