South America

South America

Mexico is becoming quite the haven for lightweight sports cars. Over the years, we’ve seen numerous brands coming from the country introduce their respective models. But to say that classic sports cars were foreign to Mexico is a little short-sighted. After all, one of the most famous sports cars of the 60’s and 70’s was the Renault Denalpin, which can trace its roots to Mexico.

All that said, there appears to be serious intention coming from some businessmen in Mexico to build a new sports car, called the SST-77.

The renderings of the SST-77 pretty much give away what Mexican businessman, Miguel Jimenez, wants to do with this sports car. It’s a re-imagined Alpine that was designed along the same veins of the original Alpine-110 with some pretty striking details, including the sweptback headlights, circular fog lights and those wide-open air intakes.

According to Autoblog Mexico, the SST-77 is being prepared to take the form of a lightweight sports car that will be made out of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber. On top of that, it will be built on a platform that will be created in Sahagun City, Mexico, which, incidentally is the same birthplace of the original Dinalpin. We’re not sure if there’s a rationale behind the decision to build the car in that location or it’s plainly coincidence.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how the SST-77 develops from here on out.

Click past the jump to read more about the original Renault Alpine-110, or as it was called in Mexico at the time, the Dinalpin

The shocking Rhys Millen -Hyundai North America divorce caught a lot of people by surprise, especially since the partnership has brought tremendous success and acclaim for both parties. But apparently, Hyundai decided to end all of its “North American motorsport programs”, including that with Rhys Millen.

All that though can be discussed for another time because we’re here to show you a pretty intense video featuring Millen and his fabulous RMR Hyundai Genesis Coupe in Brazil. Consider it a way for us to cope with the impending split because the video has been around for a while. Regardless if this happened two years ago , time can’t quantify the difficulty and subsequent awesomeness shown by Millen and his RMR Hyundai Genesis Coupe when they went on a time-attack run on the side of the Serra Do Rio Do Rastro in Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Just looking at the course already made us interested to see how one of the best drifters in the world can tackle this, especially when it’s under time duress. But as the video shows, Millen did what he always seems to do best: blow people away with some of the most insane drifts you’ll find anywhere.

So without further ado, hit play and enjoy this four-minute drifting show from one of the best to ever do it.

Posted on by Aravind 3

After releasing a teaser image of a sports car concept that featured subtle hints of the 370Z and the GT-R , Nissan has finally announced the Extrem Concept at the Sao Paulo Motor Show in Brazil. Given the rapid development of the Brazilian economy and to underscore Nissan’s commitment to Brazil, the all-Brazilian Extrem Concept was seen fit to be unveiled there.

The Extrem Concept is roughly based on the Micra hatch and is designed to look like a cross between an SUV and a coupe, or in other words, a crossover. This particular segment has witnessed rapid growth with the likes of the Range Rover Evoque fueling that growth. Designed by Nissan’s design studio in San Diego, the inspiration for this design comes from Brazil itself where the designers spent most of their time designing and developing the clay models. The usual concept elements include the wraparound glass, floating roof rails, and detached C pillars that enhance the feeling of an open, airy cabin. It would be great if these elements made it to the production version too. Though the pictures suggest less cabin space for storage, Nissan claims that there is a dedicated luggage space in the rear. A clever two-tier system provides secure storage, where items can be hidden from prying eyes beneath an exposed and removable cargo bin which is accessed via the rear hatch. The bin is designed for day-to-day items and fits neatly underneath a structural cross brace that adds extra stiffness to the shell and accentuates the sporting nature of the car.

It sort of looks like a high riding 2+2 version of the GT-R, but don’t expect it to be powerful like the GT-R, though we have seen one example of that! Nissan could theoretically fit the 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injection inline-four that also powers the unusual DeltaWing racecar , driving either the front wheels or all four through a Continuously Variable Transmission, a favorite addition of Nissan.

The production version of this concept will be sold only in the South American market. For now, people outside South America can only expect future crossover models to extract design cues from this concept.

UPDATE 11/13/12: The Nissan Extrem Concept was undoubtedly one of the highlight debuts at the recently concluded Sao Paulo Motor Show. Today, Nissan gives us the lowdown on what it took to build and create this fantastic concept crossover. Go past the jump and check out the video!

By all accounts, the Sao Paulo International Motor Show doesn’t carry the same prestige as its counterparts in Geneva or Frankfurt , but every so often, less heralded auto shows play host to some pretty interesting concepts. This year’s show in Brazil is no different.

Straight from the fine folks of Nissan comes this pair of teaser photos of what looks to be a sports car. We don’t really know what it is and the Japanese automaker is doing a pretty good job keeping the lid closed, but speculation around the industry seems to suggest that it could be a lite version of the GT-R.

Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer did a fairly good job with the tease of the concept, saying very little while providing plenty of room for speculation. "The showcar will dazzle on two counts," he said.

“It is a genuinely new and exciting concept, and it will explode with energetic design and impressive color that fully express our impression toward the country."

Looking at the teaser photos - or what very little we can actually distinguish - it looks like there are some elements that have been lifted off of Godzilla himself. The headlights, for one, look pretty similar to the GT-R, as does the front grille. On the flip side, the taillights are completely different from the GT-R, which could very well suggest that this concept could be a completely new sports car that Nissan is looking to build to compete with the plethora of new Japanese sports cars being released these days.

Heck, we wouldn’t even be surprised if this model ends up becoming a Datsun .

We’ll dig into the new Nissan concept and pass along any new information as soon as we get it.

Protests can be a great way to get a point across peacefully. Typically, they occur without any pain and suffering and an agreement is met at some point. In Columbia, we guess they do things a little differently.

Several ex-workers at GM plants in Columbia started protesting in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota to settle a grievance. The charges that the ex-workers are seeking reparation for are being fired after getting injured on the job and failure of the company to cover the resulting medical expenses. These workers now want GM to pay the medical bills and provide help to ousted workers in finding new employers.

Both requests seem typical of a protest, but recently the protest has taken an eerie turn, as the workers have gone on a hunger strike. How are they proving they aren’t eating? Well, they have literally sewn their mounts shut with needle and thread.

Their mouths are bound just tight enough to not allow food through, but loose enough for them to mumble out their points. Today would mark the 20th day these workers have gone without food and, according to the protesters, they are willing to die for their cause. If you look closely at the images, these guys have IVs in their hands and arms, so we are curious if they are getting nutrition and liquids fed to them intravenously. Regardless, they have to be getting fluids somehow, as you cannot survive 21 days without water.

The amount of time you can live without food varies, depending on your body, but somber examples – Northern Ireland protests in 1981 – have shown you can live up to 73 days without food.

GM’s response to these protests? "GM Colmotores is respectful of the law and has never put the health or the well-being of its employees at risk," GM said. "Furthermore, the company would like to reassure and reaffirm that no employee has been discharged for health reasons."

The protesting workers state that GM is taking advantage of the country’s lenient labor laws to get away with not providing compensation for medical costs and firing them. Some of the protestors have undergone years of injuries and costly surgeries and now find themselves without a job and drowning in medical debt.

Let’s just hope this gets itself sorted out by GM stepping up or the ex-workers putting a stop to this starvation protest. Are medical bills and unemployment really worth losing your life?

Chevrolet popped into the FIA World Touring Car Championship in 2005 with a fully modified Lacetti and was a near immediate success. In 2008, Chevy switched over to a modified Cruze and the wins kept coming. Actually, Chevy pretty much dominated the series for eight years, taking home the checkered flag in 59 races, taking home two drivers’ championships, and two constructors’ championships.

Despite all of its success, Chevy has chosen to end its stay in this not-so-popular racing series following the 2012 season. This comes as quite a surprise, given the fact that Chevy once again leads the drivers’ championship and constructors’ championship boards this year. Rarely does a manufacturer have such success in a series and chooses to pull out so sudden.

A silver lining to this announcement is that it is just mid-season, so all of its drivers and other various workers can try to find work elsewhere in the series or maybe in other racing series. With all of the success it has had, we are willing to bet that all of the employees and drivers on this team will have no trouble at all finding work, and some may even move onto bigger and better things.

The exact reasoning for Chevy pulling out was not given. We can connect dots pretty well and when you have a brand that is struggling to sell in Europe, despite its success in a European racing series, it is obvious that pouring money into said European racing series is throwing good money after bad.

The auto industry is a very interesting place; that much we know.

A few years ago, a Brazilian supercar, the Amoritz GT DR7 , was being prepared but nothing came out of it. Today, there’s word coming out of Brazil that the project is back up again, except that it’s going by a different name: the DoniRosset.

The DoniRosset was born from the mind of entrepreneur William Denis Rosset who was thinking of giving his father, Donino "Doni" Rosset, a one-off exotic for his birthday. After meeting with Amoritz GT owner, Fernando Morita, the DoniRosset supercar became more than just an idea; it was going to be built.

Minimal details about the DoniRosset have been released, but looking at the photos released of the supercar, it looks like this Brazilian exotic is about as gorgeous as their women. The sleek and supercar dimensions bear some similarities to the Lamborghini Gallardo and the orange LED lights add a nice kink to its look. The logo of the car was also personalized - it’s Doni Rosset’s signature - and will be made of 24K gold and sided with two emerald stones, colored yellow and green, in homage to the Brazilian national flag.

Meanwhile, the interior takes from the McLaren F1 seating configuration with a central driving position and two rear passenger seats on either side of the drive seat.

As far as performance goes, the DoniRosset is being prepared with a Dodge Viper-sourced, ethanol converted 8.4-liter V10 engine with twin-turbochargers, developing an insane 1,007 horsepower and mated to a Mendeola six-speed sequential transmission.

Here’s where it gets interesting: what started as a one-off project has turned into a business venture after Rosset received several deposits from clients who want their own DoniRosset DoniRosset supercar. Rosset now hopes to produce 50 units prized at $1 million apiece, and is currently seeking new investors.

Anyone have their checkbooks ready?

Over in Brazil, Nissan found itself in hot water after one of their commercials directed at Ford drew the ire of the American automaker’s Brazilian arm.

The music-video style parody commercial that Nissan released features two men representing Ford engineers, dressed to the absolute nines decked with gold chains, rings, and fur coats, while sipping champagne and flocked by a multitude of scantily-clad women. Oh, and if you didn’t notice, there’s also a Ford Focus in the background. Yep, a Ford Focus in a Nissan commercial.

While the TV spot isn’t in English, the lyrics, when translated to Portuguese, translate to something like "All the luxury that I got, I got it with your money" and "Don’t weep because you’re paying extra money — your money was well spent, look what I do with it."

Obviously, the whole commercial didn’t sit too well with Ford, who thought that Nissan was sending a message to consumers that the Focus is overpriced in Brazil compared to the Japanese automaker’s Tiida sub-compact (it’s called the Versa in our neck of the woods). While there’s some truth to it - the Tiida is actually cheaper by a little under $2,000 in Brazil compared to the Focus - Ford didn’t like the way Nissan portrayed their company.

Ford’s lawsuit prompted Nissan to pull the television commercial, but apparently, not before the video found its way on the Internet. With the web being a lot more expansive and lenient than any form of medium these days, Ford’s going to have a hard time curtailing the showing of this Nissan ad.

Source: Reuters

Anytime you get the chance to see four exotic cars on the road together continuously trying to one-up one another, it would be a complete crime to not bring out the cameras and videotape the whole proceedings.

Fortunately, the man sitting shotgun inside a Ferrari 430 Scuderia had the wherewithal to take out his camera and videotape the entire action up close and personal. Not to be outdone by the 430 Scuderia, the other three supercars in this video include some of the finest exotic machineries on the planet like a Ferrari 458 Italia , a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale , and the only non-Prancing Horse of the group, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Balboni Edition .

You normally don’t see a group of cars with this much power oozing out of them together for a joyride along the highways of Brazil, so when it happens, you can definitely expect to have someone recording the action in all its ear-piercing glory.

Here in Top Speed, we have every intention of ringing in the new year with a bang. That pretty much means that for the next few days until 2011 rolls along, we intended to keep the noise and decibel level up a few notches with some eardrum-shattering, high-octane videos featuring some of our – and yours too, we hope – favorite exotics on the planet.

First up is a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale screaming along the streets of Brazil. While we understandably dig the whole video game-to-real life effects done at the start of the video, we’re more interested in the sound of that powerhouse engine piercing through its surroundings.

Watch the five-minute video until the end and you’re going to be treated to the joyous sound of the car heading inside a couple of tunnels with the shriek of the engine reverberating and bouncing along the tunnel’s walls.

Ramp up the volume, fellas. This Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale is certainly not for the weak of heart.

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