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1996 - 2004 Porsche Boxster (986)

1996 - 2004 Porsche Boxster (986)

A 911 droptop for the everyman

Although it might look like Porsche is at the top of its game these days, the Stuttgart brand has seen plenty of rough spots over the years. For example, back in the ‘90s, Porsche went through a period of stagnation and financial difficulty that very nearly killed the brand, but luckily, Porsche managed to put together just the right recipe to bring it back from the brink of bankruptcy. It’s called the Boxster.

Framed as a more accessible entry into the Porsche lifestyle, the Boxster 986 was the first model to carry the Boxster nameplate, with the first-gen lasting from 1996 to 2004. The name itself is an amalgamation of the words “roadster,” a nod to the car’s body style, and “boxer,” which is a nod to the car’s engine configuration. Equipped with classic Porsche styling, faultless handling characteristics, and a rev-happy powerplant, the Boxster was a smash hit for sales, and it is now credited with playing an integral part in Porsche’s late-‘90s renaissance.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1996 - 2004 Porsche Boxster (986).

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2004 - 2011 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

2004 - 2011 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

Bridging the gap between the 456 and the FF

In 2003, the Ferrari 456 was discontinued after 11 years in production. The grand tourer, which had been updated to 456M specs in 1998, was then replaced by the 612 Scaglietti. Designed by Ken Okuyama and Frank Stephenson, the 612 Scaglietti was bigger than the 456, and thus it was a true four-seater rather than a 2+2 GT like its predecessor. Named in honor of Sergio Scaglietti, who designed many Ferraris in the 1950s, including the 250 Testa Rossa, the 612 also pays homage to the 375 MM that company director Roberto Rossellini had commissioned for his wife, Ingrid Bergman, in 1954.

Unlike its forerunner, the 612 was an all-aluminum vehicle and the second following the 360 Modena. Developed with Alcoa, the space frame was later used in the 599 GTB. The GT also came with a redesigned engine. While the 456 used a 5.5-liter V-12, the 612 received the larger mill from the 575 Superamerica. While the "612" badge suggests a 6.0-liter engine, the displacement was actually 5.7 liters. Produced at the Carrozzeria Scaglietti plant, the 612 was taken to Maranello to have its interior and V-12 put in. A total of 3025 cars were produced until 2011 when the 612 was replaced by the FF. Ferrari also produced a series of limited-edition model, but more about that in the review below.

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The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6

The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM’s 4.2-liter Atlas I-6

The story of GM’s high-tech straight-six and why it died

General Motors has a long history with making innovative strides in engine development. The Chevrolet small-block V-8, for example, began life in the 1950s and soon became the standard for high horsepower in a small package – a legacy that continues into today’s fifth-generation GM V-8s. Even GM’s lineup of V-6 engines is impressive, ranging from the 60-degree V-6 that powered nearly every GM car from 1980 through 2010, up to the twin-turbocharged V-6 powering the Cadillac ATS-V. However, GM has a lesser-known engine family that deserves admiration for its outside-the-box thinking and outstanding technological advancements: the Atlas inline family.

That Atlas family had three main members, the front-running 4.2-liter inline-six, the 3.5-liter five-cylinder, and the 2.8-liter four-cylinder. All three shared the same basic architecture and a wide range of parts, though it was the 4.2-liter that led the Atlas program.

The 4.2-liter called the GMT360 platform home. This included the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X. Each of these mid-sized SUVs shared the same architecture, including the industry’s first fully hydroformed frame in a mid-size SUV. Introduced for the 2002 model year, the GMT360 platform sold a couple million examples worldwide before ending production after 2009.

The 4.2-liter Atlas LL8, otherwise called the Vortec 4200, was a groundbreaking engine for GM. It featured an all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams with variable valve timing on the exhaust side, four valves per cylinder, a coil-on-plug ignition system, a high compression ratio of 10:1, and its cylinder heads featured GM’s then-prevalent “Vortec” engineering designed to maximize airflow.

This combination allowed for the production of 1.06 horsepower per cubic inch – a total of 270 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Torque was rated at 275 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm, but 90 percent of peak torque was available between 1,600 and 5,600 rpm. These stats far exceeded every comparable V-6 on the market at the time, including GM’s own 4.3-liter Vortec V-6.

We decided to take a closer look at the Vortec 4200 and its forward-thinking design. We reached out to GM and found Tom Sutter, the Assistant Chief Engineer for the Atlas. Sutter has been involved with engine programs for the last 30 years, ranging from Oldsmobile’s Quad Four to Cadillac’s current V-Series mills. Sutter was able to give us a deeper insight into the Atlas program, so keep reading for more.

Continue reading for more information.

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This 12-Year-Old British Sedan Is Arguably the Lowest-Mileage Car You Can Buy

This 12-Year-Old British Sedan Is Arguably the Lowest-Mileage Car You Can Buy

When it comes to miles on the clock, this MG ZT is newer than your brand-new car...

It’s not uncommon for automobile auction events to trade low-mileage cars, both vintage/classic or of more recent production, but this year’s Classic Car Auctions sale at the Warwickshire Exhibition Center will probably go down in history for selling the lowest-mileage used vehicle. The car in question is a 2004-model-year MG ZT that has only three miles on the clock after its owner placed it into storage as soon as he bought it 11 years ago.

Making the story that much more interesting is the fact that the MG ZT is by no means a valuable collectible. Introduced in 2001 as a development of the Rover 75, the ZT was produced only until 2005, when MG Rover went bankrupt and was purchased by Nanjing Automobile of China. Offered in both sedan and wagon body styles, it was the company’s then-largest model and was sold with a selection of four-cylinder engines, a V-6, a BMW-sourced diesel, and a V-8 borrowed from the Ford Mustang.

The current owner purchased the car in 2005 from a dealer that was selling the ZF at half price and it was delivered to his farm just outside the Silverstone race track with only one mile on the odometer. After driving for just two miles along the driveway, he decided to put it into storage, keeping it in a heated garage, in a Carcoon and later in a Car Bag for all these years. Preserved beautifully and with only three miles on the clock, the owner believes that this is the best condition and lowest mileage MG Rover in the world.

I think that it could actually be lowest used car in the world of any marques, but there’s no simple way of proving it.

Classic Car Auctions estimated that the sedan will fetch between £8,500 and £10,500 (about $11,300 to $13,950) when it goes under the hammer on September 24, 2016. Needless to say, that’s not a lot for a car with just three miles on the odo, but a decent amount given that the car itself is far from being a collectible.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2004 ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports

2004 ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports

Typically the words “eco-friendly” and “performance” don’t mix together well, but sometimes they pull it off. A great example of a successful attempt is the ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports. ACAT Global specializes in making less expensive and lighter catalytic converters, whereas JBR focuses on building bad-ass race cars; a match made in heaven. This modified Ferrari 575 is set to take on one of the largest challenges in the world, and that is to overtake the world land speed record – in the Grand Touring class, of course – at the Bonneville Speed Flats.

JRB and ACAT have been tight lipped about what this Ferrari 575 has behind the rear seats, but we are 100 percent certain that it is a little more than the standard 515-horsepower 5.8-liter V-12 that the stock 575 boasts. Granted, that engine is good, but certainly not enough to beat out the Ferrari record of 232 mph.

The exterior of the Ferrari 575 is draped in a coat of French Blue Ferrari Racing paint with graphics by custom-graphics-extraordinaire, Troy Lee, but the remainder of the exterior modifications are still unknown at this time. We are certain that the Ferrari will boast a lower ride height to help with aerodynamics and a series of diffusers on the rear to help reduce the drag on the rear of the Ferrari.

As we approach the August 11th debut of the Ferrari 575, given it passes its 3-day testing phase, we will learn more about this super-fast Ferrari. We will pass information along to you, as we receive it.

Click past the jump to read the press release regarding its record-setting attempt.

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2007 Acura MDX

2007 Acura MDX

Produced from 2001 to 2006 model years, the original Acura broke new ground in the emerging luxury SUV segment. Taking its predecessor’s best qualities and radically expanding them, the all-new 2007 MDX pushes performance and sophistication in the luxury SUV segment to new levels. Benchmarked against some of the best performance SUVs in the world and tuned on the Nurburgring racetrack in Germany, the new MDX clearly establishes itself as a driver’s SUV. Outfitted with Acura’s tenacious Super-Handling All-wheel Drive system and an available sport package with Active Damper System, the MDX yields a combination of handling and comfort that is truly on the cutting edge.

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Super yacht Athena

Super yacht Athena

The largest private sailing yacht in the world is currently in downtown Auckland, its masts towering over the Princes Wharf apartments it is docked alongside.

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2007 Acura TL

2007 Acura TL

The 2004 Acura TL attacked the performance luxury sedan market with its impressive styling, a luxurious and technology-packed interior, and its best-in-class horsepower.
Confronted with the new competition from Lexus, BMW, Infiniti and others, the 2007 TL has been impressively updated. Now the TL is available in two versions, the luxurious TL and the reintroduced high-performance TL Type-S, to crystallize its place as the standard representative in its class.

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2005 Acura TSX

2005 Acura TSX

The Acura TSX is a responsive sports sedan with front-wheel drive. The tip-offs for its sporty demeanor start with the name. Acura calls its sports-specialty vehicles the RSX, TSX, and NSX. Road cars are named CL, TL, RL. The TSX is Acura’s response to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.

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2002 Acura RSX

2002 Acura RSX

The Acura RSX debuted in 2001 as a replacement for the Acura Integra. From 2001 to 2004 it was offered in standard or Type S form. The standard RSX used the K20A3 four-cylinder engine that delivered 160 horsepower, while the Type S had the 200 horsepower K20A2. Both versions carried over unchanged until 2005. In 2005, the RSX went through a refresh that gave it new headlights and taillights, and an updated rear spoiler. The Type-S now came with 17-inch wheels as standard equipment, but the real change came under the hood. The standard RSX remained the same, but the Type-S got a K20Z1 powertrain that utilized the camshafts from the Japanese DC5 Type R, as well as the b-pipe, muffler and 4.77:1 final drive ratio. The standard RSX was offered with a five-speed manual or five-speed auto with sequential SportShift technology. The RSX Type-S was only available with a close ratio six-speed manual transmission.

The RSX had a short lifespan and was only produced from 2001 to 2006. Because of its similarity to the seventh-gen Civic, it became common to swap the Type-S’ K20Z1 engine and transmission into the seventh-gen Civic. Oddly, from 2001 to 2005, the RSX was offered with a number of exterior colors, but consumers were limited to either black or beige interior, normally dictated by the exterior color. The RSX wasn’t a bad car, and it was a suitable replacement for the Integra, but the seventh-gen civic was a bit of a flop, so it’s no surprise that the RSX didn’t last past 2006. With that said, let’s take a look back at the 2001 to 2005 Acura RSX and talk a little more about it.

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2003 - 2005 Infiniti M45

2003 - 2005 Infiniti M45

As the latest addition to the Infiniti lineup of performance-oriented front-engine, rear-wheel drive sedans, the all-new 2003 M45 is positioned between the flagship Q45 - with which it shares many major powertrain components, including the highly acclaimed 4.5-liter V8 engine - and the new Infiniti G35 Sport Sedan. The M45 performance sport sedan comes standard with class-leading V8 performance and a long list of world-class amenities, with a price competitive with other competitors’ 6-cylinder models.

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2002 Infiniti I35

2002 Infiniti I35

For 2004, the Infiniti I35 increases its impact on the mid-size luxury class with the addition of several standard luxury features including sunroof, power rear sunshade, side sills and pre-wiring for satellite radio. Also for 2004, the I35 receives a new exterior color - Desert Platinum. Remaining unchanged is the I35’s unmatched combination of refined luxury and exceptional performance.

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