2007
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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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Car For Sale: 2007 Porsche 911 GT3

Car For Sale: 2007 Porsche 911 GT3

Form and function comes together to make the perfect daily track driver

Every now and then you come across a car that’s for sale that you just have to have, or will dream about for the foreseeable future if you can’t afford it. For me, that happened earlier today as I was browsing eBay when I stumbled on this extensively modified 2007 Porsche 911 GT3. As your typical automotive journalist, a car of this caliber is generally out of my price range, so it will reside in the garage of dreams I can’t have. But, I couldn’t end my day without telling you about it.

The car you see here is described by the owner as “the ultimate track weapon.” It was delivered brand new as a road-going 911 GT3 RS, but Champion Motorsport has put some considerable work into the car. So much so, that it’s far from road legal with “hardly anything left stock.” It was built solely as a track car, but could be reverted if you really have the intention of putting a plate on it and cruising Main. So, at this point, you’re probably wondering just what has been done to the car, right? Well, the list of modifications is what seems to be a mile long, and it includes “many” one-of-a-kind parts that you won’t find on any other vehicle.

To start off the list, the engine has been replaced with a 4.2 liter that has been bored and stroked. It features Carillo connecting rods, 4.0-liter intake manifold, ATI Engine Damper, 4.0 CP oil pump, ported and polished heads, extra oil spray jet, 4.0-liter dive planes, JE pistons, and to top it all off – a custom-built exhaust by M&M to go with a customer carbon fiber airbox and heat block. As far as suspension goes, the car has a four-way Ohlins coil-over kit in the front and a two-way kit in the rear, adjustable rear upper control arms, front and rear adjustable toe links, and adjustable trailing arms.

That’s just a small portion of the list; a list that I could go on about all night, to be honest. Instead of doing that, however, why don’t you check out the actual listing for yourself here. You’ll certainly be happy you at least took the time to take a look at the full list, I guarantee it. The car currently has 12 bids, with the maximum bid as of the time of this writing at $62,100. It does have a reserve which is a mystery. Given the extensive list of upgrades, you better believe it’s going to pull a hefty sum to cross that reserve threshold.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

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"One-of-a-Kind" Willys Trike

"One-of-a-Kind" Willys Trike

Okay, I have worked in many repair shops in my day. During my tour as a service manager, I came across a fair share of “Mountain Man Mechanics,” which is the politically correct thing to call them. These guys love taking the strangest vehicles and creating monsters out of them.

There was one mechanic that took a 1980s Honda Civic hatchback and dropped a 1300 cc Hayabusa engine in it, thinking it would increase the Civic’s performance. He didn’t quite grasp the logic of torque-to-weight ratio and ended up with only a really cool sounding Civic.

Another monster that sticks out in my mind is when a mechanic tore apart his unwilling wife’s mid-1990s Mitsubishi Mirage and dropped its body on a self-shortened S-10 frame. He then dropped a 307 cubic-inch Oldsmobile engine in it and connected the Olds engine to the transmission and transfer case on the S-10 frame. It actually looked and sounded mean when he was done, but instead of re-welding the frame together, he used several bolts to secure it. Guess what happened...

What’s my point here? Well, a new monster has recently come to our attention, which is for sale on Craigslist. The owner has dubbed this machine a 2007 Willys Trike. This trike has a stretched Jeep CJ-2 body with a motorcycle wheel on the front. The body sits on a custom frame – hopefully it’s welded – and has the rear independent suspension from a T-bird.

Instead of having the old Jeep CJ-2 engine, this beast has a Chevy 4.3-liter Vortec engine, which is good for around 190 horsepower, if it is stock. Plus it has a four-speed transmission connecting the engine to the rear wheels.

The handle bars for the motorcycle wheel span all the way from the front of the vehicle through two slots under the windshield. We bet this thing is a scary animal to maneuver at high speeds. But anyways, this “Mountain Man” monster can be yours for “just” $11,000. We bet this thing sits on the market for a while.

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Do you want a Ferrari 599 GTB for Christmas?

Do you want a Ferrari 599 GTB for Christmas?

Now that Christmas is about two-and-a-half weeks away, we figured that it would be the right time to give suggestions on what kind of presents to get for your loved ones, or if you’re not giving anything to anybody, what to get yourself.

Now seeing as this is a place devoted entirely to cars, we figured that one of the coolest things to give as a present would be a car. More specifically, a car with roots to the Prancing Horse of Maranello.

This is a 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB, one of the finest Ferraris to ever roll out of Maranello and if you’ve got the funds, you can actually take it home with you in time for the holidays. This particular 599 GTB is powered by a 6.0-liter 12 engine that produces no less than 620 horsepower and is equipped with a six-speed paddle-shift F1 transmission. Even better than that, the car is dressed in Ferrari’s iconic red paint finish with an authentic black leather interior. It also has electromagnetic suspension dampers, ceramic brakes, shields, and red brake calipers.

As for mileage, it’s got 5,396 miles tacked on its engine, which is pretty reasonable given the car’s esteemed and powerful lineage. If you’re interested in the car, it’s best to contact the people of Exotic Classics in New York and ask about the car’s price tag. Rest assured, it’s going to be the most expensive Christmas present you’re ever going to buy.

So here it is you generous gift-givers! Why not do away with the cursory sweaters or the new Nike runners and give your loved one the gift of a Prancing Horse – a 599 GTB at that – sitting in his garage. Rest assured, you’re going to make him one of the happiest – and luckiest – fellas this season.

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Pagani Zonda F Roadster Clubsport for sale

Pagani Zonda F Roadster Clubsport for sale

Do you have an extra $1.3 million in your pocket? Need a pricey Christmas present to impress a certain someone? Well, here’s one way to spend it; how about buying a Pagani Zonda F Roadster Clubsport? Limited to only 25 units, this special edition was priced at $750,000 at launch, but now you get to pay almost twice as much for a model with 3,107 miles on the odometer. That’s the price you pay for wanting to own an exclusive, sold out model. The guys who turn these vehicles over are either the biggest swindlers or the best businessmen, you can decide.

The Zonda F Clubsport is powered by a Mercedes AMG V12 engine with no less than 650 HP under the hood. Its performance speaks for itself with a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds, a 0-124mph time of 9.8 seconds, and a top speed of 214mph. It’s fitted with Brembo carbon ceramic brakes with yellow calipers, a lifting system, and Inconel and titanium exhaust system. Other features include a Nardi steering wheel in traditional wood, carbon fiber engine covers, and special dark color aluminum parts.

Want a piece of Pagani’s special edition history? Fork over $1.3 million in cold, hard cash to the folks at Auto Salon Singen GmbH and it can be yours.

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2011 Acura RDX

2011 Acura RDX

Acura has unveiled the first details on the 2011 RDX crossover that comes with Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. The 2011 RDX is defined by bold front and rear fascias, Acura’s signature grille, pronounced wheel arches, 18-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels, and upscale trim accents. On the inside, the RDX is stretched out with beautiful leather, stitchwork, and flowing curves. Add some cutting edge technology and we have a winner.

The interior gets leather trimmed front seats, multiple storage compartments, Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM tuner, 6-disc in-dash CD player, MP3, WMA, XM Radio, 7 speakers, and a 360 watt amplifier.

The 2011 RDX is powered by the same turbocharged 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine that was found in the previous model. It delivers a total of 240 HP at 6,000 rpm with 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission and delivers 19/24/21 mpg on the RDX 2WD models and 17/22/19 mpg on the RDX SH-AWD ones.

Press release after the jump.

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2009 Nissan Murano

2009 Nissan Murano

First launched in 2003, the Murano SUV is entering the 2009 MY with a new exterior, interior and enhanced technology. For 2009, Murano is being offered in five different versions: S 2WD, S AWD, SL 2WD, SL AWD and LE AWD, with prices ranging from $27,680 to $37,260.

For 2009, Murano comes with a wide front end with a dynamic front fascia design, a wide grille with large integrated headlights, strong body side character lines with pronounced 18-inch or 20-inch wheels and tires and a distinctive rear end set off by an expansive rear glass area and LED taillights.

The 2009 Murano is powered by a revised 265-hp 3.5-liter DOHC V6 backed by a new advanced Xtronic CVT™ (Continuously Variable Transmission), with a front-wheel drive or an advanced all-wheel drive drivetrain. Murano also features a new D-platform, as well as new suspension, body structure and state-of-the-art steering for improved ride comfort and precise handling.

Press release after the jump.

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2008 Infiniti G37

2008 Infiniti G37

The Infiniti G37 Coupé offers dramatic performance in a thoroughly seductive shape. Although sharing a great deal of hardware with the G37 Sedan, the Coupé is designed to appeal to different buyer.

Among the key enhancements to the new second-generation G Coupe are a larger, more powerful 3.7-liter V6 engine, available advanced 4-Wheel Active Steer system, a dramatic new exterior design and a refined interior with intuitive, integrated technology. Top speed is limited at 250 km/h (155 mph), while 0-100 km/h takes just 5.8 seconds (on M/T version).

There are three versions of the G37 Coupé on offer – the well equipped G37 Coupé, the more luxurious GT version with leather upholstery, and the sport-oriented S version with 4-Wheel Active Steer system, a Viscous Limited Slip Differential (VLSD) and sports suspension settings among other changes.

Press release after the jump.

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2009 Acura MDX

2009 Acura MDX

For 2009, the MDX’s power rear tailgate feature is standard equipment with the Technology and Sport packages - previously the power rear tailgate was only available on the Entertainment Package. Additionally, the AcuraLink real-time traffic system includes an additional metropolitan market (Dayton, Ohio) and the MDX is offered in two new exterior colors- Bali Blue Pearl and Mocha Metallic.

The 2009 Acura MDX is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that delivers 6,000 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

The price for the 2009 MDX is: MDX, $40,790; MDX with Technology Package, $44,840; MDX with Technology Package and Entertainment Package, $46,590; MDX with Sport Package, $46,940; and MDX with Sport and Entertainment Packages, $48,690.

Full details in the press release after the jump.

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2008 Volkswagen Tiguan

2008 Volkswagen Tiguan

The Volkswagen Tiguan made its world debut at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show and starting the spring of 2008 it is also available in the USA. In here it can be ordered from three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL, with prices starting from $23,200.

The standard engine is a 2.0L TSI engine that delivers 200 hp and 207 lbs –ft of torque. The combination of four valves per cylinder, direct fuel injection and turbo charging delivers the optimum balance of power and economy. European tuned suspension enables connected handling, while also providing a smooth and compliant ride.

Both front wheel drive and 4Motion all-wheel-drive is available to suit any weather or road condition. The engine is mated to either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

As standard equipment, Tiguan includes six airbags, with rear side airbags available as an option.

Full details in the press release after the jump.

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RKSport Genesis to debut at SEMA

RKSport Genesis to debut at SEMA

A new customized Genesis sedan to be unveiled at the SEMA Show is the RKSport Genesis. It is a high-performance model that will be powered by enhanced version of the Tau V8 engine (originally making about 375 hp) developed by Hyundai’s U.S. powertrain engineering team in Michigan.

Styling modifications to the RKSport Genesis include a composite hood, unique front and rear lower fascias, side skirts, a composite rear roof spoiler and trunk spoiler. RKSport will partner with well-known aftermarket companies to add TSW alloy wheels, a Baer performance brake package, K&N performance air intake, Eibach lowering springs and a Magnaflow performance exhaust.

At SEMA we’ll also see the HKS Genesis Coupe, the RMR Genesis Coupe, and the Genesis Coupe Street Concepts.

Press release after the jump.

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2008 Audi A4

2008 Audi A4

What is the new Audi A4? It is a car that gives you new feelings every time you get behind the wheel, a car that offers the best driving pleasure; a bad boy that makes people turn their heads every time you are in the neighborhood, but in the same time a car that is capable of offering enough space and security for your entire family. And to summarize in just few words: a car that deserves the four-circle logo.

The Audi A4 made its world debut last year at the Frankfurt Auto Show and on the US market will be available starting fall 2008. It will be offered with two powerful engines, both on gasoline. One will be the 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine that delivers 211 hp and one the turbocharged 3.2 FSI V6 that delivers 265 hp. The A4 will make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 6.3 seconds and will hit a top speed of 130 mph (electronically limited).

First unveiled in 1994, the A4 was a car with many lacks. Is true it was a quality car, but buyers would always prefer its greater competition: the BMW 3-Series. But it seems that the new generation comes to say “enough is enough”: with new look, new technology, new interior and many gadgets that makes the driving more pleasant and offers best security, the A4 is for the first time a car that stands in front of its competitors with no fear.

Compared to its predecessor, the designers tweaked the proportions into a new sporty ratio. The front overhang was shortened, and the hood and the wheelbase were extended visibly. The new A4 measures 4.70 meters (15.42 feet), nearly 12 centimeters (4.6 inches) more than its predecessor. The body also documents the advances: It is significantly stiffer and safer than its predecessor, while, at the same time, dropping about 10 percent of its weight thanks to intelligent lightweight steel construction.

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A close look at Formula 1 engines

Their sound sends a shrill through our spines on race weekends. The engine that powers a F1 car is different compared to a normal car’s engine. But how different are they? This topspeed.com special article gives you an exclusive insight on F1 engines that should answer all your questions.

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2008 Audi RS6 Avant

2008 Audi RS6 Avant

Outstanding top performance and maximum dynamism combined with excellent suitability for everyday use are the impressive features of the new Audi RS 6 Avant, which will be unveiled to the public for the first time at the IAA 2007 in Frankfurt. A newly developed V10 engine with FSI direct injection and twin turbochargers, permanent quattro four-wheel drive and sports suspension with Dynamic Ride Control DRC set the standard for high-performance vehicles in the luxury class. 426 kW (580 bhp) and a maximum torque of 650 Nm add up to an unforgettable performance experience. At the same time, the new Audi RS 6 Avant offers a high standard of travel comfort – on long journeys, too.

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2008 Porsche Boxster

2008 Porsche Boxster

As we are used by now, Porsche’s model follow a certain order, being restyled and updated every few years. And of course the Boxster is no exception. In 2008 Porsche will unveil a new Boxster with subtle styling changes and incremental boosts in power. It will come to compete with models like BMW Z4 and Audi TT.

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Ferrari F430 GT California renderings

Ferrari F430 GT California renderings

Ferrari will unveil the F430 GT California in January at Detroit Auto Show, and of course everyone started making prepositions of how the car will look like. The latest one comes from AutoGespot, and although it looks more like a Hamann tuning for me, it is always fun to see!

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New-generation Honda Piot prototype will be unveiled in Detroit

New-generation Honda Piot prototype will be unveiled in Detroit

Honda will unveil a prototype version of the next-generation Pilot in January 2008 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

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2007 Toyota Matrix Rally Sport Concept

2007 Toyota Matrix Rally Sport Concept

Toyota revealed at Los Angeles Auto Show, next to the 2009 Corolla and Matrix, the Matrix Rally Sport Concept, a racier interpretation of Toyota’s 5-door crossover.

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Lamborghini Reventon at LA Auto Show

Lamborghini Reventon at LA Auto Show

Supercars, supercars and then again supercars; we’ve seen lots of them here in Los Angeles, and of course one of them was the latest super exclusive Reventon edition from Lamborghini.

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Ferrari F430 Scuderia at LA Auto Show

Ferrari F430 Scuderia at LA Auto Show

Ferrari’s newest high-performance two-seater Berlinetta, the 430 Scuderia, made its nationwide debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, giving evidence of the brand’s tradition and ability to translate Formula One technology into its production vehicles.

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