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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In the weeks that have followed since the release of Gran Turismo 5, Sony has apparently yet to tire of promoting their new racing game. This is probably their way of making up for all the negative press they received for delaying the game’s release so many times in the past.
A few weeks ago, Sony welcomed the release of GT5 by heading over to France for a pretty intense supercar run at the Champ Elysees in Paris. This run featured some of the most desirable supercars on the planet. Sounds like a one-time promotional event, right?
Recently, another GT5-sponsored supercar run took place in Brazil. This time, the cars running roughshod all over Sau Paolo included a Mercedes SLS AMG, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, a Nissan GT-R, a Ferrari 360, a Maserati 4200 Spider, a BMW M3, and a BMW Z4. All cars were decked in the now-familiar GT5 livery as they raced along the busy streets and thoroughfares of the populated Brazilian city.
Just goes to show that GT5’s influence reaches far and wide in this world.
Just when you thought that we’ve seen the last of all those burning Ferrari 458 Italias, we wake up to the unsettling news that the ‘458 Curse’ has struck again.
Reports are saying that the incident happened in Sao Paulo, Brazil – that place is getting a lot of news lately – and while details are limited as of the moment, you only need to look at these photos to come to the conclusion that the 458 Italia is not getting the kind of news it was expecting when it was released a year ago.
Make no mistake; the new Ferrari supercar is still awesome by most accounts, except when it comes to reliability issues. We would have thought that Ferrari’s recall of the model two months ago would have already put a stop to these unfortunate incidences. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be more wrong on that end. Let’s just all hope that Ferrari continues to be vigilant in fixing the 458 Italia, otherwise, it would be a waste of an awesome supercar.
The 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix may have been the race where Red Bull won the season’s Constructor’s Championship, but the weekend was also marred by a number of scary incidents involving armed attacks directed at some Formula One personalities, including reigning World Champion and McLaren driver Jenson Button.
According to the Press Association, Button, along with his father, trainer, and manager were headed back to their hotel after the qualifying session on Saturday when six armed attackers with machine guns attacked the armored vehicle. Button didn’t say anything about shots being fired at the car, but fortunately, their driver possessed extensive training in avoidance driving, which proved to be extremely useful during the incident as he was able to drive away from the scene by, according to Button, ‘bouncing off about five cars’.
Later on, it was also learned that three engineers from Sauber Motorsports were also given an unfortunate reality check on the rampant number of crimes in Sao Paulo after it was reported that they were robbed after leaving the Interlagos circuit after the qualifying session. This time around, the group was driving in a minivan when, during a stop light, the vehicle was surrounded by five robbers, with one of them wielding an automatic weapon. The robbers ended up stealing a number of items from the Sauber engineers, including two backpacks that had one of the engineer’s passports in it.
Talk about not feeling welcome.
A few days ago, we showed you a video of a Koenigsegg CCXR blasting through a tunnel, showing off that remarkable power and ear-splitting engine roar to anybody who ended up watching it.
Not to be outdone, we have another supercar doing the exact same thing: a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale. Recorded somewhere in Brazil, the driver of the 360 Challenge Stradale waits for the perfect opportunity for the tunnel to clear up before going bonkers and blasting off at full throttle. The resulting sound is so glorious, one look and listen to it isn’t enough to appreciate what’s under the hood of that Italian stallion.
So boys and girls, children of all ages, just like we’ve told you countless times, standard protocol dictates that you put your speakers on full blast, sit back, and enjoy the sound of this Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale lay complete waste to this tunnel in Brazil.
In a country where bulls are often the subject of cultural spectacles, a different kind of bull is heading to Mexico, only this time, that bull is 100% pure Italian grade.
Lamborghini, those bulls from Sant’Agata, have opened two dealerships in the country, marking the first time the Italian supercar brand has made it’s way to Mexico. The first dealership that opened on October 26th was the “Lamborghini Mexico City” dealership, which is located at the heart of one of the country’s busiest districts on Insurgentes Sur.
A day later, on October 27th, the folks from Lamborghini opened yet another store, “Lamborghini Monterey”, in San Pedro, Nuevo Leon, widely regarded as one of the richest districts in Central America. The two dealerships are owned by a man that’s no stranger to the automotive world in the region, Martin Josephi Wellman, the former CEO and president of Volkswagen Mexico.
Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini’s President and CEO, shared his excitement of seeing Lamborghini break ground on a new country. "These new dealerships represent Lamborghini’s commitment to expanding our presence in North America," he said. "Our Mexican clients love the brand for its unique values of being extreme, uncompromising, and unmistakably Italian."
Today, theKia Soul Flex, the first Korean vehicle that can run on ethanol, was released. It was specially designed for the Brazilian market where these flex-fuel models make up 85% of new car sales.
The vehicle uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor that cranks out 128 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. The car can manage a 44% fuel economy increase in fuel mileage over the gas version.
The Soul Flex will use a reinforced fuel pump, pillar cap, and fuel line. There will also be a gasoline assistance system that will aid engine ignition at low temperatures. In addition to all of this, the motor will use an adapted fuel injection and catalyst system. There will also be a new engine compression ratio.
The Kia Soul Flex will debut this month, with sales beginning early next year in Brazil. The company is also working on a Sportage Flex that should be unveiled at the end of next year.
Fiat’s got a booth booked for the 2010 Sao Paulo Auto Show and they’re bringing with them a nifty little concept roadster version of the just-revealed Fiat Uno, called the Fiat Uno Roadster.
Powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine that produces 152 horsepower, the Fiat Uno Roadster is a bigger, badder, and more powerful take on the Uno hatchback.
The styling of the roadster concept is a lot more aggressive than its standard variant. Fiat also stiffened up the chassis on the Uno Roadster and even installed a set of 17-inch alloy wheels to complete the overall sportier and look of the car.
Since this is just a concept, there’s no word on whether we’re going to see a production version anytime soon. But if we’re basing it on mere looks, this little devil of a ride looks to be one that’s destined for a lot of orders from excited customers. And yes, we’re probably going to be one of them.
There are many things you associate with Brazil – soccer, samba, and fine women come to mind – before you describe them as a supercar factory, but that doesn’t mean that the country doesn’t have its share of exotic automakers.
In fact, there’s an upstart company in the country that’s set to introduce a new supercar at the Sao Paulo Auto Show. Gentlemen, we’d like to introduce you to the Rossin-Bertin Vorax.
As the brainchild of ex-GM designer Fharys Rossin and Natalino Bertin Jr., the Vorax is poised to become a Brazilian-born and made supercar that the company is hoping could become an upstart challenger to established European supercar makers.
Details behind the Vorax are still limited but from what we’ve heard, the car is going to come with a carbon fiber body and an aluminum chassis. As for the engine, the Vorax, which will come in two variants, will be powered with a tuned-up 5.0-liter V10 engine, similar to what’s under the hood of the BMW M5.
Continued after the jump
The Fiat Uno may not strike a lot of us as a vehicle that’s a certifiable looker, but don’t tell that to the people of Fiat. After all, there’s a thing called ‘variants’ that could turn a mundane looking hatch into a pretty eye-catching ride.
Take the Fiat Uno Sporting for example. It’s got the same 1.4-liter 85 horsepower engine as the standard model, but that’s the only thing the two have in common.
The Uno Sporting was given a sport suspension that’s lowered by 20mm and 15-inch alloy wheels shod in 185/60 tires. In addition to that, the vehicle was given an attractive orange paint finish with a few decals on the side. But the best part of the Uno Sporting are those front and rear spoilers that give it not just a performance boost, but an edgier look too.
The Fiat Uno Sporting is expected to be a production-ready variant of the Uno hatch so you can expect to see one of these orange-clad sport hatches out on the road soon.
The Opel brand has been fairly big in Europe, despite its financial troubles. That being said, the nameplate isn’t that well known outside of continental Europe. That might soon change.
General Motors hopes to use the brand’s brilliant product lineup to attack consumers in China, South America, and Australia, according to Deutsche Welle in Germany. GM hopes to establish Opel as a premium brand.
Last year, the automaker sold 4,000 vehicles in China, as part of its preparation efforts for expansion into the country. The brand will be marketed as a European premium brand, as there are more and more people who can afford such a vehicle in China.
It should be interesting to see what becomes of Buick in China, as they were usually just Opels with a new badge. As we all know, Buick is very popular there, so GM needs to be careful not to hurt that market.
Earlier this year, Peugeot launched and introduced the new Peugeot 408 sedan to the Chinese market. Now it looks like the French manufacturer is also keen on bringing their compact sedan to another market, South America.
In an announcement made earlier this week, the Lion marquee disclosed its plans of bringing the 408 sedan to the South American market. Peugeot also announced that the 408, the long wheelbase version of the 308, is currently being produced at the company’s PSA Peugeot Citroen Palomar production plant in Buenos Aires, Argentina and will eventually be sold in 27 countries, including Argentina and Brazil.
Peugeot has yet to release information on what kind of variants the 408 will have in South America, although if its something similar to what the Chinese-market 408s are, it could come in two powertrains: a 1.6-liter gas engine that produces around 106 horsepower and a 2.0-liter variant that tops at about 147 horsepower.
Of course, we’re just making a couple of guesses on the matter, but everything should all come to a clear sometime in October when the 408 makes its debut in South America at the San Paulo Motor Show in Brazil.