Archive for February, 2008

500 Abarth At The 2008 Geneva Motor Show

February 28, 2008
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The month of March marks the rebirth of one of the most celebrated cars in the planet particularly in Europe. The new 500 Abarth will have its world debut in the upcoming 2008 Geneva Motor Show. According to the Auto Channel, the 500 Abarth was originally enhanced by Fiat’s Style Centre with a the world-famous Fiat 500 Abarth of the 1960s as source of inspiration.

The all-new 500 Abarth Specifications:

Engine

  • 4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
  • Power output: 135 bhp at 5,500 rpm
  • Peak torque in SPORT mode: 206 Nm (152 lb.ft) at 3,000 rpm
  • ‘Drive-by-wire’ accelerator control, without mechanical connection
  • Turboboost by IHI variable geometry turbo

Transmission

  • 5-speed gearbox
  • Dual cable external gearbox control

Suspension and steering

  • MacPherson layout at front with anti-roll bar
  • Torsion beam axle with anti-roll bar
  • Ground-hugging sporty stance
  • Dualdrive electric power steering, with SPORT mode

Brakes

  • Floating ZPH 4.1.2 front calliper, piston diameter 54 mm
  • Ventilated front brake discs, diameter 284 x 22 mm
  • Floating CII 34 rear calliper, piston diameter 34 mm
  • Solid rear brake discs, diameter 240 x 11 mm

Wheels

  • Standard: Aluminium alloy rim 6.5” x 16” – Tyres: 195/45 R16
  • Optional: Aluminium alloy rim 7” x 17” – Tyres: 205/40 R17

Battery Care

February 21, 2008

Electricity is very important for vehicles. Even if you do not drive a hybrid, you still use electricity. Your ignition system needs it, so does your electrical (of course) system. Your car’s electricity comes from the battery so you have to take care of it.

The Auto Channel recently published battery care tips from CarMax. Here are these tips:

  • Wear proper eye, hand and clothing protection when around batteries
  • Check the terminals where cables connect to be sure they are tight and corrosion free. If corrosion is present, have terminals cleaned by professional.
  • Lubricate terminals with a dab of petroleum jelly to keep cables clean and free from corrosion longer.
  • Make sure the battery is firmly secured to its mounting bracket. An unsecured battery can become damaged and cause short circuits.
  • Check the fluid level unless it’s a maintenance-free battery. If the fluid is low, add distilled water. If there is no fluid visible, then replace the battery.
  • Keep your battery case clean. Dirt conducts electricity which can discharge the battery. Use a solution of baking soda dissolved in warm water to clean. Wet the case and agitate with a nylon bristle brush to scrub surface. Rinse well with plain water.
  • Batteries come in many different sizes. When replacing a car battery, make sure you choose the right size for your vehicle. When it comes to car batteries, bigger is not always better.
  • Always disconnect the negative cable first and reconnect it last. Charge battery in a well-ventilated area.

These tips are just easy to follow and I hope this will help you take care of your battery. You do not want of course to be stranded somewhere with a dead battery so I think it is a good investment in your part to take care of your electricity source.

First Ferrari

February 14, 2008
Italian automaker Ferrari has been known throughout the years for its fast and stylish cars.  This tradition started with a car with chassis number 01C.

Said vehicle must be pretty old by now eh?  Well. It surely is but it does not mean it cannot travel anymore.  In fact, the first ever Ferrari to be built will be making its appearance in Western United States in connection with the Inaugural Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance.

Paul Merrigan, an event organizer said:  “This is the first time in 20 years this pristine automobile has made a public appearance.  Ferrari has a unique history in Palm Springs, by recording its first western U.S. win here in 1951, and we’re bringing that excitement back with another historic Ferrari.”

According to The Auto Channel, other vehicles that will be displayed at the event are:  “a 1930 Rally ABC, a 1926 Studebaker, a 1956 Alfa Villedeste, a 1955 Jaguar D-type and a rare 1941 Packard, custom-designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin.”

“One of just a limited few built, the 1941 Packard is a perfect match for our event, because of its association with Darrin, who crafted many of his cars for the same celebrities that brought worldwide attention to Palm Springs in the early 1940s,” said Merrigan.

If you are a Ferrari fan and would like to see the car that started it all for the Italian automaker, then you might want to visit the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs, California on February 29.  Here’s what it would cost you though:  “General grounds admission tickets are $20; clubhouse tickets are $40; VIP tickets that include clubhouse admission and food/beverage are $150. Children under 10 and active duty/reserve military and seniors over 80 are free.”

2008: Auto Show Green Attack

February 3, 2008
This year, the theme in the auto industry will be greener. And it can be reflected on the upcoming autoshows. True, the industry has its way of popping up surprises.
Apparently, automakers are absorbed in the development of lithium-ion batteries to bolster their green credo. Saturn said it hopes to sell a Vue plug-in with a 10-mile electric-only range by 2010. Toyota, meanwhile, said it will have a few hundred plug-ins in commercial test fleets by then. Others are following the green trails of the auto giants.

AFS Trinity Power Corp. has equipped a 2007 Saturn Vue with a prototype plug-in system it says can go 40 miles on lithium-ion batteries before a 4-cylinder engine kicks in for gas/electric operation. Estimated cost is $8,700 for the Extreme Hybrid system, reported the Daily Press.

What’s the difference of AFS’s system with those of others? “We’re doing it with batteries available now. We’re not waiting for the technology to develop,” said Chief Technology Officer Donald Bender.

“My next dream is that one of the (automakers) will say they want to put this system on their car,” AFS Chairman and Chief Executive Edward Furia said. “We could give them exclusive use for two years, and then we could license it to others. Consumers could recover the $8,700 cost in fuel savings in three and a half years with gas at $2.85, and in less time at higher prices.”

David Champion, Consumer Reports magazine’s automotive testing director, is dubious of the hype around battery technology. “A breakthrough in battery technology has been two years away for 20 years.”

“Cost is a big part of our research,” said Jaycie Chitwood, a senior planner with Toyota’s advanced technologies group. “We want to find out how much (electric-only) range people want and how much they want to pay for it. The batteries aren’t free.”

Expense is what is also keeping the plug-in hybrids on the sidelines, notwithstanding diesel’s 25-30% fuel economy advantage over petrol.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz points out that hybrid systems add thousands to a vehicle’s cost, as do diesel engines, particularly now that the latter have to meet the same emissions requirements as their gas counterparts. “You can get sensational fuel economy, but you’re doubling the cost of the powertrain,” he noted. “When that happens, people will start saying that gasoline isn’t that expensive.”