Archive for January, 2011

2011 Ferrari 458 Italia crushed by Ford F-150 truck

  Ever wonder why brand new sports cars are like car accident magnets. That is just what happened to an almost new 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia taking a drive down a street in Florida over the weekend. Who would have thought that a Ford F-150 4×4 truck would decide to pull into its path? One might assume the Ferrari was probably travelling a little over the limit; by how much is anybody’s guess. However that doesn’t excuse the driver of the truck for cutting out in front of it. The strange thing is there was no real impact. Instead the truck drove right over the Ferrari’s front end and parked its front wheel in the middle its trunk.Is it just me or does anyone else find it odd that no one is in any rush to get the two vehicles apart? If it …

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Used cars are in very short supply

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  The hunt begins with waves and nods to familiar faces one recent Tuesday morning as Jerry Dow joins hundreds of others at a sprawling used-car auction in Northeast Portland. He ambles car to car, discreetly jotting notes on a folded piece of paper. He takes care to look at cars he doesn’t want — and to avoid lingering at ones he does. Success at the auction requires the art of deception. Dow casually zeroes in on a 1991 Buick Century. Quick as a thief, he opens the driver’s side door and ducks in to scan the interior. He checks paperwork that shows the car has 112,000 miles on it. In seconds, he’s looking at another car, one he has no intention of bidding on. At 61, Dow is a lifer in the car business. He has worked at new-car dealerships and at used. Now …

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Car encased in thick ice after water main bursts

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  A leaky pipe beneath a Manhattan street encased a parked car in ice and caused the pavement to sink in over the weekend. CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown asked Joe Marucci of the East Village how he would describe the sight. His answer: “I just said that’s what sank the Titanic.” Chester Johnson of Bed-Stuy’s answer was more laconic: “This right here is ridiculous.” East Second Street between First and Second Avenues is like a glacier as layers of thick cascading ice cover the block. Beneath the frozen tundra sits an Audi A3 completely encased in six inches of ice. “I’ve never seen anything like that, it’s like an ice sculpture,” a woman said. Some just couldn’t believe their eyes. “It really does look bizarre. I thought it was fake,” said Lorraine DAgastino who works in the East Village. Pete, the owner of the car, is …

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First shipment of Chevy Volts arrive at dealerships

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  Five trucks carrying Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric cars left General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck plant this evening, marking the first shipment to dealers after nearly four years of expectation. GM said it expected a total of 160 Volts to ship this week to its initial launch markets: California, Austin, Texas, and metro New York City and Washington, D.C. Engineers approved the start of shipping at a half-hour meeting that ended at noon Monday, said Doug Parks, chief engineer for the car. Production started in early November, as reported by the Free Press. The plant has so far built more than 300 models for customers, Parks said. GM had said customers might receive Volts as soon as late November or early December. The first Nissan Leaf, a pure electric car and a rival to the Volt, was delivered to a customer this weekend — kicking off …

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Ford expected to report strong earnings tomorrow

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  Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, may report its most profitable year since 2000 tomorrow, boosted by new models and a better reputation. The annual profit would be the second straight for Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who has improved quality and expanded the model lineup. Profit excluding some items for 2010, according to the average of 15 analysts’ estimates, may be $2.08 a share, the highest since $4.36 a share in 2000. Fourth-quarter profit may be 48 cents, the average of 14 estimates. “Ford is building better cars, they’re more fuel-efficient and they’ve really focused on quality since Alan Mulally came in,” said Gary Bradshaw, a fund manager at Dallas-based Hodges Capital Management, which owns 100,000 Ford common shares and 100,000 preferred shares. “He’s just making this company a money machine.” The estimates for quarterly and 2010 profit exclude items such …

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January auto sales show promising start

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  Despite doomsday auto sales forecasts for 2009, promising signs continue to emerge about early January sales in the United States and their potential for growth. Pent-up demand for new vehicles grew to 820,000 new cars and trucks last year, as consumers continued to wait out the dismal economic environment before making a new purchase, according to a report released Monday by CNW Marketing Research. That’s nearly four times as high as pent-up demand was in 2007, CNW said, and the research firm predicted that “the bulk of those postponements are slated to return to market in 2009.” Meanwhile, Cars.com, a consumer automotive Web site, is reporting an uptick in traffic that could signal that consumers who were taking a wait-and-see approach to car buying because of the economy might now be coming back to market. “I am having a much better start in January …

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Lender takes foreclosure action on Orange County Choppers’ new headquarters

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  The lender that financed Orange County Choppers’ new headquarters in the Town of Newburgh has filed a foreclosure action against the builder of custom motorcycles, alleging that it missed its July mortgage payments. Orange County Choppers has two mortgages through GE Commercial Finance Business Property Corp., one for $11 million and one for $1.5 million. The foreclosure action claims that the Choppers missed mortgage payments of approximately $96,400 and $14,000 due on July 1. The Choppers stopped making mortgage payments in order to put pressure on the lender to modify the terms of the loans, according to Choppers’ lawyer Richard Mahon. Mahon said that when the headquarters was built in 2007, it was valued at about $12 million. Because of the economic downturn, the building is now worth between $7 million and $8 million, he estimated. “This is just a bump in the road,” …

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The 40th anniversary Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction was a roaring success

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  For the past two years, top sales at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auctions were airplanes. This year, it was a boat. A gigantic performance catamaran fashioned to resemble a Corvette and powered by twin Corvette engines sold for $742,500, including bidder fee, which was the highest result at the 40th anniversary Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. Technically, the boat sale was a three-part package. The 44-foot 2010 Marine Technology Z044 catamaran came with a few extras: an equally gigantic trailer to tow it and a 2008 Corvette Z06 for driving down to the marina. Plus, speedboat-driving lessons so the buyer doesn’t crack it up first time out on the water. Tilted on its side all week for viewing in the main tent, the catamaran dwarfed the folks who wandered over to have a look. If the boat wasn’t enough of an attraction grabber, a bevy of …

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Barrett-Jackson sells ambulance that purportedly carried President JFK for $120,000

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  A car collector who wanted a “piece of history” paid $120,000 at an auction in Arizona for a 1963 ambulance that purportedly carried the body of President John F. Kennedy after he was assassinated, auction officials said on Sunday. Addison Brown of Paradise Valley, Arizona, was the successful bidder for the gray Pontiac Bonneville despite reports claiming the vehicle being sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale was a fake, auction president Steve Davis said. The Navy ambulance was advertised as the vehicle that met Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base and transported Kennedy’s flag-draped casket to Bethesda Naval Hospital for his autopsy and later to the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. Barret-Jackson officials said they independently verified the authenticity of the vehicle. Iconic photos from Andrews the night of November 22, 1963, show the newly widowed first lady, Jackie Kennedy, …

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Consumer Reports safest cars for 2011

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  The Tesla Model S is a four-door electric sedan set for sale in 2012. It’ll go 300 zero-emission miles on one charge and get to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, all for $57,000–a bargain-basement price compared with the $95,900 Fisker Karma or the $109,000 Tesla Roadster. But Tesla Vice President and Chief Engineer Peter Rawlinson knows he’ll have to convince Americans that the car is safe before he has any chance of persuading them to actually buy it. That’s why the Model S’ bare aluminum body–and its steel bumpers–were on clear display at the North American International Auto Show last week. “We are baring our soul by showing this,” Rawlinson said. “The body shell is the lightest in its class, but we believe it’s also the safest.” The Model S won’t be ready to undergo official crash tests for a while. But Rawlinson …

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