Read This: Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll]

Filed under: TV/Movies, Read This

Drive-in movie theaters turn 80 years old this summer, and, soon, they might die of old age. There are only 360 drive-in theaters left in the US – down from 4,000 at their peak in 1958 – and the 35-millimeter film projectors that they use to screen movies are quickly losing support from studios, which have switched to digital methods of capturing pictures.

Remember the four-foot poles with speakers built in? You’d pull your car up to it, park, and open your windows to listen to the movie. Well, there’s only one company left that makes parts for those speakers, and they don’t support surround sound. And the cost to upgrade the projectors to digital systems is prohibitively expensive. James Kopp, manager at the Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City, Virginia, says he was quoted nearly $140,000 to make the switch to digital, The Washington Post reports.

Pennsauken, New Jersey, was the first US city to build a drive-in, yet there are no more of them in the state. As gloomy as it looks, there are drive-ins trying to make the switch to digital projection systems, and there are ones that already have. But as drive-ins fall further from our minds, the question is, do people care?

Read The Washington Post article, and tell us what you think in the poll below.

View Poll

Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Read This: Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll]”

BMW shows off 435i Coupe with M Performance parts

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, BMW, Luxury

2014 BMW 435i Coupe with M Performance parts

Greetings from the famous Circuito do Estoril racetrack in Portugal. We’re here to put the 2014 BMW 4 Series coupe through its paces, and we’ll have the chance to sample the updated 2014 BMW M5 with its new Competition Pack, as well. But before going out for some hot laps, we took a few minutes to check out this 435i Coupe that’s been fitted with a full suite of goodies from the BMW M Performance parts catalog.

Starting with the exterior, carbon fiber bits are the most noticeable additions, with the lightweight material added in the form of a massive front splitter, mirror caps and a rear spoiler. Other visual changes include lightweight 20-inch wheels, a blacked-out grille, and unique M Performance side stripes. No, that’s not a shadow you see under the 435i’s strong side character line – that’s a stripe. Yes, we’re serious.

Inside (we couldn’t get photos of the interior, sorry!), BMW has added its sport steering wheel with race display, unique M floormats, steel pedals, and a whole mess of carbon fiber and Alcantara trim.

But the M catalog isn’t just about added flair. Legitimate performance parts can be had, and for starters, this 435i is fitted with a power kit that increases engine output from 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to 334 and 332, respectively. Building upon that, there’s a limited-slip differential, performance suspension, upgraded brakes with red calipers and a rear apron diffuser finished in carbon.

BMW hasn’t announced official pricing for the 4 Series goodies as of this writing, but we should have a clearer idea of how much coin each option will warrant closer to the kit’s debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. Until then, have a glance through our gallery of live photos to take it all in for yourself.

BMW shows off 435i Coupe with M Performance parts originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 20 Jul 2013 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “BMW shows off 435i Coupe with M Performance parts”

Report: Chrysler to idle three plants early for summer shutdown due to parts shortage

Filed under: SUV, Truck, Plants/Manufacturing, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep

2011 dodge ram tradesman

2011 Ram 1500 Tradesman – Click above for high-res image gallery

Other than the temporary shut down of General Motors’ Shreveport, Louisiana plant and the loss of some paint colors, domestic automakers haven’t yet felt the brunt of parts shortages due to the March 11 earthquake in Japan. According to a report from The Detroit Free Press, that changes shortly for Chrysler. Spokeswoman Jodi Tinson tells the Freep that three plants will idle earlier than expected in an effort to “conserve parts from suppliers impacted by the situation in Japan.”

Chrysler’s Warren Truck plant, which builds the Ram 1500 and Dakota, and Toledo North, which builds the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro, will both shut down for the weeks of June 20 and June 27. The original plan was for the plants to go idle for the weeks of July 11 and July 18. The Toledo Supplier Park, which builds the Jeep Wrangler, will shut down for the week of June 20 instead of the week of July 11.

A fourth facility in Saltillo, Mexico, which builds Ram models from the base 1500 through the heavy-duty 5500, will also lose overtime on May 20, May 27, June 10 and June 24. In a move that is likely to annoy the United Auto Workers, Chrysler is also dropping the plants’ planned week of downtime.

At this point, it is unclear if Chrysler will endure more downtime as a result of parts shortages, but it appears that Team Pentastar has more than enough supplies of key vehicles to keep dealers happy for weeks if problems persist.

Chrysler to idle three plants early for summer shutdown due to parts shortage originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 May 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Chrysler to idle three plants early for summer shutdown due to parts shortage”

Saab officially teams up with Hirsch Performance for high-performance parts

Filed under: Aftermarket, Saab

Saab 9-5 SportCombi with Hirsch body-kit

Saab and Hirsch have made it official: The Swiss producer of go-fast parts will now offer a full line of upgrades for Saab vehicles in North America. Beginning in the spring of 2011, customers will be available to order Hirsch Performance products at select Saab dealers around the country.

A variety of parts will be offered for 2007-2011 Saab 9-3s and 2010-2011 9-5s, including engine mapping upgrades, spoilers, aero ground effects, suspension tuning, exhaust upgrades and even interior upfits like a carbon instrument panel. The Hirsch parts will be installed at dealerships and will not hinder the vehicle’s warranty. Pricing and availability will be announced in the coming months. Follow the jump for Saab’s official release.

[Source: Saab | Image: Hirsch-Perfomance]

Continue reading Saab officially teams up with Hirsch Performance for high-performance parts

Saab officially teams up with Hirsch Performance for high-performance parts originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Jan 2011 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Saab officially teams up with Hirsch Performance for high-performance parts”

GM Perfomance Parts let you build your own 700-hp Camaro

Filed under: Aftermarket, Performance, Chevrolet, GM

GM Performance Parts Catalog 2011 NeSmith LS9 Camaro

2010 Chevrolet NeSmith LS9 Camaro – Click above for high-res image gallery

GM Performance Parts Catalog 2011It’s that time of year, kids. Horsepower-crazy General Motors fans are anxiously dancing around their mailboxes waiting for the latest edition of the company’s performance parts catalog to arrive. As with past years, the glossy pages are packed from margin to margin with everything you need to give your Bow Tie a little extra giddy up. For 2011, the catalog has fully embraced the Camaro, and a pair of dealer-tweaked versions of the Chevrolet muscle car show exactly what you can do with little more than a crate engine and some spare time.

DeNooyer Chevrolet in New York decided to plop an LSX454 in their orange Camaro, coupled to a six-speed manual transmission via the same clutch used in the mighty Corvette ZR-1. The car turns over 520 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque at the rear wheels thanks to a tune-port fuel injection system.

But that’s downright child’s play compared to what the minds at NeSmith Chevrolet in Georgia cooked up. Those wrenches plopped an LS9 behind the Camaro’s headlights. With minor tweaking, the supercharged V8 is kicking out right at 700 horsepower, and NeSmith threw in beefier axles and a Baer brake system to bring the whole party to a stop. Hit the jump to check out the press releases.

Gallery: GM Performance Parts Catalog 2011

[Source: GM]

Continue reading GM Perfomance Parts let you build your own 700-hp Camaro

GM Perfomance Parts let you build your own 700-hp Camaro originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “GM Perfomance Parts let you build your own 700-hp Camaro”

BMW reportedly catches ring of workers stealing up to $4 million in parts

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Plants/Manufacturing, BMW

BMW Badge

According to reports, a ring of 18 workers at BMW’s plant in Munich have been stealing from the German automaker for years. It seems the individuals would stop the lines for fake quality control checks and make off with the goods to be sold on the open market. The most lucrative business reportedly centered around reselling seats through internet auctions.

BMW’s own internal investigators discovered the thievery – but not until €3 million in goods ($4 million) was stolen – and reported the matter to local authorities. At least three ex-employees are currently in custody. Thanks for the tip, Gregg!

[Source: The Local | Photo: Drew Phillips/AOL]

BMW reportedly catches ring of workers stealing up to $4 million in parts originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Nov 2010 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “BMW reportedly catches ring of workers stealing up to $4 million in parts”

Ford: Aftermarket replacement parts can be inferior, possible safety hazards

Filed under: Aftermarket, Safety, Ford

Today’s autos are chock-full of safety equipment that vastly improves your chances of survival in the event of a crash. And if an automaker wants to achieve the best crash test scores, it has to ensure that parts like bumper beams, air bag sensors and radiator supports perform properly during a collision. But while automakers are concerned about their safety record, in some cases, aftermarket parts makers are more concerned with keeping costs down.

USA Today reports that Ford has called out some some aftermarket parts inferior, as the Dearborn, MI-based automaker’s internal testing has shown that some non-OEM parts are made of cheaper materials that may not perform adequately in the event of an accident. Parts marketing manager Mike Warwood says the company was “surprised at the gap between original manufacturer equipment and aftermarket parts,” adding that the gap was larger than anticipated. The easy way to avoid this issue is to demand OEM parts when your vehicle is in the shop for repairs, but unfortunately, some insurance companies insist that cheaper aftermarket replacement parts are used.

It makes sense for Ford push its factory-made parts, as the company makes lots of money selling in excess of 24,000 different replacement components. Ford insists that it is merely looking for aftermarket parts standardization to ensure the safety of its customers, along with stickers warning consumers that non-standard parts are being used. Insurance companies and aftermarket shops likely wouldn’t be too happy if a standardization process is initiated, but it’s hard to argue with oversight in the name of safety. After all, automakers test and build parts like bumpers for optimal safety, and consumers purchase those vehicles in part because of the safety ratings those vehicles earn.

[Source: USA Today]

Ford: Aftermarket replacement parts can be inferior, possible safety hazards originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Ford: Aftermarket replacement parts can be inferior, possible safety hazards”