Official: Abarth marks 50 years of 595 with special edition Fiat 500

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Performance, Europe, Hatchback, Fiat

Abarth 595 50th Anniversary

Abarth presented its original 595 at the Turin Motor Show in 1963. It was the car that put the Scorpion marque on the map and propelled the original Fiat 500 into hot hatch territory. And to mark that occasion, Fiat’s performance brand is launching the special edition you see here.

Revealed here ahead of its public debut at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Abarth 595 50th Anniversary Edition packs a 1.4-liter turbo four with 180 horsepower (20 more than the standard 500 Abarth) channeled through the Abarth Competizione gearbox to the front wheels. The Scorpion brand has also retuned the suspension, fitted 305-millimeter Brembo discs, 17-inch wheels and installed a variable back-pressure exhaust.

Billed as the most powerful 595 to date, the special edition is identifiable by its matte white paint, red racing stripes and retro logos. Step inside and you’ll find red leather buckets with white trim. Only 299 examples will be made, but don’t go looking for this in US showrooms, as the Abarth range and the Fiat 500 upon which it’s based is different in the two markets. Read more in the official press release below.

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Abarth marks 50 years of 595 with special edition Fiat 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Abarth marks 50 years of 595 with special edition Fiat 500

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Performance, Europe, Hatchback, Fiat

Abarth 595 50th Anniversary

Abarth presented its original 595 at the Turin Motor Show in 1963. It was the car that put the Scorpion marque on the map and propelled the original Fiat 500 into hot hatch territory. And to mark that occasion, Fiat’s performance brand is launching the special edition you see here.

Revealed here ahead of its public debut at next week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Abarth 595 50th Anniversary Edition packs a 1.4-liter turbo four with 180 horsepower (20 more than the standard 500 Abarth) channeled through the Abarth Competizione gearbox to the front wheels. The Scorpion brand has also retuned the suspension, fitted 305-millimeter Brembo discs, 17-inch wheels and installed a variable back-pressure exhaust.

Billed as the most powerful 595 to date, the special edition is identifiable by its matte white paint, red racing stripes and retro logos. Step inside and you’ll find red leather buckets with white trim. Only 299 examples will be made, but don’t go looking for this in US showrooms, as the Abarth range and the Fiat 500 upon which it’s based is different in the two markets. Read more in the official press release below.

Continue reading Abarth marks 50 years of 595 with special edition Fiat 500

Abarth marks 50 years of 595 with special edition Fiat 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford to reveal Vignale sub-brand with special Mondeo in Frankfurt

Filed under: Sedan, Europe, Ford, UK, Design/Style, Luxury

Ford Mondeo will be the first Ford to receive upscale Vignale treatment.

Ford says that 10-15 percent of its customers in Europe want their cars to be set apart from regular Fords – even those wearing the top Titanium X trim – and the Blue Oval will answer them with the Vignale sub-brand. The new brand proposes a more upscale look and a much-improved dealership experience, Autocar reports. The Vignale Mondeo will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show to kick off the new endeavor.

The first Ford to receive the Vignale treatment will be the 2015 Mondeo, a Euro-only model, followed by the new S-Max and Edge. The Vignale Mondeo is set apart visually from other Mondeos by a chrome grille and chrome door handles and mirror caps. Mondeo badging will be deleted – only Vignale badging will make an appearance.

The interior will get a more upscale flavor, as well, with quilted leather seats and door trim and leather covering the instrument panel, center console and steering wheel. A Vignale-badged storage drawer will be installed in the trunk, and in-car Wi-Fi is available.

Roelant de Waard, Ford of Europe’s sales boss, says the Vignale sub-brand is aimed at customers who don’t have a lot of free time, are “independent thinkers” and want to feel special, Autocar reports, so visual treatments aren’t the only features Vignale cars will get. Owners also will have a Ford dealer contact assigned to them and receive exclusive services, such as free car washes at the dealership for the life of the car.

There’s no word if Vignale Fords will come to the US, but our guess is that they won’t – at least not right away.

Ford to reveal Vignale sub-brand with special Mondeo in Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford to reveal Vignale sub-brand with special Mondeo in Frankfurt

Filed under: Sedan, Europe, Ford, UK, Design/Style, Luxury

Ford Mondeo will be the first Ford to receive upscale Vignale treatment.

Ford says that 10-15 percent of its customers in Europe want their cars to be set apart from regular Fords – even those wearing the top Titanium X trim – and the Blue Oval will answer them with the Vignale sub-brand. The new brand proposes a more upscale look and a much-improved dealership experience, Autocar reports. The Vignale Mondeo will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show to kick off the new endeavor.

The first Ford to receive the Vignale treatment will be the 2015 Mondeo, a Euro-only model, followed by the new S-Max and Edge. The Vignale Mondeo is set apart visually from other Mondeos by a chrome grille and chrome door handles and mirror caps. Mondeo badging will be deleted – only Vignale badging will make an appearance.

The interior will get a more upscale flavor, as well, with quilted leather seats and door trim and leather covering the instrument panel, center console and steering wheel. A Vignale-badged storage drawer will be installed in the trunk, and in-car Wi-Fi is available.

Roelant de Waard, Ford of Europe’s sales boss, says the Vignale sub-brand is aimed at customers who don’t have a lot of free time, are “independent thinkers” and want to feel special, Autocar reports, so visual treatments aren’t the only features Vignale cars will get. Owners also will have a Ford dealer contact assigned to them and receive exclusive services, such as free car washes at the dealership for the life of the car.

There’s no word if Vignale Fords will come to the US, but our guess is that they won’t – at least not right away.

Ford to reveal Vignale sub-brand with special Mondeo in Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Chrysler celebrates 30 years of minivans with special editions

Filed under: Minivan/Van, Chrysler, Dodge

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition

It’s been known by many names: the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Voyager, Lancia Voyager, Volkswagen Routan, Ram Cargo Van… but the bottom line is that Chrysler’s minivans have defined the segment for 30 years now. In fact, Chrysler says it has sold 13 million of them since 1983, helped along by the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan that accounted for nearly half of all minivans sold in the United States just last year. So to celebrate this three-decade milestone, the Auburn Hills auto has announced a pair of new special editions.

2014 Chrysler Town & Country 30th Anniversary EditionThe 2014 Chrysler Town & Country 30th Anniversary Edition starts the Touring-L trim and includes such special touches as 17-inch wheels, unique badging, available Granite Crystal Pearl paint and an interior decked out in black Alcantara and Nappa leather, piano black trim and all the optional bells and whistles bundled in.

The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition, meanwhile, starts off with either the SE or SXT trims and also upgrades with 17-inch alloys as well as color-keyed mirrors and an interior with silver stitching, piano black trim, power everything, and of course, those special badges.

Both versions are powered by the same 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 283 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. Scope out the press release below and our full image galleries for a closer look at what sets these celebratory specials apart.

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Chrysler celebrates 30 years of minivans with special editions originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Chrysler celebrates 30 years of minivans with special editions

Filed under: Minivan/Van, Chrysler, Dodge

2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition

It’s been known by many names: the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Voyager, Lancia Voyager, Volkswagen Routan, Ram Cargo Van… but the bottom line is that Chrysler’s minivans have defined the segment for 30 years now. In fact, Chrysler says it has sold 13 million of them since 1983, helped along by the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan that accounted for nearly half of all minivans sold in the United States just last year. So to celebrate this three-decade milestone, the Auburn Hills auto has announced a pair of new special editions.

2014 Chrysler Town & Country 30th Anniversary EditionThe 2014 Chrysler Town & Country 30th Anniversary Edition starts the Touring-L trim and includes such special touches as 17-inch wheels, unique badging, available Granite Crystal Pearl paint and an interior decked out in black Alcantara and Nappa leather, piano black trim and all the optional bells and whistles bundled in.

The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition, meanwhile, starts off with either the SE or SXT trims and also upgrades with 17-inch alloys as well as color-keyed mirrors and an interior with silver stitching, piano black trim, power everything, and of course, those special badges.

Both versions are powered by the same 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 283 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. Scope out the press release below and our full image galleries for a closer look at what sets these celebratory specials apart.

Continue reading Chrysler celebrates 30 years of minivans with special editions

Chrysler celebrates 30 years of minivans with special editions originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Royal Mail celebrates British Auto Legends with special stamp collection

Filed under: Classics, Etc., Government/Legal, UK

Lotus Esprit stamp from the Royal Mail

We love cars because they’re fast and exciting. The postal service, not so much. But at least the mail is reliable, which is a lot more than you could say for most classic British cars, like the ones which the Royal Mail in Great Britain is celebrating with this special philatelic collection.

Launched this year on the occasion of Aston Martin’s centenary and the 150th birthday of Sir Henry Royce, the British Auto Legends stamp collection includes the 1961 Jaguar E-Type, 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, 1963 Aston Martin DB5, 1968 Morgan Plus 8, 1976 Lotus Esprit and 1962 MG MGB as part of the six-stamp Thoroughbreds set. Another four-stamp Workhorses mini sheet features the Morris Minor Van, Austin FX4 black cab, Ford Anglia 105E and Land Rover Defender 110.

Rather than create them from stock images, the Royal Mail commissioned veteran automotive photographer Andrew Mann (since our own Drew Phillips was busy) to capture pristine examples of the cars selected. And like all special stamps issued by the Royal Mail, Queen Elizabeth II approved the final designs herself, and apparently didn’t object to the absence of her own Daimler and Bentley (or any Daimler or Bentley, for that matter) from the collection. The stamps are available to the estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors in the UK by phone, online or at any of the 10,000 post offices across the UK.

Royal Mail celebrates British Auto Legends with special stamp collection originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 Aug 2013 08:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Bugatti to debut special Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Legend Jean-Pierre Wimille’ during Monterey Car Week

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Bugatti, Misc. Auto Shows, Design/Style, Luxury

Bugatti has announced that it will offer the Legend, a special-edition run of the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse that pays homage to six heroes of the carmaker’s long, storied past. Officially the world’s fastest car with its top down (try keeping your toupee on at 254 miles per hour), Bugatti will enhance the special Vitesses visually with design cues from the cars that its heroes drove.

The first Legend honors Jean-Pierre Wimille, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice for Bugatti and was one of the company’s longest-serving test drivers. He won in 1937, co-driving a 57G Tank with Robert Benoist, and in 1939, co-driving a 57C Tank with Pierre Veyron. Fittingly, the Veyron Legend dedicated to Wimille is blue, just like the 57G that he drove at Le Mans in 1937. In Bugatti’s own words, it “now shines in blue clear-coated carbon fiber and a light Wimille Bleu paintwork.” The 57G-based design language continues into the interior, with numerous details, such as materials and colors, that represent what Wimille would have experienced driving the Bugatti.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. It also should be noted that the Wimille edition Legend will be limited to a production run of three. As for the other five Legend editions? All we know is that they’ll be launched over the next 12 months. Look for the Wimille Legend on display next month in Monterey, Calif., at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

In the meantime, scroll down to check out the history-heavy Bugatti press release. No photos of the Veyron Legend were provided, so feel free to visit the gallery we included of the Grand Sport Vitesse’s record-setting open-top run.

Continue reading Bugatti to debut special Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Legend Jean-Pierre Wimille’ during Monterey Car Week

Bugatti to debut special Grand Sport Vitesse ‘Legend Jean-Pierre Wimille’ during Monterey Car Week originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 05:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Quick Spin: Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special ride-along [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Performance, Truck, Quick Spins, Racing

Mike Ryan's Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special drifting on track

It seems as if every type of powered vehicle is attacking the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb these days, each in search of a new record as they climb the 12.42-mile road course to its finish at a gasping 14,110-foot elevation. While the “anything goes” Unlimited class provides plenty of powerful eye candy, the Open class is where we find Mike Ryan and his new Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special.

Last year at Pikes Peak, the professional stunt driver campaigned a Freightliner and set his seventh record; that time climbing to the top in 12 minutes and 38 seconds. This year, he is back with a big rig that is significantly quicker – and “significantly” just may be an understatement.

We caught up with Ryan at Southern California’s Irwindale Speedway late last week as he was putting his latest creation through shakedown testing for this week’s event. When he offered us a ride, we had no hesitation.

Riding Notes

  • The Pikes Peak Freightliner is nothing like its cross-country load-hauling cousins. Rather, it is a purpose-built beast featuring a custom aluminum-rail frame and carbon-fiber and fiberglass body panels. Even so, it weighs a whopping 10,200 pounds wet.
  • Power comes by the way of a turbocharged 14.0-liter inline-six Detroit Series 60 marine diesel. The seven-foot long engine makes 825 horsepower in stock form, but the team at Gale Banks Engineering have fitted it with an 8.3-liter supercharger in addition to a 110-mm turbocharger (Banks calls it a “Super-Turbo”). But that wasn’t all, as the guys also added a methanol injection system to improve combustion and an intercooler spray system to reduce the intake temperatures. The modified engine, sitting a foot lower and six feet further rearward than stock, now delivers 2,400 horsepower and 5,000 pound-feet of torque – while burning No. 2 pump diesel fuel!
  • The transmission is a five-speed road racing automatic sending its power rearward to a Detroit locker limited-slip differential (permanently locked, so the rear wheels always scrub). The steering rack is from Howe Performance, designed for a Baja Trophy Truck, while the tires are custom-compound sticky racing rubber molded by Michelin to look like stock truck tires.
  • In addition to the 12-gallon diesel tank, there are five other tanks of fluid including 14 gallons of water/methanol for the engine, 7 gallons of water for the intercooler spray and 14 gallons of water to fog the brake rotors for additional cooling – yes, the brakes are water cooled.
  • Climbing into the cab requires a bit of gymnastic ability, and the seating position is startlingly high off the ground if you’re not used to a big rig. Ryan faces a thin plastic steering wheel and a custom aluminum dash chock full of temperature/pressure gauges and switches. Primary instrumentation is a Racepack digital cluster. The transmission control lever, and a separate handbrake just for the rear wheels, sits high between the two bucket seats.
  • The blown diesel engine is startling loud, even at idle, and full throttle (redline is 2,700 rpm) sends it into a whining frenzy. Despite its prodigious power output (weight to horsepower ratio of 4.25:1), acceleration is strong rather than truly brisk. Nevertheless, the two rear wheels have a very difficult time maintaining traction. The throttle response is slightly delayed as the boost builds, but once everything is pressurized, nothing holds it back. Shifting through the gears is surprisingly smooth, mainly because the rear tires had trouble maintaining contact with the track. The throttle response reminds me of a powerful off-shore power boat – a slight delay followed by incredibly strong thrust.
  • Oddly enough, especially after looking at the pictures, the truck doesn’t feel top heavy or unstable. However, Ryan would later run me around the oval at high speed, and the Freightliner fought all of the steering inputs as he attempted directional changes (the locked rear axle caused plenty of scrub/understeer on the front tires). His solution was to break the rear tires free, set the five-ton truck adrift and then point the nose in his desired direction.
  • I found myself hanging on to the cage with white knuckles as the semi floated on self-made molten rubber sliding sideways around the track (scroll down to watch the video). Thick, acrid smoke filled the cabin, making it hard to see, and I was thrown hard against my five-point harness straps (the most violent maneuvers were side-to-side as the tires gained and lost grip as the surface changed). It was crazy fun, but I constantly reminded myself that I was a passenger on a very safe and contained track. Doing the same thing on the treacherous Pikes Peak circuit, with sheer cliffs on each side, feels like it’s bordering on lunacy.

Mike Ryan and his Banks-tuned Freightliner, attack the mountain this week – best of luck to the team.

Continue reading Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special ride-along [w/video]

Freightliner Cascadia Pikes Peak Special ride-along [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Jun 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche celebrates 10 years in China with special edition 911 Turbo S

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, China, Porsche, Design/Style, Luxury

2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S China Edition

2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S China Edition – Click above to enlarge image

To celebrate its tenth anniversary in the ever-hungry, ever-growing Chinese market, Porsche is unleashing a special edition version of its 911 Turbo S. The car comes with the Turbo S’ 530-horsepower, twin-turbo flat-six, mated to Porsche’s PDK sequential gearbox.

Rather than go crazy with mechanical mods, Porsche is sticking with an appearance package for the commemorative 911. Outside, there’s special Gold Bronze Metallic paint set off with flat black and carbon fiber accents. The car rides on sexy black 19-inch Fuchs-style alloys borrowed from the 911 Sport Classic.

Inside, customers get a gold commemorative plaque, and all the Alcantara you could ever want. Porsche sets off the acres of black fabric with contrasting gold stitching.

If you want one, you’re pretty much out of luck. Porsche is only going to build 10 examples, and they’re all going to China.

Porsche celebrates 10 years in China with special edition 911 Turbo S originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Jun 2011 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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