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Autamobile News & Reviews

Monday July 24, 2017
MOVING PORSCHE ENGINE MODEL HAS A DISTRIBUTOR, CAMS AND HEAD GASKETS
By Wesley Wren - Autoweek
Putting together a Porsche flat-six might not be how you planned to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon, but it should be. If you don't happen to have the real thing handy, this plastic model H6 won’t break the bank and is easier to fit on your mantel.

This 208-piece kit from Franzis sports enough internal engine parts to give you a sense of what really goes on inside one of these infamous boxers. You’ll put the pistons on the connecting rods and then fasten them to the crank. You also get to put together the rocker shafts, drop in a distributor and throw on a pair of timing "chains" (belts in this case). Topping it all off, you’ll throw a belt on the engine cooling fan and watch it all spin under battery-operated power.

This kit is incredibly detailed - even featuring a pair of arbitrary head gaskets. You won't need to break out the torque wrench or the service manual, but you'll still need to crack into your toolbox and grab a screwdriver for assembly.

You can snag one of these on Amazon for a cool $170, but your local hobby store might have one in stock. Next, you’ll have to find a quarter-scale 911 to drop it in.

read more at autoweek.com

DEFENDER PRODUCTION GIVES WAY TO BATCH OF SERIES I RESTORATIONS
By Jay Ramey - Autoweek
Land Rover will restore 25 classic Series I 4x4s and offer them to the public.

The automaker just announced its Land Rover Classic division will bring donor vehicles, sourced from around the world, back to the 1948 specification and offer them in five period colors including light green, bronze green, RAF blue, dove gray and poppy red.

The Classic division will let customers select a base vehicle and follow the progress of the restoration team in the same factory where the Defender, which just ended production weeks ago, was built for decades. Land Rover classic parts will be used throughout the restoration to preserve authenticity.

"The launch of the Reborn initiative represents a fantastic opportunity for customers to own a valuable and collectible automotive icon," said Tim Hannig, director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic. "Reborn showcases Land Rover Classic's expertise in restoring and maintaining our loyal customers' prized Land Rovers. It also demonstrates the business's commitment to supporting customers with original and genuine parts for Land Rover models that have been out for production for longer than 10 years."

The automaker will offer the Series I 4x4s from 60,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds, which works out to about $85,000 to $113,000.

The Defender factory won't be churning out 1948-spec Land Rovers for long a new Defender model will begin rolling off the line in 2018.

read more at autoweek.com

IN TWO YEARS, CHINA IS EXPECTED TO BE THE BIGGEST LUXURY-CAR MARKET
By Jake Lingeman - Autoweek
Super-luxury and supercar sales haven’t slowed in China, despite President Xi Jinping’s attack on conspicuous consumption a few years back. Maserati, McLaren and Porsche each just had their best sales year ever in the country, while Ferrari and Aston are also closing in on their peaks.

According to a Bloomberg report, the sales void is being filled by private consumption in a country that added 10 percent more millionaires in 2016 than it had in 2015. Consumer confidence is high, says Johannesburg-based consultancy New World Wealth.

"The outlook is looking pretty good for us here in the China market," said Reid Bigland, head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles's Maserati and Alfa Romeo divisions at the Shanghai auto show.

"With us, we just haven't felt it," he said, referring to the impact of the crackdown on consumption.

Even a 10 percent “super-luxury” tax announced in December, affecting cars costing more than $189,000 (1.3 million yuan), hasn’t reduced the desire. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steve Man says it could point to an improvement in the global luxury market. Wolfgang Durheimer, Bentley CEO, says he expects to set a new sales record with the Bentayga SUV in China in 2017.

Maserati and Alfa Romeo are adding dealers, and McLaren doubled sales in the country in 2016. Aston Martin says it will hit its target of selling 270 cars in 2017, up from 170 in 2016.

It’s not just the uber-luxury cars that are moving: BMW and Audi sales are both up Acura is aiming at 30,000 sales, and Hyundai is bringing Genesis over, too. Lincoln chief Kumar Galhotra went as far as saying that China is going to be the biggest luxury market within a year or two.

Part of Xi’s anti-conspicuous-consumption drive was also meant to curb corruption and end graft. Some of those luxury-car sales were gifts, trying to curry favor from politicians. More than 400,000 government officials were punished in 2016 for corruption, 23 percent more than 2015.

read more at autoweek.com

BASS DESIGNED PAINT SCHEMES FOR JEFF GORDON AND PROGRAM COVERS FOR SMI TRACKS
By Matt Weaver - Autoweek
Over 250 pieces of original NASCAR art, including 85 autographed pieces of sheetmetal, by Sam Bass will be sold at an auction as part of a court-ordered bankruptcy sale.

The auction will take place on May 3 at 10 a.m. ET at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, North Carolina. Bidding will also take place over the internet, with pre-bidding opening up on April 25.

Iron Horse Auction Co. Inc. will conduct the auction.

“Offered in this auction are more than 250 pieces of original Sam Bass Artwork with certificates of authenticity. Also available are 85 Custom Guitars many designed by Mr. Bass - including one used as a prop for the film 'Talladega Nights.' Custom guitars autographed by The Rolling Stones, B.B. King and ZZ Top (and) guitar amplifiers of many vintages will be offered,” the company said in a press release. “Stock-car hoods and vehicle pieces autographed by Dale Earnhardt Sr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are also available for bidding.”

Bass is the first and, to date, only officially licensed NASCAR artist, but he has come across hard times lately. In 2014, a blood infection from Type 1 diabetes led to septic shock, and he needed four surgeries over a span of three weeks.

Bass is most notable for designing the paint schemes on cars driven by Jeff Gordon for over 20 seasons. Bass has done artwork in NASCAR since 1981 and has designed program covers for Charlotte Motor Speedway since 1985.

For more details on the sale, check out ironhorseauction.com.

read more at autoweek.com

BRITISH SPORTS CAR LEGEND RETURNS FOR AN ENCORE STARTING IN 2017
By Jay Ramey - Autoweek
One of the most recognizable British cars of all time, any Jaguar E-Type still draws plenty of looks wherever it goes. The time to get in on the E-Type affordably passed some time ago, but Jaguar now plans to "resurrect" the model with the E-Type Reborn program: Jaguar will find a handful of E-Types and bring them back to the factory for a complete restoration according to original factory specs. This Jaguar Classic program kicks off this spring with a pilot batch of 10 cars. The factory will keep as many of the vehicles' parts as possible and manufacture reverse-engineered body panels as needed for the vehicles that it plans to restore, using original parts throughout.

"The launch of E-Type Reborn is a hugely exciting development for Jaguar Classic," said Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic "The E-Type is the most iconic sports car of all time, so we are delighted to be able to give new life to expertly selected examples for discerning customers around the world to own and enjoy. The resources and information available to Jaguar Classic’s expert technicians are unrivaled, which results in the most authentic E-Type restorations possible."

E-Type Reborn will follow a similar restoration program launched earlier by sister marque Land Rover for its Land Rover Series I and Range Rover Classic models. The E-Types that Jaguar Classic restores will be offered to regular customers after the launch of the program at Techno Classic Essen this April, giving Jaguar enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase an original E-Type as it would have left the factory more than 50 years ago.

For those unfamiliar, the original Jaguar E-Type debuted in 1961, using the lessons learned from the Jaguar D-Type race car to create a potent, road-going version that was driver-friendly yet still exotic. Sold as the XK-E in North America, the model revamped the marque's image overnight - prior to the E-Type, Jaguar was better known for large, ponderous sedans and slightly stuffy convertibles that enjoyed limited buyer appeal in the U.S.

read more at autoweek.com

EXPECT A NEW STYLING DIRECTION
By Nick Gibbs at Automotive News
Audi will unveil its new A8 flagship in Spain in the summer ahead of its sales launch later this year. The sedan will have advanced autonomous driving technology and will mark the start of a new styling direction for the brand.

The A8's Level 3 autonomous function will let the car take over driving in heavy traffic on highways at speeds of up to 60 kph, or 37 mph.

The A8 will be able to drive autonomously in countries where it is legally allowed, CEO Rupert Stadler told journalists last month.

The A8's Level 3 feature, called "conditional automation" by the Society of Automotive Engineers, means drivers can take their eyes off the road to do other tasks but must still be prepared to take control when needed.

Other advanced features on the sedan will be a new operating system that Audi says will be highly intuitive and use "groundbreaking" computing power.

The A8's central driver assistance controller, known as zFAS and supplied by Delphi, will be the brains behind all the driver control functions and enable the automated driving. It will also wirelessly send information about driving styles to a cloud server to help Audi improve the automated functions.

The A8 will mark the beginning of a new styling direction that was primarily shaped by Audi design chief Marc Lichte, Audi said in its 2016 annual report released last month. It will borrow design cues from the Prologue concept first seen at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show.

read more at autoweek.com

NEW NAVIGATOR GETS A 450-HP TWIN-TURBO V6 TO DO THE WORK WHILE YOU DO THE RELAXING
By Jake Lingeman - Autoweek
It might not have the gullwing doors or the triple-step step boards of the concept, but the 2018 Lincoln Navigator, revealed at the New York auto show on Wednesday, is still damn impressive. And in the show model's shade of light blue, it looks as big as the sky itself.

Lincoln says it’s courting “modern elegance” with its three-row behemoth. That means wireless charging and Wi-Fi standard, a Lincoln star logo that illuminates as the driver approaches and LED lights that “subtly engage.”

The new, fourth-gen Navigator is powered by a twin-turbo V6 making 450 hp, backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission. If those specs seem familiar, that's because they're shared with the F-150 Raptor. Hey Mr. Hennessey, how about a Veloci-gator?

In keeping with Ford's push for aluminum-intensive construction, the 2018 Navigator’s new body is made from high-strength aluminum alloy, which saves 200 pounds over the outgoing Navigator.

Back in the cabin, the Navigator offers an adjustable shelf behind the rear seats, six USB ports, four 12-volt outlets and a 110-volt household-style outlet. Each key fob is programmed to a driver, so when you get in the car, the seats, mirrors, pedals, climate control and entertainment settings will all be personalized.

Like the Continental, the Navigator offers "Perfect Position Seats" with 30-way adjustability, heating, cooling and massage functions. Passengers in the second-row seats get entertainment screens, each of which can display different content. And those who have a Slingbox at home can access their TV channels in the back seat. Also like the Continental, the Navi is available with a Revel II audio system with 20 speakers and three listening modes: stereo, audience and on stage.

Options include trailer backup assist, a 360-degree camera, park assist and adaptive cruise control.

The 2018 Navigator goes on sale late in 2017.

read more at autoweek.com

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