Posts by Justin Hyde
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic14 hrs ago
For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.
The Trax that goes on sale later this year will put Chevy into a hip corner of the market; at the moment, the Nissan Juke is the only head-to-head competitor with an all-wheel-drive option, while the more popular Kia Soul offers a similar, if more funky, package with front-wheel-drive only. Chevy marketers expect this particular niche to grow 80 percent over the next three years, and given the financial challenges and driving demands of younger couples, this sounds like a wise move.
By the mid-1950s, as the largest automaker in the world, General Motors had the resources to explore outlandish ideas about the future of transportation. One of its more interesting efforts produced this, the XP 500 concept, a two-seat car powered by a free-piston engine, the first time such a motor had been mated to a car. The free-piston engine uses cylinders moving in opposite directions to compress air, eliminating crankshafts and many other parts. The Hyprex 4-cylinder unit developed by GM seems like something of a marvel even today; capable of making 250 hp, it could run on almost any fuel, and powered the XP 500 by spinning a turbine at the rear of the car. But the noise, controls and inflexibility of the free-piston design made it unusable in cars — although GM built a massive, 6,000-hp version for use on a Liberty ship.
Today's announcement by Gene Haas that he would launch a new American Formula 1 team brings us back to the last time that happened — Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing, which put Mario Andretti in an F1 car from 1974 to 1976. The team wasn't all that successful, but it was due more to a lack of funding rather than innovation; as this photo of Jones' '72 Indy 500 car as caught by David Grant demonstrates innovation in spades. If you have a photo to share, please add it to the Motoramic group on Flickr, or send us a message via Twitter, Facebook and
Objectively, a minivan is a much vehicle as most people could ever need. It hauls people and cargo in comfort; for their size most minivans get decent mileage, and no class of vehicle has quite as much safety engineering. And for all their benefits, they get shunned as wombs on wheels, rolling reminders of responsibility suitable only for carry one's spirit of youth to the local recycling center.
How then to tackle the metaphysical challenges of launching a minivan? Kiabelieves its found one way to make the reveal of the 2015 Sedona break through the clutter: Simply never mention the word minivan.
In Kia's palaver, the new Sedona is a "midsize multi-purpose vehicle," a term that also describes wheelbarrows. The changes from the previous slow-selling Sedona are legion — a new design in the sharp Kia look, a new chassis and interior, and a new 276-hp, 3.3-liter V-6. If the face reminds some of the current Chrysler Town & Country, the fold-flat second-row seats will only bolster that connection.
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic2 days ago
Legend has it that the first production Volvo ÖV4 — Sweden's first all-original automobile — was ready to leave the factory on April 13, 1927, when the engineer put the car in drive only to have it start moving backward due to a improperly installed rear differential. That pushed the debut back until this date in 1927, when the company officially launched. Founded by an economist and an engineer, the company's name was provided by a corporate backer; it's Latin for "I roll."
If you find it odd that a Swedish company would build open-top cars as its first product, you're not alone; Volvo was aimed at wealthy Europeans, but struggled until after World War II, when it was able to relaunch quickly since its factories were spared bombardment. Today it's a unit of China's Geely Motors, but its engineering and executives still work from Gothenburg , Sweden.
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic4 days ago
Like sands through the hourglass of time, so are the leaks of automaker photography ahead of major auto shows. Thanks to the C7 Corvette Forum, Chevrolet can rest a little easier at next week's New York auto show knowing that the 2015 Corvette Z06droptop has already enjoyed its Internet unveiling.
That Chevy would produce a convertible version of its powerful Z06 Vette was never a question of if but when. Once again, the 625-hp, 6.4-liter supercharged V-8 residing in the coupe lives in this one as well, producing what Chevy calls the most powerful open-roof car its ever sold to the public. And as with the coupe, buyers can choose from either a seven-speed manual transmission or GM's new eight-speed, paddle-shifted automatic.
- Justin Hyde at Motoramic4 days ago
The difference between a treasure trove and a scrap yard may just be good marketing. How else to explain the interest generated by a Oklahoma man who closed his junkyard over a zoning dispute in 1953 and protected it like the Fort Knox of rust until his death? Later this summer, his cache of some 250 cars from the first half of the 20th century will finally go to auction, and within all that broken-down metal rest a few true rarities.
Handled by Vanderbrink Auctions, the firm that staged last year's madhouse sale of the Lambrecht family in Nebraska, the collection of Oliver Jordon doesn't have anything to compare to a five-mile Chevy kept new since 1966. Jordon bought a scrap yard in Enid, Okla., in 1945, and when the city asked him to alter the property for zoning reasons, Jordon just closed up instead, surrounding the property with barbed wire and attitude.
Jordon kept adding vehicles here and there, but he never sold any. His grandson built a few sheds to protect some of the stash from the weather eating the rest away, and after Jordon died in 2004, his widow tried selling some of them individually. When those deals fell through, the family decided to go to auction.
The adulation of Ayrton Senna can seem puzzling to those who aren't fans of Formula 1. What makes one driver so much more memorable than another? Doesn't the current shake-up from this season's rules prove more than ever that the car matters as much, if not more? The answer to both can be found from what Senna accomplished on this date in 1993, at the Sega Europe Grand Prix. Run in the rain at Britain's Donington Park, Senna qualified fifth in his McLaren-Ford — and on the first lap, passed four other cars in a spectacle of skill that ranks among the sport's finest. Senna would lap every other car save one for the victory; you can ride along with him in the video below:
Yes, anyone can buy eyeball covers for their shotgun air scoops, but credit photographer Ken Lane for getting in just the right position to make them follow you around the room. If you have an angry engine to stare at, please add it to the Motoramic group on Flickr, or send us a message via Twitter, Facebook and
If you own a General Motors car recalled for a bad ignition, your wait for a repair just grew a little longer.
After recalling 2.2 million vehicles in the United States — with a total of 2.6 million vehicles worldwide — to fix a defective ignition switch that could cause vehicles to shut off without warning, today the automaker announced it would also replace the ignition cylinders for failing to securely hold the keys — and if necessary, cut new keys for the vehicles.
According to documents filed with U.S. auto safety regulators, GM said its executives made the decision to issue a recall on April 3, the same day chief executive Mary Barra testified to Congress. The automaker says it has hundreds of complaints about the issue, with one injury reported from a vehicle that rolled away when the key fell out without the car being in park. GM also advised owners to ensure their cars were in park or, if equipped with a manual, set in reverse with the parking brake on when stopped until repairs can be made.
The cars involved are: