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Boyd Coddington Passes Away at 63

By motortopia

World-renowned hot rod builder Boyd Coddington has passed away at the age of 63.

To most hot rodders, Boyd Coddington was a hero. He moved to Southern California in the 60s to follow his dream of building hot rods. By 1977, he had opened his own shop, "Hot Rods by Boyd."

Over his career, he won the coveted Grand National Roadster Show's America's Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) trophy a record six times. He was known for building gorgeous cars such as the Boydster, the Smoothster, Chezoom, and more. He was also known for his line of custom wheels.

He has been an inspiration to many car designers, including Chip Foose, who eventually became the president of Coddington's company Hot Rods by Boyd.

Boyd Coddington will be missed. Please share your thoughts and recollections of Boyd in the comments.

KITT, is that you buddy?

By motortopia

A lot of people on Motortopia probably remember watching the original "Knight Rider" series on NBC. That was the first glimpse for most of us of the 3rd generation Firebird/Trans Am, and back in 1982, man did that car look futuristic. And I'm not just talking about the Hollywood-added technical stuff, I mean the car itself. Unfortunately, toward the end of the series run, the show became too cheesy to watch for all but the most loyal of fans, but that didn't lessen the appeal of the Trans Am any. Even the horrible spin-offs, Knight Rider 2000, Knight Rider 2010, and Team Knight Rider, couldn't tarnish our memories of the original KITT.

Fast-forward twenty years. I'm sure most of you are aware that NBC is releasing a new made-for-tv Knight Rider movie in February. Sure, they replaced "The Hoff" with a fresh young actor (playing Michael Knight's son), the only thing most of us care about is KITT. Recently, NBC revealed that the "Knight Industries Two Thousand" has now been replaced by the "Knight Industries Three Thousand" and it is... a MUSTANG.

The day that was released, you could hear a collective scream from the KITT lovers. How could KITT be a Mustang? Knight Rider and a Trans Am go together like Starsky & Hutch. Crocket & Tubbs. Jon & Ponch. Bo & Luke. How could they do this?

Well, I guess it was inevitable. It's not like they had much choice, since the Firebird is no longer in production. Some people say they could've used a new Camaro, but those aren't out yet. Or they could have taken a Pontiac GTO/Holden Manaro chassis and built a custom Firebird body (based on the new Camaro styling), similar to how they did the same thing to create the new Camaro for the Transformers movie, since, again, the REAL new Camaro isn't out yet. But that wouldn't work either, this is a made-for-tv movie and they don't have the same budget that a big summer blockbuster has to pull that off. Maybe a Corvette, but there isn't much room in there for all of the KITT stuff, plus the composite panels would probably fly off the car after the first "turbo-boost" assisted jump. Or they could've went the retro route and used a 4th-gen Trans Am. The remakes of The Dukes of Hazzard and Herbie the Love Bug both kept the same cars as the originals. But what self-respecting private crime-fighting organization funded by a billionaire would use an old car?

So the obvious solution was to find a new KITT. They probably had to rule out any foreign cars, as this is an American show and an American "hero", so they need to use an American car. And they need a performance car. And one that is rear-wheel drive with not much traction, so they can have cool chase scenes. And one that doesn't look like just an average sedan. So about the only choice is the Mustang. Sure, the current Mustang has been out long enough that it blends into the current car landscape almost as much as a Toyota Camry, but at least they made it look like a Shelby GT500KR.

So what do you think? Did they choose the correct car for KITT? If not, what would you have chosen? And what if someone decided to remake Smokey and the Bandit and they not only replaced Burt Reynolds with some young actor (to be expected) but they replaced the black and gold Trans Am with a Mustang?

If you haven't already, click on the image below to check out the 2 minute trailer that NBC has released, to see the new KITT:



Post your comments and let us know what you think!

(p.s. And if you dare... here is a video of The Hoff and the original KITT starring in one of his... umm... music videos. Click here if you dare.)

Mystery Car of the Day (#7)

By motortopia

This picture isn't from the main vehicle photo, but the tail lights should give it away... we are looking for year, make, model and owner.

How'd Ya Get That Handle, Frog? Need a Chuckle? Read this!

By motortopia

Got a healthy chuckle yesterday when a Motortopia friend shared the story about her handle with us.

The more friends we have on Motortopia, the more we find ourselves talking around here with each other in weird names, in Motortopia-speak. We talk about people with their handles which represent cars - 99_corvette, or jobs - amarillo_banker; or hobbies - guitarman.

But, yesterday, one of our friends shared the story of how she got her handle - FROG. Take some time to watch the video of how FROG got her handle, and then head on over to FROG's GARAGE and leave her a note.

And, tell us about your own, or other funniest handle here in the comments. We'll all enjoy your comments here.

Have a good one.

David (goldylocks, that is :-) ) and the Motortopia team!

The Challenger Has Landed

By motortopia

The Chicago Auto Show is going on this week, and most car nuts have been counting down the days. Why? Because this is where the production Dodge Challenger will be announced. Make that, was announced.

That's right, Dodge unveiled the production Challenger today, and it looks awesome. We've uploaded some photos so you can see for yourself.

So, what do you think? Does the Challenger blow away the current Mustang? Will the upcoming Camaro be even better, or do you think the Mustang is still the best of the three?

Let us know your thoughts!

More Internet Justice: Online Forum Users Bust Car Thief

By motortopia

Last week, we told you how BMW of Lincoln tried to back out of an Ebay auction won by m3post.com forum member dooma350. Soon the story was all over the Internet, and eventually the dealership gave in and decided to honor the deal. (Note: as of today, dooma350 is still waiting for the car to be delivered. Check the m3post.com thread for the latest updates.)

Now comes of the story of how a bunch of Internet car enthusiasts from Beyond.ca helped take down a very stupid car thief.

It all started when the thief took Shaun Ironside's 1991 Nissan Skyline GT-R for a test drive in Calgary and never returned. Shaun called the cops and thought that was the last he'd ever see the car in one piece.

He decided to post a thread at Beyond.ca to see if anyone could help track down the car. His post said the car would be easy to spot, since it is a rare right-hand drive GT-R imported from Japan. The thief would also be easy to spot because he is missing two fingers from his right hand.

The next day, a forum moderator spotted the Skyline and was able to snap a picture of the thief behind the wheel, including his right hand. He rolled down his window and yelled "Nice stolen car!" at the thief, who replied "It's not stolen" then sped off at over 100 mph. The forum moderator called the police and posted the picture on the forum.

Eventually, people started reporting seeing the thief driving around and challenging people to race. Then they found his Facebook page and started posting his name and address all over the place.

On March 27, forum member Numi spotted the GT-R outside the thief's house. He couldn't see the address so he posted the general location of the house on the forums. It wasn't long before the forum members had a Google map posted showing the exact location of the house.

Numi met Shaun and the police near the thief's house, but the car and the thief were gone before they got there. The next morning, forum member Punit Patel decided to drive by the thief's house. When he got there, he saw the Skyline parked on the street between two pickups. He blocked the car in with his car, then called Shaun. Twenty minutes later, Shaun arrived and called the cops. Within fifteen minutes, the thief was arrested.

The thief was identified as 18-year-old Jamie Jacobsen, and Shaun put up a video on YouTube of Jamie being arrested.

Shaun has his car back, but the tires are shot, the alignment is off, and the interior smells like marijuana. But he did find $22 and the thief's NY Yankees cap inside. He kept the money and put the hat on eBay. The current bid is up to $260.

Score another one for the good guys.

Click here to see the video, click here to see the thread on Beyond.ca, and click here to bid on the Yankees hat!

We're good to go -- AT LAST -- read the full story here.

By motortopia

"The routes are working, the routes are working!"

That's how a network engineer expresses glee when the packets of information that make the internet go are flowing, once again, easily from your site to the world.

And that is exactly what we heard from our engineers in various locations who were working to solve our "internet headache" this week.

Wow, what a week!

Early Tuesday morning we started with a major data center upgrade ( to help Motortopia run even better and get ready for some cool new services we will offer you on Motortopia :-) )

And, you know the story--- everything was "supposed" to go just as smooth as cybersilk. UhHuh.

The data center upgrade itself was pretty easy. It took about 4-5 hours to get the systems installed and hooked up. We are now coming to you from our new data center with lots of redundant connections to the internet and some other really cool, starwars looking things.

But, the best data center in the world is not so hot unless you can get your servers to talk with the rest of the world. And to do that, the traffic cops of the internet, routing tables, have to be updated around the globe.

Theoretically (man, I am beginning to hate that word ;-) ) this should only take a few hours. And, for many of our Motortopia friends out there...that it all that it took. But for many others of you, Motortopia just seemed to get lost in Cyberspace.

Just like you track down a short in an electrical system -- it can be maddening sometimes -- we worked with engineers with some of the world's largest internet backbone providers to figure this out. At first, we just kept hearing, well, just wait, just wait, all will be fine. Then we pushed the issue because things were not getting fine. Many of you reported you could still not get to Motortopia on Tuesday night, then Wednesday, then Thursday.

So, we are pulling our hair out.

And, finally, a few smart engineers at ( and we don't necessarily want to give out names but it rhymes with AT &T :-)) tracked down a bug in the way their routing tables were telling the world about where Motortopia was at, fixed the little bug, and now we are back up and running.

Hence, two thumbs up. All is good to go.

Thanks to the guys here at Motortopia who worked day and night since Tuesday to get this all resolved. And thanks to the engineers who finally helped figure this out. To some very large telecommunications companies that rhymes with A T & T, we say.........

and, most important, to all of you, our Motortopia friends, we stay thank you for sticking with us this week. Many of you emailed information and support from around the world. This helped us track down the issues and get things resolved. Your're all the best.

Please leave us some comments....and have a great day!

Team Motortopia!

R.I.P. Evel Knievel - Please post your thoughts and memories here.

By motortopia

I bet a lot of people here on Motortopia grew up watching Evel Knievel jumping over cars, buses, sharks and even the Snake River Canyon. Some of you probably even had Evel Knievel action figures, motorcycles, or my favorite toy, the "exploding" stunt car that flew apart when it hit the walls.

Sadly, Evel Kneivel died Friday at the age of 69. He retired in 1980 and had been in pretty poor health for the past decade or so.

I bet he is up there planning his next jump right now. God speed Evel.

UPDATE: Click here to read the Yahoo! News coverage.

Danica Patrick Makes History

By motortopia

Danica Patrick made history this past weekend by becoming the first woman ever to win an IndyCar race.

Patrick won by 5.8594 seconds over race pole-sitter Helio Castroneves in the Indy Japan 300 on Sunday. Patrick started from the third row, and was as low as eighth place on lap 189. But an excellent fuel strategy propelled her to second place on lap 197, and on the 198th lap she passed Castroneves to take the lead in the 200-lap race.

Last year, Patrick finished seventh in the driver standings, and placed second in the Detroit Belle Isle race. In 2005, she made history by becoming the first woman ever to lead the Indianapolis 500, and finished fourth, also the best-ever finish for a woman.

Congrats Danica! The monkey is now off your back, and there will be more wins to come!

The Price We Pay to Play

By motortopia

Check out the gas prices in that picture. Not, it isn't Photoshopped--those are actual prices seen Tuesday in the San Francisco area!

With oil prices up to a record $109 a barrel and the increased warm-weather fuel demand just around the corner, gas prices in the U.S. are certain to rise over the next several months. Some are even predicting the rest of the country could see prices like those in the picture.

Assuming prices do rise, how will that affect your driving habits this year? Will you participate in fewer car- (or motorcycle-) related events? Will you continue the same level of participation but cut down driving in other areas, such as family vacations or commuting to work? Or will you just clinch your teeth and dig deeper into your pockets? And how high do the prices need to go before they DO cut into your participation? And for those of you outside North America who already live with high gas prices, how does that affect the hobby in your country?

Let us know in the comments!

Why Don't U.S. Automakers Sell Their Best Cars in America?

By motortopia

GM and Ford make a lot of great cars. Unfortunately, they don't offer most of them in the United States.

Before I dive into the negative, there are some positives going on with GM and Ford lately. The Chevy Malibu is getting rave reviews and seems to be competitive with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Corvette Z06 and ZR1 can compete with the world's best supercars. Cadillac seems to be on a roll with its new CTS. Pontiac is bringing over the Holden Commodore and re-badging it as the G8. Saturn is importing Opels, such as the Vectra (Aura) and the Astra. Ford's Edge is selling well, and their Fusion seems to be getting pretty good reviews.

But they are also screwing a lot up. Pontiac brought over a great car, the Holden Monaro, as the GTO. But the bland styling and poor marketing doomed it. Ford sells the Focus, but the American version doesn't even share the same chassis with the European version, let alone the styling. Instead, we are stuck with a bland, watered-down Focus built on the first-generation chassis. The Ford Taurus is not selling well at all, even after changing the name from the 500. Saturn, while bringing over Opels is a good, start, hasn't brought over any of the "OPC" performance versions. Instead, we only get the plain, boring versions.

And don't even get me started on diesels. Both GM and Ford offer fantastic diesel and turbo-diesel engines in Europe. But they are nowhere to be seen over here. (Of course, you can get diesels in their full-sized pickups, but that's not what I'm talking about.) VW, BMW, and Mercedes all offer diesels now (or will very soon), and even Subaru and Honda say they will be selling diesels here soon.

Linked to this post is a photo gallery of several great cars that GM and Ford sell in other parts of the world that are much better than their similar offerings here. Give us your comments on what you think. Would some of these vehicles sell better over here than what they currently offer us?

Oh, and if there are any vehicles you know of that we didn't include that you think should be sold here, let us know!

- Corsa

Sometimes You just gotta have a V-8 -- Parts and Furniture.

By motortopia

A very interesting post and pic show how a V-8 gets recycled to a nice - and useful - piece of furniture. Wonder if that's Merlot of Chadonny in the cylinders? ;-).

Anyone else with a parts and furniture comment or story?

Car, bike, boat, or plane, it would be interesting to know how any of the parts ended up as furniture, or other items too. Have a good one.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite engine type?

By motortopia

This morning's post about the rotary engine got me thinking: there are all sorts of engines out there. Big torquey V8s, small high-revving turbo-charged I4s, exotic powerful V12s, out-of-the-ordinary Wankels, and more. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and they all have their own unique character.

For me, a naturally-aspirated flat-6 is the sweet spot. What about you?

37 Years Later, Woman Finds Out Her Mustang is Stolen

By motortopia

Judy Smongesky's father gave her a 1965 Mustang as a graduation present when she was 18. Thirty-seven years later, Judy found out the car was reported stolen two weeks before they bought it.

Just drove the car for 20 years, rebuilt the engine once, and painted it twice. In the 1990s, a neighbor noticed the car had different VIN numbers on the door and under the hood. Judy called the police, they checked it out and said everything checked out okay.

But just recently, Judy started restoring the car. Before dumping a lot of money into the restoration, she decided to have the VIN numbers checked out again. She called the police, and this time they discovered that the VIN on the driver's side door was from a 1964 Mustang. They ran the VIN under the hood and found out the car was reported stolen 37 years earlier.

Police have located the original owner, Eugene Brakke of Los Angeles, and told him they have found his car. Legally, the car is his and he can just go pick it up.

Judy spoke to Mr. Brakke, and he wants to see the car but hasn't told whether he wants it or not.

She said he did not seem happy or excited that his car was found, but instead, he seemed dismayed that the car had been repainted from gold to blue.

Legally, Brakke can just get in the car and drive it away. Judy still loves the car and wants to keep it, but she still feels she did the right thing, no matter what the outcome is.

Judy hopes she and Brakke can come to an agreement, but knows that may not be the outcome.

“I'm hoping he says, 'You can have it,' but it's his car,” she said. “I will keep it if I can.”

Question of the Day: What's the worst car to come from Detroit?

By motortopia

The car blogs were buzzing this week when presidential candidate Barack Obama called the Ford Granada the "worst car that Detroit ever built."

Obama was describing his first driving experience when he said "(t)he car I learned to drive on was my grandfather's Ford Granada. ... It may be the worst car that Detroit ever built. This thing was a tin can. It was during the '70s when oil had just gone up, so they were trying to compete with the Japanese. They wanted to keep the cars big, so they made them out of tin foil. It would rattle and shake. You basically couldn't go over 80 (miles per hour) without the thing getting out of control."

So we know what Obama thinks. What do YOU think? What is the worst car that Detroit has ever rolled out? Let us know in the comments!

Question of the Day: What is the best all-around car?

By motortopia

posted by corsa

Well, we've decided to try out a new thing here on Motortopia: a question of the day. We won't promise we'll come up with a question every single day, but we will try our best to post a question as many (weekdays) as we can.

With that said, let's get started. A lot of people here on Motortopia own several vehicles. You might have a work vehicle and a daily driver. Or a daily driver and a "fun" vehicle. Or several fun vehicles. So here's the question: if a mandate came down that said you could only own one vehicle, but money was not an object, what would it be? In other words, what is the best all-around vehicle you can think of that would suit your lifestyle and that you could live with every day?

For me, I would have to pick the Audi RS4 Avant. It isn't too big, but it will carry 4 people. It is a wagon, so I could haul most anything I need to. It is all-wheel-drive, so with a proper set of winter tires, it would make it through the Nebraska winters with no problem. Its 420 horsepower 4.2 liter V8 mated to a 6-speed manual transmission makes it plenty fast, and it could even be used for the occasional track day. And wrapped in the body of a station wagon, it won't attract a lot of attention from the cops.

So, that's my choice. Tell us yours in the comments!

Question of the Day: What's your favorite form of motorsport?

By motortopia

Man was racing long before motorized vehicles came along. And once they were invented, I'm sure it wasn't long before somebody raced them.

Today, there are hundreds of different types of motorsport: NASCAR, Formula 1, NHRA Drag Racing, World Rally Championship, AMA Superbike, Motocross, Power Boat Racing, Air Racing... even Lawn Mower Racing!

I love lots of different forms of motorsport, but I only religiously follow Formula 1 and the American LeMans Series. The engineer side of me loves the technology in these series, I much prefer road courses to ovals, the performance of F1 cars and the ALMS prototypes are absolutely mind-boggling, and the sounds these cars make are just heavenly.

Although, that lawn mower racing looks pretty darn cool...

So what about you? What is your favorite form of motorsport, and why? Let us know in the comments!

Mystery Car of the Day (#3)

By motortopia

OK, JerryAndMary easily got the first mystery car, and the second one wasn't quite so easy, but mustang50dominates finally got it!

Here is mystery car #3, can you spot it? We want year, make, model and owner. Good Luck!

Mystery Car of the Day

By motortopia

So, we have a picture (or part of a picture) of someone's ride here on Motortopia. Can you identify the make and model, and more importantly, identify it's owner?

Happy Birthday, Dale. We salute you! Share your thoughts here.

By motortopia

I know one of the things we all love about cars, being around others who love cars, and watching folks who love cars, driving, racing and things car related is the unbridled passion, the true and non-manufactured passion, for cars and the car - sports.

No one lived that better than Dale Earnhardt, born today, April 29, 1951; Earnhardt held so many honors: from Rookie of The Year in 1979 to Inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Each one of us probably has our memory of Dale; some image from some race, or winner's circle, or interview which helps us understand and remember; that it is heart and soul that drives the best in motortoports; and Dale gave us a lot of heart while he was on this earth.

Whether you are passionate about cars, bikes, boats, or airplanes; we all know Earnhardt and what he did for the love of his sport.

Today is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Dale. And, Thank You.

Please share your thoughts here.

What 10 Cars Would Fill Your Dream Garage?

By motortopia

Member scarsgo has posted a great forum topic asking the following question: if you won the lottery, and money was no object, what ten cars would fill your garage?

Click here to read the forum topic and to share your dream garage!

Question of the Day: Have you ever had to make "the call?"

By motortopia

Calling your dad after you've wrecked his car sucks. You know you are in big trouble. So imagine how this kid felt this past weekend when he had make the call home to say he had just wrecked his father's $400,000 (AUS) Ferrari F360 Challenge Stradale.

According to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, this is one of only 16 of the super-rare Ferraris imported to Australia. The kid was speeding when he lost control and wrapped his dad's Ferrari around a pole. The car suffered extensive damage, but probably nothing compared to the damage he is going to suffer at the hands of his father.

What's worse is that television news crews were around and filming him as he had to make that dreaded call to his dad. Hello, YouTube!

So tell us: have you ever had to make "the call" to your father to tell him you had just wrecked his car? Or maybe you've been on the other end of that call? Leave us a comment.

9 Million Mustangs!

By motortopia

Whether you are a Ford person or a Chevy person, there is no denying that the Mustang is a huge part of American culture. Ford has just announced it has built its 9 millionth Mustang during its 45-year production run, and it will be delivered to a dealership somewhere in Iowa.

The Mustang was introduced in 1964 as a direct response to the Chevrolet Corvair Monza. The Corvair, introduced in late 1959 as a 1960 model, was originally intended to compete against the Ford Falcon as an economy car. But later in 1960, when Chevy introduced the Corvair Monza coupe with bucket seats and a 4-speed manual transmission, it created a whole new niche market for small sporty cars.

Ford saw the potential in this new market, and started working on their own answer to the Corvair. Interestingly, the first Mustang concept that was shown was actually a rear-engined car, like the Corvair. However, instead of an air-cooled flat-6, the Mustang concept car used a water-cooled 4-cylinder sourced from the front-wheel-drive Cardinal/Taunus from their German division. It was created in an amazing 60 days and shown in the fall of 1961. Although well-received, Ford deemed the Mustang I too expensive to produce, and the 2-seater concept car was also too impractical.

By 1962, Ford had produced several new styling mockups that met the following requirements (again, to compete against the Corvair): a $2500 target price; a 2500 lb. curb weight; 180-inch overall length; seating for four; floor-mounted manual shifter; and maximum use of Ford Falcon parts. Eventually, the design you see in the picture above was chosen as the winner. (Note the Corvair in the background, being used for comparison.) It is also interesting to note how the concept featured fake side air intake vents in front of the rear wheels, an homage to the earlier rear-engined Mustang I concept that needed those vents for cooling. Even today, the Mustang has retained that styling cue.

Prior to the launch of the Mustang as a 1964 1/2 model, Ford pulled out all the stops and produced one of the largest and most brilliant marketing blitzes in history. And it worked. The car was unveiled on April 16, 1964, to 29 million TV viewers, as it bought time on all three networks during the 9 pm time slot. The next morning, over 2600 newspapers carried ads and articles about the new car, and it was shown to the public at the New York World's Fair.

All their effort paid off: "Mustang Fever" hit the nation. There were all sorts of crazy stories going around. One trucker was so distracted by a Mustang in a San Francisco showroom that he drove right through the window. A Chicago dealer had to lock its doors to keep people from rushing in and crushing the cars -- and each other. A Pittsburgh retailer hoisted his only Mustang on a lube rack, only to find crowds pressing in so thick and fast that he couldn't get the car down until suppertime. Another dealer found itself with 15 customers wanting to buy the same new Mustang, so the car was auctioned. The winning bidder insisted on sleeping in it until his check cleared.

Ford clearly had a hit. In fact, in its first year, the Mustang set an industry record for first-year sales. The Mustang looked good, was priced right, and had a long list of options, so people could really personalize the car and make it their own. It was also cheaper to produce than Chevy's rival Corvair, since it was based on the Ford Falcon. It could also use the Ford engines out of their other models, so you could get an inline-6 if you wanted economy, and it was just as easy for Ford to drop in a big V8 if you wanted performance. The success of the Mustang smothered the Corvair, and Chevy soon realized they needed something other than the Corvair to compete. Hence, the Camaro (and Firebird) was created as a direct response, and introduced in 1967.

The Mustang continued, and grew larger and more powerful in the 60s and early 70s. In 1967, the big block V8s were available with 300+ horsepower. By 1971, you could get a 375 hp 429 Super Cobra Jet V8. Also, during these years, Carroll Shelby produced the legendary GT350 and GT500 models.

Then, in 1974, Ford made a drastic change by introducing the Mustang II. The Mustang II was originally to be based on the smaller Ford Maverick, but Lee Iacocca decided it should be based on the even smaller Ford Pinto. It was meant to compete with the Toyota Celica and the Mercury Capri. When it was introduced, you could only get a 4-cylinder or a V6. Gone were the powerful V8s you could get in the previous Mustang. In 1975, a V8 was finally offered, but only with a 2-barrel carburetor. It only produced 140 hp.

Surprisingly, the Mustang II sold really well. Over 400,000 were sold in 1974, and four of the five years of the Mustang II are in the top-ten best selling Mustang years ever. In 1976, the Cobra was introduced, and in 1977 the King Cobra was introduced to try and give it a performance image.

In 1979, Ford again redesigned the Mustang. This time, it was based on the Fox platform of the Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr. It was larger, and completely restyled. Again, the top engined was a 140 hp V8. However, during the mid-80s, Ford started increasing the power available in the Mustang. Ford offered two ways to get your speed on: the turbo-charged 4-cylinder SVO or the V8 GT.

But, sales were slumping. Ford decided the Mustang had lost its way again, and decided to replace it with a Mazda-based front wheel drive car. Mustang fans went nuts, and bombarded Ford with hundreds of thousands of letters. Ford changed their mind and decided to keep the rear-wheel-drive Mustang. The proposed front-wheel-drive Mustang replacement was released as the Ford Probe.

In 1987, Ford refocused itself on the Mustang, and gave it a styling update. Ford and Chevy started pushing each other to make the Mustang and Camaro faster. Ford introduced models like the SVT Cobra and Cobra R, while Chevy fired back with the IROC Z.

In 1994, Ford redesigned the Mustang again. This time, it was based on an updated version of the same Fox platform and featured dramatic new styling. Power eventually increased to almost 400 hp, and the Cobras even featured a new independent rear suspension.

In 2002, GM killed off the Camaro and Firebird, leaving the Mustang as the sole American-made pony car. But Ford didn't stand idly by. In 2004, they introduced a completely redesign Mustang based on an all-new platform with "retro-futurism" styling. The new Mustang looked moderan, but also clearly had styling cues from the 1967-68 Mustangs.

This current Mustang is available in several models. These include the base Mustang and Mustang GT, as well as several performance-oriented special editions, like the Bullitt, Shelby GT, Shelby GT-H, Shelby GT500, and the 500+ hp Shelby GT500KR.

For now, the Mustang is the king of the road when it comes to American muscle. However, the new Dodge Challenger is right around the corner, and Chevrolet is reintroducing the Camaro in 2010 to give the Mustang some more competition. But it is the Mustang that is here right now, and it is the Mustang that is truly a part of the American culture.

Check out the photo album to see some pictures of Mustangs, and tell us your Mustang stories in the comments.

Man Wins BMW M3 Auction on eBay; Dealer Reneges on Deal; The Interweb Roars; Man Gets Car?

By motortopia

Whew! We just finished reading a 40-page thread on the M3Post.com forums, and what a story it is.

It all started when forum member dooma350 came across an auction by BMW of Lincoln (Nebraska) for a 2008 BMW M3 Sedan. The auction had a starting bid of $60,000, no reserve, a but-it-now price of $66,926 and was advertised as the "LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY" for a new M3. He decided to bid, and got his financing in order. On Friday, it turned out he was the only bidder and won the auction. Here is where the story took a turn.

The dealership called him fifteen minutes after the auction ended and told him they had "made a mistake" and weren't going to honor the sale. dooma350 reminded the dealer of their contractual obligation through ebay, at which time, according to dooma350, the guy "had the nerve to condescendingly laugh and say we are a multi-million dollar company, ebay will definitely side with us."

I'm thinking that got dooma350 a little worked up. Over the weekend, the story started to spread like wildfire all over the Internet, to automotive and consumer blogs, forums, and even viral news sites like Digg and Fark. To make a long story short, the dealer was inundated with emails and phone calls supporting dooma350, and as of this morning, BMW of Lincoln has told dooma350 they will honor the sale, but "with conditions." doom350 will find out those conditions tomorrow.

And it seems the entire Internet community of automotive enthusiasts will be watching.

If you have some time, click here to read the entire thread over at M3Posts.com.

EdselMania in Omaha

By motortopia

OMAHA - One Edsel driving down the street is a spectacle. There were close to 40 of them parked next to each other with the trunks and hoods popped open at the 41st annual Rally of the International Edsel Club in Omaha last week, culminating in the car show on Saturday.

Teams of judges carefully examined the interior, body, trunk and undercarriage of the cars. Style, vibrant colors and design separate Edsels from the other cars on the road, but that’s not what the judges were looking for. Authenticity is what separates winning Edsels from all the rest.

The turquoise or talisman red paint job isn’t enough to impress by itself, it has to match the original color of the car. Or the driver will lose points, said Marty Scott, the chief judge at the rally. The data plate on the inside of the driver’s door gives the vehicle’s original information.

But while the judging is going on most of the owners don’t seem to care. Sure everyone wants to win, but Edsel owners don’t take themselves too seriously.

“People who can love an Edsel are the ones who always root for the underdog in the Super Bowl,” said Jere Gauss, a retired Boeing engineer from Fresno, Calif. "You couldn't have an ego and own one of these cars."

Gauss' first Edsel was a Pacer that he got in 1977.

"I wanted a car that I could take care of and actually have it gain value," he said.

There aren’t that many surviving Edsels left, but almost all Edsel models – other than some of the station wagons - were on display in Omaha on Saturday.

Ford only produced the chain of cars for three years before they pulled the plug on the project in 1960. The Edsel was once hyped as the car of the future and its design was kept secret prior to its release. But the Edsel went down in history as one of the biggest financial failures in the auto industry.

There were a number of reasons the Edsels were doomed from the onset, including that it was introduced during a recession. The pricing confused the public; the larger, more expensive Corsairs and Citations were priced comparably to the top-of-the-line Mercury cars and the more affordable Rangers and Pacers were more expensive than the nicest Ford sedans.

In the late 1960s Gauss and another member of the IEC began putting tabs on all the Edsels left in the world. He estimates there are 3,500 drivable Edsels, 3,500 that can be made road-ready and another 3,500 gathering dust somewhere with useful parts.

Doug Hartmann, the head of the rally and an IEC member from Fremont, said the event surpassed expectations, and recent years attendance and participation.

“We’re real happy of the way it went,” Hartmann said. “Getting it to Omaha was kind of special.”

Earl W. Dorsey, an IEC member and Edsel owner from Illinois, visited Omaha for the rally. He didn’t bring his Edsel, be he still attends the annual event to see friends from across the country. Members of the IEC are kind of like a big family, he said, who only see each other for about four days a year.

Like many of the owners at Saturday’s rally, Dorsey was in the military and stationed overseas when the Edsel was introduced, so he missed all the hoopla leading up to its release.

“I can’t say much of the fanfare,” he said. “They were just so different I couldn’t help but notice them.”

He travels to rallies because of the camaraderie shared between the owners. Even when his travels are not Edsel-related, he still carries a list of IEC members.

“If I have a problem I can call someone from the club,” Dorsey said. “They’re all very quick to assist.”

It’s a shame, Dorsey said, that there aren’t that many younger Edsel enthusiasts in the world today. There are some important life lessons that people can learn while working on a brightly-colored automobile with a notoriously corky reputation.

They can learn from Edsel owners, who, despite having cars Americans once laughed at, have found a niche in the world of vintage cars and given The Edsel a respectable reputation. Which is more than the Ford Motors Company could ever do.

“All the money in the world, it doesn’t guarantee success,” Dorsey said.

Mystery Car of the Day (#2)

By motortopia

OK, so the first mystery car was pretty easy. Here's the next one, it should be easy too. We want the make, model, year and owner. Good Luck!

Where Do They Go?

By motortopia

As we were working this Friday afternoon, the topic of course turned to cars. We started wondering, with so many new cars manufactured each year, where do all the old ones go?

We found that approximately 40 million new cars are manufactured each year, worldwide. Are there 40 million "old" cars that are recycled or removed from the face of the earth each year? Do people just keep collecting more cars? Are the junkyards around the world filling up? Or are there just millions and millions of additional cars constantly being added to the roads?

Does anybody know?

Mystery Car of the Day (#11)

By motortopia

Today's might be a little tougher, but I'll give you a hint: this car resides a long, long ways from its native land.

Guess the year, make, model, and which Motortopia member owns this car!

Question of the Day: How do you feel about black boxes in autos?

By motortopia

Today's QotD was suggested by JerryandMary. Jerry recently came across this article talking about Crash Data Recorders, or "black boxes."

Vehicles have been equipped with "black boxes" since 1974 (GM was the first), but in the 1990s, they started actually recording data that can detail how you drive. They are tied in with the airbag system, and they record the speed, braking, acceleration, and other data for the period five seconds before an accident.

Opponents argue that it is too "Big Brother" and basically amounts to spying on drivers. Proponents, on the other hand, think they are an invaluable tool for accident reconstructions. In some cases, this data has been used to get convictions in deadly crashes.

So what do you think? Are these black boxes a tool that can help investigators, or do they step over the line and violate your privacy?

Tell us in the comments!

(By the way, you can find out if your car has a black box here.)

NBC Greenlights Hour-long Ford Commercial for the Fall

By motortopia

Well, technically it isn't a Ford commercial... but anyone that watched the Knight Rider made-for-TV movie a couple months back probably felt like they were watching a really long Ford commercial.

Although the movie was panned for bad writing and wooden acting, the ratings were good enough that NBC has just given the thumbs-up to a new weekly Knight Rider series that will air this fall.

KITT will remain a Shelby-ized Mustang, and all the characters (and background traffic) will probably still be driving Fords. However, all those Jags and Land Rovers you saw in the TV movie will have to be replaced, now that Ford has sold those companies to India's Tata Motors, Ltd. I would also assume they will keep the lead actors, but will Val Kilmer still be KITT's voice? And will David Hasselhoff make any appearances? You'll have to tune in this fall to find out.

So, those of you who saw the TV movie: was it bad enough that you won't be watching this fall, or will you give the series another chance?

Let us know in the comments!
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