Thursday, June 16, 2005

NEWS: New Scooby...

By Michael Banovsky
Photos courtesy Subaru

...and it's a doozie.

We'll let the pics speak for themselves, as it's not like Subaru will change a whole lot spec-wise.


By Michael Banovsky

For the ’06 model year, the Ram will go through a host of changes to keep it competitive against stiff competition from Ford, Chevy, and the imports. Changes include cylinder deactivation on the Hemi option, which will save customers “227 million litres of fuel annually.”

From DaimlerChrysler:
“In addition to being the first pickup truck to offer Chrysler Group's MDS technology, the new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 the most powerful light-duty pickup truck on the market boasts an all-new frame and suspension, an all-new interior, and an even bolder new Dodge Ram exterior.
The new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 is the first pickup truck and latest Chrysler Group vehicle to feature standard MDS with the 5.7-litre HEMI. Without compromising its best-in-class 345 horsepower, the new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 s HEMI V8 engine seamlessly alternates between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V8 mode when more power is in demand.
The Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 model utilizes a new coil-over shock absorber and double wishbone front suspension. Mounting the shock absorber inside the coil spring enables four-wheel-drive models to benefit from the coil springs added tuning characteristics.
The interior of the new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 complements the bold exterior by taking
luxury and refinement to new levels in the pickup truck market. Enhanced driver and
passenger comfort and more feature content is abundant inside the new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500.
Driver and passengers will experience an interior environment that is 20 percent quieter than the previous Dodge Ram 1500, achieved by employing laminated front-door glass and improved door seals. In addition, extensive use of Polymer Constraint Layer (PCL) and new body mounts reduces road noise and resonance between the engine and cabin. All-new seats, including optional bucket seats with available leather trim, provide substantial bolstering and generous support while adding a rich appearance to the new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500’s interior.
A new instrument panel cluster placed underneath a redesigned cluster brow is designed to reduce glare, and a new, wide center stack contains a new audio system and new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning controls.
Premium amenities including a new GPS Navigation radio, new rear-seat DVD (Quad Cab"
only), Infinity® sound system, UConnect" hands-free communication system, SIRIUS
Satellite Radio (late availability, pending CRTC approval), sunroof, adjustable pedals, dual-zone climate control, heated seats and a new power-sliding rear window are available on the new 2006 Dodge Ram 1500.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

NEWS: Ferrari FXX

By Michael Banovsky
Photos courtesy Ferrari

Okay, okay… I know that they aren’t doing too well this year in F1, and that they make really expensive cars almost all of us won’t be able to afford…but this proves my theory that Ferrari could throw a prancing horse on a Pontiac Aztec and sell it for $400,000.

In fact, the Ferrari FXX (taking the “F” moniker (F40, F50, F60, etc.) to an “X-treme” level) is much more ugly than the Aztec. It’s also much more expensive, at roughly $1,800,000 USD. (That’s over $2,250,000 Canadian…) Thankfully only 20 or so will be made.

Obviously, there is some purpose for the looks: the aero parts add 40 per cent more downforce over the Ferrari Enzo. The engine is 0.2L bigger, for a total output of more than 800bhp at 8500rpm. The transmission will shift at 100 miliseconds. The aero parts are fully adjustable. It has carbon brakes and custom 19-inch Bridgestone racing slicks.

Slicks? Yeah, it’s not road legal. It’s the showcase of Ferrari’s Corse Clienti (Track Client) program. The FXX package includes Ferrari-organized track events during the next two years, an official team of technicians to look after the car, storage of their FXX at the Ferrari factory, a driving course, individually-tailored seats and pedals, and a full evaluation of the client’s driving via onboard data collectors.

Ferrari says: “the wealth of data and experience gathered in the course of this very special program will be exceptionally important. In fact, the feedback from these highly skilled, non-professional client test drivers will be compared and supplemented with suggestions from Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari’s professional in-house test drivers.”

I’ve got a suggestion: You’re driving the ugliest Ferrari ever made. That fact alone is worth avoiding the FXX. I bet they're already lining up outside the “more money-than-brains club...”

NEWS: Jeep Accessories

By Michael Banovsky

Okay, this is to offset the super-crazy Ferrari FXX that was shown today. Mopar has created a line of new accessories for the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Well, we got a separate release for each new product… From Mopar:

“Jeep Wrangler is rugged, durable, and capable. And authentic Jeep accessories by Mopar included in the Off Road Enthusiast Package are just as hardcore, including skid plates, rock rails, unlimited half top, rugged full coverage flooring, off-road front and rear bumpers, Warn winch, and corner guards.”

We’re sure they are available at your local Jeep dealer. For a full rundown, visit

Monday, June 13, 2005

NEWS: Challenging the X

By Michael Banovsky

Just driving down a Canadian highway fills most people with a sense of environmental responsibility. After all, only an hour outside of Toronto, rocks begin to jut parallel to the road and the roadside trees seem to go on forever.

So it’s no surprise, then, that a team of students from Waterloo University have won round one in the Challenge X, a competition sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Waterloo team used Canadian-sourced components (a fuel cell engine from Mississauga, ON’s Hydrogenics Corp. and an electric drive system from Burnaby, BC’s Ballard Power) – to create an Equinox that improves on-road fuel economy and reduces emissions.

They beat out 16 other teams from around North America – which is even more impressive considering they are the only Canadian entrant. They drove away with a Chevrolet Equinox, over $20,000 in prize money, and a great head start for rounds two and three of the competition.

"This is the ultimate made-in-Canada success story," said David Paterson, Vice President Corporate & Environmental Affairs, GM Canada. "Canadian students using Canadian technology on a Canadian-designed and -built vehicle are shining on the North American stage. All of us at GM Canada salute the University of Waterloo team's major achievement, and we look forward to more success from these remarkable students in the years ahead."