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Posts Tagged ‘Jason Castriota’

First Look: SSC Tuatara

Goliath, meet David.

by on Aug.24, 2011

Heading for a new land speed record? The SSC Tuatara will push for 275 mph.

Goliath, meet David.  Oh, and watch out for the rock.

It came as more than a little surprise, a few years back, when a little automotive start-up – from Washington State, no less – bested big Bugatti, the ultra-luxury Volkswagen Group brand to grab the world production car speed record, SSC’s Ultimate Aero topping out at a blistering 258 mph.

Bugatti ultimately got the trophy back, but the world was put on notice: don’t dismiss the folks from Shelby Super Cars.  No, not that Shelby.  This guy made a fortune developing medical devices before getting into automotive manufacturing, but spend a little time with Jerod Shelby and you realize he’s as passionate as anyone who grew up in the car business.

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And he’s got a new passion these days, SSC’s second car finally ready to reveal in time for the past weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. was there for the roll-out – and spent time over a long lunch discussing the oddly-named SSC Tuatara.


Next-Gen Saab 9-3 to Get Hybrid-Electric All-Wheel-Drive

System will boost mileage, improve performance and offer torque vectoring.

by on Mar.24, 2011

The Saab Phoenix concept shares platforms with the next-generation 9-3.

The next generation Saab 9-3 will introduce the Swedish maker’s first hybrid drivetrain, senior company officials confirmed during a conversation with, a system that will provide an electric alternative to the current, mechanically-driven Saab Cross-Wheel-Drive system.

The new system will use the current Saab V6 to drive the front wheels of the new 9-3 but a motor and clutch assembly to power the rear wheels, explained company managers during a discussion of future product programs.

The hybrid drivetrain is expected to yield a number of advantages, including both improved mileage and better performance.  But it will also eliminate the need for a driveshaft running from the 9-3’s transverse-mounted engine to the rear axle.

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The new 9-3, due to launch in 2013, will primarily operate in front-wheel-drive mode, several product managers explained.  But when additional power is needed, the hybrid system will add torque from the rear axle.  The electric motor will also be used under less-than-optimum driving conditions as a sort of independent all-wheel-drive (or, as Saab prefers cross-wheel-drive, system).


First Look: Saab Phoenix Concept

Rising from the dead, the Swedish brand shows it has plenty of life left.

by on Mar.01, 2011

Risen from the dead, Saab brings out the appropriately named Phoenix concept.

It’s been just over a year since Saab rose from the dead, Lazarus-like, after an 11th hour deal saved the former General Motors division from being shut down.  It’s been a serious challenge for the Swedish automaker to get that message out to potential buyers, but it will be difficult to ignore once they get a glimpse of the appropriately named Saab Phoenix Concept.

Making its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Phoenix flowed from the pen of Jason Castriota, the multi-talented designer responsible for a variety of exotic  products, such as the Maserati Birdcage concept and the Ferrari 599 GTB.   Castriota is now styling chief of Saab and searching for the formula that will help turn the upcoming 9-3 replacement into more than just a market afterthought.

The Phoenix goes off in a decidedly different direction from Saab’s last show car, the Aero-X — which strongly influenced both the new Saab 9-5 and 9-4X crossover.

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In an interview at the Geneva show, the young designer suggested the styling language of the Phoenix show car might best be described as “aero-motional,” a reference to Saab’s aerospace roots.  The front end of the prototype, he explained, has an almost nose cone-like shape, flowing into a fighter jet like body.  With its highly aerodynamic Kamm back, the Phoenix show car has a surprisingly sleek 0.25 coefficient of drag, on a par with some of the best race cars.


Saab Teases Design Concept Ahead of Geneva Auto Show

by on Feb.14, 2011

Saab is using this image to tease a new design concept at the Geneva Auto Show.

Listening to Victor Muller, last summer, it was easy to hear the car enthusiast that, at his core, he is.

He dreamed a little, while speaking at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, about building a new small Saab, returning the automaker he had just salvaged from the scrapheap of history, to its roots.

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Now, just a year after Muller’s Spyker Automobiles swallowed the much larger Saab, he might be getting his wish.