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Opinion: Mid-Engine Corvette: Too Little, Too Late?

Our veteran spy photographer says electric drive is the way to go.

by on Mar.02, 2018

Off to a rocky start? Our spy photographer thinks GM is on the wrong path with its mid-engine Vette.

Drop the mid-engine Corvette. Now.

It’s time for GM to stop its development of an icon vehicle, the 20?? mid-engine Corvette. Yes, the long, long overdeveloped car that has diverted GM’s innovational (?) attention for over 25 years. The car could be way behind what is happening in the 2-seat racing-type model of today.

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Huge changes are ongoing in the automobile business. We all see that. Car companies are formed and reformed, replaced, absorbed. New technologies are in huge development – autonomous cars and trucks are surely on the way. Electrics are moving – in some instances, shoved – on the scene, replacing the internal combustion engine.


Spy Shots: 2019 Ram 1500 Pickup

Peeling back the camo.

by on Sep.20, 2017

The new 2019 Ram 1500 is expected to get several upgrades from the previous version, including the use of ultra high strength steel.

Ecdysiasts aren’t the only ones who peel things back one glove at a time. Automakers routinely begin testing new products on public roads wearing heavy camouflage, slowing stripping layers off as they come closer to production.

So it has gone with the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup, which is expected to make its formal debut for the 2019 model-year, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles optimistic enough about its prospects to expand production capacity. Among other things, the new Ram truck will begin rolling out of FCA’s plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan that, until recently, was producing the Chrysler 200 sedan.

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While there’s still enough camouflage here to keep some of the next Ram’s naughty bits concealed, we’ve been able to track down some key details about the 2019 pickup, starting with the fact that the 1500 will continue to be made almost entirely out of steel, FCA declining to take its lead from Ford’s big F-150 and migrate to an aluminum-intensive design. (more…)

Spy Shots: Ford Super Duty Goes Aluminum, Too

But wait – there’s more.

by on May.13, 2015

Ford's 2016 F-Series Super Duty in full disguise, although some changes can be seen on this version.

Almost lost in the fanfare surrounding the debut of the all-new, “aluminum-intensive” 2015 Ford F-150 has been the fate of the Super Duty models to follow. While the light-duty F-150 may make up the majority of the sales, the heftier F-250, F-350 and even bigger trucks have a significant following, as well, and appeal to buyers who make some tough demands.

No surprise, then, that Ford is taking a little longer to roll out their replacements. But if anyone is still wondering, they, too, will migrate from steel to aluminum when they make it to market for the 2016 model-year.

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A closer look at these photos of the 2016 F-250 prototypes shows some major (how major can you get in a pickup’s design?) changes are coming in the big boys from Ford. For one, the grille is more detailed in appearance with multiple horizontal bars above and below the centered Blue Oval icon. At the bottom is a redesigned – flattop – bumper and square corner air deflector. (more…)

Spy Shot: 2016 Chrysler Town & Country

Chrysler's new Mom-mobile caught in testing.

by on May.05, 2015

Chrysler is set to idle its Windsor plant to retool for the launch of the 2016 Town & Country.

Coming to your Chrysler dealer soon…

Here’s a look at what Chrysler has planned for the next generation of its Town & Country minivan. No, the camo-wraping is not part of the introduction package, just Chrysler’s way of hiding the completely new 2016 styling of its strong-selling soccer mom vehicle.

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Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant about to shut down for a summer changeover as the Town & Country gets set for a complete update for the coming model-year. The new design is only part of the story, however. The other big news is the decision by FCA to abandon the Dodge Caravan model to focus on just one minivan – a reflection of the huge slide in demand for these mom-mobiles over the past decade. (more…)

Spy Shots: Jeep’s Jeepster

Jeep rocks out with new entry-model.

by on Oct.21, 2013

A Jeepster mule undergoing testing. Photo by: Jim Dunne, CARSPY.

If you’re a rock fan, the name might bring to mind an old song by the British band T. Rex.  Others, might recall the 1998 concept vehicle that introduced the name Jeepster. What sort of tune you’ll sing likely will depend upon your reaction to this spy shot.

The Jeepster name actually has been around for some time, fans of the off-road brand will recall, dating back to the Willys-Overland Jeepster from 1948, a model described as the auto industry’s last true phaeton design.  The name was revived in 1966 on the AMC Jeepster Commando. And, what with the Cherokee badge returning to the Jeep line-up, it appears the maker is ready to dig even deeper into its archives.

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Designed to take the Jeep brand even more down-market than the current Compass model, this concept is, at least for now, being referred to internally as the Jeepster, though it remains to be seen if the name will stick when it goes into production.  But one thing seems certain, the concept suggests that Jeep is continuing a dramatic design shift that comes as part of parent Chrysler’s marriage to the Italian automaker Fiat SpA.


Spy Shots: 2015 Chrysler 200

Reshaping what’s exported from Detroit.

by on Oct.03, 2013

A camouflaged 2015 Chrysler 200 still reveals a few of its secrets. Photo Credit: Jim Dunne/CAR SPY

Chrysler has had a history of pulling off some magic over the years, in some instances by coming up with truly breakthrough products such as the original Dodge Caravan and Jeep Grand Cherokee, other times by yanking a rabbit out of a well-worn hat, as it did when it tweaked the tired-upon-arrival Chrysler Sebring and transformed it into the so-so Chrysler 200.

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How much of that had to do with the powerful “Imported from Detroit” ad campaign that launched with a 2-minute Super Bowl spot featuring rapper Eminem? Well, that’s for another conversation, but that trick likely wouldn’t work again, and Chrysler knows it — which is why the maker is rushing to get an all-new replacement ready for the 2015 model-year.

We’ve been catching glimpses of “mules” running around for months, but these are the first good images our veteran spy photographer Jim Dunne has been able to capture of the 200 in its own skin – albeit heavily camouflaged. Nonetheless, you only have to squint slightly to get a sense of what’s coming.


Spy Shots: 2015 Lincoln MKC

Luxury version of Ford Escape moves closer to production.

by on Sep.30, 2013

A prototype Lincoln MKC caught while testing. All photos courtesy Jim Dunne /CAR SPY.

In its bid to once again be taken seriously in the luxury market, Ford Motor Co. has outlined a plan to launch four critical new models by mid-decade – with a number of other offerings to follow.

The first of those, the MKZ sedan, got off to a rocky start but is finally gaining traction – just as the spotlight shifts to the next key product in the Lincoln strategy.  We got a first look at the marque’s planned compact crossover during the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Now,’s veteran spy, Jim Dunne, has captured images of the small CUV undergoing testing around Detroit.

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Due to reach market for the 2015 model-year – which means an introduction in mid-2014 – the Lincoln MKC will be based upon the same basic platform as the latest-generation Ford Escape.  And, as you might recall, Escape migrated from a traditional body-on-frame to a crossover platform when it was relaunched for the 2013 model-year.


Spy Shots: 50th Anniversary Mustang Edges Closer

Ford slowly reveals its secrets.

by on Aug.23, 2013

The 2015 Mustang is caught in the open testing. All photos by Jim Dunne, Car Spy.

It’s a big year for the folks at Ford Motor Co. Not only are they ready to mark the centennial of founder Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line but they’ve begun the countdown to the Golden Anniversary of the Mustang, the original pony car.

Better yet, the April 2014 milestone is expected to be marked by the introduction of the next-generation Ford Mustang, with well-placed sources anticipating its unveiling to place during or immediately prior to next year’s New York Auto Show – the original ’64-1/2 having been revealed at the 1964 NY World’s Fair.

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There’ve been plenty of rumors about what Ford has in store for the new Mustang and these spy shots seem to support the conventional wisdom that the muscle car will finally migrate from a live rear axle to a more modern independent rear, in line with what Chevrolet has done with its competing Camaro model.

Long the leader in the pony car segment, Ford has been struggling to fend off that rival since the Camaro returned to the market several years ago, so it won’t have much room for error when the new Mustang makes its debut.


Spy Shot: 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe

New model full-size SUVs get extensive makeover.

by on May.10, 2013

It appears that major change ares coming for the 2014 Chevy Tahoe. Photo credit: Jim Dunne CAR SPY

If this spy shot of the next generation Chevy Tahoe is any indication, General Motors plans major changes in the design of its 2014 model-year full-size SUV lineup, which includes Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

Though the camouflage covering the vehicle is extensive, hiding much of the new sheet metal, some differences from the current models can be seen clearly. Multiple horizontal bars fill the familiar grille design, with its shield-like outline, centered “Bow Tie” emblem and heavier center bars.

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Flanking the grille are new headlight composites with over and under headlights and LED running lights. The front fascia will also feature a flatter face on the bumper grille housing rectangular parking lamps.


Spy Shots: 2015 Ford Mustang

Ford wants to make a splash for 50th anniversary.

by on Apr.30, 2013

Our spies captured an early look at the 2015 Ford Mustang. Photo credit: Jim Dunne CAR SPY

It’s no secret that Ford is planning to provide plenty of hoopla to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang when it rolls off the line next year. However, what the 2015 Mustang has been kept under wraps: until now.

Look for Ford to uncover this all-new Mustang design as a 2015 model sometime in 2014. Though covered from front to rear – no bumpers on this early prototype – there are a few details of changes that can be detected. Up front are headlight openings that indicate the lamps are set high on the front fenders, not down low in the grille. So too, at the rear, the taillights are set higher in the trunk.

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Overall the profile of the Mustang is unmistakable, even in this heavily wrapped mid-program prototype. But, those wheels with the five split-spoke appearance seem to be new.