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New Hellraiser? Jeep Grand Cherokee to Get the Hellcat Treatment

Jeep to add 707-hp version of the Grand Cherokee.

by on Aug.27, 2015

Jeep will be adding a 707-hp Hellcat version of the Grand Cherokee it will call Trackhawk.

Things are going to hell at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Which is, apparently, a good thing considering the huge demand for the maker’s two Hellcat muscle cars, 707-horsepower versions of the Dodge Charger sedan and Challenger coupe.

They’ll soon be joined by another Hellcat-powered model. Several FCA insiders have confirmed that the Jeep brand is getting ready to launch a 707-horesepower SUV that will be known as the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk.

A Real Performer!

Fiat Chrysler officials this week have been briefing dealers about plans to expand the Hellcat line during their annual retail get-together in Las Vegas. They’re also advising dealers that they’ve boosted production capacity for the Hellcat engine. Demand has been so strong that orders for the 2015 models had to be cut off well before the end of the model-year.

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California Dreaming – or Detroit Cruising?

Woodward Dream Cruise and Pebble Beach Concours bookend a classic car weekend.

by on Aug.15, 2015

A classic Chevy Nova with its shaker hood up takes a break from cruising Woodward Ave. All photos by Len Katz unless otherwise noted.

There’ll be plenty of thunder in Detroit today, even though the skies are only partly cloudy. The rumbles are coming from the city’s main drag, Woodward Avenue, where as many as 1.5 million people, and tens of thousands of muscle cars, hot rods and exotics stage are out for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

On the other side of the Continent, the crowds will be building all over the Monterey Peninsula for a weekend of excitement wrapped around the tony Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, considered by classic car fanciers the crowning event of the year.

We're a Classic!

The Dream Cruise and the Concours highlight two very different aspects of the automotive world – and underscore the fact that America’s love affair with the automobile has hardly diminished. But what’s a gearhead to do – unless you have a private jet ready to whisk you from one to the other?

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Woodward Dream Cruise Can Celebrate Past and Present

Forget the ‘60s; the best muscle cars ever are being built today.

by on Aug.10, 2015

The latest version of Chevy's Corvette Stingray can get up to 31 mpg while making 455-hp.

The roar is back. All this week, you can expect to see countless classic hot rods, muscle cars and other exotics cruising Detroit’s main drag as the Motor City gets ready for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

This will mark the 20th anniversary of an improbable event that took shape almost by accident when a small car club in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale decided to change things up. Rather than having its members park their cars for their annual gathering, organizers decided it would be more fun to cruise up and down Woodward Avenue. Word got out and almost 250,000 people lined the eight-lane boulevard to watch. In recent years, that has grown to as many as 1.5 million, with an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 classic cars cruising Woodward.

Cruise on In!

“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” noted regular Dream Cruise fan Bob Wissman, who recalled spending plenty of time riding around with friends in their Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs as a teenager back in the 1960s.

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Hybrid, Battery-Car Sales Slumped in First Half of 2015

Demand shifts from small, efficient, to big and powerful.

by on Jul.02, 2015

Honda Civic Hybrid production ended last month.

At the beginning of 2014, when fuel prices seemed headed for new record highs, U.S. shoppers couldn’t drive off fast enough with small cars and alternative-power vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf.

But with fuel costs down by at least $1 a gallon across the country, manufacturers have been struggling to sell those same, high-mileage vehicles. That’s forced them to stack up new incentives on the hood and, in some cases, slash production.

Stay Plugged In!

That poses a challenge for the industry as it faces new fuel economy mandates for 2016 – with even tougher targets phasing in from now until 2025. Even so, automakers show little sign of retreating from the aggressive plans they’ve put in place to introduce new battery-based vehicles and other clean alternatives.

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Muscle Cars Rule Again

Why advertise a car that’s already sold out?

by on Jul.02, 2015

The Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models take center stage in the new Predators ad campaign.

At 707 horsepower, the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models are the most powerful muscle cars to ever roll off a Detroit assembly line, and the fastest. Just ask any dealer who has watched the two vehicles squeal out of showrooms faster than the factory can build them.

Even though Dodge is heavily promoting the Hellcat models in a series of new 30- and 90-second ads, the Hellcats are sold out for the rest of the 2015 model-year. But parent Fiat Chrysler isn’t the only one struggling to meet demand. Ford Motor Co. saw a roughly 40% jump in sales of its long-popular Mustang last month, and while sales are off a bit for the Camaro, Chevrolet expects a big surge of demand once it launches the all-new 2016 version in the months ahead.

Your High-Performance News Source!

Only a few years ago, skeptics were predicting the demise of the muscle car, with the classic V-8 likely to be relegated to the automotive rust heap. Hybrids and battery-cars were expected to take their place. But as recent sales figures have demonstrated, Americans aren’t about to abandon their long-standing passion for performance. These days, manufacturers are being forced to pile on the incentives to get buyers to consider those alternative-power vehicles.

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To Hell and Back in the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

The most powerful factory muscle car ever also shows a practical side.

by on Jun.30, 2015

To Hell and back - Hell, Michigan, that is.

I’ve been to Hell and back. And with 707 horsepower under the hood it didn’t take me long to get there.

Hell, Michigan seemed like the appropriate place to take a spin in the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – not just because of the kindred name but because the little town is gateway to some of the best driving roads within a couple 100 miles of Detroit. While there are plenty of flat, wide roads in the Motor City to test the Hellcat’s 0 to 60 prowess, we wanted to see how it handled something a lot more demanding.

Muscle Up!

For those who’ve somehow missed the headlines, the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – and its sibling, the Challenger SRT Hellcat – are the most powerful factory-built muscle cars ever to roll out of a Big Three assembly plant. They share a massive, 6.2-liter supercharged version of the familiar Hemi V-8 that makes a jaw-dropping 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.

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First Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Initial impressions suggest Chevy has pulled together a winner.

by on May.18, 2015

Still wearing camouflage, a handful of new 2016 Camaros launch down the Grand Prix track.

The early morning calm is shattered by the sound of the big V-8 firing up. Shifting into gear, I head out onto the winding road course that will, in two weeks’ time, play host to the annual Detroit Grand Prix. But on this particular Sunday morning it is serving as a test track for a first ride in the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro.

To provide some perspective on the new car, Chevy starts me out on a lap of the 2.35 mile circuit in the outgoing, fifth-generation pony car. If anything, they’ve set the bar high, however, using as comparison the high-end 2015 Camaro Z28. As I blast out of the pits and onto the straight, its raw torque sinks me deep into the car’s sports seats. I slam through the gears, accompanied by the sound of squealing tires and squeaking brakes, hammering through a series of tight corners before finally pulling back into the pits.

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Sweating more than you’d imagine on this cool Detroit morning, I jump out of the old car and into a new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro – all the while, wondering what they could have had in mind putting that Z28, with its 6.2-liter V-8, up against a “base” car with a far more modest, 3.6-liter V-6. But my questions are quickly answered as I head out for a second run on the Grand Prix course on.

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First Official Look: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro

New pony car aims to remain king-of-the-hill.

by on May.16, 2015

Smaller yet roomier, lighter and more fuel-efficient but also more powerful, the 2016 Camaro.

After a steady build-up of leaks and teases, Chevrolet has finally pulled the wraps off the sixth-generation Camaro, a model that it claims is lighter, faster, more nimble and more fuel-efficient than the “pony car” it replaces.

The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is also more technologically sophisticated, introducing a number of new features – such as a first-ever turbocharged engine — and expanding the availability of others, including a magnetic ride control suspension. And even more high-tech features and variants are set to follow, senior General Motors officials confided.

We're There for You!

The short-term goal is to keep the Camaro at the top of the muscle car heap. Despite the launch of an all-new version of the Ford Mustang last year, the Chevy coupe has been the segment’s number one seller for five consecutive years, though it has lost its lead during the first four months of 2015.

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Chevrolet Offers Revealing New Tease of 2016 Camaro

It’s “all about the aero.”

by on May.11, 2015

Chevrolet will stage the official debut of the 2016 Camaro in Detroit next weekend.

They may be called muscle cars, but it takes more than a big engine to make a car like the Camaro go fast. And with the new model set to debut next weekend, Chevy says it has put a premium on aerodynamic enhancements, as well as lightweighting.

As this shot – the most revealing teaser image yet– shows — the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro has spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel to both reduce aerodynamic drag and improve the cooling of its big 6.2-liter V-8.

Muscle Up!

“The importance of aerodynamics increases exponentially as we increase vehicle performance,” said Kirk Bennion, Exterior Design manager. “As engine output increases, we need more engine cooling. As acceleration and top speeds climb, we need to reduce lift for better high-speed stability. However, we cannot make any changes at the expense of increasing drag, which can hurt fuel economy.”

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First Production Fisker Rocket Mustang Set for Delivery

725-hp, limited-production model will debut at Amelia Island Concours.

by on Mar.13, 2015

The supercharged version of the Fisker Rocket will deliver nearly 300-hp more than the Mustang GT.

Four months after pulling the wraps off his automotive reincarnation, Danish designer Henrik Fisker is set to deliver the first of his 725-horsepower Rocket Mustangs.

The result of joint venture with California mega-dealer Galpin Motors, the first production version of the Fisker Rocket will make a brief appearance at this weekend’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance before being delivered to its new owner.

We're Your Auto-Pilot!

Word has it that Fisker may also reveal another big project at the weekend classic car show, something he telegraphed during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com last November at the L.A. Auto Show where the Rocket made its premier.

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