Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fiat + Maserati = Abarth 695 Tributo Maserati

The Fiat Abarth 695 Tributo Maserati.  Photo courtesy Fiat.

Have you ever wanted to own an exotic Italian car like a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini but the prices always seemed too high?  Well, fear no more, as Fiat has collaborated with Maserati to produce the Abarth 695 Tributo Maserati (try saying that 5 times fast!)  The vehicle is based on the Fiat 500, but has increased power to 180 hp from the 1.4 liter engine, along with a unique interior.

Monday, February 27, 2012

More Gas Saving Tips! Improve Your MPG! Gas Tips Pt. 2

Seems like the $4+ a gallon for gasoline is really hitting home.  Our first round of gas saving tips were a hit, and we thank you all for your input.  We have received several requests for more tips on saving gas.  While these next few tips won't have as significant an impact on your mpg much, every little bit helps to keep a few more dollars in your pocket. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bolt on Turbo for Ford Mustang = 500+ Horsepower

Ford's Coyote V8 responds very well to forced induction.
The Coyote V8 powering Ford's Mustang GT is a proving to be a very stout motor.  Why?  You will find out shortly!  While most people would be content with the 412 hp the engine offers at the crank, there are some who appreciate having a bit more punch than what the car has in stock trim. Bolt on modifications can yield decent returns, but for serious power, forced induction is the way to go. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eric Hsu's R32 GT-R Enters World Time Attack for 2012

Some readers may know who Eric Hsu is, but for those who don't, he was one of the masterminds at XS Engineering.  His tuning expertise led XS to be recognized as one of the best tuning shops in America, and the car most people probably associate with him is the blue R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R time attack car.  For being a circuit based vehicle, the Skyline also had blistering straight line speed with it posting a best 1/4 mile run in the mid 10 second range. 

Hsu was part of the successful time attack team Sierra-Sierra, with the Mitsubishi Evolution placing 2nd last year.  Since the team did not have any plans to participate in this year's time attack series, Hsu has assembled his own team by partnering with ARK Designs.  The list of team members is like a Who's Who A-list of people in the tuning industry.  You can follow the build of the iconic R32 GT-R at MotoIQ's website.  We are definitely excited to see this vehicle take on the world's best, and will be watching this build closely.  The most surprising thing to us was the choice of the engine which will power this beast.  We thought it was going to get an engine starting with the letters LS.  Check it out though and you can bet this car will have a great season due to the awesome team building it up.  Good luck to Eric and his team! 

R32 Skyline Time Attack Build

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Random Wrench Tip #5 Magnetize Your Tools

If you're like us, there are times when you are in the middle of a job, and stuck trying to use a screwdriver or ratchet in a tight spot without being able to support the bolt or screw with your free hand.  More times than not, that bolt or screw can slip out and fall into a part of your car where it seems like a black hole exists.  This leads to lost time and frustration, and when you do find the fallen item, it's usually in a crevice where you need a magnet to get it back. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

$4 Gas Impact

We received an email question asking how much would $4 a gallon gasoline impact a driver's wallet.  Well, in short, it depends on how much you plan to drive!  That's probably not the answer our inquisitive reader is looking for, so we will take a look at one hypothetical situation.  Keep in mind, the variables will stay the same for simplicity's sake, so we will take a look at a person who would average 14,000 miles a year (most Americans drive that amount) with no fluctuations in gas prices.  Also, let's assume the vehicle needs 10 gallons per fill up each week.  This would give you a car that averages roughly 26.9 mpg which is what a typical 4 cylinder compact car averages. 

5 Basic Tips to Get More Mileage From Your Car

Gas is creeping up towards the $4 a gallon mark for the nation, and here in southern California prices for gasoline have already surpassed that mark with premium fuel heading towards $4.50.  Even with more fuel efficient cars being produced, $4 a gallon for gas is bound to put a strain on anyone's budget.  Here are a few tips to help the average driver improve their fuel economy without going to the extremes that some hyper milers go to. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Draw a VW Bug With 2 Ovals

Courtesy of the Jalopnik site, a way to draw a Volkswagen Beetle (the air-cooled one) using just 2 ovals.  Wish this knowledge was available years ago when The Love Bug came out.  Would have made 1st grade art class so much more fun!  =)

Video:  How to Draw a VW Bug With 2 Ovals

Driverless Cars Becoming More of Reality

On Wednesday, the state of Nevada became the first state to approve driverless vehicles to operate on public streets.  The state will allow companies to operate self driving vehicles, but the vehicle must have a minimum of 2 occupants, 1 of which can assume control of the vehicle if needed. 

NHTSA Releases New Guidelines for Distracted Driving

Voice activated dialing or making song requests to your radio while in a moving car may soon become something from the past if new guidelines proposed this year end up passing into law. 

In a press release by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed new guidelines concerning driver distraction which may impact the amount of in-car technology auto makers will provide for buyers. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. Tops in Vehicle Dependability

Toyota took top honors in a reliability report by J.D. Power and Associates.  Logo is registered trademark of Toyota.

J.D. Power & Associates released its findings on overall vehicle quality for cars from the model year 2009.  The report was made from a sample size of 31,000 vehicle owners with 3 years of ownership of a vehicle from 2009. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

EV Cars Tax Credit Increase Proposed, Are EV Cars a Solution to the Future?

In an effort to increase the amount of electric vehicles on the road, the Obama Administration announced it would like to increase the current tax credit for EV cars from $7,500 to $10,000.

An article by the Detroit Free Press states President Obama would like to see "...1 million advanced-technology vehicles on U.S. Roads by 2015."  The proposal also includes a recommendation for increasing staff members to continue loans for advanced vehicle manufacturing.  There was no word on how much the tax credit would affect the government's budget. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chevy vs. Ford: Mustang GT500 will go head-to-head with the Camaro ZL1.

580 hp ZL1. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet.
650 hp GT500. Photo courtesy of Ford.

Chevrolet Camaro versus Ford Mustang.  The battle between the two cars has gone on ever since the first '67 Camaro rolled off the dealership lots.  Countless grudge races at the dragstrip, race track and on the streets has never ended the debate of which is better, and both the Mustang and Camaro have their die-hard fans. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Forbes Magazine 10 safest small cars

Driving a smaller car is becoming a reality for many drivers due to the rising cost of fuel.  Courtesy of Isaac Newton, we know that larger cars will fair better than smaller cars in the event one of them meets the other.  Forbes Magazine released their 10 best list of safe small cars.  The cars listed have excellent safety standings, and although we can't say they are all considered to be affordable to everyone, they do have excellent safety features. 

Here's the link:  10 Safest Small Cars

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cars With No Lights at Night.

Look hard enough and you'll notice the absence of any tail lights on the truck.

We can all agree technology is great.  Without it, we would still be stuck in the stone age.  However, while technology has made life easier, it can make some people forget how to perform a task that used to be routine.  One of these tasks is on the road with drivers forgetting to turn on their headlights at dusk. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

California traffic violation fees increased

Traffic violation fees to increased this year.
We know the economy isn't quite on its own two feet yet, and with many states facing budget shortfalls, it's only inevitable that the lack of funds will need to made up somehow.  For Californians, the state has chosen to target a number of traffic citations fines to increase. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Toyota Annouces Prius c Pricing

Toyota's Prius c is priced under $19K.  Photo courtesy Toyota

There is no doubt that hybrids are becoming more mainstream in America each day.  While we here at Car and Writer prefer vehicles with an emphasis on maximum cornering and driving enjoyment, we do recognize that others prefer vehicles with mpg numbers that are well above the nation's current combined average of 27.2 mpg. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nissan 370Z receives updates for 2013

2013 Nissan 370Z receives updates.

Nissan has debuted the 2013 370Z at the Chicago Auto Show.  The 370Z's most notable updates are a new front and rear fascia, with vertical daytime running lights on the front bumper.  On the lower part of the rear bumper, sharp eyed observers will notice the black plastic square in the middle has been replaced by a red reflector. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fiat 500 Abarth pricing announced for U.S. market

Fiat announced the price for its much anticipated 500 Abarth.  The starting price of the vehicle is said to be $22,000 for the car excluding the destination fee.  If the fee stays the same amount as the basic 500's fee, it will be an additional $500 to the price. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Random Wrench Tip #4: Quck and Easy Makeshift Funnel

If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of having to add fluids to your car at the side of the road or in a parking lot away from home without a funnel, you know how frustrating it can be to keep the fluids from spilling all over your engine bay.  The ordeal can be especially maddening when the fluid happens to be brake fluid because it will quickly damage any painted surface. 

Fear not, as this random wrench tip will make you feel like MacGyver in no time!

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Car Prices Up, Incentives Down

A recent article by the Wall Street Journal stated the sales of automobiles in the U.S. increased by 11% last month versus the same time frame last year which was published in a report from J.D. Power and Associates.  The firm also noted that the average price of an automobile rose from $25,505 in 2008 to $28,341, an 11.1% increase. 

Surprisingly, the amount of discounts and rebates being offered by manufactures has decreased.  The average amount of incentives for new cars has dropped by $338. 

The article can be viewed here:  WSJ

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slice of Americana Pie: Just Beyond the Las Vegas Strip

The Valley of Fire's signature red-orange sandstone color.  Photo courtesy of Yumiko Boreham.
Las Vegas is without question a very popular tourist spot.  Many people go there to indulge in a bit of gambling, shopping and endless partying, but what's there if you want to travel beyond the glitz and glamor of the main strip?  Perhaps it's because you have grown tired of the one trick pony which Las Vegas seems to be, or you may have some little ones in tow.  If you enjoy experiencing a little Americana and viewing petroglyphs, your destination is approximately 45 minutes northeast of Las Vegas.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

U.S. News - Best 2012 Cars for Families

U.S. News & World Reports released their top vehicles for families for 2012.  The report highlights one winner each vehicle category based on what the news company states as, "...winners provide the safety, features, and ownership experience today's families demand."

In total, there are 17 winners with Honda and Ford taking the most accolades, being winners in 4 categories.  The list of winners for families can be viewed here:  2012 Best cars for Families.