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Aficionauto drives Vin Diesel’s fast and furious 1970 Dodge Charger

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Dodge Charger from Fast and the Furious

The Aficionauto host Christopher Rutkowski has a real passion for original and replica cars from movies and television, whether they are from James Bond, Jurassic Park, or incredibly obscure Japanese shows. However, he might have outdone himself this time because he hopped into one of the biggest automotive stars of contemporary cinema. This 1970 Dodge Charger appeared in Fast & Furious and came back in Fast Five, where Paul Walker actually drove it. The menacing, black muscle car will make its return to the franchise in the seventh film, too.

The Fast and Furious Charger is a real beast no matter how you look at it. The interior is nothing more than two seats and a roll cage, and as the video shows, this thing vibrates constantly like a coiled mass of muscle ready to strike. The camera can barely stay in place most of the time. Also, Dom's Dodge is more than happy to do a smoky burnout and leave the driver partially deaf afterward from its wonderful, ear-splitting engine roar.

The Aficionauto also interviews the man who controls the keys to this beast. Bob Hartwig was once an F-15 pilot, but he also loved Hollywood vehicles. Now, he's a partner at Picture Car Warehouse, a company with about 850 cars that supplies vehicles to film studios. This Charger definitely seems to be Hartwig's favorite in the collection, as it should be.

Continue reading Aficionauto drives Vin Diesel's fast and furious 1970 Dodge Charger

Aficionauto drives Vin Diesel's fast and furious 1970 Dodge Charger originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?

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Italy Ferrari Montezemolo Out

Montezemolo "resigned," but his tenure at the helm will rank him among Ferrari's greatest leaders. It's Enzo, then Montezemolo.

Soon-to-be-former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo seemed to have the best job security in the auto industry. He presided over a brand that ranks with Google, Disney and Coca-Cola among the world's most powerful, and he's largely responsible for transforming Ferrari from an Old World, family-run business into a modern, global automaker.

But as of October 13, Montezemolo will be unemployed, after a stunning turn of events played out this week that toppled a man Italians hold in such high esteem. He was once rumored to be a candidate for prime minister.

How did that happen, and so quickly?

The answer to both rests with Sergio Marchionne. The CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles - which owns Ferrari - clearly had a different view for the future of the Prancing Horse, which for 23 years has been steered exclusively by Montezemolo.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?

Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Dodge dealers are earning the right to sell Hellcats

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

We all hate the idea of the dreaded dealer markup when it comes to buying a highly anticipated new car. Take the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, for example. You might spend hours reading about its supercharged V8 and speccing the model just right in the configurator, but when it finally comes down to laying down the cash, the dealer adds thousands of dollars as a "market adjustment" on the muscle machine of your dreams. As it turns out, when the Hellcat starts hitting showrooms in the third quarter, Dodge is trying to make sure that's not the case.

Dealer orders for the much-hyped Hellcat recently started, but Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis has put some special caveats in place to ensure that the Hellcat makes it to the road quickly. The initial allocation is based on the number of Dodge products that a showroom has sold in the last 180 days, and a second allotment in December is based on the last 90 days of sales and 30-day turnover. "You sell a lot of Darts for me, Journeys for me, Durangos for me, I'm going to give you the rights to this one, too, because this is a halo of the brand," said Kuniskis to Automotive News.

Furthermore, how quickly the Hellcat sells is also going to decide whether showrooms get more of them. "If you want to market-adjust the car, that's your right. But if your days-on-lot goes above what the other guys that are selling them at MSRP is, they will end up earning the allocation because their days-on-lot will be lower," he said to Automotive News. Obviously, this doesn't prevent dealers from marking up the Challenger SRT, but the strategy certainly discourages it.

The strategy is about elevating the brand consciousness, according to Kuniskis. The Hellcat is probably the most salivated over Dodge product since the Viper. People are supposed to buy these muscle machines and show the off to their friends. That gives Dodge a boost in public perception and maybe gets a few more folks to buy one.

How Dodge dealers are earning the right to sell Hellcats originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler minivans under investigation for stalling after fuel refill

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2007 Dodge Grand Caravan

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least one man has reported that his 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan stalled unexpectedly on the highway shortly after being refueled. The unidentified man who contacted NHTSA regarding the issue cited as many as eight similar instances reported by other drivers.

NHTSA has announced that it will launch an inquiry into this issue, which could affect as many as 160,000 minivans from Dodge and Chrysler that were sold in 2007 (or more, if a problem is found that extends to additional models years, we'd assume). As of yet, there's no formal investigation, let alone a recall, on these vans, as the agency is merely determining if further action is needed.

Two months ago, Chrysler recalled nearly 700,000 vehicles, the majority of which were minivans, from the 2008-2010 model years to replace ignition switches after an investigation found that their weak springs and detent positions could fool a driver into thinking the car was in the "Run" position, when it's actually in the "Accessory" position.

No injuries have been reported related to this potential engine-stalling problem, and Chrysler has said it will work with investigators, should such action be required, according to The Detroit News. Feel free to read the official inquiry announcement down below.

Continue reading Chrysler minivans under investigation for stalling after fuel refill

Chrysler minivans under investigation for stalling after fuel refill originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Dodge Challenger configurator has all the Hellcat you can dream of

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The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has sucked up a lot of air in the automotive news world this summer, so it's good to know that you can actually go out and, you know, buy the sucker. With 2015 models headed for your local showroom, Dodge has seen fit to also pull the wraps off it's latest Challenger configurator, complete with the supercharged Hemi V8 option that we just can't seem to get enough of.

We're still enamored of the $58,995 starting price for the 707-horsepower SRT, but the online tool finally gives us a chance to see just how optioned up our dream super-muscle coupe can get.

Buyers can choose from three interior treatments and nine paint colors, with two hues (Ivory White and Phantom Black tri-coats) coming for a $500 premium. For $1,795 Laguna Leather SRT bucket seats can be added in place of the (very nice) stock chairs, and a fancier infotaiment system with navigation and HD radio runs $695.

Functional options include replacing the standard six-speed manual transmission with the eight-ratio automatic for $1,995, or summer performance tires in place of all-seasons for $395.

When we included every cost-add option to our virtual build - including $1,195 for the power sunroof, $995 for the satin black aluminum hood, and $95 apiece for an engine block heater and red seatbelts ­- our fully loaded price was $68,350 with delivery and destination. Not bad.

Go build your own Hellcat, and tell us which options you wouldn't live without, in Comments.

2015 Dodge Challenger configurator has all the Hellcat you can dream of originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Dodge Viper price drops $15k for 2015

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2015 Dodge Viper SRT

2015 Dodge ViperWe recently saw updated specs and new trims of the 2015 Viper, but it looks like the folks at Dodge were saving the biggest surprise for last. Prices on all levels of the American sports car are seeing an immediate, across-the-board price cut of $15,000; even 2014 models still remaining on dealer lots.

The new MSRP for the 2015 Viper in its base SRT trim now starts at $84,995, and when the TA and GTS come to the lineup later next year, they start at $100,995 and $107,995, respectively. The move seems like a swing for the fences that might help to quell slow sales.

Obviously, current Viper owners might be somewhat peeved that their investment was just re-priced by the company. However, to assuage some of their concerns, Dodge is giving all fifth-gen owners a certificate worth $15,000 towards the purchase of a new one, which comes in addition to the price reduction.

The latest price cut actually puts the 2015 on par with the original 1992 Viper when adjusting for inflation. Those first models carried a cost of $50,700 when new or about $86,130 today, according to Dodge.

The 2015 Viper is getting mechanical updates too with all models upgraded to 645 horsepower and a highway fuel economy rating of 20 miles per gallon, a 1-mpg improvement. There's also the new GT trim with an adjustable suspension and five-mode stability control to split the difference between the SRT and GTS models.

Production of the 2015 models begins in the fourth quarter of 2014 at the Conner Avenue plant with deliveries beginning in the first quarter of 2015. The Viper is also going to be sold at some Dodge dealers now, rather than just SRT-branded locations. Scroll down for the full announcement.

Continue reading 2015 Dodge Viper price drops $15k for 2015

2015 Dodge Viper price drops $15k for 2015 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Chrysler will still be largely run out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy.

Americans and Italians worried that two of their nation's industrial icons - Chrysler and Fiat - are merging into a British/Dutch corporation with a blurred identity can rest a bit easier, even as an initial public stock offering looms as early as October. Chrysler will still be run mostly out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy.

"Operationally, day-to-day operations will sit where they sit today," Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said during an earnings announcement earlier this summer.

The company will be incorporated in the Netherlands for tax purposes, and the board will meet in London, where unspecified parts of the firm's "decision-making process" will take place.

"Operationally, London will hold nothing, other than the decision-making process of FCA, meetings of the group executive council and some of the senior leaders will be residing there," Marchionne said. Specifically, Richard Palmer, FCA's chief financial officer and a native of Bath, England, will move to London.

Still, Marchionne stressed the company's move to London is more than symbolic, even if some functions are still unclear.

"It's a pretty permanent rooting of the organization in London in order to make sure that the machine runs," he said.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms

Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Subaru Legacy pitted against Roadkill project cars

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Roadkill Subaru

There's an evergreen debate among auto enthusiasts about whether they would prefer to have the latest and greatest car of today or a certified classic from yesteryear. What if you had to further define that, though, and the choice was between a brand new 2015 Subaru Legacy or a turbocharged Datsun 240Z with a hatch that wouldn't close? Roadkill aimed to find out that and more in one of its best videos to date.

According to the hosts, Subaru came to them, handed over some money and challenged Roadkill's project cars against its latest Legacy. The result is every bit as good (or better) than any automotive-themed show you could find on television.

Things start simple with a figure-eight race in a rodeo arena with the Subaru taking on Roadkill's 1968 Ford Ranchero, originally built for ice racing. From there the Legacy races a 1968 Dodge Charger with no windows around and off-road rally stage. Finally, the Subie goes head-to-head against the Rotsun, the aforementioned turbocharged 240Z, through an abandoned neighborhood. Plus, there's a bonus drag race challenging them all.

Everyone involved in this seems to be having more fun at work than many people have all year, and that positive feeling is incredibly infectious. From the hosts all the way to the instructor at the rally school, everyone is smiling and laughing practically the whole time. Enjoy, this is a good one.

Continue reading Subaru Legacy pitted against Roadkill project cars

Subaru Legacy pitted against Roadkill project cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles targets mid-October IPO

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Fiat Chrysler

The merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is targeting October 13 to launch its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters assembled for a meeting in Rimini, Italy.

"The most likely date for the listing in the US is October 13," Marchionne said, according to Reuters.

Marchionne is trusting that the money made in the IPO will be contribute heavily his ambitious, $64-billion five-year growth plan, which will see FCA reboot Alfa Romeo and Maserati and expand Jeep's global presence. Should the IPO fall short, though, Marchionne has confirmed that "all decision [sic] on any capital increase will be taken by the board of FCA at the end of October."

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles targets mid-October IPO originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload number

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2015 Ford F-450 Super Duty

The ongoing heavy-duty truck battle between Ford and Ram is showing no signs of slowing down. The Blue Oval is trying to remove at least one point of contention between the two brands by testing its 2015 F-450 Super Duty using the Society of Automotive Engineers J2807 towing standard, which Ram also uses. In the new evaluation, the F-450 is rated at a max towing capacity of 31,200 pounds. That's an identical amount as under Ford's own, previous test.

"We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds - whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development, in the company's release.

At the same time, Ford is also changing how it calculates the F-450's payload. Instead of using its minimum curb weight as before, the brand is now using the truck's base curb weight. The revision lowers the pickup's rating to 5,300 pounds, compared to 5,450 pounds previously. The company said in its announcement that the reason for this is "aligning its payload rating practices with other manufacturers to make it easier for customers to compare vehicles." General Motors made a similar switch for its pickups in August.

The SAE J2807 evaluation is somewhat different from Ford's previous test, and the new standard requires about 400 pounds of additional weight in the pickup than before. Still, the towing figure is the same 31,200 pounds in each analysis. Because of the new test, the company is also re-rating the F-450's gross combined weight rating to 40,400 pounds.

Ram is already firing back with the following statement: "Ram Truck stands firm on our claims within the 350/3500 segment with best-in-class 30,000 pounds of towing capacity, best-in-class 865 lb-ft of torque and best-in-class payload of 7,390 pounds. Additionally, unlike our competitors, our entire 2015 Ram Heavy Duty line up adheres to J2807 test criteria, not just one model."

No matter where you fall in this debate, it seems like customers are getting the best out of truck makers fighting to top each other's specs. Scroll down to read Ford's complete announcement of its new figures for the F-450.

Continue reading Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload number

Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload number originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 02 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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