Jumat, 06 November 2009

Mid-engined Ghepardo is one part Corvette, one part Camaro

Caccia Custom Cars Ghepardo - click above image for high-res gallery

Here's what we know: Caccia Custom Cars took a 2002 Chevy Camaro and a 2002 Chevy Corvette and created the Ghepardo. The car uses the Camaro's frame and the Corvette's motor and suspension. The motor is mounted amidships, albeit backwards (note the throttle body). And the House of Kolor paint is called Pagan Gold. Also, you should not confuse this SEMA all-star Ghepardo with the 2006 Bizzarrini Ghepardo concept.

As for this Ghepadro... it's not that bad looking. In fact, the longer we stare at the exterior, the more we like what we see. Obviously we can't get past the gaudy chainmail armor covering up every single vent and opening. And we'd prefer if the five-slot wheels weren't chromed. That said, in profile, it's a nice looking mid-engine coupe and the rear is quite muscular. The front even has a touch of new Lexus, which while sacriligious for a Chevy-on-Chevy mashup like this, ain't bad at all.

The interior, on the other hand, is a house of horrors. Everything is covered over in prison-grade Alcantara or carbon fiber-look fiberglass. Even the fire extinguisher!! Also, we're pretty sure a 15/16" cutting tool isn't the smartest Dremel attachment to use for a show car. In fact, in this Autoblogger's mind, the Ghepardo is now in the running neck-and-neck with the Masonry Vitesse Rose for having the worst interior ever – quite a distinction! Additionally, the Ghepardo fills our minds with the delightful image of Corvette and Camaro fans/owners beating each other to pulps with giant oversized cartoon hammers. Perhaps that's just the food around here talking...

Ghepardo by Caccia Custom Cars

Toyota execs deny cover-up after feds rebuke automaker over runaway car investigation

Remember Toyota's massive 3.8 million unit unintended acceleration recall that was attributed to pesky floor mats? It appears defective floor mats doesn't tell the whole story, as the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared in a statement that "this (unintended acceleration) matter is not closed," adding "removal of the floor mats is simply an interim measure, not a remedy of the underlying defect in the vehicles."

Up to 2,000 Toyota customers claim to have experienced a sudden surge of acceleration, and some reportedly told ABC News that they didn't even have the recalled floor mats in their vehicles. Even more disturbing are the results of an ABC News investigation that reportedly found "hundreds" of accidents and up to 16 deaths as a result of unintended acceleration.

Four of those deaths occurred in August when an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer, traveling with his wife, daughter and brother in-law, were killed after their Lexus accelerated uncontrollably. The driver's brother in-law called 911 and said that the brakes didn't work before the vehicle reached an intersection, struck another car, went into a ditch and caught fire. Some Toyota owners feel there is an electronic glitch in the system that controls the throttle and the ABC report shows that there is some anecdotal evidence which illustrates that incidents rose after the system was put into place in 2002, but so far, NHTSA has found no evidence to support those claims after six investigations.

ABC News caught up with Toyota Vice President Yukitoshi Funo (pictured second from left) and asked him if Toyota was covering anything up. Funo replied "It is not part of the Toyota culture and Toyota way to cover up anything," adding that the Japanese automaker is working with NHTSA to come up with an agreement on how to proceed going forward.

If you own a Toyota or Lexus and you are concerned about this issue, it appears that there is little that will be done in the short term other than tie down or remove the floor mats. If you do experience the acceleration issue, Consumer Reports suggests shifting your vehicle into neutral, pressing the brake and holding it down in an effort to bring your vehicle to a stop. This post and video from CR demonstrates how to effectively resolve the situation, and the risks of pumping the brakes. Turning off your vehicle could be a bad idea, as turning off the engine will also result in the loss of power steering and power brakes.

Rev for iPhone reaches 2.0, includes data-logging [w/ VIDEO]

Since there are approximately one trillion iPhones in the world and about ten-times as many apps, it's not hard to find a program to suit your needs. But in the automotive sphere, there aren't nearly as many quality applications and even fewer that can deliver the information most gearheads crave. Thankfully, DevToaster has answered the call with Rev, and putting out the 2.0 release of its popular diagnostic and performance program.

In addition to offering code-reading and clearing features, along with OBD metrics for everything from coolant temp to throttle position (full features here), Rev includes built-in metrics for lateral and forward acceleration to calculate horsepower and torque, saved vehicles, GPS tracking and data-logging. In a bid to make the program more user friendly on the fly, it's reworked its interface to make it easier to edit the visual representations for the virtual (and customizable) gauges and graphs.

Although it's $39.99 App Store price seems like a deal considering its capabilities, the steep price of the company's wireless OBD-II controller ($149.99, pictured at right) is slightly harder to swallow. However, DevToaster is working on bringing the cost of the unit down in the near future and hopes to bring out both a series of "fun," "green" utilities and has talked with Google about developing a version for Android phones. Look for a full review of the 2.0 software soon.

Champion's Champions Crowned at 2009 Race of Champions

2009 Race of Champions – Click above for high-res image gallery

Every year, around the world, drivers compete wheel to wheel in all manner of racing series, from rally to F1, touring cars to Le Mans and everything in between. It gives racing fans plenty of varied action to follow, but it leaves one question ultimately unanswered: who is the world's best driver? That's where the Race of Champions comes in.

The event has been held every year since 1988 at the end of the regular racing season, giving the world's best from all manner of racing series the world over a chance to compete against one another on equal footing and common ground. And this year's Race of Champions was no less decisive. Follow the jump to read who claimed victory as the champion of champions.

Race of Champions 2009

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