We’re back for the second annual Halloween Hooptiefest, held at NASCAR’ed-up New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and we’re just overwhelmed by some of the great race cars that are included among the 140 total entries for this weekend’s race. Because it’s New England, we have many Swedish cars (including a record four Volvo 850s), incredible quantities of Volkswagens and Audis, and the usual Teutonic E30 hordes. We’ve also got some completely unexpected racing machines, plus Halloween costumes on top of everything, so let’s take a look!

Where else but a LeMons race would you see a scene like this, with a Spaceballs-themed Datsun 280Z being inspected right next to a bunch of cannibals with a Honda CRX?

Yes, the Cannibal CRX features a baby roasting on a spit in the back.

They say the 24 Hours of LeMons is where Halloween meets gasoline, and so we’re in the ideal season for our brand of racing. Crash test dummy and Oktoberfest fräulein? Yeah, we’ve got that.

The Keystone Kops, a team that races a couple of very quick Volvo 240s, decided to stuff their team captain (who owns a couple of Volvo dealerships) into the trunk and issue him a “wooden shampoo” for good measure.

The Senior Prom Civic returned as the Zombie Senior Prom Civic.

Obviously, these teams know they’ll get better treatment during Penalty Box visits when they stay in costume all weekend long.

We’re happy to report that the values of front-wheel-drive GM sedans of the early-21st-century rental-car persuasion have now sunk below the LeMons-price threshold, and so we’ve got a Buick Park Avenue, the Hooniverse Buick Regal, an Oldsmobile Intrigue, and this Chevy Impala competing for the Class B trophy this weekend.

Class C had a sizable forced-induction contingent. We have this Turbo Daytona (which has averaged at least several laps per race during its career), a Saab 96 with a Geo Metro 3-cylinder and a Nissan March supercharger, and a Chevette with an extremely hooptie junkyard turbocharger setup.

On the subject of Class C, The Worst Car In LeMons History showed up long after we closed up the inspection lines, having taken about 40 breakdown-plagued hours to drive from Florida to New Hampshire as part of the nightmarish K-it-FWD program.

Will this ’87 Plymouth Reliant wagon finally crack the top half of the standings after a full season of humiliating failure? These guys think so… and we assume Lee Iacocca does as well.

The LeMons Supreme Court felt compelled to break out the Gavel of Stern Justice a few times during the course of the inspections. For example, after the last race we authorized this team to spend what was needed to buy a replacement engine for their Porsche 944′s grenaded four-cylinder. They interpreted our statement to mean “Go ahead and get an LS1!” Sorry, no dice: many penalty laps awarded for this effort (though bolting this monster engine up to the stock 944 transmission is a surefire recipe for busted Porsche parts).

However, adding an Eaton supercharger from a mid-90s GM 3800 engine to your 300ZX amuses the judges (especially when we realized that the team hadn’t bothered to cut a hole in the hood to make it clear the blower, and that the going rate for these superchargers is now about 50 bucks), so this team got off penalty-lap-free. Yes, this rig will kill the engine for sure.

This Prelude team took inspiration from Ben Stein‘s seminal late-70s book about methaqualone addiction and turned their car into a Honda Quaalude.

This E30 team became Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang, complete with excellent costumes.

In honor of the local baseball team, we offered a pair of BRIBED stencils for teams giving generous offerings to the LeMons Supreme Court. First, this Babe Ruth image.

The other stencil option invoked New England hero Bill Buckner.

The Three Pedal Mafia was back with their 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, which suffered suspension damage and some unsightly sheet-metal crunching at the Real Hoopties of New Jersey race in August, and the Roller was looking good.

Three Pedal Mafia also became militant advocates for the Coalition of Alternate Breakfast Meats. Their slogan: “Scrapple: the Other Gray Meat!”

Rusty Dragon Racing, a VW Golf-driving team that won the prestigious Judges’ Choice trophy in two consecutive races for their endearing struggles with this staggeringly unreliable car, decided to fix all their problems by swapping in a rear-wheel-drive BMW drivetrain out of a late-80s 318i.

Because all that confusing computertronic fuel-injection and ignition-system stuff on the BMW engine proved too complicated for the Rusty Dragons, they added a Holley two-barrel carburetor off a 1968 Mustang and this innovative ignition rig. That’s a Ford 302 distributor, using four of the eight plug wires to run the BMW four-cylinder engine. To locate the distributor properly, they used a hose clamp coupled with a finishing nail pounded into the engine block. We’re sure this setup will work flawlessly.

LeMons legend Speeydcop is back with a new car: the Honda Accordion.

No, really— it’s a genuine accordion! When pulled and squeezed, it plays lederhosen-worthy music!

Check in Saturday night to see how Speedycop’s “Stomach Steinway” and the other 139 entries do during the first race session of the 2013 Halloween Hooptiefest!

2011 Chevrolet Impala

The new 2014 Chevrolet Impala is, by all accounts, a far superior vehicle to the model it replaces. In fact, it was the first American car to beat out the import competition and earn distinction from Consumer Reports as the best sedan on the market. But not everyone wants the new and improved model.

The outgoing Impala has proven a favorite among fleet buyers, and to keep those customers coming back for more, word has it that Chevy will continue producing the previous version (pictured above) until 2016.

That’s two years longer than the outgoing Impala was supposed to last, but the business from rental and government fleets, among others, means that the GM plant in Oshawa, Ontario, will keep on producing the previous model as the Impala Limited. The move follows a similar path taken by previous versions of the Malibu (to say nothing of the long-lived Caprice Classic) that stayed in production for fleet use long after they’d been replaced for individual purchase.

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Tom Cruise drives a Red Bull F1 car

Racing fans may hold fond memories of Days of Thunder, but let’s face it: that wasn’t exactly the best film Tom Cruise has ever made. Oblivion, on the other hand, got much better ratings, but was more about flying ships in the future than racing cars in the past. Well, we’ve got good news, because Cruise and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski are reportedly teaming up again for a racing-themed bio-pic.

Hot on the heels of Rush success comes news that Go Like Hell – the book about Ford’s epic battle against Ferrari for dominance in the 1960s European racing scene – is being turned into a movie. And Cruise is lined up to play the late great Carroll Shelby.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the prospect of such a movie adaptation, but the last time around was a year and a half ago, when noted director and lifelong Ferrari fan Michael Mann was discussing the project. Whoever the director and whoever the star, we’ll be happy if it features lots of GT40 footage and comes off better than the NASCAR classic we so inexplicably loved.

News Source: WorstPreviews.com

Image Credit: Red Bull

Category: Motorsports, Celebrities, TV/Movies

Tags: carroll shelby, go like hell, tom cruise

We’ve had plenty of great cars during the seven years the 24 Hours of LeMons has been lowering racetrack property values, including race vans, big fat luxury cars, donks, and aircraft, but that doesn’t mean that those of us who organize these races don’t have a long list of vehicles that we think need to be raced in our series. We’ve already shared Part 1 and Part 2 of our Cars We’d Like To See wishlist, and racers obliged by checking off the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz and the Cadillac Catera. Now we’re adding some more cars that you should be able to find for LeMons money, if you’re resourceful and sell off a few parts to defray the initial purchase cost. Let’s check ‘em out!

Ford had the misfortune of releasing the Edsel during a severe recession (although Edsel fanatics speak darkly of a conspiracy with Robert McNamara plotting to destroy the Edsel in favor of the no-doubt-communist-favored Falcon), and the marque became a synonym for marketplace failure. Perfectly restored Edsels are worth decent money these days, but rusty beaters sitting in some farmer’s field may be had for scrap value or less. Bonus points for dropping a Jaguar V-12 into your LeMons Edsel!

Rover SD1
Sold as the Rover 3500 in the United States, the Rover SD1 was a rear-wheel-drive sedan with V-8 power and wiring by the Prince of Darkness. It’s hard to believe that we’ve never seen one in our race series, considering how cheaply you can find “distressed” examples on the List of Craig.

TVR 280i Tasmin
Also British and sporty but somewhat more challenging to find in North America, the TVR Tasmin a.k.a. 280i experienced rapid value depreciation the moment each one left the showroom floor. Many long-forgotten project TVRs sit under tarps in driveways throughout the land, the owner eager to take a few hundred bucks to get his white elephant gone. This car came with the 2.8 “Cologne” V-6 engine, which can be found in large quantities in various late-’70s American-market cars and trucks.

Given the large quantities of rough Jensen-Healeys sitting forlorn in garages and backyards around the country, coupled with their not-so-great resale value, we’re surprised that nobody has yet raced one of these cars in the 24 Hours of LeMons. Cheap British sports car with Lotus engine—what’s not to like?

First-generation Hyundai Excel
The first-gen Hyundai Excel was the only car that could come close to competing with the Yugo on price (yes, we’ve had a Yugo in LeMons before) back in the middle 1980s, and that fact alone makes it an excellent choice for your team’s next race car. We’ll put any reasonably close to stock early Excel in Class C, where it will compete against the likes of Iron Duke Chevy Citations and Subaru Justys.

Toyota Corona
The Toyota Corona was sold in the United States all the way up through the 1982 model year, and most examples were powered by the truck-torque-delivering R engine (which has earned a vivid reputation among LeMons racers). Imagine the engine-swap potential!

1986-1993 Pontiac LeMans
GM slapped some Pontiac badges on the Daewoo LeMans back in 1988, and the sixth generation of the LeMans name was born. A “high-performance” version, known as the GSE, was built for a few years, and that’s the one you want.

Opel Manta
We’ve seen plenty of Opel GTs and even a Kadett or two in the 24 Hours of LeMons, but what about the “German Camaro,” also known as the Opel Manta? In spite of the Manta’s celebration in song and film in its native land, no LeMons team has seen fit to race one. Rear-wheel-drive, manual transmission, German engineering—the Manta has it all!

Mitsubishi Sigma
We love all Mitsubishis in the 24 Hours of LeMons (though we’re getting a bit bored with the Eclipse and its Eagle sibling) and the Sigma is an ’80s-status-symbol Galant variant that would make us very happy.

First-Generation Honda Prelude
Later Preludes are commonplace in the 24 Hours of LeMons, but a first-gen example has yet to compete in a LeMons race. This car is small, light, cool-looking, and shares suspension and drivetrain parts with junkyard-plentiful Accords and Civics.

Volvo PV544
Just about every type of Volvo from the period between the Amazon to the 850 has been LeMon-ized, so we need to go back in time and get the Volvo that looks like a 1938 Detroit car: the PV544! These things were built through 1966 and are easy to find in diamond-in-the-very-rough form in the United States. Power comes from the built-for-centuries B engine, and engine swaps should be quite easy.

Merkur Scorpio
The Merkur XR4Ti, which was a rebadged Sierra, has been a staple of LeMons racing since the very beginning, but Ford also imported a bunch of Merkur-badged Ford Scorpio Mark 1s for the 1988 and 1989 model years and assigned them to the short-lived Merkur brand. You get the 2.9 liter Cologne V-6, which means sourcing engine parts won’t mean learning to speak German, plus just look at the thing!

Gran Turismo 6 with Ayrton Senna

In the battle between Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport, the winner won’t necessarily be the one with the biggest selection of cars or the best tracks, or even most top-notch physics and graphics that can traipse all over the uncanny valley. It’ll be about exclusive content, and we’re talking more than offering a few cars the other guy doesn’t have. We’re talking tie-ins, features so cool that people will buy the games just because of those special bits. Forza has a tie-in with Top Gear, and will see all three of the show’s stars lending their voices to the title. Now, we know how Polyphony, the makers of GT, will respond.

The sixth title of the Gran Turismo series has just inked an exclusive agreement with the Ayrton Senna Institute that will see “a variety of content” relating to the late, great Formula One driver released for the game via downloadable content.

Players will be able to trace Senna’s career over the years, and as GTPlanet hints, the Brazilian’s association with the Interlagos Circuit makes its inclusion in the game almost a guarantee. For Brazilian audiences, Polyphony will even release an Ayrton Senna Limited Edition Playstation Bundle, which will include a PS3 and the anniversary edition of GT6.

This isn’t just a one-sided exchange. Polyphony will be donating some of the game’s profits to the Ayrton Senna Institute, a charity that educates and promotes literacy among Brazil’s youth.

Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of GT said in a press release:

Ayrton Senna has always been my hero, and I’m honored to be able to work as a partner with the Ayrton Senna Institute which has carried on his legacy. If it wasn’t for Ayrton Senna, I don’t think the video game, Gran Turismo, would ever have been developed. Nothing makes me happier than to relay the gratitude of Ayrton Senna Foundation, to all the players of Gran Turismo 6.”

Is the inclusion of exclusive Senna content enough to make you forget about Forza and its Top Gear links, or will more need to be added to make the Playstation title worthwhile? Let us know in Comments, and have a look below for the full press release from Polyphony Digital.

Show full PR text
Announcing the partnership between Gran Turismo®6 and the Ayrton Senna Institute

On October 24, 2013 at the SCEA Press Conference held in São Paulo, Brazil, we have announced a long term partnership with the “Ayrton Senna Institute” non-profit organization, and the “Gran Turismo” PlayStation Video game series.

In the PlayStation exclusive game title “Gran Turismo®6″ to be released on December 6, 2013, content involving Brazil’s legendary racing driver Ayrton Senna will be provided through online updates, enabling players to trace the roots of Ayrton Senna’s racing career.

“For us, it’s very special to have Ayrton as the main highlight of Gran Turismo®6. It represents victories that Brasil won far beyond just the sport. It’s the Brazilian spirit, perseverance among challenges, and victory achieved through great effort. Ayrton also represents the creative intelligence, courage, and solidarity with friends and strangers. These are values that we Brazilians cultivate and saw represented in the figure of that champion, which added to this a meticulous technique,” said Viviane Senna, the sister of the late triple champion and president of the Instituto Ayrton Senna.

Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo, who presented the game at the press conference added “Ayrton Senna has always been my hero, and I’m honored to be able to work as a partner with the Ayrton Senna Institute which has carried on his legacy. If it wasn’t for Ayrton Senna, I don’t think the video game, Gran Turismo, would ever have been developed. Nothing makes me happier than to relay the gratitude of Ayrton Senna Foundation, to all the players of Gran Turismo®6.”

About the Ayrton Senna Institute

The Ayrton Senna Institute is a non-profit organization established in 1994 by Ayrton Senna’s sister Viviane, who carried on the hopes and dreams envisioned by Ayrton Senna before he passed away. The programs of the Senna Institute aim to have as many children as possible learn skills required for living successfully in today’s society. And at the center of that education is the effort to raise the literacy level of the children. Since its establishment, schools supported by the Institute has spread to approximately 25% of the cities in all of Brazil, giving over 17 million children an opportunity to receive education directly, and the Institute has trained over 750,000 teachers with their educational programs. In schools supported by the Senna Institute, education is performed using curriculum and textbooks prepared by the Institute.

Nissan ZEOD RC at Fuji Speedway

Ever see one of those videos where a baby deer is born and immediately starts walking? Well, this isn’t one of those. For starters, the Nissan ZEOD RC isn’t exactly a newborn. Nissan took the design of the DeltaWing, gave it a hybrid engine and called it something new. And it hardly started galloping straight out the box, either: this was just a low-speed demonstration run, held at Fuji Speedway where it debuted this past weekend.

Still, seeing the car that’s destined to take the first lap of Le Mans under electric power alone actually start up and run is something of a landmark in the development of electric racing cars – even if this is, despite Nissan’s best efforts to avoid the term, a hybrid, not a pure EV. The name stands for Zero Emissions On Demand, not zero emissions all the time. But then ZEATT wouldn’t make for a very good name anyway, would it? See for yourself in the video below.

[embedded content]

Show full PR text

OYAMA-CHO, Japan – The Nissan ZEOD RC made its debut run at Fuji Speedway on Friday with former GT1 Champion Michael Krumm at the wheel, moving from design board to the track in only seven months.

The ZEOD is on display during the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship in Japan at Fuji this weekend.

“It’s like being in a different world. As soon as I sat in the cockpit, it was brand new. Even the buttons are completely different from a conventional race car,” Krumm said.

“I have driven the LEAF NISMO RC before, but it was great to be in a full Le Mans-spec cockpit.”

Former GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez will also work with Nissan in preparing the ZEOD RC for its “Garage 56″participation at next year’s race at 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“It was great fun. This was a low-speed demonstration, but I could feel a great response from the car,” Krumm said.

“Normally, electric vehicles don’t have a transmission, but this car has a full racing gearbox connected to the motor. The gearbox is the same as a normal racing car. It has an electric powertrain that gives you a very new feeling. It was really fun.”

Related GalleryNissan ZEOD RC
Nissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RCNissan ZEOD RC

News Source: Nissan

Category: Motorsports, Hybrid, Videos, Nissan, Racing

Tags: nissan, nissan zeod rc, video

Caterham Seven 160

Caterham is adding yet another variation to the venerable 7 lineup. While last year’s Superlight R600 topped the range in price and performance, the new 7 160 is poised as an entry-level model placing a premium on pure driving enjoyment rather than face-contorting track performance.

To help capture the essence of the original Lotus 7 on which the Caterham is based, the maker has teamed a compact, 660-cc, turbocharged Suzuki three-cylinder producing 80 horsepower with a lightweight 7 chassis for a Colin Chapman–satisfying power-to-weight ratio of 13.5 pounds per horsepower. Torque measures in at a slim 79 lb-ft at 3400 rpm (maximum horsepower arrives at 7000 rpm), so even brief jaunts to the gas station will require plenty of work with the five-speed manual transmission. In tweaking the Suzuki triple for 7 duty, Caterham’s engineering consultancy group not only wrung an additional 16 horsepower from the stock engine’s 64, but also claims to have boosted fuel economy and lowered emissions. A live rear axle keeps things suitably retro and the price down. So equipped, Caterham is claiming a 0–60 time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 100 mph.

Caterham Seven 165

Fourteen-inch steel wheels, cloth seats, and an immobilizer come standard. Frivolous luxuries such as carpeting, heat, a spare tire, and a windshield and doors (the latter bits being part of the Weather Equipment package), and a 12-volt power source fill out the delightfully short options list. Like all standard Caterhams, the 160 arrives wearing unpainted aluminum bodywork, although the fiberglass nose and fenders are finished in an unspecified color. Of course, Caterham would be happy to paint your 7 for an additional fee.

Caterham figures that in component form, the 160 will require 60 to 70 hours of labor by your average enthusiast, and that box of parts will set shoppers back £14,995 (roughly $24,350 at today’s exchange rates). Those not interested in getting their hands dirty can order up an assembled example for £17,995 ($29,210). Although Caterham tells us it doesn’t currently have an official distributor for road cars in the U.S., there are some “specialist importers” who could source a 7 160 if a customer wanted one badly enough.

Caterham Seven 160

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BMW isn’t supposed to debut the 2 Series until tomorrow, according to Carscoops, but that hasn’t stopped these photos of the 1 Series Coupe replacement from leaking onto the web. First picked up by a BMW 2 Series enthusiast site, the photos eventually found their way around the web, and complement the spy images we showed you of the uncovered 2 Series from almost six months ago.

This particular car is the M235i, and will serve as the range-topping 2 Series. As the number “35” is affixed to this car’s tail, there’s no question that the engine powering this example is BMW’s turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder. As we reported earlier this month, power for the M235i should sit around 320 horsepower, blessing the 3,240-pound coupe with a 4.8-second sprint to 60 miles per hour when equipped with an eight-speed automatic (a six-speed manual is also available, but drops the time down to an even five seconds).

While this isn’t a full-bore M car like the 1 Series M Coupe, it has been touched by the company’s in-house tuning division, which means it sports a racier body kit, blacked out grilles and M-labeled interior items, like the steering wheel.

The M235i will lord over four other, lesser 2 Series models, including three diesels – the 218d, 220d and 225d – and one gasoline unit, the 220i. Expect the 220i to use the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the 320i. As for the diesels, well, we wouldn’t count on any of them arriving in the US market. That said, BMW’s expanding diesel range, with the 328d and 535d joining the X5 xDrive35d, might make the idea of a smaller, more affordable diesel offering appealing to the minds in Munich.

We’ll hopefully have a lot more details for you tomorrow, when the 2 Series is expected to make its official debut. Until then, we’ve attached the new images up top and the older 2 Series spy photos down below.

Related GalleryBMW M235i Leaked Images
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News Source: Carscoops

Image Credit: Carscoops

Category: Coupe, Performance, BMW, Luxury

Tags: bmw, bmw 1, bmw 1 series, bmw 2, bmw 2 series, bmw 235i, bmw coupe, bmw m235i, leaked, leaked images

Ferrari SP FFX nameplate

You remember that batch of patent drawings we brought you a couple of weeks ago showing an unspecified Ferrari coupe? The interwebs were ablaze in speculation over what the car depicted could be, and we’ve been watching them all until we landed on the one that seems to make the most sense.

While some speculated that this could be a new California, updated to look more like the F12 and FF, our friends over at Jalopnik suggest, with sound reason, that what we’re actually looking at is what we figured in the first place: that this is a one-off FF-based coupe being built for a private customer.

Perhaps the single biggest indicator doesn’t lie in the drawings themselves, but the detail that everyone else seemed to have missed: at the same time as these drawings were submitted, Ferrari filed for another patent with the Italian government for the name SP FFX and the logo pictured above.

The letters SP would seem to suggest it comes from the same Special Projects division as the P540 Superfast Aperta and SP12 EC, while the FFX would seem to indicate an experimental version of the FF. So what we would appear to have here is an FF-based coupe, ditching the hunchback roofline for a svelter fastback but likely keeping the 6.3-liter V12 and all-wheel-drive powertrain. Which sounds quite tantalizing – we just hope we get to see the finished product, since not all of Ferrari’s special projects are ultimately revealed to the press.

2015 Chrysler 200 (spy photo)

We’ve already had a look at a heavily camouflaged 2015 Chrysler 200, and a glance at its shadowy interior, but thanks to a new set of spy shots, we now get a much clearer idea of just how opulent Chrysler’s entry-level offering will be on the inside. Lathered on thick are components from Chrysler’s upscale parts bin, all residing in a configuration that mimics the layout of the Dodge Dart’s. The steering-wheel design and its switchgear are cribbed from the new-for-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the HVAC controls come courtesy of the brand-new Jeep Cherokee, while the rotary gear selector is available throughout the Jeep and Ram lineups.

Although the interior design may be lifted directly from the Dart, Chrysler has added some upmarket touches to differentiate its compact offering from Dodge’s base model. Matte-finished wood trim encapsulates the gauge cluster and center stack, and extends to the center tunnel and door panels. The look works nicely with chrome trim surrounding the instrument panel, the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen, the HVAC controls, the gear selector and electronic parking brake, the vents, the cup holders, and even the steering wheel itself.

We should get a better idea of how many of these upscale features will be packaged in the next 200, as well as how the exterior styling will look, when the car is revealed later this year or early in 2014.

2015 Chrysler 200 (spy photo)

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