Fiat CEO Marchionne outed as Challenger SRT8 driver

August 15, 2012 at 12:46 am

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Sergio Marchionne's Dodge Challenger SRT8

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat, Ferrari owner, and (we assume) fabulously rich guy, has an amazing lineup of vehicles he can drive. From his company’s lineup, he could be driving a new SRT Viper, or a Ferrari FF or probably even a Maserati Kubang. Well, maybe not the Kubang.

But SRT CEO Ralph Gilles, on his Twitter feed, just outed Marchionne as a weekend Challenger SRT8 driver. Black, of course. No indication on modifications, but given a shot at being CEO of Fiat for a day, we’d definitely order our Challenger with at least a 600-hp Viper V10 and put a check in the rear seat delete box. Then we’d head out to the local drag strip and embarrass some wannabe speed demons.

Not hard to figure out why we none of us have been granted CEO status of a major automaker, huh?

Fiat CEO Marchionne outed as Challenger SRT8 driver originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Aug 2012 09:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible ad channels Buford T. Justice

August 10, 2012 at 1:40 am

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1970 Dodge Challenger R/T commercial screencap

Sure, Jackie Gleason’s perpetually frustrated Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit wouldn’t appear until seven years after this commercial for this 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T convertible. But the tone and tenor is spot on, with a Southern officer explaining to a fellow policeman named Buford and the town judge how he’s caught a “cute li’l gal no bigger than a minute” wheeling her “racing car” through town.

Dodge has so far resurrected the Challenger, Charger and (now SRT) Viper. If it would bring back commercials like these, we wouldn’t complain about that either. Check it today’s lesson in American history below.

Continue reading 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible ad channels Buford T. Justice

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Convertible ad channels Buford T. Justice originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Aug 2012 17:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat augments 500 range with Abarth 595 models

August 9, 2012 at 12:31 am

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Fiat 500 Abarth Special Editions

Before you get too excited about these special Abarth models, understand that these are for the UK and we’re not getting them, at least not yet – maybe we’ll see it Stateside if Fiat sales need an injection next year…

The two special models are named 595 Turismo and 595 Competizione. The former isn’t all that exciting compared to the American Fiat 500 Abarth anyway, basically just packaging typical aftermarket-style upgrades like 17-inch alloys, aluminum pedals, leather, Xenon headlights and red brake calipers, among other equipment. The Competizione is the interesting one, adding ungraded shocks, cross-drilled disc brake rotors, Sabelt seats and a Monza exhaust system to the equipment list.

List price for the Turismo is

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 gets Alpine and Vapor special editions for 2013 [w/video]

August 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

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2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Vapor

If there’s any brand that loves special editions more than Porsche, it’s Jeep. The automaker has officially released two new flavors of the 2013 Grand Cherokee SRT8, and both include sexy monochrome exteriors in either black or white. The Alpine edition comes dipped in Bright White paint, while the Vapor edition shown above is soaked in Brilliant Black. Both come wearing 20-inch five-spoke gloss black wheels as well as a few other matching appointments, including badges, grilles and rear light bar. Jeep says the special edition packages will cost $2,495 each on top of the machine’s $60,920 base price.

The 2013 model still bows with a monstrous 6.4-liter V8 with 470 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The engine is capable of pushing the 5,150-pound SUV to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 160 mph. If that’s not enough to tickle your chin, Jeep says the 2013 Grand Cherokee SRT8 can click off .90g on the skid pad. Check out the full press blast as well as a quick video below.

Continue reading Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 gets Alpine and Vapor special editions for 2013 [w/video]

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 gets Alpine and Vapor special editions for 2013 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Aug 2012 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jay Leno burns rubber in a Fiat 500 Abarth

July 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

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As you can see from the screen grab above, some people get to have all the fun. Jay Leno, who owns more cars than you will ever drive in your lifetime, was graced with the presence of a Fiat 500 Abarth at his garage.

Now, this was not the first time that Fiat has stopped off with the potent Italian runabout. Fiat dropped in on Leno with an Abarth back in December of last year, but this time he was able to take it out on the road and put the performance-minded 500 through its paces. And that he did.

Leno owns the very second 500 to be sold in America, and raised the question: Is the Abarth good enough for an upgrade? We certainly think so, but Jay took to the Los Angeles streets to find out. Along the way, he mused about how the Abarth would stack up against the Ferrari Dino and the future of the performance automobile. To find out what Jay thought of the Fiat 500 Abarth check out the video below.

Continue reading Jay Leno burns rubber in a Fiat 500 Abarth

Jay Leno burns rubber in a Fiat 500 Abarth originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 Jul 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SRT Viper to be sold at only one fifth of Chrysler dealers

July 24, 2012 at 12:22 am

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Only one fifth of Chrysler Group dealers will have the chance to sell 2013 SRT Viper, according to an Automotive News report. To qualify for the V10 beast, a hopeful dealer will have to train staff and purchase special tools, as well as improve their facilities. This does not guarantee the ability to sell the Viper. It merely keeps the dealer on the list of potential suitors.

SRT CEO Ralph Gilles spoke with journalists in a broadcast interview in Detroit this month, lining out the plan for dealers intent on selling the 8.4-liter snake: “We’re going to open it up to any dealer who can put up the money … you’ve got to have the training, the facilities, and some history of selling Vipers and SRTs in general.”

While Chrysler has not yet announced the number of Vipers to be built each year, it will certainly be a limited run, and not every dealer will have the opportunity to put one in their showroom. According to Gilles, they want only the best dealers carrying their 640-horsepower super car.

“There’s going to be a new breed of customer coming, so we want to make sure they have a great experience,” said Gilles.

SRT Viper to be sold at only one fifth of Chrysler dealers originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2013 SRT Viper (re)earns its stripes

July 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

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2013 SRT Viper shown with stripes for the first time (red with white)

While this really doesn’t qualify as “news,” the above photo still has us excited enough to share. It’s the first official image of the new 2013 SRT Viper with stripes. You see, we were a bit nonplussed when the Viper debuted at the New York Auto Show without its trademark livery. Perhaps it was to better focus attention on the sheetmetal’s new curves, but we still missed seeing the lines down the middle on the show stand.

Chrysler has rectified that as shown in this single image of a red example on SRT’s Facebook page. According to the caption, the example seen here is an engineering prototype undergoing dry-track stability control testing, an evaluation it apparently passed “with flying colors.”

We’re also reminded of a little tidbit that Chrysler design boss and SRT brand manager Ralph Gilles recently shared with us that he’s quite proud about: The 2013 Viper’s stripes will be worn underneath the clearcoat, not above. That’s a change from the past model, and should result in both a better appearance and improved wear. The new stripes will be available in white as shown, but also in black and gunmetal pearl as cost options.

We’re looking forward to seeing this car in GTS Blue Pearl with white stripes, as not only was the blue/white combo borderline iconic on the last-generation GTS, it also did a striking job of representing America’s international racing colors.

2013 SRT Viper (re)earns its stripes originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 13 Jul 2012 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SRT swings by Jay Leno’s Garage with new Viper

July 3, 2012 at 3:37 am

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2013 SRT Viper in Jay Leno's Garage

Look who stopped in to pay a visit to Jay Leno. The crew from SRT dropped off the 2013 Viper for our favorite denim-clad TV personality to play with for a spell. Leno owns two Viper models himself, including the very first black example ever produced. Needless to say, the guy knows his V10 snakes. Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing for SRT, chatted with the comedian about the new SRT brand and what makes the 2013 Viper so special. Among other things, Peretta notes the machine will bow with seats built by the same supplier that serves up the thrones in everyone’s favorite Ferrari model. It certainly pays to have Italian masters on occasion.

As you’ve likely heard, the 2013 Viper now comes with federally mandated traction control, which is a change Leno likens to the fact that the second-gen machine bowed with air conditioning whereas the first car didn’t. The comedian maintains the step is a natural progression, especially given that the tech can be switched off on command.

SRT dropped off the same pilot car that debuted at this year’s New York Auto Show, and SRT design head Mark Trostle throws in his insights on the snake’s latest iteration as well. Check out the video for yourself by scrolling below.

Continue reading SRT swings by Jay Leno’s Garage with new Viper

SRT swings by Jay Leno’s Garage with new Viper originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Jul 2012 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A 458 Italia-powered Fiat 500 is not a good idea, it’s the best idea

June 23, 2012 at 12:54 am

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Lazzarini Design Fiat 550 Italia

We’re pretty sweet on the resurrected Fiat 500. The quirky little hatch is an engaging driver with adorable looks. It is not what we’d call fast, however – even the Fiat 500 Abarth just barely lands itself in “quick” territory.

Fortunately, there are hard-working souls out there willing to remedy the machine’s acceleration deficit. Lazzarini Design has done some measuring and discovered that, with a little body work, the 500 can play host to much more formidable powerplant. How formidable? The crew wants to yank the beating heart from the Ferrari 458 Italia and plop the 4.5-liter V8 behind the seats of cinquecento. You know, where the car gods intended the engine in the 500 to be.

These are clearly our kind of people.

But they aren’t entirely off their medication. The engine has been detuned from 570 horsepower to a more reasonable 550 hp. Lazzarini says the project actually stretches the 500 wheelbase by almost a foot in order to fit the engine and transmission safely aboard. The whole machine weighs in at 2,200 pounds, even with ballast on both front corners to keep the car planted. If you like what you see, the studio says it is currently looking for an investor to help build the machine. Lazzarini Design estimates the project will cost around $550,000. Check it out over at the Lazzarini site.

A 458 Italia-powered Fiat 500 is not a good idea, it’s the best idea originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Jun 2012 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2012 Fiat 500 Abarth sold out

June 5, 2012 at 5:52 am

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2012 Fiat 500 Abarth in white with red trim - at speed, front three-quarter view

Eager to get your hands on the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth? Get in line, and be warned: you’re going to have to wait.

According to The Detroit News, Chrysler has stopped taking wholesale orders on the 2012 model year 500 Abarth. According to sources within the automaker, customers who plunk down the money for the hotted-up 500 right now will be put on the 2013 model year waiting list, with those cars expected to arrive in the fall. In a statement to the Motown newspaper, Chrysler officials simply said that the number of orders received “exceeded the production run of this model for the 2012 model year.”

Chrysler had originally planned to build about 1,000 Abarth models for the 2012 model year. However, those cars were all spoken for by the end of April – the Abarth’s first month on sale – so the automaker upped production to 3,000 units. According to the Detroit News, this was the maximum number of units that the Fiat factory in Toluca, Mexico could handle.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth sold out originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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