Episode 708 – GM Stock Plunges, BYD Gets “Buffeted,” Power-to-Weight: V-8 Ponycars

August 23rd, 2011 at 11:46am

Runtime: 8:22

GM’s stock is taking a beating!  It’s plummeted 34 percent since the IPO.  Warren Buffet’s baby, Chinese automaker BYD, is also taking it on the chin following a disappointing profits report.  Saab is sinking . . . fast.  Its financial situation looks grimmer by the minute as debt collectors come a-knocking.  All that and more, plus another power-to-weight comparison, this time with V-8 ponycars.

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This is Autoline Daily for August 23, 2011. And here’s the latest from the frontlines on the automotive battleground!

DA BEARS MAUL GM
Whoa! What’s going on with the price of GM’s stock? Yesterday it closed at only $21.71, down from its IPO price of $33. Even though the overall market is down about 14 percent, GM’s stock is down by 34 percent. Even though I’m not going to buy any, it’s starting to look like an attractive price, and that explains why senior officers in the company have been buying big chunks of it.

BYD GETS BUFFETED
Speaking of a plummeting stock price, BYD, the Chinese automaker, saw its stock fall off a cliff yesterday because profits plunged 99 percent for the most-recent quarter. That stock has fallen 81 percent from its peak two years ago. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet put $230 million into the company back then, and while that investment is now worth twice that, at one point it was $2 billion more than it is today.

WHAT RECESSION?
And yet, despite all the troubles with stock prices, the debt crisis, and all the uncertainty going around, the rich seem largely unaffected. Bloomberg reports Audi is hiring people to help boost production of its A8 flagship by nearly 60 percent! A company spokesman says they expect sales to remain strong AT LEAST through next year. According to Ward’s, in the U.S. last month, the A8 was up almost 300 percent year over year (subscription required).

SAAB SINKS LOWER (subscription required)
But there’s a big difference in the health of luxury brands compared to those that are merely premium brands. And in this case, we’re talking about SAAB. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Swedish debt agency discovered the automaker only has about 5.1 million kronor in cash, about $800,000. But with an estimated 50 million kronor in debt, Saab is in deep doo-doo. And now the company is telling workers, once again, that it could delay paying them. I hate to say I told you so. Back in June I estimated the company’s payroll at about $28 million a month. If it’s only got 800 grand in the bank, they’ll burn through that in a matter of minutes.

QUIET, PLEASE!
Buick is starting to leak out details about its new compact car, the Verano. The message the Buick folks want to get out is how they’ve tried to make this car as quiet as possible. Inside they’ve got foam pads, sound absorbing blankets, thick mats, spray-deadener and dense carpeting. They’re also using double layers of glass in the front doors and thicker glass all the way around. To demonstrate how quiet the car is, they had a worker with a leaf blower walk past a Verano as the window gets rolled up.

Coming up next, more power-to-weight comparisons. This time with V-8 pony cars. Stick around!

A while back we compared the power-to-weight ratios of entry-level V-6 ponycars. We pitted the Chevrolet Camaro against its local rivals, the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang PLUS an overseas upstart, the Genesis Coupe. Today, it’s time to step up to the V-8-powered models.

Again, we’re looking at the lowest-priced offerings from each manufacturer, and they’re all pretty close. No bells, no whistles and no Hyundais in this face off. The biggest engine you can get in the Genesis Coupe is a 3.8-liter V-6.

Like before, these muscle machines are each equipped with six-speed manual transmissions. And interestingly the Camaro and Challenger both use the same gearbox, the Tremec TR-6060.

If you remember, last time Hyundai and Ford delivered the best power-to-weight ratios thanks to their lower curb weights. Today’s battle looks a little more evenly matched.

The Camaro SS is powered by an old-school 6.2-liter pushrod small block delivering a best-in-test 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. You know what they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The big, bad Dodge follows a similar formula. With variable valve timing on board, its 5.7-liter HEMI churns out a healthy 376 horsepower with 410 foot-pounds. Under-hood the Mustang is the highest tech. Its new Five-Oh – the smallest engine here – features double-overhead-cams with TiVCT to really make some power. Its numbers are 412 and 390. Again, these competitors are pretty evenly matched.

As always, weight is a deciding factor. And once again the Challenger is the fat guy of the group, topping 4,000 pounds (4,082) in R/T trim! The Camaro is a little lighter at about 3,800 ell-bees. But as expected, the Mustang is the trimmest, tipping the scales at just about 3,600 pounds. The difference between the Challenger and the ‘Stang is 477 pounds!

Let’s crunch some more numbers. Take a look at the pounds-per-horsepower row of our handy-dandy chart. Given its massive curb weight the Challenger has the worst score, but not by much. At only 10.9 pounds-per-pony it’s still a rocket ship. The Camaro betters that, hitting just nine pounds. The Mustang takes top honors at about 8.8.

Things are even closer in the Torque department. We had to carry this one out the hundredths place! Thanks to its big cubic inches the Camaro delivers the best number.

As much fun as all this tire-smoking, V-8 performance is, we can’t forget about fuel economy. And again, light weight really pays off. The Ford has the best city and highway efficiency at 17/26 miles per gallon. Camaro and Challenger are neck and neck, with the Chevy delivering one more MPG around town. It’s a tie on the open road.

As before, hit the link in today’s show notes on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv, to download an Excel file with even more figures. Find out how these machines stack up against each other in a variety of other categories like specific output and pounds per dollar.

You can listen to a new episode of RoundAbout with Jim and Bob Hall. Topics include a car that can go 1 million miles without refueling, an Audi Q7-turned-pickup, and a Corvette-inspired hybrid that could use a little help. Plus, the crew pits brother against brother in a Dream Cruise-themed edition of the Versus game. All that available right now at — say it with me — AutolineDetroit-dot-TV.

And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

52 Comments to “Episode 708 – GM Stock Plunges, BYD Gets “Buffeted,” Power-to-Weight: V-8 Ponycars”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Even though, for the most part I’m a GM fan, the Buick demonstration should have had the leaf blower static (then roll up the window). I’m sure the Buick is quiet (even the Cruze has had accollades of being quiet); just would have liked a more honest test.

  2. tj Martin Says:

    Ohhh somebody got out of bed early today !
    :o

    GM Stocks – Big surprise ( not ) Reality finally found its way to Wall Street and down comes GM’s stock . Damn reality !

    SAAB – John’s report barely scratches the surface . ALL of SAAB’s creditors/suppliers are calling for bankruptcy proceedings , the Chinese investors are doing bupkiss and the former Spyker , now SAAB board is bleeding SAAB for every Kronor they can suck out of the dying beast . Damn Dutch !

    BYD/ Warren Buffet – The moment he announced he was investing in the Chinese auto manufacture the Mrs and I took every last dime we had in Berkshire Hathaway out , placing it elsewhere .

    I may have purchased foreign ( because the US makes had nothing to offer me ) but I’ll be damned if I’ll invest foreign , especially the Chinese . Well …. except in the families bank overseas .

    Bad form Warren !

    Finally . Me NO WANT NO Stinkin Hybrid Corvette . And neither does anyone else !

  3. MJB Says:

    Congrats Mustang.

    But I’d still much rather be seen behind the wheel of the Camaro.

  4. tj Martin Says:

    BUICK Quiet test;

    If GM and BUICK expect anyone with half a brain to take this seriously they’d of done what Chuck Grenci suggested ( #1) as well as had a dB meter on hand to prove the sound levels were real .

    Real measurements , not subjective there GM !

    Hopeless & Clueless . GM’s current state of affairs . Oh well the Stock Market at least is finally catching on !

  5. MJB Says:

    @#1 – agreed.

    ANY car interior is going to seem quiet in a ‘comparitive’ test like that.

    Heck, if I were to step outside right now and stand in front of one of the grounds maintenance crew wielding a leafblower (or even a riding mower), then stick my fingers in my ears, guess what? It’s gonna seem awfully quiet ‘in comparisson’.

    I have no doubt that the Buick cabins are quiet as can be. I’ve seen data that proves some of them are as quiet as (and even quieter than some models of) Lexus. THAT’S that kind of data I respect. Not PR-type gimicks like that one.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Challenger is the best looking of the “pony cars,” IMO. Too bad it’s so obese. There are some tradeoffs, though, as the Challenger has the roomiest back seat, for those who might use a back seat in these cars.

  7. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    But you’d rather be DRIVING the Mustang . especially when dealing with all those blind spots on the Camaro ( even the convertible with the top down , its worse than the SRX ) as well as having every Mustang made blow by you like you were standing still !

    Camaro = Poseur

    Mustang = The Real Deal

    Challenger = In need of lots of work , but the best looker so Poseur as well

    Wink Wink !

  8. jesse Says:

    I’ve owned several Corvette’s over the last decade,from an 89 UP TO THE MOST RECENT 08.I drove an SS CAMARO the other day.426 HP,CORVETTE MOTOR etc.At that weight and pulling 9 pounds per horsepower compared to 7.1 in my 436 hp Z51 NPP (DUAL MODE EXHAUST)Vette.it felt like I was pulling a refrigerator back there!I was considering buying one just for something different,but I can’t get past the bogged down feel of it after being in the Vette.Now,when the ZL1 comes out with it’s 550 hp,That’s a car I could live with…unless I drive a Z06 first!!

  9. HtG Says:

    For the leaf blower test we first need to establish a control by firing it up in the back seat with the windows closed. That establishes a baseline. Next, see how well you hear it when it’s relocated outside the car. This is how engineers think.

  10. HtG Says:

    So here’s another test I did. I put a 25lb box of roma tomatoes in the passenger footwell of my Miata, and about the same weight in veggy-fruits in the trunk. That 50 pounds seriously bogs down the handling of the car, to say nothing about acceleration. All future power to weight comparos should divide the results by 2200lbs, the curb weight of a light car like the Miata. (yes, I do commit the sin of pride)

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Once again a Chrysler product lagging behind the competition in just about every point, leaf blower, really?? how about road noise, expansion joint thump and assorted suspension and tire sounds. BTW quiet is not particularly a sign of quality. Case in point my sister’s Journey, pretty quiet, still a big POS! SAAB, is there an industry equivalent of Dr Kervorkian??

  12. MJB Says:

    @tj,

    I should have known to close that back door.

    Yes, I agree the Challenger is probably the fiercest looking dog in the show. The Camaro’s got the look-at-me factor. While the Mustang is too busy trying to be attractive to the ladies to be taken too seriously by the likes of me (with the exception of the Shelbys and whatnot).

    Now, the stangs of my high-school years were a different story. I think my favorite STOCK body style would have to be the 1989 coupe:

    http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2010/07/18/00/24/1989_ford_mustang_lx_5_0l_coupe-pic-3344559271337199058.jpeg

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    Me …. the 69. Ohhh Baby !

    Here’s the age old saying for the Pony Car of choice and who drives them . From 1970 but still relevant today

    Challenger – For the wanna be bad boy , wishing he was of the mothers don’t want their daughters to seen with you set , while in reality being more the Beer Addled , large of waist , soon to be a CPA crowd .

    Camaro – The Polite Muscle Car . The kind of muscle car no father or mother would be afraid to let their daughters be seen in . The gentry buys Camaro’s for their wanna be sons hoping it might inject a bit of testosterone while not offending anyone at The Club .

    Mustang – The REAL deal Genuine Grade A Government inspected BAD BOY’s car . Mothers and fathers quake with fear when you pull up to the house to pick up their daughters knowing full well any innocence left will soon be gone .

    Good for a laugh if nothing else :o

    ( from an old Car Craft magazine )

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ jesse

    Drive the Z06 first . You’ll never consider the ZL1 Camaro again

    Better yet and for less money . Drive the C6 Grand Sport . You’ll be amazed !

    The ZR1 ? Off the charts , yet still a daily driver ( no matter what some of the press may say )

    Wanna know the funniest part ? The C6 Corvettes have far less blind spots and a lot more luggage room than the new Camaros , making them the perfect Route 66 cross country tourer ……… while raising ____ along the way !

  15. dcars Says:

    Ford stock was at a high of over $19 in January 2011 and today it’s trading around $10. All stocks are down. I love the look of the current group of pony cars.

  16. HtG Says:

    you got that right dcars. These new pony cars look a riot coming down the road.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Mustang is a Falcon with a sportier body. At least that’s how it started.

  18. Steve Says:

    I had a chance to drive a new Camaro and Corvette. The Corvette was so much nicer in terms of driver comfort. The seat was just right. When I was in the Camaro it reminded me of my Vega. You just don’t get the elbo room. I would think that a Mustang would be the same. The Dodge may be more comfortable.

  19. tj Martin Says:

    F1 News

    A Senna in a Lotus perhaps ?

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110823/F1/110829956

    Even if it goes badly this would sure bring back a lot of memories

    @Kit – A Falcon with a sportier body , much better suspension etc etc etc . The old Mustang that is .

    @ Steve – I am loving your take on the Corvette/Camaro comparison .

    Couldn’t of said it better , and makes me mad I didn’t come up with it myself .

    But ….. the Mustang has a lot more room , is more comfortable , and the joke is it handles a lot better than the Camaro . The Dodge is a bloated pig and drives like one as well . But ohhh the C6 ( he rants on )

  20. Mark Says:

    Regarding your segment “Power-to-Weight: V-8 Ponycars”, why did you NOT include the Dodge Challenger with the 6.4 Litre 470 horsepower “natural” Hemi V8 engine from the factory ??? I cannot wait for the NEW year 2012 Dodge Power Wagon with the 6.4 Litre 470 horsepower “natural” Hemi V8 engine from the factory !!!

  21. HtG Says:

    I felt the earthquake here in Westchester NY. The chair moved under me and my coffee was rocking about 2mm. No sound. My brother in law in DC said the whole house was shaking, and he bolted out of the house. He’s pretty juiced up. COOL!

  22. T. Bejma Says:

    “tj Martin Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    BUICK Quiet test;

    If GM and BUICK expect anyone with half a brain to take this seriously they’d of done what Chuck Grenci suggested ( #1) as well as had a dB meter on hand to prove the sound levels were real.”

    I had the opportunity to see a version of this test in person with a car blasting a White Snake song next to it (not moving) and it IS as dramatic as the video clip looks. The Marketing people knew they weren’t going to pay royalties to put it in a commercial, but believe me, the Verano will amaze you!

    “tj Martin Says:
    August 23rd, 2011 at 12:12 pm
    @ MJB

    But you’d rather be DRIVING the Mustang . especially when dealing with all those blind spots on the Camaro ( even the convertible with the top down”

    You lost all credibility with that statement. How could a car have blind spots without at top?? I’ve driven both the Corvette (Z06 Carbon) and Camaro (SS Convertible) and neither has very good visibility. That’s not why you buy a car like that. I guess you just need to have a little extra skill at knowing your surroundings and adjusting your mirrors in order to drive these cars. Not a skilled driver? Stick to your Honda Accord and Toyota Camry’s…

  23. tj Martin Says:

    @ T . Bejima #22

    e.g. ” you lost all credibility ….”

    So like SG you missed out on John McEllroys as well as several other reviews of the Camaro Convertible and its multiple BLIND SPOTS !

    Hate to clue you in but the blind spots on the Camaro are equally caused by the front and rear fender lines , as well as the miniscule windows . I KNOW this because I’ve driven the Camaro and its convertible Cousin and at 6′$’ I CANNOT see over those stupid fenders for the life of me . A Kiwi Journalist friend that had use of the convertible here is 6’1″ and had the same complaints

    So back to the BUICK noise test ….. and why should I believe you in light of your recent TOTAL lose of credibility ?

    No db meter . No VALID and VERIFIABLE results

    Care to argue that one now TB ?

    Didn’t think so .

  24. tj Martin Says:

    @ T.Bejima

    ” …… stick to your Honda Accord …… ”

    Missed out on my car ownership as well ehhhhhh?

    Current wheels 2011 M-B GLK

    Previous MINI Cooper , Ferrari 365GTC4 , 65 Old 442 , etc etc

    Licenses held ; SCCA & FIA FF2000 , F3 and Rally as well as NHRA .

    Care to have a little go sometime in equal cars on a track ? Best of ten laps wins ?

    Once again … I didn’t think so .

    Better get a clue who you’re dealing with before letting lose with the snide remarks little man !

  25. Aliisdad Says:

    The Challanger is awesome looking…Wow, I lust after this car almost even more than I did for the original when I was young…However, it is a little too big…Hopefully the next version can be built on a more suitable platform, and the size can be altered down a little…But keep some version of the “look” that is such a good evolution of the original…Only downside that I can see is poor Chrysler assembly quality…Hopefully, that will improve in time, too..Then, some day I will be driving by the Dodge dealer’s new car lot, and I may loose control and pull in with my wallet in my hand…

  26. tj Martin Says:

    Just for the record all since once again I’m being challenged by someone absolutely clueless as to who I am as well as the skills etc in my CV driving wise .

    Back when I was participating on the CAR forum . one of their editors made a snide remark in print and online about American drivers all being worthless on and off track.

    I replied online as well as to him personally , issuing him a challenge on any track , with any two equal cars anywhere in the world , with two days practice beforehand .

    Winner pays all expenses as well as dinner . In my personal email I gave him my real name as well as my compete and verifiable racing CV

    He apologized for his comments and respectfully declined

    So much for lack of skill etc when it comes to my legitimate complaints about blind spots , especially GM’s

    ( any bets TB works for GM ? )

  27. T. Bejma Says:

    I am very proud to say that I DO work at GM and have on several occasions stated that. I guess with all of your self proclaimed skills, memory is not one of your best.

    I could care LESS what kind of cars you own. Keeping track of your buying tendancies on this site is not worth waisting the brain power to retain. My remark about the Accord and Camry was to generalize that if you want no blind spots by a boring (looking) car. If you want to buy a car that looks GREAT and requires more skill than the average driver to control safely, then step up to a Camaro, Corvette, Challenger, etc…

    Read again, I never denied they had blind spots. Guess reading comprehension is another skill yet to be mastered…

  28. T. Bejma Says:

    TJ – Would be happy to race you on a track with equal cars. I also raced for 5 years in the SCCA Improved Touring Class in a Mazda RX-7 at Waterford Hills Road Racing Track, Mid Ohio and Gingerman…

    How do you like that, littler man…

  29. tj Martin Says:

    @ T.Bejima

    ” How could a convertible have blind spots without a top ”

    # 22 Did you write this or did you not ?

    As to the rest of your response .. well its obvious you’re like most online . Willing to make the challenge and toss out the snarkisms but when push comes to shove you go crawling under your snide comments as a response rock you hide so well under .

    I also see you’re still challenging my driving skills and abilities verbally , but are unwilling to step up and do so in person

    Well thats OK TB . You’d lose anyway . Your kind ALWAYS does

    That Reality vs Virtual thing you know . You being the virtual

  30. tj Martin Says:

    T Bejima

    Any time . Any place . Any where . Any car .

    But you might want to pay attention to the FIA licenses as well as the FACT that I drove REAL race cars … not those pathetic tin box IT mobiles the SCCA lets on track to keep the likes of you paying the fees .

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ T Bejima

    Oh and would you also like a lesson in Copyright law as well as the realities of Stock Music and another reason why your claims for the Buick sound test have Zero Credibility to go with the driving lesson I’d hand you ?

    Thought not .

  32. T. Bejma Says:

    Don’t care what kind of race car you drove. The only reason I wasn’t driving what you refer to as “real” race cars is because I was busy raising a family and racing as a hobby. I would still gladly put my skills against yours on the track. If you were so good, why aren’t you still racing? I ran out of money, what’s your excuse? Not fast enough?

  33. tj Martin Says:

    T. Bejima

    Tell you what family man . Funny I’ve known plenty of racers with families who found the money/sponsorship in spite of kids etc assuming they were any damn good !

    But since you ask .

    In 1982 I was offered a full factory contract by TTE ( look it up little man ) which would of started with the Swedish National Championship moved on to a full WRC ( or World Championship as it was called back then ) ride .

    I then had to make a CHOICE to either continue on with a successful music career or change over to racing full time as doing both seriously enough to succeed at either was impossible , not having the likes of Nick Mason’s money and family connections , as well as the music I do and the driving i was being asked to do requiring 100% dedication

    And FYI once I graduated Karting I never paid my own way again and in fact was always PAID to race .

    That clear enough ?

    But FYI I have maintained my skills well enough to be invited as an instructor at several driving schools as well as PCA events .

    Along with some recent invites to race/rally in classic events .

  34. tj Martin Says:

    T.Bejima

    So much for History and back to credibility .

    On # 29

    DID you or did you not type the statement I quoted from post # 22 ?

    Still haven’t gotten a response on that one

    Deflecting a bit perhaps ?

  35. T. Bejma Says:

    TJ – Very envious of your racing invites. If I would not have started getting into racing at 26 years old, I may have gotten some of those opportunities. Guess that wasn’t my path…

    And yes, I do admit that I wrote that a convertible did not have blind spots with the top down. What I was referring to was the back and side blind spots that are so bad on the Camaro especially with the even smaller back window.

    I don’t consider fenders and not being able to see the front corner of the car a blind spot. Aside from and open wheel race car, I (at 6’4″) can’t see the front corner of any car. I LOVE looking out the front of the Camaro and seeing a lot of bulging hood and fenders. Once I got comfortable with knowing where the front corners of the car were (sometimes leaving a little extra space in front of the car on a pull in parking spot) it wasn’t even an issue. Same with the side and rear. The mirror adjustment was very adequate for me to feel comfortable within about 30 minutes of driving the car.

  36. W L Simpson Says:

    Since the Buick is just another unibody, I bet road surface noise is no different from the rest.
    I just rebuilt a Terrain (hit hard in the front)
    for my own use & filled every cavity w/expanding
    foam sound control as i reassembled.Also sound mats under the carpet. Same road noise levels as my wife’s 2010 Equinox, & I bet the leaf
    blower would be just as quiet as the Buick.
    Quiet tires are alleged to help, wear out twice as fast.

  37. tj Martin Says:

    T.Bejima

    So can I assume # 35 is a peace offering and we can drop this whole argy bargy bit ?

    As far as blind spots T. at age 55 I’ve had enough of compensating for bad design ( the fact that the Corvette C6 has no major blind spots says it all when it comes to bad design )

    FYI I’ve driven too many cars without significant blind spots such as the new AMG SLS , Bristol Fighter , Acura NSX et al ( not bragging by the way , just have a lot of gearhead and journalist friends who love tossing their musician friend the keys on both sides of the pond ) not to mention the Ferrari’s I’ve owned to ever accept that todays cars Blind Spots are anything but Really bad , poorly thought out design .

    Thats where I’m coming from . Blind Spots are not required for a fantastic looking car . Never have been . Never will be .

    Blind spots are in fact a matter of Form superseding and in truth sacrificing Function .

    Be it in a House , Commercial Building , Museum Clothing or Cars that is a formula I refuse to ever accept

    I know better and I’m guessing deep down so do you

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #19,
    That could be interesting. The Renaults are “almost” competitive on a good day, so Bruno should be able to demonstrate what he does, or doesn’t have.

  39. T. Bejma Says:

    TJ – I have no real beef with you. Spirited back and forth with a challenging foe adds a little excitement to a day of meetings, conference calls and emails…

    I guess we will agree to disagree with regards to blind spots because being an Automotive Engineer I live the frutstrations of the Program Teams when they are developing the production version of a really great looking concept. Government rollover requirements that have caused our A-Pillars to grow significantly, multiple air bags (especially side curtain and B-Pillar), shape contstraints due to cost when constructing rear glass and a host of other additions to cars that do nothing to aid in visibility.

    I own a 1969 Cutlass Convertible Hurst Olds reproduction that I restored myself so I see how simple cars used to be compared to my Supercharged Cobalt SS and others out there today.

    I really think that if the designers were allowed to make a car exactly how they wanted, they could produce a great looking vehicle with good visibility. It would just have to get by with a 1 star crash rating…

  40. HtG Says:

    I never did get to hear your review of the SLS, tj. Brake and steering feel, yes/no?

  41. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Shame on you my good man ! I certainly did give you the full scoop on the SLS .

    Its an amazing car . Do I aspire to own one ? Well know I don’t . Would I recommend one ? Depends .

    But in truth it is probably the most capable and drivable Super/Grand Touring car made today .

    For all that power , handling , speed and dare I say it safety it looks great , drives better and is in essence the spiritual successor to the 300SL Gullwing

    And more than anything it IS a Mercedes . I’m really getting what that means of late , not only driving mine but a few classics lately as well .

    It aint no BMW . And its not supposed to be

    @ T Bejima ; No beef on my side either its just we were getting a bit carried away .

    Agree to disagree yes but on your final comment ;

    “…….. it would have to get by with a 1 star crash rating … ”

    Well I’d aim your attention towards the C6 , SLS I just mentioned as well as have a look see at the Bristol Fighter . Fast as all ____ Safe as can be and nary a major blind spot

    A quote from a protoge of the famous Automotive writer , the late great LJK Setright , when asked the difference between the Bristol Fighter T and the Bugatti Veyron ;

    ” The difference is the Fighter is designed to be driven , whereas the Veyron is a piece of Automotive jewelry better hung around your neck than driven on any road ”

    Also from Bob Lutz’s book .. a paraphrase ;

    Cars today are designed to be looked at and not to be driven

    It can be done my friend … if only the powers that be ( money guys ) would let you engineers and the designers work together towards a common goal .

    FYI we’ve got something almost in common . I built my 65 442 w/69 455 balanced blueprinted 1/4 in mid 11′s in HS ( 70′s ) with the help of my two uncles ( one owned a body shop the other a speed shop ) Nothing like DIY

  42. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    OK HtG ….. time of reckoning .

    I know you protect your privacy and all and I respect that ( do you really think for a minute Tj martin is even close? )

    But generally speaking . Where in the heck DO you call home?

    At least a State if not the City

    What prompted this inquiry was your comment on todays rumpty bumpty ( earth quake )

  43. tj Martin Says:

    # 38

    Heck Kit , if he does ( Bruno Senna getting the Lotus seat ) I’ll have to make myself watch just to see how the nephew ( Ayrton’s ) does .

    At least its at Spa which is still a great track in spite of the changes

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    According to Yahoo Autos, the new Camry hybrid appears to be a huge step forward in the class, getting 40 mpg for real, and having plenty of acceleration plus a much improved interior and driving dynamics, glad to see that the giant is waking up from its slumber.

  45. HtG Says:

    @42 here you is, tj. Somewhere near here. Close enough to take Mill Rd. eastward, downhill to the entrance ramp onto the Hutch southbound lanes. Oh yeah! Right, then left, then right, then slow down from 70 to merge into the herd.

    http://mapq.st/rs5p2J

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #44,
    It looks like the new Camry hybrid will be where it should be in mpg. The old one was rather underwhelming, given that the Fusion did significantly better, even though the power train is based on Toyota patents. I’ll reserve judgement on the overall goodness of the new Camry until I see it, but I suspect it will be an improvement for the intended, non-car-buff market.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, if you were running Toyota and Camry being the best seller year after year would you mess with it to try to attract people who would not buy it anyways at the risk of driving away those who do?

  48. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ PEDRO #11:Answer,yes,sergio macaroni.

  49. tj Martin Says:

    pedro & Kit

    NYTimes and AW are giving the Camry two thumbs up across the board

    @ HtG – So you’sa Yankees fan . I assume ( please tell me you’re not a Beannie Baby fan )

    Two thumbs up !

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the new Camry will be quieter, quicker, get better mpg, and have nicer cabin appointments than the old one. The styling remains similar to the old one, not a bad thing for people in this market segment. The sales gap between Camry and number 2 will widen.

  51. dcars Says:

    The nice thing about the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger is they are ready made show cars! I’d like to own one.

  52. tj Martin Says:

    @ dcars

    So head on down to your local Ford dealer and strike up a deal on the V6 Mustang . The power will amaze you ( especially for a V6 ) MPG is better than decent , the price is more than reasonable , and heck if a few pennies less price tag is needed , find a good clean used one.

    Seriously as much as I rant about the BOSS 302 the V6 is more than enough car for anyone .