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Fiat Wants More Freemont Units From Chrysler

Fiat Freemont

It seems that the Fiat Freemont, which is nothing more than a rebadged Dodge Journey, is a big hit for the Italian automaker as they’ve asked Chrysler to increase the output in order to meet orders. The car was introduced in Italy last month and Fiat said that they want to sell 13,000 units this year, but in an interview given to Automotive News, the manufacturer said that they’ve already received 15,700 orders.

Fiat Freemont

For next year, Fiat is planning on selling 33,000 units of the Freemont large minivan so they got a promise from Chrysler that they’ll get 3,000 cars per month from the Toluca plant in Mexico. In order to meet this higher than anticipated demand in Europe, Chrysler increased the production of the Freemont by more than a third, rolling out in June 4,067 cars by working overtime. Chrysler is searching for methods to deliver 4,000 units every month without the additional costs that come with overtime.

Fiat Freemont

Perhaps the most important reason why the Freemont is doing so well in comparison to the Journey is because the Italian car maker has a considerably larger dealer network in Europe. The best year for the Dodge Journey was in 2009 when the company sold 8,318 cars, but last year they only sold 6,375, according to JATO Dynamics, a market researcher.

Fiat Freemont

According to Fiat, 80% of the orders they’ve received for the Freemont come from Italy and 80% of those who ordered the car are new to Fiat. Another reason why the car has turned out to be successful is due to the affordable price tag as its base price in Italy is 24,900 Euros, which is 5,600 Euros (18%) more affordable than the slow-selling (and ugly I might add) Fiat Ulysse that the Freemont replaces.

Source: Fiat, Chrysler via Automotive News

Chrysler Updates Grand Voyager MPV

Chrysler Grand Voyager

Chrysler has unveiled this week the update for the Grand Voyager MPV which now comes with a new grille, hood and a lower fascia that Chrysler says it provides a “premium look”. Out in the back, it gets new LED lights, boot lid and a bumper.

Inside the cabin, the Grand Voyager comes with a better “Stow ‘n Go” seating, featuring bigger seats as well as a new fold-into-the-floor one-touch mechanism. If you opt for the LX trim you will also get a brand new leather steering wheel that sports audio controls, along with cruise control. The Touring variant benefits from Bluetooth, a 30 GB HDD, auto dimming rear view mirror and a reversing camera. Opt for the Limited model and you will get Nappa leather upholstery, crosspath detection and blind spot monitoring.

The car is powered by a 2.8-liter CRD diesel engine that generates 161 hp and 265 lb.-ft of torque. With this engine, the Grand Voyager can do the 0-62 mph sprint in 12.8 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 115 mph. The fuel economy is rated at 33.6 mpg UK while CO2 emissions are 222 g/km.

In the LX trim level, the base price for the Chrysler Grand Voyager is 27,995 pounds; while the Touring will set you back at least 29,995 pounds. The top-spec Limited model costs from 35,995 pounds.

Source: Chrysler via Autocar.co.uk

Ram Long-Hauler Concept Revealed

Ram Long-Hauler Concept

Measuring an almost incredible 24 feet (7.3 meters) long, we completely agree with the Chrysler Group saying that “they don’t get much bigger” than their new Ram Long-Hauler Concept truck. This huge vehicle is based on a Class 5 Ram 5500 Chassis Cab, and sports a stretched wheelbase that measures a whopping 197.4 inches in length and is 79.1 inches tall.

Ram Long-Hauler Concept

As you would expect from a truck that has these dimensions, its weight is also quite astonishing, standing at 9,300 lbs (4,218 kg). Ram affirms that this truck has a maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating of 37,500 lbs (16,783 kg).

Ram Long-Hauler Concept

Under that massive hood is a big 6-cylinder 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel power unit that has a peak torque of 800 lb.-ft, mated to a 6-speed Aisin automatic gearbox. It sports a 4WD transfer case linked to a 4.88 Dana 110 axle with dual rear wheels. To reach your destination, you need a pretty large fuel tank, and luckily, the Long-Hauler has one as Ram fitted the truck with three of them, with a total capacity of 170 gallons.

Ram Long-Hauler Concept

It features a full Kelderman Air Suspension and massive 19.5-inch Alcoa aluminum rims, while the 2+2 interior has a DVD player with an overhead screen for the passengers in the back, along with a rear center console that sports tray tables, cup holders and a refrigerator.

Ram Long-Hauler Concept

Ram said that at the moment, the Long-Hauler remains a concept, but they will show it off across the United States during this year in order “to gauge public opinion”, which means that if it receives a positive feedback, we might see one the next year in our rear view mirror.

Ram Long-Hauler Concept

Source: Chrysler Group via Carscoop

Chrysler Group Plans On Repaying All Government Loans

Fiat is only a few steps away from owning 51% of the Chrysler Group as the latter has announced a few days ago that it will repay all the loans provided by the United States and Canadian governments in 2009. The $7.53 billion that the Auburn Hills-based automaker owns will be repaid during Q2 2011 which ends in June.

To get the money, Chrysler will have to use a new term loan facility, along with issuing new debt securities that are going to be sold to institutional investors in a private offering, along with proceeds from Fiat’s recent cash infusion that increases its stake in Chrysler.

Chrysler will have to pay $5.8 billion to the United States Department of the Treasury and another $1.7 billion to the Canadian federal and Ontario governments.

As we previously mentioned here on rpmGo, CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced that Fiat wants to take majority stake in Chrysler in 2011 and for accomplishing this; they have to buy another 16% of Chrysler for $1.27 billion, which will raise the company’s position to 46%. Later on this year, they will buy another 5% to obtain the majority stake. For increasing ownership to 51%, Fiat must roll out a 40 mpg model in the U.S.

Source: Chrysler via Carscoop

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Chrysler Will Introduce Natural-Gas Cars In 2017

Khodro Soren ELX

Cars running on natural gas are not very popular around the world, except for several countries like Brazil, Iran and India. In United States there are only a few and if you ask someone to name an alternative fuel, the first answer they’ll have is probably ethanol. In other parts of the world, 2% of all cars are running on natural gas so this shouldn’t come as a surprise that automakers are starting to research on this technology.

Fiat is already selling a bunch of natural-gas vehicles (aka NGVs) in Europe and South America, and most likely Chrysler will do the same thing in the years to come as part of making its lineup green. In addition, Fiat will probably own the majority stake in Chrysler so they’ll implement this strategy for launching NGVs.
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Fiat SpA Wants To Raise Chrysler Ownership With Another 16%

It was only a couple of days ago when Fiat SpA announced that they have increased their share at Chrysler by 5%, reaching a total of 30%. They don’t plan to stop there as rumors say that by the end of this June, the Italian group will raise its Chrysler ownership to 46%. These reports are coming from Automotive News who have quoted two unnamed insiders with direct knowledge of the matter, who talked about the plans of Fiat’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne.
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Chrysler, To Have Short 2011 Model Year

2011 Chrysler 300

Chrysler’s lineup of models was pretty short when they entered bankruptcy protection, but they’ve managed to improve this situation in the months to follow, and we can see their results this year with the launch of 16 new and refreshed models.
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Detroit City Council shows its appreciation for Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad


Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad featuring Eminem was one of the finest examples of commercials we’ve seen during this event. In fact, the ad was so successful that is still continues to move hearts and minds. Its success relied upon the fact that Chrysler went back to basic, back to its roots, back to the people of Detroit and to the essence of this town that gave America so many car, some better, some worse.

That’s why Detroit City Council decided to honor this commercial, by officially stating that it

“helped to paint a positive portrayal of our beloved city on a national level by filming the entire commercial inside the city of Detroit and showcasing all of our great landmarks.”

The ad is quite powerful and it’s definitely full of emotion and that’s why we love it. So often we talk about cars, forgetting that they’re the result of hard working people. This is a chance to think about that. Take a moment to do so.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HV6iWZaZQQ[/youtube]

Source: Autoblog.
Photo source.

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Chrysler Reveals Ram 1500 Adventurer

Ram 1500 Adventurer

Yesterday Chrysler revealed that they are going to introduce a new Ram model, the 1500 Adventurer. The truck will be addressing first time buyers and generally, the younger side of the market that is looking for a pickup truck. This new edition comes as a follow-up to the big hit Tradesman model which was revealed in January at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

The truck will feature a powerful V8 HEMI 5.7-liter engine that cranks out 390 hp and 407 lb.-ft of torque and it will be available in both 4×4 and 4×2 versions, and with a regular cab. The truck will be available with a 700-amp maintenance-free battery, 3.55 rear axle ratio, 26-gallon fuel tank, 160-amp alternator, heavy-duty engine and transmission cooling as well as four and seven-pin harness.

Ram 1500 Adventurer

In addition, the new Ram 1500 Adventurer will pack heavy-duty front and rear shock absorbers, a full-size spare tire, halogen headlamps, power rack-and-pinion steering plus front and rear stabilizer bars.

Chrysler did not left out the entertainment factor and added a 6-speaker media center with CD & MP3 support, a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet and an audio jack input.

Ram 1500 Adventurer

Similar with other previous Ram models, the 1500 Adventurer will be available with a bundle of personalization options, like folding and heated trailer-tow power mirrors, Mopar chrome steel bed rails, Mopar chrome tubular side steps, a Class IV receiver hitch, spray-in bedliner and under-rail bedliner and others as well.

Sales for the Ram 1500 Adventurer will commence in the second quarter of this year at a base price of $23,830.

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Rumor – Chrysler Will Reveal 200S and 300S Models

Chrysler 300 S Concept

According to some sources, the American automaker Chrysler will launch the S trim for their newest models – 200 and 300. Various manufacturers use the “S” for launching a sportier version of a certain model. This won’t be the case with the aforementioned two models because the “S” will stand for “Style”, meaning that none of the cars will get a power increase.

Most likely, the car will get new materials of the various interior trim elements, new equipment, new colors and other “boring” upgrades. The 200S and 300S will most likely get leather seats with Alcantara inserts, new exterior finish colors, other Alcantara inserts and a black headliner in the sedans.

The 200S will be available as standard with a V6 3.6-liter Pentastar engine that outputs 283 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and should be available this spring.

Obviously, the starting price for both models will be a little bit higher in comparison with the standard models, a couple of thousands if not more. Chrysler is planning on launching S models for every model in their lineup, including the Town & Country. They had a Town & Country S exhibited at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show which was organized last month and they plan on bringing another “S-ified” concept next week at the Chicago show.

We will provide more accurate info about the upcoming 200S and 300S once Chrysler pulls up the curtain of this new trim level.

Source: CarAndDriver

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Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 1

The 2011 edition of the Chicago Auto Show will open its doors on February 9th, lasting until the 20th of the month. Here are some of the most important cars that will be exhibited at this important automotive event.

2011 Audi TT-RS

Audi will be bringing three new production models in the United States: TT-RS, 2012 Audi A6 and the 2012 Audi A7 Sportback. The sexy TT-RS is the most powerful and expensive TT model and will be offered with a 5-cylinder 2.5-liter supercharged power unit that outputs 340 hp. At first, the car will be sold with only a 6-speed manual gearbox. Later on, the German automaker will introduce other transmissions.

The A6 grabbed the EyesOn Design award a couple of weeks ago at the Detroit Auto Show and will feature a V6 3.0-liter supercharged engine which will probably be linked to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The A7 Sportback will be offered with the same engine that churns 333 hp and will be linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox.

2012 BMW 1-Series Convertible

BMW will take to the Chicago Auto Show two of their newest models: the 2012 1-Series and the gorgeous 2012 6-Series. The first one will be available with new styling features that should be popular among American customers. The 128i and the 135i models will carry the 3.0-liter engine which is available in the 3-Series. The 128i will pack 230 hp under its hood while the 135i will be able to output 300 hp. If this isn’t enough, you could get the 1-Series M-coupe which will offer you 335 ponies to play around with.

If you like to drive with the top down, the 6-Series Convertible is the way to go. The car will feature a powerful V8 4.4-liter engine that cranks up 400 hp and is mated to BMW’s 8-speed automatic gearbox.

2012 Buick Verano

For those of you that prefer a car from the domestic market, the 2012 Buick Verano might be what you need. Placed below the Regal, the Verano will feature a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that outputs 177 hp and is linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. A couple of months later, the Verano will be available with a 2.0-liter.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

Aveo is dead, long live the Sonic. Chevrolet will be taking to Chicago their new car which will come with a 1.8-liter engine that produces 135 hp and is mated to either a 5-speed manual (as standard) or with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The car will also be available with a 1.4-liter turbocharged power unit that will be linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox, outputting 138 hp.

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

Being a North American auto show, it is obvious why all of the local automakers will be bringing their latest models. Chrysler will roll out the 200, 300 and the all-new Town & Country models. The first one will be the company’s new mid-size sedan, replacing the now defunct Sebring. As far as the engine choices are concerned, the 200 can be fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter, mated to a 4-speed / 6-speed automatic gearbox. The high-end 200 model will be equipped with a more powerful V6 3.6-liter that produces 283 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Presented at the Detroit Auto Show, the Chrysler 300 will be shown at Chicago next week. It will be available in three versions, as follows: Touring, Limited and the 300C. The first two versions will pack a V6 3.6-liter engine that produces 292 hp while the 300C will get a massive V8 5.7-liter that is good for 370 hp. The Town & Country will be available with a V6 3.6-liter engine which will be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The model will be available with the following trim levels: Touring, Touring L and Limited.

2011 Dodge Durango

Dodge will be bringing the Charger, Avenger, Journey and the Durango. The first one will feature two new sets of engines for the SE and R/T models. The SE will pack a V6 3.6-liter power unit that outputs 292 hp while the R/T will get a more powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that will offer 370 ponies. Both of the engines will be linked to a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

The Avenger will be available in four trim levels: Express, Mainstreet, Lux and R/T. The car will have a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that will output 173 hp, fitted with a 4-speed automatic transmission for the Express trim while the Mainstreet and Lux get a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The R/T will benefit from a V6 3.6-liter engine with 283 hp and a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Journey is a crossover/SUV which will be available in a 5-seater or 7-seater configuration. The model will be offered in five different trim levels: Express, Mainstreet, R/T, Crew and Lux. The entry-level Express will get a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that offers 173 hp and will be mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The rest of the trims will get a V6 3.6-liter that outputs 283 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Durango will be available in three different trim levels: Express, Crew and Citadel. All of them will benefit from the same power unit, which will be a V6 3.6-liter that produces 290 hp. The customers that choose the Crew or the Citadel trim levels can get a more powerful engine, in the shape of a 5.7 HEMI V8, good for 360 hp. Regardless of the engine, all cars will get a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

2012 Fiat 500

After a couple of years of waiting, Fiat will be delivering the lovely 500 model to the US market. For this reason, they will exhibit the car at the upcoming Chicago Auto Show. The model will be available in three trim levels: Pop, Sport and Lounge. The engine will be a 4-cylinder 1.4-liter that will output 101 hp and will be linked to either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic transmission. Later on, Fiat will launch the 2-door convertible 500C model.

Join us tomorrow for the second part of the article.

Nine-Speed Gearbox, Due In 2 Years

8-Speed Automatic Gearbox 2011 Chrysler 300

It wasn’t that long ago when we first drove a car equipped with a six-speed gearbox and we thought that that extra gear was quite cool. A couple of years have passed since then and the number of gears has continued to grow to seven, eight and it seems that pretty soon we will have a nine-speed gearbox. The German drivetrain supplier ZF is currently working on a nine-speed automatic gearbox and the first cars that will be equipped with it will be Chryslers.

According to ZF, the new gearbox which will be launched in two years will offer double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency. The gearbox is designed for vehicles with transverse power units, which account for about 80% of cars built around the world.

They also said that this new nine-speed gearbox will feature the “sporty genes”  of the eight-speed automatic that can be found in the 2011 Chrysler 300 (but I don’t think that it is a “sporty” car at all). The nine-speed unit will have the same weight as the eight-speed and the shift times will be measured in milliseconds.

The question is: is there going to be a ten-speed gearbox in the next few years? The answer is probably no, because according to Michael Paul who is executive VP of ZF, any further gains “would require an entirely different concept”.

Top 50 Worst Cars In All History PART 2

If the first part got you intrigued then grab a cup of coffee as we dive into the history of the most awful cars ever made.

Waterman Aerobile

Let’s start things with the Waterman Aerobile. Waldo Waterman had a dream. Seriously, he wanted to create a roadable airplane and he spent years developing it. He finished off his first successful prototype in 1934. His “Arrowplane” was in fact a high-wing monoplane that had tricycle wheels. While on the ground, the wings folded against the fuselage like those of a fly. Although it was a stupid project, it will however remain as the first authentic flying car. Twenty years later, he perfected his prototype and came up with the Aerobile which was created as a swept-wing “pusher” (basically it had a prop in the back). Surprisingly (or not) there were a couple of … let’s call them enthusiasts that wanted one of those things. Waldo’s only working Aerobile is now resting in the Smithsoian and God willing it will remain there.

Ford Edsel

Moving on, we find the Ford Edsel. Many of you might say that nothing was wrong with the car. Although it was kind of expensive and ate fuel like there was no tomorrow, it wasn’t an automotive disaster. However, it did make it into our top as it was the very first victim of the Madison Avenue hyper-hype. The marketing schemes of the Blue Oval advertised this as a wonder car, packing hundreds of horsepower under the hood when in fact it was a Mercury with a Ford badge. Other people say that the reason why it failed was because the front grill looked very similar to a vagina.

MGA Twin Cam

The MGA Twin Cam was another automotive flop. Introduced back in ’55 as the replacement of the popular TD model, it was itself put to sleep in ’62 when the MGB was launched. The car was anemic when it was first launched so the engineers at MG decided to offer an optional high-performance power unit with dual overhead cams. It was a complete disaster, the pistons were burning, the engine was leaking, and basically nothing worked. Several years after the engine was discontinued, it was discovered that all of the malfunctions of the car were caused by the carburetors. Too little, too late.

Zunndapp Janus

Here is one fascinating car – the Zunndapp Janus! Look at it! Even Mr. Bean wouldn’t want to drive this monstrosity. One of Germany’s piece of engineering, it was made in Nuremberg by a well-known motorcycle company and was based on the Dornier prototype. This baby had a groundbreaking 14 hp engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 50 mph. The “cool” thing about it is that it had a rear-facing back seat.

Amphicar

Moving to something a little more innovative we find the Amphicar, based on the Nazi Schwimmagen. It was a piece of crap, awful as a car, terrible as a boat. On water, it was slower than a frog as it had a top speed of only 7 mph. Although it might come as a shock for you, between 1961 and 1968, there were 4,000 units of the Amphicar made and some of them are still working, sort of. A fun fact you might say: there were some flooding in UK a couple of years ago and the Amphicar severed as a water taxi.

Chevrolet Corvair

We all know how great rear-wheel drive cars can be and how many advantages they can offer, but by putting the car’s most heavy component in the back, it will have the tendency to spin out. The guys over at Chevy knew that the Corvair was a lovely air-cooled car with a 6-cylinder engine in the back, similar to the VW Beetle, but they got cheap and not invested some money for the swing-axle rear suspension to make it more manageable. Its spinning tendency wasn’t the only thing wrong with it. In case of an accident, the driver had great chances of being impaled by the Corvair’s single-piece steering column. But wait, there’s more! The car didn’t like oil very much and leaked like a Panzer. The heating system was terrible as it would pump noxious fumes in the car.

Peel Trident

What can we say about the Peel Trident? It doesn’t look like a proper car but more like a science project that our kids have to do for school. We have no idea why was this thing created and for whom. What we do know that it was based on the P-50 and it might be the smallest car in the world, correct us if we are wrong. Kinda short on words but look at it…

AMC Gremlin

Here is a classic car, the AMC Gremlin. Richard Teague will remain in the history for creating some of the coolest cars of the 70s, but the Gremlin does not fall into that category, not by a long shot. It will remain in our minds for being one of the most curiously proportioned cars of all time with its truncated tail and long front overhang. If you wanted the cheapest car money could buy in the early 70s, this was the one.

Triumph Stag

This is a beautiful car, in our opinion. The Triumph Stag was definitely a looker during those days but it was doomed because of very bad engineering. To make the body structure stiffer, it had a T-bar that connected the roll hoop to the windscreen. The V8 3.0-liter engine was great, during those seconds when it actually worked.

Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop

The last car in today’s article is the Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop. The legend of the Imperial name was killed with this awful car. This vehicle had some of the longest fenders in all automotive history. It had a silly-huge 440 cubic inch V8 power unit and measured over 19 feet long! If you have never seen a third-world casino and have the possibility of getting inside this car, it is the same thing!

Join us tomorrow for another 10 automotive disasters. Stay tuned.

Top 50 Worst Cars In All History PART 1

Horsey Horseless

First, let’s start with the Horsey Horseless created by Uriah Smith from Battle Creek, Michigan. As you can see from the picture (and it wasn’t “fixed” in Photoshop) this (let’s call it) car had a wooden head attached to the front in order to make it look like a horse and carriage. Smith suggested that this horse head should be hollow in order to contain volatile fuel, another brilliant idea in our opinion, wouldn’t you say? I for one would like to see this so-called car for real, if there are any left as it isn’t very clear if it was actually built. Also, I would like to meet someone that purchased this “car”.

Ford Model T

Here is a car that 99% will not agree as being suitable for this top – the Ford Model T. Yes we know that this is the car that put American on the wheels and so on. The “Tin Lizzy”, who’s mass-production technique, was discovered by William C. Klann, who visited a “disassembly line” of a slaughterhouse, gave Americans the chance to visit the country on four wheels. Nothing wrong you would say, no? However, putting all these aside, if it weren’t for gas-powered vehicles, the air would be considerably fresher; the cities would not be suffocated by hundreds of thousands of cars and so on. Speaking of the Model T, it was a piece of junk with its crude instruments and body panels, think of it as a Yugo of its day.

Overland OctoAuto

Now, here is a “looker”, the Overland OctoAuto. Milton Reeves, the creator of this thing, didn’t hear that the all cars should have four wheels because it’s NORMAL. He must have had poor eyesight when he created the OctoAuto by welding in some bits to a 1910 Overland and by adding two more axles and four wheels. The car was presented at the first edition of Indianapolis 500. How many orders did he receive for this car? None of course! However, he didn’t stop here because next year he made the Sextauto which had a 6-wheels / single front axle design that shared the same faith as the OctoAuto. Milton Reeves will remain in the history of the automotive world not because of these cars, but for the fact that he is considered the inventor of the muffler.

Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo

Who wouldn’t like to drive a 3,200-lb motorcycle? If you could go back in the past, you could drive this awful Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo (even the name is terrible). Let’s not forget that it was powered by a V8 engine and it had training wheels. James Scripps-Both is the guy responsible for this monstrosity which is basically a two-wheeled vehicle that carries the 3,200-lb of weight on the 37-inch wooden wheels (the bling-bling of those days). The car will remain in history as being the first car powered by a V8 engine that was made in Detroit.

Briggs and Stratton Flyer

Here is another vehicle that blew us away, the Briggs and Stratton Flyer. In the 20s, cars were no longer considered as a primitive experiment as Cadillac, Rolls-Royce and Hispano-Suiza were already making luxurious and potent vehicles that had the newest technical discoveries. This vehicle wasn’t one of them. It was a motorized park bench on regular bicycle wheels. It had no windshield, no bodywork and no suspension! With its “massive” 2 hp engine and rear-wheel traction control, imagine what it was capable of doing, absolutely nothing. It was the 20s idea of the cheapest car, poorly implemented.

Fuller Dymaxion

Fuller Dymaxion is the product of R. Buckminster Fuller, one of the nutjobs of the 20th century. Conceived as a flying automobile/drivable plane, it had inflatable wings and jet engines. This awful-looking thing was in fact a three-wheel ground-bound zeppelin that had an enormous levered A-arm carrying the rear wheel. The first one created died due to the wobbly rear wheel while the next two iterations were heavier, bigger and slightly more maneuverable. Another one was made and it featured a stabilizer fin on top but it didn’t do anything to fix the instability in crosswinds. Its public appearance was doomed because of a fatal accident of unknown causes. Although it was a piece of crap, it remained one of the most futuristic cars of the 30s, along with other rear-engined vehicles like the KdF-wagen and the Tatra.

Chrysler/Desoto Airflow

If it was launched 20 years later, it would have been a huge hit; we are talking about the Chrysler/Desoto Airflow. It had many engineering and design innovations including a steel-spaceframe construction, aerodynamic singlet-style fuselage, light weight construction and near 50:50 weight distribution. The first cars made had very severe engine problems which didn’t made it very popular among Americans. Its appearance wasn’t also very appealing to them which is why Chrysler changed the grill with one that had a more conventional design and the car also received a raised trunk, but it was too late.

Crosley Hotshot

The first post-war American sports car was the Crosley Hotshot which was simply put, awful. With its 1,100 lbs weight and measuring 145 in. long, it was very slow and dangerous. Creator Powel Crosley Jr. fitted the car with a dual-overhead cam .75 liter 4-cylinder power unit that was brazed together from pieces of stamped tin.

Renault Dauphine

The Renault Dauphine (it originally got the name Corvette) is considered by many one of the slowest cars of all time. People over at Road and Track took it for a “spin” and were able to reach 60 mph from start in “only” 32 seconds. Due to the fact that it was a very cheap car, it sold in more than 2 million units, although it was poorly constructed and very rust-prone.

King Midget Model III

The King Midget Model I was launched in the late 40s and was sold as a $500 home-built kit, it was a very awful car, both inside and out. Introduced in ’57, the Model III was powered by a 9 hp engine and still was a piece of junk. Luckily, Government safety standards ended its misery life.

The top was inspired from Dan Neil’s “The 50 Worst Cars Of All Time“.

In Depth – 2011 Chrysler 200

2011 Chrysler 200

The people over at Chrysler knew that they had some serious actions to take in order to regain the much important buyer confidence. It seems that the company is slowly but surely recuperating some terrain with the launch of the new models for Dodge and Jeep, some of which were already officially unveiled while others will be launched in the upcoming months. This improved situation is mostly because of the new management guided by the Italians at Fiat. However, the story with the Chrysler cars is not that great as there are no real indications of upcoming progress for their models and buyers are very confused as far as the company is concerned.

After the famous Chapter 11 Chrysler emerged from some time ago, it was clear since then that the automaker will not resurrect the Sebring model. The model had a very long and degrading lifespan as a rental car service and it was neglected by both engineers and designers. All these made the Sebring a car that was a few leagues behind its most important rivals, even in 2007 when Chrysler rolled out the third generation of the car.

The American manufacturer decided to get rid of the Sebring name probably because of its bad history and launch the 200 model. The Chrysler 200 is a small-sized sedan that is based on the Sebring but comes with new sheet metal parts plus an updated interior. The mechanical compartment of the car was also reworked in order to fill in the gap with its most important competitors. The final product is a car that should have been manufactured from day one – an efficient cruiser that offers a bundle of features even on the entry-level trims. With the 200 model, Chrysler is hoping that people will forget about the Sebring model and focus on the future.

The designers over at Chrysler did everything in their power to give the new 200 model its own personality, differentiating it from the now defunct Sebring model. What they did is they added interesting details like the sculpted headlights for example, that have projection lenses and LED accents. They removed the Sebring’s weird striations and offered the 200 a fresh new look. To be more exact, they changed almost everything from the A-pillar forward. The front fascia of the 200 has now a more mature look with elegant brightwork that is nested down low plus a fancy grille that has blades which mirror the new updated design from Chrysler. Though the front look of the 200 model is somewhat anonymous, it still looks quite attractive in the opinions of many, including us.

Moving towards the back of the car, the Chrysler 200 is just as attractive, with its stylish sharp LED taillights, the cleaner rear fascia and the small strips of shiny down low and up top. Having a closer look at the back of the 200 model, you will notice that it looks similar to the Jaguar XF, which is definitely not a bad thing, taking into consideration that the XF is one of the most beautiful cars launched lately.

There are of course some bad parts with the Chrysler 200, like the same side profile and identical roofline with the Sebring. If you notice these, you will most likely think that the 200 is an updated version of the Sebring model. The car offers a clean look at its back thanks to the fact that it does not have any badges except the Silver Wing, but what we don’t like is the fact that it has very unattractive chrome “200” emblems on the car’s C pillars. We hope that Chrysler will eliminate them once they start working on the facelift model.

2011 Chrysler 200

Although the exterior of the car received many well-deserved updates, it is the interior that suffered many changes from the now archaic Sebring model. The Rubbermaid-style plastics are now history as the car now features soft-touch materials on the door panels and the dash. In addition, the car is now equipped with elegant high quality leather seats that are a delight to see and feel. The revision of the interior is capital as every single component (with two exceptions) of the cockpit has been either changed or thoroughly revised in order to forget about the rusty look of the Sebring. Which are the two exceptions you ask? The shifter and the hand-brake lever which still have the same cheap-feeling plastics that are not worthy of this new interior.

Moving on to the mechanical part of the 200, potential customers can get the car with the excellent V6 Pentastar engine that is capable of producing 283 hp and a decent 260 pound-feet torque. This new powerful V6 engine (linked to the all-new 6-speed automatic gearbox) will do 29 mpg on the highway, in comparison to the 31 mpg for the 4-cylinder. The latter has 100 hp less than the Pentastar which makes it a very unattractive offer, although it has 2 mpg to offer.

The entry-level Chrysler 200 will be available with the same 4-speed automatic transmission, just as the 2010 Sebring. Most likely, the 4-cylinder engine linked to this gearbox will be for the rental car duty. As an optional feature, the 200 can be fitted with a modern 6-speed automatic gearbox for the 2.4-liter and the 2.6-liter power units. For the 4-cylinder, Chrysler will be introducing a new 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox, as an optional feature.

The base model will have a price tag of $19,995, which is pretty good in our opinion. Even the more expensive trim level, the Limited that has the V6 under the hood will cost you only $24,495. The trim offers attractive 18-inch rims, a 30 GB hard drive-based stereo and stylish leather seats.

All things considered, the Chrysler 200 is a significant improvement over the Sebring model, but there are still a lot of issues to be resolved, hopefully with the next facelift due in a few years probably.

Source: AutoBlog.com


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