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Subaru BRZ Concept to be at 2011 L.A. Auto Show

Rumors are circulating that the Subaru BRZ concept will appear at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. If true this will be the first time the concept has been seen with real sheet metal on it. In the past all Subaru has shown is a see through mock-up of it. The BRZ is a sports coupe that Subaru has been in joint development in with Toyota. The sister models of the coupe have already been seen as the Toyota FT-86 and Scion FRS. The 3 cars are expected to share most of the same body lines with each having its on face representing the respective model.


Audi R8 E-Tron Concept looking close to production ready at Frankfurt

Looks like the Audi R8 E-Tron concept that first debuted in 2009  is looking ever closer to being production ready. Audi has shown off the more complete R8 E-Tron Concept at the current 2011 Frankfurt Motor show. The Car will have electronic drive motors at all four wheels sticking with the true quattro theme. The EV R8 will produce 313-hp and a mind-blowing 3,319 foot pounds of torque. Those numbers will be good for a 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds. Pretty good numbers for an EV vehicle, not as good as the Tesla Roadster, granted, but still very good. Unfortunately the range of the vehicle is only around 154 miles, I guess you have to pay for the performance somewhere…

Never the less, this is still an unbelievably sexy car and will have a nice fan base of the more eco-conscious performance car enthusiasts. The R8 E-tron has a few subtle design cues to set it apart from its gas powered counter part. The Carbon hood insert and chrome fins on the front grill and rear of the car give it a nice distinction.


Toyota FT-86 II unveiled at Frankfurt

So, as promised by all the Teasers, Toyota unveiled the updated FT-86 II concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this morning. It’s a shame that they really didn’t speak of it. Toyota mainly focused on their hybrid technology during the press conference. What we know: its supposedly lighter and from the looks of it, it’s sporting new Brembo breaks sitting behind the shoes. It also appears to have a few updated design elements on the exterior. The updated Burnt Orange paint Job is pretty nice also.

Other than that, we don’t know much more than we already did. It will have a 4-cylinder Direct Injected power plant good for around 200-hp to the wheels and it’s a joint project that will be released with Subaru and of course under the Scion badge as the FR-S. At least we have some nice pictures of here to look at:


Toyota releases new teaser trailer for the FT-86 II Concept

You’ve probably read my article in the past regarding the Scion FR-S and Toyota FT-86 concepts in the past. Well, it looks like Toyota is teasing us with a trailer for a new re-worked version of the concept now known as the FT-86 II. The car is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September the 13th. You can bet I’ll have a full article and pictures up as soon as it happens. Check out the teaser clip:


2 Edge Performance Open House

I had the opportunity to check out the 2 Edge Performance Open House and car show over this past weekend. It was a great event and everything went seamlessly, although, I would like to wage one complaint…. I didn’t win any raffles!!! I find this to be an extreme travesty as I invested in a plethora of tickets for the custom painted rally stripes giveaway. I hope the winner truly appreciates the prize as I funded it. Seriously, half the tickets were mine. Well, now that I’m starting to get over the pain that I harbor in my heart because of this crushing loss, we can talk about the show.

While I was there, I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner of the company Mr. Chris Johnson and ask him a few questions about the company. 2 Edge Performance was started earlier this year after spending the last 15 years as a GM certified mechanic earning him the endearing nickname “Mr. Goodwrench.” He set out with this company after building quite the reputation for himself helping friends with custom GM performance builds. Fueled by the passion for cars and the belief that a company is defined by the quality of its work, 2 Edge Performance has already gained quite a following in the Southern California GM performance market. Quite literally, every person I’ve talked to that has had work done at 2 Edge has nothing but great things to say about them.

Magnuson Supercharger ad featuring a 2 Edge Performance built Camaro

In addition to getting their name out there, they are currently working on pushing into the performance truck market, and they don’t just do work on GM’s, they had a very nice supercharged Dodge Challenger R/T that they built on display at the meet also. They’ve even had some success in the media already. As you can see on the left, Magnuson used the Camaro they built in one of their ads, and Fastest Street Car Magazine has featured one of their cars twice now. Seems like things are starting to take off for the guys at 2 Edge Performance, and it couldn’t happen to a better group. They are very friendly, knowledgeable and have great customer service. I was very impressed and I know I’ll definitely be using them for my car.

As for the open house and show, it was great. It started off with a  few different car clubs slowly trickling in in the morning, but by the time noon came around the parking lot was over loaded with cars. From a Supercharged beastly Camaro’s 2 Edge built to a very nice stock C5 Corvette to a GT 500, there was plenty of Car porn to go around. The highlight of the show came in the form of a Callaway Camaro that rolled in courtesy of Tommy Edrisi at Selman Chevrolet. That beautiful work of art definitely made for some great photo opportunities. It also provided the highlight of my month when I got to drive it. I’m pretty sure at one point I heard angels singing in the background. They provided a great BBQ for all who attended and as an added bonus they had a few raffles to deal out. Besides the painted stripe giveaway that was held by Eli’s Customs (you read my mentally defective ravings on it earlier), they also raffled off a set of 2 Edge Performance Spark Plugs and a T-Rex grill. Over all it was a great event and I’ll be heading back to their next one come December when they raffle off a Magnuson Supercharger kit installed and tuned by them…. I’ll take two.

I have included a full gallery of pictures from the event bellow including some nice shots of the beautiful Callaway Camaro. If you would like to contact 2 Edge Performance you can visit their website at: http://2edgeperformance.com/ or you can give them a call at 949-515-2088


Nutek Wheels, one man’s obsession, turned into perfection.

Just a few of the selection of wheels Nutek offers.

Nutek Wheels, I’m sure most of you have never heard of them, I know I didn’t before two weeks ago. But, I’m extremely pleased to have come across them now. I’ve never seen such a quality built product before and I’ve got to say, I was quite impressed by this company, from customer service, to their knowledgeable staff, to the thought and effort they put into their product. I don’t think I’ve been introduced to this kind of dedication and faith in a product before. Last week I had the rare chance and extreme pleasure of being invited to take a personal guided tour of their facility. If that wasn’t enough, I arrived that morning to find I’d be receiving the tour from the owner him self, Mr. Gene Howald.

Before I go on, I feel it’s important to give you a little back ground on the ‘head honcho’ and founder of this company. I have to say, I was almost more enamored at times by his story and what he had to say than what was actually going on with the tour. Mr. Howald got his start in racing, being a race car driver in the late 70’s and early 80’s, he found their racing team having issues with the durability of the steel race wheels that were inuse at the time, and of course, as they say, necessity is the key to invention. He started off with helping Hayashi wheels, where he put his designs to very good use. After several years with Hayashi  he left to start his own company, Howald Racing Enterprises. He later shortened the name to HRE Performance Wheels, that’s right, you heard me correctly. He’s the founder of HRE, but, because of the close ties to Hayashi when the company started, many mistakenly believe HRE standards for Hayashi Racing Equipment, which I can tell you is quite the false misnomer.

Gene Howald explaining some of the finer points of their process to us.

Being one for quality and a true car guy, he holds several patents on not just wheel designs, but also jigs, measuring devices, and other various equipment they use to ensure the utmost exact tolerances and accuracy throughout the wheel manufacturing process. A fun little fact, Mr. Howald holds the patent on the self inflating wheel used on the Military Humvee’s, as well as the civilian Hummer H1. Like other performance part manufacturer’s, he has held numerous military contracts and holds several patents including some I’m not allowed to type about. He eventually sold HRE about 10 years ago, but like any other true car guy, he couldn’t stay away. In late 2006 he formed Nutek Wheels, and that brings us back to where we started.

We’ll start with a bit of the lowdown on Nutek. It’s actually one of 3 companies. Custom Wheel Solutions – California, is the main parent company, while Nutek and Bavaria are the subsidiary companies/brands under them. Custom Wheel solutions manufactures custom wheels and private label wheels for a host of companies. They make anything from custom motorcycle wheels and sprockets to pretty much any custom design you can dream up. CWS regularly designs custom one-off designs for sports stars and the like. In fact while we were there, they where actually in the process of cutting a line of wheels for one of their private label motorcycle wheel clients. CWS is one of only 3 or 4 companies that actually produce true 3-piece wheels. Of course HRE is one of them and is also the company that invented that style of wheel (I’ll give you 3 guesses who pioneered that technology). But, they do more than just that. Among other things, they also manufacture concave monoblok wheels as well as a few other items that aren’t pertinent to what I’m discussing.

Some of the rough ground private label motorcycle wheels waiting to be finished.

Nutek Wheels is the 3-piece forged aluminum high performance wheel line manufactured by the company, and it’s also their main marketing brand. These wheels are also by far the most impressive 3-piece forged wheels I’ve ever laid my eye’s on. Like all of  their products, They are manufactured from start to finish with precision and quality control as a number one priority, I’ll get to more on that in a minute. So let’s talk about Bavaria Wheels for a minute. They are Nutek’s sister brand and are the Latest offering as the company’s new concave monoblok wheel line, and like Nutek, they are very high quality. This latest line is named after Howald’s heritage and is intended to tread deep into the high-end sports and luxury car market.

All of their wheel designs are laid out in CAD first to assure a well-engineered design.

Now for the fun stuff, and what I know all of you have been begrudgingly reading through my rantings for the last few paragraphs to get to. That’s right, we’re talking business, the nitty gritty,  the lowdown, the true grease monkey stuff… The manufacturing process. I’m going to mostly focus on the 3-piece wheel construction as that is what we really went in-depth on while there. The process starts with a well planned and mapped out design in CAD. This insures the best engineered design and the most accurate cuts once the process is started. All of their wheels start out as a high quality light weight forged aluminum blank and they all make us of a double walled rolled lip for added strength and rigidity. Let me tell you that I was most impressed by the manufacturing procedure. After each and every step in the process the wheels are measured and checked to make sure they’re perfectly round and balanced. I could tell while I was there that the workers had real pride in the quality of product they where producing. This company has even pioneered and patented special tools and jigs to aid in the accuracy and assembly of the product. This mind set has even carried over into how they package and ship their product. All of their products are packed and shipped in specially designed slip cardboard boxes and foam so there is no air gap for the wheels to move around.

I’ve created a gallery at the end of this article that gives you a thorough step-by-step pictorial of the manufacturing process if you would like to see it in-depth. I was exceedingly impressed with the whole experience while there and I definitely want to thank Eddie Kacha for taking the time to organize this and help with the tour. A great deal of gratitude also needs to be extended out to Mr. Gene Howald for taking the time out of his busy day to give us the tour of the facility. It was definitely an honor and a privilege.

If you’d like to learn more about Nutek Wheels, you can read more about them and our experience there here: www.theautomod.com – Nutek Wheels: Passion in Design

You can also check out Nutek Wheels or any of the other 2 companies yourself by visiting them on the web at www.nutekwheels.com or you can call them at: 714-921-5272.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way, here’s your in-depth look at the manufacturing process:


Cooper S / John Cooper Works Coupe

While pouring through the mass amounts of media and automotive news today (like I do everyday, I know, I have a problem). I came across this little (quite literary) nugget of automotive fare. This should make all of you Mini Cooper fans giddier than a fly in a manure farm. Apparently Cooper has been working on a new sport coupe concept for a while, however they’ve been teasing they’re loyal fan base and not letting them see what the little guy is going to look like… At least until just recently, that is.

It should be quite the fun little car to drive as it will be available in all the standard engine options the U.S. Cooper fan base has come to be accustom to. The John Cooper Works option should make for some real spirited driving with it’s turbo charged 208 hp power plant which should make this pint sized pinto seem more like a thorough bred that’s just been given meth-amphetamines. This diminutive dart should definitely be a mod’ers dream as it will be offered with a plethora of different options including 3 different wheel sizes and 9 color options that include 3 different contrasting roof color options just to name a few.

What caught my eye was it’s appearance. At first glance I was like “WTF!” But after a few minutes of sitting around scratching my head and starring at the screen like a monkey at the zoo trying to figure out why the 5 year old is licking the glass, it began to grow on me. It’s donned on my that it’s actually quite an ingenious design as they managed to gain a very sporty look with out departing from the classic Cooper styling. So I find myself oddly enough kind of appreciating it’s styling. It’s almost as if it’s your first beer while growing up. At first you think it tastes like your old gym socks that have been sitting in your locker for months to long. So you pledge to yourself that you’ll never touch it again as long as there is breath in your lung and swear it in blood. But, the next thing you know your waking up with your pants on your head lying on a park bench with a half eaten pretzel in your hand and no idea how you got there. Yah, it’s kind of like that.

So, with out further a due, I give you the Mini Cooper Coupe, in all it’s miniature glory so that you may form your own opinions on it’s looks. I urge you to leave your own thoughts and comments, as I am morbidly curious to here the public’s opinion on this midget mover.


Cadillac unveils new car with intriguing power plant…

Just a few days ago Cadillac unveiled a new concept car called the ‘Ciel’. It’s a beautiful car, but I’m not reporting this because of the car so much, as I am reporting it because of it’s power plant. The new concept is powered by a Hybrid Twin turbo V6, that’s right, I said HYBRID twin turbo V6. The power plant is a variation on the 3.6L Direct Injected V6 that is in the CTS and Chevy Camaro as well as a few other GM vehicles. I have not seen any where in my research if it’s based on the LLT or LFX version of the 3.6L (see this for more info on the two). The new twin turbo engine reportedly produces 425 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque. That’s quite impressive for a V6, especially on a hybrid engine.

One can only assume that this is another step in GM’s pursuit of performance while meeting the new more stringent CAFE standards. GM has already announced that they’ll be introducing a twin-turbo V6 option for the 2014 Corvette. Just speculation, but I’m willing to bet that engine will make it’s way to other GM performance cars such as the Chevy Camaro and Cadillac CTS.

Current V6 Camaro and CTS owners should rejoice in this news as it very well may mean a GMPP twin-turbo upgrade option in the near future. The best part being it wont void warranties, as it is a GM product, for those out there that worry about that kind of thing while modding. Very exciting news indeed that you can have a twin-turbo V6 that gets 30 MPG while putting out the same HP as the big brother pony car, the SS Camaro.

Here is the official press release on the new Cadillac Concept:

“PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. –   Cadillac today unveiled the Ciel concept, an elegant, open-air grand-touring car inspired by the natural beauty of the California coast.

The Ciel – pronounced “C-L,” the French translation for sky – is a four-seat convertible that opens a new chapter in Cadillac’s design and product ascent, pushing the brand’s Art & Science philosophy into a new stratum. Ciel is a new expression of Cadillac’s historical grandeur, as well as a celebration of open-air motoring.

“Large, expressive luxury is innate to Cadillac and the Ciel recalls that heritage, while suggesting where the brand can go in the future,” said Clay Dean, global design director for Cadillac. “Authentic luxury is driven by experiences, not just products, and Ciel is about the experience of the journey.”

The spacious and elegant Ciel is a grand gesture that explores themes driving Cadillac’s explorations into range-topping flagship luxury. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged version of the 3.6-liter Direct Injection V-6 engine, paired with a hybrid system using lithium-ion battery technology.”

The new Cadillac Ciel Concept.


Bowtie V6 Store Launches!

*WARNING: SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION FOLLOWS!!!!*

   SO, I’m a staff member of a really awesome forum called bowtiev6. It is a 5th Ge. V6 Camaro forum and if any of you guys out there even remotely like the new generation of Camaro you should check it out. The web address is www.bowtiev6.com.

With that said, I just launched the new BowtieV6 Store! It is a store that caries apperal, decals, license plate frames and other various items related to bowtiev6 and all things V6 Camaro. So swing on in and check it out. It can be found at www.bowtiev6store.com or you can click the image below:

 *END OF SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION*


Chevy Announces LFX V6 engine.

News is a few months old, but I figured I’d post it up here. Only two years after releasing one of the most potent engines in the 3.6L LLT V6, GM and Chevrolet announced that the 2012 model year will receive a new engine. Here’s the nitty gritty of it:

The new engine option description is: “LFX 3.6L SIDI, DOHC, VVT, E85 MAX, Alum GM

The LFX should displace 3.6L, like the current V6 found in the Camaro. And it’s packed to the brim with advanced technologies like Spark-Ignition Direct-Injection, Dual Overhead Cams, Variable Valve Timing, and E85 capability!!

Those are the hard details…but a little research raises some other interesting points. It is likely that the LFX is going to build on the innovations of the 3.0L LF1 V6 found in vehicles like the Cadillac CTS, SRX, and Chevy Equinox. That engine features a composite intake manifold, integrated exhaust manifolds and optimized NVH/airflow treatments.

When the LLT was transplanted from the CTS into the Camaro, it picked up 8hp, or 2.6% because of different intake/exhaust efficiencies. The LF1 produces 270hp in 3.0L form in the CTS. If we scale up the displacement of the 3.0L engine to 3.6L, and use the same 2.6% power increase as the LLT, estimates have the new LFX producing anywhere from 325-330 hp when used in the Chevy Camaro.

The new LFX cylinder heads

A comparison between the LLT & LFX heads.

Here’s an excerpt from the latest press release on the new engine:

PONTIAC, Mich. – In auto production, more power, better fuel economy and fewer emissions rarely appear together. But the 2012 Camaro 3.6L direct injection V6 engine achieves all three by combining the exhaust manifold with the cylinder head into a single aluminum casting.

Each integrated exhaust manifold cylinder head – a V6 has two — replaces a cast iron exhaust manifold, six bolts, a gasket and a heat shield and three bolts. By eliminating this joint, the potential for a gasket failure is eliminated. And the change reduces engine weight by 13 lbs. or 6 kg per engine. Reducing mass helps improve fuel economy and the 2012 Camaro 2LS model is EPA estimated at 30 mpg highway.

“Reducing engine mass of this magnitude doesn’t happen often,” said Ameer Haider, GM assistant chief engineer for V6 engines. “Engineering usually looks for reduction in terms of grams not pounds. It’s just like removing a set of golf clubs from your car when you don’t need them – ultimately it saves fuel. When combined with other mass reductions, the customer will see better fuel economy over time with better performance.”

Extensive simulation and bench testing was performed to perfect cylinder-head airflow. Intake airflow is improved 7 percent with the use of larger intake valves (38.3 mm v. 36.9 mm), which are primarily responsible for an increase of 11 horsepower. Exhaust flow is 10 percent better than the previous V6. 

Lower emissions, narrower engine size and noise reduction round out the list of benefits for the new head design. With the catalytic converter closer to the engine exhaust point, the emissions reduction process begins sooner, resulting in lower emissions. The new cylinder heads decrease the overall width of the engine by 4.6 inches (117 mm) for significantly more packaging space in the engine bay making under hood work easier. Due to less surface area, the new design contributes to a 1 decibel reduction in engine noise at idle.

“The new, patented design benefits the customer in all the key areas without any trade offs, said Haider. “Emissions, performance, fuel economy, and noise all improve with the integrated exhaust manifold.”

The new engine is essentially just head redesign, so theoretically the new heads should be compatable with the LLT and in turn a nice performance mod for those with the LLT trying to get a little more out of it.