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Archive for the ‘car tuning’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Video of the Day: Watch Hennessey Turn a Stock 2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 into the Exorcist!

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Exorcist came into our lives in April 2017. It packed ungodly amounts of power under its hood, allowing it to hit speeds that the devil himself would be proud of. The sinful beast comes to us by way of Hennessey. To give us an idea of how it came to life, the American tuner has released a time-lapse video chronicling the creation of the Exorcist from its not-so-humble Camaro ZL1 roots.

To be clear, the Camaro ZL1 is potent in it of itself. It comes with a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine that pumps out 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a tick over three seconds before hitting a top speed of 186 mph. Impressive, right?

Apparently, Hennessey shrugged its shoulders at the Camaro ZL1’s capabilities. Knowing it had something better to offer, the tuner decided to swap in a bigger supercharger compared to the stock unit. On top of that, Hennessey also installed a new camshaft, added long-tube headers, freed up the flow of air through the engine, and recalibrate the engine with some fancy computer work. The result is a car that saw its output increase to a demented 1,000 horsepower.

Turning a Camaro ZL1 into the Exorcist obviously takes time. That doesn’t appear to be the case in the time-lapse video, but judging by how many people came in and out of the shot and how many times the car was lifted, brought back to the ground, lifted again, and brought back down again, it’s safe to assume that the engineers over at Hennessey had their work cut out for them.

It all ends well, though, because the Camaro ZL1 Exorcist is madness personified.


References

Chevrolet Camaro


2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 The Exorcist by Hennessey - image 715072

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Exorcist By Hennessey


2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - image 669656

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

PostHeaderIcon Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler!

The venerable Jeep Wrangler is no stranger to engine swaps. Folks have been shoving bigger engines behind its grille ever since the U.S. Military defeated the Axis powers in 1945. The small-block Chevrolet V-8 is the standard go-to engine, but small block Fords and even other Mopar engines are a common sight. But, it’s a certifiable rarity to see a Wrangler with the 8.3-liter V-10 from the Viper and 2004 – 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SRT10.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what’s for sale right now on eBay.

The project started with a low-mileage 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. That generation is known as the TJ, but since it’s a long-wheelbase Unlimited version, it’s called the LJ. So, this LJ with 22,500 miles had its 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder, four-speed automatic transmission, and two-speed transfer case removed and replaced with, well, “beefier” components. The transmission is now a 48RE automatic from a Ram heavy-duty and the T-case is a modified RockTrac unit from a Wrangler Rubicon. The front axle is a good ole Ford nine-inch, while the rear axle is a stout Dana 60. Both have 35-spline axle shafts.

The suspension is a long-arm kit from Superlift that accompanies by a one-inch body lift that helps with clearance of the big V-10 under the hood. A set of 20-inch six-spoke, Pro Comp wheels and 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ all-terrain tires hide Viper-sized front brakes and upgraded rear disc brakes.

Continue reading for more information on this Jeep Wrangler.


Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler! - image 755342
“The 8.3-liter V-10 is in stock condition and makes roughly 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque”

Inside the Jeep, the stock seats were replaced with two-tone suede sport seats and the plastic center console swapped for a lockable, metal unit. Naturally, the stock radio is swapped for an aftermarket head unit. In back, the cargo area features a large steel drawl that is also lockable. A premium soft top is augmented by a full-length roof rack that’s removable. The steel bumpers are from Warn, as are the rock sliders below the doors. Finally, LED taillights finish off the exterior upgrades.

Of course, the big news is under the hood. The 8.3-liter V-10 is in stock condition and makes roughly 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. That was enough to accelerate the 5,130-pound regular cab Dodge Ram SRT 10 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. With a lower curb weight, the LJ should finish the run in less time – perhaps around 4.5 seconds.


Someone Swapped A V-10 Into A 2005 Jeep Wrangler! - image 755351
“The eBay classified listing has this 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ prices at $52,000 and is located in Chicago”

While this SRT10 Wrangler might outrun ever LJ, it won’t pass every gas station. The EPA estimated the Ram SRT10 to get 9.0 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway.

The eBay classified listing has this 2005 Jeep Wrangler LJ prices at $52,000 and is located in Chicago. That’s a lot of scratch for a 13-year-old Jeep, but it’s not every day when such a clean V-10-powered Wrangler comes up for sale. The 8.3-liter V-10 might not be the most economical or power-dense engine swap ever seen in a Wrangler, but it’s certainly outside conventionality. Let’s just say this Jeep would attract quite a crowd at the local Cars & Coffee or Jeep meet. For some, that might be worth the buy-in price.

References

Jeep Wrangler


2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - image 52466

Read our full review on the 2007 Jeep Wrangler.

PostHeaderIcon KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering

Minor exterior improvements include

Launched back in 2008, the X-Bow (pronounced “crossbow”) is KTM’s only automobile to date. In 2015, the Austrian firm introduced the GT4, a closed cockpit version of the X-Bow built in cooperation with Reiter Engineering, one of Germany’s most important racing teams. Considered to be a pioneer vehicle of the GT4 category, the X-Bow GT4 has scored numerous victories and titles in the GT4 European Series, Pirelli World Challenge, VLN, China GT, Thailand Superseries, and Australian GT in less than four years. Come 2018 and KTM is updating the race car for the upcoming motorsport season.

While exterior changes are rather mild and the cabin carries over unchanged, save for a few new techy bits, the X-Bow GT4 boasts many new features under the skin. There is a new transmission and some new chassis components, all designed to increase performance, increase mileage, and reduce running costs. “Although we already have a GT4 vehicle that offers one of the best values for money – just take a look at the VLN where there’s no other car that runs faster lap times for less money – we want to further reduce the costs for the teams and the drivers with these updates,” said Reiter Engineering boss Hans Reiter.

So what’s new for 2018? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the KTM X-Bow GT4.

What makes the KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering special

  • Revised aerodynamics
  • New front splitter
  • Carbon-fiber interior
  • New control panel
  • GT3-spec Motorsport Traction Control
  • LMP-style headrest
  • 2.0-liter Audi engine
  • 360 horsepower
  • New Holinger transmission
  • Motec M142 engine control unit
  • Lower running costs

2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering - image 754540
“The race car sports the same aggressive design with angular lines and canopy-style roof”

At first glance, the revised X-Bow GT4 is identical to the previous model, launched in 2015. The race car sports the same aggressive design with angular lines, the canopy-style roof, and the big wing atop the decklid. But there are a few design changes to talk about upon closer inspection. For starters, the carbon-fiber splitter is now rounder. The grille under the nose has a different configuration too, with the the posts sitting at an angle on each side of the revised radiator mesh.

We can see minor changes around the side pods and redesigned wheels but other than that, nothing has changed around the sides. Upgrades to the rear fascia are also mild but the rear wing is now narrower toward the top. KTM doesn’t say how this change affects aerodynamics but it should decrease aerodynamic drag and improve handling.


2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering - image 754538
“The X-Bow GT4 now has a new user-friendly control panel with a Motorsport Traction Control system”

The story is pretty much the same inside the cabin, with only mild modifications applied to the original cockpit. Almost every panel is made from carbon-fiber and there’s little room for more than the basic racing gear. The steering wheel is wrapped in Alcantara and features no fewer than 10 buttons, while the remaining controls are placed on the narrow center console. But while the layout was carried over unchanged, the X-Bow GT4 now has a new user-friendly control panel that gives the driver access to the new Motorsport Traction Control system borrowed from GT3 racing. Finally, the driver’s seat benefits from an LMP-style headrest.

Under the hood, the X-Bow GT4 continues with the Audi-sourced, 2.0-liter engine that’s offered in all KTM models. The turbocharged unit cranks out 360 horsepower, a hefty amount for a vehicle that tips the scales at only 2,200 pounds. The unit mates to a brand-new transmission made by Holinger and designed to handle up to 700 Nm (516 pound-feet) of torque. The new transmission is also more durable, with KTM claiming it can withstand 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of race track action. That’s double the mileage of the previous gearbox.


2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering - image 754537
“The unit mates to a brand-new transmission made by Holinger”

There’s also a new Motec M142 engine control unit, which replaces the previous Series ECU, and a complete motorsport cable harness with electronic fuse box. KTM says that the mileage of the chassis components, such as the wishbones or the GT3 central locking wheel hubs, has been increased to 20,000 km (12,427 miles).

All these upgrades are supposed to push the running costs of the X-Bow GT4 down to €3.90 per km (about $7.36 per mile). This means that a lap around the Red Bull Ring and Brands Hatch, two popular venues in GT4 European Series, would cost around €16.8 and €15.2, respectively. Of course, once you add up the many laps that make up a full race, costs can increase to more than €2,000 per event, but this is pretty reasonable in the expensive world of motor racing.

Speaking of costs, the X-Bow GT4 is priced at €152,360. Only 15 units will be built by the end of Spring 2018, but production for February is already sold out, so there might not be many examples left.

References

KTM X-Box


2015 KTM X-Bow GT4 - image 616272

Read our full review on the 2015 KTM X-Bow GT4.


KTM X-Bow
- image 148438

Read our full review on the 2008 KTM X-Bow.

PostHeaderIcon British Shop Creates First Tesla Model S Shooting Brake

For a company that was founded less than 15 years ago, Tesla is definitely doing great things for the auto industry. Its cars are the quickest and most powerful mass-produced EVs you can buy, their range is also segment-leading, while the Supercharger network makes owning and driving one a lot easier. On the flipside, Tesla current lineup is very limited, as it includes only two sedans and an SUV. A two-door sports car and a semi truck are underway, but Elon Musk’s company doesn’t have plans for more utilitarian body styles, such as a station wagon and a pickup truck. But if your dream is to own a Model S with a bigger trunk, the folks over at Qwest Norfolk will get you covered.


British Shop Creates First Tesla Model S Shooting Brake - image 754081
“The idea was born when a businessman complained to his engineer friend that his Model S lacks sufficient headroom for his dogs”

Located in Great Britain, Qwest Norfolk is a brand-new shop that turned the Model S into a station wagon/shooting brake model. The guy behind the customized EV says that the idea was born when a businessman complained to his engineer friend that his Model S lacks sufficient headroom for his dogs, due to the fastback-style rear section. “The wish was that Tesla had an Estate, a proper large estate, a shooting brake, that long-lost vehicle format reserved for the annals of history, reminiscing over Volvos and Peugeots of the past long before SUVs and MPVs ruled the planet,” he said in an episode of the “Fully Charged Show.”

Qwest went ahead and redesigned the rear end of the car to add a bigger trunk. The upgrade was developed to fit the Model S’ muscular rear fenders, so the end result is more of a shooting brake rather than a traditional wagon. Qwest bonded a custom carbon-fiber rear body and roof to the standard aluminum shell of the sedan and added three-quarter glass and a tailgate. There’s no word as to how much cargo space was added, but the rear section is definitely tall enough to provide proper headroom for big dogs. More importantly, Tesla approved the modification.


British Shop Creates First Tesla Model S Shooting Brake - image 754082
“There's no word as to how much cargo space was added, but the rear section is definitely tall enough to provide proper headroom for big dogs.”

Qwest doesn’t plan to turn this project into a production model, but on the other hand, it didn’t say that it wouldn’t take similar orders. So maybe it’s worth a shot. It’s also worth noting that the Brits created the first ever Model S shooting brake, creating it a few months ahead of the one planned by RemetzCar, a shop located in the Netherlands.

Hopefully, this project will go viral, and Tesla will decide to offer a station wagon at some point.

References

Tesla Model S


2017 Tesla Model S - image 672438

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S.

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 By Hennessey

The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is the fastest and most powerful Corvette ever created. It has 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque on tap, and when used to its potential, it’s capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in a staggering 2.6 seconds. These numbers are more than enough to leave people breathless, but one tuning company isn’t impressed. Not one bit, actually. Welcome, then, to the world of Hennessey, where 755-horsepower cars are shrugged off in favor of tuned versions of the same car, dialed up to as much as 1,200 horsepower.

There’s nothing surprising or shocking about this because we’re talking about Hennessey. This is the same outfit that gave birth to the mental Venom GT. It’s also the same company that served up an even more monstrous follow-up in the Venom F5. Oh, and we can’t forget about its tuning programs. There’s been a lot of them. But now, it’s the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s turn in the spotlight, and in true Hennessey fashion, it doesn’t disappoint. Not by a long shot.

What makes the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 By Hennessey special


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744530
“The program for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 comes in three stages”

I’m not beating around the bush with this one. Actually, there’s no reason to, not when the facts are right in front of us. Hennessey has never been shy about showing off its wares, and it’s no different this time. The program for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 comes in three stages, beginning with the HPE850 program.

The HPE850 program

  • 850 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
  • 715 pound-feet of torque @ 4,300 rpm
  • 0-60 mph time: 2.6 seconds
  • Quarter-mile time: 10.3 @ 136 mph
  • Hennessey lower pulley upgrade
  • High-flow cylinder heads
  • Upgraded valve springs, intake, and exhaust valves
  • Upgraded lifters and pushrods
  • High-flow air induction system
  • Long-tube stainless steel headers
  • Stainless steel midpipes
  • High-flow catalytic converters
  • Custom Hennessey camshaft upgrade
  • Professional Installation
  • HPE engine management calibration
  • Dyno tuning and road testing
  • 1 of 100 limited production
  • Hennessey and HPE850 exterior emblems
  • Hennessey premium floormats
  • Full tank of Shell V-Power Nitro+ 93 octane gasoline
  • Pennzoil Ultra Platinum synthetic oil and filter change
  • 2 Year / 24,000-mile limited warranty

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 By Hennessey - image 752329
“That kind of power bump helps the ‘Vette sprint fro 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds before blowing through a quarter-mile in just 10.3 seconds at 136 mph.”

This is Hennessey’s HPE850 program for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. You’ll notice the significant amount of upgrades that a lot of work was put into turning the ZR1 into an all-conquering sports car. The sheer volume of new and updated components are staggering. The tuner added high-flow cylinder heads, an air induction system, and catalytic converters. In addition, the range of upgrades in the program includes new valve springs, exhaust valves, lifters, and pushrods. The headers even get changes of their own, specifically long-tube stainless steel types. But the most important element of this program is also the least conspicuous of all the new components. It’s the HPE engine management calibration, which is largely responsible for tuning the ZR1’s output to 850 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. That kind of power bump helps the ‘Vette sprint fro 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds before blowing through a quarter-mile in just 10.3 seconds at 136 mph.

The HPE1000 Program

  • 1000 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
  • 966 pound-feet of torque @ 4,000 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 2.5 sec.
  • 1/4 mile: 9.7 sec. @ 147 mph
  • Top speed: 220+ mph
  • High-flow supercharger system
  • Custom HPE camshaft
  • Ported cylinder heads
  • Upgraded valve springs and retainers
  • Upgraded intake valves and exhaust valves
  • Upgraded lifters and pushrods
  • High-flow intercooling system
  • High-flow air-to-air intercooler
  • Long-tube stainless steel headers
  • Stainless steel midpipes
  • High-flow catalytic converters
  • HPE engine management calibration
  • Dyno tuning and road testing
  • Serial-numbered dash and engine plaques
  • Hennessey exterior badging
  • Hennessey premium floormats
  • Shell V-Power 93 octane gasoline.
  • Pennzoil Ultra Platinum synthetic oil & filter change.
  • 2 Year / 24,000 Mile Limited Warranty

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 By Hennessey - image 752330
“The Corvette ZR1 achieve a staggering output of 1,000 horsepower and 966 pound-feet of torque”

There’s something to be said for a mid-tier tuning program that already promises power levels in the four figures. That’s what we have here with Hennessey’s HPE1000 kit for the Corvette ZR1. You will notice that there are elements of this kit that are similar to what’s found in the HPE850 program. That’s by design because Hennessey wouldn’t waste its time and money working on a completely new program, only because it offers more power than the one below it.

So the usual suspect of upgrades stay. That includes the upgraded valve springs, intake, lifters, pushrods, and exhaust valves. It’s the same story with the new air induction system, the long-tube stainless steel headers, and catalytic converters. All these elements are found in both tuning kits.

The difference with the HPE1000 kit, though, is the addition of a few items, most prominently being the high-flow supercharger system. Take this particular element of the program, combine them with all the bits from the HPE850 kit, and you end up creating a program that can help the Corvette ZR1 achieve a staggering output of 1,000 horsepower and 966 pound-feet of torque. That allows the ZR1 to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds before slamming home a quarter-mile time of just 9.7 seconds at 147 mph. Top speed has also been rated at “more than” 220 mph.

The HPE1200 Program

  • 1200 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm

  • 1066 pound-feet of torque @ 4,000 rpm
  • 0-60 mph: 2.2 sec.

  • 1/4 mile: 9.2 sec. @ 147 mph
-
  • Top speed: 230+ mph

  • High-flow supercharger system
  • 7.0-liter engine upgrade
  • Custom aluminum pistons
  • Forged steel connecting rods
  • Ported cylinder heads
  • Custom HPE camshaft
  • Ported cylinder heads
  • Upgraded valve springs and retainers
  • Upgraded intake valves and exhaust valves
  • Upgraded lifters and pushrods
  • High-flow intercooling system
  • High-flow air-to-air intercooler
  • Long-tube stainless steel headers
  • Stainless steel midpipe
  • High-flow catalytic converters
  • HPE engine management calibration
  • Dyno tuning and road testing
  • Serial-numbered dash and engine plaques
  • Hennessey exterior badging
  • Hennessey premium floormats
  • Shell V-Power 93 octane gasoline
  • Pennzoil Ultra Platinum synthetic oil and filter change
  • 2 Year / 24,000 Mile limited warranty

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 By Hennessey - image 752328
“Throw in the usual cocktail of upgrades and you have a Corvette ZR1 that can unleash 1,200 horsepower and 1,066 pound-feet of torque”

Right now, it’s important to remember that when you’re driving a car that has 1,200 horsepower under its hood, even the slightest of movements can be enough to make the car uncontrollable. I feel like I should tell you that before introducing you to the monstrosity that is Hennessey’s HPE1200 program for the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

You’ll notice that most of its offerings are also similar to the ones that are available on the HPE850 and HPE1000 programs. Again, that’s not by accident. What’s different with the HP1200 program is that it moves beyond tuning the Corvette’s V-8 engine and adding a supercharger into the mix.

This upgrade actually starts off with increasing the displacement in the engine, from 6.2 liters to 7.0 liters. The physical transformation of the engine also leads to the inclusion of new components, including aluminium pistons, forged steel connecting rods, and ported cylinder heads. Throw in the usual cocktail of upgrades and you have a Corvette ZR1 that can unleash 1,200 horsepower and 1,066 pound-feet of torque, enough to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a pulse-pounding 2.2 seconds before covering a quarter-mile in just 9.2 seconds at 147 mph. In case those numbers aren’t bananas enough by themselves, this program also helps the Corvette ZR1 achieve a top speed in excess of 230 mph.

References

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744525

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible - image 749381

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible.


maker logos - image 743598

Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Hennessey is Ready to Tune the Hell Out of Your 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

There’s something to be said for a Chevrolet Corvette that’s considered the fastest and most powerful of its kind that has ever been created. That’s the distinction the new Corvette ZR1 comes with. It has 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds. Those are impressive numbers, but not quite good enough for a company like Hennessey. The American tuning shop that’s responsible for some of the most extreme tuning programs in the business has developed not one, not two, but three programs for the Corvette ZR1, topping out with the HPE1200 kit. Care to venture a guess what the “1200” in that kit’s name means?


Hennessey is Ready to Tune the Hell Out of Your 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 - image 752329
“The first stage kit only gets the power level up to 850 horsepower, but even with that many horses, the ZR1 can already lay waste to some of the finest exotics in the land today”

We’re saving our full review of these programs for a later day. For now, it’s all about giving all of you a preview of what’s to come. See, Hennessey has a long history of tuning kits that bring power levels up to four figures. It has done so for cars like the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro, and of course, past versions of the Corvette. All received massive tuning upgrades, and all of them showed results that were borderline inhuman.

This is what we can expect out of these programs for the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The first stage kit only gets the power level up to 850 horsepower, but even with that many horses, the ZR1 can already lay waste to some of the finest exotics in the land today. Now imagine if 1,000 ponies are coming out of the Vette’s 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine. Your guts will be coming up to your throat when you’re blasting off at speeds in excess of 220 mph.

It paints a pretty morbid picture, but still, that’s nothing compared to getting the top-of-the-line program. That’s the HPE1200 tuning program, and yes, that “1200” means that Hennessey was able to tune the ZR1’s V-8 to produce a staggering 1,200 horsepower. That’s hypercar-level power, folks.


Hennessey is Ready to Tune the Hell Out of Your 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 - image 752330
“That’s the HPE1200 tuning program, and yes, that “1200” means that Hennessey was able to tune the ZR1’s V-8 to produce a staggering 1,200 horsepower.”

Hennessey hasn’t said how much each of the tuning programs will cost, but it did say that only a handful of examples of each upgrade will be made available. That’s probably for the best because I can’t imagine someone being able to enjoy the full potential of a 1,200-horsepower Corvette ZR1 without soiling his trousers.

References

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744525

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible - image 749381

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible.



Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design

Founded in 2009 by British musician Rob Dickinson, Singer Vehicle Design is a California-based customization and restoration shop that specializes in 964-era Porsche 911s. In the past, we’ve seen loads of lust-worthy cars from Singer, but this latest example bests them all. Commissioned by client Scott Blattner, the goal was a lightweight, high-performance revamp of Blattner’s 1990 911, but the end product goes above and beyond in just about every single way. For starters, Singer sourced input with some of the biggest names in Porsche performance, including motorsport engineer Norbert Singer, engine specialist Hans Mezger, and racing driver Marino Franchitti, not to mention automotive journalist and Top Gear host Chris Harris. Big-name companies like Michelin, Brembo, and BBS Motorsport also got in on the mix, while Williams Advanced Engineering (yep, the F1 folks) played a major role in the vehicle’s technical development. The project took two years to complete, but the results are staggering. Dubbed the Dynamics and Lightweighting Study, or DLS, every part of the 911 was tweaked, and Singer is so happy with it, the tuner is now offering special DLS services to select customers.

Blattner explains – “The question became… what if Singer worked on restoring and modifying my beloved 27-year old Porsche 964, with the assistance of an engineering concern born from the world of F1. How would such a car look and how would it perform?” Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about this Porsche 911 by Singer Vehicle Design.

Exterior


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745407
“The 911 you see here manages to strike a balance between looking good and going fast”

From the off, there’s obviously something very special about this 964. While it might have the same general shape as its factory siblings, the reworked DLS gets a slew of tasteful enhancements that not only make it look incredible, but upgrades the performance potential as well.

Let’s start off with the styling, which comes draped in a unique shade of green Singer is calling “Absinthe.” While not necessarily understated, the color isn’t in some retina-searing red or yellow, and it gives the whole thing an exclusive feel very much in line with the rest of build. The fenders also get substantial flares front and back, which help to house the mammoth tires mounted in the corners. Chrome detailing can be found around the headlight housings and the window surrounds, while both the front and rear bumpers get a reshape.


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745408
“Chrome detailing can be found around the headlight housings and the window surrounds, while both the front and rear bumpers get a reshape.”

Speaking of the bumpers, the 911 you see here manages to strike a balance between looking good and going fast, which means that jaw-dropping aesthetic is matched with a litany of nerdy details to help it warp the atmosphere to its advantage. For example, check out the carbon underspoiler in front and the side skirts in the flanks, plus the integrated rear spoiler and intricate composite diffuser in the tail.

Those components are the product of extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis, courtesy of Williams Advanced Engineering with consultation from Norbert Singer. Rest assured – this thing is functional, from the new intakes in the nose, to the ram air element in the rear side windows, to the rounded vents in the taillights.


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745410

And oh yeah, did we mention how good it looks?!

Finally, rounding it out is a set of wheels from BBS Motorsports. Rocking a classic deep-dish, five-spoke 911 design scheme, these 18-inch rollers are made from forged magnesium and utilize a monobloc construction for superlative low weight, plus a race-inspired center-locking mechanism to keep them in place.

We could talk about the details on this thing for days, but it’s probably better if you see them for yourself in the photo gallery. Just be ready to have a new desktop wallpaper after you’re done.

Interior


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745398
“Once again, the attention to detail is astonishing”

Unsurprisingly, the interior of this 911 is extensively customized as well, with an utterly breathtaking design that has us drooling for more. Following the lightweight theme, carbon fiber is used extensively, and can be found on the dash, door inserts, central tunnel, steering wheel, and seat backs. Bare metal finished in the same Absinthe color scheme joins the composites, while the rest of it gets hide coverings done in Blood Orange.

Once again, the attention to detail is astonishing. Everywhere you look, there’s something interesting to inspect. For example, the steering wheel is a custom three-spoke unit, while the pedals are made from brushed metal. The dash design is simplified and clean, and Singer maintained the rear seats with bits of hide as well. There’s even an exposed shift linkage in the central tunnel.


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745400

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – who doesn’t like an exposed shift linkage? Bad people, that’s who.

Drivetrain


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745409
“This screamer pumps out as much as 500 horsepower when you press the long skinny pedal on the right”

Like any proper enthusiast tribute to the 911, this custom 964 comes with an air-cooled flat-six powerplant mounted out in the rear. Standout features include four camshafts and natural aspiration. Developed with technical input from Williams Advanced Engineering, plus consultation from none other than Hans Mezger, the same German mastermind who made the type 804 flat-eight for Formula 1, the Le Mans-winning Porsche 917, and the M96/72 dry sump engine derived from the 911 GT1 EVO, this screamer pumps out as much as 500 horsepower when you press the long skinny pedal on the right. Routing the muscle to the rear wheels is a lightweight six-speed manual transmission, which is carved from magnesium to help shave substantial pounds.

Singer has declined to provide further specs or performance figures, but considering this bespoke 964’s ultra-wide rubber and drastically reduced curb weight (more on that in a bit), you can bet this thing is an absolute rocket ship. If we had to guess, we’d say it probably does the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in the low-3-second range, possibly breaking into the 2’s if driven to its maximum.

Chassis And Handling


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745412
“The DLS uses plenty of titanium, magnesium, and of course, carbon fiber.”

Given this car’s laser-like focus on cutting out every undesirable pound possible, Singer went to town with the exotic materials. As such, the DLS uses plenty of titanium, magnesium, and of course, carbon fiber. The final result of the diet is a dry weight of just 2,180 pounds.

To make the most of the extensive lightening, this 964 incorporates a variety of suspension modifications. Again, Singer doesn’t go into detail, but does mention stuff like “enhanced geometry” and “improved adjustability.”

Headlining the parts list in this area are new dampers from EXE-TC, a U.K.-based company that offers a variety of products for sharpening many a 911’s performance. Meanwhile, Michelin provides the tires, with a Pilot Sport Cup 2 compound customized for this specific application. Finally, the brakes are from Brembo, incorporating lightweight monobloc calipers, plus rotors made from a carbon composite material.

Prices


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745411

To keep the DLS series of vehicles somewhat exclusive, Singer will only build 75 examples, each of which will be a unique creation custom tailored to the whims of the client, from a stripped-down performance beast, to a cushier touring machine, and everything in between. Singer chose not to divulge exact pricing, but it’s expected the final figure will depend on the level of modification and restoration desired. If we were to guess, we’d say this particular example probably comes close to the seven-figure mark.

All DLS Singer vehicles will be built in the U.K. at the tuner’s newest factory at the Williams campus in Oxfordshire.

Competition

Eagle Spyder GT


2017 Eagle Spyder GT - image 703648

Old-school cool, new school engineering. That’s what makes the above-featured 911 so amazing, and indeed, it’s the same stuff that went into the Eagle Spyder GT. Built on the bones of an original Jaguar E-Type, the Eagle Spyder GT comes with a modernized interior, an all-aluminum 4.7-liter XK six-cylinder engine, and updated independent four-wheel suspension, not to mention 330 horsepower at the rear wheels.

Read our full review on the 2017 Eagle Spyder GT.

Conclusion


2017 Porsche 911 By Singer Vehicle Design - image 745403
“You can feel the passion that went into this car just by looking at it.”

We here at TopSpeed have seen more than our fair share of custom cars, but this one in particular stands out in a number of ways. First off, it looks gorgeous, but not in an overly flashy kinda way. It’s got all the style as the factory car, but with just enough extras to make it look unique and sleek. Secondly, the interior is quite well executed, with a bevy of details that match the exterior’s nonchalant awesomeness. Finally, it’s got tons of power and performance, boasting development input from a veritable who’s-who list in the world of automotive performance – it’s got aero designed by an F1 team, an engine by Hans Mezger, and driving dynamics designed to make Chris Harris smile.

Even Singer Vehicle Design Founder and Creative Director, Rob Dickinson, is impressed, saying, “On a technical level, the study has been fascinating and has resulted in an incredible restoration with the benefit of top drawer resources and modern science. Artistically it has been a second chance to connect with the machine on a new level.”

He continues, “Aesthetically, I’ve been working closely with friend and creative sparring partner Daniel Simon and a great team here in California to present ideas that work functionally as well as emotionally for our clients.”

You can feel the passion that went into this car just by looking at it. This is a 911 for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts. All we can say is – wow.

  • Leave it
    • Absurdly expensive
    • Begs to be driven, but do you dare to take it out of the garage?

References

Porsche 911 (964)


1994 Porsche 964 Speedster - image 555622

Read our full review on the 1994 Porsche 964.

PostHeaderIcon Ford F-150 VelociRaptor 6×6 by Hennessey Performance

2018 Ford F-150 VelociRaptor 6x6 by Hennessey Performance

How do you make a Ford F-150 Raptor any more awesome? Hennessey Performance has a great answer – stick an extra axle under an elongated cargo bed then add 150 horsepower. Hennessey is no stranger to making outlandish vehicles with insane levels of power. The Texas-based tuner has done several Raptor upgrades before, and naturally, their bread-n-butter is adding more horsepower to stock vehicles. But this marks the first time a 6×6 configuration has been involved.

Mercedes started the 6×6 trend in 2013 with the G63 6×6. Since then, a handful of aftermarket companies have followed those tracks. The idea behind the 6×6 setup is added traction, better payload and towing capacities, and shear badassery. One look at the G63 6×6 or the Hennessey VelociRaptor 6×6 confirms that. Hennessey can’t confirm how well the VelociRaptor 6×6 handles in the dirt, however. The first example already has customer money on the hood. It’s also the same truck Hennessey took to the 2017 SEMA show. With SEMA over, Hennessey had only a few days to ship the truck to its owner in Florida.

Want to know more? Keep reading for details on the VelociRaptor 6×6.

What makes the 2018 Ford F-150 VelociRaptor 6×6 by Hennessey Performance special

  • 6×6 configuration with added rear axle
  • Lengthened cargo bed
  • Special rear leaf-spring & 4-link suspension
  • Larger Fox Racing shocks
  • 20-inch wheels
  • All-terrain tires
  • Hennessey front & rear bumpers
  • LED off-road lights
“It goes without saying the 6×6 portion of this build is the focal point”

It goes without saying the 6×6 portion of this build is the focal point. Hennessey achieved this by extending the F-150’s frame to accommodate another full axle and set of tires. The factory rear axle was moved rearward and a custom axle and pass-through differential rides ahead. That pass-through diff allows rotational power to turn its ring gear and the driveshaft that connects to the second rear differential. It’s a similar setup to an 18-wheeler.

The big-rig inspiration continues with the suspension system. A lengthened leaf spring pack spans between the axles and is mounted on a bar to the outside of the frame rails. A four-link setup locates each rear axle. Upgrade Fox Racing shocks similar to the Raptor’s stock shocks control the bounce of the one-off suspension system. To match the rear suspension, the independent front suspension was lifted for longer travel and higher ground clearance. Upgraded shocks are here too.


2018 Ford F-150 VelociRaptor 6x6 by Hennessey Performance - image 745588
“Hennessey says the 6×6 conversion adds roughly 700 pounds to the Raptor’s curb weight, but the extra boost makes the 6×6 quicker than the stock truck”

Hennessey couldn’t leave the Raptor’s high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 alone, either. The engine normally makes 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, which are very healthy numbers for a small-displacement V-6 with a factory warranty. Hennessey already had its VelociRaptor 600 package developed for the Raptor, so the kit is added to the 6×6.

The engine upgrade includes a high-flow intake, a modified wastegate system, an air-to-air intercooler upgrade, a cat-back exhaust system, and a recalibration of the ECU. The result is 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 622 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Hennessey says the 6×6 conversion adds roughly 700 pounds to the Raptor’s curb weight, but the extra boost makes the 6×6 quicker than the stock truck. The sprint to 60 mph is said to happen in 4.9 seconds.


2018 Ford F-150 VelociRaptor 6x6 by Hennessey Performance - image 745590
“Hennessey is only building 100 examples for 2018”

Other modifications include custom front and rear bumpers, LED off-road lights, 20-inch wheels with Toyo Open Country R/T tires, a bed-mounted roll bar, and VelociRaptor 6×6 graphics on the door, fender, and tailgate. Inside, Hennessey will customize the interior to customer tastes, but the standard upgrade includes a numbered plaque with the vehicle’s build number.

Hennessey is only building 100 examples for 2018. The allotment is split 50-50, with half staying in the U.S. and half offered to customers around the world. Don’t expect to see a VelociRaptor 6×6 in the crowded streets of downtown London, but rather climbing up the sand dunes of the United Arab Emirates. Those folks in Dubai really love extravagant, over-the-top vehicles, after all.


2018 Ford F-150 VelociRaptor 6x6 by Hennessey Performance - image 745591

Paying for the 2018 VelociRaptor 6×6 takes Oil Sheik money, too. Pricing starts at $349,000 and goes up from there, depending on what options a customer adds.

So, what do you think? Would you drive a six-wheeled mega Raptor or is it too much vehicle for you to handle? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Ford F-150


2017 Ford F-150 Raptor - image 610255

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.

PostHeaderIcon Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec

The Novitec Group is arguably the biggest tuning company in the world. It’s tentacles run long, thanks in large part to sub-brands that cater to a specific automaker. We’re familiar with Novitec Rosso that works exclusively on Ferraris. We’ve also touched base with Novitec Torado with Lamborghini, Novitec Tridente with Maserati, and Spofec, which is responsible for developing programs for Rolls-Royce models. For this instance, the focus will be on Spofec and it’s latest tuning masterpiece, the Dawn Overdose.

You probably realize by now that the focus of this program is the Rolls-Royce Dawn. No surprises there. What you might find surprising though is the level of work that was put into creating a kit that not only adds a significant amount of extra power to the Dawn, but also gives it a wide-body kit that gives the lavish convertible a whole new level of physicality to it. The Dawn Overdose is an all-encompassing kit so if you happen to own Rolls’ newest luxury top-down and you’re itching to give it upgrades fit for a car of its status, there are few tuners who can do it about as comprehensive as the tuning company that literally gets its name from the “SPirit OF ECstasy.” Best hurry though because only eight units of the Dawn Overdose will be made created so if you miss out on any of these eight, you’ll be completely out of luck.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec

Exterior

  • Wide body kit made from carbon fiber
  • Front fenders add 5.1-inches of width
  • New rocker panels with air intakes
  • Front and rear fascias are more aggressive
  • Wider body accommodates extra-wide, 22-inch wheels

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745418
“A new carbon fiber wide body kit helps create a more muscular look to the Dawn.”

Working on a car like the Rolls-Royce Dawn can be especially tricky for a tuner. The challenge itself isn’t so much about giving the luxury convertible a new look, but in accomplishing that while trying to navigate around the design elements that already make the Dawn stand out. This is, after all, a Rolls-Royce creation, so it’s not like a tuner can just take out certain elements of its design, change it, and then say it’s an “improvement.”

Fortunately, the people at Spofec are well-versed in the art of customization, having already build a more subtle upgrade for the Dawn in the past. Now, it’s taking it a step further with a new carbon fiber wide body kit that helps create a more muscular look to the Dawn. The kit itself includes a host of significant components, none more visually apparent than the large fenders that contribute an extra 13 cm (5.1 inches) to the overall width of the Dawn at the front axle. It’s a jarring physical transformation by itself, but the good news is that Spofec complimented it by also adding a bigger front bumper. It’s the same story at the back where new air rocker panels have been added into the mix, each carrying its own air intake on each side. The rear bumper also gets an upgrade in size to maintain the consistency of the carbon fiber wide body kit while the addition of a carbon fiber spoiler lip is instantly recognizable.


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745421
“The Dawn Overdose gets a new set of 22-inch SPOFEC SP1 alloy wheels that were specifically created for this program”

Finishing off the exterior upgrades for the Dawn Overdose kit is a new set of 22-inch SPOFEC SP1 alloy wheels that were specifically created for this program. Th wheels themselves measure 10.5Jx22 and are wrapped in 295/30 ZR 22 tires. Seeing as only eight of these kits will be made, I’d venture a guess that the wheels themselves are going to be about as exclusive as they come.

Interior


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745429
“There are a rich number of choices to pick from, at least if you’re looking to dress up your Dawns to match your personality”

Interior upgrades are always the trickiest ones to gauge because of the level of customization and personalization that can be offered with programs like the Dawn Overdose. It’s no different here as SPOFEC’s offering for this section of the 2+2 luxury sedan involves a great deal of personalization from the customer. That said, there are a rich number of choices to pick from, at least if you’re looking to dress up your Dawns to match your personality. On that note, Spofec has an endless variety of premium and bespoke materials to choose from, be it fine leather, Alcantara, noble-wood inlays, and enough carbon trim components in a range of designs and colors that will literally make your head spin.

The example that we’re seeing here provides us a good sampling of what we can expect fro the Dawn Overdose program. It’s hard to make out what kind of shade it is, but it is more like tan leather than it is brown leather that covers just about every square inch of surface inside the cabin of the Dawn. Regardless of the technicalities surrounding the collar’s exact name, it is obvious that it’s made of premium craftsmanship, the likes of which we can only get from a tuner that’s as in sync to its clientele’s needs as Spofec.

Drivetrain

  • Tuned 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine
  • Turbo pressure increased
  • Ignition an injection timing remapped
  • New N-Tronic tuning module
  • Power increased by 115 HP & 118 LB-FT
  • Total Output: 686 HP & 723 LB-FT
  • 0-to-62 mph in 4.6 sec; 0.3 seconds faster than stock

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745420
“That adds up to an increase of 115 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of twist over the Dawn’s standard power of 571 ponies and 605 pound-feet of torque”

If you’re familiar with the way any of the tuning companies under the Novitec Group operate, then you’ll know that all of them rely on a specific tuning kit to get those engine upgrades up and running. The kit itself is called “N-Tronic,” the tuner’s go-to, plug-and-play, processor-controlled tuning module that’s responsible for tuning the engine control unit on the Dawn’s 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine. Specific mapping for injection and ignition to go with moderate increases to the boost pressure help the Dawn increase its output to 686 horsepower and 723 pound-feet of torque. Do the math, and that adds up to an increase of 115 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of twist over the Dawn’s standard power of 571 ponies and 605 pound-feet of torque. Pretty impressive for a car that already packs quite a punch by itself.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is till the gearbox-of-choice and all that power is sent to the two rear wheels. The result of that power increase is a Dawn that can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds, ridiculous for a car of its size. It’s also 0.3 seconds quicker, which tells you the quality of Novitec’s N-Tronic tuning module. Unfortunately, top speed sticks at 155 mph because it’s electronically-limited and Spofec didn’t think too much to even uncap it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given that 155 mph is plenty fast enough for me.

Suspension and Brakes

  • Air suspension tuned to lower by 1.57 inches below 87 mph
  • Spofec carbon-ceramic braking system sheds 84 pounds from stock
  • Larger rotors measure 405 x 30 mm in the front and 395 x 38 mm at the back

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745427
“Spofec is adding an air suspension system to the program, one that’s capable of dropping the convertible’s ride height by as much 40mm”

Needless to say, with this much going on as far as the Dawn’s performance capabilities are concerned, the need for suspension and brake upgrades are warranted. That’s why Spofec is adding an air suspension system to the program, one that’s capable of dropping the convertible’s ride height by as much 40mm, or around 1.57 inches. This feature is only available though up to speeds of 87 mph so anything higher than that, the whole body goes back up to its original level.

Complementing the air suspension unit is a new carbon-ceramic braking system from the tuner itself. This system comes with vented discs measuring 405 x 30 mm at the front and 395 x 38 mm at the rear axle. More to that, the whole unit actually weighs 38 kilos (84 pounds) less than the standard version. That’s the kind of functionality mixed in with quality use that I can get behind on.

Pricing


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745426

Somewhat expectedly, pricing figures for the ultra-exclusive Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose program are available on a need-to-know basis. That’s usually the case with programs that offer a significant amount of personalization, largely because the scope and subsequent price of a specific upgrade may vary depending on the amount of owner-directed customization that goes on in the build of this kit.

Competition

Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory


2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory - image 673224

It’s true that most of the non-standard Rolls-Royce Dawns we’ve seen over the years are of the special edition variety. That seems to be a specialty of Rolls-Royce anyway considering that I’ve literally lost count of the number SE Dawns that have been released since the car itself made its debut in 2015. But there have also been tuners that have worked on developing programs for the luxury convertible, one of which is a pretty familiar name to al of you. Mansory’s program for the Dawn was presented for all the world to see back in April 2016. Among other bits and pieces, that program featured its own handful of aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades. It received a new front spoiler with larger air intakes and LED daytime running lights, a carbon fiber front lip, and a lightweight hood.

On the performance front, Mansory relied on its own versatile engine tuning module, one that was able to increase the convertible’s output up to a staggering 740 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. Yep, that’s an increase of 177 ponies and 162 pound-feet of twist, a clear-cut indicator that the Mansory-tuned Rolls-Royce Dawn is going to lay down and roll over for everyone. Even better, the increased power of the car also
helps it print from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds. It’s 0.4 seconds quicker than the standard model, though more importantly, it also beats out Spofec’s performance time by 0.1 seconds. It even has a higher top speed of 177 mph on account of the speed limiter getting its own update.

Read our full review on the 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory.

Conclusion


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745424

I don’t think I’m the best authority when it comes to aftermarket tuning programs that come out of the Novitec Group umbrella. Not that I don’t consider myself to be well-versed in them, but more because I’ve always had a similar reaction whenever I see a Novitec program in the news. It’s hard not to be impressed with the time and dedication that were put into creating this kit, but more importantly, there’s that consistency in creating incredible work that Spofec has become known for. I’m sure that if you own a Rolls-Royce Dawn, the itch to get more out of it has probably crept up in your mind. Well, now you won’t have to think too much anymore because what Spofec is offering for the 2+2 luxury convertible is about as good as it gets for everybody involved.

  • Leave it
    • Limited to only eight units worldwide
    • Hard to come by as it is
    • Other options available

References

Rolls Royce Dawn


2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn - image 645010

Read our full review on the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn.



Read more Rolls Royce news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford And Roush Giving 2018 F-150 V-8 a Supercharged Punch

Remember the Ford F-150 RTR Muscle Truck from the 2017 SEMA show? Well, Ford Performance and Roush Performance are paring yet again to bring the Muscle Truck’s muscle to customers nationwide. Ford will offer a Roush supercharger kit for the 2018 F-150’s 5.0-liter V-8. The roots-style blower will be installed at Ford dealerships by ASE-certified Ford technicians and come with a Ford-backed warranty.

Don’t think the F-150’s V-8 is no dud from the factory. Rather, the 2018 update brought ten more horsepower and 13 more pound-feet of torque for a total of 395 and 400, respectively. Adding the supercharger is said to bring levels to 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque! That’s impressive. Other modifications would include a re-flash of the ECU, a new high-flow intake, and likely an exhaust system. Naturally, with this being a dealer add-on part, anybody willing to pony up the cash can get the extra power – regardless of what trim or cab configuration their 2018 F-150 has. Imagine a single cab, short bed F-150 with 640 horsepower. Oh, wait… one Ford dealership already has.

Ford has not released pricing for the Roush Performance supercharger kit or the shop fees for installation. We do know the blower will become available sometime in early 2018.

References

Ford F-150


2018 Ford F-150 - image 700456

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150.


2017 Ford F-150 RTR Muscle Truck - image 741993

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-150 RTR Muscle Truck

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline

ABT Sportsline is no stranger to working on performance vehicles of German origin and ahead of the 2018 Essen Motor Show, it’s releasing its latest piece de resistance with a kit for the Audi RS3. The kit is available for both sedan and sportback versions of the RS3 and is packing an assortment of different accessories covering the car’s exterior, interior, drivetrain, and suspension.

The result of ABT’s work on the RS3 gives Audi’s performance sedan a whole new personality. Not that it needs one, but there is something to be said for a car like the RS3 that doesn’t get enough attention as it should. The Audi, after all, has to deal with both the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-AMG C63, two of the most established German performance vehicles in the market today. It’s more than capable of holding its own even without the assistance of ABT Sportsline, but if you own an RS3, this king of aftermarket package is one of those offerings that’s going to be hard to turn down. In the end, improvements come in many forms, and in the case of the RS3, there’s enough of them from this program to justify a good long look at the kit.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Audi RS3 by ABT Sportsline

Exterior

  • Front fender vents
  • Revised front grille
  • Rear skirt set that includes rear muff channel and new exhaust system
  • 19- or 20-inch wheels (available in DR, ER-C, ER-F, or FR designs)

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744357
“The exterior of the RS3 is only good for a number of styling accessories, including front fender vents and a revised front grille”

It goes without saying that when a tuner prepares a program for a car like the Audi RS3, there’s only a certain amount of changes that can be made to improve the car’s aesthetics. That’s not so much a lack of creativity on the part of the tuner, but a testament to the outstanding design quality of the car. That’s what we have here because the truth is, ABT Sportsline didn’t have to dig deep into its chest of exterior upgrades with its program for the sedan and sportback versions of the RS3.

Based on ABT’s description of the kit, the exterior of the RS3 is only good for a number of styling accessories, including front fender vents and a revised front grille. There is an option though to add a glass black rear skirt set into the cart. It’s easy to make out in the photos because the set itself comes with a rear muffler channel and ABT’s exhaust system. The latter also includes a pair of 102-mm double pipes, each finished in a fancy matte black shade.


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744360
“ABT’s offering for this kit revolves around a set of 19- or 20-inch wheels that you can choose in a variety of different designs”

Far more than just being a throwaway addition to the kit, the rear skirt set gives the rear section of the RS3 a more attractive design characteristic. Onto the set of wheels, ABT’s offering for this kit revolves around a set of 19- or 20-inch wheels that you can choose in a variety of different designs. I personally like the “FR” design the best, but the other designs – “DR,” “ER-C,” and “ER-F” – do have their own distinct appeal.

That’s the extent of the upgrades that you can expect for your Audi RS3. It may not be on the same level of other programs in terms of volume, but the quality of what you stand to get speaks for itself. That’s the mark of a true ABT Sportsline tuning kit.

Interior

  • Carbon fiber trim
  • Illuminated door sill plates
  • ABT-branded gear shifter
  • Push-Button ignition
  • Anti roll bars
  • Special floor mats

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690344

Note: Standard Audi RS3 pictured here.

“The highlight of the offerings is a nice carbon fiber trim, generously distributed throughout the interior to give the RS3 a more premium feel to it”

ABT Sportsline has never been the type of tuner to go all-out on the interior of the cars it develops programs for. But there are upgrades in store for the RS3, just not as expansive as you might like. The highlight of the offerings is a nice carbon fiber trim, generously distributed throughout the interior to give the RS3 a more premium feel to it. The ABT-branded illuminated door sill plates add a nice touch of personalization, while the shifter – ABT-branded as well – and push-button ignition add functional improvements to the whole driving experience of the car. Everything else though can be described as standard tuner additions, including the ho-hum special floor mats.

There is one extra offering that’s of particular interest, and it’s quite frankly, a surprising addition to a car like the RS3. Apparently, ABT Sportsline is also offering to install anti-roll bars at your behest, should you at least decide to take the tuner up on its offer. Not quite sure why it’s there, but it does speak to the breadth of tuning options that are at your disposal when you’re talking to a tuner like ABT Sportsline.

Drivetrain

  • 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine
  • 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque (stock output)
  • 4.0 seconds standard 0-to-60-mph time
  • 155 mph standard electronically limited top speed
  • New ECU unit
  • New exhaust system with two matte black 102-mm (4.01) inch tailpipes
  • 460 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque (tuned output)
  • 3.8 to 3.9 seconds tuned 0-to-60-mph time
  • 174 mph tuned top speed

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690352

Note: Standard Audi RS3 pictured here.

“The result of it is an extra output of 60 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque”

Since this is the main focus of ABT Sportsline’s tuning kit for the Audi RS3, let’s first set the table on the German automaker’s standard engine features. At the heart of this proud sedan rests a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of power for a car like the RS3, but in true aftermarket fashion, “a lot” is never enough when you’re talking to a tuner like ABT Sportsline. Guess what the tuner did then? If you’re thinking about a remapped ECU unit, then give yourselves a pat on the back. That’s exactly what the tuner did and the result of it is an extra output of 60 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque. Decent gains in it of themselves, but when you add it to what the RS3 already has, the total output suddenly goes up to 460 ponies and 390 pound-feet of twist.

ABT didn’t say how the extra muscle contributes to its performance time, but considering that the standard RS3 Sedan is able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a shade over four seconds, it stands to reason that with ABT Sportsline’s influence, this RS3 can now hit the same speed mark in around 3.8 to 3.9 seconds. Gnarly.

As far as top speed goes, the tuner did say that with the remapped ECU in place, the RS3 now has an increased, though still limited, top speed of 174 mph. With that kind of power and performance abilities, it would be a travesty if you don’t add the aforementioned ABT exhaust system with its pair of 102 mm (4.01 inches). Throw that into the equation and you’re looking at an attention-grabbing RS3 that will have no problems waking the neighbors.

Suspension

  • New sports springs
  • New brake system

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744359

At this point, your Audi RS3 already has cosmetic upgrades, a more powerful engine, and fancy carbon fiber trim on the interior. That’s already a trifecta right there. Ok, let’s add the floor mats too. Quad-fecta? Fantastic four? Regardless, why not complete the whole ABT program with the addition of new sports springs and a meatier braking system? The former should be able to help keep the RS performing in peak abilities when its stretching its legs while the latter is always nice to have around in case you need to slow down from the madness. Either way, both options are on the table from ABT and as is most often the case in the tuning business, better to get the whole lot than skip on the underratedly important bits.

Pricing


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744361

The whole kit is scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Essen Motor Show in January of next year so as you might expect, there are still no pricing details about the whole thing. Don’t worry though because ABT Sportsline isn’t the type to be bashful with announcing pricing figures so expect those to arrive sooner than later. Even better, the tuner has a reparation in the aftermarket scene for being reasonable with the cost of its programs so if you’re going to get this kit for your RS3s, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to afford it, at least if you loosen the purse strings a little.

Competition

Audi RS3 8V by B&B Automobiltechnik


2016 Audi RS3 8V By B&B Automobiltechnik - image 678590

Comparing one program for the Audi RS3 opposite another is actually a pretty straightforward thing to do because there are a number of kits that are in the market today. One rival tuner with a program for the RS3 estate comes by way of B&B Automobiltechnik. This program was presented back in 2016 and it came with a four-stage engine kit that offers a number of different output increases. The Stage 1 kit, for example, returns 430 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque, all thanks to a similar remap of the ECU unit. Add an air intake system into the mix and that becomes the Stage 2 kit with 450 horsepower and 483 pound-feet of torque on tap. The Stage 3 kit takes it a step further with the installation of air intake mods, a free-flow sports exhaust system, and a new, in-house, high-performance intercooler and the output goes up again to 485 ponies and 516 pound-feet of torque. Then there’s Stage the Stage 4 kit, which includes every upgrade from the first three stages and adds a bigger and more bespoke turbocharger. The result is an output of 550 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, enough power to propel the RS3 to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph.

Read our full articles on the 2016 Audi RS3 8V by B&B Automobiltechnik.

Conclusion


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744358

The name behind the product says it all. In the world of aftermarket tuning, few are as esteemed and trusted as ABT Sportsline. That reputation was earned and has served the tuner well. It’s new aftermarket program for the Audi RS3 may not offer the most powerful engine upgrades, but what you get in return is quality, and the highest level of it. From the aesthetic mods to the output increase, there’s nothing to worry about should you get this kit from the well-respected German tuner.

  • Leave it
    • More powerful options available in the market
    • Not as extensive as I thought

References

Audi RS3


2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690330

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS3 sedan.


2015 Audi RS3 - image 585650

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi RS3 hatch.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath

Estate vehicles, or wagons as we like to call them, aren’t supposed to do 211 mph. It’s just one of those things that don’t happen as far as automakers are concerned. But the car tuning world is a different story, and we see a good example of that with Vath’s latest tuning program for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate.

A lot of us are familiar with Vath’s work in the past, especially when it comes to Mercedes-AMG models. It has put in work to develop kits for the AMG SL 65, AMG C 450, and the sedan version of the AMG C 63. Heck, it’s even worked on the previous version of the AMG C 63 Estate. To say that Vath knows what it’s doing with Mercedes-AMG models is an accurate portrayal of the tuner’s abilities, and we see those abilities on full display once again with its new program for the meaty estate. Pick a section of the AMG E 63, and there’s a chance that Vath has something for it. The estate’s exterior? Check. Interior? Check on that too. Drivetrain? You better believe it. There are even “miscellaneous items” on the table, just in case you’re in the mood to get those. This is the kind of comprehensive tuning program that Vath has built its name on. There may be more popular tuning firms in the world out there, but when it comes to quality Mercedes-AMG tunes, few are as consistently good as Vath.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate by Vath

Exterior

  • Front Carbon Spoiler
  • Rear Carbon Spoiler
  • Roof Spoiler in Development
  • 20-inch V2_GT wheels w\ Continental tires
  • Suspension Lowered by .78 – 1.5 inches

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743459
“The carbon aerodynamic pack included in the program adds a front spoiler and a rear diffuser into the body of the car”

If you own a Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate and you’re looking to give it an aftermarket jolt, this is the kind of program that you’ll need to pay attention to. The exterior, for example, may not look much in the context of a tuning build, but there’s enough of it there to play a significant role in improving the overall makeup of the estate.

For example, the carbon aerodynamic pack included in the program adds a front spoiler and a rear diffuser into the body of the car. A roof spoiler is also being developed at the moment so it’s availability is subject to when the piece will be ready to be offered. The impressions created by the aero kit are hard to notice, I know, but observe the front section of the Vath-tuned AMG C 63 with the standard model. Notice the slight difference?

left
right
Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate by Vath

It’s the same story in the rear section of the performance estate as the new diffuser help make for a more dynamic-looking profile. Complementing the carbon aero kit is a set of 20-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in a set of Continental tires.

Interior

  • Floor mats in Black Velor w\ Silver Vath logo
  • New Speedometer reads 360 kph

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate - image 569895

Note: Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate pictured here.

There’s not much going on in the interior of the AMG C 63 Estate, but unlike some tuners who prefer to keep the upgrades in this section to nada, Vath does offer spankin’ new floor mats as part of the whole package. Likewise, a new speedometer is also on the catalog, one that’s dialed up to 360 km/h (224 mph) to better reflect the estate’s new performance capabilities, which I’m about to get into.

Drivetrain

  • Mercedes 4.0-liter, Biturbo, V-8
  • Tuned to 700 HP & 664 LB-FT (190 hp and 148 lb-ft more than stock)
  • 0-to-60 in 3.3 seconds (supercar acceleration)
  • Top speed unlocked to 211 mph (the same as a Porsche 911 GT2 RS)
  • Vath Turbo with stock electronic tuning
  • Custom exhaust with new downpipe (115 x 85 mm)
  • Vath oil cooler for engine and transmission
  • Vath Brake Optimization (racing brake fluid, steel braided lines, and sport brake pads)

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743462
“The car delivers 700 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque – or 190 horsepower and 148 pound-feet more than standard”

If you’re going to end up paying for the steep price of this program (more on that later), this is the section where you’re going to see most of your money go. Not that it’s a bad thing because Vath did yeoman’s work on the AMG C 63 Estate’s 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 engine to get its output up to supercar levels. The meal ticket item in this entire program is Vath’s power pack, which is largely responsible for getting performance hauler’s output to a staggering 700 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Do a little subtracting, and that equates to output gains in the amount of 190 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of twist. Impressive, right? Well, it gets better.

The extra horses provided by the said power pack helps the AMG C 63 Estate uncork a sprint-to-60-mph time of just 3.3 seconds. 3.3 seconds for an estate! Not only is that time 0.8 seconds quicker than its standard counterpart, but it also falls in the range of established sports cars like the Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2, the Porsche 911 Targa 4S, and the McLaren 540C. In case you’re wondering, these cars are regarded as entry-level supercars. That’s the kind of performance mark you get with this Vath-tuned Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate.


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743455
“The extra horses provided by the said power pack helps the AMG C 63 Estate uncork a sprint-to-60-mph time of just 3.3 seconds”

And if that’s not enough, the German tuner also did away with the top speed limiter installed by Mercedes-AMG. Rejoice then because the car’s top speed isn’t limited to just 155 mph, nor is it capped at 180 mph with the optional AMG Driver’s Package. The actual number is well beyond my own imagination as the estate is said to be capable of hitting 211 mph with the whole tuning kit in place. You know which sports car also sports the same top speed? The Porsche 911 GT2 RS. How’s that for perspective.

Outside of the sensational power pack, Vath is also offering a custom exhaust system as part of this program. It’s a little pricey (again, more on that later), but it should be good enough to supply that raspy roar when all that power is on display.

Suspension


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743457

In keeping with its goal of providing a comprehensive tuning program for the AMG C 63 Estate, Vath is also offering suspension upgrades in the form of a suspension lowering kit and upgraded brakes. Nothing speaks to a car’s desire to be totally lethal and drivable at the same time than having that suspension lowering kit installed.

Pricing


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743466

It always seems that as impressive as a tuning package is, the biggest factor surrounding it always has to do with the price. It’s a similar case with this program from Vath because if you’re interested in getting it, you’re going to have to pay at least €21,420 for it. That converts to just under $25,000 based on current exchange rates. A quick breakdown of the prices of some of the individual pieces can be seen in the table below.

Item Price (€) Price ($)
Power kit €12,800 $15,000
Custom exhaust system €3,440 $4,000
Continental tires €3,050 $3,500
Speedometer €2,130 $2,500

Notice that I said “at least”? That’s because certain elements of the kit don’t have prices attached to them, so if you’re preparing to spend for this kit, do so under the assumption that your costs could go up to about €30,000, or a shade under $35,000.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate “Rottweiller” by Piecha


Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate "Rottweiler" by Piecha - image 670936

As surprising as it sounds, the tuning world actually has a soft spot for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate as a number of other tuners have developed aftermarket programs for the car. One recent one to do it was Piecha Design, another tuner noted for its Mercedes kits. It may not have attained the same power gains as Vath did – “only” 612 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque – but it sure did make up for it with a pretty cosmetic package highlighted by sporty graphics, including a two-color racing stripe that runs the length of the wagon and a purposeful aero kit that’s made up of a new front spoiler lip, side skirts, and a roof-edge spoiler made from glass-fibre reinforced plastic.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate “Rottweiller” by Piecha.

Conclusion


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743458

It’s hard to point to the one thing that makes this program stand out because a few of the elements being offered have appeal in them. But in the end, this kit being offered by Vath for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate is defined by the power upgrade, and on that end, there aren’t a lot of programs that can compete with what the German tuner is offering. I mean, 700 horsepower for an estate, even a performance-oriented one at that, is insane on all fronts. But Vath made it happen so if you have any interest to get the program, do so with a full amount of confidence…and then let us know about it afterward. We’d gladly hear stories about how a 700-horsepower AMG C 63 Estate runs.

  • Leave it
    • Pricey
    • Not enough variety
    • Other options available

References

Mercedes C-Class


2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate - image 569894

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate.



Read more Mercedes news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Shelby Mustang 1000

2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000

It’s been only four three model years since the sixth-generation Ford Mustang arrived in showrooms, and the pony has already spawned an impressive number of versions wearing the Shelby badge. Although the iconic GT500 has yet to be revived, Ford has already launched the GT350, the Super Snake, GT-H, and GTE, just to name a few. The GT500 may still be a year away, but sixth-gen Mustang, but Shelby just launched yet another performance model. This time around it’s the Shelby 1000, the brand’s most menacing creation in terms of output and straight-line speed.

The Shelby 1000 is closely related to the GT500, as the first model to wear this badge, launched in 2011, was based on the fifth-generation GT500. Offered in both street and 1000 S/C track versions, the first iteration of the car was discontinued in 2012. The 1000 returned in 2013, once again based on the GT500, but now with the 5.8-liter V-8 instead of the old 5.4-liter unit under the hood. Both the street package and the S/C track package were offered. Also available as an upgrade for the GT500, the package was discontinued in 2014, after only two years on the market. The new Shelby 1000 is the first such model based on the sixth-generation Mustang, so everything about it is new compared to previous iterations. Let’s have a closer look at the car in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Shelby Mustang 1000.

Exterior

  • New front fascia with larger intakes
  • Bulged engine hood
  • Wider fenders
  • Fatter wheels
  • Sporty side skirts
  • “Shelby 1000” graphics
  • Trunk lid spoiler
  • New diffuser

2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742932
“The wider fenders make way for fatter tires, but also give the car a more menacing stance”

Ever since it was introduced in 2011, the Shelby 1000 made a name for itself as the most aggressive road-legal production version of the Mustang in terms of exterior design. The new model is no exception from this rule and looks even more menacing on the styling cues of the facelifted, sixth-generation ’Stang.

As usual, it sports wider than usual fenders. These were added to make way for fatter tires, but also to give the car a wider stance for increased stability and a more aggressive look. Shelby redesigned both the nose and the bumper. The grille now features a honeycomb mesh and a trapezoidal element at the bottom with “Shelby” lettering inside.


2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742933
“Around back, there's a new spoiler atop the trunk lid and a more aggressive diffuser below”

Below, we can see larger side cooling ducts, a more aggressive lower grille, and a bigger splitter. The hood is new as well, now sporting a massive center bulge and big vents, both added to accommodate the supercharged engine.

Moving onto the sides, we can see a new vent on the front fender, black side sill extensions, and “Shelby 1000” lettering on the lower door area. The standard Mustang wheels have been ditched for 20-inch, forged aluminum rollers with a twin-five-spoke design. Around back, there’s a new spoiler atop the trunk lid and a new, more aggressive diffuser with wide exhaust pipes below the bumper. As usual, the black panel between the taillights comes with “Shelby” lettering.

Interior

  • Illuminated sill plates
  • Katzkin leather
  • Rear-seat delete
  • Four-point roll-bar and harness
  • Autometer gauges
  • CSM badging
  • Custom floor mats

2018 Ford Mustang - image 702221

Note: Standard 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

“The front seats are wrapped in Katzkin leather, while the rear seats have been removed”

Shelby has yet to release interior shots of the 1000, but it did post a list of upgrades it made to the sixth-generation Mustang. Open the door and you’ll be greeted by special, illuminated Shelby sill plates. You’ll notice almost immediately that the front seats are wrapped in Katzkin leather. Because this car was built with racing in mind, the rear seats have been removed and a four-point roll-bar and harness system was added for enhanced safety. Other highlights include an instrument with Shelby by Autometer gauges, CSM badging on the dashboard, and custom floor mats.

In addition to all of the above, customers will benefit from the sixth-gen Mustang’s redesigned interior. Despite this model being almost four years old as of 2017, I’m mentioning it because this is the first Shelby 1000 based on it. So the new 1000 will have quite a few features to stand out by compared to previous versions of the supercharged coupe, including a redesigned dashboard with a more modern design, fresh technology, softer materials, and a bit more room.


2018 Ford Mustang - image 702222

Note: Standard 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

“In terms of new-for-2018 tech, there's a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass”

Those who opt to have the Shelby 1000 update on the facelifted, 2018-model-year ’Stang will also benefit from hand-made contrast stitching, padded knee bolsters, and aluminum door handles, rings, and bezels. You can even have a heated steering wheel if you check the option on Ford’s ordering list.

In terms of new-for-2018 tech, there’s a 12-inch digital instrument cluster with a personalized LCD and Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass. Available as an option, the latter is an app that enables drivers to start, lock, unlock, and locate their car using smartphones.

Drivetrain

  • 5.2-liter Alluminator V-8 engine
  • 4.5-liter Shelby by Whipple supercharger
  • Upgraded new, manual transmission
  • Shelby exhaust system
  • Short throw shifter
  • 1,500-horsepower rated axles
  • Penske adjustable shocks and springs
  • Ford Performance sway bars
  • Brembo braking system
  • Frame strengthening
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires

2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang - image 643647

Note: 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang pictured here.

“The 1000 package ditches the 5.0-liter V-8 that comes with the Mustang GT, replaced by a larger, 5.2-liter unit”

As it is the case with most Shelby muscle cars, most of the upgrades are hidden under the engine hood. The 1000 update ditches the 5.0-liter V-8 that comes with the Mustang GT, replaced by a larger, 5.2-liter unit. If it sounds familiar it’s because Shelby is using the same engine found in the cool GT350. However, while the GT350 is a naturally aspirated car, the Shelby 1000 also gets a 4.5-liter, Whipple-designed supercharger.

The assembly also gets new radiator, heat exchanger, oil cooling, and an aluminum cooling tank, as well as a Shelby exhaust with long tube headers. It mates to a new manual transmission with revised cooling parts and a short throw shifter. There’s also a one-piece drive shaft, a truple disk clutch, and a Shelby fuel pickup system. Driveline upgrades are rounded off by an oil recovery system, an ATI vibration dampener, and a high capacity oil pan.

“The new axles are rated at a whopping 1,500 horsepower”

The new axles are rated at a whopping 1,500 horsepower. Speaking of which, Shelby has yet to announce the power rating of the 1000 model, but if the past is any indication, you can specify as much horsepower as the axles can handle. In this case, 1,500 horsepower. It’s worth noting that the first-gen model developed 920 horses in road-legal specs, while the second-gen car was good for a whopping 1,200 horsepower. Assuming that Shelby will offer two power ratings, expect at least 1,000 horsepower from the base model.

But the Shelby 1000 isn’t just about engine upgrades. The chassis has been heavily modified too and now includes revised front spindle and control arms, new rear lower control arms, Penske adjustable shocks and springs, a caster camber plates and adjustable sway bar link, Ford Performance sway bars, Ford Performance half shafts, a Brembo brake system, and further frame strengthening. The wheels, which feature hardened studs, are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires for enhanced grip.

“It's safe to assume that it will hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than 2.5 seconds”

Of course, you’re probably asking how fast this car is in a straight line. It’s difficult to tell without actual specs, but it should be the quickest Shelby ever created. If you really need a figure, it’s safe to assume that it will hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than 2.5 seconds. Actually, it could be almost as quick as the Dodge Challenger Demon, which needs only 2.3 ticks.

Interestingly enough, Shelby claims that the new 1000 is an entirely different car compared to its predecessors, as it has been designed to be the “ultimate road course warrior.” But this mission was far from easy, according to the firm, which said that modifying the sixth-generation Mustang was far more complication due to the independent rear suspension system and the new platform.

“Since Ford dropped the solid axle rear end, we had to take an entirely new approach,” said Vince LaViolette, Shelby vice president and head of development. “Not only did we build strength into the car with components like heavy-duty halfshafts and CV joints, we revised the entire suspension by using tubular adjustable upper and lower control arms, as well as fully adjustable coilovers. We then added 10 and 12 inch forged wheels with sticky 20 inch rubber to maximize traction with this high level of power.”
While the previous generation Shelby 1000 was offered in both street and off-road configuration, a decision was made not to pursue emissions compliance on the new model, Shelby added, which makes the newest generation 1000 “purely a track star.”

Prices


2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742305

While the new Shelby 1000 package was advertised on the facelifted, 2018 Mustang, the upgrade is available for any sixth-generation Mustang GT. Production will be limited to only 50 units per year, but Shelby didn’t say whether this edition will last more than the previous ones, which were around for only two model years each. Like any Shelby out there, each car will be documented in the official Shelby Registry. Pricing for the package is set at $169,995, not including the Ford Mustang GT. Add the base car, which retails from $35,095 before options, and the Shelby 1000 will cost you a whopping $205,090!

Competition

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon


2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - image 713286

When it comes to massive horsepower and drag-ready underpinnings, the Challenger Demon is the best competitor I can think of. Developed with fast quarter mile runs in mind, the Demon is a development of the Hellcat, but with significant upgrades in just about any department. The Demon is a Hellcat on steroids on the outside, featuring a new splitter, wider fender flares, and a beefed-up engine hood. Inside, the Demon is again similar to the Hellcat, but benefits from new seats with “Demon” logos, a bespoke instrument cluster, extra performance apps, and optional leather. The standard model comes with just the driver seat, but options include two- and five-seat layouts. Power comes from a souped-up supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 that cranks out horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque. It might not sound like much compared to the Shelby 1000, but the Demon needs only 2.3 seconds to hit 60 mph. However, this figure is achieved when the car is equipped with radial drag tires and used in Drag Mode. The Demon is also the fastest quarter-mile production car with a 9.65-second run at 140 mph. It’s so quick that the NHRA actually issued a ban, as regulations state that a car that’s quicker than 9.99 seconds on the drag strip (at more than 135 mph) requires extra safety equipment and a racing license. This coupe is also fitted with a large number of upgrades developed to sustain the insane performance, including the SRT Power Chiller, TransBrake, and Bilstein shocks tuned for drag racing, just to name a few. Pricing starts from $84,995 (including $1,700 gas guzzler tax, excluding $1,095 destination), which makes it $20,800 more expensive than the Hellcat, but significantly more affordable than the Shelby 1000.

Read our full review of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

Hennessey Camaro ZL1 “The Exorcist”


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 The Exorcist by Hennessey - image 715078

Built by Texas-based tuning company Hennessey, “The Exorcist” is not a factory-built car like the Demon, but it’s put together in the same way as the Shelby 1000. And the outrageous power and its nickname make it a suitable rival for the other cars in this comparison. Built around the latest Chevy Camaro ZL1, “The Exorcist” has a supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 1,000 horsepower and 966 pound-feet of torque and rides on drag slicks. The 0-to-60 mph sprint comes in “under three seconds” while the quarter-mile happens in “less than 10 seconds,” which should be pretty close to the Shelby 1000. The good news is that even though it’s not a factory vehicle, the upgrade can be ordered through Chevrolet dealerships and comes with a two-year/24,000-mile warranty. What’s more, the 10-speed automatic transmission is joined by a six-speed manual, whereas the Demon can’t be had with a stick. Pricing for this package starts from $55,000, not including the car, which means that the sticker actually begins from $116,140. Get all the options and “The Exorcist” will set you back a whopping $142,080. Far from affordable, but definitely not as expensive as the Shelby 1000.

Read our full story on the Hennessey Camaro ZL1 “The Exorcist.”

Conclusion


2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742306

The Shelby 1000 is far from being among the brand’s most iconic nameplates. Because it’s still relatively new, having been first introduced in 2011, it will be overshadowed by the GT350, GT500 and the Super Snake for many years to come. On the other, I have to give the 1000 credit for being the most extreme Shelby ever built. And with new axles rated at 1,500 horsepower, the new Shelby 1000 will be more powerful than ever. Granted, there’s a chance it won’t be as quick as the Challenger SRT Demon on the drag strip, but it will put any production muscle car and most aftermarket upgrades to shame in terms of horsepower. And needless to say, it doesn’t look bad either. Put a big wing on that thing, and you’ll have a full-fledged race car on your hands. The only downside here is that the Shelby 1000 is very expensive. You can buy a Porsche 911 GT3 and still have some $60,000 to spend on fuel and weekends at the Nurburgring.

  • Leave it
    • Likely not as quick as the Demon
    • Very, very expensive

References

Ford Mustang


2018 Ford Mustang - image 702950

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.


2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang - image 671847

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing

Manhart Racing is known for creating some incredible tuning programs in the past, most recently turning the BMW M5 into an 800-horsepower powerhouse. Now the German tuner is turning its sights on the Audi RS5 with a new program that packs plenty of aftermarket punch. Ok, maybe it’s not as potent as the M5’s kit, but it’s still good enough to bring some extra level of excitement to Audi’s resident mid-size performance coupe.

In keeping with Manhart Racing’s tradition, the aptly named RS500 tuning program is packing the load with power and performance bits. It also features a number of handy visual upgrades in case you’re in the mood to turn your RS5s into something that looks right at home in the Fast and Furious franchise. But enough of the small talk. The RS500 program is largely tied into the objective of giving the Audi RS5 more than what it’s capable of. It’s about giving the RS5 the chance to maximize its potential as a performance car. It’s about turning the spotlight to arguably one of the most underrated performance cars in the market today. Give it some cosmetic upgrades, slap on a few engine upgrades, and dial up the suspension work. That’s the name of Manhart Racing’s RS500 tuning game and the results, well, they certainly speak for themselves. So if any of you own an Audi RS5 and you’re looking to give it an aftermarket touch, you’re going to need to take a long and hard look at what Manhart Racing has on the table.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Audi RS5 RS500 by Manhart Racing.

Exterior

  • Matte black body finish
  • Gold trim accents on the body
  • 21-inch Concept One wheels

2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742831
“The predominantly matte black look of the two-door coupe is visually boosted by the gold accents throughout the body”

This is a pretty straightforward tuning program so don’t expect anything complicated out of it. There aren’t any aerodynamic bits to talk about because there aren’t any to begin with. What Mansard did do was provide a good list of cosmetic upgrades that, at least in my mind, works well on the RS5. The predominantly matte black look of the two-door coupe is visually boosted by the gold accents throughout the body. I especially like the gold racing stripes running the whole length of the RS5. That’s a nice aesthetic touch that brings out a more personable side to the coupe. While I’m at it, the 21-inch Concept One wheels are solid inclusions as well, as are the gold trim surrounding them. It’s going to be next to impossible to notice how it looks when you’re driving the car, but look at how the gold trim separates itself from the wheels and the black rubber of the tires when the RS5 is on the road. Subtle hints like that go a long way in making a car like the two-door Audi look more appealing from a visual point of view.

Interior


2014 Audi RS5 - image 511744

Note: Audi RS5 pictured here.

One thing that must be said about Manhart Racing’s tuning program. It usually doesn’t showcase its interior upgrade offerings in public because most of it is actually of the personalization variety. That’s not to say that the tuner is lacking in this department. On the contrary, Manhart’s actually well versed in the art of interior customization, as shown by some of its previous works. So in the absence of any relevant details surrounding what’s available for the Audi RS5, feel free to let your imaginations run wild on what you can do to the interior of your RS5s. Some fancy leather upholstery perhaps? Maybe throw in some wood or carbon fiber trim?

Drivetrain

  • Software engine update
  • New output of 499 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque
  • Optional stainless steel exhaust system

2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742832
“The RS5’s stock output of 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque gets boosted to a tidy 499 horses and 517 pound-feet of twist.”

Manhart Racing hasn’t disclosed the specifics of the engine upgrade, but it’s easy to figure out that the whole program revolves around a software tune, something akin at least to its MHTronik tuning module that nets as much as 60 extra horsepower out of any engine it’s used on. In this case, the Audi RS5’s 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine is the lucky unit that’s going to be the recipient of Manhart Racing’s handiwork. The results are what you’d expect too as the RS5’s stock output of 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque gets boosted to a tidy 499 horses and 517 pound-feet of twist. That computes to an extra 49 ponies and 74 pound-feet of torque, right around the vicinity of what you can expect from the German tuner’s software tuning kit.

Needless to say, the extra shot of power should translate better performance times for the RS5. The tuner hasn’t announced the exact figures at this point, but with the standard RS5 Coupe capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 174 mph, it stands to reason that the modified RS5 can cover the same distance in about 3.8 seconds before peaking at a top speed that’s in the neighborhood of 174 mph. Regardless of the actual figures, a 500-horsepower Audi RS5 sounds like a great investment to me. Last but certainly not least is a optional stainless steel exhaust system that itself can accommodate catless downpipes.

Suspension


2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742834

Accompanying the cosmetic and engine upgrades that are included in the RS500 build is a custom KW coilover suspension kit. Not only does it bring the ride closer to the ground, but it also helps facilitate an improved ride for the Audi RS5, the kind that you won’t be able to get if you buy the two-door coupe in stock form and leave it as it is.

Pricing


2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742835

The total price of the RS500 program is fluid depending on how much work is done on the car’s interior. You can take comfort though by knowing that the whole kit probably won’t be as expensive as you think, especially with how simple it all is from the perspective of the whole RS500 kit. In lieu of that, I’m expecting the price tag for this program to sit somewhere in the $20,000 range, maybe even cheaper than that provided that you don’t request any exotic leather on the cabin of the coupe.

Competition

Audi RS5 by mcchip


2013 Audi RS5 by McChip-DKR - image 528652

Truth be told, there haven’t been that many tuning programs to come out for the Audi RS5. I don’t exactly know the reason behind it, but it is a telling reminder that not all aftermarket kits are created equal.That’s not to say that the RS5 has been ignored by this subsection of the auto industry because there have been some programs developed specifically for it in the past. One of these programs comes to us by way of mcchip, which unveiled its kit for the RS5 back in 2013 for that year’s version of the sports coupe. That kit followed a different blueprint though because it revolved largely around a three-stage engine upgrade that got as much as 600 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque out of the RS5’s old 4.2-liter V-8 mill. That’s a lot of power for an older model of the RS5, but then again, the engine that model carried was bigger than the new-generation model. Just goes to show you how much aftermarket potential the RS5, regardless of model year, really has.

Read our full review on the Audi RS5 by mcchip.

Conclusion


2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742828

I’ve always found it intriguing – maybe even weird – that the Audi RS5 doesn’t get as many tuning programs as some of its rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz AMG. Maybe it’s because the two-door Audi sports coupe isn’t as popular as its rivals, but whatever the case may be, I’m actually happy that Manhart Racing took a stab at developing one. It may not be the most comprehensive tuning kit in the world, but it’s more than enough to accomplish its goal of bringing something new to the table for the RS5. On that end, I’d call Manhart’s RS500 tuning a kit something that’s worth a long look should you be in the market for an aftermarket program for your RS5s.

  • Leave it
    • Expected something more
    • Availability could be an issue

References

Audi RS5


2014 Audi RS5 - image 574081

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi RS5.

PostHeaderIcon AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers

The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is a great event if you like aftermarket car upgrades and various equipment for SUVs and pickup trucks, but sometimes it’s a nice place to find restomods. Ringbrothers is one of the companies that bring one or two new restomods at each edition, and needless to say, it’s doing a great job at combining classic designs with modern features and drivetrains. Well, Ringbrothers did it again this year, but unlike previous events, the 2017 SEMA Show hosted the public debut of a truly special car. While most tuners usually go with Fords, Chevys, and Dodges for their restomod projects, Ringbrothers picked a 1972 AMC Javelin this time around. Yup, this underrated competitor for the Big Three muscle cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s got a complete makeover with all the bells and whistles Ringbrothers is known for.

Granted, choosing a Javelin for such a project may seem like a weird choice with much more popular muscle cars around, but it’s great to see that big companies like Ringbrothers is trying something different for a change. And needless to say, the Defiant! turned out great. It’s not only the coolest AMC restomod yet, but it also puts most projects from this year’s SEMA Show to shame. Keep reading for the full details.

Continue reading for the full story.

What makes the AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers special?

  • Carbon-fiber front fenders
  • Bulged hood
  • Aggressive front bumper
  • Side-exiting exhaust
  • Black roof
  • Wider rear fenders
  • Custom rear diffuser
  • Machine-turned instrument cluster
  • New upholstery
  • Modified Dodge Challenger Hellcat engine
  • 1,100 horsepower!
  • Four-speed transmission
  • Modern subframe and suspension

“It's a Javelin AMX on steroids. Brutal and modern”

Much like any Ringbrothers creation, the Defiant! is a significant makeover of the stock vehicle. It’s a Javelin AMX on steroids. Brutal and modern.

Most of the car’s notable features, such as the round headlamps, the pointy grille, and the arched fenders are still there, but everything else from the windshield to the nose has been redesigned. Arguably the most interesting fact here is that Ringbrothers moved the front wheels and arches forward by 6.5 inches in order to eliminate the original car’s long overhang. But the firm didn’t modify the stock fenders. These were removed and replaced by custom-made, carbon-fiber ones. The bumper was also replaced with a more menacing element that reminds of modern race cars. Finally, the engine hood gained a massive bulge to make room for the supercharged engine.

The remaining side body panels were modified too. While the rear fenders became wider, the side skirts now feature side-exiting exhaust pipes. The A-pillars and the roof are finished in black, just like the upper front fascia and the center section of the engine hood. The wheels are new too and feature a twin-five-spoke, dual-color design with high-performance tires.


2017 AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers - image 742608
“The stock front fenders were replaced by custom-made, carbon-fiber ones”

Modifications are rather subdued around back, where the ducktail spoiler, taillights, and bumper were kept in stock form. However, Ringbrothers did add a two-piece diffuser and a new emblem between the thin and long taillights. Rounding off the custom Javelin AMG is a sparkly gold color that keeps some of the car’s classic vibe alive.

Interior changes aren’t as radical, but the instrument cluster gained a machine-turned metal finish. There’s also new leather upholstery, modern floor mats, and slight changes to the steering wheel and center console. Classy!


2017 AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers - image 742611
“Interior changes aren't as radical, but the instrument cluster gained a machine-turned metal finish”

Under the hood, the AMX is no longer a Javelin. While the 1972 model was powered by a naturally aspirated V-8, this modern rendition draws its juice from a modified version of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat’s 6.2-liter V-8. A bit blasphemous for AMC loyalists I guess, but hey, this is a restomod after all. The V-8 is topped with a 4.5-liter supercharger that raises the power from the Hellcat-standard 707 horsepower to a whopping 1,100 horses. All that oomph is channeled to the wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission connected to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber driveshaft. Six-piston brakes provide stopping power.


2017 AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers - image 742613
“The modified Hellcat engine cranks out a whopping 1,100 horsepower”

The muscle car rides on a custom front subframe originally designed for a Camaro and fitted with modern sway bars and RideTech suspension components. A Chevrolet 12-bolt rear end is mounted on a four-link suspension designed by the Ringsbrothers.

The original Javelin might not have been that impressive compared to the competition, but this thing is something else. But as it is the case with Ringbrothers builds, the Defiant! will remain unique. But I’m sure they wouldn’t say no to another AMC-based project should you want one.

References


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig

2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig

We love it when a builder goes just a little bit of crazy, creating something over-the-top, but only just. This extensively modified F-350 from Hellwig is exactly that. Dubbed “The Operator,” Hellwig started with a stock 2017 Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat Crew Cab, then added upgrades until it had created the “ultimate recon adventure vehicle.” The most obvious thing to pick out is the large UTV this truck is hauling in its bed – or rather, above its bed might be more accurate. But there’s more to it than just that. “From recon runs in the desert to family camping trips in the dunes, the Operator is capable and comfortable,” says Hellwig, and we believe it. In addition to the usual off-roader gear outside, there’s nice stuff inside the cabin as well, plus a few choice upgrades under the hood to round it out.

All told, while the UTV certainly has our attention, it’s the little details in this build that really impress us. Hellwig didn’t neglect a thing in building its idea of “ultimate,” and in the end, we can’t help but stand back and admire the handy work.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford F-350 By Hellwig.

Exterior

  • UTV mounted out back
  • New bumpers and paint
  • Lots of utility gear
  • Underbody protection

2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741908
“One of the coolest things about this truck is the way in which it moves the UTV.”

Let’s just jump straight to it, shall we? Mounted on the bed of this thing is a 2017 Artic Cat Wildcat X LTD two-seater UTV, a zippy little toy that’ll eat up the surrounding terrain without a moment’s hesitation. It’s an awesome thing to have at your disposal in the right conditions, and The Operator is the right platform to deliver it where it needs to be.

One of the coolest things about this truck is the way in which it moves the UTV. Rather than filling the bed to capacity or dragging around a trailer, The Operator mounts it above the bed line and partially on top of the cab. Responsible for this trick is a UTV deck from SherpTek, which offers heavy-duty loading ramps and all the gear you need to keep that pricey toy in one spot. Just don’t take any sharp corners with it loaded up there…


2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741907

Adding to the build’s aesthetic appeal is a set of new “Vengeance” bumpers from Fab Fours, both in front and in back. In the corners you’ll find Method Race 305 NV HD wheels, which take up residence under flared-out fenders from Lund (part of the Ford Licensed Accessories line). As a quick side note – notice how the UTV’s wheels match those of the truck that’s carrying it? It’s a relatively small detail, but we think stuff like that really makes a build look fantastic, separating the great from the good.

Up front, there’s a new X-Metal grille insert from T-Rex Grilles, while Rigid Industries and Whelen provide the extra illumination. Rounding off the styling is a BASF paint job courtesy of LGE-CTS Motorsports, on top of which is laid a digital camouflage graphics scheme.


2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741906
“Notice how the UTV’s wheels match those of the truck that’s carrying it?”

And of course, we couldn’t forget all the extras added for the sake of utility, such as the Krazy Beaver Tools shovel, Macs tie-downs cargo management system, and Viair air compressor. There’s also a bolt receiver lock system, a hi-lift jack, and a set of Daystar fuel cans.

Protecting the important bits underneath are Mag-Hytech differential covers and transmission pan. A Warn Industries 16.5TI-S winch is placed in the nose, and a Wilco pre-runner tailgate finishes it off.

Interior

  • Power step-ups
  • New seats and upholstery

2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741913
“The 5.11 Tactical seats come complete with body-colored coverings from Rogelio’s Upholstery”

With so much attention paid to the exterior of this vehicle, it wouldn’t be surprising if The Operator neglected to do much to the interior space. Thankfully, that’s not the case.

First up, ingress and egress are assisted by electrically operated PowerSteps from AMP Research, a critical component when considering the truck’s sizable suspension lift.

Once inside, passengers will enjoy the 5.11 Tactical seats, which come complete with body-colored coverings from Rogelio’s Upholstery, plus special webbing and tactical storage compartments from Molle. A Ford Licensed Accessories vehicle safe from Console Vault stores sensitive materials up front. Finally, Rugged Radios was called on for the telecommunications kit.

Drivetrain

  • 6.7-liter Powerstroke V-8 diesel
  • 925 pound-feet of torque
  • MagnaFlow exhaust

2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741912
“MangaFlow was called on for its Pro DPF exhaust system”

The heart of the vehicle is the Ford F-350’s top-rated 6.7-liter Powerstroke V-8 turbo diesel engine, which, from the factory, is rated at 440 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and an Earth-twisting 925 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm. And that’s good, especially when you consider all the extras hanging off this thing, including the frikin’ UTV on the roof.

To give the powerband a little extra breathing room, not to mention a much better sound, MangaFlow was called on for its Pro DPF exhaust system. A yellow-top battery from Optima provides the spark.

Finally, a TorqShift six-speed automatic gearbox with a SelectShift feature routes the go to the ground. 05SD hubs from Warn Industries finish off the drivetrain spec.

Chassis And Handling

  • Hellwig air suspension
  • Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stag 5 suspension
  • 4.5-inch lift
  • Falken Wild Peak M/T Off-Roading tires

2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741911

Underpinning the whole shebang are Hellwig-branded Big Wig air springs, while Big Wig sway bars are mounted both front and back. Completing the transformation is a full Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stage 5 suspension kit, which means this bad boy is standing a full 4.5 inches higher than when it left the factory.

Finally, gripping the terra, we find Falken Wild Peak M/T Off-Roading tires wrapped around those custom wheels.

Conclusion


2017 Ford F-350 “The Operator” By Hellwig - image 741909

SEMA always attracts some truly impressive modified rides, and this particular example is right up there with some of the best we’ve seen in 2017. It’s got the big stuff, like the UTV, but also the little stuff, like Rugged Radios gear and matching wheels, and that makes it both extreme and well-rounded.

Good work.

  • Leave it
    • Only thing missing is a drone

References

Ford F-Series


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648383

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon East Coast Defender “Project Beast”

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast”

The name “Defender” carries some serious weight in the world of off-roading. With a long history of military service and simply unflappable talent off-road, this iconic model from Land Rover serves as the bones for myriad capability-focused vehicles. Florida-based auto shop East Coast Defenders knows this well, making its name building custom versions of the British model for enhanced style, greater interior comfort, and even greater agility while traversing the great outdoors. Now, ECD is invading the sands of Vegas with its latest custom build, dropping the sheets at the 2017 SEMA show. The project was a collaboration with Warn Industries, a manufacturer that specializes in vehicle recovery equipment, and is based on a Defender 110 model from 1985. Created by hand and equipped with a litany of custom parts, ECD appropriately calls this build “Project Beast.”

Framed as an “elite off-road SUV,” Project Beast was actually completed in 2016, built in ECD’s “Rover Dome” in Kissimmee, Florida. All told, it’s got the right stuff for attracting attention at SEMA. Read on for more.

Continue reading to learn more about the East Coast Defender.

Exterior

  • Classic Defender shape, enhanced
  • Kahn wide body kit
  • External roll cage
  • LED light bar on the roof
  • Custom wheels

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741535
“ECD outfitted Project Beast to play the part of a hardcore rough-stuff killer”

From the off, it’s pretty obvious this is no ordinary Land Rover Defender. ECD outfitted Project Beast to play the part of a hardcore rough-stuff killer, giving it the look of an unstoppable black cube that merges British engineering with American know-how.

The classic four-door exterior styling remains, including the extended rear cargo area and a multitude of broad, flat body panels. However, to this classic shape, ECD added a variety of enhancements.


2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741530
“The most eye-grabbing feature is the Kahn wide body kit, which adds some serious girth to the exterior dimensions”

The most eye-grabbing feature is the Kahn wide body kit, which adds some serious girth to the exterior dimensions. Then there’s the external roll cage, which sweeps up from the A-pillar and into the roof, then down again into the rear fenders, adding impressive protection in the event you accidentally tip this thing over. Illuminating the view forward is a large LED light bar, which finds its home just above the windshield.

The front fascia appears to be freshened with a new grille insert, while the new fender flares add extra chunkiness. Filling to extra space are custom wheels, matched in back by a spare of the same design. Finally, the whole thing was slathered in flat-black paint, lending it even more attitude.

Interior

  • Keeps the standard Defender layout
  • Lots of high-end upholstery
  • New seats

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741522
“Inside, you’ll find modern Defender mixed with luxury, with ample coverings of sumptuous hide and stitching.”

Step into the cabin of this thing, and you’ll find a very nice place to be. While the floor gets tough rubber to help rebuff whatever muddy mess you bring with you, the rest of it is modern Defender mixed with luxury, with ample coverings of sumptuous hide and stitching. Indeed, everywhere you look, there is some kind of quilted leather, from the seats, to the door panels, to the center console, to even the dash.

Behind a three-spoke steering wheel from Momo, ECD included the standard three-pod gauge layout, albeit modified to include additional readouts and data, not to mention the requisite ECD plaque below.


2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741525
“The seats themselves are elaborate buckets that should do well to hold passengers in place”

The seats themselves are elaborate buckets that should do well to hold passengers in place, while seating for three additional passengers can be found on the second-row bench. Meanwhile, copious space in the cargo area means you’ll be hauling whatever you need to bring with you, whether its gear, supplies, or even more passengers on the fold-out seats.

Drivetrain

  • Chevy LS3 V-8 powerplant
  • Automatic transmission
  • 4X4 traction

2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741543
“Output is rated at a healthy 430 horsepower, which is pretty much standard for the powerplant”

As you might imagine, East Coast Defender wasn’t content to keep their build stock as a rock under the hood, so instead, this burly trail buster comes equipped with a brand-new Chevy LS3 small-block V-8, the same engine you’ll find driving the rear wheels in the Camaro SS and the Corvette. Output is rated at a healthy 430 horsepower, which is pretty much standard for the powerplant. However, ECD does say it incorporated a good deal of custom work to make the engine function properly in the Defender platform.

The rest of it includes an automatic transmission routing power to the ground by way of a robust 4X4 drivetrain. And just in case you still can’t find the traction from those big tires, there’s a winch from Warn on the nose to help pull you free.

Conclusion


2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast” - image 741533

“What we’ve created with our custom Defender and Range Rover Classics, fits into a highly niche market. We strip each vehicle down to its frame and complete it according to our client’s exact specifications,” says ECD co-owner Elliot Humble.

That’s exactly the right approach for a SEMA build. The further away from factory you can get, the better. Of course, ECD took care to keep the Land Rover’s inherent off-road worthiness intact, adding to it with the right components, rather than detracting from it with superfluous accouterments.

Kudos.

  • Leave it
    • Custom build = expensive
    • More extreme off-roader builds out there

References

Land Rover Defender


2013 Land Rover Defender - image 471001

Read our full review on the 2017 Land Rover Defender.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension

Ford brought more than 50 vehicles to the 2017 SEMA Show, ranging from factory fresh models and high-horsepower Mustangs to SUVs and lifted trucks. That last one is exactly what we’ve got here – a massive F-250 Super Duty that’s been re-engineered to handle any off-road situation. Ford partnered with BDS Suspension in building what’s been dubbed “Project SD126: No Mission Is Impossible.

The truck started life as a 2017 F-250 Super Duty XLT with a regular cab and long bed powered by the 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel and backed by the six-speed automatic transmission and stock 4WD system. BDS broke out the Sawzall and cut the long bed down. The wheelbase went from 142 inches to 126 inches, hints the SD126 name. From there came the suspension parts, new body panels, and reworked interior. Nearly every inch of the truck has been touched. Check out the details below.

Continue reading for more on the SD126 Super Duty.

Exterior

  • Shortend wheelbase
  • Custom fiberglass fenders & hood
  • Smokes lens covers on lights
  • Off-road bumpers
  • Warn winch
  • Power steps
  • LED off-road lights

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741441
“The bright orange paint, massive 42-inch tires, and bulging fenders do a good job at hogging attention.”

Though the BDS F-250 might have a shorter wheelbase, it’s hardly the first thing anyone will notice. The bright orange paint, massive 42-inch tires, and bulging fenders do a good job at hogging attention.

The truck features steel bumpers from Rogue Racing. The front bumper hides a 12,000-pound Warn Zeon winch, a 40-inch LED light bar, and four LED light pods. The factory tow hooks stick out of the body-colored bumper, too. The blacked-out grille is flanked by smoked headlights and capped by a ram air hood from RK Sport. Out back, the rear bumper also has LED light pods and offers more protection from trail damage.

Other outside adds-ons include AMP Research power steps, smoked cab lights and third brake light, and orange Ford badges. There’s also a full-size spare tire mounted in the bed.

Interior

  • Racing seats
  • Five-point harnesses
  • Kicker stereo sound system
  • Off-road GPS system

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741448
“BDS carries the orange theme inside the truck with orange accents on the HVAC vents and controls, radio knobs, and door panels”

BDS carries the orange theme inside the truck with orange accents on the HVAC vents and controls, radio knobs, and door panels. The stock seats are replaced by reclining race seats from PRP and includes five-point harness. The custom center console has cup holders and a big 12-inch subwoofer that’s attached to the Kicker sound system. An inch and three-quarter roll bar was added inside the cab for added safety and a Magellan eXplorist TRX7 GSP system keeps tabs on navigation when off road.

Drivetrain

  • 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 Turbodiesel
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • 4WD
  • Cold-air intake
  • ECU programmer
  • Upgraded exhuast system

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741450
“BDS added a cold-air intake from S&B, an EZ-LYNK programmer, and a Diamond Eye exhaust system”

BDS didn’t have to do much to the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbodiesel. In stock form, it makes 440 horsepower and 925 pound-feet of torque. Then again, this is SEMA, so BDS added a cold-air intake from S&B, an EZ-LYNK programmer, and a Diamond Eye exhaust system. There’s no official word on power improvements, but we’d bet this oil-burner is squeezing out nearly 1,000 pound-feet of torque.

The real changes come with the suspension, axle, and tire upgrades.

Suspension

  • Shortend wheelbase
  • 42-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR tire
  • BDS suspension
  • Fox 2.5 coilover shocks
  • Fox 3.0 external bypass shocks
  • Fox 2.0 bump stops
  • Upgraded solid Axles from F-450
  • 14 inches of travel

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741444
“The front has a four-link setup with huge coilover springs on 2.5-inch Fox Racing shocks with a secondary, 3.0-inch Fox Racing external bypass shocks mounted nearby”

The stock Ford F-250 solid axles were ditched for the beefier ones found under the F-450 Super Duty. The front axle is Dana 60 while the rear is a M300. Both are 10-lug design, are stuffed with 4.30:1 gears, and have BDS trusses for added rigidity.

Holding the axles in place, naturally, is a BDS suspension system. The front has a four-link setup with huge coilover springs on 2.5-inch Fox Racing shocks with a secondary, 3.0-inch Fox Racing external bypass shocks mounted nearby. Fox 2.0 bump stops provide a soft landing should the suspension bottom out after a hard jump or large bump. A Pac Racing monster sway bar keeps the F-250 from tipping over and extra strong steering gear keeps both tires pointed in the same direction. Out back, the rear leaf spring suspension is swapped for a trailing arm with the same 2.5-inch Fox coilover shocks and 3.0-inch external bypass shocks.
All told, the suspension has an impressive 14 inches of travel.

The truck rides on Stazworks Cheyenne 8 wheels wrapped in 42-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR tires.

Conclusion


2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT By BDS Suspension - image 741439

The BDS Suspension 2017 Ford F250 Project SD126: No Mission Is Impossible truck is a helluva build. It takes a full-size three-quarter ton truck and turns it into a go-anywhere monster with all the torque in the world. Its shortened, 126-inch wheelbase, 42-inch tall tires, solid axles, BDS suspension, and Fox shocks allow it to go where regular Super Duties can’t.

The SEMA Show is full of custom vehicles like this, but it seems BDS and Ford have pulled off one of the cleanest and most interesting builds of the year.

What do you think? Do you like this build? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Leave it
    • Only room for two people
    • Would be expensive to replicate

References

Ford F-Series


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648383

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Cadenza Obsidian

2017 Kia Cadenza Obsidian Concept

For the 2017 SEMA Show, Kia teamed up with iconic custom car builder West Coast Customs for two unique versions of its existing production models. One is based on the awesome Stinger GT, which will arrive in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, while the second one is based on the Cadenza, the company’s second-largest offering in North America. Called the Cadenza Obsidian, the concept car brings together features usually found on luxury cars and flashy color accents that define most aftermarket builds.

In typical West Coast Customs fashion, the Cadenza gained a custom paint job with contrasting highlights and a new set of wheels. Inside, the sedan became a tad more luxurious thanks to soft leather and hand-stitched suede. To top it off, the tuning firm added dark window tint and a lowered suspension for a gangster look. It definitely looks like something Kia should put into production in limited numbers, but I don’t think it’s going to happen very soon. But keep reading to see what makes the Cadenza Obsidian a cool sedan.

What makes the Kia Cadenza Obsidian special

  • Custom metallic black paint
  • Cosmic Copper accents
  • Bespoke 20-inch wheels
  • Dark window tint
  • Hand-stitched suede dashboard
  • Leather seats with suede inserts
  • Suede door panels
  • Premium sound system with booming subwoofer
  • Lowered suspension
  • Stiffened sport springs

2017 Kia Cadenza Obsidian - image 741795
“The black paint doesn't make the car stand out as much, but the copper accents do the job well”

A quick look at the car’s exterior is enough to notice that we’re not dealing with a regular Cadenza. Sure, the custom metallic black paint doesn’t stand out as much as West Coast Customs would want, but the copper accents do the job well. Up front, the gold-like color adorns the “tiger nose” grille and extends under the headlamps to complement the lower LED stripes. The foglamp trim in the bumper is finished in the same color for a proper contrast.

More Cosmic Copper highlights can be seen on the sides, as both the window trim and the door handles are painted in this flashy hue. Same goes for the side skirt insert, while the custom 20-inch, gloss-black Keen wheels have similar detailing on each spoke. The ultra-dark ceramic window tint makes the copper trim stand out even more while keeping the cabin out of sight. Around back, there’s gold detailing on the trunk lid and above the taillights and on the exhaust pipes.


2017 Kia Cadenza Obsidian - image 741800
“The cabin was upgraded with soft leather, suede inserts, and a premium sound system”

Inside the cabin, the sedan was upgraded to a hand-stitched suede dashboard top panel and brown leather seats with suede inserts. Matching brown suede was used on the door panels for a consistent look. West Coast Customs also added a Harmon Kardon 630-watt premium sound system and a booming integrated subwoofer. This one’s for the audiophiles!

The drivetrain carries over from the production model, so power is probably supplied by the 3.3-liter V-6 engine rated at 290 horsepower. There is a lowered suspension with stiffened sport springs under the skin, but no other performance features have been added. But, given the fact that the Cadenza is by no means a sporty sedan by default, it’s a good setup for a show car.

References

Kia Cadenza


2017 Kia Cadenza - image 670466

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Cadenza.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood

2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood

Racing analyst and former Top Gear USA presenter Rutledge Wood is known for his affinity with plaid t-shirts. He’s also known for having a deep-seated passion for the automotive industry. So, when Toyota was looking for individuals to take the lead in building custom Toyota Camrys for the 2017 SEMA Auto Show, Wood’s name inevitably turned up. So Toyota tapped him to work on his own custom version of the Camry, and the result is a car that reflects the man’s boisterous personality.

I’m not one to pass judgment on something I know little about at this point, but I can tell all of you that Wood’s work on the Camry is the most impactful of the bunch. It’s certainly the most colorful of all the custom Camry’s we’re seeing at SEMA, and the story and the process behind its creation involves the use of certain techniques that you can expect from someone like Rutledge Wood. He may be the only non-NASCAR driver to get a chance at customizing a Camry for this year’s SEMA, but all told, Wood vindicates Toyota’s decision to tap him with a creation that has as much going for it as some of the Camrys that were customized by actual NASCAR racers.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Toyota Camry by Rutledge Wood

What makes the Toyota Camry Rutledge special

  • ”Blurple” paint finish
  • 3D-printed body panels
  • 20-piece body kit
  • 20-inch Rose Gold Rotiform wheels
  • Continental ExtremeContact tires
  • Baseball glove leather interior
  • Focal sound system
  • Megan Racing suspension kit
  • Wilwood Dynalite brakes
  • Custom floor mats with cartoon caricature of Rutledge Wood

Not a NASCAR racer? Not a problem


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 741820
“The car’s exterior certainly looks at home at SEMA”

So what if Rutledge Wood isn’t a NASCAR driver? I get it that all other custom-built Camrys at SEMA came at the hands of guys like Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Busch, but when it comes to building a SEMA-worthy Camry, you don’t need a racing license to get the job done. And for what it’s worth, Wood’s Camry is, in my opinion, the flashiest of the lot, owing to its aerospace inspiration. The car’s exterior certainly looks at home at SEMA, thanks in large part to eye-catching aftermarket body panels that were created through the process of 3D printing by Real-Time Automotive Solutions. The result is that a lot of the significant body panels of the Camry are now 3D-printed, including the hood, front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, headlight buckets, and the rear diffuser.


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 742081
“There’s also a new set of 20-inch three-piece custom Rose Gold wheels from Rotiform”

In addition to getting these panels literally recreated, Wood’s build also features a 20-piece custom widebody kit with most of the items located in the Camry’s quarter sections. There’s also a new set of 20-inch three-piece custom Rose Gold wheels from Rotiform, all of which are wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact tires measuring 275/30R20 in the front and 285/30R20 at the back. All these modifications on the exterior make way for one of the real showcase pieces of this particular Camry build. Officially, the paint finish on the Camry is called “Blurple.” It’s easy to see, though, that it’s some kind of mix of blue and purple. Wood sought the help of PPG and Crew to create this paint cocktail, and the result is striking, to say the least.

Batter up in the cabin!


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 741824
“The interior gets re-upholstered with a baseball glove-like leather treatment”

Just as the body of this Camry is flashy, so too is the interior. Personally, I don’t know if Wood was inspired by this incredible World Series, but it does look that way with the interior getting re-upholstered with a baseball glove-like leather treatment, complete with contrast stitching. Photos of the Camry’s interior show significant use of the leather as most of the cabin’s surface is covered in the material. Less conspicuous from a visual standpoint is the Focal sound system, though if you look closely, you will notice that the floor mats actually feature a cartoon caricature of Wood and his glorious flowing beard.

No engine upgrades, but no matter…


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 741821
“Expect the Rutledge Wood Toyota Camry to feature any one of the sedan’s engine options”

There are no engine upgrades to speak of here so at the very least, expect the Rutledge Wood Toyota Camry to feature any one of the sedan’s engine options. The base engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that spits out 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The other gas-powered engine option is a 3.5-liter six-cylinder that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of which engine is sitting underneath that Blurple hood, the program does include a new suspension kit from Megan Racing and new brakes from Wilwood Dynalite.

Overall, this is a Toyota Camry build that actually looks a lot better than what I expected. It may not have the NASCAR racer DNA that other Camrys have, but Wood did well for himself by not only giving the Camry a unique and personable look but also by doing it through processes that we don’t get to see enough in the aftermarket scene.

References

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 703838

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

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