Much "To Do" About Nothing

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My New Dream Car – Revamped Dodge Viper makes a big splash

April 9th, 2012
More Photos here – Linky
Richard Drew / AP

The SRT Viper is unveiled at the New York International Auto Show earlier this week.

By Dan Carney, msnbc.com contributor

At a recent Manhattan party with faithful Viper owners, Ralph Gilles, the man responsible for the return of Chrysler’s iconic sports car, described how it earned the reprieve that led to its resurrection at the New York International Auto Show this week.

It was all CEO Sergio Marchionne’s fault. After a test drive of the Viper, he winked and said, “It’s not too easy to drive, is it?” That wink was the clue for the team that was hoping to resurrect the company’s discontinued Viper. The project had a chance — if the team made some significant improvements.

To start, they had to shed the Viper’s kit-car image among the Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche faithful, reported Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Chrysler’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand, which is responsible for the Viper. “They were very frank with us,” he said of those competitors’ customers. “They said it was too crude, too brutal.”

This week, as the Viper roared onstage with its engine revving, the refreshed car was the hit of the show — at least for people who weren’t more focused on the debut of Nissan’s new New York taxicab design.

All the familiar parts are still there: the front-mounted V10 engine, a minimal two seats way back behind a long hood, and massive wheels. But underneath, Gilles’ team toiled to tame the beast. That’s because, as Marchionne observed somewhat understatedly, the old Viper did not suffer fools gladly. It would toss them into the nearest ditch at the slightest provocation.

The 2013 Viper hasn’t been emasculated, however. Power has been boosted to 640 horsepower and the frame is 50 percent stiffer than before.  But the suspension has been upgraded to make the car more forgiving and easier to toss around casually on the track. Viper owners love to take their cars to the racetrack, but its unforgiving character required laser focus.

So behind its even-fiercer visage, the new Viper is more friendly, letting drivers play but with less fear of catastrophe. And there is a new, unseen backup: electronic stability control, which was never a part of the Viper’s recipe before, but which is required by the government now.

The Viper team added the required stability software, but rolled it into a suite of applications that let the Viper mirror the kind of driver-adjustability common on many top racing cars. Even though there is now a computer watching over the driver’s shoulder (unless you want to turn it off), the driver can feel even more like a racing hero by making adjustments to the car’s systems using the computer.

In the past, acceleration runs at the drag strip were challenging. The car had so much power that it took just the right touch (and maybe a bit of luck) to match the engine speed and clutch release to launch the car as quickly as possible without accidentally vaporizing the rear tires into a cloud of rubber smoke.

Smoky burnouts may look dramatic, but while a car is spinning its tires that way, the car in the other lane is accelerating away to win the race. The new Viper has a computerized launch control system that promises a perfect match of revs and clutch every time, avoiding any embarrassing drag strip defeats at the hands of some kid in a clapped-out Mustang.

The voluptuous bodywork is a clear return to the original car’s organic shape rather than the second-generation’s crisper, but less-distinctive lines. Underneath, previous Vipers suffered from less-than-premium cabin appointments, in the bare-bones tradition of the Shelby Cobra, which was the Viper’s inspiration.

Today’s customers demand more, so the Viper team turned to partners, such as the same company that provides seats for Ferraris, to give Viper buyers the luxurious cockpit they can find in competitive models. “The Viper has the finest interior we’ve ever put into a car,” Gilles said.

Does returning the Viper to showrooms mean that Chrysler will rake in the dough now?  No, that’s for models like the new Dodge Dart.  The Viper has another purpose.  “This is not a car that is going to make a lot of money for us,” Gilles conceded.  “It shows we still have a soul.”

Out Source – Color Me Crazy – The Best and Worst Paint Names

February 9th, 2012

Original Post on the Four Wheel Drift – Linky

 

1970 Plum Crazy Charger R/T

Consumers could buy 1970 model year Mopars painted in some pretty funny
High Impact colors, such as this “Plum Crazy” Dodge Charger R/T.

The year was 1969.  Somewhere, somehow in planning for the 1970 model year cars, the automotive industry got a sense of humor.  This resulted in the best car paint color names of all time.

Chrysler Corp was first out of the gate with its High Impact colors for models such as the Charger, Challenger, ’Cuda, and Road Runner.  Ford was right behind with its list of optional paint for such masterpieces as the then all-new Maverick.  Although the actual paint shades were nothing too remarkable, the names might have been the most creative things ever to come out of Michigan.

For instance, 1970 Dodge High Impact Colors included:

Sublime

Green Go

Go Mango

Banana

Panther Pink

Plum Crazy

Hemi Orange

Plymouth got mostly the same colors with different names:

Limelight

Sassy Grass Green

Vitamin “C”

Lemon Twist

Moulin Rouge

In Violet

Tor Red

As cute as Mopar’s High Impact Colors were, Ford one-upped them on names for its 1970 poly-paint colors:

Original Cinnamon

Bring ‘Em Back Olive

Three Putt Green

Anti-Establish Mint

Last Stand Custard

There She Blue

Young Turquoise

Hulla Blue

Good Clean Fawn

Counter Revolutionary Red

Knight White

Freudian Gilt

History Onyx

Paint Names You’ll Never See:

With these great paint names in mind, the staff here at The Four Wheel Drift has dreamed-up the worst paint names that could ever be printed in a brochure or on a window sticker…

 

Yellow Snow

Blue Balls

Gang Green

Golden Showers

Gray Matter

Salmon Nilla

P.U. Ter

Packer Fudge

Tan Line

In the Buff

Beef Tungsten

Once You Go Black

Popper Cherry Red

Purple Nurpel

Lapis Dance

Pierced Naval Orange

High Whore Silver

Augusta National Country Club Membership White

Stinky Pinky

Almost Celibate Cardinal

Camel Topaz Two Tone

Augmented Chestnut

Copper Feel

What a Maroon

Sapphire Crotch

Red Tide

F-Uchsia

I Cannot Tell A Lilac

Sue ‘Em Vermillion

A Postscript – The Paint Color Nickname Hall of Fame:

From the files of “things we wished we thought of,” in 1970 the Chrysler Corp-supported Plymouth Superbird of Charlie Glotzbach started running NASCAR’s Gran National circuit painted in the factory color Plum Crazy. A creative journalist, however, gave the color a nickname that stuck with the media for years: “Statutory Grape.” 

What are the chances that in its all-things-retro craze, DaimlerChrysler offers the new Hemi Challenger due out next year in this shade?

Much "To Do" About Nothing

{} Nothing is no thing, denoting the absence of something. Nothing is a pronoun associated with nothingness.

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