In early November, Chevrolet unveiled the new Corvette ZR1 in Dubai. Its 6.2-litre, supercharged LT5 motor delivers a whopping 755bhp and 715ft.lb. of torque, making it the most powerful production ‘Vette ever, by a fair margin, and drives through a seven-speed manual or eight-speed auto ‘box, the first time a ZR1 has had an auto option. And, just when we all thought we were about to drown in our own drool, two weeks later they announced the convertible version… and with a top speed in excess of 200mph, you’d better like a lot of wind in your hair.
Haynes Manuals conducted a survey regarding the biggest barriers to automotive DIY repairs, and one of the top answers was that people are intimidated by the plastic cover on top of the engine. These covers create a ‘psychological barrier’ for would-be home mechanics, even though it’s purely superficial and is usually only held by a couple of bolts or screws. Haynes suggest removing it entirely, and came up with a list of possible uses for it including using it as a serving tray at parties, filling it with ice as a beer cooler, using it as a cat litter tray or, simply, throwing it in the bin…
Winter is grim, so if you need something to get the motorsport juices flowing, may we suggest the Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC from January 11th to 14th? The whole event has a whiff of the SEMA Show about it, with the Thursday and Friday being ‘trade only’ days and the weekend being for all-comers. There’s usually plenty to see, and this year that will include Lee Cohen’s six-second Zephyr on the NGK stand, and a display from Steeda UK. See www.autosportinternational.com for details.
Mopar UK has launched a new Facebook page, designed to bring customers “an even greater community feel, with up-to-date news and products, the new page features dedicated UK content.” Obviously, being UK focused, this means a lot more about Fiat and Jeep accessories and not so much Hemi and Hellcat, but hey ho – see www.facebook.com/MoparUnitedKingdom.
Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy swapped two wheels for four recently, and celebrated the 60th birthday of the old Lotus Seven with a trip into the record books. Driving Caterham’s Seven 620R at Donington Park, he set the record for completing the most donuts in 60 seconds – 19 was the magic number.
Jeep’s new Compass goes on sale in February. It’ll be available in Sport, Longitude and Limited trim levels – the range-topping Trailhawk will follow in the summer – and with engine choices of three petrol and two diesels from 120 to 170bhp. Prices start at £22,995 OTR – see www.jeep.co.uk for details.
The Ford Performance parts range was announced at the beginning of December, providing Ford-approved performance parts developed by the likes of Roush, Borla, KW and Remus for owners of the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and RS, and Mustang. The list includes pre-assembled coil-over kits, stainless exhausts, supercharger kits and even the Drift Stick, a rally-inspired electronic handbrake for the Focus RS. All accessories feature a Ford part number, can be fitted by Ford dealers and will not void your Ford warranty. Stay tuned for further details.
Rec Watches in Denmark make some rather special hand-made watches… using bits cut from scrapped classic Mustangs. They don’t just strip wrecks, though; they research the history of the dead ‘Stang, and incorporating the ‘donor’ vehicle’s VIN number into the watch. They start at $1,495, see www.recwatches.com for details.
Fiat recently re-released the 2005 version of their ever-popular Punto, and distinguished themselves by being the first ever to score zero stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings. It scored quite highly the first time it was tested in 2005, but the tests have moved on a bit since then… and the Punto hasn’t. Worth remembering next time someone describes your Street Machine as a ‘death trap’.