Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2011 Chrysler 300 D

Friday, January 9, 2009


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Thanks again.

Chrysler considering car-based 'lifestyle' pickup to replace Dakota

Earlier this week General Motors announced the death of the G8 ST program because it wouldn't make money for them and the 'sport truck' didn't fit the Pontiac brand image. Today news has emerged that Chrysler is now considering building its own car-based pickup truck as a solution to its need for an efficient and profitable alternative to compact pickups.

Compact pickups have been slow-sellers even in good times, but of late they are particularly hard to move. Chrysler's prospective solution to that problem, voiced by Frank Klegon to The Detroit News, emphasizes low pricing and efficiency as the motivating factors. "What is needed is a lighter-duty, multipurpose vehicle from a lighter, more fuel-efficient car platform that allows the vehicle to be priced significantly different from what your full-size trucks are," said Klegon. It is expected to feature unibody construction, FWD as standard and AWD as an option, but beyond that the specification is kept secret.

The pricing factor may be the most attractive aspect of the idea for Chrysler, since cutting prices means opening the vehicle up to a wider market while at the same time allowing for more comfortable profit margins. The situation for small trucks was made all the worse when prices of full-size trucks began plummeting in the face of 2008's nose-diving sales.

Another aspect Chrysler is banking on is the different perceptions buyers would have of the car-truck as opposed to a compact pickup. Rather than seeing the vehicle as a miniature version of a full-size truck that should be able to haul, off-road and tow, it would be perceived as an urban utility vehicle, intended for light loads and paved roads. That difference in perception enables smaller, more efficient engines to be put to the task, making the cars both cheaper and less expensive to operate.

If Chrysler does choose to build the car-based urban utility vehicle, it would likely take the place of the Dakota compact pickup (pictured) in the Dodge lineup. It's not yet clear if it will take the design path of the El Camino-like G8 ST or other similar vehicles, or if it will veer nearer the unibody construction but pickup-like design of Honda's Ridgeline.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This Day in Auto History:

Thomas E. Rush succeeds Jacob Sulzbach as President of the MackBrothers Motor Car Company
"William K. Vanderbilt Jr., patron of automobile racing and the LongIsland Motor Parkway, dies in New York City at age 65"
"B. Frank Jones, retired Chief Engineer of the White Motor Company,dies at age 68"

All-new HEMI(R) with Fuel-Saving MDS Technology Earns Ward's 2009 '10 Best Engines' Award

All-new HEMI(R) with Fuel-Saving MDS Technology Earns Ward's 2009 '10 Best Engines' Award

Refined 5.7-liter HEMI Delivers Improved Fuel Economy, Even More Power and Torque

- All-new 5.7-liter HEMI engine recognized by Ward's for powertrain excellence

- Sixth "10 Best Engine Award" for 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine

- Expanded utilization of Chrysler's fuel-saving Multi-displacement System (MDS) operation

- More power: as much as 390 horsepower

- More torque: as much as 410 lb.-ft. of torque

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ --

Now in its second generation, the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine has once again earned a place in Ward's distinguished "2009 10 Best Engines" list again. Relentlessly delivering powertrain excellence, Chrysler LLC has earned Ward's "10 best" award six times in the last seven years with the iconic 5.7-liter HEMI engine.

"The HEMI earns the honor not on pure emotion or brute force but with advanced new technology such as variable valve timing, which allows cruising in four-cylinder mode about 40 percent of the time, which is twice as much as the previous-generation Multi-Displacement System cylinder-deactivation system," said Tom Murphy - Executive Director of Ward's AutoWorld magazine. "A number of Ward's testers managed to top 19 mpg (12.3 L/100 km) with the HEMI, putting it in line with certain premium V-6s tested."

With improved Multi-Displacement System (MDS) technology for increased fuel efficiency, added refinement and more power, the all-new 2009 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine delivers world-class performance and technology in nine Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with MDS technology is available on 2009 Chrysler 300C, Chrysler Aspen, Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango, Dodge Ram Heavy Duty series and the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 and Dodge Challenger.

"We are honored to have our iconic HEMI engine recognized by Ward's for a sixth time," said Bob Lee, Vice President - Powertrain Product Engineering Team, Chrysler LLC. "HEMI is synonymous with performance, and now -- thanks to VVT, expanded four-cylinder mode in our MDS system, and a host of other technologies -- Chrysler's new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine delivers more fuel efficiency and refinement, along with even more power."

While the new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine maintains the key architecture that makes "HEMI" synonymous with "performance," Chrysler powertrain engineers improved engine breathing and added new technologies -- including Variable Valve Timing (VVT) -- that substantially improve fuel economy and refinement.

The HEMI's new VVT improves fuel economy in two ways. First, it reduces the engine's pumping work by closing the intake valve later. Second, it increases the expansion process of the combustion event. This allows more work to be transferred to the crankshaft instead of being rejected out of the exhaust port as heat. Essentially, VVT improves engine breathing, which improves engine efficiency and power.

Dodge's fuel-saving MDS system seamlessly alternates between smooth, high-fuel-economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed, and V-8 mode when more power from the new 5.7-liter HEMI engine is in demand. This optimizes fuel economy when V-8 power is not required, without sacrificing vehicle performance or capability.

An expanded MDS operating range in the new-for-2009 HEMI will allow customers to realize an even-greater fuel economy benefit. Chrysler estimates that since its inception of MDS in 2005, more than 100 million gallons of gasoline have been saved, along with reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of close to one million

When MDS is operating, it is indicated by a "Fuel Saver" readout in the vehicles Electronic Vehicle Information Center.

In addition to VVT and expanded MDS operating range, the HEMI's fuel economy and performance improvements result from an increased compression ratio, an active intake manifold with long runners for low-end torque and short runners for high-rpm power, improved cylinder head port flow efficiency, and reduced restriction exhaust and induction systems.

Numerous other hardware upgrades were implemented to build on the quality, reliability and durability reputation of the HEMI engine. These include crankshaft structural upgrades, a dual-mass crankshaft damper, new piston design, improved valve-spring design and oil pump capacity increase for VVT.

The new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine is manufactured at the Saltillo Engine Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

About Chrysler LLC

Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler, Jeep(R), Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. Total sales worldwide in 2007 were 2.7 million vehicles. Sales outside of North America were the highest ever with an increase of 8 percent over 2006. Its product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and Dodge Challenger and Ram. In the fall of 2008, Chrysler introduced three advanced electric-drive vehicle prototypes -- the Dodge EV, Jeep EV and Chrysler EV. One is targeted to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets, and European markets after 2010.

The Chrysler Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, annually supports hundreds of charitable organizations in the United States and throughout the world. In 2007, the Foundation gave approximately $21 million in charitable donations.


Don Garlits Back Racing the “Drag Pak” Challenger

January 6, 2009 by pikesan

Story Submitted by John C. Hill or MoparMagic
Don Garlits to compete in 2009!

Don Garlits has planned a comeback to drag racing for 2009, his 60th anniversary competing on the nation’s drag strips. Is he going to run a new Top Fuel car? The answer is no. Neither his doctor nor his wife will ever let him run an NHRA competitive Top Fuel car again. After countless thousands of parachute stops at the end of 300mph runs, the retinas in Don’s eyes had become detached. Further racing of this type could have caused permanent blindness.

So, what is Don going to run this year? Well, as a long time Mopar representative, Mopar stepped up and has allowed Don to purchase the first Dodge Challenger equipped with the Drag Pak. For those of you thinking a factory backed “Drag Pak” was a dream, it ain’t! Based on the 6.1L equipped hot rod SRT8, the drag pak Challenger will be eligible to run in NHRA’s Super Stock, Stock, and Comp Eliminator.

Garlits will run his Drag Pak Challenger in NHRA Division 2, but right now, it is uncertain which class. Don’s excited to challenge some of the nations best sportsman drivers and is looking forward to tuming a car like this to become competitive against other muscle cars and specialty drag race vehicles.

Garlits ran the first promotional vehicle at Bandimere Speedway near Denver and recorded an 11.24 quarter mile which is quick considering Bandimere’s mile high track. At sea level tracks in Division 2, the car could dip into the 10’s right out of the box! Garlits also plans to attend and run at the U.S. Nationals this year to commemorate his 60th year in active drag racing.

I for one will follow this story very closely in the Division 2 race results pages of National Dragster. Can Garlits work his old magic? First, I will admit that I am a big Don Garlits fan. But, there will be a huge difference between running the unlimited class of Top Fuel versus the very restrictive class rules of Super Stock, Stock and Comp Eliminator. In Top Fuel, tuning knowledge is king and the almighty dollar can bring absolute victory. Garlits was fantastic at tuning and driving, but he didn’t always have the almighty dollar. It was his tuning skill and driving that made him stand out, so much so, that his Top Fueler is the ONLY drag race vehicle of any type enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

What really interests me is how well Garlits will do against the Southern Divisional racers who have raced their cars day in and day out for decades. Its going to be a tall order and it will be the ultimate test of Garlits as a tuner and driver. I mean, can a man in his mid-70’s still pull off .000 reaction times when needed? Can he win races without “bombing his index” or “breaking out”? After all this is class racing not Top Fuel! I’ll keep you posted as I find results from the races.

This Day in Auto History:

Edsel B. Ford II joins the Ford Motor Company as a product analyst
"International Trucks, the non-agricultural side of the defunctInternational Harvester Company, is reorganized as the NavistarInternational Corporation"