Modernization With Cars Increases but more and more confuses custimers


Individuals are finding less to complain about in their new cars when it comes to quality, a new study found, with one glaring exception: entertainment, audio and navigation systems.

According to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 Usa Initial Quality Study, cars have never had higher quality. But as the overall quality of 2012 models is up 5 percent when compared with last year, the number of complaints about cars’ multimedia systems is up 45 percent since 2006, the business said.

It’s not surprising, as manufacturers introduce increasingly sophisticated multimedia systems such as voice recognition, even on mainstream models. “Until recently, this type of sophisticated technology was found primarily on high-end models,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, who released the research at a meeting of the Automotive Press Association. “However, during the last few years they have rapidly found its way into the automotive mainstream. For example, in 2012, more than 80 % of owners indicate that their new vehicle has some kind of hands-free technology.”

Specifically, the number of owner-reported problems with factory-installed hands-free communication devices has grown 137 percent during the past 4 years. The most common complaint: hands-free devices not recognizing commands. Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell said new car buyers are actually being open to in-cabin technology that’s much more advanced compared to what they found in their previous vehicles, noting that age of vehicle trade-ins is older than ever before. “So, there’s an all-natural learning curve for these drivers to get adjusted to these new features as they quickly emerge as standard technology in the marketplace,” she said.

You might think those who are most dissatisfied with their car’s technology are definitely the older drivers, who are less comfortable with technology in general. But complaints are in fact higher among younger drivers, partly as their expectations are higher, explained Sargent.

Consumers have come should be expected the technology in their smartphones and other personal devices to circulate seamlessly inside their vehicles. “Automakers and suppliers are working challenging to meet those expectations with systems designed to make the driving experience safer, more convenient and much more entertaining,” Sargent said. “However, probably the most innovative technology in the world will quickly create dissatisfaction if owners can’t get it to be effective.”

Ford Motor knows this first-hand. Partly because of consumer complaints featuring its MyFord Touch entertainment system, the carmaker had a poor showing in last year’s study. Not over time for results to be reflected in this year’s study, despite the fact that ford mailed a software upgrade to consumers in March. Ford quality fell slightly in 2012, to 118 problems per 100 vehicles, below the industry average of 102. In the pre-emptive strike Tuesday, Ford explained that internal research shows consumer satisfaction has improved since Ford owners installed the software upgrade.

Sargent said Ford is not really alone. “Every manufacturer is wrestling with this. In a sense, Ford took one for the team. They went big. They went early. They were brave. And everyone learned a lot from their experience.”

Full List: Highest-Quality Cars

Lexus will be the highest-ranked nameplate in the industry to get a second consecutive year, accompanied by Jaguar and Porsche, tied for second. Jaguar showed the largest improvement, jumping through the 20th rank position this year. Honda and Cadillac were also in the top 5.

In the past, some brands (usually Japanese) tended to collect the lion’s share of awards in each segment. Nevertheless in the 2012 study, 14 different brands received segment awards in 2012. “This is a positive indication of how widespread high quality is among automakers, with most brands producing a number of models with exceptional quality levels,” Sargent said.

Make A Lasting Impression With The Perfect Gift

We all cry every . There are actually no exceptions. I was just playing with my two year old daughter earlier, and though she’s generally pretty decent, nothing prompts a cry of fury than a missed nap. I believe it’s fair to say that all of us do some crying when she misses her nap, but that’s beside the point. There are also those tears that only begin to well up from the purest of joys and the most honest of happy emotions, although there are sad cries and frustrated cries. Within my experience, this is extremely rare, but those few occasions that this did happen were memorable. This holiday season, help it become your goal to find that precise gesture to make your sweetheart’s eyes well up, to create her lip quiver, as well as to make her explode with love and joy.


A sure way to accomplish this almost impossible goal is always to adorn your driveway on Christmas morning with a new Nissan Altima. Or you are aware that it’s pretty much that time, the latest hybrid Altima is a affordable and stunning way to show your sweetheart that her happiness and her safety mean everything to you, if your sweetheart is thinking of getting a new car. This is first rate, as far as green cars go. It is stuffed with inspired safety features that will make you worry about her an iota less, and it is unbelievably smooth and sexy that makes her think about you an iota more. Once you know that she’s in need of a new and safe ride, do yourself a favor and use the web to either Glendale Nissan or and find one which best suits her needs. Also, don’t forget to dress that new car up in a beautiful bow.


If she’s not in need of a brand new car, you might have myriad more options to induce the happy cry. Nothing says those magical words like the right piece of jewelry. Choosing the best piece of jewelry for your sweetheart is infinitely easier said than done, although all men already know that. For most women, a diamond tennis bracelet, no matter how expensive, just won’t do. You have to find an issue that represents her specifically. La has so many boutique jewelry stores and you will doubtlessly find something that reminds you of her. My girlfriend is definitely an avid nature lover along with an experienced biologist. She loves the outdoors, and I know that a generic bit of stone and metal would be an insult to her individual sensibilities. With a little bit of a search and effort, I found an ideal piece on her behalf and I can’t wait to discover her face when she opens it.


Whatever you choose to get for your sweetheart this holiday season, be sure to make it on her behalf and just for her. This might sound obvious to a lot of of you men out there, but after surveying hundreds of women, you’d be amazed how few of them are truly moved by their gifts.

See If Koenigsegg One:1 is the world’s fastest production car


Its odd name signifies a one-to-one power-to-weight ratio. To put it differently, the turbocharged V8 engine generates 1,360 horsepower in a car that weighs 1,360 kilograms.

Koenigsegg calls it the world’s first “mega car” because it produces more than one megawatt of power (a megawatt equals 1,341 horsepower). The company says the One: 1 can reach a “simulated top speed” of 273 miles per hour. If this really can go that fast, it will be the fastest production car in the world.

Its body and chassis are made of a new form of carbon fiber that is 20 percent lighter compared to what was used on previous Koenigseggs. Further weight is saved by using 3D printing technology to make certain parts, such as the turbo housings and titanium exhaust tip.

Normally The One: 1 has movable wings on the front and rear designed to increase downforce at higher speeds and during braking. The car has so much grip that it can pull 2 G’s while cornering. That’s about twice exactly what a “normal” sports car can do.

Only six instances of the Koenigsegg One: 1 will be built. All have already been spoken for already.

The One: 1 will reportedly cost about 30 percent more than the Koenigsegg Agera R, which goes for more than $1.5 million.

What You Need To Know With Alfa Mito and Giulieta Quadrifoglio Verde


Alfa Romeo has released the 1st official photos of its new flagship Mito and Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde.

The Giulietta QV is powered by the same 240hp 1750 turbocharged petrol engine as the Alfa 4C, endowing it by using a -60mph time of 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph.

80% of the is available from just 1,800rpm, though it should prove quick through the gears, too, with peak torque of 340Nm available from 2,100rpm to 4,000rpm.

Power is sent to the front wheels through Alfa’s TCT dual-clutch transmission, which offers six speeds and a choice of automatic or manual modes, with shifting accomplished either through the gear lever or paddles mounted behind the controls.

Alfa’s DNA driving mode selector allows the driver to decide on different set-ups for throttle response, engine output, transmission shift steering and speeds assistance level.

The company says they’ve worked hard to make the most of the aural experience, most notably with the use of a whole new intake unit.

The Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde is marked out externally by a new gloss anthracite finish on the door mirrors, grille, door handles, fog light surrounds, side skirts and rear spoiler.

Red Brembo four-piston callipers clamp down on 320mm front discs, and are covered with new anthracite alloy wheels.

The interior features new leather and Alcantara seats, sportier instruments bearing the QV logo, plus leather controls, gear-lever gaitor and handbrake lever with green and white stitching.

Black roof lining, aluminium pedals and QV floor mats finish off the style.

To celebrate the launch of the Giulietta QV, a particular Launch Edition model is being offered with carbon rear spoiler, front and back air dams, side skirts, and 18-inch five-hole alloy wheels. There’s a choice of Alfa Red, triple-coat Competizione Red or Magnesio Grey. Only 500 are now being produced globally, with 100 coming to great britain.

The new MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde meanwhile is powered from a 170hp 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo petrol engine mated to a six-speed dual-clutch TCT transmission.

62mph arrives in 7.3 seconds by using a top speed of 136mph. Economy is pegged at 52.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 124 g/km.

Externally, the MiTo QV features burnished detailing, twin tail-pipes, rear spoiler and revised rear bumper, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, red Brembo brake callipers plus a smattering of QV logos.

Inside, there’s a pair of Sabelt seats with carbon-fibre backs, white and green stitching for that steering wheel, gear-lever and handbrake, plus standard equipment that features air conditioning, cruise control, and Uconnect infotainment system.

How to Shop for a Used Car

Your current car has seen better days, or perhaps young driver in your family has created the necessity for an extra group of wheels. Whatever the reason, you’ve found yourself sorting with the endless available choices on the car market. Considering a used vehicle might just be the right choice for you. Most cars being manufactured today are built using the quality and durability to endure miles and multiple owners, creating a used ride a great value. If you’re thinking about purchasing a used car, keep reading. We’ve compiled our top tips to help you get the most out of your hard earned money and your vehicle.

Evaluate Your Requirements


Before beginning your search, consider the attributes you need and wish from your car. Are you purchasing just for yourself, or are you looking for a family vehicle? This will impact your requirement for cargo space, passenger capacity, and certain safety features that could be important to you. Are you shopping for a commuter vehicle, or would you do a lot of highway driving? If so, you’ll want to look for cars which are known for high fuel economy. You should also consider your need for storage space, for those who have garage or street parking, or if you want a car that will handle off road conditions or inclement weather, depending on your location. Once you have a firm grip on what you need from the car, your quest can begin in earnest.

Do Your Research


After you’ve identified what you need your automobile to do and provide, compile a long list of makes and models that meet your qualifications. Mini vans and SUVs result in great family cars, and have a high resale value. Compact models and hatchbacks tend to be popular with young professionals, and pre-owned models are usually available from reputable dealerships. Once you’ve narrowed down the type of car you desire, establish a budget and adhere to it. Unless you’re able to pay cash, you’ll should consider whatever you can afford to spend on a monthly car payment. A good principle is to allocate no more than 20% of your own take home income in your car payment. Remember, you’re buying a second hand car for the value and savings, so don’t push outside your means. You’re ready to start test driving if you’ve figured out the kind of car you desire and what you could afford to invest in it!

Test Drive


Since you now know exactly what you’re seeking in a used car, it’s time to get to the vehicle lot and begin checking them out! Find a reliable pre-owned car dealership in your area, like Riverside Ford, to find the best models and savings. Before settling on one to purchase, make sure to test drive several different cars. always has a great selection available and a knowledgeable staff to assist you make the best choice. Buckle up- you’re on your way to an ideal used car!

Ford S-Max Vignale Concept Is Now Here


Following on through the Ford Mondeo Vignale unveiled last year, the organization has today released details of its next model in their new upmarket Vignale sub-brand – the S-Max Vignale Concept.

Externally, the S-Max Vignale features 21-inch alloy wheels, hexagonal front grille, chrome mirrors and unique Milano Grigio paintwork.

The interior utilizes soft-touch quilted leather upholstery, aluminium detailing, and tablet docking stations for second row passengers.

Ford says that 10 to 15 percent of its customers want a more impressive range of service and specification than is now available from the company.

The Vignale brand will launch in Europe during 2015 with all the arrival of ‘Vignale lounges’ in selected Ford dealerships. It will be staffed by ‘specially trained’ relationship managers that may guide customers through the purchasing process, with maintenance looked after through a ‘personalised’ collection and delivery service.

The Mondeo Vignale will arrive next year, with the S-Max Vignale following later.

No prices have already been indicated.

What You Should Know When You Upgrade a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Into A Borgenso Power Steering


The Saginaw recirculating ball steering box was used in just about every Chevrolet built. There was a couple of ratios used coming from a lazy 16: 1 within the trucks and big cars as much as an ultra-quick 12.7: 1 in Camaros. We now have been working on a ’70 Z28 Camaro, and at first we were thrilled with its quick ratio steering. The slightest input on the controls turned the automobile. It was much like getting a new toy. Eventually, the fun factor wore off and we were left with a car that had been twitchy as well as a bit stressful to drive on the road.

With just 2-3/4 turns lock to lock, it takes almost no steering wheel input to turn the car a lot. Slow-speed driving and pulling into a parking spot were awesome. After we got the car up on the road is when our issue with the fast ratio arose. Just looking over our shoulder to check the blind spot made us turn the wheel slightly, but that slight movement was enough to improve lanes. Again, it’s something we might tailor our driving style to compensate for, but because of modern technology, we don’t have to.

Borgeson, a firm that has been within the steering and U-joint business since 1914-that’s 100 years, folks-has a cure for our twitchy steering woes when it comes to a remanufactured 700-series variable ratio steering box. The 700 box is from a later application and offers better feel in comparison to the older boxes, thanks in part to better internal components. The variable ratio offers a quick final ratio, with only three turns lock to lock, but it’s not overly sensitive on center for stable highway driving. Basically, as soon as the wheel is around the center, it has a ratio of about 16: 1, which gives you a little more stability at slow speed. Now as soon as you start to turn the wheel, the ratio speeds up as you grow further in the center. And by the time you get to the end of the steering, you have a 13: 1 ratio.

Since we are speaking about a power steering box, it’s gonna want a pump plus some other accessories to support it. Borgeson had everything we needed, except the fluid. We picked up a new power steering pump, lines, plus a rag joint to complete the upgrade. At this time, we also decided to get new steering components like the centerlink, tie rods, and pitman arm from Performance Suspension technologies (PST), so there will be no slop in our new steering system.

One question you might have before we receive into the install is, why didn’t we convert to your rack-and-pinion setup? Well, we replaced all things in our steering system and even upgraded the box-and still came in at half the price tag on a typical rack conversion.

1. We had Jeff Grantmeyer from Borgeson tear open variable and non-variable boxes and explain the difference between your internals. First, let’s get into some common items. Here we have the steering gear case inside the center. Above that is the sector shaft, top cap, and lower sector bearing. To the left we certainly have the rack block/worm gear, and on the correct is the torsion bar valve assembly as well as the endcap.

2. Sector teeth on left are variable ratio. You will discover a wider spacing with a larger center tooth. This effectively changes the ultimate ratio of the gearbox as the steering gear moves away from the center tooth and on the shorter outer teeth. The worm gear rack piston assembly ratio is constant; the actual ratio change originates from the difference in sector tooth height.

Sector on the right is square ratio. It has the same constant ratio throughout the range of steering motion. The ratio through the worm gear/rack piston assembly is transferred squarely towards the pitman arm.

3. The rack block/worm gear assembly on the left is a square ratio. You will notice the tooth spacing, just like the square ratio sector shaft, is even and constant. The assembly on the right is the variable. Notice the uneven tooth spacing with the larger deeper cut for the corresponding sector tooth. Both of these assemblies have the same worm gear ratio. What is so that it is variable is, again, the cutting from the teeth around the sector and rack block.

4. Now let’s end up in the wrenchin’. We used a pickle fork to free the centerlink in the pitman arm.

5. After using a crescent wrench to take out the large nut on the pitman arm, we used the appropriate puller to slip the pitman arm off the end of the output shaft. Without it puller, this will be pretty dang difficult, so make sure you havebought and rented, or borrowed one before you start your swap.

6. Next will be the power steering pump. We loosened it to take out the belt and then took the entire pump with brackets off the front of the motor. We sat the assembly on the inner fender for now. We are going to do the rest of the teardown on the bench.

7. We removed the pinch bolt from the rag joint connection on the box. A little persuasion with a prybar freed the joint from your box.

8. The box will be the last component to come off. Since the pump and hoses are still hooked to the box, the help of an assistant is required to wrangle everything stuff out. We might suggest taking out the lines and taking out the package and pump in separate pieces if you are doing the job by yourself.

9. Now it’s time for some new stuff. Borgeson has these rag joints in stock, plus they are pretty much all set. All we needed to transfer over to the new unit was this bracket. Rag joints are designed to dampen vibrations and isolate the steering wheel. They are certainly not made to accommodate an angle. Look to a U-joint should you don’t use a straight connection. But in stock applications like ours, a rag will continue to work great.

10. We used the new hardware in the Borgeson kit to put in the new rag joint.

11. We made sure it had been in the center, before we installed the box. To put the box in its center position, we turned the input shaft all the way to the right. Once it hit the stop, we turned it the other way till it hit the other stop, counting the turns as we did. This box has a three-turn lock-to-lock count, so we turned the shaft 1-1/2 turns to put it in the center. We used the factory hardware to hang it from your frame. We left the hardware a bit loose for the time being. We will keep coming back and tighten it all the way up once all things are hooked up.

12. After some cleaning along with a fresh coat of paint, the pitman arm is installed. The output shaft has four master splines on it, therefore the pitman arm can go on in four locations, but since we centered the box, we knew pointing straight back was the correct position.

13. We found it necessary to rob the pulley and brackets off the original pump to transfer them to the new Borgeson unit. We used a positive change gun to take out the nut. Once we had everything swapped, we tried to install in on the motor. We discovered that the new pump housing created a clearance issue with the return hose.

14. Here is a side-by-side shot to indicate our issue. The return protrudes in the new housing square in the middle and this wound up hitting the block, preventing us from even getting each of the bolts in. Since we know our housing worked, we are going to swap them out.

15. First, thing we did was loosen the hardware in the rear of the pump. There are 2 items that must definitely be loosened: one bolt, one stud. We completely removed the hose fitting.

16. Under the fitting is a spring and a valve. These needs to be kept in this order to function properly, so keep that in mind when tearing yours down. The spring and valve are what determines pressure of the pump.

17. The pump comes with an O-ring seal that will make getting the pump from the housing a bit difficult. Ever since the O-ring seals on the housing, we don’t want to pry on the housing at all to separate the various components. We used the loosened hardware as being a push point that allowed us just to push the pump out.

Cars as Christmas Gifts


Everyone has seen the commercials where someone unwraps a tiny box from under the tree, pulls out a key, steps out onto the snow covered driveway, and finds a brand new car topped having a giant, red bow. And even though a car may not be something everyone can afford for Christmas, it’s becoming more of any option with special financing offers and great year end deals as car lots begin to make room for the arrival of next year’s models.

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If you’re thinking about buying the one you love a new car for Christmas, your local Corona Nissan dealer has tons of great, affordable options. You can visit their website,, to see every one of the cars currently available on the lot and most of the special offers and pricing.

Buying your loved one a vehicle could appear like an extravagant gift but it’s really a very great and functional strategy to provide them with something they need, will use every day, and you will be a huge part of your lives. If you’re buying a car for your spouse, a car payment is something you’ll incur whether you buy the vehicle before or after Christmas, so why not turn the necessity into a fun surprise by getting a car to your spouse’s specifications after which adding some customizations to truly make it something they would never do for themselves? With weeks left before Christmas, you possess time to take the new for features just like an automatic starter, monogrammed seats, tinted windows, or a custom sound system. Your loved one will be thrilled to get a brand-new car and it will be a Christmas present which is never forgotten. Show someone just how much you care with an all new Nissan within this holiday season.

Looking Back at the 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1


They get no respect, those American-made sports cars. Particularly in Europe, where performance, handling, and exclusivity-not catchy ad slogans-determine the actual meaning of a car’s worth. Sure, one suspects it’s an affectation-like wearing denims with the Giorgio Armani jacket, even though the Swiss buy Detroit-built sedans and wagons. Truth is, most European automotive enthusiasts have little regard for almost any automobile America has produced in recent memory.

However with the introduction of the Corvette ZR-1-on the 1989 Geneva Auto Show, of all places-that attitude is going to change.

You may know the ZR-1 as the King of the Hill, which is what this Super Vette was com­monly called when the program was barely more than a rumor. For reasons known only to GM brass, that name is now taboo. Our guess is that Chevy, who’s seeking international recog­nition, found the name too domestic, not to mention too long, for any car badge-and untranslatable (Le mi de la monlagne? Non. Der Konig am Hiigel? Nein ). Better to ensure that it staysshort and easy, and sweet. And alphanumeric so as to capital­ize on its similarity to many other European exotics such as the BMW M1 and Ferrari F40.

Exotic? Dave McLellan, Corvette Chief Engi­neer since 1975, prefers you not call it that. Exotics are outrageously styled, astronomically expensive, highly tem­peramental, limited-production automobiles that happen to be often racers masquerading as road cars, as McLellan sees it.

Sure they’re fast (180 mph is median speed for most Bahnburners). But should you be going cross-continent, you would consider the Merc or perhaps the Bimmer. Up to now. You see, the ZR-1, one of the fastest sports cars in the world, is also blessed with superior handling and brak­ing. Yet it is the most civilized and technologi­cally advanced and the least expensive super­ car in production because it is still a Corvette.

The ZR-1 looks like a Corvette. There’s that unmistakable shape however with a notable differ­ence: The bodywork widens beginning in the leading fringe of the doors and culminates in a tail that is 3 inches broader than the normal Vette’s-to accommodate the hefty P3 I5/ 35ZR-17 Goodyear Eagle Gatorbacks made particularly for this car. The soft, polyurethane end cap differs too, convex rather than concave with square versus round tail lights and a small red ZR-1 badge that graces the reduced right corner. Chevy 3 studio chief John Cafaro describes the Vette’s physique as “muscular,” and this is especially evident in the ZR-1, which shares the same front end (front wheels and tires, too) with all the conventional Corvette, the so-called L98. Another notable distinction between the ZR and L98-1 is weight. Heftier en­gine, tires and bodywork etc. make your Super Vette some 200 lbs heavier than an L98 coupe.

As a Corvette, the ZR-1 also shares the Bosch ABS II anti-lock braking, hybridized Z51 suspension, and FX3 Selective Ride Con­trol packages together with the L98. Ditto the UJ6 Low-Tire-Pressure Warning System, which combined with the above is standard around the Chevy flag­ship. Although the Bosch ABS and also the suspension need no explaining (it’s simply the Z51 setup with softer springs and anti-roll bars) and the UJ6 is self-explanatory (a light on the cen­ter console tells you if a tire is going flat), FX3 does call for a brief description.

READ: The Cobra vs. Corvette showdown from 1963

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Basically, this Bilstein-engineered system, which borrows from Porsche 959 and Lotus Formula 1 technology, utilizes a gas-over-oil shock absorber whose hollow center shaft is fit­ted by having an adjustable orifice that allows vary­ing amounts of shock oil to get bled off from round the piston. This supplies six degrees of damping in each of the three modes. Touring, Sport, and gratification, for a total of 14 steps (not 18, because some overlap). Settings range between very soft to full hard in incremental steps that are governed by vehicle speed. Lest you wonder how the system works, let’s just point out that it’s completed with servomotors (actuators mounted atop each shock and accustomed to turn the shaft that regulates the oil bypass) and a micro­ processor (to sense road condition and speed and to send appropriate information to the ser­vos). This is the first use in hyper-performance terri­tory, though true, other high-volume manufacturers have offered cockpit-adjustable shocks. More about this later if we discuss driving the ZR-1.

Unique for the ZR-1 (and for most of us, its raison d’etre), the LT5 engine is really a lovely ex­ample of double-overhead-cam, four-valve-per- cylinder technology. Developed jointly with Lotus and built by Mercury Marine (the boat motor people), this 5.7-liter aluminum, 32-valve V8 provides the same 4.40-inch bore center spacing (for standardization purposes) since the venerable Chevy small-block. To maintain this distance, the bore has been reduced from 4.00 to 3.90 inches, while the stroke has been increased from 3.48 to 3.66 inches. Aluminum cylinder liners which are lighter than steel are Nikasil-coated, as well as the externally-ribbed block has a cast-alu­minum oil sump and lower crankcase assembly whose integral four- and six-bolt cast-iron main bearing caps secure the forged steel crankshaft. Up top, the LT5’s four camshafts are driven by a roller chain (Gilmerbelts were considered, but discarded because they will have made the engine too wide to get bottom-loaded in to the Corvette chassis on the Bowling Green as­sembly line) and actu­ate hydraulic lifters that eliminate valve lash adjustment. The four-valve combustion chambers feature cen­trally-located spark­ plugs (for reduced flame travel) and are designed to act in con­cert with dished aluminum pistons with an 11.: 1 compression ratio. To ensure all of this very elaborate (and expensive) machinery doesn’t self-destruct for lack of proper lubrica­tion, the engine oiling system holds 12 quarts, 7 greater than the pushrod V8.

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Nothing unusual to date, you say. Any engine worth its salt has all this. Too right. But no other engine in the world offers the LT5’s two-phase induction system that makes the Chevy 32-valver two powerplants in one: a tractable, fuel-efficient, around-town workhorse; and a gut-wrenching, full-on track star that hammers out 380 hp. Using its 16 tuned-length intake runners, the visually distinctive manifold uses a three-valve throttle body with a small primary for responsive low-speed operation as well as two large secondaries for full-power usage. During nor­mal only use, the primary intake ports and fuel injectors are operative. Mash about the gas and let the revs climb above 3500 rpm or to half-throt­tle, and the secondary ports and injectors come into play. Acting under orders from the Elec­tronic Control Module, the secondaries feed the fuel-air mixture to the larger of the two in­take valves whose camshaft lobes have more radical timing for maximum power. In addi­tion to earning the LT5 the most versatile engine worldwide, the two-stage induction system enables the Vette owner to control en­gine operation. A power switch on the console (the so-called valet-parking key) disables the secondary throttles and their injectors, leaving the engine operating at half power-to discour­age unauthorized drivers from using the LT5’s full potential.

The ZR-1’s V8 uses direct-fire ignition: Four coils ignite two spark plugs simultaneous­ly, upon receiving their cue from a crankshaft sensor acting in concert with the ECM. Be­ increase the risk for sensor reads the position of ma­chined notches on the crank, correct ignition timing is ensured. Spark advance and retarda­tion are electronically controlled by the ECM, which gets an additional little information from the knock sensor. Whether idling or at speed, the 32-valver runs no hotter (and gener­ally cooler) in comparison to the L98, thanks to its dis­tinctive cooling system with a 15 percent larger radiator and relocated thermostat (it’s about the inlet side of the engine).

READ: Our 2005 C6 Corvette first drive.

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To help deliver the LT5’s output for the rear wheels. Chevy has given the ZR-1 and the nor­mal Corvette a unique six-speed transmission, which uses CAGS (Computer Aided Gear Se­lection) that automatically short-shifts from first to fourth under light throttle. This beefy, ZF-designed gearbox (code-named ML9) replaces the Doug Nash 4 3 manual overdrive tranny used from 1984 through 1988 and is capable of doing handling a minimum of 425 lb-ft of torque, much more in comparison to the LT5’s respectable 370 lb-ft. When used in combination with the 32-valver, the six-speed drives the back wheels through a 3.54: 1 ring and pinion that gives a slightly lower final drive ratio than the L98’s 3.33: 1.

Naturally, the expected Corvette niceties abound (except for the see-through, hard-coated acrylic roof panel, the ZR-1 is what the trade calls “fully optioned out”). Which means that, in addition to everything mentioned above, leath­er-covered sport seats and that great-sounding Delco/Bose system are standard. Paint schemes are standard Corvette and will include seven hues, but not the yellow seen on the Geneva show car. Interestingly, there is no climate control, simply old air conditioning and heating, be­ cause at this time the fully automatic system won’t clear the right cylinder head.

Considering the car’s limited availability (Chevy wants to build only 4000 annually be­ginning this summer), most early ZR-1s will probably become collector cars, bought at in­flated prices and traded at even higher ones. A pity, because if ever there was an auto that begged to be driven, and driven hard, this can be it. Unlike some exotics that fuss in traffic and fume in hot weather, the LT5 powerplant runs like every good Detroit V8 should: effortlessly, reliably. In city driving (or while following that ubiqui­tous diesel truck along a hilly European two-lane), this muscular V8, which develops 300 lb-ft of torque at 1500 rpm, burbles along hap­pily at practically idle speed. So, there’s no need to do a lot of shifting-or perhaps to let your blood pressure soar because you’re playing follow-the-leader. Don’t worry, be happy, take advantage of the air-con­ditioned stereo-filled environment of the ZR-1, and wait until it’s safe to … PASS!

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Enable the record demonstrate that after easing off the line at about 1500 rpm to avoid wheelspin, the ZR-1 goes from to 60 in 4.9 seconds and gets to the quarter-mile marker in 13.4 seconds. Speed-shifted, Corvette engineer Jim Ingles-style, it’s a few tenths quicker. When it’s time to stop, this 3680-lb sports car comes to a halt in 132 feet from 60 mph and 233 feet from 80 mph. Im­pressive? You bet! Also, better than the very best three exotic cars (Ferrari Testarossa, Lambor­ghini Countach, Porsche Turbo).

In real-world terms, this level of perform­ance means that, according to the amount of room you have to do so, you can either ease into the throttle, activate those giant secondar­ies, and type of swoop past. Or you can down­shift a gear or two (because of the 32-valver’s 7000-rpm redline, there are plenty more revs compared to the normal V8) and blow by that slow­poke con brio! . And don’t fret about ducking back into your proper lane. If it’s wet or maybe if the road surface is gravelly, those giant, vent­ed disc brakes and Bosch ABS will hold you back quickly and safely, even. Or perhaps in time to slow for your DANGEROUS CURVE.

Not a problem. Lateral acceleration (you can just call it handling) has always been the Vette’s forte, but this model sets new stan­dards. Ladies and gentlemen, the new king of the skidpad, the ZR-1. Thanks to its suspen­sion, Selective Ride Control, and those sticky ZR-rated (193-mph) Goodyear Gatorbacks, the ZR-1 toes the (curved) mark at .94g, bet­ter than any production-built automobile, bar none. There’s mild understeer and a feeling of comparative nimbleness brought on by steer­ing that no more feels overboosted and darty (the ratio is slowed from 13.1: 1 to 15.: 1). Nor will be the Super Vette a slouch in the slalom where it slithers with the cones at 65.7 mph. It’s the second-fastest speed we’ve ever recorded, topped only through the Mitsubishi Galant, a car with front drive (which the sla­lom tends to favor) and with an extremely sophisti­cated reactive suspension of the own.

READ: Our first drive in the Jaguar XK180 concept

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The ZR-1 is actually a confidence-builder for any driver who suddenly discovers that a certain constant radius turn, isn’t. At times this way it keeps all four feet (or tires) planted firmly on the pavement and maintains its composure-having a deft flick of the wheel or tap of the throt­tle, if required.

Much of the credit with this improvement in vehicle attitude and ride goes to the Corvette’s Selective Ride Control package. Unlike the suspensions of yore (standard equipment on the 1989 normal Corvette) that provided either soft ride or good handling, FX3-equipped L98 and ZR-1 Vettes offer both-in varying degrees depending on switch setting.

On bumpy roads including some of the French goat paths encountered in the ZR-1’s Eu­ropean press introduction, the Touring mode is most effective. This soft setting not simply keeps one’s fillings intact, but also definitely makes the suspension more compliant (better able to absorb much of the road’s roughness) and enables the wheels to stay in connection with the pavement.

On smooth, fast roads or with a test track such as Goodyear’s Mireval proving grounds near Narbonne, France, the Sport or Performance modes are best. Here, the flat surface ensures that the ZR-1’s Gatorbacks are in constant experience of the pavement, so the function of shock-absorber damping becomes certainly one of chassis tuning. Suffice to say that the middle (Sport) setting is probably best (even Corvette Challenge competitors use it), as the full hard setting helps make the suspension very respon­sive to steering input, and (ahem) quite stiff.

From the outset, the Corvette group sought to make the ZR-1 one of several fastest produc­tion-built cars worldwide. If those Countach curmudgeons and testy Testarossers quickly discuss that its 172-mph top speed falls a few digits short of the Lambo’s flat-out 179 mph and the Ferrari’s 185-mph figure, and so it is, even. Perhaps they should keep in mind the ZR-1 was tested in California’s high desert with minimal approach room, while the exotics were tested in Europe at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track, where we think, given miles to chill, the LT5 could manage high 170s. Consider additionally that the Lamborghini and Ferrari are specially-built automobiles costing almost three times as much as the ZR-1, which is built on the same assembly line as the normal Vette. And costs $50,000, a bargain considering the level of performance and comfort it delivers.

But is it, as Chevy hopes, a world-class car? (The envelope, please! )

Yes. The Corvette ZR-1 acquits itself well amidst some extremely fast company. Yet it does so with a level of comfort and class be­yond what most exotics (but not specialty cars including the Porsche 959) currently deliver. Throw in availability and serviceability (the GM-CAMS computer diagnostic system, man­datory service equipment for all ZR-1 dealers), and you have a car which offers the best of the previous and the new world.

Connecting a minivan and a balloon with physics


Once you hear the explanation, courtesy of the host in the YouTube series Smarter Every Single Day, the counterintuitive behavior with this balloon getting around in a minivan under acceleration and deceleration won’t seem so unreal. But until then, it seems that the helium balloon is defying physics and good sense.

Watch the video first, prior to deciding to read the explanation.

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If you listened closely, you’ll find that it’s actually fluid dynamics that explain the physics behind the balloon’s unexpected behavior. Remember, the van is full of air, a blend of gasses composed of many molecules. When the van accelerates forward, the individual molecules resist the motion from the van (inertia) and collect at the back of the van. They displace the helium balloon, which moves forward, as more molecules fill the back. The impact is exaggerated by the fact the the helium is less dense then air, which makes the balloon’s movement even more extreme.