The Good Oil: Missouri's Retrobuilt creating sheep in wolf's clothing

A 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Photo / Supplied
A 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. Photo / Supplied

Hey, here's a pristine 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 fastback, one of America's great muscle cars. Or not.

Hidden beneath the shining Yellow Blaze paint, sculpted fibreglass and steel body panels,
is a 2013 Ford Mustang GT with a 5.0 litre V8.

The clever subterfuge is the work of Retrobuilt, based in small-town Missouri, and known for recreating Carroll Shelby's great cars of yesteryear.

Instead of restoring worn classics, a process that delivers an immaculate car yet retains its undesirable traits, Retrobuilt makes faux classics on current-generation Ford S197 platforms.

''We allow auto-enthusiasts to benefit from the technology and manufacturing of a modern Ford Mustang while combining the classic styling of 1969 muscle cars,'' says the company.


Jeep tackles mall parking hell

There's no pussying around in the parking lot with Jeep's latest tough guy.

The Wrangler hierarchy is topped by a trail-ready Rubicon version and to celebrate 10
years of the outdoors achiever, Jeep's released an anniversary edition.

Rather than just stick on some decals and chrome bits, they made it even tougher. Think a winch-ready steel bumper with removable end caps so it can squeeze between oulders; larger, growlier BFGoodrich 265/70R17 tyres; added ground clearance; rock rails; a ''power dome'' bonnet. And decals. And red leather seats.


Damian Lewis gets the girl in Jaguar short film

Jaguar is making a short film to coincide with the USA debut of the F-Type sports car. Named Desire, it stars English actor Damian Lewis (Homeland's baddie Nicholas
Brody) opposite Spanish Catalan actress Jordi Molla who plays the main villain. The car plays itself.

The action takes place against a backdrop of Chilean desert and follows Lewis' character who delivers cars for a living. Things are said to get exciting when he crosses paths with a young woman played by Shannyn Sossamon, the star of such greats as Wristcutters:
A Love Story.


Star car for sale: Rain Man Buick

Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman starred in the 1988 movie Rain Man, although some will argue that the real star was the 1949 Buick Roadmaster straight-eight convertible.

Now, someone with deep pockets can own the star, which is up for auction in the USA.

Actually, two cars were used in filming and the one going under the hammer has an upgraded rear suspension to cope with the weight of a cameraman and camera equipment. The seller has included documentation of the rental agreement with MGM.

There was an opening bid of nearly US$50,000, but it's expected the seller has a much
higher reserve. That figure won't be revealed until today.


Next Volt: `No idea is a bad idea'

Chevy's Volt hasn't even gone on sale here (as a Holden) but the GM division's already well into thinking about its successor.

At an event in San Francisco, John Cafaro, Chevrolet's director of exterior design, hinted the next Volt will look more aggressive.

''We're going to do some things with the Volt down the road, make it a little more monochromatic, a little more road-hugging.

''From a design perspective, people want an exciting vehicle. Now, what does exciting mean? A lot of zoomy lines? Deep-cut forms? A lot of muscular shapes? We are looking at all the different kinds of design DNA for how we proceed with this technology. No idea is a bad idea.''


Renault thinks Nano too cheap

Nothing came of Renault's plans, four years ago, to rival the Tata Nano, the world's
cheapest car.

But now, the French giant has announced that it and partner Nissan will build two low-priced cars for emerging markets, one for about $3800 and another for about $8000.

A base Nano costs just over $3000 and, yes, that does include the engine and wheels, but not a lot more.

Renault-Nissan's will cost more than a Nano _ not because they can't make them cheaper, but because they figure that even in emerging markets, people want more than bare-bones motoring.


We are the world

After a 70cm shark fell from the sky and landed near the 12th tee at the San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano, California, an attendant placed it in a bucket of water with some salt, drove 6km to the Pacific Ocean and released it. Experts reckon an osprey or peregrine falcon had snatched the fish from the ocean, then lost its grip.

A sofa shop theft in Northampton, England, ended badly for two men who had loaded
a pair of couches worth about $800 each into their truck. The store manager rushed out and, noticing the truck's unfastened back door, pulled out the sofas and the men left empty-handed.

A candidate for town councillor in Itacoatiara, Brazil, has been arrested for allegedly passing out what were said to be packets of cocaine with campaign leaflets.

The Tate Liverpool museum in England has been hosting artist Kerry Morrison's Bird Sheet project in which she laid down a blank musical score under a tree and waited for birds to make ''deposits'' on it, which she took to represent notes that composer Jon Hering planned to play as the ''sound'' of the blackbirds.


Number Crunching

1.3 MILLION
road deaths a year worldwide, according to UN.

3561
Road deaths a day, worldwide. Ouch.

500 BILLION
UN estimate, in US dollars, of annual world cost of road deaths and crashes

105,725
Road deaths a year in India, the world's highest

- NZ Herald

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