Ford unveils custom ute for special services duty
Ford has released a new Special Service Vehicle package for its F-150, the biggest selling pick-up truck in the US. Targeted at government and commercial fleets for things like police or forest ranger duty, the pack adds at no extra cost a larger alternator and a unique interior configuration. Inside, the truck offers cloth seating and additional space between the front seats for a range of gear, including communications equipment and firearms. Agencies can also specify beefier components like heavy-duty tyres and skid plates. The SSV package trucks can be had with either a turbocharged 3.5-litre Ecoboost V6 engine with 272kW and 560Nm of torque, or a 5-litre V8 with 268kW and 510Nm. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can equip either four-wheel or two-wheel drive SuperCab and SuperCrew models with the SSV package.
VW makes moves on battlefield
What good is a truck if it can't be used to invade your neighbours? None at all, say the armament experts at Rheinmetall Defence.
At the recent Eurosatory defence expo in Paris - the Geneva motor show of military hardware, if you like - Rheinmetall unveiled its conversion options for the Volkswagen Amarok, transforming the four-door civilian pickup truck into a multi-purpose military vehicle.
The options list includes a reinforced suspension, advanced communications systems and a motorised turret for a machine gun or grenade launcher. Military and paramilitary buyers can order theirs with a variety of engines. Volkswagen is reportedly looking into taking a stake in heavy truckmaker Navistar International in an attempt to gain ground on rival Daimler. A report in Germany says such a move would give VW a leg up on Daimler Trucks, which holds the keys to US-based Freightliner. Navistar International hasn't performed particularly well in recent months. It suffered a second-quarter loss because of warranty costs, which pushed down the company's stock price by 28 per cent to its lowest level since 2008.
Meanwhile, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has made it clear he wants to delve into the US big-rig market as well.
Young Chinese buyers want longer cars
Hyundai is reportedly adding a few extra inches to the Elantra in a bid to snag more sales in China. The South Korean company is opening a new $1.2 billion factory in Beijing to build a slightly longer version of the Elantra sedan. The four-door will be a bit taller as well. Hyundai says young buyers in China want a car that looks as premium as possible, even in the small-car segment. Last year, Hyundai sold 757,583 units in China, a 6.7 per cent increase over 2010. The Chinese car market grew by just 5.2 per cent.
Hyundai is the fourth best-selling brand in China, behind Volkswagen, Nissan and Toyota.
Flying B spreads wings at Goodwood
Few carmakers will be as well represented at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed as Bentley. The Flying B will have its largest presence ever for the annual run up the hill, including new models and old, racing and road cars. Bentley has promised to show a new model combining "stunning performance with exquisite luxury in the Bentley tradition". The smart money is on the new GT Speed, based on the updated Continental GT. Bentley will also bring its controversial EXP 9 F sport-ute concept, the Mulsanne limousine, the Continental GT V8, the 2003 Le Mans-winning Speed 8 racer and the 1920s-era supercharged Birkin Blower, fresh from the Mille Miglia.
Private peek at motoring classics
They call it Ed Brown's Garage, a private motoring museum near Leechburg, Pennsylvania.
It is not open to the public but Brown every now and again invites members of US car clubs to check out the collection, which spans more than 80 years of motoring.
The Studebakers and Cadillacs pictured here are just a few of the pristine examples of vintage cars on show.
We are the world
* Oddball accidents over the years include the truck carrying pork that collided with a truck carrying eggs, creating a highway dish in the United States of ham and eggs. In Canada, a truck and trailer carrying $1 and $2 Canadian coins overturned, scattering a "debris field" of millions of dollars.
* Dylan Contreras, 19, figured he could bluff his way past Idaho police questioning him about an outstanding warrant. He said his name was "Velesco" - until the cops asked him why the name "Dylan Contreras" was tattooed on his forearm. Another loser was the would-be bank robber who handed a holdup note to a teller in Chicago. She told him the bank had just closed and suggested he return the next day. He didn't.
* At the 10th annual Arab shooting championships in Kuwait, officials were ill-prepared for medallist Maria Dmitrienko of Kazakhstan. Instead of Kazakhstan's national anthem, they played the humorous ditty from the movie Borat. Instead of lyrics such as "legend of courage", the audience heard, "Greatest country in the world/All other countries are run by little girls" and so on. Dmitrienko reportedly kept a mostly straight face throughout, although Kazakhstan later demanded, and received, an official apology.