A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird: Hurricane Sandy soaks East Coast, devastates car sales
Savvy consumers will no doubt remember the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and the flood-damaged cars that popped up, often sold across the border by unscrupulous types. Here we go again.
The reports coming in suggest Sandy was the biggest storm in the U.S. for hundreds of years. Water has poured into the New York subway system, Manhattan is without power, parkades are flooded and East Coast piers are but a battered memory. The storm even sunk a replica of the HMS Bounty.
Pictures of the destruction are all over the Internet and one thing you'll see, again and again, is submerged cars. Most are parked on the street, some floating around in the Financial District - and others are parked on dealership lots.
While most dealerships worked to get their inventory to high ground, thousands of
vehicles have been damaged or destroyed. With much of the East Coast recovery bound to take some time, those dealerships aren't going to be back in business for a while.
The shortfall is expected to hit the luxury marques the hardest - BMW and Mercedes-Benz USA sell 25 per cent of their cars in New York, Washington and Philadelphia alone. Also, a few months from now, used car buyers should keep their antennae up as that "great deal" might have a hidden past. And a fish in the glovebox.
SEMA 2012: Hot Wheels Camaro, squadrons of Scions
Speaking of masses of cars completely ruined beyond repair, it's time for the annual Specialty Equipment Manufacturer Association's giant product show-off in Las Vegas. Questionable taste? I did say they hold the thing is Las Vegas, right?
While there are literally hundreds of modified vehicles on display, the belle of the ball is surely the Scion FRS/Subaru BRZ. Given that the Toyota/Subaru coupe was always intended to be a low-cost machine that could be modified to its owner's taste, it should be no surprise to learn that there are hundreds of the lightweight two-doors around.
Builds range from the usual garish wild paint and full-leather interiors to much cooler, pared-down and supercharged racecars for the streets.
Over at General Motors, Chevy has paired up with Hot Wheels to bring every small boy's fantasy to full-sized life. Their toy-car-inspired ride sports deep blue paint, Hot Wheels badging and wheels that match the 1/64th scale car.
Leaving that aside, best-in-show this year has to go to the ICON D200 Reformer. ICON made their name modernizing the iconic Toyota FJ and the early Ford Bronco, and what they've done to this 1965 Dodge Crew Cab is simply amazing. Underneath that gleaming all-white body it's got a 5.9-litre Cummings Turbodiesel with 975 foot-pounds of torque.
Boss hogs mess with Texans
State Highway 130 has already garnered much attention for being the fastest highway in the good ol' U.S.A. The toll road's speed limit was recently raised to 85 miles per hour, the highest in the country.
Certainly, anyone who's felt the Coquihalla's 110 kilometres per hour limit was maybe a bit too conservative when the weather's good will appreciate how excited folks have been over this increase in speed - and legal to boot!
Naturally, there's been some teething issues. Tusking issues, to be exact.
Running as it does straight through fertile Texas farmland, the 130 is notorious for crossing packs of feral hogs. If the image of Piglet just popped into your head, think again: these are massive, slavering beasts, like a bacon-flavoured werewolf.
Four accidents have been reported already, with one vehicle completely written off - no serious injuries yet, thank goodness. Authorities are both offering a bounty on the wayward piggies, as well as advising drivers who come across animals in the middle of the road to grip the steering wheel tightly and just keep going.
Sounds like somebody's been playing too much Angry Birds. BMW celebrates V-12 silver anniversary
It's been 25 years of 12-cylinderpower for the big Bimmer flagship, and BMW is making a bit of noise about the event. After all, as they point out, BMW was first to offer V-12 smoothness before either of their main German rivals, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or the Audi A8.
Naturally, you won't see a lot of full-sized 7-series on the road today, and fewer still with the "big stove." In fact, the 7-series is now available in the coming year with a six-cylinder for the first time in decades.
However, BMW is building 15 special long-wheelbase anniversary 7s with the largest engine. Displacing six litres and with twin-turbocharging helping out, the latest engine produces an astounding 535 h.p. Perhaps James could spare a *few* of the horses, just this once.
Watch this space for all the best and worst of automotive news, or submit your own auto oddities to brakingnews@gmail. com.