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Corvette Z06 and Viper TA square off at the strip PDF Print E-mail

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Just the right Camaro can change your life PDF Print E-mail

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Chevy Spark EV will go on sale in Maryland PDF Print E-mail

Chevrolet Spark EV Plugs into Maryland
Customer demand drives addition of East Coast; features locally sourced drive unit
2015-01-22

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chevrolet will start selling the Spark EV in Maryland this spring, expanding the pure electric mini-car's "range" to the East Coast.

The Spark EV is the most efficient U.S. retail electric vehicle on the market, delivering an EPA-estimated combined city/highway 119 MPGe fuel economy equivalent and 82 miles of EPA-estimated combined city/highway range.

It is priced as low as $17,845, after federal and Maryland tax credits – and it features a locally sourced electric motor and drive unit, manufactured at General Motors' Baltimore Operations facility in White Marsh, Md.

"The Spark EV has been one of the most well-received electric vehicles in the industry and customer demand helped make the decision to expand its availability to Maryland," said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet director of car marketing. "Following the introduction of the next-generation Volt and Bolt EV concept, this further reinforces Chevrolet's commitment to electrification and delivering more choices where our customers want them."

Chevrolet introduced the 2016 Volt and Bolt EV concept earlier this month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The second-generation Volt increases its all-electric driving range to 50 miles, with a total range estimated at more than 400 miles, thanks to its range-extending generator motor.

The Bolt EV concept is a vision for an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range starting around $30,000 after tax incentives.

"Maryland has a strong commuter market and a good charging infrastructure, which influenced the decision to make it the Spark EV's first East Coast market," said Majoros. "We also have a strong dealership network in the Old Line State that's eager to offer it."

Chevrolet requires service training certification before a dealer is authorized to sell the Spark EV because of its unique propulsion system.

The Spark EV is also sold in California and Oregon, where sales totaled 1,145 in 2014 – an 86.5-percent increase over the previous year.

Spark EV at a glance

Chevrolet Spark EV is designed to meet the transportation needs of urban dwellers, with an all-electric driving experience. Its GM-built motor and drive unit deliver 327 lb-ft (444 Nm) of instant torque, enabling a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds.

It is also one of the most maneuverable EVs, with a 12.2-foot overall length and a tight 33.8-foot turning radius – making it ideal for the tight confines of city streets and parking spaces.

Three available levels of recharging capability include the industry's first use of the recently approved SAE combo charger for DC fast charging, which charges 80 percent of the battery in just 20 minutes. Aero refinements, unique wheels and tires and active shutter system on the grille opening help extend the Spark EV's range. Storing that energy from the charging process and the vehicle's regenerative braking capability is a 19-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The four-passenger, five-door Spark EV is available in 1LT and 2LT trim levels. Additional highlights:

Standard Chevrolet MyLink Infotainment system provides a seven-inch-diagonal color touch-screen that shows critical vehicle EV functions and connects with the owner's smartphone for infotainment that includes apps for Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn global internet radio and BringGo full-function navigation (requires smartphone app purchase). For those with compatible iPhones, the system brings the Siri Personal Assistant into the car.
Standard OnStar 4G LTE with available Wi-Fi hotspot (includes three-month/3GB trial period)
Standard remote start/cabin pre-conditioning, heated driver and front passenger seats, push-button start
The front brakes include an electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system that captures braking energy – wasted in a conventional vehicle – and transfers it to the battery system.
GM engineers have driven more than 1 million miles and completed 4 million hours of validation on the battery packs. Comprehensive warranty coverage includes:

Three-year/36,000-mile warranty
Eight-year/100,000-mile drive battery warranty
Five-year/100,000-mile transferrable powertrain warranty that includes emergency roadside assistance and courtesy transportation
Six-year/100,000-mile rust-through warranty.
First place

In 2014, the Chevrolet Spark EV was ranked first in a Car and Driver comparison of the Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit EV, Fiat 500E, Ford Focus Electric and Smart Fortwo ED Cabriolet.

Car and Driver's editors noted the Spark EV was a "studied application of brainpower and enthusiasm" and that "everything about the Spark was all in."

The Spark EV raced ahead of the competitors in the 0-60 mph test, recording the only sub-8-second time, which beat the nearest competitor by more than half a second. The Spark EV was also the least-expensive car in the test.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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Why 2015 is going to be a huge year for trucks PDF Print E-mail

Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn took center stage to introduce the 2016 Titan last week at the Detroit Auto Show. He spoke of the truck's new features, impressive Cummins V8 diesel engine and the extensive amount of time and money required to build a modern, competitive pickup truck.

"We have done all of this because we see opportunity – an opportunity in the unmet needs of today's American truck customers," Ghosn said.

He was speaking about the Titan, but his thoughts echo the industry's mindset: When it comes to trucks, find an opportunity and attack.

Even with CAFE regulations looming and fickle consumer preferences, investing in trucks is a no-brainer for automakers. Some consumers will always need a truck for their job or lifestyle. And some people will always want one, whether they need it or not.

With that in mind, here are four reasons why the pickup-truck sector is more important than ever and poised for growth in 2015.


The Nissan Titan Is Back

Okay, it never left, but the Titan hadn't been redesigned since its launch in 2003, and Nissan sold more NV200s than Titans in 2014. It's an understatement to say the truck was languishing. That all changes with the 2016 model.

The Titan will come in two variants, a traditional fullsize competitor and the Titan XD. The XD will lead the market launch, and it arrives late this year. It's pitched as a "whitespace" offering, Nissan sales and marketing vice president Fred Diaz said. The idea is to offer something in the general size and price range of a fullsize truck, but also have some of the capability of a heavy-duty truck. The XD uses a fully boxed ladder frame, the chassis design from Nissan's commercial division, and the wheelbase is about 20 inches longer than other Titan models.

The XD, which Nissan is calling the flagship of the line, will be the only model with the 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8. It produces 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque, while being able to tow 12,000 pounds. V6 and V8 gasoline models will also be offered on the Titan XD and the standard, non-XD model. When production ramps up, the Titan will be sold with several cabs, beds and trims. New features include trailer sway control, an integrated trailer brake controller, more storage options in the cabin and even laminated front and rear side glass to reduce outside noise. All of this has given Nissan fresh confidence in an area where it admittedly has been lacking.

"We can compete," Diaz told Autoblog. "It's been 12 years since we've updated this truck. It's a huge segment. Are we going to go dominate Ford, Chevy and Ram and just surpass them in sales? We are very reasonable about what our expectations are."

"But can we compete a helluva a lot better than we are right now? You darn betcha we can. Are we going to do well with this truck? In my opinion, my modest opinion, I think we will."


The Midsize Pickup Market Is Going To Explode

New products will fuel the resurgence of this overlooked segment. The Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon will be on sale for the full year, and the 2016 Toyota Tacoma launches this fall.

The timing has been perfect. Gas prices are low – for the moment – and consumers have shown a willingness to consider midsize trucks as an alternative to crossovers or fullsize trucks.

"It fits the needs for a lot of people," said Bob Carter, Toyota's senior vice president of automotive operations.

While midsize trucks have been overlooked in recent years, they never disappeared. Tacoma sales slipped 2.8 percent to 155,041 units in 2014, but it still outsold the fullsize Tundra by 36,548 units. Meanwhile, Nissan Frontier sales leapt 18.3 percent to 74,323, nearly six times the number of Titans sold last year.


More Options, More Choices

Naturally, new products mean consumers will have more options when they consider their next truck purchase. But they will also have more features. The Colorado and Canyon will get 2.8-liter Duramax diesel four-cylinder engine variants this year. Rated at 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, the diesel models offer a different dynamic for GM's midsizers.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Ram will offer a Rebel variant this spring, which is marketed at truck buyers who clearly want to stand out. The Rebel's suspension is lifted an inch, rolls on 33-inch tires and the front has a blacked-out grille punctuated by piercing LED lights. It's designed for sporting enthusiasts, like dirt bikers, whose adventures take them off-road. It's not a Ford F-150 Raptor-fighter, and the Rebel will run with a choice of the Ram's usual 3.6-liter V6 or Hemi 5.7-liter V8 engines. The diesel V6 won't be offered. Ram, however, is enhancing the EcoDiesel line with an HFE version that nudges fuel economy up one mile per gallon and allows the Ram to get up to 29 mpg on the highway.

Meanwhile, Toyota already has two TRD variants, a TRD Sport and a TRD off-roader, planned for the 2016 Tacoma. They'll be offered this fall. Similarly, Chevy is considering another sporty off-road variant of the Colorado, and previewed a possible direction with the ZR2 concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show.


The Ford F-150 Hits Full Stride

Last year was a time of transition for the Ford F-150, and the new generation of the truck launched in November. It switched to an aluminum body, but Ford had to close factories to convert them to use the new material. That constrained dealers' inventory, and sales dropped 1.3 percent in 2014, though the F-150 remained the best-selling vehicle in America for the 33rd straight year, tallying 753,851 units.

This year, there are no changeovers in the factories. Ford has a full year to market and sell the F-150, which it's done better than any other truck maker since the Reagan era. In addition to aluminum, the new truck offers a retooled lineup of engines that includes the addition of a 2.7-liter EcoBoost making 325 hp and 375 lb-ft, offering up to 26 mpg on the highway, plus new safety, technology and design features. All of this seems to be working, as the F-150 spent an average of five days on dealer lots in December. It also kicked off 2015 by capturing North American Truck/Utility of the Year honors. Supported by ramped-up factories and a marketing blitz, the F-150 is poised for a strong showing in 2015. And don't forget, in 2016 there's a new Raptor on tap.


Related Video:

2015 Ford F-150 Factory Tour

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Chevy Silverado Midnight Edition coming to Chicago PDF Print E-mail

2015 Silverado Midnight Edition is The New Black
Monochrome appearance package to debut at NADA and Chicago Auto Show
2015-01-22

DETROIT – Truck fans know that nothing adds presence to a pickup like basic black. And Chevrolet is taking black to the next level with the Silverado Midnight special edition, on display starting today at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Expo in San Francisco, and making its public debut February 14 at the Chicago Auto Show.

Beginning with a black Silverado Z71, the Midnight special edition adds:
- An all-black front end with body-colored grille, bumper, headlamp bezels, tow hooks and fog lamps;
- Black side moldings and beltline moldings;
- 18-inch black painted alloy wheels with Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac all-terrain tires;
- Special Z71 badges on the doors;
- A spray-in bedliner (black, of course);
- And the finishing touches – black Chevrolet bowties front and rear.

Like all 2015 Silverado 1500 Z71s, Midnight special editions include off-road suspension, a locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control and a trailering package. Midnight special editions also include rear park assist and heated, power-adjusted outside rear-view mirrors.

"The Midnight special edition, like our recently announced Custom Sport Silverado, lets our dealers offer a custom look right from the factory," said Sandor Piszar, Silverado marketing director. "Customers can get a monochrome exterior, black alloy wheels and other uplevel touches, while maintaining all of the dependability Chevy trucks are famous for along with full factory warranty coverage."

Chevrolet will offer the Silverado Midnight special edition in either 1500 double-cab or crew-cab models. Up to 5,000 Midnight special editions will be produced for the 2015 model year. Dealers can order the trucks starting in February 2015. Package prices be $1,595 to $1,995, depending on the model.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive & active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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Dale Earnhardt, Jr. puts his Callaway Corvette and '55 Chevy on eBay PDF Print E-mail

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has put a couple of his personal cars up for sale on eBay. The first is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air that Junior had reworked by Funkmaster Flex, a bit of a diversion from Flex's more common Ford efforts. Junior's ride has a replacement chassis from Jim Meyer Racing, a 434 small-block tuned by Sharioff Racing to 500 horsepower, and truly thin rubber on what appear to be aluminum billet rims with Junior's former number 8 on the center caps. The interior is all custom and painted to match the outside, and those seats have been completely reupholstered.

The second car is a 1999 Callaway C12, the 18th of 19 C12s built that year and featured in a 2002 issue of AutoWeek. It joined Earnhardt's private collection in 2004. Built on the base of a C5 Chevrolet Corvette and using a lot of technical know-how from Callaway's European racing program, the BMW #287 Blue Pearl C12 had its V8 bored out to 6.2 liters and graced with Callaway's Supernatural upgrade; it also has a Callaway coil-over suspension with adjustable dampers. There's new bodywork all around, and when new it cost about $200,000.

At the time of writing bidding on the Bel Air was up to $80,100, the C12 was at $63,100. The auction ends Monday morning, and the winning bidders have the option of having their prizes autographed and retrieving the keys from Dale Jr himself if they're willing to go to Moorseville, NC.

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Driving Granatelli's turbine-powered 1978 Chevy Corvette [w/video] PDF Print E-mail

Basem Wasef

Vital Stats

Engine:
Gas Turbine
Power:
880 HP / 1,161 LB-FT
Transmission:
3-Speed Automatic
0-60 Time:
3.2 Seconds (est)
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Engine Placement:
Front
Seating:
2
With its curvy snout and feminine haunches, the third-gen Chevrolet Corvette looks like a dreamy – if dated – exemplar of Sports Car Fantasy 101 when viewed through modern eyes.

This particular specimen circa '78, clad in silver and black paint with red pinstripes, appears to be a well-preserved example from the era. Apart from its low-profile Pirellis, slightly raised and slotted hood, spacious stance and a certain hand-painted descriptor alongside its crossed flag logos, you'd never guess there's a Space-Age propulsion unit powering this Coke bottle-bodied ride.

Climb inside, and you're presented with aircraft gauges and big, colorful square buttons in the center panel. It takes a push of the "Ignitor" button, a tap of the starter button, and a slide of a T-handle for this nearly 40-year-old sports car to start sounding like Gulfstream G650 ready for takeoff. Yep, you're sitting in an 880-horsepower, turbine-powered Corvette, the only one of its kind in the world. Welcome to the whoosh.

Turbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet CorvetteTurbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet CorvetteTurbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet CorvetteTurbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet Corvette

What The...?

Built by Vince Granatelli, son of Indy 500 guru Andy Granatelli, this curious Corvette came into being by cramming a Pratt & Whitney ST6N-74 gas turbine engine into the donor car's lengthy front end. The same type of Jet A-burning mill powered Granatelli Senior's STP-sponsored racecar at the 1967 Indianapolis 500, where it famously led most of the 198 of 200 laps until a $6 transmission bearing failed, knocking it out of the race. The idea of turbine power usurping internal combustion was so threatening that Indy's governing body restricted turbine performance into obsolescence thereafter.

A turbine-powered Corvette sounds excessive because it is. But there are also things about this 880-horsepower, 1,161-pound-feet monster that might surprise you. While it smacks of futurist exoticism and cost a then-dizzying $37,000 in 1967, the Canadian-built powerplant uses 80 percent fewer parts than an internal combustion V8 and will run on virtually anything combustible – whiskey, diesel, even Chanel No. 5. Though it's triple the length of a V8, the Pratt & Whitney beast weighs only 285 pounds. It's also one hell of a robust workhorse, typically serving as an auxiliary power unit for commercial aircraft or a generator in oil fields, where it can run for tens of thousands of consecutive hours before needing an overhaul.

Turbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet Corvette

To adapt the Chevrolet for jet duty, the nose section was gutted and a sub-frame was built to compensate for the loosey-goosey front end. Granatelli installed large 1978-era NASCAR brakes to handle stopping duties, while the turbine's 37,500-rpm operating speed was trimmed to terrestrial levels via a reduction gearbox; at full throttle, engine output is 6,230 rpm. A reinforced three-speed Turbo 400 automatic transmission powers the beefed-up driveshaft, and a 3.03:1 rear end diverts torque to 20-inch Centerline wheels wrapped in modern Pirelli P-Zero rubber. A massive, bespoke exhaust system routes the turbine's spent gases to a rectangular box beneath the car, which is responsible for the car's aforementioned ride height. And then there's the instrumentation, which incorporates analog aircraft gauges (cool!) but places digital displays slightly off-center within cockpit-style frames (hmm...); the cabin is otherwise classic late 1970s Americana, with uncharismatic straight-edge surfaces that are an anathema to the exterior's Rubenesque proportions.

Clear For Takeoff

My seat time in the so-called Jet Vette was limited to two laps of the banked Auto Club Speedway course in Fontana, CA, with a watchful eye in the passenger seat making sure I didn't attempt my finest "Maverick" impersonation from Top Gun. We were instructed to wear helmets, which I did, yet my chaperone (who you can see in the video) oddly did not. The guided conditions and limited drive were no doubt attributable to the fact that the car was scheduled to cross the auction block a few weeks later. But the sense of occasion could hardly be dimmed: after all, few automotive sensations are quite as sexy as climbing into a car that sounds like a passenger jet ready for takeoff.

Turbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet CorvetteTurbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet CorvetteTurbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet CorvetteTurbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet Corvette

The Pratt & Whitney ST6 idles at a minimum 62-percent throttle, which causes quite the decibel-intensive, whistle-like racket. It's still somewhat loud within the cabin, though not as piercing as you might expect; I was able to carry a conversation with my right-seat minder, albeit at heightened volume levels. The Corvette's heavy-duty brakes are crucial to the car's day-to-day operation for reasons which become obvious when you click the shifter into "D": the car lurches forward a tad no matter how hard you're pressing the left pedal, revealing the turbine's intense state of rest, even when running at 62 percent. Let off the brake, and the Corvette accelerates with leisurely authority to around 60 mph – and that's without touching the throttle. Lay into it, as Motor Trend did in a 1979 track test, and you should be able to sprint to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, even quicker if you believe Mr. Granatelli's estimations. The ride feels somewhat firm along the Speedway's smooth tarmac, though it's certainly not punishing; the car's tendency to hum along at its own speed makes it feel eerily like a runaway train of sorts, like it couldn't care less if anything comes in its way.

With a gentle press of the accelerator while cruising at idle, the high-pitched whine rises even higher, making the banked oval feel more like a runway than a racetrack. Interestingly, acceleration isn't instantaneous; there's a perceptible kickdown from the transmission and it takes about three seconds before the thrust gently but noticeably pushes you back into your leather-wrapped bucket seat. Just before it feels like you might build up enough lift for takeoff, the gentleman in the right seat asks you to slow down, which later inspires speed-fueled fantasies involving horizonless dry lake beds and an afternoon spent chasing the sun.

Turbine-Powered 1978 Chevrolet Corvette

The turbine settles back down to idle with just as sexy a whine as it makes when it's winding up, and after two quick laps, it's time to firmly press the brake and bring it back into the pits. Clicking the shifter lever back to "P" finally abates the runaway train feeling with a slight jerk.

It's been nice knowin' ya, Jet Vette; until never again, most likely.

Date With Destiny

If its reserve minimum is met, the turbine-powered Corvette will find its next owner at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale auctions on January 17, 2014, along with the just-restored STP-sponsored 1968 Lotus 56-3 racecar. Current owner Milton Verret looks back fondly on his time with both turbine cars, the former which he has driven roughly a thousand miles since he bought it in 1982. Verret is no stranger to vehicular excess (and Americana, in particular): he also owns a panoply of Corvettes and Camaros, as well as the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, and John Lennon's 1956 Austin Princess used in the Imagine documentary.

What's it like for the Texas-based gearhead to let go of his prized jet-powered possessions? "I'm sitting here kind of stunned, to be honest," Verret told me prior to my test drive. His incredulity was fitting, considering the cars' rarity and exceptional personalities. "After doing all the press," he said, "it's like, God, what am I doing?"

1978 Granatelli Chevrolet Jet Corvette

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How GM engineers are using diaper 'snow' to keep you warm PDF Print E-mail

Diapers Change Chevy Cruze Winter Warm-up Time

GM validation engineer uses diaper material "snow" to reduce frigid drives

2015-01-06

DETROIT – An item commonly found on an infant's changing table is helping General Motors' engineers simulate snow year round, ensuring heating systems in cars like the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze can quickly and efficiently warm its interior.

Packed snow can prevent air from entering the inlet panel at the bottom of the windshield, obstructing the flow of air into the heating system and reducing the amount of air it can push out. This can lead to less efficient warming of the car's interior and windshield defrosting.

"The last thing anyone wants to do when it's freezing cold out is scrape their windshield," said Nicholas Jahn, GM Vehicle Thermal Systems engineer. "The testing we perform on the Chevrolet Cruze with the diaper material allows us to maximize the car's heating capabilities."

Ironically, Jahn stumbled upon his diaper-based testing method in the middle of summer. During a swim with his daughter, he noticed her diaper multiplied in size when it came into contact with water. After some research, he found that sodium polyacrylate – the absorbent material found in diapers – starts as a powder but turns into a snow-like substance when saturated.

In Jahn's test, he sprinkled the reusable snow onto the air inlet vents along the bottom of the Cruze's windshield, then started the car and let it idle. After a few minutes, Jahn removed the inlet panel and inspected how much snow was sucked into the system and how much of the intake vents remained blocked.

Before discovering the material, Jahn had to either rely on Mother Nature to provide snow, or find a schedule opening at one of GM's state-of-the-art climatic wind tunnels. Sodium polyacrylate, however, can be used anywhere, at any time, and in any season. Better yet, when the material dries, it can easily be reused.

"Diaper material is perfect for testing for snow intrusion and packing properties, Jahn said.

A more efficient heating system especially benefits those who use the OnStar Remote Key Fob services, which allows drivers to remotely start their car from anywhere with a cellular connection. As part of the OnStar Basic Plan, Remote Key Fob services - remote start, lock, unlock and activate horn and lights – is free for five years on all new, properly equipped GM vehicles.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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What you missed on 1.7.15 PDF Print E-mail

  • U-Turn
  • Jan 7th 2015 at 7:40PM

Autoblog Staff

Chevy Corvette Z062015 Chevy Corvette Z06 first drive

"If you're a Corvette lover, this is the car you've always wanted." So sayeth Seyth Miersma, after spending two days driving the new 650-horsepower and road and track outside of Las Vegas, NV. The baddest Corvette ever might also be the best, and Seyth gives a full rundown of what makes this bad boy so special in our first drive, here.

The ListThe List: Drive a Formula One car

On this episode of The List, hosts Jessi and Patrick get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pilot a Formula One racecar while participating in the GP Experience at the Thermal Club in California. Join our hosts as they check 'Drive a Formula One car' off of their List with some assistance from veteran open-wheel drivers Didier Theys and Simona de Silvestro.

By The NumbersBy The Numbers: 2014 year-end results

Now that all of December's sales numbers have been tallied, it's time to reflect on the year 2014 as a whole. When everything was said and done, total sales pushed up near the 17-million mark – a number we haven't seen since the Great Recession took hold five years ago. See every brand's sales data, and check out some individual car and automaker highlights, here.

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