automobile

The New York International Auto Show is back!

The New York International Auto Show strikes again! With approximately 1,000 vehicles on display contained under 950,000 sq. ft., the show is one of the world’s biggest and greatest automotive shows for over one million car enthusiasts to check out the newest cars, trucks and SUV’s.

A few dozen, new for 2016, cars made their big debuts at the show. Some of these were the all-new Audi A4 with a power boost up to 252hp, the sixth generation BMW 7 series, the 365hp BMW M2, an all-wheel-drive Ford Fusion V6 Sport and Hyundai’s new flagship brand, Genesis, showed us the new G90. Other debuts include the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Fiat 124 Spider, Cadillac CT6, the 5.0-liter V8 Lexus LX500, Lincoln Continental, Mercedes E-Class with a new 2.0-liter, 241hp four cylinder and the Volvo S90 luxury sedan.

New concept vehicles were also revealed at the show, including the Buick Avista coupe grand tourer, Volkswagen BUDD-e, the Kia A1A Optima and the Kia Telluride.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the New York International Auto Show over the next few days.

First Responders at the New York International Auto Show

Ever go to the New York Auto Show and wonder where all those police cars on the lower level come from? They come from the New York City Police Museum.

Incorporated in 1998, The New York City Police Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the New York City Police Department, the world’s largest and most famous police service. Every year, they have a spectacular display of the police cars of New York City, from the 1930s to present day.

1958 Ford Custom 300 with factory 292i V8 (4.8L) and 3 speed automatic. Emergency equipment includes a Federal signal Model 17 light, Federal Signal Model 28 siren, Stewart Warner Police Special Speedometer and Motorola Twin V Police Radio.

1974 Plymouth Satellite Custom with factory 318i V8 (5.2L) and 3 speed automatic. The NYPD switched from the larger Plymouth Fury to the smaller Plymouth Satellite due to the gasoline crisis. Each car was $3,767. Precinct numbers were added to the sides of the cars in 1978. Includes a Signal Stat #9555 light bar, Signal Stat VI Siren & Control Center, Stewart Warner Police Special speedometer and Motorola T-Power Radio

1989 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 Police Package with Federal Signal Aerodynamic 24H lighter and Federal Signal PA-300 radio. This car is built in tribute to P.O. Edward Byrne.

2016 Smart Car, with 89 horsepower and CVT transmission. NYPD installed options include NYPD specialized LED lighting and message board with 72 different programmed messages and a VIT fuel management system.

2016 Ford NGPI Utility, comes with 304 horsepower and al-wheel-drive with police tuned suspension, heavy duty wheels and brakes, NYPD specialized LED lighting, Rumbler siren, front push bumper, ballistic door and window panels, computer tablet with keyboard and printer, priority start (battery rundown protection), skid plate, AVL (automatic vehicle locator). It also has a park kill module, which turns the sirens off when the vehicle is placed in park, and a run on module, which allows the vehicle to run when the ignition key is removed but turns the car off when the brake is pressed so the car can’t be stolen.

1961 Plymouth Savoy from “Car 54, Where are You?”, with factory 318i V8 (5.2L) and 3 speed automatic, and Motorola Twin V radio, Stewart Warner Police Speedometer, Federal Signal Model 28 Siren and Federal Signal Model 17 light. Each car cost $2,694 in 1961.

Serial One: The First Honda in the US

In 1969, Honda debuted the N600, the first Honda car that was imported to the US. Designed to combat bad fuel economy and high emissions, the N600 was roughly three feet shorter and half the weight of the average American car at the time.

n6001

Mechanic and restorer Tim Mings is the only full-time Honda N600 mechanic in the world – having worked on over 1,000 throughout the past 20 years. From the first 50 produced (serial #1 through 50), only 3 survived. After sitting under five decades of dust and dirt, Tim recently found this N600, purchasing it sight unseen, unaware of its’ pedigree. Now, it’s Tim’s mission to restore Serial One, the very first N600 that rolled off the line. Mings says it’s “humbling that I get to be the guy that does it. I’m the first person to take it apart since it was put together in 1967”. Once the restoration is complete, it will be going to the Honda Museum.

 

During the 12- to 18-month rebuild, Honda will be documenting the restoration of this special car at SerialOne.com – follow along, both with Honda and us, as we keep a close eye on the progress!

Images from: Honda Motor Co.

Ford opens doors for law enforcement

Ford has always been a staple in law enforcement vehicle history – going all the way back to 1919 when departments used Model T police trucks. Then, came the infamous Crown Victoria era in the early 90s and late 2000s. Now, we have the new Explorers and Tauruses we see most departments using on the roads today.

Ford is taking their dedication to law enforcement one step further, and will now be offering doors that protect against armor-piercing bullets. Since 2008, they’ve offered factory-installed ballistic panels on their police car doors, but they only protect against handgun fire and non-armor piercing bullets. Only about 5 to 10 percent of police vehicles sold by Ford have the optional ballistic protection, which costs about $1,500 per door.

Controlling 60 percent of the US police vehicle market in 2015, Ford will be the first in the US to meet the Justice Department’s highest standard for body armor, which is the equivalent of a bulky SWAT team vest.

The ballistic panels, which cover the majority of the door, have two layers. The first layer is made from ballistic-grade ceramic tile, which disperses the energy and starts to break the bullet into pieces on impact. The inner layer is made from aramid fiber, which is the same material used for Kevlar, and catches the shrapnel from the bullet.

Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations said that “any kind of protection that can be added into the vehicles that officers are driving in is a great idea”, since officers are frequently targeted when they are in their patrol cars.

Unavailable to the public, the doors are destroyed when police cars are scrapped so they don’t wind up in the bad guys’ hands.

Engineering the doors proved to be a challenge since the added weight of the ballistic protection had to be supported by the hinges of the door, though they made it happen. Ford will continue to offer both non-armor piercing and armor-piercing protection doors for departments with different needs. Pricing for upgraded protection has not been announced.

Photo Credit: Ford

No Porsche for You!

It’s no secret Jerry Seinfeld is a car guy – but did you know that he’s a major Porsche fan? According to Complex Magazine, Seinfeld owns over 45 of the brand’s most sought after models. Car collectors seized the opportunity of a lifetime, taking up the chance to own some of the comedy legend’s beloved Porsches that he recently unloaded — for over $22,000,000.

Considering the “cheapest” vehicle that sold was a 1964 Volkswagen Bus for $99,000 (and the most expensive car from his collection sold for over $5 million!), you know these vehicles came from a very well maintained and well-cared-for collection from someone who truly loves his Porsches (and Volkswagen’s).

Check out some of the cars that hit the auction block – the only one that didn’t sell was his 2000 Porsche Carrera GT prototype. We can only imagine what else he has in his garage.

  • 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder — $5,335,000
  • 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster — $682,000
  • 1958 Porsche 356A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster — $1,540,000
  • 1958 Porsche 597 Jagdwagen — $330,000
  • 1959 Porsche 718RSK — $2,860,000
  • 1963 Porsche 356B 2000 GS Carrera 2 Coupe — $825,000
  • 1966 Porsche 911 — $275,000
  • 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder — $3,000,000
  • 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR — $2,310,000
  • 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster — $363,000
  • 1990 Porsche 962C — $1,650,000
  • 1994 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 Turbo S Flachbau — $1,017,500
  • 1997 Porsche 993 3.8 Cup RSR — $935,000
  • 2011 Porsche 997 Speedster — $440,000
  • 2012 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 4.0 “Brumos Commemorative Edition” — $462,000
  • 1960 Volkswagen Beetle — $121,000
  • 1964 Volkswagen Camper — $99,000

Photos from Gooding & Company Auction House.

REVIEW: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 4MATIC

Look familiar to you? That’s because it is. As part of Mercedes-Benz’s new naming convention, the GLE-Class positions itself in the middle of the SUV segment between the GLC and GLS-Classes (the former GLK and GL, respectively), similar to how the E-Class is positioned in relation to the C and S-Classes.

With the same underpinnings as the previous ML, the GLE  blends luxury, comfort and sportiness. Ours was outfitted with a Polar White exterior with Saddle Brown leather and Anthracite Poplar wood. Overall, our GLE350 was great to drive – much better than the outgoing ML350. The GLE350 was very smooth and didn’t feel like you were driving an SUV, however, when you need it to, the SUV capabilities are there. We were amazed by the tight steering and excellent turning radius, and the less-boat-like handling over the previous model was great also.  With a 3.5L V6 producing 302hp, the GLE350 4MATIC gets you to 60 miles per hour in 7.5 seconds, which is relatively quick for an almost 5,000lb sport utility vehicle. With an as-tested price of $60,385, the GLE350 is a great choice for a luxury SUV.

On the inside, standard features include heated front seats, power lift gate, power driver’s seat with memory and an 8-inch high-resolution color screen. Our GLE350 4MATIC came equipped with the Premium 1 package (a $3,830 option) which includes Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND hard-drive navigation, COMAND with touchpad controller, Blind Spot Assist, Rearview camera, Keyless-Go, household-style 115V power outlet and SiriusXM radio.

Loaded with a plethora of safety features, the GLE350 has adaptive braking technology, Agility Control Suspension, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, 11-way airbag protection, Mercedes-Benz mbrace, and Night Security Illumination.

Pros: Great safety features, Night Security Illumination is pretty neat, attention to detail, beautiful interior

Cons: Media interface/COMAND system takes time getting used to

QUICK FACTS:

Base Price: $51,100 || Price as Tested: $60,385

Vehicle Layout: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive, five-passenger, 4-door sports utility vehicle

Engine: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder, 302-hp,  273 lb-ft torque || Transmission: 7-speed automatic, with paddle shifters

Curb Weight:  4,751 lbs || Length/Width/Height: 189.1/84.3/70.7 inches

0-60:   7.5 seconds || EPA City/Highway Fuel Economy: 17/22 MPG

 

 

RATING: 8.2/10

Exterior: 8

Interior: 8

Acceleration: 8

Braking: 9

Ride: 9

Handling: 8

Gearbox: 8

Audio: 8

Tech: 8

Value: 8

We’d like to thank Pamela Sieradzki at Benzel Busch Mercedes for getting us into a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 4MATIC. For all of your luxury vehicle needs, go check out Benzel-Busch Mercedes in Englewood, NJ and online at www.benzelbusch.com/mercedes-nj. Make sure you tell them Greg sent you!