The News for March 22nd, 2013


Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or the bull. I also throw in a little opinion of mine, just because I can. This week, it’s pre-New York Auto Show stuff:

  • SRT Viper gets its track day shoes on

  • Jaguar’s R performance line is growing

  • Jeep and Mopar reveal 6 new Moab Easter Safari concepts

  • Updated Kia Forte is priced well

  • The Nürburgring is up for sale 


2014 SRT Viper TA


The latest Dodge SRT Viper hasn’t even been on sale for more than 5 months yet, but the guys over at SRT have already announced they’re ready to take the Viper’s performance to the next level. The 2014 SRT Viper TA – for Time Attack – is a Viper with a more track-focused package with less emphasis on luxuries and more emphasis on handling.

Power output from the massive 8.4-liter V10 remains at 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft of torque, because it really doesn’t need any more than that to be quicker around a track. What really separates it from the standard Viper is its suspension, braking package, and its expanded use of carbon fiber inside and out. The uniquely tuned suspension includes a two-mode Bilstein DampTronic system for a firmer damper level, upgraded springs, racing-derived stabilizer bars, and carbon fiber X-brace to provide improved rigidity. The brakes will also be fantastic when they’re actually done. SRT is working with Brembo for the TA’s unique braking package, and when its ready, it promises a higher thermal capacity and improved heat dissipation for extreme performance at the expense of adding a bit of weight. The brake calipers will be painted black and will proudly display the viper logo in “TA Orange” through the lightweight Sidewinder II wheels, which are wrapped in sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires.

A carbon fiber front splitter and rear spoiler are included to improve aerodynamics, while a carbon fiber rear applique (visible in the lead image) is just there to make it look cool. The car can further distance itself from any other Viper with the TA Orange paint, which is available on only the first 33 examples. The interior features premium ballistic fabric racing seats from Sabelt, which can also accommodate a 3-point or 6-point racing harness, and orange accents on almost every surface of the standard black interior.

Those first 33 TA Orange cars will be built starting this fall, and presumably, you’ll be able to buy one shortly thereafter in another color. Pricing isn’t available yet, but for reference, the standard Viper starts at $97,395 while the still top-of-the-line Viper GTS with more luxuries goes for $120,395.

Source: SRT | Images via Autoweek

Jaguar XJR confirmed


Jaguar’s R performance line is getting a new addition to the family fairly soon, and it’s going to be the biggest family member yet. The latest performance-derived Jag will be the XJR, which will produce 550 horsepower from a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 and feature suspension and aerodynamic enhancements to look the part. Of course, the level of luxury that Jaguar’s flagship sedan is known for still be intact.

Sadly, that’s all we know for now. The XJR will be revealed in full at the New York Auto Show next week.

Source: Jaguar

Moab Easter Jeep Safari concepts revealed

Every year, Jeep hosts a week-long rally safari in Moab, Utah attended by thousands of off-road enthusiasts, which means every year we get a few more concepts built just for this event to salivate over. This year, we’ve got six based off the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee featuring many Mopar parts and accessories you can actually buy.


Up first is the only one of the six that isn’t a Wrangler – the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk concept. The goal here was to create the most extreme GC yet while putting Jeep’s recently-introduced EcoDiesel V6 to good use. Its low end torque, 35″ Micky Thompson off-road tires, and improved ground-clearance all contribute to its off-road excellence. The Trailhawk even borrows a front and rear fascia from the GC SRT8, but they’ve obviously been modified to keep ground clearance at a maximum.

The Jeep Wrangler Mopar Recon is next, and it’s probably the craziest of the bunch. I say that because the standard 3.6-liter V6 is replaced by a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 crate motor from Mopar that produces 470 horsepower. Off-road goodies like Dana 60 front and rear axles with 4.10 gearing, a 4.5-inch prototype long-arm lift kit, Jeep Performance prototype 8-lug beadlock wheels wrapped with 39″ off-road tires, and a bunch of other Mopar accessories make this Wrangler fit for almost any outdoor adventure. Just mind the fuel gauge.


The Jeep Wrangler Stitch is a followup to the lightweight Pork Chop concept from a few years ago, and like affectionately named concept, this too is all about reducing weight. The frame, axles, body, and interior were all subject to the butcher’s knife, as Stitch’s weight was cut down to roughly 3,000 lbs. by cutting out anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary, including the audio system and air conditioning. The SRT Viper’s lightweight seats were thrown in as well. They didn’t cut corners on its off-road capabilities, however, since it’s still got 35″ off-road tires, King shocks with pneumatic bump stops, Mopar cold air intake and exhaust.

The Wrangler Sand Trooper II is a continuation of the first Sand Trooper we saw at SEMA last year, and it too borrows a V8. The 5.7-liter Hemi produces 375 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. 40″ tires, 8-lug beadlock wheels, Mopar accessories, and leather seats give it everything it needs to conquer the desert – especially those leather seats.


The Wrangler Flattop is an interesting one. It’s a hardcore off-road machine, with 37″ Mickey Thompsons, DynaTrac Pro Rock 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles, Full-Traction control arms, and much more hardware at its disposal, yet its interior is surprisingly posh. Dark saddle leather with copper accents adorns the interior, which is covered by a custom, one-piece, windowless hardtop that also lacks a b-pillar for a more open cabin. 

Last but not least, we have the Wrangler Slim, which is a Jeep that offers high performance and low weight. The Slim features a 3:73 anti-spin axle, forged beadlock wheels, a 2-inch lift kit, a Mopar cold-air intake, and a CB radio.

As of now, these are all just concepts, but it’s possible that we’ll see a special edition vehicle or optional package based on one of these come from the factory.

Source: Jeep | Images via Autoweek

2014 Kia Forte priced


The all-new Kia Forte will cost just $16,700 when it goes on sale next month.

Source: Kia

Compared to other cars in its class, like the Dodge Dart or the Nissan Sentra, it’s negligibly cheaper. Like, less than $100 cheaper. The base Forte is equipped with a 1.8-liter engine making 148 horsepower and 131 lb.-ft. of torque, though a 2.0-liter engine is available with 173 horsepower and 154 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual is standard while a 6-speed automatic is a $1,500 option. Other standard equipment includes steering wheel mounted audio controls,  SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth, and heated power-folding mirrors. The available Premium and Technology packages can add heated leather seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, a 4.2″ touchscreen that displays something, and HID headlights.

The Nürburgring is up for sale


Germany’s beloved Nürburgring is officially up for sale, according to a state-appointed liquidator, Jens Lieser.

Autoweek reports that roughly 5-10 buyers have lined up to buy the track for $161 million, but the number of buyers used to be much higher not too long ago. If there is a silver lining to this story, it’s that Jens is claiming that none of the buyers are interested in closing off the track to the public so they can park their fleet of gold Maybachs on the Karussell. What remains to be seen, however, is how the new owner will make it profitable, since the tourist attraction (besides the track) they built there doesn’t appear to be working. Some say that even contributed to the problem. 

As someone who has always wanted to make the pilgrimage to the Nürburgring but hasn’t been able to do so yet , this kinda sucks. A few of us here have pitched in to buy the 1982 Lada Niva that we then offered to trade for the ‘Ring, but we’ve got no response yet from the German officials handling this case. Morale is low.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated on this. In the meantime, check out if you haven’t already.

Source: Autoweek


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7 responses to “The News for March 22nd, 2013”

  1. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    Perhaps we could get a hooniverse consortium together to buy the Nurburgring. I've got $5 .45 and some lint but ya gotta start somewhere. Who's with me?

    1. sporty88au Avatar

      I'm in – will $A 2.60 and an unused bus ticket help?
      Actually, I've got a better idea. Tell the state government that the land has a toxic waste problem ("All those race cars, you know", nudge-nudge, wink-wink), and offer to buy it for $1. It's worth a try.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        An even better idea!

  2. JayP2112 Avatar

    That Viper is badass.

  3. racer139 Avatar

    Randy Probst set another lap at laguna seca 1:33.65 in the viper ta. They stuck some slick on it and ran a 1:30 somthing.

  4. POLAЯ Avatar

    Don't bother calling Massive Moves, , they apparently don't do racetracks.

  5. oldtimer Avatar

    I think the Jag is bad ass. Ford stuffed up big time when they sold of Jaguar Land Rover to Tata. Just look at the cars coming off the line now, and for a change again Jaguar is making a profit.
    Cool site by the way ….. thanks
    Old Timer