The News for March 30th, 2012

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of the things in the automotive industry that you should care about without the fluff or the BS. I also throw in a bit of opinion, just because I can. With the New York International Auto Show just a week away, many manufacturers are starting to show off their latest rides a bit early. Here’s some of the best and the not-so-best:

  • The 2012 Shelby 1000 is a 1000-ish horsepower monster

  • Chevy brings the 1LE Camaro back to fight the Boss 302

  • Ford Explorer Sport with EcoBoost debuts

  • Chevy updates the Traverse for the family man

  • Subaru updates the Legacy and Outback  


2012 Shelby 1000

Shelby will be rolling into the New York auto show with two very special cars to mark 50 years in the business. One will be the exact Cobra CSX2000 prototype that Carroll Shelby first unveiled 50 years ago, marking the beginning of one of America’s most famous auto brands. The other one will be this hellish creation – the Shelby 1000.

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Built upon a 2012 Shelby GT500, the Shelby 1000 is a Mustang that’s out of this world in terms of sheer power. The 5.4-liter V8 has been rebuilt from the block and has received various performance modifications, including a new supercharger, new pistons, upgraded cooling, “Shelby magic”, and a new exhaust system to top it all off. The end result is approximately 950 horsepower… and that’s only the street-legal version. Another version, dubbed the S/C, will be capable of around 1,100 horsepower and is expected to be for track-use only. Seeing as how the new GT500 can supposedly hit 200mph with just 650 horsepower, I’m guessing this one will keep going until the body panels fly off. For good reason, Shelby also touched up the suspension with new sway bars, struts, and bushings. Braking power is also improved and the solid driveshaft is connected to a new 9-inch rear end (that means something to someone, I’m sure).

Right now Shelby won’t tell us exactly how many will be built, but we do know that it will be a very limited run between the standard 1000 models and the S/C models. Pricing starts at $149,995 for the 1000 package, and that doesn’t include the GT500 itself. All said and done, you’re looking at around $200,000 for one very special Mustang – special, in that it might try to kill you.      

Source: Shelby America

The Camaro 1LE is Coming

Speaking of muscle cars that might try to kill you, GM now has its sights set directly on the Boss 302 Mustang with a new trim level for the Camaro dubbed the ILE. Even though the car likely won’t go on sale until later this year, GM happily filled us in on all the important details. 

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For starters, a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 rated at 426 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque has been crammed under the hood and is mated exclusively to a 6-speed short-throw manual transmission. GM says the ILE will be a car for amateur track days, so top-notch handling improvements make their way into the car, like Goodyear Eagle Supercar tires straight off the ZL1, a suspension optimized for body control, and a high-capacity fuel tank. GM claims all the new hardware is good for up to 1G on the skid pad. Visually, a matte black, a front splitter, rear spoiler (all functional), and 20-inch wheels off the ZL1 Camaro make the 1LE look unmistakably sinister. Inside, the ZL1’s flat-bottom steering wheel and the shifter are trimmed in suede microfiber which I’m sure has a benefit on the track. 

Based on the information provided, the 1LE seems like a ZL1 Camaro on a budget, which should be a good thing. Even the performance-oriented technology off the ZL1 will be thrown into the mix, so when this car finally comes out, it should be one hell of a ride. When it goes on sale this fall, the 1LE package will only be available on 1SS and 2SS Coupe models and should start under $40,000.  

Source: Chevrolet

Ford Explorer Sport

The words “Explorer” and “Sport” are reunited once more for the 2013 model year, only this time, the Explorer Sport is actually sporty. Unlike older Explorer Sports, this one keeps its four doors and doesn’t have a uselessly small truck bed out back like the Sport Trac.

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The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport uses the best EcoBoost has to offer, which in this case is a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 making “at least” 350 horsepower and some amount of torque (they didn’t tell us). A 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift sends power to all-four wheels and promises to balance responsiveness with low-RPM cruising efficiency. To help cope with the incredible forces at work here, bigger brakes hide behind the 20-inch wheels and the Explorer’s chassis has been strengthened and stiffened to improve handling but make it worse at doing SUV things. Oh, but it comes with a Terrain Management System and an electronic power-steering system for quicker steering inputs on and off-road, so maybe it can still do SUV things (or not).

Ford is also keen to point out that EcoBoost technology makes the Explorer Sport the most fuel efficient high-performance SUV on the road with 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. They were even more excited to point out that those figures are better than both the Dodge Durango R/T with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and the Range Rover Sport – which is interesting because the Range Rover Sport was introduced when Land Rover was still owned by Ford.

Inside, all the same luxuries are intact, like optional two-tone leather and all the tech goodies anyone could need. Since the interior is pretty much exactly the same as the standard Explorer, I won’t go much more into detail than that. The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport will be built at Ford’s Chicago plant and will hit showrooms later this year.

Source: Ford

2013 Chevrolet Traverse

Good news! Chevy just tweaked the styling on the Traverse and revealed it before its NY Auto Show debut! (Sorry). To whom it may concern, the 2013 Traverse is set to receive styling updates inside and out and will offer more cup holders refinement to its 8 passengers.

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As you can see, the Traverse has a slightly new face with design cues off the new Malibu , which Chevy says is the new face of their crossovers. It even comes with something called a powerdome hood so your kids can brag about that at school. Inside, the keyword is “space”, and there’s lots of it. Chevy says there’s enough space in there for up to 8 adults and some of their luggage. Soft-touch materials and more chrome accents is Chevy’s way of adding more refinement inside, but to be fair, it is one of Chevy’s better-looking interiors – it even passes the “parent test”!

Besides those few tweaks, everything else is about the same, including the 3.6-liter V6 with 288 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque that sends power to either the front or all four wheels through a 6-speed automatic. Look for the new-ish Traverse to go on sale later this year at an undisclosed price.

Source: Chevrolet

2013 Subaru Legacy and Outback

Subaru is coming to New York to show off two new and hopefully improved models, and they’ve decided to spill the details early. Both the 2013 Subaru Legacy and Outback feature a few styling upgrades and many more tweaks where it really matters.

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Styling-wise, the new Legacy features a new front-fascia with a more aggressive look to further compliment the recent redesign that resulted in record sales for Subaru. Perhaps the biggest change is found underneath the decent-looking exterior. A new 2.5-liter Boxer 4-banger produces 173 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, which may not seem like much, but the claimed 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway sounds rather good to me. For those that can’t stand anything under 200 horsepower, the old 3.6-liter Boxer 6 with 256 horsepower is still available. Either a 6-speed manual or a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with and four-banger or a 5-speed automatic with the flat-5 sends power to all-four wheels, which means you can take this pretty much anywhere. This same drivetrain is available on the new and improved Outback, but mpg figures  drop just a little bit. 

Other new goodies include Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system, which helps detect pedestrians or anything that can cause a collision and can even stop the car completely in city conditions. The only other tweaks to report are the standard Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and the optional touch-screen GPS system with a 7-inch LCD display. Pricing and availability info weren’t disclosed.    

Source: Subaru   

One for the road…

This past week Jeep revealed six new concepts for some Easter Jeep Safari. Some of them are pretty cool and definitely are worth a look. Sadly, I couldn’t quite find enough space to talk about them myself, and I technically don’t cover concepts that probably won’t make it to production, so head on over to Autoblog for all the details. Then when you’re done, come back for Kamil’s awesome look back at 25 awesome Jeep concepts from the past.


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