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8 Of The Craziest Production Cars To Come Straight From The Factory - HotCars

Most automobiles ever produced are relatively unoffensive and have a sense of normality behind them as this is what most people want. These days, it is difficult to tell the Mercedes-Benz C-Class from the E-Class as they are both designed to look ‘normal’.

That being said, the idea of controversial and innovative automotive designs are returning to the motoring world as automakers try to stand out from the mundane crowd. The current leader of the pack is Hyundai with their Ioniq and Genesis models. If we look to the past, we find multiple vehicles which tried something different – with varying results. Take the Chevrolet SSR or Subaru SVX. Both were completely new designs and while they weren’t all that well received, they pushed the boundaries of automotive design. The BMW Z1 featured retractable doors, the Alfa Romeo SZ was pretty ugly but awesome and the Lamborghini LM002 had a marine engine powering it.

The motoring world is full of instances where automakers pushed the boundaries of engineering and design – either to be interesting or to make a lot of money. Here are eight of the craziest production cars to come straight from the factory.

8/8 Chevrolet SSR

Chevrolet-SSR-2003-Chevrolet 

The Chevrolet SSR was a pickup truck marketed by the American automotive giant in the early 2000s. It was based on the same platform used for the TrailBlazer, Oldsmobile Bravada, and SAAB 9-7X. The SSR initially launched with a 300 hp 5.3-liter V8, before getting a 390 hp 6.0-liter V8 upgrade in 2005.

Chevrolet-SSR-2003-rearChevrolet 

The SSR was a crazy vehicle – mostly thanks to the styling. It was inspired by the Chevrolet Advance Design pickups of the late 1940s, but with a modern touch. It was rear-drive only and had a power retractable hardtop roof. The name SSR stands for Super Sport Roadster. How that meant ‘pickup truck’ is beyond us.

7/8 BMW Z1

BMW Z1 - FrontVia Classic Motor Hub

The BMW Z1 was the German company’s first solely roadster model and was the first of the Z-name vehicles produced by BMW. The Z1 was sold between 1989 and 1991 with over 8,000 units produced and was based on a modified version of the E30 3 Series platform, featuring the excellent M20B25 2.5-liter straight-6.

1989 BMW Z1 2 CroppedVia zmotorsports.org

The Z1 had quite an interesting design, but the most eye-catching feature was the retractable doors. Yes, the Z1 didn’t have conventional doors, but rather ones that descended into the floor. The side sills were thicker than necessary, creating such strong crash protection that the Z1 could legally be driven with the doors down.

6/8 Alfa Romeo SZ

The Alfa Romeo SZ Sports Car on display.via: Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo SZ may be considered one of the ugliest cars out there, but it is praised for its driving dynamics and engine noise. The SZ – Sprint Zagato – was designed by Alfa Romeo and Lancia, with the styling being outsourced to Zagato. The car was sold between 1989 and 1991, before the convertible RZ – Roadster Zagato – took over until 1994.

The Alfa Romeo SZ Sports Car side view.via: NetCarShow

The engine of choice was a 3.0-liter version of the famous Alfa Romeo Busso V6, producing around 207 hp. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual and performance was quite good, due to the 2,700 lbs weight – 3,000 for the RZ. The SZ was a ridiculous vehicle but is now on almost every collector’s list.

Related: Here's Why The Alfa Romeo SZ Is So Awesome

5/8 Renault Alpine GTA

1991 Alpine GTA Le Mans CroppedVia en.wikipedia.org

The Renault Alpine GTA is an extremely weird vehicle. It is a 2+2 coupe, but the engine is in the rear. An accolade that the GTA acquired was that it became the vehicle with the lowest drag coefficient of its time, sitting at just 0.28Cd – good even by today’s standards.

1991 Alpine GTA Le Mans 2 CroppedVia Pinterest

The GTA featured the awful PRV 2.85-liter V6 – the same engine used in the DMC DeLorean – but got a turbocharged 2.5-liter later in life. The Renault Alpine GTA was and still is, one of the most interesting French cars – even though French cars are among the most interesting anyway.

4/8 Subaru SVX

1993 Subaru SVX - Front Left AngleBringATrailer

The Subaru SVX is an interesting car in every sense. From the obvious styling and window situation to the engine and even the driveline, the SVX is an experiment in automotive design and engineering. Due to the weird windows and overall styling, the SVX featured a drag coefficient of 0.285Cd.

Subaru SVX other side

The engine was a 3.3-liter boxer-6 which mostly powered all four wheels but only went to the front wheels in the lower trims – most of which had all-wheel-drive as an option. Unfortunately, the only transmission choice was a 4-speed automatic. The SVX had multiple advanced electronics such as a limp-home mode, an electric rev limiter, and a 1990s version of torque vectoring. It was quite an advanced machine for the time.

3/8 Lamborghini LM002

Lamborghini LM002 - Frontvia: Lamborghini

Before Lamborghini produced the ridiculous Urus super SUV, they made military-grade 4x4s for the Italian army. The first was the LM001 used as a prototype which morphed into the production version of the LM002. The LM002 was sold between 1986 and 1993, with only 326 units ever made.

Lamborghini LM002 - Sidevia: Lamborghini

Powering this behemoth was the 5.2-liter V12 from the Countach – fitted in the front rather than the middle. The 5.2-liter had adequate power but overheated often. As a result, Lamborghini offered their 7.2-liter marine V12 as an option for those wanting more power and reliability. As a result of the nature of the vehicle, many have come to call it the ‘Rambo Lambo’ for obvious reasons.

2/8 Bond Bug

Bond Bug - FrontVia Facebook

The Bond Bug is one of the weirdest small cars ever made. Produced by Bond Cars Limited – a division of the Reliant Motor Company – the Bond Bug was a 900 lb microcar with a 0.7 or 0.75-liter inline-4 engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. The most striking part of the Bond Bug was the fact that it only had three wheels, just like the Reliant Robin.

Bond-Bugvia silodrome

The Bond Bug produced around 30 hp and could do an astonishing 76 mph flat out. It was the car of choice when Richard Hammond and James May built an amphibious vehicle for Jeremy Clarkson to beat the UK amphibious vehicle water speed record. It was also the vehicle used as the basis for Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder in the first Star Wars film.

Related: This Bond Bug Requires Absolutely No License To Drive

1/8 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6

mercedes-g63-amg-6x6-sdfks-1

The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is already a ridiculous vehicle, but then the Germans from Stuttgart went one step further and added another axle and a bed to it. The result was the G63 AMG 6x6 – a mammoth vehicle with five locking differentials, an onboard air compressor, and enough ground clearance to wade through the fake river at a resort.

The G63 6x6 is an exercise in excess, taking something already silly and making it completely unnecessary in almost every way. Mercedes-Benz unveiled it to the world at an eye-watering $650,000. Brabus then upped the game further and reupholstered the interior and changed the carbon fiber and sold multiple units at over $2 million. The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 is one of the craziest production cars to ever come straight from the factory.

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Used Car of the Day: 2021 Dodge Challenger 1320 - TheTruthAboutCars

Used Car of the Day: 2021 Dodge Challenger 1320  TheTruthAboutCars
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Rifle, ballistic vest stolen from police cars in Knoxville burglary spree, investigators say - WATE 6 On Your Side

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Three Knoxville men have been arrested after they allegedly stole a rifle, ammunition and other equipment from law enforcement vehicles during a burglary spree in Knox County.

Knoxville Police Department‘s Property Crimes investigators responded to a vehicle burglary in the 300 block of Gallant Fox Way on Nov. 23. The victim had his passport, drivers license, backpack and laptop, valued at an estimated $1,600 taken from his truck between 3-6 a.m.

Several other vehicle burglaries had occurred in the same area on Oct. 14 in a similar time of day.

Knoxville Police: 1 dead, 1 injured in Lay Avenue shooting

During the course of the investigation, investigators also found that a marked KPD cruiser, a marked Tennessee Highway Patrol Cruiser, and a marked Knox County Sheriff’s Office cruiser were burglarized in Knox County on the same date and time period as these incidents.

The KPD cruiser was burglarized on the 5700 block of Lyons View Pike, and police discovered a KPD Colt M4 Rifle was taken from the vehicle with three loaded Magpul magazines, valued at $1,500. On the 800 block of Londontown Way, a THP cruiser was burglarized, and a THP ballistic vest and gas mask, valued at $3000, were stolen out of the cruiser.

In another Oct. 14 burglary, a Smith and Wesson M&P shield firearm valued at $600 was stolen from a vehicle in the 500 block of Camp Light Way.

Police reveal identity of Philadelphia’s slain ‘Boy in the Box’

Officers also listed a second burglary on Oct. 14 in the 8100 block of Ivy Falls Way that where a 2021 Ford Raptor suffered an estimated $4,000 in damage, according to court documents.

Brandon Douglas, 18, of Knoxville, Marques A. Smith, 22 of Knoxville, and William Allan Richard Johnston, 20, of Knoxville are charged in relation to the incident. A fourth suspect mentioned in the general sessions docket is a female juvenile.

On November 16, police went to Smith’s apartment for a parole and probation check. Police said five stolen firearms listed in a database from separate vehicle burglaries, including the rifle stolen from the KPD cruiser, THP ballistic vest and Smith and Wesson M&P shield firearm were located in a search of Smith’s bedroom.

Marques Smith (KPD) Brandon Douglas (KPD) William Johnston (KPD)
Tennessee waters to be stocked with 75,000 rainbow trout

The general sessions docket said that video recovered from the scenes show a Chevrolet Trax with several suspects inside, and that several days later video captured of a matching vehicle involved in a vandalism at Sacred Heart Church helped police identify Johnston, Douglas, and the female juvenile. According to police, Johnston and Marques were roommates.

Smith is charged with possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia, five counts of theft of a firearm less than $2,500, theft of property between $2,500 and $10,000, theft of property between $1,000 and $2,500, vandalism between $2,500 and $10,000, and five counts of burglary of a motor vehicle.

Johnston is charged with five counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, theft of property and vandalism, each up to $1,000, theft of property between $1,000 and $2,500, and vandalism between $2,500 and $10,000.

Douglas is charged with five counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, theft of property between $1,000 and $2,500, and vandalism between $2,500 and $10,000.

Hawkins County Sheriff: Students might have eaten laced cookie

Both Smith and Johnston are listed in the Knox County Criminal Justice System as in jail, although Douglas in not listed as in jail. No bond is listed for Smith or Johnston.

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Cars and cold: How to know when to replace your car battery and why it dies in the winter - RochesterFirst

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — We’ve all been there. You go outside in the middle of winter; the temperature is below freezing, and your car decides not to start. These could all be signs that your car battery is in need of a replacement.

If you find yourself reaching for your jumper cables more often than not this time of year to restart your car battery, you’re not alone. But it’s actually not the cold weather itself that’s doing the damage to your battery. 

“A lot of people think that the winter takes the toll on the battery. In reality it’s the heat from the summer that takes the toll on them and then when things cool down in the winter, you lose a lot of the potential from the battery,” Ryan says.

The liquid electrolytes found within the car battery have a reaction to both hot and cold temperatures. During the summer the heat causes faster chemical reactions to occur which increases the rate of corrosion, while the opposite happens in the winter.

“Cold temperatures can drain a car battery 50-60% or as far as the power output, so when it gets colder the chemical reaction between the lead and sulfuric acid slows so you have a lower output from the battery,” Ryan says.

This lower output results in a battery with a much lower charge, and you see the effects of this in the cold when the battery dies, and the car won’t start. 

“Make sure you’re not leaving anything on when you get out of the car. Make sure all the overhead lights go off. Also you don’t want to do a lot of short trips; short trips do not replenish what was taken from the battery,” Ryan says.

If your car battery is getting close to 4 or 5 years old and it’s slow to crank, or start, it may be worth it getting it checked, or at least having a pair of jumper cables in your car just in case you need them in a pinch.

Some places offer free battery checks, but you can also have a mechanic look at your car battery at any local car repair shop. 

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Elon Musk's Twitter antics tarnish Tesla, analysts say - Automotive News

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has lifted the upstart automaker to impressive heights as the top-selling EV brand and industry loyalty leader. But the tech billionaire is undermining that goodwill with his recent dive into electoral politics and divisive social issues as the new owner of Twitter, analysts say.

While Musk has long been quick to defend Tesla and attack the media, his promotion of political candidates in the midterm elections and his tolerance of hateful speech on Twitter is a significant shift that threatens to estrange Tesla owners and alienate car shoppers, according to marketing experts.

"If you think about the halo of Musk and the halo of Tesla, they definitely intersect," said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM, an agency that studies brand intimacy, the emotional connection between consumers and companies. "You can't argue with his success. He's operating on a different plane than many of us can comprehend."

But Musk's swerve into Twitter punditry is weakening the strong emotional bond Tesla has established with its mostly liberal customer base. Although Tesla was the top automaker in MBLM's 2022 Brand Intimacy Study, its ranking is likely to slip next year as Musk stirs up controversy on a near-daily basis.

"This is creating real damage for the Tesla brand," Natarelli told Automotive News. "When I see people commenting that they are no longer considering a Tesla car or are embarrassed to drive it, I think that's reaching the point of significant equity damage for the brand. When we run our study for 2023, we're going to see that represented."

To be sure, Tesla's image has improved in the eyes of Republican voters, but not enough to offset its losses.

In November, polling firm Morning Consult said net favorability of Tesla was down around 20 points among Democrats vs. the previous month, and up around 4 points among Republicans. Liberal California remains Tesla's biggest market.

"If the Tesla brand becomes increasingly right-leaning, that could put it out of alignment with core electric vehicle purchasing profiles, which lean more liberal," Morning Consult said.

In the campaign days of early November, Musk urged "independent-minded voters" to vote for Republicans in the midterm elections. He has expressed his preference for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024 over former President Donald Trump.

Musk recently reinstated Trump's Twitter account, which was banned after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Musk has also lifted suspensions for more problematic figures, including an editor for the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer.

He promoted a right-wing conspiracy theory on Twitter just after taking over the company in October, sharing a fake story that Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked in his home by a male prostitute. Police said Pelosi was attacked by a stranger. Musk, with 120 million Twitter followers, later deleted the post.

Musk has called himself a "free speech absolutist" who is trying to rebalance political discourse that now leans too far to the left. He has said he is a political moderate and believes Twitter had gone too far banning users on the political right. He has spoken about a left-wing "woke mind virus" that he blames for media censorship.

Tesla no longer has a press office and the company didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Brand repercussions

Musk's political activism is likely to create polarization around Tesla, since he is so linked to the brand.

"When the richest man in the world behaves in a way that trolls us, you're suddenly no longer the challenger brand, you're the bully," Natarelli said. "You can't really make sense of it. It isn't logical, it isn't a best practice, it's not going to help the brand on any basis, and it's a shame."

At the same time, Natarelli concedes that Tesla's hardcore fans might see the controversy as overblown. "There's a lot of ways this could play out and be less significant than it feels at the moment, if you were trying to spin this in a positive way," he said.

Tesla is starting from an enviable position as MBLM's most engaging auto brand, beating out legacy rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

MBLM used artificial intelligence to examine more than 600 brands and 1.4 billion words on social media platforms for its brand intimacy scoring across multiple industries. Disney was first, Tesla was second and Apple was third.

"For the 12 years that we've been doing this, Tesla was never in our study because it never had enough scale until this year," Natarelli said. "And it rocketed into the findings at No. 2, which is amazing for a new car brand."

Tesla was seen by consumers in the MBLM study as technically superior to other auto brands, with a mission of promoting a cleaner, healthier planet. "Its technological advances are well-known and it's hip and cool, aligned with sustainability and sleek design," the study said.

The company also scored at the top in more traditional brand loyalty studies, including one by S&P Global Mobility. Tesla took first place in the luxury category while Ford was tops in the mainstream category, S&P Global said in September.

And Tesla continues to dominate U.S. sales — both for EVs and for luxury vehicles, regardless of fuel type. Tesla garnered 65 percent of the EV market, according to new-vehicle registration data from Experian through October of this year.

But the company faces a slew of new competition, making Musk's Twitter antics even more difficult for the brand.

"The space between Tesla and its competitors has shrunk," Natarelli said. "The last thing you need is [Musk] making it harder."

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