Auto News for May 29

Autodesk VRED Design 2014 SR1

Volkswagen is showing off a wild looking GT that was originally designed strictly for the Sony Playstation 3. But the concept will be displayed at the annual GTI festival in Austria and is said to pack a 503 horsepower twin-turbo V6 with 413 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 is estimated at 3.5 seconds with a track top seed of 192 mph. Because it will never show up in your dealer’s showroom, that allowed designers to let their imagination run free and “overlook production constraints like price and production feasibility,” VW said.

Volvo XC90

We won’t see what the outside looks like until August, but Volvo has released interior pictures of its redesigned XC90 that was launched way back in 2002. It is said to feature Nappa leather and dark flame birch wood and a gear lever made from Orrefors crystal. A massage function is optional for the front seats.

The Detroit News this morning raises an interesting point about driverless cars, now that Google got lots of publicity for its offering. Since the cars will follow all of the rules including speed limits, that means towns, cities, and states will take in less revenue from speed cameras and speeding tickets. The paper said nationwide drivers fork over about $6.3 billion a year to pay for speeding tickets, and that’s more than the L.A. Clippers will sell for.

Consumer Reports said the Honda Accord Hybrid delivered 40 mpg in its testing, and that is below the EPA’s 47 mpg rating. CR said EPA tests often exaggerate the economy of hybrids.

A ’63 Pontiac Catalina recently sold at auction for what appears to be an astounding $530,000. Why so much? It is one of only 14 light weight and specially modified Catalina’s that captured some drag racing victories at a time when Pontiac was facing some real challenges from Ford and Chrysler. To lower the weight, holes were actually drilled in the car’s frame leading to its nickname – “Swiss Cheese.”

A little late, but it is worth nothing that the Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, has created a permanent Veteran’s Memorial featuring a 1942 Willys Military Jeep that assembled at the plant. It was restored by plant employees.

According to a study commissioned by Dunlop, race drivers of the future may experience “intelligent tires” that adapt to the demands of the track. They would be made of shape changing materials such as polymer gels that enable tires to change shape and size to suit the race even in the most grueling of weather conditions. There was no indication if those tires of the future might be available as whitewalls.

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