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The Barrett-Jackson auction recently went down in West Palm Beach, Florida, and while the auction of the first-ever 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was my main focus, there were plenty of other vehicles that fought for my attention. For two days I walked the 100 acres of the South Florida Fair Grounds looking at iron from every decade in motoring history. There were old Rolls Royces, Mercedes, and even a few Ferraris. Just feet away were iconic American muscle cars with hot-cammed V-8 thumping out unburned hydrocarbons and more than a few classic pickups and SUVs.

Of course, you know Barrett-Jackson is one of the largest traveling auctions in the country. It hammers bids on thousands of classic vehicles every year, some with million-dollar price tags. Barrett-Jackson visits locations including the Northeast, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and obviously West Palm Beach, each year. The auctioneers, staff, and equipment all travel. The vehicles are generally more regional, with tons of locals and residents of nearby states looking to sell their stuff. The variety is nearly limitless.

Also limitless is my taste for history and cars. Combine the two, and I’m lost in a dizzying whirlwind of want and desire. Sadly, I wasn’t registered to bid (my wife might say thankfully). That didn’t stop me from looking, though, and look I did! Here are my five favorite vehicles from the auction.

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Pininfarina Isn’t Messing Around, Unveils Two More Concept Models With HKG

The K550 and K750 crossover concepts are bowing at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show

Apparently, being under new ownership has breathed some new life to Pininfarina. Long regarded as one of the best auto design houses in the business, the Italian company has since ratcheted up its concept production with a pair of new concepts for its new automotive BFF, Chinese company Hybrid Kinetic Group. It wasn’t that long ago that the two companies joined together to present the H600 sedan, which debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Now we’re seeing two more concepts, the K550 and the K750.

Presented at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, both the K550 and the K750 join the H600 in what could turn into an impressive electric vehicle lineup for the fledgling HKG brand. The two-row, five-seater K550, in particular, is presented as a five-seat crossover concept powered by an electric powertrain that itself is being developed by HKG. The same goes for the much larger K750, which rides taller and longer than its counterpart, thanks in part to having three rows of seating that can accommodate up to seven people. Both models aren’t expected to arrive anytime soon, but like the H600, there appears to be some optimism coming from both Pininfarina and HKG that we’ll end up seeing these models hit the road in production guise soon.

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Get Your Simplified Lightness On With The Lotus Exige Cup 380

The Exige continues down the path towards performance nirvana

Lotus has been pumping out successively quicker iterations of the Exige for several years now, including the Sport 350 unveiled in 2015, and the Sport 380 that dropped early last year. The latest is this – the Exige Cup 380, a car Lotus is calling the “ultimate track-and-back street-legal Lotus.” Essentially an even more focused iteration of the Sport 380, the Cup 380 once again strives for that tried-and-true Lotus performance philosophy, striking a balance between street-legal road car and track-burning race car. It’s a lithe supercar killer sporting revised aero and even less weight, making for a spec sheet absolutely worthy of the green and yellow badge glued to the nose.

The big selling point here is the car’s power-to-weight ratio, with 355 horsepower available to motivate 1 metric ton (2,205 pounds) of curb weight. That means it’ll hit 60 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds, while top speed is rated at 175 mph. But, in addition to lots of straight-line performance, the Lotus also offers lots of stick, generating as much as 200 kg (441 pounds) at speed thanks to an extensive rework of the exterior wings and spoilers. That’s an increase of 43 percent compared to the Exige Sport 380, and combined with more rubber in the rear, the Cup 380 should be an absolute riot on the track. Read on for more info.

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Jeep Joining The Hybrid Bandwagon Is Proof That The Hybrid Revolution Is In Full Swing

It’s been talked about in the past, but a Jeep hybrid still takes some getting used to

Some automakers are synonyms with specific characteristics. Ferrari and Lamborghini are synonymous with Italian power and performance. Rolls-Royce and Bentley are quintessential marquees known for their opulence and luxury. Then there’s Jeep, which is known for its ruggedness and off-road capabilities. It figures then that when news first broke in 2015 that Jeep was going hybrid with some of its models, it was, to say the least, jarring to the senses. Fast forward to the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and we finally get to see what a Jeep hybrid looks like in the form of the Yuntu, a three-row, seven-seater, full-sized SUV concept that’s laying the groundwork for a new era in the company’s long and illustrious history.

To be clear, there’s no official word yet from Jeep about the production prospects of the Yuntu Concept. There is, however, a strong possibility that we’re headed in that direction anyway. Remember, Jeep CEO Mike Manley has been a strong advocate of dipping the company in the hybrid market, most recently confirming at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show the arrival of a hybrid version of the Wrangler. The Yuntu, of course, is far different from the Wrangler, both in aesthetics and purpose. But the mere sight of the concept in Shanghai is an indication that the brand has a more elaborate hybrid plan that will involve numerous models receiving this specific powertrain. Just goes to show how brand images are now giving way to addressing the future of the auto industry.

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LEDs Dominate The Conversation On The Audi E-Tron Sportback Concept

There’s a lot of them on the coupe-crossover concept

Most concept vehicles are largely created because the automaker wants to promote something for future production vehicles. That formula has been tried and tested so many years that it’s become normal for people like us to expect them. Such is the case with Audi’s new E-Tron Sportback Concept, which is actually promoting a lot of things, not the least of which is the company’s overarching electric crossover agenda. But there is one aspect about the E-Tron Sportback Concept that Audi really wants us to pay attention to. It’s the LED lights, and for what they’re all worth, there are a lot of them.

Audi hasn’t said exactly how many light emitting diodes the concept has at its disposal, but the front bumper alone has around 250 LEDs that extend from one end of the bumper to the other. More LEDs are located on either side of the grille, including Audi’s actual four rings logo. Yes, the Audi logo is made from LEDs, and that’s not even counting the number of LEDs that have been packed on both the headlights and taillights.

According to Audi, the LEDs were added to the concept to showcase different lighting patterns that we may or may not see in future production models. These patterns work to communicate with other cars on the road, which itself is a novelty that could find its way on a production model of the coupe-crossover concept should it get that far.

The smart money is to wait and see how the technology evolves from here on out. These many LEDs may look good on a concept, but the costs of packing all of them on a production model could determine whether they’re feasible or not. Make no mistake though, the visual appeal of all these lights on a concept is evident; the only question is whether Audi deems them reasonable enough to become fixtures – no pun intended – on its future models.

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Fast Facts About The Fast And Furious Franchise

Have your fill of these interesting details that helped shaped the universe we know as the Fast and the Furious

When The Fast and the Furious opened in cinemas back in 2001, few people, if any at all, thought that it would turn into a global cinematic juggernaut. And yet here we are, 16 years and eight movies into becoming the most bankable movie franchise this side of super heroes and that galaxy far, far away.

The sheer might of the Fast and Furious franchise was on full display with the release of The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment in the franchise and the movie that just zoomed its way to a record-breaking, $532-million opening weekend. If you thought you’d never see the day a Fast movie would beat out a Star Wars movie in opening weekend returns, well, it just happened.

Beyond the rarefied air that the franchise has achieved, there are still a lot of things about it that most of its fans are unaware of. Consider this then as a guide to a lot of important facts about the movies franchise that should give its fans a new-found appreciation of the many things, events, and what-could-have-beens that shaped the world of the Fast and Furious universe.

I mean, did you know that Vin Diesel wasn’t even the first choice to play the role of Domenic Toretto?

Well then…

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Enthusiasts the world over shed a tear when Mitsu killed off the rally-bred Lancer Evolution last year. After 10 generations and nearly a quarter century of bringing high-tech speed to the masses, you could say we were growing rather fond of the Japanese imports. Thankfully, even with production now ended, Evo owners are still pushing the limits of what’s possible with the platform. The latest evidence of this comes from Texas and the TX2K17 drag racing event, where one Evo X managed to set a new world record by doing the quarter mile in an astonishing 8.48 seconds at 164 mph.

Documentation of the new record comes courtesy of 1320 Video, which put together this superb three-and-a-half minute bit of evidence, complete with tons of runs, lots of hard launches, and plenty of pleasing noises. The video starts with rollouts, which offer good prep for the later, more serious runs. The video then follows the Evo’s progress towards quicker and quicker ETs, ending with the record-setting 8.48. Watching this thing scoot down the strip is pretty awesome, especially when you consider the pilot is working a five-speed manual, rather than a sequential shifter. We can’t wait to see where it goes next.

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Ares by Pogea Racing

This is the souped up Fiat 500 that we’ve all been waiting for

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a cute little ride, isn’t it? It certainly looks the part of one, but being cute and cuddly isn’t the only thing appealing about the 500. It’s also understatedly customizable, which is why we’ve seen so many special edition iterations of the car, not to mention tuning programs from some of the best tuners in the business. Pogea Racing counts itself in the latter group, and it has a real doozy of a kit for the 500 that gives the subcompact hatchback an output of 405 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque. Seems fitting then that Pogea Racing has dubbed this creation as “Ares,” after the Greek god of war. This Fiat 500 Abarth is ready to rumble with the best of them.

The program has more than just a fancy name and ridiculous power at its disposal. It also has an extensive menu of carbon fiber parts for the exterior, a well-dressed interior that brings some life to the hatchback’s cabin, and suspension upgrades to help the car’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder handle all that extra power.

The bad news is that this isn’t a program that Pogea Racing is producing in big quantities. On the contrary, the tuner only plans to build five such 500 Ares models and the cost of building one doesn’t come cheap. The upgrades to the engine alone cost more than the car itself so you can imagine what the whole thing will fetch for, donor car and all.

Then again, a 405-horsepower Fiat 500 Abarth doesn’t come cheap, nor should it.

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2018 Lincoln Navigator

Watch out, Cadillac... Lincoln is BACK!

The days of a worn-out, aging Navigator are gone. Lincoln has finally given its full-size luxury SUV a proper makeover, complete with a high-horsepower EcoBoost V-6, an upscale appearance and perhaps the classiest interior ever seen in the American SUV segment. Of course, the new Navigator is based on Ford’s all-new Expedition. Both share a new high-strength steel frame, aluminum construction for the body, and Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. Cadillac has held the luxury SUV torch for years with its well-regarded Escalade, but Lincoln could soon be taking the lead.

“Quiet luxury is both a look and a feeling. The all-new Navigator embodies both.” That’s what Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra said about the Navigator when it debuted at the 2017 New York Auto Show. He continued, saying, “The sleek styling, spacious interior, and technology are all designed to make each trip effortless.”

Lincoln has worked tirelessly to build back its reputation of class, elegance, and that old-school charm. Take those Matthew McConaughey commercials, for example. He’s wearing a suit – tie gone, collar undone – hand sprawled over the steering wheel after a long day at some white-collar position in a successful career built over time. It’s smooth jazz music playing softly with rain falling on an empty city street; it’s a mellow yet engaging game of poker and coming away with the winning hand. “The feeling stays with you,” the commercial says. It’s this modern, minimalistic yet richly decorated idea of luxury Lincoln is attempting to tie to its brand image. Regardless of the advertisements, if Lincoln keeps building vehicles like the Navigator, the idea should stick.

Keep reading for the full run-down of Lincolns’ newest seven-seater.

Remember what happened in the Terminator timeline? Well, let me sum it up for you right quick: Humans built AI and Robots, robots and AI became self-aware, Robots and AI determined that humans were a threat. Next thing you know, robots are exterminating humans in the future and humans are hacking said robots to send them into the past to fight other robots that are there to change the past. It’s an all-out, robot-on-human temporal warfare. In the 1980s and 1990s, this all seemed like fun science fiction, but the future is here folks, and Russia is well on its way to building a full-fledged terminator minus the organic, human-like skin, of course.

I mean, seriously, this thing can shoot guns, drive a car, workout, and at one point in the video, you see it using a syringe and a drill to do other somewhat complex tasks. As you can see, it’s not exactly perfect when it comes to using the tools, but it’s pretty damn accurate with a gun and apparently drives pretty well too. According to the video, the robot is being designed as part of a peaceful space mission, but if that’s the case, why has it been programmed to shoot guns? If history has taught us anything, when it comes to war, humans will use whatever technology they have to get an advantage over the enemy. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t put it past Russia to use something like this as a weapon. But, for now, take a look at the video and let us know what you think in the comments section below…


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