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DRIVING YOUR DECISIONS

AN gossip on cars @autobloid

Family friendly Mitsubishi’s latest budget crossover

PRESENTATION

RETURN of the

Convertiblast

NOV 2011 ISSUE 7 A FREE MID-MONTHLY

WING

Supercars beware

HEMI-sphere Greatest muscle car of its time

The SLS is more than just a blast from the past


DASHBOARD Editor-in-chief Hatim al Taie Managing Director Abdullah al Taie General Manager Rathish Ramachandran Asst. General Manager Terry Mathukutty Asst. Content Head Vinod Chandran Senior Designer Shyniben Koyakkil Designer Muneeb Khan Photographer B G Hemanth Sales Mary Gonzales Sami Dalwai

Leticia Meneses

Produced by

deenar press and publishing LLC

a supplement of

Correspondence can be addressed to AUTOBLOID PO Box 139, PC 102, Al Qurm, Sultanate of Oman Tel: +968 24696868, Fax: +968 24693569 Email: info@autobloid.com

printed at Oman printers and stationers November 2011 Print Run: 10,000

© All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permission of the publishers; while every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information here in, or any consequences arising from it. All figures and values used in the tests are the sole property of AUTOBLOID and shall not be used, copied or quoted without permission.

Future cars

L

et’s face it – we are never going to have a car that flies around anytime soon. If by any chance the Moller Skycar were cheap and common enough for everyone to be able to afford it, the first time some morning commuter who’s had a short night spilled coffee on their lap and made a spiralling dive into a school or a hospital, they would all be grounded. Permanently. We might get there sometime in the future, but the next few generations of ‘car-of-tomorrow’ are going to stay firmly on the ground. It’s still fun to drive on the ground. If we’re going to be stuck with things like wheels, tyres and fenders, what would the next generation cars even look like? Are we really going to dig into hybrid cars? Will future cars continue the horsepower wars or will we strive for eco-friendly bio-degradable fuel and economy? But we have an idea what the next five years of car innovations would lead to and it would totally blow our minds. And yours.

Also, the trend of fitting a vehicle with state-of-the-art infotainment and navigation systems is great. But we can’t help thinking the companies making these systems are really wasting their time. Smartphones these days do all that and much more. What if car manufacturers build cooling and heating into the frame of the car and seats, removed the car’s entertainment and navigation and end up with just a smartphone dock with an amplifier. Would it not lead to a streamlined dashboard with fewer things to hit in a crash, which could mean lesser airbags and safer overall impacts? We could go on and on about this, but that’s what we really want – a fast, fun car that can actually shrug off the last few decades of industry dead weight. - Ed

In the world of automotive design there are few bigger names than Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, nor are there many visionaries whose principles have been more ignored over the years. Chapman’s most famous quote is: “To add speed, add lightness,” but we think this one’s even better: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights. Subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.”

3


NEWS Iconic CLS launched Zawawi Trading Company, the authorised general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in the Sultanate of Oman, launched a new season for the iconic Mercedes-Benz CLS in a suitably spectacular fashion, hosting a stunning event aboard a luxury mega yacht in the Gulf of Oman. The CLS four-door coupé made fashionable jaws drop when it first debuted in 2003, and quickly established itself as the ultimate must-have style statement for drivers across Oman and the Middle East. The glittering new CLS launch event, which also celebrated the 125 years of innovation for Mercedes-Benz, was attended by up to 150 guests, including senior Zawawi and Mercedes-Benz representatives, government officials, customers and local business leaders.

Suzuki bikes are back After a brief period of absence in the motorcycle market, Suzuki motorcycles in Oman have a new home with Shanfari automotive. The recently opened showroom, located next to Harley Davidson in Al Khuwair, will take care of sale and maintenance of Suzuki motorcyles in Oman.

Ferrari FF in Oman

Sophisticated Sonic The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic was unveiled in Oman by General Motors and OTE Group recently in the presence of Abdallah Madhoun, sales business manager – Oman and Qatar at General Motors Middle East Operations, and Cyrus Vevaina, managing director, OTE Group. The all-new Sonic is

available for sale now across Oman and is designed to be a successful car in the highly competitive small-car market. It will be offered as a five-door hatch and a sedan, each delivering excellent ride and handling characteristics, a sporty and sophisticated design, as well as roominess and fuel efficiency.

Ferrari made its first foray into the fourwheel drive market with the launch of its grand tourer Ferrari Four at its showroom recently. The Ferrari FFs, so named because of the four seats and four-wheel drive system, will be available at Shanfari Sports Cars, the official importer of Ferrari in Oman, according to officials at the event. The car, designed by the Pininfarina Company, features a 6.3L, 660hp V12 engine, capable of propelling the car to 335kmph and going from zero to 100kmph in 3.7 seconds. Officials at the launch said the model would attract a new range of customers to the brand.

Xtreme driving Futtaim Motors, exclusive distributor of Toyota vehicles in the UAE, announced the expansion of the Xtreme product range at the 2011 Dubai International Motorshow. In addition to the legendary Land Cruiser Xtreme, Toyota has added the popular 2012 FJ Cruiser and Hilux to the line-up. Modifications include 35-inch wheels for Land Cruiser and 33-inch wheels for the FJ

November 2011

Cruiser and Hilux. The large wheels provide higher ground clearance and large footprints that result in minimal disturbance when driving in off-road conditions. Taking into consideration the passenger’s comfort, the front and rear suspension was lifted by 40mm in total with additional trimming to

get the necessary wheel space for the larger tyres, which improves driving view whether it’s city driving or off-road dune bashing. All of the vehicles are fitted with heavy-duty front and rear shock absorbers, and a specially made torque wrench. Additionally, the Land Cruiser Xtreme features a full body kit and Side Step Protection bar.


If you have any queries, mail us on info@autobloid.com, and we will try to answer them in the next issue.

Hi, I just bought a used car with about 120,000km of mileage. What if I had bought a new car instead? I would like my new car to last many kilometres and years. What should I do to make sure it lasts? Faisal

Dear Faisal, This list is your guidance for as long as you own your new or used vehicle. If you have service records from a previous owner, check them to be certain that all appropriate maintenance has been performed and make a note of when the next service is due. If you have no service records, you should check the engine oil, transmission, brake, differential fluids and all other fluids to ensure that they are at the correct levels and appropriately clean. If the oils or other fluids are dark or appear dirty, it is wise to get them changed. If there is a filter associated with the specific fluid, change that filter when changing the fluid. The best way to ensure your vehicle will last and require the least amount of maintenance is to follow all recommendations in the manufacturer’s owner’s manual. - Ed

LETTERS Hi, I am leaving town for about three months for a winter break and was wondering if I could get any important tips for storage of my car. Vijay

Dear Vijay, Storage can involve several components that can deteriorate and lead to related damage if not maintained. We’ll list a few out for you. Battery should have a trickle charger so that it is actively prevented from losing its charge by computer components using battery while sitting. Change the oil before storing the car to keep it clean and uncontaminated. Run the fuel down to less than one half of the tank. Use some gasoline preservative and fill up the tank just before storage. Store the car in a clean bug and rodent-free secured garage facility if possible. Crack open two windows to keep fresh air circulating. It would be good to have someone start and run the engine for several minutes at least once every two to three weeks as this will allow all fluids to flow through their lines, prevent moisture and contaminant buildup in the oil. - Ed

When I try to turn on the air conditioner, both heat and just plain old air from the outside comes in. No air passes through the vents inside the car. Also, no air comes out of the defroster vents either. Please help. Salim Dear Salim, When you turn the system on do you hear the electric fan spinning? If not, then check for a broken electric circuit to the fan. This could be a fuse or a connection that has corroded or fallen loose. Check the connectors from the fuse box to the motor housing. If you do hear the electric fan spinning, then the problem may be that a duct door which deflects the air is stuck in a closed position. This may be caused by a failed actuator. The actuator may be vacuum activated. Check for loose or leaking vacuum lines from the manifold to the heater-A/C ducting. Also check for loose or disconnected vacuum lines from the unit control head – the part you use to control the heater-A/C system on the dash area. - Ed

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TEST DRIVE

Guess who’s back

A true gullwing beauty, the SLS AMG embodies everything you want in a high-performance two-seat supercar

A

fter a 55-year absence, we see another gullwing from Mercedes that is capable of taking on almost any sports car in the world. The 2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG is the first product designed, engineered and developed from the ground up by AMG at its headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany. This twoseater aims to put Benz back into the thick of the supercar ranks following the disappointment of the considerably more expensive SLR. It also sets out to resurrect the spirit of one of the most revered sports cars of all time – the classic 1954 300SL, or Gullwing as it is known to generations of car lovers.

Build and Design

The new SLS AMG is a clean-sheet design, sharing only a few small interior pieces with any of the other cars in the Mercedes Benz AMG stable. The SLS AMG is built with a combination of 146 pieces of aluminium sheet, 16 castings, 46 welded extrusions, weldments, and

November 2011

extensive use of rivet-and-bond joints, magnesium and carbon fibre. The car is only four per cent steel, and every single fastener on the car is made of aluminium. From the first glance, the connection between the 1954 300SL and the SLS is clear. The retro inspiring styling of the SLS SMG bears the obvious stamp of its forbearer – that long hood, upright windshield. Long wheelbase, short cabin and stubby rear end recall the 300SL. Opened by an automatic retractable handle at knee height, the doors arc upwards in dramatic fashion to give the car a unique appearance. This is a menacing looking car: low, wide and tremendously well planted. It’s slightly longer, wider and sits about 1.8 inches lower than the SL63 AMG.

Engine and Transmission

We should understand that the SLS AMG is not a dressed-up SL seeking supercar glory. This car has its own aluminium space frame and rear drive platform. Housed under the long hood is a revised

and upgraded edition of Mercedes Benz’s M156 engine – the 6.2-litre V8 engine found in all but a handful of AMG models these days. But the modifications are so significant that the four valves per cylinder unit have been given a new codename: M159. Sporting dry sump lubrication, it is mounted low in the engine bay and positioned way back and hard against the front bulkhead to concentrate its weight within the SLS’s wheelbase. With 563hp at 6,800rpm and 470lb-ft at 4,750rpm, the SLS AMG outguns the already potent SL63 AMG. Each engine is assembled, start to finish – as is usual at AMG – by one technician. His name goes on the engine plate. Power from this eight-cylinder colossus flows via a carbon fibre driveshaft directly to the coaxial twin-clutch unit just ahead of the rear axle. One clutch controls a shaft in the transmission case (mounted just behind the axle) upon which evennumbered gears are paired, the other one handles odd-numbered gears. When


l the most powerfu The 6.2L engine is t with ne pla the on V8 d naturally aspirate s of torque. 563hp and 479ft-lb

Interior

The upper part of the dashboard is simple in style, carrying just the monitor for the entertainment system and satellite navigation. All controls are concentrated along the wide centre console. Some of the switchgear is from other Mercedes-Benz models, but there are also unique details such as the air vents. It’s a luxurious driving environment, full of leather and aluminium. Carbon fibre trim is optional. A safety highlight: the doors have pyrotechnic elements that separate them from the body in case of a rollover.

The Drive

Once we ducked under the gullwing doors and stepped across the narrow sill to drop into the supportive bucket seats, we found ourselves in an intimate cockpit with a tidy instrument panel

layout and a business-like flat-bottomed steering wheel directly ahead. A push button handles the starting procedure, and the sound of this free-breathing v8 when it fires up is a forceful prelude to an exciting ride. A small T-handle transmission selector pops the twinclutch into gear while a rotary knob offers a choice of fully automatic, sport, sport+ and exclusively manual. This car is so well developed it is going to give Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche a big fright. This is the first time we’ve had a chance to put the SLS AMG through its paces on public roads and already it is quite clear that it is better than the McLarenbuilt SLR. SLS AMG packs some serious torque. We could short shift out of one gear at midrange and then have the car pull vividly in the next gear with the engine pounding an almost metallic beat. Let the beast spin hard and the intensity increases spectacularly as the revs rise. We felt that it pulled so hard in the upper reaches that it becomes all too easy to run into the limiter beyond the tachometer’s 7,300rpm redline. On the road, the SLS AMG confirmed its many

miles of careful tuning. Steering response was emphatic and linear compared to the other Mercedes’ customary damped-on centre feel – usually adopted for stability at high speeds. Despite the SLS’s keen turn in and razor sharp path control, there was no shortage of stability.

Conclusion

The SLS AMG is no doubt the most engaging series production car to ever wear the three-pointed star. By way of comparison, it makes the SLR feel almost old in its actions. It sets new dynamic standards for the German carmaker and is a tribute to the engineering prowess of AMG.

SLS AMG

it’s time to shift, one clutch lets go as the other takes hold. We’ve seen similar transmissions from VW, with the DSG, and Porsche, with the PDK, amongst others, and we think it has absolutely revolutionised transmission technology.

SPECS Engine: 6.2L, V8 Power: 563hp@6,800rpm Torque: 470lb@4,750rpm Performance: Top Speed: 317kmph Acceleration: 0-100kmph @ 3.7s ENCAP: Not tested

IMPRESSIONS

Highs: It’s a Gullwing Lows: It cannot take to the skies Verdict: One of the best model comebacks of this decade

7


LOOKOUT

REAL DEAL

Concept Cars headed to the dealership

Ford Vertrek Concept What was called the Vertrek Concept at auto shows is set to roll off the assembly line in Louisville, Kentucky, as the next Ford Escape. The current Escape is ancient, going without a design overhaul to its boxy body since 2001. Whatever can be saved from the Vertrek Concept will be, and it’s safe to say that the next Escape is going to get a car-like ride more fitting for the dogfight in the crowded five-passenger crossover segment. Likely to be roomier and more refined, the new Escape should also get the 180hp, 1.66L four-cylinder EcoBoost motor that’s already deployed in a few models in Europe and is set to spread to production in the US.

GMC Sierra All Terrain HD Concept A ‘special packages’ truck by GM like this one is on the way, but it may not be as special as the concept, since word is that the production model sold next year won’t get the Duramax diesel. Rock-crawlers will want the shortened five-foot ten-inch bed as well as the wider (by 4.2 inches) track and taller ride height, bringing 11.8 inches of ground clearance. They’d also dig the Fox Racing Shox custom dampers and full-length underbody skid plate. In typical non-denial fashion, GM reps say the GMC All Terrain signals absolutely nothing. But the tea leaves suggest General Motors needs to follow Chrysler (with the Ram line) in truly separating GMC from Chevrolet.

Scion FR-S We’ve waited seemingly forever for the FT86, the joint project of Subaru and Toyota on a light, inexpensive sports car, to morph from clay to metal. But the multiyear effort should finally bear fruit later this year when the Toyota puts its cards on the table in the form of a new Scion. We’ll see a flat, Boxer engine in 2.0-litre displacement, courtesy of Subaru, as well as rear-wheel drive. Power and pricing are up in the air, though the rumored low-USD20,000 range would pit the small car against the V6 Mustang and Camaro crowd. With these looks, the Scion will turn a lot of heads, and tuners are going to have a ton of fun trying to take Subaru WRX STi parts and bolt them onto their Scion.

VOLKSWAGEN BULLI Volkswagen’s attempt to disguise a Chrysler minivan as a Wolfsburg-bred flowerpower-mobile hasn’t gone over very well, but the brand needs to sell in every segment in this country if it’s going to grow. The Bulli would integrate well with VW’s strategy of multiple models on a single platform. The five-passenger van would use the next-gen Golf as its underpinnings, and possibly would come as either a hybrid diesel or even an electric-only vehicle, like the concept shown in Geneva this past spring. And unlike the present Transporter, which has really ballooned from the compactness of the original Microbus of the 1950s and ‘60s, the Bulli is small and squat. Still, modern-day adventurers and those with a hint of nostalgia will hope VW saves the show-Bulli’s rear seat that folds totally flat for in-car camping.

November 2011


a carb re delivered with The first 50 ZL1s we the car slower than its de so small that it ma mile time. c¼ intended mid 11se

JAWDROPPERS

speed in style The fastest Camaro ever made

C

hevrolet has announced the brand’s most powerful convertible ever – the 2013 Camaro ZL1 – which will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 18, 2011. When it goes on sale in late 2012, it will deliver more performance and technology than many exotic cars and ultra-luxury convertibles. Like the coupé, the Camaro ZL1 convertible features a supercharged 6.2L ‘LSA’ engine, SAE-rated at 580hp (432kW) and 556lb-ft of torque (754Nm). That’s enough to exceed the output of 2+2 convertibles of many performance icons, including: *2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante – 470hp / 443lb-ft *2012 Mercedes SL63 AMG – 518hp / 465lb-ft *2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S – 530hp / 516lb-ft *2011 Ford Shelby GT500 – 550hp / 510lb-ft The Camaro ZL1 convertible’s power is complemented by advanced powertrain and chassis technologies designed to deliver exceptional performance on the road or track. In fact, it’s the same balance of acceleration, handling and ride quality that enabled a Camaro ZL1 coupé recently to lap the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course in 7:41.27 minutes.

*Front ‘X’ brace and stiffer cradle as well as rear underbody ‘V’ braces Additional structural reinforcements in the ZL1 convertible are designed to improve noise and vibration characteristics, while also reducing unwanted ride and body motions. They include a hydrofoam tube in the A-pillars, an inner reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar and reinforcements inside the rockers. The suspension of the ZL1 convertible uses the third-generation of Magnetic Ride. New, twin-wire or dual-coil dampers at all four corners enable faster response, with damping levels now adjusted up to 1,000 times per second – about one adjustment per inch of

vehicle travel at 60mph – making the system exceptionally responsive to changing driving and road conditions. The Camaro ZL1 convertible will also offer Performance Traction Management as standard equipment, which is exclusive to General Motors. First introduced on the Corvette ZR1, it is an advanced system that integrates magnetic ride control, launch control, traction control and electronic stability control, to enhance both launch-acceleration performance and corning. The result is a convertible designed to preserve nearly all the acceleration, road-holding and performance capabilities of the Camaro ZL1 coupé, which goes on sale in early 2012.

From day one, the architecture for the fifth-generation Camaro was designed to accommodate a convertible model, which gives the ZL1 convertible coupé-like driving dynamics. Four strategic reinforcements enhance the already-stiff body structure to quell the cowl and steering wheel shake common in convertibles. They include: *A tower-to-tower brace under the hood *A transmission support reinforcement brace *Underbody tunnel brace 9


TEST DRIVE EVO-STYLED SPORT-CROSS

Sporty handling makes the 2011 Mitsubishi ASX an ideal choice for the shopper seeking a vehicle that’s both practical for small families and entertaining to drive

The ASX is more dude-like than an average crossover. Its trapezoidal grille matches that of a Lancer Evolution and looks more on the lean-mean-drivingmachine side than some of its daisypicking competition. It looks shark-like and its 148hp inline four-cylinder engine is peppy enough for everyday driving. The cargo area is large enough for a grocery run. The cockpit is nicely styled while not being overly dramatic and you get plenty of features too, including a panoramic roof. It’s not a sunroof, since it doesn’t open, but it is a giant window for star gazing. If it’s a rather

November 2011

dull night with not many stars in the sky, fret not because the ASX can bring its own along. For what must be an industry first, it has LED accent lighting that runs the length of the roof. It is quite a sight to see at nighttime and will certainly wow your passengers. The roof has another plus point as well. While many vehicles nowadays are offering some sort of panoramic roof, most have manual covers to block the sunlight or they have flimsy, fabric curtains that don’t cover you against a blazing sun very effectively. The ASX, however, has a power, hard cover, which neatly gets tucked away in the rear roof section of the vehicle at the touch of a button. So you can go from having a proper hard roof to a sun lounge in a matter of seconds. We’re glad Mitsubishi had their thinking cap on when they designed this feature, because most companies don’t. Mitsubishi also got the equipment list right. So if you want, you can get a built-in navigation system, a reversing

camera, a 710W Rockford Fosgate sound system featuring nine speakers, hands-free phone, a Fast Key system (which means the key can stay in your pocket and you can not only enter the vehicle, but start and stop it without fiddling with keys), and heated seats that can really toast your backside. Its mechanical bits are fine, but could have been better. The only engine on offer at the moment is a 2L, inline-four cylinder, which features variable-valve timing that the automaker refers to as MIVEC. It produces 148hp and 145ft-lbs of torque, which is a little on the weak side when compared to its competition. When paired with the CVT automatic transmission, it sounds quite noisy under acceleration, but it does smooth things out when cruising. If you want to have a bit of fun on a twisty road, you can slot the gear lever into manual mode and can then play with its steering wheel mounted pedal shifters. Being a CVT gearbox, those ‘gear’ changes are quick and smooth.

Keener drivers can even choose to have a five-speed manual gearbox, which comes as standard equipment on the base model. The ASX with its sporty handling, accommodating interiors and competitive pricing, makes it an attractive choice for those looking for a crossover other than the Ford EDGE or the Honda CR-V.

Mits ubis hi ASX

W

hen you approach the ASX, one thing becomes clear – the vehicle is definitely good looking for a little utility vehicle. People looking for an aggressively sporty, small crossover with the ability to rock out should look no further than the new 2011 Mitsubishi ASX. Trust us – it’s got a killer stereo.

SPECS Engine: 2.0L, I4 Power: 148hp Drivetrain: FWD/4WD

IMPRESSIONS

Highs: EVO look, spacious, great audio system Lows: Only available in 2.0L Verdict: Budget crossover for all


CONCEPT

TwoWheeled Galore The Bull is John Thornton’s latest in the line of locally built Harley Davidson customs

H

arley Davidson is an American motorcycle manufacturer founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the first decade of the 20th century. It was one of two major motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression. Fast forward about a 100 years and Harley Davidson is a household name with serious bike riders. The Harley Davidson dealership located in Al Khuwair is part of the Harley Davidson worldwide family. They have had a rich history of dealing with Harley motorcycles and are known for their excellent service and dedication to their customers.

The dealership also provides endless customisation offers on parts and accessories, and also stock up latest HD-branded clothes among other things. In between their busy service schedules, the team also builds custom Harley motorcycles with parts forged and sourced locally. The dealership, headed by John Thornton, has so far built more than five motorcycles, the latest being the Bull which sits proudly at the centre of the HD showroom. The Bull features a 1.6L v-twin air-cooled engine with a six-speed transmission. It houses a 6.5 gallon tank that was moulded locally and sports a 240 rear tyre with a soft tail swing arm and a 140-wide glide front end. “Every summer is something different. We basically try to show what can be achieved with what’s available in Oman. We really do not get engineering done outside of Oman,” says John Thornton. One of the custom bikes was a 2004/05 Fatboy. It was taken apart completely and the frame was chromed before being reassembled. Its engine power was increased as well. The rear tyre

was changed from a 130 to a 200, and it hosted a twin fuel tank system with a three-gallon capacity each. This bike is currently owned by John himself. Other custom bikes included a Big Bear frame with a revtec 110 cu/inch engine and a Baker six-speed transmission with pro street style custom paint work, a Springer Crossbones 2008 with a 200 rear and 130 front tyre with old-school fenders manufactured locally and designed with studs and leather fittings, and a bike built on a Big Dog frame using a California custom front suspension sporting huge 300 rear tyre with a custom engine built by S&S and polished to each and every bolt. John Thornton has been with Harley Davidson Oman from its very beginnings in 2002. He is deeply involved with the workshop aspect of the dealership and gives his personal attention to almost every motorcycle that graces the dealership. The combination of the job and his love for motorcycles is what drives him to provide Harley owners in Oman with the best possible service and support. 11


s I ‘Cuda convertible Only fourteen HEM g on am are y the day, were produced. To scle cars. mu ble lua the most va

LEGENDS Plymouth Barracuda The age of the HEMI

T

he Plymouth Barracuda was the first pony car, debuting in 1964, two weeks before the Ford Mustang. It was quickly eclipsed by the Mustang and the Camaro/Firebird duo, but would make a name for itself in 1970 when it was available with an engine its competition could only dream of, the Hemi. The Plymouth Barracuda, officially called the Valiant Barracuda, was based on the compact Valiant and kept its lower body but used a fastback super-structure with a massive wraparound backlight (the largest single piece of glass ever put on a production car) and stubby trunk lid. The interior featured the Signet’s bucketseats, plus a flip-down rear seatback and security panel for carrying long items. Engine offerings were the same as the Valiant, with a 170 cid Slant Six at launch, with the 225 Slant Six or 273 V8 as options. The year 1965 saw the introduction of the ‘Formula S’ performance option, although the Plymouth Barracuda still was far from a performance car. The 225 Slant Six officially replaced the 170 Slant Six as the standard engine.

The Barracuda finally became a true pony car in 1967. It was redesigned on a new, longer wheelbase and offered a choice of V8s, two 273 cid V8s and a new 383 cid V8. The Slant Six engine was officially dropped. Unfortunately, the 383 engine was so large that the power steering pump couldn’t fit under the hood, so it was unavailable – which resulted in poor handling. Plymouth finally got the performance angle right for 1970, and they went full force into it. The Barracuda was moved over to the E-body platform, which it shared with the new Dodge Challenger. The Barracuda rode on a two-inch shorter wheelbase than the similar Dodge Challenger, even though its overall body dimensions were the same. The performance models were called ‘Cudas and featured five different V8s, the 340, 383, 440, 440+6, and the almighty 426 Hemi. The

DRIVING IN RAIN Rain is blamed for thousands of accidents yearly. Many of these accidents are preventable, but are caused by intrepid drivers who don’t realise that fair- and foul-weather driving are fundamentally different. When the road is wet, the film of the water on the asphalt causes tyres to lose traction. Less obvious is the fact that rain reduces driver perception and decreases visibility through its action on headlights, windshields and the road itself.

• Exercise extreme caution after a long dry spell. During a dry period, engine oil and grease build up on the road over time

• If you see a large puddle up ahead, drive around

it or choose a different route • Don’t attempt to cross running water. This is

• Allow for more travel time. You should plan to drive at a slower pace than normal when the roads are wet

not an SUV commercial, and you’ll probably get into a lot of trouble if the force of the water is greater than the weight of your vehicle

• Brake earlier and with less force. Not only does this increase the stopping distance, it also lets the driver behind you know that you’re slowing down

• Turn on your headlights, even when there’s a

• Don’t use cruise control. If you hydroplane, there’s a chance your car could actually accelerate

November 2011

light sprinkle. It helps you see the road, and more importantly, it helps other motorists see you • If it’s raining so hard that you can’t see the road or the car in front of you, pull over and wait it out

440s and the Hemi cars received a special highperformance suspension to put all that power to the road. Standard Barracudas came with a flat hood, while ‘Cudas came with standard dual nonfunctional hood scoops. The year 1974 saw the last of the true Barracudas, which continued with 318 and 360 engines. The Barracuda would never return again as a true performance vehicle.


CAR TECH Professional Power GoPro cameras are used by more motorsports professionals, race teams and core enthusiasts than any other camera in the world. The HD HERO2: Motorsports Edition is the most advanced GoPro camera yet. Wearable and gear mountable, waterproof to 60m, capable of capturing professional full 170-degree wide angle 1080p video and 11 megapixel photos at a rate of ten photos per second, the HD HERO2 is the world’s most versatile camera. Whether your goal is to capture footage of a spirited rip through backcountry roads or you want to capture and study lapping footage to learn how to set a new track record, the HD HERO2: Motorsports Edition is going to be one of your favourite motorsports purchases of all time.

Fun Cruise Jabra recently unveiled both the EASYCALL and CRUISER2. The CRUISER2 is your basic Bluetooth speaker, and is very similar to the FREEWAY. It even has that clip that allows it to live on your car’s visor. This one comes with a mini USB to USB charging cable, and a car adapter. The CRUISER2 is able to connect two Bluetooth devices simultaneously, and has dual microphone technology for excellent sound. It does have something that the FREEWAY doesn’t have, with an FM transmitter to wirelessly sync with the car stereo via A2DP. As for the Talk time specs, they are 14 hours, with 20 days available on standby. Additional features include the voice guidance of caller ID, battery status, along with the set-up.

Dedicated Friend The Garmin Nuvi 3790T is an exceptional portable navigation device with just the right blend of form and function. Garmin designed the Nuvi 3790T to be the thinnest, lightest portable navigation device ever and to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone in a fashion show. Voice Command is truly hands-free and can be activated merely by speaking to the Nuvi. Bluetooth calling also helps drivers keep their hands on the wheel. Though we’re not certain that the Nuvi would win such a matchup, by setting its standards so high Garmin has essentially solidified the 3790T’s spot as the coolest dedicated GPS device you can buy.

BEHIND THE LOGO

MAZDA Mazda Motor Corporation is a Japanese automotive manufacturer based in Hiroshima, Japan. It is said that Mazda coincides with the anglicised pronunciation of the founder’s name, Jujiro Matsuda, who was interested in spirituality, and chose to rename the firm in honour of both his family and Zoroastrianism. The word Mazda is derived from Ahura Mazda, the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by the ancient Iranian prophet Zoroaster, as the source of wisdom,

November 2011

The ‘V’ represents creativity, vitality, flexibility and passion

intelligence and harmony. The current logo attempts to capture the spirit of Mazda, the stylised ‘M’ evokes an image of wings in flight and symbolises the Mazda’s flight towards the future. The ‘V’ in the centre of the ‘M’ spreads out like an opening fan, representing the creativity, vitality, flexibility and passion that Mazda represents. The symbol as a whole expresses the sharp, solid feeling that Mazda will be seeking in all of its products. The dynamic circle symbolises our readiness to spread our wings as we enter the 21st century.

The ‘M’ symbolises Mazda’s flight towards the future


CARtoon Corner>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

DIRECTORY CAR brands

Landing Error

Whose fault is it – the car or the plane? We’ll never know.

BUMPER STICKER Driver carries no cash. He’s MARRIED.

AUTOQUiZ

Aston Martin.....................................................24694436 Audi........................................................................24584500 Bentley.................................................................24584500 BMW......................................................................24567108 BYD..........................................................................24523200 Cadillac.................................................................24561788 Chevrolet..............................................................24561788 Chrysler.................................................................24584530 Citroen...................................................................24584500 Daihatsu..............................................................24578000 Dodge...................................................................24584530 Ferrari....................................................................24699060 Ford.........................................................................24578000 GMC........................................................................24591261 Harley Davidson.............................................24489428 Honda...................................................................24560391 Hummer..............................................................24561788 Hyundai...............................................................24561788 Infiniti.....................................................................24560111 Isuzu......................................................................24563287 Jaquar...................................................................24523200 JEEP.........................................................................24584530 Kawasaki............................................................24489428 Kia...........................................................................24578000 Lamborghini......................................................24484700 Land Rover.........................................................24523200 Lexus......................................................................24578000 Lotus.......................................................................24484700 Maserati..............................................................24699060 Maybach.............................................................24562077 Mazda..................................................................24526650 Mercedez............................................................24562077 MG...........................................................................24523200 MINI........................................................................24567108 Mitsubishi...........................................................24584500 Nissan...................................................................24560111 Peugeot................................................................24584500 Porsche.................................................................24492544 Renault.................................................................24560111 Rolls Royce........................................................24567108 SsangYong.........................................................24561788

Skoda....................................................................24584500 Subaru..................................................................24561788 Suzuki....................................................................24571110 Toyota....................................................................24578000 Volkswagen.......................................................24584500 Volvo......................................................................24523200 Yamaha...............................................................24584500

CAR RENTAL

4X4..........................................................................24798437 Avis..........................................................................24400888 Budget..................................................................24683999 Europcar...............................................................24700190 Elegant..................................................................24571951 Hertz.......................................................................24625200 Mark.......................................................................24562444 Thrifty.....................................................................24489248 Value Plus..........................................................24817964 Zubair Leasing & Rental............. 24500859/844

Police Stations

Muscat Police Headquarters..................24560021 Al Amerat Police Station............................24875999 Al Azaiba Police Station............................24521099 Al Qurum Police Station............................24560099 Baushar Police Station...............................24600099 Darsait Police Workshop..........................24799492 Muttrah Police Station................................24712211 Nizwa Police Station....................................25425222 Port Sultan Qaboos Police Station.....24711499 Quriyat Police Station..................................24845555 Ruwi Police Station.......................................24701099 Salalah Police Station.................................23290099 Seeb Police Station.......................................24420099 Wattayah Police Station............................24566538

others

Arabian Automobile Alliance.................24605555 Car Care Centre...............................................24545224 Oman Automobile Association.............24510630 Sayarti Autocare..............................................24500777

#7

Find the ten words hidden within the puzzle and send them to us for a chance to win an attractive prize. The word list on the bottom will show you all the words that are hidden on the board. The hidden word can be found in all directions, written from left to right, right to left, horizontally, vertically and diagonally, but is always on one straight line.

FF MM I I KK AA MM I I K K L L K K F FM MR RE EF BB II OO XX C C L L WWMMQQR R S SI I N ND DO MM XX RR NN XX SS OO L L G G R R A AT TD DC CH AA OO JJ OO TT K K WWL L O OU U M MS SB BA AN YY JJ I I RR AA R R R R E E F F H H E EU UM ML LE BB LL JJ ZZ SS ZZ I I QQJ J V V V VB BA AL LG AA JJ TT BB HH HH V V F F P P Y Y C C I I S SI II CC OO EE QQ E E WWHH X X S S X X X XS SE ED DR HH AA L L GG F F T T Y Y S S E E K K X XH HR RA AV II AA OO KK MMQQ T T X X K K N ND DI I A AC CH XX HH RR JJ GG NN Z Z E E T T O OY YO OT TA AP EE AA VV GG F F F F U U P P G G V V R RI I I IU UA TT MM EE NN AA T T MM F F S S WWI I L L F FY YD UU AA HH UU MMMM S S E E D DE E C C R RE EM MO LL YY CC P P OO L L A A R R I I S S R RQ QT TL LR Solution to AUTOQUiZ

F O H N E G I R V H P A D O R

FERRARI FERRARI MASERATI MASERATI MAYBACH MAYBACH

WIN

MERCEDES MERCEDES TOYOTA TOYOTA CHEVROLET CHEVROLET CADILLAC CADILLAC MITSUBISHI MITSUBISHI YAMAHA YAMAHA POLARIS POLARIS

#6

Fax your entries to 24693569 or email to autoQUIZ@autobloid.com before 5th of December

Name............................................................................................................. Age.............................Mobile....................................................................... Email.............................................................................................................. Occupation................................................................................................... Company...................................................................................................... Car Owned.................................................................................................... Last issue’s winner

Roland Louis Rocha

gets his Maisto

Employees and their families of AUTOBLOiD / DPP, Zubair Automotive cannot participate in the quiz. Judges’ decision is final. Correspondence after the entry deadline will not be entertained. Please write clearly. Incomplete or illegible entries will be disqualified. Winner must provide valid ID to claim prize. Allow up to two weeks to process. The image shown for the gift is for illustrative purposes only. Actual prize may differ.

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Autobloid Issue 7