• World’s Fastest Drift Guinness record set in Poland

    October 7, 2013
    Polish race driver Kuba Przygonski has set a new Guinness record for “World’s Fastest Drift” at a sliding speed of  134.8 mph. The record was set behind the wheel of a European-spec Toyota GT86, which is largely identical to the Scion FR-S sold in the US, albeit a highly modified race car with an output of 1,068 brake horsepower.


    With an entry speed of 159 mph and maximum angle of 49 degrees, Przygonski broke the previous record of 113.9 mph set by German Alexa Graeff by 20.9 mph. The record was set at Airport Biala Podlaska’s runway near Warsaw, Poland.

    According to Guinness, any record for World’s Fastest Drift must be set over a section measuring at least 50 meters and the car’s angle must be at least 30 degrees.


    Przygonski is a Polish race car driver for Orlen Team and has also raced in the Dakar Rally.


    Photo courtesy of Przygonski.com.<![CDATA[
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  • Honda publishes teaser website for 2014 JDM Odyssey

    October 7, 2013
    Honda has published a teaser website for the Honda Odyssey in advance of its release this fall. The fifth-generation Odyssey for the Japanese domestic market is a wholly different model than the identically-named minivan in the U.S. 


    For the first time in the Japanese Odyssey’s life, the van will feature rear sliding doors rather than four traditionally hinged doors. Detailed specs and pricing have yet to be revealed, but the exterior of the seven-seater minivan will feature evolutionary styling in line with the previous four generations of its Japanese market predecessors.

    When the Honda Odyssey debuted in 1994 the same underlying model was sold in both Japan and North America. With four hinged doors it was more a cross between a traditional minivan and a large station wagon. The second-generation North American Odyssey, debuted in 1998, grew larger and the rear doors were changed to the sliding variety. This was sold as the LaGreat in Japan, a model one class above the redesigned second-generation Japanese Odyssey, which remained the same basic size and continued to sport hinged rear doors.


    For the third-generation in 2004, the Japanese Odyssey continued with that layout, while the LaGreat was discontinued in favor of the Elysion, a large van with sliding rear doors whose design was not shared with the US-market third-generation Odyssey.


    However, after 10 years in the marketplace largely unchanged, the Elysion is being discontinued by Honda, leaving the fifth-generation JDM Odyssey to fill the void. It shares no design with the US-market Odyssey. 


    The hinged-door Odysseys have long been top sellers in Japan for Honda, seen as a sporty offering in a marketplace containing many sub-categories of minivan (such as compact, sport, luxury, and hybrid). <![CDATA[
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  • Scion FR-S convertible canceled for good?

    October 7, 2013
    A new report finds Toyota’s oft-rumored FR-S convertible has been deep-sixed for good after spending the last several months in limbo.


    The convertible was previewed by the FT-86 Open, a close-to-production concept that earned accolades from the press and the public when it bowed at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.  Many speculated the model would quickly be added to the Scion lineup as a regular-production model aimed at the Mazda MX-5 Miata, but an inside source has confirmed to British magazine What Car? the ragtop is not in Toyota’s product plan for 2014 or 2015.

    Although the source did not provide additional details, trade journal Automotive News previously reported the convertible was canceled because it required a large investment that was hard to justify for a low-volume model.  Notably, Toyota promised the conversion will be weight-neutral, meaning engineers were faced with the Herculean task of strengthening the coupe’s body and designing a full soft top mechanism without adding a single pound to the FR-S’ weight.


    The convertible FR-S was at a relatively advanced stage of development when it was given the axe so it can be brought to dealers quickly if Toyota’s top brass decides to move ahead with the project after all.<![CDATA[
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  • Mitsubishi unveils Europe-bound Outlander Commercial

    October 7, 2013
    Mitsubishi has lifted the veil off of the Outlander Commercial, a two-seater variant of the crossover that will go on sale in select European countries before the end of the year.


    Aimed largely at small businesses and tradesmen, the Outlander Commercial is nearly identical to the regular Outlander on the outside but its rear windows are covered in a body-colored tint, shielding the contents of the cargo area from prying eyes.  Steel wheels fitted with plastic hubcaps come standard in order to keep the vehicle’s price as low as possible.

    Inside, the Outlander’s second and third row of seats have been tossed out and replaced with a plastic lining that creates a flat cargo area.  A metal partition mounted directly behind the front seats separates the passenger and the cargo compartments.


    Mitsubishi only offers the Outlander Commercial with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine rated at 147 horsepower and 280 lb-ft. of torque.  Linked to a six-speed manual transmission, the mill sends power to either the front wheels or to all four wheels.


    The crossover can tow up to 4,400 pounds when properly equipped, and haul a maximum of 1,554 pounds.  It returns 44 mpg in a mixed European cycle. 


    The Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial will retail for £24,974 when it goes on sale in the United Kingdom.  The Japanese automaker has not announced in which other countries it will distribute the Outlander Commercial in, but the United States will certainly not be on the short list.<![CDATA[
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