Chicago Auto Show

Sith Pickup: Toyota Tundra Warrior

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we can all admit that this Toyota Tundra "Warrior" prototype has a sinister presence in its shiniest, blackest finery. That silly fake intake is still there in the grille surround, but the rest of the look is successful. It's too bad Toyota didn't pay attention to the TRD Off Road concept's schnoz; thankfully that 2007 show-goer was free of faux scoopery. The Warrior appeared at the Chicago Auto Show to gauge public reaction to the SR5-based upgrade package. We like it. In fact, we think it's the best looking Tundra we've seen. The "none more black" exterior is complemented by various touches of brushed metal on the side mirrors, door handles, and fuel door, the latter of which you'll be seeing a lot of if Toyota builds a 5.7-liter 4x4 version. There's also tinted taillight lenses and handsomely contrasting 17-inch TRD wheels, and can we get a "hell yeah" for the revised lower fascia out front?

We haven't seen any interior shots, but it reportedly banishes some of the Gladware feel of the cabin we experienced when the Tundra visted the Autoblog garage. Mirroring the outside's carbonite treatment, the interior is also decked out in inky hues with brushed metal brightwork. If and when the Warrior hits showrooms, it could be available as an upgrade on 4x2 and 4x4 models with the 4.7- and 5.7-liter V8s, so no V6 Warrior for you.

Chicago 2008: 1968 Dodge GSS Hemi Dart

If you ever ask a 1960's Mopar fan who the king of high performance is, they'll instantly tell you "Mr. Norm!" Owner of Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago, Norm Kraus was known for fitting performance parts to all types of Mopars, and even started the development for factory cars like the 383 and 400 Dart GTS. The king of all Mr. Norm's cars, however, was the Hemi GSS Dart. Each of the cars was fitted with a 426ci Hemi V8 with a pair of Holley carbs, a heavy duty cooling package, and aftermarket headers. In an effort to save weight, a fiberglass hood and front fenders were used, as well as a front bumper and doors stamped for a lighter gauge steel. In addition, the radio, rear seats, exterior mirrors, and window mechanisms were all removed. The result was a non-street legal drag car that could run down into the 10's in the quarter mile, making it the fastest factory built muscle car ever produced.

Forty years later, Mr. Norm is producing a limited run of 21st century Hemi Darts. Serial #1, pictured above, was on the showfloor of the Chicago Auto Show to commemorate the 1960's along with other vehicles to commemorate each decade from the last 100 years. Each car is based on a hand-picked 1968 Dart that is fully restored - the preparation process for the restoration takes 400 hours alone. To ensure that the new Hemi Dart retains its title as the king of muscle cars, engine options include a 610 horsepower 472ci Hemi V8 and a 825 horsepower 572ci Hemi V8 that both run on 91 octane. Follow the jump for more on Mr. Norm and the Hemi GSS Dart or check out the gallery of photos below.

VIDEO: Dodge Challenger romping in the desert

Chrysler has released some video of the Challenger zooming around on some desert tarmac. We think that this video is from the same shoot that produced the teaser pics we all salivated over before the Challenger was officially unveiled. With that, on to the video, after the jump. Hit the gallery for more stills, while you're at it.

Gallery: 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Surprise! Dodge Challenger convertible planned

During yesterday's unveiling of the Dodge Challenger, Chrysler's Vice Chairman, Jim Press, confirmed what we've already known; that Dodge expects to sell between 20,000 and 30,000 Challengers a year once production goes full-bore. All 6,400 Collectors Edition SRT8 models due to hit dealers this spring have been sold and there's a waiting list for the 2009 models. Naturally, more variants will be available next year with less powerful engines and a convertible version is supposedly in the works.

According to the Freep, Press expounded on the Challenger's virtues, saying that the SRT8 has a higher top speed (170 mph) than BMW's M5. Kind of a misnomer considering that the M5's speed limiter keeps the BMW sedan below 155 mph – unleashed, it has the potential of doing 205 mph. The Freep also quoted Press as saying that the Challenger has more torque than the Porsche 911 Turbo. Ummm... no. The 6.1-liter Hemi V8 produces 420 lb.-ft. of twist compared to the 911 Turbo's 460 lb.-ft. Maybe he was misquoted (he meant or said 911, not Turbo?), since his next line gave us pause. "When you sit inside, it makes you feel younger and richer than you are." Younger? Maybe. Richer? Not quite Mr. Press. We've seen the interior and it's hardly what you'd call luxurious, let alone exciting.

Gallery: 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

Chicago 2008: International introduces the LoneStar Class 8 big rig

click above for more high-rez images of the International LoneStar

We give International full credit this daring design that we spied uncovered earlier this year. Still, it appears as though it's taken a giant leap back three decades with the new Class 8 International LoneStar. International said its mission was to create a big rig that married aerodynamic efficiency with a unique look and a wide range of customization. Having asked truckers what they wanted, apparently customization means 'more cowbell lights and chrome.' As upright and retro Lite Brite as the design might be, it still gets gas mileage as good as the best aerodynamic semis on the market, according to International.

Inside, the cabin evokes the kind of ergonomic class that could have been meant for the outside -- the sleeper has hardwood flooring for that at-home feeling. The truck comes with 42 factory options, 23 inside, 19 outside, and International itself said it wants to create the same kind of aftermarket following that MINI and Harley currently enjoy. If nothing else, the LoneStar is a rig more than worthy of Lone Starr.

Gallery: International LoneStar

Chicago 2008: Reskinned 2009 Mitsubishi Galant seen with new nose

Mitsubishi just unveiled its freshened-for-2009 Galant sedan at the Chicago Auto Show, and unlike our favorable response to the changes made to its Eclipse sibling, we think Mitsu might need to do a hard refresh on the Galant a couple of more times before it looks as handsome as it could. The new uninterrupted grille might look better than the prior split version, but it still doesn't seem to work as well as the nose on the EVO or new Eclipse. Out back, however, the new Lancer-inspired taillights and slightly reshaped fenders are a big improvement.

As we recently reported when the info was dropped in our laps a few days ago, the 2009 Mitsubish Galant will be offered in four versions: the top-shelf Ralliart model (red car in pics), V6 Sport, four-cylinder Sport edition and the four-cylinder ES (gray). The Ralliart is still powered by a 3.8L MIVEC V6 producing 258 horsepower and uses a 5-speed Sportronic automatic transmission. The Galant V6 Sport gets a 230-hp 3.8L V6, while the two remaining models are powered by a 160-hp 2.4L MIVEC four-cylinder. The V6 models get a 5-speed Sportronic automatic, while the four-cylinders make do with four-speeds. The two Sport models (both V6 and four-cylinder versions) also feature a power glass sunroof and heated cloth front seats as standard equipment. A ho-hum enhancement for a model that never caught on after its last redesign, we think Mitsubishi missed the target on this one.

Gallery: 2009 Mitsubishi Galant

Chicago 2008: Mitsubishi shows off 2009 Eclipses

Mitsubishi rolled out its updated 2009 Eclipse Coupe and Spyder today in Chicago, with revised fascias that complement and simultaneously update the swoopy flanks. The nose in particular brings the Eclipse in line with the design theme spreading across the rest of Mitsubishi's model line. If you happen to have a slight sense of deja vu while looking at it, more than one of us has also noticed that the new schnoz bears more than a passing resemblance to the Nissan GT-R, as well. And lest you think the changes are all skin deep, there are several non-cosmetic updates to augment the rhinoplasty. The GT models sport a newly tuned dual exhaust that promises to not only sound better, but boost horsepower by a deuce as well, bringing the total from 263 to 265. On the inside, power comes via a new 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system as part of the optional Sun & Sound Package on GS and GT models, as well. You can read more details in Mitsubishi's press release after the jump or check our lives pics in the galleries below.

Gallery: 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Gallery: 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder


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