Final Weeks for Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed

1953 Porsche Type 550 Prototype
1953 Porsche Type 550 Prototype.

Porsche By Design: Seducing Speed

The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh is winding down its critically acclaimed design exhibit — Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed. The display, which features 22 historic Porsche models, opened on Oct. 12, 2013, and is set to end on Jan. 20, 2014. The NCMA is showcasing all but one model in its East Building and is open every day except on Mondays. However, the museum will have special Monday hours on its final day.

Second Porsche Raffle

Since opening the exhibit the museum has been holding regular events including a pair of “hoods up” previews, lectures, and seminars.

The NCMA also reports that its raffle of a 2014 Porsche Boxster S sold out quickly, therefore it is offering a second raffle, this one for a convertible in a Sapphire Blue finish. Tickets cost $100 a piece and only 2,000 tickets will be sold. You can learn more by visiting the museum’s raffle page.

1968 Porsche Type 908K Prototype
1968 Porsche Type 908K Prototype.

Special Family Tours

On Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11-12, 2014, the NCMA will hold special family tours of the Porsche exhibit. These interactive tours will be led by museum family guides and are aimed to reach families with children or grandchildren aged 6 to 12. Exhibition tickets are required, but the tours are free. The family tours will be held at 12:30 pm, 1 pm, and 1:30 pm each day.

The exhibit features cars owned Janis Joplin, Ralph Lauren, and Steve McQueen. The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, also contributed a one-of-a-kind Panamericana concept car. An exhibition catalog (hard copy book) featuring 13 essays and scores of photos and posters is available for $50 in the museum’s book store.

Ken Gross, an automotive journalist and museum consultant, and former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum, is the exhibition curator. Barbara Wiedemann of the NCMA is its managing curator.

1977 Porsche Type 935
1977 Porsche Type 935.

Additional Porsche Events

Other events planned over the coming weeks include “Friday Night Sound Bites: Travel through Time” on Jan. 3, 2014, what focuses on a single work of art: Thomas Hart Benton’s painting, “Spring on the Missouri.” The presenting docent will offer a casual, in-depth exploration of Benton’s work and discuss how the automobile has changed society. The event is free and is also tied in with the exhibit.

Special tech tours will be held on Jan. 3, 10, 13, 15 and 17, with Porsche Club of America docents leading 30-minute tours for “the mechanically challenged among us.” As visitors tour the Porsche exhibit, the docents will discuss the “aesthetics, engineering, and history” that make Porsche so distinctive.

Other events tied in with Porsche by Design include a lecture and reception at The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County by Konrad Jarausch, Lurcy Professor of European Civilization, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Jan. 11. Jarausch will look at Porsche’s history from its earliest days during the Nazi era and beyond. Senior events, an evening art show, and a film, The Porsche Way, will help conclude the exhibit.

2014 Porsche Cayman S
2014 Porsche Cayman S.

Related Reading

Raleigh Art Museum Opens Porsche Exhibit

50 Years of the Porsche 911

Deal Done: Porsche Now Part of the VW Group

Porsche photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine.

The Brothers Filar and a Unique XJ Build

By CJ Bantam

A twin traction beam (TTB) from a full-size Bronco is an offbeat suspension to include when you’re doing a ’98 Jeep Cherokee XJ Desert Pre-runner build.

But it’s even quirkier when the ones doing it are twin brothers.

“My brother and I are a lot alike and we’re both into fabricating and desert racing,” says Ryan Filar. He and Eric have been working on their Cherokee build on and off for the last year, and they’re making a conscious effort to take the road (or trail) less traveled. They’re after a family friendly vehicle that can also take on Baja-like off-road conditions without batting an eye.

Filar Brothers Jeep

Leaping at Opportunity

“We originally planned a simple build with an over-the-counter Rubicon Express lift and 33-inch tires,” explains Filar. “But after some late night bench racing and a few beers, we got ambitious and decided to try something that hadn’t been done before.”

Specifically, they wanted to try to fit a TTB front suspension from a Ford Bronco under the Jeep. When they were desert racing they sported 10 inches of suspension travel in their Cherokee and this build almost doubles that by cycling at 18 inches of travel. “It appealed to us because we knew we’d get more travel, a smoother ride, and way more cool factor,” he laughs.

They saw it as an opportunity, but what really spurred them on was the challenge of making it all work.

Filar Brothers Jeep

Custom and Class

Much of the build is custom although Ryan admits the Cherokee isn’t the ideal platform for it. The Filar brothers have taken the challenge head on, but when you’re looking for the perfect truck or Jeep parts, you hit some snags.

On the safety side, “It’s completely caged front to back,” says Filar. They added a slip yoke eliminator for the transfer case so there won’t be any vibration and the ride will be nice and quiet. As for comfort, “Nobody makes Cherokee race seats,” he explains. So they put standard race seats in front and upholstered the rear seats to match the front ones. They also agreed to keep the air conditioning, figuring that will come in handy in the desert and make it one classy Pre-runner.

The vehicle specs include:

98’ Jeep Cherokee XJ
Stock 4.0L inline 6 engine
Stock AW4 transmission
Pro Comp wheels and hydraulic bump stops
TTB Dana 44 front axle with 5.43 gears
Ford 9” rear axle with 5.39 gears

Filar Brothers

Racing and Beyond

Back in 2000, the brothers ran an off-road fabrication shop called Fat City Off-Road Engineering, and in the desert racing world, they came to be known as the “Fat City Brothers” or the Filarski Brothers. “Filarski was our grandfather’s last name when he came over from Poland before he shortened it to Filar,” explains Ryan. When they raced their other Jeep, it was under the name Filarski Brothers’ Racing.

Desert racing is demanding and races like the Baja 1000 can require drivers to be up 48 grueling straight hours. The twins triumphed at Baja in 2009 in the 1700 class. “We took an early lead and 40 miles in we blew a tire,” recalls Filar. After the setback, they managed to regain the lead and hold on for the win. “I’ve never felt anything quite like going through that finish line first,” he says.

The plan is for the build to be completed by spring of 2014 so Ryan can take his family down to Mexico or out to the desert. But it has to be able to whoop out and navigate the big bumps. “We’d love to have it done in March in time for Tierra del Sol,” he says. With the brothers living only a mile apart and united in their effort to accomplish an innovative build, the desert sky’s the limit.

GM Restructuring Continues Apace

Cutbacks in Korea, Australia planned. Expansion set for US manufacturing.

GM Chevrolet Impala

The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

News from General Motors continues to dominate the auto industry, trumping its competitor’s new product introductions. That Mary Barra will ascend to GM’s top office in 2014 is big news, what overshadows the, is he going to Microsoft or staying put?, chatter about Fords Alan Mulally.

All that suits GM just fine because as it leaves government ownership and stewardship in its rearview mirror and focuses on its future, it can finally move forward on several matters it likely has had to put off handling until the federal government sold its remaining shares in the automaker. Those matters are not minor issues either and include the following news stories:

Opel to Trump Chevrolet

The recent news wave began prior to the Akerson/Barra announcement. GM said that it was pulling back its Chevrolet Europe strategy to focus on Opel. Although GM admitted defeat, it likely won itself much needed and desired support in Europe where Opel and Vauxhall are its main products and homegrown ones at that.

Chevrolet entered Europe in 2005 and has lost money since. It wont be a complete abandonment, however, as select Chevrolet models such as Corvette will still be offered. Moreover, Russia will remain an important market for the bow tie brand.

See AlsoThe History of the Pontiac Fiero

Korean Manufacturing Scaled Back

Korea is an important market for GM and has been since the automaker took over the country’s third largest automaker, Daewoo, in 2001. It was one of the few very good financial decisions GM made leading up to its 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring, a company since renamed GM Korea.

GM Korea supplies the Chevrolet Spark to the US market and also builds Chevrolet models for Europe. But with GM cutting back its Chevrolet exposure across much of the western part of the continent, the automaker has said that it will scale back Korean manufacturing. Indeed, this week GM announced that it would offer up a voluntary retirement for up to 6,000 salaried workers by the end of March reports Fox News. The company says that it expects to reduce its Korean manufacturing by 20 percent to reflect its new strategy for Chevrolet Europe.

Peugeot Stake Sold

One of the worst decisions GM made post-bankruptcy was to secure an alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen, the beleaguered French automaker. Not just an alliance, but it also took a financial stake worth hundreds of millions of dollars. That 7 percent stake is now gone as GM sold its shares in Peugeot this week.

The two companies say that they plan to continue collaboration on new product, but if Peugeot fails then GM should be able to walk away relatively unscathed. So much for a strategic alliance.


GM Financial trumps Ally Financial for new car loans.

GM Exits Ally

The company once known as the General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) and now called Ally Financial, had long played a role in helping GM car buyers get auto financing. GM separated GMAC from its own operation in 2006, but most of its business remained with GM. When GM began its slide into bankruptcy, GMAC applied to become a bank holding company.

Later, GM gave most of its new car financing business to AmeriCredit, renamed GM Financial. It still held an 8.5 percent stake in Ally, but sold its shares on Dec. 11, 2013, for $900 million. “This transaction releases capital from a non-core asset and further enhances our financial flexibility,” said Dan Ammann, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Ally continues to play an important role in financing our dealers and customers in the United States.”

Holden Manufacturing to Halt

Will we soon see an end to the beautiful cars imported from Australia that we have come to know and love? Those models currently include the Chevrolet SS and the Chevrolet Caprice SS, based on the Holden Commodore. They aren’t the first Holden-supplied models, with the Pontiac GTO and G8 starting the Aussie onslaught, disappearing as Pontiac was closed down.

GM says that it will stop making cars in Australia by the end of 2013, relying on imports beginning in 2018 to supply its Australian customers. GM, citing costs, will close down its one manufacturing and one engine plant. The company insists that it will keep the Holden brand alive. “Australians have been driving Holden vehicles for decades – and we are determined that Australians will drive Holden vehicles for many years to come,” Mr Devereux said. The high cost of doing business in Australia is behind GMs decision.

Updated Manufacturing and Jobs in the US

With GM cutting back jobs abroad pulling Chevrolet out of Europe and divesting itself of financial stakes in Peugeot and Ally Financial it may seem that the automaker is seeking to conserve cash. However, that recently expanded largesse will soon be tapped to pay for a planned $1.3 billion investment in five manufacturing plants three in Michigan and one each in Indiana and Ohio. GM says that the move will create or retain about 1,000 jobs.

The investment will pay for retooling to support the production of an existing 6-speed transmission, a new 10-speed transmission, and the building of a new V-6 engine. The funds will also pay for plant upgrades as well as for a new paint shop and logistics optimization center.

“GM is committed to a strong American manufacturing base and creating jobs in dozens of communities throughout the country. Today’s announced plant upgrades continue the momentum of a resurgent auto industry,” said GM Executive Vice President and North America President Mark Reuss. “More importantly, these investments add up to higher quality and more fuel-efficient vehicles for our customers.”

Cadillac Elmiraj

Is a Cadillac Elmiraj announcement pending?

But, Wait…There is More!

With Dan Akerson leaving and Mary Barra’s ascendancy timed to coincide with the start of the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, GM also wont miss out on a major media opportunity to showcase one or more new cars as it parades Barra before the media.

We already know that the Cadillac ATS Coupe will be revealed, but might we also learn the status for another new product that has everyone talking? That would be the Cadillac Elmiraj, a beautiful full-bodied coupe that made its debut at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours dElegance. It is the latest super concept for the Cadillac brand and the one that many enthusiasts hope Cadillac decides to build. Yes, the Detroit auto show would present the ideal place to showcase this $100K+ luxury coupe, providing perhaps the best send off for Akerson and a hand off of company leadership to Barra.

See AlsoGM Ignition Switch Flaw: Testing Mary Barra

Pricing Announced for 2015 Lincoln MKC Crossover

If you are a Lincoln dealer, the arrival of the 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover cannot come soon enough. Since Mercury was dropped by Ford at the end of 2010, Lincoln dealerships have been thirsting for new product. Moreover, the existing Lincoln line has long been weak from top to bottom with only a new MKZ arriving during the past year.

2015 Lincoln MKC Pricing

Come next summer, the 2015 Lincoln MKC will augment Ford’s premium brand line up. This week, Lincoln announced its pricing, giving the new model a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $33,995, including destination and delivery. That price is set below its competition including the Acura RDX priced from $35,415 and the Audi Q5 priced from $38,195.

Three trim levels will be available with the MKC: Premiere, Select and Reserve. MKC shoppers will have a choice of two EcoBoost four cylinder engines and may also pay to upgrade to all-wheel drive from front-wheel drive.

All 2015 Lincoln MKC models will be equipped with 18-inch painted aluminum wheels set within all-season tires, automatic HID headlamps with LED lighting, body-colored heated side mirrors, and LED tail lamps. A smoked chrome grille, bright belt line molding and anodized roof rails are included.

2015 Lincoln MKC

The MKC shares its platform with the Ford Escape.


Cabin Amenities and Trim Levels

Inside, the MKC is furnished with a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, a 4-way power passenger seat with recline, heated front seats, a 60/40 split bench rear seat with recline, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilt and telescopic function. Power windows, power door locks, dual-zone climate control, an overhead console with sunglasses holder, LED map lights, manually adjusted front head rests, and a front floor console with two cup holders is standard.

Choose the MKC Select ($37,225) and your model receives luster nickel wheels, ambient lighting, a 10-way power passenger seat, configurable daytime running lights, power folding mirrors, a universal garage door opener, and a upgraded steering wheel draped in Wollsdorf leather.

For customers considering the MKC Reserve ($40,930), they’ll get two-toned polished wheels, cooled front seats, a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel column, a Vista Roof with power shades, a voice-activated navigation system, an embedded modem, cooled front seats, and a blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert.

Other amenities included across the 2015 Lincoln MKC line are remote start, cruise control, four power points, a reverse sensing system, and SYNC with MyLincoln Touch. SYNC is a voice-activated communication and entertainment (infotainment) system featuring an 8-inch touch screen in the center stack.

2015 Lincoln MKC

SYNC with MyLincoln Touch is standard with the MKC.


Free-Standing Packages

Customers can also consider certain free-standing packages and features. SelectPlus ($1,100), available only with the MKC Select brings in voice-activated navigation and the blind-spot navigation system with cross-traffic alert.

A Technology package ($2,235), available only with the MKC Reserve, brings in adaptive cruise control with collision warning and brake support. The package also include active park assist, a front sensing system, and lane-keeping assist.

A Climate package ($580) is available with the Select and Reserve only, what adds rain-sensing wipers, a heated rear seat, a heated steering wheel, and automatic high-beam headlamps.

Free-standing features can be bought regardless of trim level and include upgraded wheels, a Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) suspension system for front-wheel drive editions, an enhanced THX II certified audio system, all-wheel drive, and the larger 2.3-liter engine. A 2.0-liter inline-four is standard. Pricing for these options ranges from $395 for the 19-inch premium painted wheels to $2,495 for all-wheel drive.

2013 Lincoln MKZ

The Lincoln MKZ is the other new product for Ford’s premium brand.


Lincoln Model Line Outlook

With the MKC joining the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid as Lincoln’s newest products, the brand is finally seeing much-needed new product, but there is much more needed to rebuild a brand that last captured the luxury sales crown in 1998. Lincoln’s newest products take aim at a new generation of Lincoln owners, people that are probably not familiar with the brand.

Meanwhile, traditional owners have the MKS sedan and larger crossovers including the MKX and MKT to consider as well as the aged Navigator SUV. All four products are likely to be replaced in the next two to three years, but there is still no Lincoln product that provides a strong differentiation from the Ford brand, a deficiency that will likely limit Lincoln’s appeal going forward.

Related Lincoln Articles

2015 Lincoln MKC Unveiled, Set for Summer 2014 Release

Lincoln MKC Concept: When Reality Happens

New Ford Mustang to Birth Additional Products?

Is the Lincoln Black Label Dressed for Success?

2015 Lincoln MKC photos and MKZ shot courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Company.