Fresno, California-based Full Throttle Suspension is going, well, full throttle with its new H2 and Chevy Silverado SEMA project vehicles.

The firm's '03 Hummer H2 features Full Throttle Suspension four-link brackets that help the switch from the stock independent frontend to a Dana 60 Ford Super Duty front axle. Full Throttle Suspension owner, Vince Anaya, says he's using the factory disc brakes and is working with Street & Performance to massage the factory computer to allow the end user to reuse the factory antilock braking system. A set of King 2.5-inch coilover shocks with piggyback reservoirs mounted to a new Full Throttle Suspension shock hoop on the front was required to achieve our 16-inch lift. To support the hoops, the company made a cage that runs over the top of the motor and attaches to each hoop for support. To get the front of the Hummer to rebound back to its ride height, plans call to incorporate the King 2.5-inch bumpstops to the front crossmember. The rear suspension consists of a Full Throttle Suspension four-link suspension system and King coilovers. A GM 14-bolt 10.5 axle with the factory disc brakes attached replaces the stock unit. The front and rear axles get 5.13 gears and Detroit Locker third members covered with aluminum differential covers from Concepts Patterns.

The '03 Chevy truck also gets the full-throttle treatment featuring the new Full Throttle Suspension four-link brackets to swap out the stock independent frontend to a Dana 44 front axle with new caliper brackets to retain the factory disc brakes as well as the Street & Performance factory computer mods to keep the factory antilock braking system working. The 18-inch lift shows off the King 2.5-inch remote reservoir coilover shocks attached to the new Full Throttle Suspension shock hoop and support cage system. The Chevy also uses the King 2.5-inch bumpstops. The rear suspension is a Full Throttle Suspension four-link with all the right King stuff attached, as well as a GM 14-bolt 9.5 axle with kit to use the factory disc brakes. Front and rear axles will use 4.88 gears and Detroit Lockers, with Concept Pattern aluminum differential covers.

Both rigs will probably show up at SEMA on a set of wheels that Weld plans to debut at the show. Plans call for wrapping the 16.5x14-inch wheels in Interco 44x19.5x16.5 Boggers. To turn the monster rolling stock, the builders plan to use an AGR Rock Ram hydraulic steering ram.

To get the monster wheels rolling, both the 4.8L and 6.0L engines will be enhanced with Whipple twin-screw superchargers, Gibson Performance headers, an Xtreme Flow exhaust, and an Xtreme Flow computer to tune the sensors to the massive tires and wheels.

GM Releases Names Of New Crossover Sport VansGeneral Motors Corp. announced the names of its four new crossover sport van (CSV) entries that will debut as '05 models. Said to deliver an optimal blend of mid-van versatility with SUV-like attributes, GM is hoping the new models will take the segment in a new direction and help the company compete across a broader range of the highly competitive automotive marketplace. The new '05 CSV products will be:

Buick Terraza joins Rendezvous and Rainier, competing at the upper end of the segment. Terraza was selected after consumers said the name has a luxurious, yet rugged, image and conveyed a strong vehicle with comfort features.

Chevrolet adds Uplander to the crossover party of Equinox and Malibu Maxx. The Uplander will feature improved interior refinement, a next-generation entertainment system and a long list of safety and convenience features.

The Saturn Relay is the brand's first CSV. The name Relay, associated with motion and movement, conveys the vehicle's ability to connect people and their destinations.

The Pontiac Montana SV6 is the current Montana with a new SUV-like design and interior refinements.

The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer:A Dodge Tomahawk Concept Bike ReproductionDaimlerChrysler has commissioned a hand-built reproduction of the Dodge Tomahawk, the four-wheel, single-passenger vehicle. The Tomahawk replica, sculpted out of aluminum around a 505ci V-10 Dodge Viper engine, will be sold through the prestigious Neiman Marcus Christmas book.

The reproduction is priced at $555,000. The sleek, rolling sculpture combines Art Deco styling with extreme engineering. "The Tomahawk is a scintillating example of what creative minds can do when given the opportunity to run free. It is a pure mechanical sculpture and a joyous celebration of the artistry and emotion of design," said Trevor Creed, senior vice president of design, Chrysler Group.

The Tomahawk reproduction will be fabricated by the original builders as a piece of automotive sculpture. It is intended for display only; the reproduction will not be fully operational and cannot be legally operated on public roads.

Ultra Mini-Trucks For Cubic CapacityBy now, you've seen the Scion xB ultra minivan, er, truck. These boxy mini-trucks are extremely popular in Japan, and Toyota's Scion brand seems to be catching on with U.S. youth. As you'd expect, Nissan has its own box, but the company calls it a cube. Recently, the firm showed a vehicle that it says is developed around the concept of "a compact three-row vehicle with outstanding practicality," dubbed the Cube3. Nissan in Japan says it expects to sell around 3,500 per month.

Here's what makes the Cube3 so...super cubic.

Super three-row packaging:Within the car's compact overall length of 3,900 mm, the cabin achieves one of the highest levels of interior efficiency in this class. The Cube3 is appointed with comfortable, sofa-like seats, one of the car's salient features. Though compact in body size, the knee and head room in the second- and third-row seats allow ample space for accommodating adults comfortably. The large rear-door opening combines with simple and easy seat operations for enhanced ease of ingress/egress to and from the second- and third-row seats. In addition, a minimum turning radius of 4.7 meters ensures agile maneuverability for easy and comfortable driving in town.

Super convenience:Versatile seating arrangements can be configured in very simple operations to match the number of occupants and the purpose of use. The interior also abounds in handy storage places for stowing things away neatly, another unique feature of the Cube3.

Super coordination:Two interior colors and eight body colors combine to give users a wide selection of 16 attractive color coordination schemes for personalizing color combinations. Meticulous attention has been paid even to the colors of the control switches.

Ford-UAW Contract Includes Plant Closings* Cleveland Aluminum Casting scheduled to close by the end of 2003* Vulcan Forge in Dearborn, sitting idle since March, will close at the end of 2003* Edison, New Jersey, assembly plant to close first quarter of 2004* Production at Lorain assembly plant to be absorbed over the next four years by the Ohio assembly plant in Avon Lake* St. Louis assembly plant down to one shift for 2004

'04 Isuzu Axiom BringsDirect-Injection Power to the MassesThe Isuzu Axiom brings state-of-the-art direct injection (DI) to the SUV market with a standard DI V-6 engine. This may or may not breathe life into the underdog SUV maker, but DI engines offer significant improvements in power output, fuel efficiency, and produce fewer regulated emissions. Before Isuzu offered this engine management system as standard on the Axiom and optional on the Rodeo, the only other vehicles available for sale in the United States to offer direct-injection gasoline engines were the $116,495 BMW 760Li and the Rolls-Royce Phantom, expected to be priced well above $300,000.

Direct-Injection Explained: DI uses a fuel injector inside the combustion chamber just as with a diesel engine. Changing the point of injection from the intake port - the norm in most fuel-injected engines today - to the combustion chamber produces significant advantages. Foremost is increased gas mileage, resulting from super-efficient atomization of fuel accomplished by injecting it at very high pressures. Better atomization produces more complete combustion of the fuel, therefore using fuel more efficiently. In addition, direct injection's more precise fuel metering results in more precise control of engine rpm, for better engine response. The result is a lowering of the idling rpm (from 750 to 600) and an expansion of the fuel cut-off area when coasting. Both help save gas as well.

These aspects of the DI system allow the engine to operate very close to stoichiometric combustion. Stoichiometry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the laws of definite proportions - in this case, the proportions of air and fuel necessary for complete combustion. In a stoichiometric combustion event, the air-to-fuel ratio is optimal so that the fuel is burned completely, along with all the carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur within the fuel. This is what allows the Isuzu DI engine to meet emissions standards in this country and to offer better fuel economy. The EPA rating for the '04 Axiom 2WD with direct injection is 18 mpg city and 23 mpg highway - gains of 6 and 10 percent respectively compared with the previous port-injected 3.5L V-6.

The second advantage comes from DI's cooling effect. Spraying fuel directly into the combustion chamber allows the fuel to vaporize there as opposed to in the intake port. Vaporizing fuel actually reduces combustion chamber heat. This, in turn, allows Isuzu engineers to use a much higher compression ratio (10.3:1 versus the conventional engine's 9.1:1) without risking pre-detonation or engine knock. Higher compression produces more power - 250 hp in the DI V-6 versus 230 hp in the non-DI engine, an 8.7 percent gain. Torque also increases, going from 230 lb-ft to 246 lb-ft, a gain of 7 percent.

The increased power produces, according to Isuzu, a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds in the Axiom DI, versus 8.9 seconds for the non-DI powerplant, and a quarter-mile acceleration time of 15.8 seconds, versus 16.5 for the non-DI motor.

In addition to the performance gains, Isuzu reports that the reduction in tailpipe emissions bumps the '04 Axiom from the EPA's "LEV" category to "LEV2," further validation of the direct-injection technology.

Firestone to Be Inducted Into Cruisin' Hall of FameIn recognition of the many contributions it has made to the automobile industry during the last 100 years, the Firestone brand was inducted into the Cruisin' Hall of Fame at the 14th Annual Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous.

Firestone's storied history stems back to 1900 when Harvey S. Firestone founded The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio. At a time when the world was moving from the horse and buggy to the automobile, Harvey Firestone was a visionary who helped mold the transportation industry and the country's history. Making tires for everything from shipping trucks to race cars, the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Company and its successor companies' 103-year-old involvement with the transportation and racing industries has been one of countless milestones and achievements.

Harvey Firestone also broke ground in the nation's transportation movement, supporting the creation of the first coast-to-coast highway and advocating an interstate highway system, which helped build famous highways, such as Route 66. In addition, he created the "Ship by Truck" campaign, encouraging manufacturers to move their products to markets by truck. In fact, the very first coast-to-coast truck shipment of goods traveled across the country on Firestone tires.

The Cruisin' Hall of Fame was established in 1995 by the San Bernardino Convention & Visitors Bureau, in conjunction with the City of San Bernardino, to honor those who have made a significant contribution to the uniquely American automotive cultural phenomenon of cruising. In addition to Firestone's induction, the Cruisin' Hall of Fame also honored Parnelli Jones, Route 66 magazine, and the Specialty Equipment Market Association.

Colorado Custom's '03 Dodge Ram Hemi "Image" Truck To Debut At Sema 2003Colorado Custom, manufacturer of billet aluminum-alloy wheels, says it will unveil its '03 Dodge Ram Hemi King Cab project vehicle at the 2003 SEMA Show. The official DaimlerChrysler "image" truck will be exhibited in a vehicle display area sponsored by Primedia.

The project will showcase the Dodge Ram as a bold and powerful "boy's toy" for guys who "do more" with life. It will be accompanied by a matching custom motorcycle, designed and built by Covingtons Cycle City (Woodward, Oklahoma). Carrying out the Hemi legend, Colorado Custom will give the Ram and custom bike a black and classic Charger Green two-tone paint scheme. The Ram bed and cab will be modified to allow the motorcycle to be transported upright in the bed with the tailgate closed.

Colorado Custom will outfit the Ram Hemi with 22-inch billet aluminum wheels. The company also will produce interior and underhood billet aluminum dress-up pieces for the Ram, including fluid caps, switches, knobs, and pedals.

SEMA members contributing to the project Ram Hemi currently include: Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation (performance brakes); Air Ride Technologies (air suspension system); Trenz (grille); Michelin (tires); Xenon (body kit); Elite Customs (long-tube headers); C.G.S. Motorsports (air intake and exhaust); Nitrous Express (nitrous oxide system); Arc Audio (speakers); Clarion (head unit); Audiobahn (LCD screens); Monster Cable (audio/video wiring); House of Kolor (paint); SPAL Advanced Technologies (shaved door handle kit); Infinity Products (carbon-fiber dash trim); Patrick Motor (performance engine upgrades); and Por Boy Kustomx (custom paint scheme).

If you need more information, you can reach Colorado Custom at (877) 805-0659, or visit Colorado Custom online at www.coloradocustom.com.

Green Rollers:Firestone Company-Owned Stores' Efforts Help Collect Almost 1 Million Scrap TiresThanks in major part to the efforts of Firestone's company-owned stores, almost 1 million scrap tires have been removed from parks and roadsides to be recycled into a variety of new uses as part of Keep America Beautiful's (KAB) Great American Cleanup 2003.

During this event, more than 918,000 tires were collected for recycling. This represents a 143 percent - or more than double - increase from 2002's efforts, which yielded 377,000 tires collected, and was the highest increase of all recycling efforts during the 2003 campaign. This also represents one of the largest private collections in a single volunteer campaign, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which served as an educational partner with Keep America Beautiful. BFRC is a subsidiary Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., which is a long-standing and active member of the RMA.

During the 2003 event, company-owned stores across the country participated in locally organized clean-up, beautification, and community-improvement programs. Company-owned stores served as drop-off locations for scrap tires and worked with their respective cities' local KAB affiliates to remove scrap tires from area parks and waterways. More than 3/4 of the collected and recycled tires have received a new life. They have been or will be used as playgrounds and tire swings as well as in erosion control for gardens and for interstate crash barriers, among other productive uses.

For more information on Firestone, visit www.mastercareusa.com; for more on Keep America Beautiful, visit www.kab.org.

New Airbagged Benz Crossover to Be Built in 'BamaTen years after the location was decided on, the DaimlerChrysler site in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is going to be extended and prepared for production of the new Grand Sports Tourer (GST). The future Mercedes model combines the features of existing vehicle concepts such as the Saloon, the Estate, and the sport utility vehicle (SUV). The Grand Sports Tourer, which will go into production at the start of 2005, will, alongside the successful M-Class, be the second model Mercedes-Benz produces in Tuscaloosa.

The Grand Sports Tourer comes with six- or eight-cylinder engines, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with available electronically controlled four-wheel drive, and an AIRMATIC DC pneumatic suspension. No word on the full range of bling that corporate is planning, though we can see it on 24s, laying frame.

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