Auto Almanac

Drawing Board

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392:

It might look like the same Street and Racing Technology (SRT8) coupe that has ridden herd over the other also-ran “pony cars,” but this one is definitely different. Under the hood lurks a 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) “Hemi” V-8 that generates 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That beats the 2010’s 6.1-liter SRT8 engine by 45 horsepower and 50 pound-feet. The initial 1,492 copies will be special-edition models with extra content and likely a price tag that stretches past the $45,000 range.

You Auto Know

n Power door locks first appeared on a number of luxury cars in 1956, two years before the introduction of the day/night rearview mirror.

n The typical automobile contains more than 3,000 feet of electrical wiring.

Who am I?

To guess his secret identity, read the following clues.

1) He was not a designer, but he knew talent when he saw it and how to unleash it.

2) Born in 1912, this Italian accountant joined his father’s coach-building business in 1934.

3) Eventually, his company would design and build short runs of specialty vehicles for Fiat and Alfa Romeo.

4) Most of his stylists would become internationally known.

5) He opened factories and his team designed such cars as the Ferrari Dino and the Lamborghini Countach.

Answer: Giuseppe Bertone employed some of the world’s most famous designers, but “I drove their pencils.”

What’s up, auto doc?

Inevitably, nuts and bolts go missing in the middle of a job. When seeking replacements, keep in mind that automotive-grade fasteners are not usually what you’ll find in the nuts-and-bolts section at the local building-supply store. They might be good for holding hinges on a fence, but keep them off your car. The minimum for most applications is Grade 5 (strong), with Grade 8 and better (very strong) usually reserved for high-stress suspension and chassis service. To hold engine internals together usually takes even stronger bolts. Anything less and you could break a bolt, which, in itself, can be expensive to repair. Often overlooked, the washers and nuts have to match the bolts for strength. Turning a Grade 8 nut against a hardware-store-grade washer will not only gall the washer to the point that it breaks, but actual parts failure is likely. You also need to make sure you have the correct style of washers (flat or locking, or both). Be careful over stainless-steel fasteners (tempting because of their resistance to corrosion) since many are only Grade 2. You can send your tips to the Auto Doc at by clicking the “contact” link.

eBay watch

1992 Acura NSX, 11 bids, sold, $17,300: At first glance, this now-classic midengine all-aluminum sports car appears to be in decent condition. However the car’s full-disclosure history report indicates it was once written off, possibly due to flooding, then rehabilitated and issued a fresh title. That black mark would usually scare off potential purchasers, but the seller wisely offered this NSX on a no-reserve basis and likely received about what the car was worth, although a similar NSX without the bad history would likely fetch another $10,000.


Top Gear

Oakley Race Low 2 driving shoe; about $90 a pair; Driving shoes have to look good and provide just the right feel when you’re working the pedals. The Oakley Race Low 2 has been designed to fulfill both functions. Racing tires inspired the low-profile rubber outer sole and the cushioned polyurethane insole will also, according to the manufacturer, provide a significant degree of all-important pedal “feel.” The Race Low 2 comes in medium width and is available direct from Oakley in full and half sizes 5 through 13.

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