Range-Topping 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited Live at the Chicago Auto Show

After its previous appearance in a Super Bowl spot with a Motley-Crue-inspired theme, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited made its official launch at the Chicago auto show as a range-topping model included on this year’s mid-sized Optima line-up.

Upon its debut, a lot of car experts, automotive journalists, and observers at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show noticed that the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited is not just an ordinary Optima. In fact, these individuals have suspected that the Limited is fully loaded with a lot of features not found on its siblings. As time goes by, these suspicions were eventually proven to be true.

Compared to the other Kia Optima trims, the Limited flaunts a unique look and more intimidating stance. These characteristics were highlighted by the Limited’s new fascias in front and rear. In addition to this, the LED running lights located on top of its fog lamps, the lower door sills, and the rear spoiler tipped with chrome further suggest that the Optima SX Limited is very much different from its siblings.

Under the hood, the Limited is powered by a 2.0-liter Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine sourced from the Kia Optima SX. This engine is capable of producing 274 horses and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission as well as the sport-tuned suspension used on the Limited was also sourced from the SX. Due to this, the Limited’s fuel economy ratings of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway are similar to that of the Optima SX.

When viewed inside, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited looks more upscale compared to the other Optima models included on the line-up. The Limited’s cabin provides a more elegant and prestigious feel. Its door trim, shift knob, and steering wheel are adorned by genuine would trim and this layout further improves the overall appearance of the Optima SX Limited. In addition to this, the door panels, center console and seats were embellished by Nappa leather.

On top of these, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited is offered with the standard equipments such as the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and heated and cooled front seats. Aside from those, the SX Limited is also equipped with metal pedals, Infinity audio system with speakers, and a navigation system with a built-in back-up camera.

Due to the abundance of standard features included on the vehicle, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited became one of the most admired vehicles that were presented at the 2012 Chicago auto show. In addition to this, a lot of individuals that were able to take a closer look at the vehicle agree that this was probably the best vehicle that Kia has produced.

Automotive Restoration: A Frame-Off Body Repair of a 1960 Ferrari

This automotive restoration project began in June 2010, with the client’s sights set on showing it at Pebble Beach. This 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfaria Cabriolet (PF Cab) had been in storage for 30 years in Arizona before being purchased by the current owner. Ferraris during this time were hand built by Italian coach makers and the engines were also hand-built by Ferrari. The 250 GT series was built for the customer that wanted a street legal car that he could also take to the race track. Of course not everyone raced their Ferraris, some customers just wanted the awesome power and beautiful styling of the 250 GT. Pininfarina is still operating and still makes concept and prototype cars for major companies around the globe.

After the Ferrari 250 GT PF Cab was disassembled and media blasted, I set about repairing and reconstructing the body to its original factory state.

This client was particularly concerned about getting the rebuild perfectly symmetrical. I had an idea, born from my experience working in the prototype industry: to build a box with a measuring system to aid the build of the vehicle. The photos below are a brief taste of posts to follow.
The first part of this post covers a measuring device we designed and built specially for this Ferrari PF Cab and the second part explains how it was used to rebuild the tail light area.

The objective of the measuring box is to figure out if a car body was built square to the chassis and is symmetrical from side to side. Before delving into measuring the body, remember that this was a Ferrari hand built body from the 1960′s, so tight tolerances are not expected. The idea is that the Ferrari PF Cab body and chassis sit on a center line inside a 3-dimensional steel framed box. The perimeter of the box acts as a measuring datum so that measurements from the box to the Ferrari PF Cab can be taken on the left and right hand sides and then compared to check symmetry.

The 3-dimensional box is divided into 3 planes representing length, depth, and height. On each axis is 1/2″ machined holes spaced 200mm apart, these holes are locations for the measuring stations. A line runs down the center of the box and the center of the chassis is aligned with a custom stand to the body. The center line only runs length ways, as the body is only symmetrical in one direction. The body is divided into a grid, with the aid of a laser, and numbered to aid recording.

These were the findings of major significance for this Ferrari PF Cab:

1. the front right-hand headlight housing is 10mm further forward than the left-hand headlight

2. the body style line is 6mm higher on the right-hand side than the left-hand

3. the complete rear end of the car is kicked over to the right hand side 50mm from the rear of the doors to the back of the Ferrari. Not from accident/damage, just how the car was built.

4. the left-hand rear tail light housing peak leans inwards 8mm

After discussing the above findings with the client, the first issues to address was the left-hand tail light problem. Now we will show the step by step rebuild and fabrication of the light housing. Why rebuild this area? On first sight the sheet metal housing clearly looked as though the top was angled inwards and second, the housing was too big for the light bezel, which formed the appearance of a step. To be correct in appearance, the surface of the bezel should be level with the surface of the paint. As part of the ‘measuring box’ process, we recorded results showing the top of the housing was 5mm to the right of center. To fix these two problems it was most practical and cost efficient to make a completely new housing and then graft it into the fender.

Steps:
1. Slice away the original taillight housing from the car body.

2. Make a pattern off the original and cut a fresh piece of sheet metal to match.

3. Shape the new piece, using the old piece and the actual tail light until it fits perfectly.

4. TIG weld the new sections together.

5. Offer it up the car body, again adjusting until it fits perfectly. Cleco into place.

6. Check bottom, top, and sides against the measuring box for perfect squareness and symmetry.

7. TIG weld the new housing onto the Ferrari body.

8. Metal finish and then you are ready for paint!

Check my website for step-by-step photos of the measuring box and this process.

Styles of Automotive Lifts Available – Get Car Lifts That Meet Your Needs

Automotive lifts come in a large number of different styles. Some are designed specifically for small garages while others are made for large, professional garages. In both of these categories, some styles are built with long-term storage in mind. Here are a few of the different styles of car lifts you might be looking at.

Post Style Automotive Lifts

Two-post car lifts are a popular choice for most home garages because they use a small amount of space while still handling many different styles and sizes of vehicles. Symmetrical two-post lifts have two posts across from each other with stabilizing bars in the opposite direction to hold it steady centering the vehicle’s weight. Asymmetrical lifts have rotated posts with weight towards the front. The biggest difference between the two styles of lifts is that asymmetrical lifts allow access to the interior of the vehicle while a symmetrical style is better equipped to lift rear heavy vehicles.

Four post automotive lifts are commonly used for long-term storage and can lift heavier vehicles. This is because the additional two posts make them more stable. Unlike their two-post counterparts, vehicles are driven onto the lift. They are often found in the home garages of automotive enthusiasts, and even on antique and car show floors. Auto dealers often use this style for the vehicles in their showrooms.

Scissor And Parallelogram Lifts

While their design does not make them a wise choice for storage purposes, scissor lifts are ideal for working underneath a vehicle in a home garage. They often have a bigger price tag than post models and require more space. However, they give mechanics the space to work in the centers of undercarriages and are particularly convenient for larger vehicles such as buses.

Hydraulic Car Lifts

Mechanics who use their automotive lifts frequently often select this style. These models utilize the power of hydraulics to raise and lower a vehicle. Hydraulic lifts provide an added level of safety along with their ease of use. Specifically designed liquids that are run through cylinders and pumps power the action.

Some models combine the power of electricity with hydraulics. These are the most popular types of automotive lifts available since the power runs the hydraulics. They have great stability for storage and work quickly and easily enough for frequent professional and amateur mechanics as well as some professional storage companies.

Mechanical And In-Ground Lifts

These are similar to hydraulic styles without the hydraulics to raise and lower the units. Rather than liquids and cylinders, this style requires the use of locks, screws, bolts, and wrenches to lift. These models are inconvenient to use. Since hydraulic models are not priced much higher than mechanical styles, this option is often left behind.

In-ground lifts are space saving and convenient, however, these features come with a bigger price tag. These are the styles seen in big repair shops. The lift is stored at a level that is level with the floor so that cars can be parked on top overnight. They also work well for commercial applications because they add floor space when they aren’t being used to prevent damage caused by crowding.

Specific Use Models

Space-saving garage models are reserved for the indoor storage of multiple vehicles. These car lifts give the user the benefit of storing one vehicle on top just inches from a second one stored underneath. Showcase lifts have added features and appealing finishes. They are designed to complement the vehicle they are storing specifically for show purposes. They are often seen at places such as professional car shows and auto dealers. Both the garage and showcase units come in a few different styles.

These are just a few of the many different options for automotive lifts. A style has been created to fit into industrial and home garages. Some have added stability while others are great for quick jobs. When selecting car lifts for the jobs you have in mind, there is sure to be a style you can be confident with.

Marketing For Automotive Companies

The Automotive Climate In 2011

Despite the recession, the automotive sector has been showing signs of growth over the last 6 months. Thanks to increased export to countries such as China, UK car production has been positive.

UK car sales have remained steady throughout 2011 as the UK market continues to struggle with the recession that shows no signs of lifting. Thanks for finance, expensive cars are made affordable to people that cannot afford a one off payment, but small monthly payments over 2-3 years.

Automotive Marketing In 2011

By far the best form of marketing has to be advertising on TV, many of the leading car companies (Peugeot, Audi, Toyota etc.) use TV advertising to sow the seed of having a new car.

  • TV Advertising

Commercial adverts are the most popular, as car companies can catch people in-between programs and advertise new models of cars.

Program sponsorship is becoming more popular (ITV drama, Firm4, Gold comedy etc.) as the cars are showcased before shows begin and at the end before the adverts (very often with a voice over).

Financial services and car companies are the main business sectors that use TV advertising in the UK in 2011.

  • Visual Advertising

Car businesses use a wide variety of visual advertising techniques to showcase the new models coming out in 2011/12 due to visual advertising working so well for encouraging the buying signals.

Billboard advertising works well as it can be targeted to specific ares of the country (maybe that have historically had good sales of new cars) or areas of affluence (pockets of the UK where the more wealthy live).

Digital media is often used by car businesses (such as in the underground, at train stations, airports etc.) again because the visual image of a new car will encourage the buying process.

  • Sponsorship Advertising

Car companies are one of the main kinds of businesses to sponsor sports events (football, cricket, snooker etc.) due to the captive audience, most people watching the sports event will consider buying a new car at some point.

Although sponsorship advertising is very expensive, it is still a great way to generate brand awareness.

Outlook For The Automotive Market In 2012

All being well, there should not be much change in the development of the automotive industry moving into 2012. Despite markets being down and recession keeping consumer confidence low, car sales seem to be growing both overseas and in the UK.

Automotive marketing remains one of the primary messages being communicated by the advertising media showing that car companies have the money for advertising and are confident there is a market for new car sales in the UK.