The Dodge Dart is getting some minor upgrades for 2015, according to Allpar sources. An SE package  (air conditioning and power equipment) will run $775. The SXT will get a new 16 inch aluminum wheel at the same price. Late in the run, buyers can get a black with red cloth interior on Blacktops; and there will be three new colors, “Laser Blue,” “Vitamin C,” and “Passion Red.” The latter may also come late.

For 2015, Dart SE will start at $17,490; the top end Limited runs $23,990. The high-mileage Aero runs $20,990 and the higher-performance GT runs $21,990.

Allpar sources say that the Alfa Romeo 4C, a high-tech, low-weight sports car using a carbon fiber unibody, will be sold in the United States with a starting price of $69,695 for the Launch Edition and $55,195 for the regular coupe.   Only 500 Launch editions will be sold, each with a unique serial number.

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There is a single powertrain for the car, a 1.8 liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-cylinder coupled to a twin-clutch transmission. Powertrain and chassis controls can be switched to different levels of performance.

Many changes were needed for American sale, to conform to local  rules.

The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is the first new car from the brand, known in Europe for performance and in the United States for being found on the sides of roads in the 1970s and 1980s. Quality control is far higher today, and the future Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans on investing a great deal of time and money to firmly establish Alfa Romeo as a credible worldwide sport-luxury brand. The 4C is the first in a line of new Alfas. (“Alfa” is not a mis-spelling of Alpha, but an acronym.)

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Wednesday is the last day for Fiat S.p.A. shareholders to exercise the exit rights they received in the merger of Fiat and Chrysler Group into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V.

Shareholders voting against the merger, which was approved on August first, are entitled to a buyout of €7.727 ($10.23) per share but they must have exercised that option by sending a registered letter postmarked no later than August 20.

About 84% of Fiat S.p.A. shareholders voted in favor of the merger.

In the merger agreement, there is a cap of €500 million ($661.4 million) on payments for the cash exit options. Should the amount of shares sold back to the company total more than the cap, the merger agreement will be null and void.

Fiat estimates that it will be the first week in September before it is known how many shareholders exercised their rights and if the merger agreement will move forward.

Fiat S.p.A. stock is currently trading at €7.18 ($9.54) per share on the Milan Exchange. The stock fell as low as €6.26 ($8.32) immediately following the merger vote but has recovered and was trading above the option value as recently as the 18th of this month.

TrueDelta, an on-line reliability survey site, has released its figures for the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivan, going back to 2001.  Generally, the vans have had moderate (normal) reliability, with 2012s having a low number of repairs.

The vans have ranged from 24 (2012) to 97 (2003) repair trips per hundred cars per year (excluding years with small sample sizes: 1999, 2000, and 2004).

The site found that 84% of 2012 and 67% of 2013 Chrysler minivans had no repair trips at all; no vans from these two model years required three or more trips to the shop.

Honda and Toyota, the other two major minivan makers, have generally had better than normal ratings, with recent Siennas having 25 or fewer repairs per hundred per year, and recent Hondas ranging from 17 to 49, while similar-year Chrysler/Dodge vans ranged from 23 to 44.  The numbers are relatively close, though, indicating that buyers who go for a Dodge or Chrysler are not likely to be disappointed.

srt dashboard

Alex Petersen wrote to show a Hellcat-related “Easter egg” in Dodge’s press photography. The supercharged Hemi engine generates 707 horsepower; and if you look at the satellite radio station, 70s on 7, and let your eyes blur just a bit, you can see the number “707.”

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As recently as the Mopar Mile High NHRA Nationals in Denver, it appeared that the top spots in the Pro Stock and Fuel Funny Cars seasons were a done deal. Erica Enders-Stevens had a 184-point lead over second-place Allen Johnson in Pro Stock and Robert Hight led runner-up John Force by 181 points in Funny Car.

A couple of events later, the picture has changed dramatically. Enders-Stevens took a two-race break due to sponsor issues and Hight’s results have taken a real tumble.

As a result, by the end of racing at the Lucas Oil Nationals, Jason Line had replaced Enders-Stevens at the top of Pro Stock with Allen Johnson just 16 points out of first place and just seven points behind Enders-Stevens. Decent qualifying and a win at the U.S Nationals at the end of this month could put Johnson in the top spot.

In addition, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is just 76 points out and he still has the chance to pick up two Wallys – the one at the U.S. Nationals and the one that was postponed from the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Enders-Stevens and Johnson were eliminated on Sunday but Coughlin is still in the hunt and has more points to win. It’s a long shot, but Coughlin could be the leader going into the Countdown to the Championship.

In Fuel Funny Car, it’s guaranteed that John Force will replace his son-in-law Robert Hight at the top of the order. Force still has a final-round race against Ron Capps left over from the Lucas Oil Nationals while Hight was eliminated in the first round at Brainerd International Raceway. As of right now, Force is just two points behind Hight and even if he loses his race with Capps, Force will have more than enough points to take the lead. And there’s still a full slate of racing at the U.S. Nationals.

There’s an important 16-point spread in Funny Car, too. Jack Beckman is currently that many points behind Tim Wilkerson in the race for the last berth in the Countdown. He has to score 17 point more than Wilkerson at Indy to make the cut. Beckman is the only Don Schumacher Racing driver in Funny Car who has not secured a spot as Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Matt Hagan sewed up theirs before racing ended in Brainerd.

Challenger back in Trans Am

Dodge and SRT are rejoining the Trans Am Series, with Miller Racing fielding two new Dodge Challengers  at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15 and 16.  Driving will be four-time series champion Tommy Kendall, making his first Trans Am start since 2004 in the TA2 series class....

Supercharged Viper? (Updated)

With the supercharged 6.2 Hemi delivering 707 horsepower to the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper boys are reportedly looking for ways to get back on top. While the Viper may be superior on a tight racing course, the straight-line performance of Charger and Challenger, in five-seaters with all the amenities, large trunks, and automatic or manual transmissions, is a challenge for Team Viper — as is the current series of Corvettes....

Is this the 2017 Ram?

Though the Ram 1500 just had major upgrades, another refresh is due in 2017, to deal with the new F-150s and a possible Chevrolet Silverado update. So far not much is known about these trucks, except that they will likely include the Pentastar engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have undergone weight reduction therapy with more high-strength steel and aluminum....

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