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VehicleVoice: The Introduction of Mini's New High Performance GP

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Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #35

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There’s no denying that the Mini Car Company knows how to market a little car. And they chose the Monterey Historic Car Races to introduce a brand new member of the Mini family that is so popular, it’s already sold out.

The Mini GP with John Cooper Works Kit was a smash hit before even the first unit rolled off the line. Dealers and owners put in orders for the high performance coup online within seconds of pre-orders being made available. And with only 2,000 units made, you can imagine how quickly they flew off the virtual shelves.

The first 32 lucky GP owners were given the chance to take delivery of their new rocketships at the Monterey Historic Races where Mini was celebrating the marque this year – John Cooper. VehicleVoice reporter Cameron Barrett, along with her camera crew, was on hand to record the fun.

Show Features
Andrew Cutler, Mini USA Marketing Director
Bruce Mueller, Mini GP Owner, former racer, and Mini Enthusiast
David Burt, Mini Owner and Enthusiast
Sherry and Jim Crosslin, Mini Owners and Enthusiasts
Jim McDowell, Mini’s Vice President of Marketing

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VehicleVoice: Mini Takes the States Kickoff Party

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Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #34

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For the last two weeks, you might have noticed an inordinate number of Minis driving through your town. They were probably traveling in groups, and they were probably loaded with luggage, and snacks and very happy people. Those folks you saw were some of the 7,000 Mini owners taking part in “Mini Takes the States” – a 3,000-mile, two-week, cross-country extravaganza brought to you by the cutest little car in the world.

Mini Marketers are a very clever bunch. Of course, it helps to have as your sole product, one of the most loved brands in the automotive marketplace. But Mini has spent their limited marketing resources on lifting their brand to the height of cool while giving their customers infinite ways to individualize their cars. Hence the saying, “no two Minis are alike.”

The VehicleVoice crew certainly found that to be true at the kickoff party for “Mini Takes the States.” With more than 400 Minis neatly packed into the parking lot at Pirate’s Cove at Monterey Beach in California, the party got underway with limbo contests, good eats, Carribean music, and even Mini Corporate Bigwigs leading the marching band that started this cross country drive. See and hear it all here!

Show Features
Andrew Cutler, Mini USA Marketing Director
Jim McDowell, Mini’s Vice President of Marketing


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VehicleVoice: In the Paddock at the Monterey Historic Races

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Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #33

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Each year in August, the Monterey Peninsula hosts what’s known to locals as Car Week. For seven days, events string together along the gorgeous central coast of California, bringing auto enthusiasts from around the globe. There’s the Concorso Italiano, showcasing some of the most beautiful Italian cars on one of the most beautiful golf courses in the U.S. There’s the Concors de Elegance at Pebble Beach, where millionaires bid on one-of-a-kind trailer queens that will take your breath away.

Amidst all the glamour is the central event, the historic races at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. For three days, some of the rarest, and oldest racecars in existence, take to the track to race, as well as current racing phenoms like Toyota’s Formula One team. Racing royalty from the past like Jack Brabham, from the present like Danny Sullivan, and from the future, like Ricardo Zonta, walk the paddock and take to the track.

Former racer and VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett, along with the VehicleVoice video crew, rubbed elbows with these racing greats, and were immersed in the racing legends that make this a signature event for anyone who loves racing and loves cars. See the sites and hear the sounds from the Monterey Historic Automobile Races!

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VehicleVoice: Toyota's Formula One Car Races at Laguna Seca

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Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #32

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There’s NOTHING like the scream of 16,000 RPMs. And the VehicleVoice team was trackside at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway when Toyota’s Formula One team gave them the thrill of a life time. Our cameras were rolling, and our microphones were tuned in, so we bring that unbelievable experience to you.

Former racer and VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett got the rare chance to walk through Toyota’s garage, speak with Formula One engineers, and get an exclusive interview with driver Ricardo Zonta. Not to mention experience, from the pit lane, Zonta breaking the track record with each lap he turned.

So if you’re idea of racing perfection is Formula One, and even if it isn’t, this podcast will thrill you!

Show Features
Ricardo Zonta, Toyota Formula One driver
Bruno Bunk, Toyota Formula One tire engineer

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VehicleVoice: Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

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Welcome to VehicleVoice Episode #31

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VehicleVoice brings you an exclusive look at the brand new Shelby GT500! Here’s your chance to see this updated American classic. At 500 horsepower, it’s everything an American muscle car should, plus some.

We were on hand at the Concorso Italiano in Monterey, California for Ford’s formal introduction of the GT500, and even got an exclusive interview with the car’s designer, who happens to be a Steve McQueen fan. Really though, who isn’t? This is where VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett finds 500 American horses can rival some of the most beautiful Italian cars ever made. Don’t miss this exclusive video!

Show Features
Hau Thai-Tang, Shelby GT500 designer
John Clinard Ford Public Relations


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Let's Talk Cars: Ferrari 360 Spyder vs. Corvette Z 06, Ford Sport Trac Test Drive and "Branding Iron"

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Welcome to Let’s Talk Cars

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This week on Let’s Talk Cars, a very special treat, not just for our lucky test driver, but for you, the viewer! VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett got a chance to take a Ferrari 360 Spyder on the Southern California test track at El Toro. When he caught his breath, he took out the new Corvette Z06 for a spin and a little comparison. I tried to hold the camera steady in the front seat. It was awesome, and you can experience it yourself right here! If you’re prone to motion sickness, take your medicine.

In the something a little bit tamer category, next we bring you a review of Ford’s Explorer Sport Trac, the most innovative member of the Explorer family.

And finally, we do a little reading. Yeah, I said reading. After all those engines revving and tires smoking, can you blame me? A new book by automotive luminaries Charlie Hughes and William Jeanes takes on the American Automotive Industry. It’s called Branding Iron and we got a chance to ask the authors about the book’s message and the future of such companies as Ford and GM.

Show Rundown
01:03 Ferrari 360 Spyder vs. Corvette Z06: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
07:29 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Test Drive: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
15:26 Branding Iron: Cameron Barrett, Let’s Talk Cars Host


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Let's Talk Cars: Test Drives – Chevy HHR, Nissan Pathfinder, and 6-speed Volkswagen Passat

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Welcome to Let’s Talk Cars

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This week on Let’s Talk Cars, more from our slew of new car reviews, walk arounds and test drives – Chevrolet HHR, Nissan Pathfinder, and a base-model Volkswagen Passat with a peppy 6-speed manual transmission.

First, VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett climbs inside Chevy’s take on the PT Cruiser. The HHR has a lot of great things going for it, including its fun, retro looks, but a lack of horsepower and some styling issues come up in our review.

Next, host Cameron Barrett brings you this week’s Rev It Up – with 90-seconds on the Nissan Pathfinder. This medium-sized SUV isn’t afraid to get its wheels dirty or its tow ring used.

And finally, we drive a base model Volkswagen Passat, one of the best values out there for your money. But the excellent 6-speed transmission causes some heartache because of its lack of availability in higher end models. The Passat won AutoPacific’s coveted 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size Cars.

Show Rundown
00:47 Chevrolet HHR: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
10:05 Rev it Up: Nissan Pathfinder: Cameron Barrett, Let’s Talk Cars’ Host
11:22 Volkswagen Passat: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor


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Let's Talk Cars: Dodge Caliber Test Drive, the Nissan Quest and the Mitsubishi "I"

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Welcome to Let’s Talk Cars

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This week on Let’s Talk Cars, it’s all about the test drive. Which is how we’ve been spending our summer vacations. We’ve compiled a slew of new car reviews and walk arounds and test drives, and we’ve got the first three for you this week – the new Dodge Caliber, the controversial Nissan Quest and the not-ready-for-the-American-marketplace Mitsubishi “i”.

First, VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett takes a bright orange Caliber for a spin, and finds some surprising goodies on the inside.

Next, host Cameron Barrett introduces you to our new review segment, Rev It Up – with 90-seconds on the Nissan Quest, perhaps the most controversial a minivan can get. We review the 2006 Quest just prior to its replacement by the 2007 model with a less controversial interior design.

And finally, the Let’s Talk Cars’ crew got a peek at a car that isn’t even for sale here in the U.S., and will never be. They say big things come in small packages, and if that’s true, the Mitsubishi “i” is defintely the next big thing!

Show Rundown
00:52 The new Dodge Caliber: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
12:01 Nissan Quest: Cameron Barrett, Let’s Talk Cars’ Host
13:57 Mitsubishi “i”: Cameron Barrett, Let’s Talk Cars’ Host


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Let's Talk Cars: Introducing the Ideal Vehicle Awards, Mitsubishi Endeavor's Facelift and the Suzuki Baby Seat Test

Welcome to Let’s Talk Cars

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This week on Let’s Talk Cars, from AutoPacific, a whole new slew of award-winning vehicles, plus a fresh look at the Mitsubishi Endeavor, and will the Suzuki Grand Vitara survive the dreaded baby car seat test!

First, “Let’s Talk Cars” host Cameron Barrett chats up AutoPacific’s newest analyst Keagan Patrick about the IVAs – that’s the Ideal Vehicle Awards. Being new, Keegan didn’t know enough to run in the other direction when he saw the Let’s Talk Cars crew bearing down on him. Thanks for the interview, Keagan!

Next, VehicleVoice correspondent David Barrett takes the Mitsubishi Endeavor – winner of the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Premium Mid-Size Sport Utilities – out for a test drive and interviews Mitsubishi stylist Robert Burns. Robert was responsible for Endeavor’s 2006 facelift.

And finally, we ambushed a young family, handed over Suzuki’s Grand Vitara – winner of AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award for its class, and asked them to get their baby seat in and out of this compact SUV. Oh yeah, and then we asked if they could get their baby in and out of it. See how baby Elijah held up in this unique test drive.

Show Rundown
00:59 AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Awards: Cameron Barrett, Let’s Talk Cars Host, and Keagan Patrick, AutoPacific Analyst
05:08 Mitsubishi Endeavor: David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor and Robert Burns, Mitsubishi Designer
14:16 Suzuki Grand Vitara: Rich, Johanna and Elijah Buecheler


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Let's Talk Cars: The Lincoln Navigator and the Hyundai Azera, Winners of the 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards!

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Welcome to Let’s Talk Cars

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This week on Let’s Talk Cars, exclusive, in depth looks at the Top Rated SUV and Top Rated Car in the 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards..

Yeah, we know. You’ve read all about AutoPacific’s coveted Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. But have you seen the award winners, inside and out? This is your chance. Let’s Talk Cars Host Cameron Barrett takes the Lincoln Navigator out for a spin and nearly gives up her card carrying status in the “Small Car Lovers Club.” And AutoPacific President and Founder George Peterson along with Analyst Dan Hall put the Hyundai Azera through its paces.

After all that fun, because we can’t get enough of cars and know you’re just like us, we sit down inside the 2006 Ford Fushion, get blinded with a little bling bling, and ask the question, What Were They Thinking?!

Show Rundown
01:15 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards Best SUV – the Lincoln Navigator: Cameron Barrett, Let’s Talk Cars Host
9:20 2006 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards Best Car – the Hyundai Azera: George Peterson, founder and President of AutoPacific, and Dan Hall, AutoPacific Analyst
16:19 Ford Fusion Interior: George Peterson, founder and President of AutoPacific


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