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Cars n' Stars: How to Name Year 2000 Models, Coulthard Dumps On Schumacher, Neat New Cars.

28 April 1998

For some time there has been speculation in the auto making creative
community as to just how the car companies are going to "model year
identify" the cars coming in 2000. A 2000 Lexus or 2000 Taurus LX sounds
like a reference to motor size or cubic centimeters, or something.  Just
doesn't ring the same way as 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier. Now, we think
Lincoln may have solved this dilemma by putting the 2000 (year) behind
the model name as in Lincoln LS 2000. It debuts to the press next week
at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

In F-1 activity David Coulthard, McLaren driver, leveled a blast at former
World Champion Michael Schumacher last week, as he referred to their
banging incident in Argentina. David said, "Formula One bosses should
stamp out the win-at-all-costs attitude of Schumacher before someone
gets hurt."  The F-1 kiddies are getting ready for this weekends San
Marino race at Imola, and Schumacher says he is confident they finally
have his Ferrari dialed in and that tyres will be important.  Jacques
Villenueve has been testing at Jerez, Spain, and said that a major
modification has been made to his car and it is now about at its limit.

In Toyota Atlantic activity, Anthony Lazzaro hit the wall at Nazareth in
his MCI sponsored car, and team owner Cal Wells has withdrawn the entry
until they can find out more about what failed on the race car.

Features on some newer 1998 vehicles:

Audi A4 Avant is powered by a 2.8 liter V6 200 hp motor with 30 valves
and has a five speed automatic Tiptronic gearbox available.  It has
all-wheel drive, ABS, 15 inch alloy wheels, 12 way power front seats
and a sunroof.

This sleek looking wagon seats five and has 63.7 cu.ft of cargo space
with the rear seat folded. What's most noticeable on this line of cars,
which has long been noted for their conservative approach to exterior
styling cues, is the range of "far-out" new colors such as: Melange
metallic, Santorin Blue Mica and Hibiscus Red Mica. Audi's have a three
year, 50,000 mile warranty.MSRP is $32,000.

The 1998 Ford Mustang Convertible doesn't seem to have changed much
outwardly and we have to give Ford gold stars for not referring to the
unchanged '98 press materials as... "all new makeover for the
Mustang," etc

True they have upgraded a few things such as adding polished aluminum
wheels and a premium sound system. The standard mill is a 3.8 liter V6
with 150 hp and the GT model gets a V8 225 hp 4.6 liter motor. The car
finally gets cup holders and a Securi-lock security system that boast
72 million-billion possible codes. That's to keep the bad guys
busy. The convert has four-wheel disc brakes, EZ opening electric
top..two snaps and it's locked. The EPA for the V6 five speed
manual AND the automatic are identical. 20 city. 30 highway. The V6
stickers at $22,000.

Isuzu Trooper for 1998 is more powerful . . . 13 more hp than last year with
its  V6, 213.2ci aluminum motor. The Asian automaker is proud of the new
engine as it is virtually bullet proof and sports platinum spark plugs
with a life of 100,000 miles.

The other high point for the new Isuzu Trooper is its Borg Warner
torque on demand drive system.  The TOD system allows shift-on-the-fly
and will be a boon to genuine, dyed in the wool, for real, off
roaders, whoever you are.

Though the Trooper is and always has been "truck-like," it does sport
creature comforts such as power steering, cruise control, six-speaker
stereo system and electric defoggers,rear foot rests. On the outside
and at the rear it is shades of cars of the 1930s with side (fender)
mounted spare tires as the new Trooper has hard spare tire cover,
color keyed to the vehicles body color mounted on the rear door. And
it looks real George ! MSRP for the 1998 Isuzu Trooper is $26,550 and
EPA is a not too impressive 16-19 mpg.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel