Auto News Briefly

GM hangs new shingle in Motown

General Motors made another mark on Detroit last week - a big one. The first of three 25-foot-by-25-foot lighted logos was installed atop its global headquarters on the 740-foot Renaissance Center, GM's home since 1997. Two others will be installed by year end. The signs are part of a multiyear $500 million renovation to the RenCen.

COMIC RELIEF - How bad are relations between the Chrysler group and its suppliers? According to one supplier executive, "The joke around Chrysler is that they're going to bring Lopez to Chrysler to improve their relationship with suppliers." That would be Inaki Lopez, the hard-nosed former purchasing chief at General Motors.

TORPEDOED - A small piece of automotive history came crashing down recently in Ypsilanti, Mich., 20 miles west of Detroit. The old wooden barn where Preston Tucker drew up plans and then built the first Tucker Torpedo in the late 1940s was bulldozed. A nearby metal plating company bought the land and is paving it over for a parking lot. Tucker's house, which was featured in the 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and his Dream, still stands but is in disrepair. About 50 Tuckers were made before the venture failed.

NEW WHEELS FOR 007 - Aston Martin has won James Bond back from BMW. Britain's secret agent 007 will drive the V12 Vanquish in Bond 20, to be released at the end of next year. Bond has driven a BMW since 1995, although an Aston Martin DB5 did make an appearance in that year's Goldeneye. Aston Martins have been in five Bond films, starting with Goldfinger in 1964. The V12 Vanquish will be available in the United States next month for $228,000. Bond's version, of course, will cost much more, once the ejector seats, rockets and machine guns are installed.

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