Mailbag Questions Answered

Story by Benjamin Greene

Originally published by Dupont Registry: http://www.dupontregistry.com/autos/blog/post/2008/12/31/Ask-the-dR.aspx

We have received a couple e-mails inquiries recently. We decided to share them with our readers. 

Pat wrote us about a “Chevy something” he spotted in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Mystified by his find, he wrote us to help figure it out.


We concluded that it must be a Chevy Captiva, which is sold in Europe. The Captiva, which went on sale overseas in 2006, can seat up to 7 passengers and has an optional 2.0-liter diesel engine making 150 hp and 236 lbs-ft of torque. The Captiva is designed to compete with other compact SUVs, like the Honda CRV. 

Chevy Captiva Spotted

David wrote us to find out the differences between the 2007 and 2009 Aston Martin DB9 Volante. 

The differences are actually too many to list. Luckily, an Aston Martin press release goes over all the revisions for the 2008 calendar year:

The 2008 Aston Martin DB9 includes significant enhancements to standard specification. These changes include a revised version of Aston Martin’s 6.0 liter V-12 engine to deliver improved power and torque. Peak power of 470 hp – increased by 20 hp 
– is now reached at 6,000rpm, resulting in a power to weight ratio of 267 hp per metric ton (2,204 lbs.) – an increase of 11 hp per metric ton over the existing DB9. 

Peak torque of 443 lbs.-ft. is delivered at 5,000rpm, providing even more accessible power for the driver, as well a greater performance feel overall. Accordingly, top speed is now 190 mph and the benchmark 0-60mph time improves by 0.3 seconds for the Touchtronic transmission – which benefits from a new valve box and integrated transmission controls to achieve quicker gear shifts – to 4.6 seconds and by 0.1 seconds to 4.6 seconds for the manual gearbox.

The latest DB9 also incorporates a series of chassis developments for both the Coupe and Volante derivates. Bilstein dampers are introduced in addition to revised upper suspension arms and retuned suspension bushes to deliver improved ride quality; aiding greater refinement in the Volante and an enhanced sporting feel in the Coupe. The DB9 Volante also benefits from revisions to the front shear panel which increases torsional rigidity by 10 percent, further improving refinement.

The DB9 manages to combine all facets of style, quality, and usability of a traditional Aston Martin without relying on retrospective detail or design. Accordingly, styling changes to the revised DB9 are subtle, reflecting the car’s timeless design and understated elegance.

Exterior styling changes include the introduction of a new standard 19’’ 10-spoke alloy wheel, new door mirrors and a revised anodised aluminium five-bar grille. In the cabin changes include a new centre console constructed from die cast zinc with a painted iridium silver finish and the introduction of a new Emotion Control Unit (ECU) – first seen on the DBS in 2007. The ECU – constructed from glass, polished stainless steel and polycarbonate - replaces the key used previously for the DB9.

Deliveries of the updated DB9 begin during quarter two of 2008.

Aston Martin - Changes for 2008


Curtis wrote us to inquiry about who currently produces the Maybach automobile. It was his understanding that the Maybach was first manufactured by Rolls-Royce, but had since switched hands to Mercedes-Benz. 

Maybach has actually always been tied to Mercedes-Benz. Wilhelm Maybach designed the first car to wear a Mercedes badge in 1901. After leaving Mercedes in 1907, Wilhelm and his son Karl crafted their first Maybach in 1919. Maybach stopped making cars, and focused on engines for military, marine, and rail purposes in 1941.

Mercedes-Benz resurrected the Maybach name in 1997 with the Mercedes-Benz Maybach concept. It later decided to market the car as its own standalone ultra-luxury brand to compete against Rolls-Royce and Bentley
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