Tuesday, 31 March 2009

SiTune Escort CBR900RR

Here's an interesting combo - a mkII Escort with a turbocharged CBR900RR engine...

Geely GE - definitely not a Rolls Royce Phantom

Now, what on earth's all this about? The relentless march of Chinese rip-offs brings forth the Geely GE, which is clearly supposed to be a Phantom - if the Phantom had been designed over a boozy lunch with a set square.

It has luxuriously Rolls-esque touches (wool carpet, soundproof divider, starlight headlining), and places the plutocratic owner in a lofty single throne in the back. Well, you don't need friends if you're that wealthy...

...you need a real Roller.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Tesla Model S

Tesla could be on to a winner here. Following the well-received Roadster (based on an Elise, looks a bit like an Elise), they seem to have hit on a formula that is potentially as lucrative as it is logical - move into a (comparative) growth field in the eco-motoring sphere and cobble together some recognisable visual cues to soothe the brain's worries about the unconventional drivetrain.

It was inevitable that they'd come up with a five-door, and it's quite cute that they've made it look like a Maserati Quattroporte with the grille from an Evo X, the tail-end of a Jaguar XF and the wheels from a McLaren-Mercedes SLR. These are all good things and, fortunately, they gel together pretty well. It's rather a handsome beast.

So, it's billed as the world's first mass-produced electric vehicle (there are various petty counter-arguments to this claim, but let's not dwell on cynicism) with a top speed of 120mph, a three hundred mile range and an impressive 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. The single-speed transmission from the Roadster, renowned for its eerily relentless stepless thrust, is carried over.

It's claimed that a full charge from a domestic power source will take four hours and cost approximately US$4, and for those that will be parking on the street and don't fancy the inevitable lawsuits from people deliberately tripping over their power cables, Tesla are working on a network of battery-changing stations, whereby a technician will swap your battery for a full one in the time it takes to gas up a regular car. All pretty exciting, no? You'll have to wait until 2011 to see one on the road, but it does look like a genuinely workable option. And a pretty one too.




Friday, 27 March 2009

DAFs racing backwards

This is genuinely odd. Reversing DAFs, caravan racing, crazy ramps and improbably massive crowds.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Don Allen's Buick V8-powered MGB

The collision of British and American styles really shouldn't work. British sports cars of the sixties and seventies were all about compact dimensions, light weight and wind-in-the-hair thrills, whereas the American muscle of the period was underscored by the need for the biggest engine possible and going very, very fast in a straight line.

Don Allen's MGB manages to seamlessly fuse the two disparate directions into something beautiful. The Buick V8 looks very much at home in the spotless engine bay (as well it should - the factory MGB V8 used the Rover unit whose origins lay at Buick), the wide Chevrolet steels give it a superb retro stance and the wing ports combine US brashness with UK restraint rather well. The whole package is exquisite - you can read the full spec here.




Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Roadster

In their relentless pursuit for nostalgic design, Mercedes-Benz have unveiled the F-CELL Roadster, an idea that could have come straight from Wired's Artifacts From The Future. They've gone right back to the dawn of the company (and, indeed, the motor-car itself) and taken styling cues directly from the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen. Hidden within is an ultra-modern hybrid propulsion system, with a 1.2kW electric motor powered by a fuel cell. The quadricycle will do 15mph and has a range of 218 miles (which could be rather tedious at that pace). A drive-by-wire joystick replaces the accelerator, brakes and steering wheel, so you probably actually don't want it going that fast - the potential for sneezing while driving it and jerking right into an artic is quite high. You can see that the wheels are unbraked, so this is presumably taken care of by friction in the electric drivetrain.
Why have they done this? Well, why not? It proves that it can be done. Whatever 'it' is...




Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Opel Rekord on airbags

Really interesting build thread here - to go from what we see in the first pic to what we see in the second represents a lot of effort, and the stance on those airbags and split-rims is just perfect.



Classic Ford - Capri drifting at Crail

Here's Classic Ford magazine's photographer Adrian Brannan drifting his Capri 2.0S at Crail Raceway.



I've had a few Capris, I love them to bits, and this is definitely what they're best at...

Aston Martin One-77 teaser videos

It's designed to be fast, beautiful and make a lot of noise. Everything about it screams opulence, from the personally tailored interior and bespoke suspension settings honed for each owner to the £1.2m price tag. The One-77 is, in every sense of the word, the ultimate Aston.
A unique car requires a unique approach - the all-new 7.3 V12 and the DSSV dampers all but demand it - so here's what we, as impoverished and jealous consumers, get to quell our feelings of unfulfilled want: unfettered access to the thought processes of those involved in the build. It makes for compelling viewing.





Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

There's no question that the 300SL Gullwing is one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Excellent news, then, that Mercedes-Benz have decided to reprise its core design cues and principles in the forthcoming SLS AMG.
Officially released spy photos abound, and exploded pictures of the 6.3 litre V8 titillate that part of your brain that gets excited about design - this acts as a useful precursor to the full package set to be unveiled in Frankfurt in September.
Auto Bild have mocked up the pictures below (massive watermarks on them, unfortunately) to demonstrate the awesome beauty of the SLS. You can read more about it on iMotor.




Epic parking fail

This is just a superb piece of maneouvring. A joy to behold.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Tata Nano launched

Due to be released in late '08 but delayed by protests over the land acquired to build the manufacturing plant on, the world's cheapest car is now available to the man on the Mumbai omnibus... well, to an extent anyway. Orders are expected to exceed 500,000 in the first production year, but the dedicated factory won't actually be finished for another year or so, meaning that production will be closer to 50,000 units.

Conceived to provide transport for the regularly-sighted 'family of four on a motorbike', we're yet to see whether India's already clogged infrastructure will cope with a significant-scale switch from two to four wheels. Still, £1400-odd for a new car isn't bad, is it?

Tata are also planning a 'Nano Europa' model for Western markets in 2011. It'll include much-improved safety features over the domestic model - read into that what you will.


Bike-engined cars

These look like a lot of fun - a RWD Polo with Suzuki GSX-R power and a RWD Mini with a Kawasaki ZZR1100 engine. Oversteer, flames and rasping sounds a-plenty!


Team+Sideways+Hoogeveen+Racing+Scene+Project+VW+Po

Craftsmanship

A delightful Saxo here. He's gone to the trouble of bolting six exhausts to it (and they're all connected too), but evidently can't be arsed to check his handiwork with a spirit level...
The shoddy lights and fugly bumper are woeful enough but those exhausts - I'm a little embarrassed on his behalf, poor chap. (Click image for more pics.)


Zonda defies credit crunch

£770,000. That is, apparently, what you can expect to shell out for a Zonda, even in times of tightened belts. The ClubSport F in question is the first ever to be sold at public auction - the eagle-eyed will have already spotted the Koenigsegg CCX and the Porsche Carrera GT in the background of the picture too. So not everyone's feeling the pinch then...


Nissan GTR at the Nurburgring

This clip's nine months old now, and Porsche are still yet to come up with an adequate response that doesn't sound like petulance, bless 'em.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Badge engineering

A very cool little Subaru micro truck on eBay US here.
Why he's seen fit to stick Ferrari badges all over it is anybody's guess. It's quite amusing that he's actually advertised it as a Ferrari as well. Each to their own, I suppose...



Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

World's fastest car on eBay...

...well, world's fastest production car anyway. The Ultimate Aero SSC will do 0-100-0 in 11.6 seconds, which is frankly ludicrous. Being an American car it has, of course, a V8 - it's mounted just behind your head and kicks out 1200bhp. This is no stripped-out dragster though; it features a 10-speaker audio system with DVD & sat nav as well as the all-important reversing camera. It runs on 91-93 octane fuel (so it'd presumably be a fair bit lairier on Optimax) and will hit 200mph in 5/8ths of a mile, powering on to a top speed of 257mph, which is enough to piss off your local Veyron owners. Click here to stick a bid in.


Supercharged Mustang Cobra

Hooliganish behaviour, perhaps, but muscle car burnouts are just cool. And that supercharger whine is immense...



600hp+, 0-60 in 4s, quarter mile in mid-11s... just don't ask it to go round any corners.

Gordini returns

Renault will be reviving the Gordini name within the year, top brass have announced. Providing a similar spec/tuning level to the Megane, Clio & Twingo to that offered by Cooper to Mini or Abarth to Fiat, it will sit just below RenaultSport in the range. Think of them as warm rather than hot, but if these shots of the Gordini Megane Coupe are anything to go by, the aesthetics should be enough to shift units to those folk who want a spicy Renault but can't live with the hardcore nature of the RenaultSport range.
Will you ultimately be able to buy a RenaultSport Megane with the Gordini paint, stripes, body addenda and wheels? We can only hope...


Monday, 16 March 2009

Top Gear - Nissan GTR

Everything about the new Godzilla is just phenomenal - here's a reminder of what TG made of it. (And how it broke Clarkson...)

Friday, 13 March 2009

Audi R8 GT3

Ready for the Nurburgring 24hr and numerous European GT3 championships, the R8 GT3 has broken cover as a race-ready customer car. Cost is €250,000 - or €500,000 with full factory team support - for which you get 500bhp+, a six-speed sequential 'box, enormous weight savings and rear-wheel drive (the Quattro system being prohibited by GT3 regulations). Unfortunately it isn't road legal, so you'll just have to use your regular R8 for the weekly shop.

Pontiac pissing off purists

It's not uncommon to find a hardcore off-roader with an outlandish or unexpected body - see here, for example. But how about taking a Pontiac Firebird and, rather than going the conventional route of dropping the body onto a 4x4 chassis, converting the existing subframe to make an impressive rockhopper? It infuriates the purists too, as it's an original Formula 400 Firebird. Click here for more.



Private Ford collection

This is a very lucky boy's collection. He's got the last Sapphire Cosworth to roll off the production line, Princess Diana's Series 1 RS Turbo, an RS1600i, an RS2000, an RS500... all beautifully pristine. Click here for more.






And as a little bonus, someone in that thread links to this Irish collection of superb mkIIs. Jealous much?



Thursday, 12 March 2009

Escortosis

I want all of these. Every single one.

Asymmetric woodie

Remember this Volvo? Well, check out this superb E30 woodie. Your eyes don't deceive you - there's one door on one side and two on the other. A bit odd, but very charming.


Friday, 6 March 2009

Koenigsegg Quant

They're relatively new to the supercar game, but Koenigsegg have built a strong reputation on three fundamental principles: staggering performance, sumptuous quality and lateral thinking. It's the latter that led to the CCXR, a car the company dubbed 'the first green supercar', being significantly more powerful when run on bioethanol than pump fuel.

Their latest unveiling at Geneva takes the eco-performance angle a stage further. The Quant is all-electric and uses FAES (Flow Accumulator Energy Storage) technology in place of traditional batteries which, Koenigsegg claim, can be given a full charge in just 15 minutes. If the system proves to reliable, it will represent the most significant advance in real-world electric vehicles to date. The Quant also features photovoltaic paint for additional energy generation, meaning that the 310-mile range will increase when the sun's shining.

It's a passenger-centric four-seater, featuring two scissor-doors that cleverly have two separate side windows in each, 3-zone climate control and three video screens. However, it's no boulevard cruiser - a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds is claimed, while top speed is an impressive 170mph+.

Much like the CC8/CCR/CCX that preceded it, Quant demonstrates a raft of new ideas that, far from pipe-dreams, are genuinely applicable at production level. Offering performance, practicality and eco-friendliness, they somehow make a catch-all solution look so simple...




Ross Brawn saves Honda F1

The Honda Racing F1 team has been sold outright to Ross Brawn - ex-Technical Director of Ferrari through the Schumacher years and incumbent Team Principal at Honda. The team will race under the name of Brawn GP; Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are to be retained as drivers, beginning testing at Silverstone this week.

Yet another reason why this year's F1 should be the best for years... Brawn GP will undoubtedly be out for Ferrari's blood. With the new rules in place, there's a lot of prestige and respect up for grabs on an increasingly level playing field. Look out for the first race of the season in Melbourne at the end of the month.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

BTCC - Silverstone 1992

There are countless examples of what makes the BTCC great, but none more exhilarating than the 1992 season finale at Silverstone.

Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce

Just when you thought the Murcielago couldn't get any more astonishing, Lamborghini unveil this monster at the Geneva Motor Show. Swathed in Reventon-esque juts, jags and hexagons, there's extensive use of carbonfibre in the name of weight-saving, an impressive 670bhp (as the name suggests) and a big-ass rear wing. 0-60? That'll take 3.2 seconds. Top speed? 212mph. Price? $300k+. And they're only making 350 of them.

The official Lambo blurb reads thus:
From the rumble of a stormy night through the trumpeting of mighty elephants to the roar of a raging lion, the SuperVeloce performs the grand opera for 12 cylinders, 48 valves and 8,000 revs.

Cheesy sentiment, but there's nothing un-serious about the SuperVeloce, particularly in this colour scheme which makes look like a huge fucking wasp. It's a glorious revival of the SV badge and it's more than a little scary.



Rolls Royce dragster

This 1970 Silver Shadow has a blown Hemi and spits out a raging 1350hp - it's also the classiest and most refined dragster you've ever seen. Well, it is a Rolls...



...and just listen to the obscene sound it makes! Glorious.

2CV craftsmanship

Love or hate the 2CV, you can't deny its cultural significance. But who'd have thought you could turn one into a hot rod?
This thing is, quite simply, a work of art.






Got 2CV fever? Click here for plenty more...

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Monday, 2 March 2009

Dirty Car Art

We can't all fastidiously wash our cars all the time - unless you're this guy - but a dusty rear will always be susceptible to the moronic dawbings of passing scallywags ('I wish my wife was this dirty', 'also available in white', blah blah whatever). Thanks to the likes of Scott Wade, however, we no longer need to bother washing our cars. Just let the dust build up and wait for something like this to happen...






Click here for more info.

Well, it's a little classier than this anonymous offering anyway:

Slumbering Vette

It's always sad to witness the demise of a desirable car. This split-window Corvette appeared on Google StreetView, and apparently the owner is more than happy to let it rot rather than sell it to a multitude of folk who'd love to save it. Great shame.