Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Mike Hanlon

Future generations will no doubt wonder at the  carnage we have allowed to develop on our ...

It is a great irony that alcohol has been almost universally legislated into becoming man's most commonly used recreational drug, as it's also the ONLY drug that causes more harm to others than to the user. This is most evident on our roads, where even in supposedly civilized first world countries with low road tolls, alcohol still accounts for between a third and a half of all road deaths and injuries. Now France is attempting a bold solution - from July of this year, it will become law in France to have a working breathalyzer in every car on the road. Don't laugh! The world is fast running out of tolerance for the road toll and tougher laws everywhere are inevitable.  Read More

Two iconic automobiles will go under the hammer in June - a 1912 Rolls-Royce Double Pullma...

Each year the Goodwood Festival of Speed hosts an auction by Bonhams, and due to the importance of the event and the unique crowd it draws, the best come out to play. This year there are two stand-outs going under the hammer: the first is the 1912 Rolls-Royce Double Pullman Limousine (estimated GBP2,000,000/US$3,147,000) which was reproduced in the popular Corgi Classics series of widely circulated die-cast toy cars, the second being the personal 1938 Type 57C of the Ettore Bugatti, lovingly built for Le Patron by his staff.  Read More

The Ford Tourneo Custom Concept Ford's Tourneo Custom Concept will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, giving what we believe is an accurate preview of the next generation of Ford Transit people movers and commercial vehicles. The styling is based on the same "Kinetic Design language" used in the latest passenger cars, the driving experience is also fashioned more on a car than a van, and even though the rear of the eight-seater is trimmed in leather with sumptuous multi-adjustable leather seats, they can be easily removed for special purposes.  Read More

'The class-conscious brand custodians at Mini would be concerned about the Mini's brand va...

Mini will finally add a commercial variant of its iconic design at the Geneva Motor Show, creating an interesting new niche for the growing premium small car segment. Though the Clubman-based Clubvan is only a concept, we expect the unique blend of upmarket panache, go-kart handling and delivery van load-carrying capacity to fulfill pent-up demand for a premium stylish commercial vehicle and propel the concept into production. Remarkably this vehicle has a highly successful predecessor. The Morris Mini Van was replaced in the Morris commercial fleet in 1982 after half a million vehicles - when production ceased in 2000, the van accounted for nearly 10% of all Mini sales.  Read More

Peugeot 208 GTi Concept

One of the cars which originally popularized the now-burgeoning hot hatchback category, the Peugeot 205 GTi, looks set to be reprized with an all-new 208 GTi concept to be shown in Geneva next month and production seemingly inevitable. The six-speed manual 208 GTi runs a 203 bhp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, guaranteeing performance well beyond the original 205 GTi which launched in 1984 with an at-the-time amazing 104 bhp.  Read More

A slight shift in traffic composition from cars to motorcycles has been found to significa...

The answer to the world's growing urban traffic congestion may be as simple as promoting motorcycling to commuters. A Belgian study has found that even a slight modal shift from cars to motorcycles in traffic composition significantly reduces traffic congestion and emissions. When 10 percent of cars are replaced by motorcycles, total time losses for all vehicles decrease by 40 percent and total emissions reduce by 6 percent.  Read More

The top five biggest lemons in history - to this point.

When the likes of Jaguar, Porsche, Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Renault and Chrysler introduce a new model series, it is equally or more reliable than the model it replaces. Right? Wrong! New information has been released this week which indicates all of the above companies have replaced major models with less reliable models in the last decade - the worst three examples were 60%, 54% and 40% more likely to break down than their predecessor.  Read More

Once folded, the Voltitude responds to a button on the handlebar enabling you to 'walk' it...

The Voltitude fold-up electric scooter has an ingenious EasyFold system. Once folded, a special button on the handlebar enables you to "walk" it alongside you indoors, so you never raise a sweat in reaching a power outlet, which will fully replenish the battery inside four hours. The 25 kph (15.5 mph) electric assist Voltitude begins volume production in July with an on-line price expected in the vicinity of EUR4000.  Read More

There are four pre-programmed massage routines plus you can make and record your own on uP...

OSIM, better known for its advanced massage chairs, has begun selling a US$170 thumb-sized USB massager which uses Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS - the same technology you first witnessed in biology when your teacher made a dead frog's leg twitch using electrical current), to deliver a suite of specialized massage programs from your laptop. It's a pretty good fit of technologies because you can synch the massage to your computer’s music player and massage away stress, and tone up using the tapping, squeezing and kneading of the uPixie on specific muscle groups … while you are working. You can even write and store your own massage routines.  Read More

The TEEWAVE AR.1 Electric sports car

One of the highlights of the Tokyo Motor Show last month was the world debut of the TEEWAVE AR.1 Electric sports car. Commissioned by advanced materials manufacturer Toray and designed and built by Gordon Murray Design, my original story last October covered the design and Murray’s revolutionary iStream® manufacturing system, but at the Tokyo Motor Show I was able to see the AR.1 in fine detail (see in-depth (see extensive image library)). Yesterday Murray and Toray announced a technological partnership in the use of carbon fibre and other advanced materials in volume production, the development of structural thermoplastics and advanced crash structures. The two believe that in working together, they can deliver significant benefits in the areas of light-weighting, efficiency, cost, safety and sustainability.  Read More

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