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Fourth Peugeot Design Competition - remarkable source of automotive ideas

January 2, 2007 The Peugeot design competition looks set to become one of the most important such competitions in the world. Now in it’s fourth year, the latest competition is now in the voting phase, with internet users being asked to vote on the thirty selected projects prior to January 23 to determine the 10 finalists. As with previous winners such as the Moonster (2001 winner), 4002 (2003) and the incredibly popular Moovie which won the 2005 competition, Peugeot will reward the winner by building a full size version of the car to be shown at the Frankfurt 2007 Motor Show and everyone will be able to drive the car virtually as it will be incorporated into an XBox 360 game. For example, here's the story that the Moovie had won the competition, and here's the story and image gallery of the finished working model. This year the theme for the contest was “P.L.E.A.S.E. Innovate” with the acronym standing for Pleasurable (to drive), Lively, Efficient, Accessible, Simple and Ecological. With the internet being used to make the entry into the competition more accessible, a record 4,000 entries from 113 countries were received this year, pushing the standard of the final 30 to a new high. We won’t bias the judging by saying what we voted for, but we’ve picked our top ten and they are all interesting an inspiring in their own right. The contest is well worth a look for motoring aficionados.  Read More

Lincoln MKR Concept

January 2, 2007 Lincoln is pulling the wraps off a new concept car at the North American International Auto Show next week, signaling its design strategy for the next-generation of premium American vehicles and launching a new engine family. The Lincoln MKR concept introduces the company’s new “elegant simplicity” design language on a four-door coupe that also features environmentally friendly amenities and fuel-saving technology, including its TwinForce engine. The concept’s 3.5-liter gasoline twin-turbocharged direct-injection V-6 performs comparably or better than V-8 engines, delivering 415 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque on renewable E-85 ethanol.  Read More

Ford Interceptor:  four-door muscle car based on a sixties sedan shape

January 1, 2007 Building on its muscle car legacy, Ford is introducing an all-American sedan concept that combines “Built Ford Tough” attitude with the sporty elegance of its iconic 1960s sedans. The Interceptor has a manual six-speed gearbox mated to the 5.0-litre V-8 Cammer engine that won the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship in its first year of competition, though it has now been modified to run on E-85 ethanol and produces 400 bhp. The Interceptor also incorporates Ford’s patented four-point “belt and suspenders” design in the front and rear seats. In addition, inflatable safety belts are included for rear seat passengers.  Read More

Rolls-Royce to unveil Phantom Drophead Coupe

December 31, 2006 Rolls-Royce is set to unveil its new Phantom Drophead Coupe at the Detroit Motor Show on Sunday 7 January. Production of the new two-door, four-seat convertible will start at Goodwood on the South Coast of England in Q2 of 2007 where it will be hand built alongside the Phantom. The less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design employs the lightweight rigidity of an all-aluminium spaceframe, married to a sleek, streamlined convertible body and will be priced roughly equivalent to the UKP260,500 Phantom Extended Wheelbase.  Read More

Retractable hardtop for new BMW 3 Series Convertible

December 30, 2006 Retractable hardtops are fast becoming part of every major automotive range – having the option to turn your sensible and quiet sedan into an open-top sports car at the press of a button might turn out to be an appealing functionality capable of growing a sizeable share of the market. The latest recipient of this capability is BMW’s fourth generation open four-seater 3 Series Convertible which will be shown to the public for the first time at the 100th North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit on 7 January 2007. The new retractable hardtop closes in 23 seconds and closes in 22, offering open top motoring in the summer months and interior comfort in inclement weather and at high speeds. Boasting an advanced chassis and body with torsional stiffness exceeding any previous BMW Convertible, the range-topping 335i Convertible is powered by an all-aluminium 3.0-litre straight-six with twin-turbos and direct gasoline injection, giving it a maximum output of 225 kW/306 hp (300 hp in the USA).  Read More

Mercedes-Benz Concept Ocean Drive design study

December 21, 2006 Mercedes-Benz will be showing its new Concept Ocean Drive four-door convertible design study at the NAIAS in January. The one-off creation is built in the tradition of large luxury convertibles, and is based on the twelve-cylinder Mercedes-Benz S 600. One of the technical highlights of the car is an AIRSCARF neck-level heating system, which is featured on all four seats, allowing occupants to enjoy top-down motoring even in the colder months of the year. Few details have been released beyond the images, and the design brief that the car should be the world's most comfortable and elegant convertible.  Read More

No more foggy windscreens

December 19, 2006
No more foggy windscreens

December 20, 2006 On cold winter mornings, car drivers often encounter moisture precipitating on the inside of the windscreen. This happens when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cold surface. At a particular temperature, known as the dew point, the moisture in the air condenses and forms a layer on the colder surface; irrespective of whether this is a glass containing a cold drink, the bathroom mirror after a shower, or the windshield of a cold car. Cold air is not able to contain as much moisture as warm air and this fact is much more noticeable in small spaces. Condensation can be prevented by increasing the volume of air (opening the windows), by heating the whole of the vehicle’s interior, or by heating at least the windshield to a temperature above the dew point. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Technology Development Group TEG in Stuttgart favour a third option. His new process warms up the windscreen – though not with costly copper heating elements, but instead with a transparent coat of carbon nano tubes (CNT).  Read More

EFIJY Concept to make North American Show Debut

December 20, 2006 Australia’s General Motors subsidiary Holden had a worldwide hit with its one-off 21st Century hot rod, EFIJY, at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney in October 2005, making news everywhere cars were the topic and a lot of places they weren’t. Remarkably, the acclaimed concept car will be shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month – the first time it has been seen outside Australia. EFIJY is a contemporary reincarnation of an iconic Australian-made 1953 Holden FJ sedan, restyled as a low-slung hot rod with a supercharged six-litre V8 engine. The car has been featured in magazines, websites and television programs around the world. Its most critical acclaim came from the United States when it was named Hot Rod of the Year by the influential Hot Rod magazine.  Read More

Spray-on ceramic coating dramatically reduces external temperatures

December 19, 2006 A high-technology ceramic coating originally developed for the nuclear industry and already used by five Formula One teams is now available for automotive applications. Applied to the exhaust manifold using a high-temperature plasma spray, the Zircotec coating greatly reduces the release of heat, helping to protect the finish of the manifold, the engine and other components in the engine bay. The coating can also be applied to turbo housings, cam covers, heat shields and other metal components. Testing by race teams has shown a reduction in under-bonnet temperature of up to 25ºC and power improvements, from the lower air induction temperatures, of up to six percent. One motorcycle racing team that employed the system used a laser-guided thermometer and found that while the exhaust can have an internal temperature of around 150 degrees Centigrade, the outside temperate can be low enough for the exhaust pipe to be removed WITHOUT using gloves.  Read More

Original Dodge Firearrow concepts to be auctioned

December 19, 2006 The only two Dodge Firearrow convertible s in the world will be going under the hammer in mid-January, giving someone a unique opportunity to own a piece of history. In an effort to create consumer excitement during 1953 and 1954, Chrysler produced four cars under the Dodge nameplate, naming them Firearrows. Each penned by Virgil Exner, the dream cars were built in a series from Firearrow I to Firearrow IV. Barrett-Jackson will feature the Firearrow II and IV models, representing the instrumental progression of the classic concept vehicle. This reprint from Special Interest Autos has the full story on the Firearrows and how they eventually went into very limited production as America's first four passenger sports car, the Dual Ghia. In their day, they were very sought after, with owners including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Debbie Reynolds and big band leader Hoagy Carmichael. One of the original four Firearrows was used by stuntperson and model Betty Skelton to set a Women’s Closed-Course World Speed Record of 143.44 mph in 1954, so you can rest assured that the Firearrows won't get left behind at the traffic lights.  Read More

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