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Automotive

New smart fortwo better in every way

UPDATED IMAGE LIBRARY November 12, 2006 The new smart fortwo has finally arrived: what began with the idealistic vision of a hybrid engined, cheap-to-manufacture, economical two seater with a low environmental footprint by Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek in the early nineties, has finally seen its second edition. It’s our bet that Hayek will be judged as visionary, albeit naive, a century from now, as the automotive industry is a fraught with danger for the inexperienced, and by the time the car found a permanent home in the form of Daimler Chrysler, it was most of the things originally envisaged but cheap. As luck would have it, all of those strengths are becoming more important by the day, and the high tech, high cost intelligent decisions made a decade ago by a fledgling car company have now been reworked by masters of the art and the second generation smart fortwo is improved in every way. The smart fortwo coupe and smart fortwo cabrio were unveiled to more than 550 international journalists yesterday evening in Stuttgart for the very first time. The location was unusual, but nonetheless very fitting for the smart fortwo: in the middle of the city, on the roof of a multi-storey car park. In addition, there were presentations on comfort, agility, safety and environmental friendliness. After all, the new smart fortwo can do everything that its predecessor can do – but even better. This means that the new smart fortwo, despite looking almost identical to the untrained eye, is even more comfortable, even more agile, even safer and even more environmentally friendly than its predecessor.  Read More

The 1000 bhp Bristol Fighter T

November 9, 2006 In 1946, the Bristol Aeroplane Company, one of the world's most successful aviation manufacturers diversified into car manufacture. In 1960 it was persuaded to join with others to form the British Aircraft Corporation (later British Aerospace, and now BAE Systems), becoming a significant part of one of the most innovative companies on the planet. At that time the car division (Bristol Cars Ltd) passed into private hands and has continued building exclusive and exquisite luxury automobiles ever since. It does not have ANY dealers – if you wish to buy one, you must deal directly with the factory. The marque’s most recent design, the Bristol Fighter, was named after one of its successful WWII aircraft, and comes with a purpose-built 8-litre V-10 engine producing 525 bhp,comfort for a driver over 200cm tall, and room to do some intercontinental touring without having to scrimp on the luggage. Surprisingly, the company’s elite clientele began requesting more horsepower, so it produced a 660 bhp version – the Fighter S. The frightfully fast Fighter S kept them happy for a while, but the requests for even more horsepower kept coming. So, ladies and gentlemen, may we present the twin turbocharged, intercooled UKP351,931 (US$670,000)Bristol Fighter T producing 1012 bhp at 5600 rpm and 1036 lb.ft of torque at 4500 rpm. That ought to keep the blighters quiet for a while!  Read More

Jay Leno’s Turbine-Powered EcoJet Concept

IMAGE LIBRARY UPDATED November 8, 2006 What would keep a group of automotive designers up all night? "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, for starters, but not by his monologue or parade of Hollywood guests. This time it's because the late-night talk show host invited the General Motors Advanced Design Studio to help design a mid-engine, turbine-powered supercar called EcoJet. Leno and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the car yesterday at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. The 650-horsepower (400 lb.-ft. of torque) Leno original is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine that runs on bio-diesel fuel. The engine sits in a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. The vehicle's shell is an advanced construction of carbon fiber over Kevlar.  Read More

Rhino RTV now accessorized for work too

November 5, 2006 Somewhere between a monster truck and a lightweight high-spec, space-framed racing 4x4 with a liberal helping of mountain goat thrown in is the Rhino, which is not to be confused with the world’s toughest bus, the Rhino Runner. The Honda-powered 2.0 litre Rhino is a product of the deserts of Nevada and has evolved such remarkable go-anywhere capabilities that the company is now offering a fully accessorized “Search and Rescue” RTV, which was unveiled at the 2006 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last week. The Rhino RTV is a new type of off-road vehicle that with the addition of purpose-oriented accessories, offers unique capabilities to law enforcement agencies, park services, ranchers, and other businesses working in outdoor, off-highway environments. Though at heart we suspect it will always remain a primarily recreational vehicle for the adventurous at heart, add on equipment racks, trailers, winches, GPS systems, emergency lights, radios and canvas tops and the RTV can be transformed into workhorse utility vehicle.  Read More

Carroll Shelby’s Personal Dual Supercharged 800 BHP Cobra

UPDATED November 5, 2006 The name Carroll Shelby is universally known for his remarkable road and racing cars, so when his personal car comes up for sale, it’s worth taking notice. In 1966, Shelby plucked this vehicle from a line of 19 production Competition Cobras and molded it into one of the most impressive automobiles ever built. It has a monstrous 427cid, 800hp twin Paxton supercharged V8 with a super three-speed automatic transmission. “When I built this dual supercharged 427 Cobra in 1966, I wanted it to be the fastest, meanest car on the road,” said Shelby. “Forty years later, it will still kick the tail of just about anything in the world. It’s the fastest street legal Cobra I’ve ever owned.” For those interested in the history of the vehicle, check out this web page with lots of detailed (if somewhat faded) images of the restoration.  Read More

Honda’s 500bhp Element-D (for Drifting)

November 1, 2006 The Honda Element-D ("D" for drifting) racecar shows what can happen when enthusiastic Honda associates raid the company parts bin. It's not all that long ago that racecar meant something with low frontal area and aerodynamic efficiency, but in the new sport of drifting, being as aerodynamic as a brick is an advantage. Built for the racing sport of drifting, the Honda Element-D racecar replaces the stock 4-cylinder/Real Time 4WD drivetrain with a custom-designed and longitudinally-mounted 3.2-liter Honda V6 and rear-wheel-drive. Producing 500-horsepower, the lightweight twin-turbocharged powerhouse is guaranteed to light up the rear tires and accelerate sideways at full opposite lock. Associates from Honda R&D Americas in Ohio plan to campaign the Element-D in the 2007 Formula Drift Series.  Read More

Futuristic Nanospyder Concept (psst - it’s a Volkswagen)

November 1, 2006 A team of highly creative Volkswagen designers based in California have unveiled their own unique take on the future of modern transportation. The result is the Volkswagen Nanospyder. Futuristic nanotechnology supported by hydrogen fuel cells, solar power, wheel-mounted electric motors and inflatable organic body panels combine to form the unusual shape of the two-seater concept.  Read More

Outrageous 650 bhp C6 Corvette with 5600 watt sound system

October 31, 2006 There’s no place quite like the SEMA Show 2006 in Las Vegas to see outrageous automobiles and the Outrageous C6 Corvette is appropriately being debuted there. Designed as a showcase for Custom Shop, Mid America Motorworks and Sony, the supercharged, fibreglass beastie features a custom interior of Ostrich leather and Alcantara suede, vertical doors, 650 horsepower (478 kW), and 5600 watts (5.6 kW) of Sony electronics.  Read More

Steam Car Challenge targets century-old speed record

October 31, 2006 In an environment where world’s best practice in any human endeavour is expected to last only a few years, it seems ludicrous that a land speed record could survive for a century but that’s the case with the world steam-powered land speed record. A century ago, when the global automotive industry was in its infancy, the internal combustion engine was by no means the only contender as the power source for the personal transportation revolution – electricity and steam were also viable contenders in the first few decades. Indeed, the steam-powered Locomobile was the world's first successful automobile and a machine based on the famous Stanley Steamer automobile attracted global attention on January 27, 1906 when it smashed the outright world speed record of 109 mph setting a new record of 121.57 mph. Now a British team, the British Steam Car Challenge, is preparing to push the World Land Speed Steam-powered Record past 200mph. The car is powered by a 300 bhp Curtis steam turbine and the team is now completing the high-tech boilers for the car, named Inspiration. The boilers will generate a formidable four megawatts of energy – almost enough to power a small town for a day.  Read More

Nokia launches dedicated car navigation device

October 31, 2006 Global mobile phone company Nokia has announced its first dedicated personal navigation device. The Nokia 330 Auto Navigation will initially be launched in Europe and offers both spoken and visual directions. The Nokia 330 Auto Navigation contains a 2GB memory card for the preinstalled Europe-wide map data, switchable 2D/3D and day or night view on a 3.5 inch color touch screen, and the ability to request a repeat of the last instruction. Expected to be available before the end of the year at an estimated retail price of EUR 360, the 330 also includes a music player, photo viewer and video player.  Read More

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