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Painting a metallic masterpeice - the extraordinary Faralli & Mazzanti Antas V8

April 20, 2006 Each year at the money-is-no-object end of the automotive market is the Top Marques exhibition held in Monte Carlo in April. The audience is focussed and ridiculously wealthy and the exhibitors are exclusively companies producing fine automobiles for those with stratospheric budgets and it’s just the place to see workmanship of the calibre of Bugatti, Koenigsegg, et al, all in the one place. Each year the number and excellence of the world's most exclusive automobiles grows and this year sees the coming out of something a bit special. The Antas V8 will undoubtedly be the talking point of this year’s show which opens today. The Antas is the work of Italian classic car restoration company Faralli & Mazzanti, though we expect the reaction to the prototype Antas V8 work to see the company forced into producing a lot more of these extraordinarily beautiful and lovingly handcrafted masterpieces. This is the first “berlinetta” to be born in the Faralli & Mazzanti workshop, and it’s totally inspired by the materials and philosophy that created the great special-bodied Italian cars of the past. The body of the car is entirely hand-crafted from aluminium, the engine a carburettored Maserati V8 engine. On delivery, the Antas comes equipped with a case covered in blue velvet bearing a silver plate with the identification numbers along with a book and DVD documenting the construction of your vehicle.  Read More

The Caterham Superlight 400 - 210 bhp, 525 kg, US$48,000

April 19, 2006 Caterham has revealed details of its latest racing-bred road car, the Superlight R400. The heart of the minimalist sportscar is a new Cosworth-developed 2.0-litre powerplant that is mated, for the first time, to the legendary de Dion chassis. Delivering an explosive 210bhp at 7600rpm, the engine is pushing a car weighing just 525kg, offering a massive 400bhp per tonne for truly amazing performance. With near-telepathic steering, muscular power delivery, and epic cornering ability, the R400 is a superlative car for the keen driver and capable of effortlessly sprinting out of the blocks to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. The bonus is the price, which is cheaper than the previous model at UKP 29,495 (US$52,600) or you can build it yourself for UKP 26,995 (US$48,100)  Read More

The trophies

April 18, 2006 The World Car of the Year Awards were announced over the weekend at the New York International Auto Show with the BMW 3-Series awarded the 2006 World Car of the Year, the Citroen C4 declared the World Car Design of the Year for 2006, the Porsche Cayman S taking out the 2006 World Performance Car title and the Honda Civic Hybrid scoring the title of World Green Car for 2006. The awards are the most prestigious of all automotive awards because the program is initiated by, organized by, and conducted by, automotive journalists from around the globe. Final voting on a variety of parameters is done by a jury of 46 international automotive journalists with voting tabulated by KPMG. Read on to see the details and the top three placegetters in each category.  Read More

Monster Tajima smashes Race To The Sky record in his 1000 horespower Suzuki Escudo

April 17, 2006 It’s not surprising that Japan’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima won the ‘Race to the Sky’ hillclimb last Sunday, one of the great hill climbs on the international calendar. Monster has now won the Silverstone ‘Race to the Sky’ seven times in his 1000 horsepower Suzuki so he’s getting to know the 14.5km course near Queenstown pretty well. Just the same, he exceeded all expectations when he smashed his own record set in 2003 by nine seconds, to win the title for the seventh time clocking 8. 01.17. Monster’s Suzuki Escudo is almost as legendary as he is, producing 981 bhp at 8100 rpm and 95kg-m of torque at 6500 rpm from the twin-turbo 2.7 litre V6. The most amazing thing though, is the space-frame car with carbon fibre and Kevlar bodywork which weighs just 1020kg fueled up with Nobuhiro strapped in.  Read More

Nissan GT-R to sell in North America

April 15, 2006 Nissan has announced the next generation of its iconic Japanese-only GT-R performance car will be available in North America as a Nissan model, consistent with its global branding. The GT-R, which previewed in concept form as the GT-R PROTO (see extensive image library here), has not previously been offered for sale in North America. The production GT-R will debut at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. It is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in Fall 2007, followed by the U.S. and Canada in Spring 2008. More details on the GT-R launch will be available at a later date but inside we have all the details of the GT-R PROTO first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2001.  Read More

FHI unveils an Intelligent Driving Enhancement System

April 14, 2006 Japanese industrial heavyweight Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, today announced the development of its SI-DRIVE (Subaru Intelligent Drive), an innovative driving enhancement system that provides optimal control of the powertrain unit and delivers driving pleasure under various traffic and road conditions. The company displayed a Legacy sedan 2.5GT equipped with the new system, at the New York International Automobile Show. The SI-DRIVE enables three distinctively different modes of engine power characteristics by regulating the engine control unit (ECU) as well as the transmission control unit (TCU) in the automatic transmission, and by fine-tuning the electronically controlled throttle. Intelligent mode ensures smooth, strong power output, yet facilitates city driving at low- to mid-speed range and contributes to greater fuel economy. The Sport mode is designed to deliver ideal power, faithful to the driver’s acceleration, and heightens enjoyable, sporty driving under a wide range of road conditions. The Sport Sharp mode further elevates sporty driving by accurately responding to the driver’s acceleration and boosting engine revolutions earlier than the Sport mode for a more powerful driving experience. The SI-DRIVE selector will be installed on the center console for the driver to choose from these three modes, which bring out very different driving experiences while driving the same car.  Read More

Caparo two seater road-track prototype - 500 kg, 500 bhp

April 14, 2006 The first ever Caparo T1, the world’s most exclusive prototype high performance road and track car, will premiere at the world’s most prestigious motoring event: the Top Marques show in Monaco. The dramatic 1,000bhp-per-tonne T1, which defines an entirely new breed of supercar that is lighter than a Caterham but with twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron, will be unveiled at the show by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. The ultra lightweight T1, which weighs less than 500kg, is a British designed 2-seater which has been developed using aerospace and high formula racing technology. The compact Caparo V8 engine develops approximately 500bhp and the resultant 1,000bhp-per-tonne power-to-weight ratio endows the T1 with an extraordinary 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds, 0-100mph time of 5 seconds and 0-100-0mph time of less than 10 seconds making it the world’s fastest accelerating and braking road car. It is also fast round corners with 3g braking and cornering ability equivalent to a Le Mans Prototype.  Read More

Lexus to release V8 hybrid limousine

April 13, 2006 Lexus unveiled the 2008 LS 600h L hybrid luxury sedan today at the 2006 New York International Automobile Show. Scheduled to arrive in Spring 2007, the all-wheel-drive LS 600h L is the first vehicle to feature a full hybrid V8 powertrain. The hybrid-drive system combines a new 5.0 litre V8 engine with large, high-output electric motors and a large-capacity battery pack. This combination will provide the LS 600h L with an unmatched balance of environmental efficiency and performance, furnishing the hybrid with a peak combined output rating of more than 430 horsepower. To distribute this immense power, a new full-time all-wheel-drive system is utilized for superior handling control. The LS 600h L also employs a newly developed dual-stage electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission. This combination results in impressive power and seamless acceleration.  Read More

FUSE Sports Coupe Concept

April 13, 2006 - Scion, a brand of Toyota Motor Sales unveiled the all-new FUSE Sports Coupe Concept vehicle at a press conference today at the 2006 New York Auto International Show.FUSE was designed to be the new Scion sports coupe icon. Its goal was to push the limits of a coupe concept by combining entertainment, digital technology, and versatility into one sinister looking package. Most importantly, its styling makes a visual statement about its intention to expand the performance envelope among affordable, entry-level sport coupes.  Read More

Top down at 190mph - the Bentley Continental GTC

April 12, 2006 When the stunning Bentley Continental GTC, luxury 2+2 convertible goes on sale later this year it will complete the Bentley Continental model range, following the introduction of the highly successful Continental GT in 2003 and four-door Continental Flying Spur in 2005. With a top speed of 195mph (312km/h), a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, state-of-the-art 12-cylinder engine, advanced air suspension and ultra-stiff body structure, the Continental GTC displays all the poise, exhilarating performance and dynamic handling of the Continental GT. In common with its stable mates, the interior of the new Continental GTC provides an unrivalled standard of craftsmanship, utilising natural wood veneers and leather hides of the finest quality, which are on full display when you lower the elegant, electro-hydraulically operated soft-top roof.  Read More

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