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Subaru develops horizontally opposed Turbo Diesel engine

September 29, 2006 Subaru Europe President Hiroyuki Ikeda dropped an unexpected announcement in his Paris motor show speech when he mentioned that the company was working on a SubaruBoxer Turbo Diesel and that development is nearly complete. The horizontally opposed engine layout made famous by Volkswagen has long been favoured by Subaru and has been the mainstay of its fleet for more than three decades with its latest effort winning first place in the 2.5-liter class of the International Engine of the Year Awards. Though it’s logical that the company would develop the world’s first horizontally opposed diesel engine, there are many technical difficulties to overcome, so it was by no means regarded as a given. Anyway, we have the drawings in high res and we suspect it’ll be a beauty.  Read More

Ford’s tricky F-450 Series Super Duty with bed-extender

September 29, 2006 Ford’s top-selling work truck, the F-Series Super Duty, has been overhauled for the 2008 model year and will go on sale in early 2007 with a new range-topping F-450 pickup as the star of the show. The F-450 can handle payloads in excess of 6,000 pounds, has a towing capacity of more than 24,000 pounds, and can be powered by the well-known 362-horsepower 6.8-liter V-10 Triton gasoline engine, or a new 6.4-liter Power Stroke Diesel that delivers 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque starting at 2,000 rpm. The bit that really caught our eye though, was the ingenious two-piece stowable bed extender.  Read More

Sportshift – the automated manual transmission  from Aston Martin

September 29, 2006 One of the genuinely interesting aspects of a major motor show such as the 2006 Paris Motor Show, is just how much genuinely innovative new design gets buried because there is indeed so much information being blasted at the assembled media. One such gem which will probably not get its share of media attention because Ford is looking to sell off the loss-making sports car manufacturer is the Aston Martin automated manual transmission option for the V8 Vantage – Sportshift. Sportshift adds electro-hydraulic control to the existing Vantage 6-speed manual gearbox to offer improved shift times and replaces the conventional manual gear lever with push button controls on the centre console to select ‘Auto Drive’, ‘Reverse’ or ‘Neutral’.  Read More

New VW CrossGolf combines SUV and MPV

September 28, 2006 Volkswagen will be showing a new crossover version of the Golf at the Paris Motor Show which opens today. The CrossGolf merges the can-do qualities of a compact SUV with the versatility of a small MPV into a new model. SUV means “Sports Utility Vehicle”, denoting a significantly more “civilian” stage on the path to the “tough” off-road vehicle. Approximately 480,000 compact SUVs were sold in Europe in 2005. MPV means “Multi Purpose Vehicle”, referring to a van. With its versatile and spacious interior, the CrossGolf also bridges this segment which sold 1.4 million compact SUVs in Europe in 2005. As a combination SUV and MPV, the new CrossGolf is precisely positioned between these poles and has no direct competitor in this class due to its positioning and conception.  Read More

September 28, 2006 Eight years after it was first launched, the iconic smart fortwo is about to be superceded. The new smart fortwo, which will be launched in the spring of 2007, will not be on show at the Paris Mondial de l’Automobile this weekend as apparently the world premiere will take place some time later this year, at a location outside of the trade fair circuit. The Mercedes-owned company is dropping plenty of hints about what the new model will look like, releasing sketches of the new model this week and intimating via press release that a sand sculpture could be seen during the German beach volleyball championships that was closely based on the new model.  Read More

Police evaluate Chrysler 300C

September 28, 2006 We like to keep people up-to-date on the various exotica being deployed by the police forces of the globe to catch villains, and over the years we’ve had some rippers, such as the Honda NSX Police Car, the Lamborghini Gallardo Police car and this 700 bhp Hummer H2 police special. Now Australia’s Victoria Police have boosted their vehicle fleet and injected some ‘cool’ with the addition of a Chrysler 300C and it must be said that the brutish snout of the beastie comes up well in police livery. What sets this story apart from the other stories is the look of delight on the face of Senior Constable Ruth Scott as she accepts the keys of the 425 bhp midnight blue 300C from Chrysler Group MD, Gerry Jenkins. There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Ruth was last seen in the 300C somewhere near Darwin with her head out the window singing “yeeehaaaw!”  Read More

Antonov explains the two speed supercharger

September 27, 2006 Antonov chief executive John Moore delivered a paper outlining the development of the world’s first two-speed supercharger drive at the Global Powertrain Congress last week. The paper outlined the technical and commercial development of the variable drive supercharger - a highly compact and efficient automatic shifting mechanical transmission system. The world’s first compact two-speed automatic drive system for centrifugal superchargers was developed by Antonov for sale initially to the US tuner market. Its introduction is well-timed when major vehicle manufacturers are considering engine downsizing for greater efficiency, lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.  Read More

MINI back to Bathurst for the 40th Anniversary of its Historic Win

September 27, 2006 It was one of the most famous victories of its era, and both Bob Holden and Rauno Aaltonen remember their Bathurst victory with much delight. The 1966 event was especially sweet for Aaltonen as the BMC Works drivers had won the Monte Carlo Rally for the third time in a row - claiming first, second and third placings - only to be disqualified on a dubious technicality concerning headlamp globes. Forty years on from its epic win at the Gallagher 500 race at Mount Panorama, Holden will return to Bathurst to lap the famous track on Sunday 8 October 2006. Holden is now 74 and still a competitive racer and has raced at the mountain circuit 34 times, driving MINIs and Escorts in circuit racing and rallying and he raced a V8 Ute at Bathurst earlier this year and will drive a new MINI Cooper S at the reenactment.  Read More

Tire pressure monitoring sensors for the aftermarket

September 25, 2006 One of the many wonderful new jiggers seen at last week’s Automechanika trade show in Frankfurt was a tire pressure monitoring wheel sensor that should open up new service potential for tire dealers and independent service workshops. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System Sensors detect changes in tire pressure and alert the driver. Each wheel rim is fitted with a pressure sensor, which constantly transmits tire pressure data by a radio signal to a control unit.  Read More

ZAP electric commercial three-wheel XEBRA

September 25, 2006 Automotive pioneer ZAP will later today roll out a new, all-electric vehicle designed to address the need for gas-free alternatives with multi-purpose city driving, from industrial fleets to commuting. Called the XEBRA PK, the three-wheeled ZAP seats two with a multi-purpose platform behind the passenger compartment that serves as a hauler, dump truck or flatbed. Selling for less than US$10,000, the XEBRA PK will debut before California regulators participating in the 2006 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Technology Symposium in Sacramento, September 25-27. ZAP Chairman Starr cited a study that showed more than a third of new car buyers in California would buy an electric vehicle if that vehicle were priced close to a gasoline vehicle and offered similar functionality. The 2000 Green Car Institute study titled "The Current and Future Market for Electric Vehicles" used the same research methodologies employed by the auto industry to identify markets for gas vehicles.  Read More

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