Top 100: The most desirable cars of all time

Automotive

Subaru selling made-to-order, race-ready rally cars

January 5, 2007 There was once a time, and it wasn’t very long ago, that going rallying meant having a detailed knowledge of every aspect of construction and repair. As major manufacturers become more adept at catering to an array of marketplaces, those manufacturers with a proud sporting heritage are beginning to make complete race cars available, and Subaru Australia is now offering a complete service to race drivers, producing a range of custom motorsport vehicle packages based on the popular Impreza WRX STI spec.C – the Group N FIA homologated car developed by Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan. Customers can order the car to any desired specification, from the base Impreza WRX STI at AUD$69,990 (US$55,000) to the full Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) version at AUD$195,000 (US$153,000). So now all you need an ingenious support crew and someone crazy enough to sit beside you and read you instructions while you point the 230 kW projectile at the horizon. Finally, just to be clear, the WRC cars of Solberg and Atkinson are a slightly higher spec again – if they were available, they’d cost US$1.5 million apiece.  Read More

US$400 device (plus US$50 a month) turns your car, home, or hotel room into a personal WiF...

January 4, 2007 The era of permanent internet connectivity moves a step closer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week when Autonet Mobile launches its new wireless service that turns any car into a WiFi Hotspot. The company also plans to announce an agreement with a world leading car rental company (thought to be Avis) to offer a portable, wireless Internet service in its rental vehicles by the end of the first quarter. The rental availability of this service looks particularly enticing for road warriors travelling to distant cities and their ability to stay in 24 hour contact with the company network. With the first Wireless Broadband Mobile Network, Autonet Mobile provides access to new entertainment and infotainment possibilities for passengers - they can check email, surf the web, play massive multi-player games and communicate via any WiFi-enabled device. The service is optimized for the in-car experience, and is specifically designed to work on 95 percent of U.S. roads, regardless of driving conditions or location. Simply plug the unit into a cigarette lighter or standard wall plug and go. The US$400 Autonet Mobile Unit comes with a monthly service charge of US$49 and turns your car into a secure mobile hotspot, allowing multiple WiFi-enabled devices to connect, and giving passengers unparalleled access to data, music, games, chat, and anything else they might like to access in their second home—the car. Moreover, the device can easily be removed from the car and put into a small bag. Thus, users can shuttle between the car and a residence, hotel or vacation spot, extending the usability of the Autonet Mobile Service beyond the car. For business travelers, families on vacation or couples on the go, bringing connectivity out of the car and into the hotel room is an additional benefit. This is a killer app in our humble opinion!  Read More

Jaguar C-XF - more than a concept car

January 3, 2007 Jaguar will be hosting the global debut of its new C-XF concept car at Detroit Auto Show this coming Sunday and is clear that the car signals the onset of a new era for the marque. The four-door sports saloon concept blends design purity with unmistakable dynamism, and the company is making sure that everyone knows that it’s way more than just another concept car - the C-XF is a clear indication of the design direction that the next generations of Jaguar saloons will take. Designed by the same teams that produced the award-winning Jaguar XK sports GT range in 2005 – headed by Jaguar Director of Design Ian Callum and Head of Advanced Design Julian Thomson – the C-XF concept is a precursor to cars that “will become recognised for their ground-breaking exterior looks and innovative interiors.” "Great Jaguars turn heads in the street,” according to Callum. “They make people stop and pay attention. They evoke instant desire. That’s what the C-XF does and that’s what the next generation of Jaguars will do.”  Read More

Vantastic  Ford Transit Concepts

January 3, 2007 Though Ford’s Transit Van has now been around since 1965, it’s very much like Grandpa’s axe, in that the head has been replaced many times and the handle many more than that. With the seventh complete redesign of the classic workhorse, Ford picked up the International Van of the Year 2007 and the euphoria of the win seems to have inspired some remarkable custom engineering from Ford Europe's Commercial Vehicle development team. Two stunning new Transit-based concepts have resulted: one is the Transit XXL, a stretched Transit Tourneo passenger vehicle and the other is the Transit X-Press, a modified version of the normally sedate Connect model fitted with the power train, suspension and brakes of Ford’s high-performance Focus RS. Remarkably, neither are planned for production, though we’d warrant the queue would stretch further than the XXL. Perhaps lobbying your local Ford dealer might help convince them that their engineers are indeed not bonkers, but have identified a lucrative niche market.  Read More

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

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