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Automotive

Fuel Cell Motorsport - silent, energy-efficient and modular

August 19, 2006 We love big ideas and this one is a ripper – a young and dynamic Dutch-based company named Formula Zero is setting up a new fuel cell race car class to help generate public enthusiasm, demonstrate the viability, and accelerate the uptake of emission-free transport. Now here’s the really clever bit – the intention is to construct a complete portable travelling circus a-la-Formula-One, which can be set up on any flat surface, complete with racetrack, grandstands, hospitality, pits, clean technology power and hydrogen generation and timing facilities. The 600 metre track will include seating for 1500 spectators and the races will be held in conjunction with major motor shows, motor racing events, international political summits, industrial fairs and events such as the Paris Air Show, Goodwood, Festival of speed, and the Michelin Challenge Bibendum. Six races will be held during 2008–09 with university teams competing from across the world. The aim is to start with go-karts on the smaller track and scale-up to full size fuel cell race cars on full race circuits as technology allows over the next decade, all under the auspices of the FIA. Formula Zero is seeking sponsors, host event partners and University teams interested in fielding a car and we think this is a winner.  Read More

TechArt Magnum 600bhp sports 4x4

August 16, 2006 The visually arresting German creation dubbed the TechArt Magnum is proof that 4x4s can outgun Supercars in the power stakes. Based on the already brutal 450bhp Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the Magnum’s bodywork and suspension have been extensively reworked by renowned German Porsche specialist, TechArt, to deliver a whopping 600bhp from its heavily modified twin turbo V8 engine. Despite weighing in at over 2300kg, the Magnum is capable of accelerating to 60mph in a Lamborghini Gallardo humbling 4.5 seconds. Where speed limits allow, TechArt’s ultimate interpretation of the Cayenne will reach 183 mph and the nice thing is the amount of space inside.  Read More

The Gold-plated Porsche

August 16, 2006 The town of Pforzheim in south-west Germany is famous for its jewellery and watch-making industry and accordingly is known as “the City of Gold.” The city is also the home of the first Gold-plated Porsche. Visualis, which is situated in Pforzheim, commissioned an artist to gild a Porsche Boxster in 22 carat beaten gold last year and now comes the news that the Gold Boxter will be followed by a limited edition model and nine further Porsches will be plated. All the major components, from the control elements such as the steering wheel and door knobs to the car body and alloy rims, are all gold plated, making the two seater extraordinarily expensive, and a price that Visualis has not yet disclosed. Nine further Porsche Models will undergo the same, unique refinement process to continue the creative project. Visualis’ Petra Koehler reports that “curious people are already anxious to know who are going to be the owners of these magnificent automobiles.” If you fancy owning such an exquisite object, perhaps start by emailing Petra.  Read More

Bisazza's digital mosaic design service

August 14, 2006 We’ve previously written about the advent of digital technology in creating design tools for wallpaper, drapes, and carpets, even fingernails, and the extraordinary results that can be obtained. Now we can report that the digital age has touched even the ancient craft of mosaic tiling. Bisazza is probably the best known mosaic tile company in the world, with its exquisite wares gracing the floors, walls and ceilings of luxury hotels, palaces and designer piazzas across the planet. Bisazza now offers a service where you can choose the digital image you require for a wall, ceiling or floor, send it to them, and they will create the templates for the creation of the mosaic with the 10x10 and 20x20mm Bisazza tile. The service came to our attention when MINI used the service to create some extraordinary motorcars for exhibition purposes. Extraordinary image gallery of the MINIs and some of Bisazza's remarkable mosaics.  Read More

Siemens VDO visualises the electric wheel hub motor

August 13, 2006 Siemens VDO engineers are working on plans to integrate the drivetrain, steering, shock absorbers and brakes directly into the wheels of future cars. This concept, called eCorner, is claimed by Siemens VDO to be the basis for the ecological "Drive-by-Wire" automobiles which will become a common sight on roads in 15 years. eCorner replaces the conventional wheel suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers, mechanical steering, hydraulic brakes and, above all, conventional internal combustion engines. For car owners, Siemens VDO expects eCorner to translate into improved fuel mileage, more safety and greater convenience. Implementing eCorner would offer automotive designers far greater freedom to create future cars with an electric drivetrain and electronic control.  Read More

Peugeot 908 RC 5.5-litre V12 HDi limousine

August 12, 2006 Just 12 months ago, we wrote about Peugeot’s delectable two-seat 907 GT coupe concept being prepared for the major European Motor Show of the summer (Frankfurt), and now we’re seeing yet another 12 cylinder luxury masterpiece being prepared for its public debut at Mondial De L’Automobile (Paris) on September 30. This one though is very different as it is powered by a new breed of motor which is mounted behind the passengers. The 5.5-litre V12 HDi DPFS (diesel particulate filter system) diesel engine was designed to take part in the "Le Mans Race Series" programme in 2007 and has a level of performance unprecedented for a diesel engine - more than a 700bhp and an astounding 1200Nm of torque.  Read More

The Javan R1 - 220 bhp, 670 kg, UKP30,000 on the road

August 11, 2006 New UK-based sports car manufacturer Javan Sports Cars has released pics of its first model as well as some quite remarkable numbers. In short, 220 horsepower pushing a weight of 670 kilograms offers remarkable acceleration as evidenced by a 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds, a 0-100mph time of 9.8 seconds and a standuing quarter mile of 12.2 seconds. All that for UKP25,250 list which will get it on the road for UKP30,138 offering supercar performance at a very reasonable price. The chassis is an epoxy-bonded, aluminium honeycomb monocoque with power being supplied by mid-mounted two litre Honda i-VTEC DOHC engine from the current Honda Civic Type-R, running through a six speed gearbox.  Read More

It’s a Doozy

August 11, 2006 “It’s a doozy” is an expression that is still commonplace today, though it originated in the 1920s reflecting the awe with which the public regarded the American-built Duesenberg automobile. Beginning with a win in the first major post WW1 European Grand Prix, the Duesenberg brothers went on to build exquisite luxury machinery for the USA’s wealthiest people and the brand became commonly regarded in the United States as the world’s finest, hence the expression. With famous automotive marques such as Maybach and Bugatti being returned to the marketplace as modern interpretations of their glorious forebears, it’s hardly a surprise to hear that another landmark automotive name is to be relaunched. In the meantime, we came across this remarkable example of a 1930 Duesenburg Model J, one-off Arlington style long wheelbase body, which will be one of the feature cars to be auctioned off in January 2007 at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event. The Model J flagship has a 265hp motor and would have cost around US$25,000 when it was built, making it the ultimate badge of success. Duesenburg ran simple adverts which played on this theme – no imagery of the cars ran in the adverts which simply stated “He drives a Duesenburg.” Nice detail piccies.  Read More

All-New Chevrolet Camaro almost identical to NAIAS concept

August 11, 2006 GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced yesterday that GM will build an all-new version of the Chevrolet Camaro sport coupe based on the award-winning concept that stole the spotlight at the North American International Auto Show. The all-new Camaro will begin with early production versions at the end of 2008 and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2009. The new Camaro will be almost identical to the concept, a thoroughly modern interpretation of the 1969 model, considered by many to be the best design of the car’s first generation. The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe will feature an independent rear suspension, and will be offered in a variety of models with the choice of manual and automatic transmissions and V-6 and V-8 engines. Extensive image library.  Read More

Fuel efficiency to become a factor in Formula One

August 9, 2006 One of the most important automotive technology stories of recent times appears to have been largely overlooked by the news and automotive media. A meeting on Monday between the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA) and Formula One's governing body, the FIA has resulted in an agreement for Formula One Technical Regulations to include means to promote fuel efficiency including energy recovery and re-use from 2009 onwards. With the world’s cleverest and most competitive automotive designers now incentivised to improve both fuel efficiency and horsepower, we can expect to see some significant leaps forward in the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and the technological pinnacle of motorsport will become even more interesting. All relevant regulations for 2009 will be published no later than December 31, 2006 – we can’t wait. Perhaps for Christmas we can all wish for Uncle Bernie to set up an electric racing formula?  Read More

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