2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show


Rare Mazda Cosmo 110B Rotary Coupe

February 22, 2007 Old, rare and beautiful cars are not normally associated with the contemporary Japanese Automotive Industry, but as time moves on, we’ll see more cars such as this fully-restored 1969 Mazda Cosmo 110B Coupe hitting the auction block. One of just over 1,500 examples that were virtually hand-built between 1967 and 1972, the Cosmo Series II has a special place in Japanese automotive history as Mazda’s first true high performance rotary-engined coupe and hence the progenitor of the current RX8. The first Cosmo launched at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show was the 110S, powered by a bi-rotor engine producing around 110hp and had a four speed gearbox. However the Series II introduced in July 1968 came with a longer wheelbase, a more powerful 130hp engine and five speed gearbox and was a serious performance car, capable of 190km/h and covering the standing 400 metres in around 15.8 seconds. Because of its collectibility and rarity, auctioneers Shannons expect the Cosmo to be sought after in the price range from AUD$96,000 (US$76,000) to AUD$116,000 (US$92,000)  Read More

Can-Am Spyder roadster: three wheeled motorcycle

BRP has unveiled its first "on-road" vehicle, the 2008 Can-Am Spyder roadster. This three-wheel vehicle, with two wheels in the front and one in the rear, offers a completely new and stunning look. Powered by a proven 990cc V Twin engine designed and manufactured by BRP-Rotax, Spyder roadster, with its unique Y-architecture, can be described as part motorcycle and part convertible sports car. Later this year twelve selected American states and four Canadian provinces will offer Can-Am Spyder roadsters through BRP's existing dealer network, followed by France and Spain in early 2008. BRP will then expand its Can-Am Spyder offer to more North American states, Canadian provinces, Europe and other countries, and expects to be present worldwide within three to four years.  Read More

Ford sweeps Norway WRC and enlivens the title chase

February 19, 2007 With Sebastien Loeb’s almost total dominance in recent years, the World Rally Championship (WRC) has taken on a pall of inevitability, but as we all know, nothing lasts forever on the sporting field. Ford has been forging a dynasty of reliability and competitiveness at WRC level for decades, but had not won a manufacturers championship for 26 years until sheer weight of points finishes overcame Loeb and Citroen last year. This year the BP-Ford World Rally Team has started the season so well that it could be poised to challenge for the dirvers title in 2007 too. The team took a decisive lead in the WRC after dominating Rally Norway with the Focus RS World Rally Car to finish first and second yesterday. Mikko Hirvonen (driver first) and Jarmo Lehtinen (navigator second) led from start to finish to claim their second WRC victory, finishing 9.5sec ahead of team-mates and fellow Finns Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen. It was BP-Ford's second win in consecutive weeks after Gronholm triumphed in Sweden seven days ago and powered the reigning manufacturers' world champions into a 16 point lead after three of the 16 rounds. Gronholm moved to the head of the drivers' series, four points clear of Hirvonen. As always, the Scandinavian rounds with their spectacular yumps (high speeds on ice and snow with sudden dropaways lead to 100 mph flying cars) make for another awesome image library.  Read More

The plug-in hybrid carving three-wheeler from Venture

February 17, 2007 UPDATED IMAGES Venture Vehicles has formally announced in Los Angeles, the development of a revolutionary (not to mention very cool), 3-wheel, tilting, plug-in Hybrid vehicle under the working name VentureOne. It’s a two-passenger Hybrid vehicle that will get 100 mpg, accelerate from 0-60 in 6 seconds, will have a top speed of over 100 mph, while being priced at under US$20,000. In addition to the low-emission, flex-fuel Hybrid model, a zero-emission all-electric version is also being developed that will have an all-electric range of nearly 200 miles. A key feature of the VentureOne is the patented Dynamic Vehicle Control tilting technology from Dutch-based Carver Engineering that allows the body of the vehicle to actually tilt when going through turns while all three wheels maintain firm contact with the road. Carver already sells petrol-engined versions of the machine, and the Phiaro 3-wheeler is also closely based on the Carver. But a plug-in hybrid with a 200 mile electric range and sportscar performance is very enticing. Production is not scheduled until late 2008 and Venture Vehicles will initially offer two propulsion packages for the VentureOne: the hybrid E50 and Q100, and all-electric Venture EV model. The US$23,000 all-electric model will top the range while the E50 hybrid will sell for US$18,000 and the Q100 hybrid is expected to be priced under US$20,000.  Read More

Lotus Exige Police Car

February 15, 2007
Lotus Exige Police Car

February 16, 2007 Lotus Cars Australia has donated a special new recruit to the NSW Police Bankstown Local Area Command with the arrival of a high performance Lotus Exige. The lightweight, high performance Lotus Exige sports car will be used by Bankstown Local Area Command for a number of community policing roles over the next six months, including most importantly, helping to build better relations between police and local performance car enthusiasts and youth. The precedent for this co-operation with the police was set in the UK where Lotus forged a similar relationship with the Norfolk Constabulary lending the force a Lotus Elise to achieve similar goals. “Following the success of the co-operation with Norfolk Police we saw the chance to link up with NSW Police to help it achieve similar goals,” said Lotus’ Jon Stretton. “The Norfolk Police had similar challenges to Bankstown Local Area Command with performance car enthusiasts and in establishing stronger relations to help prevent unacceptable behaviour.”  Read More

Rinspeed eXasis Concept Car: glass-free transparency

February 16, 2007 Swiss company Rinspeed’s innovation in automotive design has graced our pages many times, each concept car seeking to break the mould, explore new technologies and expand thinking about out primary conveyance, the automobile. His latest concept car designed and built in conjunction with Bayer MaterialScience, is drivable "glass" car with a completely transparent body and floor made of Makrolon. To be shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, 40 years after Bayer presented the first "all-plastic car" in 1967 at the K67 Plastics Fair in Germany, the eXasis is a real eye-catcher with nothing to hide. The outer Makrolon shell, moulded by the Swiss firm Mecaplex and coated with a tinge of yellow by the German hard coatings specialist, KRD, reveals the vehicle's load-bearing aluminium chassis. The chassis looks as if it has been cut from a solid piece of material, and in fact the bulkheads are.  Read More

Volvo starts project with hybrid-drive garbage vehicles

February 16, 2007 Volvo is to receive a SEK 9.8 million grant forom the Swedish Energy Agency in support of a hybrid technology development project for heavy vehicles. The project involves development and testing of hybrid technology in two garbage (refuse) collection trucks in Gothenburg and Stockholm. The aim of the project is to achieve fuel savings of up to 30%. Volvo has been working on research and development of hybrid technology for 20 years. Volvo’s tests and simulations show that hybrid drive for heavy vehicles is most suitable for vehicles forced during operations to make many starts and stops, such as buses, distribution trucks and refuse vehicles. In these cases, fuel savings can be up to 35%.  Read More

FLUX wins Peugeot P.L.E.A.S.E. Design Competition

February 15, 2007 Driven by the desire to design a car that would give an enjoyable experience to each of its occupants, Mihai Panaitescu, a Romanian design student studying in Turin, created the Flux, the winning project in the fourth on-line Peugeot Design Competition. The runners up in second and third places were Njooy (Wesley Saikawa from Brazil, aged 27) and Allscape (Gustavo Ferrero from Venezuela, aged 29). At 20 years old, the youngest ever winner of the Peugeot Design Competition, Mihai submitted a project that fits in perfectly with its environment. The strength of the Peugeot Design competition has grown every time, and previous winners always create a lot of interest - the Moovie won in 2005, and created massive public interest when they built it.  Read More

Horntones enables your car horn to play MP3s

February 14, 2007 We’re reserving judgement on this one, though it definitely deserves comment. Horntones is a Californian company which will begin selling its US$150 car horn customisation tool in April. Basically, it enables your car horn to play any sound file – music, voices, rude sounds, sirens … anything. You’ll also need to pony up the readies for an amplifier and the sounds are loaded to the unit via a USB flash drive. The Horntones unit can be installed in or sit atop the dash and holds eight sounds – more than enough to offend almost everybody, with the constabulary included no doubt. While we think that customising your car horn is kinda cool, we also think it’s kinda scarey that such tools can be sold to people without them undergoing an IQ test first - this device has the potential to cause uncertainty on the roads, or worse.  Read More

Passat Bluemotion to debut at Geneva Motor Show

February 14, 2007 Volkswagen has released first details of the Passat BlueMotion ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show and is claiming that no other vehicle of its size consumes less fuel: the Passat BlueMotion saloon returns 55.4 mpg (5.1 litres per 100 km) and produces just 136 g/km of CO2. The first BlueMotion model was the Polo, launched in Germany in the mid-2006 which was such an immediate success its production figures have already been increased threefold.  Read More

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