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Ford’s GTX-1 – the GT convertible

November 1, 2005 The Ford GT, based on the four-times Le Mans winning GT40, is appearing in a convertible version at the SEMA Show today – the appropriately named Ford GTX1 uses the 1966 Sebring-winning Ford GTX1 roadster as its inspiration. One of the most innovative aspects of Ewing's GTX1 is its configurable roof. The roof system consists of four individual hard panels. The panels can be configured as a coupe, t-top, or full convertible. Additionally, the panels are painted in the same Valencia Yellow with Tungsten Silver stripes. So, when the car is configured as a coupe, it doesn't lose any of its design appeal. GTX1 drivers won't get caught in the rain because all four panels can be stored inside the vehicle for easy access.  Read More

Blue Train Race 75th anniversary model

November 1, 2005 It reads like a story from a “Boys Own Annual.” In 1930, devilishly handsome and independently wealthy playboy and international motor racer Woolf Barnato accepted a bet whilst cruising on the French Riviera to race the fabled "Blue Train" to London. "Le Train Bleue" was a national symbol of technological prowess for the French, being the quickest, most luxurious transport available at the time, traveling from Cannes to Calais, crossing the English Channel by ferry to its final destination at London's Victoria station. Barnato won the race in his custom 6.5 litre Bentley Speed Six, pulling up outside his London club four minutes before the train reached Calais, having had to cross France on two lane public roads and the ferry to Dover into the bargain. The details of the story follow, but the gist is that Bentley Motors and its coach building division Mulliner are celebrating the anniversary with a powerful, distinctive and luxurious grand tourer based on its flagship four-door saloon: the Arnage Blue Train Series.  Read More

The Combat T-98 Armoured Luxury SUV

October 31, 2005 What would you drive if you knew that the bad guys were coming after you? For many wealthy businessmen across the planet, assassination and kidnap are real possibilities. It’s why the American military built the Smartruck and Smartruck III, and why Labock built the Rhino Runner. Now there’s a new vehicle targeting this niche, designed to transport VIPs in luxury and safety both on- and off-road. The Combat T-98 is the fastest armoured 4WD in the world, and was built from the ground up to be the most capable non-military armoured luxury vehicle in the world. The 8.1 litre 340 bhp Vortec V8 can push the T-98 along at over 180 km/h, and in addition to sumptuous leather and woodgrain fittings, you can order almost any level of active safety feature, from gun ports to a full roof ring to carry a machine gun. In the protection area, you can specify an additional layer of ceramic armouring between the double steel layer monocoque chassis. Even the electric windows are 50mm thick and capable of stopping an armour-piercing bullet . Prices start at US$138,000 for the base model, and you can spend an extra US$100,000 just improving the grade of armour to anti-tank level. If the security of the occupants is paramount, this little baby will ensure they reach their destination in comfort, regardless of whom or what they encounter en route.  Read More

Lexus readies LF-A supercar for sale

October 29, 2005 It was only a matter of time before Toyota (aka Lexus) stepped into supercar territory, and the betting is that the Lexus LF-A will be the manufacturer’s first entry into the rarified 200+ mph marketplace. First shown earlier this year, the car was again on display in Tokyo last week where it was confirmed that the car will be powered by no less an engine than a V10, and follows on from Honda’s announcement that it will be powering its NSX replacement with a V10 too.  Read More

Further collaboration for Mitsubishi and smart

October 29, 2005 In 1998 the Smart City Coupe was launched with its three-cylinder engines anticipating what is now just emerging as a downsizing trend in other makes of car: a small and economical engine employing a turbocharger (and charge air cooling) to boost it to the sort of power level which is expected of small cars today. Though old in terms of leading edge automotive concepts, smart’s three-cylinder petrol engine remains one of the most economical petrol-engines available today. But time stands still for no automotive manufacturer and with the smart’s ultra-short two-seater now sold in 36 countries (as the smart fortwo), there’s no doubt a huge and growing market exists and smart is currently developing the next-generation model for launch in 2007. Given that the smart was so far ahead of the pack last time, it will be interesting to see what the innovative company comes up with next time, and a huge clue was dropped yesterday Mitsubishi announced it had signed an agreement with smart to supply the turbo-charged engine it had developed for use in its i concept minicar. The smart fortwo and the new MMC i are pictured - the fortwo is on top.  Read More

The New Audi S8 (with special thanks to Lamborghini)

October 25, 2005 Ask those who really know performance cars, for a list of the world’s most capable and desirable sporting saloons, and the Audi A8 would surely come close to the top of the list. At the time of its market launch three years ago, this large saloon shot straight to the top of the luxury segment thanks to its dynamic qualities. The brand with the four-ring emblem is now unveiling a sporty top model of the very highest calibre in the luxury segment: the new Audi S8. The Audi S8 is equipped with a new V10 engine that capitalises on the expertise of the super sports car Lamborghini Gallardo. The 10-cylinder power unit develops 450 bhp of power and 540 Nm of torque from a swept volume of 5.2 litres. The torque value is achieved at as low an engine speed as 3,500 rpm. As on the Le Mans winning R8, the most successful racing car in the world, FSI petrol direct injection assures superior power output in the Audi S8. This luxury saloon sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, and is electronically governed at 250 km/h. It will be appearing on the market in the mid of 2006, with a price tag of EUR 97,600.  Read More

The Ferrari GG - one hell of a 50th birthday present

October 25, 2005 “To mark 50 years of activity in the world of car design, I decided to sculpture a Ferrari to the memory of that great adventure and enjoy it with my family” – so sayeth automotive fashionista Giorgetto Giugiaro who both commissioned and created a project that spilled over into stretching horizons, in that he became concurrently – for the first time ever –supplier and customer of the new car. Rather than being a spellbound step into tomorrow, the ultimate outcome of all this is an expression of today – a Ferrari graced by his initials, GG, followed by the digit 50 by way of epitomizing his debut into the world of car design in September 1955 –imbued by an imposing, unmistakable artistry capturing skyhigh ergonomics and outstanding space on board.  Read More

VW shows a carbon fibre combination coupe, roadster and speedster at Tokyo

October 25, 2005 Volkswagen presented a new prototype that could well make history as the most economical sports car of its time at this week's Tokyo Motor Show. Its basic data: average fuel consumption of 3.4 litres for 100 km, a top speed of 230 kph. Its name: EcoRacer. Thanks to its carbon-fibre (CFP) bodywork, this sports car with its centrally located engine weighs in at only 850 kilograms, and accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in just 6.3 seconds. Powered by a newly developed 100-kW turbo-charged diesel of the next generation, it offers a forward-looking synthesis of austere economy and impressive performance. 230 kph, 6.3 seconds, 3.4 litres – these vital statistics are as unusual as they are fascinating. But the objective of development was not to break records. With the EcoRacer, the intention was rather to create a research vehicle that united the elements of economy and performance under a very emotionally styled “roof”.  Read More

Audi Shooting Brake Concept

October 25, 2005 The Shooting Brake concept evolved a century ago from European gentlemen wishing to have enough room for their guns when they were going hunting or to shooting contests yet at the same time drive their sports cars. A "shooting brake" is a modified two door coupe with an estate-wagon back crafted, rather than grafted on. We've written about some beautiful Shooting Brakes in the past such as the Protoscar Porsche 911. Audi unveiled a new highlight in the sporty compact segment at the Tokyo Motor Show: the Shooting Brake Concept is a study vehicle offering a further trailblazing interpretation of Audi's current formal idiom, blending the powerful dynamism of a sports car with a new sense of spaciousness and greater functionality. With its powerful 250 bhp, 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine and quattro permanent four-wheel drive, the Shooting Brake Concept produces a quality of road behaviour that in every respect lives up to its visual impact. The study vehicle sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.0 seconds, and its top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h.  Read More

The Nude Top Mitsuoka Orochi

October 25, 2005 Mitsuoka Motors is an eccentric boutique Japanese specialist automotive manufacturer that has been growing in stature over the last decade and is already regarded as a supercar manufacturer thanks to its Orochi concept which was first shown in 2001 at the Tokyo Motor Show, evolved further in 2003 for the next big Tokyo Show and has evolved still further with a “nude top” (convertible to the rest of the world) version of the Orochi for this year’s show that began this week. The Orochi was originally based on Honda’s NSX supercar and although there are no details of the Nude Top Orochi, we suspect it still is. Just before you dismiss this as just another supercar story, check out the Le-Seyde which is just one of seven limited production models manufactured by the company. It has been in production since 1990 and is still based on a domestic 2.0 litre Japanese production model but we think it looks fabby. Great picture gallery inside.  Read More

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