Top 100: The most desirable cars of all time


50 mph Quadski converts from Jetski to ATV in five seconds

Alan Gibb's Aquada and Humdinga high speed amphibious vehicles have been making the headlines for the last few years, partly because they work, partly because they have compelling feature sets and partly because the Aquada has set a few records, most notably in the hands of Sir Richard Branson. Now there's a new affordable Gibbs amphibian on the way that instantly becomes one of the most desirable recreational vehicles on the planet - it's both a quadbike and a jet ski and converts from one guise to the other at the touch of a button in under five seconds, using the 140 bhp motor to reach 50 mph (72km/h) on both land and water. The design offers a new class of recreational vehicle, along with a range of capabilities that make it ideal for life saving clubs, search and rescue, military, emergency services and aid workers who will be able to reach areas and people no two or four wheel drive vehicle could reach. Gibbs Technologies intends to license the design and technology for the Quadski and is seeking expressions of interest.  Read More

The world’s fastest catamaran

May 25, 2006 At 36.8 metres, Orange II is a very large catamaran, designed that way so it can track straight and true at very high speeds. Almost certainly the fastest boat on the water, in August 2004, Bruno Peyron piloted Orange II in an attempt on the crewed Transatlantic record, missing the mark by minutes but setting a new 24-hour distance record by covering 706.2 miles at an average speed of 29.42 knots. In March 2005, Peyron and a 13-man crew completely blew away the around-the-world sailing record set by adventurer Steve Fossett onboard Cheyenne – Orange II’s new mark of 50 days, 16 hours and 20 minutes eclipsed Fossett’s record by seven days. The magnificent maxi-catamaran is now at the Newport Shipyard in Rhode Island, waiting for the appropriate weather window to begin another record transatlantic attempt. Interestingly, Fossett holds the transatlantic record too – set aboard PlayStation, Fossett raised the outright Atlantic crossing record to a point where it can in some ways be compared to the 100-metre dash in athletics. In order to beat the record, Peyron will need to bring all the ingredients together for a perfect race: smooth straight lines on a direct course for home, a strong and steady wind from the right direction… and a level of human endeavour befitting the ocean: a colossal effort! When he starts his endeavour some time in the next week or two, he will have four days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and six seconds to sail across the Atlantic. The pics take a bit of relating to - check out the image library of Orange II - and when you're looking at the images, you'll suddenly realise how big it is - massive.  Read More

The floating Nackros Villa

Given that we apparently crawled out of the primordial slime in our evolutionary path to becoming human, it’s logical that human beings should have an affinity with the water. It’s not just for rehydration purposes that more than 80% of the world’s population lives near water – water brings comfort and renewal. With technology being energised to unprecedented heights, our ability to live near or on the water can now be enhanced and explored in new ways. We’ve been enthralled by Giancarlo Zema’s fascinating Neptus 60 Cliff Habitat and Trilobis 65 floating home and Marcin Panpuch’s Relocatable Amphibious Sphere House, and we have now found another wonderful variation on the theme of living in harmony with water – the Nackros Villa. Modern Marine Homes was established in 2002 with a vision of waterside living without compromise and within 12 months, the first habited show home was in the water in Varvsholmen, Sweden. Development has been ongoing since with ever-changing materials, technical solutions and functionality tried so the company could develop the concept to commercial reality. The current and now available incarnation is the Nackros Villa –a floating multi-story villa crafted by Swedish architect Staffan Strindberg. The 12x12 metre Villa has six rooms and a kitchen, 178 sq metres of living area, 125 square metres of terrace and 74 square metres of windows but is crammed with technologies to enhance your lifestyle and create an ambience of tranquillity and harmony with nature. The bonus is that you can buy one now. Check the image gallery for some beautiful photos of this extraordinary home and read on for Strindberg detailing his work and the thinking and technologies that went into the concept.  Read More

The Loon

May 24, 2006 “Exhausting hydrocarbons directly into your own lake isn’t much different from urinating in your family room”, states Monte Gisborne. “We need sensible options if we want to leave something for future generations to enjoy… and I believe that water and electricity do mix!” Monte backed up the talk by building a solar-assisted electric pontoonboat and took his family for a 100 mile, 6-day trip down Ontario’s historic Trent-Severn Waterway to evaluate it. Now he’s developed a commercial version called the Loon for sale to environmentally-conscious boaters around the world. The Loon emits no noise and no emissions and carries up to eight passengers in comfort.  Read More

Solar-powered trimaran plans around the world challenge

May 15, 2006 Last December, we reported on the remarkable Swiss SolarImpule Project which aims to circumnavigate Planet Earth by air using solar power. Now another Swiss project plans to circle the planet using a trimaran, propelled by renewable energies. Two distinct itineraries are planned. From 2008 to 2009, the first around-the-world tour, powered by solar energy, will be undertaken with a schedule allowing for 120 days with stopovers. The planned boat will be 30 meters long, 16 meters wide with a solar panel area of 180 square metres. The second around-the-world tour is foreseen for 2010-2011. It will be a voyage without stopovers, powered by solar energy and hydrogen; taking place in 80 days. The project, which has adopted Henry Dunant’s famous quote, “"Only those who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, will!" as its catchcry, is currently seeking sponsors.  Read More

New helmet enables normal breathing underwater

May 12, 2006 Jules Verne would be proud. Columbian start-up Aquanautas has created a new method of enjoying underwater activities without the need for scuba gear, tanks, masks and regulators. By wearing on of the company’s new helmets, a human can breath underwater as they would on the surface. The Aquanautas is designed primarily for tourism-related activities such as resorts and aquariums and is suitable for anyone over the age of 12. Indeed, you don’t even need to know how to swim or even remove your glasses. they only need to wear a swim suit and a pair of sandals. Aquanautas is seeking international distribution and pilot sites.  Read More

Volvo Round-the-world Race visits the Big Apple

May 7, 2006 When the runaway leader of the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, ABN AMRO 1, enters New York harbour some time tomorrow the round-the-world race will have been underway for more than six months - the 32,700 mile race having begun in Vigo, Spain on November 12, 2005 is scheduled to end in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 17, 2006. With more than 29,000 nautical miles of the race completed and just a tenth of that distance remaining in one of the world’s most gruelling adventure races, ABN AMRO I looks likely to take the event barring mishap. The has journeyed from Europe via the Atlantic to Cape Town then on to Melbourne, Australia, then across the Tasman Sea to Wellington, New Zealand, then across the Pacific ocean to Rio de Janeiro, then on to Baltimore, USA. If you’re in the Big Apple this week, make sure you get down and take a look at the most remarkable, high tech sailing machines ever assembled. Currently, boaters are setting their sails as they prepare to finish the sixth course of the race in New York on May 8. After a 48-hour stay, crews will hoist their anchors and set sail for Portsmouth, England. There are many fantastic information resources on the internet which cover the technologies used in the construction and design of the canting-keel boats, the official race site with full tracking of the boats and much more, and the official sites of the leading boats such as ABN AMRO I & II, the Spanish Movistar boat which set a world 24 hour distance record just prior to the start of the race, the superbly named Pirates of the Caribean, Brasil 1 and Ericsson Racing Team. Check out the image library for a taste of the spectacular nature of the event. Check out the image library  Read More

The innovative new 70 WallyPower Motor Yacht

April 3, 2006 The new 70 WallyPower carries the same distinctive stealth-like exterior as the US$25 million WallyPower 118 that won the Millenium Yacht Design Award, an award dedicated to the “Layout of the Third Millennium, a design that remarkably contributed to the development of the concept of the yacht layout”. The 70 WallyPower’s credentials as a floating pointer to the future remain equally as distinctive, with a glass composite hull, carbon fiber superstructure and KaMeWa water-jet propulsion system though with a far more modest price tag than its 118 big sister in the vicinity of US$3.5 million. The 21-meter WallyPower 70 comes in two basic models, both with that same distinctive dark glass exterior though one has a fully enclosed glass cabin area and the other is open to the aft transom, with the air conditioning acting as a barrier between the outside and the inside. Both can seat 20 or more for meals, though if it’s party space you’re after, the open version with the “lunch boat” layout is the one to go for, as its deck plan flows seamlessly between three social areas. And if you fancy speed, both boats are powered by two MTU diesel engines generating 3,000 horsepower, pushing the 70 WallyPower’s top speed 47.5 knots half load, and 45 knots full load at continuous duty with a consumption of only 250 litres – 66 US gallons per hour! Extensive photo library of these exquisite motor yachts.  Read More

Rolls-Royce at the helm of Royal Navy flagship

March 27, 2006 It seems logical that prestige automotive designers should be the go-to-guys when you wish to create an ambience of luxury – they’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s the key difference that enables a few extra zeros to be added to the price. We saw it recently when BMW Group Designworks was used by Airbus to design a luxury aircraft interior and now we’ve seen Rolls-Royce Motor Cars employed to make a special captain’s chair for HMS Illustrious – the flagship of the Royal Navy. The chair, which is appropriately finished in the finest navy blue leather with sea shell-coloured piping, was handcrafted by Rolls-Royce engineers and craftspeople at the company’s world headquarters in Goodwood. It is based on the front seat originally designed for the best-selling Rolls-Royce Phantom and has been specially adapted for its sea-faring role. The chair was officially presented by Rolls-Royce chairman, Ian Robertson, and a group of Rolls-Royce staff to Captain Bob Cooling and his crew in Portsmouth yesterday, as part of the ship’s refurbishment.  Read More

The 1250cc, 165 horsepower, 60mph Jetbike

March 27, 2006 Imagine a motorcycle that it didn’t hurt to fall off. Or one that didn’t do costly damage to itself in an accident. The Aquajet Jetbike WX-1 1250(MAV) is just such a beastie - a new type of watercraft powered by a 165 horsepower three cylinder two-stroke engine via a jet drive to offer a wild 60mph experience that is uncannily like riding a real motorcycle – without the pain of a transgression. Every aspect of the Jetbike is designed to give a motorcycle-like riding experience, from almost identical riding ergonomics and controls to the steerable front ski which has suspension, steering and handling attributes akin to those of a wheeled motorcycle, meaning you can carve turns for hours on end. For motorcyclists it represents the chance to go silly in a familiar environment without paying the inevitable price of pushing the limits on a motorcycle – a hefty repair bill, bruising, missing bark and the occasional broken bone. Sixty miles per hour on water is VERY fast so the thrills are just as heart pounding as those offered by a grand prix motorcycle and muscling the machine at those speeds provides an extreme aerobic workout such that the fitter you are, the faster you’ll go. The Jetbike is also spectacular and delivers blitzkreig point-to-point times, so it is perfectly suited to some form of offshore racing once sufficient numbers are available. Finally, the Jetbike’s engine is seawater cooled and all mechanical components are underwater at speeds below seven miles per hour. Combine this low-signature-everything stealth with extreme speed, manoeuvrability, and carrying capacity and you have an ideal platform for the potent military weapons system which is under development. The design allows for packing massive firepower while still maintaining a healthy lead as the manned military vehicle with the highest power-to-weight ratio.  Read More

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