Racing around the traps

    Fresh from its podium finish in the season-opening round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship at Monte-Carlo, Hyundai Motorsport moves to Sweden where it will compete with three New Generation i20 WRC cars for the first time.  The New Generation i20 WRC made a successful debut at Monte-Carlo helping the team to take out its first ever Monte stage win, Power Stage points and a third place finish. Last season Hyundai Motorsport secured a debut podium at Rally [ read more ]


The relentless drive towards driverless cars…Two famous F1 cars return down under…California here we come for electric vehicle charging

    It’s possible to fly a modern passenger aircraft from Sydney to London with little or no contribution from the pilot. But long periods of autopilot has been found, not surprisingly, to dull the cockpit crew’s senses to such an extent that they were more likely to miss a potentially dangerous situation than if they were actually flying the plane. As a result, cockpit crew have to perform certain regular tasks associated with the flying of the aircraft even [ read more ]


For a lot of people, there’s nothing wrong with the Toyota Prius that wouldn’t be cured by dropping in a V-8. Here then is just what the doctor ordered, a 2016 Prius with a 3.4-litre V-8 . . . and it’s still a hybrid. The V-8 is mounted amidships and for better weight distribution parts of the hybrid synergy drive system has been moved to the front passenger’s seat well. Output is capped at 300hp, while an aggressive front splitter and a [ read more ]

Racing around the traps




Fresh from its podium finish in the season-opening round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship at Monte-Carlo, Hyundai Motorsport moves to Sweden where it will compete with three New Generation i20 WRC cars for the first time.  The New Generation i20 WRC made a successful debut at Monte-Carlo helping the team to take out its first ever Monte stage win, Power Stage points and a third place finish. Last season Hyundai Motorsport secured a debut podium at Rally Sweden and will be looking for something really big this time around when it puts the three i20s through their paces on the snowy stages. Dani Sordo and Marc Martí, participate in their first ever Rally Sweden, will be joined by Monte-Carlo podium men Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul and Kiwis Hayden Paddon and John Kennard. Rally Sweden is the WRC’s only true winter round with Sweden’s frozen roads lined with deep snow banks that drivers lean into that produces a slingshot effect that push their cars around corners. In warmer temperatures, however, drivers must be wary as the banks disintegrate under pressure and catch cars, slowing or stopping them. Over a quarter of the special stage distance will be new and service will be available only at the start and finish of each leg, emphasising to drivers the importance of a consistent approach.





Closer to home, the Nismo Athlete Global Team came within seconds of securing back to back victories score in the Bathurst 12-Hour endurance race held this weekend at Australia’s famous Mount Panorama circuit. Drivers Katsumasa Chiyo, Rick Kelly and Florian Strauss powered the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 to the finish line a mere 1.276 seconds behind the winning Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3 in what was more akin to a sprint than an endurance race.  Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercar driver Rick Kelly started the race in darkness at 5.45am and advanced strongly through the field from a 13th-place grid position and former Nissan PlayStation GT academy winner Florian Strauss, who co-drove to victory in last year’s race, helped push the #1 GT3 further forward during the course of the day. But it was in the final hour that the race’s tension really rose, with Japanese driver Katsumasa Chiyo chasing the leading Tekno Autosports McLaren piloted by Shane van Gisbergen. The fast-finishing Chiyo, who has fast-built a reputation with Australian fans for his daring abilities in the thrust of wheel-to-wheel combat, showed incredible skill and daring as he closed the gap in the final laps, only to be thwarted by the smallest of margins. Second place went to Phoenix Racing Audi R8 drivers Markus Winklehock, Laurens Vanthoor and Alex Davison.





This year’s 297 lap – 1897 kilometres of world-class GT racing included a big field of local and international drivers and teams with the likes of Bentley Team M-Sport driver and Dayco ambassador David Russell joining GT star drivers Andy Soucek from Spain and Belgian Maxime Soulet in the number 31 Bentley Continental GT3. The first Australian to drive for Bentley, it is was probably not surprising that Dave was selected for the pre-dawn start and despite several wildlife-on-track warnings was able to move the Continental GT3 a couple of places up the field.


There was a scary moment when the GT3 blew a tyre when overtaking McLaren driver Rob Bell at the extremely fast Chase section. Following the unscheduled pit stop, Russell set a blistering pace that enabled the car to be handed over to Andy Soucek in fourth position who then drove brilliantly, showing some outstanding overtaking manoeuvres, to muscle No.31 into a dominating lead. In his second stint, Dave and Katsumasa Chiyo vied for the lead until a crippled Wall Racing Porsche lost drive at The Cutting, causing a crash that resulted in major damage to the GT3 and a lengthy pit stop. Further speedy stints by both Soulet and Soucek saw No 31 back in the top ten and the team finishing the race in seventh place. The team’s sister car finished the race in third position, with drivers Steven Kane, Guy Smith and Matt Bell delivering Bentley their first Bathurst 12 Hour podium result. The race was won by Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S drivers Shane Van Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente and Jonathan Webb. Second place went to Phoenix Racing Audi R8 drivers Markus Winklehock, Laurens Vanthoor and Alex Davison.


According to Dayco’s Dave Russell, competing with Bentley Team M-Sport was an incredible experience: “It was an outstanding experience to be a part of such a prestigious factory team at the Bathurst 12 Hour. Working with such professionals as Andy and Maxime was also a privilege. The Bentley Continental GT3 is a brilliant car and being given the duty of starting the race was exciting. I enjoyed the opening stint in the dark and got into a fast rhythm. I had a moment with Rob Bell at The Chase that caused a puncture and pit stop, so it was a case of running fast and consistent laps to get us back on track by the time I handed the car over to Andy.


“In my next stint I was having a good run in second place but I came across the limping Wall Racing Porsche at The Cutting and had nowhere to go. The damage proved to be a lot worse than I thought and it cost us some laps. The team did an awesome job to get us back out there, with Maxime and Andy bringing the car home 7th. While we Bentley Team M-Sport came here to win, we did the best we could in the circumstances. I also couldn’t be happier for our team mates to have gained Bentley’s first Bathurst 12 Hour podium. I really love these long distance GT events and look forward to doing more here and overseas in the future.”








2014-pirelli-calendar-3Now here’s a nice little promo that some people believe conjures up all the usual sexual connotations used by the advertising industry without resorting to naked women. We suppose that depends on whether you see a motor vehicle as a male or female object, but somehow we can’t see the next Pirelli calendar featuring a Naked Ute. Yes, folks, a naked ute stripped of all exterior panels, no soft-touch plastics, no clever infotainment systems, not even a shred of fabric or cushioning on the seats! “What’s the point?” we hear you yell. Well, it’s all part of a multi-platform marketing campaign, encapsulating television, digital and print media, in which VW Australia has stripped back its award-winning Amarok ute to the bare bones exposing what the company says is a tough, reinforced and extensively engineered chassis, free from badges and class-leading Volkswagen design features.


The Naked Ute was then assessed by some of its toughest critics: working ute owners from rural Australia. This ‘blind’ road test saw it driven in a range of off-road environments, designed to test its core strength. At the end of the test, the Naked Ute’s pilots were, surprise, surprise, all impressed by its strength and composure but (Uh Hum!) still stumped as to the model (not the one in the picture). That is, until this week. The campaign started with a week-long tease period with a stripped-back ‘Naked Ute’ featuring in a 15” TVC that called on the public to ‘Guess the Naked Ute’. This was supported by a promoted social campaign that had separate content where viewers were introduced to four Aussie ute lovers who put the Naked Ute through its paces. New content was rolled out each day driving traffic to to vote, or view more content. In the first week, tthe campaign received over 1.7 million views on Facebook and over 800,000 views on Youtube.


According to VW’s Ralph Beckmann: “We wanted to really challenge some of the myths and misconceptions around Amarok and develop a disruptive campaign to bring this to life. We believed many couldn’t see beyond the Volkswagen badge and the good looking exterior. So we decided to take it away and the response has been phenomenal. In our first week alone, the engagement far exceeded our expectations and it also showed us that a lot of people know their Amaroks down to bolts, suspension, stance and even the shape of the rear window.”








When you can’t justify terms like “the best selling” or “number one”, how about the “most liked”? A bit wishy-washy, but then this is the tyre industry and you’ve just got to have a slogan. So Nitto Tyres has gone for the ‘most liked’ bit in its announcement of a ‘relaunch’ (something you do when the consumer has completely forgotten you) of its tyre brand globally on Facebook and the announcement of a new nationwide distribution channel and website. And, to add a little much needed magic, motorsport stuntman Matty Mingay as been appointed brand ambassador. According to Nitto Tyres’ Jose Angeles, the 136-outlet Bob Jane T-Marts chain will have exclusive rights to sell retail brands’ range of ultra-high performance, 4×4, SUV and passenger tyres. “With over 11.7 million Facebook fans, Nitto is the most liked tyre maker in the world, exceeding the fan bases of prestigious automotive marques and Matty Mingay is Australia’s number one action sports athlete. He performs in front of 2.2 million people a year and pushes tyres to their limit, which aligns perfectly with the enthusiasm and passion the Nitto brand stirs with drivers.”





_interiorThe ‘all-new’ Holden Spark goes on sale in April and Holden say that compared to its predecessor, it has a sleeker exterior appearance and lower profile, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase, thinner pillars and a reduction in height, the wheels have been pushed closer to the edges of the fenders and the new package comes in a whole new range of colours. Under the bonnet there’s a new 1.4-litre engine capable of producing 73kW of power and 128Nm of torque, so essential for quick burst of speed often required in urban driving…what aaaaabout this interior….Only joking, Lambo.


As if it really matters, Holden engineers had a significant involvement in the development of the vehicle’s suspension and ride and handling tuning, during test trips in South Korea and extensive development in Australia. The company’s head honcho Mark Bernhard, drawing on all the latest autospeak, has described the vehicle as taking the micro-car segment to a new level with technological sophistication and composed driving manners.


“Compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Spark offers connectivity and infotainment features previously unavailable in this segment. These are technologies that the target customers of this car will love. Spark has been designed to be an extension of drivers’ lives and personalities.  Aside from class-leading connectivity, Spark offers a wide range of genuine accessories to make this car the most individually customisable Holden ever.”













rhino-rackAnyone who’s been a long-term camper will tell you that not all thieves live in built up area. So whether it’s taking the kids camping, or hitting the road with friends, your gear needs to stay strapped down and out of the hands of crooks. Rhino Rack has designed what the company says is a new, safer solution that’s just as simple to use as any other fastening device. The big difference is that Rhino locking tie down strap has a security stop that snaps into place when the cap is tampered with making it extremely difficult for thieves to utilise anything to ‘jemmy’ the cap. Rhino Rack say that the LTDS locking cap can also be completely removed which is not possible with other cap locks that only partially slide out of the way and still restrict access to the cam buckle. The steel wire begins 250mm from the end ensuring easy installation of the webbing through the cam lock, a stronger grip, and the ease to pull it through the housing. The LTDS can handle loads up to 225kg, is corrosion and cut resistant and the tongue and housing won’t make contact with the vehicle.




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The relentless drive towards driverless cars…Two famous F1 cars return down under…California here we come for electric vehicle charging




uk-connected-intelligent-transport-environment-1It’s possible to fly a modern passenger aircraft from Sydney to London with little or no contribution from the pilot. But long periods of autopilot has been found, not surprisingly, to dull the cockpit crew’s senses to such an extent that they were more likely to miss a potentially dangerous situation than if they were actually flying the plane. As a result, cockpit crew have to perform certain regular tasks associated with the flying of the aircraft even if it is on autopilot. So if highly trained, professional fliers are likely to loose concentration and even doze off without some sort of regular stimulus, what does it mean for the average Joe and Mrs Blow as they doze along in their ‘autonomous’ vehicle. An accident waiting to happen, yet the car manufacturers seem undaunted in their quest for the driverless vehicle and have already started putting about propaganda about how dangerous a human driver is when compared to a computer.


The latest news is that miles of roads in the UK are to be used for testing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. The £5.5m ($A11m) UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK-CITE) project will allow new technology to be evaluated in real-world driving conditions. …and, wait for it… it will help to make driving safer, to reduce journey times and to prevent traffic jams. UK-CITE is one of eight projects that have received about $A40 from the UK government’s Intelligent Mobility Fund, aimed at helping to develop the next generation of autonomous vehicles and supplemented with investment from academia and industry.


The UK-CITE connected and autonomous vehicle test corridor includes about 66kms of roads around the city of Coventry and the town of Solihull made up of a mix of urban roads, dual-carriageways and motorways that will be equipped with 4G/LTE, dedicated short range communications, LTE-V, a more advanced version of LTE and local Wi-Fi hotspots. These wireless connectivity technologies will allow for the testing of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication and ‘over the horizon’ warnings. It will be possible, for example, to test how connected cars can communicate to make lane changing and junction exiting safer and more efficient, how above-road warning messages might instead be sent to and displayed on car dashboards and how drivers might receive in-car alerts about approaching connected emergency vehicles.


A fleet of 100 connected and autonomous technology research vehicles will be tested on the CAV test corridor. Among the test companies will be Jaguar Land Rover, which is one of a number of organisations that have contributed investment to the project. “This real-life laboratory will allow Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and project partners to test new connected and autonomous vehicle technologies on five different types of roads and junctions,” says the company’s Wolfgang Epple, who goes on to state auto industry line: “The connected and autonomous vehicle features we will be testing will improve road safety, enhance the driving experience, reduce the potential for traffic jams and improve traffic flow. These technologies will also help us meet the increasing customer demand for connected services while on the move.”


driversless_bus_web-thumb-largeSeven other projects have received funding from the Intelligent Mobility Fund including Insight, a project to develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and control systems to be trialled in pedestrian areas of cities. The project has a particular focus on improving urban accessibility for the disabled or visually impaired. Transport modellers and the computer games industry will collaborate to develop new approaches for autonomous logistics operations and management and to help improve the return on investment of connected and autonomous vehicle fleets.


Flourish will develop new tools for understanding the needs and expectations of connected and autonomous vehicle users, whilst Move-UK aims at accelerating the development, market readiness and deployment of automated driving systems. INnovative Testing of autonomous control techniques seeks to reduce the cost of testing and evaluating autonomous control systems in a safe, repeatable, controlled and scientifically rigorous environment. The aim of the Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles project is to develop an innovative means of monitoring vehicle information and of predicting safety risks based on analytics. i-Motors’ intelligent mobility for future cities’ transport systems is looking to deliver a proof-of-concept, vehicle-to-anything, communications system through a mobile platform and to develop hardware and cloud systems for analysing vehicle sensor data in real-time.








Two famous Formula 1 cars with unique Australian connections will be coming ‘home’ from the UK for the 2016 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport (March 11-13) thanks to their current enthusiastic UK owners, Andrew and Margaret Wareing. From the 1960s comes the works 1.5 litre BRM P261-5 that was raced by Graham Hill, Ritchie Ginther and Jackie Stewart in Formula 1 from 1964. Later, factory-fitted with a larger 2.0-litre V8 engine, the same car contested the 1965, 1966 and 1967 Tasman championship in Australia and New Zealand with Stewart and Richard Attwood. Driven by Graham Hill, the car’s best F1 result was second in the 1964 French Grand Prix, while in 1966 it scored five race victories in the 1966 Tasman Series, with Stewart taking four of its race wins to clinch the eight-race Australian-New Zealand championship. Following its F1 era, P261-5 was fitted with a 3.0-litre BRM V12 engine and driven in non-Championship races in 1968/69 by David Hobbs, Tony Dean and Charles Lucas.


After spending some years in a museum in the UK, the BRM was returned to its original 1.5 litre GP spec to meet Historic Grand Prix Cars Association regulations. It was acquired 10 years ago by the Wareings, who have since raced it in HGPCA events, Historic Monaco and the Goodwood Revival. Sir Jackie Stewart has also driven the BRM in recent years in demonstrations. Andrew and Margaret are also bringing their famous Williams FW06 to Phillip Island, the first car produced by the combination of Frank Williams and Patrick Head for their Williams grand prix engineering F1 team. Powered by a Cosworth DFV 3.0 litre V8 engine and driven by Australia’s Alan Jones, the FW06 competed as a lone Williams works entry in all 16 rounds of the 1978 FIA World Championship. It finished in the points three times, with Jones’ best result being second place in the US GP at Watkins Glen. Chassis FW06/03 also saw service in the first four races of the 1979 season, with Jones finishing third place at Long Beach. By now the car was being left behind by the ground effects cars of Lotus, Ligier, Tyrrell and others and it was replaced by the FW07 that Jones ultimately used to win the 1980 World Championship.


Following its F1 career, Williams sold FW06/03 in mid-1979 to a wealthy Italian industrialist, who used it for private track days before its current owners purchased it in 1992. Since then the famous Williams has been driven by Alan Jones at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Wareings have lent it back to Williams GP for other displays and demonstrations. Andrew Wareing, with Margaret’s permission, will drive both the former F1 cars at this year’s Phillip Island Classic FOM. At the meeting, the BRM P261-5 will compete in Group M&O events for open wheelers from 1961-1970, where one of its main rivals will be another great F1 car of the 1960s – the 1968 2.5-litre Repco Brabham V8 of Victorian Peter Strauss. Meanwhile, Andrew will also race the FW06/03 at Phillip Island in the Q & R events for racing cars built from 1970-1985. Here, its principal F1 rivals will be the 1971 March 741 to be raced by four times Australian Champion, John Bowe and the 1985 ex-works Lola 1.5 Turbo of Sydney’s Iain Ross.


The open wheeler programme at this year’s ‘Classic’ will also see a near- record number of Formula 5000 racing cars compete over the event’s three-day programme, with 13 cars coming from New Zealand to take on 17 of Australia’s top 5.0 litre V8 open wheelers in the hands of their local drivers. The 27th Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport is being staged by the Victorian Historic Racing Register with continued support from Penrite, Shannons and CoolDrive and Repco. More info @








In a move that is bound to find its way to Australia sometime within the next 50 years, the California Public Utilities Commission has approved a pilot program that will see public utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) install and operate 3500 new charging stations for electric vehicles. Charges for plugging in to charge an electric vehicle will vary according to time of day in a scheme meant to encourage off-peak charging when renewable power sources are more plentiful. This is the second such proposal from a public utility in California to meet approval, with Southern California Edison having received the OK to deploy 1500 charging stations across its own territory. SDG&E will be building its 3500 stations in the San Diego and south Orange County areas at 350 sites, including disadvantaged neighbourhoods.


chargeThe dynamic pricing ranges from US$0.18 per kilowatt-hour in “super off-peak” summer rates (midnight to 05:00) to $0.46 during on-peak hours (noon-18:00, summer). For the majority of users, charging rates would be in the $0.22 per kilowatt-hour. Charge rates are based on the EV-TOU2 rate charged to residential consumers with a smart meter installed. Many of the stations will be installed in multi-family housing, which makes up about half of the consumer base for SDG&E that has a budget for the charging station installations of US$45 million over three years. Charge rates and pricing will be shown to consumers plugging into the station via a smartphone app and current SDG&E customers will be able to use the app to have the cost of the vehicle charge added to their monthly bill. Many of the stations will be capable of delayed charging, allowing those plugging in to set a time frame for the charging to take place, depending on the station’s location and demand. In vehicle charging, there are three types of chargers and three types of commonly used adapters for plugging in.


A Level 1 charger is a basic 120 V plug-in which trickles a charge into a vehicle at a slow rate, requiring many hours to recharge an electric vehicle’s battery. Most vehicles come with a basic Level 1 charger included. The Chevrolet Volt uses the new SAE J1772 standard plug A Level 2 charger is faster and is the most common type of public charger and home charging station on the market now. These charge at 6.6 kW, which for an electric vehicle like the Nissan LEAF translates to 20-25 miles (32-40 km) of range for an hour of charging. Level 3 DC fast-chargers, by contrast, can charge an EV like the LEAF to about 80 percent of its full charge in only thirty minutes. SDG&E has not made it clear what type of charging stations these 3,500 units will be, though it is likely that they’ll be Level 2 chargers, in the main, with a few in higher-demand areas being Level 3. The cost difference between a Level 2 and Level 3 charger is significant. A typical Level 2 charger requires only a 240 V connection, which is the most common power input connection to residential and small commercial buildings in the United States. A Level 3 charger, however, requires much more power access, limiting their installation potential, and has a cost of $100,000 or more per installation.


To go with these charging types, we also have three common plug-in types, not all of which are compatible. Most fast-charge-capable electric vehicles globally use the CHAdeMO plug (though this is changing). This offers charging speeds of up to 70 kW. Vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and the Kia Soul EV use this plug. In Europe and North America, the new SAE Combined Charging Solution (usually referred to as SAE Combo and called CCS in Europe) uses a J1772 plug that caters for both AC and DC charging up to 90 kW. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, Porsche Mission E, Ford C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi and BMW i3 use the SAE plug. It is notable that the images included with the SDG&E announcement depict BMW i3 and Chevrolet Volt vehicles plugging in, leading us to believe that the SDG&E stations may offer SAE Combo plugs. The third charging type is the Tesla Supercharger standard used only on Tesla Motors’ vehicles.









gearwrench“You rely on your tools to come through for you, so it is paramount that they do, regardless of the situation,” says GearWrench spokesman Luke Dean-Weymark, who may, or may not, come in contact with many spanners but nevertheless is proud to present the quarter inch drive, Compact Multi-Function Ratchet (MFR) that he says, is useful for almost any and all mechanical occasions. “It’s designed to get you into those awkward spots that ordinary ratchet wrenches can’t, this is because MFR can be locked into seven different positions and unlocked for angled access. With a slim-line quarter inch drive on one end and a quarter inch hex bit-driver and holder on the other, the MFR will save you time.”
The GearWrench thumb-wheel allows the user to start and turn loose fasteners with serious speed and accuracy. Alongside a flex-head and a thumb-wheel are plenty of other features including a 72-tooth count, quick release drive tool retention and a full polish chrome finish. The MFR has apparently exceeded torque requirement standards, set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and comes in two different sizes and as a part of a kit that includes a compact and long ratchet, 4″ 1⁄4″ drive extension, 1/4″ drive sockets: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13mm and a 30-piece screwdriver bit box.


More info @

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For a lot of people, there’s nothing wrong with the Toyota Prius that wouldn’t be cured by dropping in a V-8. Here then is just what the doctor ordered, a 2016 Prius with a 3.4-litre V-8 . . . and it’s still a hybrid. The V-8 is mounted amidships and for better weight distribution parts of the hybrid synergy drive system has been moved to the front passenger’s seat well. Output is capped at 300hp, while an aggressive front splitter and a giant rear wing help manage airflow over the lower, wider body. A stand out number for sure, but you’re not likely to see it on a road near you any time soon. This steroidal Prius was built for Japan’s Super GT racing series and is one of two that will be campaigned by APR Racing. The first GT300-specification Prius came out in 2012, this version, based on the fourth-generation car, was unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon. It will make its racing debut on April 9–10 at the first Super GT race of the year, at Japan’s Okayama circuit. Perhaps it will serve as an inspiration to Prius drivers everywhere. – Source:












This year’s Hyundai Commission for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall will be undertaken by French artist Philippe Parreno who works across film, video, sound, sculpture, performance and information technology, exploring the borders between reality and fiction. Philippe is known for investigating and redefining the gallery experience and sees his exhibitions as choreographed spaces that follow a score, during which a series of different events unfold. By creating kaleidoscopic environments, he treats exhibitions as one coherent whole, rather than a series of objects within a space. The focus of the Hyundai Commission is to create better access to art and aims to make a difference in the way people look at and understand the world. The Hyundai Commission has been an 11-year partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, the longest initial commitment from a corporate sponsor in Tate’s history.













“Shaping the next decade of automated driving,” is a slogan being used by ZF, the third largest automotive supplier in the world, as it paves the way toward autonomous motoring. The company supplies sensor systems, intelligent control units and mechatronic actuators and now intends to further strengthen its expertise in this area by offering technology to enable automated driving functions for all vehicle segments. ZF is also involved in electrification and hybrid with electro-mechanical actuators and individual hybrid modules through plug-in hybrid systems up to purely electric drives, including control units and power electronics. The company believe that demand for driver assist systems, control units and actuators will accelerate considerably in the next few years driven by more stringent regulations in relation to shorter stopping distances and faster response times. The basic functions for these include advanced environmental recognition, robust and redundant mechatronic actuators and sophisticated electronic control units transmitting sensor data to steering, brakes, driveline and chassis systems.








Hope you managed to get your vote in for the Most Beautiful Car of the Year. You didn’t? Never mind next year, perhaps. As you probably didn’t know, The Most Beautiful Car of the Year is part of the International Automobile Festival held each year in a hotel in Paris and according to organisers this is a very special prize because it’s the general public who pick the winner. And this year the hoi polloi went for the Mazda RX-Vision, a rotary-powered sports car concept designed by the company’s Ikuo Maeda that managed to beat of some pretty hot challengers including the Bentley Exp10 Speed 6, Peugeot Fractal and Porsche Mission E.




bmwBMW Group Australia has announced the sale of 147 vehicles in its 2016 BMW Individual Collection, a selection of models from across the range said to be chosen for their ability to showcase the very best in BMW craftsmanship, materials and design. Some people might say: “What the hell, this is how they should be built in the first place”. Still there’s no doubt that the company will find 147 pretentious (the next word rhymes, and is synonymous, with bankers) to fork out big time on individual paint and leather upholstery with piano black trim.


Available across 10 models, including the BMW 3 Series Touring, 4 and 6 Series Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe, 5 Series Sedan and X5, the BMW Individual Collection has been developed by the brand’s design team in conjunction with leading BMW individual markets around the world. Local BMW man Shawn Ticehurst reckons the collection represents the best of BMW and highlights the leading colours and combinations, selected by the design team in Munich to reflect the preferences of local customers. “BMW Individual paint finishes represent the benchmark in terms of depth and brilliance, with their luminosity changing depending on the angle of light, projecting iridescent effects or featuring a silky sheen. Metallic effects are the product of a special pigmentation incorporated within the multi-layered application process, while matt finishes benefit from a perfectly matched clear coat, which creates the distinctive look.


“Each vehicle in the BMW Individual Collection features Merino leather upholstery, utilising specially produced premium hides. Precise stitching, decorative perforations and piping applied by hand provide artistic contrasts and accents, which further distinguish the unique attention to detail employed during the manufacturing process. Interior trims crafted from wood are developed with precision, as selected pieces are carved into shape before receiving a high-gloss piano black finish.”






A TV commercial, developed by creative agency The Monkeys, for has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Australian Creative Excellence Showcase where it will come up against competition such as the Ricky Gervais Anti-Ad series and Honda’s Wild Horse Chase. According to the PR blurb, The Advisors campaign, a series of 15 and 30 second cuts, shows the extreme lengths CarAdvice journalists go to test every last detail of new cars, in order to publish the most informed, relevant reviews of every new car launched in Australia. The ads feature across free-to-air TV, digital channels, cinema and outdoor advertising.








nissanNissan has challenged convention with the launch of the world’s first seven-seater bobsleigh in Innsbruck, Austria. The X-Trail Bobsleigh, said to have been inspired by the design of the more conventional Nissan of the same name, undertook its inaugural run at the historic Olympic track in Igls, piloted by British Olympic medallist Sean Olsson. Nissan worked with bobsleigh experts to transform a traditional four-man sled into an X-Trail inspired seven-seater capable of reaching 100 km/h and pulling a G-force of 4.5G. The seven-seater was developed using sketches and computer-aided design (CAD). The detail on the bobsleigh’s nose was crafted to express the X-Trail’s V-motion grille and capture the sculpture of the hood character lines. This work was complemented by Diego Menardi’s structural lengthening of the cabin to accommodate seven passengers.










Nearly seventy years after what was an idea drawn in the sands of a Welsh beach, the last Land Rover has rolled off the production line at Solihull. The company’s German owners have decided that producing a British motoring icon is much cheaper in Poland than in Birmingham. Since 1948, more than two million Series Land Rovers and Defenders have been built in Solihull in some cases by generations of the same family. Among the 700 current and ex-employees that attend the farewell ceremony was Tim Bickerton, aged 55, who has 40 years’ service with Land Rover having started as an apprentice, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Charlie and father Peter, who clocked up 35 and 30 years respectively working on the same line, both progressing to foreman. Tim was followed by his daughter Jade, aged 25, who worked on logistics and materials for the Defender, before recently moving to another area within JLR. Then last year his 23-year-old son Scott became the fifth member of the family to work on the Defender (Could be a movie here somewhere – Family-Friendly Defender Invades Poland?) A new heritage restoration programme, which will be based on the site of the existing Solihull production line, will see a team of experts, including some long serving Defender employees, oversee the restoration of a number of Series Land Rovers sourced from across the globe. The first vehicles will go on sale in July 2016. Land Rover has also announced the upcoming launch of its online  platform, which will allow the legendary model to live-on in a digital environment.

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The future of motor racing: self-healing, living skin loaded with fluid transfer veins?


Are highly advanced and experimental smart materials the future of racecar design and construction? Racecar Engineering’s Sam The Man has been looking into what the chassis construction of a racing car could look like in the future. Materials technology will obviously be a key factor in the design and construction of racing cars in the future, it sounds like an obvious statement, but the changes to come are profound. With ultra light, ultra thin, ultra tough and ultra strong composite and nano-composite materials many current and foreseen limitations of car design will no longer be a factor.


Bodywork regulations, for example, will no longer be all about a fixed shape. This is already happening, DRS in Formula 1, roof flaps in NASCAR and flexible bodywork on Le Mans prototypes, but technological advances in the world of materials science could make these processes even more fluid. In the cars bodywork there will be widespread use of ‘smart materials’ that will change shape and position as the conditions demand. On the straights, the bodywork will adopt the lowest drag shape possible while in cornering it will create the highest down force levels. This active adaptive bodywork will also see the car breathe through constantly changing ducts like a fishes gills, cooling slots will appear and disappear as required as will the openings for combustion air, if indeed there is such a requirement.


This technology may sound like science fiction, indeed much of this article might, but it is actively under development by various groups around the world, who generally refer to it as programmable matter. Approaches differ and nothing is quite yet ready for industrial use but it is undoubtedly coming. BAE Systems has revealed that it too is contemplating the future with the self-healing capabilities on military aircraft that could be equally applicable to racing cars and has in fact been proposed by another defence company in the past. In the event of a crash the bodywork on a car will be to an extent, self-repairing.


One technique being developed by the University of Sheffield (UK) is a thermoplastic self-healing system that uses a thermoplastic dissolved in a thermosetting resin, which can be induced to ‘heal’ when heated. The university is also working on the development of supramolecular polymer healing systems. Upon impact, there is generally substantial matrix damage in the form of matrix cracks and de-lamination. In this event, by and large, the cracks are closed, rather than open. Application of heat to the panel would enable the soluble thermoplastic to mobilise and diffuse through the thermosetting network. As the crack faces are closed, some of the thermoplastic chains will diffuse across the crack face and upon cooling the crack will be bridged and mechanical performance is recovered. To date, the system can recover between 40-70% of the pre-damaged strength.




While the research is at a purely experimental stage, in the coming years such a concept is likely to be commonplace, and indeed in many cases it may be partially automated. In addition to the solid-state, self-healing technology the university is working on a self-sensing system that uses changes in resistance to monitor the location and extent of damage. This can follow the changes in the panel arising during healing and detect subsequent impacts. Electrical contacts can then apply a power source to them and cause the panel to heat locally in the region of the damage.  While the defence companies are looking at self-healing technologies for obvious reasons, and the aerodynamics department are looking toward adaptive bodywork, they are both still looking at chassis and body as separate components. But with the new materials being developed the bodywork and chassis become one and the same but it goes much further than the current monocoque concepts, which already partially achieve this goal. As the bodywork is so strong and adaptable it becomes the most important component of the car, also acting as the chassis, a sort of super monocoque. Almost every part of it becomes structural in some way making this an exceptionally efficient design.


In addition to the self-healing and sensing systems mentioned, all of the cars electronic and fluid connections can be integrated into the bodywork. Fuel lines, cooling pipes and all of the electronic systems will run through a single component that serves both structural and aerodynamic purposes. As the structure can already reshape itself for both structural and aerodynamic purposes it can also automatically reroute the fluid transfer systems if one area is damaged or destroyed. Within the material there could be a honeycomb of veins and capillaries all capable of transmitting smart fluids that are routed where required with fuel, coolant and hydraulic fluids all moving simultaneously through the same system without contaminating one another. High voltage electrical power and low voltage electrical control supplies could be distributed through the cars skin using the same concept, in essence fluid and electrical multiplexing.





Bf1 systems of Norfolk, England has been offering its patented wire in composite concept for some years now and with the passage of time it is likely that not only will some wiring be built into the bodywork but all of the onboard computational equipment. This could also see the vehicle become much more intelligent with a large portion of the data analysis, component strength and even simulation built into the bodywork that could reduce, or even eliminate the need for race engineers, as the vehicle will know the best setup and learn the driver preferences. With its integral electronics it could also be possible to change the branding and colour scheme with dynamic advertising on a dynamic super monocoque. A number of companies are working on how to ‘customise’ such advertising to individual viewers of televised races. Some, if not all, of these technologies will likely be utilised in aviation and high performance automobiles in the years to come, its hard to put an exact timescale on it but as some of the research projects have been underway for years perhaps it may not be as far away as it seems.


Racecar Engineering is the world’s leading motorsport technology magazine. Written predominantly by engineers and professionals, it helps readers keep pace with news, products, technological developments and testing, providing informed analysis of results for the keen observer, industry expert or racer looking to expand their knowledge.


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Bosch produce an answer to the lead boot…a safer way to sell vehicles online…new products..and super Jag to make debut

driving-cartoon-(1)Got a touch of the old lead boot when it comes to fuel consumption and just wish you could get a few more kilometre out of a tank of fuel? Well here’s your chance with a few extras thrown in, but we’ll come to them in a moment. For now, all you need to know is that Bosch has come up with what it calls an active gas pedal that gives drivers a gentle vibration warning when they cross that thin ‘blue’ line between the light touch and the lead boot. The company claims that the driver’s foot is responsible for one-quarter of fuel consumption and up to now, the only thing that could be done about this rule of thumb was to drive gently and take eco-driving courses.


“The Bosch active gas pedal helps drivers save fuel, and alerts them to potentially dangerous situations,” says the company’s Stefan Seiberth. “If the vehicle has an assistance system, the pedal also becomes a warning indicator and coupled with the navigation system, or a camera that recognises road signs, the innovative Bosch gas pedal gives drivers a haptic warning signal if, for example, they are approaching a dangerous bend at too high a speed”.


Stegan reckons that the active gas pedal helps drivers to be very light-footed on the accelerator and the feedback they get from the pedal allows them to reduce fuel consumption by as much as seven percent with CO2 emissions reduced accordingly. This is possible because the gas pedal can be networked with other automotive functions, such as the transmission. The pedal also opens up a lot of fuel-saving potential in hybrids, since it lets drivers know when the combustion engine is about to take over from the electric motor, so they can lighten the amount of pressure on the gas pedal.


“But it is not only in the area of fuel economy that the active gas pedal comes into play. It can make cars safer as it can be connected with a whole series of assistance systems such as collision warning systems where a simple change to the software settings is all that is needed to tailor the type and force of haptic feedback to automakers’ specifications. Internet connectivity opens up even more possibilities and the Bosch innovation is already designed for cars that are connected with their surroundings,” he said.








A recent report of a car-jacking in Melbourne of a vehicle listed for sale online, has highlighted the need for private consumers to be careful about how they choose to sell their car on the open market, says a spokesman for car buying service, Sell My Car. According to Alan Holgate, Sell My Car offers consumers a totally safe and secure way to sell their vehicles, combined with the comfort of a quick and easy sale.


“We know that safety is a big concern for people listing their cars online for sale. Having to deal with strangers coming to your house and taking them for a test drive can be a risky business, as recent news events have shown. Sell My Car takes away the risk for private sellers. There is no need to post your personal details online or advertise to possible car thieves the availability of your vehicle. We will buy your car directly and deal with you personally and confidentially,” he said.


Alan reckons that instead of having to put in a lot of time and effort to sell their car privately, his customers love the simple sales process that sees them receive guaranteed payment for their vehicle within 24 hours with no haggling and no need to give strangers their home address. The company buys all makes and models of vehicles and combines the convenience of an online valuation with the security and confidence of a face-to-face sale. Here’s how it works:

  •  Online valuation – just enter your vehicle details online to receive an estimated value;
  • Book an appointment, online or phone, at one of Sell My Car’s convenient locations;
  • Attend an appointment to present your vehicle and the required paperwork and after verifying the condition of your car, a final valuation will be presented with guaranteed payment within 24 hours if you are happy with the offer.






lightFor most people a flashing blue light usually means that you’ve done something extremely expensive such as not stopping at a halt sign or going through the ‘orange’ that could have been red light. But if you’re someone who works in a factory or warehouse then a flashing blue light is nothing special and usually means that some sort of machinery is heading in your direction. Narva is a specialist in industrial lighting, so it’s probably no surprise that the company has just added a ‘Blue Spot’ LED safety light to its range of OH&S products. The new light is ideal for fitment to forklifts and similar equipment used in materials handling, warning pedestrians and other equipment users of an approaching forklift. With a concentrated light projection, the safety light can be easily mounted to the forklift’s protective roof frame, casting a strong beam approximately 500mm at five metres onto the floor ahead. The new safety addition is particularly valuable to anyone crossing the floor from a blind angle such as in-between racking. The 9-110v light features two XP-E 3 watt LEDs and is programmed to be a constant beam.





compressorCoolDrive Distribution has added to its range a highly versatile compressor from Jaylec, said to be ideal for off-road, camping and home use. CD say that the 12v, 150psi portable compressor is perfect for use in serious off-road conditions, when tyres need reinflating after traversing sandy or muddy terrain, or at home for inflating footballs and pool toys. Designed to be fully portable, it is powered off a 12v battery using the included heavy-duty alligator clamps or can be hard-wired and permanently mounted. The unit has a built-in low-pressure 4×4 tyre gauge, 8m inflation hose, oil-less motor, automatic thermal cut-out switch and 45amp circuit breaker with reset button.













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Hot cars and collectors ready for auction whilst Red Bull plays it real cool


The hot, hot market for high range and collector cars shows no sign of cooling with some really sort after bits of ubber-priced metal about to go to auction in Melbourne and Los Angeles. Fancy a really cool supercar? Then pencil Thursday, 11 February in the diary, the day when auctioneers Manheim will be flogging a McLaren 650 S Spider 2D Cabriolet, believed to be the first sale of a supercar in Australia. If you don’t already live there, you’ll need to get to Melbourne in time for the six o’clock start, or if you’re super cool about these things you can bid over the internet using Simulcast. We don’t have any info on the year of the vehicle, but the auctioneers reckon it cost about $550,000 when new.


Other brands to go under the hammer include Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Range Rover, most of which are being sold on behalf of financiers and corporate fleet owners and include a number of highly sought after repossessions. Keen bidding is expected for a Range Rover Autobiography 4.4 Turbo SDV8 (2015), Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 coupe (2014), two late model BMW M5’s, BMW E92 M3 coupe and a Porsche Panamera. All vehicles are listed on the auctioneer’s website.










Lifelong Porsche-aphile Jerry Seinfeld has spent decades assembling one of the most revered and comprehensive collections of the brand in America. Now, the comedian, actor, writer producer and host of the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee web series is letting a few of those prized vehicles trickle back into circulation. A 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, 1958 Porsche 356A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster and a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR are expected to cross the block at auction on March 11. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 550 Spyder, an unrestored vehicle with an original chassis, body, and engine and only 10,300 miles on the odometer – not to mention the morbid fascination it elicits given its similarities to the car James Dean drove and died in – is expected to bring $5 to $6 million. One of only 151 models built, the Carrera Speedster should net between $2 and $2.5 million and the Carrera between $1.2 to 1.5 million. Jerry reckons that he never bought a car as an investment, but then he is a comedian, is about to make a heap on his non-investment.





bikeTalking about what’s hot and what’s not! A lithium-ion battery that warms the cockles of you arse as it cools ‘range anxiety’ for electric vehicle owners is about to hit the market. Apparently, conventional batteries at below freezing temperatures suffer severe power loss, which leads to slow charging, restricted regenerative breaking and reduction of vehicle cruise range by as much as 40% … and a numb bum. Researchers at EC Power claim to have developed an all-climate battery that weighs only slightly more than a conventional one, for about the same cost. The unit can go from -4 to 32 degrees F within 20 seconds and from -22 to 32 degrees in 30 seconds, consuming only 3.8% and 5.5% of the cell’s capacity. This is far less than the 40% loss in conventional lithium ion batteries.   The all-climate battery uses a nickel foil of 50-micrometer thickness with one end attached to the negative terminal and the other extending outside the cell to create a third terminal. A temperature sensor attached to a switch causes electrons to flow through the nickel foil to complete the circuit. This rapidly heats up the nickel foil through resistance heating and warms the inside of the battery. Once the battery is at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the switch turns off and the electric current flows in the normal manner.


You’ve given your over indulged offsprings the best Christmas presents money can buy, but now his or her birthday looms. What about the new Kuberg Freerider, a lightweight electric dirt bike aimed at teenagers, weighs in at 36kg with a double cradle, powder-coated steel tube frame and a 48v motor which generates 8kW  that can propel the bike to 34mph?  The Freerider is powered by a 22Ah lithium polymer battery pack that the company claim lasts for an hour with a 75kg rider traveling at full speed. Regular recharge time is listed at two and a half hours from a 220v outlet or generator. A quick charger is available as an optional accessory.   Suspension comes in the form of a Manitou Dorado Expert front fork with 180mm of travel and a DNM Burner RB-RCP shock in the rear to provide plenty of support through varied terrain and jumps.  Another optional extra is a special dongle that connects to the bike’s sensors and communicates wirelessly to an app, available for iOS and Android, that allows the rider to monitor the battery level, track average speed and torque, ‘share the rides’ and set the max torque and speed for parents concerned about the rider’s safety.








It may not go down as one of the best Red bull stunts ever, but in what definitely qualifies as an interesting use of a Red Bull F1 car, Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen gained and dropped vert on the world-famous slopes of Kitzbühel, Austria. The stunt served as an appetizer of on-snow speed ahead of the Hahnenkamm-Rennen ski races. The 800-hp RWD Red Bull RB7 would never be our first choice for navigating pure snow, but it sure looks cool doing it. As is often the case when it comes to Red Bull-backed stunts, there doesn’t appear to be any answer to the question “why” beyond “why not” and “let’s make it viral.” The 3500 or so spectators certainly weren’t complaining about watching what Red Bull calls the first-ever F1 show run on an Alpine peak. Before Verstappen took the wheel, the Red Bull Racing team did some serious wrenching on the 2011 RB7.  Prior to being helicoptered into Kitzbuhel, the car was used for a string of hot weather events, including battling 35ºC heat in Australia, so the main task was preparing it for the cold. The team remapped the engine for improved throttle control and added a set of specially built snow chains to give it a fighting chance in the slick, shifty snow. Taking an open, ultra light race car up and down a snow-covered slope may not be the most advisable way to get your kicks, but as the gimag video and full photo gallery prove, it is possible.




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Mazda masterpiece no match for an ‘automotive Sophia Loren’

It’s that time of the year again when car magazines start handing out gongs for the best advertiser of the year or the manufacturer that lent out the most cars for the longest period…sorry best car of the year…go and wash your cynical mouth out…Whatever! It’s also the time of year when Autospeak reaches a peak of performance by raising the bar and redefining the sporting experience for a new generation with F1 inspired technology, stunning looks, functional ergonomics, etc., whilst at the same time ticking all the boxes. And like a kindergarten parents’ day, there are enough categories to ensure that everyone gets an award even if it’s only for Best Floor Mats in a Vehicles under Ten Tonne. So who are the big winners?



nissanHow about this for starters: Mazda Masterpiece Wins 2016 Wheels Car of the Year – MX-5 claims motoring trifecta across three decades! Now in its 53rd year, the Wheels Car of the Year is the world’s longest running new car award and the benchmark for manufacturers and motorists alike…wank..wank!

According to editor Glenn Butler, the Mazda MX-5 is motoring at its purest: “The car itself is a stunning achievement. It’s smaller on the outside yet more spacious on the inside. It’s lighter than its predecessors yet is more durable. It is quite simply better than ever. But, more than ticking boxes and meeting our tough testing criteria, which it did impressively, this is about the lost joy of driving a great car. That is something different again. It’s an exhilarating experience and the driver is the true winner here.”








Right. What’s next? FWD, of course! And continuing the over hyped theme, 4×4 Australia had this to say: “In the vast and rugged extremes of Australia, the most important vehicle on the road is often the one that can go off it…what ever that means. As such, one of our most significant awards is the 4X4 Of The Year and thousands of kilometres of testing across a range of conditions, blah, blah, the Australian-designed Ford Everest Trend has risen above its formidable rivals. It seems insane that in a country as big as Australia that there has never been a mass-produced 4X4 wagon built here,” notes editor, Matt Raudonikis….and there still hasn’t…this little number was built just up the road in Thailand, but what the hell…?








PorcheStill in the same stable of magazines, Motor reckons that the Performance Car of the Year must, for the 12th time in 20 years, go to Porsche and its 911 GT3. “This year’s victor is a formidable track star which is accessible to the nation’s significant tribe of true motoring enthusiasts, gushed editor Dylan Campbell. “Some suggest it’s not good business for one manufacturer to regularly claim our biggest prize everyone loves a surprise result, but to not award PCOTY to what is clearly the best product would be a far greater sin… it’s up to the other makers to lift their game”…nudge, nudge, wink, wink…good business, eh lads!!!!






And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the WhichCar Style and Sexist Comment of the Year Award goes to what editor Mark Orval describes as an automotive Sophia Loren, the Alfa Romeo 4C: “The judges were blown away by the superb attention to detail and craftsmanship as well as the cohesion between the interior and exterior design and its breathtaking good looks [and the car’s not bad either],”


Well, goodness gracious me… It goes boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom-boom-boom.


And that’s just the local stuff. There heaps more like this from overseas. Another day, perhaps.


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1964: The Pony comes to Australia and all you wanna do is ride around Shelia




You’d be forgiven for thinking that the auto industry in Australia is as dead as representative government. Not so. Nothing could be that dead. According to Ford, which spat the dummy and took its ball home when the Mad Abbott cut off the umbilical cord to the cash trough, the arrival of the US-made Mustang is all part of a company transformation. Ford says that it is refreshing its Australian line-up faster than ever with 20 vehicles planned by 2020 and that it is the only automaker that will continue to fully develop vehicles in Australia with on-going plans to continue to invest heavily in R&D in 2016 on top of nearly $2 billion the past six years.


According to head honcho Graeme Whickman: “Many people think the auto industry is closing in Australia, but Ford’s billions of dollars of R&D investment locally and launch of world-class vehicles such as Mustang demonstrate our commitment to serving our customers and communities. Ford Mustang truly inspires passion like no other car and it has the iconic history to back it up. The visceral look, sound and performance of Mustang resonates with people, even if they’ve never driven one. It is more than just a car, it is the heart and soul of Ford and with 4000 orders in Australia, it proves that Ford customers love Mustang and have been waiting for its return.”




Autospeak aside: What is the history in this country of a vehicle that has clocked up more than nine-million sales worldwide, made thousands of appearances in film, television, music and video games and is the world’s most-liked vehicle on Facebook? Mustangs were briefly sold here in 1964 and 1965, soon after the global debut of the famous pony, but it was still a rare beast on Australian roads. Records show that during that time only 161 sold to enthusiasts, making them highly collectible today. The Mustang’s arrival into Australia was due to the efforts of the then boss of Ford Australia, Bill Bourke, who was looking for a new marketing campaign to help launch the 1966 XR Falcon.


He had the idea to bring in 400 new Mustangs from the United States, convert them to right-hand-drive and put one into every dealer showroom use the slogan: “The Mustang-Bred Falcon” to help launch the Falcon XR GT sedan. The first Pony import was a 1964 ½ convertible, changed over to right-hand drive in Sydney at a cost of 424 pounds ($850). In July 1965, Ford imported forty-eight Mustang hardtop coupes that were converted to RHD by a private contractor at the company’s Sydney plant using some local Falcon components such as steering boxes. These Mustangs were fitted with 289 V8 engines, automatic transmission, front disc brakes, low profile 6.95×14 tyres, two-speed windscreen wipers, heavy duty suspension, back-up lights, wheel trims, radio, heater, bucket seats, padded instrument panel, padded sun visors, carpet and full length centre consoles.


ford-mustang-salesAt the time they retailed for $2895, compared to $2140 for a standard six-cylinder XM Falcon sedan. The Mustangs were used to help raise interest and demand for a sporty performance XR Falcon, due for launch in September 1966 with a 289 V8 engine option. In December 1965 the first shipment of 1966 Mustangs arrived and after some initial challenges with the conversions, work progressed but orders were reduced from the initial 400. The cars were progressively assembled through to September 1966 and resulted in the monthly sales figures shown right.

These were the only Mustangs ever factory converted by Ford anywhere in the world and were identified by ID plates, fitted to the engine firewall and Ford Motor Company of Australia metal decals attached to the door scuff plates in place of the US Ford decal. Between 2001 and 2002, 377 coupes and convertibles were sold and at that time, the 2001 Mustang was the most powerful vehicle in Ford’s local line-up. It featured a 4.6-litre, all-alloy, quad-cam V8 delivering 240kW and 430Nm. The cars on sale in 2000 had 330mm vented Brembo front disc brakes with twin-piston calipers, multi-link Independent rear suspension, traction control, ABS and 17-inch wheels. The vehicles were converted to right-hand-drive by Ford’s highly respected performance partner, Tickford Vehicle Engineering.


Mustang also made its mark on the local motor racing scene, dominating the 1960s Australian Touring Car championships in the hands of luminaries Pete Geoghegan. Alan Moffat in the 70s and and Dick Johnson in the 80s also had various success riding the Pony. Each model had styling cues that could be trace back to the first hero model in 1964 including the classic long bonnet and short rear boot, prominent bonnet scoop and the famous galloping chrome Pony emblem.









Subaru’s BRZ has joined an exclusive band of ‘pioneers’ in the illustrious Guinness Book of Records that includes Francisco Domingo Joaquim’s widest mouth measuring 17cm and a dog with the biggest ears in the world but still doesn’t come when Francisco calls him…The record for a 360°spin was set by stunt driver Alastair Moffat, holder of four other useless records, at the Autosport International Show in the UK recently when he flicked the BRZ between two obstacles. In order for him to have maximum control over the car throughout the maneuver, the traction control was switched off and ABS disengaged. Alastair, whose outstanding achievements include a GBOR for the tightest reverse parallel park and the tightest parallel park, was keen to try the attempt in the BRZ: “Given its combination of lightweight, rear wheel drive and highly controllable chassis, it’s the perfect car in which to do it; light, highly manoeuvrable and easy to control. It’s great to have another record to my name.”







combinedThere have been a few hints floating around including the Alpine show car Celebration prepared for last year’s Le Mans that Renault was planning to lift its image with something a little puncher than the Cleo. And it looks like being a revamped A120, which will be the successor to Jean Rédélé’s famed A110 Berlinetta. The Geneva Motor Show in March appears as the likely debut for what is said to be a 250-hp, mid-rear, 1.8 litre TCe engined unit linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission developed for the Renault Talisman. According to Alpine’s boss Bernard Olliver, the aim is to begin Alpine’s journey back into the hearts of their fans with the Alpine 120, which will be the embodiment of French elegance, ‘simple, fluid and uncomplicated.’


Just in case Renault fails to get its act together in time for Geneva, can we interest you in a 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 580-2 that in Autospeak: “combines dynamic new looks with a package for an enhanced Lamborghini driving emotion that continues the Lamborghini tradition of pure, visionary and technology-driven models?” It has a naturally aspirated V10 5.2 engine sending 580hp to the rear axle and a dry weight of just 1389kg that can get you from 0-heaven in just over three seconds. The whole box and dice sits on new, 19″ Kari rims with Pirelli PZero rubber and steel brakes with aluminium brake disc callipers. And it’s all yours for just $236,747.34. Parachute braking is an optional extra!






Just trust Tesla to come up with a software update that enables you to summon up the chariot from the stable. It’s an autonomous system that works through a smartphone app that will let you get out of the car and leave it to park itself in the garage. The system is not up to doing any fancy parking or complicated turns as it only drives in forward and reverse. You can stop the vehicle at any time, or it will stop itself if it detects an obstacle. Not really all that much use except for really tight parking spots or if some hoon parks too close and makes it impossible for you to slip back behind the wheel. But it’s sure to get better as the auto industry in general competes to find the best technology to ensure that the car can go out on its own whilst you stay at home watch the tele.




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