Bosch’s new go-kart is very hush hush…National Motor Museum gets its very own version of Grand Theft Auto… Google’s ‘gloogle’ a sticky problem all round…

      Hands up all those who reckon that having an emissions-free go-kart that can zap up to 100k/ph in less than five seconds on its way to a top of 130k/ph is the way of the future? OK, give yourself time to think about it, and then put your hand up because that’s just what Bosch has done in developing what is probably destined to be the powertrain of the future. In partnership with FIA Electric and the German Motorsport [ read more ]


Inifiniti’s global search for exceptional mechanics….Ferrari 575M Maranello F1 coupe under the hammer in Sydney + new products

  Infiniti's global search for the best up-and-coming student engineering talent has commenced its third successive year with the launch of the 2016 Infiniti Engineering Academy. Students from all over the world have the chance to earn what is described as the career opportunity of a lifetime working at Infiniti Motor Company and the Renault Sport Formula One Team. Infiniti's new partnership with the Renault includes an ‘automotive-to-Formula One’ training program for brilliant young engineers and according to Infiniti Motorsports’ Tommaso [ read more ]


  IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING really horny that will definitely piss off the neighbours, then look no further than Dutch manufacturer Donkervoort that builds distinctive, lightweight roadsters and hard-tops that are part race car, part classic car and enough street car to drive legally down highways, at least in some countries. The retro-modern speedsters have gradually evolved from their Lotus Seven-inspired roots, offering aggressive looks and fast, sharp rides on track and road. In 2004, the Donkervoort D8 RS set [ read more ]

Bosch’s new go-kart is very hush hush…National Motor Museum gets its very own version of Grand Theft Auto… Google’s ‘gloogle’ a sticky problem all round…





Hands up all those who reckon that having an emissions-free go-kart that can zap up to 100k/ph in less than five seconds on its way to a top of 130k/ph is the way of the future? OK, give yourself time to think about it, and then put your hand up because that’s just what Bosch has done in developing what is probably destined to be the powertrain of the future. In partnership with FIA Electric and the German Motorsport Association, the electronics company has come up with a unit that will instantly get the rubber burning at the tap of the pedal even at low engine speeds. The only things missing will be the roar of the engine and the smell of petrol fumes, which is no doubt why many of you still haven’t put your hand up! Germany’s largest kart manufacturer, Mach 1 Kart was also involved in the development and between them all they could undoubtedly be laying the foundations for electrifying performance kart racing, sans loud noise and pollution.


According to Bosch’s Markus Heyn, it just an extension of what is happening on the roads, where he thinks electrification will bring more excitement, driving pleasure and greater efficiency and also to the racetrack. “When the FIA, DMSB, Mach 1 Kart, and Bosch decided to develop an all-new electric powertrain for professional karting, they logically began with a blank sheet of paper. The idea was to create a purely electric motorsport discipline that made no compromises in power or performance.


“Bosch motorsport engineers came up with a solution in the form of the new BRS boost recuperation system, whose first generation will go into production next year. The electrical components of the BRS support the internal-combustion motor in compact vehicles with up to 10kW of additional power, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 15% on the street. It also provides the internal-combustion engine with an additional 150Nm of torque during acceleration.”


The system has been modified for use in professional karting with specially developed components and powertrain control software from a single source. Two starter-generators delivering a total output of 20kW form the basis of the powertrain that sends a sporting 300Nm of torque to the rear axle. Energy is stored in the system using a 48-volt lithium battery and the starter-generators can recover energy during recuperation and then use it for acceleration. The nerve centre of the powertrain is a custom ECU that controls energy flows throughout the kart. A set of sensors and a wiring harness complete the overall system.


“The new electric powertrain turns the Mach 1 Kart chassis into a clean, fast, and agile performer on the race track. Even during its initial run, the electric kart was able to hit 100 kph in less than five seconds and achieve a top speed of over 130 kph. Over the coming weeks and months we will continue testing to further explore the capabilities of the new e-kart,” added Markus.




National Motor Museum gets its very own version of Grand Theft Auto

Grand-Theft-AutoThe National Motor Museum in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia looks like it’s come up with its very own version of Grand Theft Auto in the form of a $125,000 grant from the Australian government. The money is to be spent on something called “REVolution: where pixels meet motors – an interactive history of video gaming and motor culture”.


The whole thing is the initiative of museum’s director Paul Rees who first had the idea whilst watching his 15-year-old son playing motor racing video games. “I thought that this is part of motoring history [in] how people interact with motoring culture through video games, there’s an exhibition in this. The project will be looking at the early days of racing in modern culture and the influence on video games from motorbikes to motorcars. At the same time we’ve looked at the dashboards of modern day cars and we want to also explore how video gaming has informed the modern car and the modern driving experience.”


Early racing video games in the 1970s included Atari’s Gran Trak 10 and Sega’s Monaco GP then the 80s and 90s saw the introduction of top sellers such as Pole Position, Out Run, Mario Kart, Daytona and Gran Turismo and of course, Grand Theft Auto, which according to Paul is much maligned but much loved and he feels that the project has a duty to look at everything. Adelaide-based tech company Novus Res is to develop a program that will allow visitors to the museum to create a simple motor racing game based on some basic coding techniques. “The idea is to introduce people to basic computer programming by saying ‘you can whip up a game here in five minutes’ and then allowing them to take that game home somehow,” said Paul.


The National Motor Museum that attracts about 60,000 visitors a year to its extensive collection of cars and automobile collectables at Birdwood, South Australia, has already tinkered with the video game idea by setting up racing games on consoles as part of its school holiday programs. The new exhibition, due to open in December 2017, will be on a much grander scale and more of a ‘fun history lesson’ that will give a large percentage of the museum’s traditional visitors a better understanding and appreciation of video gaming.


“It’s really going to be for anyone who remembers the earliest games but I really think this is going to come into its own as an education program working with students. There’s a lot of science technology, engineering and maths that can be taught through video gaming, especially as people want to move into the creative industries. But also, there’s going to be a bunch of people who go ‘wow I remember this’ just like they do now when they come in and say ‘that was my first car’ now it will be ‘that was my first game’,” added Paul.




Honda upgrades Acura autonomous development program


honda-testIf their PR/marketing campaigns are to believed brands such as Audi, Mercedes and Volvo are the only ones leading the charge into autonomous vehicle development but there are other players, such as Acura, out there doing their bit. Honda’s luxury brand offshoot recently revealed its second-generation automated development vehicle in the shape of a RLX hybrid with updated hardware and software designed to take automation a step further. Honda has been running automated tests at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) using the Acura RLX, which relied on a bulging, roof-mounted sensor tower.


The new automated RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD uses a much sleeker roof-top hardware set and the new hardware suite includes new radar, Lidar, camera and GPS sensors. Supporting hardware has also been updated to include higher performance CPUs and GPUs and upgraded circuitry, heat management equipment and cables and more intelligent software algorithms designed to support increasingly complex testing scenarios. Honda Research Institute USA will continue to use the same 5000-acre CNWS proving ground that includes 32 kilometres of paved, urban-style roadway grids, along with buildings and other infrastructure.

Source: Honda





Google’s ‘gloogle’ a sticky problem all round


google-glue-patent-1Whilst on the subject of autonomous cars Google has been fiddling around with the idea for a few years and so far its track record for safety is looking pretty good. But even for the best robot drivers, accidents do happen, which has led the tech giant to patented a creative safety feature. And creative it certainly is in the form of an adhesive front end that can glue a pedestrians to the vehicle and prevent them bouncing off and further injuring themselves.


The system, which we hope will be marketed as ‘Gloogle’, takes the opposite approach to pedestrian airbags by using an adhesive layer installed into the hood and front side panels of the self-driving cars. This sticky layer is protected by a thin coating designed to break open on impact. In the unfortunate event that the car collides with a pedestrian, the force cracks the coating, exposes the adhesive and holds the person firmly onto the front of the car, avoiding the secondary impact he or she could suffer by being thrown onto the road, under the vehicle or into another object.


It sounds like an interesting idea, but there are still a few questions left unanswered. What the adhesive itself is made of still seems to be up in the air, with Google canvassing the use of quick-acting, contact, pressure-sensitive and viscous adhesives in the system, as well as the all-important step of ensuring it’s a “releasable adhesive so that the colliding object may be decoupled from the adhesive layer after a period of time.” When that colliding object happens to be your face, you’re going to want it back asap.


Another point to ponder is if this system would actually prove to be saferin all situations than its absence. If a car hits a pedestrian and then falls off a bridge, for example, there’s a definite downside to being glued to the hood, especially is you can’t swim!  Like many patents, the technology might never materialise and the patent application acknowledges that even if it does find its way onto the company’s autonomous cars, it may only be a stop-gap: “Such safety mechanisms may become unnecessary as accident-avoidance technology is being further developed.” Source: gizmag





NSX supercar on a steep learning curve





Honda is set to wow visitors to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed with two very different displays of power in the form of an NSX supercar taking on the legendary hill climb and a CRF1000L Africa Twin kicking up the dirt in the Forest Rally State. McLaren-Honda F1 driver Jenson Button will pilot the supercar and the new CRF1000L Africa Twin will be under the control of four-time motocross world champion, Dave Thorpe.


According to Honda UKs Philip Crossman, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the unofficial British Motor Show and the perfect opportunity to show off the latest embodiment of two of the company’s iconic products. “We are delight that these two Honda heroes will be piloted by riders and drivers of such significance to both the Honda family and visitors to the Festival of Speed. Made in Marysville, Ohio by a team of just 100 people, the much-anticipated NSX boasts supercar performance is powered by a 3.5-litre DOHC V6 engine, features dynamic torque-vectoring technologies, including super-handling, all-wheel drive and an advanced three-motor sport hybrid system with a twin turbocharged engine that delivers instantaneous, yet broad torque.” 


The NSX is due to go on sale in Australia later this year. The Africa Twin is said to be designed as a true adventure motorcycle, mixing touring comfort with all-round usability, whatever the terrain. It boasts switchable rear ABS, multi-mode Honda selectable torque control and an option to specify an all-new dual clutch transmission. The Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place from June 23 to 26.





UK CarConnect plugs into growing PIV energy needs




CarConnect, a pioneering project that will help the electricity industry better understand how plug-in electric vehicles (PIVs) charge at home in harmony with the electricity grid, is now underway in the UK. With increases in battery size and charger rating, PIVs and hybrids are set to become commonplace, with a widening mass appeal and by the early 2020s there could be as many as one million ultra-low emission plug-in-vehicles on UK roads.


This is all good news for air quality and the environment, but PIVs and other projects will have an impact on local electricity networks that will need to be managed. Analysis shows that by 2050 the electricity industry in Great Britain may have to invest an additional £2.2billion to upgrade electricity supply infrastructure to customer premises owing to the additional demand from plug-in-vehicles. This investment needs to start in the early 2020s as plug-in-vehicles become more popular.


CarConnect will find solutions that could avoid the need to replace electricity substations and cables to customers’ homes and workplaces, saving significant cost and disruption to customers. The project will run for three and a half years and will:


  • Develop and deliver an electricity network-modelling tool that will enable a power company to identify which parts of their network are susceptible to plug-in-vehicle loads and to assess solutions to avoid network reinforcement works.
  • Develop a method for monitoring the effect of plug-in-vehicles on low voltage networks that will inform the network modelling tool development.
  • Recruit and manage a mass-market customer trial to prove the technical/economic viability of plug-in-vehicle/V2G demand control to avoid or defer network reinforcement.

Set to be the largest PIV project in the world, CarConnect will be working with up to 700 EV drivers in its trials to ensure that such systems are acceptable.






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Inifiniti’s global search for exceptional mechanics….Ferrari 575M Maranello F1 coupe under the hammer in Sydney + new products



Infiniti’s global search for the best up-and-coming student engineering talent has commenced its third successive year with the launch of the 2016 Infiniti Engineering Academy. Students from all over the world have the chance to earn what is described as the career opportunity of a lifetime working at Infiniti Motor Company and the Renault Sport Formula One Team. Infiniti’s new partnership with the Renault includes an ‘automotive-to-Formula One’ training program for brilliant young engineers and according to Infiniti Motorsports’ Tommaso Volpe, offers six engineers a truly technically rich, multi-discipline engineering placement. “Not only will they spend six months at the Infiniti Technical Center for Europe (Cranfield, UK), they will also experience the facilities at the Renault Sport Formula One Team base in Enstone, Oxfordshire. Combining opportunities to work at both companies means our 2016 Infiniti Engineering Academy winners are set to craft their careers from the outset with an incredible 12 months at the cutting-edge of big business automotive and motorsport engineering.”


Having launched the careers of previous winners William Priest and Eric LaRoche, the academy is the technical recruitment initiative in Formula One with applications expected from China, Europe (including Russia), Canada, Mexico and Asia and Oceania, Middle East and US. “We are offering a mix of academic and professional experience across such disciplines as electronics, aerodynamics, mechanical design and composite design,” said Bob Bell, Renault Sport F1 chief technical officer.

infiniti01ausauto.com asked Tommaso the following questions about the project.


Why is Infiniti running the Infiniti Engineering Academy again?

This year more than ever our close relationship with F1 brings direct benefits to the development of our road cars. As the technical partner to the newly formed Renault Sport Formula One Team, specifically for the co-development of the Renault Sport R.E.16 Power Unit’s Energy Recovery System (ERS), our Academy engineers will work across both road car and race car hybrid systems; cross-pollinating the application of the mirrored technologies. Just as the winners from previous years have done, the six candidates we find in 2016 will play a key role in bridging the gap between the race team and us.


 What role will the winners play for Infiniti?

Infiniti is in the middle of a major product offensive, and the Infiniti direct response hybrid performance hybrid powertrain technology is a pillar of the Infiniti range of high performance vehicles, now and in the future. Our performance philosophy is deeply rooted in hybrid technology; we are pioneers of electrifying electrified performance, and as F1 continues to develop and flourish in this area, so too will our engineers working within the Renault Sport Formula One Team.


What are the main differences to last year’s program?

We’re now in our third successive year, and year-on-year we’ve grown the number of Infiniti Engineering Academy placements available. From three, to five, and to six for 2016 – our global engineering talent search continues to offer the ultimate work placement for the cream of engineering undergraduate talent. This year we’ll take a winner from each of the Regional Finals, from China, Europe (including Russia), Canada, Mexico, Asia & Oceania, with the Middle East and United States to be confirmed. Truly global talent on an international stage.


What tips would you give to applicants for 2016?

We want candidates that dare to be different. Candidates who think about challenges from fresh angles and are brimming with the kind of creative human talents that we believe drive the greatest advances in high performance technologies. Game changers may sound clichéd, but the automotive industry and F1 have never been more competitive, so we need the best of the best.




For more information on the Infiniti Engineering Academy, or to apply to be a part of the class of 2016, visit Academy.Infiniti.com.





How’s this for a nice little birthday present for someone you love?…like..yourself!





A SUPERB 2003, Australian-delivered, Ferrari 575M Maranello F1 coupe that has covered just 49,000km since new and remains in immaculate condition throughout will be the star of the show at Shannons Late Autumn Classic Auction in Sydney on May 30. This classic, front-engined, 5.7 litre V12 is finished in the stylish Italian combination of Rosso Corsa with tan leather upholstery. It is equipped with the optional ‘F1’ style gearbox, features a Mille Miglia exhaust upgrade, has been serviced at regular intervals by marque specialists and recently had the differential and clutch replaced. Due to its desirability as Ferrari’s flagship model of its era, combined with its local history, Shannons expect it to sell in the $210,000 – $240,000 range. Other vehicles for auction include:






















NARVE HAS ADDED some new items to its heavy-duty recreational vehicle (HDRV) powering range of accessories including a heavy-duty adaptor and a thermoplastic right angle merit plug with right angle housing that helps ease the pain and effort of getting into tight spaces. The heavy-duty adaptors provide connection from a cigarette lighter plug, accessory socket, merit plug, battery clips, battery connector and can be hard wired with 8mm ring terminals to a battery connector. All of which makes them ideal for powering accessories with a 50amp battery connector from the vehicle with the flexibility to connect it in which ever way desired.


Other exciting releases include digital LED volt (6-33v) and amp (12/24dc) meters that can be used in combination with USB, Merit or Engel sockets and can be purchased in single, double, or new triple housings, flush or surface-mounted. Both items are said to feature easy-to-read displays and can be installed with or without the mounting panel that has a mounting opening of 29mm in diameter. Two and three way module options, with a choice of six sockets and meters and six different housings that can be ‘pick and mixed’ to build a unit to cater for specific requirements. All accessories that carry the HDRV logo are constructed for constant, daily operation and in most cases carry a 20amp load with thicker cable and a more robust construction than traditional retail accessories.

The company is also continuing to expand its automotive cable range and change the way in which cable products are sold letting customers purchase more economical lengths of cable suitable lengths for the job at hand rather than a 30 metre trade reel. New retail packs of 3, 5, 7, 10 or 15 metre lengths save time by quickly allowing customers to select their product without having to wait for a sales assistant to cut the cable to a desired length. The range includes single core 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm and single core 6mm cable and 2mm speaker cable, figure 8 cable, twin sheath and trailer cable. More @ www.narva.com.au









VOLVO CARS has unveiled two new concept vehicles as part of the launch of its global small car strategy that has a stated ambition to sell up to one million electrified cars by 2025. The new 40 series range that includes an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid variant, will be the first built around Volvo’s new compact modular architecture (CMA) for smaller cars. The range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as twin engine, plug-in hybrid powertrain variants. Production is scheduled to start next year with vehicle on sale in Australia in 2018. The company also plan to produce a pure electric car on its larger scalable product architecture (SPA) by 2019. Volvo’s new T5 twin engine is based on the company’s new three-cylinder petrol engine and a new seven-speed dual clutch transmission coupled to an electric machine, sees the Swedish company adjusting its existing twin engine all-wheel drive approach in favour of a more accessible front wheel-based system for its smaller cars.
















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IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING really horny that will definitely piss off the neighbours, then look no further than Dutch manufacturer Donkervoort that builds distinctive, lightweight roadsters and hard-tops that are part race car, part classic car and enough street car to drive legally down highways, at least in some countries. The retro-modern speedsters have gradually evolved from their Lotus Seven-inspired roots, offering aggressive looks and fast, sharp rides on track and road. In 2004, the Donkervoort D8 RS set a Nürburgring record, blowing the previous Porsche Carrera GT record away by close to 15 seconds. And now Donkervoort is launching that model’s spiritual successor, the D8 GTO-RS.


The new D8 GTO-RS is set to debut as the most extreme version of the D8 GTO series with even more of an ‘aggressive time traveller’ demeanour than the standard GTO thanks to a redesigned grille, razor-sharp, angry eyes and a widened track. The stretched track comes courtesy of a new suspension, and the RS has reworked brakes to match. It also has improved aerodynamics. The company worked with Bosch on revising the engine management system of the Audi 2.5ltr five-cylinder R5 TFSI. It hasn’t released any numbers yet, but it makes clear that the goal was more acceleration power, improved driving comfort and EU6 compliance. There’s also a new launch control and double clutch. The standard GTO develops up to 380bhp with that same engine and speeds from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, which is not a bad starting point for a more extreme version to build from.


radicalDonkervoort alludes to the possibility of another Nürburgring record, calling some modifications ‘lap enhancing features’. In a previous sneak peek earlier this year, it also wrote: “The legendary RS is back! And its ambitions are just as great as those of its predecessor. What do these ambitions involve? We will leave that up to you and your own imagination …” Donkervoort beat its own time with a 7:14.89 run in 2005, which while being a nice improvement upon the previous year’s 7:18.10, it was nowhere near the 6:55 that British manufacturer Radical Sportscars posted in 2005, a record that remained intact until 2009, when it was broken with a 6:48 … by Radical (pictured).


Donkervoort’s 7:14 time remains one of the top 10 Nürburgring runs, but leaders like Radical and Porsche have set the bar quite high, or is that low, with sub-seven minute times. And if existing records don’t prove too much to overcome, cars like the Radical RXC Turbo 500 and Koenigsegg One:1 are undoubtedly chomping at the bit now that Nürburgring’s temporary speed limits and record run bans have been lifted. Koenigsegg was plotting a record attempt when the speed limits went into effect last year, and it’s already confirmed that it’s working on one again this year.


Then again, nearly everyone in the ‘record’ business argues over what is and is not a proper production car and some ignore Radical and Donkervoort’s records because of this. So it’s no surprise that Donkervoort often plays the “that’s not a proper production car, but ours is” card if it comes up short. The D8 GTO-RS is part of an expanded product range and follows the all-new D8 GTO-S, a more comfortable touring version of the GTO that started making its way to customers last month. A track-only GTO-R racecar will launch later this year as the third and final part of the announced expansion plan. The D8 GTO-RS starts at around $A200,000 before taxes, and Donkervoort say that it has already sold 21 of the 40 planned models.

Source: Donkervoort – Donkervoort Automobielen BV is a manufacturer of authentic hand-built and ultra lightweight sports cars based in LelystadNetherlands. The car brand was founded in 1978 by Joop Donkervoort. In 1996, Donkervoort’s Ford engines were replaced by Audi engines. Donkervoort’s motto – “No Compromise” – means driving without any electronic aids such as ABS, electronic stability program, or power steering.- Wikipedia.










mustangIF YOU’RE A BIG FAN of the magnificent ‘Thunderhorse’ of old then the following story is either going to fill you with delight or make you sick. Now that I’m back from a quick trip to the bathroom, here’s what it’s all about. In what it obviously thinks is something special, Ford this week unveiled an exhibit at the US National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum in the form of a split personality sculpture made from the front halves of the 1965 and 2015 Mustangs. It’s meant to highlight 50 years of evolution and is said to be “a fascinating sight for Mustang lovers and car enthusiasts in general.” Sure!


The double-Stang sculpture was built by Classic Design Concepts that in a burst of almost unbelievable creativity named it Project Chop Shop! The compilation includes the front end of a left-hand-drive 1965 Mustang licensed reproduction fused together with the front of a right-hand-drive 2015 Mustang. The use of the different drive sides is said to highlight the very different styles, equipment and technologies in the interiors. Roughly 60% of each driver’s compartment is included.


The Mustang display is one of the highlights of the museum’s new Intellectual Property Power exhibit, which looks at the significance –but not the hindrance – that intellectual property, has played in progress, innovation and culture. Beyond Ford’s contribution, the exhibit also includes a look at the evolution of the camera, courtesy of the George Eastman Museum, and a Qualcomm-sponsored exploration of the growth of mobile technology.


Ford say that with that broader context this one-of-a-kind display is more than just a general look at how interior and exterior vehicle design have evolved over the years, but how patents have helped shape the process. The 1965 Mustang had no styling patents at the time of its launch, and it was only after the car exploded in popularity, selling more than one million models in its first 18 months, that such patents were applied for. The 1965 car did rely on some 100 existing Ford patents, involving equipment like the rear-seat speaker and power convertible top.


By contrast, the 2015 Mustang has 36 styling patents to protect the look of the car. It also has patents related to equipment like the airbag system, seats and 911 Assist. Visitors to the museum will be able to sit in the two cockpits and directly compare equipment and features separated by 50 years, including the radio vs infotainment system, classic vs modern instrument panel and the sounds of the two V8 engines at idle.












BMW HAS ANNOUNCED pricing and specification for new Competition variants of the BMW M3/M4 family, due in showrooms later this month. The M3 Competition sedan will be priced from $144,900, M4 Competition coupe at $154,900 and the M4 Competition convertible at $165,900. Powering the Competition variants is a tuned version of the M3/M4 M TwinPower turbo, straight six, three-litre petrol engine that now produces 331kW whilst retaining a muscular 550Nm torque peak. The resultant uplift in performance is said to see the seven-speed M double clutch transmission-equipped M3 and M4 models achieve 0-100km/h four seconds, an improvement of 0.1 seconds. Manual-equipped M3 and M4 Competition variants achieve 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds with the M4 Convertible bringing up the rear at 4.5 seconds.


Other features include new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, forged, machine-polished star-spoke 20-inch M light alloy wheels and mixed tyres (265/30 R20 front, 285/30 R20 rear) and a new calibration for the active M differential that helps drivability and traction. A black high-gloss finish highlights the classic BMW kidney grille, side gills, window trims and rear model badge. The quad tailpipes of the M sports exhaust system are also in black high-gloss and provide a suitably track-honed acoustic, complete with evocative ‘crackle’ on the overrun. Inside there are leather seats with cutout elements to reduce weight, heads-up display, extended leather trim (including dashboard) and extended smartphone connectivity. All maintenance requirements are controlled by a condition based servicing (CBS) system that calculates the conditions in which a vehicle is used, mileage, time elapsed since last service, fuel consumption and how a vehicle is driven. Based on the information maintenance requirements are determined, identifying whether an annual vehicle inspection, or oil service, is due.










FORD IS DONATING the first publicly available version of the highly anticipated Falcon XR8 Sprint, one of the most powerful and high-tech Falcon’s, to fund local innovation for the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project, which is exploring how to automate insulin pumps and deliver improved therapies and ultimately a ‘technological cure’ for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Led by Professor Tim Jones at Princess Margaret Hospital, Melbourne, the project involves research institutes and hospitals from Perth, Melbourne, Newcastle, Adelaide and Sydney. Ford has also made a $60,000 monetary donation towards the program, on top of $13,000 that employees contributed from their own wages last year. This donation builds on Ford’s leading local investment to make Australians’ lives better, including $500,000 to JDRF the past 15 years and nearly $2 billion in R&D the past six years. JDRF’s auction of the vehicle will run to midnight on May 31, 2016. More @ https://galabid.com/ford.









trailblazerWITH THE WAVE OF A magic a wand and a few technical refinements, Holden turned its Colorado 7 SUV into a Chevrolet Trailblazer, in what the company says signals a new direction into a more luxurious and premium space by adding the likes of a sophisticated colour palette, signature LED daytime running lamps, chrome accents, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, etc, etc. The Trailblazer will go on sale in Australia later this year.













new-study-says-driverless-cars-will-consume-more-fuel-93278-7GOOGLE’S SELF-DRIVING TECHNOLOGY is to be integrated into the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan to further expand its autonomous testing fleet. This is the first time Google has partnered directly with an original vehicle manufacturer in a agreement that will see FCA build 100 vehicles for the technology company. Google currently uses modified Lexus and Toyota SUVs and hybrids along and a 100 pod-cars that it has developed itself.


According to reports, Google already has existing relationships with Tier 1 suppliers such as Continental AG, Bosch, ZF, LG, and NVIDIA, but has been searching for an OEM to collaborate with. Google has been a strong proponent of ‘L5’ autonomous or ‘driverless’ car technology that completely relies on the artificial intelligence to pilot the vehicle.


It is thought that Google not only wants to develop the driverless car software, but wants to partner with an OEM, or supplier, for a future potential product(s) and potentially a car-as-a-service (CaaS). The company may also simply want to license its technology to OEMs, under a more traditional manufacturer-supplier relationship. Google’s software is said to be more capable than most human drivers under certain conditions, but still requires significant advances to handle weather and rare events.


On the other hand, there are a number of ways an OEM can bring autonomous driving technology to the market, including

  • acquiring other start-up companies that are developing self-driving car software or developing a complete self-driving car with the software;
  • relying on Tier 1 suppliers to develop the autonomous driving technology. Some of these Tier 1s could also be cooperating with Google, or other start ups, in the future;
  • developing the technology in their own right. Toyota is going down this path with a $1bn investment in Toyota Research Institute that is focusing on artificial intelligence and robotics for autonomous driving and robotics, but few manufacturers have the resources to do this.










THE HDT COMMODORE that Peter Brock drove and the one he wanted to build are both going under the hammer at Shannons Sydney Autumn auction on Monday May 30. Almost 10 years after his shock death in the Targa West tarmac rally, Brock fans and collectors are said to be already lining up to bid on the 1984 Holden VK Commodore ‘SS’ Group 3 sedan that was the nine-time Bathurst winner’s personal car for a period while he ran HDT Special Vehicles.
The 1984 Opel Monza coupe that Peter developed as a prototype of a future HDT Special Vehicle and wanted to build is also going under the hammer.


As confirmed on HDT letterhead and signed by Brock, the white VK Commodore SS was originally his General Motors-provided company car that he immediately built into a Group 3 and was used for studio photography and as a press vehicle. HDT Special Vehicles later purchased the Commodore (build No 1354) and it became Brock’s personal transport. It is now being offered for sale by its second owner, who purchased it directly from Brock, accompanied by the letter confirming its provenance and is expected to sell in the $80,000 to $100,000 range. The Opel Monza coupe, with its independent rear suspension compared to the Commodore’s then live axle, is expected to find willing bidders somewhere between a $100,000 and $120,000.


Other vehicles on sale include a 1978 Ford XC Falcon Cobra coupe (Build No.77) still equipped with its original 351 V8 and four-speed manual transmission and factory-fitted with power steering, electric windows and air conditioning. The vehicle was recently refitted with a new interior made from original cloth and adding to its provenance, it is also supplied with its original delivery books, 15-inch Globe alloy wheels, radio and steering wheel. ($95,000-$110,000). A 1973 Chrysler VJ Valiant Charger E48 coupe fitted with a period-correct 265-CID six-cylinder engine block and the correct four-speed manual gearbox is being sold with a receipt file showing the considerable work lavished on the vehicle and a correct dealership workshop manual. ($42,000-$52,000). More details @ www.shannons.com.au





LUKSCHAEFFLER AUTOMOTIVE with its brands LuK, INA and FAG is making a push to alert fleet operators of importance of using quality manufactured products. A preferred supplier to commercial vehicle manufacturers, the company says that decisive factors determining whether a fleet operator can offer attractive services and run a successful business are per-unit costs such as per kilometre, per hour, per ton and correspondingly attractive yet profitable rates.


“Using state-of-the-art production facilities and following strict zero-failure procedures Schaeffler products such as LuK clutches and power steering pumps, INA engine drive belt components and transmission bearings and FAG wheel and differential bearings have become the products of choice to keep fleets running to maximum efficiency with long service life,“ said a company spokesperson.


“Our products are subjected to advanced comprehensive testing for different kinds of wear that can occur in the day-to-day use of heavy commercial vehicles with tests like clutch cover heat soak, durability, reliability, clutch double friction, double wear reserve, extended lifetime, whilst bearings suffer tests for bearing fatigue, grease testing, seal testing, rotating bending and brake hub tests to ensure their long service life.“


To keep vehicles on the road and earning, Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket claims to supply innovative high performance repair solutions that are designed to last and enable fast reliable service in the hands of the mechanic. An example is the LuK RepSet SmarTAC, a self-adjusting clutch system that automatically compensates for facing wear. Using predefined adjustment steps, this path controlled and constantly self-adjusting clutch system operates to precision and promotes a high gear shift control with no grinding or slippage.


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Shogun Conversion RAM 3500 the bees’ knees for Vic and Dave…Camless concept gets an outing in Bejing…Sydney auction ‘a steal’ for bank bonuses



Things are really buzzing for Canberra-based beekeepers Victor Croker and David Leemhuis, owners of Australian Honeybee since they bought a RAM 3500 Tradesman from Shogun Conversions a couple of years back. The common image of beekeeping is a fairly genteel occupation with grandma, dressed in a funny hat, servicing a few hives at the bottom of the garden. All of which is far from the truth for professional producers such as Vic and Dave who travel up to 850km to harvest premium Australian native honey from hives situated on some  of Australia’s largest cattle and cropping stations. The harvested honey is then returned to Canberra for processing and packaged for sale.


According to Vic, this is a rugged out in the bush activity requiring a strong and powerful vehicle to cross rough terrain far from the nearest road to transport hives to where the bees are, and to return with a heavy payload of honey. “In 2014 we bought a RAM 3500 Tradesman from Shogun Conversions with a specially built tray to carry bee hives and lots of added bells and whistles. To this we added a purpose-built, six-wheel trailer fitted with a crane that enables us to load and transport a very large payload.”


beesApparently, the RAM’s heavy duty Aisin transmission, four wheel drive and steep descent control capabilities, especially with a heavily loaded trailer, capabilities have proven so successful in meeting Australian Honeybees’ challenging rough terrain needs that Vic and Dave have put in a repeat order. This time, the new RAM will be fitted with a special gooseneck trailer hitch in order to tow a new purpose-built 7.6m deck trailer, which will increase the total GCM (gross combined mass) to 13.6 ton with a payload of 3.5 ton leaving a whopping 10-ton trailer allowance. Talk about the you know what!












engineChinese carmaker Qoros is the latest company give an outing to the camless engine concept it has been developed in conjunction with FreeValve AB, an off shoot of upmarket carmaker Koenigsegg. Rather than using a traditional camshaft to control an engine’s valves, the QamFree motor uses electro-hydraulic pneumatic actuators to provide the sort of precise control over each valve that results in power improvement and fuel economy of between 12-17% when compared to a modern, direct injection engine with variable cams.


In most engines the camshaft’s rotating lobes push rockers that open the valves and allow valve springs to shut them. Unfortunately, this process involves a stage where the valves are partially open or shut, meaning that the system isn’t always operating at ideal efficiency.


Rather than continuing to use this technology, which Koenigsegg likens to playing a piano with a both hands tied to the opposite ends of a broomstick, the QamFree engine is said to allow far greater control over the engine’s intake and exhaust valves. Qoros also says the QamFree engine allows the company to eke more power from a more compact package, which should mean punchy performance from engines that meet the ever-tightening Euro and Beijing emissions standards.
















Meanwhile, Ford continues to back its EcoBoost engine to produce relatively the same improvements in performance and economy to the extent that it has now produced a diesel version of the petrol unit in use with the likes of the Fiesta and Mustang. Ford has attempted to cut down on friction with a 10mm offset crank designed to reduce piston side-load and minimise rubbing against the walls of the cylinder block. An optimised valve train and single piece camshaft module also come into the picture.


A new mirror image porting design in the inlet manifold aims at creating uniform fuel/air mixtures in all four cylinders. The system uses clockwise airflow to feed cylinders one and two, before reversing it for cylinders three and four. According to the company’s combustion expert Werner Willems, this helps turn fuel into energy more effectively than any diesel engine Ford has ever produced.


Working with the new inlet manifold design are new fuel injectors, capable of delivering six 0.8 mg injections of diesel per combustion event. The fuel is injected through eight conical holes just 120 microns in diameter. Thanks in part to their piezoelectric design, Ford says the injectors cut down on unwanted noise, minimize energy wastage from the fuel pump, allow for more refined auto start-stop systems and real-time recalibration for ideal fuel efficiency.


After collecting feedback from people behind the wheel of its 2.2ltr TDCi Transit, Ford’s engineers claim to have liberated 20% more torque from the new engine at low revs. This means there’s about 340Nm on tap from just 1250 rpm, which should make for effortless creeping in traffic, or punchy high gear overtaking on the highway. Key to this improvement is a redesigned turbocharger, which uses an Inconel turbine wheel capable of spinning at 240,000 rpm for sharp pickup. The turbo turbine has also been milled from solid, reducing tolerances to three microns from improved durability, less noise and smoother response.


But what about rattly idle and vibration when sitting in traffic? According to Ford’s engineers, the new EcoBlue engine uses a noise-optimised cylinder head, stiff ladder frame and the oil pan to isolate vibrations from the cabin. There are also tight seals throughout the engine to ensure no noise can sneak out and ruin the refinement. The company claims that the motor is apparently so smooth that although it is designed for use in commercial vehicles, it still meets the ‘stringent’ noise, vibration and harshness standards for Ford’s passenger cars. Source: Ford












After a hard and stressful year of forging documents and cheating old age pensioners out of their superannuation, it’s almost that time of the year again when the banks start rewarding you and your cohorts with massive bonuses. And what better way to spend in advance than on a prestige or exotic car? Just by chance, Manheim, is holding an evening auction of 80 bits of such precious metal on Thursday May 12 including what is believed to be the first sales by public auction in Australia of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. If you’ve had a good year at the bank, then the $700,000-plus price tag should still leave lots over for Aspen. Or what about a 2015 BMW F80 M3 with only 50km on the clock, for the little lady, or perhaps a 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 4 door sedan, or an Audi R8 4.2 FSI V8 2D Cabriolet (a bit downstairs, so OK as a standby vehicle that never leaves the six car basement garage). Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar will be well represented at the auction and you can enjoy a certain irony in that many of the vehicles are ‘repros’ being sold on behalf of financiers, who no doubt backed some former wealthy old pensioners! The auction will commence at 6.00pm at 144 Moorebank Avenue, Moorebank. All vehicles are listed on the Manheim website together with online-catalogues and bidders can take advantage of an internet simulcast of the auction. 






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Diesel keeps on trucking towards a cleaner future



Mention diesel emissions and almost immediately people rave on about how the major vehicle manufacturers have been gaming the system and in some cases such as VW and Fiat engaging in outright cheating. But it’s not all bad news that is if the Diesel Technology Forum in the USA is to be believed. As part of this year’s Earth Day, the organisation produced what it believes is one of those pictures that is worth a thousand words in the form of a clean, white handkerchief fluttering in the exhaust stream of a new heavy-duty diesel truck under acceleration paints a vivid picture of where we are today. A scientific validation of diesel’s near-zero emissions? No, but for a technology that has long defined as dirty with very visible black smoke emissions, the DTF claims that this image symbolically represents just how far we’ve come. According to executive director Allen Schaeffer, in every sector and application of equipment new technology diesel engines are now near zero in emissions.


emissions-01“From farm tractors to tractor trailers, from backhoes to workboats, from engines less than 25hp to more than 1000hp, clean diesel technology is here, and improving our environment today. The combination of cleaner diesel fuel, advanced fuel injection and turbocharging, emissions control systems like particulate filters and catalysts to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems define the new generation of clean diesel. All this results in a 95% reduction in emissions of particulates and oxides of nitrogen. It is now a clean and proven system and all new technology engines wear these near-zero emissions very well. Today, over 40% of the commercial heavy-duty truck fleet on the road sports a new technology clean diesel engine, with near zero particulate emissions. Of that, about 25 percent are newer than 2010 with even more technology that reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides to near zero levels.”



So is this new technology really making such a difference? The American Lung Association, in its 2016 State of the Air Report, notes that the best progress came in reducing year-round levels of particle pollution . . . “thanks to the cleanup of coal-fired power plants and retirement of older diesel engines.” For some, this Earth Day may be more uncomfortable than others. Decisions made about emissions compliance by one diesel car manufacturer and tampering with emissions controls to generate black-smoke by a few owners of diesel pickup trucks have been in the news. These both raise serious questions about the choices made, but not about clean diesel technology.


“Looking forward, the future is more than having clean tailpipe emissions. Having low emissions is the ticket to get you in the door. What happens next is up to all of us. The future is all about energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s about using more renewable energy and fuels. It’s also about making sure our economy works. It’s pushing the envelope of energy innovation while embracing the essential availability and provision of power to meet the needs today. It’s a space that diesel engines immediately feel comfortable and ready to deliver. Being the most energy-efficient internal combustion engine, the diesel is often imitated but never duplicated. The energy density of the fuel and the efficiency of the combustion have made the diesel a viable technology for over 120 years. If your iPhone were powered by diesel, you’d be powered for 10 days instead of the one day on lithium ion batteries,” said Allen.


But it’s what happening today with diesel technology that is opening new doors to new possibilities that is so exciting with big data driving some developments. Bringing fuel and emissions efficiency beyond the engine scale to the machine and jobsite or farm-site scale involves everything from integrating GPS and drone technology to diesel engines talking to each other. When tractor trailers followed each other closely in the past it was called a convoy, today it is called platooning. Trucks talk to each other and take inputs and determine speeds to optimise efficiency and lower emissions. Under the hood of all of this has to be the most reliable and proven fuel-efficient technology, the diesel. So, what about electricity? Disruption of the electrical power generating and grid system with fuel diversification is well underway.


emissions02For some parts of the world, power tomorrow might come from a micro-grid that combines solar and wind energy, battery storage and a super clean diesel generator as a backstop for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. Our demand for electricity is rapidly increasing in the internet age and with it a demand for 100% uptime of connected data and communication systems and the internet. Behind every large data centre and network is a backstop for the worst-case scenario, loss of grid power. When grid power fails, diesel power is there to quickly start up and handle the full load while consumers and businesses stay connected.


“At the end of the day, what if a diesel engine isn’t even running on diesel fuel, but instead running on 100% renewable diesel fuels made from waste oils, or other feedstock? It is the future today for a growing number of fleets in California and other parts of the world. We can celebrate how far we’ve come, but then roll up our sleeves and know that the challenges will be greater, the expectations higher and that the journey must continue,” added Allen.


The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org. join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @DieselTechForum, or YouTube @DieselTechForum and connect with us onLinkedIn.  Get it all by subscribing to our newsletter Diesel Direct for a weekly wrap-up of clean diesel news, policy analysis and more direct to your inbox.

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Million dollar barn baby in the most beautiful race in the world….plus announcements of new models galore




Oh no! Not another story about a vintage car that miraculously turns up after decades in a disused barn. In this case, however, it does seem to have a ring of authenticity about it and is not just one of those ‘barn finds’ that’s the nearest the vehicle has ever been to the ‘country’ was when the dealer drove it out there. And besides, it’s a nice yarn involving some very committed Aussie petrolheads and one of the world’s most famous races. The race is the Mille Miglia, often described as the most beautiful heritage race in the world, that will be held in Brescia, Italy, (19 May) and will mark, among other things, the end of an incredible journey for the Paul Lawson and co-driver Graeme Sedgwick, when they race the lovingly restored 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C SS that really was found, decades ago covered in rubble, in the back of an Italian barn by Paul’s father.


The original chassis and engine were buried under 10 tonnes of rusted farm equipment, where they had sat for more than 40 years. Although severely damaged, the original supercharged engine only had 8342 kilometres on the odometer and the vehicle’s original number plates were lying nearby. The vehicle was shipped back to Australia, where Lawson senior spent 10 long, but loving years, giving the grand old lady the sort of facelift any granny would died for. And in a story that has spans decades and generations of motoring history Paul and Graeme drive the now extremely valuable 6C SS – the same model that claimed victory in the 1929 Mille Miglia -in the beautiful race.


According to Paul, it will feel like the final step on a journey that his father began years ago: “I am honoured to be able to finish it for him. The car might be worth a couple of million dollars, but to us it’s priceless. Graeme and I are both keen Alfisti, a term used to describe Alfa Romeo enthusiasts and we have really bonded over our shared dream of competing in this incredible race and to finally see that dream come true will be just unbelievable.”


millie01Hundreds of stunning heritage models will line-up for what Enzo Ferrari described as the most beautiful race in the world. Begun as a way to honour the proud racing heritage of the Italian town of Brescia, the Mille Miglia was an open-road endurance race that took place twenty-four times from 1927 to 1957 and was once an important round of the World Sports Car Championship.


It was reborn in 1977 as a tribute event, restricted to vehicles produced before 1957 that matched models raced, or were registered to race, in the original Mille Miglia. The modern event incorporates a similar 1000-mile loop to the one raced by icons such as Enzo Ferrari and takes in some of the most picturesque locations Italy has to offer, cutting across stunning countryside en route to the historic city of Rome and back again to Brescia.










audi01Audi has used the Beijing Motor Show to launch the TT RS with a new aluminium five-cylinder engine that delivers 400hp (294kW) and 0-100km/h in 3.7secs and a regulated top of 250km/h. The company claim to have further developed its awarding winning five-cylinder engine using lightweight construction methods that reduces internal friction and increases power delivery giving the turbo a claimed 17% increase in performance.


Cylinders positioned directly beside each other and farthest away from each other fire in alternation that is said to ‘bring with it a very special rhythm’. Ventilated and perforated steel discs are in action behind the 19-inch wheels, or the optional 20-inch forged lightweight wheels and carbon-fibre ceramic discs. Other options include sport suspension, adaptive dampers in magnetic ride technology and for the first time in a series-production Audi, Matrix organic light emitting diode technology in the rear lights that can be continuously dimmed and do not cast any shadows or any reflectors.











Another starter at the Beijing show was the new Renault Koleos, a totally redesigned SUV geared to reach 80 markets and according to Renault Australia’s Justin Hocevar, looking to create a big impression on the local scene. “This vehicle is a core model and will give us and our network business partners a very appealing and well-equipped product with which to compete in this very important segment.”


A key interior feature is the R-Link 2 control centre that coordinates functions such as the Bose audio, infotainment, navigation, hands-free telephony, radio and driver aids. In line with its up-market positioning, the vehicle is equipped with a wide array of contemporary driver assistance systems that can be controlled through the R-Link 2 tablet.










freightlinerFreightliner has introduced what it claims is Australia’s best warranty on any American truck. The extended warranty covers the Argosy cab-over and Coronado 114 conventional truck for four years or 800,000km and is on offer from now until 31 December. All Freightliner trucks are covered by a standard one year/unlimited km warranty and there are two parts to the extended warranty program. The basic, complimentary, extended warranty is for three years/800,000km and incorporates components originally covered by the basic vehicle warranty. There is also the drivetrain component complimentary extended warranty for two years/800,000km that covers such items as the transmission, clutch, driving axles and more. Neither the standard or extended warranties cover the truck’s engine, which is covered by the manufacturer Detroit or Cummins.













rangerover01To celebrate the sale of over 520,000 Range Rover Evoques, Land Rover say it has introduced enhanced technology and increased customer choice with a distinctive Limited Edition. The Evoque, built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood plant in the UK, has won 182 international awards since its launch in 2011, and in the company’s eyes is widely regarded as the world’s most desirable luxury compact SUV.


So over to autospeak where to further enhance the global appeal of the sector defining vehicle, Land Rover has introduced the striking ‘Ember’ edition complete with a bold red and black theme adding an individual touch for customers wanting an even more distinctive design.  A distinctive Firenze Red roof contrasts with the Santorini Black body colour and is complemented by matching exterior design elements, including the front and rear tow eye covers.


The addition of unique ‘Evoque’ tailgate badging in black, with a silver surround, and Narvik Black ‘Range Rover’ lettering on the bonnet gives the limited edition further definition….blah, blah, blah. In addition, there are all the usual gizmo toys including a Touch Pro infotainment system with 10.2-inch, customisable touchscreen that acts as a smartphone, or tablet, with swipe, pan and pinch to zoom controls.






HoldenHolden has announced the introduction of the new Commodore Black – that’s in fact silver, but what the hell? – available as a sedan, sportwagon and ute. Based on the SV6 and the sporty SS models, Commodore Black is said to effortlessly blend style with substance ensuring customers experience the best Commodore VFII has to offer. As is now the case with even the most basic vehicle, the black ‘boganmobile’ is stacked with ‘goodies’ such as sat nav, auto park assist, rear view camera with reverse traffic alert, MyLink infotainment system and 18-inch black alloy wheels.



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‘Step up at Holden’ designed to cash in on life’s milestones whilst Gigi is no fool without a mind or merely been too blind to realise the power of a new Beamer




Aussies more likely to buy new cars at major life milestones, booms the heading to a press release from Holden. But is this really the case? Well, according to the car manufacturer, ‘research’ has indicated that just 5% intend buying a car in the next 12 months, but that this changes significantly when people are heading towards major life milestones.  For example, 17% of Australians planning to have a baby also intend buying a new car. This figure rises to 23% for someone intending to change jobs and to a staggering 33% for those about to buy a new house – six times more than the average. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the story to support the figures such as who carried out the research and how the questions were framed, nevertheless, it’s a good yarn to support a sales campaign.


‘Step Up at Holden’ has been designed to ‘help provide customers with the right product at the right price to support popular buying periods during life changes’ and includes a range of ‘extras’ such as free auto and free servicing. According to the company’s Geraldine Davys, the ‘research’ suggests customers are looking for cars to support their lifestyles and the campaign, combined with new product offerings, ensure that now is a great time to buy a Holden.


“Australians see their car as a supporting asset to their lives, so we have designed our sales and new products to ensure we cater for a range of different life stages. Three times more people are looking to buy a car when intending on having a baby, so we are focused on making sure the child-friendly Trax and Captiva SUVs, both with Isofix child seat attachments, offer exceptional value with low driveaway prices. We’ve also created a range of exciting new editions across the Holden range, including Trax Active, Colorado 7 Trailblazer, and Colorado Storm, all catering to different needs and lifestyles.”


The campaign will run until the 30 June at participating Holden dealers and features outstanding deals (if it wasn’ t for that dreaded asterisk) including*: Cruze Z-Series with free automatic transmission from $22,990 driveaway; Trax LS with free automatic transmission from $22,990 driveaway and Astra GTC with free automatic from $25,990 driveaway. * Offers available on new and demo vehicles sold and delivered before 30 June 2016 unless extended, changed or while stocks last at participating Holden Dealers. Private or ABN buyers only. Not available with other offers. Excludes prestige paint. Up to four standard scheduled services for the first three years or 60,000km, whichever comes first. Must service within 3,000kms or 90 days of scheduled service date, whichever occurs first. Subject to Lifetime Capped Price Service terms and conditions. See holden.com.au for details and to obtain a quote.






Meanwhile, BMW has decided to use the female form in a manner usually associated with the automotive industry. “Eyes on Gigi” is a one-shot film featuring supermodel Gigi Hadid and a few bits of very expensive metal and rubber and a blue and white badge, produced for the launch of the new BMW M2 coupé. Or in autospeak: “The dynamic performance and agility of the first-ever BMW M2 coupé and the sensuous beauty and elegance of Gigi Hadid inspired renowned film producer and screenplay author Marc Forster, who directed films such as James Bond – Quantum of Solace, Monster’s Ball and World War Z, to create a highly unusual spot.”


The film starts with Gigi climbing into one of three parked BMW M2s and from then on, the viewer is asked to keep track of Gigi and her M2 coupé….the interactive resolution of the game takes place on the campaign microsite EyesOnGigi.com, where the viewer can also follow the fast-paced vehicle choreography from a 360-degree perspective. With 16.1 million subscribers on Instagram, 1.9 million followers on Twitter and 2.6 million fans on Facebook, Gigi is what could politely referred to as ‘a cert’ to get the message across and if a ‘player’ picks the right BMW M2 it leads into a digital bedroom…sorry…BMW M2 coupé showroom of the BMW sales company in the player’s country…So, if you’re in for a sophisticated version of the old pea and thimble trick….go for it!


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World’s largest classic car show a tribute to the history of the Germany auto industry



Germany claims to have given birth to both the automobile and the automotive industry so it is perhaps fitting that the legacy of Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Nikolaus Otto, August Horch, Ferdinand Porche, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, et al, now lives on in what has become the largest event of its kind in the world. Techno-Classica Essen, spread across 22 enormous exhibition halls, plus acres of outdoor space, is massive with a breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades to become the glittering jewel in classic car industry crown. Word has it that around two thirds of the global collector car market is conducted through private sales, prestige dealers and brokers, with the most visible and valuable third sold at auction. At Techno-Classic Essen around 2700 classic cars were for sale, with an expected clearance rate in excess of 40%, which would mean that around 1100 classic cars were probably sold from the stands, maybe more considering the final attendance came in at a new record.


techno03Retromobile in Paris is the world’s second largest classic car event and it too is smashing attendance and display records year on year. In February this year it attracted 120,000 visitors, 500 exhibitors, 120 car clubs and filled 46,000 square feet of exhibition space with 500 classic cars on display. By comparison, Techno-Classica’s attendance in 2016 was 201,034, there were 1250 exhibitors, 220 car clubs, and it covered 127,000 square meters of exhibits, with 2700 vintage cars for sale, along with a lot more on display. That’s a big margin between first and second place, emphasising just how big this show is. It also emphasizes just how robust the dealer market is and why prices, which have seen relentless growth for two decades, are unlikely to deflate any time soon.


The event was inaugurated in 1989 when the first classic car boom was at its peak. In the mid-1980s, cheap money became available and the resultant influx of ‘get-rich(er)-quick’ speculators created a perfect storm in the oldtimer (a frequently used colloquial German word that needs no explanation) market and gave the industry a tulip mania moment in the early 1990s when prices halved. The classic car automotive industry has been fearful of another massive marketplace correction ever since. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said it best with that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Techno-Classica Essen was just getting started when the classic car price bubble burst, so its been hard slog, but out of the effort has come a solid foundation which has helped underpin the current success of both the event and the classic car industry.


This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD service wagon was the service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Before joining the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He became president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974 and later its honorary president for life.
This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD service wagon was the service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Before joining the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He became president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974 and later its honorary president for life.


Research shows the enthusiast market is far more stable and resilient than fickle financial markets. Dieter Hatlapa is founder the London-based Historic Automobile Group Internation (HAGI) an independent investment research house that began when a group of car enthusiasts from London’s financial markets decided the rare car market needed some statistical rigour. He reckons that classic cars move independently of any other investment area and that’s a very attractive attribute for collectors and investors alike in this day and age.


“Some people say the stock market is weak and that’s one of the reasons cited for the current softness in the classic car market, but in all our data working back to 1980 we haven’t really come across anything that shows in times of economic downturn that this market does also. I am very reluctant to say that just because the stock market is down, people are not buying cars. All markets are the same in that people see phenomena and in hindsight, find all sorts of reasons for it, and it’s just a really boring game. When I worked in the financial sector, we had all sorts of important people telling us why things had happened in the past but very few told us in advance and got it right.”



Land Rover Classic's announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars will be made available to the public. The show car (pictured) began life as a knock down despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a Queensland grazier who eventually owned a fleet of 25 Land Rovers.
Land Rover Classic’s announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars will be made available to the public. The show car (pictured) began life as a knock down despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a Queensland grazier who eventually owned a fleet of 25 Land Rovers.


Across the acres of show space there were more than 20 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwings and Roadsters for sale with at least a dozen on the stand of 300 SL specialists HK Engineering. Cars such as this are regulars at auction, but not in these numbers. People don’t realize that the elite dealers hold a huge stock of important cars and while it may be the auction market that drives up the high-end prices, the dealer network doesn’t have the same frictional losses and will act as a damper on any downward swings in the auction market.


Getting involved in an auction is pretty costly and one adds sellers’ and buyers’ fees the seller routinely loses 25-30% of the reported sell price. Then there’s the additional costs of insurance and getting the car to the right auction, be it in London, Paris, New York or Monterey and being prepared to double those transport costs if you don’t get the price you want. A handshake deal on a known product has much to commend it. A broker, or dealer, is likely to add a 10% premium to the price of a car, so if you’re buying a million dollar car, that’s a saving of $150,000 by comparison with the auction block.


One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer, is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there's now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems. (Credit: Mike Hanlon/Gizmag)
One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer, is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there’s now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems. (Credit: Mike Hanlon/Gizmag)


Private sales are also a huge part of this marketplace because the networks of friendships which develop in this fraternity – tribal group might be an equally appropriate description – often mean that when it’s time to move a car on, you have a friend, or two, willing and able to take it off your hands. They know the car, love it as much as you do and it sort of ‘stays in the family’. The savings on a million dollar car can add up to $250,000 if you sell it to a mate compared to going auction and a big chunk of the market clearly knows that.


Techno-Classica is the classic car industry’s gold plated event because it has been built on the devotion of the world’s strongest automotive enthusiast market, giving it vast reserves of grass roots resilience. Statistics compiled by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion (Oldtimer Study 2015/2016) show that the percentage of German drivers who would like to own a classic automobile grew from 17% in 2013 to 27% in 2015 with older people showing an increasing interest in owning a classic. It’s no secret that wealth accumulates with age, and the latter segments of monied empty nester drivers were predominant amongst the crowd at this year’s Techno-Classica, particularly so on the initial ‘happy viewing day’ where you can pay twice as much to get first crack at the goodies on offer in an uncluttered environment.


Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues so it's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues so it’s very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.





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