Big yellow (Holden) taxi ends up in National Motor Museum…A watch that’s a tick bit dearer than a Lambo…The Pagani Huayra: Supercar or superfluous?


They took all the trees,
And put ’em in a tree museum.
And they charged the people,
A dollar and a half to seem ’em.

Thanks to the shortsighted idiots that pass for politicians in Australia, Jodi Mitchell’s big Yellow Taxi has certainly arrived only this time it’s the local car industry that they’ve paved to put up a parking lot.

The last days of what was once one of Australia’s most vibrant industries now hangs forlornly from the ceiling of the National Motor Museum on the outskirts of Adelaide, a bizarre monument to an unimaginative and corrupt political system.

According to the museum’s director Paul Rees, the permanent exhibit, which opens this weekend, was curated with a keen awareness of the public sensitivity surrounding the impending Holden plant closure in South Australia… You bet!

Supported by the South Australian government, the display is said to feature history-making moments in Australian automotive manufacturing now reduced to six Holden vehicles in various stages of completion hung on an assembly line from the museum ceiling.

“It’s the only display of its kind in the world. No other motoring or transport focused museum in the world has tackled the engineering challenge of suspending so many vehicles from its ceiling,” he said.

“The display is also highly immersive with the aim for visitors to get a real understanding and feel for what it was like working in a manufacturing plant.”…In contrast to having the opportunity to actually get a job at such a factory.

An added irony is a Holden VF Commodore signed by Holden workers at the Elizabeth plant shortly before they themselves will be signed off permanently later this year.

Paul added that the exhibition highlights the automotive industry’s great history in Australia: “[Re]Assembled focuses our attention on the history and the people behind the story of automotive manufacturing. The exhibition is built for generations to come and is the story of our great automotive manufacturing history.”

Why do I suddenly feel very sick? Perhaps, because at one point around one in six Australians were employed by the automotive manufacturing industry.

They took all the car industry,
And put it in a car museum.
And they charged the people,
Fifteen dollars just to seem ’em.

A watch that’s a tick bit dearer than a Lambo

It’s not often that a watch cost almost twice the price of a Lamborghini. But this certainly seems to be the case when it comes to comparing the new Huracán Super Trofeo EVO with a top of the range Roger Dubuis timekeeper.

Lamborghini is offering the EVO at a knock down US$295,000, whilst a Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor Rose Gold Watch is being advertised by Frosts of London at a giveaway price of US$560,758.00.

So why the comparison? Well, Lambo has just gone into a marketing partnership with the famous Swiss luxury watchmaker as part of the vehicle makers’ launch of the new Huracán Super Trofeo EVO.

According to the blurb surrounding the deal, the two brands share the same values [but not price] such as the ongoing pursuit of excellence, the search for innovative materials, and obsessive attention to detail during the production of their precision instruments, blah, blah, blah.

For its part, the EVO has improved aerodynamics and a body kit developed by motorsport engineers working in partnership with Dallara Engineering and with Lamborghini Centro Stile that also had a hand in the livery. The car will make its official track debut in the spring of 2018.

The Pagani Huayra: Supercar or superfluous?

So here is one for you – when does design stop being about the resolution of a problem and start becoming a superfluous aesthetic exercise? It’s a good question. And Car Design’s JJ Katsianis sets out to answer it. The Pagani Huayra could easily boast the most fabulous or the most overwrought interior in the supercar game, depending on your point of view.

For the most part, the interior is driven by functionality that’s presented in a creative manner. The gearbox controller though, well that is a purely aesthetic component… so is it a design flourish or a farce?

First we have to understand the man behind it. Horacio Pagani, the Argentinian-born father of Pagani Automobili, relocated to Italy to follow his dream of building his own supercar. He began to gather recognition with his work in the advancement of a material that then was only in use in aviation and military applications: carbon fibre.

Part of the team at Lamborghini developing carbon fibre for its road cars, Horacio Pagani eventually set up his own composite materials research and development company to fund just one thing – his own dream supercar.

The Pagani Zonda and its subsequent variants turned this little-known engineer into a hypercar building oligarch – but his second album, the Huayra, was less a task in realising his personal dream and more about pushing the limits of design and technology in an exclusive, limited-build supercar. Built around a new twin-turbocharged V12 engine, this second model was designed to use a semi-automated gearbox, leading us back to our question above.

In purely mechanical terms, there is no need to have any form of lever or mechanical controller; like all modern semi-automatic gearboxes, the selector has no link to the actual gearbox. So, is the expensive, ornate exposed gear selector fit for purpose, or a pointless design addition?

Whether you like it or not, it is an intensely sophisticated and obviously complex mechanism, comprising 67 different parts. Rather than the visible springs and levers being purely for show, they have a tactile function as you guide the milled aluminium shifter between its selection points (blacked-out in the BC version pictured).

Tactile feedback is an often-overlooked component automotive interior design, but Pagani was set on creating an experience far beyond that offered by even equivalently expensive hypercars.

Since the Huayra’s launch, other high-end manufacturers have caught onto the idea, with the idea of an exposed mechanism spreading throughout a certain Hethel-based company’s higher priced models – the irony is that unlike the Huayra, the Lotus’ systems are entirely functional.

Sunswift solar racecar on its way world solar challenge

A four-seater sedan with all mod cons including in-car entertainment, air conditioning navigation, reverse camera parking, wi-fi, etc., with a top speed of 130km/h is on its way from Sydney to Darwin.

OK, a bit of adventure, but, nowadays no big deal. That is until you realise that the vehicle that looks very much like your average family car, is in fact the UNSW Sunswift Solar Racing Team’s latest creation.

Sunswift Violet, is the sixth-generation solar car created by the winning student team, and probably the first to look something like a ‘regular’ sedan. The vehicle is currently on its way to the Northern Territory to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a Sunswift Violet will be battling 47 teams from 21 nations in the 3021km race from Darwin to Adelaide involving 47 teams that begins on Sunday 8 October.

According at the team’s leader Simba Kuestler, Violet looks like a family sedan, but uses as much power as a four-slice toaster: “She’s all the add-ons associated with a modern-day vehicle plus plenty of front and rear boot space. It has a top speed of 130 km/h and a range of 800 km running just on its rooftop solar panels.”

The vehicle has sports modular lithium-ion batteries which store power from the sun and running just on its batteries, has a range of 400 km. The vehicle relies on around 7kW of horsepower at 110km/h and two 1.5kW motors that run at 98% efficiency.

With a twill carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, Sunswift Violet weighs in at less than 400kg and has aerodynamics that result in a drag coefficient below 0.2, which is said to be better than any other vehicle on the road.

But it’s not all plain sailing when operating such a vehicle. Whilst undergoing intense speed braking tests a bolt on the suspension sheered off causing the car to drop onto the roadway and skid for some 30 metres. There were four students aboard at the time, but no one was injured.

Mark Hoffman, UNSW’s Dean of Engineering, said challenges like these are a learning opportunity: “The car is operating at the cutting-edge of what’s possible, and the students putting it through strenuous testing ahead of a race where they will face intense conditions, so it’s no surprise they will face setbacks.” That’s what an engineering degree should be about, learning about demanding, real-world challenges.”

The Sunswift team holds the world land-speed record for an electric vehicle, when its previous vehicle, the Sunswift eVe, travelled at an average 100km/h over a distance of 500km on a single charge.





WHEN RYCO FILTERS set out to produce a range of frameless air filters suitable for popular vehicles including the Mazda2 and Toyota Corolla it quickly discovered that the parts numbers were subject to international design patents held by an overseas manufacturer.

This meant that the local company had to come up with a product that matched OE performance in efficiency, life and flow and meet harsh Australian conditions specifications without infringing the overseas patents.

Not an easy, but achievable. Then when it became apparent that the international company would not be renewing the patent things became even more complicated.

“As soon as it became evident that the patents were not going to be renewed, our product development team worked side-by-side with our manufacturing partners to implement the design change to get them to market in an extremely tight timeline,” said the company’s ceo Gary Nicholls.

“This was by no means a small task as it required some partners to invest time and money in developing a completely new manufacturing process to deliver the design changes.

So why bother? Well, for a start that Ryco has long recognised that workshops prefer the OE design and there was no way that the company would ever infringe international patents for commercial gain.

All of which is a long way round of saying that the company has launched an updated range of the nine updated frameless filters made up of:

SELECTED REPAIRERS in New Zealand are about to get a very special invite to a rock ‘n roll gig, but they’ll be no need dust off the bell bottoms and flowered shirt as this particular event all takes place inside a truck.

And it’s not just any old truck, but what is being billed at the very special Snap-on Tools ‘Rock N Roll’ Truck. All a bit boring?

Not really, especially if you’re into a range of toolboxes that you can turn into a psychedelic reminder of days gone by. The Australian truck, on a limited tour of Kiwiland, is packed with premium products from the Masters and EPIQ tool storage ranges that offer the rare chance for technicians to custom designed their own toolbox.

Apparently, there’s a huge colour range, draw configurations and trims, plus a choice of a work surfaces.



Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.