Large diving bird with a long neck set to take to the skies…Electric power black out at Big Apple motor show…SUV F-Pace Poetry in Motion…CTS consignment program ‘adjusted to take advantage of rising classic car prices…A Kombinationskraftwagen by any other name would be as sweet

Immediately following the Easter break, it’s always a slow news day in the local auto industry. So what better way to bask in trivia than run yet another yarn about a flying car, especially one that’s taking off from the Holy Land. For the past several years, Israeli aerospace firm Urban Aeronautics has been developing a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft. First known by the inelegant name of AirMule, this has now been changed to Cormorant, described in the dictionary as a rather large diving bird with a long neck, long hooked bill, short legs, and mainly dark plumage.

Not that cool, but what the hell? Although the vehicle is aimed mainly at military applications, the manufacturer is exploring the possibility of a civilian aircraft. To be known as the CityHawk, a play on Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, from where the Wright brothers made their first flights, the craft is described as being similar in size and shape to the Cormorant, a product of another subsidiary within the group.

Apparently, CityHawk will utilise that aircraft’s patented Fancraft technology, which means that its rotor blades will be internal, as opposed to sitting up top and exposed like those of a helicopter. This feature will allow it to land and take off in close quarters without risking damage to the blades.

The CityHawk will be capable of carrying four passengers and will initially be flown by a human pilot. It will incorporate ‘a high degree of autonomy’ with plans for it to conduct fully robotic flights once the necessary infrastructure is in place. The Cormorant already flies autonomously.

Unlike the battery-electric Ehang 184 passenger drone, the CityHawk will at first be powered by jet fuel and it will be possible to convert it to run on liquid hydrogen and also 700-bar compressed hydrogen assuming the technology eventuates. It may even employ a system in which hydrogen is fed directly into a specially-designed turboshaft engine, eliminating the need for fuel cells or electric motors.

Whatever power source it ends up using, should the CityHawk conk out whilst in flight, it won’t act like a rather large diving bird, but with the aid of a rocket-deployed parachute will glide ‘safely down to the ground’. As with most of these flying car ideas it’s all a bit ‘pie-in-the-sky’ with this little number not expected to take off for at least five years. In the meantime, why not settle for this video of a rather large diving bird with a long neck, long hooked bill, short legs, and mainly dark plummage.



Electric power black out at Big Apple motor show

In our haste to beat the Easter rush out of Sydney, we completely forgot to give some coverage to the Big Apple’s staging of America’s biggest auto show. NewAltas’ Scott Collie was altogether more professional, spending his pre-holiday time pounding the carpeted aisles of Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center. One of his first discoveries was that the big trend towards electric power exhibited at the Paris Motor Show failed to make it across the Atlantic. As befits the place, New York was all old-fashioned, gasoline-powered muscle. Here are some of the big bites from the Big Apple.

Dodge Demon – Without doubt, the highlight of the New York Auto Show was the (long-awaited) reveal of the Dodge Demon. There are so many crazy details on the Demon, from the extreme engineering lengths taken to keep the supercharger cool, to the sheer size of those rear tyres, but any good muscle car is defined by horsepower.

The Demon’s engine is a reworked version of the supercharged HEMI V8 from the Hellcat, with a whopping 840hp (626kW) on tap when the owner stumps for race fuel. Mixed with a comprehensive chassis overhaul, that prodigious power helps the hottest Challenger hit 48km/h) in one second, 97km/h in 2.3 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 225km/h.

Inside, the Demon is a single-seat affair where the driver can use the central touch screen to keep track of performance numbers. A set of unique buttons on the dash can be used to activate race fuel mode, a special transmission brake and pre-launch boost building. Just 3300 examples will be built, and Dodge hasn’t released a price.

Lincoln Navigator – Lincoln is a brand on the rebound at the moment, as Ford tries to re-establish itself as a real player in the luxury game. The new Navigator follows in the footsteps of the Continental in offering a unique brand of luxury, eschewing a focus on sportiness for cosseting, old-fashioned comfort. This focus is best summed up by the seats, which can be adjusted in 30 different ways. If you can’t get comfortable in 30-way adjustable seats, there’s something seriously wrong. All the materials look to be high quality and there are very few hints of the Ford bones that lie beneath.

One thing’s for sure: the exterior isn’t for shy, retiring types. Lincoln has done an admirable job of maintaining the design previewed on last year’s concept, although we would’ve liked to see the gull-wing doors also make the jump to production. Power will come from a twin-turbo V6 making 450hp (336kW), with no word of a V8 option at launch.

Toyota FT-4X – Hopes were high for the Toyota FT-4X ahead of the New York show, after a teaser suggested it might be a direct replacement for the FJ Cruiser. Instead, we got a compact concept targeted at urban millennials, who like to go hiking, biking and skiing on the weekends. Size-wise, the car is actually smaller than the RAV4, making it similar to the Jeep Renegade and Nissan Juke. That slots it into one of the fastest growing segments in North America and should mean space-limited millennials can slide it into the parking spots outside their favourite cafe without too much trouble.

Toyota’s designers have created what they call a ‘multi-tool cabin’. Along with a beverage heater/cooler, there’s a sleeping bag strapped to the center console and various interior lights that can be removed and used as a torch. There’s no guarantee you won’t lose them, but the thought is nice. This is just a taste of what was on show and more than enough for us, but is you’re into the full story, take a flick through NewAtlas’ photo gallery


SUV F-Pace Poetry in Motion

Having just won the daily double in the shape of the 2017 World Car of Year and World Car Design of the Year titles, Jaguar is entitled to get all ‘autospeaky’ about its SUV F-Pace. So here goes: “Jaguar’s heritage of elegant design and breathtaking performance has excited and delighted the world for 80 years. Today’s world-class Jaguar family embodies The Art of Performance, with the remarkable, much admired and award-winning XE, XF and XJ saloons, the dramatic F-TYPE sports car and the F-PACE performance crossover – the fastest-selling Jaguar ever.”

Or how about this effort by R. W. Emerson:

Lavish, lavish promiser,
Nigh persuading gods to err!
Guest of million painted forms,
Which in turn thy glory warms!
The frailest leaf, the mossy bark,
The acorn’s cup, the raindrop’s arc,
The swinging spider’s silver line,
The ruby of the drop of wine,
The shining pebble of the pond,
Thou inscribest with a bond,
In thy momentary play,
Would bankrupt nature to repay.

Oh, well…better luck next year all you losers


CTS consignment program ‘adjusted’ to take advantage of rising prices


If you thought property prices in Australia were going through the roof, you’d be right. If you thought the sticker prices of classic cars were doing a similar thing, you’d also be right. So, perhaps the time might be just right to lift the dust jacket off that 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider, or polish up that ’87 BMW M3 E30. Jay at Classic Throttle Shop in Sydney certainly thinks so and in a bid to encourage more of the precious metal hoarders – sorry, collectors – out into the open he’s offering to sell their ‘treasure’ on a no fee consignment deal.

“The Classic Throttle Shop consignment program is one of the best ways to achieve the result you want, and for the month of April, we will waive your consignment fee. Unlike other car dealers, we operate our business in a very different way, as most of our cars are sourced exclusively through enthusiasts and collectors. Experience has taught us that the standard of cars we like to deal with tend to be in the hands of passionate people,” he said.

Jay reckons that the CTS consignment program puts a vehicle on the world stage, generating the best exposure and qualified enquiry. The company has an impressive database of client’s and buyers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, America and Asia, plus, what it claims is an extremely impressive sell through rate.

“We have built a well deserved reputation over 15 years of sales, ownership and investment advice, as well as excellence in client services. The standard of the vehicles we bring to market and the way we treat our customers, sets us apart from other dealers,” he said.

And he could be right. Virgin Australia’s head honcho John Borghetti, certainly thinks so: “I’ve bought and sold a number of vehicles through CTS over the years. Their professional and diligent approach showcased my cars to various markets with the right result each time. The process was fast, efficient and transparent plus, the dedicated team is passionate about what they do.”

High-profile Sydney investor Julian Beaumont is also a fan having recently sold a couple of vehicles through CTS: “The team took all the hassle out of the transactions and went beyond just being fair when considering my own needs. It was great to deal with professionals who recognised the quality of the cars and ensured very good results while being totally realistic.”

So what is the included in the consignment program? Here’s what the company’s website lists:

  • Interstate transport to Sydney
  • Vehicle detailing
  • Professional vehicle description
  • Detailed photoshoot
  • In-store showroom display
  • CTS website listing
  • Expert sales team
  • Multi-platform marketing
  • Online and print advertising
  • Local and international exposure
  • 90% sell-through rate
  • Trades accepted
  • Finance options
  • Storage available

“Your consigned vehicle will be on display in our iconic Sydney showroom and kept in pristine condition as it is viewed by potential buyers online and in person. Our strategy allows both high-end buyers and sellers to benefit from our program and this is reflected in our successful sale-through rate,” added Jay.     CLICK HERE for more details.


Projecta has released a new catalogue that involves an expanded product list and a premium, new look, with a shift to black as the core colour scheme. As you’d expect, it’s all in an enhanced and easy to use and read format thanks to some extensive market research and consultation with retail and wholesale customers. Sixty new and upgraded products area spread over 180 pages and a new product icon graphic has been introduced to the top left and right hand corners of each outer page, making it easier to thumb through to the relevant product areas. A three-tier scale for all products, lets the user quickly and easily identify the equipment most relevant to their application and regularity of use. 

The ‘Everyday Range’ is identified in blue and is widely suited to domestic use, the red ‘Pro Range’ is ideal for the home professional and the top-of-the-line, silver ‘Intelli Range’ has been developed for OE and professional applications. Each product features a high quality photograph and extensive, clearly written details, allowing the customer to make an educated choice on their purchase.


Narva is encouraging motorists to check all their vehicle lights and upgrade their headlamps for improved visibility prior to the onset of winter. Automotive outlets throughout Australia are behind Narva’s initiative with expert advice, in-store signage and displays of the latest in advanced automotive headlamp globes. Coordinating the campaign is Road Trauma Services Victoria (RTSSV) a not-for-profit organisation contributing to the safety and wellbeing of road users. RTSSV provides counselling and support to people affected by road trauma and addresses attitudes and behaviours of road users through education.


The 2017 Ford Mondeo has been given a sharp new look with some ‘visual updates’ including some pretty cool titanium 19-inch alloy wheels. The five-spoke design is matched with lower-profile 235/40 Continental tyres for what Ford says is a more aggressive athletic look. A new shade, know as ‘Metalicious,’ a warm tinted clear-coat silver with a high degree of colour flip and sophistication adds to the overall ‘new’ appearance. Ford’s Sync 3 communications and entertainment system features faster performance, conversational voice recognition with Australian accent-specific calibration, intuitive smartphone-like touchscreen and easier-to-understand graphical interface.

There’s a new home screen with what looks like a clearer layout and larger icons for quicker access to functions including audio system, compatible smartphone, including compatible apps and satellite-navigation. The touchscreen with capacitive touch technology has ‘pinch and swipe’ capability, there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto11 integration and the ability to access Apple Siri and Google Now.

The five-door hatch and wagon body styles features advanced EPAS, integral link rear suspension, inflatable rear seatbelts, adaptive LED headlights and an adaptive front lighting system. to enhance the driver’s view of surroundings. There’s also what’s claimed to be an industry-first application of hydro-formed high strength steel in the A-pillars, B-pillars and roof rails. A magnesium inner tailgate structure for the four and five-door models delivers a weight-saving of approximately 40% percent compared to a traditional steel equivalent.


A Kombinationskraftwagen by any other name would be as sweet

In 1947, a Dutch VW importer had a great idea for a van, which he drew up and sent to head office. Three years later the first Kombinationskraftwagen rolled out of the Wolfsburg factory and as they say, the rest is history. Over the years, the vehicle was known by a number of different names including Transporter, Microbus, Bus and Camper. But it was the hippy- cum-flower power movement in the 60s that really turned an average transport van into an icon. Welcome to the magic world of the Kombi. Today that world is more about white-collar collectors than tee-shirt fornicators, with a rare model such as the 1960 Kombi Samba Microbus, pictured above, topping $200,000.

Regardless of whether you wear a white shirt, or a tee shirt, if you’ve got the cash then there’s a chance to pick up a 1967-split window Kombi that is said to be light years away from its humble VW Transporter origins. Along with a couple of other ‘gems’, this little number is expected to fetch upward of seventy grand, which could be something of a ‘bargain’, when it goes under the hammer at Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction on May 8.

Fully restored with a campervan conversion, it’s cream over sky blue, has front seats upholstered in red vinyl, a reconditioned 1600cc engine stroked to 1750cc and fed by twin Webers and a hidden booster added to the original drum brakes. Since its resurrection, from a ‘barn’ (yes, we know, it’s a wonder that some of these barns ever had any room for hay) the Kombi has earned its bitumen stripes, including a trip to Byron Bay and probably a bit of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, in the car park at Wategos.

The other VW on offer at the auction is a lot less exciting but ‘uniquely interesting’ in the form of a 1976 ‘Modified’ Race Transporter built at a cost of around $55,000 for an ‘an avid car collector and historic racer’.  A single cab utility was extended by 1295m for carrying small sports cars and open wheelers on a 4.0×1.65m flat bed and the body structure reinforced with a hand-made alloy framed canopy with drop-down sides.

There’s tyre racks, a winch and compressor with air suspension for raising and lowering the vehicle, plus a set of custom access ramps. If neither of these vehicles tickles your fancy, so to speak, or the wallet is just not that fat, how about a stylish left hand drive 1971 Karmann Ghia coupe in the $14,000-$18,000 range? It may have been a bit ‘lumpy’ to drive, but the old KG is still one of the best looking, everyday vehicle ever built.

To view all Shannons May 8 Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction lots, visit or contact Christophe Boribon on (03) 8588 0809 or 13 4646.


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1 Comment

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