‘Mum’s taxi’ breaks world speed record…One in a million Torana A9X under the hammer…Beauty in the eye of the beholder and the credit card!…What’s new pussycat?

Fancy a 4WD for its size and safety, but always in a hurry to get the kids to school, or do the shopping? How about a 2000hp Toyota Land Cruiser with a top speed of 370km/h? No it’s not a joke. Toyota has just powered its Land Cruiser, or Land Speed Cruiser as the company prefers to call it, to the “world fastest SUV” title, leaving many a supercar in the rear mirror on the way.

In 1993, when the competition for the production car speed record really started getting interesting, the McLaren F1 drove its way to a world speed record with a 372km/h run, handily surpassing the Jaguar XJ220’s 349 km/h) record. Less than just ten years decade earlier, 322km/h was still a dream. The McLaren F1 was head and shoulders above other sports cars of its day, but now there’s a 370km/h, full-size SUV out there that could give it hell in a head-to-head straight-line. The F1 would still pull it out at the end, however, since it eventually upped the world speed record just above 388km/h.

With recently retired Toyota Nascar driver Carl Edwards behind the wheel, the Land Speed Cruiser clocked an official one-way time of 370.2km/h on a four kilometre runway at California’s Mojave Air and Space Port. That speed blows well past the previous SUV world record claim of 340km/h, crowning the Land Speed Cruiser the speed king of SUVs. Given its top speed is faster than many six-and seven-figure supercars, that’s no dubious honor.

Getting the bulky Land Cruiser up to that kind of speed obviously took much more than just dropping a Nascar driver inside and putting a couple miles of runway in front of him. Toyota Motorsports positioned two large Garrett turbochargers around the Land Cruiser’s 5.7ltr V8, then added a custom racing transmission and reinforced the engine construction to handle the monstrous power boost. The suspension was lowered to help prevent the SUV’s high construction from interfering with its speed ambitions, and the chassis was reworked to accommodate the suspension and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

On record day, Toyota test driver and race car champion Craig Stanton warmed the Land Speed Cruiser up by flirting with around 320km/h. Edwards then took the wheel and got ‘er up fast enough to tie the 334km/h record on his first run but ran out of pavement before he was able to surge to a new record. Toyota technicians dialled up boost to increase power, and Edwards went on to hit 370km/h, again running out of pavement before fully reaching peak speed.

Ordinarily, this is the part where we’d start doling out asterisks – like the one that Hennessey and its 270.5-mph (435.3-km/h) gets because it only made a one-way run, instead of the two-way run required for official production speed record status. But such conventions don’t appear to apply to the less competitive field of SUV speed record racing.

The previous record-holder, a 740-hp, Brabus-tuned Mercedes GLK V12, topped 322km/h on the track, as announced by Brabus in 2009. Brabus’ release didn’t describe exactly how it clocked that 200-mph top speed, and the 211-mph top speed it’s been popularly credited with appears to be a miscalculated conversion. At the top of the 2009 press release, Brabus lists its speed as “322.3 km/h” but later lists it as “322.3km/h”. The former conversion is the correct one, leaving us to conclude that the GLK’s actual verified speed was 200.3mph, not 211mph, as has been widely reported.

In the meantime, it’s pretty safe to say the Land Speed Cruiser’s claim to world’s fastest SUV doesn’t come with any asterisks. While heavily modified, the ultra-powerful Land Cruiser is peerless in the SUV world and more comfortable rubbing elbows with the likes of world’s fastest cars like the Noble M600 (362km/h), Spania GTA Spano (370km/h) and Zenvo TS1 (374km/h). Even then, it’s a small, exclusive club.

Source: Toyota NewAtlas

One in a million Torana A9X under the hammer

You have an iconic bit of metal that could fetch a million dollars and the time is ripe to sell. So, what do you do? Get it on the trailer and off to the auctioneers as quick as possible? You bet, and that’s exactly what Peter Briggs has done with his Torana A9X. Raced for three years by the Ron Hodgson Team in the Australian Touring Car Championship, it was one of only 10 bare shells supplied by Holden in the late ‘70s to be prepared for racing.

The Torana A9X, a factory code for a particular option combination, was built by Ron Missen to be driven in the 1977 Bathurst race by dual Indianapolis winner Johnny Rutherford, partnered by Janet Guthrie, the first woman to line up on the Brick Pit. The partnership was, however, slower in practice than its Australian teammates and during the race, Rutherford collided with another car and retired on lap 13. Janet didn’t even get a drive.

This was one of the great races where Allan Moffat and Jackie Ickx won in a Falcon GT with their teammates Colin Bond and Alan Hamilton finishing second. The following year, the A9X was driven by Bob Morris, partnered by John Fitzpatrick, with a sister car being driven by Derek Bell and Dieter Quester.  Derek Bell was an outstanding driver having won five times at Le Mans, three times at Daytona, plus two World Sportscar championships. He also raced in Formula One for Ferrari, Wheatcroft, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno teams.

In the 1978 ATC championship, Morris lost out by only two points to Peter Brock driving a Holden Dealer Team Torana. At the end of that year accomplished race engine builder Peter Molloy was appointed team manager and immediately instituted a comprehensive development plan to challenge the Holden Deal Team. The plan was a success with Bob Morris winning the 1979 championship series in the Torana. According to the CAMS log book, the final race was the car’s last outing in the Ron Hodgson Racing Team before it was purchased by Peter Briggs, who raced it a few times at Wanneroo Raceway, near Perth before putting it on display at his York Motor Museum.

Peter reckons that having owned the car for almost 40 years, it’s time to pass it on to another enthusiastic owner:  “With the demise of Holden manufacturing in Australia it is clear that Australian car collectors are keen to snap up the great cars from our motoring history, and this is certainly just such a car.”

The Torana A9X will be sold at Mossgreen Auctions in Sydney on 28 May.

Beauty in the eye of the beholder and the credit card!

It was the first Ferrari 275 GTB/4 to find its way out of the factory and almost immediately onto the company’s stand at the 1966 Paris Motor Show, where its beautiful styling is said to have drawn ‘gasps of appreciation’ from the audience…autospeak al la the swinging ‘60s! Even so, there’s no doubting its beauty that has stood the test of time. So, what do you think it’s worth today?

Well, according to auctioneers Coy’s of London somewhere between £2,000,000 to £2,500,000, or in real money, about $A3,250,000 to $A5,250,000. Anyway that’s what the company is hoping to get for it at an auction later this month, which should put a smile on the face of its current collector/investor/owner.

For a piece of precious metal to reach such heights it has to have ‘history’ and Chassis #1 has it in spades. From the Paris Motor Show it found its way to the USA and a couple of decades later became part of the Swiss collection of Albert Obrist, who put together, arguably the most comprehensive and renowned collection of Ferraris in the world.

A few years later the car changed hands to become part of another world-renowned car collection, this time in England, and remained stored until the early 2000’s with other priceless automobiles. In 2004, Coys sold it at its Monaco auction to the current vendor, who used it sparingly for a variety of events.

As Jean Pierre Beltoise, a racing driver and journalist for l’Auto Journal wrote when he tested the car in 1967: “It is, first and foremost, a serious and comfortable gran turismo, but it retains the lineage of a race car in the response of the engine and the quality of the handling. The 275 GTB/4 is one of the greatest automobiles created in our times.”

 

 

If you’re in the market for a small car with a bit of comfort and style that doesn’t resemble a matchbox on wheels, then Hyundai’s third-generation i30 hatch could fill the bill. Bigger and roomier than its predecessors and packed with what is now known as ‘state-of-the-art driver-focused connectivity’, the price is also very attractive with the 2.0 GDi manual coming in at around $21,000, plus the usual dealer add-ons.

Standard features across the range include sat-nav, 8” multimedia display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, including steering wheel-operated voice control. There’s LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, heated and ventilated front seats and alloy wheels. The five-tier i30 range starts entry-level Active and runs through Elite, Premium, SR and SR Premium variants. Engine and transmission choices start with the i30 Active’s standard 120kW/203Nm Nu 2.0-litre GDi (gasoline direct injection) petrol four-cylinder with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Also available in the i30 Active, Elite and Premium variants is Hyundai’s U-II 1.6-litre CRDi (common rail diesel injection) engine mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, or six-speed manual.

 

Holden is to give its Trailblazer 4×4 SUV the ‘Z71 treatment’ – whatever that is – in an initial run of just 400 Special Edition vehicles. Said to be inspired by the success of its Colorado Crew Cab pick-up sibling, the Trailblazer Z71 gets a long list of new bits that the company say will give the car a fresh new look. Exterior upgrades including 18-inch black alloy wheels, selection of black design content and new livery. Inside its heated front leather-appointed seats upgraded with Z71 headrest embroidery, rear view camera and an Apple CarPlay/Android Auto supported infotainment system. You can chose from white or red, with stainless steel grey and mineral back prestige colors costing an additional $550. More @www.facebook.com/holdenaustralia or www.youtube.com/holdenaustralia.

Not wanting to be left behind in the auto industry’s rush to put add bits and pieces in a bid to breathe new life into a fading model, Mini is adding five thousand bucks worth of extras to the Seven, for just $2000…oh yeah! The Seven nameplate has been revived to bring a ‘fresh high-specification experience to customers’…wow! Colors Lapis Luxury Blue, Midnight Black, British Racing Green and Pepper White, complemented by contrast roof, mirror caps and bonnet stripes in Melting Silver combined with Melting Silver, Malt Brown pinstripes and chrome side scuttles featuring the exclusive ‘Seven 7’ emblem.

The Cooper and Cooper D Sevens get 17-inch, two-tone alloy wheels; the Cooper S gets 18-inch along with the John Cooper Works rear spoiler and panorama glass roof. There’s a bit of fiddling around inside all the models including the usual multimedia essentials with navigation, multimedia interface, reversing camera and Bluetooth audio streaming, but nothing much that really stands out.

Take a three-cylinder petrol engine and a synchronous electric motor that together produce 165kW/224hp at an average fuel consumption of 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres and what have you got? The Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 that’s what. Yes, Mini has at last come up with what the company reckon is the perfect vehicle for urban target groups who wish to enjoy the benefits of purely electric mobility when either commuting or on long distance journeys.

When in ‘electric-mode’, the brand’s first ever plug-in hybrid model has a top speed of 125km/h and with a range of up to 42ks. Some of the other bits and pieces include: High-quality BMW Group eDrive components, configured to suit this specific model, that draw on expertise gained from the development of BMW iPerformance automobiles; * Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle: 2.1 litres/100km, CO2 emissions: 49g/km; * Novel driving experience due to the electrified all-wheel drive system ALL4; * Lithium-ion high-voltage battery can be charged at a wall box in 2:15 hours; * Three operating modes available for selection via eDrive toggle switch; * Hybrid-specific displays.

 

Who Works In Motorsports – 2017  The 13th Edition of the ‘bible’ of who’s who in motorsport is now on sale. Why would you want to know? Well, for a start, you could get in touch with Ferrari’s head mechanic and let him know what a dick the latest engine failure makes him look! The 2017 edition covers: DTM •  Formula Renault Eurocup FIA Formula One World Championship  • Formula 2  •  Indycar Series • NASCAR  • Australian Supercars • TRC • FIA World Endurance Championship FIA World Rally Championship • IMSA  SportsCar Championship FIA World Touring Car Championship And for the first time, the whole box and dice also comes in a digital version that gives instant access to all the inside information the motorsport paddocks including names and photo, job titles, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, addresses, Twitter/Facebook/website hyperlinks and a great deal more…CLICK HERE to buy online.

 

 

 

More power to your elbow wherever you may roam

Projecta has released a new, portable power hub that turns the humble 12v battery plus a 10amp power outlet into something capable of powering and charging a wide array of appliances. The PH125 Power-Hub is designed to provide fast and convenient power anywhere and anytime, no matter whether it’s at a remote campsite, caravan park or worksite.

The whole kit and caboodle includes is a 240v AC socket that provides clean pure sine wave power (300w) a must for sensitive equipment and DC terminals for applications requiring a high rate of current such as jumpstarting. Other outlets include USB (2x2amp), cigarette lighter (2x10amp), Engel (1x10amp), a 50amp heavy duty and Merit sockets (2x15amp) all protected by automatically resetting circuit breakers.

In a bit of clever design, all sockets that users are likely to be regularly connecting and disconnecting are located on one side of the unit, while outlets that generally remain connected longer term, such as Engel type and AC outlet, are located on the reverse side. The whole thing has been put together with the outdoors in mind and features moulded gutters in the top housing to drain water away from the electrics and waterproof covers that when closed shield the plugs and sockets while still allowing the cords to remain plugged in.

The Power-Hub’s operation is through a full colour, 2.4” LCD screen that displays comprehensive information on the predicted state of charge, battery health, time to full charge and time to empty as well as programmable low battery and battery health alarms. The unit also makes use of self-learning technology to determine the capacity and health over the life of the battery and can automatically distinguish the chemistry of the donor battery, eg: wet, AGM, gel or calcium.

With the ability to power laptops, radios, fridges and lighting and provide battery-charging power for a host of other appliances, tools and equipment, Projecta claim that the Power-Hub is a viable alternative to operating a dual battery system, eliminating installation costs whilst providing greater portability away from the vehicle. Recharging can be done with a 240v AC charger or solar panel connecting through either the DC terminals or 50amp heavy-duty socket during which time the unit can remain in use. The PH125 Power-Hub cost $499 from all leading transport, automotive and four-wheel drive outlets.

 

 

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