Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mugello_ Rossi in Rosso: MotoGP star drives Ferrari F2008

The Ferrari World Finals at Mugello finished a few weeks ago. But someone appeared to have forgotten to tell the tifosi, as a loyal garrison of the Scuderia's most loyal fans, thousand-strong, came back out last week to the track. After the Challenge series were decided, the 16M Scuderia Spider unveiled, the FXX program ran its laps and the fans celebrated the Formula One constructors' championship, what exactly were they hoping still to see? How about the prospect of seeing an Italian driver piloting an Italian F1 car around one of Italy's most famous tracks? And not just any driver, but Valentino Rossi, a world champion with credentials to rival Schumacher's.
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Event Alert: December Calendar of Automotive Events
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Event Alert: December Calendar of Automotive Events

We started our monthly calendar of events last month and learned almost immediately that we will never be able to make it as comprehensive as everyone would like, but that's where you come in. Take a look at the list we've put together for December after the jump, and if you see changes that need to be made or events you'd like to add, leave a comment with event info and a link. Once again we've used two of our favorite resources: the New York Times automotive calendar for national and international stuff, and for local stuff here in Southern California, our buddy Dave Lindsay's SoCalCarCulture pages. Dave's photos from these local events are fantastic.
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Essen Motor Show: Lorinser Styled Mercedes GLK Unveiled

Lorinser is an established Mercedes design tuner, so perhaps to look is all we really need.

But it does mean we are not getting many details about this new GLK by Lorinser except for these pics available here from opening day at the Essen Motor Show.

Tuners don't like to waste time and the window between releases of new models and tuner versions has all but disappeared.

Notable here is the mesh wire grill with the underside skid plate in a highlighting color. A matching underside skid plate at the back is braced by the quad exhaust. The side skirts are subtle but the entire effect of the added design cues is to soften the lines of this rather boxy model.

But does that mean these things are often rush jobs? Probably not, since many top tuners have technical staff as qualified as the ones that build the cars and also have a good relationship with manufacturers who love the press attention these presentations get.
via:World Car Fans

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Car News: Up Close & Personal with Irmscher's Opel Insignia

German turner Irmscher used the Essen motor show to debut their new range of styling enhancements for the recently launched Opel Insignia.

With over 40 years of experience specializing in Opel's it was natural that the company would be the first to offer a styling package for the new model.

Pricing hasn't been released but the new styling package will be available to order through Opel dealers.

Up front is a lower front spoiler and an Irmscher grille with a honeycomb insert which can be ordered in either black or silver. Rounding out the other changes to the car are new side sills, a rear spoiler, and a rear bumper outfitted with a diffuser. Irmscher Insignia's can be equipped with light alloy wheels which will be offered in a variety of different designs and sizes up to 20-inches.
Source:World Car Fans

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hot News: Lamborghini Estoque to Share Platform with Audi A7

More details are emerging on the Lamborghini Estoque four-door set to debut in 2011 or 2012. Lamborghini insists the aggressive sedan is still only under consideration, but company insiders tell us Sant’Agata is already preparing the car for production. The only obstacle is a strategic review of the entire Volkswagen Group's future vehicle portfolio, currently being carried out by Porsche, VW's majority shareholder.
A conservative sales estimate is about 1500 units annually, but Lamborghini hopes to sell at least 2000 per year. That doesn't seem unrealistic compared to Porsche's far more ambitious targets with the Panamera, of which Stuttgart hopes to make 20,000 in the same time span.
The Estoque will be built on Audi's modular-longitudinal platform, which is the base of a number of new models, including the current Audi A4 and A5, the next-generation A6 and A8, the forthcoming all-new A7, and the 2013 VW Phaeton. There is very little component sharing with the recently revealed Porsche Panamera, which uses a standalone platform close to that of the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, and VW Touareg SUVs.
The Lamborghini Estoque will most likely have an aluminum body. All-wheel drive will be standard, since front-wheel drive, theoretically a possibility on this platform, is out of the question for Lamborghini. Much development on the underpinnings has been carried out by Audi's Quattro GmbH performance division in Neckarsulm, Germany.
The Audi A7, with its hatchback body, will be closest to the Estoque in concept and dimensions. The Estoque will definitely come to market after the A7, says an insider.


Wolfsburg, 19 September 2008 - Forty years have passed since Volkswagen presented the VW 411, at that time the company’s largest and most powerful model yet, to some 200 journalists in Wolfsburg. The journalists had earlier put the VW 411 through its paces on the new Volkswagen proving ground in Ehra-Lessien, testing the vehicle’s equipment and performance. Volkswagen built 367,728 units until production ceased in July 1974, and 416 of these are currently registered as old-timers.

The ads claimed there had never been a VW like this before. And they were quite right. This was the very first model with a unibody, a four-door option, more space than any other Volkswagen and a longer wheelbase than the Beetle. A newly-designed, powerful, 68 bhp air-cooled 1.6 liter boxer engine mounted in the rear of the VW 411 was robust enough even for long journeys at a maximum speed of 145 km/h. The innovative sporty chassis with MacPherson strut front suspension and rear suspension with double joint axles also used in the Porsche 911 made sure the car held the road well. The midsize saloon featured “the luxury of a luxury car”. Available with either a Normal or an L equipment line, “Wolfsburg’s biggie” offered customers space and ride comfort, enhanced safety, a total 570 liters of luggage space in front and rear and an optional automatic transmission.

The history of what was known as the Type 4 began in 1962 as development project EA 142. The economics of series production, which began in February 1967, were based on the sale of 822,500 vehicles over a four year period with daily production of 1,000 units. The price of the VW 411 ranged from 7,770 to 9,285 DM.

Compared to the VW 1500/1600 launched in 1961, the VW 411 was noticeably larger and better equipped. Volkswagen aimed to establish the new vehicle in the upper midsize segment which was beyond the reach of the Beetle and the Type 3, and to expand the market position in the long term by broadening the model range. For this reason, the publicity concentrated on technical innovations and the high level of comfort as well as highlighting typical Volkswagen characteristics such as quality, economic efficiency and service.

In the run-up to the market launch on October 5, 1968, dealers, the press and customers responded positively to the VW 411. Once the car had come to market, problems with the clutch on the first models delivered and an increasingly negative press curbed sales prospects. The most common complaints from customers related to engine and driving noise, the engine’s limited output and what was perceived as an unaesthetic front end. Since over 80% of VW 411 buyers were already Volkswagen customers, the vehicle failed to win new customer groups. As a result of these marketing problems, which could not be remedied by sales incentives either, Volkswagen sporadically lowered production to 75 vehicles per day.

The company introduced an improved version, the VW 411 E, for the 1970 model year. Electronic fuel injection boosted engine output to 80 bhp and the front end, which had given the model the nickname of “Nasenbär” (coati), received a facelift. The VW 411 E Variant, provided even more space for luggage, and this estate version was soon selling twice as well as the hatchback saloon. Type 4 exports to the USA began in 1971, and the car sold better than expected there, soon accounting for roughly 40% of total sales. A further new and improved model called the VW 412 followed in 1972. Production of the Type 4 at the Wolfsburg plant continued until 1973, when the production line was relocated to Salzgitter, and production at Volkswagen of South Africa commenced in 1969.

Even though the VW 411/412 did not break any sales records, the model nevertheless has an important role to play in Volkswagen’s automobile history as the last large series model with air cooling and a rear-mounted engine. A 1966 prototype is on display at the Automuseum Wolfsburg. The Type 4 has by no means been forgotten. Type 4 fan clubs in Germany and abroad have been presenting their lovingly preserved automotive rarities at a stand at Techno Classica since 2005.

Source: Volkswagen Press Release

2009 Audi R8 LMS Details

'We know just how important motorsport is for the success of the brand,' emphasises Michael Dick, who as Chairman of the Board for Technical Development is responsible for the AUDI AG motorsport programme. 'Therefore it goes without saying that Audi must also be present on the race track in economically hard times. It is all the more important for us to enter a motorsport category in which the cost-benefit calculation is positive.'
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Essen Motor Show: Brabham BMW M3 Unveiled

Brabham Racing from Germany is making its return to the upper ground, after going underground back in 1992. ‘Underground' means bankrupt for our purposes. At Essen, Brabham aims to show the world that it's still alive and well, kicking even, starting with this combative-looking M3 which is dubbed BT 92, '92 referencing that fateful year.
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Essen Debuts: PPI Razor GTR based on Audi R8

Specialist Audi tuners PPI Automotive Design have brought yet another R8 re-invention to the Essen Motor Show.

Here are the fresh pics from today's opening where you can get a good look at how the German tuner has turned this Audi into a mean-eyed cat called the PPI RAZOR GTR.
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Friday, November 28, 2008

Car News: Honda V8 coming... in 2015

"You've got to have the right tool for the job." "You can't bring a knife to a gun-fight." Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We've heard it all before. Honda makes some excellent engines, there's no doubt about that, from small displacement four-pots that rev through the roof to gloriously smooth and reliable V6 units. Unfortunately, the fun stops there, as the Japanese automaker has steadfastly stuck to its guns, not building an eight-cylinder engine when it can do just as well with fewer pistons.
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Benz News: Mercedes will begin phasing out V12 engines

Mercedes-Benz, longtime stalwarts of the V12 engine, is considering lowering its preferred cylinder count by a third. While our first inclination is to assume that this change is being made to increase the fuel efficiency and lower the emissions of the overall Daimler line, the real reason that the bent-12 engine program is being dropped is simply because the block is too long. A V12 is, for all intents and purposes...
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Essen Motor Show: Techart GTstreet R Unveiled

For the Porsche 911 Turbo, TechArt made special arrangements. These arrangements add up to something like this: a 3.6-litre twin-turbo engine boosted from the standard 473hp (480PS/ 353kW) to 650hp (660PS/ 485kW). That's correct, 600 horses plus another 50 for full effect.
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