Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ford GT90

Back in 1995 Ford built a concept that harked back to its dabble in super car building. Granted the GT40 was built as a racer and turned in to a road car. This time round with the super/hyper car production being a booming business, think XJ220, Ferrari F40 and McClaren F1, Ford built this concept. Packing a 6ltr V12 engine producing an estimated 720bhp thanks to its 4 turbochargers. The estimated top speed was between 230-250mph. Looking back at the concept now, its clear the styling had a direct affect on Ford’s Kinetic design philosophy that resulted in the new Ford Focus around the same time. A limited run of 100 cars were to be built but unfortunately this never resulted, maybe due to this being a step to far for a mainstay car producer, or just the fact it was just to risky or ambitious in its styling. Its nice to many of the styling cues can still be seen in modern Supercars, active down force from the rear wing, LED lighting, triangle exhausts etc

More information-

Promotional Clip-

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pictures Section

Well linked with my love of all things automotive I also love taking photographs, as a result I've linked the Pictures page to my Redbubble account, to see a larger version just click on the enlarge button-

Picture Section

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Innovative Volvo

When you think of Volvo what’s the first thing that springs to mind, safe, reliable, solid? It’s strange then when you look back at some of the cars and more importantly, innovations that Volvo has under its belt its little wonder the brand isn’t held in more esteme.

Okay we all know that Volvo were the first to develop the 3 point seatbelt and install it in its range. However Volvo also developed a number of cars that were ahead of there times, so much so the reminisce and legacy can be see throughout the car industry. Most of these are in relevantly resent memory-

Volvo 850 T5 Estate-

Before this performance saloons ruled the way. If you wanted a powerful and fast car suitable for a family use, then you were limited to executive saloons with limited practicality and an over dollop of luxury items. When the T5 came out with its 5 pot turbo engine and Volvo decided to go Touring Car racing with it, the world thought they had gone mad. A boxy estate racing against sleek desirable saloon cars!!!!!

But they did in 1994. I can still remember the two of then driving round circuits side by side. After seeing that the men at Volvo didn’t seem so mad, after all with two large estates alongside each other nothing was going to get past. This was a time when additional aero additions to the cars were banned. The car in the showroom had to have the same body kit etc as the race car. This is the reason the Alfa Romeo you bought at the time had a rear spoiler supplied in the boot so as to allow it in racing.

In its day the Serria Cosworth Saphire was the benchmark to which all “fast” cars were measure, so ruthless was its power and delivery that its was written out of touring car years before. This was the Daddy of the street. Then came along this box on wheels and blew it away. This was truly a “cossie killer” an estate car with little in the way of bulging body work or in your face styling laying waste the established king of the red light drag race and you could get a fridge in it!!!!!

So its legacy today apart from the engine sitting in the new Focus RS, every manufacture now produces a performance estate for the family man who likes to still be a teenager on occasion.

Volvo Cross Country-

Think back say 15 years if you wanted a practical car that had the capability to go off road on occasion then your choices were limited to the larger 4x4’s, Landrover Discovery, Nissan Patrol, Vauxhall Frontera etc failing that you had to choose between practicality in an estate or a smaller 4x4/soft roader.

Volvo in 1997 produced the first true cross over vehicle, by taking their large estate and raising its ground clearance putting on bigger tyres and a robust plastic body kit the Cross County was born. More a large and comfortable soft roader this created a new market.

Its legacy isn’t so noticeable today but back then nearly all the major manufacturers had a go, most notable Audi’s A6 based version, even Rover with its 200 based version and over in Europe Volswagen with the Golf!!!!

The above are just a couple of the most notable Volvo offerings, along the way Volvo has produced some of the most stunning coupes in recent years, At a time when most car markers were looking the other way for the next big thing Volvo looked back and produced its modern convertible. Thus at a time when this market was very limited to a handful of BMW’s and Audi’s. Now most manufacturers’ have a soft top in the line up.

I think this is an article I may well revisit again in the future when no doubt another odd car will come out of Sweden, that will be quickly be taken up by others and the original forgotten.

By rights when you think of Volvo you should be thinking more than just about build quality etc innovation and performance should be nestled in there somewhere. Now i wonder what will be coming out of Sweden next.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The BEAST Merlin Powered Car

In the 1960’s Paul Jameson built a chassis around a Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engine, after he couldn’t get a gearbox that would handle the 850bhp,it was bought by John Dodd’s (a gearbox specialist) who finished the project. The 27ltr V12 engine now runs through an automatic gearbox a General Motors TH400!!!! It also had uprated carburettors fitted, American 4-barrel Holley to replace the now missing supercharger (the original engine produced over 1000 bhp). The car is wrapped in a glass fibre body supposedly based on a Ford Capri. Its was also registered in the Guinness Book of Records at the most powerful road car that could allegedly do over 200mph. The pictures below are how the car look now with its revised body, see why further down as well as how it originaly looked-

One thing of note was the legal case with Rolls Royce reportedly in the 1980’s due to Dodd’s fitting their iconic grill and flying lady, resulting in it being removed and a new body fitted. Picture of the orignal "capri" body with grill.

More information (as you will see it’s a little sketchy like all iconic cars)-

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1977 Panther 6

Inspired by the 6 wheel Tyrrell P34 Formula 1 car, Panther produced what was clamed to be the first production car that would do over 200mph. The power came from a 8.2ltr twin turbo V8 producing 600bhp. This car was not all power though, it came with electric everything including the dash, a TV and even a phone, this was back in 1977!!!!! It also had on board inbuilt fire extinguishers and carried 2 spare wheels well the front 4 wheels were a different size to the rears. Only 2 cars were produced , one in black and one in white before production was ceased. This car still has descendants today that I will be picking up in coming articles.

More information-

Video advertisement-

Sunday, March 7, 2010

1993 Williams FW15C CVT

There have been many developments in F1 that were banned with in a few races as an unfair advantage and no doubt I’ll post some up on here in the coming months. But on 1993 Formula 1 team Williams, who were at the top of the F1 tree, had a development banned before it even ended up on the race car!!!

The Williams FW15C CVT didn’t look any different than the current race car but its sounded like no other F1 car, not the engine note it was more that fact it didn’t change gear it was always on song. The reason for this was the CVT (Constant Variable Transmission) this went beyond an automatic gear box. The principal was 2 cones connected by a belt that could slip therefore having a constantly variable gear controlled by computer. This meant all the driver needed to do was put his foot down and brake and the engine and CVT would take care of everything else in order to run at maximum efficiency. I’ve included a clip of the car being tested by a young test driver namely David Coultard so you can hear it for yourself.

For more information on CVT-


Friday, March 5, 2010

1953 SEAT 1400

There are some cars that when you think about them you can’t see further back than say a 20 years. SEAT must be one of these, most people if they can remember, think the MK1 Ibiza was were it all started in 1984. SEAT only really went mainstream in peoples minds when it was enveloped into the Volkswagen machine and it became the middle tier between VW and Skoda. Using all the know how and chassis from VW but putting a much more daring body on them. But SEAT have been round since 1950, giving the marquee more history and credit than most people realise. The 1400 was the first car built at the new plant near Barcelona. It was based (as were most of the early cars) on a FIAT. In reality the 1400 was a Spanish assembled FIAT 1400, with most of the components shipped to the FIAT factory in kit form and a SEAT put on it. This could have been due to Spain at this time being a Communist state and therefore having restrictions on imports/exports at the time. This must make it one of the rarest European produced cars around. I mean have you ever seen one!!!!

oh and the Fiat 1400 its based on-

For some more information-

And a history of SEAT-

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stoat Scarab

This it possibly the first people carrier, built in 1936 it feature many modern day technologies including a body built out of aluminium, independent spring suspension and didn’t have a body/chassis set up!!!!

It waas built by William Stoat an aeronautical engineer, and you can see the 30’s airplane influences all over this car.

It was powered by a V8 Ford flathead mounted behind the rear axle therefore removing the prop shaft from the cabin creating a large usable interior. The seating was adjustable just like a modern people carrier and could be reconfigured to suit needs. The only seat that couldn’t be moved was the drivers. Only 9 were built and 5 still remain.

If only modern cars could have the style and elegance that this thing is draped in with the practicality, truly a car well ahead of its time.

For more information and to see more pictures-

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Porsche 989 Prototype

So when do you think this Porsche concept was built 2004, 2000? No this was actually built, but never officially shown, in 1988!!!! That’s 22 years ago!!!! Sports cars manufacturers are only just coming round to producing 4 door alternatives in the likes of the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and Lamborghini’s Estoque. To think that a working “prototype” of the Panamera was produced in another automotive time is a revelation. The 989 is based around the 928 front engined car produced at the time with an elongated 911 body just like the current Panamera. Unfortunately due to sale of its front engined cars slowing and the early 90’s recession Porsche shelved the car in 1992. To say Porsche were well ahead of the game is an understatement if that had been released just think what cars we would have today and that new supercar saloon niche. All we need to find now lurking around in the Porsche R&D bunker parked next to this would be a 4x4 with an inflated 911 body also produced in the 1980’s.

For more information-