Saturday, May 29, 2010

Honda CRX electric roof

Back in the early 90's Honda replace the road going go-cart the CRX with this bland version, that didnt live up to its sporty looks or its predocessors reputation. It did however have one trick ups its sleave or rather in its boot. Before the current crop of tin top convertables started by Mercede's and sold to the masses by Peugeot, Honda had a go of fitting a system to its car. As you will see its more like a retro fit. Although I remember seeing this on Top Gear when I was a teenager and thinking its was the coolest thing in the world!!!!! I know. But one thing probably held this thing back, its still quicker to remove the roof panel and stow it in the boot by hand, oh and you'd still have boot space too, but for over the top optional extra this has to be up there and on here. (for some reason to see the clip, click on the play button just down on the page)-

Monday, May 24, 2010

Car in the 90’s what happened

Looking back over the decades of car manufacture its easy to define each decade with its cars, 50’s equals fins (no more than the Cadillac El Dorado),

60’s equals muscle cars (Mustang, Dodge Charger anyone),

70’s equals turbo’s (911, Lotus),

80’s the hot hatch (VW Golf, Renault GT5, Peugeot 205 GTI)

and the 90’s errmmm wait I’ll get this one, hmmmmmmm, honest just a minute, oh yeah that’s it BLAND!!!! If it was a school report card it would say , “could try harder”

Over the decades car design has been one of one-upmanship, you got fins, we got’em bigger, you got power, we got more, you got speed we’re faster etc but in the 90’s this seemed stop. From companies all designing individual cars with all the styling quirks that are linked to that, hard edges, body kits, angles etc when the 90’s hit it seems all the manufacturers sat down on a meeting and said, “wait a minute what people really want is a wishy washy car that looks like the neighbours with lazy design” just look at the Ford Mondeo and Vauhaull Vectra.

Compared to the Renault 5 vs Peugeot 205 vs Ford Escort of the 80’s 3 completely different looking cars that were all desirable, the 90’s by comparison was boring, conservative and bland. The only highlight was the Ford Focus, particularly the ST versions which took a step back to the 80’s.

Thankfully in the very early 00’s the industry picked up its ideas and realise the public actually do want interesting and at times challenging looking cars. Baby step were taken until 2005. The car that gave the whole industry a kick in the nuts for me was the next generation Honda Civic when it was shown at the Geneva Motorshow. This was shown as a production ready car, it’s was like nothing else sleek, angular and with triangle exhaust pipes!!!! You could just hear the likes of Ford, Vauxhall and Toyota, picking up the phone to their design departments and saying “hold on lads we’ve got a problem get the straight edge out on the new car”

I suppose it could be down to the people who can afford new cars these days grew up in the 80’s and are now demanding more. Not just a car that gets you from A to B, and looks like the neighbours, but a car that say something about you.

The 00’s is now fresh and new with desirable cars, don’t get me wrong practicality leads design these days unlike in the 80’s when customers would do with out for the car they wanted. These days customers want everything, practical, room for 5, large boot etc but at least the individualism is finally back into design and it looks like the French in the likes of Citro├źn and Renault are leading the way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vespa 400

We all know Vespa produce the most iconic scooters over their 50+ year history, but during the 1950’s they also produced a small car, the 400. Debuted as a concept in 1952, it came into production in 1954 with room for two adults and two small children, to try and compete with the Fiat 500. It was powered by a 2 stroke 400cc engine producing 14bhp. Between 1956 and when it bowed out in 1961 some 28000 were produced. It stands as the only 4 wheeled car Vespa produced, and therefore for its rarity and quaintness deserves a mention on here.

For more information-

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lamborghini LM002

Lots of people know about Lambo’s 4 wheel drive system fitted to most of there cars, and the fact the original company made its money rebuilding the then building its own tractors. But here’s a blip in the tractor to supercar transition that may be new to you.

The LM002, was produced following a failed attempt by Lamborghini to get a military contract for its Cheetah from the US. This was a bit of a hybrid, partially ripped of from another manufacturers concept (who sued them) and produced by MIT (Mobility Technology International) before being shipped to Italy to have not Lambo engine but a 5.9-litre Chrysler V8 fitted in the back. The USA turned down the design and ended up in bed with AMG and produced the iconic Humvee. The USA never returned the concept, instead saying they had destroyed it!!!!