Wednesday, October 27, 2010

General Motors Futurliner

Back in 1940 GM toured the USA bringing the Parade of Progress to the public. This was in part a marketing tool for GM but also brought the advances of the day to masses for both its car design but also ata point in time when times were simpler and technology was on the brink with huge advance coming thick and fast and GM were the ones showcasing it such as microwave ovens and mixed in its new cars. In order to transport and show case this event GM built the Futurliners, 12 purpose built trucks to both show the advances in vehicle design and technology but they would also double as both a mobile advertisement and the stages. Due to the USA coming into WW2 only two tours were undertaken. However in 1953 GM dusted them off and once again drove them around the country until 1956. The most unusual aspect of the design was the centrally seated drivers position up high in the glass bubble. To cope with this the cab had additional air conditioning fitted to keep them cool. A recently fully restored one sold for $4,320,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction. This kind of touring show just doesn’t happen these days and at the time they were a huge deal with entire towns turning out to see them.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Maybach Exelero

When most development companies need some testing machinery they usually build a large piece of purpose built equipment and aesthetics are the last think in mind. For automotive companies its mules, older cars that don’t stand out in the crowd with new engineering grafted on so they can be tested without prying eyes. I guarantee at this very moment there’s a number running around the Nurburgring.

So when Fulda decided to build some testing rig for its high performance tyres, which would also be used to promote them, it didn’t go the convectional way of a machine in a warehouse. Instead it commissioned a design competition for student designers, the winner was 24-year-old Fredrik Burchhardt and his work was co-ordinated with that of the Maybach design centre in Sindelfingen. They then took a Maybach 57 and radically redesigned it. Boring out the standard V12 engine to 5.9ltrs and tweaking it up to 700bhp. This has pushed this 2.66 tonne car up to 218mph around the Nardo high-speed oval. The cost a reported £7,000,000!!!!!!

I think the word your looking for it stunning, simply stunning

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Renault Avantime

There are times when a car goes through the design process gets the thumbs up from the public and then gets the final approval for production and for some reason either the general public just doesn’t get it or simply doesn’t warm to the concept. One of these was the executive hatchback , the Sigmun, that Vauxhall decided to replace the Omega with!!!!!! Another one was the Avantime, looking back on it it’s hard to see why as it’s not to dissimilar with the new crop of cross over cars being produced. But in 2001 the “cross over” concept was relatively unknown to the public, a large 3 door car with softroad clearances and could comfortable seat 4 adults wrapped in a coupe style body should have been a winner, particularly when it can with a large range of engine options right up to a V6. But the public stayed away, I remember one report at the time saying at one point less than 90 had been bought in the UK, and when you take into account the dealers were forced into buying at least one as a demonstrator that didn’t leave much room for the buying public!!!!

Personally I love the look of it but why wouldn’t I buy one even now, well with having a family easy access to the rear is a must. I have no doubt with those huge doors this would be easy but I would shy away from it as a main car and go after its big brother the Espace. Before I had a family it looked a little to “grown up” which is a shame as this was the market Renault was after. So despite being forward thinking and by all accounts a great car it seemed to miss the mark or rather not do well together the things that alternative cars did perfectly individually.

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