Friday, January 28, 2011

Cars that don’t fit into any one market and miss them all

Occasionally car manufacturers produce a car that although thoroughly tested with public opinions taken into account during its development when it comes to selling it to the public they stand back a and say “I just don’t get it”. This seems to be a more modern fopar, with car brands always looking for that new cross over or market that needs exploiting. Back 20-30 years ago the like of Ford would produce say 3 types of cars, small, medium and executive, with the latter 2 having an estate version. These days there’s, tiny, small, small and tall, medium, medium and tall with estate, medium, medium tall, people carrier (both large and small) ..... You know where I’m going, then there’s the crossover models and 4x4’s!!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Travertson V-Rex

I remember when I first saw this bike on my usual internet trawl, it simply stood out like nothing I had seen before. I then discovered this was a production bike, built by the same man behind the Y2K , Christian Travert. First developed as the “Dream Bike” by mechanical futurist Tim Cameron as a 3D rendering, Christian brought it to life, keeping to the original design as far as possible. I think you'll agree he did an awesome job. This included developing a new aluminum chassis that also doubled as a fuel tank and that front end, which works similar to a rear swing arm arrangement. This looks like an all out custom with detail everywhere such as the indicators located in the end of the handlebars.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Golf 928

These days if you’re like me and watch the current crop of custom car shows, then the fitting a body from one car onto the running gear of something more exotic is nothing new, particularly with 60’s muscle cars on to their modern interpretations underpinnings.

Back in the early 80’s however this was unusual, so when German firm Nordstadt took the humble MK1 Golf and grafted in on too, what was at the time a supercar chassis, Porsche 928. The result was a V8 powered Golf that had a lower drag coefficient and more room inside than the donor car. But there was more to it than that. In order for the body to accommodate the Porsche running gear the body had to be widened by just over 8 inches.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Group “B” Rally Cars, the heyday

In the early 80’s the powers behind rallying decided to create a new class in order to attract manufacturers to the sport. The lack of rules meant radical cars were not only built but in order to comply with the homologation rules the public got a piece of the action if you had the money. This new Group B class only required manufacturers to produce 20 evolution models of its cars for rallying if 200 production versions were sold. With the saloon car market doing a roaring trade in the European and domestic touring cars and a shorter wheelbase car preferred for rallying, the humble midsized run around was given the extreme make over. Admittedly some custom built cars were produced, Ford RS200 or Audi Quattro for example. But the most iconic are based on more humble underpinnings.

Over its short life, 1982 to 87, the industry pushed and pushed the boundaries to get as much horse power out of the cars as possible. Toward the end the mum’s shopping car in many cases had become mid engine with huge wheel arches producing 600bhp. They bared no relation to the original car apart from a few rouge panels.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TVR Speed 12

During TVR’s heyday in the 90’s, Blackpool were giving the public outrageous new models every year or so. Proper sports cars, with non of that driver aid nonsense like power steering, traction control and airbags. In 1997 it decided to expand into the super car market, there first and only excursion into this more competitive sector was the Speed 12. Revealed at the 1997 London Motor Show, to public and industry dropped jaws. With its light weight and 7.7ltr V12 producing 800bhp+, the only think that came close was the legendary McLaren F1!!!! Deemed at the time too powerful for its own good it was limited to 185mph. Also designed to go GT1 racing a change to the regulation as it was being readied meant it ridiculous power would have to be limited to 650bhp to compete, this linked with the eventual demise of the class, this was the nail in the coffin and deposits for the road car were returned and the project shelved. The cars that had been produced were broken for parts and for a short time it competed in British GT1 racing. The dream of La Mans never happened.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Renault 4CV Service

The 4CV had been around for a number of years when an economic crisis lead to a cut price version called the “Service” in 1953. Unfortunately the limited buying public didn’t take well to the reduction in the standard equipment, which considering this was 1953 meant even standard equipment was sparse at best, resulted in it only being on sale for a very limited period. So what equipment did Renault strip out of this version, well the grill, indicators, hubcaps, internal door handles (it was replaced with a pull cord, opening rear door windows and it only came with matt paint and the most basic of seats. At the time the French joked that the only way the spec could be reduced was to remove the wheels!!!!! So this is a rare car due to no one wanting it at the time. But as with most models the base models are always the rarest in the future as why would you keep one. On its plus side it had front suicide doors.