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« September 2017 | Main | July 2017 »
Friday
Aug112017

August 2017

We will be on vacation the first week of September, but back in time to report on the Frankfurt Motor Show. See you on September 15.

 

August 25, 2017: With each generation of its M cars, BMW leaves you wondering if it could possibly top its latest creation. And with the debut of the 2018 M5 prior to its launch next month at Frankfurt, it proves once again that it can. However, doing so this time required a technology never before seen on an M car. Meanwhile, over in Monterey, Mercedes introduced a new Maybach concept designed to take everything to the extreme. This electrically powered land yacht is both sleek and nautical, and more than a little reminiscent of the best industrial design and a certain type of laxative. The same can’t be said of the De Tomaso Pantera, a sexy mid-engine Italian sports car built along the lines of a Ford GT40. It was derided in the day for its many faults, and its mongrel status (it has a Ford V8 under the hood) meant it never got the respect it deserved. Until now that is. With the help of Petrolicious and Jay Leno’s Garage, we take a look at what makes the Pantera so desirable. ATS, created out of the Palace Revolt at Ferrari in the early 1960s, is about to introduce a new supercar along the lines of its ill-fated but delicious 2500 GT. We take a look at the history of the marque, and its plans for the future. Audi’s plans include a new numbering system for its vehicles. Scheduled to launch with the new A8, it places two-digit designator after the model name, based on the output of the powertrain. VW’s T-Roc small crossover has broken cover, and it is aimed at the fast-growing small SUV segment. It’s the first Volkswagen ever to offer a contrasting roof panel color, but oddly will not be coming to the U.S. anytime soon. The Passat may never wear a contrasting roof color, but it does carry the mantle for VW’s U.S. assembly plant alongside the Atlas SUV. Though more restrained than some of its competition, it provides comfort and space they lack, with a solidity that could only come from the Germans. Mitsubishi’s Outlander, on the other hand, sits square in the middle of the mid-size SUV segment, and is something of a reset for a company that used to be a tech leader. We evaluate the crossover, and see whether quiet competence is enough in a crowded market. Federal-Mogul has a new valve rotation unit for overhead cam engines. We take a look at a technology designed to control wear and heat build up on the valves and seats. This week’s Virtual Collection digs deep to find the most unusual Jaguar Mark IX you’ll ever see. Built for the former head of a major automotive engineering consultancy, it is up-to-date in everything but looks. JBR Capital not only lends money to those wanting to buy high-end classic cars, it has created an interactive website dedicated to Ferrari’s V12, and the various vehicles it has powered. The site has surprisingly subtle yet trick graphics, and is a go-to resource for those interested in Enzo’s most famous engines.

 

August 11, 2017: As a kid who grew up in Dearborn during the Total Performance era, Kar-Kraft was a subject of constant wonder. Then, one day in the early 1970s, it ceased to exist, and urban legend and innuendo filled the void where secrecy had previously lived. Charlie Henry, who worked at Kar-Kraft while in college, decided to take up the challenge, fill in the blanks, and discover the truth behind the legend. We review his book, and find that it fills a void in the knowledge of every enthusiast of a certain age. Keeping with the project theme, Infiniti has teased a concept set in the golden age of Grand Prix racing, that retroactively seeks to define what makes an Infiniti an Infiniti. Kumho, meanwhile, uses advanced mathematics to design a multi-layer wheel and tire concept that needs no air, and may be more than just a design study. TVR, on the other hand, is ready to step out from the shadows and show its latest car at the Goodwood Revival. We take a look at the clues thus far, outlining the car that the staff at Gordon Murray Design have created. Whatever that might be, it can’t hold a candle to the outrageousness that is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The 707-hp SUV promises a lot, and costs even more. It undoubtedly will be a pittance compared to the price expected at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction for the Aston Martin DBR1/1. It’s not only the first of a rare breed, but one with a significant competition history. We go along as the folks from Petrolicious go for a drive. BMW’s M30 M3 also was the first of the breed and, to our mind, the best. See why it gets pride of place in the Virtual Collection. Unfortunately, the purity of the original eventually fades, as shown by the latest Audi A4. Bigger and better in so many ways, see why we feel it lacks the soul a sport sedan should possess. And don’t forget to tag along as we go to dinner with the Gore family in a plug-in Prius Prime. You may discover why we prefer the non-prime number. Finally, Mazda has announced a compression ignition gasoline engine family that promises diesel-like efficiency, and EV-level cleanliness. Can this combination of spark and compression ignition do the job?

 

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