June 17, 2016: With the 24 Hours of Le Mans taking place this weekend, we thought we’d start with a pair of videos from Ford. The first takes a look at the simulator work necessary to prepare the drivers for the event. The second is culled from amateur video of Ford’s first victory in the event 50 years ago. Staying with Ford, we also preview the new Ka+. Unlike its predecessors, it is a non-premium super mini that shares its underpinnings with the Fiesta while drastically undercutting it on price. Price, on the other hand, is no object if you are in the market for carbon fiber bodywork for your Lamborghini Aventador. If so, the folks at Vitesse AuDessus have just what you need. A little closer to financial sanity, Maserati introduced the latest version of its venerable Quattroporte sedan. The 2017 update gets a little nip and tuck, a revised model lineup, and needed infotainment and other upgrades. On the technology front, Nissan is working on a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell that could be the ultimate range extender for electric vehicles while also supporting SOFC-powered light-duty trucks and SUVs. Nearly as exciting is the new technology in door latch systems from Kiekert. The German company has everything from electric latches to LED safety lighting to a technology guaranteed to eliminate self-inflicted door dings. And we close with a look at the effect Turbulent Jet Ignition technology has had on Formula 1, the similarity between Mercedes and Ferrari, Renault’s recent leap into the tech, and Honda’s apparent resurrection of CVCC technology for its F1 motor.
June 3, 2016: Memorial Day made for a short week, and a slow news cycle. VW launched its #PinkBeetle (that’s its official name), and Audi the new A5 Coupe, but one wasn’t important to anyone other than Barbie or a Mary Kay devotee, and the other was short on information. On the other hand, the folks at Advanced Innovative Engineering in the U.K. showed off its latest rotary engine design in a Westfield sports car, and touted it as the perfect motor for a light sports car, series hybrid or range-extender EV. It’s chock-full of interesting tech, including a closed cooling system that reduces oil loss. Staying with cooling, Honda outlined the work necessary to remove the excess heat from its Acura NSX sports car while improving downforce and reducing aerodynamic drag. British Motor Heritage, those hearty folks who supply everything from panels to bodies for MGBs, Minis and more have been using racing to improve the breed. A range of parts are available for MGB racers, and Midget and Sprite owners can order race-proven complete tubs for their restoration or race projects. Jeep’s Renegade is the first member of the family to be built outside of the U.S. on a non-Jeep platform. Does it measure up, or is its true calling in attracting the young at heart with deep pockets?