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Friday
Apr222016

Wealth (and Automotive Design) on the Water

Design of the Arrow460 is quite literal in its aping of Mercedes design cues.A 46-foot yacht, the Arrow460—Granturismo, designed by Mercedes-Benz Style recently embarked on its maiden voyage off the coast of Nice. It melds the look of current Mercedes models above the waterline with the hull of a cabin cruiser creating what Mercedes-Benz Style refers to as a crossover design suitable for day trips as well as nights on board.

Built by Silver Arrows Marine, the motor yacht can accommodate up to 10 people, its side windows can be retracted, and the windshield raised. The light transmittance of the silver windows can be electronically adjusted, and both the tables and beds are extendable so they can be available when needed. In addition, there is a luxury bathroom unit, separate dressing room, air conditioning, a high-end audio system, wine vault, and ice-making machine. Wood lines the interior and follows the surfaces in three dimensions, though a sustainable industrial composite material is used to cover the floor.

The AM37 is less literal in its interpretation, but no less luxurious.Power is supplied by a pair of 480-hp Yanmar 6L3-ETP diesel engines. In calm seas, this is enough, says Silver Arrows Marine, to give the Arrow460—Granturismo a cruising speed of 28-30 knots, and a top speed of more than 40 knots.

Mercedes is not the only automaker involved in creating automotive-themed yachts. Aston Martin and Quintessence Yachts launched the AM37 powerboat during the Milan Design Week at Salone del Mobile.

The companies shared no technical information about the AM37, but waxed lyrical about the fusion of automotive and marine design and technology; apparently not having seen the similar press release about Mercedes-Benz Style’s yacht design. And while Silver Arrows Marine named the first Arrow460—Granturismo “Mercedes” we are pretty certain Aston Martin and Quintessence Yachts won’t be naming the first AM37 “Bernie”. — CAS

Friday
Apr222016

Almost as Good as the Real Thing

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Silverstone Auctions is hosting Denmark’s Classic Race Aarhus Auction May 28th and 29th, and will be selling a recreation of the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. It is best recognized as the car that took Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia, and Mercedes built nine in period, of which only six still exist. This makes these cars extremely rare, and recreations quite valuable.

Jim Marland, founder of Proteus Sports & Racing Cars built five recreations, this being the last. (The other four are in collections in the U.S. and Germany.) Completed in 2010, it took over two years to finish. The aluminum body (the factory cars had magnesium bodies and aluminum spaceframes) was hand-crafted by Clive Smart of Shapecraft, while XK Engineering was responsible for the paint. Crewe Engines rebuilt the Mercedes-Benz 280 E engine and four-speed manual gearbox, and a Salisbury style limited-slip differential is used. All of the parts and running gear are sourced from Mercedes-Benz, and carefully selected to be as visually close to the originals wherever possible.

 The interior also is hand-made, and built to look as much like the original as practical. Thus, the instruments and dials are hand-painted, the wood-rimmed alloy steering wheel faithfully copies the original, and the rest of the interior materials are similar to those used in the 1950s.

The auction estimate for the Mercedes recreation is $364,900 - $410,500. U.K. registered it carries the registration number “300 LFX” though “722 SLR” is available by separate negotiation. — CAS

Friday
Mar252016

Road Read: Speed Duel

By Christopher A. Sawyer

I picked up Samuel Hawley’s Speed Duel: The Inside Story of the Land Speed Record in the Sixties from the discount bin for $6.95. The oversize paperback had a colorful cover featuring Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons, and was a sure bet at that price.

Having grown up during that era, I was interested in what these two men went through in order to streak across the Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds that rose from 400 mph to just over 600 mph in a couple of years. And Hawley looked like an author who could give an accurate accounting. A Canadian, he studied history at Queen’s University, and is the author of a history of Japan’s Imjin War during the 16th century. If nothing else, the book promised to be accurate, if a bit dry and boring.

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Friday
Feb122016

M1 Concourse: One More Reason to Win the Lotto

By Christopher A. Sawyer

I pulled into the parking lot of the multi-color old building at the corner of Woodward Avenue (a.k.a. “M1”) and Rapid Street, and parked in the first line of spots near the sidewalk. Parked a row behind me was a black GMC Denali with some guys inside. I made note of their presence, and remained wary as I walked up to the purple door at the back of 34 Rapid St., pressing the doorbell and waiting for someone to let me in. Nobody came to the door.

That’s when a voice from inside the Denali called out, “Are you Chris?” As I walked over, the person in the driver’s seat said, “This is my office.” If it hadn’t been for the activity taking place across the appropriately named Rapid St., I would have thought this was a clandestine meeting to sell government secrets, smuggle contraband, or buy counterfeit Gucci handbags. You know, the kind where they replace the second “c” with and “h” and charge less than half of what it costs to buy the real thing. (It’s a safe purchase as long as the recipient can’t spell…)

“Are you Brad?,” I asked as I walked toward the passenger side front door, stopping to take a look at the construction site across the street. I had been here seven months before during the Dream Cruise, following Woodward Ave. into the depressed and dusty outskirts of Pontiac, Michigan, in order to see the site on which the latest automotive country club would be built. At the time, it was nothing more than a fenced-off area enclosing 87 acres and filled with neat stacks of old, thick, broken slabs of concrete. It was immediately apparent that a lot of work — a lot — had to be done to bring this idea to reality. This project was going to take years, and yet, just seven months later, I was about to tour the facility.

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Friday
Jan292016

Nissan Debuts Titan XD Accessories


Nissan recently showed a number of factory accessories now available for the 2016 Titan XD, many of which are designed to work with the Utili-track bed channels and cleat system. They are:

  • Titan Boxes
  • Sliding Tool Box
  • Bed Tent
  • Sliding Bed Divider
  • Lockable Rear-Seat Cargo Organizer with Fold-out Flat Floor
  • Weight-distributing Hitch Ball Mount and Hitch Ball (Class IV)
  • Chrome Step Rails, Running Boards and Running Board Lighting
  • Water-resistant Seat Covers
  • Splash Guards and Tailgate Guard
  • Fog Lights


Rather than bore you with words to explain these items, here is a little video Nissan produced that shows them all in use. — CAS