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Mercedes Gets “Board”

Here’s one you don’t see everyday. Mercedes-Benz is working in collaboration with Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara to build the two new surfboards he plans to use on the high waves off the Portuguese coast.

Mercedes and McNamara have worked together before. In 2013, the pair worked on the MBoard 1.0 project, which resulted in four surfboards tailored to McNamara’s height and weight. Built in Portugal, they were particularly suited to riding the giant waves off Portugal’s Nazaré coast. This time around, the plan is to build two new boards, one of Portuguese cork, and the other constructed from a foam used in the aviation industry. Corticeira Amorim, the world’s largest cork producer, is consulting with Portugal’s Polen Surfboards in the build of MBoard 2.0. According to McNamara: “As Portugal is the world's biggest producer of cork, it makes sense to use that material to produce high-performance surfboards. For surfing high waves, we need a flexible board that is also tough enough not to break.”

MBoard 3.0 is being constructed from aviation-grade foam and is unique in that it will be built without the customary stringers that provide longitudinal reinforcement. McNamara says that he expects this board, “to offer maximum flexibility with no loss of strength, allowing it to withstand the high waves in the northern bay of Nazaré.” He should know. McNamara currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the highest wave ever surfed, which he rode on one of the Boards developed in 2013. On-board telemetry provided by Mercedes showed McNamara achieved a top speed of 62.4 km/h (38.8 mph) on his record run. — CAS


A New Definition for “Cold Calling”

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Whether or not we want to admit it, winter is right around the corner. The change in season brings with it a change in dress, and the use of gloves to keep hands warm in frosty weather. Alas, our devotion to our electronic devices suffers as any gloves worthy of the name make it darn near impossible to use the touchscreen as this technology requires the conductivity of skin to complete the circuit that energizes the screen.

Some manufacturers have responded to this need with touchscreen gloves that enhance the conductive properties of one or two fingertips, and limits the wearer’s ability to use the screen. The designers at Mujjo, on the other hand, felt they could do better. Mujjo has woven a silver-coated nylon fiber throughout the fabric. It acts as a conductor between skin and screen. Because it’s woven throughout the glove, you can use any fingertip, knuckle or even the palm of your hand to activate your smartphone’s screen.

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Ross Brawn’s Return to Competition

Tired of the fast-paced world of Formula One, former engineer, strategist and team owner Ross Brawn returns to competition in this year’s running of the London to Brighton Run. Braw, who orchestrated the F1 World Championships of Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, will be driving the only known surviving British-built Wilson Pilcher. Built in 1904, the car was the creation of Walter Gordon Wilson (who later invented the army tank), and was displayed at the British Tank Museum. Until being purchased by Brawn, it had never been out of the ownership of the Wilson family.

“I know the family and knew about the car. But quite by chance I saw it in an auction catalog last year and made some enquiries,” he says. “I was told that it might leave the country as an American collector was interested. So I went into battle.” The car was taken to noted veteran car expert Nigel Parrot for recommissioning, and it’s first run in anger will be in the Brighton Run this November.

“It was a very advanced car for its day,” admits Brawn. “It has a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine which is suspended in a cradle in the chassis. It also has a sophisticated semi-automatic gearbox which, I believe, was a forerunner of the famous Wilson Pre-Selector ‘box. But compared to a modern car the suspension is crude and the braking takes… anticipation.” Let’s hope Brawn remembers what he learned from Parrott’s driving lessons. — CAS


Protection Film for Matte Finishes

Is it possible to protect your matte-finish paint from getting covered in road rash, without resorting to glossy protection films? Xpel’s Stealth film features a smooth satin texture on a polyurethane substrate. The company claims this gives it strength, durability and longevity, was well as exceptional elongation, memory and flexibility when compared to more rigid films. The film is available in a variety of pre-cut patterns  for hoods, headlamps, fenders, rocker panels, door mirrors, etc., as you might expect. However, it also is offered in rolls of varying widths and lengths, which makes it possible for an installer to give an entire vehicle a matte appearance without repainting.

Offered with a seven-year warranty, Xpel’s Stealth film comes in both DIY and professional grades. A quick trip to the Xpel website will direct you to the installers in your area. — CAS


Fun Things To Do With A 2014 Silverado

This highly modified Chevy Silverado is called “The Reaper” and has been co-developed by Southern Comfort Automotive and Lingenfelter Performance Engineering.  Since Chevy doesn’t offer a competitor for the SVT Raptor, aftermarket groups have to build one and sell it through participating Chevy dealers. This is one of the first.

You can order The Reaper in red, white, gray or black, and it comes with a long list of standard features. These include a three-inch lift, Fox Racing shocks, exclusive 20-in. wheels wearing General Grabber LT tires, a Lingenfelter performance exhaust system, a custom hood and grille assembly, a new front bumper, fender flares, wheel-to-wheel rock guard with removable side steps, embroidered headrests and door panel accents, a gauge package, and LED lights (driving, front marker and an integrated off-road floodlight). But if you want to make it more than just a showboat, you can opt for one of the optional Magnuson TSV1900 supercharged V8s, in 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter form. And, if you’re going to go that far, why not add the 17-in. bead locker wheel and tire package, Reaper graphics and “frozen” matte paint finish? After all nothing exceeds like excess. — CAS