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Selasa, 13 April 2010

Art Museum’s 6 Alluring Cars

alfa-romeo

Some cars are so beautifully designed and exquisitely engineered that they transcend mere transportation to become works of art. They are rolling sculptures, and to see them is to think, “That car belongs in a gallery.”

Curators at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta agree. The museum is hosting an exhibition to celebrate automotive design, and it has gathered a very impressive assortment of cars. The Allure of the Automobile, which opens Sunday and runs through June 20, features 18 vehicles created in what could be called the golden age of design, from the early 1930s through the early 1960s.

The vehicles range from a 1933 Pierce Silver Arrow to a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT. Each is presented in the context of the Art Moderne and Postwar Modernity movements, and they all have a timelessness that goes beyond mere craft to become art.

Take, for example, the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C2900B Touring Berlinetta shown above. Phil Hill, America’s first world champion driver, said of this car, “If that doesn’t get your heart racing, then you don’t have any blood in you.” Who are we to argue? The Touring Berlinetta exudes strength and refinement and finely shaped design that is hard to equal, let alone surpass.

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Now look at the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. An Italian body with a British heart. Sleek, yet muscular; refined, yet designed for the track. Though the design looks simple at first, the longer you look at it, the more you see. Like all good art.

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The 1959 Chevrolet Corvette “Bill Mitchell” Stingray prototype is a show car that made it, more or less, into production when the second-generation Corvette rolled out in 1963. Mitchell replaced the legendary Harley Earl as GM’s vp for styling in 1958, and he traded Earl’s bulbous styling for sculpted designs. This car blends the classic lines of European sportscars with the futuristic cues popular among American automakers in the 1950s to create a car that still looks fresh.

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Pick just about any Ferrari from the 1950s and ’60s and it’s a stunner. And the 250 SWB (for short wheelbase) Berlinetta is one of the prettiest. The car (this one is a 1961 model) is among the most important GT race cars ever and one of the most beautiful. Styling is often secondary to function in auto racing, but the 250 SWB is an example of form and function coming together in harmony.

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This is the 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster. It was Mercedes’ flagship vehicle, and no expense was spared. It perfectly represents the art deco styling of its era, and with a supercharged engine (the “K” stands for “kompressor”), it was as powerful as it was sleek. Even a car as old as a 1937 Mercedes can look thoroughly fresh if it’s designed right, and everything about this car was done right.

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This little brute is the 1953 Porsche 550 Le Mans/La Carrera Panamerica Coupe, and it has a very impressive racing history. It also has very impressive styling. Although many automakers design cars to look streamlined, the 550 coupe is streamlined. It was designed with an eye toward maximum aerodynamic efficiency. It’s another example of form and function coming together beautifully in a timeless design that can be seen today in the Cayman and Boxster.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m. Eastern, March 20: Many of you are asking why one car or another isn’t listed. The answer is because these are the only photos from the exhibit the High Museum of Art provided to us. Though we agree the Talbot-Lago T150C SS is stunning, it is not included in the exhibit. Don’t ask us why; perhaps the museum couldn’t find anyone willing to loan it one. Here’s a full list of the cars in the exhibit; if there’s something you think should have been included, list it in the comments.

  • 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow
  • 1934 Packard Twelve Runabout Speedster
  • 1935 Duesenberg JN Roadster
  • 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster
  • 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe
  • 1937 Delage D8-120S
  • 1937 Hispano-Suiza H-6C “Xenia” Coupe
  • 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C2900B Touring Berlinetta
  • 1938/39 Porsche Type 64 Coupe (replica)
  • 1948 Tucker Model 48 Torpedo
  • 1953 Porsche 550 Le Mans/La Carrera Panamerica Coupe
  • 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR (W 196-S)
  • 1954 Dodge Firearrow III Concept Coupe
  • 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
  • 1959 Chevrolet Corvette “Bill Mitchell” Stingray Prototype
  • 1957 Jaguar XKSS Roadster, formerly owned by Steve McQueen
  • 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
  • 1961 Ferrari 250 Short-Wheelbase Berlinetta, aka the “SEFAC Hot Rod”

Photos: High Museum of Art

Ferrari’s New GTO

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The list of how we’ll spend our PowerBall lottery winnings just got a new No. 1 with a high-speed bullet: Buy Ferrari’s new GTO.

The latest thoroughbred out of Maranello carries on the tradition started with the original 250 GTO in the 1960s and carried on by the 288 GTO in the 1980s. And like the two that came before, the 599 GTO offers stunning looks, stunning technology and, of course, stunning performance.

How stunning? Well, Ferrari says it is the fastest road car it has ever built.

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For those of you whose blood doesn’t run rosso corsa, let us explain just what the GTO is.

Simply put, the 250 GTO was the sports racer of the early 1960s. GTO, of course, stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, which is Italian for “Grand Touring Homologated.” That means this was a stripped-down, hotted-up car designed for racing but street legal. There were two version — the original 250 GTO and the GTO 64, also known as the Type II. They were as quick as they were sexy, and GTOs beat up on everything in sight at places like Le Mans and the 24 hours of Spa and Sebring. If you wanted to win, you had to have one. It was just that simple. And since Il Commendatore built just 36 of them, they are among the most highly coveted and most valuable cars on the planet.

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Ferrari resurrected the name in 1984, when no-limits Group B rallying was all the rage. The 288 GTO was a stretched, widened, flared and generally bad-assed version of the gorgeous 308. The mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V-8 cranked out 400 horsepower, a staggering figure for its time. The 288 was the first production vehicle capable of 300 km/hr (186 mph). Before the Magician of Maranello could turn it loose on the tarmac, Group B rallying was banned (too many deaths and rising costs were to blame), and all 272 of the cars Ferrari built between 1984 and 1986 remained strictly road cars.

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And with the new GTO, Ferrari has decided to follow the path laid out by the 250 and 288 by making a racer for the road. Ferrari claims the 599 GTO, which is based on the already impressive 599XX track car, is the fastest road car it has ever built. It set the new record lap time at Fiorano Circuit, Ferrari’s private test track, clocking in at one minute and 24 seconds. That is nine-tenths of a second faster than the mighty Enzo.

The 599 GTO accomplishes that most impressive feat thanks to a 670-horsepower V-12 that puts down 457 pound feet of torque. It powers a car that weighs 3,295 pounds, giving the 599 GTO a power-to-weight ratio of 4.9 pounds per pony. It’ll go from a standstill to 100 klicks an hour in 3.35 seconds and top out north of 208 mph.

That V-12 is mounted up front and drives the rear wheels as God and Enzo Ferrari himself intended. There’s a six-speed paddle-shifted gearbox at the back of the car, and shifts are completed in a mere 60 milliseconds.

Bringing anything that fast to a stop requires serious hardware, and the 599 GTO has it. Ferrari’s fitted the car with its latest carbon-ceramic brakes, which it claims are lighter and offer better performance than those fitted on earlier cars, and aerodynamic tweaks like wheel doughnuts to increase aerodynamic efficiency and brake cooling. Clamp down on the calipers at 100 kilometers per hour and you’ll bring the car to a stop in 106 feet.

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The engine displaces 5.9 liters and complies with Euro 5 and LEV 2 emissions regs and burns 17.5 liters per 100 kilometers, which by our math comes to 13.4 mpg. It also emits 411 grams/kilometer of CO2. Neither figure will win it any plaudits from Al Gore, but then how often will a car like the 599 GTO really be driven?

Ferrari’s engineers worked over the engine to reduce internal friction, then fitted it with a racing-type intake system. The intake manifold sports diffuser-type intake geometry and shortened inlet tracts designed to improve power delivery at high revs — and we’re sure this V-12 sounds great as it approaches, say, 8,000 RPM. The exhaust features a pair of six-into-one manifolds derived from the 599XX.

Weight was cut at every opportunity using composites and components manufactured with technologies you’d find in Ferrari’s F1 operation. The bodywork and greenhouse use thinner gauge aluminum and thinner glass, carbon rotors cut the weight of the brakes and Ferrari even shaved weight from the gearbox and exhaust system.

ferrari-599-gto-04

The GTO generates over 317 pounds of downforce at 124 mph. The car has a flat underbody and airflow has improved ducting to the brake discs and pads.

The front spoiler incorporates a separate lower wing that increases downforce at the front of the car and increases the flow to the oil cooler. There is a new sill design with a more pronounced leading edge to improve aero efficiency of the underbody. And the underbody itself incorporates a new, lower front section with diffusers ahead of the front wheels to optimize downforce, and a new double-curve rear diffuser.

ferrari-599-gto-05

Inside, Ferrari gave the 599 GTO a serious high-performance, no-nonsense feel. The driver can adjust suspension settings using the manettino, that F1-inspired switch on the steering wheel, and the shift paddles are oversized carbon-fiber units, also inspired by the F1 racers. The car also sports a “Virtual Race Engineer” system that provides instantaneous information on performance. Dynamic stability control and the F1-Trac traction control system help keep things from getting out of hand.

How much? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it, and it doesn’t matter anyway because Ferrari is building just 599 of them.

Photos: Ferrari

Two Cool Coupes Flying to Florida, together

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Two topics that get more coverage than anything else here at Autopia are cars and airplanes. But rarely do we get chance to write about them simultaneously. So you can imagine how excited we were when the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association asked us to join a fly-and-drive rally from Maryland to Florida for the annual Sun ‘n Fun airshow.

Who would turn down a road trip and long-distance flight? Not us. But there was a catch: We’d be making the trip in two vehicles you probably wouldn’t think of for covering great distances — a Smart ForTwo and a Remos GX, a similarly small, light sport aircraft.

The purpose of the trip is to highlight the capabilities of the two vehicles. After some initial reservations about being crammed into two itty-bitty vehicles for hundreds of miles, we came to love the idea. We’ll be taking four days to make a trip any self-respecting road-tripper could make in a single caffeine-fueled push, giving us plenty of time for fun and to explore both in the air and on the ground.

The vehicles in question are pretty cool. They’re surprisingly roomy despite their diminutive dimensions, and they make creative use of design and engineering to deliver relatively efficient travel, even if they may be better suited for shorter trips close to home.

Sure, if we had our way we’d make the trip in a Ferrari 599 GTO and a Cessna Corvalis TT. But the Fortwo and the Remos are more in line with the budgets of mere mortals, and if our friend Paul Shippey can drive to the Arctic Circle in a ForTwo, a ride to Florida should be a breeze.

We leave Frederick, Maryland, on Saturday and plan to arrive in Lakeland, Florida in time to open the airshow at Sun ‘n Fun on Tuesday. The two teams making the trip are Ian Twombly, an editor with Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Flight Training magazine who is traveling with Steve Chupnick of Motorweek. I’ll make the trip with Alyssa Miller, director of the association’s e-media. Each team will drive half the trip in the Fortwo and fly the other half in the Remos. We’re starting in the Fortwo and will make the switch somewhere in South Carolina.

We’ll Tweet and post updates during the trip and give you a taste of life on the road with a small car, and in the air in a small plane. And of course we’ll be reporting from the air show. Ready. Set. Go!

Follow Jason’s adventure on Twitter @jasonpaur and here at Wired.com.

Photos: Chris Rose/Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

To see what our ForTwo and Remos GX look like, check out the pics after the jump.

rally-smart-3

The Smart Fortwo Light Sport Car. With that paint job, every state trooper within 10 miles will see us coming, so we’ll have to watch our speed.

sweeps-remos

The Remos GX Light Sport Aircraft.

New Electric Mini is on ‘Ring’

mini-e-green-hell-01

The infamous Nürburgring-Nordschleife is to auto racing as K2 is to mountaineering — a technical challenge and performance benchmark recognized around the world. Any car worth its salt gets flogged at the ‘Ring, where the only thing that matters is the time on the clock. So, when we heard BMW took a “race-prepped” version of the Mini E electric  car to the track dubbed the Green Hell, our interest was more than piqued.

Let’s get right to the bottom line: The Mini E Race, as BMW calls the little EV, lapped the Nürburgring in nine minutes, 51.45 seconds and hit a top speed of 116.19 mph.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Although a supercar like the Gumpert Apollo or the Corvette ZR1 will cover the 20.8 kilometer distance in seven minutes and change, the electric Mini’s time is on par with the Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TSI and the BMW 318d.

“The length and profile of the Nordschleife place extreme demands on the technology of our electric car,” Peter Krams, who led the project, said. “But the Mini E Race met this considerable challenge with great authority. The aim of this unique undertaking was to provide an impressive showcase of the great potential of the Mini E and its environment-friendly drive concept.”

mini-e-green-hell-02

The race-prepped ride shares the same 150-kilowatt (204-horsepower) electric motor and 35-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery as the Mini E we drove last year. BMW didn’t say what kind of range the “race-prepped” car gets, but the stock Mini E is claimed to get 100 miles or so in regular driving, though 70 miles seems like a more realistic real-world figure.

BMW pared 400 pounds from the stock Mini E (typical racing practice), dropped the center of gravity by a little more than 100 millimeters and dropped the transmission ratio from 8.94 to 7.82. While the stock Mini E is electronically limited to 95 mph, BMW uncorked the “race” version. But apart from raising the motor’s maximum revs to 13,000 rpm and adjusting the engine-management settings, the system is surprisingly stock.

Inside there’s a Recaro race seat with a six-point safety harness, a suede-covered steering wheel and a rollcage that weighs 70 pounds. The suspension was reworked with KW Variant 3 coilovers. The engineers gave the car a race-spec ABS braking system and improved the aerodynamics with diffusers and a rear wing.

Driving duties were handled by former Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters racing hotshoe Thomas Jäger.

“I’ve driven this circuit many times, but never in such an extraordinary car,” Jäger said in a statement. “The power of the electric motor has an incredible effect, as you can access its full reserves of torque at all times. Another element of this fascinating experience is the lack of noise from the drivetrain. All in all, that was certainly the cleanest and quietest race lap I’ve ever driven.”

The BMW Designs a Shape-Shifting Car Out of Cloth

Bmw_gina_07_2

Concept cars give automotive designers a chance to let their imaginations run wild, often with outlandish results. But even by that measure, BMW has come up with something as strange as it is innovative — a shape-shifting car covered with fabric.

Instead of steel, aluminum or even carbon fiber, the GINA Light Visionary Model has a body of seamless fabric stretched over a movable metal frame that allows the driver to change its shape at will. The car — which actually runs and drives — is a styling design headed straight for the BMW Museum in Munich and so it will never see production, but building a practical car wasn’t the point.

Chris Bangle, head of design for BMW, says GINA allowed his team to "challenge existing principles and conventional processes."

"It is in the nature of such visions that they do not necessarily claim to be suitable for series production," company officials said in unveiling the car Tuesday. "Rather, they are intended to steer creativity and research into new directions."

Giving Bangle and his team that latitude to design so radical a car "helps to tap into formerly inconceivable, innovative potential" to push the boundaries of appearance and materials as well as functions and the manufacturing process, BMW says.

Bangle and is team actually built GINA — which stands for "Geometry and functions In ‘N’ Adaptions" — six years ago, but BMW kept it under, er, wraps until Tuesday. It’s built on the Z8 chassis and has a 4.4-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission. BMW says the fabric skin - polyurethane-coated Lycra - is resilient, durable and water resistant. It’s stretched over an aluminum frame controlled by electric and hydraulic actuators that allow the owner to change the body shape. Want a big spoiler on the back? Wider fenders?  No problem. "The drastic reinterpretation of familiar functionality and structure means that drivers have a completely new experience when they handle their car," BMW says.

GINA has just four panels - the front hood, two sides and the rear deck. The doors open in jack-knife fashion and are completely smooth when closed; access to the engine is through a slit in the hood. BMW says the shape of the body can be changed without slackening or damaging the fabric. The fabric is opaque translucent so the taillights shine through, and small motors pull the fabric back to reveal the headlights.

The interior is equally innovative. The steering wheel and gauges swing into place and the headrest rises from the seat once the driver is seated, making it easier to get in and out of the car.

BMW says GINA is built on a space frame that provides all the safety of a conventional car, but we suspect people - not to mention BMW’s lawyers and government regulators - wouldn’t embrace fabric bodies. Still, the company says GINA could influence the design of future Beemers.

Photos by BMW.

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Minggu, 11 April 2010

Reva NXG 2010 Electrical Car Photos




2010 Reva NXG Electrical Cars Pictures

2011 Porsche Cayenne Photos




The 2011 Porsche Cayenne range starts out in base Cayenne form, featuring a 300 horsepower 3.6L V6. One step up in the Cayenne S, packing the Panamera’s 400 horsepower 4.8-liter V8 engine. The Cayenne Turbo sits atop the Cayenne hierarchy, receiving its power via a 500 horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.8L V8.Power for the Cayenne S Hybrid comes from Audi’s supercharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 333-horsepower, connected to a three-phase synchronous electric motor which receives power from a 38 kW NiMH battery that resides in the spare tire well.

Toyota Auris 2010 Model Car



Toyota Auris is launched the mildly facelifted 2010 Auris hatchback in Japan. The Auris is he 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine benefits from a revised variable timing system for both inlet and exhaust valves that improves fuel efficiency and power output.Furthermore, all 1.8L models equipped with a CVT gain new steering-wheel mounted paddle-shifters that allow the driver to flip through the gears at the flick of a finger.

Renault Twizy 2009 Car Concept

Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy
Renault Twizy

Renault Twizy2009 Renault Twizy Picture

2009 Renault Twizy is electric concept smart cars. The Twizy is load 57 liters of fuel. The car weighs 429kg including the batteries, which can be fully recharged within three and a half hours. It can race up to 60 miles.

Fiat Punto Evo 2010 Car

2010 Fiat Punto Evo Cars
2010 Fiat Punto Evo Cars
2010 Fiat Punto Evo Cars
2010 Fiat Punto Evo Cars

Evolution of the Grande Punto is a 2010 Fiat Punto Evo. The Fiat punto a wide choice of Euro 5 engines, including a 1.3 second generation Multijet diesel and a 1.4 petrol engine with the revolutionary MultiAir technology developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and eventually to be incorporated in all Fiat Group engines.Alongside these innovative power units and the more traditional ones are the hybrid methane and LPG systems, combining to form the most complete and eco-friendly engine range in the segment, bar none.

Porsche 911 Best 2010 Car

2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic

The 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic will be presented at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and is limited in production to just 250 cars. The 911 Sport Classic comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. PCCB Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes ideally reflecting the sporting character of this exclusive 911, PASM sports suspension lowering the entire car by 20 mm or 0.79”, as well as the mechanical rear axle differential and custom-made 19-inch wheels.

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