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Racing and Competition

British Steam Car Attempts Record

A bunch of U.K. enthusiasts are attempting to break the 102-year-old land speed record with a steam-powered car. The three-ton vehicle, described as a giant kettle on top of a camping stove, has almost two miles of tubes inside its carbon-fiber-composite/aluminum frame. The team is expecting the 25-foot-long car to reach 200 mph during its record attempt at Bonneville Speed Week in September. The car — can we call it that? — takes eight minutes to get going, but has only enough fuel, air and water for a three-minute run. The water boils at 482°F due to the fact that there’s 40 bar water pressure inside the boilers. It’s then super-heated to 750°F, or "dry" steam, which passes through heavily lagged pipes and two industrial steam valves before ending up in a two-stage turbine. Outsize Goodyear tires and brake pads […]

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Corporate Business

British Car Industry Hits The Skids

The number of cars built in Britain slumped 60% last month as manufacturers slammed the brakes on output. Just 65,647 cars and vans rolled off production lines compared with nearly 110,000 in February 2008, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This is the biggest fall since 1970 and the fifth month in a row that output levels have been in reverse. The grim figures were released 24 hours after the industry scrapped the British International Motor Show due to take place in London next year. SMMT chief Paul Everitt said canceling the show was a tough decision but stressed it would be revived in future. “The global credit crunch has placed the industry under unique pressure and created a level of uncertainty that deters manufacturers from committing to large-scale international events.” In January, Business Secretary Lord […]

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Classic Cars

Bulldog Historic Rally

The opening round of the Dunlop/Gambia MSA British Historic Rally Championship has attracted a sensational 83-car field to the Bulldog Historic Rally (Saturday 28 March). Three former British champions and four former British historic champions are all in the entry for the event that tackles 50 miles of prime Welsh forest roads in just four special stages. It promises to be a fabulous start to the 2009 season. Category 1 Category one is for the oldest cars, from the pre ’68 era, and they run first on the road with a short gap before the rest of the historic field. Top of the tree is the Porsche 911 of former champions Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride, but they can expect a stern challenge from the similar car of team mates Stuart Rolt/Richard Pomfret, making a rare but welcome BHRC appearance. Lining up […]

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Corporate Business

Jaguar’s Quality Rating Cheered

Ford Motor Co.’s Bennie Fowler cheered last week when Jaguar finished in a tie for No. 1 on J.D. Power and Associates’ long-term vehicle dependability study. “I happen to know the guy who was the COO at Jaguar in 2003 when we started making improvements,” said Fowler, who was, indeed, COO of Jaguar in 2003. Today, Fowler is Ford’s group vice president of quality. Back then, Fowler and a team of executives put Ford processes in place at Jaguar to improve quality. Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Group in 2008, but J.D. Power’s dependability study evaluates three-year old, or 2006, models. From Freep.com

Corporate Business

British Bailout Buys a Land Rover LRX

In an attempt to turn Land Rover an environmentally friendly shade of British Racing Green, the U.K. government is giving the SUV-maker £27 million ($38 million) to defray the cost of developing a compact SUV based on their LRX concept. Land Rover says the new two-door (which they call a “cross coupe”) will be the “smallest, lightest, and most efficient” the company has ever produced. With the exception of the County Classic, we think it might be the most attractive as well. Whatever superlatives it claims, it could very well show up as a 2011 model after it gets an official go-ahead from management. “We welcome the Government’s support for this project, which would form a key part of our future product plans and which we very much want to put into production,” Land Rover Managing Director Phil Popham said […]

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Classic Cars

Vintage Cars Found in British Barnyard

They may not be multimillion-dollar Bugattis, but around 30 rusty vintage cars were found in a barnyard in Norfolk County in England. The cars were mostly British marques like Austins, Rileys and Singers. There were also a vintage Daimler, a Lea Francis and a Sunbeam. A rare Morris Minor convertible from the 1930s is said to be the highlight of the lot, reports The Telegraph. The cars were hidden in undergrowth and left in derelict sheds, some with trees growing around them. They had not been driven since the 1950s. It took a team of eight men two weeks to clear the site and dig out and remove the vehicles with the help of a forklift.

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin Expects 2009 Sales To Slow

British sports car maker Aston Martin expects to sell fewer cars this year compared to last year due to the economic crisis, the company’s chief executive told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview. Aston Martin sold 5,800 sports cars last year, which was the second-best year in the company’s 95-year history, Ulrich Bez told the paper in an article published on Saturday. “In light of the current weakening in consumer spending we expect 4,500 to 5,000 unit sales this year,” Bez said. Islamic investment firm Investment Dar (TIDK.KW) owns a controlling stake in Aston Martin. The fund was part of a consortium that bought the automaker for about $950 million from Ford Motor Co (F.N) in March 2007.

Aston Martin 4x4 at Geneva Autoshow
Corporate Business

British Motor Show Is Cancelled

The British International Motor Show planned for 2010 in London has been cancelled because of the global slump in demand for cars, according to the U.K. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. “The economic downturn and the unprecedented challenges facing the industry, both in the U.K. and around the world, have made it impossible for exhibitors to commit to a 2010 event,” the trade group said today in a statement. The event has attracted an increasing number of visitors and the decision to cancel was “extremely difficult,” SMMT President Paul Everitt said in the statement. The move followed a thorough consultation with the industry, the group said. The SMMT is pressing the U.K. government to boost aid to automakers, including direct incentives to trade old cars for new ones. Carmakers across Britain have slowed production in response to declining demand. […]

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New Cars

Preview: 2010 Jaguar XKR

The 2010 Jaguar XKR would be considered, by most accounts, a mild revision of the outgoing model. Its state-of-the-art aluminum monocoque chassis carries over unchanged. The design, save for a few minor updates, is the same as the outgoing model’s. But few would count that against the silken Jag, whose curvaceous lines are almost universally admired in the industry. No, what separates the new XKR from its predecessor is the heart transplant it has undergone: in the place of the 420-horsepower AJ34S supercharged V8, the beating heart of the new XKR, is the next-generation 5-liter version, its supercharger supplemented by direct injection to twist out an astonishing 510 horsepower. That figure alone puts the Jag well ahead of Aston’s V8 Vantage, ahead of the V12-powered DB9 as a matter of fact, and on par with the flagship DBS supercar that […]

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Classic Cars

Safety Fast! Celebrates Golden Anniversary in 2009

Safety Fast!, the MG Car Club’s iconic monthly magazine, is celebrating its Golden Anniversary in 2009. First published in April 1959 it has enjoyed 50 glorious years and continues to provide the MG Car Club’s worldwide membership with a comprehensive overview of all things MG. As a fitting tribute to the longevity of the publication, the cover image from the April 1959 edition will once again feature on the front of the April 2009 issue. To further celebrate the magazine’s Golden Anniversary, the April edition of Safety Fast! will be available to view online free of charge via the MG Car Club’s website for a four week period. Commenting on the anniversary, editor Andy Knott, said, “This is a great time to be involved with the magazine which has evolved and developed over the past 50 years into the ultimate […]

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Racing and Competition

Entries Invited for Le Mans Celebration Race

Entries Invited for Le Mans Celebration Race to commemorate 1959 MG Car Club Entry he MG Car Club is inviting entries for a Le Mans Celebration race at Oulton Park on May 9th 2009. Entries are for cars of a type and in a form that were raced up to 1965 – including prewar. All cars should be to FIA spec and on road tyres or “L” sections. The Le Mans Celebration Race is by invitation but if you wish to receive an application call Steve Carr at the MG Car Club Office on 01235 555552. The race coincides with the publication of a book which records the MGCC North West Centres entries at Le Mans in 1959, 1960 1961. These were disguised Works entries after the MG Car company withdrew from Le Mans following the 1955 accident. The occasion […]

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Racing and Competition

MG Car Club Announces Half Price Incentive to Young Racers

Under 21 racers will benefit from a half-price race entry scheme designed to make racing more affordable for the cash strapped youth. Anyone under 21 on January 1 2009 will benefit from half price race entry fees at all MG Car Club race meetings in 2009. The first MG Car Club race will be full price and the entrant/driver will receive a half price voucher against their next entry. Each subsequent entry will receive a similar half price voucher with the last race of the year being free, provided of course they have the voucher from their previous race. Ron Gammons , Clerk of Course for MG Car Club said, “In 2008 we had a 17-year old winner of our MG Trophy Championship which has encouraged to provide this financial incentive to bring more youngsters into the sport. To race […]