Bentley is pinning its green future on more efficient gasoline engines powered by biofuel combined with lighter-weight body construction, rather than a radical switch to diesel or hybrid powertrains. “We don’t think our customers, particularly in North America and Europe, are ready for a diesel Bentley, said Uli Eichhorn, Bentley chief engineer, on Tuesday at the Geneva motor show. Although Bentley Chairman Franz-Josef Paefgen refuses to rule out a diesel powertrain, Eichhorn said: “Not ruling it out does not mean it is our top priority.” Hybrid powertrains don’t fit the typical usage cycle of a Bentley, according to Eichhorn. “(Hybrids) are very good in cities and stop-start driving, but that’s not where out cars are used.”
Rolls-Royce’s new Phantom Coupe brought in conquest customers ahead of its launch at the Geneva motor show on Tuesday. “Two-thirds [of the names] in our early order bank are from non Rolls-Royce owners,” said CEO Ian Robertson as he unveiled the new model. “It means we’re beginning to appeal to a broader audience. “We’ve already sold a clear 200 or more,” Robertson said. The Phantom Coupe was previewed by the 101EX concept car, which was shown at Geneva two years ago. The production model retains the look and many of the features of the 101EX, including the much-admired starlight headliner and the option of polished metal hood and windsheld frame. The Phantom Coupe is a sportier Rolls-Royce, said Robertson. “But it is still very clearly not a sports car.” The 200-plus orders for the Phantom Coupe mean that planned production […]
It looks like a regular Opel (Saturn) Astra, but the car that’s pictured is completely different. This vehicle is Lotus Engineering’s first attempt at creating a hybrid vehicle, and represents the launch of a branch of the British firm dedicated to engineering and developing hybrid and electric vehicles. Underneath its hood, Lotus Engineering has fitted a small 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine featuring a turbocharger that’s mated to a mild hybrid drivetrain system. The 12 kW electric motor adds power, but not at the cost of fuel economy, and because it isn’t a full hybrid system that allows the car to run on pure electrical power, it poses a price advantage. Lotus has also taken a load off of the main engine by switching over the water pump and the fuel pump to items that are purely electrical, a change that […]
We have covered it before, but I just can’t get enough of this “Green” Morgan. But there is another article on Morgan’s unveiling of the world’s first pollution-free sports car at the Geneva Motor Show. This car is simply gorgeous. For the full article, see The Daily Mail. What do you think of the styling? Would you buy one? How does it fit in with the other Morgans?
The Acabion GTBO reaches 300mph in just thirty seconds, say its designers. The “road streamliner” is capable of 340mph and can do 0 – 300mph in just thirty seconds Based on the cockpit of a jet fighter and using aerodynamic techniques used in aerospace design, the GTBO is a full 90mph quicker than its nearest rival, the Bugatti Veyron, which takes 55 seconds to reach its 250mph top speed. Two-wheeled, but with twin stabilizing wheels at the back for low-speed maneuvering – not unlike those used on children’s bicycles – the GTBO packs an astonishing 800 brake horsepower in its 1,300cc turbo-charged engine. However, it weighs just 700lb, half the weight of the original Mini. The engine and power train are designed in Britain by engineers from the race and dragster community. An electric version, itself capable of 300mph, is […]
Caterham Cars has joined forces with RS Performance to offer “the ultimate in bespoke Seven coachbuilding” to enthusiasts who want an expression of British sports car exclusivity. Caterham has long been the epitome of personalized motoring with almost every version of the 12 000 Sevens on the road differing from one another. The joint venture takes that famous philosophy to an altogether new level. RS Performance is an exclusive, niche engineering house. Born out of the passion and pedigree of its founder, Russell Savory, it will offer an “everything is possible” service to Caterham customers who want truly “built to order” cars. Using the motorsport-honed Caterham chassis and benchmark technology as a cosmetic and engineering base, RS Performance, will “turn imagination into reality”, Savory said. The heartbeat of every RS-badged Seven will be the unique RST-V8 engine.
Tata Motors will announce its purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover on March 5 or 6. The dates have been agreed between Tata and Ford Motor Co., which is selling the two luxury brands, following talks with union leaders last week. Roger Maddison, national officer of Unite, the largest union in the UK auto industry, told Automotive News Europe that Tata had agreed to meet guarantees sought by union leaders. He said, “Everything seems fine as far as we are concerned; it’s just the lawyers working on it now.” Union leaders spoke with Ford and Tata to resolve final details before the drawing up of a memorandum of understanding for the sale.
Mini has crowned its lineup with a second-generation version of the John Cooper Works. Shown just over a week ahead of an official unveiling at the Geneva motor show, the new go-fast Mini is planned to head to the United States in August in two distinct body styles in a move aimed at seeing it appeal to as wide an audience as possible. As with the second generation of the Mini Cooper S–on sale in North America since 2007, buyers will be able to choose between a standard two-door or roomier three-door Clubman at $28,550 and $30,800, respectively. Both models run the same turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct injection gasoline engine–the result of a joint venture between Mini parent company, BMW, and French car maker Peugeot.
The Telegraph is reporting that Ulrich Bez has not just been turning around legendary car maker Aston Martin, but he has been leading them to profit. To quote the Telegraph, “Are profits still growing? Aston Martin has not yet published its 2007 financial results but Bez says: ‘Usually when there is a change of ownership you can say that a company will go through a difficult time for a year or two. We have not seen any of that. We have not lost any of the motivation that we had under Ford where we were a very enthusiastic team. We have been profitable since the last quarter of 2005 and we have increased that profitability year on year.’”
Marking the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the ERA (‘English Racing Automobiles Limited’) – the first-ever British specialist company to manufacture single-seat, open-wheeled racing cars for customer sale – Bonhams will auction the first prototype ERA at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 11 July 2008. The ERA marque played a pivotal role in British motor sporting history. From 1934- 1938, these British racing cars toppled the former supremacy of the Italian Maserati cars in their International ‘Voiturette’ competition class – effectively Formula Two or Grand Prix Two level. They performed incredible service, also graduating to contemporary Grand Prix racing pre-World War Two and then from 1948-51 to Formula One. Chassis no. ‘R1A’ – to be sold by Bonhams – was first driven by Raymond Mays at ERA’s public debut in testing at Brooklands on 22 May 1934. Trouble […]
It is, for some of us, getting to be that time of year when we think about Spring, long drive with our favorite car, and car shows. But, before you head out it would benefit you and your classic if you would take a few minutes to do a checkup on the car. This will not only help the car run better, but could keep you off the side of the road. Fuel System We think one of the best car insurance policies is a sound fuel system. This means examining every hose, line and fitting from the fuel filler to the tank and carburetor. Depending on how long the car has been stored, stale fuel can also be an issue. It has a much different smell from fresh fuel, and if it’s really stagnant, we pump the tank out […]
Jaguar Cars Ltd. has taken 10,000 customer deposits globally for the upcoming XF sedan, including about 3,000 in the United States. That’s a promising start. Jaguar executives say they released the figures to show the impact of the XF even without advertising or cars available to test drive. Instead, Jaguar has combined dealer training with posh customer-only events. The company put together a 21-city road show with a few demo XFs in tow, training entire dealerships at once. Dealerships then conducted events for loyal customers and luxury intenders. Ken Gorin, owner of The Collection in Miami, has 80 sold orders from holding two events, one at the dealership and another in the Miami Design District. “I sold 30 XFs the first night,” Gorin says. “I haven’t seen a reaction like that since the (Porsche) Boxster came out. When people hear […]
Concerns over the quality of the cars being built by Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) at the Birmingham-based Longbridge factory have caused further delays. The MG TF is due to be the first model launched by the Chinese firm in the UK and production began back in May 2007, but it was stopped not long after. Since then, NAC (the Chinese firm that bought the MG brand following the collapse of MG Rover) has been bought out by rival Shanghai Automotive and the delays have been further extended. NAC originally claimed that it would have the MG TF on sale in early 2007 and provide more than 1000 jobs. So far, the car’s launch is more than a year overdue and only 140 jobs have been created. President of SAIC, Chen Hong, claimed that “if we launch the product on the UK […]
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. unveiled the Phantom Coupe at a press preview in California, its third model from a common platform since parent company BMW AG relaunched the brand in 2003. Under the skin, the Phantom Coupe is closely related to the softtop Phantom Drophead Coupe and the longer Phantom sedan. The Phantom Coupe is expected to have sportier handling than the convertible, thanks to stiffer springs and dampers, anti-roll bars, modified brakes and an automatic gearbox with an electronic “Sport” program. Besides the roof, other differences between the coupe and the convertible include a posh, fully carpeted interior for the Phantom Coupe. The convertible model has woven fiber floor mats that are rot-resistant if they get wet and an optional teak tonneau cover for the fabric top when it’s down.
Morgan Motor Co., the tiny British automaker so old-fashioned it still uses wood frames, is stepping well into the future with LifeCar, a hydrogen fuel cell hybrid it says will prove “a zero-emission vehicle can be fun to drive.” Morgan will unveil the hand-built aluminum-bodied coupe next month at the Geneva Auto Show, and although there’s no word on whether LifeCar will ever be more than a one-off concept, the company hopes to show hydrogen is a viable – if distant – alternative to fossil fuels. Morgan has spent more than two years working with a British defense firm, two universities and a hydrogen supplier to develop a car it promises will “minimize the fuel cell cost and provide the fuel economy for a 200 mile range.” As impressive as the LifeCar is, what makes it truly remarkable is a […]
He won 66 grands prix and was runner-up for the world championship four times in his brief racing career. Sir Stirling Moss is a motor sport legend — so who better to narrate a British TV series on car racing? Roary the Racing Car may not be the type of story Moss is used to telling, but the 78-year-old says he has had a lot of fun being the voice-over man for the new children’s show. “My agent called me, about two years ago, I think it was, and asked if I wanted to narrate a kids’ show,” he says. “At first I thought they (the kids) won’t even know who I am, they don’t know my name as the show is aimed at kids who are two to six years old. But he said their grandparents would hear (my) […]
It’s been twenty years since Aston Martin, deeply in debt and little more than an automotive anachronism, was swallowed up by Ford empire. Say what you will about Ford’s other British luxury marques, the past two decades have been good ones for Aston. When Ford acquired the brand, in 1987, Aston sales plunged to as little as 42 cars a year and at one point, keeping the assembly line rolling depended on the sale of a single car to a wealthy — and quite drunk — British aristocrat. These days, Aston’s aspirations are positively mass-market, with an array of new products promising to push volume up near 10,000 cars a year, and the company well in the black for the first time in its 93-year history. That’ll be good news for the new owners, David Richards, CEO of racing’s Prodrive […]
Not strictly British car content, but of interest to most British car enthusiasts. Autoweek is reporting that three special commissioners appointed Monday by a Turin, Italy, bankruptcy court have 30 days to evaluate if struggling Italian contract manufacturer Carrozzeria Bertone will have a future. Bertone stopped volume production in December 2005 and since then has been desperately looking for new work. In the past two months, two attempts to sell Carrozzeria Bertone failed, pushing the Turin bankruptcy court to appoint the special commissioners. The three commissioners are: — Antonio Bene, an engineer and former head of manufacturing at Fiat Auto. — Stefano Ambrosini, a law professor at the University of Turin, a bankruptcy expert. — Vincenzo Nicastro, a lawyer from Milan and a financial contracts expert. After the three commissioners complete their findings for Carrozzeria Bertone in mid-March, the bankruptcy […]
Just wanted to alert everyone that the new newsletter from The Little British Car Company is out. Items featured in the most current, February 10, 2008, issue are: LBCarCo Chatter – Mardi Gras…First Event of the Year in Boca Raton Last Week – Why Buy Your Parts Anywhere Else Drawing – All Web Orders Qualify – Last Week SPRING TUNE UP – Work Lights for your Garage and a Portable unit for your LBC SPRING TUNE UP – Need a Lead Substitute? Working on your Brakes? Use only the Best Fluids from LBCarCo SPRING TUNE UP – This is Style – MG and Triumph Bonnet Liner/Insulator SPRING TUNE UP – Dress up your MINI Cooper and Cooper S SPRING TUNE UP – HOT Coil! New Pertronix 60,000 Volt Coil – Great for the Racer SPRING TUNE UP – Halogen Bulbs […]
RML AD Group’s new MG Lola EX265 completed a faultless first shakedown test at the Silverstone circuit yesterday, Friday 8th February. The morning run left Brazilian driver Thomas Erdos thrilled by the responsiveness of the new XP-21 engine, and looking forward to the prospects of defending the LMP2 title in this season’s Le Mans Series. Thomas Erdos and co-driver Mike Newton took the series title last year with RML’s MG Lola EX264, having won the LMP2 class in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2005 and 2006. Since then the EX264, itself a derivative of the EX257 that wowed the crowds at Le Mans as an MG works entry in 2001, has undergone significant further development. Arising from fresh links with Shanghai Automotive, MG’s new owners in China, the car has been re-homologated as the MG EX265. Most significant amongst […]