Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ever heard of a Bristol? Well its the most powerful prodution car in the world...

Bristol Cars is a manufacturer of hand-built luxury cars, based at Filton, near Bristol, England. Bristol Cars has no distributors nor dealers and deals directly with customers; they have a showroom in Kensington in London. They claim to be the last wholly British-owned luxury car builder. The cars have only ever been made in very small numbers; about 150 per year, although the company has long refused to disclose production numbers and the current production (in 2004) is probably much less than this figure.

Bristol is an oddity because it builds expensive but, in the company's words, "nicely understated" cars. The Bristol values are those of tradition, understated quality, and practicality, rather than ostentation or excitement. Bristols built today are the same in major details as any from the past 30 years or more. Some would call this antiquated, but Bristol believes that no big changes are necessary. The cars are still totally handmade, taking four times the man-hours to complete than other luxury cars.

The cars are designed to be effective daily transportation rather than occasional indulgences. Comfort, driveability and ease of maintenance are paramount. With regular maintenance, the company expects a Bristol to outlast its owner, and Bristol Cars will maintain any car they ever built. The vast majority of parts are in stock, and they will remanufacture or hand-make any other required parts.

With their small production numbers, lack of glamour and no advertising, most even in the UK would not recognise a Bristol. This exclusive obscurity is very appealing to a certain class of buyer.

The car maker developed the Fighter T to satisfy customer demands for more performance. Not that the regular Fighter is a slouch At 3500 rpm the "standard" Fighter produces an impressive 525 lb.ft of torque and cracks 0-60mph in 4.0sec with a top speed that surpasses 200mph.

The T stands for turbocharged. Twin turbos almost double the peak power and whip up 1405 Nm / 1036 ft lbs of torque and a whopping 1012BHP @ 5600 rpm . Yet the power hike has not necessitated wholesale changes to the coupe. 'From the beginning we thought the Fighter would handle 750bhp fairly comfortably,' says Bristol boss Toby Silverton, 'But thanks to electronics [helping to deliver the power smoothly], we've been able to go further.'

The car uses the V10 from the Dodge Viper making this the hottest combination of a British car with an american Engine since the Shelby AC Cobra

The company claims the T could crack 270mph – some 20mph faster than the Bugatti Veyron – but electronics limit top speed to 225mph, It does 0-60mph in 3.5 Seconds

Bristol says it is delivering 20 Fighters a year. The T model will be available from September 2007, priced at £351,913.

Vehicle Specs
Year of introduction: 2007
Weight: 1475 kilo / 3251.8 lbs
Engine: Dodge Viper 90ยบ V 10
Engine Location: Front , longitudinally mounted
Displacement: 7.994 liter / 487.8 cu in
Valvetrain: 2 valves / cylinder, OHV
Fuel feed: Fuel injection
Aspiration: Twin Turbo
Gearbox: 6 speed Manual
Drive: Rear wheel drive

Performance figures
Power: 1012 bhp / 755 KW @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 1405 Nm / 1036 ft lbs @ 4500 rpm
BHP/Liter: 127 bhp / liter
Power to weight ratio: 0.69 bhp / kg
Top Speed: 362 km/h / 225 mph(limited)
0-60 mph Acceleration: 3.4 s

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

...Kumbe ni simba imeyeshewa

Peugeot have never really, in the eyes of Kenyans, been associated with the high tech or ultra cool, Peugeots have always been revered and respected as everyday workhorses, capable of anything (other than having functional doors)

Lakini never since the days of Joginder in the 504 have I ever wanted a Peugeout so much. The brand which shares our "National" animal, the Lion, is roaring back to life with its new concept car, the 908RC

Luxury car design and a high-tech racing chassis collide in the 908 RC, Peugeot's concept for the upcoming Paris motor show. Part-limousine, part-Le Mans racer, the 186mph 908 is sure to be one of the most fascinating vehicles at Peugeot's hometown show in September.

The four-door, four-seat limousine has an unusual layout with an engine mounted behind the back seats. The 908's rear end is highly significant, because its 700bhp V12 diesel engine and the rear subframe supporting it will be adopted by Peugeot's 2007 Le Mans race car.

The Peugeot 2007 Le Mans race car.

And the highlights don't end there. The design also gives a sneak preview of Peugeot’s forthcoming executive car, the 608.

The imposing 908 RC is as long as a Mercedes S-class, The windscreen is drawn forward, and it arcs back over the front seats to create a vast glass bubble encircling the passenger cell.

The interior

The wheelbase is a whopping 3150mm-long, up there with a stretched S-class's, creating plenty of room for four in individual leather buckets. Luggage can be stored in the nose as well as a boot behind the engine.

Under its skin, the 908 RC shares much with Peugeot's contender for the 2007 Le Mans 24 Heures crown. The chassis is a mix of carbon composite and aluminium, to create an ultra-light, ultra-stiff platform suitable for endurance racing. The body is suspended via double wishbones front and rear. Hidden behind those flashy alloy rims are Brembo carbon composite brake discs, chosen for their light weight and ability to resist fade. The rims, clad in Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, measure 20 inches up front, 21 at the rear.

Audi won the 2006 Le Mans race with the R10, its V12 diesel racer. In 2007, it will have a Peugeot to contend with, running this twin-turbocharged V12 diesel. Peugeot claims the 5.5-litre unit is already kicking out more than 700bhp, at least 50bhp up on the Audi Racecar. Peak power is backed up by 885lb ft of torque. All this grunt is chanelled to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox, mounted beneath the engine.

The Engine

By opting for a more economical diesel racer for Le Mans, Peugeot will have to pull in for less pit-stops than petrol rivals – which proved a huge advantage for Audi this year.

Peugeot's feline design theme is definitely visible on the 908 RC. The leading edge of the bonnet juts forward around a super-sized lion badge, inspired by a cat's nose and with the vents resembling its nostrils. And the LED headlamps are spookily reminiscent of cats' eyes, while Peugeot's trademark, wide grille is present and more pronounced than ever.

Hopefully the sculptured bonnet, headlamp shape and vents will influence the face of the 608 executive car, which arrives in 2008.

The powerful rear wheelarches resemble a crouching lion's hindquarters, and a cat's claw inspired the shape of that aluminium sliver in the rear lamp. Peugeot claims to have honed the 908's shape in the wind tunnel. The underbody diffuser – which sprouts four tailpipes – manages air flow, while a spoiler rises at speed to boost downforce. Rear vents feed air to the engine, and manage cooling.

The dashboard architecture gives strong hints to the 608's cabin. Today's Peugeots are the epitome of user-unfriendliness when it comes to the dashboard controls. The 908 RC's important audio, sat-nav and climate functions are controlled by the touch-screen area in the centre console. Hopefully, this will be put in the 608

Passengers in the back also have what Peugeot calls a 'man-machine interface' screen, .The plush cabin is trimmed in ‘amethyst grey’ leather; other materials include dark oak, aluminium inserts, chrome and a Bell&Ross analogue clock.

I just hope there'll be no problems with the doors


Friday, August 11, 2006

Rolls vs a saved guy equals..

The Gennadi phantom Black-Tie

The Gennadi Design Group is a Christian based company based in the US. Its owner Mark V.G. Gerisch and his team combine metered technology and old world craftsmanship to create individual dreams, art that can be driven.

The 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom brings to life a new level of driving experience and luxury. The newest Phantom has a fit and finish that are paralleled by no other. The modifications that we are currently working on are primarily two.

The Black Tie stretch in 15, 22, and 60 inch leaves seating room for six with the standard Phantom bench seats, or four with Maybach style reclining seats. Theatre sound and drop screens, divider wall for the driver compartment, hidden bars, bullet resistance and others are in the list of options.

The Genaddi Design Group, as always, makes the vehicle custom fit to your needs. The other modification that they are working with is a two or four door convertible version.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

East African Motorshow

This weekend, The East African Motorshow will take place. Its touted not as a competition but a celebration of the culture of modifying vehicles to create a personal touch. In light of this I would like to pay homage to the pioneers in the field of vehicle modification

Back in the day, luxury car makers such as Rolls-Royce used to build a cars chassis and engine only, specially appointed coachbuilders built the body of the car,kinda like what happens with Matatus today, GMEA sells the Canter chassis then coachbuilders like Dodi, Sembi etc build the Matatus body to the specifications required

One such company, Pininfarina, was founded by Battista “Pinin” Farina on May 22nd 1930 in Turin. The company was designed to build special car bodies for individual customers or in small production runs. They are responsible for most of the designs of Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and the 406 coupe among others

By the way, theres a 406 Coupe in Kenya owned by some chap who works at Marshalls

Since I'm talking about personalization, let me talk abut the man before I deal with the Car

New York property magnate Peter S Kalikow is the chairman of the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the western hemisphere's largest public transport provider, covering New York's buses, rail network and subway system),

He has amassed one of the world's finest collections of Ferraris. With badges like 330 America, 250 GT California Spider and 410 Superamerica, they're obscure, mostly from the Fifties and Sixties, and are worth tens of millions of dollars.

Now this seems like a man who has everything but NO!!! apparently Kalikow lacked a Ferrari built to his exact and very specialist requirements. To this end, he sought the involvement of Pininfarina, the result, The Ferrari 612 Kappa

First of all, the car is based on a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. This roughly £170,297 coupe has a 5.8 Litre V12 Engine with an output of 540HP which enables it move from a complete standstill to 100 Km/h in 4.2 seconds, a time slightly shorter than it will take you to read this paragraph. The car will then move on to its top speed of 320 Km/h (199mph) at the behest of its owner

This process is aided by the 6 speed manual transmission with F1 stlye paddle shifts on either side if the steering wheel

For rather obvious reasons, Kalikow did not feel the need to modify the engine

The body however has been reworked,its been done in such a fashion that you only begin to see the changes by staring at an adjacent standard car. In truth, only one panel remains unaltered - the rear bumper.

To reflect just how obsessive those modifications are, lets start with the front grille: now handcrafted from polished aluminium, recessed further back than the standard car's and with smaller vent holes. This sets the tone - a huge effort for a minimalist result.



Look across to the boot. Here you'll find a badge made up of crossed Ferrari and Pininfarina flags as on Fifties Ferraris, rather than a prancing horse.

Returning to the front of the car, the chrome-backed headlamps are a reminder of Ferraris of the same era, as is the deep scoop set into the bonnet.

"With this you'll find something nostalgic," says Paolo Garella, Pininfarina's Special Projects Manager. "We polished the very edge of it to reveal the aluminium beneath. The effect is known as a 'colpo di luce', or a ray of light."

Entry to the car is through personalized door handles.

These feature the owner's initials, psk, in the trademark Pininfarina font. These were not specified, but were added as a present by Pininfarina. If this is not enough to identify the car's initiator, there is a plaque in the door sill that explains the details even more clearly

Translated: Pininfarina Coachbuilders Special for Peter Kalikow, 2006

The car's most complex modification, and one of the hardest to pick out, resides at the rear. Thin buttresses now run down either side of the back windows, flowing towards the bootlid and providing a more hunched-forward, muscular stance.

The rear lights and their housings are altered, too, taken from an F430 and closer to those in early design sketches for the Scaglietti, but absent in the production car.

Kalikow was taken with the leather used in a 456 GT in his collection, officially unavailable from Ferrari since the early 90s, but unearthed to trim the interior of the car at his request. The extending seat bases and the pneumatically adjustable seat edges are unique features, as are three extra knurled aluminium switches that have appeared on the centre console.

The first switch swaps between a pianissimo 'town' horn and a fortissimo 'country' horn, a further retro Ferrari touch.

The second opens and closes blinds beneath the new, twin glass roof panels.

The third acts on liquid crystal elements set within the glass roof to give a variable degree of tinting. The glass' transparency can be changed from completely clear to pitch black.

The roof also houses a solar panel running up its centre,between the glass panels, which drives fans built below the parcel shelf to vent hot air out of the car when its parked in direct sunlight.

I recently discovered that The VW Group have been using this technology for some time now and a "solar sunroof" which even in very low sunlight, produces electricity to power the ventilator inside the vehicle using light-sensitive elements under the glass sunroof panel is available as an option on everything from an Audi A8 to a Skoda Superb

For all the discretion of Kalikow's Ferrari, a couple of CMB Prezzo type flossing stunts have sneaked in.

His signature appears on a dashboard plaque ,below the radio and there's the small matter of the car's name.

This is no longer a 612 Scaglietti, it's a 612 Kappa - Kappa being the letter in the Greek alphabet equivalent to a K; a K being the first letter on the licence plate of each of the cars in Kalikow's collection.

As mentioned before, the engine remained unaltered ,this explains why Ferrari was quick to sanction the car's existence. "Also, Mr Kalikow is a personal friend of Piero Ferrari" Garella points out. Ferrari also agreed not to copy any of the unique cues of the Kappa for future models.

As to the small matter of the, surely incredible, cost involved in the 612 Kappa's creation? "If you have to ask," Garella says, "you dont need to know"


Basically pilfered from :-
-An article by Peter Grunert for www.topgear.com
-The images are from www.ultimatecarpage.com and www.topgear.com
NB:The Quote by Paolo Garella in the last paragraph is entirely a figment of my imagination
The actual exerpt from his interview with Peter Grunert was:
As to the small matter of the, surely incredible, cost involved in the 612 Kappa's creation? "You may ask," Garella says, "but this we can never disclose."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Land Rover Freelander 2

The all-new Land Rover Freelander 2 redefines the compact premium 4x4 class. New from the ground up, Freelander 2 delivers outstanding on-road performance as well as the class-leading off-road ability of a true Land Rover. A dynamic design, purposeful stance, smart and spacious interior, and an abundance of advanced technologies complete the package.

The original Freelander (launched in 1997) is seen by many as having created a whole new class of vehicle: the compact premium 4x4. It was the top-selling 4x4 in Europe for five years and remained the UK’s best-selling 4x4 from launch until the end of 2005. The all-new Freelander 2 is improved in every way: better performance, more economical, more refined, higher quality and substantially roomier. It is more capable both off-road and on-road, with transformed handling, ride and comfort.

Freelander 2 is Land Rover’s fourth all-new vehicle in just over four years, and follows the new Range Rover (2002), Discovery 3 (2004) and Range Rover Sport (2005). Their highly successful introductions contributed to record Land Rover sales worldwide in 2005. Technical highlights of the Freelander 2 include two brand-new engines: a 3.2-litre straight-six petrol and a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel. Both feature advanced technologies to deliver outstanding combinations of performance and economy.

The 233 PS (171 kW) i6 petrol engine provides a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h) and 0-60 mph acceleration in 8.4 seconds (0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds). Combined fuel economy is 25.2 mpg (11.2 litres/100 km). The engine is matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission, with Land Rover’s CommandShift offering manual sequential gear changes when required. There is also a driver-selectable sport mode, for livelier performance.

Straight-six engine configurations are ideal for delivering engine smoothness, and the very compact new unit in Freelander 2 is small enough to mount transversely, a first in the compact 4x4 sector and one of the vehicle’s many innovations. The benefits of transverse fitment include improved interior package and safety performance.

The diesel engine chosen for Freelander 2 is an all-new 2.2-litre four-cylinder. The 160 PS (118 kW) unit delivers peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb ft), with over 200 Nm (148 lb ft) of torque from 1000 rpm all the way to 4500 rpm. The engine is easy and responsive to drive, as well as highly refined and economical, with a combined average fuel consumption of 37.7 mpg (7.5 l/100 km). An optional catalysed Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF) is also available for even cleaner performance. Two transmissions are offered: a new six-speed manual gearbox and the same six-speed automatic used on the petrol engine (diesel auto available from spring 2007).

The interior package of Freelander 2 is a major improvement over the outgoing vehicle. Although only 50 mm longer, the Freelander 2 has more generous head, shoulder and legroom, in both the front and rear. Large glass areas emphasise the spacious feel and complement the elevated ‘command driving’ position – a Land Rover hallmark – and ‘stadium seating’, where rear passengers sit slightly higher than front occupants, for a clearer view of the world outside. Boot space is also among the best in class and 38 per cent larger than that of the outgoing Freelander (with rear seats up – 755 litres vs 546 litres).

The exterior and interior design of Freelander 2 is completely fresh, integrating the company’s unique design language with a form that is instantly recognisable as the latest Land Rover. The body is a five-door monocoque structure, with a high level of torsional rigidity which benefits refinement, comfort and handling on-road as well as ensuring the vehicle is fit for serious off-roading. The suspension is fully independent and uses the most modern stability control systems, including Roll Stability Control (RSC), a new and sophisticated technology that helps mitigate the risk of roll-over.

The Freelander 2 is packed with new technologies to improve both on-road and off-road performance, many new to the class. Land Rover’s unique Terrain Response is standard on all but the entry-level model, to make off-roading easier. Other interesting technologies include a new full-time intelligent 4x4 system for superior traction and better on-road fuel economy, and the patented Gradient Release Control, which improves driver confidence and control when releasing the brakes on steep and slippery slopes.

Other features and options rare in this class include: keyless starter button, bi-xenon headlamps, adaptive front lighting, rain-sensing wipers and park distance control (front and rear). A two-part panoramic sunroof increases the cabin’s airiness: air-conditioning is standard on all models and a full colour touch-screen DVD satellite navigation system is also available. The choice of top-level audio systems includes DAB digital radio and 12-speaker Dolby Prologic IIx Surround Sound with fibre-optic interconnects. An auxiliary audio connection (for iPods and MP3 players) is standard on all vehicles

SOURCE: www.ultimatecarpage.com

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New S-Class

For more than five decades, the letter "S" in the model designation of Mercedes cars has signified a special aura, intelligent technology and the highest quality. The new S-Class not only continues this tradition, but lends a new meaning to it. It is a technological pacemaker with its pioneering innovations for more safety, comfort and practicality, and like its predecessors it will influence the automotive development of the future. The saloon exudes this poise and assurance even at first glance. Its design emphasises the confident, powerful and elegant character of the new S-Class, which makes every journey an experience.

Achieving even more technological highlights was a challenge for the engineers in Stuttgart and Sindelfingen, for the bar was set very high: the previous S-Class, which had been repeatedly voted the "Best Car in the World" since its presentation in 1998, was a hard act to follow. The progress Mercedes-Benz has made with the new saloon is based on this already high level. A dozen technical innovations are entering series production for the first time on board the new S-Class – from Brake Assist PLUS with radar sensors to seats with an extended massage function, from the night view assist system with the latest infra-red technology to the new COMAND system, and from preventive PRE-SAFE® occupant protection with additional functions to Parking Assist.

Safety: Brake Assist with radar and latest-generation PRE-SAFE®

This system registers vehicles ahead by radar and gives a warning if the gap is too small or the closing speed is too high. If a collision threatens, Brake Assist PLUS calculates the ideal braking assistance in fractions of a second and makes this available immediately – even if the driver applies too little pressure to the brake pedal. This significantly reduces the incidence of rear-end collisions. The adaptive brake light, which warns following traffic by flashing during emergency braking, also makes a major contribution.

PRE-SAFE® recognises potential accident situations as they arise: if braking deceleration exceeds a certain level or a skid is imminent, the system tensions the front seat belts as a precaution and inflates air cushions in the multicontour seats to envelop and support the driver, front passenger and rear seat occupants. For the first time Mercedes-Benz has also integrated the side windows into this preventive protection system; they are automatically closed when an accident threatens.

DISTRONIC PLUS and the new night view assist

The Proximity control system DISTRONIC PLUS is a radar-supported system that now operates at all speeds between zero and 200 km/h, and ensures even greater driver comfort. In stop-and-go traffic DISTRONIC PLUS keeps the new S-Class at the right distance from the vehicle ahead, automatically brakes the saloon to a standstill if necessary and accelerates it back to the required speed when the traffic starts moving again.

The equipment package with Brake Assist PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS also includes a new Parking Assist system which likewise uses radar sensors. These have a longer range than ultrasonic signals, therefore the driver receives earlier warning of an impending collision when reversing into a parking space.

With the innovative night view assist system which is premiered in the new S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has made a further, major contribution to reducing the risk of accidents during the hours of darkness. This system is based on infra-red light, which is invisible to the human eye and will therefore not dazzle oncoming traffic. Two infra-red headlamps illuminate the road, extending the driver’s range of vision to more than 150 metres when on low beam. Night view assist therefore makes pedestrians, cyclists, parked cars and other obstacles visible very much sooner. An infra-red camera mounted on the inside of the windscreen records the reflected image of the road ahead and displays this in the instrument cluster.

This car is currently available at DT Dobie

SOURCE: Modified from www.worldcarfans.com

Lotus Exige S

The Lotus Exige S is the latest addition to the Exige range and is a real sportscar that redefines the term ''Extreme Performance''. With 90.5 kW / litre (121.4 hp / litre, 123 PS / litre), it is one of most powerful production cars in the world for its engine size but most importantly it has full type approval for all the markets in which it will be sold. The Lotus Exige S is not a limited edition, nor is it an aftermarket special – it is manufactured from start to finish in the world leading and award winning Lotus Manufacturing facility at Hethel, Norfolk.

Because the basic car is so immensely strong but lightweight (935 kg, 2057 lbs), giving a power to weight ratio of 173.8 kW/tonne (233.2 hp/tonne, 236.4 PS/tonne), performance is phenomenal, with 100 km/h being reached from a standing start in 4.3 seconds (0 – 60 mph in 4.1 seconds) and 160 km/h (100 mph) being reached in 9.98 seconds (estimate) before topping out at 238 km/h (148 mph). Inspite of this phenomenal performance the fuel economy is impressive with an official combined figure of 9.1 litres / 100 km (31.0 mpg) - extra urban is an impressive 7.2 litres / 100 km (39.2 mpg). Lotus believes that there is no car on sale anywhere in the world that has such good performance combined with such good fuel economy! Not that many customers will be buying this car principally for its fuel economy!

Being a Lotus, straight-line performance is not the most important factor, but every day driving on normal roads, or around a circuit is. There are very few cars on sale today that can match the speed, agility and safety of the Exige S in both day to day and track or circuit driving. However the Exige S is not just a track day warrior. It is a sportscar that would be at home on the back roads, freeways and autobahns, as well as on city streets. With an extremely ''torquey'' engine and the classic Lotus suspension set-up of soft compliant springs and firm controllable dampers, the driving experience is an uncanny combination of telepathic-like handling with a taught and comfortable ride. There is really no car that handles quite like a Lotus.

SOURCE: www.ultimatecarpage.com