Category Archive 'Automobiles'
03 Jul 2016

Golden Arrow

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Golden Arrow Land Speed Racer, 925 hp, 11 March 1929 set a record of 231.45 mph.

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22 Feb 2016

Triumph TR2

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Your typical Triumph sports car driver with his typical date.

Back in the early 1970s, I had a classic 1959 Triumph TR3A. It was a very cool car, and though I have owned faster and more sophisticated cars since, I’ve never owned any I enjoyed more.

Old Cars Weekly, this week, did a tribute to my old car’s immediate predecessor, the TR2, built from 1953 to 1955.

Sir John Black, who headed Triumph, decided he needed a sports car. He tried and failed to buy Morgan, so he created his own sports car and exhibited it at the 1952 London Motor Show. This car — known as the 20TS — generated interest, though it was gawky, underpowered and had a weak suspension. The next year’s TR2 roadster was different — it was a real sports car designed by Walter Belgrove with a sunken “small-mouth” grille, cut-down doors and a 2.0-liter, 90-hp version of the Vanguard engine that was good for 100 mph.

TR meant “Triumph” and the company’s advertising department promised “more performance per dollar than any other car in the world.” Triumph claimed 0-to-50-mph acceleration in 7.5 seconds. “You’re as young as you feel at the wheel of a T.R.2,” the early ads said. “The car that let’s you drive, and doesn’t drive you!”

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The Triumph TR2 roadster carried an East Coast Port-of-Entry price of $2,448 and weighed just 1,960 lbs. Its 1991-cc pushrod engine featured three main bearings, solid valve lifters, an 8.5:1 compression ratio and twin S.U. carburetors. The Vanguard four-speed gearbox was linked to a 3.7:1 rear axle.

The TR2 could go from 0-to-60 mph in 11.9 to 13.7 seconds and flash through the standing-start quarter-mile in 19.6 seconds at 70 mph. Fitted with an optional overdrive and a belly pan (or “undershield” in British terminology); one Triumph hit 124.095 mph on the world-famous Jabbeke Highway in Belgium.

Read the whole thing.

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14 Feb 2016

1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti Sets New Auction Record for a Racing Car

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1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti Spider

Telegraph:

A 1957 Ferrari driven by the great British motor racers of the 1950s broke the record for the world’s most expensive racing car sold at auction after fetching just over €32 million ($35.7 — £24.7 million) on Friday.

Despite the stratospheric price at the Artcurial auction in Paris, the buyer cannot use the vehicle on the roads as it was designed purely for racing.

Only four Ferrari 335 S Spider Scagliettis were ever produced, and this one had been in the hands of a private French collector for more than 40 years – hence the feverish excitement at the Rétromobile classic car show in Paris, where the auction took place.

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FCAuthority:

Chassis 0674 left Enzo Ferrari’s Maranello workshop in 1957 and in March of that year was entered in the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. It was driven by Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant in the endurance race and finished sixth. In May, Ferrari brought the car back to Italy and entered it in the 1,600 km Mille Miglia with Wolfgang von Trips at the wheel. It was one of four cars Ferrari entered in the race and it finished second behind Piero Taruffi and his Ferrari 315 S.

Following the 1957 Mille Miglia, which turned out to be the last-ever edition of the road race after 12 people were killed, the car was returned to the Maranello factory and upgraded to ‘335 S’ spec. This entailed boring out the 3.8-liter V12 to 4.1-liters, which boosted output from 360 horsepower to 400 and raised the top-speed to 186 mph (300 km/h).

Following the modifications the car was entered in the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans where it was raced by F1 champion Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso. It was unfortunately retired in the fifth hour due mechanical problems, but not before it took the lead ahead of the Maserati and Jaguars and set the first lap record at Le Sarthe with an average speed of over 200 km/h (203.015 km/h).

Following its Le Mans showing the car finished fourth in the Swedish Grand Prix, second in the Venezuela Grand Prix and helped Ferrari win the World Constructors’ Title. In 1958 it was piloted to victory in the Cuba Grand Prix by Masten Gregory and Stirling Moss and was also raced in various American races by Gaston Andrey and Lance Reventlow.

The car has sat in Bardinon’s collection since 1970.

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10 Feb 2016

“An Early 911”

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Andreas Trauttmansdorff made a 1:01 video tribute to the early version of the Porsche 911. Go here, click VIDEO, then click MOTOR SPORT, then select AN EARLY 911. (no embed available and the Vimeo connection doesn’t link).

We had a 1973 911T long, long ago. Those early 911s were fast and very cool, but they did oversteer. As Top Gear’s Richard Hammond once remarked:

In the ’70s and ’80s, the 911 was the Grim Reaper’s company car. Huge crowds would gather at roundabouts to watch fat stockbrokers climb trees in their Porsches.

Our ownership of that 911 came abruptly to an end due to that oversteer feature at a sharp curve in Katonah, N.Y. with Karen at the wheel. The 911 went right into a road sign and a grassy bank. Karen survived with only a black eye, which I assured everyone I had given her for demo-ing that Porsche.

09 Feb 2016

Chrysler/Fiat Had a Really Bad Idea

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Evidently they hired the Japanese firm that designs the controls of all the new automobile radio-CD-players to come up with a nifty new electronic automatic transmission gear shift selection system.

The Globe and Mail:

Electronic gear shifters on some newer Fiat Chrysler SUVs and cars are so confusing that drivers have exited the vehicles with the engines running and while they are still in gear, causing crashes and serious injuries, U.S. safety investigators have determined.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in documents posted during the weekend, has doubled the number of vehicles involved in an investigation of the problem, but it stopped short of seeking a recall. The agency found more than 100 crashes and over a dozen injuries, mostly in Jeep Grand Cherokees.

Agency tests found that operating the centre console shift lever “is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection,” investigators wrote in the documents. They upgraded the probe to an engineering analysis, which is a step closer to a recall. NHTSA will continue to gather information and seek a recall if necessary, a spokesman said. …

Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, expects more problems and investigations as auto makers continue to roll out new electronic controls that are unfamiliar to drivers. “I think the manufacturers need to be much more responsible as they try these new technologies,” he said.

The government’s probe now covers more than 856,000 vehicles including the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV from the 2014 and 2015 model years and the 2012 through 2014 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans with 3.6-litre V-6 engines.

In the vehicles, drivers pull the shift lever forward or backward to select gears and the shifter doesn’t move along a track like in most cars. A light shows which gear is selected, but to get from Drive to Park, drivers must push the lever forward three times. The gearshift does not have notches that match up with the gear you want to shift into, and it moves back to a centred position after the driver picks a gear.

The vehicles sound a chime and issue a dashboard warning if the driver’s door is opened while they are not in Park. But investigators found that the push-button start-stop feature doesn’t shut off the engine if the vehicles aren’t in Park, increasing the risk of the vehicles rolling away after drivers have exited.

“This function does not protect drivers who intentionally leave the engine running or drivers who do not recognize that the engine continues to run after an attempted shut-off,” investigators wrote.

Thus far, the investigation has found 314 complaints, 121 crashes and 30 injuries from the problem. Three drivers reported fractured pelvic bones, while four others needed to be hospitalized with a ruptured bladder, fractured kneecap, or severe leg trauma.

Fiat Chrysler says it is co-operating in the probe. The company changed the shifters in the 2016 Grand Cherokee and 2015 Charger and 300 sedans so they function more like people are used to. But FCA said it did so to increase customer satisfaction and not for safety concerns.

05 Feb 2016

1934 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

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In this period, Alfa Romeo produced bespoke cars for the wealthy with bodies by Touring of Milan and Pinin Farina.

“When I see an Alfa Romeo go by, I tip my hat.” –Henry Ford.

Hat tip to Eliza Vasileva Pavlov.

28 Jan 2016

Travelling in Style

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Yves Géniès drives a Bugatti Type 41 Royale across Paris.

La Traversée de Paris avec la Bugatti Royale , escorté par l'ami Raymond Loiseaux et son équipe Honda Goldwing , un souvenir inoubliable .. Et unique privilège , je suis le seul a l'avoir conduit dans ces conditions, moment inoubliable !!

Posted by Yves Géniès – Officiel on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

28 Nov 2015

1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500

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21 Nov 2015

“The Purgatory of Car Engines”

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My 1959 Triumph TR3A was blue, but did not have a white convertible top tonneau cover or whitewall tires.

Jack Baruth rants, in Road & Track, against the straight-4-cylinder engine.

As a design, the inline-four is both banal and inadequate. The intake hangs off one side and the exhaust off the other, so when you open the hood it looks unbalanced and cheap. ​Enlarged to modern two-liter-plus proportions, this lack of balance makes it want to shake itself to death. At idle it rattles; at full revs it moans. Instead of the dual-megaphone mufflers associated with powerful V8s, the most efficient four-cylinder exhaust is a massive coffee can hanging off one side of the bumper. With the possible exception of the famous Offenhauser, there has never been a coffee table made from a straight-four block. …

Yet the unloved inline-four plows on. It’s cheap to make, cheap to modify. It fits in everything from a small motorcycle to a 5-Series BMW. It can be turbocharged to serve as a poor replacement for a more colorful six. This strategy, employed by the high-end German manufacturers and the Koreans alike, makes it easier to pass CO2-related regulations. So what if the resulting concoction sounds like a paint shaker? You muffle it to death and then play a fake engine sound through the stereo. Nobody knows the difference.

Read the whole thing.

Sure, a 12-cylinder Ferrari or an E-type Jaguar with a straight-6 would be nice, but face reality, we all have to start somewhere, and less expensive cars, and even some very cool once-less-expensive sports cars which are highly enjoyable to drive are straight 4s. I, for instance, used to own the examples illustrated top and bottom, and they were definitely fun to drive.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

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1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spyder

20 Nov 2015

Light Reflected from City Skyscraper Buckles Bodywork and Mirror of Businessman’s Car

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Daily Mail story

24 Oct 2015

Self-Driving Cars Will Have Ethics Programmed In

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Self-driving cars! What could be better? Instead of hundreds of millions of individuals making individual decisions moment by moment, the experts managing the administrative state could decide what lane you’re in, how fast you travel, and –in extremis– whether you live or die. The fear is that unenlightened bitter clingers might object.

Technology Review:

Imagine that in the not-too-distant future, you own a self-driving car. One day, while you are driving along, an unfortunate set of events causes the car to head toward a crowd of 10 people crossing the road. It cannot stop in time but it can avoid killing 10 people by steering into a wall. However, this collision would kill you, the owner and occupant. What should it do?

One way to approach this kind of problem is to act in a way that minimizes the loss of life. By this way of thinking, killing one person is better than killing 10.

But that approach may have other consequences. If fewer people buy self-driving cars because they are programmed to sacrifice their owners, then more people are likely to die because ordinary cars are involved in so many more accidents. The result is a Catch-22 situation.

Read the whole thing.

30 Aug 2015

Duesenberg Coupe Simone: The Car Which May or May Not Have Ever Actually Been Built

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What actually exists are 1:24 models of the car made by the Franklin Mint, by one account, from drawings found in a barn on the remote Central Pennsylvania estate of Guy de LaRouche.

The legend says that the Duesenberg Coupe Simone was created by the coachbuilding firm Emmet-Armand on the Duesenberg Type J frame in response to a special order from French cosmetics magnate Guy (or Gui) de LaRouche (or LaRoche). The coupe took three years to build and was finished after the bankruptcy of Cord and the end of Duesenberg production. The Coupe Simone was named for LaRouche’s lover and was intended to be a gift to her. It was sent to France for LaRouche’s approval, before it was to be exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, but disappeared as the result of a love triangle and the outbreak of the Second World War. The Coupe Simone was either destroyed during the war, or remains forgotten today, rusting away, in a barn somewhere in rural France.

An alternative story contends that plans for the car were drawn up in the 1930s, but the car was never built, and only the Franklin Mint models made from drawing re-discovered decades later were ever actually built.

Another version contends that neither car nor drawings nor French cosmetics king ever actually existed, and the model car was invented in the late 1990s by a couple of Franklin Mint designers, who made up a romantic story to explain the Art Deco automobile they had imagined.

Diesel Punks: The Strange Case of the Midnight Ghost.

Opposite Lock: The Duesenberg Coupe Simone: A One-Off that Never Was.

Wikicars: Duesenberg Coupe Simone

Before Its News: A Duesenberg That Didn’t Get Past the Drawing and Planning Stages of a Coachbuilder.

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