Thursday, January 27, 2011

Does the Volkswagen XL1 stand a chance?

Volkswagen has presented the VW XL1, a car doing almost 100 km with 1 litre of diesel fuel. So yet another prototype. Let's turn the page. But stop, Volkswagen also announced that they will be producing this car in two years and everyone can buy one. Surprise! If Volkswagen really is able to produce this prototype style sports two seater then I will be putting it on my wish list. Honestly, it looks good and stylish, it has the gullwing doors I love and I can drive it to save the world. Great, isn't it? Of course it's a question of pricing too. I would not want to pay more than let's say 40'000 Euros for a car with the performance of an 80ies saloon car despite all the styling bells and wistles. But clearly this is the most advanced thing Volkswagen has presented in a decade and I will follow its progress closely

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

100 Years of Rallye Monte Carlo

100 years ago the first Rallye Monte Carlo was started. Challenges, rules and setup changed from year to year and initially it was more a reliability and regularity test than a speed race. Only in the 60ies they invented the special sections where speed was king. From time to time they invented funny rules, such as the more people you have in the car you more points you gain, or a design evaluation where Coup├ęs were more valuable than Convertibles. Most of us probably remember the times of the Mini Cooper, Alpine A110, Porsche 911, Lancia Stratos, Audi Quattro and the Group B.
On zwischengas you find an article for each year and plenty of pictures (in total more than 200) and it's quite interesting to see the winners and losers coming and going.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The beginning of speed control - Ford Thunderbird

For the 1964 Ford Thunderbird you could order a new speed selector device. Ford claimed that motorists could save up to 20% fuel and that the system would reduce driver fatigue and lessen engine and brake wear.
Well, I wonder whether this was really true. If you really want to save fuel you actually turn the speed control off. Interesting was that the system would take control as soon as you are driving with the speed you have selected with the little wheel, different to today where you have to restart the system when you are ready.
But anyway, in 1964 this system was quite an innovation as you can imagine

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Forgotten Fiberglass - great resource for research and inspiration

During the 50ies and 60ies a lot of cars and car bodies have been created using fiberglass (others may call it plastic, but it isn't really, polyester was another term). Thanks to this material even small production runs could be made profitable and much more variety was possible.
Especially the US had a strong fiberglass era, resulting into brands such as Brooks Boxer, Glasspar, Ascot, Woodill Wildfire, Irwin Lancer, Scorpion, Wasp, Edwards, Grantham Stardust, Venus, Meteor, Kurtis, Maverick Sportster, Victress, BMC Singer, Vale, Allied, Atlas, Multiplex, Bosley, Lasaetta, Chicagoan, Lightning, Rockefeller Yankee, Triplex, Hollywood Plastics, Snohomish Plastics, Almquist, Alken, Sorrell, Bangert, McCormack, La Dawri, Kellison, Byers, BoCar, Devin, LeMans Coupe to name just a few.
For people interested in these cars and components there's a great online resource: Forgotten Fiberglass. Have a look and you'll be amazed of what has been built during these years.
For German speaking people there's a summary and an interesting gallery on this era on