As car companies see people willing to ditch their vehicles, they’re responding by offering more flexible options. Instead of owning one car, what if you got whatever car you want, just when you needed it?
There are a few things that BMW is very good at, and one of those is providing plenty of get-go in a beautiful package. The new-generation 5 Series is a great sedan to start with, but add in the goodness of a twin-turbo V8 and there's even more to love about this beautiful sedan.
Jan 26, 2018 - British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta is eyeing a move to Holden’s former automotive manufacturing site in Adelaide, as part of plans to build electric vehicles in Australia. According to reports, South Australian treasurer Tom Kousantonis said in a letter that Gupta’s company, GFG Alliance, had recently approached the state government with plans to buy some of the factory’s assets.
Jan 4, 2018 - HSV’s final Holden Commodore-based model is a 2017 GTSR W1. Australia’s semi-official tuner to Holden, HSV, has made a name for itself over the past three decades by churning out meaty muscle cars based on successive generations of rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered Holden Commodores. All of that has come to an end, however, as HSV on Wednesday announced the construction of its final Commodore-based model.
Dec 8, 2017 - Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has announced its product plan for 2018, following the end of General Motors manufacturing in Australia, and it doesn’t include any hot imported Commodores. However, the good news for rear-wheel drive V8 muscle-car fans is the 2018 HSV range will be headlined by the Chevrolet Camaro SS coupe, although it will be $20,000 pricier than Ford’s equivalent Mustang GT at up to $80K.
Before HSV begins right-hand drive Camaro conversions in July, it will start RHD production of the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD pick-up in April, followed by the even heavier-duty Silverado 3500HD by mid-year.
In a move that GM denies marks the first step in Holden being rebranded as Chevrolet, the Chevy brand will be established in selected HSV dealers in Australia and New Zealand to sell both the Camaro and Silverado.
The first cab off HSV’s 2018 rank will be the Colorado SportsCat ute, which enters production in late January and will become the only HSV-branded model available once stocks of the Commodore-based MY17 models are sold.
Copntinue here to read the full article with images on Motoring || December 8, 2017 |||
15 Nov 2017 - What brings an extremely wealthy Australian tech guru to the backblocks of the South Island? Granted, there is a small stream on the western boundary of his 550 hectare North Canterbury farm that might harbour brown trout but there’s certainly no lake, no private golf course, no hint of equestrian activity, no magnificent country estate, rather just a random collection of innocuous sheds of varying sizes and shapes.
On closer inspection there are, however, extensive tar-sealed roads, one in particular running for nearly a kilometre alongside a narrow public access road that forms the inland route between Waiau and Kaikoura. It’s along this road that gobsmacked tourists sometimes get to experience the cacophony of sound as a speeding ‘Formula 1-like’ race car blasts past their vehicles at what must seem like insane speeds on the other side of the farm fence.
It’s all that separates the 2.8 kilometre long race track from a normally quiet public road, just 50 metres away. David Dicker, head of Dicker Data Australia, which recently turned over A$1billion in sales revenue, is certainly not the only rich man to build himself a private race track here, and probably won’t be the last. Such a man could therefore be expected to have a collection of fast toys, and he has them in spades; Ferraris (his favourites), Lamborghinis, and Porsches but few such enthusiasts own a Lotus 125 “F1 customer experience” race car, complete with a screaming 650bhp Cosworth V8 engine.
Even fewer have their own 2.8km race track on which to unleash the beast whenever they . . . .
10 Nov 2017 - New Zealand will pass a significant milestone in its electric vehicle revolution this month. All of New Zealand’s electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids combined will avoid emitting 1 million kilograms of greenhouse gas in November. This estimate is from Flip the Fleet, a citizen science coalition of pure and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle owners that upload data from their vehicles to a communal database each month. The project estimates the amount of greenhouse gas that a conventional vehicle of the same size and power would have emitted over the same distance as each electric vehicle travelled.
"The data just received show that, on average, each low-emission vehicle avoided emitting the equivalent of 191 kg of carbon dioxide in October" said Prof. Henrik Moller, a co-founder of Flip the Fleet. "The Ministry of Transport’s estimates that there were 5,341 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in New Zealand by the end of October. The electric fleet is growing at approximately 9% per month. So we reckon that from now on we’ll be saving more than a million kg of greenhouse gases each month".
"That’s a million small victories for our grandchildren" said Prof. Moller, a sustainability scientist at the University of Otago.
"At the current rate of growth of New Zealand’s electric vehicle fleet, we should eliminate 10 million kg of emissions per month by the middle of 2020".
Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project that provides scientifically reliable information on the benefits and constraints of electric vehicles in New Zealand. The project is partly funded by MBIE’s Curious Minds portfolio, through Otago Museum.
Participation is free and all New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners can enrol at www.flipthefleet.org
7 Nov - Royal Enfield has inaugurated its new Technology Centre in Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds, Leicestershire. The brand new facility, located at the heart of the central Midlands area of UK, is housed at the largest privately owned vehicle test track facility, thereby ensuring ease of access to a host of vehicle development, engineering and testing-related facilities. The choice of location suits the iconic motorcycle manufacturer considering Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground first opened in 1942 for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and hosted both the RAF and US Air Force.
In line with its aim to expand and make gains in the fast-growing global midsize motorcycle segment (250-750cc), Royal Enfield says it has been investing extensively towards increasing capacities, infrastructure and product, and as well as people capabilities. The new technology centre in the UK was set up with a view to bring a more global approach towards product and technology. Also, the fact that the UK is the birthplace of the brand which made its first motorcycle in 1901, made it an obvious choice.
The UKTC (UK Technology Centre) acts as the innovative hub and global headquarters for product strategy, product development, industrial design, research, programme management and analysis for Royal Enfield. The facility boasts state-of-the-art equipment and modern workshop facilities that enable engineers to develop authentically styled and accessible motorcycles and future concepts.
Seeing tomorrow today UKTC, which has a contemporary and futuristic industrial look, is spread across 3,000 square metres and over two levels. It essentially is a modern workspace for employees, with an Industrial Design Studio, Engine, Electrics, Chassis Build, Spray-shop, Model-shop, Metal work and Part store on the other floor.
The spacious Industrial Design Studio has variable-height modelling platforms and a suite of workshop facilities to bring the majority of model preparation in-house. The Engine Test building, spread across 470 square metres, houses the latest dynamometers and emissions equipment for testing.
Since commencing operations in January 2015, the UKTC now has over 120 employees working on multiple projects, that includes development of future products and platforms. The first modern Royal Enfield 650 twin and the new range of motorcycles has been developed between the teams at UKTC and Chennai, India.
Back to the future Wikipedia has it that Royal Enfield was a brand name under which The Enfield Cycle Company of Redditch, Worcestershire sold motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines which it had manufactured. Enfield Cycle Company also used the brand name Enfield without Royal. The first Royal Enfield motorcycle was built in 1901. Enfield's remaining motorcycle business became part of Norton Villiers in 1967 and that business closed in 1978 after which Royal Enfield, as we know it in India, began manufacturing motorcycles in Chennai.
Riding a wave of demand Royal Enfield currently is witnessing a surge in demand for its products and with its new manufacturing base in Chennai, the company has been able to grow its production rapidly. Since the past five years, it has notched over 50 percent growth every year. Royal Enfield’s product line-up in India includes the Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird models in 350 and 500cc displacement along with the Continental GT 535cc café racer and the purpose-built Himalayan adventure bike powered by the new LS410 engine.
The company operates through 17 company-operated stores and over 705 dealers in all major cities and towns in India, and exports to over 50 countries across the world including the USA, UK, several European and Latin American countries, as well as the Middle East and South East Asia.
We all know Formula 1 is a test bed for a variety of technologies that will eventually trickle down to the street. Now, McLaren is taking its go-faster know-how and applying it somewhere a bit unexpected – health care. The body armor you see here was created in response to a client’s request for a device that would help keep his organs protected after undergoing surgery. It’s called Invincible shield, and it protects the rib cage through the use of high-failure strain Dyneema fibers, as well as woven fabrics and a highly-toughened resin system. The construction and materials pull from McLaren’s F1 experience, and includes the same fibers used as side-impact crash protection in the race car. Essentially, this armor is made from the same stuff that’s going into next year’s F1 competitor.
The end result is something lightweight, but tough and rigid enough to protect the client. The armor was designed to be discreet as well, and was perfectly tailored to the client’s body to be hidden under a shirt. Responsible for its creation was McLaren’s Applied Technologies division, which apparently has a hand in developing health care products. “From digital therapeutics, to tailored human performance programs and bespoke medical devices, our aim is to innovate health care solutions that can be tailored for individual patients,” says Dr. Adam Hill, McLaren’s Chief Medical Officer. Yeah, I didn’t know McLaren had a Chief Medical Officer, either.
Former McLaren employee John Nicholson, who prepared Can-Am and F1 engines for the team and played a key role in the World Championship victories of 1974 and 1976, has passed away in his native New Zealand. He was 75.
Nicholson was also a gifted driver in his own right, and he even briefly made it to F1, competing in the 1975 British GP as well as four non-championship races. Although he never raced a works McLaren, he did a lot of testing for the team, driving Can-Am, F5000, F2 and on occasion F1 machinery.
John was born into a mechanical background in 1941. His father, who was an armourer in the air force, raced powerboats in New Zealand, and in his youth John helped to prepare them. From school he went to work for an engine reconditioning business, and he undertook a four and half year engineering apprenticeship – and in his final exams he earned the top marks in the whole country.
He had a few races in his father’s boat before he began competing on four wheels, initially in karts. He then acquired a Lotus Elan, and subsequently a Lotus 27 single-seater. In 1968 he took part in the New Zealand GP, a round of the Tasman Series – and thus joined a grid that included Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Jim Clark, Chris Amon, Pedro Rodriguez and Piers Courage. In an uncompetitive car he finished ninth, albeit many laps down.
He later replaced the Lotus with a year-old Brabham BT18. He then decided to head to England, with an ambition to race in F3, and after earning some cash as a mechanic in the Far East he arrived on May 9th 1969. Like many Kiwis before him, he saw McLaren as his natural home.
“I’d contacted a few friends in Britain concerning a job here and had written to Bruce McLaren,” he said in a 1974 Autosport interview. “But I’d never met him, nor knew who he was. I arrived on the Thursday, and went straight to Earls Court.
“Meanwhile my friends had talked to Phil Kerr at McLarens and on the Saturday I took the Green Line bus down to see McLaren. I went in round the back and two guys recognised me, Alan McCall and Jimmy Stone, but there was this guy with his back to me. When I asked to see Mr McLaren he turned round and said, ‘I presume you’re Mr Nicholson.’”
He’d got the job – he was given responsibility for building the team’s Can-Am Chevy V8 engines, working under the supervision of American George Bolthoff. Bruce duly won the 1969 Can-Am title with engines that Nicholson had helped to prepare in England. John’s driving talents came to good use, and he did some testing at Goodwood.
In late 1969 Bolthoff came up with the idea of setting up an engine shop in the USA at which to prepare both Can-Am and Indy engines. The plan was that John should start the 1970 working in England, before moving to this new McLaren Engines Inc facility in Livonia, near Detroit.
It was of course to be a fraught season for the team. In May Hulme suffered serious burns at Indianapolis, and then in June Bruce was killed at Goodwood in a Can-Am testing accident.
Having headed to the States John wrote to team boss Teddy Mayer saying he wanted to return to the UK, and he did so at the end of the year, after the recuperating Hulme had clinched the 1970 Can-Am title. His timing was good, because Cosworth announced that for 1971 it didn’t want to service the whole F1 grid’s DFV engines. Nicholson was given the job of preparing those of McLaren.
“I’d never seen a DFV in my life,” he said. “I pulled one apart and thought, ‘I’d better go to Cosworths for a couple of days.’ There I was helped by Alan Peck and learnt by pulling them apart and putting them together. With no knowledge, but the help of four good guys and a small place, we set to work doing McLaren’s DFVs. I had to supervise, and it took two weeks for one man to build an engine.
“They didn’t give much BHP, about 400 to 420, although suddenly we got a 440 engine, ‘061,’ Denny’s favourite. These freak engines turned up in many teams during the 1971 season.”
In March 1972 Hulme scored McLaren’s first GP win for three years, and the first with an engine overseen by John, at Kyalami.
It was a busy time for John, for in 1971 he also resumed his own racing career, driving a March in the Formula Atlantic series, before moving to a Lyncar chassis for ‘72. At one stage he crunched the nose at Oulton Park, and unable to afford he a new one, he fitted a McLaren F1 nose that Hulme and tried and rejected!
At the end of 1972 he was offered a job by March Engineering – company boss Max Mosley wanted him to prepare the team’s BMW F2 engines, and there was even a chance for John to race as well. He eventually rejected the offer, but he had itchy feet, and it had set him thinking.
“I went back to McLarens determined to leave, go it alone, and continue in Atlantic. It was a Saturday afternoon and when I got back, Teddy Mayer was at McLarens. I told him what I was going to do, but he wouldn’t hear of it. We went to Phil Kerr’s house that evening, and by the time I’d left, we had a business contract to go into overhauling McLaren’s DFVs as a separate business.”
John found a premises in Hounslow, and with all bar one of his original colleagues, established Nicholson-McLaren Racing Engines in early 1973. That year Denny Hulme scored the new company’s first GP win in Sweden, and later Peter Revson won at Silverstone and again in Canada.
Meanwhile John’s own racing career flourished as he won the 1973 British Formula Atlantic title, repeating his success in 1974. That year also made own foray into F1 with a Lyncar chassis, with which he did the two British non-championship races, although he failed to qualify at the British GP. He would make his one and only Grand Prix start at Silverstone in 1975, crashing out in the rain. The main problem he had was finding the time to fit his own racing around his business, and by 1977, he had decided to hang up his helmet.
He was a busy man off track. In 1974 McLaren ran a third works car, with Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi in Marlboro colours, and Mike Hailwood in Yardley livery, so there were more engines to service. In addition he picked up work from Graham Hill’s Embassy team. That year Fittipaldi scored McLaren’s first World Championship win, powered by John’s engines.
And the race wins would keep on coming. Fittipaldi finished second in the World Championship in 1975, and then James Hunt scored a sensational title success in 1976. Hunt continued to be a pacesetter in 1977, winning three races.
McLaren then went through a bad patch until Ron Dennis came on board at the end of 1980, and John Barnard’s carbon chassis was introduced for 1981. John Watson and Niki Lauda scored some memorable successes, but the tide was turning towards turbos, and the days of the Cosworth were numbered.
In late 1983 McLaren began the switch to the Porsche-built TAG Turbo, and Nicholson’s involvement with the team was over. However, there would continue to be a link as John turned his attention to servicing DFVs for many historic racing contenders, including of course some McLarens.
John retired to New Zealand several years ago, but the company he founded is still operational, in racing, engineering and aviation, although there has been no direct connection with McLaren for some time.