New Yamaha Byson

Bajaj Pulsar Fairing Motorcycles Pics

Bajaj Pulsar Fairing Motorcycles Pics

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Motor Suzuki Skydrive Dynamatic 125 cc reviews

Foto Motor Suzuki Skydrive Dynamatic 125 cc
Rumor about the plan to accompany the Thailand Suzuki Sky Drive to Indonesia has be appear true, due to Suzuki Indonesia appointed to launched the Suzuki Dynamatic in April 2009.
Suzuki carefully changes the Sky Drive to Dynamatic intend to abstain barter abash because Suzuki Indonesia has already accept artefact with name Sky which is Suzuki Sky Wave.
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New Honda Megapro

Aston Martin One-77 to show at Villa D’Este this week

The new Aston Martin One-77 will show in completed form at Villa D'Este this weekend

The new Aston Martin One-77 will show in completed form at Villa D'Este this weekendFrom rumours that the Aston Martin One-77 had been canned, to confirmation that the first Aston Martin One-77 would be in the flesh at Geneva, the One-77 has created a few stories in the last couple of months. But now Aston Martin have the completed car ready, and are planning on showing it this weekend at Concorso d’Eleganza at the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como, the same venue as Bugatti are planning on showing at least one of the new Bugatti Veyron L’Edition Centenaires.

For the first time we will be able to see the One-77 with full running gear and a complete interior – just as you would hope. Aston Martin are raising big expectations on the interior (which is a strong point for Aston anyway, so we expect this to be exceptional) by claiming “The interior environment blends the stunning detail of the exterior and draws it inside with incredible meticulousness through the use of exotic materials and hand made parts detailing the quintessence of Aston Martin engineering and design expertise”. Wow!

In case you’ve forgotten, the Aston Martin One-77 is Aston’s Super-Super car, expected to cost £1,000,000 + tax. It will feature a 700bhp V12 offering a 0-60mph time of a little over 3 seconds and a top speed comfortably in excess of 200mph. It will be the most extreme version of everything Aston Martin represent, and without doubt the most expensive car Aston Martin has ever produced.

Aston Martin One-77 UK Debut Salon Privé

The Aston Martin One-77 will make its UK debut at Salon Prive in July

The Aston Martin One-77 will make its UK debut at Salon Privé in JulyAston Martin brought us the first sight of the Aston Martin One-77 at Geneva in February, but that wasn’t the finished car and only lasted a day on the stand before it was replaced by the Lagonda Concept. Aston were eager to get the car back to the UK to finish preparing it fully for its first public outing at Villa d’Este last month. But now we get a chance to see it in the UK, with confirmation that the Aston Martin One-77 will be at Salon Privé at the Hurlingham Club in London from 22-24th July.

Salon Privé is an event similar in nature to that at Villa d’Este – lots of high-end modern and classic cars on show in sumptuous surroundings. It’s a petrol-head’s dream event.

But the Aston Martin One-77 won’t be the only headline grabber at this year’s event. Aston Martin are also bringing along the Aston Martin V12 Vantage and the Aston Martin DBS Volante. So for those, like me, who adore the lines of every Aston Martin ever made, it is a must-go event.

Mercedes will also be there to show-off their Maybach Zeppelin. In case you didn’t know, the Maybach Zeppelin is Maybach’s grosser-grosser edition, with extra kit and tacky taste putting the price tag up to an unbelievable £500,000. Which for a titivated long wheelbase S Class is really just taking liberties. I’ll give this one a miss, thanks all the same.

Also scheduled to turn up are Morgan with the Morgan Aero Super Sport, Lotus with the new Lotus Evora and Maserati with the GranTurismo S Automatic and the UK debut of the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S.

Salon Privé will be worth the cost of the entrance fee for the Aston Martin One-77 alone. The rest is a bonus!

Aston Martin One-77 – in the flesh

The completed Aston Martin One-77 revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este

The completed Aston Martin One-77 revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’EsteIt’s true, we did get to see what looked like a complete Aston Martin One-77 at the Geneva Motor Show. Sadly, it didn’t stay around long. It needed to get back to the UK to get a real interior – amongst other things – presumably back to where we saw it prior to Geneva, when we let you know it it would be shown despite rumours the whole project was being canned. And for reasons best know to AM, they replaced it on the stand with the Lagonda Concept – a huge, ugly SUV that was condemned roundly by all who saw it (although I have to admit it did grow on me – a bit).

But as we told you the other day, Aston Martin decided that the perfect place to show an ostensibly finished One-77 was the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. Which, if it hadn’t rained (which thankfully it didn’t the whole time) would have been idyllic (actually, we had heard on the grapevine that Aston Martin had agreed that the first showing would be at this year’s Salon Prive at the Hurlingham Club in Fulham – glad we didn’t run that as a story!).

I have to say the Aston Martin One-77 does look as glorious in the flesh as we hoped. And the interior is special, just as we expected, although it’s true to say that the very few lucky owners of this £1,000,000 supercar will probably spec up the interior to suit their own tastes (or lack of, if some of the Veyrons we’ve seen are anything to go by).

And if you can ever say a car looks worth this price, this one does. An awful lot more so than the similarly priced Lamborghini Reventon.

Still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This beholder loves it!

Aston Martin Shop – at the Nurburgring

Aston Martin has opend a 2500 sq ft shop at the Nurburgring selling accessories and trinkets

Aston Martin has opened a 2500 sq ft shop at the Nurburgring selling accessories and trinketsCar makers are struggling; we all know that. And most of those at the high end are struggling even more. So what to do? Hold on and pray seems to be the order of the day, but some makers are trying to diversify and tap in to other markets. Bentley, for example, has been using its under worked craftsmen to make furniture whilst others, like Ferrari, have been busy opening Merchandise stores.

And now Aston Martin has decided it’s time to play shopkeeper, so they have opened up a new merchandise store at the Nurburgring. And they’re in good company, as both Nissan and Ferrari have recently done the same.

But this is as much about the Nurburgring’s intention of becoming a leisure and business centre as it is about being a sales refuge for beleaguered car makers. But this is Aston Martin’s first foray in to proper merchandising, and the 2500 sq ft store has on offer the entire ‘Aston Martin Collection’, which includes luggage, accessories, clothing, gifts and the Aston Martin 007 Range. You can also get Hacket clothing, team wear and model cars. And who knows, they may even flog a car or two.

If successful, Aston Martin may well try emulating Ferrari and opening up stores elsewhere. Maybe they’ll have more luck selling trinkets than cars. But if it helps keep them afloat until the economic madness abates, who can blame them?

Aston Martin Cygnet Concept – an ‘Urban’ Aston Martin

The Aston MArtin Cygnet Concept - an 'Urban' Aston Martin based on the Toyota iQ

The Aston Martin Cygnet Concept - an 'Urban' Aston Martin based on the Toyota iQThe last Aston Martin concept we saw was the big Lagonda SUV Concept at Geneva in March. It wasn’t received with unmitigated delight, but Aston Martin said it was just that – a concept – to get views and opinion on the future direction of the Lagonda marque. But now we have a concept from Aston Martin which is about as far removed from the Lagonda SUV Concept as you could get – the Aston Martin Cygnet.

I have to confess, we didn’t see this coming – an Aston Martin based on the pocket-sized Toyota iQ. This must, by a very long way, be the smallest Aston Martin ever conceived. But it seems to have been conceived to be the ‘Urban’ alternative to a big DB9 or DBS. A cost-effective and economical run-around that offers all of Aston Martin’s design and luxury, but in an economical and urban-friendly package.

Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez said:

Now is the right time for Aston Martin to take this first bold step to embark on this special project – made possible with the support of an organisation of Toyota’s stature and capability and the intelligent design and perfect city car package of the iQ.

Much work is still required, but I am confident that this project could become reality in the not too distant future. This concept – akin to an exclusive tender to a luxury yacht – will allow us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a completely new segment of the market.

Now whether Aston Martin intends this to be a stand-alone model, or whether they are thinking of appeasing the Environ-Mentalists by giving one away with every DB9 or DBS bought is unclear.

But it certainly is a new twist on the ‘Spare Wheel’!

Aston Martin Rapide interior shots surface

These appear to be the first official images of the interior of the Aston Martin Rapide

This appears to be the first official image of the interior of the Aston Martin RapideThe Aston Martin Rapide has been on its way for what seems like forever. But finally, it’s almost here. The plan is to have the Rapide at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and have the car on sale in early 2010.

So it’s no real surprise, with the Aston Martin Rapide actually getting to the point of being production ready, that shots (or renderings, probably) have surfaced. We had ‘official’ shots of the Aston Martin Rapide in April, and now we have an interior shot. Not the biggest – or most enlightening – shot, but they do seem to be real, rather than the work of an enthusiastic amateur Photoshopper.

So what do we see? Well, no surprises really – it’s a bigger DB9! But that’s not a criticism. The Aston Martin DB9 does have one of the best interiors there is. And this AM Rapide interior seems to be a dead-ringer for the DB9 – but with ample room in the back.

It would appear that stretching the beautiful DB9 to create the Rapide really has worked. That 10″ stretch has meant the roofline has been raised by 2-3″ to keep the proportions as elegant. Which means that there won’t just be legroom in the back of the Rapide, but half-decent headroom too.

So it looks like a four-door, four-seater Aston Martin saloon is going to work – very well. The back seat passengers appear to be getting properly bolstered seats, and of course they are sunk nicely in to the seats surrounded by the car and a substantial rear centre console. Doubtless swathed in leather with the centre console incorporating controls for the entertainment systems and rear climate with cupholders etc.

Expect performance in the Aston Martin Rapide to be ‘adequate’. It’s expected to get a 470bhp version of Aston’s V12 which should give sub 5.0 second 0-60 time. And we’re pretty sure it will slot in somewhere between the Aston Martin DB9 and Aston Marin DBS in price – somewhere around the £145k mark.

Expect much more meat to flesh out these bones in the coming weeks as the official reveal finally nears.

Salon Prive 2009 – a Good ‘Do’

Salon Prive 2009 - a damn good do

Salon Prive 2009 - a verygood 'do'If ever I took my Dad out to an event and he enjoyed himself, he always said the same thing – “That was a good do. Thanks”. And so it is with Salon Prive – a ‘Good Do’, thanks.

And it really is. Yes, the price of entry is a somewhat eye-watering £125-200 (depending on when you go). Which does seem a hell of a lot of money for a car show. But you don’t get a car show in the normal sense. You don’t have a big, sweaty hanger crammed to the hilt with kids and dreamers, punctuated with huge queues to see the most prosaic of Hyundais. It’s more of a Garden Party that just happens to have some of the most expensive cars on the planet littered around the sumptious grounds.

But no one is precious about the cars. You can walk up to the new Rolls Royce Ghost or Aston Martin One-77 or new Jaguar XJ or the Morgan Aero or any of the cars on show; open up the door and climb in. No one minds. It really is as if you’re at friend’s garden party and he’s laid on a bit of entertainment. Not only that, but he’s laid on some tasty barbequed lobster and an endless supply of Champagne. And let’s face it, if you popped up the road to Chelse for a lobster lunch and a bottle or two of Champagne, you wouldn’t see much change out of a few hundred quid. So suddenly, the ticket price looks a bargain.

It is true that some of the more exotic car makers have given Salon Prive a miss. Which is a shame – more for them than us. No Ferrari; no Lamborghini; no Pagani. But you did get Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Maserati, Lotus, Maybach SLR, Tesla and Morgan. You also got to see a host of spectacular machinery from some of the more niche exotica like Veritas, Invicta, Aspid, Eagle and Vulca. The sort of cars you just don’t get at a ‘Regular’ car show. And of course you also get a mouth-watering display of Classic Cars at Salon Prive.

We’ll be doing a few more pieces on some of the less common exotica from Salon Prive in the next few days, but for now the gallery below has pictures of just some of the cars at this year’s Show. Pictures include the Aston Martin One-77, DBS Volante ,V12 Vantage, Aspid, Invicta S1, Lotus Evora, Maybach Zeppelin, Morgan Aero Supersport, Rolls Royce EX200, Tesla Roadster and the Veritas RSIII.

Aston Martin DBS R in the works?

Are Aston Martin working on a DBSR - an uprated DBS?

Are Aston Martin working on a DBSR - an uprated DBS?It could just be a rumour, but we’re hearing it from quite a few places, including the Nurburgring where Aston Martin have recently set up shop. The word is that Aston Martin are working on a more focused, harder-edged DBS. The Aston Martin DBSR, perhaps?

If the rumours are true, and we’re starting to think they are, then the DBS will be following in the footsteps of its predecessor – the Aston Martin Vanquish. The Vanq got an upgrade package after a few years to the Vanquish S (but it seems unlikely that AM will dub the upgraded DBS the DBS S, but who knows?). So it would be pretty logical to do the same for the DBS. But will it make as much difference as the S package on the Vanquish did? The Vanquish S got a 60bhp jump over the standard Vanquish, plus more torque, better brakes and tweaked suspension.

If the AM DBS were to become the DBS R – and receive similar treatment to the Vanquish – then we could be looking at something in the region of 575bhp. Which would probably drop the big Aston to under four seconds to 60 mph and push it over 200 mph.

As we said, just rumours for now. But we’re beginning to take them seriously. More news when we get it

Cool Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin Rapide on the move in the video below.

Aston Martin Rapide on the move in the video below.There really are some big advantages of having been in the car news game for a long, long time. Cars UK is a relative newcomer compared in particular to people like Autocar, which is about as old as car magazines get. Which probably explains why Autocar editor Steve Cropley was lucky enough to find himself in Kuwait and get himself in to the passenger seat of the new Rapide, next to Simon Barnes, Aston Martin’s project manager.

There’s lots of talk about how the Rapide handles like a DB9 despite being substantially bigger. And that it only weighs in at around 100kg more than the DB9. Also discussed is the Rapide’s ability to cope with the extreme heat in Dubai (not that that is going to be a big issue for UK buyers. Today’s hot at 29 degrees, but that’s positively chilly compared to Kuwait’s 43 degrees).

Steve also gets to park himself in the Rapide on the move. And it’s not the roomiest back seat we’ve ever seen, although he does seem to have enough headroom he seems to be ‘Snug’ to say the least. But I suppose it does prove you can get overweight, middle-aged men like me and Steve in to the back of an Aston Martin. And that’s the first time you can really say that since the Lagonda.

Enjoy the video. It tells you far more than any of the artfully-lit renderings we’ve seen to date. And probably more about the interior than the photos we had a week ago of the Rapide.

1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 ‘Jarvis Torpedo’ at R.M. Auctions

Rolls Royce Phantom 1 'Jarvis Torpedo' at Salon Prive, to be auctioned by R.M Auctions

Rolls Royce Phantom 1 'Jarvis Torpedo' at Salon Prive, to be auctioned by R.M AuctionsWhen we went off to Salon Prive last month for a day of lobster, champagne and exotic cars, we did piece on the Salon Prive Classic Cars. And in amongst the Classic Cars was a 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 ‘Jarvis Torpedo’, which RM Auctions were displaying as a prelude to their ‘Automobiles of London’ Auction in October.

Well, we’ve now got a bit more information on the Phantom, and a few of the other goodies RM have in store, so we thought you might like the gen.

The elegant, streamlined 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I ‘Jarvis Torpedo’, chassis number 17EX, boasts a rich history. One of only three experimental chassis produced by Rolls-Royce at the time, 17EX was completed and sold new to Maharaja Hari Sigh Bahadur, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, who kept the car until 1932. The car remained in India up until 1976 when it was shipped to Europe.

Beautifully restored, 17EX has since been shown on numerous occasions, including at the distinguished 1996 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, where it was awarded the Trofeo Rolls-Royce award for the most elegant Rolls-Royce, followed by an appearance at Pebble Beach in 2004 where it was displayed as part of the marque’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Joining 17EX at the Battersea auction will be a unique 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Boattail Skiff, chassis number 54PB, which is well known in Rolls-Royce circles and regarded as one of the most instantly recognizable of all Rolls-Royces

Another notable early consignment for the London auction is the 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Team Car ‘VMF 64’, which boasts an impressive race history, including Le Mans and Mille Miglia provenance. Retained by the factory for five years and employed by Aston Martin Chairman, David Brown as his personal transport in the 1950 – 1955 era, VMF 64 is regarded as the most successful of the three early Team DB2 sports cars.

Over the years it has been driven by such period greats as Abecassis, Macklin, Sommer and Brackenbury, and its competition career has included two Le Mans, two Mille Miglias, two Alpine Rallies and one Ulster TT, Shelsley Walsh and Silverstone event. Notably, in 1951 it finished third overall at Le Mans. In 1956, after the Factory’s conversion to fast road specification, David Brown sold VMF 64 to his friend, the Honourable Gerald Lascelles who at the time was the President of the B.R.D.C. This example has remained in the family’s ownership for the past 53 years.

There’s a heap of other tasty stuff on offer at the RM Auction, which takes place on 28th October at Battersea Evolution.

Lagonda working on an S-Class based Concept?

The Concept Lagonda showed at Geneva was a bit of a PR disaster

The Concept Lagonda showed at Geneva was a bit of a PR disasterLagonda are preparing a luxury saloon concept based on the Mercedes S Class, which may make an appearance at Frankfurt.Aston Martin are still intent on bringing back the Lagonda, despite the less than universal praise for the big SUV concept they showed at Geneva this year. And if the rumours are to be believed, it will be a big, luxury saloon, based on the Mercedes S Class.

After the pasting Aston Martin received over the Lagonda SUV Concept, David Richards – Aston Martin boss – said that the SUV was just to test the water, and that there would be a new Lagonda concept in May that would be entirely different. Er, it’s September now. What happened? But we did say when we reported this that what Lagonda should really be doing is producing a Maybach-style car, but with style and panache instead of glitz and gross.

And it looks like that is exactly what Aston Martin are doing. The rumour is that they have taken the S-Class platform and created an ultra-luxury saloon car, likely to be powered by a hybrid engine – perhaps even that which powers the recently released Mercedes S400 Hybrid. But don’t worry, there will also be a nice creamy V12 option as well.

Now this makes much more sense. This is where AM should be pitching Lagonda – head on with Rolls Royce, Bentley and Maybach. And, despite the panning the Mercedes GL based SUV concept received, a new Lagonda Saloon car based on Mercedes S-Class underpinnings is the perfect way to go.

There is a possibility that we will get to see the new Lagonda Concept at Frankfurt next week.

Aston Martin Rapide Frankfurt launch

The Aston Martin Rapide launches in Frankfurt

The Aston Martin Rapide launches in FrankfurtAston Martin has revealed the production ready version of the 470bhp Aston Martin Rapide.Finally – about 300 years since the Aston Martin Rapide was first shown as a concept – Aston Martin has launched the car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. But it is beautiful. Even though we’ve seen lots of it -including an Aston Martin Rapide video – it still makes you gasp (I know, I love Aston Martins).

Looking just like it has since we first saw it – with very few detail changes – the Rapide shows just how good a four-door supercar based on its two-door sibling can be. Take note, Porsche.

The exterior of the Rapide is a joy, with hidden door handles keeping the lines sleek, LED sidelights and bi-xenon headlights and big, 20″ alloys. The interior is sumptuous and inviting, although a little on the snug side in the back. But there’s no shortage of creature comforts, with a 1000 watt B&O sound system, Climate, rear centre console, organic electroluminescent instruments and plenty of connectivity.

The Rapide is powered by Aston Martin’s creamy V12 (a Ford-derived inheritance) producing 470bhp and 433lb’ft of torque, enough to propel the Rapide to 60mph in 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 188mph. The power is driven through a six-speed Touchtronic 2 ‘box.

Top Gear does Romania

The Transfagarasan Road in the Carpathian Mountains - Scene of e new TG episode

The Transfagarasan Road in the Carpathian Mountains - Scene of e new TG episodeThe Top Gear Crew are out filming Series 14 in Romania on the stunning Transfagarasan Road in the Carpathian Mountains with a Ferrari, an Aston Martin and a Lamborghini.We won’t get the latest series of Top Gear (Series 14) on our screens until November, but the Top Gear Crew are out filming – in HD, no less – in Romania. Why Romania? Well, you only need to take one look at the picture of the Transfagarasan Road in the Carpathian Mountains above – which the Romanian Authorities have obligingly closed – to see why. You can just see the Mad Mullah of North Wales doing the same for the boys, can’t you?

The Transfagarasan Road runs through some of the most stunning scenery in the Carpathian Mountains, with endless, sweeping, twisty roads and sound enhancing tunnels. So the boys are going to have fun. What are they driving? It looks like they have a Lamborghini LP560-4 Spyder, an Aston Martin DBS Volante and a Ferrari California. So hopefully they had good weather.

The boys – Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May – appear to have made a good impression on the locals, enjoying the delights of the local cuisine and imbibing the local hooch. Should be a good episode.

It’s a hard life.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage – US bound

The spectacular Aston Martin V12 Vantage is US bound

The spectacular Aston Martin V12 Vantage is US boundAston Martin has revealed the V12 Vantage will be sold in America; the Aston Martin Cygnet will go on sale in 2010 and the Rapide should sell 2,000 a year.It’s eight months since Aston Martin announced that they were turning the V8 Vantage in to the car it should always have been – by dropping in the V12. And so was born the Aston Martin V12 Vantage, a car many said would never be made because it would undermine sales of the the DBS.

But Aston Martin had a response to the harm the V12 Vantage may inflict on other Astons – it limited the run. We were told that just 1,000 V12 Vantages were going to be made. But it looks like that may be about to change after Aston boss – Dr Ulrich Bez – revealed in an interview with Car & Driver that the V12 Vantage is in the process of being homologated for the US. Which is very good news for all Aston Martin fans on the other side of the pond. And inevitably – even in these constrained times – it means that 1,000 V12 Vantages will probably not be enough to go round the world now the US comes in to the equation.

But the good doctor had a few more nuggets of information up his sleeve. Aston are aiming to shift around 2,000 a year of their Porsche Panamera busting Aston Martin Rapide we saw finally launched at Frankfurt; the Aston Martin Cygnet – the tiny AM based on the Toyota iQ – will launch next year; and there is a new Lagonda concept in the pipeline.

Now two of these we’ll take as news – we didn’t know production numbers for the Rapide, and this is the first confirmation we’ve had that the Cygnet will go in to production. But we do keep being told that there’s a new Lagonda concept coming. The last new was that there would be a Mercedes S Class based Lagonda, and prior to that – back in March – David Richards – Prolink and AM chief – said that there would be a new Lagonda concept in May, which would be nothing like the poorly recieved Lagonda SUV Concept at Geneva.

New Aston Martin Rapide

The Aston Martin Rapide promo video below

The Aston Martin Rapide promo video belowWe have video of the new Aston Martin Rapide testing at MIRA and the Nurburgring and driving in the mountains of Italy.We finally got the launch proper of the DB9 derived Aston Martin Rapide at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. Little changed from the Rapide Concept we saw what seems like a decade ago, it is the most elegant and successful creation so far of a four-door, four-seat supercar.

But now comes the problem of shifting the Rapide in the real world. Aston has a problem or three at the moment, not just with low sales but also with their main investor – the Kuwait Investment Dar – having some severe funding issues. But never mind, the Rapide is a glorious car and deserves to take a slice of the market.

So Aston Martin are starting the offensive with this promo video, chronicling the development of the Rapide (I know, it should be at least three hours long to justify its gestation – but it’s just three minutes). We see the Rapide doing a bit of high speed testing at MIRA and on the Nurburgring before a pair of Rapides drive in to mountains in Italy to play.

The video tells us nothing new, but the Rapide is always worth a look and some of the shots are impressive. Just to remind you, the Rapide has a V12 6.0 litre with 470bhp and a 0-60mph of about 5 seconds. It doesn’t match up to the Panamera Turbo’s performance, but it doesn’t need to – just look at it. Unlike the Panamera it’s a completely convincing super-saloon.

RHD Mercedes CLK-GTRs sold

RHD Mercedes CLK-GTR Roadster. Sold at auction for £616,000

RHD Mercedes CLK-GTR Roadster. Sold at auction for £616,000RM Auctions London sale last night sold the RHD Mercedes CLK-GTRs, a 1950 Aston Martin DB2 and a 1969 Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulet.Last month we reported that R.M. Auctions were going to auction the only two right hand drive versions of the mighty Mercedes CLK-GTR. The only coupe and the only roadster ever made were put under the hammer last night in London and sold above estimate.

The CLK-GTR Coupe fetched £522,500 and the Roadster fetched £616,000 (prices include buyers premium). Which seems like a great deal of money for a couple of decade-old Mercedes, and is above the estimate set by RM. But actually, the price is a bit on the low side.

The problem with these two cars is that they were right hand drive. But they’re the only RHD ones made, I hear you cry. True enough, being RHD makes them unique but it also makes them less valuable. They could only really sell to a UK buyer, one from Hong Kong or maybe Singapore. Import duty in other RHD markets such as Australia, South Africa and India would – in some cases – have doubled the cost of the cars, making them not the most attracative buy.

It’s bad enough in the UK where imported cars have to pay VAT (15%) and in some cases (depending on history) a 10% import duty. But in countries like India the import duty can be over 100%. A comparable LHD CLK-GTR would command around £800,00 + tax, so these RHD cars were actually something of a snip.

Although these two cars were originally built for the Sultan of Brunei they were not, as had been reported, being sold by him. They were bought some time ago by a Singapore businessman from the Sultan and it was that businessman who put them in the auction after failing to sell them privately.

But it was a successful night for RM with 87% of the lots selling. Another highlight was the sale of 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Team Car ‘VMF 64’ with Le Mans and Mille Miglia provenance which went for £550,000 – a new record. And the Mercedes 600 Pullman Landaulet we reported on a few weeks ago went for five times its estimate – fethcing a pretty remarkable £308,000.

Saab 9-3 Independence Edition Celebrates 1-Year from GM Ownership

The back-and-forth during Saab’s difficult recent history is finally behind them, and the new company is focusing on products. Products like the 9-5 sedan, 9-4X crossover introduced at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, and an updated 9-3 lineup at Geneva.

The company is celebrating its one-year independence from General Motors with a marketing campaign and incentive program. Along with that though, to really seal the deal the Saab has announced a 9-3 Independence Edition.

2011 is set to be a much better year for Saab, and the brand wants to kick it off right. The 9-3 Independence Edition is limited to 366 units, one for each day of the year and an extra for going into 2012 to boot.

In addition, this year also marks the 25th Anniversary of the first Saab convertibles sold. To set the car apart, it gets a unique Amber Orange paint color and aggressive five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with a satin chrome/black finish.

Inside, there is a Parchment colored leather seats with orange highlights, along with carbon fiber accents and a unique instrument panel. The grey and orange color scheme features throughout the interior.

The car is based on the top-of-the line Aero model, and offers the availability of one engine, Saab’s 180 horsepower twin-turbo diesel with six-speed automatic transmission. We were hoping reports about the car getting the 9-5′s 220-horsepower four-cylinder, but they were not to be. Hey, it sure looks cool though doesn’t it? No word on how many units, if any, are allotted to the United States market.

Supercar Sightings: Aston Martin Rapide

As a bonafide “automotive journalist”, I often find myself dreaming about luxury cars I would love to have parked up in my garage. From 2011 models only, these currently include the Fezza 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera and the 2011 Ariel Atom for a nifty track day.

But for an outing with the lads or a nice cruise through the English countryside, there is no vehicle I would like to drive more than the Aston Martin Rapide. So I was naturally excited to see my first Rapide in the flesh on a busy day in Central London.

2011 Aston Martin Rapide

Make no mistake, this thing is a piece of art. With a hand-crafted engine from Gaydon, this AM comes equipped with an all alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12 engine. That’s certainly a mouthful to say to any car novice but needless to say the setup produces 470 horsepower at a lofty 6000 rpm with a noise that is sure to excite any passer-by. So there is literally no need to get messy, the Rapide has as standard a “Touchtronic 2″ six-speed gearbox with an electronic shift-by-wire control system. Again, that’s too much information, but all you need to know is that flicking the magnesium paddle shifters will help you achieve the ridiculous speeds this 4-door car shouldn’t be capable of.

2011 Aston Martin Rapide Side

According to Chief Executive Ulrich Bez, there now exists an Aston Martin for every different segment of the (extremely wealthy) market and this Rapide fills the gap for the typical 2+2 modern family. Except from what we’ve heard, the rear seats really are reserved for the plus 2′s as headroom and leg space is limited. But no worry, with side angle looks like the image above (which is a little blurry I apologise) you will always be riding in style and ready to turn heads no matter where you are.


What I did find quite amazing was the fact that when I first strolled up to the car from the front, I knew it was a different AM from those seen earlier in my life, but it still seemed to have the normal Martin dimensions. At an extremely quick glance I might have mistaken it for a DBS with the menacing grille and air intakes on top of the hood. Walking round the car you do notice the two extra doors, but you also realise how beautifully they have been added to the overall design – this car truly is something and I can’t wait to see my next one. Maybe I’ll even be able to get inside.

A Study Of Opposites At A Stoplight

I pulled up to the 4-way intersection as I headed towards the highway, and I noticed something. A strange sense of something interesting. I looked over to my left, and realized the silver compact hatchback in the turning lane was actually a Chevy Volt, not a Saturn Astra or a VW Golf like you might think at first glance.

It’s the first time I’ve seen a Volt in person, and I was pleasantly surprised. In real life, it’s a hunkered-down low slung looking thing, without the normal reek of hybrid dullness about it. Great looking car. And considering the relative importance of the Volt in the scheme of things, that would be a good enough spotting for me for one day. But let’s zoom the frame out a bit here.

Hmm… A highway on-ramp, a Toyota Minivan for the local Toyota dealer, a stoplight, a… wait. A Cateram 7?

Now that’s not something you see every day! I don’t know if this is a Cateram, Doonkervort, Birkin, Dax, or any of the other 14 million different Lotus 7 clones, but regardless, seeing a Seven on the streets in Raleigh NC (of all places!) is pretty damn strange. Seeing one at the same light as a Chevy Volt is even stranger. Really, how different can two cars get?

On the one hand, you’ve got the Volt, which is so packed full of batteries and computers and electric motors and pistons and seat heaters and computer screens and plugs and gas tanks and probably one of those nefarious “black boxes.” On the other side, you’ve got a 7. Which has… an engine! Some wheels! Slabs of metal to keep water from the front tires off your face! A roof you can put up, if you really feel like it! I feel like two cars can’t get much more different than a Volt and a 7. And to see both of them… at one stoplight… in Raleigh. Unusual to say the least.

Which would I rather have? The 7, of course. This is CarThrottle, not Gizmodo. Sevens stand for everything that is righteous and awesome about sports cars, a design so good it’s been in production basically unchanged since the late 50′s. Light is still the easiest way to go fast. And I’d imagine that by the time the Volt is out of date and out of production, they’ll still be making 7′s, because people will still want them.

(Ed’s note: sorry for the low resolution and general crappiness of these photos. Still, Camera Phones are getting better!)

The Sound Of A Spinning Dorito

Everything I know about rotary engines can be summed up in one sarcastic sentence: “Hey, communism worked in theory too.” That might be oversimplifying things: we can also add “boost goes in, apex seals come out” to the list while we’re at it. It’s safe to say that Felix Wankel’s invention never really achieved the widespread popularity some originally thought it would, but it can’t be said that the rotary doesn’t have it’s loyalists. Rotarys may be torqueless, thirsty, failure-prone, and oil-slurping emissions monsters, but they do sort of dominate on the racetrack.

This post isn’t going to be a “how the hell does a Rotary work, anyway” post -- there’s Wikipedia for that. (Although ask and you shall receive, if there’s any interest in such an article.) One of the greatest things about these engines is the sound an uncorked Rotary makes when it’s being wrung out. So sit back and enjoy the dulcet tones of the Dorito Spinner, one of the oddest engines ever to find it’s way into a production car.

This first video is an RX-7 so far from stock, it should probably be called an RX-10.5. It’s actually got a 3 rotor engine (the 12a/13b were 2-rotors) made up of RX4/5 parts as well as a big T04B boosting at 20psi. This one looks extremely rapid.

Another triple-rotor RX-7 here, this one a third-generation (FD3S) with a Eunos Cosmo 20b 3-rotor boosted to kingdom come. The sound this car makes on boost is just nuts. Notice the welded differential in the back, too? Hardcore.

A 13b (2-rotor) 3rd gen RX7 drag racing in Trinidad(!) The legend of the spinning Dorito has reached far beyond Hiroshima, it seems. This thing takes off like it just got rear-ended by a dump truck. Insane.

I have to assume that when the apocalypse comes, it’s going to sound a little like this. Oh lord. 7 second drag rotary is an impressive sight indeed. This one’s another triple-rotor 20B in an FD chassis RX-7. How much power? Probably a gazillion.

Rotaries are so light and can make so much power they manage to find their way into all sorts of race cars they were never intended to. For instance, how about this 9-second Datsun 510 Wagon?

Ahh, a humble VW Beetle. Little air-cooled flat four, 50 horsepower, the People’s Car… wait, no, drag monster with a turbo 13b in the back, pulling a wheelie on the bars halfway down the track. That’s more like it.

The Datsun 1200: Datsun’s competitor for the Toyota Corolla back in the 70′s. A cute little coupe with a 1200cc pushrod 4, the original couldn’t really punch its way through a wet paper bag. This one’s been augmented with… yup, a turbo 13b rotary engine. It’s starting to seem like everything is better with a little rotary under the hood.

If 2 rotors is good (13b), and 3 rotors is better (20b), then a naturally-aspirated 4-rotor in an RX8 sucking in air through 4 individual throttle bodies is the best. Right? Right.

I’m not the first person to point this out, but a Japanese car has only won LeMans once, and it was powered by a rotary. The 787B’s 4-rotor 26B engine put out 930 horsepower (naturally aspirated!) in qualifying trim, and 700 or so in competition trim. If that’s not a rotary sound to end a post on, I don’t know what is. What else would you suggest?

Porsche Does The Electric Slide

Hybrids. Blech. Sick of hearin’ about em. I don’t know if you are too. Electric motors, like CVT’s, don’t do a whole lot for me. I like gasoline engines, the sound of a working valvetrain, the ticking of injectors, the blare of quad exhaust pipes on the back of a Carrera S as it pulls off of a stoplight. I doubt Porsche really likes hybrids either, which is why it’s been doing them it’s own way. In the past few days, details have snuck out regarding two Porsches with electric motors, and both are interesting from an enthusiast perspective.

First up is the Boxster E. Oh, lord – an Electric Boxster? That’s just what we need. Take the flat six out of the world’s most balanced, neutral automotive chassis and shove in a DC Brushless and some batteries, then let me go take a nap. Actually, don’t hang yourself yet! First of all, there are only three of them, and they’re prototypes, not production vehicles. Porsche is using these Boxster E prototypes to evaluate an all-electric powertrain, and they’ll be rolling around Stuttgart accumulating miles and data. Not a whole lot has been said about the technical specifications, besides the fact they use two electric motors that combine to make 180kW (241bhp) and are powered by a 29KwH battery pack, which is pretty strong. Performance should be similar on the low end to a regular Boxster, but all they’ve given us is a German-language press release and a picture of this vinyl-slathered Boxster, so stay tuned.

More important to consumers who want to buy a car, is the new Panamera S Hybrid. While on paper this combines two of my least favorite things (the Panamera, and Hybrids), the technical specifications are pretty impressive. Under the hood is Audi’s 3.0L supercharged V6 (used in the S4, A6, Q7, etc as well as the Cayenne Hybrid) with 333bhp. This is mated to an electric motor producing 47bhp, for a total of 380bhp. The electric range is about 2km on electric power only, at speeds up to 53mph, although the Panamera S hybrid can be propelled by either or both. The electric motor also acts as the starter for the gas engine as well as a generator (instead of an alternator) for the electrical system.

All that power is sent to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission, and both performance and fuel economy figures are eye-opening. The Panamera S Hybrid will hit 60mph in 5.8 seconds, with a top speed of 168 – hardly a Prius. Fuel-economy figures depend on whether or not the car is fitted with the optional Michelin low-rolling-resistance tires (which seems like an awful idea, honestly) – an average of 33.1mpg on the US with standard tires, or 34.6 with the Michelins. Coincidentally, that makes it the most efficient Porsche ever made – which is like saying you’re the sexiest spelling-bee champion ever, but alright.

Are having crappy, squalling tires on your Porsche worth 1.5mpg? Probably not. Especially when you consider the Panamera’s pricetag: in Europe, where it goes on sale in June of this year, you can pick one up from €106,185. When it goes on sale in the US, it’ll be priced right around $95,000 minus destination fees. The S Hybrid will include adaptive air suspension with PASM, as well as a hybrid-specific display that will monitor system states. Consider though, that the Lexus LS600hL is about $20k more expensive than the Panamera Hybrid S, is significantly more complicated (5.0L V8, complex gear-based CVT, AWD) and doesn’t return nearly as good gas mileage. And let’s not even talk about Mercedes’ oddly-position S400 Hybrid, which is a bit of a snail (0-60 in 7.2 seconds) and can easily top $100k with options. Will the S Hybrid be a big seller? Time will tell. In the mean time, look out for more details and pictures as we approach the Geneva show, where Porsche will be debuting the big hybrid sedan.

Not Your Usual Civic Hatchback

Ahh, the 90′s Civic hatchback: dime a dozen, get ‘em while they’re hot. I know you wanted to pick a flavor, but I hope you like vanilla, ’cause that’s what you’ll get. Right? Now, normally when you look under the hood of an EG-chassis Civic (92-95), you see one these: a D15.

Boring. On a good day, a single-cam D15 16v PGM-FI motor will make 110 or so horsepower. Which is perfectly adequate for a 2,400lb commuter car, and it’ll deliver 40+ MPG on the highway all day long. But if you want to go fast in your Civic Hatch, you’re going to need a bigger motor. How about one that doesn’t even fit under the hood?

Wait, WHAT? No, this photo isn’t photoshopped. That’s an Acura TL engine poking out of an EG Hatch’s hood. What?

I ran into the gentleman that owns this Franken-Honda at my local gas station while I was filling up my car, and I had a moment of cognitive dissonance when I saw the cam covers poking out of the hood. I went up to talk to the owner, who was an older gentleman named Marsh about the car.

The swap was done using a billet-aluminum motor mount kit from noted Honda tuners Hasport, who makes “swap kits” for putting most any sideways Honda motor into most any other sideways-engined Honda. But this has gotta take the cake for plug-and-play insanity. A stock TL engine makes 270 horsepower, or about double what a stock VTEC-equipped D-series I4 does. He pointed to the front tires, which were down to bare cords, and said “it’s a bit hard on the tires, though.” Well, I’d imagine so.

The Franken-Honda continues inside, where this EG sports an entire gauge cluster from a 3.2 CL Type-S Coupe, as well as the shifter. A bagless Momo wheel and some AFR and EGT gauges occupy the A-pillar, but otherwise it’s standard Honda in there.

As far as mods to the engine go, it looks like it’s got a set of stainless headers, a short-ram intake, and some silicone coolant hoses, but really- how much do you need to do to a TL engine in an EG to make it fast?

What’s funny is the relatively ricer-level quality of the rest of the stuff done to the car. The 18″ Motegi wheels are gaudy and probably weigh a metric ton, the clear taillights are just plain abominable, and there’s a big damn hole cut in the bumper for some reason. But when you’ve got a TL V6 in your Civic, I suppose we’ll afford you some ricer liberties. I mean, it’s not like it’s Ivan The Terrible’s Civic Type ARRRR.

It’s surprisingly quiet, too -- although I guess not that surprising considering the car that donated it’s engine to this swap was designed for ferrying around real estate agents and their clients. What crazy engine swaps have you seen? Did any of them make you drop your jaw like this one? Leave a comment for us below!

1992 Mercedes-Benz W140 S Class Review: The Invincible Sedan

If you aren’t aware it’s 2011 and just like every other year we get one year older. Of course, being mortal when we get older you find your body changing over time. You find hair growing out of your ear lobes, you find aches in places where it has never ached before a year ago and your bones creak slightly more than usual. All of these mentioned above will happen to you, unless you’re not human. However, if you’re a car, especially a W140 series Mercedes Benz S-class, you could probably go on forever.

Designed to be the best car in the world, it actually is, or was. First sold in 1991 the W140 Mercedes Benz S-class cost Mercedes Benz about $1billion to develop and had tons of innovation built into it. It was the first production car that had double glazed glass for the windows, power assisted closing for the doors and boot lid (on higher specced models), electric windows that will stop and lower itself if it detected your hands and objects in its way, an electric powered adjustable rear view mirror (so that the ultra lazy can just move their wrist to adjust it) and other incredible sounding gadgetry at the time. Some of these items had filtered to lower Mercedes Benzes and introduced into cars from other manufacturers. It was one, if not the last, over-engineered Mercedes Benz made and it basically cost 25 percent more than the outgoing W126 model because of this. Everything in the W140 felt good to the touch and also felt like it could go on forever.

The car in question that I drove was a black 1992 300SE. This was the base model in the line-up which went up all the way to the V8 500SEL and the V12 600SEL. This was pre-1994, before Mercedes Benz changed the way it named their cars – the S-classes became the S280 or S500L instead of using the ‘SE’ or ‘SEL’ moniker. It had a 2.8liter straight 6 engine that made 190bhp and about 199lb/ft (270Nm) of torque. Adequate for a barge that weighed in at about 1,880kg (for this base model). Unfortunately, due to the weight of the car, you only get 100/bhp per ton, hence the 0-60mph time of about 10.5 seconds. Not very CarThrottle, but what’s very CarThrottle about this car is that it makes the chore of driving a barge easier than you think possible in every location. With the exception of small, tight backlanes.

This car may be almost 20 years old and in car years, being 20 means you’re almost 50. In most 20 year old cars you will find a lack of refinement and a lack of performance in them. If you had a ride in a 20 year old Toyota Camry you may be grinding your teeth and you would hear squeaks rattles and clunks throughout your drive. There are some old Camrys which would still be nice to drive, but these are rare, few and far between. Not to mention utterly dull to drive. But try hop into any Mercedes Benz W140 and you’d be surprised by how much of a sense of occasion a car like this car give you. That three-pointed star up front does this to you.

The leather seats feel good, the driving position isn’t tiring at all. Half a day of dealing with city traffic and I popped out of the car feeling strangely fresh as when I hopped in the car in the morning. I also remember a few of us driving 400 kilometers in one and none of us felt knackered. It is this long legged ability and the high level of refinement of this old Mercedes that makes it worthy of a CarThrottle article.

And it surprisingly handles in an inert sort of way (blame it on that recirculating ball type steering system), slightly feel-less brakes and a typical Mercedes throttle pedal. It isn’t a small car as even this short wheelbase car seems to have tons of space at the rear. It is actually Rolls Royce Silver Spirit huge if you want a comparison of size. But it would still do a U-turn at a busy street junction with such verve that could embarrass smaller cars and it could also be hustled down a tight mountain road if you want to but you actually won’t. I tried giving it more boot than usual around one of the highways but somehow, I seemed to settle into a serene, hushed trot at about 70mph. I suppose this is what stress-feel motoring is all about.

Now being a typical Mercedes from the 1990s it will tell you that it’s understeering very early into a corner. So you have to actually adjust your driving style to suit it – not the other way round. If not it would be akin to wrestling a bull (and it is bull-sized). Drive within its limits and it does its job well. I suppose you shouldn’t hustle a Mercedes S-class as it is more suited for ushering captains of the industry from one meeting to another instead of tackling the Nurburgring. You could take this W140 to the nearest Autobahn for a workout. Even this base model will hit 130mph if it had enough road to do so. It could also do a 100mph cruise all day if you wanted to. And cruising at 100mph in one feels like cruising at half the speed. Such is the refinement of the W140 S-class that you could do this 20 years on without any problems. In fact, if you sat in the later W210 S-class that came after this model you would be hard pressed to differentiate the ride quality and quietness of the cars.

Did I encounter any problems with this car? No. None whatsoever. The individual air-conditioning controls still worked perfectly in this car, the car’s original 6 cylinder engine still sounded sweet (with only a top or cylinder head overhaul to its name). Most of the electrics basically worked fine and there were no sounds of creaks or squeaks aside from the usual leathery squeaks. The 4 speed automatic (pre-1994 models mostly came in the more basic gearbox) worked decently well too.

I suppose the best things about cars like these is that they are now dirt cheap with prices of between a thousand or so pounds to about three thousand pounds for this base 300SE model and you could even get the fully loaded S500 versions for about the same amount (depending on condition of course). Parts may be pricey as it is an S-class – and spare parts for these cars were never as cheap as the smaller C or E class Mercedes. This was the best car in the world, circa 1992, and in 2011, it still drives better than some of the cars today.