Archive for the ‘Fantasy Cars’ Category
“You snooze, you lose” have never been truer in the case of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book Fantasy Gifts, when a dozen special edition McLaren 12C Spiders sold within two hours last week. The Spider includes a M838T 3.8 liter V8 twin-turbo engine, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and air brakes and retails at $354,000. The price includes diamond-cut wheels, a luggage set, and two business-class airfare tickets to London, two nights accommodation at the Coworth Park Hotel, a tour of the McLaren Technology Center and a VIP dinner with Ron Dennis, Chairman of McLaren.
There were no losers on the latest stunt by Cadillac and John Hennessey, as they took the street-legal 1,200-hp, twin-turbo specially-tuned Cadillac CTS-V coupe on the newest toll road just outside of Austin. How else are you going to test toll road stations for their accuracy at triple-digit speeds? Cops were on hand to measure speeds and take care of safety. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, don’t try this at home!
In what seems like a prediction from Back to The Future, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has predicted that a majority of cars one the road in 2040 will be driven autonomously. They’re basing their forecast on technology from GM, Audi, BMW, Stanford University, Google, and Toyota.
The timeline for autonomous cars hitting the road en masse keeps getting closer. GM’s Cadillac division expects to produce partially autonomous cars at a large scale by 2015, and the automaker also predicts it will have fully autonomous cars available by the end of the decade. Audi and BMW have also shown self-driving car concepts, with the former working with Stanford to pilot a modified TT up Pikes Peak. Meanwhile, Google is ripping along at its own rapid pace with a fleet of fully autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids that have logged over 300,000 miles. And the company has pushed through legislation that legalizes self-driving cars in Nevada. California is close behind, and Google has also been busy lobbying joyriding lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
But while we know that robo-cars are coming, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently released predictions that autonomous cars will account for up to 75 percent of vehicles on the road by the year 2040. The organization went even further, forecasting how infrastructure, society and attitudes could change when self-driving cars become the norm around the middle of the century.
IEEE envisions an absence of traffic signs and lights since highly evolved, self-driving cars won’t need them, and it believes that full deployment could even eliminate the need for driver’s licenses.
While this all sounds sci-fi, we’re already starting to see separate threads of this autonomous-car future being weaved in current real-world tests.
It’s been assumed that the largest hurdle for autonomous cars is building the infrastructure. Not so, says Dr. Alberto Broggi, IEEE senior member and professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma in Italy. Broggi, the director of a 2010 project that successfully piloted two driverless cars on an 8,000-mile road trip from Parma to Shanghai, points out that two current types of self-driving cars will need less infrastructure, not more.
“The Google cars are based on very precise maps and they have sensing primarily based on a LIDAR technology,” he told Wired. “The cars that we tested on the route from Parma to Shanghai had no maps, and had sensing primarily based on cameras. In both cases, the cars have no help from the infrastructure.” CNN, 18 Sep 2012.
Read more about the predictions on CNN.
Cadillacs are known for comfort and style, not horsepower or speed. But with the 2013 Hennessey VR1200, that reputation changes. The mega-horsepower engine has a top speed of 242 MPH, and can reach speeds of 200 MPH in a very short and blurry mile.
The 2013 VR1200 Twin Turbo Coupe ditches the stock block and blower for a 7.0-liter lump and a pair of turbos. With innards like forged pistons, connecting rods and a forged crankshaft, the engine is good for 1,226 horsepower and 1,109 pound-feet of torque at the flywheel. The company says the finished product is basically a de-tuned version of the same beating heart that powers the Venom GT. Hennessey also swapped the stock brakes for 15.1-inch carbon ceramic rotors front and rear pressed by eight-piston clamps at the bow and six-piston calipers on the stern. Autoblog, 6 Sep 2012.
Ready for some serious eye candy? Here’s a few shots from the 2012 Concours d’Elegance Show in Pebble Beach. Including the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo owned by Paul & Judy Andrews that was named Best of Show 2012.
All photos Copyright © 2012 by Kimball Studios/Courtesy of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
ICON is an LA company that restores and redesigns classic cars. Owned by Jamie and Jonathan Ward, they promise “classic styling, modern performance, and timeless utility.” And what they did to this Ford Bronco delivers. From the grille to the handles, everything is beautifully and classically done. Click on the image above to see all the details of this ICON project.
Images via The Fox is Black and ICON.
Audi cars are well known for solid performance, but not necessarily for futuristic or innovative design. That’s changed with the all-new Urban Concept. A fully electric car scheduled for sale in the UK in 2013. It features a go-kart style design, lithium battery powered engines, and a single speed transmission with top speeds of 60 mph.
The obvious target is European city dwellers. With incredibly high gas prices in Europe, I’m sure the Urban Concept with its battery powered engines and low ticket price will be very popular. The Urban Concept will cost £8,800 or $13,600.
Read more about the Audi Urban Concept by clicking here.
Looking for a holiday gift for a VW enthusiast? This 1962 VW Camper Van Kit from LEGO should do. For a mere $164.99 this baby can be yours. Here’s the description from LEGO:
This authentic camper van is a replica of the classic Volkswagen Camper Van from 1962. Every iconic feature is here! On the outside, the terrific detailing includes ‘V’ shape three-way color split at the front, rounded roof and window frames, opening ‘splittie’ safari windshield, opening doors, iconic pop-up roof with textile curtain surround, roof rack, rear side air intake vents and lots more! The detailing is equally impressive on the inside, from the authentic VW air-cooled flat four cylinder ‘boxer’ engine, front cabin bench seat, gear stick, angled dashboard and iconic spherical speedometer, to custom LEGO features like folding rear bench seat, folding dinette table, closet with mirror and even a painting!
It’s available on Amazon (which is running a deal for a free Gund bear when you purchase more than $75 in toys).