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Update January, 2014


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

New cars revealed in Tokyo

Mitsubishi used the 2015 Tokyo auto salon to reveal its most powerful Evo yet, the Evolution 10 Final Concept.
Mitsubishi have apparently called it quits with the Evo 10 to be the last of the popular Evo series, so no Evo 11 to look forward to. However, rather than say there actually will be an Evo 11, they have called this latest iteration the Evolution 10 Final Concept.
Incorporating a retuned ECU and new HKS turbo churning out 353 kW, this is the most powerful Evo yet.
The Final Concept Evo is based on a five-speed GSR and generates 135 kW more power than the GSR, with an upgraded cooling system (larger air intakes and intercoolers) designed to improve thermal dynamics. A new exhaust, adjustable suspension from HKS and 19-inch Rays forged wheels are also added.
Currently it will have a 6 speed auto transmission, but after March this year it can be ordered with a 6 speed manual box.


Mazda MX-5 World Series race car

Mazda has already announced the new MX-5 Cup one-make race series events that will be launched globally in 2016, but this was the first time we'd seen the fully painted race version sitting on slick race rubber.
It is based on the US-spec Cup Car with six-point roll cage, with adjustable suspension, slick tyres, bigger brakes, race harness and seats.
There is an annual four-hour MX-5 Media Race at Japan's Tsukuba Circuit in September this year with 25 examples of the coupe take to the 2 km long track. (Perhaps I should let Mazda know I am available!)
The US-spec car will incorporate a 2.0 liter engine, the Japanese version will get the 1.5 liter SKYACTIV engine that will be offered on the Japan-spec production model, which is due to be in the showrooms in June this year.


Honda's hybrid-Mugen combo

Mugen Grace.

Honda focused heavily on combining its best technologies in a range of hybrid-powered Mugen-tuned production cars. With the Mugen Legend large car leading the way boasting an original Mugen carbon fiber spoiler and rear wing and 20 inch wheels, Honda has also added ‘hybrid’ to other Japanese models to create the Mugen Grace (sold here as the Honda City), Mugen HR-V, Mugen Fit RS AutoSalon Special and Mugen Jade.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I mentioned a famous ‘production’ sports car that had a top speed of 370 km/h with a fuel consumption of 80 L/100 km. With turbocharging it developed more than 1000 BHP. I asked what was it? It was the Porsche 917.
So to this week. There is a car preserved in the Turin Automobile museum, which was built for the Monaco GP of 1935. It had an eight cylinder radial two stroke engine and front wheel drive. What was this car?
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


Bucciali TAV

Bucciali TAV

There have been some amazing motor cars over the years, especially from the late 20’s and early 30’s. The Bucciali TAV was a classic example, built along the lines of the Bugatti Royale.
Bucciali was a French automobile manufactured from 1922 until 1933. Built by brothers Angelo and Paul-Albert Bucciali, the company's first vehicle, produced at Courbevoie, was a cyclecar sold under the name Buc. Initial offerings were powered by 1,340 cc two-cylinder two-stroke engines. In 1925 a 1,600 cc S.C.A.P.-engined model appeared, available in two versions, the "Tourisme" and the "Quatre Speciale" supercharged. A six-cylinder car of 1,500 cc displacement was also offered.
The Paris Motor Show of 1928 had a new Bucciali on display, called the TAV 6. This had infinitely variable automatic auto transmission and FWD and independent suspension all round. This was well before Citroen and DKW presented their FWD’s to the world.
In the 1930s the company produced the Double Huit, also a front-wheel drive model, which was powered by a pair of Continental straight-eight engines mounted side by side, making it a 16 cylinder behemoth. The last of the prototypes took a Voisin 12 cylinder engine.
While it is not known exactly how many of the TAV 12 models were produced, only three are known by automotive enthusiasts to still exist: one in the USA, one in France and one in Canada.


A pick-up you won’t get here

HSV GTS

The world’s fastest pick-up was released in Australia in 2014. Holden Special Vehicles unveiled the world’s fastest pick-up in September and the first 150 sold out in one day despite a THB 2.7 million price tag.
With even more demand, Holden Special Vehicles then built another 250 versions of the HSV GTS Maloo (including 10 for New Zealand) because some longstanding customers missed out.
The HSV GTS Maloo is powered by a supercharged 6.2 liter V8 with 430 kW of power and 740 Nm of torque and can do the zero to 100 km/h dash in 4.5 seconds, as fast as a Porsche. It also has the biggest brakes ever fitted to a pick-up anywhere in the world. With that kind of performance, the owners of these ‘super pick-ups’ will need the big brakes.


Technology that just blows me away

Can you imagine sound technology that would allow you to listen to Beethoven while the kids listen to Ben 10? Sounds too amazing to be true for me, but not so, says a friend Nick Bailey in the UK, representing the Harman Company.
Harman’s Individual Sound Zones (ISZ) is a new in-cabin technology that enables drivers and passengers to create sonic zones, ensuring that all occupants only hear what matters to them.
While there are many different sounds generated in-vehicle, not all of these sounds are relevant to all passengers. Today's explosion of portable electronics and in-vehicle technologies like navigation, hands free calling and Bluetooth connections have dramatically altered our driving habits and in-cabin experience. Navigation prompts and phone calls are important for drivers, but interrupt the music for passengers. Games, audio books and digital videos for one passenger result in a cabin filled with sonic clutter for all. Harman’s new ISZ technology can help reduce that clutter, ensuring that all occupants in the vehicle hear only what matters to them.
“Individual Sound Zones and the HALOsonic technology suite enable automakers to offer enhanced experiences to passengers, as well as imagine new possibilities as the car itself continues to evolve in use beyond the traditional ‘people mover’,” said Michael Mauser, president, Lifestyle Division, Harman. “With Harman’s science-based architecture and acoustic precision, we’re pushing the barriers of sound and creating the ultimate personalized experience throughout the vehicle cabin.”
ISZ is an innovative acoustic design and complementary digital signal processing that maximizes speaker directivity and minimizes crosstalk in and between the zones in a vehicle for a more personalized in-cabin experience. ISZ does not eliminate all sound signals, but tunes the vehicle to ensure passengers audio experience is optimized for their location in the vehicle and current mode of listening.
ISZ utilizes a vehicle’s existing audio system speakers with the addition of headrest speakers equipped with micro speaker technology, along with thin and flat Electro Dynamic Planar Loudspeakers in the vehicle ceiling. The digital signal processing has been specifically adjusted to the vehicle cabin and speakers such that it will temper the signals from other zones, regardless of whether they are music, voice or other noises. Each passenger can activate and control their “zone.” Passengers can still hear other sounds in the cabin, but those sounds are controlled in a way that limits the interruptions and distractions to each passenger’s own sound experience. The configuration can be customized based on the cabin design and layout of vehicles, as well as type of vehicle (i.e. sedan vs. minivan).
Individual Sound Zones can be integrated into any Harman in-car audio system via the amplifier, providing automakers limitless possibilities to further enhance in-car listening experiences. It is available now to all automakers.
This still sounds space-age to me!


Autotrivia Quiz

Zagato Diatto

Last week I said have a look at the photo. This car was built in 2007. I asked what is it? It was a Zagato Diatto Ottovu. At least that made it hard for the Googlers! Diatto was an Italian manufacturing company founded in 1835 in Turin by Guglielmo Diatto. They began making cars in 1905 and Diatto was known for innovative engineering and as early as the 1920s their cars were equipped with four-wheel brakes and four-speed gearboxes. Unfortunately, the company folded in 1929. However it was resurrected on 9 February 2007 by Zagato who announced the revival of the Diatto marque to celebrate its 100th anniversary. At the 77th Geneva Motor Show in March 2007 it unveiled the new all-aluminum sports car called the Zagato Diatto Ottovų. So there you are!
So to this week. This famous ‘production’ sports car had a top speed of 370 km/h with a fuel consumption of 80 L/100 km. With turbocharging it developed more than 1000 BHP. What was it?
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


Ferrari LaFerrari FXX K

LaFerrai FXX K

How much is too much? No such thing it seems Ferrari is saying, with Ferrari’s 700 kW LaFerrari not enough, so Ferrari went ahead and gave it even more power and called it the LaFerrari FXX K.
The FXX K takes power from both a V12 petrol engine and an electric motor that helps deliver even more power from the moment you put your foot on the throttle. The K stands for Kinetic, taken from “Kinetic Energy Recovery System”, or KERS, the same electric energy technology that has been mandated in F1 these days.
Aside from the power increase, the aerodynamics of the car have been completely overhauled. It has a higher tail section with winglets that look total Star Wars.
Now this is where it all becomes an exercise in pandering to one’s ego. You can buy a LaFerrari FXX K, but you can’t take it out for a spin on Sunday and impress the neighbors - it stays the property of Ferrari’s XX department who will allow you to drive their experimental vehicles on certain approved tracks, provided you have rather large dollops of folding green, perhaps to cover the damage caused by amateurs with more money than skill.
I am told that you do get to feel important with a Ferrari official “test driver” label, and the company takes suggestions from the XX program to improve its future line-up of road cars.
I wonder if they would take the Daihatsu Mira in part-exchange?


ASEAN Friendship Caravan to Myanmar 2015

Myanmar

Somsak Burapapipath has organized another of his adventure caravans towards the end of April and beginning of May 2015. This time it will be to Myanmar (AKA Burma) and will start in Maesot and go through Myawady - Kyaithio - Naypyidaw - Inle Lake - Mandalay - Bagan Yangon - Bago - Mawlamyaing - and then return Myawaddy - Maesot.
Somsak has been organizing similar caravans all over SE Asia for many years and you will be in very safe hands in this GMS Rally. You will need a 4WD vehicle, but I suggest you contact Somsak and get the full details. Contact Details: GMS Rally: Somsak Burapapipath, 081 - 513 3913 / 084 - 940 4746, 550 / 145 Soi Pho Pan, Asoke - Din Deang Road Bangkok 10400, e-mail address [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], FaceBook / Somsak Burapapipath.com.


Excuse me, have you seen an E85 pump round here?

The debate over alternate fuels has continued unabated during last year. The number of options that are being bandied about just means to me, that nobody really knows which way to turn. The technologies are all there, but there is no consensus on the way to go.
So now we have LPG, CNG, E 5, E 10, E 20 and E 85 ethanol to electricity and hydrogen fuel cells. Which one is the ‘Blue Ray’ of energy delivery for the automotive world? And with the price of crude oil plummeting, this throws another (short term) spanner in the works.
One man who should have had a better understanding of the true global picture was General Motors Research and Development chief, Larry Burns. On a trip to Australia, he urged stakeholders in alternative energy technologies to stop fighting among themselves. Putting forward what he considered to be the voice of reason, Burns stated that in GM’s view there is no one solution to the looming fuel crisis and that various energy technology backers should recognize this. “If this issue is as serious as it appears to be, then we can solve it,” said Larry Burns. “But we can’t solve it by being paralyzed by all these different parochial views.”
Undoubtedly he is correct that there are many parochial views on this subject. Different countries have been leaning towards different solutions. Brazil has gone to Ethanol (including E 85), Europe is tending towards diesel and Thailand? Well, we seem to be backing every horse in the race, even to the situation where PTT is promising several E 85 pumps before we have any real numbers of E 85 compatible cars. Currently there are very few E 85 pumps in Bangkok, as I write this. So if you have an E 85 car, don’t stray too far from home. (This situation reminds me of the famous Bristol Brabazon plane which was built at an airport whose runway wasn’t long enough for it to take off, and they had to build a new runway as well!)
Larry Burns said the various backers were creating a distorted picture of the viability of various alternative technologies that was detrimental.
“What’s happening is that people who like natural gas over-promote natural gas and overly criticize all the other (alternative fuels),” he said.
“The people who like ethanol overly promote ethanol and overly criticize all the other ones. The next thing you know, you’ve got all these people digging their heels in, thinking there’s a single answer and that’s the only thing you should invest in. In fact, we must invest in all of them.”
He said that a few years ago, and he was correct.


An open letter to auto sales and marketing executives

Dear Sales and Marketing Executives, I was in the market for a new car and I would like to pose the following question. What day of the week does a salaried employee have off so that he can go round car dealerships and look at cars? Sunday, correct. What day of the week do many of the dealerships close? Sunday, that is also correct! Is there a basic truth here that somebody is missing in your organization? Perhaps if the dealership were to stay open on Sunday and even close Monday, you might get a better response? Like the lottery, you’ve got to be in it to win it!
I went to the Bangkok International Motor Show and whilst getting an overview of the cars on offer, saw a couple that I could be interested in. I approached one and all that happened was a young lady, who could not speak any English, gave me a brochure. Unfortunately, the brochure, which was in Thai, did not have a price on it, and having exhausted my Thai language skills, I gave up at that point.
The other car company did have brochures in English and a price, and as an extra bonus, the name of the sales person. I rang when I got back home, or I should say, I got my wife to ring when I got back home. “He has not got any cars left. He is very busy. He will ring us later.”
It was April when my wife rang. By August I had given up hanging around near the phone. Either he was very, very busy or the manufacturer stopped production when they heard I was interested. Perhaps they were afraid I might not like it.
Still on the lookout for something that appealed to me, I saw a very attractive car on the forecourt of a major dealership close to my home. It was all in white with two broad blue stripes over the roof and with big fat wheels, and looked fabulous.
There was only one problem, the model seen on display on the forecourt turned out to be a private car. It was not a production car. It did not even belong to the dealership. I asked how much would it cost for another car, done exactly the same, all in white with two broad blue stripes over the roof, and with big fat wheels. They did not know. However, I had not given up (at that stage), so I asked if I could go for a run in one of their demonstrator cars. “Yes, but not the same size engine.” “No, I want to drive one with the same size engine as the one I might buy.” “Sorry, that one not going.”
Another salesman appeared. The reason the 1.8 liter car was immobile on the showroom floor was because it had a flat battery. Another car was driven into the showroom, jumper leads applied, and the demonstrator taken out into the sunshine for me to drive. Can you imagine what I was thinking as I drove down the road? “I hope it doesn’t stall on me. This car has a flat battery and nobody cared.”
Lesson number 1 in the car salesman’s manual - always have any car spotless, tuned, cleaned, fuel in the tank and air in the tyres and ready to go.
The next situations come from dissatisfied customers who have complained to me, and are also worthy of your attention, Sales and Marketing people. It seems that when the customer has decided to buy and the specifications and details are being recorded, at that point the dealership does not have one like that, but a special order can be put in to the factory, and the car will be available in three months. However, for a certain payment ‘under the table’ the friendly salesman (or woman) will be able to find one in another dealership and have it brought down for the customer. That payment is not insignificant, I am told.
Another situation occurs, I am told, when a possible purchaser wants to have a test drive. Some dealerships will just not do this, or worse, put the customer in the passenger’s seat and drive the customer around the block. Once.
Considering that a new motor car is the second most expensive purchase in most people’s lifetime, surely your sales personnel should try just a little harder? It might even increase your sales, and the profitability of your company, and we all know just how precarious that profitability can be in these troubled financial times.
Thank you for reading my letter.
Dr. Iain.


Quiz Car

Quiz Car

Last week I asked what car is this? Engine all alloy 1750 cc, V6, pillarless, all wheels independently sprung, rear transaxle, five seat saloon. Clue 1950. It was the Lancia B10.
So to this week. Have a look at the photo. This car was built in 2007. What is it?
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

New cars revealed in Tokyo

Mazda MX-5 World Series race car

Honda's hybrid-Mugen combo

Autotrivia Quiz

Bucciali TAV

A pick-up you won’t get here

Technology that just blows me away

Autotrivia Quiz

Ferrari LaFerrari FXX K

ASEAN Friendship Caravan to Myanmar 2015

Excuse me, have you seen an E85 pump round here?

An open letter to auto sales and marketing executives

Quiz Car

Advertisement

 



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