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
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.
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?
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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
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
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!
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?
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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
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
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
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
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
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
Thank you for reading my letter.
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
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email