• BOOK REVIEW: LANCIA LORAYMO, ONE OF ONE!

    This book is as much about Loewy’s logic of industrial design and creative process as it is about his bespoke Lancia.

    Raymond Loewy, the Father of Industrial Design, is most familiar to consummate carguys because of Studebaker’s Avanti and Starliner coupes. Loewy was also responsible for designing streamlined locomotives, refrigerators, telephones, and logos for Shell Oil, Exxon, TWA and Lucky Strike to name a few.`

    Written by Brandes Elitch, Lancia Loraymo follows the development of Raymond Loewy’s one-off Lancia, designed as a personal project to advertise the Loewy brand. Built for the 1960 Paris Motor Show, where it was the hit of the show, the Loramyo was reminiscent of the fabulous cars that graced the Concours d’Elegance circuit in pre-war France.

    Its Flaminia chassis was specially prepared by Lancia to showcase a handcrafted Carrozzeria Moto aluminum body. It garnered enormous publicity for a few short years, and then disappeared. Like the intrigue that surrounds the fabled Chrysler Norseman dream car, the missing Loramyo came back to life when it was found 20 years later in a scrap yard in Sacramento, CA, missing its original drivetrain. It was scheduled to be crushed.

    This is the story of the birth, near-death, discovery and restoration of Loewy’s Loraymo. Elitch follows the trail, recalling the history of the car, its illustrious designer, and the Lancia marque, as it pertained to Loewy’s perspective on automobile and industrial design of the time. This historical journey wraps up with the design of the Studebaker Avanti, which utilized many of the design cues from the Loraymo.

    This is a fascinating story of one of the most mysterious show cars of the post-war period. It is well documented in 128 pages with 100 photos and illustrations. It’s available only in a limited hardback edition of 500 copies at $59.95 from Fetherston Publishing, PO Box 1742, Sebastopol, CA 95473.

    For more information, please visit http://www.loewylancia.com/

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  • The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth Now Available

    The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth is a new and limited edition model in the Sport Heritage range. It teams the Japanese company with a famous name from the car world. Abarth was originally founded in 1949, and has specialised in small sports cars for 60 years, including being featured as the sportier end of the FIAT brand.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth
    The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Abarth already sponsors the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team and supplies a number of specialist vehicles as part of that relationship. So it seems only right that Yamaha honour them by producing a total of 695 bikes with some exclusive lightweight parts.

    Typically for a factory special, the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth features the standard 950cc three-cylinder engine with traction control and slipper clutch. But what it does gain is a full lightweight Akrapovic exhaust system with titanium double slip-on silencer. So that will help acceleration a bit, as well as making you sound faster.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth
    Just running in the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Also helping you feel faster is a sportier riding position, thanks to swallow ‘clip-on’ style handlebars and the single racing seat. It’s finished with a suede cover and red stitching. And the seat cowl is one of the new lighweight carbon parts which feature the Abarth logo, along with the carbon front mudguard.

    Online order registrations opened on January 17th with the first 95 customers getting an invitation to an exclusive Yamaha VIP Abarth Experience, along with their choice of companion. The events will be confirmed when the new owners finish their purchase, and will take place between May 1st and June 16th 2017 at circuits in Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria and the UK.

    Each event includes the chance to test drive a range of Abarth vehicles on the circuit, take a drive with a professional racing driver, and also be given the chance to visit Abarth’s Turin headquarters by prior appointment throughout 2017.

    Once the initial 95 models of the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth have gone, the remain 600 are available to order from your local Yamaha dealer from April 2017. And to be fair, you’ll have as much fun on the road or track on the XSR900 as you would in any car.

    Then again, if you do appreciate small, four-wheeled vehicles, then you might like the fact Abarth have also procuded a concept car to match the bike. The 695 Tributo XSR has the same grey and red livery, an extensive array of carbon fibre, and also gets an Akrapovic exhaust system.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth and Car

    It’s just a shame they haven’t produced a matching motorcycle trailer and made it all available as a set!

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  • Ford GT supercar production begins

    The first road-going version of the all-new 2017 Ford GT has rolled off the assembly line in Ontario, US.

    “When we kicked off 2016, we had two primary objectives for our Ford GT supercar – to excel at Le Mans, and to start deliveries before year-end,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, global product development, and chief technical officer. “We’ve achieved both.”

    “The all-new Ford GT is a showcase of our strength in innovation and our commitment to delivering more for our customers – especially related to lightweight materials, aerodynamics and EcoBoost engine technologies.”

    First Ford GT supercar

    Originally unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2015, Ford Performance is now delivering the first cars to lucky customers around the globe, just in time for Christmas.

    The race version won in its class in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016, living up to the iconic car that inspired its design, the GT40, which ruled the famed French circuit from 1966 to 1969.

    The 2017 road-going Ford GT is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which is said to produce some 595bhp.

    Global production will be limited to 250 units per year, though Ford received more than 6,000 applications for the first 500.

    Ford hasn’t confirmed the new GT’s price tag yet, but it’s believed to be around the £350,000 mark

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  • Fastest street circuit in F1?

    Long-time Formula 1 circuit designer, Hermann Tilke, has done a quick Q&A about the new circuit in Baku. While some folks have been scratching their heads about the race itself, it seems that if Herman has this right, it could be an interesting circuit nonetheless. Here’s Hermann:

    What was your first thought when you heard of the opportunity to build a street circuit in Baku? At the time I first heard about the opportunity to build a street circuit in Baku, I had no idea about the city. After my first visit to Baku I was left with just one thought: Amazing! From the very first moment, I was really proud to be a part of the project and the team here.

    How long ago were you approached by FIA to design the track for Baku? We have been working on this project since June 2014 and at this stage we are beginning to get really excited. It`s only a few months to go and we can’t wait!

    When did you first visit Baku? My first time in Baku was in June 2014. I was really surprised in a positive way. Baku is fascinating. I had a really warm welcome.

    What makes Baku City Circuit so unique? Baku City Circuit stands out due to many factors: Baku will be the world’s fastest city circuit and the track loop around the city’s historical centre will create a unique and remarkable atmosphere for fans watching in the grandstands and at home. The City Circuit of Baku is located in a vibrant city. The streets are really narrow and this is exactly what makes it so appealing.

    What was the most challenging part of the Baku City Circuit construction process? The most challenging task was to come up with an idea for the routing of a city track, which will be suitable for F1 in Baku. City circuits are always challenging to build, because the team has to construct the racetrack within the city. Various problems arise when designing a circuit in the city. But together with the Baku City Circuit team we successfully solved every problem!

    What is the most similar track to Baku City Circuit? There is no track like Baku City Circuit –  it will be one of the most exciting ones on the calendar. Baku, of course, is not comparable with any of the permanent circuits, because it is a city circuit. But even when compared to city circuits, Baku is unique.

    Baku City Circuit is expected be the fastest street circuit on the F1 calendar. What is the average lap time expected to be? We calculated a lap time of 101 seconds, but that depends on the individual set-up of the racing cars and on the developments of this year’s new cars.

    What is the expected speed in the most challenging sequence of turns on the track, beginning at Turn 8? The brake point in front of Turn 8 is V max= 204km/h. Between T8 and T9 we expect a V min of 86 km/h.

    What impact did the culture and history of the city have on your design?  The culture and history of Baku is the framework for Baku City Circuit’s design. The layout of the track is designed to show off the beauty of the historic and modern views and sights of Baku.

    How often do you collaborate with Baku City Circuit team? How are preparations going? We constantly collaborate with the Baku City Circuit team. We are pleased to work with such amazing colleagues. The atmosphere between all participants is just great. The entire team will work until the last minute, but everything is currently on time.

    What can F1 fans expect when they visit Baku City Circuit this June? Baku fans can expect a remarkable atmosphere at and around the Baku City Circuit. I can’t wait to see the race take place now!

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  • NASCAR Sprint Cup VS Formula One

    Here’s a question for your reader – what’s the best. NASCAR Sprint Cup VS Formula One? It may be something that you’ve debated with your mates down the pub; but have you ever really looked closely at the two to compare them properly? In this article we debate this very question.

    The interesting thing about both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Formula One is that despite their popularity; they both take a fair bit of criticism from people who are not interested. For many people, Formula One is dull, involves little to no overtaking and involves too much money and the same guy wins all the time. On the other hand, NASCAR sucks involves overweight drivers turning left round circular and oval racetracks and features bulky cars made from scrap.

    However, none of the above stops millions of people across America tuning in to NASCAR every year and turning up at the racetracks; and it doesn’t stop the millions of fans around the world enjoying Formula One every year. The more you compare them, the more you find compelling reasons for either to be considered interesting.
    The car involved in Formula One are works of genius concocted in high tech labs, but that doesn’t mean that the cars used NASCAR are any less brilliant. It is just a different type of brilliant. No-one would be able to deny that NASCAR and Formula One cars are as fast as each other, comparatively. The drivers for both sports are very skilled but Formula One drivers have a much higher profile and gambling on Formula One is of course much more popular in the UK with sites such as William Hill Formula One betting

    It really depends on what you want from your racing. If you want blood,guts and everything left on the racetrack; NASCAR would be the best race to follow. Whereas, if you like the larger amount of money that is pumped into the F1 business every year, the bigger budget the teams have to play with and the more intricately difficult circuits, then Formula One is the race for you.

    If you’re a bit of a petrol head then it is less expensive to be a fan of NASCAR as the cars used are easier to replicate with road versions. However, one of the biggest drawbacks of NASCAR is that despite it being as popular in the US as F1, it is only raced in three locations, unlike the 19 countries and four continents of F1.
    Whatever area of either racing style you look at, they both have positives and negatives. Although F1 is meticulous and quick, if a driver does not secure a decent position in the qualifying round it and get away fast enough at the start; they may remain at the back for the whole race. And while no race can really be called from the start in NASCAR, it comes back to the more simplistic tracks. It could also be argued that F1 is more elitist, while NASCAR is not. Though the opposite argument could be given that F1 only features the best of the best.

    What can be learned from looking at these two similarly popular but very different types of racing? Which is better? As boring an answer as this sounds; it really depends on what you like. There is no wrong answer, but if you’re not in the US, it’s much trickier to actually visit a NASCAR racetrack.

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