• CTEK: SMART CHARGER FOR SUPERCARS!

    CTEK’s latest high-tech MXS 5.0 Smart Charger ushers in a new generation of fully automatic, microprocessor controlled, multi-functional chargers ideal for high-performance and exotic vehicles.

    Today’s luxury and high-performance vehicles, including Supercars and Hypercars – place incredible loads on conventional 12-volt batteries and charging systems.

    Less-than-fully-charged batteries can negatively affect complex electronics, including computer systems that control powertrain, suspension, and entertainment and body function management. Start-Stop technology is another drain on charging systems. To alleviate some of these problems, some manufacturers have provided dual battery systems, one dedicated for starting; the other for maintenance while the car is parked.

    “The battery in today’s automobile is under enormous stress and the alternator is not capable of fully recharging the battery. As a result, many batteries never achieve their full service life,” said Bobbie DuMelle, executive vice-president, CTEK North America. “The use of a CTEK charger/maintainer, like our new MXS 5.0 with its proprietary eight-step battery care program, can help double or even triple average battery life.”

    For a variety of reasons, including packaging, weight distribution and shielding from engine heat, batteries are being located in difficult to service locations. The battery in my Ford GT is buried under a panel in the front ‘trunk” and the one in my Jaguar XKR is mounted behind the back seat, accessible only via a removable panel at the rear of the trunk. Servicing or replacing a battery is an awkward, time-consuming task, and costly if done at a Jaguar dealership!

    While the primary problem with a car’s battery is loss of adequate power to start the engine, there are other issues. Running modern HP cars with batteries not fully charged can often translate into the loss of some personal settings for everything from seat position and entertainment to critical engine and suspension tuning. In the case of the 2005-2006 Ford GT, some owners have attributed instrument failures to low-output batteries. It’s not unusual to see threads on Ford GT and Jaguar owner forums related to battery performance, impact on vehicle electronics, and the necessity of using a maintenance charger on cars that are not driven daily.

    Since both my Ford GT and Jaguar XKR are not daily drivers and spend a lot of downtime when I’m traveling, I chose the latest CTEK MXS 5.0 charger/maintainer with a proprietary eight-step charging program. It is the first of a new generation of smart chargers, able to sense battery condition throughout the charging cycle and avoid overcharging that can damage cells and shorten battery life. It automatically adjusts the charging rate depending on ambient temperature to ensure ideal charging in extreme cold or hot weather conditions. Since I live in Florida and extreme heat negatively affects a battery as much as extreme cold, the choice was simple!

    Award-winning hot rod and Corvette Resto-Mod builder Mike Griffin, top, right, Sarasota, FL, installed the 5.0’s Comfort Connect Eyelet wiring to the remote Positive terminal and a Ground, located behind an easily accessible and vented panel in my Jaguar XKR’s trunk, below. Mike utilizes charger/maintainers on his vintage Corvettes with modern LS powertrains as well as his Porsche 911 GTS.

    The Ford GT has a cigarette lighter receptacle, above, that’s “hot” when parked;no special wiring was necessary.

    CTEK chargers are packaged with Comfort Connect Eyelet wiring as well as Alligator clamps to cover most vehicle hookups. A Comfort Connect Cig Plug, above, is available for use on cars with cigarette lighter receptacles that are “hot” when the engine is turned off. Additionally, CTEK supports its sophisticated chargers with a system of accessories, all geared to keeping batteries up to optimum performance. There’s a Comfort Indicator Panel that displays battery strength via Red, Yellow and Green lights, allowing you to constantly monitor battery condition and then charge when necessary.

    The most unique support accessory is the new CTX BATTERY SENSE, allowing remote tracking of a vehicle’s battery on an Android OS or iPhone iOS smartphone. You can monitor up to three months of stored battery data on your smartphone and you will be notified when the battery’s state of charge falls to a critical level. CTEK BATTERY SENSE syncs battery stats via Bluetooth; free downloads for iPhones are available from the AppStore, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ctek-battery-sense/id977976405?mt=8

    For Android phones, free downloads are available from GooglePlay, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ctek.sba&hl=en

    CTEK manufactures the most sophisticated and comprehensive line of battery chargers for on and off-road wheeled and tracked vehicles, including motorcycles and boats. Models range from 0.8-amp, 6-volt to 25-amp 12/16-volt applications. Designed, engineered, developed and manufactured in Sweden since 1997, sleek CTEK chargers boast unique four-to-eight patented microprocessor-controlled charging programs that consistently monitor battery condition and respond. They automatically regulate charge voltage to protect complex vehicle electronics.

    Most dealers of luxury and high-performance vehicles, including Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and others, offer customers private label, “brand-logo” chargers that are manufactured by CTEK.

    For more information about CTEK’s complete line of on and off-road battery chargers and accessories, please visit http://smartercharger.com/

    Check out this video about CTEK chargers and applications, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHSI_qHOI4U

    Shop for a CTEK battery charger and accessories at, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006G14FK8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_dp_4bpzzb43XSDNP

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  • Just Where Are The Best Deals on Wheels?

    When looking to buy a car there is certainly no shortage of choice. The UK has over 4,900 franchised dealers plus many more generalists. Car auctions, internet sites and private ads offer even more options but this still leaves many buyers wondering just where is the best place to get a really good deal.

    For most people, a car is likely to be the second most expensive single item that they will ever buy and so it is important to get it right. There is certainly plenty of choice and if you are looking to buy a used car in the London area, it is possible to find almost every conceivable make and model within a radius of a few miles. The first decision is whether to buy new or second-hand. New car sales are booming, fuelled largely by some of the new methods of financing them such as personal contract plans and leasing as new recruits to the world of motoring consider car ownership very much along the same lines as mobile phone contracts with a continuous monthly charge and regular upgrades being the order of the day. The canny buyer, however, realises that such a throw-away mentality results in some great cars appearing on the second-hand market and it usually means that the first owner has paid dearly for the privilege of new car ownership or lease. A car’s value depends on several things but one of the most predictable is its age and the depreciation curve is invariably steeper in its early days.

    By steering clear of the lure of new cars, a buyer may suddenly realise that his budget will now stretch to a much better specified car. Most car purchases involve the heart more than the head and even our London buyer may fancifully visualise cruising along deserted country roads with the roof down whereas, in reality, a nose-to-tail daily commute is probably much more likely with emission levels and congestion charges figuring highly in any car buying decision.

    There are undoubtedly some great bargains to be found but the risks should not be underestimated. Perhaps the ideal car could be almost new or fairly young, low mileage, well maintained and with a known history. An ex-demonstrator from a franchised dealer or an ex-lease car could probably fit the bill and some of those previously used by disabled people under the Motability leasing scheme can often be exceptionally good but the range of vehicles on offer may be rather limited. Buying ex-fleet vehicles is another option to be considered but some of these may have covered high mileages and a used taxi or minibus is certainly not to be recommended.

    Another interesting idea is to check what vehicles are available from car rental companies such as those offered under the Hertz Rent2Buy scheme. The idea that ex-rental cars have been roughly treated by uncaring drivers is simply not borne out by the facts and there are some real gems to be found. Hertz even allow for an extended test drive in the form of rental for a few days so there should be no unpleasant surprises here!

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  • Valuing Your Car

    Selling Your Car? Here’s How to Get the Best Idea of What It’s Worth.

    If you’re in the market to sell off your old car you have a few different options when it comes to a valuation, even without leaving the comfort of your own home. These vary both in terms of how involved they are, and how precise the results are, so here are your options, and our verdict on which to go with.

    The Old Fashioned Way

    We say old fashioned, but you’d most likely use the internet for this method in this day and age. This is the quick and dirty method to get a very rough idea of what you can expect your wheels to go for.

    It basically entails looking up the prices of other cars of the same or similar make and model that are currently on the market to get a ballpark figure and that’s kind of it. This might be the first method that comes to mind for some people but we honestly can’t recommend it.

    It probably takes more effort than either of the other popular methods, and gives less accurate results, so it really has nothing going for it.
    Of course, there’s also the really old fashioned way—just drive the car to a dealership and ask them how much they’ll give you for it.

    Free Valuation Tools

    There is a wide array of online car valuation tools that are free to use and easy to find — they’re literally the first thing that will come up if you type ‘car valuation’ into a search engine. They’re typically found on car selling sites, but you’re under no obligation to use those sites — you can even use two different tools to double check any figure you get.

    These tools ask for your various details about your car like make, model, mileage, and license plate number and perform a simple search to pull up a reasonable price, but they can’t account for everything so this will always be an approximation.

    HPI Check

    Car valuations are one of the many uses for a car history check. Unlike the other options you’ll have to pay a fee, but the cost is negligible, and the valuation will be based on a much more complete picture of your car, including its service history, optional extras and so forth.

    This means it will be much more accurate, and all the information will be pulled from databases meaning that the input you have to provide is a lot less than the other options on this list. This one is our recommendation if you want to get the best price for your car.

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  • PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD: THE RICHARD PETTY CONNECTION!

    Our man on the track, Stephen Cox, talks with Richard Petty about his connection to the winged Superbird.

    It has been claimed that Plymouth’s legendary winged ‘70 Superbird was the brainchild of NASCAR champion Richard Petty. The rumor has been around for decades but I’ve never found anyone with first-hand knowledge who could absolutely confirm or deny that the car’s origins truly began with The King of Stock Car Racing.

    But opportunity knocked a couple of weeks ago when Petty was in attendance at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, FL, which I co-host for NBCSN. I found him relaxing backstage late in the show and hollered, “Hey, King!” Although I don’t know him well, he looked up with his trademark smile and immediately held out his hand.

    I asked him point blank whether he was responsible for the development of the Plymouth Superbird. Petty paused and laid the back of his hand across his brow. “Well, let me get the dates right.”

    “We knew in 1968 that Dodge was building a wing car. So I went to Plymouth and asked if they were gonna build one and they said, ‘No.’ I told them that I’d like them to work on one and they said, ‘No, you’re winning all the races anyway.’”

    True, Petty had been dominant, winning 27 of 49 Grand National races en route to the championship in 1968. Rather than cough up the additional funds to stay current in NASCAR’s burgeoning aero wars, Plymouth was content to let Petty struggle against increasing odds.

    Undeterred, Petty tried another angle. He asked if he could stay within the Chrysler family and simply move over to Dodge and drive the new Charger Daytona winged car for the 1969 season. Plymouth flatly refused.

    “So I said, ‘Either build me a wing car or I’m walking across the street,’” Petty continued. “They said, ‘Sure, go ahead.’ So I did.”

    That same afternoon Richard Petty personally walked into Ford Motor Company’s front office. Ford executives took no risks, signing Petty to a one-year contract on the spot. Petty finished second in the points chase while winning ten races for Ford in 1969. It was enough. He didn’t have to return to Detroit to beg Plymouth for a winged car. This time, they came to him.

    “The head man from Plymouth came walking into my shop,” Petty continued. “He said, ‘What do we need to do to get you back? I said, ‘Give me what I’ve been asking for.’”

    Plymouth pledged to have a new winged car completed for Petty in time for the 1970 NASCAR season. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, they chose to use a modified version of the wildly successful Dodge Charger Daytona platform. Under NASCAR’s homologation rules, a limited number of Superbird street cars were built and sold through Plymouth’s dealership network.

    Behind the wheel of the car built specifically for him, Richard Petty and his Plymouth Superbird won 18 of the 40 races in which they competed in 1970, led nearly half of all laps and won nine pole positions. Despite being produced for only one model year, the road-going version of the Superbird became a legend in the annals of musclecar history.

    Today, a concours-ready Plymouth Superbird will routinely draw bids from $100,000 to $300,000 at auction. They remain among the most collectible musclecars ever built.

    “So there you go,” Petty told me with a smile. “That’s how it happened.”

     

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