• New Jaguar XJL in ‘Game of Drones’ challenge

    Jaguar has staged a unique drone race to demonstrate how much room there is inside the luxurious long-wheelbase XJ saloon. High-speed drones piloted by professional racers flew through three cars during the race at Alexandra Palace, London, on a course marked out with 13 gates the same shape as an XJL rear door. Travelling at …

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  • RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BEST!

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BEST

    The Matunes – Maureen & Mike – were on the field of 100 antiques, classics and sports cars to bring us highlights of one of the country’s top Concours.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTRADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTThe Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance limits itself to 100 motorcars each year while recognizing automotive legends. This year four were honored including Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg. Exemplifying those once mighty marques were Dave Markel’s ‘31 Cord L-29 Cabriolet and Sue & Mark Lankford’s ‘37 Cord 812SC Phaeton.

    Team Penske’s ‘73 Porsche 911 RSR was a major attraction. These cars were featured in the first IROC Championship, taken by Mark Donohue. This very car would carry him to a Riverside win. Standing next to the car speaking to a television journalist is Mark’s son David. He is a racer of note in his own right, having both a North American Touring Car Championship and a class win at Le Mans to his credit.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTThe Race Cars of Roger Penske were featured at this year’s event. Among them was this ‘66 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe owned by Kevin Mackay. It’s too bad this car can’t talk. It could tell stories about a cold drive back from the Corvette plant in St. Louis to the Penske shop and then to Corvette legend Dick Guldstrand. Or about completing the Daytona 24 and taking a class win with flashlights taped to the hood replacing crash-damaged headlights!

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTPurists were appalled a few years back when perennial sportscar manufacturer Porsche, added SUVs and a sedan to its lineup. They may have been ignoring a little history, as Porsche once made tractors in addition to their more sporty offerings. Production was started before WWII and continued afterwards by manufacturers who leased the rights to the design. Radnor Hunt had a special class this year for vintage tractors and Daniel Magness brought his Porsche along.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTFrom another time, comes the Delage sales slogan, the “Car with a Reputation”. The origins of that were supposedly in the saying that a Delage was the car you gave to your mistress. The lines of this ‘34 D8S Cabriolet with body by Fernandez & Daren certainly convey a sultry theme. Today it holds a place in the JWR Museum collection. Its past accolades include class awards on two occasions at Pebble Beach.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTFiat has unleashed a modern version of the legendary 124 Spyder Abarth and this is the car which inspired it – Gildo Torchia’s rare ‘73 Fiat 124 CSA Abarth. Conceived and built as a Homologation Special to qualify for Group 4 rally competition, it features an IRS, fiberglass hood and decklid and aluminum doors. Those wheels are real magnesium as opposed to aluminum. Under its hood is a slightly hotter version of Fiat’s DOHC Four.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTSuzanne and John Campion traveled from Jacksonville, FL to show their ‘83 Lancia-Abarth 037 rally car. It has scored multiple wins and podiums in its life. Found in Prague, it is now safely ensconced in the Campion’s extensive collection of pro rally cars. Their trip to Radnor Hunt was rewarded with the Best of Show Sport trophy.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTDiane & Don Meluzio showed their ‘61 Fiat Abarth Bialbero 1000 GT Coupe with body by Carrozzeria Abarth & Beccarris as part of a special Fiat Abarth class. After a successful racing career in Europe this car was sold to Team Roosevelt in the U.S. and continued its winning ways at Nassau and Sebring. As with most Abarths, the engine is diminutive but powerful, drawing 95 horsepower from 948 ccs. The Meluzios are to be congratulated for organizing the outstanding Abarth class.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTIt’s hard to find a bad angle on David Markel’s ‘32 Auburn 12-160A Speedster. From this view, your eye is drawn to the boat-tail styling, wide-whites, wire wheels and flawless paint. The Speedster houses a 160 horsepower, 391 cubic-inch, Twelve and a two-speed rear axle. Top speed is in the range of 110 mph.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTHelen & Richard Harding wait patiently for their turn at the awards podium in their ‘28 Auburn 8-988 Speedster. Their stunning Navajo Red and Black car garnered the Best in Show award at the 21st Radnor Hunt Concours. The Auburn marque dates back to the turn of the 20th Century, later becoming part of Auburn – Cord – Duesenberg.

    RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS: ELEGANCE AT ITS BESTChrysler was known for a little craziness during the Ponycar-Musclecar era as shown by Kim Barnes ‘69 Plymouth Barracuda “Mod Top” coupe. One’s eye is immediately drawn to the flower power vinyl roof until you notice the interior is upholstered in a similar pattern. Obviously, this was not for the shy or retiring, as borne out by the fact that only about 900 of these were made in 1969.

    Thanks to Mike Whelan for his help with credentials. And to Founder & Chairman Mike Tillson, his staff, sponsors, presenters, judges, participants and volunteers for another great Concours.

    Words & Photos by Maureen K. Matune & M. M. “Mike” Matune, Jr.

    For more information about the event and its venue, please visit https://radnorconcours.org/

    http://www.radnorhunt.org/    http://www.thorncroft.org/

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  • Evolution of Hybrid Cars

    Rising in popularity in recent years, you could easily mistake hybrid cars as one the latest trend of mod cons to hit our roads! With cars such as Toyota Prius taking place in popular culture, it may surprise you to learn how long inventors have been exploring the idea of Hybrid cars. We are looking at the evolution of hybrid vehicles, in partnership with Go Green Leasing.

     1830s- Robert Anderson builds the first electric car

    The first ever electric vehicle was built and introduced between 1832-1839. Unlike other vehicles at the time Andersons invention did not run on literal horse power. Instead this four-wheeled electric carriage connected a motor to non-rechargeable power cells.

    1901- Ferdinand Porsche builds the first ever hybrid car

    The German automotive innovator creates the worlds first hybrid car in 1901. Named after the inventor, the Lorde-Porches Mixet hybrid combined an internal combustion engine with electric motors located in the wheel hubs.

    1913- The takeover of gasoline cars

    Gasoline- self-starter cars take over and dominate the automobile industry, while sales of electric and steam-powered cars drop in this period. This drop subsequently leads to a decline in hybrid innovation for 50 years.

    1969- The plug-in car arrives

    The late 60’s seen General Motors reveal several hybrids cars. The first vehicle revealed was the GM’s commuter XP512h which uses a gasoline/electric drivetrain. The company then went to rework the design and introduced the XP- 883 in 1969 with a two-cylinder engine and a plug that fit into a standard wall socket. The electric powered up to 16km after which gas engine would take over.

    1990- NiMH batteries charge up the market

    In 1967 the development of nickel-metal hydride rechargeable batteries began. The cells of hundreds of high-powered charge-discharge cycles. Thanks to the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) investing $90 million into the battery, the technology was later improved in the 80’s and was featured in electric and hybrid cars in the 90s.

    Modern day

    Not so long ago, hybrids were the reserve of environmentally conscious school run mums, people living or working under the London congestion charge, and taxi drivers looking to save a bit of money on fuel.

    However, with an ever-growing number of hybrids on the market, they are increasingly becoming a mainstream alternative to conventional petrol and diesel models. Hybrid is ditching the practical image and is slowly becoming the new cool kid on the block, with manufacturers such Mercedes, Mitsubishi and BMW releasing ground breaking models, the evolution of hybrid vehicles is set to keep breaking boundaries.

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  • NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING!

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING!

    It’s really not that difficult to organize a competitive race series. But turning down money? Now that’s tough,blogs Stephen Cox.

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING! The easy way to run a series is to have an official provider for everything from tires to body kits to engines. Mandatory components (spec parts) are frequently offered as a fix-all solution though in reality, costs are rarely contained. Remember, everyone at every step along the way has to make money. That means the series, parts manufacturers, distributors and on and on. Everyone gets a piece of the action and team owners are stuck with the ever-spiraling bills. The usual result is just what we see in the Indy Lights Series and Indycar – higher costs and lower car count.

    All of this is a result of wrong thinking. The job of a race series is not to put a limit on how much money teams can spend. The job of a race series is to make sure that spending money doesn’t help. NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series is in trouble because competitive engine packages are too expensive. Teams are losing money and closing up shop. NASCAR’s response is to consider a spec engine. Wrong thinking.

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING!Take away their tires and everything else becomes elementary. NASCAR tires are enormously wide and offer a broad, sticky contact patch with the asphalt. The trucks reach tremendous speeds before they begin to lose adhesion and when they do, the drift is slight and nearly imperceptible to the average race fan. The racing isn’t that good. The tires are just too wide. If NASCAR trucks adopted a narrow, hard compound tire, the importance of horsepower would diminish considerably. Speeds would drop. The trucks would visibly slide on the racetrack and average race fans could see and appreciate the skill of the drivers.

    NASCAR: HOW TO SAVE TRUCK RACING! Teams who spend fantastic sums on engine power would find themselves gaining little, if any, real advantage because without big, wide tires, it would be impossible to utilize all that engine power. The limiting factor in a truck’s speed would no longer be the engine; it would be the tires. The series should concern itself with reducing mechanical grip and to a lesser extent, aerodynamic grip. When the trucks begin to slide, the real racing begins and the unbridled supremacy of overpriced engines quickly fades.

    The job of the series isn’t to limit horsepower or spending. NASCAR’s job is to limit the amount of horsepower that can be used in a race by eliminating traction. When that is achieved, the enormous horsepower and massive engine budgets will collapse of their own weight and teams will begin considering the Camping World Truck Series as a viable alternative again. That’s how to save truck racing.

    Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN. Sponsored by http://www.mcgunegillengines.com/and http://www.boschett-timepieces.com/index.php

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  • ‘17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE!

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE

    ‘It’s a usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEI say AMG, and you say Mercedes-Benz’s hot rod, usually with a big V-8 hand-made by someone in Affalterbach, then signed on an alloy plaque on top. But just as the tuner started by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erghard Melcher has been fully folded into Mercedes-Benz, so have some changes come to what’s now called Mercedes-AMG.

    So while this all-wheel-drive C43 AMG has received the golden touch from the folks who tune special Benzes, it is a different breed of Mercedes musclecar. This C-Class’ 3-liter/362 horsepower V-6, its twin turbochargers visible under air intakes in the tightly packed engine bay, wasn’t built in AMG’s operation in Affalterbach. It was just designed there. So, no engine builder’s plate, but it does get a new AMG-enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission with “Manual” mode so you can paddle-shift. With peak torque of 384 pound-feet in the “Sport+” drivetrain setting, it leaps to 60-mph in 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in 11.5 with super-quick up-shifts and no wheel spin. The G-meter on the expansive gauge display claimed .7 Gs acceleration at full launch. Tap the exhaust valve button and there’s an exotic snarling scream, each up-shift punctuated by a rifle shot-like bark from quad pipes. Backing off adds crackling, popping overrun.
    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPESet drivetrain in “Eco,” activating engine shut-off at stoplights, and the C43 AMG delivers 20 mpg on premium. It decouples the transmission from engine when you slow down. Or enjoy “Comfort,” which dials back the throttle response and steering feel for daily commuting, but still delivers precise, buffered shifts and strong mid-range torque for passing – 0 to 60-mph in 5 seconds, and 100 mph in 12.2.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEUnder its steel unibody with aluminum hood, trunk lid and front fenders, there’s an independent multi-link suspension with coil springs, tubular torsion bars and double-tube shock absorbers with adaptive variable damping. “Comfort” setting left us with a nice ride that absorbed everything, a touch of float over repetitive bumps. It was all too buffered, from steering to throttle response, for me.

    “Sport” gave a slightly firmer edge that smoothed out repetitive bumps, further buffering on full compression. The firmer suspension and all-wheel-drive with a rear biased torque distribution of 31 percent front/69 percent rear meant the C43 just hugged curves and went around them in a neutral fashion, turn after turn. Sport+ offered much quicker and tighter bump control, not too nice on rougher road or streets with raised crosswalks, but great for nicely paved sweepers. Its quicker and more aggressive shift pattern meant razor-sharp downshifts for powering out of curves, and tighter steering to help.
    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThere’s an “Individual” mode, so you can set steering and drivetrain – I picked powertrain in “Sport+” and suspension in “Sport,” tapping open the sport exhaust valve. The C43 AMG stitched turn to turn, the shifts putting the rpm where needed to pull out of a curve. Tap the paddle and downshifts were executed concisely with a throttle blip. Bumps didn’t bother as we swept through turns, very flat.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThere was no drama on our skidpad, only a touch of understeer. We regularly pulled .93 Gs in turns. With cross-drilled and vented 14.2-inch front discs, and 12.6-inch rear solid discs, we had great pedal feel and initial bite on our 3,000-mile-old test coupe. Plus solid stopping power with no nosedive and no fade after some very high-speed stops, pulling 1.1 Gs at full pedal push.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThe C43 has a more prominent and upright grille with big Benz star and upswept LED headlights. Concentric chrome-plated pins flank the grill’s center star; side brake ducts flanking a low center air intake. The 10-spoke light-alloy wheels in gloss black with brushed alloy finish show off big disc brakes with silver AMG-badged front calipers. Lower profile P225/40R 19-inch Continental tires up front are matched with staggered wider P255/35Rs in back, giving the coupe a well-planted look. Our test car’s “Night Package” adds a gloss black lower diffuser with twin ebony-finished tailpipes, as well as gloss black front splitter.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEInside are highly sculpted bucket seats with leather-like MB-Tex and suede-like microfiber inserts, accented in red stitching. With 10-way power adjustment, they were very grippy in turns, with great support. Black leather and suede accent the flat-bottomed AMG multifunction sport steering wheel, also with red stitching. The fat-rimmed steering wheel has long, easy to reach alloy shift paddles behind it. There’s a 180-mph speedometer and 8,000-rpm tach with 6,500-rpm redline. They flank a 4.5-inch display for stereo, navigation, and an AMG menu item – digital speedometer, gear, G-force, lap-timer, turbo boost and engine gauges. A head-up display shows tach, speed and gear position.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEA base C300 Coupe starts at $42,650, while our C43 AMG coupe started at $55,500 with lots of standards including the high-performance summer tires. But options like the COMAND navigation system, red paint, ash wood interior trim, AMG exhaust and split-spoke alloy wheels brought it to $66,945. You can still get an AMG coupe with more muscle – the C63 AMG with twin-turbo V-8 and 469 horsepower and easily-smoked tires. Or go for AMG-lite C43 and get a very comfortable and usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner.

    For the complete AMG story and models available, please visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/amg

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