Consummate Corvette aficionado K. Scott Teeters blogs about Ken Hazelton’s unique split-window coupe that has never been driven on the street. Zora Arkus-Duntov would have been proud.
Although born to be a street sports car, this Sting Ray has never been anything but a racecar. Zora Arkus-Duntov was the driving force behind making sure that production Corvettes could be easily turned into competitive racecars. He was famous for saying, “I want my customers to enjoy their Corvette.”
Even though he was in the engineering department and not sales and marketing, he thought like a salesman. Duntov’s insistence that Corvette customers had access to Chevrolet engineered parts for racing, created the Corvette’s racing halo.
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Automotive technology is constantly improving and modern cars are often capable of clocking up more miles than could ever have been dreamt of in the past coupled with ever-increasing service intervals. It almost seems as though we can now simply forget about engine maintenance. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth and keeping an engine in perfect working order requires rather more than good luck! There are a few simple measures that go a long way towards keeping the engine running well, lasting longer and with reduced risk of breakdown.
Frequently Check Oil Levels – This may sound absurdly obvious but it is surprising how many drivers fail to carry out this most basic of all checks. Many cars offer electronic checks of oil levels but these are often wildly inaccurate and only give warning at a very low level. There is no substitute for regular checks on the dipstick.
Change Oil Frequently – The manufacturer’s recommended period between oil changes should be regarded as an absolute maximum figure. Any car subjected to many short journeys or extended periods of high-speed driving will benefit from more frequent changes.
Use Good Quality Oil – Car manufacturers invariably specify suitable grades of oil but even cars for which the lowlier grades are said to suffice will benefit from the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic oils which maintain their viscosity over a wide range of temperatures.
Check Coolant Levels – This is another check that is often overlooked until it is too late. Electronic monitoring of levels is unreliable and waiting until the system overheats often means that major damage has already been done. Obviously, antifreeze should be of the correct concentration and type. Under no circumstances should different types be mixed.
Check the Condition of Belts – Drive belts are an unavoidable feature of car engines powering auxiliary items such as alternators, power steering or air-con. A simple visual inspection and the renewal of any showing signs of wear can help to avoid a future breakdown. For those engines employing belt-driven camshafts, cam-belt failure can be catastrophic. Manufacturers usually specify cam-belt replacement intervals but many breakages still occur within these periods so the best recommendation is to change these belts much more frequently possibly at half of the quoted recommended mileage.
Change Filters Regularly – Oil and air filters lose inefficiency as they are used and so it is essential to change them regularly.
Use the Correct Grade of Fuel – Many cars are designed to run on standard grades of petrol and using a higher octane fuel offers no advantages. Other cars may require a high octane fuel and a lower grade can potentially cause problems such as pre-ignition and overheating. Many others are able to utilise different grades with no risk of damage in which case the higher octane fuels usually offer better performance and efficiency.
Do Not Disregard Engine Warnings – Almost all cars feature a system of on-board diagnostics and any fault usually results in the illumination of a dashboard display lamp. Many drivers regard these warnings as a nuisance and there can be a tendency to ignore them especially when they display intermittently. This is folly and any warning messages must be investigated.
Check for Fluid Leaks – A visual check of the engine compartment should be made for any signs of leaks. Any fluid leak is potentially very serious and should be remedied without delay. Any signs of coolant, lubricant, fuel or hydraulic fluid could all be warnings of impending disaster. Perhaps the only insignificant fluid leak is the dripping of condensation from an air-conditioning system.
Engine-Friendly Driving – Adopting a considerate driving style can reap benefits in terms of running costs and engine longevity. Engines should be treated carefully when cold and warmed up by driving gently rather than by idling for a long period.
There is a well-known adage of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” but this should never form the basis of a maintenance schedule. You certainly would not want your favourite airline to adopt such a policy so why should any motorist? If you can maintain your car correctly then you have the option to browse used cars for sale as well as new ones, in safe knowledge you are able to keep it ticking over in a healty and well maintained way.
Volvo Cars starts production of its new XC60 mid-size SUV in Gothenburg, Sweden, this month – 90 years after the first-ever Volvo, the ÖV4, saw the light of day on April 14, 1927.
A A total of just 275 vehicles were sold in its lifetime, which was modest even in those days, while the new XC60 replaces one of the best-selling models in Volvo’s history.
The original XC60 became a phenomenon, with climbing sales every year since it was introduced in 2008.
Seven years after it was revealed, it became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, and in its ninth year it is still selling in big numbers, accounting for around 30% of Volvo’s total global sales. In fact, April 2017 will see XC60 production exceed 1,000,000.
Volvo’s founder, Assar Gabrielsson, saw an opportunity for car manufacturing in Sweden after observing the growing automotive industries in the US and Europe from his position within sales at the Swedish ball bearing maker SKF – a supplier to the car industry.
He managed to convince SKF to invest in a spin-off car business called AB Volvo and the first mass-produced Swedish car was quite a conventional vehicle, with elements of American car design, a wooden frame made of ash tree and beech, a 1.9-litre side-valve engine and artillery wheels with wooden spokes.
Only one colour combination was available – dark blue with black fenders.
Despite all these changes over the past 90 years, one thing has remained the same and that’s Volvo’s commitment to making the world’s safest cars.
The motorcycle race season is now well underway. World Superbikes and MotoGP have already started their seasons. And possibly the best national series, the 2017 British Superbike championship, kicks off at Donington on Friday, March 31st.
The entry list includes multiple champion Shane Byrne and team-mate Glenn Irwin on the Be Wiser Ducatis. Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey are on the JG Speedfit Kawasakis. Honda will again field Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran. And Tyco BMW riders Christian Iddon and Davide Giugliano will both be capable of running at the front.
Then there’s the returning Josh Brookes on the Anvil Hire Yamaha, John Hopkins on the Moto Rapido Ducati, James Ellison and Michael Laverty on the McAms Yamahas, and the Bennetts Suzuki team of Sylvain Guintoli and Taylor Mackenzie. And also the debut of Bradley Ray on the Buildbase Suzuki.
Basically, out of a field of 25 riders, you wouldn’t bet against about 17 of them having a chance of winning.
What’s the Donington Park British Superbikes Timetable?
The weekend kicks off at 9am on Friday, March 31st. Free practice for all classes takes place throughout the day, and there are qualifying sessions for the KTM RC Cup at 3.45pm, and the Ducati TriOptions Cup at 5.45pm.
On Saturday, the morning is largely taken up with qualifying sessions and the final free practice for the BSB boys.
For entry, gates open at 7.30am
12.30: Ducati performance TriOptions Cup 8 Laps
13:00: Pirelli National Superstock 1000 2 x 18 laps
14:30: British Motostar Championship 10 laps
15:05: KTM RC Cup 8 laps
15:35: Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup 10 laps
16:02: BSB Qualifying and Superpole
17:20: British Supersport Championship Sprint Race 10 laps
Sunday is race day, with all the competing classes getting a morning warm up session. Then racing begins at 10:30am. There are also Suzuki Donington 40th Anniversary parade laps taking place during lunch at 1pm.
10:30: KTC RC Cup 8 laps
11.05: Ducati TriOptions Cup 10 laps
12:35 National Superstock 600 14 laps
13:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
14:15: National Superstock 1000 16 laps
14:55: British Motostar Championship 14 laps
15:40 British Supersport Championship Feature Race 18 laps
16:30: British Superbikes 20 laps
17:15: KTM RC Cup 8 laps
How much does Donington British Superbikes 2017 cost?
Advance ticket sales have now ended, so it’s full price on the gate. Children age 13 and under are free, and parking is free for the British Superbikes. Plus you can get 50% off adult entry for the Donington Park museum on the day.
The paddock will be open. And disabled spectators access is located at Coppice Corner with an elevated viewing and parking area. You’ll need to be displaying your blue badge to get in.
Ticket prices for the weekend are:
£25 – race day only
There are a few limited camping spots left for those deciding to stay at the last minute. Weekend admission with camping starts at £75 for those over 14 years of age.
How to Watch Donington BSB 2017 on TV:
Not able to make it to Donington Park? Here’s how to watch on TV and online.
15:45: Live Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
21:00: Qualifying and Supersport Sprint Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
Sunday April 2:
13:00: Live British Superbikes (Until 6pm) – Eurosport 2
21:00: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
22:00: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2
Monday April 3:
13.15: Race Highlights – Eurosport 2
14:15: British Superbikes Extra – Eurosport 2
17:30: Race Highlights – Eurosport 1
Eurosport is available via Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV. Or online via the Eurosport Player, which is £5.99 for a one day pass, or £29.99 for access until December 31st, 2017 (Which also includes World Superbikes). That’s a special offer running until April 30th, 2017.
The Reasons for Lexus’ Growing Success and Popularity
In recent times, Lexus has become Japan’s largest-selling make of premium cars and established themselves as pioneers in the luxury car sector. The luxury vehicle division of Toyota was first developed in the early 1980’s as a secret project to build the world’s best car, but they are now one of the most recognisable and successful automobile manufacturers around.
In fact, Lexus led the U.S luxury car market for an impressive 11 straight years before a Tsunami and an earthquake hit production in 2011. After falling behind Mercedes-Benz and BMW, they now are clawing their way back and recently posted a global sales record in 2016 and their fourth consecutive record year of sales.
Reasons for Success
So, what can be attributed to this success? One of the main reasons is that they have managed to find great success in the United States – a major consumer in the luxury car market. Lexus has always struggled to replicate this success in Europe, largely due to the fact that the European market as not as receptive to “new” brands as other areas of the world.
Another key reason is the fact that their vehicles are known to be extremely reliable, solid and well-engineered – this makes them a great choice for long-term ownership, which is an important factor for consumers when purchasing high-end automobiles. This also makes them the logical and intelligent purchase to make for any motorists in the market for this kind of vehicle, with specialist suppliers like RRG Group being the best place to turn.
Lexus has also manufactured a handful of hybrid vehicles in recent years. This has made them more popular throughout the world as there is a shift in attitude towards eco-friendly driving, but particularly in Europe where they have previously struggled to sell. This is not too much of a surprise, as their parent company Toyota are famed for being world leaders in hybrid technology. As a result, hybrid Lexus cars combine the strengths of petrol engines with all the benefits of electric power.
This success for the Japanese manufacturer only looks set to continue, as they are growing in popularity around the world whilst also maintaining their image in the United States. Essentially, their success can be attributed to their core values being inline with that of a modern day consumer. They are a brand about innovation, reliability, technology and eco-friendly motoring whilst also maintaining a luxury performance and sleek design.