How to put a Ford Mustang on top of the Empire State Building

Ford-Mustang-taken-apart-Empire-State-BuildingFor the two days preceding the New York Auto Show, Ford will put a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible for display on the top of the Empire State Building, again. Again? Yes, they’ve pulled that trick before, in 1965 to be exactly. So for everyone who will be in the Big Apple on April 16th and 17th, make sure to take the elevator up to the observation deck, and observe a bright yellow Mustang.

Except it won’t be a stock Mustang, as it is impossible to use a helicopter to fly the car all the way up, because the huge steeple on what was once the world’s tallest building makes that exercise a bit too tricky. Instead, the car will take the same route you will take to see it: the elevator. Only problem is: the entrance is only 36 inches (90 cm) wide, and the Mustang will have to fit through that in order to reach the 86th floor.

Ford-Mustang-classic-1965-taken-apart-Empire-State-BuildingSo what the engineers of an external engineering firm will do, is chop the brand-new, not even available to customers, Mustang into 6 pieces… Continue Reading …

6-wheeled alternatives to the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6

Mercedes-Benz-G63-AMG-6x6The Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 is an automotive extravagance, absurdity on 6 wheels. Or, as Mercedes call it themselves: the automotive declaration of independence. Other people would call it an unnecessary waste of (natural) resources, but as Top Gear have shown in their review, there are some very important things you can do with the 6×6. For example: jumping sand dunes, climbing rocks and driving through a swimming pool full of people, which are of course very sensible things to do.

More is always better when it comes to power, and the G63 AMG 6×6 proves that for certain on-road, but mostly off-road activities, the same goes for the number of wheels. But what if you come up short on the € 380.000,- / US$ 525,000 / £ 315,000 excluding taxes Mercedes is asking for this six-wheeled monster?

Well, there are some alternatives for you, which you may be able to pick up for less money than that.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis February 2014

Fiat-Panda-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeEuropean auto sales in February 2014 are up 3,6% when compared to February 2013, slowing down the year to date increase to 5,7% vs. the first two months of last year. The Volkswagen Golf is not surprisingly still the leader by far, actually increasing its lead over the number two, the Renault Clio, passing the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo to move up from fourth in January.

Notice the return of the Fiat Panda to the Europe top-10 at 8th place, leapfrogging its sister Fiat 500, which has outsold it for the past 8 months. It is also the first month of a year-over-year increase for the Panda, after a 14-month streak of decreases, since December 2012. In fact, the 2.800 unit lead over the 500 in February puts the Panda in the lead of the minicar segment Year To Date.

Another minicar with an excellent month is the Suzuki Alto, up 90% on last February. It’s noteworthy to mention this increase is fully carried by The Netherlands, where the Alto shot up from 562 sales and 15th place in February 2013 to first place and 2.279 sales this year. As a result, over 60% of all Alto’s sold in Europe this month were registered in The Netherlands. However, since this freak event is due to pre-registration of unsold cars, expect the Alto to tumble in the Dutch and also in the European ranking in the next months, until the arrival of its replacement, the Celerio.… Continue Reading …

Controversial Cadillac ELR commercial parodied

For those of you who haven’t seen or heard about the recent “poolside” commercial for the Cadillac ELR, which was a viral hit on YouTube because of its controversial “American Pride” theme, watch it here:

In short: it features what Cadillac hopes will be a typical buyer of the ELR, a Plug-in Hybrid coupe which is technically based on the Chevrolet Volt / Opel Ampera, but will only be sold in North America, for a price tag that’s double that of the Volt. It starts with the actor standing in his bermuda shorts by the pool of his $4 million home, asking why “we” work so hard (although I don’t see any callus on his hands) and talking about how the Americans take only two weeks off in August while other countries spend the whole month with their lazy asses on the beach. … Continue Reading …

A new kind of retro: naming a model after the company’s founder

As manufacturers are running out of inspiration for another retro styled car, a trend for which Volkswagen is credited since it introduced the New Beetle back in 1997, I have started to notice a new trend: retro naming. And with that, at this moment, I don’t mean re-using model names from the past, like Alfa Giulia or Chrysler 300, which could be the subject of an entirely different article, but I mean using the first name of the company’s founder as a model name.

Ferrari-EnzoFerrari started this trend in 2002 when the Italians decided to name their supercar Ferrari Enzo. While the model’s two predecessors, F40 and F50, were named to celebrate the company’s 40th and 48th anniversary in 1987 and 1995 respectively, the Italians may have been a bit too quick with the development of their next supercar. It was already completed and ready to be sold in 2002, so the Italians must have called for an emergency board meeting during lunch time:

  • “Oh mama mia! Grande catastrofe! Gianni, what do we do now? The F60 is already finished!
  • – Eating spaghetti –
  • “When is the 60th anniversary, Alberto?”
  • – Drinking Chianti –
  • “That’s another five years, Vincenzo! We cannot wait that long! The Germans are working on a Carrera GT, which is much better than ours. We need it to be sold out before they finish their car!”… Continue Reading …

Luxury battle part three: Audi vs. BMW vs. Mercedes-Benz in roadsters

Audi-TT-Geneva-Autoshow-2014The German Big three BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have faced each other for the European luxury car buyer for decades now, and the fight isn’t limited to high-volume segments. The compact roadster / coupe segment has been a battleground as well, although the three brands have followed entirely different strategies for this segment. Each of the three manufacturers has been in the lead of the compact roadster / coupe category at some point in the past 16 years, since the introduction of the first Audi TT.

Audi was the last to the game, as the BMW Z3 and Mercedes-Benz SLK were introduced in late 1995 and 1996 respectively, while the TT didn’t arrive until 1999. But it entered the segment with a bang, saleswise, immediately rising to the top in its first year of sales.… Continue Reading …

50th Anniversary of the Škoda 1000 MB

Skoda-1000-MB-50-year-anniversary-frontAfter 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, this month, it is the Škoda 1000 MB which turns 50 years old. The first Czech mass-produced car made its debut on March 21st 1964 as the successor to the Škoda Octavia. It also was the first Škoda with rear wheel drive, a rear engine and unibody construction, making it a milestone in the nearly 119-year history of Škoda, as it marked the beginning of what would eventually evolve into a long line of rear-engined Škodas, although this was still a fairly popular layout for a compact car in that time. Other rear-engined, rear wheel drive models during that period are among others the Volkswagen Beetle, Simca 1000, Renaults Dauphine and R8, NSU Prinz, Hillman Imp and the Fiats 500 and 600.

Revolutionary technology

The 1000 MB was a revolution for Škoda, as it was built in an all-new production plant in Mladá Boleslav (hence the MB in its name), its design was radically different than the brands previous models,… Continue Reading …

Toyota cleared in fuel-economy lawsuit

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the “Fuel-loss Foundation” in The Netherlands who had sued the Dutch Toyota importer for overstating the fuel economy claims of its vehicles, most notably the gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. I had predicted their lawsuit would not be successful for two reasons: first and foremost because Toyota is simply following the European Fuel-loss-foundation-class-action-lawsuitguidelines for fuel economy statements, and secondly because the only reason the lawsuit was aimed at Toyota specifically is to set them as an example, as the brand is the largest producer and seller of hybrid vehicles, the type of cars that showed the highest deviation between theoretical fuel economy and actual fuel economy.

Nearly every car reviewed by the foundation was less fuel efficient than its manufacturer claims, which should be an indication that there is more likely to be a discrepancy between the European test cycle and the real-world driving conditions than this being a result of deceptive behavior by Toyota.… Continue Reading …

Geneva Auto Show 2014: details of every new production model, part 1

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Alfa Romeo’s 4C sports car has been well received, at the Geneva Motor Show Alfa Romeo launched the convertible version, which will have a total weight of less than 1,000 kg. The body of the 4C Spider is made from the same fiberglass and has the same four-cylinder 1750 Turbo petrol engine teamed with the TCT automatic twin clutch transmission. Alfa-Romeo-4C-Spider-Geneva-Autoshow-2014

Audi S1

Audi launched the new flagship models of the A1 range: the S1 and S1 Sportback. The S1, which also previews the upcoming A1 facelift with a new design for headlamps and bumpers, is fitted with a 2.0 TFSI engine, which produces 231 hp. The top speed is 250 km/h, while it accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 5.8-5.9 seconds. The average fuel consumption is 7.0-7.1 l/100 km and the equivalent CO2 emissions 162-166 g/km. … Continue Reading …

Geneva Auto Show 2014: details of every new production model, part 2

Ferrari California T

Ferrari launched the California back in 2008. 5,5 years after its debut, Ferrari refreshes the California with new sheet metal and replaces the normally aspirated 4.3-liter V8 by a 3.8-liter V8 biturbo engine with 560 hp (up from 490 hp), which was launched initially in the Maserati Quattroporte. The CO2 emissions have dropped by 15% to 250 g/km. Ferrari-California-T-Geneva-Autoshow-2014

Fiat Panda Cross

The second generation Fiat Panda Cross is based on the Panda Climbing 4X4. Fiat sold approximately 30,000 units of the previous Panda Cross, mostly in Italy and the Alpine countries. Fiat offers two engines: the 0.9 TwinAir Turbo petrol engine with 90 hp (CO2 emissions 114 g/km) and a 1.3 MultiJet II diesel engine with 80 hp (CO2 emissions 125 g/km). The latter one has a ground clearance of 16 cm, while the TwinAir has 15 cm. The approach and departure angles have improved compared to the first generation Panda Cross. The front end features new light clusters, front and rear bumpers, wheel arch extensions, side mouldings, new roof bars and 15-inch alloy wheels with all-season tyres. The interior features a new dashboard finish with copper fascia. … Continue Reading …