In this section of the blog, you can find articles about things about cars and the automotive industry that blow our minds or just make us laugh out loud.
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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 …

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series true to its spiritual grandfather Pontiac GTO

This year, AMG will celebrate its 45th birthday. And 45 years is also what separates these two cars, which have more in common than just their color. The Pontiac GTO is considered the founder of the car segment that furiously wrote history under the name “Muscle Car”. The AMG has got all the credentials to be called a German Muscle Car, and the Black Series version even tops it off with a little more of all the good stuff!

mercedes-benz-c63-amg-black-series-vs-pontiac-gto-1967

No way red is the color of standstill!

This will make you see red! And it will make you see double as well! Driving a fast car can bump up your testosterone, especially with these two candidates. One may not look so mean, but the other makes no secret of its brutal power. And the color looks good on both of them. While he persistent nonsense that red is not the right color for a real man’s car still lingers in some social circles, these theorists better take note that both the GTO and the AMG were also available in Purple or Vanilla Cream. In both cases there would be no doubt about the “cool-factor”. And trust me, color is just one of the smallest commonalities in these two cannonballs that could tear off the blacktop if you would let them and if the tires would survive that challenge. No, the family ties are deeper and have nothing to do with their respective brands. Let’s just call them soul mates.… Continue Reading …

Martini Racing Collection at the Louwman Museum

Martini-Racing-Collection-Louwman-Museum

If you have been a regular viewer or attendee at any kind of auto racing in the 1970s, ’80s and early ‘90s, there’s no way you’re not familiar with the Martini Racing Cars. A combination of dark blue, light blue and red stripes on a silver or white background are the iconic livery of one of the first major sponsors in auto racing, and these colors have made their mark on some of the most exciting and thrilling decades in racing history. Martini has been connected to auto sports for over 45 years, and during that period Martini Racing teams have dominated every important racing event. The success story includes victories at Le Mans, Formula 1, World Rally Championships and DTM. For the youngsters among my readers: as much as you can see Red Bull at every major extreme sports event these days, Martini was at every auto racing event back in the “old days”. At any auto racing event the Martini colors would be omnipresent and impossible to miss.

Until May 4th 2014, a small but significant piece of the Martini Racing history is brought together and is on display at the Louwman Museum in Den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands). Usually, you would have to travel to at least 4 different museums and even then you wouldn’t see all of these cars, as some are part of private collections. The cars in this temporary collection are combined into four main categories: Rally Cars, Touring Cars, Formula 1 Cars and Endurance Racing Cars.… Continue Reading …

85 exceptional Volvo’s in a wooden shed

Swedish-Collection-Volvo-760-GLE-HoneckerSo you think Volvo’s past is filled with nothing but boring station wagons, tailored to the safety conscious family man? Then a museum full of Volvo’s must be the epitome of sleeping aid! Think again. Volvo has been a supplier of government- and diplomatic vehicles for decades, and they have built some very beautiful 2-door coupe models over the years as well, some drawn by Italian designer Bertone. In fact, Volvo’s past is much more exciting than just the current line-up of cars. Some of the most interesting cars of this past have been put together in The Swedish Collection.

Hans Blokzijl is a Dutch entrepreneur and mass-collector. His most famous collection is born out of his passion for Sweden and for Volvo automobiles, he has created a private museum of exceptional Volvo cars and paraphernalia in a shed on the property of his tree nursery. It is a collection of exclusive or otherwise special models of the Swedish brand, some of which even the official Volvo museum in Sweden is jealous of. His private museum opened to the public for one day only today, giving visitors a look into the past and present of Volvo.… Continue Reading …

CARicature News: German Autobahn toll will depend on your speed

German-Autobahn-tollThe famous German Autobahn will soon no longer be unlimited. Unlimited free kilometers, that is. Chancellor Angela Merkel has reached an agreement with the ruling parties to introduce a toll system in order to pay for the huge costs for maintenance of the high-speed motorways.

Rumor has it the toll pricing may depend on the speed a car drives on the Autobahn. Fast drivers will pay a higher price-per-kilometer than slower drivers, as the left-wing party Die Linke has requested. According to party-leader Gregor Gysi, “The rich are able to buy faster cars, so if they want to drive them at high speeds, they should pay more, it’s only fair”.

Angela-Merkel“Because of the poor state of our infrastructure, safety may be jeopardized if we do not invest in maintenance”, Merkel said. “But there is no money available in our current budget, so we had to choose: introduce a speed limit of 90 km/h (55 mph) or introduce a toll system, which should generate enough revenue to pay for road maintenance”.

 

Pricing is not yet announced, but expect the highest speed bracket, with an average speed >250 km/h (155 mph), to have a similar price-per-kilometer than a lap around the famous Nürburgring, which costs € 27,- for a 20,8 km lap, equal to € 1,30 per kilometer (US$ 1,10 per mile).… Continue Reading …

CARicature News: The next step after self-driving cars: passengerless cars

nissan-leaf-autonomous-driveAfter Nissan announced their goal of having multiple self-driving vehicles on sale in 2020 last august, a press release dated yesterday announces the brand is already looking further into the future, and has started investigating the next step into the autonomous car.

 

“We have asked ourselves: ‘what comes next?’ As a technology leader, you need to have a vision for the future”, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn explained to left-lane.com. “We expect passengerless cars to be the mobility of the future. Imagine the benefits for road safety: when fully autonomous cars, without a driver or passenger, are involved in a crash, nobody will suffer serious injury of even fatality.”… Continue Reading …

Chevrolet Camaro recalled for loose stickers

Camaro-recall-sun-visorLess than one week after my article on the 8 weirdest auto recalls ever, General Motors announced a recall that would have passed the bar to make it the 9 weirdest auto recalls ever:

GM is recalling a certain number of 2013 and 2014 model year Chevrolet Camaro Coupes because the required air bag warning label on the sun visor may peel off. This label  warns occupants of a vehicle that the airbag can hit them in the face and hurt them in the process of saving their lives. It’s like you don’t want the life guard to give your drowning child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation because of his garlic breath.… Continue Reading …

The 8 weirdest auto recalls

Auto recalls seem to be in the news more often these days. And they seem to become bigger and bigger, affecting millions of vehicles at the same time. This is a result of modular platforms and large-scale manufacturing. Automakers are developing more common parts to fit into multiple models, across multiple brands, which reduces costs of development and manufacturing of parts. But there is a risk involved with this trend: when a part proves to be faulty, a larger number of cars, sometimes across continents, need to be recalled to the dealer to fix the part.

In the United States, the manufacturer can be forced to recall a certain number of cars by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when this government agency thinks the issues cause the cars to no longer comply with the safety standards. But besides the safety issues, some recalls are just plain weird.

Here’s a list of the 8 weirdest auto recalls ever:

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