Sunday, 29 January 2012

Video Sunday - Je Suis En Retard

Uploaded: 25/1/12
Running Time: 1:56
Views When Found (26/1): 390,775
Views When Posted Today: 5,401,438

[Don't worry, "Je suis en retard" means "I am late". I'm not questioning anyone's mental strength]

As you must surely own an Internet (otherwise how are you reading this?), you have probably become aware of the phrase "trolling", which refers to someone winding people up on internet forums/comment sections or posting something designed to get an indignant response, perhaps from someone whose mental strength is roughly on par with YouTube commenters (seriously, don't read them below the Top Rated ones). Well, Rémi Galliard is what you might consider a "Troll IRL", as he likes to annoy the French police in many imaginative and ridiculous ways, as well as moody security guards and golfers from time to time. Here, he's making sure that even the people who are running late, be they travelling by road, rail or air, is sticking to the speed limit. A noble undertaking if you ask me. Unfortunately, the Gendarms aren't quite on the same wavelength when they find him at the end. Well, wouldn't you be annoyed if you were caught speeding in a police van?

If you try this at home, please film it.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Video Saturday - Beats an EZGO

Uploaded: 18/1/12
Running Time: 2:08
Views When Posted: 99,221

Unless you've been tricked into the relentless and fruitless pursuit of perfection that is playing the sport, golf is dull. Sure, taking a few swings at the driving range can be pretty fun, but on TV it's mostly men who've waved 30 goodbye standing on cleanly-mowed fields in beige trousers looking at a flag. To spice things up, New Zealander Rhys Millen, son of Pikes Peak legend and IMSA racer Rod Millen, has taken his 500-horsepower Hyundai Veloster rallycross car and gone all Ken Block on us, acting as caddy for what can only be described as "A Man". He then helps A Man score a goal-in-one by parking in the right spot on the green (although surely it's all green?) and heading it in with his Veloster RC. Because it's a little short, the video makers have even thrown in a little "Making Of" at the end, just to allay any conspiracies of fakery. In that there definitely is fakery. Hopefully you enjoyed this video before reading this last bit, so I didn't just ruin it for you.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Video Thursday - The Only Hybrid You Should Listen To

Uploaded: 25/1/12
Running Time: 59secs
Views When Posted: 10,800

The other day I did a post on the new Toyota TS030 HYBRID looking to take on Audi at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Now you can listen to what that hybrid system sounds like. As well as gathering up to 500kJ of electrical energy to release above 75mph, the Toyota Hybrid you should actually care about will apparently use its electric motor (which, looking at the DENSO sponsor on the side, is probably rear-mounted) to taxi down the pit lane, thus saving extra fuel with each stop. Well, you know what Tesco say...

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

SAAB's Entire History Is Secure. I'm Glaad

2011 SAAB Phoenix Concept
This is just a quick post to say that, after getting all sad that the SAAB museum was for sale, the City of Trollhättan , SAAB AB and The Wallenburg Foundation have all pitched in to save the collection of 123 cars and keep them all in one place, in the museum in SAAB's town of birth, which clearly cares enough about its history to preserve it. Woo!

To celebrate, here's some stunt driving. It's grainy, but there are some pretty good tricks, plus it's a Spa-Francorchamps. What more can you ask for?! Oh yeah, SAAB not dying in the first place. Er, apart from that, what more could you ask for?! Enjoy!

Uploaded: 27/5/07
Running Time: 1:58
Views When Posted: 2023

Forget The Prius GT300, THIS Is The Only Hybrid You Should Care About

2012 Toyota TS030 at the Paul Ricard Circuit
Wow, Toyota are really keen to get rid of their dull image. First they co-produce the GTBRZ86-RS coupé with Subaru, then they make a Prius to enter the GT300 class of SUPER GT, and now we have here their first Le Mans entry since 1999 (around the last time they were this awesome), the TS030. Sure, it's a hybrid, but it's in the Porsche/Williams flywheel-accumulator-cum-KERS kind of way, not the barely-moving Auris HSD kind of way. Toyota, if all goes well come mid-June, you will be one step closer to reclaiming your long-lost awesomeness. Especially as Peugeot have bowed out...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Chevrolet Corvette C7 Spied Wearing A Snow Jacket

As a follow-up to the renderings (and my subsequent slap-dash modifications) of the C7-generation Corvette, here are spy shots of the first C7-bodied prototypes getting their chill on in Northern Europe for cold-weather endurance testing. Temperatures there are estimated to be at around -20°C, so will this ensure the next Corvette will be a cool car? Someone should probably tell them it doesn't quite work that way...

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Video Saturday - Epic Win

Uploaded: 16/1/12
Running Time: 3:03
Views When Posted: 1,405,031

When a YouTube video has reached nearly 1.5 million views in five days, you know it must be good. Unless it's a new Rebecca Black song, then you know it's laughably horrid. Either way, this definitely is worth watching, as motoring and football mix together to make one heck of a good shot. I don't know who this guy is, other than being called Nakamura, which is a bit like being called Jones when you're in Japan. Anyway, Mr. Jones has to kick a football through the window of a moving bus, and, well, I'll let you watch it first.

So, seen it now? How cool is that?! It's not just that it worked, it's that it was right in the middle. There's no arguing with that! One question does enter my mind, though - why does every Japanese TV clip have a window with someone watching it in the corner? Are they all from the same show, which appears to be about impressing judges? I don't know. I do know that that's one epic goal.

Special Stage Route X - A Guide Through Polyphony's Ehra-Lessien

It's not every track where turns 1 and 2 are over 10KM apart
This month, Gran Turismo 5 received another update to Spec 2.03. This included some new cars, none of which is an R35 GT-R (finally) and one of which will be appearing here in the next couple of days, and a new circuit, Special Stage Route X. While all the other SS routes in the GT universe are on fictional Tokyo streets, this one is literally in the middle of nowhere, and makes no bones about what it is: a pure speed circuit. Of course, the natural thing to do when you get this track is race a grid of Bugatti Veyrons on it, so I did just that and took plenty of pictures afterwards, so any non-GT5ers reading SBV8 won't miss out. On that note, did you know that this track makes a brief appearance in the Spec 2.0 intro video? Just before McLaren MP4-12Cs are seen slo-mo drifting around turn 3 of London, you can see the Red Bull X2011 covering ground at a serious rate of knots over the distance markers. True story. Anyway, let's look inside Polyphony Digital's very own Ehra-Lessien...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

SAAB's Entire History Is For Sale. How Saad.

SAAB Sonnet on the left, one of very few MF-layout cars
As I'm sure you know from the horribly drawn-out and very public fall to bankruptcy, SAAB has gone bust. The weird and wonderful Swedish company lost it all, lest we forget, because a saving bid was blocked by General Motors, who didn't want the parts and platforms they were supplying to go to the Chinese operation that were interested in buying them. Damn you, GM. SAAB are cool. Secretly. Anyway, as part of the divorce, the Swedish bank has custody of the SAAB museum, featuring every significant model in the company's history, and much more besides, and they've just put it on sale. And so the saad ending of SAAB continues....

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Toyota's GT300 Entry Is the Only Hybrid You Should Care About

Can you tell what it is yet?
As well as the Subaru BRZ, this year's SUPER GT series is set to have a pretty damn awesome GT300 class, not only because of the usual mix of BMWs, Porsches, Ferraris, Nissan Zs, bespoke racers and so on, but because of Toyota's new entry, which started out in life as something you wouldn't expect to become a racing car...

Video Sunday - In Soviet Russia, Drowning Escape You

Uploaded: 8/1/12
Running Time: 2:36
Views When Posted: 245,491

For a long time, it looks like this Kirovec K-701 isn't going to avoid its watery grave in the middle of what can only be described as A River. The huge Russian tractor-truck, which weighs 12.4 tonnes and only has 300 horsepower (but probably a huge torque figure) to help it, finally makes it out and into relatively dry land. With the air intake and exhaust staying relatively out of the water's way, chances are it continued working perfectly after taking an unwanted dip. What's surprising about this video is actually the amount of truck that resurfaces...

Enjoy a simple truck with an apparently simple-minded driver escaping using the Jeremy Clarkson Method, i.e. POWERRRRRRRR!!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Video Saturday - Gojira-San

Uploaded: 8/12/11
Running Time: 4:56
Views When Posted: 35,244

After giving you a few quotes from the man who co-created Godzilla (by which I mean the Nissan GT-R since 1989), and then rambling a bit afterwards, here is a video where Autocar's Steve Sutcliffe interviews him from behind the wheel of the new 2012 DBA-R35 GT-R. One point of interest is where he mentions that, while most car companies publish the highest power figure they got for a new model, Nissan quote the lowest for the GT-R, so even with the different variables between each engine build, a GT-R buyer is guaranteed to get at least the 542 horsepower quoted by Nissan that they're expecting. This perhaps confirms the suspicions of many that when the original CBA-R35 came out in 2007/8 and set amazing Nürburgring lap times, it was perhaps channelling more than the 473bhp through the four 20" wheels that Nissan was saying it was. Not my much, of course, but it must be nice for a GT-R owner to know they're getting what they're paying for. The 70bhp difference between 2007 and 2012 is also a lesson in not buying a car as soon as it comes out...

Anyway, enjoy this little interview. If you have trouble understanding Japanese accents (which, by the way, makes you racist :-P), then Mizuno-san has been subtitled. There's a nice little joke about it at the end.

Friday, 13 January 2012

SPIED: Lexus LFA Roadster?

Before we begin, I'd like to point out that the same site where I found this also has a video of the Ferrari Codename F152 prototype I reported on a couple of days ago.

Is it a custom job? Is it a surprise unveiling of a new special edition? Who knows. Not even Carscoop, who hosted the video originally, can shed any real light on it, but what can definitely be said is that this video contains a fully-functional Lexus LFA Roadster. 47 seconds into the video above, it appears sideways, barking a glorious bark out of those three exhausts, proving that whatever it is, the 1LR-GUE 4.8-litre V10 is present and correct. Lovely. It was spied at a D1GP start-up event (D1 is the premier drifting series in the home of drifting), gliding into view after a Toyota AE86 finishes teaching its new grandson a few tricks.

It wouldn't be unusual for a convertible version of the LFA to be made officially by Toyo-- I mean, er, Lexus. When Alfa Romeo made the 500-unit 8C Competizione, its popularity lead them to produce a Spyder version, again with 500 cars. The same is true of the almost-a-Gallardo Audi R8 GT, as well as the actually-a-Gallardo Lamborghini LP570-4 Superleggera, although they had the decency of renaming that one, to Performante. So, as I say, it wouldn't be unusual. But, Lexus put so much money and effort into each one of their 500 LFA supercars (including 50 Nürburgring Editions) that they actually don't make any money on any of them, so one could argue, why do it if it won't make money? I daresay Alfa, Audi and Lamborghini did make money, so the situation is a little different. On the third hand, wherever that is, Volkswa-- I mean, er, Bugatti actually post a loss on each Veyron they make, and they made tons of limited editions, including a convertible. One commenter on Jalopnik reckons the simple fixed rollover bar means it's a one-off custom job and not a production model.

It's like a Japanese version of Outrun
Tricky to decipher indeed. Carscoop pledge to inform us of any developments in this story, so I will endeavour to pass them on. There are also photos from the event here.

Edit (14/1): After running the Japanese site above through Google Translate, it says that the car was "converted to open-top", so I'm pretty sure it's just a one-off. Given the attention to detail in this car, a simple roof chop and fixed basket-handle rollbar wouldn't make sense as something Toyota/Lexus would do with this special car of theirs.

Supercar Buyers Are Stupid

See that silver thing? You can't have one any more...
In late November, the Ferrari California was updated with a bit more power and a bit less weight, adding 30bhp and shedding 30kg. That all seems fine, but with the refresh came sad news: The California is no longer available with a manual transmission. While only a tiny fraction of Californias sold came with a clutch pedal, and a manual doesn't necessarily make sense in a more relaxed open-top GT, this now means that no Ferraris at all are available new with a manual gearbox. Earlier last year, Lamborghini waved goodbye to three-pedal motoring as well, when the limited run of 2-Wheel-Drive Gallardo Balbonis finished, saying the replacement would be paddle-shift only. This is a bad thing.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

2012 Detroit Auto Show Highlights

This colour is called 'Gotta Have It Green'. Have I? Have I really? I prefer the blue, myself
The first major motor show of the year is the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which has just finished. It was relatively quiet in terms of exciting new models compared to Frankfurt '11, but there was plenty of new American metal looking to finally take on the Europeans at mainstream cars with at least some level of genuine conviction... because deep down, they're all secretly European. In no particular order, here are ten cars I actually took an interest in.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Reasonable News!

Guess what, everyone!

The new 2012 Kia Cee-apostrophe-D looks like this!
Angry face: present.
Thought you ought to know.

Moving on...

Another Ferrari Spied - The New F70

Did I mention that this is my own image?
After showing you spy paintings of the next front-engined V12 Ferrari, here are a couple of photographs of the next mid-engined V12 Ferrari, a car I know precisely nothing about. All I know is that the "F70" is the successor to the F60, officially nicknamed the Enzo Ferrari after, er, Enzo Ferrari. That car came out in 2004 with a 650-horsepower, 6.0 V12 it later shared with the 599, an 'F1' automated manual "flappy-paddle" gearbox and a top speed of 217mph. This, I imagine, will be better in every way. Logic dictates that this V12 is related to the 6.3-litre engine in the FF and the two-seater revealing itself at Geneva this March, but it will probably have more power. The Pagani Huayra has 730bhp, so let's say this ultimate Ferrari will have 740 or 750. It'll be around there anyway.

It also probably won't be a "breadvan" shape once it takes its camouflage raincoat off, unless it's a styling reference to the old 330 P4 endurance prototype, or indeed the 250GT Breadvan. That's all I've got, I'm afraid, except it won't be available with a manual transmission, because apparently feeling connected to your car isn't as important as shaving tenths off at the track day you'll never go on...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ferrari V12 GT Spied In Maranello [UPDATED]

Nope, that's definitely not a 456M with a raincoat on...
Believe it or not, the Ferrari F599 GTB Fiorano (or 599 for short) has been around since 2006. While various editions have kept it fresh in our minds - the hardcore 661bhp GTO, the 599XX semi-racer, the SA Aperta open-top version, and who can forget the 2009 HGTE handling pack? - the new FF shooting brake and younger rivals are necessitating its replacement, which has just been spied exiting the main gate at Maranello. Y'know, right where there are signs showing "NO PHOTOGRAPHY". Assuming the mystery spy obeyed the signs, I hope these incredibly realistic paintings are accurate...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Video Sunday - 5 Minutes Of Heaven

Uploaded: 23/7/10
Running Time: 5:34
Views When Posted: 60,138

The Lancia Stratos was practically made for YouTube, despite being made in the 1970s. With that body emitting that sound (courtesy of a 2.4-litre Ferrari V6), it's a match made in heaven, and because it went rallying (and won the World Rally Championship 3 times), there's plenty of footage out there of the car in its heyday, being driven like it's worthless. This video compilation is just 5 minutes of that footage. It is five minutes worth spending if you like cars, art or music. Enjoy!

Friday, 6 January 2012



The new Dacia Lodgy will be on display at the Geneva Motor Show in March!



Thursday, 5 January 2012

Inside The Mind of Godzilla's Father

This morning, I was reading a TopGear article about Kazutoshi Mizuno (he of GT-R fatherhood). He seems great, like a funny mad professor, and his ideas on supercars are quite interesting. If you want an insight into the mind of someone capable of creating the Nissan GT-R, here are a few quotes:

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Ford EcoSport Is Everything That's Wrong With Everything

Princess Leia in a gold bikini not included
In the motoring world, "crossovers" are a plague that has plighted us for a few years now. They've been around for a while (see the '90s Isuzu VehiCross or the '80s AMC Eagle), but nowadays they're spreading like a virus, and Ford has just announced their second one, a Fiesta-based car to sit under the Focus-based Kuga (that doesn't at all sound like 'Cougar', a coupé they used to make...), which has the worst and laziest name ever conceived for a car: EcoSport. That says it all, doesn't it? Crossovers are clearly nothing more than moron bait...

Monday, 2 January 2012

Video Monday - Es war ein Rendezvous

Uploaded: 10/7/10
Running Time: 5:12
Views When Posted: 18,122

A belated Happy New Year! My first post of 2012 is a video that would be awesome in any year. There will be more to come, mostly rants (and maybe a review of my new phone). Bah humbug.

I haven't got much to say about this one, as it's pretty straightforward. Someone has decided to live all our dreams and take a BMW M3 CSL (E46) up a mountain pass on a quiet day, choosing Nufenen Pass in Switzerland. Turn your speakers up, because this is a good one for your ears (you can thank the 360PS 3.2-litre straight-six for that, which the poster says still has the standard exhaust attached). Unfortunately for the driver, he gets held up by a bloated French hatchback near the end, a feeling that's all too real to me. Not that I have an M3 CSL, or you would've read about it a good 50 times by now...