face-off is a feature where we show you a couple of similarly
priced classic cars from the same era, and you vote for the
one you find most appealing.
In this round we have a couple of vehicles which at some point
in their lives could have been described as fine luxury automobiles.
Now however they could euphemistically described as "fixer-uppers".
Just over a decade separates their production dates, although
perhaps surprisingly its the older car which seems to have had
an easier life. One is a finely honed German machine, the other
was cobbled together by Englishmen toiling away with hand tools
and overcoats. Both of them offer character by the bucketload.
Aston Martin has today confirmed what most automotive industry
analysts and news outlets already knew, that the Lagonda name
is coming back, and that it'll be mounted on the back of an
all-new ultra luxurious super saloon.
The Aston Martin Lagonda saloon will be based on the company's
versatile VH architecture which underpins their current lineup
of vehicles - excluding the One-77. The car will be produced
in a limited series, and rather frustratingly, it will be exclusively
offered in only the Middle East market - or more specifically
the United Arab Emirates. Whether Aston Martin decide the other
markets are worthy of receiving the car in the future is yet
to be decided.
The car will be offered for sale by invitation only, ensuring
that only the wealthiest and discerning of plutocrats
car collectors can take ownership of the new Lagonda. Continue
What do you get if you cross one of the most evil empires the
universe has ever seen, with a fictional character from Star
Wars? The answer is this; the Hot Wheels Darth Vader Car. I
kid of course, Mattel isn't all that bad, it's been a full seven
years since they accidentally tried to poison children with
outsourced Chinese-made toys coated in paint which contained
180 times the acceptable limit of lead.
The timing of the release of the Darth Vader Car, along with
more Hot Wheels Star Wars vehicles and playsets isn't just random
either. They arrive ahead of the new Star Wars movie which is
due out in 2015. But what makes the Darth Vader car the stand-out
vehicle of the bunch is the fact that as well as the 1:64 scale
model - which comes with its own lightsaber-inspired collectors
care and commemorative box - Hot Wheels actually built a full-size
fully functional version of the car. Continue
In 1955, Ford's luxury division, Lincoln, flirted with the idea
of building a sports car. The bodywork of the Lincoln Indianapolis
Exclusive Study was developed by the Italian coachbuilding company
Boano. It was based on a Ford chassis, and the car's styling
was penned by Gian Paolo Boano, the son of the company's founder.
The Lincoln Indianapolis was unveiled to the world at the 1955
Turin Motor Show in Italy. It featured aviation-inspired styling,
stacked headlights, large lateral air intakes and a streamlined
cockpit. It was painted in an extremely eye-catching bright
orange hue and topped off with numerous chrome trim elements.
If you want a brand-new fifth-generation SRT Viper convertible,
then you're out of luck, as it only comes in coupe form. But
now Michigan-based automotive engineering and prototype design
company Prefix has rectified this by developing their own convertible
The conversion, called the Medusa Roadster (Manufactured, Engineered,
Developed in the USA), costs $35,000 - on top of the price of
a brand-new Viper. Prefix say they initially have plans for
a run of just 10 cars, each with its own limited edition badge.
The Medusa Roadster was debuted at a special event for 500 Viper
owners and enthusiasts who were treated to a surprise unveiling
of the car. Continue
Thinking about it now, it seems odd it's taken this long for
someone to come up with the idea of a luxury, high-class jetski
or personal water craft. Generally speaking, if you're in the
market for a PWC, you have the choice between the more difficult
to ride but sportier single-person standy-uppy style, or the
more common design with anywhere between one to three seats.
Generally speaking they're covered with garish graphics and
look like sportsbikes of the water. Nobody, until now, has offered
a classy-looking jetski.
The Strand Craft V8 Wet Rod is a 16-feet (4.8 metre) long vessel
capable of carrying up to three people. As the name suggests
it's powered by a 5.7 litre V8 engine producing 300 horsepower
which is connected to a water jet drive. Top speed of the vehicle
is a claimed 65 mph. Continue
Amazingly, the Smart ForTwo has been around since 1998. And
whether you love it, hate it, or are indifferent to its existence,
nobody can deny that it hasn't been a success and found its
own unique niche in this world.
The car revealed this week is the third generation of the ForTwo,
at the same time Smart also revealed the second generation of
the slightly larger but far less iconic ForFour.
"Affordable" and "military jet" are not two phrases which are
usually used in conjunction. But Textron AirLand Enterprises
have just rewritten the rule book when it comes to military
Firstly, as you may or may not know, the US military is still
waiting for the Lockheed-Martin F-35 joint strike fighter to
be delivered. It has been in development since the early 1990s,
and to date is the most expensive military jet program the world
has ever seen - currently estimated at $1.0165 trillion overall,
and with a unit cost of between $124 million and $156 million
depending on specification. The F-35 has been plagued with delays,
engineering problems and disgraceful budget increases over the
years. And just before it was due to make its international
debut this week at the Farborough Airshow in the UK, the entire
fleet was grounded while engineers try and figure out what caused
one to set alight while sat on the runway.
The other US fighter jet which made its world debut at the Farnborough
Show was this, the Textron AirLand Enterprises Scorpion Jet.
It has taken less than two years to go from paper to prototype,
and has a unit cost of just $20 million. The two aircraft offer
very different things, the F-35 is the most advanced jet the
world has ever seen is yet to see, and it employs
the very latest and most expensive technology available. On
the other hand, the Scorpion Jet uses already existing, tried
and tested off-the-shelf components from a number of manufacturers.
What you're looking at here is the Aston Martin V12 Vantage
S Roadster, the fastest series production convertible to leave
the Aston Martin factory. Mechanically identical to the V12
Vantage S Coupe, the Roadster uses the same AM28 6.0 litre naturally
aspirated V12 engine, a powerplant which produces 565 horsepower
and 457 lb-ft (620 Nm) of torque. It allows the car to accelerate
from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.1 seconds, and continue on
to a top speed of 201 mph.
Like its hard top sibling, the V12 Vantage S Roadster also uses
the same three-mode adaptive damping suspension system which
offers Normal, Sport and Track settings. It also employs carbon
ceramic brake discs and uses the same ZF Servotronic power assist
The transmission is a seven-speed Sportshift III hydraulically
actuated automated manual unit which provides motorsport-style
paddle shift changes. It replaces the six-speed manual unit
used in the V12 Vantage Roadster, and also weighs 20 kgs (44
lbs) less. Continue
If you're a fan of military vehicles you can always go out and
buy ex-army stuff. But if you want something a bit different
- and especially if you happen to have a Ford Excursion taking
up space in the garage - then JD3, an automotive design and
fabrication company run by Jeremy Dixon based in Tucson, Arizona
The JD3 Rockzilla is a monster of a machine. Available in either
two or four seat versions, and powered by whatever engine came
in the donor Excursion - either diesel or gas, the build time
for a Rockzilla is approximately four months. Amazingly, due
to the fact all parts are Ford, it can be serviced at any Ford
dealership in the US! Continue
Back in the late 1990s, when Lamborghini were starting to realise
they needed a replacement for the ageing Diablo, they started reviewing
design proposals from various automotive design firms. Zagato's offering
was the Zagato L147 SuperDiablo, or as it was to be later known, the
Lamborghini Canto. Continue
The PZL-230F Skorpion was a prototype jet aircraft which very nearly
saw production. The project was started in the late 1980s by PZL.
The Skorpion was a compact aircraft, it had a single pilot, twin jet
engines, and was designed to accept both Warsaw Pact and NATO munitions.
Back in the 1990s there were many weird and wonderful concept vehicles.
There were also some downright
terrible ones. Gathered here are five of the best concept cars
from the '90s which deserved a shot at production. Continue
Using the latest available information from NASA, and adding a healthy
dose of artistic license, designer Mark Rademaker has created a series
of images showing what the very first warp-capable spacecraft built
by humans might look like. Continue
Most racing cars follow the same formula. Fit a powerful engine in
a lightweight chassis, cover it with some aerodynamic body panels
and bolt on four wheels. But every now and then motorsport engineers
and designers get a bit creative and try out something new. Continue
Ejector seats have saved thousands of lives over the last seven decades
of use. It might not be the most enjoyable thing to do, but if you
find yourself in a damaged or out of control aircraft, it suddenly
seems like a very good idea indeed. Continue