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.
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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.
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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 Viper.
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.
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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.
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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.
The styling of the new Smarts are based closely on a number of concept cars from the past few years, starting with the Smart ForVision concept from 2011, the ForStars from 2012 and most recently the FourJoy concept which was unveiled last year.
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“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 jets.
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.
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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 steering.
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.
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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 can help.
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!
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Jaguar’s upcoming all-new car, the XE sports saloon, will make its world debut on September 8th at a special event in London. Ahead of its unveiling Jaguar has released more details about the car, in particular the suspension and steering systems.
Jaguar say the new XE will feature levels of innovation new to the segment, as well as utilizing lightweight construction methods and the latest generation of Ingenium engines.
The Jaguar XE will be built around an all-aluminium monocoque chassis, and include a front suspension setup derived from that used on the F-Type. The rear suspension is an integral link system which has been tuned to offer both dynamic ability and comfort. For the steering system jaguar has opted for an electric power assist setup.
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This striking creation is the work of XL Stainless, a Canadian company who specialize in stainless steel fabrication, welding and customisation. This particular car was an in-house project. It wasn’t designed as a pre-production prototype for some small-scale manufacturing run. It’s just a showpiece to demonstrate the company’s skills in working with metal – in this case aluminium.
Based on a rear-ended 1998 Chevrolet Corvette donor vehicle, the car was designed, and built, by the company’s boss, Warren Scaife. Scaife says the styling – specifically the front-end – was inspired by the Morgan LIFEcar 2 concept from 2010. The back end is a bit more of a mystery, although it apparently utilizes Mitsubishi Eclipse rear lights.
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