Earlier this year, Nissan’s performance division NISMO announced a lighthearted design competition which asked fans to help conceive of some Mashups using some of their high-performance models, and cross-breeding them with some of Nissan’s more entry-level vehicles. The results are now in.
At the start of the contest we came up with a cross between the IDx NISMO concept and the 370Z (see the gallery). Unfortunately it wasn’t eligible for the competition because the IDX NISMO is a concept, not a production model. So the cars that NISMO ended up going with were a blend of the Nissan GT-R and the Maxima, and a shotgun marriage between a 370Z and a Sentra.
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As MINI expands their lineup into increasingly diverse sectors, their original aim – which was to create retro-inspired compact cars which appealed to hipsters and people who think that having a big sticker on their roof makes them “an individual” – seems to have been forgotten. Now they make everything from roadsters to small SUVs, and if seven students from the ISD design university in France have their way they’ll also be making quirky luxury executive vehicles.
It’s not a bad proposition, BMW, Audi and Mercedes make some great vehicles, but they all stick to a safe formula. They don’t exactly take risks when it comes to styling. And that has resulted in some handsome cars, but Audi’s lineup in particular has a bit of a Russian doll feel to it, and BMW aren’t much different. An executive vehicle with some character is hard to find, and that’s where the MINI Businessman concept comes in.
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In the early part of the 20th Century, automotive designers were just starting to understand the benefits of aerodynamic bodywork, although at the time it was called ‘streamlining’. Streamlining was still a pretty new idea, most manufacturers still made their cars in the shape of a box, with a vertical front grille and windshield and quite literally no attempt was made to manage or control the flow of air around the vehicle.
Aurel Persu was one of the first men to understand the importance of aerodynamics. Born in Romania in 1890, he was a graduate of the Royal Technical College of Charlottenburg in Berlin. Persu was inspired by the simple raindrop, and wanted to create a vehicle which had a similarly low drag coefficient. His masterpiece was the Persu Streamliner, a teardrop shaped vehicle with aerodynamic bodywork and wheels which were set within the body – as opposed to sticking out, like on most other vehicles of the time.
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Icon are a US-based company who specialize in rebuilding classic 4x4s – including the Ford Bronco, Jeep CJ7 and Toyota Landcruiser – and fitting them with the latest technology, drivetrains and equipment. They also do other stuff, like building what look like decrepit, rusting old cars, but underneath are high-powered modern drivetrains.
However Their latest project would take them from being a car restoration company, to being a car manufacturing company. Icon’s founder and boss Jonathan Ward is currently in the early stages of designing a stylish streamliner-inspired automobile called the Icon Helios, after the Greek god of the Sun.
The styling of the Icon Helios is influenced by aircraft and automobiles, from the 1930s. It features a curvaceous unpainted aluminium body, with much of the engineering left on show, like the individual rivet heads.
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The original one-of-a-kind Napier-Railton was a beast of a car. Built in 1933 by Reid Railton for the British racing driver John Cobb, the Napier-Railton was powered by a 24-litre aircraft engine which produced 580 horsepower. The transmission was a three-speed non-synchromesh manual gearbox which sent power to the rear wheels. Interestingly the car only had brakes on the rear wheels, despite the fact it has a 168 mph top speed!
From 1933 to 1947 the Napier-Railton broke no less than 47 World speed records. The car is currently owned by the Brooklands Museum, and it is kept in perfect running order.
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At the 2014 Vans US Open of Surfing competition – which takes place from July 26 to August 3 in Huntington Beach, California – Fiat will be displaying a concept version of the 500L which is inspired by Vans footwear and also the surfing scene.
The Vans Fiat 500L concept features a new front bumper and grille assembly complete with four round LED driving lights. It also has two-tone blue and white paintwork set above the dark grey ruggedized wheel arches and matching dark grey alloy wheels. The roof features a check pattern and is fitted with a roof rack for hauling kit – in this case surfing and kite surfing paraphernalia.
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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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Daimler may have killed off the Maybach brand last year, but this particular Maybach – based on the Maybach Exelero prototype from 2005 – looks like it’s ready to take the fight to the undead.
Created by the Jordanian designer Khaled Alkayed, the Mad Max-worthy Maybach Exelero concept features a range of enhancements which turn it from a 700 horsepower V12-powered luxury coupe, into a battle-ready, gun-toting, armor-plated sinister death machine.
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Following on from Land Rover’s innovative “Transparent Hood” concept from earlier this year, Jaguar/Land Rover have unveiled a similar concept which could be integrated into future Jaguar models. Unlike the transparent hood, which is primarily designed to assist in extreme off-road situations, the Jaguar Virtual Windscreen is intended to help drivers on the track to get the most out of their car.
The Jaguar Virtual Windscreen offers the driver an augmented reality view of the world by projecting images onto the windscreen which can provide detailed at-a-glance information about the world around them. It can, for example, provide virtual racing lines onto the windscreen and optimum braking points to guide drivers around a particular race track like a pro. It can also create a ‘ghost car’ visualisation to allow drivers to race against themselves on a previous lap, or against other drivers who have uploaded their laps.
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InMotion, a project created by students from the Technical University of Eindhoven and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences – both in the Netherlands – are aiming to break the Nurburgring lap record with their radical InMotion IM01 racecar.
To take the record – which has stood since 1983 and belongs to Stefan Bellof and a Porsche 956 – the InMotion IM01 needs to get around the demanding and extensive circuit in 6 minutes and 11 seconds.
The car is technically rather complicated. It isn’t just a light chassis and a big engine. It’s a hybrid vehicle which uses a lightweight rotary engine as an electricity generator to power batteries which in turn supply four individual electric motors – one for each wheel. The car will employ regenerative braking, and also recoup the considerable thermal energy created by the engine and electric motors to improve overall efficiency and performance.
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