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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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.
The Lamborghini Canto first appeared in 1998, it arrived only two years after another Zagato designed Lamborghini concept had been unveiled, the Diablo-based Raptor. The cars shared a number of similar features, including the wraparound windows, triangular lateral air intakes, and trademark double-bubble roof. However of the two, the earlier Raptor was probably the better looking.
Clearly Ferdinand Piech – head of the Volkswagen Group – thought so too. After VW bought Lamborghini in 1999, one of his first decisions was to review the Canto’s development and redesign the concept. The car was re-engineered and the rear extensively restyled to include smaller air intakes. The engine was also upgraded thanks to a new ECU which boosted output of the 6.0 litre V12 to 640 horsepower – although it was actually detuned to 610 hp to improve reliability.
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The Audi A 2.0 e-tron concept is the work of a trio of automotive design students, Giacomo Franceschi, Antonio Paglia, and Cem Kayserili, from the Politecnico di Milan university. The project was sponsored by Audi, and the goal was to design a 100-percent electric-powered compact city car which would appeal to younger buyers in the 18-30 age group.
Inspiration for the concept came from a wide variety of sources, ranging from the logical – like modern sporting gear, gadgets, electronics, and recent Audi concept cars. To the slightly more surreal – like the military droids from the Star Wars movies.
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Only a small proportion of concept cars successfully make the transition to production cars. Nowadays the number is a little higher, as manufacturers have started using concept cars more as a thinly disguised previews of production models, than as out-an-out expressions of design.
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.
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The DP-100 is the concept car Aston Martin has created specifically for the Gran Turismo racing game franchise. It will compete in the digital world against other Gran Turismo Vision concept cars from the likes of Mercedes, Nissan, BMW, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and also a futuristic Formula 1 car from Red Bull.
The Aston Martin DP-100 concept was developed over the space of around six months by the Aston Martin design team led by Marek Reichman. The concept is a futuristic GT racer, and while there are absolutely no plans to put the vehicle into production, Reichman says that some minor elements of the design, for example the tail lights, might find their way into future Aston Martin models.
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