On the shores of lake Worthersee in Austria (the same place the annual Wothersee festival for VW/Audi fans takes place) is a small company called Marinekart. They build compact little boats which are versatile, adaptable, supposedly unsinkable, and lots of fun.
The MarineKart is basically a go-kart for the water. It can carry up to four people, weighs just 127 lbs (58 kgs) without a motor, and is powered by an electric outboard motor, of which there are two to choose from, a 2.7 hp unit and a 5.4 hp model. It can also be powered by conventional four-stroke outboard motors.
While the power output of the electric motors might not sound like much – mainly because it isn’t very much – the featherweight construction and the compact size of the boat means it’s quicker than you might think. The base model – powered by a Torqeedo 2R 24V motor has a top speed of 9 knots, while the more powerful Torqeedo 4R 48V model has a top speed of 15 knots. Apparently the boat can handle up to a 10 horsepower motor, allowing for a top speed of around 30 mph.
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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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The all-new LMP3 class has only just been introduced less than a month ago, but already Ginetta have unveiled their vehicle for the new endurance racing category. The British sports car firm Ginetta recently bought Juno, a specialist racing car builder setup by ex-Williams F1 design engineer Ewan Baldry. The Ginetta-Juno LMP3 race car, which has resulted from the merging of the two companies, is targeted at younger racers and gentleman drivers who want to compete in the LMP3 class in the European and Asian Le Mans Series starting next year.
The Ginetta-Juno LMP3 is powered by a mid-mounted V8 engine producing around 420 horsepower. It complies with all the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) regulations regarding the LMP3 class, which includes strict limits on costs of both the car and its spare parts. The rules allow freedom in terms of design, aerodynamics and chassis development, so Ginetta-Juno are concentrating on making the car as capable as possible, while also being relatively affordable, reliable and easy to work on.
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The Bugatti Veyron is nearing the end of its production run – with just 15 cars left out of the 450 or so which were scheduled to be built. It’s no surprise then that questions are being asked as to how can Bugatti top what is one of the greatest feats of automotive engineering ever built.
In a special report by Autocar, the magazine has surmised what the Bugatti Veyron successor might look like, and what sort of performance it might offer. Not much has been said publicly by Bugatti about a new Veyron yet. But ‘insiders’ at the company have apparently been talking to Autocar and told them that the new model, due to arrive in 2016, will have a top speed of around 286 mph, and a 0-62 mph time of 2.3 seconds. Five test mules have been built so far.
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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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Australian automotive news site, themotorreport.com.au, is reporting that in an interview with Mazda Australia’s boss, Martin Benders, he revealed that the new MX-5 “will look nothing like” the current car.
When pressed on more specific details of the 2015 MX-5 – which is due to debut in September – Benders said the new car would feature an evolved version of the ‘Kodo’ styling language used on the current 2, 3, 6 and CX-5 models. However he was understandably careful not to reveal too much information regarding the new design.
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Students at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research have just unveiled their BMW X3-based Deep Orange 4 pickup concept. The vehicle was created with the direct input and support of BMW, who are particularly interested in the way the concept was engineered to allow for a small-scale production run with the minimum of expense.
Rich Morris, vice president of assembly, BMW Manufacturing said of the Deep Orange 4 concept: “The ability to integrate more low-volume models without incurring capital- intensive retooling costs and efficiency losses will be key to success in the future as we strive to respond to changes in market needs faster and with more flexibility.”
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Hennessey Performance are in the business of making fast cars even faster. Take for example their Lotus-based Venom GT. It costs $1.2 million, but it has a 270 mph top speed, and can accelerate to 200 mph in just 14.5 seconds. But if Hennessey’s latest announcement proves to be correct, then they are about to make some serious waves in the supercar world.
Their latest vehicle is the Hennessey Venom F5, a development of the Venom GT, but also a completely new car. In producing the F5 Hennessey’s engineers drew on the wealth of experience learnt through the development of the GT. The F5 is more aerodynamic than the GT, with a lower drag coefficient. However at the same time the car also generates enough downforce to keep it stable at such extreme speeds, employing underbody venturis, a rear diffuser and an active rear wing.
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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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The AeroGallo is a one-of-a-kind, two-person light aircraft which was built in Italy. Translated from Italian, its name means quite literally ‘Flying Cock’. It was designed and built by self-taught aircraft builder Ottone Baggio in his workshop shed. The inspiration for the aircraft had come from many years before when Ottone visited a farm machinery fair and saw a simple hang glider there called the Rogallo – from there he formed the idea into the AeroGallo.
The amazing paintwork of the AeroGallo, which is almost as impressive as the aircraft itself, done by Ottone’s friend Giuliano Basso. He was inspired by the 20th century artist Antonio Ligabue, and in particular his painting entitled “Lotta dei galli” (The Cock Fight). Ligabue’s works used strong bold colors with thick defining lines. Giuliano spent weeks playing with different colors and techniques to get the right ‘look’ for the aircraft. One of his biggest problems was getting the texture of the feathers to match, as he had to paint the aircraft while it was still in pieces.
Once the aircraft was finally finished and painted, it was taken to Cassola airfield for taxing tests and high-speed ground runs. Unfortunately things didn’t go very well. Test pilots reported that the unusual engine position meant the center of gravity was hard to find, and it felt unbalanced. In addition, during a high-speed taxi run, a misaligned tailwheel caused the aircraft to suddenly turn 180 degrees causing it to tip up and dig one of its wings into the earth damaging the tip.
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