Land Rover have today revealed a virtual imaging concept they call the “Transparent Bonnet”. Or “Transparent Hood” if you prefer. Despite its cleverness, the concept isn’t particularly new. It’s just a different application of a technology developed by Japanese researchers at Tachi Lab. A previous automotive use was when Kieo University in Japan unveiled a Toytota Prius with “see through rear seats”.
However Land Rover’s use of the technology with their Transparent Bonnet is something a little different. Serious off-roading can mean navigating your way through terrain which changes almost every inch. One foot to the left or right could mean getting stuck in the mud or getting hung up on a rock. Being able to see what is almost directly under the vehicle would be of great benefit in these sorts of situations.
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The Scandinavians love their saunas. It’s part of their culture. But unless you happen to have oodles of money and a large luxury yacht, its hard to combine saunas and boating. Unless you go the budget route like these enterprising Fins did and knock up your own floating sauna raft, or Saunalutta as it’s known in Finnish.
Created by a group of friends in Joensuu, Finland, the Saunalutta sauna raft basically consists of a shed sandwiched between two decks. The shed contains a small changing area/storage room and a decent sized sauna. The lower deck of the sauna raft features a rear swim platform and also provides a mounting point for the small outboard motor used for propulsion.
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The Johammer J1 is an electric motorcycle from Austria. But perhaps the most striking thing about the Johammer J1 is not its near-silent zero-emission drivetrain. It’s the styling. It looks like a kids toy, or a computer model. It doesn’t look like something you could actually take out on public roads. The highly original styling of the Johammer J1 would probably put off most people, but then buyers of electric motorcycles aren’t usually like most people. They’re the sort of people who will appreciate something a bit different and unusual. They won’t care that the J1 looks like a buck-tooth slug that’s just vomited up a front wheel.
The Johammer J1 is the product of Johann Hammerschmid – you can see where the name came from now – and his small team of designers, engineers and fabricators. Underneath that one piece bodywork is some really rather clever stuff.
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Ford today introduced the S-MAX Vignale concept in Milan – fitting seeing as Italy is where Vignale was originally founded. The concept is designed to showcase the upmarket features of the Vignale luxury division of Ford Europe. A production version of the Ford S-MAX Vignale concept has already been given the go-ahead. It will be the second Ford Vignale vehicle to go on sale, joining the Ford Mondeo Vignale which is due to arrive next year.
The Ford S-MAX Vignale concept was introduced not at an auto show, but at the Salone del Mobile, the world’s largest furniture expo. This is because the Vignale’s real difference can be found on the inside, where the materials and equipment are of far higher quality than in the standard car. In addition, select Ford dealers will be fitted with “Vignale Lounges”. Luxury waiting rooms and sales floors where potential buyers will be offered a dedicated relationship manager throughout the buying process, as well as VIP collection and delivery services. In short, Ford want offer a premium buying experience to their Vignale customers.
The Ford S-MAX Vignale Concept features a few upgrades to the exterior. Namely 21-inch alloy wheels, chrome details and mirror covers, a unique hexagonal Vignale grille, special “Milano Grigio” paintwork, and of course Vignale badging.
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Gerald Bear, a graphic designer and illustrator based in Milan, Italy, has come up with an amusing alternate reality in which some of the most famous TV and movie cars are reimagined as budget models. For the first round of what Bear calls “Unconventional Heroes” he has come up with 13 redesigned vehicles.
Forget Dodge Chargers, DeLoreans and chromed out big-rigs. This is a world where heroes ride around in Renault 4s, Fiat Cinquecentos and Piaggio Apes.
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Auto Express, the weekly British car magazine famous for its spy shots, speculative renders, news and reviews, have sat down and come up with what they call “the perfect car”. I don’t think it was an overly serious attempt at creating a real game-changing vehicle. They admit as much themselves by saying that after choosing the best bits from their favorite cars, they’ve ended up with a Frankencar. Or as Simpsons fans will recognise, a “Homer”.
The result is something that looks like a crudely stretched Audi TT with Porsche headlights and funky doors. For the full list of vehicles which influenced the design of the Auto Express perfect car see below.
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If take a look at your steering wheel next time you get in your car, you’ll more than likely see a little trumpet or bugle shaped symbol telling you that’s where the horn button is. Back when the car was first invented the horn really was a little trumpet with a squeeze ball on the end. It was used to warn pedestrians and other road users that there was something coming.
Nowadays, modern cars don’t have little bugles, they have electrically operated horns usually located somewhere under the hood and towards the front. They are more or less circular in shape and they are considerably louder than the old bugle horn was.
Additionally, the horn is now used not only as a warning to other road users, it is also used as a means of communication. Usually a negative comment on another driver’s actions. Although there is the well recognised two-pip horn blast reserved for recognising friends. This alternate use of the horn as a means of communication is not acknowledged with the current bugle symbol.
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The pursuit of pure speed has resulted in a number of oddly shaped cars. But perhaps none more so than the 1951 land speed record car designed, built and driven by Piero Taruffi. The car goes by several names, including the Italcorsa and Tarf II – it also got the fitting nickname “Bisiluro” (twin torpedo in Italian).
Piero Taruffi was an Italian racing driver and engineer. His passion for fast machines began with motorcycles, but he soon moved on to cars, and his considerable talent allowed him to pilot some of the fastest machines of the era from numerous manufacturers including; Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Cisitalia, Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz. During his racing career he notched up several victories – including the last ever Mille Miglia. He also broke several dozen speed records.
The Tarf II was based on an earlier design called the Tarf I. Both cars featured the same twin boom design, but the Tarf II was fitted with a larger 1,720 cc Maserati four-cylinder engine which developed 290 horsepower thanks to the addition of a supercharger. A chain transferred power to the rear wheel.
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The Reversys Boat is an advanced design proposal for a luxury yacht with an innovative folding hardtop roof. The folding mechanism, which has been patented, allows the Reversys Boat to transform from a fully enclosed boat, to an open top sun trap. The Reversys Boat was developed by a team of four Swiss designers; Pascal Vuilliomenet, Laurent Clement, Fabio Demarco and Vincent Jaton.
According to its creators, the styling of the Reversys boat was inspired by 1920s racing boats. These vessels were characterised by their v-shaped hulls and a cockpit pushed to the rear of the boat. In reality the Reversys Boat doesn’t look a whole lot like a 1920s racing boat. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a stylish bit of kit in its own right.
The 32 foot (9.7 metre) Reversys Boat offers a number of benefits over an open top boat, or one with a permanently fixed roof. Firstly it’s more secure. When closed up it provides a degree of protection against thieves. Secondly its versatile design means it can be used in a variety of weather conditions and for different requirements. And thirdly, its designers say the boat has been designed for ease of use and maintenance.
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The Lexus Kunai concept is a futuristic family sports sedan created by the talented French graphic designer Sebastien Cabanel. The concept gets its name from a multipurpose Japanese hand tool/weapon commonly used by ninjas. Not now obviously… That would be silly.
But like its namesake, the Lexus Kunai concept is intended to be versatile. It’s designed to be both sporty, safe, and have easily enough room for four people.The exterior of the Lexus Kunai concept features a striking single-piece windscreen/roof/rear window panel which is actually shaped similarly to the dagger-like Kunai tool.
The Lexus Kunai concept is constructed using a clever combination of carbon fiber and hemp. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Hemp composites are already being studied for their low weight, high strength properties. And what what a great way to build a car. Use natural materials but adapt them for 21st century needs.
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