Another Player Enters the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Game

The automotive arena is all about change these days, with alternative powertrains positioned firmly at the top of the agenda. The movement began at a snail’s pace and took some years to gain any real traction, but now, many brands are off and running and it is now completely commonplace to see new hybrids emerge. Honda has not only entered the arena, but is moving forward with hydrogen fuel cell technology—something few are dipping into at this juncture.

hydrogen fuel cellPhotos ©Honda

Honda announced that it intends to show off a model of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle as early as the Tokyo Motor Show, which shall commence October 29th-November 8th with the title “Mobilityscape Tokyo” and the overall direction of smart mobility and city cars. This makes the event ideal to unleash a new variant, which has been code named the Honda FCV at this early stage in the game. Here is what we know so far:

The Honda FCV hydrogen fuel cell variant at a glance:

  • Range anxiety is not an issue with a 700 km range
  • It has been called a mobile power plant with an external power feeding inverter and newer regeneration modules
  • High output motors
  • A standard sedan style comfortably seating up to 5 standard adults. Yes, I say standard because we all know that some cars call it rear seating when only a golf bag will fit properly. Humans do not enjoy riding pretzel.

hydrogen fuel cell hondaPhotos ©Honda

Honda is certainly changing gears and has enlisted the bright minds at General Motors to commission the futuristic powertrains via hydrogen storage and fuel cell stacks. To that end, GM has confirmed that it will join with Honda in the creation of a commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell offering by 2020.

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Video: Porsche Slides into Crowd at Malta Motor Show

Auto shows are exciting venues to get the details on the latest offerings and see how brands are evolving–and sometimes there are exotic car crashes. There is always the risk of danger when crowds gather near vehicles in operation, as was the case at the Malta Motor Show. Malta is a small island off the southern coast of Italy. It was there that a Porsche 918 spyder operated by British tycoon Paul Bailey hit some grass with a rear wheel, cleared a barrier and spun into the crowd of onlookers off a runway.

Warning: The footage below shows the chaos of the Porsche crash that left 26 people injured. While it is not gory, it may be disturbing to some viewers:

The clip above was captured at the unfortunate crash as the Porsche 918 spun out of control and into the crowd of bystanders. It is amazing that the person filming kept rolling with all of the harrowing happenings. The event was so instantaneous that it clearly was impossible for some to move fast enough to make way for the out of control car. The crash occurred at the Paqpaqli ghal-Istrina motorshow in Malta.

Malta Motor Show

The event raises funds for local charity and driver Bailey is a known automotive enthusiast with ample experience behind the wheel. He owns an impressive fleet of approximately 30 exotic sports cars including Ferrari, McLaren and even the Porsche 918 spyder he was piloting at the time. Regardless of experience level, sometimes drivers lose control of these high-powered machines, and in just a split second, the vehicle has spun several times and it is too late. The overall lesson here is that it is crucial for bystanders to keep a safe distance, even when it seems annoying for local officials to create barriers—they are put in place to save lives.

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New Bond Film Sets Record by Smashing $37 Million in Aston Martin Cars

The latest James Bond film ‘Spectre’ can add another bragging right to its already extensive repertoire: It has the record for dollar damage from smashing up and otherwise annihilating perfectly good Aston Martin machines.

New Bond Film

The Aston Martin DB10 car was created for use in the James Bond film only.

It is certainly an amusing tidbit to add to any conversation, as Spectre’s stunt coordinator Gary Powell recently did when he told Event magazine: “We set the record for smashing up cars on Spectre. In Rome, we wrecked millions of pounds worth. They were going into the Vatican at top speeds of 110 miles per hour. We shot one entire night for four seconds of film.”

New Bond Film

The movie Spectre will be slamming into European theaters on October 26th and Stateside November 6th, which leaves quite an annoying gap of opportunity for critics and the interwebs to give away the details to those who have not yet seen it. It is a sure bet that those involved have very high hopes of at least recovering the lost carnage from the cast of cars. The featured Bond ride in this installment is the one-off Aston Martin DB10 coupe. I use the term one-off lightly, as 7 out of 10 were destroyed in the name of art. All units were created specifically for this movie and none will hit the market. While there are spinoffs suitable for consumption like the next-gen DB9 GT and the Vulcan, of course, the DB10 is only offered to 007.

Aston Martin DB10In the end, the grand finale of financial investment reached the $300 million marker—making this the most expensive James Bond movie to date. When that knowledge is absorbed, the $37 million in Aston Martin crashes seems…not so staggering.

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When in Rome: Police Remove Modified Maserati Watercraft

The old saying ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ should be carefully interpreted for those looking at the unfortunate chap in the photo below! The man has reportedly been warned several times by police officials to remove his modified Maserati watercraft because it is not safe. I use the term modified lightly–as you will understand upon viewing the short clip below. Clearly the dude-friend-guy did not understand that turning a vintage Maserati car into an unauthorized personal watercraft poses danger.

modified Maserati watercraftNo big deal, just a random modified Maserati watercraft making waves around the interwebs. Cue Easy E lyrics…

The man has only been identified as a 40-year-old Italian. If he has a dating profile online, it likely states: Interests include turning awesome cars into terrifying watercrafts and cruising from La Spezia to Venice. The sports car was fitted with the needed materials to float and then strapped with an outboard motor. In his best efforts to look dapper, the Maserati watercraft driver stands proud on the hood—so that there would be no mistaking the identity of the cool guy behind the wheel. It appears that he has zero control over the direction the craft travels or the speed.

The journey began in La Spezia but Police yelled timber in Timber, stopping the craft before it could reach its desired destination in Venice. The man was left to contemplate his life decisions with a warning rather than an arrest. This is not the first exotic car boat story– remember the exotic gondolas in Venice that are operating legit to offer consumers the luxury car experience on the water? Perhaps this poor chap was en route to offer them a vintage fleet…and the world a healthy dose of amusement.

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Luxury Yacht Toys: Check Out the BAC Mono Marine Edition Car

When it comes to yachts and cars, it is important to have the proper pairing. To make luxury travel a bit easier, BAC has created the Mono Marine Edition car. It comes complete with a carbon fiber crane to hoist it aboard, and there are even special lifting points on the car to avoid damage.

BAC Mono Marine EditionPhotos ©BAC Mono 

The BAC Mono Marine Edition car at a glance:

  • It features a single seat layout, so it is not exactly a family vacation cruiser. This is more for trips at ports of call.
  • The special crane was crafted to be usable with all yacht arm systems.
  • In fact, the entire structure of the car is based on the crane. It will withstand the added pressure of regular use on cradles, helipads and that jostling open sea.
  • Speaking of the sea, there are also added elements to resist the elements—think salt and rust and erosion.
  • To take it a step further, each car comes with its very own ‘Environmental Control Container System’, which keeps it safely away from water, humidity and other harmful elements. Think of it as a portable climate control pod.
  • The body is based on the next-gen 2016 Mono and weighs a scant 1,279 pounds.
  • Power stems from a cute little 2.5-liter Mountune engine kicking out 305 horses. Not too shabby!

BAC Mono Marine EditionPhotos ©BAC Mono 

The BAC Mono Marine Edition car will have an MSRP of around $775,800 USD. This amount includes the special climate control storage pod and the ability to completely customize the car because they are all made to order. The best part: Jeremy Clarkson loves it.

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Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Focuses On Daytona 24 Hours Race

The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 is poised to make a debut at the 2016 Daytona 24 Hours endurance race. The newbie was officially introduced earlier this year and the Raging Bull is not going to spend much idle time prior to unleashing its variants. The standard Huracan was created to replace the long-running Gallardo model, but the GT3 Huracan is for the track.

Lamborghini Huracan GT3Look for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 at the Daytona 24 Hours endurance race.

Lamborghini Huracan GT3The Daytona race will be the first Stateside venue for the Huracan GT3, having already indulged in the Blancpain Endurance Series. There are well laid plans for an expanded motorsports circuit slated to include the United SportsCar Championship and others. According to Lamborghini Squadra Corse director Giorgio Sanna: “We are only focused and committed to customer racing. We are excited to make this next step in North America as our motorsport program competes for the first time in Lamborghini history in the 24 Hours at Daytona and in multiple full-season GTD efforts.” Lamborghini GallardoThe outgoing Lamborghini Gallardo was certainly no slouch in the Blancpain series.

While the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 does indeed share many of the bare-bones components of her street-legal sibling, including the 5.2-liter V10 engine, the racing version has been enhanced to bring 585 horses to life which are driven via a 6-speed sequential. The skeleton is comprised of carbon fiber, of course, and aluminum for added strength and stability. The double-up of high endurance materials results in a svelte curb weight of just 2,731 ultra-light and modified pounds.

Lamborghini Huracan Overall, this Huracan racer should be a force to contend with, and it will be a fantastic indulgence to see all of the many looks that emerge because one of the best aspects of racing is wrapping the cars and making them appear fierce!

Check out the official Huracan GT3 video before you duck out:

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Missing James Dean Porsche to be Recovered?

Most know the tragic tale of Hollywood legend James Dean and his untimely death behind the wheel of his beloved Porsche 550 Spyder back in 1955. Since that time, numerous stories about the car being cursed continue to fascinate—along with the mystery of where the Porsche ended up when it disappeared somewhere between Florida and California during transport in the early 1960s. It seems someone has come forward claiming to know exactly where the car has been hidden all of these years.

James Dean PorscheHas the missing wreckage of James Dean’s Porsche 550 been discovered?

The person who has come forward claims that he was just six years old when his father and others hid the James Dean Porsche behind a false wall in a building somewhere in Whatcom County, Washington, which is nearly in Canada. This person is withholding the location of the stolen and prized car until documents are produced that guarantee him a portion of the reward–which is a healthy million dollars put up by the Volo Automotive museum in Illinois and possibly others. If this person is indeed telling the honest truth, should he receive a reward or just be a decent person and return the famous vehicle to its rightful place in the world? The ethics involved are a bit thick, because of the many angles in the case. Should the family of a brazen thief stand to gain financially from an illegal act or should the car simply be returned to Dean’s relatives, who are very much alive?

James Dean PorscheThe history of the James Dean Porsche crash

The star was behind the wheel of his cherished 550 Spyder in Salinas, California on September 30th, 1955 when a young college student in a Ford Custom Tudor veered into Dean’s lane and a head-on collision ensued. Dean was pronounced dead within hours and because of his youth and stardom, it was much like the shock of the Paul Walker Porsche crash we all remember so vividly today. Dean was born and raised in Fairmount, Indiana—where I happen to be from.

It is not everyday I get the opportunity to touch on something so familiar to me and share that perspective. Each year on the last weekend in September thousands flock to the annual ‘James Dean Days’ festival in Fairmount to walk through the gallery and museum dedicated to him and view the artifacts of his early years. There is also a rather large classic car show in the town that weekend and a much-loved ‘James Dean look alike’ contest held in good fun and love for the local. The otherwise uneventful farm town is transformed into a carnival for three full days and the children and die-hard Dean fans liken it very much to the anticipation of Christmas holiday.

Even though the star will always be larger than life–folks from Fairmount live among Dean’s relatives and treat them as normal friends. Fun fact: Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, is also from Fairmount and we have a huge sign off the highway depicting the funny fat kitty cat as well as James Dean.

Porsche Tales from the darkside

In the few years following the death of James Dean, the Porsche wreckage was utilized to promote highway safety and taken around the country as a visual aid of the serious dangers of high speed–a vivid reminder that it can happen to anyone. Dark stories began to emerge that unexplained accidents befell some who came in contact with the car. This presents the larger question: Did people steal the Dean Porsche in hopes of profit or perhaps a sort-of Batman attempt to prevent further paranormal events that had become associated with the vehicle? Indulge in the link above and let the surreal mysteries sink in!

James B. Dean

James Byron Dean

James Dean PorscheThe Porsche was given name ‘Little Bastard’ and has certainly lived up to that sentiment.

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The Only Black Maserati MC12 Nets $1.5 Million

There are just 50 examples of the Maserati MC12 that were created for road use. All were given the very same pearl paint coat with attractive light blue accenting, save a single black car. Think of it as the ugly duckling of sorts, it just stands out. The rare black MC12 recently netted over a million at Mecum Auction House, $1.575 million to be exact.

Maserati MC12The Maserati MC12 at a glance:

  • The MC12 car was based on the bare bones of the Ferrari Enzo, which is quite interesting.
  • Power is derived via a robust 6.5-liter V12 engine that was kindly sourced from…you guessed it—the Enzo.
  • Performance specifications indicate 620 horsepower and 652 Nm of torque with a not to 60 mile per hour sprint of 3.8 seconds.
  • The black Maserati MC12 has just 1300 kilometers on the odometer, while the new owner is over a million dollars lighter in the bank account—totally worth it.

Maserati MC12The black MC12 Maserati car opens up to a fine dark blue leather cockpit with all of the high-end interior accents one would expect from the brand at that point in time. The overall look was finished off with a pair of 7-spoke shoes with a sporty red center on one side and blue on the other—which is a bit odd, but this is the odd duck of the bunch!

Maserati MC12

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Why Manual Lamborghini Option Is Gone For Good

With many companies doing away with the manual transmission, Maurizio Reggiani of Lamborghini explains exactly why Lamborghini has opted to put the brakes on the option for good. The manual Lamborghini will no longer be an offering when buyers eagerly begin their orders, those desperate for the hands-on experience must locate an aftermarket tuner with the capability to alter the gearbox.

manual LamborghiniWhy Lamborghini will no longer offer a manual transmission

Even though most of the minds in charge at Lamborghini love a manual transmission, it has been phased out due to both technology and progression. Reggiani, who is director of research and development at the Raging Bull admitted that the option is indeed gone for good and explained: “All the systems that are integrated in the car need to have a dialog with one another. The clutch is one of the fuses of the system, whether you’re engaging or disengaging the torque. This creates a hole in the communication between what the engine is able to provide and how the car reacts to the power of the engine. For this reason, unfortunately, I must say I am sure that in a premium supersports car like the Huracan we will only do a semiautomatic. Unfortunately, it’s the demand of the control of the chassis. If you want to control the chassis, you must control the power. If you want to control the power, the clutch must be under the control of the brain of the car, not your brain.”

Lamborghini HuracanHe went on to mention that many of the so-called manual transmissions on modern cars may have three pedals, but when there is a servo it is not exactly pure.  “I’ve been working for Lamborghini for 20 years. I started at the time of the Diablo, a clutch without a servo. You needed 40 kilograms of force to disengage the clutch. At that time, we were making 450 N m of torque. Now we are at 690. It’s a problem to manage the closing point of the clutch. If you have hesitation, with this torque you’ll burn the clutch immediately.”

To put this all into perspective, with the power created in the Lamborghini machines today, the average or even somewhat experienced sports car driver will lack the ability to properly control and pilot the car. While that may be a bit difficult for some to accept, it is the simple truth and the automated gearbox is the simple solution.

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The Halcón Falcarto German Newcomer: Hit or Miss?

There is a new automaker emerging in Germany called Halcón and it is eager to show off the very first model. The Halcón Falcarto begins with a Nissan 370Z chassis and then takes on its very own carbon fiber infused persona. Check out the racy video clip of her in action below.

The Halcón Falcarto is a newcomer on the automotive scene hailing from Germany, which is no slouch in the luxury car arena and has always had plenty to bring to the table.

The Halcón Falcarto means Falcon, which the new company chose to communicate that the vehicle means to soar both in terms of speed and sales we presume. Let us take a look at what the newbie has to offer in terms of specification, power and performance.

The Halcón Falcarto at a glance:

  • The engine is a Nissan 370Z 3.7-liter V6 which has been modified with a sweet twin-turbo setup and tuned to kick 640 horses from the stable.
  • Like many brands, they intend to offer various power levels, including an entry level putting out around 420 horses. With the base model anticipated at $190k, the more robust siblings should be north of the $200k range—placing them in competition with the bigger dogs like Lamborghini and Ferrari. You know, the base models of the bigger dogs…it is a start, after all!
  • The not to 60 mile per hour sprint is a reported 3.5 seconds and topspeed is approaching 200 miles per hour.

Halcón Falcarto

Photo ©Frankfurt auto center. The Halcón Falcarto emerged at the annual Frankfurt Motor Show, which is always well-attended and vigorously covered by all automotive news outlets.

The brand has hit the scene rolling, and is already taking orders. Ever so German, they are timidly limiting the initial production run to just 15 handcrafted cars, likely to test the market.

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