Category Archives: cars

An Inside Look at the Alfa Giulia Q

This quote might get your attention

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you have a lot of good old-fashioned Italian style with the Alfa. But that’s beside the point. Put this car up against a BMW M3, and in many respects, you have a better car. That’s saying something. The Giulia Q has been designed to beat BMW at its own game, just as everybody has been trying to beat BMW at its own game for decades.

The stunner is that Alfa Romeo has done it.

Here is the link to get an inside view of the Giulia Q – Go for it!

Image result for Giulia Q

Understanding Tesla’s Great Story

Tesla is one of those companies that defies expectations. Its stock appears to be wildly overpriced. Indeed, because of the inflated price, Tesla — and company that makes and sells very few cars — has a market cap that is bigger than Ford.  Huh?

Ford, btw, is a well-run company.  Starting around a decade ago, Ford has made very smart investments in quality products. So it is hard to figure out why Ford’s stock performed so badly while Tesla’s stock is soaring.

Except when you think about the future. Tesla is all about the future. Tesla promises a better future. It promises a future that many folks want to be part of. Ford is all about the present. Nice cars, no big deal.  And when given a choice, people are showing that they want to bet on the future.

Ironically, there was a time when Ford’s story WAS about the future. Henry Ford woke up America to the idea of affordable cars. But the auto industry is now the victim of its own successes in bringing that future to us.

Will Tesla deliver on its promise? Maybe it will. And maybe it will not. But only a fool would ignore that power of the story that Elon Musk is telling.

Is the Bugatti Chiron the Last Supercar?

Nothing happens quickly at Bugatti. To the contrary, the engineers and designers there are committed to building the finest automobiles that can be imagined at a given point in time. And they have now produced a car for our moment called the Chron. It looks like this when parked in front of your estate.

Image result for Bugatti  Chiron

And what makes this car so special?

The Chiron, which will be revealed this week at the Geneva International Motor Show, is the improbable successor to the Veyron, the most extreme automobile ever built. The Veyron was an ode to excess, the fastest, most powerful, most lavishly appointed motor car available at any price. Its specifications are legendary: 1,200 horsepower, a top speed of 268.9 mph, and an average price of $2.6 million. Bugatti sold every one it built—450 in all—and, the story goes, lost money on every last one of them. But profit was never the point. The Veyron was born of one man’s relentless pursuit of the best, regardless of time or cost. It was a vehicle to appease the unappeasable.

So how would a successor to the Veyron meet expectations?

The Chiron was designed to surpass the Veyron in every aspect. The engineering brief could be summed up as “more.” It is faster, more comfortable, more elegant, more unconscionably and unfathomably powerful. Its massive 16-cylinder engine produces 1,500 horsepower and 1,200 pound-feet of torque. Its top speed remains unknown, but software will limit customers to 261 mph. It starts at $2.6 million, and the deposit that secures your place in line would buy you a Lamborghini Huracàn.

In other words, it is an absurdity, or if you will, a work of art. Not a car, but a work of art.

“We are not talking about transportation,” says (Wolfgang) Durheimer (head of Bugatti). “We are talking about being very fast, being very unusual, being top of the top.” The Chiron spits gasoline in the face of practicality, then tosses a match on it. It exists simply because one man insisted that it would, then directed his company to once again expend the time, money, and effort to make it so. It exists for no other reason than because it could. Which may well make it the last truly great internal combustion automobile.

That one man is Ferdinand Piëch.

Check out the Wired story about the Chiron – and find out why it most likely is the last great supercar of our era.

Here We Go with Flying Cars Again!

Over the last several decades, there has been a steady stream of news that folks have developed a flying car. It is easy to understand why we get this news.  Flying to another city from your driveway? No problem. Traffic jams? A thing of the past.

But creating a flying car has been much more difficult than expected. Cars and planes are just too different. But … we are getting much closer to making planes that individuals can own and operate. In other words, you might be able to fly to a far away destination from your driveway sooner than you might think.

This article from Wired about the “Lilium” shows the latest thinking.  It comes with a very cool video! A vertical take and landing two-seater vehicle that they say can fly 200 miles in an hour.

Very cool!

BTW, if you are interested in some of the more practical details about how flying cars might affect city life, CityLabs has taken a look at this.

What if Highways Went Smart?

Highways are a classic example of a dumb technology. They just sit there and do one thing — assist in transportation. That has been good enough for many decades. But it may not be good enough for long.

Here are a few things highways may start doing

  • providing electricity via solar energy
  • connecting to cars to advise on safety conditions
  • help with directions and traffic

Just a few ideas — these and a lot more are being developed. CityLab has more.

Remembering the Citroën DS

Citroën was always a bit quirky

Until World War II, the French automaker enjoyed a reputation for innovative, but thoroughly mainstream, automobiles. It gave Europe its first truly affordable car, the Type A, and popularized front-wheel drive with the Traction Avant. It wasn’t until after the war that Citroen got weird and gave the world the wonderful DS.

The DS was very peculiar

The car astounded audiences at its debut in 1955 with its sleek styling, pivoting headlights, beguiling hydraulic suspension, and single-spoke steering wheel, among other things. Futuristic design proved timeless as well as lucrative: Citroën received more than 700 orders within 15 minutes of the debut, and more than 12,000 by the end of the day. It kept building the car—now an unquestioned classic—until 1975.

It looked like this

Image result for Citroen DS

The cabriolet also gets your attention

Image result for Citroen DS Cabriolet

And it was way ahead of its time. Wired takes the DS for a spin and talks about its innovations.

Very cool! I want one!