Category Archives: cars

Rebuilding a Gyro-X

This is a Gyro-X back in the 1960’s

Related image

Is that a smile on the driver’s face? If so, it was short lived. The original designers and builders of this two wheeled self-balancing car never got it into production.

But there was a prototype hanging around. It was bought and sold over the decades. And recently, some enterprising dudes decided to buy it and get it to work.

This is their very cool story! It starts off like this

At the far end of the field, hundreds of yards past the 1930s Duesenbergs, the prewar Rolls-Royces, and the grand touring Ferraris, curious showgoers at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance gather around a particularly unusual kind of car. They listen to the quiet hum and puzzle over the thing, bright red, about 15 feet long, and hardly wider than a motorcycle.

Enjoy with coffee and some smoked trout on toast!

 

 

 

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Hooray! The Model 3 is Here!

I admit it. I am a Tesla fan boy. I like the audacity of the venture and the consistency by which Musk et al exceed expectations.

And does the Model 3 achieve this? Matt DeBord says “yes”.

… there isn’t anybody who’s going to sit in the driver’s seat of this car and not want it, if only briefly. The Model 3 stokes immediate desire, and the lust lingers. That truly changes everything.

Check out his article to find the details!

Jack Stewart reviews the Model 3 for Wired here.

Why Volvo Went Back to Quirky

Volvo started off by emphasizing its quirky car designs Volvos were just different. This worked for a while, but back in the 1990’s it was no longer clear that the Volvo business model was sustainable. It was just not generating enough cash to invest in new designs. Ford bought Volvo but had no idea what to do with the brand.  The Chinese car maker Geely bought Volvo back in 2010.

As Wired reports, this has worked for both sides. Volvo has new cash with enough freedom to build new quirky designs and Geely will use pieces of those designs to create a futuristic car package called Lynk and Co.   Here is a peek at the key ideas that are to come

Lynk And Co. plans to sell its cars directly online, replace keys with smartphones, allow for car-sharing through an app, and even, potentially, handle upgrades and ownership on a subscription basis, not unlike what phone companies offer. Of course, the cars will never go without an internet connection.

Meanwhile, Volvo is going electric by 2020.

Very interesting!

BTW, here is a link to an article that gives more detail on volvo’s tech. Impressive!

Volvo is First to Ditch the Combustion Engine

Well, not exactly. Volvo made an announcement that as of 2019, it will stop designing combustion only engines. It will still make the old ones. But still, they are the first car company to take this step.  And keep in imnd that Volvo previously said it would sell 1,000,000 electrified vehicles by 2025.  This is a step in that direction.

Not too long ago, this would have sounded very radical. Now it is a “what’s the big deal`?” sort of thing. Electric cars are already mainstream.

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.