A lot of us were too young to remember this movie, but for those that had a chance to see George Miller’s Mad Max movie, you might have caught sight of Mel Gibson driving around in a Ford Falcon XB GT351 Interceptor. Thirty-two years after both Gibson and the Interceptor became Hollywood royalty - well we’re going to use the term royalty loosely with Gibson considering his latest personal antics -, an Australian group headed by Ford and Top Gear Australia magazine is in the process of developing two new concept studies of the Interceptor, or as we should say, a present-day take on Mad Max’s bad-ass ride.
Ford Australia formed a group of designers headlined by Todd Willing, the company’s chief of design for Asia, Pacific, and African passenger cars. Led by Willing, the team conceptualized and designed a number of design studies using the original Interceptor as the basis for their creations. In the end, the two best studies – designed by Nima Nourian and Simon Brook – were chosen for the next stage in the decision-making process.
The two designs will then be featured on a future issue of Top Gear Australia where readers will get the opportunity to vote on their preferred design, which would then be turned into a full-fledged scale model that’s scheduled to be revealed later this year.
Is this a case of nostalgia or a marketing ploy to drum up interest on what appears to be the fourth chapter of the Mad Max franchise, tentatively titled “Fury Road”? We can’t say for sure that both items are connected to each other, but it is a little coincidental, to say the least.
Last year, Red Bull Racing took it upon themselves to preview each and every race of the 2010 Formula One calendar and, as luck would have it, that strategy paid off when the team eventually won both the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships.
Okay, the two things don’t really have anything to do with each other, but for all we know, those guys are superstitious enough to not mess with a good thing.
So now that the 2011 F1 season is so close - it starts on Sunday March 27th -, the defending champs are at it again, releasing a preview video of the 2011 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne.
It must be noted that even though Red Bull romped to both championships last season, their fortunes at last year’s race in Australia wasn’t as, shall we say, ’champagne-soaked’. While reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel did secure a pole position last year, his race was ultimately cut short after 25 laps due to mechanical failures. As for hometown hero Mark Webber, he had a mediocre 9th place finish in front of his fellow Oz.
How will Vettel, Webber, and the entire F1 grid fare this year? It’s anyone’s guess, really, but with the introduction of the KERS system and the new rear wings that are supposed to provide more overtaking opportunities, we’re willing to bet that the 2011 Formula One season will be as exciting and action-packed as any season we’ve seen in history.
Strap on your seatbelts, fellas! The 2011 Formula One season is just about here!
By most engine-powered automotive standards, a car than can run 88.8 km/h (55.2 mph) is best described as a snail trapped in an enormous steel chassis. That’s how far technology has come in today’s world with supercars capable of running over 250 mph on a good day.
But if you take away a car’s engine - the heart and soul of any vehicle – then you’re pretty much stuck with a car that can only go as fast as how hard you push it. That is, unless you rely on another understated energy source, one that, ironically, is the most powerful form of energy in the universe: the sun.
Over the past few years, numerous people have built solar-powered cars with the intention of setting the land-speed record for such a vehicle. Entering the year, the world record for the fastest solar-powered car belonged to the General Motors Sunraycer, a car that clocked in a top speed of 79 km/h while being powered by silicon solar cells back in 1988.
Two weeks into 2011, a team from the University of New South Wales in Australia broke the 22-year old record with the Sunswift Ivy.
Ford’s Australian division has released a teaser illustration of its new-look 2011 Territory crossover that’s based on the underpinnings of the country’s local Falcon sedan.
The Blue Oval has said that the Territory crossover will come with an overhauled design for the exterior and interior, as well as a new diesel engine.
Word has it that the new Territory will be fitted with the Land Rover Discovery’s 2.7-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine that produces 140kW of power and 445Nm of torque. That much power translates to a combined cycle fuel consumption of 10.2 liters/100km and a north to 100km/h time of 12.7 seconds. Joining the Territory’s new turbo-diesel engine could be another powertrain variant in the form of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, giving the Australian market a number of options as to what range of the Territory they can get.
Bob Graziano, Ford Australia’s president and CEO, is confident that the new Ford Territory will continue to be a hot seller in the Land Down Under. “This is an exceptional SUV,” he said. “It wears an exciting new look and will boast an extensive list of technical highlights. The Ford Australia team is taking the Territory to an all-new level of performance, refinement and quality, and customers will definitely experience these advancements when they drive it."
The unveiling of the 2011 Territory is still yet to be revealed, although we wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in the middle of next year at the Australian International Motor Show.
All other details, including specifications and pricing, will be revealed in the next few months.
Over on the other side of the world in the Land Down Under, Japanese automaker Subaru recently launched the special edition Impreza XV Mizuno Edition. The project, which was born from a collaboration between the Japanese automaker and the Japanese sports accessory brand Mizuno, features an Impreza XV SUV that has been dressed with a limited edition exterior paint finish and given a variety of extra features rounding up to more than $3,000.
On top of that, all models of the Impreza XV Mizuno will also come with a $500 voucher that owners can use to redeem premium running packs from Mizuno. The goodies include two pairs of shoes, drink bottles, caps, and bags.
All told, this special edition Subaru Impreza will only have 250 available units that will be exclusively sold in Australia beginning this March. The price tag for the five-speed manual variant will be AUD$29,990 ($29,763 at the current rates), with the four-speed automatic version priced at AUD$31,990 ($31,748 at the current rates).
Unfortunately, the car isn’t sold here, but it’s good to know that our buddies over in Australia have a pretty attractive piece of ride coming to their beaches in a couple of months.
Details on the 2011 Subaru Impreza XV Mizuno Edition after the jump.
We’ve never been to the Land Down Under despite it being a beautiful country/continent. From what we’ve heard though, that place is the home of some of the best beaches in the world, thousands of beautiful women, and some pretty randy performance vehicles.
One of the cars that caught are attention is a machine built straight out of Ford Australia’s Performance Vehicles division: the Boss 335 GT.
The mere fact that it carries the legendary ’Boss’ monicker is enough to warrant this car a stamp of approval, but we’re not all about judging something based on sheer name value alone. We went out and took a look at the 335 GT to see if it was deserving of a ’Boss’ badge.
What we found was a car that packs quite a bit of meat under its hood, although not to the stratosphere of the Boss Mustang 302 in this neck of the woods. Nevertheless, it’s still pretty powerful and, on top of that, it has its fair share of features to boot.
Sure, we’ve seen more powerful cars here in the US, but over in Australia where the cars drive on the other side of the road, the Boss 355 GT is one car you wouldn’t want to mess with.
UPDATE 04/10/11: In Australia, Allan Moffat is considered as one of the finest racers in the country, having won four Australian Touring Car Championships to go along with his four Bathurst titles. So when he gives his stamp of approval on anything, those Aussies will definitely listen. Recently, the racing legend got behind the wheel of the new Australia-exclusive Ford Boss 335 GT. The rest, of course, is a matter of taking his word for it, which we believe people at the Oz take seriously. Check out the video for your viewing pleasure.
The 2011 HSV E-Series 3 cast a huge spotlight on the Holden brand when it was released earlier this year, but that attention was quickly diverted when Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) announced that their Falcon GT sports car would be getting a supercharged engine making it the first supercharged V8-engined GT in their history. Not satisfied with just one feature distracting the public eye from their competitor, FPV is now releasing plans to send the supercharged V8 over to the U.S. market, a market that Holden used to participate in until General Motors cut off the Pontiac brand and, in turn, the rebadged Commodore.
Jim Farley, Ford’s US-based vice-president of global marketing, said that the company plans more performance-based focus — including rear-wheel-drive models — for the US market. This will begin by bringing its supercharged V8 technology back to the US, but keeping it wrapped in its Australian skin.
"The team at FPV is on the record about their desire to potentially use the supercharged V8s elsewhere in the Ford world but at this stage there are no definite plans. It’s no surprise to us, though, that others would love to experience what we have on offer down here."
In a year that has been full of uncertainty, recalls, and what-have-you, at least one brand is ending it on a really high note.
For better or for worse, Porsche has had a really good year and their fortunes haven’t gone unrecognized by a lot of their peers. The automaker from Stuttgart, Germany is being recognized by a variety of media outlets for a year where it has released a steady diet of high-performance and ultra-popular cars. While some people might think that the company was lucky to have the year it has had, the folks at Porsche would prefer to describe it as “business as usual”.
Over in their homeland of Germany, the Deutsche Automobil Treuhand (DAT) listed three of Porsche’s sports as having the best value retention with the Porsche 911 leading the pack, followed by both the Boxster and the Cayman. Thee cars in the top-three. Pretty impressive.
On the other side of the world in the Land Down Under, a jury comprising of eleven motor journalists from the “Sydney Morning Herald”, “The Age” and “drive.com.au" chose the Porsche Boxster as the best convertible of 2010 and more importantly, giving it the “Drive Car of the Year Award” for the second year in a row.
Showcasing the car that catapulted the team to the Mount Olympus of Formula One, the team treated those in attendance to an up close look at the workings of the team, as well as giving a show worthy of a championship racing team.
The event was attended by local hero Mark Webber – apparently, he’s an icon in that part of the world – and up-and-coming racer Danny Ricciardo, both of whom joined the team to meet and greet with the Australian folks.
In this video, Red Bull gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the 2010 Australian Festival of Speed, complete with interviews featuring 2010 second runner-up Mark Webber, who took the time to reflect on the recently-concluded season and how far the team has come from being middle of the pack to being up on the suites.
The second installment of the unique duo unveiled by Mercedes at the 2010 Australian International Motor Show is the very special Concept 358. Following along the same lines as the Mercedes SLS AMG Night Black, this C 63 AMG is painted in another one-of-a-kind exterior paint job: designo Pearl Orange. It also carries with it the AMG Performance Package Plus found in the Night Black.
This package will increase the engine’s output to a staggering 479 HP, which is where the name comes from. The concept also gets unique 19-inch multi spoke alloy wheels in black, KEYLESS-GO, and extended designo leather appointments in the interior.
"The unique C 63 AMG on display also unveils the AMG Performance Package Plus which Australian customers can now order from their local dealer in both Saloon and Estate," said Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia, Mr Horst von Sanden. "Each Mercedes-Benz vehicle is special, but for this year’s motor show we wanted to go that next step and bring two world exclusives to show the Australian public."