Australia

Australia

This is what happens when a concept car receives great praise; a production version, albeit a limited edition, soon follows. Last month, Ford Performance Vehicles introduced the FPV Concept at the Australian International Motor Show to tremendous praise. The fallout has resulted in a limited edition version of the car, called the GT Black.

Similar to the FPV Concept, the GT Black kept the all-black finish that made it so popular. It’s dressed in a Silhouette Black paint finish complemented by matte black stripe decals on the entire car, including the bonnet, front and rear bumpers, rear diffuser, rear wing, and even the upper and lower grilles. Heck, even the fog lamp bezels have been finished in black! Rounding out the exterior feature are a set of 19" five-spoke alloy wheels finished in - you guessed it! - gloss black.

Inside the car, there’s plenty more of that all-black treatment. The seats are dressed in black leather. The Interior Command Center comes in black and the gear shift badge found on manual transmission models also comes in a unique black finish. Suffice to say, the FPV GT Black Limited Edition does its name justice, wouldn’t you say?

Then there’s the engine, which we assure you doesn’t come in black. What it does come in is a 5.0-liter Miami supercharged V8 engine with an output of 455 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 420 lb/ft of torque from 2,200-5,500 rpm.

The Boss GT -based muscle car will only be limited to 125 units with each model coming with a unique build badge and certificate of authenticity, making it a true special edition muscle car that should attract its fair share of attention.

After being announced back in March , two Ford Mad Max Interceptor concepts made their world debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne. The two concepts were designed by Ford Australia in cooperation with Top Gear Australia in order to celebrate the revival of the Mad Max action movie genre.

"We’re delighted that both our readers and the social web community have warmed to the car," TopGear Australia Editor, Stephen Corby, said. "The level of interest has really taken us by surprise, particularly with on-line media."

The company presented two 40% size clay models weighing in at around 130 kg (286 lbs) and dressed to the nines with all of the detailing and trim highlights. The two concepts were designed by Nima Nourian and Simon Brook and use industrial-strength weaponry like "tasers" mounted in the front of the cars to zap bad guys on bikes straight off the road. Other futuristic movie features include a titanium-lined body shell to interrupt police scanners and wheels with extendable spikes to shred enemy vehicles.

"It has given our team a lot of scope to really extend their imaginations The team has been able to get quite creative because the Mad Max car is not constrained by the normal design parameters imposed by a real-world vehicle."

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has unveiled the special edition "SV Black Edition" based on either ClubSport R8, ClubSport Tourer R8, or Maloo R8 models at the Melbourne Auto Show. This special edition will be offered in both manual and automatic transmissions and will go on sale in September.

The "SV Black Edition" will be offered with matte black detailing, a Vector hood scoop and fender gills, HSV’s bi-modal exhaust system, and 20-inch forged alloy wheels. For the interior, the Black Edition models will add a unique dash treatment, leather seats, and a leather-bound steering wheel, on top of the already generous E3 equipment list. A special Enhanced Driver Interface (EDI) system that will offer details on power, torque, manifold pressure, fuel, elevation, voltage, oil and air temperature will also be available.

The standard equipment list includes a reversing camera, park assist, and satellite navigation. There will only be 225 units built and, despite the "Black Edition" name, this special edition will be offered in Sting Red, Heron White, Alto Grey, Nitrate Silver, and Phantom (black).

Details after the jump

Audi has just unveiled the special edition TT-RS S-Tronic on the Australian market. This model is equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which is usually priced at $8,460, but is being offered at no extra charge for the limited edition. So, basically, if you were thinking of buying the upgrade and you live in Australia, better make that purchase fast and save yourself the money because there will only be 45 units produced.

For some extra bang to your buck, Audi is also offering the TT-RS S-Tronic with a variety of add-ons, including a black exterior styling package, metallic paint, and 19-inch 5-arm Rotor design wheels in titanium finish. Other additions include a sports exhaust system, adaptive headlights, a BOSE sound system, an extended leather interior package, and an LED interior lighting package.

Under the hood, Audi has placed the usual 2.5-liter five-cylinder equipped with turbocharging and FSI direct injection. This engine will dish out 335 HP between 5,400 and 6,500 rpm and a peak torque of 331 lbs-ft between 1,600 and 5,300 rpm. The engine will be combined with Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive and a high-performance chassis.

The S-Tronic transmission will also allow the driver to choose between two fully automatic shift modes, and a manual mode in which gears are changed using either the shift paddles on the steering wheel or with the selector lever.

From the Land Down Under, an Australian automaker is in the process of developing the country’s first supercar. Developed by Joss Development, the JP1 is a car that’s fast taking shape in time for its debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne from July 1 to July 10, 2011.

The car that’s expected to appear at the event is a final prototype model, leading to the first production version that’s slated to enter the market later this year or possibly at the start of 2012. The evolution of this car is a long time in the making, having made its original debut with the first prototype model seven years ago in Melbourne.

“We had an amazing reception for our JT1 prototype in Melbourne [in 2004], but building a car business is very involved,” explained JOSS Developments Technical Director, Matt Thomas.

Over the past few years, the company has continued to work on all aspects surrounding their operations, including building investments, working with technical suppliers, and putting in place the right group of people that will see to the car’s success when it’s officially launched.

Turns out, that time is fast approaching and Joss Developments is getting primed and ready to introduce to the world the first supercar to come from Australia.

It may have taken a while, but so they say: "better late than never".

UPDATE 06/28/11: Australian manufacturer Joss Developments Limited has released a new rendering of their highly anticipated JP1 supercar, together with the announcement that the car is finally ready to hit the stage at the Australian International Motor Show. Check out the rendering and notice that there’s a lot of new elements to the car, including the L-shaped headlight, that were different from previous photos released.

Details of the Joss JP1 after the jump.

While the rest of the world enjoys a different kind of donut - one that involves a lot of glazed sugar - us gearheads only care about the kind of donut that results in burnt tires and lots of smoke.

So when we chanced upon this video of 57 cars doing a simultaneous donut in Australia, we couldn’t help but wonder whether this was some kind of world record . After carefully digging through the archives of the Guinness Book of World Records, we found out that this 57-strong exhibition of smoke-filled donut madness is in fact the record-holder for the most cars performing the same stunt simultaneously.

This public demonstration broke the previous record of 29 cars, which was set in Rendlesham, UK a little over two years ago on March 1, 2009. Less than a year later - January 23, 2010 - this 57-car simultaneous donut broke the record at the Queensland Raceway in Willowbank, Australia.

Actually, the original number for this whole meet was supposed to be 66 cars, but nine cars were left out from the final tally because they couldn’t perform donuts for the required time of 10 seconds.

Either way, a record’s a record at the end of the day. And even if 66 wasn’t the final number, 57 is still a pretty awesome sight to behold.

Check out the 29-car simultaneous donut in the UK after the jump.

Any Australians anxiously awaiting the return of the Thunder can now breathe a tremendous sigh of relief; it seems that Holden will be bringing back the special edition Thunder nameplate to the VE Series II Ute line-up. The special edition has been launched as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the original 1951 Ute and will be based on the popular SV6 and SS Ute models. The SV6 will be powered by a 3.6l SIDI V6 and the SS Ute will come with the standard V8. Both models will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission and optional six-speed automatic.

The special edition Holden Thunder Ute will be available in 10 exterior colors and will be distinguished by unique 19-inch five spoke charcoal alloy wheels. Thunder badges will also be visible on the side and rear of the exterior, while the interior gets sports seats with leather bolsters and Touch-screen Holden-iQ system with Satellite Navigation.

"Over 60 years of production, the Holden ute has evolved from typical tradesman’s transport to two-door sports machine with a practical edge - that’s epitomized by the Thunder range," Holden Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales John Elsworth said. "It is a really bold, tough looking ute which we think will appeal to many of our traditional sports ute buyers. We’re expecting it to be an absolute winner in our showrooms."

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 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.

Continued after the jump.


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