There are some people out there that can just put pen to paper and come up with beautiful and intricate designs worthy of production. Granted, most of these concepts or design studies will never see the light of production day, but they absolutely warrant some attention in the automotive industry.
In the early years of the automotive industry, the interior was simply somewhere to park your behind as you drove around. In the modern era, car interiors are becoming more like a second home, as they are now featuring climate control, TVs, huge sound systems, plush fabrics, and much more. Due to the constantly changing automotive world, automakers need to make sure that they are producing the best interiors possible, or risk losing sales to the competition.
Ford has taken this competition to a new level, as it is now using a robotic system to determine the quality of its cars’ interiors. This new robotic touch system is called Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics (RUTH). For those on the same vocabulary level as me and needing a more plain English description, this is a robot that uses sensors to determine the pain, pressure, or heat that a human’s skin would feel when touching something, which then turns that touch sensation into scalable data.
The above video shows Ford engineers describing RUTH as she touches and probes multiple points throughout the cabin of the all-new Ford Fusion. RUTH then uses data that Ford has collected from thousands of customers around the world and determines if the pieces it tests meet the collective wants of Ford buyers. From there, Ford engineers can adjust the texture, feel, softness, or even temperature of something in the cabin.
RUTH has been in commission in Ford North America since January 2012 and it looks like it is a complete success, at least according to the video. With advancements like this, it is easy to see why Ford was able to keep its head above water through the automotive recession.
Debuting at the turn of 2011, the Wiesmann Spyder Concept promised to be the most extreme Wiesmann offered to date, despite its long life of 18 years. At the time of the unveiling, Wiesmann was predicted to be pushing the Spyder Concept towards the production line, but since then the economic meltdown in the Eurozone subsequently put all those plans on the backburner.
Originally created as a design study upon the request of many loyal Wiesmann customers, the Spyder Concept debuted with a 4.0-liter BMW-sourced V8 engine producing 420 horsepower. When combined with a total weight of under 2,200 pounds, the Spyder Concept promised to hit 60 mph in just 4 seconds before topping out at a top speed of 180 mph.
However, despite the strong interest in the car, Wiesmann has yet to confirm or deny if the Spyder Concept will ever reach the production line, but in saying that, the firm has also yet to rule out any possible favorable decision for the future.
The biggest hurdle facing the small company is the simple fact that production of the Wiesmann Roadster MF3, for which the Spyder Concept is based upon, recently ended after 18 years and it’s likely that the firm would prioritize developing a successor to the MF3 over any possible swan-song, final edition of the sports car.
Nevertheless, we’re still holding out hope that the Spyder Concept may see the production green light in the coming months, but in saying that, we’re doubtful.
Let us know in the comments section below if you think the Spyder Concept should go into production!
Formula One has always been about one thing: To be the world’s largest racing series where up and coming technologies can be previewed, developed, and tested before eventually funneling down into everyday production cars.
However, tracing the history of Formula One has always been a challenge. Until now. Thanks to the creative mind of Ruf Blacklock, we can now see the 62 year history of Formula One compressed into a short, yet extremely sweet, 60 second video.
Showcasing basic 3D outlines of the vast majority of F1 designs, the video helps to capture the rapid changes which the series has undergone in the past six decades, with major advancements including the addition of rear wings, and the varying capacity of engines also been demonstrated throughout.
In addition to this, Blacklock also put together an awesome infographic for our enjoyment capturing the development of Formula One, with the legendary Monza circuit being the basis for this extensive circle of F1 development.
Follow the jump to see the infographic in high-definition!
As if Lamborghini needed any more help developing super-fast cars that can nearly keep pace with F1 racecars, it is now dedicating an entire facility to developing and researching new cars. Yep, Lamborghini has just opened up its Prototype and Concept Development Center – that’s Sviluppo prototipi e vetture pre serie in Italian – to help it develop and test its new concept cars.
An important feature to this facility is that it also houses a miniature assembly line. This allows engineers to monitor exactly how new cars come together and what flaws develop in the manufacturing process. This small assembly line will also be responsible for running off Lamborghini’s limited production models, like the upcoming and non-street-legal production Sesto Elemento.
This is truly an impressive show of dedication to manufacturing only the best vehicles that are as flawless as they possibly can be, but also looks like a huge waste of money. Then again, who are we to question Lamborghini’s ways? There is obviously reasoning behind this dedicated factory, we just don’t see its real-life purpose just yet.
On an aside, Lamborghini reps are also touting the construction of the building itself, as it is the first ever multi-story industrial building that earned a “Class A” energy certification. So, not only will this building build some of the baddest concept cars ever made, but it will conserve energy in the process.
For the most part, custom cars are a thing of beauty. This latest example offered up by RK Motorsports Charlotte is no exception to that rule. This beastly hunk of metal before you is a 1950 Chevrolet Deluxe coupe that is fully restored and customized to within an inch of its life.
Front to tail, side to side, on the inside and under the hood have all been touched one way or another with the help of numerous custom car shops and custom fabricators. And it all seems to come together is absolute harmony, making a stunning looking piece.
One thing that we know is that a custom car may also be very deceiving, as some people “customize” their cars to hide severe flaws, or the customization itself is severely flawed. The question begging to be answered is whether this 1950 Chevy Deluxe is the real deal or just another poorly thrown together custom rod that looks good from far away.
Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.
Sergio Pininfarina, the former chairman of the legendary Italian design firm, Pininfarina, has passed away at age 85 at him home in Turin, Italy on Tuesday.
The Italian design firm formed in 1930 by Sergio’s father, Battista “Pinin” Farina, has designed many of the classic Ferrari’s throughout the decades, with the recently retired 599 GTB Fiorano and the present 458 Italia both being created by the firm.
A host of other Italian cars have also been designed by Pininfarina, including the Alfa Romeo Brera still in production with Pininfarina’s very first mass-produced design being the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 of 1933. Since then, the company has gone on to bigger and better things, despite the brand having to recently stop producing cars and instead focus solely on the design side of affairs. Other notable companies affiliated with Pininfarina include Cadillac and Volvo.
Sergio Pininfarina took over as chairman of the company in 1966, after his father’s death, and he’s survived by his wife of 60 years and their two children.
I am a huge fan of the Chevelle and it’s definitely my favorite muscle car, but there is a limit to my love, and that limit stops after the 1972 model year. Not only did the Chevelle get strangled by 1973 Emission regulations, but Chevy also gave the Chevelle a very poor redesign. Those two happenings were pretty much the death of the Chevelle and ultimately resulted in most of us not thinking of the Chevelle beyond its first and second generations.
So when we read about a third-gen Chevelle that has been modified and restored, we just have to have a look. Big Muscle gave us a great look at Sean Rich’s 1973 Chevelle Pro Touring and we received a nice surprise.
Under the hood is a bad-ass 350 cubic-inch V-8 that’s good for about 400 ponies, which is just enough to give this 4,000-pound sedan a little pop, but not enough to get you into trouble. It also boasts 17 x 9-inch Crager Soft-8 wheels on the front, wrapped in 285/40R17 tires and 17 x 10.5-inch Crager Soft-8 wheels on the rear with 315/35R17 tires. All of that extra meat helps this massive sled actually take corners with some confidence.
In addition, Rich installed 6-piston front calipers, but left the rear drum brakes. He also installed a Tremec T-56 transmission to toss those 400 ponies to the rear wheels.
What really sets this car off is its dark theme. It boasts a coat of perfectly laid dark grey paint and the rims are a very similar dark grey color. This allows the Chevelle to look good without adding too much focus on the awkward 1973 styling. It’s a far better choice of color than the bright yellow that Rich originally painted it, that’s for sure.
Check out the above video to see Big Muscle’s full piece on the car. It is definitely worth spending 12 minutes to watch.
The Pontiac Firebird was a cool sports car built between 1967 and 2002. The model saw four generations, with the most amazing version being the Trans Am - a model offered from 1969 with upgraded handling, suspension, and horsepower, as well as minor appearance modifications.
Of course, since production ended in 2002 and Pontiac has been defunct since 2010, the creative possibilities for the Firebird are seemingly endless, with none ever getting the chance to see production...ever. That, however, hasn’t stopped Circassian designer Kasim Tlibekov from coming up with the Firebird TT Black Edition Concept - a model that gives a new look to a historic sports car.
Tlibekov’s concept is based on the 1969 Firebird, but adds more aggressive styling, including a very wide body, an aggressive front splitter and front-end, new side air exhausts, and a duck tail spoiler with a massive rear diffuser. The concept was designed to be powered by a supercharged 5.8-liter V8 engine that delivers a total of 650 HP and can hit a top speed of 200 mph.
If the Pontiac Firebird ever had a chance of getting a fresh breath of life, this is the kind of transformation we would like it to undergo. Sadly, that’s just not going to happen so we’ll settle for ogling these images for a little while longer.
For those that are unaware, the FIA is still organizing and developing the Formula E racing series, which it almost the exact same racing as Formula 1, minus the vroom-vroom of the internal combustion engines. This series uses only cars that utilize sustainable energy, which means no gasoline or diesel, just the ominous hum of an electric motor.
The series is loosely set to kick off in 2014 and manufacturers have started coming forward with cars for the series. This latest car is pretty wild, to say the least. It looks almost like a Le Mans prototype car and the Batmobile had a wild night in the Batcave and the Bluebird GTL Formula E racing concept was the end result.
It takes most of its styling cues from the closed-cockpit-style Le Mans cars that have no rearward window, which was Audi’s reasoning for replacing the rearview mirror. It is very obvious that the focal point in building this machine was aerodynamics, as the curves are plentiful and there are no visual flat spots to catch the air.
According to its developers, the pictured model is purely just a prototype that they are using for wind tunnel testing and there is no motor information available yet. They anticipate a track-ready model to be completed by the end of September in hopes of racing in the Formula E’s debut season – if one ever kicks off.
We will keep you updated on this newest addition to the Formula E series and let you know the second its manufacturer releases some performance specs.
A few months back, GrabCAD, a company specializing in the development of computer-aided design (CAD) software, launched a pretty interesting contest on the internet: "Design a supercar body." The contest soon turned out to be a huge success with 194 entries in just forty days. The winner was selected by Facebook users who had to "like" the car they loved the most. The winner is: Darren McKeage’s Tosa Street Car! Apart from winning the contest, Darren McKeage’s supercar design concept will be put into production in 2013.
All of the cars had to be designed on a pre-determined chassis design, powered by a GM-sourced LS V8 engine. This translates to a McKeage design that is amazing and sleek, as well as fit to pack impressive performance.
According to the official details, Darren’s supercar won the contest because it "has the complete package, a dynamic mature shape that’s not too extreme, great physical balance, deep signature side vents and a great adherence to working with the supplied chassis, including the front and rear boxes."
Congratulations, Darren McKeage and we wish you the best of luck!