Seemingly, everyone is getting into the world of limited supercar building lately. The latest supercar to hit the market hails from Belgium and is the brainchild of former racecar driver, Raphael van der Straten, and it is a wild one to say the least.
The all-new VDS GT 001 sits atop the basic platform of the Gillet Vertigo supercar, which gives it some rather impressive numbers and an oddly stout appearance. To boot, the production of this Belgium supercar is extremely limited, so you are likely in for a ride that will be worth some significant money in the near future.
So how well does this oddly proportioned supercar hold up in the ever-growing supercar realm and will its strange appearance be accepted in the real world?
To find out the answers to the questions and a lot more about the GT 001, click past the jump to read our full review.
Just about 10 years ago, VW introduced an all-new SUV bearing a name that only those with the most talented tongues could pronounce: the Touareg. It was such an odd name that VW actually made a commercial poking fun at the fact that no one really knew how to pronounce it, much like the Merkur tongue twister in the mid-1980s.
In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, VW is releasing a special edition Touareg Edition X. On the outside, you have a standard Touareg – one of the more stylish crossover SUVs available – but it features a set of 19-inch “Moab” wheels, silver anodized roof rails, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime runners, and smoked taillights. You also get the “Chrome & Style” package, tinted windows, and “Touareg X” logos.
On the inside, your hind side is supported by luxurious Amber Brown Nappa leather in a braid embossed style. You get real ebony inlays on the door panels and on the instrument panel to add a little elegance to the package. The front door sills boast illuminated “Touareg X” decals and you also get color-coordinated stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear shifter, and the floor mats.
You have a wide array of engine and drivetrain options in the Touareg Edition X, as there are five different options available, including a hybrid drivetrain. The only option that VW offers us any details on it the 150 kW (201-horsepower) 3.0-liter V-6 TDI engine. This model with the 8-speed automatic transmission runs €61,025 ($79,363 at the current exchange rates). That’s a ridiculous €10,500 premium over the base SE model for minimal additions. According to the press release, the Touareg Edition X is available now, but there is no mention of its U.S. availability.
Once VW releases all of the official standard features we can better assess it. For now, it just seems way overpriced.
When news broke out that Gray Design was branching out to fine world of automotive awesomeness, very few foresaw that these guys were far more serious than many people thought.
We’ve already touched on two of the models - the Gold Rush and the Magnate - so naturally, the third and final piece to this puzzle is arguably the most radical of the bunch.
Called the Sigma, this car certainly looks the part of what you’d expect from a supercar. It’s body is built from carbon fiber, which is saying a lot considering that the material being used isn’t exactly the kind that you can find anywhere. Zeus Twelve emphasized building the a lightweight machine for the Sigma and the car’s overall design certainly speaks to its supercar appeal.
Here’s where it takes a turn to the ironic: despite looking the part of a supercar, the Sigma is the least powerful of the bunch, featuring "only" a 2.0-liter Caterham Duratec Straight 4 engine that produces 335 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, good enough to hit a top speed of 180 mph.
We don’t know the reasoning behind this, but it’s something that’s worth keeping tabs on.
In 2011, Ferrari broke its own profit record by selling 7,195 cars and raking in a cool €321 million. That was all well and good, but one year wasn’t enough. The low-sales-high-profit automaker was already up 7 percent in total unit sales and 13 percent in profit at the halfway point of the year and the trend hasn’t slowed.
The increases put Ferrari on pace to sell 7,328 units and pull in €304 million in profit, so it has a little work to do in the profit side of the ledger, as 2011 had a strong finish. With the F12 Berlinetta debuting in Europe in September, hitting the second-half growth needed to break its record shouldn’t be a problem.
Ferrari chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, is set on the fact that the company will break its own record profits again, making it back-to-back years of setting records. This is all coming while the rest of the automakers, particularly those in Europe, are struggling to sell cars and lower losses. This shows that Ferrari obviously knows how to keep its operating costs low and still maintain quality control and customer retention.
Regardless of it breaking the record, seeing a low-volume auto manufacturer making that type of profit is impressive. To boot, Ferrari is just about in line with the pricing of its competitors, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, so it’s not a matter of Ferrari just jacking up prices in hopes of profit. Simply good business by itself and parent company, Fiat S.p.A., is all we can attribute this success to.
Gray Design has collaborated with Dartz to build some outlandish vehicles in the past, and it seems they liked the venture as they have created a new auto automotive division of their own. Zeus Twelve, the new auto subsidiary of Gray Design, is poised to create three built-to-order-models, including the luxurious Magnate "Birdman Edition."
While we’re not sure if the designation "Birdman" has anything to do with the rapper who seemingly has an obsession with high-priced automobiles, we do know that the Magnate Birdman Edition is about as audacious as the rest of Zeus Twelve’s new fleet.
Built to feature supercar and luxury car characteristics, the Magnate Birdman Edition features a long and muscular profile with suicide doors and optional bulletproofing. Can you imagine the weight of this car when it’s bulletproofed? Clearly, it’s going to add some meat to it that could potentially slow it down a tad.
But if you’re not worried about all that, the Zeus Twelve Magnate carries a 6.75-liter V8 engine that produces 505 horsepower at 4,200 rpm. Translate that to its peak performance capabilities and you have a car that can hit a top speed of 184 mph.
Now it looks like the company that has made a name for itself as one of the best design groups in the world is venturing into the auto industry by launching a new automotive division called the Zeus Twelve.
It certainly appears that Gray Design and Zeus Twelve are serious about this new endeavor because the latter already has three built-to-order models in the pipeline, one of which is the Gold Rush.
Specific details surrounding the Gold Rush have yet to be revealed, but true to Gray Design’s penchant for panache, the Zeus Twelve Gold Rush looks the part of an aggressively-designed sports coupe with gold accents, gullwing doors, and a 5.935-liter V12 engine that produces 510 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and a top speed of 188 mph.
We don’t know how the Gold Rush is going to fly when you attach a price tag to it, but if Zeus Twelve keeps it within a reasonable range, you might see some buyers voice some interest.
The dangers of auto racing aren’t limited to just race drivers; in some instances, especially when they get really too close, spectators open themselves up to the same risks as the drivers.
Unfortunately, that reality reared its ugly head last weekend in Serbia during the FIA European Hillclimb Championship when a Mitsubishi rally car lost control on one of the turns before hitting a crowd that was sitting a little too close to the action.
The high-speed crash had fatal results, with three spectators dying when the rally car barreled its way toward them. The video that was captured of the crash is only 17 seconds long, but it was long enough to paint a real picture of what happens when things go terribly, terribly wrong.
Organizers of that event immediately banned all spectators from staying in the area, but it was a case of being too little too late.
Watch the video and see how the crash came about. If for nothing else, it’s a far cry from the video we saw last week of a rally driver performing an unbelievable save with, coincidentally, another Mitsubishi rally car.
Almost on a daily basis, we express our complete obsession with rally racing, as their drivers have to have ice in their veins to even consider whipping a car around these often treacherous tracks at triple-digit speeds. With this incredible speed and loose surfaces come some of the most incredible wrecks, but also some of the most incredible saves.
The above video comes to us from a Polish rally and from the date stamp on the video, it occurred on the August 11th. The driver of this MitsubishiEvo came into a wet turn just a little too hot and went over the embankment at the end of the turn. Suddenly the car ends up on two wheels, but somehow it winds up back on the road and heads in a straight path.
Typically, when a racecar hits two wheels, an inexperienced driver simply plays damage control. He prepares for impact and hangs on. This driver is obviously rather seasoned, as he maintains control, doesn’t panic, and acts as if nothing happened once the car is back on all fours. This definitely qualifies as an entrant into the Save of the Year running for 2012.
Check out the video for yourself. There is one video above and two more after the jump. It’s rather impressive, but pretty loud, so you may want to adjust the volume on your speakers a little.
Click past the jump to see the two alternate views.
This picture may be a little old — from the 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed rally — but it still captures the essence of rally racing. Not only are rallys hard to photograph because of the limited angles you have, but the high speeds and bouncing that the cars do make it nearly impossible.
Well, Kolin Tregaskes caught Colin McRae’s Subaru WRX heading up the Goodwood Forest Rally at the Festival of Speed. Yup, Goodwood has more than just an awesomely technical road course.
You get to see this blue rocket propelling between the trees, likely at speeds most of us would not hot on the interstate, let alone off road. In his trail is nothing but a light cloud of dust.
Even with Tregaskes’ steady hand and likely high-end digital camera, the violent bouncing of McRae’s car still comes through as a light blur. This makes you wonder exactly how these rally drivers can even see the path they are piloting.
Nice grab by Kolin Tregaskes. Make sure to catch his entire Flickr portfolio here to see other great shots.
Few men get to have as much fun as Chris Harris does, as he is constantly beating the hell out of cars and getting paid to do so. So for the most part, we all live vicariously through his videos. In his latest installment, he takes on a car that we haven’t seen too much of here in the states, but is vastly popular, per Harris’ video, in the European market.
This elusive slab of carbon fiber and tubular steel is the BAC Mono. In the terms of a race car, its 280-horsepower 2.3-liter Duratec Ford engine with Cosworth-built pistons and forged rods is paltry. However, when you mate that up to a flat-shifting, paddle-shift, 6-speed trans, and a 540 kg (1,190-pound) chassis and body, you have one mean machine.
This British rocket hits a top speed of 170 mph and sprints to 60 in just 2.8 seconds – not too shabby for a glorified Focus engine, huh? Add in a rain-soaked track with plenty of twists and turns with Chris Harris behind the wheel, and you have a whole lot of BAC Mono tail wagging. Despite all of the oversteer, Harris repeatedly boasts how easy the Mono is to control. This becomes obvious when he doesn’t spin it out even once, despite swinging that tail end out pretty wide at times.
Check out the above video to see for yourself. If you’re able to, crank up the volume too, so you can get a good listen to that high-revving Ford power plant.