Ever watch that show American Pickers and hope Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz would come over to your place and pay you for your junk? Mickey Nilsson, 62, of Bardstown, Kentucky had that exact experience, but he was not so pleased with the offer.
"The two knuckleheads from TV show American Pickers (Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz) stopped by here trying to steal from me offering me $200 for my old stuff and said I had no use for it since moonshine was illegal. Although I did sell the chubby one with the beard oil can for $40 before they ticked me off."
Instead of selling his junk, Nilsson grabbed some inspiration from the 1968 musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where a magical flying car was made from junk and created his very own whiskey-powered vehicle. The task took him six months and should be revealed as a concept car in 2014. There are some setbacks however. The world is suffering from a depletion of oil resources, but the average price of Bourbon is $24, making it much more expensive than gasoline. Can’t we bring back the DeLorean from Back to the Future and run cars on our trash? Just a thought.
As Royal wedding fever was about to wear off, the Prince had one last surprise in store. For many years his Father has been the owner of an Aston Martin DB6 Mark II that was converted to run on biofuel. The car was decorated in traditional wedding fashion complete with ribbons, balloons, and a trick license plate reading Ju5t Wed. The dark blue Volante convertible was driven by the Prince through the crowds in front of Buckingham Palace on his way to a reception party. The car traveled down the procession route with top down and minimal security. A lone Range Rover followed the Aston and a RAF Rescue helicopter, much like the ones flown by the Prince, flew above with a flag waving below.
The Royals clearly have access to many things including the various Rolls Royce models and Carriages used today, but an Aston Martine DB6 Volante is rare even for them. This legendary car was the longest running production model that Aston Martin ever produced, but only 140 Volante versions were built. Furthermore, this may be the only one in the world running off biofuel made from excess British wine product.
Originally made famous by the James Bond films, these Aston Martin models have been coveted by collectors for years. Very rarely do they come up for sale or auction and the Prince’s will most likely never leave the Royal collection. The DB6 was a major improvement over the previous DB5 model and turned the car into a proper Grand Touring model. Performance for these models was increased through the Vantage edition which raised output to 325hp, but there is no word on the specific power output from the biofuel model.
Hit the jump for more details on the Aston Martin DB6.
Ten years ago there was very little discussion about electric or hybrid vehicles. The technology was far from perfected and no low level consumer was able to purchase it. Throughout this past decade our economy, natural resources, and priorities have shifted towards conserving the environment and our funds. This has helped the renewable and green energy proponents to make large discoveries that are moving the industry forward faster than ever.
Americans tend to be very stubborn and change can rub us the wrong way all too easily. Most of the negative sentiments about electric and hybrid vehicles are based around ignorance. Quite simply, most people could not tell you the difference between a hybrid car and a full electric vehicle. Come to think of it, most people could not tell the difference between a diesel and a petrol engine besides the fact that they would have to use the green pump at the gas station. For the hybrid automakers to start selling these vehicles in larger quantities, the public must be educated about their benefits and potential pitfalls.
Several basic types of low emissions vehicles exist and are currently being marketed by the major auto manufacturers. The biggest seller of these is Toyota with their Prius model, which is a hybrid vehicle. Making distinctions between the different cars available will be helpful to a potential buyer by allowing them to get a vehicle that best suits their respective uses and needs.
Speedriven has been building some of the highest performing engines on the market for some time no and has released details on their newest project. Starting with a base CL600 , this tuning team takes it from a tame luxury coupe and changes it into the most powerful CL on the market.
This firm is not about making your Mercedes the most ridiculous or unique looking car on the road, but rather focuses their attention exclusively under the hood. These are already some of the best looking luxury coupes on the market and there is no need for oversized chrome rims or carbon fiber aero-pieces to make it look fast – Speedriven would much rather make it perform to its highest potential.
The package is available for all models 2003+ that feature the Mercedes V12. This includes the ultra-exclusiveMaybach models. If you want Speedriven to turn your car into the ultimate Mercedes without adding the usual array of aftermarket exterior pieces then it’s going to cost $16,250. This price is not actually that ridiculous considering that companies like Brabus and Renntech charge much higher rates and don’t usually equal the same performance figures.
More details on the Mercedes CL600 by Speedriven after the jump.
Two things have been around for a long time, Mercedes Benz and Performance Tuning. The two also share intertwined histories as companies such as AMG, Brabus , Renntech, and Lorinser were born and continue to adapt the latest technology to factory Benz models. There are hundreds of tuning companies and race shops throughout the country, but telling them apart can be difficult. Most do not build their own parts, but rather perform the mechanical work for you to add aftermarket exhausts, ECU upgrades, and turbochargers. Some offer full service tuning and testing, but currently there is only one that is attempting to push a natural-gas powered Mercedes to a land speed record.
Speedriven is a Chicago-based firm that is currently working with Bernie Towns to develop this “green” record breaker. Towns’ is an engineer for HighMount Exploration and Production and the companies main focus is natural gas energy. Many of your home appliances, such as the water heater and stove, may run off natural gas, but did you ever think your car would? Actually, Utility and Transportation departments throughout the country have been using natural gas in everything from construction equipment to buses for years; which have helped to reduce costs and improve air quality.
For someone that wants to help the environment, lower costs, and produce tons of horsepower, natural gas is the perfect option for this SL600. Speedriven also provided other performance enhancements for the Mercedes in order to keep it safe under high speeds. Jo Borras of Speedriven speaking about Towns’ said, “He doesn’t just want to do a CNG Benz, though. Bernie wants to break records.”
A Formula One car is easily recognizable in this day and age, but what lies ahead for the sport will quickly change the look and feel of these vehicles faster than we can say, "regulations suck." The FIA has already stated that these vehicles need to utilize a 1.6-liter turbo engine starting in the 2013 season and teams will also need to reduce their fuel consumption by 35%. So what happens to these cars when they have to be nipped, pulled, tweaked, and downsized?
Former Executive Director of Engineering of the Renault Formula One team, Pat Symonds, wanted an answer so he took it upon himself to design the 2020 Renault Formula One car. The car is being featured in Issue 179 of F1 Racing Magazine and offers up some unenthusiastic power figures. The design is characterized by low-profile tires on bigger wheels, the return of ground effects aerodynamics, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) that produce 250bhp, and a standard, non-downforce rear wing. We may have glazed over the 250bhp rather quickly, but that’s because we aren’t too jazzed about the decrease in power. However, these changes will need to be made in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
"Taking into consideration all the variant motivators that drive regulations, I expect that the F1 car of 2020 will demonstrate much more change than has been seen over the past 10 years. A few simple assumptions can determine the basic architecture of the car. By the time we add a few changes, such as larger wheels and low-profile tires, we start to get a fairly clear picture of what the car might look like."
"The illustrations we’ve produced are certainly an artistic impression, but they capture the essential characteristics of a car that will be contesting the Formula 1 World Championship in 2020."
We have a feeling that unless some major changes are made, the thrill of Formula One will start to vanish soon. Let us know what you think about this in the comment section!
Even high performance models like the ones from the AMG division of Mercedes have to obey the new emission and consumptions regulations and, in order to pass these regulations, Mercedes says it will include hybrid technology, as well as stop-start and energy recuperation devices, in the future high performance vehicles.
Our first reaction to this news was a collective shaking of our heads at the diminishing of vehicles with true power, but reading a little further, we discovered that Mercedes plans to go the hybrid route in a completely different direction than that of other auto brands. Mercedes’ main priority will be to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions, but still offer true performance vehicles.
"In the future AMG will still offer high performance models, but there will be hybrids there. AMG needs to reduce fuel consumption," said Daimler’s head of future mobility and advanced engineering, Herbert Kohler in an interview with AutoCar.
He also said that AMG would not be following the same strategy Porsche did with the 918 Spyder : "Hybrids can boost, but AMGs will use stop-start and recuperation technology."
So how "hybrid" will these hybrid AMGs be? That’s a question will have to wait at least a year or two to answer.
Should we really be surprised that the Bugatti Veyron has been given the distinction of being the worst mileage offender in the US market? No? Yeah, we didn’t think so either.
The superduper car, the current record-holder of fastest car on the planet, came out of the Environment Protection Agency’s study with a mileage rating of just eight mpg – 29.4 liters/100 km – in city driving and 15 mpg – 15.5 liters/100 km - on the highway. Ouch.
On the opposite end of the spectrum and grinning mightily is Toyota’s venerable hybrid car, the Prius, which scored a mileage rating of 51 mpg – 4.6 liters/100 km – and 48 mpg – 4.9 km/100 km - thereby staking claim to EPA’s mythical crown of being the most fuel-efficient vehicle on US soil.
EPA’s study only confirmed what a lot of us already know by now. The Bugatti Veyron is one of the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive cars in the world, so you can pretty much expect that it doesn’t care so much when it comes to guzzling down fuel. After all, the people who have these cars are also those that can afford to buy their own gas stations. On the flip side, you’ll never mistake the Toyota Prius – and other Toyotas and Hondas , for that matter – as a car that can outrun law enforcement officers in the highway. The car’s calling card is efficiency, a word that doesn’t exist in Bugatti’s dictionary.
The journey towards developing alternative fuel sources took another step after two Audi A3 s successful traveled 1,000 miles by using a new synthetic diesel fuel. Pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves.
The two 2011 A3 TDI models were using RenDiesel, a synthetic fuel that’s made from organic compounds and green waste that are most commonly found in landfills. The fuel, which supposedly produces less volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than regular diesel fuel or ethanol, is being produced by RenTech in Rialto, California. RenTech, together with Audi of America and Green Car Journal, managed to successfully fuel the two A3 TDI models from Eureka, California all the way to San Diego, California – a distance of somewhere around 1,000 miles.
This project not only proved that the new type of synthetic diesel fuel is capable of fueling a car at great distances, but it also was able to boost up the A3 TDI’s mileage rating at 42 miles per gallon – one car was able to average 43 mpg while the other A3 TDI scored 39.7 mpg.
This latest development may not hit home to a lot of people, but the development of a clean-burning synthetic diesel fuel like RenDiesel is one way to make the purchasing of diesel vehicles more worth it. After all, in a world where fuel-efficiency is of paramount importance to a lot of people, the development of a synthetic diesel like RenDiesel could pave the way for more diesel cars to be enjoyed out on the road.
Ethanol content in commercially available fuels from 10% to 15% for 2007 and newer model cars has been met with mixed remarks.
Besides the plethora of pumps that are already present in gas stations across the US, one is very soon going to need a PhD in chemistry to figure out which fuel is best for their car. The introduction of E15 will now take the number of fuels at gas stations to more than 5 (without taking into consideration different octanes of “normal” gas and where you live).
There is no denying that oil derived gas has many negative connotations; it’s largely imported, non-renewable, and the pollution aspect is enormous, which is why we need a cleaner renewable energy source – albeit without having to confine all our current cars and trucks to the scrapheap. It’s simple on paper, but quite complex when trying to implement it in the real world - especially with hidden agendas and the greed for money and power thrown into the mix.