Typically the CEOs of big companies stay in the background and just keep the corporate wheels turning. Most CEOs also know that it is typically not a good thing when your name ends up in the papers just as often, if not more often, than the brand you are heading up. Well, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar must have a tough time comprehending the fact that no new is good news for a CEO.

It came to a head whenever DRB-HICOM purchased Proton , Lotus’s parent company, and inherited the Lotus money vacuum in the process. The media then took to speculating about the status of Lotus, given its new owner, and Bahar went on a teenage girl-like rampage via the worst possible medium, Facebook. That post still remains on the company’s page too.

At that point, we started speculating that Bahar’s time with Lotus may be limited, as DRB-HICOM really has no need for a moody CEO that can’t keep his company’s head above water. Apparently, we had our crystal ball working that day, as DRB-HICOM has announced that Bahar has been “temporarily suspended” following an operational review and a full investigation of Bahar’s actions will take place during his suspension. Several executives from DRB-HICOM will take Bahar’s place during his absence.

Well, I have been in the corporate world long enough to know that a “temporary suspension” during an “investigation” typically spell out “you’re fired once we find some dirt.” Rarely does a suspended employee ever return to their original position and few return at all, so we have a feeling that this will ultimately put an end to the drama of Dany Bahar. Looks like TopSpeed’s “Lotus” section is going to be dry for a while… At least until we get word that Dany is now managing a local McDonalds.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 6

We have seen many automotive pranks in our time, but the following one definitely tops the list for ingenuity, skill, and creativity. It is unlikely to be topped in the near future, just because it is so impressive.

Volkswagen is unquestionably one of the world’s biggest companies with it owning a fairly large selection of other brands including Bugatti , Bentley , Seat , and even Lamborghini , so it obviously takes some creativity to get an upper hand over the competition. Fiat definitely did just that the other day, when they took the opportunity to take advantage of one of the numerous Google Street View vans driving across the globe, and capture something completely unique.

Both Volkswagen and Fiat have headquarters in Sweden and when workers at the Fiat HQ noticed the Google Street View car driving past, they rushed over to their competitor’s major branch in a brand new Fiat 500 , 45 minutes away to capture the perfectly executed images you see in the gallery below.

The bright red Fiat 500 can be seen following the Street View car from a distance just seconds away from Volkswagen headquarters before speeding up Volkswagen’s driveway, pulling up in directly below the Volkswagen sign just in time for the images to be captured and then uploaded to Google Street View for the world to see.

And all of this happened in just a matter a seconds without VW having any idea about the stunt, meaning the German marque will have to accept having one of its competitors cars parked outside its showroom for at least a year.

Don’t however, expect VW to take this lightly. We suspect they’re already planning an ingenious way to get back at Fiat.

Source: Daily Mail
Posted on by Brad Anderson 6

We all love viral videos. Sure, half of them are completely irrelevant to everyday life, but we can always find time to watch them. The following video is no exception, with it raking up in almost 2 million views in a couple of days, and it’s not surprising why.

A trio of citizens from Chicago in the U.S. managed to film a $225,000 Lamborghini Gallardo crashing into oncoming traffic and swiftly bursting out laughing, just like we did, even though thousands of dollars of damage was inevitably caused. After all, it’s always fun watching videos of supercar drivers who have no clue in how to control their mighty, Italian machines.

One of the most ironic things about the video is that the man filming picked that the Lamborghini owner was going to pin the throttle through the turn and then just seconds later, it all started to unfold. Whilst getting off the line quite slowly, the owner began to increase their speed through the corner (just like any other good driver does) but before straightening out, the throttle was floored and a split-second later, the tail begins to slide wide sending the Italian supercar into two stationary cars on the opposing side of the road.

All we can say is that we’d hate to see the driver controlling a rear-wheel drive car, as that obviously wouldn’t end well.

Check it out!

Posted on by Brad Anderson 2

Over the years, we’ve seen almost every match-up conceivable to test both abilities of man and machine, until we stumbled upon the following video. Cars have shown themselves against other cars for years, and even a variety of motorcycles, but before now, we’d never seen a Lamborghini pitted against a strongman.

As a part of the 2009 World’s Strongest Man competition, one of the incredibly fierce competitors was put behind aLamborghini Murcielago R-GT race car and had to hold it back for as long as possible, eventually holding the Diablo back for 6 seconds. However, before the game could get underway in earnest, the clutch of the R-GT broke and throughout the first half of the video, you’ll notice that the Murci is simply revving rather than pulling the man and utilizing all of its torque, so instead a Lamborghini Diablo racer was called in to get the job done.

The clock started when the famous supercar began to burn up its rear tires in a valiant effort to pull the strongman off his feet but it failed to do so until he let go at the 6 second mark. The occurrence of the wheels spinning may look extremely impressive, but the vast majority of the cars power and torque are lost during this spectacle and it would be a better representation of the car’s ability if it were all-wheel-drive and could access all the necessary power.

Nevertheless, it’s an incredible effort to hold back a car packing in excess of 500 horsepower for upwards of 5 seconds, and something you’re never likely to see in real life, so check out the video!

From the people that once gave us the world’s slowest Porsche 911 GT3 RS comes another masterpiece of a creation.

We appreciate a funny parody when we see one; this particular creation, called the Fahrradi Farfalla FFX certainly ranks among the funniest we’ve seen in a while. From afar, the vehicle looks every bit like a Ferrari FXX supercar, but once you take a closer look, you discover that the only thing "super" about it is its design.

What lies underneath the specially constructed aluminum frame is, for lack of a better term, a bicycle that runs on the leg strength of the one riding it. For good hilarious measure, folks behind this piece of work decided to turn the skit to a whole new level by producing a video that mocks Michael Schumacher’s SLS "tunnel" commercial, complete with a ridiculous visual effect of the Farfalla FFX driving on the walls and ceiling of the tunnel.

Check out the video (after the jump) and a few photos of a true one-of-a-kind vehicle...err...bicycle. Let the hilarity ensue!

A few weeks ago we brought you Justin Bieber’s completely ruined – chromed – Fisker Karma and we pretty much marked that monstrosity up as the world’s worst car modification. Well, it didn’t take too awful long for something a little more disgustingly over the top to unseat Bieber’s rolling mirror.

This 2005 Porsche 996 Turbo Cabriolet, which we all know and love dearly as the 911 Turbo Convertible, has received some real blingage in the form of gold leaf covering the entire body of this once gorgeous machine. According to rumors afloat around the Interwebz, this debacle of a modification took somewhere in the range of $600,000 to create.

Should you desire to be as conspicuous as possible and snag up this rolling theft bait, you can do so at the tune of just 1.8 million Russian Rubles, which equates to just a tick above $61,000. That price has to be rather disappointing for its owner if those $600,000 build cost rumors are actually true, as that is only about $9,000 less than you can get a mint condition 911 Turbo Convertible with 58,000 km (36,371 miles) for, sans the gold.

With a price that low, there may be quite an interesting back story to this entire sale, given the price is 10% of the initial cost and less than the actual market value of the car. There are no mentions of its mechanical condition, so that could be the reasoning for its low cost, or maybe the owner is tired of panhandlers peeling off sections of his car to pawn.

Here’s to hoping that someone buys this once awesome car and converts it back to its correct form, which shouldn’t be too hard since the interior looks pretty much stock.

Source: Konig Motor

Every car buff knows that when you need to haul 15,000+ pounds, rip a stump out of the ground, or pull down an aging barn, you’re best off if you use a diesel-powered machine. Not due to its horsepower, but due to its torque. See, diesel engines notoriously have extremely high torque ratings, but their horsepower is typically very low in comparison.

So now you can understand our confusion and excitement when we hear about a diesel-powered dragster. That’s like hearing about a 1994 Geo Metro that can tow 10,000 pounds; it just doesn’t quite make sense. Well, now it does. What we have in the above video is a rail car with an International DT466 engine, which primarily saw use in school buses and farm equipment.

We are not too sure which DT466 this dragster has, as there are several variants – MaxForce DT466, DT466E, and DT466 – but we do know they produced a maximum of 300 horsepower, which is certainly not enough to get the car down a quarter mile in 7.6 seconds. According to the original poster of the video, the engine was built by famed diesel engine specialists Hypermax.

Needless to say it is fairly badass to hear a diesel engine spooling up three turbo chargers, then flying down a racetrack with black smoke billowing away. Yeah, a 7-second drag car is fun, but the added effect of the diesel sights and sounds just make it absolutely insane.

Crank up those speakers nice and loud, and enjoy the sounds of this beast.

For those of us fortunate enough to live in the U.S. or U.K., we are all aware that there is no such thing as a debtor’s prison, regardless of what some overzealous collections agent trying to hit their monthly bonus number might say. Well, in Dubai things are a tad different, as people who cannot pay their debts get thrown into the slammer.

This results in expats that fall into debt problems in Dubai fleeing the country and leaving their indebted property to bake in the not-so-pleasant desert sun. That is exactly what happened in the case of this $1.6 million Ferrari Enzo . The British expatriate purchased this machine and, according to reports, ran into issues with traffic citations that he couldn’t afford, so he fled the country, leaving the Enzo to bake for about 20 months in a parking lot.

Dubai authorities finally found the vehicle and impounded it faster than it can hit 60 mph. Now this million dollar supercar is heading off to the Dubai police auction, along with 23 other luxury cars, and will like fetch a nice sum of money for the Dubai authorities. The other 23 cars have fines attached to them ranging from Dh98,300 to Dh100,000 ($26,766 to 27,229), meaning the highest total the fines can be is $626,267. It is more than likely that the Enzo alone will sell for enough scratch to cover that amount. Sounds like a sweet business move, huh?

How can they do this? Well, in Dubai, the police have the right to seize and auction any car that is abandoned for six months. Chances are, they focus mostly on luxury cars, leaving rotting and sunburned econo-boxes to continue to take on more sand and sunlight. But, who are we to judge?

So, if you would like to snag up a sunburned and sandblasted 1-of-399 Enzo, just head on over to Dubai and get a 30 day visitor’s visa (free for U.K. and U.S. passport holders), pay the Dh110 ($29.95) fee to get into the auction, and bid away.

UPDATE 04/30/2012: Sorry, folks, but this dusty Ferrari Enzo is NOT for sale. Dubai police have spoken to Emirates 24/7 and have stated that the cars "have been seized as part of evidence from various crimes such as robbery, and are not for sale."

When we start digging into racing, drifting in particular, the fans really don’t garner much of our attention. That is until we meet the Santa Claus of drift fans that has both an awesome white beard and a brass set of ball bearings.

This bearded fellow, named Bil Baldwin, has made quite a name for himself at Long Beach Formula DRIFT events. He is not famous for running onto the track in just his Fruit of the Looms or anything like that. He’s famous for not fearing these speeding drifters, regardless of the fact that they are sliding just inches from his legs.

Yup, this long-bearded fellow stands at the edge of the wall coming out of a turn and allows the cars to get within six inches of his legs. Sometimes, as you can see in the above video, the cars even smash into the wall just before they reach him, sending debris flying toward this brave man. Like a well-trained boxer, Bil bobs and weaves out of the way of the soaring debris, then quickly looks back to the track so he doesn’t miss a second of the action.

He clearly is a brave soul and Formula D seems to be accommodating to his fame, allowing him to continue standing in this dangerous position, regardless of the safety issue. We all love racing and we are particularly enthusiastic about drifting, but none of us would put ourselves there.

So here’s to Mr. Baldwin and his white beard and overall jeans flowing in the draft from passing drifters. It’s only a matter of time before Formula D decides that it’s a little too dangerous for him to be there. Until then, enjoy the hell out of it, Bil.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 0

It’s not every day that we bring news of a Formula One world champion starring in a new action film, but that’s not the case today. Sebastian Vettel, the reigning world champion who is still looking for his first win of the 2012 season, is set to take part in a short martial-arts based flick currently being filmed in China.

The film is being made as yet another promotional activity by Infiniti and Red Bull Racing to promote each other’s products. Additionally, Sebastian Vettel has very close ties to the Infiniti brand and you could consider Vettel’s acceptance to take part as a thankful gesture after Infiniti created a special Infiniti FX50 named after him , something unique in and of itself.

Vettel was given some pointers from Chinese actress and Kung Fu master, Celina Jade prior to filming before its release sometime in May 2012. It’s currently unclear just how long the short film will go for, but anything over 10 minutes would come as a big shock to us as we can’t see how this film would generate much, if any, revenue for anyone involved.

Entitled ‘Kung Fu Vettel: Drive of the Dragon,’ the short film will likely be based around Vettel’s career in Formula One and how he continually has to fight off his opponents. Just a tad corny, we know. Vettel’s Red Bull Racing teammate, Mark Webber may also feature in the film, but only a small part is expected.

Vettel had the following to say about the experience, "Well that was the first time I’ve acted in a martial arts movie and it was great fun. It was something totally new for me which was good as I always like new challenges and experiences. I learned that just like with driving, you need balance, control and technique to be good at Kung Fu, but I think I’ll still stick to my usual kind of fighting on track on Sunday!"

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