Nor Cal Spotlight


Most of the Ferrari’s model names have been based on the capacity in cubic centimeters of a single cylinder, 12 of the 250 GT cylinders gave 3 liters; for cars specifically designed for the American market where cubic centimeters are unrecognized, the name became more important than the numbers. The 410 Super American was a very fast late fifties Gran Turismo powered by a 4.9 liter V12 engine with 360 bhp available for the third series, one of which produced these figures for Road and Track; 410 wasn’t far out, as its 4962 cc engine had 413.5 cc per cylinder. Like most of the road going Ferraris, the body was styled by Pininfarina.

Ferrari 410 Super America

Ferrari’s first recognition of the American market potential came very shortly after the company was set up in 1946; where the European market expected small efficient engines, the American wanted big horsepower figures from big capacity engines.

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After early forays into building single-seater for Formula Junior and Formula 2, Alejandro de Tomaso joined the ranks of Italian sports car builders back in 1963. The first offering was the mid-engined Vallelunga which used a backbone chassis to which was bolted a 1600 cc Ford Cortina engine; this took all the rear suspension loads via arms on the transaxle bell housing. The theme was extended at the 1965 Turin Show with a sports racing car using a bigger backbone which carried a 271 bhp Ford Mustang engine; never raced, this formed the basis of the Mangusta using body styling by Giugiaro while he was working at Ghia.


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The Viper sets out to be an anachronism. It is modern technology applied to an old fashioned concept of enjoyable open motoring; raw fun on four wheels. There are other cars with some of the same retro appeal, like the TVR Griffith, but the Dodge Viper has more in common with a 1965 Shelby Cobra than with Blackpool’s best. What sets it apart from this decade is the big, lazy engine, an 8 liter V-10 and the studied lack of creature comforts; you didn’t expect a quiet ride in a Cobra, or a snug fitting roof, but you did expect raucous high performance in any gear, just like the Viper. Against the Cobra it is 7 inches wider and 5 inches lower, a Cobra with a modern stance.

The common denominator is indeed Carroll Shelby, Shelby who put Ford V-8s into AC’s very British sports car and won a World Championship, the same Shelby who then worked over Chrysler saloons to transform their performance. And Shelby has been in the background of the Viper development. But the concept was Chrysler’s spurred on by President Bob Lutz, and arch enthusiast for the sheer fun of driving anything that challenges the driver.

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A hybrid vehicle is that type of vehicle that uses two or more different types of power sources to move or drive it. In most cases people refer to them as the hybrid electric vehicles or the HEVs which are actually a combination of internal combustion engine and one or even more electric motors.

The powers sources for hybrid vehicles include use of onboard or out board rechargeable energy storage system that is abbreviated as RESS. The vehicle also uses gasoline or diesel fuel as well as hydrogen, compressed air, wind, electricity, wind and liquid nitrogen. The hybrid vehicles use as many sources of energy and power as possible.

The engine types also vary with the types of hybrid electric- petroleum vehicles. These are internal combustion engines using gasoline or diesel engines that re powered by variety of fuels and electric batteries to power motors. Hybrid vehicles are grouped into these classes that include the parallel, mild and power split hybrid series hybrid and so on.

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The world has been filled with aplomb with the emergence of the economical hybrid machine in a class of its own. Being the brain of General Motors after years of struggles and lack of funds, the new entry in the Saturn vue hybrid presents a more economy minded vehicle affordable for all classes of people. Being a form of mild hybrid machine, it has a 3 KW power capability and a battery pack generating 42 volts. The hybrid system of the green vue presents a direction injection of power to gasoline engine by the use motor generator which comes in to replace a conventional alternator.

The Saturn Vue hybrid normally does not use electric power to power it unlike the full hybrid vehicles. For this reason, the Vue hybrid reaches the average of 30 mpg or simply about four mpg slightly above the twenty six it commands on the road. Even if most car enthusiasts argue that the presence of this vehicle is all about foreign oil reliance and environment, the truth is much more that.

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In 2004 the General Motors introduced the world’s first full sized hybrid pickups which were the ½ ton Silverado /Sierra. These hybrids did not use electric energy for propulsion like the successive models by GM. Then in 2005 the Opel Astra which was a diesel hybrid concept vehicle was introduced. Then came 2006 and the introduction of Saturn Vue Line which was the first passenger vehicle from GM is also a mild design

2008 Saturn Vue Red Line

Currently, the GM is offering two types of hybrid systems the first was used in the Saturn vue and Saturn astra which is called the BAS hybrid system which is a type of hybrid canceled in 2009. Then the GM together with BMW and Daimler AG co-developed a Two- Mode Hybrid which is currently used on the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC’s Yukon

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What’s family estate car doing in this supercar league? Call it an Audi-Porsche and you will be a little nearer the mark, just like a Sierra-Cosworth or a Vauxhall Lotus Carlton. Audi commissioned Porsche to develop the already fast 80 Estate S2 into the fastest ever production load carrier. The S2 had been the previous flagship of the 80 range, boasting 230 bhp form its turbocharged 2.2 liter five cylinder 4 valve unit and a six speed gearbox with four wheel drive; that gave it a maximum speed of 145 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 sec. but with a little Porsche magic for the new RS2, power is upped to 315 bhp, the maximum goes to 160 mph and the 0-60 mph time comes down to just 4.8 seconds.

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A larger turbo charger, high lift cams and a free flow exhaust system coupled with revised fuel injection were responsible for the power increase of 37 percent to a remarkable 141 bhp/liter. It certainly goes like a supercar and can hold most Ferraris and Porsche to 100 mph; it will outdrag just about everything up to 30 mph, reached in just1.6 seconds, thanks to its four wheel drive grip, first gear has been strengthened too!.

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After a gap of 24 years, the DB 7 has continued the range of the numbers that David Brown set up when he took over the company in 1947. As Sir David Brown he had sold the company at the end of 1971 when the DBS was in production; the six cylinder DB6 MkII had stopped in November 1970. However Sir David was brought back into the fold as patron when new owners Ford, started the design of the small Aston; he was delighted to allow the use of his initials for the new car. In fact, the original DBS was nearly called a DB 7.

Throughout the ‘eighties, Aston’s previous owners, Victor Gauntlett and Peter Livanos, had recognized that the company needed an entry level Aston 2+2 to join the Porsche 928 and Mercedes SL market. Unfortunately there just wasn’t sufficient capital available to be able to embark upon the design and production of an entirely new car; to be possible it would have to borrow a number of parts from an existing higher volume manufacture.

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When Ford took over in 1987 this began to look possible, but it wasn’t until Ford absorbed Jaguar in 1989, that the possibility moved to the probable; a combination of Ford engineering know how and Jaguar base would provide the appropriate background. While Jaguar had supplied some components for Aston Martin V8 and Lagonda models, they wasn’t keen to provide too much until Ford came along to define the markets for the two former rivals marques more precisely.

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Understand it is not. The latest Aston Vantage is far more brutal version of the standard car than any Vantage has ever been since the name was coined for the DB2’s more powerful engine back in 1951. Then and though the DB series, Vantage just meant power; it wasn’t until 1977 that Vantage became a separate model, recognizable at a glace with wider wheels with wheel-arch flares and wind cheating front with fashionable and effective front air-dam.

The standard Virage isn’t slow with a maximum speed around 157 mph, but it has a fair amount of weight to get under way, so the 0-60 mph time is not really to Aston standard – at 6.8 seconds, it is slower than a Volkswagen Corrado VR6. And the Virage is designed for comfortable fast touring, so it lacks the handling tautness that the traditional Aston driver expects. The Vantage addresses these relative shortcomings in full measure.

1994 Astoin martin V8 Vantage

The standard engine is a development of the original Marek-designed aluminum V-8, only it now has four valve heads designed by the American Reeves Callaway, who had been responsible for the race engines used in 1989 AMR-1 race programme.

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Back in the 1984, Aston martin needed a new model. The same shape had been in the production since 1967 when it was launched with the 6 cylinder engine, but a completely new model was too expensive. A new suit of clothes would be more affordable.

It was to be the renewal of an old association which brought Aston Martin back, once again, among the world’s fastest cars. Back in 1959, the company wanted to produce a special lightweight version of the DB4GT; they went to the Italian styling house of Zagaton in Milan and 19 models were built form 1962-4. twenty five years on, the new owners were looking for a similar extension to the Vantage range at the time of 1984 Geneva Motor Show; they visited the Zagaton stand founder Ugo Zagaton had died, but the company was being run by his sons, Dr. Elio and Ing. Gianni.

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During the earlier Aston Zagato production, the Italian company was building a number of niche models for the various separate Italian manufactures. By the 1984, the major part of the Italian industry was controlled by Fiat and Zagato needed to find outside Italy. The arrival of the Aston principals, Victor Gauntlett and Peter Livanos, was manna form heaven.

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