Google patents GPS system to help you avoid potholes

Google patents GPS system to help you avoid potholes

Google patents GPS system to help you avoid potholes

Google has patented a system that will let your sat nav warn you of bumpy roads using sensors fitted to other vehicles.

The GPS system will monitor vibrations inside cars to work out how bumpy a road is and pinpoint where potholes are.

This will then let you choose an alternative, smoother route avoiding the most potholed roads.

The data is also likely to be passed onto Google’s own self-driving cars to provide a more comfortable ride for their passengers.

The company already uses GPS data from phones running Google Maps to monitor traffic conditions and provide routes which avoid jams.

A similar system is already in the pipeline from Jaguar Land Rover. This uses sensors to profile the road’s surface and adjust the car’s dampers in preparation for hitting a pothole.

This information can also be shared between cars fitted with this system – and JLR is also working on using it to report deteriorating road surfaces with local councils.


2016 Jaguar F-Pace ‘to set new crossover benchmark’ for ride and handling

JAGUAR F-PACE 2016 DYNAMIC PREVIEWThe new Jaguar F-Pace will set new class benchmarks for ride and handling thanks in part to using Jaguar F-Type technology, claim Jaguar engineers.

The new F-Pace crossover, which will be revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show next month, will be “the most rewarding driver’s car of its kind” and offer “an unrivalled blend of dynamic ability”.

F-Type sports car technologies include Torque Vectoring and Jaguar is making great claims about the “exceptional feedback” from the electric power steering.

The F-Pace will use Jaguar’s new Lightweight Aluminium Architecture already seen in the well-received XE compact executive and XF executive saloon that Jaguar says helps make the F-Pace “incredibly responsive”.

Chief engineer Mike Cross added: “We haven’t made any compromises or exceptions: the new F-PACE must be a true Jaguar and deliver the Jaguar dynamics DNA.

“We’ve tested ride and handling to extremities in all environments and in all conditions, and the result is that the new F-Pace is as engaging and rewarding to drive as it is going to be enjoyable to own.”

The new Jaguar F-Pace, which will compete with the Porsche Macan and BMW X4, will receive its world debut on the eve of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Solihull-built crossover SUV will go on sale in 2016. It is expected to cost from £35,000.

Superformance GT40

Superformance GT40 review: 2015 first drive

Superformance GT40

Superformance GT40

Superformance GT40: Overview 

Forty-nine years ago Ford achieved the impossible: beating Ferrari in the Le Mans 24-Hour race. The Italian team had been dominant for the previous six years and the Americans desperately wanted to give them a spanking. The car that did the job in 1966 – and for the following three years – was the GT40.

From the mid to late 1960s just over 100 Ford GT40s were built. Today they sell at auction for in excess of £3 million, so if you want one, well, your pockets need to be very deep indeed. For years its been possible to buy replicas, some built up from a kit of parts in your own garage, others sold as finished cars. Most are million miles from the genuine article, and everyone knows it.


In the world of historic cars, though, this swathe of replicas is topped off by the Continuation Model, cars so true to the original that they are granted chassis numbers that run on from the older original. Jaguar has just released five new lightweight E-Types like this. Superformance is licensed to build continuation GT40s in the same way.

These cars are so true to the original that it is said more than 90% of the parts are interchangeable with the original 1960s Ford. Built in South Africa, you can own one today for a mere £120,000 – half the price of a latest Ferrari 488 GTB. Your Ford will have a pounding V8 just like the original, but will be (slightly) sanitised for road use. There’s history here. Ford built seven Mark 3 GT40s as road cars, complete with luggage space, back in the day.

C_Superformance_GT40Superformance GT40: On the road 

You have options: 342, 402 or 427 cubic inches, which translates to 5.6 to 7.0 litres engine capacity, and power ranging from 405hp to 560hp. As the originals had ‘just’ 380hp, that’s a good start.

We’d better touch on the transmission before going any further, too. If you wish, there’s a five-speed ZF box, with the gear lever mounted in the door sill. That’s good for originality but makes it a bit tiresome getting in and out, so you can opt for a centre-mount stick instead. There’s also the option of a British-built Quaife gearbox that’s much more modern and easier to shift.

Even with the Quaife box, though, there’s a learning process before the changes become quick and smooth. This GT40 doesn’t make concessions the way a modern supercar does. You need to be wearing the right shoes and get the cockpit adjusted for you when you take delivery. Only then can you maximise your chance of getting on top of this machine.


When you do, oh goodness, the Superformance GT40 is something else. The V8 first growls, then simply hollers from inches behind your kidneys. The noise is such that it feels like you’ve hit the speed limit even in first gear. Then, patiently at first, depress the meaty clutch pedal and select second thorough the dog-leg gearchange, and carry on punching towards the horizon.

Driving this GT40 is an enthralling experience, one that’s helped by a surprisingly compliant ride that deals readily with bumps without, as we rather expected, throwing the car off-course on bumps. There’s no power steering or power brakes, but the former lightens quickly with a bit of forward motion and the brakes are never a problem. The GT40 grips well, too – although it will be a brave driver who explores the limits.

E_Superformance_GT40Superformance GT40: On the inside 

Crank open the driver’s door via the neat, recessed aluminium handle, drop over the broad sill into the period seats and then, AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, duck your head as your swing the door shut. Just like the original, the Superformance GT40 has a door line that extends nearly to the centre of the roof. Without the head nod, you’ll scalp yourself. But only once, we’d suggest.

With the pedal and seat properly preadjusted, this is a snug cockpit that offers a surprising degree of comfort. ‘Surprising’ in that you probably think it will be desperate but it’s actually OK. And from someone who has passengered in a classic Ford GT40, there’s one major advantage with the Superformance machine: air conditioning. It may not be full climate control but believe me, when that cool air wafts over your face and lower body, the GT40 experience instantly moves up several levels in creature comfort.


It’s far from pretty inside, for the dashboard is a facsimile of the original car, which means a bank of Smiths instruments and plenty of rugged panelling. There are tiny openings in the plastic side windows, that you’ll just get an arm through to take a toll ticket, and also a helicopter-type fresh air vent. Crude, yet effective.

What you don’t get is luggage space. Not any. Well, not unless you are prepared to stuff a soft bag in the front of the long passenger footwell and another – and here we are talking about pushing the limits of probability – under the passengers arm along the door sill. Still, Ford’s 2006 GT40 recreation, the Ford GT, was no better.

G_Superformance_GT40Superformance GT40: Running costs 

OK, we are not talking about efficiencies that approach those you got from a supercar even 30 years ago. Here we have a major league American Ford V8 engine that’s been tuned with horsepower in mind. True, the Superformance GT40 does have a catalytic converter in a nod towards todays legislation, but – shock – owners have been known to remove these between the annual MOT tests.

The UK Importer, Le Mans Coupes Ltd, based near Gatwick, does offer a GT40 with a modern Ford Boss Mustang engine if you fancy that sort of thing, but it’s not really in the spirit of the whole idea.

H_Superformance_GT40Superformance GT40: Verdict 

The Superformance GT40 is a thoroughly well-engineered recreation of an all-time classic. It’s impossible not to admire the way this car has been developed and brought to fruition.

It’s also hard to see how it’s built for the price. Sure, you’ll get a properly finished Porsche 911 for this money, but this GT40 is hand-built and such a rarity that you can forgive the rather basic interior for your little part of history.

Thanks to Le Mans Coupes Ltd

Specification: Superformance GT40

Engine: 5.6-litre V8 petrol

Gearbox: 5-speed manual

Power: 430hp

0-62mph: 4.0 secs (est.)

Top speed: 180mph (est.)

CO2: 338g/km


Facebook appeal to trace modified car previously owned by Shoreham Air Show victim

Facebook appeal to trace modified car previously owned by Shoreham Air Show victim

Facebook appeal to trace modified car previously owned by Shoreham Air Show victim

Car enthusiasts on social media are searching for a Toyota Celica previously owned by a man who was killed in this weekend’s Shoreham Air Show disaster.

Ashlee Spooner posted a picture of the car on the Toyota Celica UK Facebook group, adding: “My mate was killed in the Shoreham Air Show this weekend. This was his car a few years ago, we’d love to get it to his funeral – or one that looks the same.”

The previous owner of the car is believed to be 24-year-old Matt Jones, confirmed by his family to have died in Saturday’s tragedy.

The picture has been shared over 20,000 times and the car has possibly already been found – with one Facebook poster replying with a recent snap of the Celica. Confirmation is pending on this.

Toyota GB has also responded to the Facebook post, saying: “We were made aware of this conversation thread and are sorry to hear of your loss.

“We will certainly see if any of our contacts are able to help if you have trouble finding a car. Likewise, if you would like us to put a message out to our fans and followers please let us know.”

Other posters responded offering the use of their similar cars for the funeral, while others suggested a procession.

So far, 11 people are confirmed to have died following the incident on Saturday when a Hawker Hunter lost control during a display at the Shoreham Air Show.

Not all of the victims have been identified, but a 76-year-old wedding car driver is the latest to be named.

Maurice Abrahams was on his way to take a bride-to-be to her wedding when the disaster happened.

In a statement, his family said: “Maurice is a well-respected and loved father and husband. He enjoyed his work chauffeuring his beloved Daimler car and he enjoyed gardening.”

Other victims are believed to include Worthing United footballers Jacob Schilt and Matthew Grimstone and motorcyclist Mark Trussler. Jones’s passenger Daniele Polito has also been missing since the disaster – with his family appealing for anyone with any information to contact police.

Ford Mustang RHD

MPG be dammed: 7 in 10 UK Ford Mustang buyers go V8

Ford Mustang RHDFord has revealed almost 2,000 orders have been taken for its bargain-priced new Mustang, available for the first time in right-hand drive guise – and 70% of buyers have eschewed the fuel-efficient 314hp 2.3-litre turbo engine and chosen the 416hp 5.0-litre V8.

That’s despite the V8 officially only averaging 20.9mpg and 299g/km, compared to the four-cylinder 2.3 Ecoboost’s presumably much more Brit-friendly 35.3mpg and 179g/km CO2.

It seems the ultra-keen pricing of the V8 – just £4,000 more than the already-competitive £29,995 Mustang Ecoboost – has won over the early adopters, despite this wild 120g/km CO2 difference between the two.

Unlike the convertible model: this costs an equally-sharp £1,500 more than the Fastback, yet it’s only been taken up by 1 in 5 buyers – the vast majority prefer the coupe.

The jury’s out on preferred transmission though, reveals Ford: it’s 55% manual, 45% auto. A similar 50/50 split can be seen for £1,795 Custom Pack uptake, despite it including sat nav, Shaker Pro audio, climate-controlled seats, extra chrome and Luster Nickel silver alloys.

If you really want to stand out on the road in your new Mustang, though, be sure to pick a Triple Yellow one. Less than 1 in 10 of buyers have chosen that colour, compared to nearly 1 in 4 taking Race Red…

New Nissan Navara revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

New Nissan Navara revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

New Nissan Navara revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

Watch out Mitsubishi L200: Nissan has revealed its new Navara pick-up, set to be formally unveiled at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Dubbed the ‘NP300’, the new Navara will feature higher levels of kit and ‘crossover-inspired refinement’, says Nissan.

Based on a new platform, the Nissan Navara will come with a new 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine offered in 160hp and 190hp guises. For the first time, it will also be offered with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Economy figures are yet to be confirmed, but Nissan is claiming a 24% improvement, making this one of the most frugal trucks on the market.

Four-wheel-drive versions should be capable in the rough stuff, while a two-wheel-drive model will also be offered for those seeking efficiency. Buyers get a choice of a manual or automatic gearboxes.

The manufacturer says its payload will now exceed one-tonne across the range, while it will be capable of towing up to 3,500kg. The new double cab’s loadbed is 67mm longer than the outgoing model, at 1,578mm. The King Cab’s loadbed measures 1,788mm.

More attention has also been given to the interior, with a revised dashboard apparently increasing the feel of space in the cabin, while kit such as Nissan’s around-view monitor will tempt private buyers.

We’ll find out more about the new Nissan Navara – and see it in the metal for the first time – at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The show starts on 15 September.

New Nissan Navara revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

Toyota Land Cruiser 200

Toyota Land Cruiser V8 axed in UK

Toyota Land Cruiser 200Toyota has dropped the big diesel-powered Land Cruiser V8 in the UK, seven years after it replaced the original Land Cruiser Amazon.

The 4.6-litre V8 oil-burner is being replaced by a “partially redesigned” Land Cruiser 200, of which Toyota has no plans to market in Western Europe.

It brings to an end a long run for the range-topping Toyota 4×4, leaving the firm with the similarly genteel-selling Land Cruiser 3.0 D-4D range to continue its reputation for off-road impenetrability.

Do be aware, though, the Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser V8 are unrelated, despite their confusingly similar names.

Boasting a huge new grille and a suite of advanced active safety technology, the new Land Cruiser is certainly distinctive but, without a premium badge, of limited appeal in the UK and Europe.

Indeed, its appeal in its home Japanese market appears similarly limited – Toyota is forecasting monthly sales of just 250 units.

Petrol pump

UK fuel prices edge closer to £1 a litre mark

Petrol pumpAnother round of price cuts by Britain’s leading supermarket fuel retailers has accelerated the fuel price war and led many analysts to predict prices will soon fall BELOW £1 a litre.

Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons all cut fuel prices over the weekend by up to 2p a litre. Asda now guarantees a litre of unleaded will cost no more than 109.7p nationwide: diesel is cheaper still – a guaranteed 106.7p a litre.

The price cuts are filtering through thanks to the plummeting price of oil: “Brent Crude is now nearly 25% cheaper than it was two months ago,” said RAC spokesman Rod Dennis, “and is just half a dollar from being at its lowest price all year.”

Combine this with a strong pound and you’ve a perfect recipe for lower fuel pump prices.

There’s more to come too, said Dennis. “If the conditions stay right, we could see some even lower prices in a few weeks as people return to work after the summer and the school run begins again.

“And if Brent Crude were to move to the $40 per barrel mark, the prospect of some enterprising retailers selling fuel for £1 per litre will make a return.”

Why have fuel prices taken so long to fall?

Of course, oil prices have been falling for some time now, but it’s only in recent weeks that pump prices have started to reflect this. Why the delay – are fuel companies taking us for a ride?

Not so, said Dennis. “The reason we’ve been slower to see unleaded price cuts is because the wholesale price of petrol – the price retailers buy the fuel for – has not fallen at the same rate diesel has.

“Diesel has been on a steady downward path since the start of May, driven by increased capacity from Asia, but the same cannot be said for petrol.”

At last, though, the wholesale price is beginning to drop – question is, how low can they go?

Biker awarded £10,000 in compensation after skidding on muddy road

Biker awarded £10,000 in compensation after skidding on muddy road

Biker awarded £10,000 in compensation after skidding on muddy road

farmer’s insurance company has paid out £10,000 in compensation to a teenage biker who broke her collarbone after losing control on a muddy, rural road.

Carrie Dickinson was 16 when she was riding her motorbike along a country lane close to her home in Doncaster. She lost control driving over mud on the road near a farmer’s field.

She was discovered by her father who was travelling in a car minutes behind her. He took photographs of the scene to help build a case against the farmer.

Dickinson told the Yorkshire Post: “I had been riding for about a month and I was always a safe driver. I’m disgusted the farmer didn’t clear up the road, or put some signs up. If the mud wasn’t there, it wouldn’t have happened.

“The accident happened mid-corner and I ended up about 20 metres down the road. It’s a bit of a blur. It was pure shock.”

Dickinson was represented by Hudgell Solicitors who claimed the farmer had been negligent by allowing the road condition to become dangerous.

The farmer’s insurance company agreed and admitted liability, awarding a £10,000 payout in compensation.

Anglia Car Auctions: 10 cars we shouldn't want (but do)

Anglia Car Auctions: 10 cars we shouldn't want (but do)

Anglia Car Auctions: 10 cars we shouldn't want (but do)

Anglia Car Auctions is holding one of its classic sales this weekend. Forget exotic Ferraris – you’re more likely to find a rare, one-off Austin Montego in the King’s Lynn saleroom. There’s clearly an appetite for these borderline classics, however, as the auction hall is always packed and top money is often made.

We’ve had an enjoyable browse of the catalogue and picked out 10 cars we shouldn’t want, but do. Would you be tempted to take any home?

1: AC Invacar

1: AC Invacar

It’s surprising the kind of cars you can pick up through the Motability scheme today. But back in the 60s and 70s, disabled people were leased fibreglass Invacars from the government. Finished in ‘Ministry Blue’, these little three-wheelers provided mobility to those who struggled to get about.

They seated just one person, and the government announced the end of the scheme in 1976. Officially, it lasted until 1981 – but some people were so attached to their ‘invalid carriages’ that they kept hold of them until as recently as 2003. But then the Government banned them entirely from UK roads as they were declared unsafe.

Most were handed back and scrapped, but a few have escaped into private ownership and the hands of collectors. This is one of them. It’s in need of total restoration – we assume it’s been locked away in someone’s garage – and it will never be road-legal. But that doesn’t stop us wanting one. It’s a piece of social history – and it’d be a shame for it to head to the great scrapyard in the sky.

2: Austin Marina pick-up

2: Austin Marina pickup

The Austin Marina has a reputation for being one of the worst cars of all time. With underpinnings closely related to the ancient Morris Minor, the Marina’s handling was understeery at best and terrifying at worst.

A decision was made to build the Marina at the ex-Morris Motors plant at Cowley, despite it being largely unchanged since the 1920s. This meant production costs increased dramatically, as British Leyland had to partially rebuild the plant.

Despite this, the Austin Marina was priced well, and sold in good numbers. As well as the regular saloon, estate and coupe models, pick-up and van versions were also sold in small numbers.

There are very few Marina pick-ups left on the road, and this one has been restored to near-concours condition. What’s not to like?

3: Austin Allegro

3: Austin Allegro

Jeremy Clarkson once said: “Deciding which is worst (between the Marina and Allegro) is like deciding which leg you’d like amputated.”

A little harsh, but we see his point. Launched as British Leyland’s answer to competition from the continent, such as the Citroen GS and Renault 16 (and a year later, the Volkswagen Golf), millions was spent on the development of the Allegro. A total of £21m was reportedly invested in the design alone – remarkable when it, well, looks as it does.

The press hated it – picking up on its notchy gearbox, weird (square) steering wheel and reliability issues (rear windscreens simply falling out were widely reported). But the British still bought it in serious numbers – and there’s still a keen group of enthusiasts keeping them on the road today.

This example being sold at Anglia Car Auctions sounds to have a stack of history, and has even appeared on television. And while £1,500 doesn’t buy you a lot in the classic car world, we’d happily snap this up.

4: Austin Montego Vanden Plas convertible

4: Austin Montego Vanden Plas convertible

Even back in the late 80s/early 90s when the Montego was on sale, it was a little bit rubbish compared to rivals such as the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier.

As was often the case for British Leyland cars, the Austin Montego suffered reliability issues, but that didn’t stop people buying it (in the UK at least). To give it its due, some of the technology it featured was quite advanced – some high-end models even had a talking dash, and this Vanden Plas boasts leather seats, electric windows and alloy wheels.

BL never officially sold a convertible version of the Montego (why would it?), but Tickford apparently offered a conversion – as seen here. You might think that’d make it bit, er, flexible – but someone’s gone to the trouble of having an engineer’s report done stating that it’s not an utter blancmange. Or something like that.

5: Honda Civic

5: Honda Civic

It’s a brown Honda Civic. Even we can’t be excited by this, can we? Well…

For one thing it’s a proper shatchback (a hatchback converted into a saloon) – a term coined by our very own Gavin Braithwaite-Smith. And that makes it rare and therefore desirable. Kind of.

It’s also brown. Which is in fashion now. Sort of.

But most importantly it’s a Japanese car that’s led an easy life, living in a garage and covering just 16,600 miles over its 24 years. If there’s a car that has as much life left in it as this Honda Civic for its lower estimate of just £400, we want to know about it.

6: MG Metro

6: MG Metro

Yeah, we’re a little bit biased here, having recently added an Austin Metro to the MR Fleet.

This 1982 model, first registered in October of that year, must have been one of the very first MGs launched – which would go some way towards explaining exactly why it’s down as a Morris 1100 on its V5.

Power from the regular 1.3-litre A+ series engine was turned up to a dizzying 72hp and could hit 60mph in 10.1 seconds. Other improvements for the MG included red seat belts and carpets, and a sports steering wheel – all desirable to the hot hatch buyers of the 80s.

Administrative errors aside, this example looks to be in stunning condition. While more popular rivals such as the Peugeot 205 GTI and Ford Fiesta XR2 would make top money in this condition, this Metro looks to be a bargain at around £2,000.

And you could argue that it’s more desirable than a Peugeot 205 GTI. While 205s are still commonplace, the Metro is usually overlooked by those after an 80s hot hatch. So many have now rusted away, or had their engines stolen to be transplanted into Minis. They’re now pretty rare – with listing just 103 left on the roads.

7: Nissan Micra

7: Nissan Micra

The humble Nissan Micra actually has quite a following with young drivers looking for a cheap, reliable classic car that’s cheap to run.

Is the Nissan Micra a classic car? Well, the bullet-proof first-generation K10 model was first launched in 1984, while this example is 24 years old. As a rival to the popular Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Nova and Austin Metro, the Nissan Micra was particularly successful – peaking at over 50,000 sales in the UK in 1989.

Popular with elderly drivers, it’s quite common to find early Micras that have been cherished and covered very few miles. This appears to be one such car – with just 44,700 miles on the clock.

8: Renault Megane

8: Renault Megane

Normally a Renault Megane wouldn’t excite us in the slightest. But this has an amazing 334 miles on the clock.

It’s a bit bizarre how cars like this are bought and never used – but they do turn up from time to time. Apparently a retired spinster of a school teacher bought this from a main dealer in November 2000, and never exceeded 30 miles a year.

The longest journey he’s thought to have completed in it was just eight miles home from the dealership. It’s been MOTed and serviced regularly so it comes with the paperwork to support the mileage, and is described by Anglia as ‘absolutely as new throughout’.

It’s quite possibly the cleanest first-generation Megane in the country. Maybe even the world. Now that’s surely good enough reason to put your hands in your pockets.

9: Talbot Samba cabriolet

9: Talbot Samba cabriolet

Ten years ago there were more than 23,000 Talbot Sambas left on the road. Today, there are just 13. And this is likely to be one of a handful of soft-top versions.

Based on the Peugeot 104 and manufactured by the PSA Group in France, the Samba boasted the title of being the only supermini available in a cabrio body style from the factory, as well as claiming to be the most economical car in Europe.

Designed by Pininfarina, the Talbot Samba cabriolet is perhaps one of the Italian design house’s lowlier moments. It was eventually killed thanks to competition from within PSA Group in the form of the 205 – which was also available as a cabriolet.

Even when new, there wasn’t a lot of love for this car. But its rarity, along with offering soft-top thrills for not a lot of money (in terms of both running and buying costs) means you should definitely not overlook it at Anglia this weekend.

10: Vauxhall Cavalier convertible

10: Vauxhall Cavalier convertible

Launched in 1981 as part of an ambitious plot to knock the Ford Cortina (and its replacement, the futuristic Sierra) off the top spot for company car drivers, the second-generation Cavalier got a warm reception when new compared to a lot of cars featured here.

It became a sales success, particularly against the dated Cortina. When the Sierra arrived a year later, many were put off by its futuristic styling and the conservative Cavalier proved a tough competitor for a number of years.

As well as the popular four-door saloon and five-door hatchback models, Vauxhall also offered a two-door saloon. This was quietly dropped in 1985, but spawned the convertible version featured here.

Perhaps surprisingly (ahem), the Cavalier convertible has never proved to be desirable, and even today tidy examples are worth very little. This one being sold at Anglia Car Auctions this weekend has had one lady owner from new, and all proceeds from the sale are being donated to Kidney Research UK.

If you’ve never found an excuse to treat yourself to a Cavalier convertible, this could be it. We’ll be right behind you.