Porsche Taycan debuts in New York

Electric Porsche Taycan hits the streets of New York City

Porsche Taycan debuts in New YorkFormula E fans in New York City got a first glimpse at the all-electric Porsche Taycan as part of the dazzling season finale

The countdown is on to the official launch of the battery-powered Taycan, set for September 2019.

More than 20,000 individuals have already registered their interest, and no doubt some were watching keenly from the stands in Brooklyn. 

Fully charged for action

Porsche Taycan debuts in New YorkKeen to prove the potential of the Taycan, Porsche made use of top racer Neel Jani for driving duties in NYC. Jani has previously won the Le Mans 24 Hours race, and the World Endurance Championship with Porsche, so is no slouch when it comes to the track.

Capable of hitting 0-60 mph in under 3.5 seconds, the Taycan made a rapid demonstration run, with the prototype wearing a special stars-and-stripes design.

Swiss-born Jani was also getting some extra practice in. He will be competing for the Porsche team in the 2019-2020 Formula E Championship, which begins in November this year.

Globetrotting exhibition ends in New York

Porsche Taycan debuts in New YorkThe New York event was the final stop on a whirlwind global tour by the Taycan prototype model.

Previously, the car has made an appearance at the Porsche Experience Centre in Shanghai, China. There it was driven by Li Chao, a Chinese racing driver who competes in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. 

Porsche brand ambassador, and ex-Formula 1 racing driver, Mark Webber also drove the Taycan at the recent 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed

With demonstrations of the Taycan’s abilities now made on three continents, even the most ardent Porsche purists may be starting to accept the performance it can bring…

Aston Martin Valkyrie Silverstone public debut

Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar makes public debut at Silverstone Grand Prix

Aston Martin Valkyrie Silverstone public debutThose attending the British Grand Prix on Saturday got an extra slice of on-track excitement, as the Aston Martin Valkyrie made an appearance. 

The 1,160 hp hypercar took to the Silverstone circuit for a special demonstration run, showing off how quick the 6.5-litre Cosworth V12-powered car could potentially be. 

With all 150 examples of the Valkyrie already sold, for many this may be the only chance to see one used in anger before they disappear into the hands of eager collectors. 

Aston Martin Valkyrie Silverstone public debutUsing the British Grand Prix for the Valkyrie’s debut was no coincidence. Aston Martin has worked extensively with the Red Bull Racing F1 team, using their knowledge and skills to develop it.

Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer, has been instrumental in the design of the Valkyrie. F1-influenced aerodynamics abound throughout, with Newey aiming to endow the Valkyrie with huge amounts of downforce. 

On witnessing the debut, Newey commented: “To finally see Aston Martin Valkyrie running five years from when I first sat down and started sketching what this car could look like is quite an emotional day.

“With the change in vision angle as it comes past, and the noise, it is now doing what it is supposed to be doing, which is to move and be dynamic.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie Silverstone public debutAston Martin test driver Chris Goodwin was responsible for driving the Valkyrie. Although not running at full speed, the debut was still important for Goodwin, who commented that driving it at Silverstone was “exceptionally special.”

The single lap demonstration has come after months of simulator work and digital modelling. Although the public debut marks a significant milestone, Aston Martin and Red Bull still have plenty of work to do. 

Deliveries to customers are due to start in late 2019, giving only limited time to ensure the Valkyrie lives up to the expected price tag of more than £2 million.

Aston Martin has also committed the Valkyrie to competing at Le Mans in 2021, upping the workload even more. 

Roush F-150 Nitemare is quickest pickup

Roush F-150 Nitemare claims to be the quickest pickup in the world

Roush F-150 Nitemare is quickest pickup

Ford tuning specialist Roush has laid claim to the title of building the quickest production pickup truck the world has ever seen. 

Its new 650 horsepower Ford F-150 Nitemare has been timed achieving the 0-60 mph sprint in under 4 seconds, when tested by a team of automotive industry experts. 

The best time of 3.9 seconds is quick enough to embarrass sports cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman, or even a Lamborghini Gallardo, in a drag race. 

Roush F-150 Nitemare is quickest pickupTwo versions of the Roush F-150 Nitemare were tested on a drag strip, both in four-wheel drive configuration and with Sport mode engaged. 

It was the Regular Cab version of the Nitemare which managed to dip below 4 seconds, with the SuperCrew version clocking a time of 4.1 seconds instead.

Helping get the most from the modified trucks were racing driver Robb Holland, Discovery Channel star and mechanic Aaron Kaufman, and Jack Roush Jr.

Roush F-150 Nitemare is quickest pickupUsing the 5.0 V-8 F-150 as a base, the Nitemare package uses a Roush supercharger and performance exhaust system to boost output to 650 horsepower and 610 lb-ft of torque. 

Also included in the $19,150 conversion is a set of 22-inch wheels, lowered suspension, new front grille, plus Roush decals for the exterior. 

Whether the F-150 Nitemare will hold onto its record is another question. Texas tuning firm Hennessey has created a 1,000 horsepower version of the Jeep Gladiator, which could fight for the crown. 

In addition, Roush is also said to be working on a new performance package for the Ford F-150 Raptor. It means truck buyers certainly don’t need to worry about choosing between both speed and practicality in the near future.

Rafa Nadal has been driving a Kia for 15 years

Kia and Rafa Nadal 15 years

Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal has been a brand ambassador with Kia for 15 years, having taken up the position in 2004 at just 17 years old.

Two years later, Nadal was appointed global brand ambassador for the Korean marque.

Nadal is the most successful Spanish tennis player in history, and one of the world’s all-time greats. Just this year he won his 12th French open, as well as his 18th Grand Slam trophy. He’s won more matches off-grass than any other player.

Kia and Rafa Nadal 15 years

Over his 15 years with Kia, Rafa has been instrumental in spreading awareness of the brand in its battle for the acclaim it enjoys today.

Given how volatile and temporary some ambassadorial relationships have been between brands and sportspeople, the longevity of Kia and Nadal is quite an achievement.

“Throughout the last 15 years, Kia and Rafa Nadal have developed a winning partnership based on passion, hard work, and overcoming the odds,” said Emilio Herrera of Kia Motors Europe.

Kia and Rafa Nadal 15 years

“Rafa has played an important role in raising awareness of the Kia brand, not just across Europe, but in many of Kia’s markets worldwide. As his career has flourished, so too has Kia developed into a major player in the automotive sector.”

Volksawgen Beetle

How Volkswagen tried and failed to replace the Beetle

Volksawgen Beetle

Too much success can stunt the mind. That can apply to the collective mind of a company just as easily as it can a music artist struggling with that difficult second album.

And back in the late ‘60s, Volkswagen was having exactly this kind of problem with its Beetle.

Volksawgen Beetle

Not that this famous car was anywhere near reaching its popularity peak in 1967, when a 30% sales slump in its native Germany prompted VW’s management to take the challenge of replacing it a whole lot more seriously.

Although it hadn’t been ignoring the task entirely. During that same year VW revealed a whole heap of prototypes to a press becoming increasingly critical at the absence of a Beetle replacement. In fact, VW had developed no less than 70 potential successors since 1952, but none had made production and all shared the same basic rear-engine layout.

Some had been under development for as long as five years before being abandoned, others were simply styling mock-ups. And what they all pointed to, apart from the waste of millions of pounds-worth of r&d money, was the lack of a solid idea for replacing a car that by 1967, had been in quantity production for 22 years, having started life before WW2.

Hitler’s people carrier

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

The ‘Strength-through-Joy’ KdF-wagen was commissioned by one Adolf Hitler from Ferdinand Porsche, the Fuhrer keen for the KdF-wagen to become the affordable car of the people. And it actually became that very thing, though not entirely in the way Hitler had envisaged.

A few were produced before and during the conflict, the war-damaged Wolfsburg plant restarted in 1945 by British Army officer and engineer Major Ivan Hirst. In 1948 he handed over the running of the plant to Heinz Nordhoff, an inspirational ex-Opel manager who expanded production and successfully established excellent sales and service networks for VW overseas, most notably the US where for well over a decade, the Beetle became part of the fabric of North American life.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

In fact, it was not the only car that Wolfsburg was making. Volkswagen Type 1, as the Beetle was officially known, was joined by Volkswagen Type 2 (pictured above) in 1949, this the almost equally famous Transporter van and its Kombi brother.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

And in 1961 came the Volkswagen 1500 saloon (pictured above). It was still rear-engined and air-cooled, like a Beetle, still a two-door and still largely uninterested in ploughing a straight line on a breezy day. Despite this the 1500 did well, the Fastback and Variant estate versions helping it to sales of over three million between 1961-73.

The Beetle replacement, take one…

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

But the 1500  wasn’t a replacement for the Beetle. Another prototype came close to doing the job in 1960, when project EA97 got to the point where the production machinery to build it was being installed, and the first 100 pilot-build cars had been assembled.

A rear-engined two-door saloon, it was powered by an 1100cc engine and would have competed with the Hillman Imp, Renault 8, Simca 1000, NSU Prinz and Fiat 850, several of these big sellers.

But as author Russell Hayes’ excellent book ‘The Volkswagen Golf Story’ explains, EA97 was reckoned to be too close to the 1500 saloon – they looked pretty similar, besides – and now that VW had bought the Auto Union company, acquiring the Audi 60 saloon in the process, it suddenly had another in-house competitor.

So EA97 was cancelled at the last minute, losing VW yet more millions. But it was making so much money from the Beetle that this mattered a lot less than it would have done for other car companies.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Its next attempt came in the gruesome shape of the 1968 Volkswagen 411, another air-cooled rear-engined car, this time with four doors. Its styling was as tortured as the VW management’s efforts to solve their new Beetle problem, this ugly beast living four short years and selling only 266,000 copies in the process.

By now mild desperation was setting in, Nordhoff’s replacement Kurt Lotz arriving to a largely empty new model cupboard, 411 apart, making him particularly eager for some quick-fix solutions.

Making slow progress

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

One of those came with Volkswagen’s acquisition of NSU, makers of the little Prinz and the radical rotary-engined Ro80 executive saloon. Sitting between these two was a yet-to-be launched modern, front-wheel drive saloon. Crisply styled and glassy, it was a vast improvement on the 411, if far from as gaze-freezingly handsome as the futuristic Ro80, whose design legacy can still be seen in the Audi saloons of today.

Nevertheless, an eager Volkswagen took this NSU design over, relabelled it the VW K70 (pictured above) and optimistically built a new factory capable of making it at the rate of 500 per day.

But like many hastily conceived plans in the motor industry, the K70 soon hit problems. It was expensive to build, sharing almost no parts with other cars in the group, expensive to buy for the same reason and rust-prone. That slowed, sales, as did VW’s activities within other parts of its empire.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

When it bought Audi in the mid ‘60s it was simply to get its hands on another factory in which to build Beetles, because it couldn’t keep up with demand. Audi’s small 60 saloon (pictured above) continued to be made, but product development director Ludwig Kraus was instructed to halt new model development.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Instead he disobeyed, developing a new saloon in secret. It was eventually revealed to VW’s management, who got over their shock and annoyance to approve what became the 1969 Audi 100, pictured above. That car was a big hit, and would eventually keep a money-losing VW afloat, but in the meantime it seriously undermined the appeal of the less than stylish K70 that came a year later, giving VW yet another failure.

Replacing the Beetle bugs VW

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

If the K70 was a piece of misfiring opportunism, the EA266 prototype (pictured above) was the company’s main attempt to properly replace the Beetle. In fact, it was developed mostly by Porsche, whose engineers produced a hatchback with a water-cooled four cylinder that lay flat beneath the rear seats, to drive a gearbox and differential behind it.

In effect, this was a mid-engined hatchback, and development again advanced to the point of tooling being ordered. But despite its sporty mid-engined layout and Porsche parentage, EA266 apparently had handling issues, besides continuously perfuming its cabin with oily engine vapours via an access panel beneath a rear seat that was expected to get progressively grubbier as mechanics removed it to service the engine.

Nevertheless, EA266 was part of a major management review of VW’s new model plans in May 1969, along with a new front-wheel drive hatchback from Audi, its four-cylinder engine mounted longitudinally, and a similar prototype from VW itself whose front wheels were propelled by a Beetle engine.

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

It was this car, codenamed EA235, that would eventually lead to the VW Golf that became the Beetle’s real successor. A variation of it, codenamed EA276 (pictured above), can be found in Volkswagen’s museum.

At last: enter the VW Golf!

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Neither prototype was a beauty, but one of VW boss Lotz’s best decisions during his brief and troubled career at the helm was to instruct Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign to style the car that would become the Golf, pictured in launch guise above.

It would be released in 1974, at the end of seven troubled years that had produced one of the ugliest family cars of the ‘60s in the 411, had proved the riskiness of opportunism with the K70 and ultimately, threatened the very existence of VW itself.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

And that’s without including all the abandoned prototypes built between 1952 and 1967, VW beginning its long and painful quest for a successor when the post-war Beetle was only seven years old.

But the lesson was learnt – many of us can count our lives out in Golfs, VW now building the seventh version of this car since 1974. And this multi-brand group is a long way from being dependent on only one model, the mighty Golf one of a number of big sellers.

Past master: the Beetle returns

Concept One

There is a footnote here. For decades, the original Beetle was moribund. It was still produced in South America for an increasingly diminishing market, but eventually faded away for good in 2003.

Then came the craze for nostalgia, one arguably accelerated by Volkswagen, which showed a ‘modern’ concept version of the original Beetle in 1994, called Concept One. The world swooned. Production for the Californian-designed concept was approved.

1998: the Volkswagen Beetle is back

New Beeetle

The New Beetle was introduced in 1998. Ironically, it was based on the platform of the car that sealed its fate back in the 70s, the Volkswagen Golf, but this did ensure it drove well.

Built in Mexico, it was shamelessly retro, taking the original cues of the Beetle and exaggerating them with cartoon-like emphasis: the separate wings, round headlamps and tail lamps, rounded roofline and chunky running boards.

New Beetle cuts a dash

New Beeetle

The interior was retro-inspired too. This meant packaging was dreadful, with a tiny boot and cramped, rear seats, but few at the time seemed to mind, because it was so bold. It even came with a vase on the dashboard.

New Beeetle

Yes, a vase.

2011: New Beetle take two

New Beeetle

Sales clearly convinced Volkswagen it was worth replacing. An all-new car arrived in 2011, with more of a fastback profile to the roofline and a more sophisticated, more practical interior – but still clearly a Beetle.

As with the original New Beetle, this second retro recreation also came in convertible guise, and was later offered with a tiny 1.2-litre petrol engine – the smallest since the original model ceased production. Luckily, it was turbocharged, so wasn’t quite as lethargic as the 1960s models…

Today: the Beetle’s second coming comes to an end

New Beeetle

But sales of this second remake never quite took off. And, like the original, soon started to go the wrong way. It seemed the world had moved on: a retro Beetle was nice as a passing fad, but didn’t seem to have staying power.

Rumours had thus circulated for years that this model would be the final Beetle – its second coming would come to an end. On September 13 2018, it was confirmed.

This week, the final Beetle was once again produced, 21 years after it returned from the great scrapyard in the sky. The last models off the line are going to VW’s ever-expanding heritage collection, presumably to sit alongside the previous final Beetle.

Goodbye again, then Volkswagen Beetle. It’s been an interesting ride, for sure…

The Volkswagen Beetle is dead (again)

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

Volkswagen has officially ended production of the Beetle in Mexico – again. The original Type 1 Beetle survived there until 2003 and now the third-generation car (successor to the ‘New Beetle’) is no more.

Production of the third-gen Beetle was short compared with the Type 1, which was made (on and off) for more than five decades. Indeed, its roots go back to designs first conceived in the 1920s.

In all, more than 21 million Type 1 Beetles were built.

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The outgoing car, meanwhile, ends production just eight years after its 2011 debut. Half a million have been made in that time.

The Volkswagen de Mexico production line will now gear up for a small, sub-Tiguan SUV. 

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

“It’s impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle,” said Scott Keogh, president of Volkswagen Group of America.

“From its first import in 1949 to today’s retro-inspired design, it has showcased our company’s ability to fit round pegs into square holes of the automotive industry. While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished.”

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The second-generation New Beetle was a bit more of a success. The Mexican plant built 1.2 million examples of that car between 1998 and 2010.

It was something of a pioneer at the time, introducing the idea of a modernised retro design. It also came with a flower vase on the dashboard.

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The Beetle has been around for near-on 75 years. And if you count the KdF-Wagens of the Nazi era, that’s over 85 years.

Regardless of what we think of the Beetle, a couple of things are certain: it was the original people’s car, and it will be remembered.

Bentley boss: “If we could build an electric Bentley tomorrow, we would”

Bentley CEO interview electric Bentleys coming

Last weekend I joined Bentley at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This is an important year for the British brand, as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Bentley’s presence could be felt across Goodwood. On the hillclimb, legends from the road and the track were giving no-holds-barred performance demonstrations. Elsewhere, a pack of concours Continentals celebrated the R Type, while a centenary display spanned the company’s history on the ‘cricket pitch’.

While all eyes were on Bentley’s illustrious past, however, I sat down with Adrian Hallmark, the new chairman and CEO, to talk about what the future holds. The Gurney enclosure is the perfect spot to enjoy action on the hill, with a view straight down after the second corner past the house. It’s not so great for in-depth conversation, but we weren’t complaining. As lunch was served, we wasted no time…

What comes next?

Bentley CEO interview electric Bentleys coming

It’s a curious period of transition for Bentley. The vice of emissions regulations grips ever tighter and the marque is also dealing with rapidly changing customer demands. It has also just previewed what the Bentley of 2035 might look like, with the stunning EXP 100 GT Concept.

In the immediate term, coupes and saloons aren’t the volume-selling machines they once were, but SUVs continue to find favour. Saloons remain popular in China and the United States, though, and should be served perfectly by the new Flying Spur. The Bentayga answered the SUV question a couple of years back.

The Mulsanne remains a relic of the last decade, albeit a delightful one. Hallmark concedes that its days are numbered: “Mulsanne is a tiny business. It’s China, the US, the Middle East, and mostly long-wheelbase. We sell 500 cars a year globally. I love Mulsanne, but it’s the end of an era. That kind of product, for most people, even if you’ve got a billion in the bank, doesn’t fit with people’s lives anymore.

“Bentley always needs to be at the top of luxury and performance. Whether that means something like Mulsanne, remains to be seen,” he continued, on the notion of a ‘halo’ Bentley. The Mulsanne is on a clock, then, but it should live on until 2023.

Bentley CEO interview electric Bentleys coming

As for the rest of the range, the coming years will see hybridisation across the board, from the new Flying Spur to the rest of the GT line-up. The Bentayga hybrid was first out, with deliveries scheduled to start soon.

Hallmark told us to expect a range of hybrid Continentals in dealers before the end of next year, although he insists they must be an option, not the option.

Will we see an electric Bentley?

Bentley EXP 100 GT revealed

Electric power is a curious question for Bentley. Our two cents is that it would suit something like the Mulsanne beautifully – being refined yet torque-rich. There’s the expense, too. It’s difficult to lump hatchback buyers with the premiums that such technology commands. A six-figure Bentley can more easily absorb the four- or five-figure cost of electric tech.

With the weight and power of current batteries, Hallmark is unsure, but has his finger on the pulse: The problem we have is that batteries available are too weak. Power density, battery management and longevity need to improve. It’s got to be the right size, the right level of performance, with the right range. Parity with a petrol-engined car would be enough: 250-400 miles of range.

Bentley EXP 100 GT profile

“We’re first in the queue to get the right level of battery in our cars, that’s around five years away, with the company that the Group [Volkswagen Group] has invested in, but we’re in no rush. If we could do a credible electric Bentley tomorrow, we would. But we can’t.”

Hallmark says we can expect the first all-electric Bentley on the road nearer to 2025.

Is there demand for an electric Bentley?

As far as customer attitudes to electric power go, it’s a mixed picture. On the one hand, Hallmark tells us, vintage Bentley owners couldn’t be less interested. On the other, younger Bentley buyers like the idea of an electric offering.

“Once a year, we survey buyers in the luxury marketplace. Around 30 percent of those people are Bentley buyers. Ask them if they’re interested in an electric vehicle and 10 percent say ‘yes’. If you ask those interested in a Bentley whether they’re keen on the idea of an electric Bentley, 30 percent say ‘yes’. I don’t want to be the last turkey in the butcher’s shop on Christmas Eve when it comes to customer choice. If we’re the last to get into the electric market, we will lose out.”

Why is there an increased interest in an electric Bentley? Well, the brand is slap bang in the middle-ground between sport and luxury – unlike McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini or even Aston Martin, where internal combustion powertrains are more central to their appeal. “Who wants an electric McLaren?” Hallmark jokes.

Bentley CEO interview electric Bentleys coming

“Our brand is not as clearly positioned, because we don’t just build red sports cars with two seats. We build cars people use daily. Do they knock on the door saying ‘Where’s my BEV, where’s my BEV?’ No. But the interest is there.

“We did a clinic with a product concept that went really well. The upper end of what you’d hope for. We asked them: ‘What powertrain do you think it had?’. Most said ’12-cylinder, possibly hybrid, 600-800 horsepower’. ‘OK,’ we said, ‘how would you feel about it being a battery electric vehicle?’ A 30 percent increase in appeal.”

Will Bentley kill off petrol engines?

Bentley CEO interview electric Bentleys coming

Although the desire for an electric Bentley is high, the petrol engine has life in it yet.

“We’re not ashamed of internal combustion. We want to offer both options and let the customer make the choice. We’re proud of the last hundred years, but we’ve got to think of the next hundred.”

“We may never phase out internal combustion if synthetic fuel is cracked. We’ll be one of the last if we do.”

Bentley CEO interview electric Bentleys coming

Hallmark is simultaneously anxious to electrify, then, and keen to keep internal combustion. He told us the only Bentley model that the new WLTP fuel economy test didn’t ‘get’ was the Mulsanne, because its V8 is so under-stressed.

The ultimate luxury is choice, then, and it’s one that Bentley fully intends to keep on the options list.

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019In the collector car world, trucks and SUVs are the hottest property around according to industry experts.

Every auction seems filled with Broncos and Blazers, offering classic motoring with a hefty dose of practicality. The Mecum Auctions Denver 2019 sale is no exception, with the lot list packed with retro utility vehicles amongst the collector car regulars. 

Of the 600 vehicles set to cross the block this weekend in Colorado, we have picked out seven that have managed to catch our eye. 

1952 Ford F2 Marmon-Herrington Pickup

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019Marmon-Herrington was founded to focus on building off-road vehicles, following the collapse of the Marmon Motor Car Company. During World War II, the company produced lightweight tanks, along with specialist all-wheel drive trucks.

Post-war, the company offered all-wheel drive conversions of trucks like this Ford. All first-generation F-Series trucks could be converted to AWD with the addition of a Marmon-Herrington kit. It certainly makes this ¾ ton F2 look ready for action.

Subject to a thorough frame-off restoration in the 1990s, this Ford F2 was rebuilt using new-old stock parts. A new V-8 engine has been added, with the interior and truck bed also refreshed. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the amazing paint hue is PPG Chrome Yellow. 

1972 Chevrolet Blazer CST Convertible

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019Chevrolet may have a brand-new Blazer SUV on sale, but the one which has the collector market feeling feverish is the original K5 version. If you get too hot under the collar, this particular four-wheel drive ‘72 Blazer does at least come with a removable soft top.

The final year of first-generation K5 Blazer production saw more than 44,000 produced, and this one looks factory fresh after being restored. Both exterior and interior appear like new based on the photos, whilst the 350-cubic inch V-8 engine also looks super clean.

A four-inch lift kit has been added for extra ground clearance, along with some serious off-road rubber. The headlights feature LED halos, whilst the trunk includes a substantial subwoofer connected to the retro-style stereo unit. 

1993 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019

Excitement is building around the return of the Bronco name in 2020 but, if you need a fix now, there is always this 1993 fifth-generation version in Denver.

A recent respray has left the exterior looking sharp compared to many Broncos from the early 1990s. Inside a riot of plush beige and brown, along with an aftermarket Sony CD stereo unit with an auxiliary-in socket. 

Power comes from the 351-cubic inch (5.8-liter) Windsor V-8 engine, which equals 203 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Selectable four-wheel drive, and even a towing package, should mean this Bronco can undertake some light work when needed. 

1972 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne Super

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019Second-generation Chevy C/K Series pickups are regarded as a perfect entry point into classic vehicle ownership, with plenty of options to choose from. Buy this ‘72 C10, in range-topping Cheyenne Super trim, and all the hard work has been done for you.

The current owner has seemingly spent plenty of cash here, with new paint, carpets, and bumpers amongst the latest additions. A set of 20-inch wheels are complemented by suspension dropped by more than 3-inches, giving it a mean stance. 

Inside is the original bench seat, along with the factory-fitted air conditioning unit. The latter will have added $500 to this C10 when new. Breathing through a new dual exit Flowmaster exhaust is the 350-cubic inch V-8 engine, connected to a Turbo Hydra-matic 350 automatic transmission.

1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019If Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson are anything to go by, the fourth-generation Toyota Hilux is practically indestructible. In addition, the ‘85 SR5 Xtra Cab is considered to be the ‘holy grail’  of retro Toyota trucks by their aficionados.

Mecum is light on details and photos surrounding this particular SR5, but does note that it has been owned by the same family since 1993. It also comes with a wealth of history and documentation covering the past two decades. 

This model year was the only one which featured the fuel-injected 2.4-liter R22-E engine, combined with straight axles. Subject to one repaint in its lifetime, the SR5 appearance package decals are what really grabs the attention here. 

1978 International Scout II

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019Values for the Scout II have risen dramatically over the past year, with vehicles in ‘excellent’ condition averaging over $33,000. Having been subjected to a detailed restoration, the seller of this SUV is clearly aiming for the big bucks. 

Stripped back to the bare frame, this Scout II has been enamel undercoated and fitted with a rebuilt 345-cubic inch V-8 engine. A new exhaust has also been fitted, whilst there is also a Dana 44 front axle. 

Teal paint abounds on the exterior, and even finds its way onto the interior trim. All-new upholstery has also been fitted, leaving virtually nothing for the next owner to do. Even the BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain tires are box-fresh.

1963 Dodge D100 Sweptside Pickup

Trucks and SUVs ready for the block at Mecum Denver 2019Although it may not grab the limelight as much as Ford and Chevrolet trucks, the Dodge D100 series is still a collectable option. Radical when introduced to the market, the first-generation trucks were built for only four years.

Mecum notes that the combination of short bed with the straight-sided Sweptside design was rare for 1963, with this truck having received fresh custom paintwork. The glass has also been replaced, and a set of 20-inch Foose Design wheels also fitted. 

Under the hood is a rebuilt 318-cubic inch Chrysler A small block V-8 engine, which has covered just 2,000 miles since the work was completed. Even the push-button three-speed automatic transmission has been refurbished for the full retro effect. 

The first lots at Mecum Denver 2019 will begin crossing the block on Friday July 12, with the rest following on Saturday. With so many vehicles on offer, there are likely to many happy buyers in the Rockies this weekend. 

Physicist dad 3D-prints a life-size Lamborghini for his son

3D-printed Lamborghini

A PhD physicist has 3D-printed a Lamborghini Aventador replica as a gift for his son. Sterling Backus had the idea for the project around 18 months ago, during a Forza Horizon 3 gaming session.

Backus told Motor magazine that “he did not need to twist my arm too much” when his son said “loved the Aventador” and asked “if it was possible to build one”.

3D-printed Lamborghini

The car was originally going to be made out of steel on a buck, but 3D printing technology offered a more high-tech solution.

It’s not like Backus has an industrial-sized 3D printer in his garage, though. Rather, he uses a selection of regular Amazon-bought items. To create car-sized panels, he designs small sections, prints them and then glues them together.

For a cohesive ‘single panel’ look, he covers the parts in pre-preg carbon fibre material and vacuum-wraps them. The latter process he learned from YouTube and conducts using tools he bought from a local store.

Bodywork is no good if you’ve nothing to hang it from, though. For a chassis, Backus has a tubular steel frame, complete with Aventador-style inboard coilover suspension.

It’s no carbon tub, but there are concessions to Lamborghini authenticity all the same. Indeed, the rear end is almost indistinguishable.

3D-printed Lamborghini

The lights and rear diffuser seen here are 3D-printed, not original parts. Some actual Lambo bits have been used, though, including windows and the rear-view mirror. Parts from Audi have also been adapted, including the steering wheel and switches in the cabin.

Speaking of the cabin… While the exterior is surprisingly authentic, the cabin is in no danger of being confused for an Aventador. There’s a very basic design, with air pods similar to those you might find in a Pagani.

We suspect the budget bucket seats are comfier than those in an actual Aventador.

3D-printed Lamborghini

Powering the garage-built Aventador is a twin-turbocharged Corvette V8 putting power to the wheels via a Porsche transmission. Hardly a high-revving 6.5-litre V12, but it’ll deliver the poke. Perhaps even more than an actual Aventador.

You must be wondering exactly how much this build is costing. Is it worth it, instead of just buying an actual Lamborghini? Well, the kicker is that the project is expected to cost $20,000, or £16,000.

That’s a fair whack less than the £270,000+ that a real Aventador would set you back. Not to mention the fact that this one replicates the £500,000+ SV version.

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019

On the up: 8 collector cars to buy before it’s too late

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019Whether you are looking to buy a collector car as an investment, or because you simply want to enjoy driving it, nobody wants to pay over the odds.

This selection of eight cars has been picked by insurance specialists Hagerty as looking likely to increase their value in the near future. Predictions are based upon the values of insurance quotes requested, along with the overall number of them being made. 

From supercars to pickup trucks, there is something to suit every taste here. Buy now before the market really gets a hold of this collection of vehicles.

1993 to 1995 Ford SVT Lightning

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019All the attention might be on the current F-150 SVT Raptor, but Ford was producing performance pickups 25 years ago. Competing with the Chevrolet 454 SS and GMC Syclone, Ford used F1 legend Jackie Stewart to help develop the first-generation Lightning.

Power came from a 240 horsepower version of the 351-cubic inch Windsor V-8, featuring special manifolds and trick cylinder heads. Lightning decals, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a special front bumper marked it out from the crowd.

Hagerty reports seeing a 13 percent increase in values over the past three years. With less than 12,000 examples made, the original Lightning is a relatively rare find in 2019. 

1999 to 2005 Ferrari 360 Modena

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019It seems hard to believe, but Ferrari’s replacement for the F355 first rolled off the production line two decades ago. Time has tempered the styling, which some found too radical when new, and prices look set to start rising soon.

Living up to the reputation of the F355 would always be a challenge. But Hagerty notes the 360 Modena is actually the better car in “most real, measurable ways” compared to its predecessor. 

The 360 used Ferrari’s 3.6-liter V-8 engine, generating 395 horsepower and capable of powering this supercar to 183 mph. Of the 4,200 cars which came to the USA, most came fitted with the six-speed automated F1 paddle-shift transmission.

2003 to 2004 Mercury Marauder

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019Something of a cult classic, the 2003 Marauder sold just 11,000 examples but helped boost the profile of Ford’s now defunct Mercury brand. Prices are currently stable, but ripe for an increase. 

Taking many heavy-duty parts from the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, the Marauder used the 4.6-liter Modular V-8 engine with 302 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission was connected to a limited-slip differential on the rear axle.

Although most Marauders only ever seem to appear in black, Ford did offer three other paint choices. A set of 18-inch wheels, special bumpers, and a blacked-out front grille were the subtle clue that this was not your grandfather’s Mercury. 

1997 to 2004 Porsche Boxster

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019Hagerty predicted big things for the first-generation Boxster as part of its ‘Bull Market’ report earlier in 2019, with values creeping up by around 15 percent over the past three years. 

The styling of the original Boxster has aged remarkably well, and the mild of stigma of not being a 911 seems long forgotten. Early cars used a 201 horsepower mid-mounted 2.5-liter flat-six engine, which was upgraded to a 217 horsepower 2.7-liter unit in 1999.

Searching ‘intermediate bearing shaft’ on the internet may alarm potential Boxster owners, but numerous preventive fixes exist today to reduce the worry. Modern Porsche ownership is unlikely to stay this cheap for much longer, so this is the time to take the plunge. 

2008 to 2009 Pontiac G8

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019Another short-lived sedan, the Pontiac G8 range was the final hurrah before General Motors killed off the brand. Essentially a rebadged Holden Commodore from Australia, the G8 packed rear-wheel drive performance in a classic four-door bodyshell. 

Ignore the base G8 with the 3.6-liter V-6, and jump straight to the GT model with its 6.0-liter 361 horsepower V-8 engine. Even better is the GXP version, which used a Corvette-derived LS3 6.2-liter V-8, producing an impressive 415 horsepower. 

Values of the GXP have increased by 36.2 percent in the last three years. With only 1,829 cars sold, supply is low and therefore only likely to further drive up values. Buy now, and worry about the cost of replacement rear tyres later. 

1984 to 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019Everybody seems to want an E30 BMW 3 Series, but the contemporary Mercedes-Benz 190 offers similar Teutonic joy without the accompanying price tag. 

These cars were created at a time when Mercedes still invested heavily in build quality, meaning they remain perfectly usable three decades after first being introduced. Whilst diesel might be a dirty word today, the Turbo Diesel versions are extremely resilient machines. 

Overall prices hover below $6,000 for an average condition 190. However, if you want one of the rare 2.3 16-valve Cosworth cars, be prepared to pay a whole lot more. They are genuine motorsport homologation specials, after all. 

1998 to 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019The market for air-cooled Porsche 911s has seen feverish growth over recent years, but the water-cooled 996 has avoided the heat from collectors.

Although plentiful, the 996-generation car suffers from a troubled image. Styling which too closely resembled the cheaper Boxster, questionable build quality, and the abandonment of air cooling have all dampened enthusiasm for it. 

Yet Hagerty is now seeing an increase in interest surrounding the 996, suggesting prices may have sunk as low as they can go, and be due an increase shortly. 

1991 to 1998 Mercedes-Benz W140

Eight collector cars on the way up in July 2019In the event of a nuclear apocalypse, the only thing left would probably be cockroaches and W140-series Mercedes-Benz models. Owners of the S-Class sedan and CL-Class coupe talk about ‘vault-like’ construction, leaving them feeling secure inside. 

Technology like electronic stability control was ahead of the time, and engines range from a 2.8-liter six-cylinder through to a 6.0-liter V-12 with 402 horsepower. Undoubtedly these were among the last of the over-engineered big Mercedes models but, as complicated cars, they can still be prone to expensive repair bills. 

Prices have hit the bottom according to Hagerty’s market data, meaning there is only one way for them to go. In terms of sheet metal for the money, the W140 does represent good value at the moment.