Desert conqueror – the Citroen 2CV Sahara

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For those of you interested in automobile history, a very rare twin-engined, four-wheel drive 1965 Citroen 2CV Sahara is up for auction at the Practical Classics Classic and Restoration Show Sale in Birmingham this April. Number 657 of just 694 models built for use in the French colonies in Northern Africa, this particular 2CV variant featured separate 12 hp engines to power the front and rear wheels, as well as twin fuel tanks underneath the front seats. Top speed with both engines running was 105km/h (65km/h on just one engine).

Believed to be one of only 100 still in existence, this particular model has the distinction of having crossed the Sahara desert twice. The 2CV was first delivered to Nigeria in December 1965, bought by an Englishman who was working as an anthropologist with the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. As the story goes, he chose the Citroen because it was seen as a far more friendly car – he found that if he used a Land Rover for his travels between remote villages he was regarded as being a Government inspector.

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Porsche unveils hybrid Panamera Turbo S

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Hybrid technology, for the most part, tends to be associated with more sensible, environmentally friendly vehicles like the best-selling Toyota Prius, which focuses on better fuel consumption and cleaner driving.

But reducing your carbon footprint isn’t necessarily on the minds of all car manufacturers – icons like Ferrari or McLaren are using hybrid technology not for fuel efficiency, but as a tool to make their heart-racing vehicles go even faster.

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Arteon unveiled

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Volkswagen has given the world a sneak preview of its upcoming Arteon fastback, ahead of next month’s Geneva International Motor Show.

A four-door grand tourer that will be positioned above the Passat, the Arteon replaces the outgoing CC, though Volkswagen has claimed that the new model will be a little more upmarket. It’s not simply a name change, however – the front end has been redesigned with the headlights and radiator grille merging into one flowing section.

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Wizzle wisdom

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Sticking your car up on DoneDeal? According to car trading website Wizzle, you should consider asking a woman (preferably one that you know) to take the photos, as apparently they take more attractive and creative snaps.

Photographs uploaded to Wizzle – which allows consumers to sell directly to dealers – are vetted by staff for clarity and quality, and those taken by women are consistently rated higher compared to men’s shots. “Because we focus so heavily on transparency in car descriptions, photographs are the most important aspect of a consumer’s car listing,” explains Wizzle founder Sébastien Duval. “As soon as we launched last summer our staff immediately noticed that the images of cars offered by women are often more striking or creatively composed than the more functional pictures offered by men.”

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The price of Liberty

If you’re familiar with The Jetsons, the animated sitcom from the sixties, you’ll probably remember their flying family car. But as futuristic as that might have seemed five decades ago, it’s almost within our grasp. Take Dutch company PAL-V, for example, which has been working for the past few years on a vehicle that combines the attributes of a three-wheel car and a gyrocopter.

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Cash ain’t always king

A lot of new technology is about making life much simpler, but also has the side effect of making us lazier. We can video chat with friends without getting out of bed, print our photographs without leaving the house, while smartphone access to a world of information from our pockets removes the need to think for ourselves or retain too much information.

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Aston on open water

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If I’m honest, I don’t know much about boats, or boating. I know that they’re generally used on water rather than tarmac, and they’re quite useful for fishing. Beyond that, my interest usually wanes.

I do find it quite curious, however, that Aston Martin has decided to branch out into the marine world. Unveiled in Monaco last September, their prototype AM37 powerboat, produced in partnership with Quintessence Yachts, is currently on display at the Yachts Miami Beach exhibition in the US, home to the largest collection of mega-yachts in the world.

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McLaren’s Super Series

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The Super Series testing under wraps

Beyond the realms of possibility for most people on the planet, the upcoming second-generation McLaren Super Series is getting a new engine in the form of a tasty 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8. Though McLaren aren’t confirming the concrete details until the launch of the model at the Geneva Motor Show next month, they do say that acceleration to 200km/h will take 7.8 seconds, and 10.3 seconds to complete a standing quarter mile. For reference, the Ford GT will take 10.8s to complete the quarter mile, and 10.6s for the Ferrari 488. In other words, it’s going to be quite fast.

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Pothole alert

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Potholes are the driver’s bane – at best uncomfortable, at worst a recipe for a broken wheel or axle. In some parts of the country, roads have more potholes than smooth surface, as the local council either forgets their existence or simply flings a shovelful of gravel into the hole every couple of years.

And it’s not just a uniquely Irish problem. Bad road surfaces contribute to more than a third of all accidents every year across Europe, and in Britain local authorities receive a pothole damage-related claim every 17 minutes, with an average claim of €508.

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Return of the ST

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Good news for fans of ordinary cars with a sporty twist – Ford Ireland has launched a new ST-Line range of models. Four versions have been launched as of today, offering boosted versions of the Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Kuga in dealerships across the country.

Alongside sports suspensions, better styling, ambient lighting, new alloys, sports seats, steering wheel and pedals, the ST range comes with a range of more powerful and efficient engines, ranging from the zippy 125hp 1.0L EcoBoost in the Fiesta ST to the 178hp 2.0TDCi available in the Kuga ST.

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