Charting the Rover V8

The Rover V8 engine has led an interesting life. The compact aluminium block started life as a Buick engine under General Motors in 1961, weighing just 144kg and delivering up to 200hp at its most powerful, though it was withdrawn just three years later in favour of cheaper alternatives.

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Rebuilding a V8

Rebuilding an engine is no easy task. Even for the most dedicated petrolhead with a decent collection of tools, it’s a job best left to the professionals.

The good folks at Hagerty decided to rebuild the flathead V8 from their 1946 Ford pickup, and to show us exactly how it was done.

The six-minute video, comprising over 40,000 photographs kindly taken throughout the 100-hour project, charts the captivating rebuilding process, complete with complex machinery and plenty of elbow grease.

To be honest, we’re still not exactly sure as to how it was done, but you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off this.

G-Wagen on steroids

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These days a lot of the focus is on sustainable driving, high mpg figures, electric power and sustainability. Fear not, however, the strain of madness certainly hasn’t gone away by any means. Meet the armoured Mercedes G63 AMG bulletproof limousine, what can only be described as a beast powered by a 5.5L twin turbo V8 which produces a tasty 537bhp, although it looks like it needs every last drop.

INKAS_upgraded armored limo_G63 (2)Made by Inkas, a Canadian armoured car company, the modified G-Wagen comes with a pistol-holder, massive chairs, satellite TV, and a fridge – basically a relatively well-furnished bungalow.

It’s also got a colour-coded LED system that displays “different animations ranging from business mode to various romantic themes,” because, as we all know, nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a spin in an armoured limo.

As for the price, we presume it operates on the basis that if you need to ask, you can’t afford it. It’s stupid, there’s no doubt about it, but stupid in the best possible way.

The new and improved Bentley Mulsanne

Mulsanne Speed

Allow us to introduce you to the aptly named Bentley Mulsanne ‘Speed’. Aptly named because this is Bentley’s fastest ever Mulsanne, which undoubtedly gives driver and passenger the same feeling as you’d experience while hurtling through hyperspace in a plushly decorated Millennium Falcon. Under the bonnet is a tuned 6.75L V8 producing 520 bhp and 1,100Nm, a powertrain which will deliver you from a standstill to 100km/h in a mere 4.9 seconds. In a room on wheels.

We won’t pretend to understand the Bentley engineers’ tinkering, but they’ve re-calibrated the engine management system and the gearbox, meaning torque is available the moment you push down on the throttle. There’s also a new ‘S’ mode, which keeps the engine revving above 2,000rpm, meaning the turbochargers are always ready to do their thing.

And it’s a Bentley, so expect an interior furnished to a degree greater than most people’s homes (think quilted panels and seats), four new paint colours, a 60GB hard drive for music and films, electronic tables, a frosted bottle cooler (including bespoke champagne glasses), and a 14-speaker 2,200W audio system. And that’s just a few items on the list.

It’s a beautiful car, matched by even more beautiful power stats. It does seem a little wasted, however. If stereotypes are anything to go by, then many of the Mulsanne’s buyers will be in the back seat, drinking chilled champagne and relaxing to the dulcet notes of Bach or Beethoven. At least the chauffeur will be happy.

The somewhat baffling Youabian Puma

It’s here. The car nobody asked for. The mysterious Youabian Puma. The video is doing the rounds on various motoring blogs and websites, and opinion seems to be almost universally veering towards its ugliness and pointlessness, much like the Fiat Multipla.

It seems that the Puma was created by a cosmetic surgeon (there’s surely a metaphor, or at least a joke, somewhere in there) from Los Angeles with the express intention of being unique, something which few could argue it hasn’t achieved. Unfortunately it looks like the Frankenstein’s monster of automobiles, with bits borrowed here and there, including headlights from what appears to be a 90s Honda Civic. Despite large tires and a claimed offroad ability, the car was mainly designed for use on the streets.

The figures are decent enough – this thing is powered by a 7L 505hp V8, funneled through a 6 speed automatic gearbox, though we can’t imagine cornering is one of it’s strengths.

Oh, and it costs $1.1m. So there’s that.

According to the official site, the Puma is the result of feedback from wealthy car owners from around the world who were sick of the old reliable Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and wanted something truly different. But if you’re really desperate for attention and a fast supercar with a prancing horse stuck to the front isn’t doing it for you, perhaps try an Apache helicopter, or dress up as a clown whilst riding a jet propelled skateboard. Almost anything’s better.

Land Rover Launching Superfast SUV

 

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If you’re into that sort of thing, Land Rover have recently announced their fastest ever Range Rover – the Range Rover Sport SVR (SVR will be the future designation for all the more sporty-minded Land Rover and Jaguar models).

This version gets a 5.0L supercharged V8 engine with an output of 542hp, and will charge to 100 kph in 4.5 seconds, topping out at 260 kph. The pretty great looking SVR will make its début a Pebble Beach in California this Thursday. All of that power is delivered or restrained via an eight speed automatic transmission, upgraded air suspension and bushings, and a four-wheel drive chassis, despite the fact that driving on a slightly grassy lane is as much off-roading as the average Range Rover will experience.

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Back on the Pony

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Unveiled last Thursday at Ford’s Go Further even in Barcelona was the new Ford Ka concept, available on a global basis in 2015. For the one person at the event who had come specifically to see the Ka, they weren’t disappointed. Everyone else, meanwhile, was salivating over the official veiling of an actual proper car – the sixth generation of Ford’s iconic Mustang.

Yes indeed – the slightly mad end of Ford’s lineup has been renovated and is back on the shelves once more – this time, it’s European. Available in Irish showrooms from 2015, which will probably annoy car dealers as consumer flock for a quick nose and a few sneaky pictures before taking off again without actually buying anything, the sixth generation is the first Mustang to be sold in Europe and in correct (right) hand drive.

At the entry level is a adequately-powered 2.3L four cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine, carrying 309 horsepowers and 300lb ft torque. Considering the previous base version had 0-60 times of 7.3 seconds, with less power under the hood, then we expect this model to be considerably faster. Respectable enough, but when you’re buying a Mustang, you want so much power going to the wheels that the G-forces rip your face off when you stand on the accelerator. Fear not, you whose Sunday fuel budget allows for such extravagance – a mind-boggling 5.0L V8 will also be on the cards, producing a jaw dropping 426bhp and 290lb ft torque coupled with a manual/selective six speed gearbox – new drivers better allocate at least a third of their petrol budget towards new tyres.

Oddly enough, for a muscle car, this Mustang will probably be much better at going around corners than ever before, adapting to our crazy European notions of negotiating bends at speed without taking out bushes, walls and pedestrians. Usually, we just presumed a straight line was all the muscle car could handle, getting ready for an oncoming bend about a mile in advance, just to make sure. But this version will have an independent rear suspension – each wheel will work in isolation, desperately searching for as much traction as possible. So, the odd looks from the Irish public at a Mustang whizzing along the back roads will only increase when they see it actually take a bend without careening into a wall.

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Pictured – the Mustang’s presumed position after taking a bend at speed.

Will it be a success, at least over here? Ford have assured the public that it won’t look a little oversized on European roads, a little out of place, like an American tourist in a large flowery shirt wandering through Cork. Shorter in length and height, though a little wider, it’s more aggressive but not quite as bulky as its predecessor. It’s more of a hearkening back to the good ol’ days of the early sixties, when the classic Mustang was first introduced to the world as a cheap and cheerful hunk of sheet metal, muscle power for the masses to enjoy. But there’s a nod, too, towards European style; where previous Mustangs could be overly boxy to be truly successful on this side of the Atlantic, this version is sleek and toned, with angry headlights and that famous Mustang rear end – it’s quite good looking, a mix of the best of American and European design, even though Ford still can’t beat the sheer beauty of those earlier models.2015MUSTANG_SV1_9281

In the age of cars like the Toyota Prius, a horribly monstrosity which is the sum of all that is wrong with cars today, the idea of the car as something more than a box with wheels designed to get you from A to B faster than your own two feet is becoming ever rarer. That’s fine for people with absolutely zero interest in what they drive, but for the rest of us, when cars like this move towards becoming the standard, when the world becomes obsessed with smaller engines, fuel economy and range, and whether the fabric inside is really just right, that’s surely cause for despair. Soul is the ideal to which car enthusiasts aspire, and if there’s one thing the Mustang – the blue collar supercar – has in buckets, it’s soul. Most people, understandably, simply haven’t the money to buy a car like this – while the entry-level prices hopefully won’t be too far north of €40,000 (similar to Toyota’s fantastically fun GT86), the 5.0L will be considerably more, and feeding the beast will leave you fairly short in pocket change. Still, for the joy of driving around in something which makes petrolheads smile and cardiganheads growl in displeasure, that’s a small price to pay.