The Good Oil: Sellout Lambos and small-time sports cars
Angular Lamborghini sells out, while a new face emerges from the UK
Grabbing the bull by the horns
Accusing Lamborghini of being a show-off is a bit of a shout-into-the-wind exercise. The Italian carmaker is an expert at it and has been since the 60s.
And, of course, we love Lamborghini for it. The word "subtle" isn't in its internal operations manual and, at the Geneva International Motor Show last week, the company proved yet again why when it comes to turning heads, it has probably snapped more necks than Chuck Norris.
The remarkably angular Centenario -- a model commissioned especially to celebrate the 100th birthday of the company's founder Ferruccio -- is possibly the most extreme Lambo. The Centenario is essentially an Aventador, but with more power and completely re-slashed body work. The enormous rear diffuser is an obvious addition, but there is plenty of other stuff going on here; you almost need to flick to a picture of an Audi Q7 as a visual palette cleanser every three minutes before going back to the Centenario for another eyeful.
Photo / AP
Peak power is a claimed 566kW. There are other hyper cars boasting similar outputs, but considering the Centenario somehow weighs only 1520kg despite all that external body armour, this is still one insanely quick Lamborghini; 0-100km/h in a shocking 2.8 seconds and a top speed of "over 350km/h" according to the manufacturer.
All that aside, the entire thing is galling. Why? Because Lamborghini is making only 40 of these (20 coupes and 20 convertibles) and every last one is already sold to Russian oligarchs and Jamiroquai (probably).
We're not suggesting The Good Oil's combined back-of-couch coin collection would equal the NZ$3m required to purchase one. But it's the principle of the thing: if there's no point pretending that one day it might be ours, stop dazzling us with its ridiculous, audacious, stupefying excellence.
A small team of experts take on the track with Elemental
Photo / Elemental
The Elemental Rp1 is billed as the ultimate road-legal track car, and is the brainchild of a group of British petrol-heads who have the professional pedigree to deliver on their promises.
Jalopnik reports the Rp1 has a carbon composite tub coupled with in-house developed aluminum foam cored floors and bulkheads, all built to FIA standards.
Two out of the six men starting Elemental left McLaren to do the Rp1, which is why they put the effort into creating a high-end carbon tub instead of using a conventional spaceframe or an aluminum chassis.
The group has a background with Porsche, AMG, Lotus, McLaren Formula One team, BMW and Pininfarina, and says the car will do zero to 62 mph in under three seconds, and zero to 100 mph and back to zero in under 11 seconds.
The project has already attracted funding to help put the fiesty Elemental Rp1 on the race track from the British Government.
120 year old hybrid up for auction
The Armstrong Phaeton ... one of a kind, so finding spare parts may be difficult.
Move over Lexus, Audi, Porsche et al. The world's first hybrid car is actually 120 years old this year.
The Armstrong Phaeton was developed by Harry E. Dey and built by the Armstrong Company for the Roger Mechanical Carriage Company in 1896.
It features both a petrol powered 6.5-litre, two-cylinder engine and a dynamo flywheel connected to an onboard battery. The dynamo (and regenerative braking) is used to charge the battery, which generates power to start the engine.
This pre-Prius also features a semi-automatic transmission. There are three forward gears and a reverse gear and the driver simply switches between the two with a selector on the steering column.
An electric clutch automatically disengages and re-engages, meaning the Armstrong is clutch-less, too.
It's clever stuff, and the car is expected to raise between US$175,000 and US$275,000 when it goes under the hammer at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance this week. It seems cheap for an engineering marvel but as there's only one, finding spare parts will be difficult.
The week in number crunching
The year that Chrysler purchased struggling carmaker Lamborghini.
28 (of April)
Ferruccio Lamborghini's birthday, the Taurus is the company logo.
The rated peak torque in Newton Meters of the Lamborghini Mach VRT 250 tractor.
The year that Lamborghini manufactured its first model, the 350GT.