Good Oil: Hyundai bags a sunroof solution
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Hyundai has answered a question that few have asked – but perhaps should have.
With carmakers’ penchant for panoramic sunroofs in even the smallest of hatchbacks, what happens in a roll-over incident to these huge expanses of glass and (sometimes) the complicated servo systems required to open and close them?
Sorry. We’ve probably just caused you to put down your coffee and stare off into the middle distance. But, when you think about it, in such an unfortunate scenario, you’re basically being shaken around inside a fast-moving glasshouse.
Manufacturers love them because they bring lots of natural light into what tend to be dark spaces, showing off all the interior detailing that designers with high-maintenance haircuts have spent months, if not years, perfecting.
But of course, they could pose a problem in a crash, much like the large expanse of glass you look out of in order to drive in the first place.
Hyundai, however, reckons it is on the way to solving the problem with some established tech taken in a different direction: namely, horizontally.
The Korean manufacturer is testing an airbag system that deploys across panoramic sunroofs, like someone rolling out a big duvet in just 0.08 seconds.
It makes sense when you think about it. These days there are airbags protecting against almost every hard surface in your average passenger vehicle, so why not the roof? And especially why not the roof when it is almost entirely made of breaky, breaky glass?
The system is only in its test phase (you’ll be able to find official videos of it deploying online), but already we can see complications with future James Bond hero cars.
For example: what’s the point of that ejector seat button when that nasty villain sitting in the front passenger seat pointing a gun at 007 is only going to get a sore neck and bed hair?
De Tomaso Pantera concept? Yes, please
The Good Oil office is unanimous in its belief that, apart from the Jensen Interceptor, the De Tomaso Pantera supercar enjoys just about the coolest name of any supercar.
Miura is too hard to say; Gallardo is too pedestrian; Testarossa has a nice ring to it, but is inextricably linked with mental images of Don Johnson wearing loafers without socks.
But the De Tomaso Pantera is more of an unknown quantity. It’s exotic-sounding. You think you’ve seen it, but you’re not sure.
And, as it is a name from the footnotes of sportscar manufacturing, you can be sure it was hopelessly flawed, utterly unreliable, or both. You can also be sure it was lovely to look at. Oh, and it had nothing to do with Texan heavy metal band Pantera.
Well, the De Tomaso Pantera may live again. Kind of.
An Italian design house called ARES Design has issued lovely looking renders of its proposed Project Panther supercar; a Pantera for the 21st century with the underpinnings of a Lamborghini Huracan.
The company wants to get its creation on sale before the end of the year, if you have (we presume) several vaults full of euros lying around.
The design studio has taken a modern Huracan and ladled on the 1970s effects.
Look past the Pirelli P-Zero tyres and you’ll see side vents lifted directly from the original Pantera, as well as — yes — pop-up headlamps; the first time these have been reintroduced to modern car design in more than a decade.
The company has announced a new 18,000sq m factory in Modena where the supercar will be built to order. The only caveat on all of this really is that ARES Design was founded by ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar.
And you may remember what his success rate was like when it came to announcing new models …
Move over Kombis, here’s another German camper with class
The venerable Volkswagen Kombi gets all the limelight when it comes to classic campervan iconography. As a result, the boxy buses change hands for ridiculous sums of money.
But RM Sotheby’s has a different take on classic camper nostalgia coming up for auction soon, in the shape of this rather superb 1959 Mercedes-Benz O 319 van.
Generally, these things were for the commercial sector, with the Stuttgart firm never really embracing the great outdoors like its rivals in Wolfsburg did.
As a result, camper conversions of classic Mercedes-Benz vans of this era are rare. This one was apparently converted into a modest, functional home-away-from-home by an “eccentric computer engineer”, according to the auction house.
The project took its previous owner 15 years to complete, with the O 319 now boasting a modern Mercedes-Benz powerplant under its engine cover, as well as all the usual fare you might find in such a van: custom-made cabinetry, bed, stove and sink, with underfloor gas and water tanks.
RM Sotheby’s is wagering the van will fetch between US$175,000 and US$200,000 on auction day. That’ll give those Kombis a run for their money.