Good Oil: Jolly Jaggy jape
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I say, what a wheeze! Jaguar Land Rover had a fair bit of new metal on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show (namely a plug-in electric version of its F-Pace SUV, as well as the new box-tastic Land Rover Discovery), but across town something else with a leaping cat on it managed to cause even more of a sensation.
Jaguar unveiled a "new original" XKSS at Los Angeles' Petersen Museum; a hand-built version of the road-going take on Jag's classic Le Mans-winning D-Type racer. Yes, that's right: all its new tech was upstaged by a 60-year old car bolted together in a shed. Well, sort of.
The original limited run of XKSSes were built between 1954 and 1956. In 1957, nine cars that were to be shipped to the US were destroyed by a fire at the firm's Browns Lane factory in Coventry.
Six decades later - and nothing to do with a marketing make-good to appease nine furious would-be owners who never received their cars - the carmaker embarked on a project to replicate those lost cars to exact 1957 specification. So no, they won't be crash-testing an example.
It's the brainchild of Jaguar Land Rover's Classic division; a sort of in-house restoration team ( and part of an increasing number of marques' customer offerings to well-heeled brand fanatics -- Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari offer similar refurb programmes).
The manufacturer offered nine prominent owners and collectors one each. Before you could say "Tally bally ho!" they were all accounted for. The Good Oil's source says one is coming here.
But these aren't parts bin restorations. Every XKSS is essentially a new car, built using original blueprints and scans of a 1957-era XKSS. The engineering process to complete the one shown off in LA took 18 months.
We only hope every car comes with its own open face helmet and flying goggles combination, along with a pair of string-back driving gloves.
MG s new SUV is deja vu all over again
The times they are a-changin' for MG Motor; the heritage British brand that has had new life breathed into it under Chinese ownership.
The MG 3 hatchback and 6 mid-size liftback thingy have been not so much warmly received as nodded at fondly, mainly by British motoring writers happy to see the octagonal badge on something new.
But MG Motor looks keen to step things up with a new SUV announced last week at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition.
The new MG ZS compact SUV will be on sale late next year and features, says the carmaker, a host of "cutting edge" technology, headlined by an intelligent internet system that requires each driver to log on before driving.
The car purportedly also uses "natural semantic technology" allowing the driver to perform a variety of tasks -- open and close the sunroof, change the air conditioning settings, play a certain piece of music or request navigation help -- by voice commands.
All good stuff, of course. But, um. Well, take a look at the photograph of the MG ZS. Do you think anyone in Mazda's legal team might need to make a couple of phone calls?
According to the breathless press release that accompanied the ZS reveal, the new SUV "pays tribute to the proportions of European classical aesthetics, with the exterior vivid yet elegant."
It also appears to pay tribute to Mazda's CX-5. In a big way. Well, if you're going to draw "inspiration" from something, you may as well make sure it's something that a lot of people like, we suppose.
New Jeep Wrangler on the block
Yes okay, perhaps we are a tad obsessed with car fan creations that appear on Lego's Ideas website. This year we've already had our collective head turned by plastic fantastic hardware hoping to make the grade and be voted into official retail existence by Lego fans.
Here's another; a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that would look awesome sitting next to the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 prototype kit already seen on the site a few months back.
Created by Lego fan Chiho Kim, the Wrangler is incredibly detailed, even boasting a tiny DSLR camera, onboard fire extinguisher and tow hook. Naturally the hard roof can be removed for "proper" Jeep-ing in the sun too, just like the real thing.
As with all prototype builds that make it on to the Lego Ideas site, the creator relies on votes from the public (10,000 is the cut-off) to get the Lego boffins to look seriously at commissioning a production version.
If Chiho's Wrangler gets the nod to become an official kit, he receives a portion of the product's sales; an actual Wrangler Rubicon with all the trimmings would surely be high up on the shopping list then.