Auto Mania – May 2, 2019

Your gold Porsche, Sir?
Your gold Porsche, Sir?

German police: Shiny gold Porsche a danger to other drivers

Berlin (AP) — German authorities have ordered a blinged-out golden Porsche off the road for being too shiny.

Hamburg’s Morgenpost reported that the 31-year-old driver was stopped in the northern city last week and told his Porsche Panamera, sporting a reflective gold foil finish, might blind other drivers and was a danger. He was told to remove the foil and re-register the car, but police say he continued to drive it.

The driver was stopped again the following week and police took his keys, papers and license plate, before the vehicle was towed to a garage. He was fined an unspecified amount and will have to remove the foil to make the car street legal again.

Morgenpost reports a Lamborghini owner nabbed at the same time with similar gold foil complied and removed it.

However, Porsche themselves have marketed a gold Porsche 993 which was sold at auction for something around three million dollars.


Honda slows Accord, Civic production as buyers shift to SUVs

Marysville, Ohio (AP) — Honda is slowing production of Accord and Civic cars as U.S. buyers continue to favor SUVs and trucks.

The Japanese automaker said Thursday that it will temporarily idle a second-shift production line in August at its Marysville, Ohio, assembly plant, in part to prepare the factory to produce future electric vehicles. The shift is expected to resume production in several years. (Don’t hang about waiting!)

The line being shut down produces about 55,000 vehicles a year, most of which are Accord sedans, Honda said. In addition, some production of the CR-V small SUV in Marysville will go to a factory in Greensburg, Indiana, where production of the compact Civic will be reduced.

While production is slowed in Marysville, Honda will update the plant’s manufacturing capability to prepare for new technology including electric vehicles, Honda said in a statement.

There will be no layoffs, a company spokeswoman said, but Honda will offer voluntary buyouts to some employees.

Sales of the Accord this year are up 4.6 percent through March but fell nearly 10 percent last year. Civic sales are down nearly 5percent so far this year to 78,185, according to Autodata Corp. They fell almost 14percent last year.

CR-V sales, however, are up 6.4 percent through March to 87,280. Trucks and SUVs have made up almost 70 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales this year.

(Imagine the sales if Honda were to make a gold one?)


The great bumper scam?

An unfortunate reader published photos of his Nissan March on the net after another vehicle had rear-ended it. The damage was not too great, but the photo showed clearly how the bumper had sprung away from the body.

The great bumper scam?
The great bumper scam?

Modern cars have a plastic bumper with clips holding the bumper in place. These clips appear to be a single use item as you can’t just spring the bumper back into the bodywork. Look at the number of vehicles that now hold the bumper in place with external DIY over-center clips. Try and buy and then fit the factory clips, for an essay on frustration.


What did we learn from Azerbaijan?

Well, we learned we will have to become familiar with new names in F1. Names like Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Lando Norris (McLaren), George Russell (Williams), and Pierre Gasly (Red Bull).

These six youngsters have already upset the order at the top. And while I personally am representative of the “older driver” group, I do believe that the younger group should be developed further and as soon as they are ready to beat their elders, then it is time to pension off the seniors competing at that level.

Azerbaijan will be remembered for its drain cover that destroyed the Williams of George Russell and which apparently was never tied down correctly in the first place. Azerbaijan will not be remembered for the Mercedes 1-2 as that is now so commonplace. What was notable was the aggression by Hamilton to his team mate Bottas on the first lap. Bottas repulsed Hamilton and drove away for an easy win, and now leads the championship (by a small margin).

Ferrari should sack their strategist. What was the point of leaving Leclerc (their new wonder boy) out for lap after lap, so that the field caught him up as his tyres degraded? Apparently the Ferrari pit wall was hoping for a Safety car period, or perhaps Vettel is paying the strategic planner?

And what was Ricciardo (Renno) doing with his parking by Braille into Kvyat (Toro Rosso)? Rear vision mirror not working? Brain temporarily turned off?

Verstappen, the wonderkid at Red Bull, scored another fourth and even though he is quick, he was not in the hunt to catch Vettel (Ferrari) who was comfortably in third, knowing that Leclerc was being kept off the podium! Leclerc at least claimed the fastest lap right at the end, as well as the driver of the day.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly had another ghastly weekend with his Red Bull having to retire on lap 40, with Grosjean, another Frenchman, retiring on the same lap.

Sergio Perez was strong at Azerbaijan to claim What’s the Racing Point’s best finish of the year in sixth, while a the McLaren scored with Sainz finishing seventh and taking his first points of the year, with team mate Norris eighth.

The European season will begin in Barcelona the next GP, on May 10-12.


Huracan with EVO

Where is the limit? Lamborghini has released the Huracan EVO, a supercar with a top speed of 325 kph. A speed you may be able to do at the Monza circuit and not much anywhere else.

The new Huracan EVO.
The new Huracan EVO.

This car has electronics that are unbelievable. Its Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata is a CPU that monitors everything you and the car does. The EVO features 4 wheel torque vectoring and rear wheel steering.

The engine is the 5.2 liter V10 delivering 640 BHP and 600 Nm torque maximized at 6,500 RPM. With a dry weight 1,422 kg and all the neddies, the factory claims a zero to 100 kph sprint in 2.9 seconds and zero to 200 kph in nine seconds.

The factory states that the EVO has multi-finger gesture control. (One for a central one finger salute, perhaps?)


New indictment expands case against Nissan ex-chair Ghosn

Mari Yamaguchi

Tokyo (AP) — Japanese prosecutors said Monday they have indicted Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn with additional charges of breach of trust, with his alleged misconduct expanding outside Japan.

The charges filed Monday are his fourth. They are related to payments by a subsidiary of the Japanese automaker that allegedly went to a private investment company controlled by Ghosn.

Nissan Motor Co. said Monday in a statement that it had filed a criminal complaint against Ghosn related to the indictment. It said it had determined that the payments in question “were in fact directed by Ghosn for his personal enrichment and were not necessary from a business standpoint.”

Ghosn, 65, was arrested in November. He says he is innocent of all financial misconduct charges against him.

The prosecutors allege that $2.5 million out of $5 million paid by Nissan to one of its overseas distributorships went to Ghosn’s investment company for his private use.

Nissan’s French alliance partner Renault SA sent Ghosn, a citizen of Brazil, France and Lebanon, was sent to the Japanese automaker to turn it around when it was on the brink of bankruptcy 20 years ago. Nissan is 43percent owned by Renault, which is partly owned by the French government.


Toyota, SoftBank fund, Denso invest $1 billion in Uber

Yuri Kageyama

Tokyo (AP) — Japan’s top automaker Toyota, auto parts maker Denso and internet company SoftBank’s investment fund are investing $1 billion in car-sharing Uber’s technology unit.

The Japanese companies said Friday that Toyota Motor Corp. and Denso Corp. will together invest $667 million and SoftBank Corp.’s Vision Fund will contribute $333 million in Uber Technologies Inc.’s new entity, Advanced Technologies Group, or Uber ATG, which will try to develop and commercialize automated ridesharing services.

The move comes as Toyota steps up such efforts, including investing $500 million in Uber, based in San Francisco, and setting up a $20 million joint venture with SoftBank to create mobility services, both announced last year.

Toyota also promised to contribute up to $300 million more over the next three years for developing next-generation autonomous vehicles and services.

Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama said working together will help bring down costs and speed up development.

Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi expressed hope that the deal, set to close by the third quarter, will help maintain Uber’s leading position in the technology.

“The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable,” he said.

SoftBank has invested in Didi and Grab, as well as Uber, and has acquired IoT leader Arm, while Toyota is developing autonomous vehicles in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Automakers around the world are forming tie-ups to develop next-generation transportation, and Google’s Waymo and U.S. electric-car maker Tesla are also big players in the effort.

(If you are a driving enthusiast, lock your car away now, as the next step is to ban cars with drivers. To get over this problem, put a LIDAR bubble on the roof and tell the nice policeman that you are just a passenger in an autonomously driven car.)


Henk and B-Quik conquer Malaysia

An awesome weekend in the relentless heat of Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit for B-Quik Racing which finished with a double podium for our Audi entries in both the Super Car GT3 races and that was capped off with an inch perfect victory by Henk Kiks and Daniel Bilski in Race 2 in our brand new #26 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

We came into the opening round of Thailand Super Series (“TSS”) 2019 off the back of a stunning AM win here two weeks ago during our first participation in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia; that victory also coming courtesy of Henk and Daniel in an event where we debuted our new ‘Evo’.

Audi LMS GT3.
Audi LMS GT3.

Overall victory was just reward for everyone’s efforts and the two results put Henk and Daniel into the lead of the Drivers’ Championship with one round completed. Adding icing to the cake, they also claimed the GT3 AM Cup trophy in both races.

B-Quik Racing is supported by B-Quik, Michelin, Mobil 1, Bendix, Yuasa, NGK, Liqui Moly, STI and WAC Car Detailing.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I stated a diamond was used as a model derivative. I asked, what company made the car? It was Rolls-Royce with the Cullinan.

So to this week. What is this car? It was another example of engineers hoping six wheels would bring improved traction and handling on the track. The car was set to compete in the 12 hours of Sebring event in 1970, but it was stolen by some teenage hooligans before the race.

For the Automania dehydrated beer this week (just add hops and water and store in a dark cupboard), be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!