Maybach release the Zeppelin - another Hindenburg?
Daimler-Benz is releasing a newer and
even more plush version of the Maybach at the Geneva show.
Only 100 Zeppelins will be produced, with deliveries slated
from September 2009. Based on the ‘S’ version of the
standard-wheelbase 57 and long wheelbase 62 models, the
Zeppelin ups the power of the twin turbo 6.0 liter V12
petrol engine from 450 kW to 471 kW, while torque remains
the same at 1000 Nm.
Exterior changes are subtle, extending to larger (20-inch)
chrome-finish alloy wheels, more streamlined door mirrors
for reduced wind noise, darkened taillights, special two
tone paintwork, and the word ‘Zeppelin’ inscribed under the
Inside, buyers will be able to order a special perfume
dispenser costing around $8000 to discreetly release a
fragrance of the owner’s choice, among a variety of high-end
equipment to further pamper the Zeppelin owner. Champagne
flutes, a partition screen on 62 models, diamond quilted
seat covers and lambskin carpets are also part of the
The original Maybach was formed in 1909, supplying engines
for German aircraft and rail machinery manufacturer
Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH. It spread into automobile
making from 1921 to 1940, using the Zeppelin nomenclature
from about 1930 to 1937 for its 12 cylinder DS 7 and DS 8
The queue for the new Zeppelin will not be long, I fear.
Rag-roof Mini Cooper
gets more power
The range-topping John Cooper Works (JCW) cabrio
has been announced by BMW, the owners of the (once) British
Revealed ahead of its first public outing at the 2009 Geneva
show on March 3, the all-new JCW soft-top will join the
turbo-diesel Cooper D.
While BMW says the diesel Mini will be “the fastest
accelerating diesel in its capacity class,” the rag-roof JCW
will be both quicker and better appointed.
The 1.6 liter twin-scroll turbocharged four cylinder
direct-injection petrol engine is claimed to be a
better-breathing, higher-performing version of the previous
generation Cooper S engine, and is also seen in the Mini
Challenge race car.
That means outputs of 155 kW at 6000 rpm (up from 128 kW for
the standard Cooper S Cabrio and 141 kW for the previous JCW
variant) and 260 Nm of torque from 1850 rpm.
It is enough to make the new JCW Cabrio almost as quick as
the JCW kitted version of the first generation Cooper S
hatch, but the heavier Cabrio remains almost half a second
slower to 100 km/h than the JCW hatch (6.9 seconds versus
Outer clues to the JCW Cabrio are exclusive 17 inch alloy
wheels, a JCW bodykit and JCW badging on the bonnet, grille,
brakes and door sills.
Brakes are by Brembo (by the way, most “Brembo” braked cars
in Thailand are wearing red Brembo covers over the standard
calipers), and BMW also supply the driver with the complete
alphabet soup of ABS, EBD, CBC, DSC and DTC, and the
JCW-specific Electronic Differential Lock Control system
(EDLC). BMW has not confirmed whether the new Mini gets the
Super Hybrid Intuitive Technology as well.
According to Mini, when the DSC stability control system is
fully deactivated, EDLC “electronically slows the spinning
inside wheel to enhance grip and ensure that all available
power is transferred to the road through the wheel with
“In contrast to the way DSC and DTC manage power delivery to
the wheels, EDLC does not intervene with the throughput of
engine power, meaning the driver is in near total control of
the handling of the car,” said a BMW representative (BMWR).
The local primary schools in the vicinity of the Mini plants
are reported to be concentrating on ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP.
QRSTUVWXYZ is on the curriculum for the following semester.
Last week I asked which F1 driver broke
the lap record nine times in ten laps? And when and where?
It was, of course, Juan Manuel Fangio, driving a Maserati
250F in the 1957 German GP at Nurburgring.
Now, a couple of weeks ago I asked about the first Lotus
from Colin Chapman. This produced many answers, but the best
has come from a chap calling himself “Lotus Elite 76”, who
wrote, “It all depends on what you mean by a Lotus. The
first car that Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman built was in
1946-7, it was used in competition from 1948 onwards. He
built two others before setting up the Lotus Engineering
Company in 1952. These are now referred to as types
I-II-III. Type III is credited with being the first car to
carry the Lotus name and made its debut at Silverstone. The
first series production cars were made/sold with the Lotus
badge in 1952.
In so much as ACBC was Lotus in those early days the answer
is 1946 to 48 - however, these cars only bear the name/type
designation retrospectively - so perhaps the better answer
is the 1949 trials car, or if the answer rests on cars
produced for sale it is 1952-3.”
David Hardcastle up in Chiang Mai wrote, “I have no idea
when Chapman built the first Lotus, but like most of the car
world I would love to know why he chose that name.
Apparently he would never tell anyone. As 5 of the 6 brand
new Lotus road test cars I ever drove broke down, I couldn’t
care much, and subscribe to the acronym theory:
Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious! The only well built Lotus
road cars came out of a big factory, all in white with a
green stripe, and were called Cortinas.”
Thanks chaps, great to see so much interest in the quiz.
So to this week. We take much for granted, but which was the
first motor car to be offered with a reversing light?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email email@example.com
Being blinded by oncoming cars on high beam has
always been a problem, which all drivers have had to face.
However, researchers have now proposed a way for drivers to
keep on high beam.
After studying roadway glare for two years, researchers at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center
said their rough prototype blocks a measured slice of an
auto’s light beam projecting into the other lane.
In their lab in Troy, center director Mark Rea stood
squinting in front of a blazing headlamp while colleague
John Bullough slid a small metal finger behind the lens to
demonstrate. Rea was able to open his eyes wide even as the
light shone all around him.
Their work is funded by $890,000 from the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration. Glare is believed to be a
major reason the traffic fatality rate is about three times
higher at night.
If anything, the problem has gotten worse in the past decade
with high-riding SUVs and pickup trucks. Also, some newer
cars are equipped with blue-tinged “high-intensity
discharge” (HID) lights, which bother some drivers.
Rea said that if you’re driving faster than 50 kph to 65 kph
with low beams, you’re “overdriving your headlights.”
“Ultimately, we have to come up with something better than
low beams,” said Bullough, who runs the center’s
Transportation Lighting Program.
Bullough and Rea propose driving with high beams on all the
time, but with the system that can sense oncoming traffic
and self dim in the appropriate direction. It can be done
with a simple shadow-making shim, as in the Troy lab. On
newer LED headlights, selected diodes can be dimmed at the
The concept is not entirely new. Michigan-based Gentex
Corporation, for example, makes a traffic-sensing system
called SmartBeam that dims high beams when cars approach.
But the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s system would come
at a cost. Consider that replacement LED headlights can cost
more than $200, and that’s without sensors. Rea said the
cost would be rolled into the price of a new car. He said
the benefits of safer roads will outweigh potential costs.
Not everyone’s sales
Ferrari, Italy’s biggest manufacturer of high-end
sports and grand touring cars, sailed through 2008 with a 27
percent rise in profits to a record 16 billion baht, plus or
minus a Chianti or two.
Compare that result with those from the mass producers,
particularly the US and Japanese companies, which have been
reporting multi-billion dollar losses and are dependent on
government bailouts for their survival.
Interestingly, the sales of Ferrari cars edged up only 2
percent to 6587 units for the 12 months to December 2008.
Releasing the figures, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo
said: “Ending 2008 with results unprecedented in the entire
history of the company is the best endorsement we could have
of our strategy of exclusivity, innovation and focus on
“The results beautifully cap a truly exceptional year that
saw us once again at the top in Formula One, winning our
16th constructor’s title, our eighth in the last 10 years.”
Income from licensing activities was up 35 percent, while
revenue from the new network of 15 Ferrari stores around the
world was up 16 percent. Sales over the Internet grew 65
percent, Montezemolo said.
The sales growth in 2008 owed a lot to demand from Asian
markets. While global sales rose by 112 units, Japan and
China together were responsible for 89 of those while an
extra 39 cars went to the Middle East and South Africa.
Sales in Eastern Europe were up 23 percent, while sales in
North America, Ferrari’s biggest market, were “in line” with
2007 at around 1700 cars, while sales in the company’s other
big market, Western Europe, were also “in line” with 2007.
Montezemolo said, “The economic climate in 2009 still
remains very uncertain as the crisis takes its toll across
the globe and it is hard to say how the situation will
develop from here.” He was careful not to make any
predictions about trading in 2009.