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Articles about Automotives

Alternative Transportation
Hitchhiking
French train sets speed record
Pink Taxis Hit the Streets of Moscow
Tales of a Female Hitchhiker
Iceland's Hydrogen Powered Ship
Xcor Unveils Two-seater Spaceship
The Amphibious Rinspeed sQuba Car
Ride Sharing Made Easy

Entertainment / Funny
The Need for Visual Speed
Funny License Plates
Hottest TV Cars of All Time
Understanding 007: The Women, the Cars and the Motivation
Ford leaving Champ Car
Richard Hammond Back Behind The Wheel
Car Trivia

General News
General Motors
Recession Hits Automotive Sector
Hydrogen Power becoming a Reality
Laws pushing zero-emission cars
Is hydrogen power the future?
Cost, infrastructure hinder hydrogen
China auto makers roll out 'clean' cars
Fuel-cell work on track
General Motors: Driverless Cars by 2018
The Eco-Car Battleground
Automotive News of 2007
New Toyota Premio aimed at Japan market
Toyota's global hybrid sales top 1M
Toyota Converting Hybrids into Electrics
FT-HS Concept Car: Sports-Hybrid
The 50th Anniversary of the '57 Chevy
Oil Prices Rise due to World Oil Shortage
Ford posts record losses of $12.7 Billion
Jaguar loses $715 million U.S.
Sales surge at Audi
Sneak Peak at the 2008 Audi
Audi wants to get bolder in U.S.
Auto Union's 1930s Silver Arrow
Lexus LS 460 named World Car of Year
New Car Smell Not Toxic
The History of Oil Prices

Parts & Maintenance
Carburetor Efficiency
Hypermiling Techniques

Reviews
GM's Hydrogen Equinox
Ford Escape Hybrid 2008
Toyota Prius Hybrid 2007
Toyota Camry Hybrid 2007
Saturn Aura Hybrid 2007
Lexus GS Hybrid 2007
Honda Accord Hybrid 2007
Crossover gives Ford more Edge
Bugatti Veyron: Tres rapide...
Thor's Mighty Audi R8
Green Sports Cars

Safety & the Environment
Buying Your First Hybrid
The Future of Self-Driving Cars
The Eco-Car Battleground
Green Cars in 2020
Green Sports Cars
Ford unveils `plug-in' fuel-cell hybrid
Hydrogen Power becoming a Reality
Laws pushing zero-emission cars
Is hydrogen power the future?
Cost, infrastructure hinder hydrogen
China auto makers roll out 'clean' cars
Fuel-cell work on track
Driverless Cars by 2018
Are SUVs Dangerous? - Stupid Unsafe Vehicles
The Nano Car Revolution
Hypermiling Techniques

Most people can’t afford the car of their dreams just paying straight out of pocket. Often a car is the second largest purchase a person makes in their whole life, so it is not surprising that many need to get a car loan in order to be able to afford exactly the type of machine they want and deserve.

License Plate Trading and Collecting

By Charles Moffat - November 2014

Personalized License Plate, MMMBACON

Some people collect license plates from cars. It is a bit like people who collect postage stamps, old coins, hockey/baseball cards (I have an old Wayne Gretzky card from 1980s I should sell sometime), card games - or if you are very rich like Jay Leno, you collect antique cars.

Collecting license plates varies between the people who like them because they are old, because they are from different states/provinces or even different countries, and also sometimes just because they are unusual or unique.

And then there is the matter of personalized license plates - license plates which say something funny, mention the name of the driver (eg. BOBSCAR) or sometimes even just a reference to the person's occupation (eg. PLUMBR). Some countries (Canada, the USA and UK) allow personalized license plates, while others like Italy currently don't allow personalized licensed plates.

In the UK they even allow people to trade personalized license plates and have websites like Plate Trader where people can trade or sell their personalized license plates - which reminds me of the one Seinfeld episode where Kramer accidentally gets a license plate that says ASSMAN and later trades it to a proctologist (a doctor that specializes in posteriors).

The hosts of the BBC show "Top Gear" may have been wishing they had traded in their license plate for something less provocative when they were forced to leave Argentina because they had a license plate which referred to the Falklands War (the Falklands War was a war between Britain and Argentina during the 1980s in which Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands - owned by the British - and then was summarily stomped upon by the British who immediately took it back). So the hosts of the show arrived in Argentina with their personalized British license plates making fun of Argentina's role in the Falklands War, an act which resulted in protests against them and forced the hosts to leave the country in a hurry.

So yeah. Some people take their license plates very seriously. And cannot take a joke apparently.

One of the personalized license plates was reportedly H982 FKL, which refers to 1982, the year of the Falklands War.

So it wasn't even that funny.

After being evicted from Argentina the hosts should have finished making the rest of the episode in the Falkland Islands. It would have made much more sense and all the British residents of the island would not have been quite so upset about a license plate which to them would have been seen as patriotic. I am curious to know if that is what they ended up doing. The TV episode has yet to air, it was meant to be aired in December as a Christmas Special.

I wish Top Gear would come back to Canada again. They have not been back here since they filmed their expedition to the North Pole (they drove several Toyota Helix trucks to the North Pole to see if it could be done). The license plate on the main truck used during the filming was TY07 HLX, a fine example of personalized license plates at work.

Toyota Helix Truck


The Need for Visual Speed
By Charles Moffat - November 28th 2012.

For those of us who can't afford a really nice automobile, but love to watch and appreciate the performance of a vehicle then we're left with only a few real options.

#1. We could watch and re-watch films like Bullitt, various James Bond films and basically any film that has a car chase or racing in it. Including Batman Begins, Smokey and the Bandit, and Herbie.

#2. We can watch TV shows like Top Gear, which is produced by the BBC, and is basically a car review show, but they also go overboard and have ridiculous races to the North Pole, across the Spine of Africa, through the Bolivian Jungle and Desert, from Iraq to Israel without getting Shot... and getting chased by rednecks in Alabama.

C'était un Rendezvous

#3. We can watch car enthusiast videos made by filmmakers. Films like “C'était un Rendezvous”, which is about a man racing through Paris streets in a hurry to meet a girl for a rendezvous.

And really all it comes down to is our obsession with speed and the exhilaration that comes with it. We love that sense of danger and doing something so fast, so dangerous... and yet somehow, thanks to the marvels of engineering, the auto manages to stay on the road and doesn't crash.

In film-making there are really two kinds of car chases. #1. The ridiculous kinds with lots of jumps, cop cars crashing into each other, scenes where the good guy jumps across a gap on the train and the bad guy crashes into the train. #2. The more gritty and realistic car chases, which may seem boring if you're used to lots of explosions in your films.

Outside of car chases however, which are always choreographed regardless of whether they are trying to be ridiculous or realistic, are films which are real because they're essentially "Reality TV". Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the BBC show Top Gear is so popular. Its because in addition to being a automobile review show, its basically a reality TV show. Sometimes the hosts of the show even get injured, like on September 20th 2006 when Richard Hammond, one of the hosts of Top Gear, crashed a Vampire jet car powered by a Bristol-Siddeley Orpheus turbojet engine... and rolled it quite a few times. But thankfully survived.

Hammond was travelling at 288.3 mph (464 km/h) at the time of the crash, but when the jet car overturned and the roll cage dug into the ground he was still going at 232 mph (373.4 km/h), with the top of his helmet dragging along the ground. He is bloody lucky to be alive. The crash was due to one of the tire's blowing up, as frequently happens when racing since the tires sometimes just can't take the pressure.

The same thing could have happened when Claude Lelouch was filming “C'était un Rendezvous”. The Formula One driver hired by Lelouch was reportedly driving a Ferrari 275 GTB through the streets of Paris at illegally high speeds, which later resulted in the finished film being banned for sale due to a public outcry about illegal racing on Parisian streets. The driver could have just as easily got himself killed if he missed a turn, one of the tires could have exploded (just like Hammond's did) and any number of mishaps.

The film had evidently broken some laws in its effort to be made and Lelouch was arrested soon after the first showing of the short film. Subsequently banned the film went underground and was selling bootleg copies under the table for many years.

Eventually however people lose interest. In a world that has since embraced extreme sports, street racing, UFC, and the more idiotic American sports that make Nascar look tame... Well then a French chap racing through Parisian streets really isn't that big of a deal any more to the average person.

But to an automotive and driving enthusiast the short film is a piece of automotive film history. Something worth collecting.

And its been remastered into High Definition by Spirit Level Film and re-released on DVD and BlueRay.

Even Jeremy Clarkson, the primary host of Top Gear, had great words to say about the film. "Makes Bullitt look like a cartoon!" says Jeremy Clarkson. See the trailer below.

So how much is it? Well its being sold for £14.99, which means if you're a serious automotive film enthusiast then its not going to break your wallet. When you consider a venti iced mocha at Starbucks is $5 then its not really that much.

And if you are like me (a person who has every single episode of Top Gear made [including the Aussie version] then you're probably a collector of automotive films.

Eg. I bought a DVD copy of Bullitt just for the car chase scene. I really had very little interest in the rest of he film, which I felt was plot and cinematically inferior to the Dirty Harry films, but I wanted to see it just for the car chase.

Let me just stop here and make an interesting point... I am sitting here typing this on my notepad computer... and watching the 18th season of Top Gear on TV right now whilst I type it. And to be perfectly honest, I've seen all the episodes at least 3 times each. Sometimes more, because some episodes are certainly my favourites. eg. Whenever its really hot outside the episode I like to watch the special episode where they drive to the North Pole.

Its just pure entertainment.

And what is more bizarre is when I show such episodes or even short clips to friends (whom don't even drive or even hate cars) they still enjoy watching the show. And I think it comes down to the fundamental concept that people enjoy speed. They may not likes because of environmental reasons, but show them a beautiful automobile racing across a desert and being driven by three British blokes, and they forget all about their hatred of cars and develop an instant appreciation for the show.

And I think it goes the same with anything like that. Its why children point and shout when a jet fighter flies overhead creating a sonic boom. Even as adults we still get excited when we hear and see that.

And isn't that the whole point? The excitement we feel when we see something go zoom?

Beautiful Car


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The Modern Car is a Work of Art
By Charles Moffat - January 26th 2007.

When you see a modern sportscar or supercar there are often two things that immediately come to mind: "My god what a waste of money!" and "Gee, I wish I was that rich!"

They are in essence our dream cars. They look incredibly beautiful/powerful (and usually has the engine/interior to match its good looks) but we all know that sportscars and supercars are far from practical.

Lets start by comparing the different sportscars available (please keep in mind we are analyzing the cars for artistic merit, not whether the car is any good):

Sports Cars

Aston Martin: [British] Expensive, reliable, incredibly powerful engines. Most famous for its role in James Bond movies Aston Martin is the epitome of British sportscars. My personal favourite is the 1976 Aston Martin Vantage.


[Above] The 1976 Aston Martin Vantage.

BMW M Class: [German] Relatively cheap, reliable and fairly good engines. They tend to look rather bland, boring and are usually bought by business class people. After all, if a businessman turned up in an outrageous sportscar you might think twice about signing a contract with him. Sure he's successful, but he might also be a foolish idiot.

Chevrolet Corvette: [American] Very cheap, not very reliable and crappy engines. Corvettes look great but in comparison to other sportscars they really are not that fast (With one exception: The Corvette Z06 is actually faster than a Lambo around a track.) or fabulous. They are really more of a "Barbie" car than anything else.

Dodge Viper: [American] Overpriced, tends to overheat but very powerful. Warning: The exhaust valves on a Dodge Viper run right past the gasoline tank. They tend to get very hot at high speeds and the car explodes. The car looks incredibly aggressive and appeals to football fans and so on, but its really nothing special to look at.

Jaguar: [British] Cheaper than an Aston Martin, less reliable than an Aston Martin, just as powerful as an Aston Martin. Jaguars are always in Aston Martin's shadow, and one step behind (both companies are currently owned by Ford). The two cars companies however make incredibly similar looking and achingly beautiful cars.

Lotus: [British] Tricky to drive but a very sweet car to look at. The handling on a Lotus is so powerfully good that some drivers have difficulty steering them because they're not used to a car that is so responsive. The cars themselves are technologically a marvel and stunning to look at.

Mercedes-Benz AMG: [German] Tends to be a bit plain but still a beautiful car. Essentially a more beautiful version of a BMW M Class.

Mitsubishi: [Japanese] Designed to look American in the hopes of selling in America, Mitsubishi sports cars are appealing to the class of people who normally buy Mustangs or hatchbacks. They're really not anything special to look at. By emulating American cars Mitsubishi has squashed any sense of invention or imagination. The result is rather boring.

MG: [British] Rather boring looking these days. And average as far as sports cars go.

Morgan: [British] Morgan is more known these days for its antiques. Its a favourite amongst antique car collectors. You would have to be into antique car design to appreciate its good looks (which it does have).

TVR: [British] Expensive for a sportscar, cheap for a supercar. The TVR is a borderline supercar but without the huge pricetag of a supercar (but still far more expensive than a regular sportscar). They have very fast, powerful engines and are achingly beautiful.

Car Insurance Quotes

Supercars

Before we compare supercars let us just stop and explain WHAT a supercar actually is: Insanely powerful, incredibly expensive, incredibly fast, very luxurious, usually only bought by millionaires and billionaires. In comparison sportscars are a dime a dozen. You could buy 10 Jaguars for the price of one supercar.

Bugatti: [French] Expensive, glamourous, insanely powerful engines. The Bugatti Veyron has the most powerful engine ever built in a road legal car (it has an 1001 break horsepower engine and is the only car capable of going from 0 to 400 km/h (250 mph) in less than a minute). The car itself is quite beautiful (and an engineering marvel), but its not breathtaking. But it is a fucking amazing feat of engineering.

Ferrari: [Italian] Starting to look rather plain these days. Very beautiful but rather plain. Like looking at a stereotypical blonde actress (with a boob job). It has no depth and is rather stale.

Ford GT40: [American] Very fast, very sleek, very beautiful.

Koenigsegg: [Swedish] Scary but beautiful with the engine to match.


[Above] The Koenigsegg CCX.

Lamborghini: Rather modernist looking, but still a great car to look at. You'd almost have to be a fan of modern art to like the looks of a Lambo. Not very fast however. The Corvette Z06 is faster around the Top Gear track.

Maserati: [Italian] Originally a racing car brand, Maserati has become known for its expensive sports cars and supercars. Its currently owned by Fiat. Their current car designs are rather rounded and curvy, but frankly look a bit like a Dodge Intrepid and is therefore starting to look pretty boring these days. Nice to look at, but not spectacular. Speed wise however, the Maserati MC12 is the 3rd fastest car in the world.

Noble: [British] Kind of boring and Ferrari-ish, but still a beauty. The Noble is basically a boring and conservative version of a Ferrari.

Pagani Zonda: [Italian] Faster than a Ferrari, looks like a more radical version of a Ferrari, and is more beautiful and more interesting to look at than a Ferrari. Unfortunately, most people MISTAKE it for a Ferrari. Seems most people can't tell the difference.

Porsche: [German] The Porsche 911 is considered by many to be the ultimate rear-engine car, but frankly its rather ugly and the styling has stayed pretty much exactly the same since it was first made. Yawn.

Of course, when you have a supercar you probably also want a custom license plate. Carreg can provide DVLA number plates and UK personalised registrations quickly, without fuss and at a great price. They have been operating in the private number plates industry since 1988 and have a long list of happy customers.


Antique Cars that Go Zoom


For interest's sake, here is a list of lap times for cars around the BBC Top Gear's test track:
01:15.1 	Ariel Atom V8 500 	
01:16.2 	McLaren MP4-12C 	
01:16.5 	Lamborghini Aventador 	
01:16.8 	Bugatti Veyron Super Sport 	
01:17.1 	Gumpert Apollo S 	
01:17.3 	Ascari A10 	
01:17.6 	Koenigsegg CCX (with Top Gear Spoiler) 	
01:17.7 	Noble M600 (cold) 	
01:17.8 	Nissan GT-R (2012) 	
01:17.8 	Pagani Zonda Roadster F (Clubsport Version) 	
01:17.9 	Caterham Seven Superlight R500 (cold) 	
01:18.3 	Bugatti Veyron 16.4(2008) 	
01:18.4 	Pagani Zonda F 	
01:18.9 	Maserati MC12 	
01:19.0 	Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce 	
01:19.0 	Enzo Ferrari 	
01:19.1 	Ferrari 458 Italia 	
01:19.5 	Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 	
01:19.5 	Porsche 997 GT2 	
01:19.5 	Ariel Atom 2 300 	
01:19.6 	Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster 	
01:19.7 	Nissan GT-R 	
01:19.7 	Ferrari 430 Scuderia 	
01:19.8 	Ferrari 599 GTO 	
01:19.8 	Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 	
01:19.8 	Porsche Carrera GT 	
01:20.4 	Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 (damp)
01:20.4 	Koenigsegg CCX (without Top Gear Wing)
01:20.7 	Ascari KZ1 (damp) 	
01:20.9 	Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 	
01:21.0 	Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series 	
01:21.2 	Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano 	
01:21.6 	Audi R8 V10 (damp) 	
01:21.9 	Ford GT
01:22.2 	Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible 	
01:22.3 	Audi R8 V10 Spyder 	
01:22.3 	Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale 	
01:22.3 	Porsche 911 GT3 RS (996 mk.II) 	
01:22.4 	Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 	
01:22.5 	Noble M15 	
01:22.8 	Lexus LFA (wet)
01:22.9 	Ferrari F430 F1 	
01:22.9 	Porsche 911 Sport Classic 	
01:23.0 	Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series 	
01:23.1 	KTM X-Bow (Not Shown on TV)
01:23.1 	Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale 	
01:23.1 	Porsche 997 GT3
01:23.2 	Ferrari F430 Spider F1 	
01:23.3 	Jaguar XKR-S 	
01:23.7 	Lamborghini Murciélago (retested)
01:23.8 	Pagani Zonda C12 S 7.3 (partly damp) 	
01:23.9 	Aston Martin DBS 	
01:23.9 	Koenigsegg CC8S 	
01:24.0 	Ariel Atom 1 220
01:24.2 	Veritas RS III 	
01:24.3 	Prodrive P2 (concept) 	
01:24.4 	Audi R8 (damp) 	
01:24.4 	Aston Martin Virage 	
01:24.6 	TVR Sagaris 	
01:24.8 	Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ-400 	
01:24.8 	TVR Tuscan Mk.II 	
01:24.9 	Bentley Continental Supersports
01:24.9 	Porsche Boxster Spyder 	
01:24.9 	Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 	
01:25.0 	Noble M12 GTO-3R
01:25.0 	BMW 1 Series M Coupe (damp) 	
01:25.0 	Caterham R400
01:25.1 	Lotus Exige S 	
01:25.3 	Porsche Panamera turbo 	
01:25.3 	BMW M3 (E90 Saloon)
01:25.7 	Lotus Evora 	
01:25.7 	Audi RS4	
01:25.7 	Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder 	
01:25.8 	Lamborghini Gallardo (wet)
01:25.9 	Morgan Aero 8 GTN 	
01:26.0 	Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black series 	
01:26.0 	BMW Z4 M roadster (E85) 	
01:26.0 	Noble M400 (Shown on Top Gear Revved Up DVD)
01:26.0 	Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ320
01:26.2 	BMW M5 (E60)
01:26.2 	Porsche 911 Carrera S (997) (damp) 	
01:26.2 	Brabus S Biturbo Roadster 	
01:26.3 	Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst S 	
01:26.4 	Lotus Exige (mildly moist)
01:26.5 	BMW M3 E92 Competition Pack (moist) 	
01:26.7 	Porsche Cayman S
01:26.7 	Jaguar XFR
01:26.8 	Chevrolet Corvette C6 LS2 	
01:26.8 	Aston Martin V12 Vantage (Not Shown on TV)
01:26.8 	Ferrari 575M Maranello GTC 	
01:26.9 	Lexus IS-F 	
01:26.9 	Mercedes-Benz CLS55 AMG 	
01:27:0 	BMW M5 E39
01:27:0 	KTM X-Bow
01:27.1 	Aston Martin Vanquish S 	
01:27.1 	Aston Martin DB9 	
01:27.1 	HSV Maloo 	
01:27.2 	Porsche 911 GT3 (996) (very wet)
01:27.2 	Tesla Roadster (mildly moist) 	
01:27.3 	Spyker C8 Spyder (with hard top) 	
01:27.4 	Aston Martin DBS (wet) 	
01:27.5 	Audi RS5 (moist) 	
01:27.5 	Nissan 370Z GT 	
01:27.5 	TVR T350C 	
01:27.7 	Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 (wet) 	
01:27.9 	Wiesmann MF 3 	
01:27.9 	Chevrolet Camaro SS 	
01:28.0 	Roush Mustang
01:28.0 	BMW M3 CSL (E46) (wet)
01:28.1 	Renault Mégane R26.R
01:28.2 	BMW Z4 sDrive35i (E89) 	
01:28.2 	BMW X5 M (E70) (wet) 	
01:28.2 	Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-300
01:28.2 	Marcos TSO GT2 	
01:28.2 	Lotus Elise Sport 190
01:28.2 	Subaru Impreza WRX STI
01:28.5 	Dodge Viper SRT-10 (very wet)
01:28.6 	MG XPower SV 	
01:28.7 	Porsche Boxster S 	
01:28.7 	Audi TT MTM Bimoto (cold tyres)
01:28.9 	Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR FQ-300
01:28.9 	Porsche 997 Carrera S (very wet)
01:29.0 	Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG
01:29.0 	Lamborghini Murciélago (partly damp) 	
01:29.0 	Alpina Z8 Roadster
01:29.2 	BMW M5 (F10) (Very Wet) 	
01:29.3 	Ford Focus RS Mk II
01:29.4 	Subaru Impreza WRX STI WR1(very wet)
01:29.6 	Volkswagen Golf GTI W12-650 Concept
01:30.0 	Autodelta Alfa Romeo 147 GTA 3.7
01:30.0 	Ford Shelby GT500 	
01:30.1 	Subaru Impreza WRX STi
01:30.1 	Vauxhall Monaro VXR
01:30.3 	Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde
01:30.4 	Aston Martin DB7 GT (with full tank of fuel)
01:30.4 	Volkswagen Golf R32 mk.V
01:30.8 	Focus RS 500 (wet) 	
01:30.9 	Audi S4 quattro 4.2
01:31.0 	Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurburgring 	
01:31.0 	Porsche 996 Turbo (very wet)
01:31.2 	BMW 760Li (wet) 	
01:31.3 	Vauxhall VX220 Turbo 	
01:31.3 	Vauxhall VXR8 (wet) 	
01:31.4 	Audi TT Mk.II 2.0T
01:31.6 	Honda NSX-R (wet)
01:31.8 	BMW M3 E46
01:31.8 	BMW 535d
01:31.8 	Nissan 350Z
01:31.8 	Mazda RX-8
01:31.9 	BMW 130i (E87) 	
01:32.1 	Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG (wet) 	
01:32.2 	Ford Focus RS Mk I
01:32.2 	Mazda 6 MPS
01:32.5 	Renaultsport Mégane 225 Cup
01:32.5 	Lotus Esprit V8 (cold tyres) 	
01:32.7 	Audi TT 3.2 quattro
01:32.8 	Jaguar E-Type (modernised) 	
01:32.8 	Honda Civic Type-R (EP3-2004 Facelifted)
01:32.9 	SEAT León Cupra R
01:32.9 	Mercedes-Benz SLK350
01:33.0 	Audi RS6 (very wet)
01:33.0 	Vauxhall Astra VXR
01:33.0 	Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG (very wet) 	
01:33.1 	Noble M12 GTO (wet) 	
01:33.2 	Audi Q7 V12 (wet) 	
01:33.3 	Volkswagen Golf Mk.IV R32
01:33.4 	Cadillac CTS-V First Generation (very wet)
01:33.5 	Honda Civic Type-R (FN2-2007) 	
01:33.5 	SEAT Leon Cupra Mk2
01:33.7 	MG ZT 260
01:33.7 	Volkswagen Golf Mk.V GTI
01:33.7 	2002 Honda NSX (very wet)
01:33.8 	Clio Renault Sport 182 	
01:33.9 	Holden Monaro (wet)
01:34.0 	Renault Mégane 225
01:34.0 	Renault Clio 200 Cup (Not Shown on TV)
01:34.2 	MINI Cooper S Works 	
01:34.2 	Ford Mondeo ST220 	
01:34.7 	Jaguar XKR (melted snow)
01:34.9 	Ford Focus ST (wet)
01:35.0 	Volvo S60 R 	
01:35.2 	Ferrari 575M Maranello (very wet) 	
01:35.3 	Vauxhall Vectra VXR 	
01:35.4 	Renault Avantime (tuned by presenters) 	
01:35.5 	Fiat 500 Abarth Essesse SS
01:35:5 	Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG (wet) 	
01:35.6 	Alfa Romeo 147 GTA 	
01:35.6 	Lotus Elise (wet)
01:35.8 	Citroën C4 VTS
01:35.9 	BMW 3-series 325i (E93) (wet, top open)
01:36.2 	Aston Martin Vanquish (very wet) 	
01:36.2 	Renaultsport Clio V6 (very wet)
01:36.9 	Alfa Romeo Brera 2.2 	
01:37.0 	Mercedes-Benz SL500 (Ronnie O'Sullivan's)
01:37.0 	Porsche Boxster (very wet) 	
01:37.3 	BMW Z4 3.0i (very wet) 
01:37.4 	Honda S2000 (very wet)
01:37.9 	Saab 9-5 Aero 	
01:38.0 	Maserati 4200 GT (very wet)
01:38.06 	Honda Civic Type-R (EP3)
01:38.2 	Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (very wet) 	
01:39:0 	Subaru Impreza WRX (Europe-spec)
01:39.4 	Bowler Wildcat 	
01:40.4 	Morgan 3 Wheeler 	
01:40.8 	Bentley Arnage T (wet) 	
01:42.0 	Rover 416 GTI
01:42.5 	Renault Avantime
01:43.0 	Porsche 944
01:43:2 	BMW 318ti 	
01:44.0 	Overfinch 580 S (very wet)
01:44.4 	Suzuki Liana 	
01:45.0 	Porsche 928 	
01:46.0 	Audi 80 1.8
01:46.0 	Aston Martin DB5 	
01:48.0 	Vauxhall Astra Diesel
01:48.0 	Volvo 760 GLE V6 	
01:48.2 	Hawk HF3000 (wet) 
01:50.3 	Spitfire Bentley 
02:02.5 	Brutus

This list was last updated on November 29th 2012.

Bugatti Veyron: Tres rapide...

When your car costs more than $1.2 million, travels over 230 mph, and hits 62 mph in 2.5 seconds, then you must be in a Bugatti.

"It's a work of art that's meant to be driven," said Richard Koppelman, president of Miller Motor Cars in Greenwich, Conn., one of six U.S. dealerships that have been selling the car since the fall. "It's like a race car that has a tremendous amount of torque but it gets you there comfortably. But also, you can drive it around town and pick up your dry cleaning."

The Bugatti brand is one of the automotive industry's oldest marque's, and it has plans to make a public and very loud comeback with what could well be the fastest production car to ever hit the blacktop.

After what seems like years of teasing us with prototypes, mock sketches and the odd mention of a 1001 brake horsepower engine, the Bugatti Veyron is finally finished and will be sold to European markets late in 2006, and America and Asia Pacific territories after that.

While the Bugatti name is essentially Italian, Carlo Bugatti (father of Ettore Buggati) left Milan for France in 1904, and the marque has since built its cars in Molsheim, France.

Today, the Bugatti name is owned by Volkswagen, and the new Veyron supercar has also been styled by the Germans, yet despite this many of the die-hard Bugatti fans are still pleased with the car's appearance.

The Bugatti Veyron was formally announced as ready-to-go by Volkswagen in Monte Carlo recently.

The automaker also released offical images of the production car (pictured right), which is slightly different from the Veyron shown at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show.

To start with, the long bodied Bugatti - which measures a 4.5 metres from grille to 'zorst, and a massive 2.0 metres wide - gets slightly re-jigged headlights and a few extra air intake apertures, such as those located just behind the front wheels.

As it stands however, the Bugatti behemoth is one very exotic proposition, both in terms of styling and performance.

The twin intake snorkels mounted on the roof help funnel cool air to the mid-mounted engine, and while practical, they add a great deal of visual impact too.

Volkswagen's goal was create the world's fastest production vehicle, something that could be driven on the road smoothly, or right-royally thrashed.

As such, one of the first hurdles the company faced, after developing a killer 16-cylinder engine, was to make sure it was aerodynamically sound.

To be able to reach speeds of more than 400km/h and still provide linear handling characteristics, the Veyron's body had to be sleek, but under the car and out of sight are the kind of ground effects more commonly seen on Formula One cars.

Volkswagen paid lots of attention to the front and rear spoilers, and the company reckons that the new Veyron will hold higher corner speeds, be able to more effectively get power to the ground while exiting corners and also decelerate more rapidly under brakes thanks to all the painstaking work they've carried out in the wind tunnel.

The most impressive aspect of the new Bugatti supercar has to be the 16-cylinder engine, which is located behind the driver (mid-mount) for a low centre of gravity, ergo improved turn-in and general handling characteristics.

Rather than try and squeeze 16 cylinders into a vee format, Volkswagen came up with a much more compact idea a few years ago - the 'W' configuration. In layman's terms, it's basically two 4.0-litre V8s sharing the same crankshaft, which makes it more compact than similarly sized V12s.

This gargantuan 8.0-litre W16 has four valves per cylinder - for a total of 64 valves - and together with a supremely sophisticated forced induction system, it belts out 1001 horsepower, or 736kW @ 6000rpm.

Just to put that in perspective, the Veyron generates more power than four of Subaru's potent WRXs put together.

Made of aluminium and magnesium (to keep weight down), the 7993cc W16 powerplant has four turbochargers and four camshafts, one for each bank of four cylinders respectively.

With a 9.0:1 compression ratio and variable valve timing, the quad-turbo system helps boost the car's low end, while providing a fatter torque curve at the same time: 1250Nm of torque @ 2200-5500rpm. The closest any other production car comes to this staggering figure is Mercedes' CL 65 AMG, which pumps out 1000Nm from its 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12.

The new Bugatti is fitted with a brand-spanking new 7-speed semi-manual transmission, which is operated by paddle shifters located behind the tanned leather steering wheel. On average, the twin-clutch system takes just 0.2 seconds to change gears, which is quicker (on average) than a traditional manual.

In the real world, this 736kW and 1250Nm combines with the 7-speed, all-wheel drive transmission and a 1600kg kerb weight to propel the Bugatti Veyron to 100km/h from rest in 2.9 seconds. That's very quick.

If that isn't enough, the four-wheel drive chunk of exotica will hit 300km/h in 14.0 seconds flat and can cruise at 400km/h with ease. The car is electronically limited to 400km/h (248 mph), though if de-restricted the 8.0-litre coupe would be capable of at least 450km/h, perhaps more if the final-drive ratio and fuel-injection mapping was tweeked.

To safely and reliably accelerate to 400km/h, the Veyron makes use of custom-designed Michelin tyres, which utilise what has termed the Pax system. The tyres are capable of dealing with the stress of 400km/h speeds, and they also have a special pressure monitoring system and run-flat capability, so that even in the event of a high-speed puncture, things won't go all pear shaped.

So, at the end of the day, Volkswagen has not only built one hell of a coupe, but it now also has bragging rights to the world's fastest car - and a direct swipe at the likes of McLaren's F1, Lamborghini's Murcielago and Ford's GT.

The Bugatti Veyron is expected to cost roughly €750,000, which is about $1,300,000 in local currency. It is expected that a handful will make their way to Australia, but most will be sold in Europe.

The new all-wheel drive Veyron has more power than the current crop of Formula One cars, and with its massive 8.0-litre, quad turbo engine, carbon fibre-reinforced chassis and aluminium body panels, there are few cars out there today that combine such technical sophistication with a look that's quite unorthodox, yet strangely appealing.

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