The Good Oil: GT40 film role adds to appeal

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Ford GT40 Mirage 1968. Photo / Mathieu Heurtault
Ford GT40 Mirage 1968. Photo / Mathieu Heurtault

Two Ford GT40s have joined the list of classic cars for auction at the Monterey, California, car week in August.

First up is a Mirage, the lighter weight version of the GT40, run by Gulf Racing in the 1968 season.

The car sports the team's legendary powder blue and marigold livery and has both Daytona and Le Mans in its pedigree. In 1970 it was used as a camera car for Steve McQueen's film Le Mans.

Second is a Mk1 GT40 from 1967, one of 31 converted to road use and described as the finest example in existence. It has 8000km on the clock and is expected to fetch of NZ$3 million.

Younger drivers cut time on road

Americans are driving less than they were a few years ago, largely because younger people are looking at alternative transport.

The Public Interest Research Group says those between the ages of 16 and 34 drove 23 per cent fewer kilometres in 2009 than in 2001. The study suggests the decline may continue even after the economy picks up. Steeper fuel prices, more readily available public transport and a shift in priorities are likely to continue to force young drivers to cut down on their time behind the wheel.

One poll found that 45 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 have replaced some driving with other transport, but only 32 per cent of older drivers have done the same.

Ford may focus on hefty RS powerpack

The next-generation Ford Focus RS could pack as much as 250kW of power, courtesy of a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine.

That's a very substantial jump over the 184kW found in the new Focus ST.

Ford's chief programme engineer for performance cars, Matthias Ton, says the boosted 2-litre in the ST is too close to its power ceiling to provide any more grunt without a substantial revision of the turbo and fuel systems.

If Ford decides to build another Focus RS, Ton said, it will use a hotter version of the Ecoboost 2.3-litre unit.

The last generation RS used a turbocharged 2.5-litre engine delivering about 225kW, although the special-edition RS500 (pictured) poured 257kW to the front wheels.

Reports in Europe say that if Ford does go ahead with a more aggressive RS it is likely to use a new mechanical limited-slip differential to help keep the car on the straight and narrow.

Bugatti reluctant to own up about Veyron times

In 2005, the Bugatti Veyron lapped Germany's Nurburgring circuit in 7m 40s, so reports said.

Bugatti wouldn't even admit it had been to the Ring.

Seven years on, that time leaves the Veyron behind perhaps as many as 38 other cars, and the Ring has had more curves added.

Bugatti also won't talk about the factory-plated Veyron Super Sport spied at Nurburgring the other day.

There is video on YouTube of the Veyron SS but no clue on times.

The lap record of 7:17 at the Ring is reportedly held by the Donkervoort D8 RS, one second ahead of the Porsche GT2 RS.

One-off Volvo something special

Performance house Polestar and Volvo have produced a one-off version of the S60 that is reportedly setting seriously quick times.

The collaboration bolted a Garret turbocharger on to the S60's straight-six 3.2-litre engine to boost output to 380kW and 560Nm, enough oomph for a claimed 0 to 100km sprint of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of more than 300km/h.

The makeover includes a 30mm lower and 20mm wider body, six-piston Brembos on the 380-mm front discs, a reinforced chassis, upgraded Haldex all-wheel drive, Ohlins three-way suspension and 19-inch wheels on 265-section rubber all around.

Other tweaks include a six-speed manual transmission, increased track of 20mm up front and 40mm out back and a stainless steel exhaust. Weight has been reduced by 92kg. The S60 variant has been built for "one specific client", says Volvo.

Lutz in reverse over bailout debate

Former GKM vice-chairman Bob Lutz has "forgiven" Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for opposing the bailout of GM and Chrysler. In an editorial Romney wrote for the New York Times in 2008, titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt", he proposed a managed bankruptcy.

Lutz then said Romney was dreaming and banks were in worse shape than carmakers. Now Lutz says Romney favoured the bailout all along and will back him over Obama in the elections.

His support, apparently, has more to do with opposing Obama than supporting Romney.

New boy gets top treatment

If you're heading to Germany check out the Autostadt museum at the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, 130km west of Berlin.

The entire VW Group products are on show, including the newcomer to the fold, Porsche.

Housed under a roof mimicking the silhouette of the 911, the Porsche Pavilion showcases 25 vehicles, from the 1948 Porsche 356 to the latest models in the carmaker's catalogue. Students can take part in the restoration of an old Porsche Super 308 tractor and kids can take a driving test in little electric cars.

- NZ Herald

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