The Good Oil: Doing retro properly

Equus Bass 770. Photo / Supplied
Equus Bass 770. Photo / Supplied

While the retro fad produced some cool cars, on the whole it should have been shot in the head and buried by now. Except that the Americans seem unwilling to let it go - especially when it comes to muscle cars. The Mustang, Challenger and Camaro are all clinging resolutely to their retro looks but it has taken a small, virtually unknown company to create a true retro muscle car that is not only faithful to the 60s and 70s styling, but also adds true muscle-car grunt to the mix.

The Equus Bass 770 has gone viral across the interweb series of tubes, simply because it is freakin' awesome.

Lifting its styling from the Ford Mustang fastback, with more than a few distinctive Challenger and Camaro cues thrown in, the Bass 770 trumps all the current retro muscle cars by dropping in a fire-breathing supercharged 6.2-litre V8 (courtesy of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1) that punches out 477kW of power and 867Nm of torque.

The Bass 770 will hit 96km/h in a startling 3.4 seconds and features an aluminium chassis with an aluminium-lined-with-carbon-fibre body.

While the exterior may look retro, the technology packed into the Bass 770 is as modern as the materials that the retro exterior is made from - a bunch of airbags, GPS, cruise control, air conditioning, a CD/DVD entertainment system with USB input, full leather with an Alcantara head lining and a tyre pressure monitoring system are all standard.

The big V8 is hooked up to a rear-mounted six-speed dual clutch manual transaxle, with an automatic available "in the near future".

Despite the Equus Bass 770 being reported as new or a concept car by some outlets, it has been in production for over a year. So why are we not seeing more of these incredible retro muscle cars around the place? Well, that may have something to do with the price - the Equus Bass 770 will set you back a rather staggering US$250,000 ($301,000), before options.

Cool but beyond our reach

It is quite possibly the coolest vehicle on the road and is almost certainly one of the most terrifying, and in keeping with that, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 has been given an equally terrifying price.

The 5.5-litre turbo V8-powered 6-wheel drive will clock in at a monstrous 379,000 ($620,000) and that is before Germany's 19 per cent VAT is added, taking things up
to an even more terrifying $740,000.

When you consider that the standard 4x4 G63 AMG costs about $240,000 in Europe and $252,000 here, that makes the 6-wheel option a truly staggering ask.

Still, they are only going to build 30 of them and it is an utter beast that is completely unlike anything else on the road.

Plus the G63 AMG 6x6 features six driven wheels, low-range gearing, five differential locks, a tyre control system for its standard 37-inch wheels and is powered by that twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 from AMG with 400kW on tap.

But don't get your hopes up for getting one; Mercedes is only making it in left-hand drive and it will only go on sale in LHD markets, leaving us RHD markets all the poorer for not having a monstrous 6x6 supertruck available for when the zombie apocalypse comes.

We are the world

When 26-year-old James Andrews of Pennsylvania began ''barking, hissing and growling'' at a police dog at a drink-driving checkpoint, it wasn't the worst decision he made
that night. The worst was to drive drunk in the first place - the barking did get him arrested and charged with ''inciting chaos'' though. The best part? While ''inciting chaos'' is an actual charge in Pennsylvania, Chaos also happened to be the police dog's name.

Chinese woman Wang Qin found the perfect way to secure a loan she had given to her dodgy son-in-law. After loaning nearly half a million yuan ($98,000) to her son-in-law,
she found him sneaking around trying to get back the Audi A6 he had left her as collateral. Ms Wang did what any rational person would do and hired a crane to lift the Audi up to the fourth-storey deck of her apartment.

When Pasco County police (in Florida) were called to a domestic disturbance at a mobile home park they found 45-year-old Cynthia Alexander had shot her daughter, 28-year-old Stephanie, in the face with a stun gun following a disagreement that turned into a shouting match, that escalated into a full-blown fight. The disagreement?
How best to clean the mobile home.

Burned by ambition

If it wasn't for the fact that he has an iron grip on Volkswagen and that his hits clearly outnumber his misses, you could be forgiven for thinking that VW supervisory chairman
Ferdinand Piech is simply a crazy old man who somehow managed to get put in charge of a car company, especially when you take a look at the results of a study by automotive
analysts BernsteinResearch.

The study reveals the biggest product failures of recent times - and the results are interesting, to say the least.

While some of the cars on the list are just plain dogs that deserved to fail, others are actually good cars that misjudged the market segment, proved to be a technological or
stylistic leap too far for consumers or, in one case, were simply never intended to make a profit, instead serving as an image-building loss leader.

While the Smart Fortwo tops the list of recent automotive failures, with an estimated overall loss of 2.82 billion ($5.5 billion), two of Herr Piech's personal projects top the losses per unit list, with the Bugatti Veyron losing $7.62 million per car sold, and the VW Phaeton coming in second with a $46,169 loss on every vehicle.

In the Overall Losses stakes the Fiat Stilo comes in second to the Smart, followed by the Phaeton, the Peugeot 1007, the original Mercedes A-Class, the Veyron, the Jaguar X-type, the Renault Laguna, the Audi A2 and the Renault Vel Satis.

Hey, it's eleMMent Palazzo!

While the first part of its name may cause computer spell checkers the world over to have electronic seizures and the last part of its name will cause giggles among fans of Leslie Nielsen's brilliant Naked Gun movie (''Hey, it's Enrico Palazzo!''), the eleMMent Palazzo
is, in fact, a very serious machine.

You do have to say that about a motorhome that costs $4 million.

Now, any motorhome that features its own bar is going to be a favourite of The Good Oil's, but when the release announcing the Palazzo makes mention of ''multiple bars''
then it becomes love at first sight. What's that about mixing drinking with driving, you say? Well, if you can afford to drop four mill on this bad boy, then you sure aren't going to be driving it yourself. May as well enjoy those multiple bars.

The Palazzo has gone on sale in Dubai (where else?) and has proven - unsurprisingly - to be popular with certain oil-rich individuals in the region.

Boasting numerous 40-inch televisions (including a weather-proof outdoor one), a massive master bedroom with ensuite, underfloor heating and a ''no expense spared'' approach to fit and finish, the Palazzo's party piece is its ''Sky Lounge'' - at the press
of a button the roof transforms into an open-air cocktail bar, complete with underfloor heating.

Of course, as well as being available in white, the eleMMent Palazzo is available - and
proving to be very popular - in gold.

Number Crunching

24 THOUSAND DOLLARS The annual servicing cost of a Bugatti Veyron.

36 THOUSAND DOLLARS The cost of a set of tyres specifically designed for the Veyron.

145 THOUSAND DOLLARS The cost of a replacement transmission for a Veyron.

7.6MILLION DOLLARS The amount VW lost on each and every Bugatti Veyron sold.

- NZ Herald

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