The Good Oil: Small block, but powerfully formed

Corvette engine. Photo / Supplied
Corvette engine. Photo / Supplied

The engine for the next Corvette, to be introduced at the Detroit Motor Show in January, will be a 335kW 6.2-litre V8.

The heavily upgraded LT1 delivers 610Nm of torque and can power the Corvette from zero to our maximum speed limit in less than four seconds.

A GM executive says, "The LT1 represents the most significant redesign in the small block engine's nearly 60 years." It's the first of a new generation of small-block V8s, which feature direct injection, variable valve timing and GM's active fuel management which shuts down four of the eight cylinders under light throttle loads.

The name game
Honda Joy Machine

We know it, fortunately, as the

HR-V, a little SUV-type vehicle made between 1999 and 2006. But it was introduced to the Japanese market as the Joy Machine. It could have been much worse. A concept version was introduced at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show as the Wild and Joyful J-WJ.

McLaren Christmas special - blink and they're sold

A couple of weeks back, Good Oil noted that American high-end retailer Neiman Marcus was offering a special edition of the ultra-pricey McLaren 12C Spider in its annual Christmas Book.

Well, those who hesitated are truly lost because they sold out in two hours, grossing the store an impressive $44,250 a minute. Not that that is a surprise. Last year, Neiman sold 10 Ferrari FF specials in a mere 50 minutes and, in 2009, 50 special Jaguar XJ sedans in four hours and four minutes.

Yee-ha, this pony could be a winner

There's more than just an awful lot of coffee in Brazil, there's a lot of automotive skill, too. Ford subsidiary Troller has unveiled its TR-X concept that pays homage to the original Bronco 4WD.

It's a concept brimful of both "yee" and "ha".

But apparently this show car will not go into production, which is a shame. Backed by Ford's global might, it could be a big success. Good Oil makes this prediction while thinking of the success of Toyota's FJ Cruiser. Troller mainly produces a Jeep Wrangler-like, two-door 4WD for the local off-road market.

Land Rover scratches its niches

Land Rover is busy exploring how to fill gaps in its product line, says design director Gerry McGovern. Heartened by the success of its Range Rover Evoque, the Indian-owned company is keen to put even more distance between now and the "good old days" when it had only one product and doors were optional. Hot prospects are a luxury vehicle smaller than the Evoque and an "Uber Range Rover".

McGovern said during a trip Downunder: "We are looking at how small can we go, what direction we can go ... But doors and a passenger seat will almost certainly be standard."

Not a bright spark

That would be the Florida guy who failed to carry out his threat to torch the Chevron station in High Springs. After dousing his car with petrol in front of the store, he realised he had no lighter or matches and had to ask several customers, without success, to help him out.

We are the world

*Artists Michiko Nitta and Michael Burton commissioned soprano Louise Ashcroft to sing, altering pitch and volume, while wearing a face mask of algae. According to the artists, algae's growth changes with the amount and quality of carbon dioxide it receives, so Ashcroft's voice, blowing CO2 against the algae, should vary the growth's taste, making it bitter or sweet. After the performance at London's Victoria and Albert Museum the audience sampled the algae and agreed. The artists said they were demonstrating how biotechnology could transform organisms.


*Jordan and Bryan Silverman's start-up venture, Star Toilet Paper, distributes rolls to public restrooms in restaurants, stadiums and other locations absolutely free - because the Detroit brothers have sold ads on each sheet. Jordan, with 50 advertisers enlisted so far, told a reporter that he came up with the idea while sitting on the toilet at the University of Michigan library. The company slogan: "Don't rush. Look before you flush."

- NZ Herald

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