The Good Oil: Silent muscle

American tuning company Saleen made the recent announcement that it is turning its attention to the electric Tesla Model S
American tuning company Saleen made the recent announcement that it is turning its attention to the electric Tesla Model S

American tuning company Saleen made its name by creating some of the biggest and baddest muscle cars of the modern era, so the announcement it is turning its attention to the electric Tesla Model S has come as a surprise. After all, it is a jump from massive V8s to sensitive, caring electric motors.

However, they may be on to something here. After all, Tesla is the company that has put "sporty" and "electric" together most convincingly, and the Model S P85 does boast a fairly impressive 310kW to begin with.

"Saleen Automotive is intent on continually expanding its presence in the automotive market," says boss Steve Saleen. "We have already announced or produced incredible vehicles including Camaros, Challengers and of course Mustangs, adding style and performance to each of those legendary lines.

"Now, we turn our attention to the vehicle that has defined the sports car in the rapidly growing electric car sector." While no details of Saleen's foray into environmentally friendlier excessive horsepower have been released yet, Saleen did say that his take on the Tesla would boast a "revolutionary design, all our own" suggesting some form of visual difference to the already attractive electric sedan.

He finished the release with a loaded statement: "I fully intend to produce one of the most compelling Teslas to ever hit the roadway."

We are the world

*Setting probably a number of firsts, 28-year-old Shamal Battice, of Florida, stole a car. What's so unusual is Battice is a paraplegic with no feeling below the waist and the car was a Pontiac G6 stolen right off the yard after Battice had asked the salesman to ''show him something fast''. Battice climbed inside, locked the door, produced a folding cane and used it to operate the throttle pedal. He was found by police three counties away after he stopped to get petrol ...

*A UK man attacked a car dealership with a knife and axe after it sold him a car he felt wasn't ''satisfactory''. The only problem was he bought the Porsche 10 years ago. James Hyett was sentenced to community service, and ''mental health treatment''.

*A TV reporter in Florida investigating a scam became the news when his work vehicle was
stolen by a friend of his interview subject. Reporter Josh Taylor got as far as setting up his tripod and turning on his camera when Jean Price shoved the tripod into the car,
hopped in and took off. The car was found a few blocks away.

New baby's a screamer

See that bloke in the photo? That's Nismo president Shoichi Miyatani and he looks pretty happy, right?

That's because that tiny package he is holding is his latest baby. It weighs a minuscule 40kg, has three cylinders that displace 1.5 litres between them and boasts a higher
power-to-weight ratio than a Formula 1 engine.

The turbocharged 1.5-litre triple produces an incredible 298kW of power and 380Nm of torque and will partially power the Nissan ZEOD hybrid racing car at the 24 Hours of
Le Mans this year.

It will occupy Garage 56, an extra slot on the grid reserved for experimental technologies that haven't been used at the historic race previously and the ZEOD certainly meets that criteria.

The obvious question, though, is when will Nissan get around to jamming this little screamer of an engine into a road car?

Cold comfort

For some reason a group of Brits recently drove a Land Rover to the ''Pole of Cold'' - the point in Siberia that has recorded the coldest temperatures in history, getting as low as -67.7C in February 1933.

A group of Brits recently drove a Land Rover to the `Pole of Cold' - the point in Siberia that has recorded the coldest temperatures in history
A group of Brits recently drove a Land Rover to the `Pole of Cold' - the point in Siberia that has recorded the coldest temperatures in history

The three-man team - an experienced adventurer, a film-maker and a cold-weather engineer - drove their Land Rover Defender from the UK, through Scandinavia, above the
Arctic Circle and across the Trans-Siberian Highway to Oymyakon in Russia, officially the coldest place in the Northern Hemisphere.

The expedition set out to explore the social, cultural and physical implications of living in the most extreme climates during winter, and according to the team, they met ''a
diverse range of communities and individuals''.

They have joined the Skolt Sami of Finnmark for their annual reindeer round-up, watched the aurora borealis while listening to a Sami Shaman, walked across a frozen Siberian river in moonlight, celebrated Christmas Day three times and have sung with Tuvan
throat singers on New Year's Day at the ''Centre of Asia''.

Super Happy Printing Time

First it was Porsche, now Honda has got in on the ''download your own car'' act with the launch of its new Honda 3D website (www.honda-3d.com) that allows 3D printer owners
to download and print models of a bunch of the company's old concept cars.

On the website now are the files for 1994's FSR concept, 1999's Fuya-Jo, the 2003 iwami, the 2007 Puyo and the 2013 NSX concept, although the Super Ultra Daydreams video suggests there could be more to come.

Honda 3D is part of the Super Ultra Daydreams advertising campaign Honda started in the lead up to last year's Tokyo motor show, complete with the tag line ''The power of crazy ideas''.

We are not sure where they are going with this, but if you see a ball pit and a water slide being installed at your local Honda dealership you can be pretty certain they have run out
of ideas.

It's gone ...


You will no doubt remember a while back The Good Oil brought you the news of the
imminent death of the Volkswagen Kombi that had soldiered on in production in Brazil
for 56 years.

We also brought you news it might survive, after a Brazilian politician tried to introduce a bill exempting the Kombi from safety regulations that were set to kill it.

Now it seems that a politician was about the only person who wanted to see the Kombi survive, and his bill failed to pass, meaning the Kombi has finally rattled its last wheezy breath. In a production sense, that is.

In a strangely fitting move, the last ever new Kombi produced on December 20, 2013, has now made its way to the vintage museum at Volkswagen's Commercial Vehicles HQ in Germany.

Number Crunching

18 THOUSAND UNITS The number of Model S' Tesla sold in the US in 2013, making it the third most popular plug-in electric car after the Chev Volt and Nissan Leaf.

18 THOUSAND UNITS The same number of sales also makes the Model S the MOST popular large luxury car
in the US, beating the Mercedes-Benz S Class and BMW 7 Series.

27,500 UNITS The global sales of Tesla models since the company launched in 2003, including 25,100 of the Model S and 2400 Roadsters.

65 CHARGING STATIONS The network of Supercharger 480-volt charging stations Tesla has built across the US, plus 14 in Europe.

- NZ Herald

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