(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:43
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
This car was the equivalent of three 180, or six VW 1200 export engines...the true supercar of the 1950's.
The dawn of the SL series.
The car was developed after World War II, based on the racing sports cars of the early 1950's. The debut of the production version of the SL, was showcased at the international motor sports show of 1954, sporting its trademark gullwing design doors. These doors were far from being pubically attractive though, they were designed specifically with racing in mind, and were made to facilitate the design of the car. This new sports car was so compact in height, that it would not permit conventional doors. However, these doors became the 300SL's main attraction, it inspired its admirers to coin fond epithets, for example the flugelturer in Germany, gullwing in England, and the papillion (meaning butterfly!) in France.
The Mercedes Benz 300 SL was the worlds fastest production motorcar at the time. It featured a fuel injected six cylinder, three litre engine, capable of producing 215 BHP, and a top speed of 155 MPH. The engine was tilted sideways, giving the 300 SL an aerodynamic front. This installation coined the phrase 'power domes', becoming a synonymous symbol of Merc.
The Mercedes gullwing was not built as a sports car. However, this fact did not stop it winning motor sport victories. In December 1999, the 300SL was given the title Sports Car of The Century, issued by an international panel of judges.
1957 saw the car replaced by the Merc 300SL Roadster - a top of the range version of the car with no roof, and conventional doors.
Then came the 300 SLR, an eight cylinder, three litre supercar, capable of producing 302 BHP, taking the speed up to a staggering 180 MPH.
This car was known as the Uhlenhaut Coupe, and was developed as a long-distance racer. However, it also doubled as a company road car. Due to the space frame design of the Mercedes 300 SLR, gullwing doors were fitted again.
The new version debuted in 1955, however in October of that year it was withdrawn from racing, and became Rudolph Uhlenhaut's company car, adopting the name Uhlenhaut Coupe. The SLR failed on the racing circuit due to its massive fuel consumption, and the need for heavy maintenance after each race.
(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:33
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
The company first emerged in 1920, Mazda actually started as a small manufacturer of cork in Hiroshima, Japan. Today the Global car company is recognized as a leading car manufacturer recognised for its many achievements and array of cars from the MX-5 to the RX-7.
1920 - Tokyo Cork Togyo Co, LTD is founded in Hiroshima, Japan.
1931 - Production of moves towards motor vehicles, Mazda release their 1st three-wheeled truck.
1960 - This is the decade that Mazda started manufacturing cars at a higher rate, the R380 Coupe is introduced, recognised as the 1st 2-door car.
1961 - Mazda introduce the first compact pickup, the B-Series 1500.
1962 - The Carol 600 is introduced, the of its kind a 4-door car.
1967 - Mazda's trademark the rotary engine is first released in the form of the Cosmo Sports 11OS.
1970 - Mazda Motor of America (N.W.), Inc is born - This was marked by mass production of the rotary engine the R100 coupe, this car utilised the same engine as the Cosmo .
1971 - Next to be launched was the the RX-2, this marked the beginning of the RX supercar series, initially released only in the US. The car was available in either a 2-door coupe or 4-door saloon, and came with a rear wheel drive system. It was the 1st car in America to use the 12A rotary engine.
1972 - The success of the Mazda 12A rotary engine and rear wheel drive meant the release of the next incarnation the RX-3. A little more compact than the RX-2, available in either a 2-door coupe, 4-door saloon and estate version. The high performance of the RX-2 and RX-3 cars gave Mazda cars a certain reputation for designing and building competition street and track cars. The performance of the rotary engined cars rivalled V-8s, even European sports cars such as Porsche. These cars are somewhat rare today and are hardly ever seen, however some do still exist and still compete on the track.
1974 - Mazda decided to introduce a 110 bhp 13B rotary engine RX-4 coupe a mid sized car, saloon, and estate(wagon). The 13B had a greater displacement, advanced cooling and uprated rotor seals, even better fuel economy and the advantage of lower emissions than its predecessors. In
1975 - This year saw the introduction of the world famous revised Mazda typeface, still in use today.
1976 - The RX-4 was renamed the Cosmo, this model was seen as the one of the most luxurious cars in
1977 - Mazda saw the introduction of the GLC. The car originally was a rear wheel drive, this car used a piston-engine. This marked the changeover to piston-engines for non-sportscar models. The GLC slowly changed into the 323, inturn to the 3.
1978 - This year marked the introduction of the RX-7. The car was a very light, front-engined rear wheel drive 2 seater sports car, it was designed to fully utilise the rotary engine and its capabilities. This technology and design earned it Car of the Year 1978, it gained worldwide recognition even making the 10 Best list in Car and Driver magazine no less than 5 times. The 1000'000th rotary powered Mazda vehicle was manufactured, the 626 was introduced, a rear wheel drive saloon car & finally the B2000 pickup truck was released.
1979 - This year was a major marker for Mazda, in 24-hours of Daytona the RX-7 placed 1st and 2nd, and drove to victory in its 1st of 7 GTU series championships.
1980 - Mazda release their first front-wheel drive car to be sold solely in the US ,the GLC is redesigned to suit the American market, the car back in Japan receives 1980-1981 Japanese Car of the Year award.
1982 / 84 - The 626 redesign is introduced, this earns the car many global awards one of which: 1983 Import Car of the Year courtesy of Motor Trend.
1985 - The Mazda RX-7 after 7 years at the top is redesigned by, the new model now features rack-and-pinion steering, rear suspension on each wheel working independently and a 200 bhp engine running a turbocharger. The long waited B-Series Pick-up is introduced. The infamous RX-7 shatters the IMSA record for 1 car - 67 victories.
1986 - Mazda feel the need for a Hot hatch to suit the up and coming market featuring such cars as the Golf GTI 16V and Peugeot 205 GTI, a 4 wheel drive turbocharged 323 GTX is released. The RX-7 receives more credit and is named Motor Trend Import Car of the Year 1986.
NEWS FLASH 1986 - The Mazda RX-7 sets a record of 238.442 mph at the Bonneville National Speed Trial in the SCTA’s C/Grand Touring Class.
1987 - The 1 st Convertible Mazda RX-7, in the US, is introduced. The new Mazda factory in Flat Rock, Michigan starts production production reaches reaches 20 million vehicles manufactured in Japan.
1988 - A relatively quiet year, the introduction to N USA for the MPV.
1989 - The beginning of an era, the MX-5 Miata is unveiled February, Chicago Auto Show, the car was so popular sales commenced the July after, becoming an overnight success and a cult sensation globally.
1991 - Mazda are victorious in the LeMans 24-Hour Endurance Race racing the 787B car No.55 a first victory Japanese car utilising the rotary engine.
1992 - Efini 276 BHP standard released, this car features dump valve engine power in excess of 300 BHP & comes with Enkei Wheels
1992 - The RX-7 is redesigned and unveiled introduced as the 3rd Generation, it was decided the car should be redesigned to suit the 90's. Therefore a pure high-powered rotary engine sports car would be given a power increase through the utilisation of a highly tuned 255 hp refinement of the 13B and the added power & acceleration of sequential twin-turbochargers the first available in the US. This matched with engine power-to-weight ratio recognised as record breaking and of course the added reputation to being one of the best handling cars ever.
The Mazda receives Motor Trend magazine award 'Import Car of the Year'
1993 - 'Only the Strong' film released this introduces Zoom-Zoom-Zoom, now globally associated to Mazda as there slogan.
1995 - This year sees the end of importing the RX-7 into the US, this is mainly due to very high insurance rates and a high currency conversion from the yen-to-dollar ratio.
The Japanese giant Mazda celebrates their 75th Anniversary, also its 25 years since they started doing business in the U.S.
1996 - A major mark in Japanese car maunfacturing, due to Scottish born Henry Wallace being appointed as CEO, 1st time a Japanese car company has appointed a non-Japanese CEO.
1997 - The MX-5 Miata flattens all competition and receives the award 'All Stars' the seventh year consecutively.
1998 - Mazda debut the second generation MX-5 Miata one of the stars of the Chicago Auto Show.
2000 - The first SUV for is released.
2002 - The 6 is released receiving 60 global awards.
Mazda astound the world with the reintroduction of the rotary sports car the RX-8, the new car is powered by the new RENESIS rotary engine. Almost immediately the car receives numerous awards including Car and Driver 10 Best award and All star 2004 to name just a few.
MAZDASPEED emerge with the 170 hp turbocharged sports car a first of its kind extending the excellent reputation of high end tuner.
2003 - The 3 is launched globally.
2004 - The special edition Mazdaspeed MX-5 is released, much to the delight of its dedicated fans. SpeedSource Racing RX-8 takes both titles of driver and team championship.
2005 - A 274 bhp 4-wheel-drive MAZDASPEED 6 is introduced, making this the most powerful US model.
(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:23
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
True elegance in a car
Lancia has always been seen as a some what marque of distinction, well this is very true during the earlier years. The company was formed some years ago 1906 to be exact since then there cars have always been associated with the 'rich lifestyle'. Lancia motor cars have always been a target of the rich from movie stars like Brigitte Bardot through to Royalty with the likes of Prince Rainier of Monaco. The cars created were always elegant and well designed including the Aurelia in 1952, B 24 Spider & the 1956 Flaminia this particuler motorcar even had a fully panoramic windscreen.
1906 a company was founded by a racing car driver known as Vincenzo Lancia, throughout 1930 and on, became a highly successful for Grand Prix and Rallye circuits wins, however while winning he was also developing an impressive roster of luxury cars, his company was Lancia. This Italian car company was responsible for many milestones within car history. 1921 The Lambda, the first car with an integral body,1937 the Aprilia, great flowing lines almost sports car like, the Pininfarina coupe, was Italy's answer to US streamline design.
The war finished leaving the auto manufacturer to reclaim its tradition of racing car victories and of course reputation for excellent design through producing elegant cars, granted Bertone, Pininfarina, Touring, and Zagato styling techniques.
Lancia, now is known for elegant mid-sized cars, the company was acquired by Fiat in 1969, however still remaining an independent brand.