While they are now an integral part of modern day life, cars have a fascinating history. If you want to learn more about how they have evolved, read on for a comprehensive guide to the history of cars and what’s in store for the future. An alternative to the humble horse The history of the […]
While they are now an integral part of modern day life, cars have a fascinating history. If you want to learn more about how they have evolved, read on for a comprehensive guide to the history of cars and what’s in store for the future.
An alternative to the humble horse
The history of the car can be traced back to over 300 years ago when our forefathers started searching for an alternative to horse drawn transport. According to experts, the oldest self-propelled vehicle is the fardier à vapeur, a three wheeled contraption created by French inventor, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769. The next motorised vehicles to make an appearance were road carriages created by Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick in 1801. The internal mechanisms were incredibly complex and ran on compressed air and gunpowder!
The discovery of steam
In 1820, the world was introduced to the wonders of steam. During this time, engineers such as Gurney, Macerone and Hancock experimented with steam carriages and their use for on-road vehicles.
The emergence of the internal combustion engine
While it took decades to perfect, the internal combustion engine was first invented in the mid-1880s by German engineers Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. Yet despite the huge potential of petrol run cars, neither of the men enjoyed commercial success.
The steam engine grasps at straws
Rather than embrace internal combustion engine technology, Europeans turned their attention back to steam. Advanced designs pioneered features such as front suspension and in the mid-1880s, engineer Léon Serpollet became the proud owner of Paris’s first driving license.
Cars storm the 1889 Paris World Exhibition
In 1889, a pair of Frenchmen named Panhard and Levassor attended the Paris World Exhibition and took inspiration from the Daimler twin engine powered ‘Steelwheeler’ car. The pair began to manufacture replica units in 1890 and eventually granted the rights to Peugeot.
In the USA, motor car developments were also in full swing. 1891 saw John W. Lambert invent an innovative friction-driven three-wheeler vehicle which was powered using petrol. In 1895, Charles and Frank Duryea founded America’s first motor car company.
Ford hits the scene
In 1903, Henry Ford founded his iconic Ford Motor Company and began to manufacture mass produced vehicles using an assembly line. The technology revolutionised the automobile industry and paved the way for today’s well-known manufacturers.
Post WWI developments
After the war, cars became increasingly sophisticated and began to offer drivers features such as windscreen wipers, safety glass, electric starters, saloon style bodies, premium paint jobs, low-pressure tyres and chromium plating. During the depression, the market was dominated by the ‘big three’ – Ford, GM and Chrysler.
As the world recovered from war and depression, cars became increasingly popular. The 50s saw the development of high speed ‘performance cars’ while companies such as BMW wowed consumers with luxury vehicles such as the 501 Saloon and 700 Coupe. If you’re lucky enough to own one of the high end Bavarian models, make sure you keep your wheels in prime condition with regular BMW servicing options.
Despite the huge amount of progress, contemporary car manufacturers still believe there is room to improve. This year’s hottest topics are electric and hybrid cars that slash CO2 emissions and help to create a cleaner and more sustainable planet. Also on the cards are an array of cutting edge new developments such as driverless cars and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
Your tyres do all the talking with the road, while you drive away at peace. They are the ones that keep your vehicle on track irrespective of whether the road you are travelling on is smooth, bumpy, or filled with potholes.
Tyres, hence, deserve a lot of attention and care. That’s why, at Tyre Shopper, we believe – ‘Care for your tyres, and your tyres will care for you’. And that’s what road and tyre safety is all about!
Your car or motorbike tyres need timely and regular maintenance. And we urge you to inspect those at least once in a fortnight.
Why are Regular Tyre Checks a Must?
You may be surprised if we told you that your car insurance stays invalid as long as you are driving on illegal tyres. Moreover, in case you are involved in an unfortunate accident, and your tyres do not meet the minimum legal tread depth requirement of 1.6mm, be ready to shell out a sizeable amount for fines and repairing.
Do you know what inadequate tread depth does to your drive performance? It reduces the effectiveness of braking, acceleration and steering responsiveness – crucial elements of road safety. Hence, low tread depth could spell tremendous danger not only for your safety, but also your family’s and fellow motorists’.
Using part worn tyres is another major factor that encumbers your car’s performance significantly.
How Should Your Car Tyres Be Ideally Checked?
The UK’s leading not-for-profit tyre safety organisation, TyreSafe, recommends following a five point check list for complete tyre safety:
1. Overall tyre condition check
2. Tyre tread depth check
3. Tyre inflation level check
4. Checking for irregular wear
5. Checking spare tyre condition
Is Your Tyre Optimally Inflated?
This is another key question that you should be asking yourself. If the tyres of your vehicle appear flat, then they could be under inflated. The air pressure of your tyre must be exactly in accordance with the one in your Vehicle Manual. An over or under inflated tyre may result in instability of the vehicle, putting your road safety in serious jeopardy.
Is Your Spare Tyre Healthy?
What good is a spare tyre if you cannot use it in case of an emergency? No use, really! Hence, it is a must that you ensure that your spare tyre is in a working condition, by checking its pressure and tread depth periodically.
How Does Wheel Alignment and Balancing Affect Tyre Safety?
Our tyre specialists at National Tyres explain that if a tyre is worn evenly across its surface, then it could mean improper air pressure level. However, a tyre worn only on one of its edges could indicate poor wheel alignment.
Similarly, an unbalanced wheel could result in serious mechanical damage.
In both these cases, it is highly recommended that you get a professional inspect your tyres at the first opportunity.
In case you need assistance with any of these, call Tyre Shopper absolutely free all round the clock, all round the year. We, with the aid of our partnership with National Tyres and Autocare, offer home and work tyre fitting solutions. Also, our over 1000 tyre experts are ready to help you with any concerns on tyre care across 230 branches across the UK.
There are times when you need a reliable professional driver. Choosing the right chauffeur is something you must carefully consider if you have an important event or appointment to keep. In some cases, you may want to impress a business partner or client with your hospitality. In any situation in which a driver is hired, safety is a crucial factor. Austin-based Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine makes sure their drivers are responsible and professional, and the company outlines tips for identifying a good chauffeur below.
Experience and Reputation
Before hiring an individual or company, you should look into their experience. How long have they been in business? Choosing an experienced driver or service increases your chances of finding someone who is going to be safe, prompt and courteous. It’s always a good idea to check out the reputation of a chauffeur or driving service before making your decision. You can search for reviews of the service online. Word of mouth is usually a reliable way to find someone as well. If you know anyone who has hired a chauffeur or car service, you can ask for a recommendation.
When hiring a chauffeur, you will have to consider your transportation needs. You need someone who is available for the appropriate time and date and who serves the area around which you are traveling. Some companies only serve limited areas, whereas others have large fleets that encompass many cities and even countries. A driver who knows the area well can offer better service and can be a safe option, as you will not get lost on your trip.
Vehicles and Amenities
Assuming that you are not providing your own vehicle, what type of vehicle will be provided, or do you choose from many options? If it’s an individual chauffeur, you can ask detailed information about the vehicle. If it’s a company, they may offer a wide selection of choices. For example, some companies have stretch limos, party buses, shuttle buses and other large vehicles for large groups. Chauffeured limousines and other luxury vehicles may also provide a variety of amenities, such as bars, TV screens and more. You should inquire about these to ensure that you are getting the services you want.
You always want to make sure you choose a chauffeur who is an experienced and safe driver. For an individual, you will want to check out his references and background. If it’s a car service, you will want to make sure they are certified to operate in your area and have proper insurance. The vehicles used should be well-maintained and have up-to-date inspections.
You also want to consider the cost of the service and what kind of value is being offered. You can do some comparison shopping to find out what different companies are charging. At the same time, you also have to consider other factors, as choosing the cheapest option may not get you the service you want.
Choose Your Chauffeur Carefully
Whether you are seeking an individual chauffeur for your business or personal needs or a reliable car service that can be called whenever you need transportation, it’s important to choose carefully. Your chauffeur or car service is responsible for your safety and getting you to your destination on time and in comfort. That’s why you should do some thorough vetting before making your choice.
Cynthia’s Manhattan Limousine proudly serves the Texas Hill Country. To learn more about this limo service, visit their Google Plus page.
Purchasing a vehicle for a good price is only half the battle. “Your vehicle maintenance expenses can drain your wallet if you are not careful”, says Alan from PartCatalog.com. Therefore, choosing the car with the lowest maintenance costs is very important to your overall financial health. In each of the examples below, you will learn how to choose a vehicle that is inexpensive to maintain.
Tip #1: Purchase Relatively New Vehicles
Vehicles that are relatively new have current replacement parts. You could choose a new car that has expensive replacement parts, but the car will have replacement parts available. If you purchase a car that is old, the parts may not be available for the car any longer.
Tip #2: Purchase A Car Still In Production
Cars that are no longer in production do not have current replacement parts. If you purchase a car that has been discontinued, you will have a very hard time purchasing the parts you need to fix the car. Also, a mechanic will have to charge you even more to get these rare parts so that they can make a profit.
Tip #3: Purchase A Brand That Is Still In Existence
Purchasing a car made by a company that no longer exists makes finding parts for the car even more difficult. The replacement parts for the company are no longer in existence, and your mechanic may have to fabricate parts. If this is the case, your mechanic is charging you for labor just to produce the part that is needed. Also, there are cases where your car is rendered irreparable because of the lack of available parts.
Tip #4: Purchase A Car With Guaranteed Maintenance
There are car companies that offer free maintenance with the purchase of a vehicle. When you get regular oil changes, tune-ups and other minor repairs done for free, you are saving money automatically. The benefits continue because certified factory technicians will be working on your car. This ensures that people who understand the vehicles are working on the vehicle. Your car is likely to last much longer because of this service.
Tip #5: Diesel Engines
Vehicles with diesel engines are easier to maintain because the engines are designed to last longer. Your diesel vehicle could easily drive for 500,000 miles without much trouble. Also, diesel mechanics are available because they work on large trucks every day.
Tip #6: The Most Common Car On The Road
The car that you see on the road most frequently is likely to be inexpensive to maintain. The cars that last the longest tend to have low maintenance costs because they do not break down as frequently.
While many people choose a car because of the way it looks, choosing a car based on how easy it is to maintain is a much smarter investment. Your choice of car must last for as long as possible, but you cannot enjoy your car if it is constantly breaking down. Choosing a car based on the six tips above will help to keep you financially stable.
PartCatalog.com provides auto owners with high quality car parts and accessories. Keep up with them by following them on Twitter!
New statistics reveal that young adults place great importance in owning their own vehicles – contrary to popular belief that consumer electronic products are bigger must-have items among this age group. The study also suggests that young people aged 25 to 34 use car rental services as a way to test drive vehicles before purchasing their own cars.
The survey was conducted by Enterprise Holdings, which owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, PhillyCarShare, Enterprise CarShare, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental, and currently operates 1.4 million vehicles around the world. Their findings revealed that 79% of those questioned thought that owning a car was “extremely important”; a further 68% of young adults revealed that their first experience with new car technology is when driving a rental car.
Kurt Kohler, Enterprise Holdings’ senior vice president for acquisition and marketing, suggested that rental cars equipped with the latest technology and features are an effective way for automobile companies to showcase their new vehicles to a young audience. He also said that young adults are interested in the cars that they rent and use these as a way to test drive the car before deciding to make a purchase. Some of the reasons cited by Kohler, which could lead to young adults purchasing their own vehicles, include seeing new car innovations for the first time, and experiencing a better quality of car.
As well as being exposed to technology in new car models via car rental, 53% of respondents said that they would hire a rental car in order to try out a new vehicle. A further 88% of young adults in the survey said that their experience when renting a car made them change their minds about the model and make of the vehicle they had hired, and 28% said that a car rental experience motivated them to shop for a car of their own. These findings were higher among younger adults than those across different age groups, where 71% of people said that renting a car had changed their view on that particular brand or model, while 20% stated that renting a car motivated them to shop for a new car of their own.
The survey, which was conducted in 2013, selected 1,363 participants randomly from Enterprise Holdings’ database. Those questioned in the survey – who were all over the age of 25 – all owned a car for themselves, and had hired a car in the last six months. Other statistics reveal that almost half of all women surveyed by the company stated that one of the top features when renting a car was good gasoline mileage. 49% of women questioned cited this as a good reason to rent a car. In addition, nearly half of all men – 46% in total – stated that the car they chose to hire in the past reflected their personal values, style, and personality. 65% of Hispanics surveyed revealed that they considered a car they had hired in the past when purchasing a new vehicle. Enterprise Holdings was founded by Jack Taylor in 1957, and ranks as the largest car hire company in the US.
WHAT ARE THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE MOTORHOMES?
Whether it’s a family’s suburban house or a celebrities’ multi-million dollar mansion, a house can be pretty expensive. A motorhome can be seen as a house on wheels. And like houses, motorhomes can be pretty expensive too. Below are some of the world’s most expensive motorhomes that have ever been produced.
1.MARCHI MOBILE’S ELEMMENT PALAZZO – ($AUD) 3.2 MILLION
The world’s most expensive motorhome comes complete with a colossal master bedroom, on-board bar, fireplace and even its own rooftop terrace. But the most impressive piece of luxury is the ‘Sky Lounge’ – at the press of a button the 40ft home transforms into a personal retreat with pop up cocktail bar, underfloor heating and extravagant marble lighting. This jaw dropping vehicle even comes in a stunning gold and packs a 510bhp diesel engine.
2.VANTARE PLATINUM PLUS – ($AUD) 2.6 MILLION
This is as close as you will get to having a million dollar mansion, on wheels. The Vantare Platinum Plus is decked out with rare Inca marble, Italian leather and Swarovski crystal. Sounds like a home built for royalty. This fine motorhome also features a stainless steel dishwasher, king bed with a plasma TV, built-in treadmill and a reclining sofa. And if you need a garage for your car, it has one of those too!
3.WILL SMITH’S MOTORHOME – ($AUD) 2.6 MILLION
If the ‘Men In Black’ Hollywood actor decided to head out for a road trip, he would do so in his 1,200 square foot two-storey mobile mansion. Will Smith spent $US100,000 on custom-built kitchen granite countertops, $US30,000 on leather ceilings and $US25,000 on his shower. Nicknamed ‘The Heat’, this monstrous vehicle also boasts $US125,000 of technology including 14 televisions, surround sound and a 100 inch drop down television. Oh and did we mention the cinema room that can accommodate up to thirty people?
4.VOLKNER MOBIL PERFORMANCE – ($AUD) 1.6 MILLION
The Volkner Mobil comes complete with a huge kitchen, a high-end entertainment system, and even a storage space for your car. With a rather large 460hp diesel engine, this German designed motorhome features an ergonomically designed cockpit which includes a GPS navigation system and a thermal imaging back-up camera. With its spacious interior, leather upholstery and ultra-modern equipment, you probably won’t want to return to your normal home for a while.
5.WINNEBAGO TOUR – ($AUD) 400,000
The name Winnebago is synonymous with the word ‘motorhome’. And this top of the range Winnebago packs a 450hp turbo-charged diesel engine which will deliver all the power your motorhome will ever need. The interior features LED lighting, porcelain floors and an electric fireplace. And just in case you needed to pull over for some air, outside features a single-burner induction range top, steel counter, lockable refrigerator/freezer, storage area and an entertainment centre with an HDTV.
This article is brought to you by CIL Caravan and RV Insurance
When we think how far cars have come in speed and comfort from the days of the horse and buggy, we rarely consider how far our roads have come. Every now and then we might have reason to bump across a washboard route on the way to a cottage or the interior of a wilderness park. That’s when we are reminded.
A car can take a beating. Things can come loose. Shocks and struts can break down. Tires wear out and even pop. And paint can get chipped or peel from underlying rust.
Modern roads have greatly reduced the wear and tear on most car parts. Rarely do we have to swerve to avoid a metal chunk flying loose from the car in front. Smooth roads make shocks and struts comfortable. And tires roll on for years along smooth roads.
But modern speeds can be a minefield for your paint job, even when protected by car wraps (transparent paint protection films that coat the exterior of a vehicle). Although a vehicle protected by a wrap can repel sticks and stones better than a car with just the factory paint job, not all sticks are create equally. Not all stones are created equally, either. But a protective car wrap is a good idea to reduce the risk from flying debris.
Off the highway, your car faces constant threats of both the evil and the accidental kind. Evil? What evil could befall your car, you might wonder? Vandalism. As Carrie Underwood sang:
That I dug my key into the side
of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats…
I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,
slashed a hole in all 4 tires…
Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.
It’s pretty rare that even an ex-lover will take a Louisville slugger to the headlights or to any of the windows, but scratching the paint job has been known to happen. And it’s not just ex-lovers. There are plenty of situations where bored teenagers or drunken fools think it’s a hoot to scratch someone’s car.
Rarer, but still possible, is that some graffiti-enthused, self-proclaimed artist will mistake your vehicle for a tenement wall and decide it needs some design work done with his spray can.
And then there’s rust, something I’m familiar with growing up in Wisconsin. Salt and sand and chemicals used to keep roads safe in winter can beat your car down to a lump of clay in no time. This is the main reason why the same car will last twice as long in Atlanta as it will in Chicago.
Humidity can also get rust started, so even in warm areas like the bayous of Texas and Louisiana, rust protection has its advantages.
Sand storms can also wear down your paint, so dry southern climates are not always ideal. Fortunately, defending against the relentless battering of a million grains of sand is easier than against a single stone being hurled from under a truck’s tire. Just as the sand won’t crack the windshield, even when a stone will, the sand also won’t wear down the paint beneath a protective car wrap.
And then there is the heat of the sun beating down on the surface of the car. Today’s paints withstand heat much better than the paints of yesterday, but the UV rays from the sun can still take a toll on automotive paint over the years.
Of course, no protective coating or rustproofing lubricant will protect your paint job as well as driving safely. When your car crashes, or when another vehicle hits yours, the paint job is probably the last thing you’ll be thinking of. But once you calm down and realize that you are still in one piece (hopefully you are!) and your car is still driveable (hopefully it is!) you will notice the small scratches or the huge swatch of paint missing. And if your car is not drivable, chances are the paint is at least as wrecked as the rest of the car.
The threats to your car’s paint job are many, but if you take precautions – add a protective car wrap, regular rustproofing, driving carefully and possibly moving away from anywhere that is hot, cold, humid or dry – your paint job might just escape without having to scream “Ouch!”
Otto Mueler is a car enthusiast from Wisconsin, whose first summer job was washing cars. Every since then, he has valued cars “a little more than my family would like”. Today, he loves writing about them.
People are trying harder than ever nowadays to balance out their family life with their working life, and it’s not always an easy thing to do, especially for families with multiple children. Since being both family-oriented and driven should be a good thing, it makes sense that you should have a great car which will help to make all aspects of your life easier. Many larger families end up having to buy multiple cars, but this can be avoided with a seven-seater. If you’re not sure if a seven seated car is right for you, take a look below at five of the best available.
Fiat 500L MPW
The main thing people want from a seven-seated car is space, and the Fiat 500L MPW does not disappoint. The Fiat 500L MPW is a compact 7 seater which combines practicality and space with an easy drive. You’ll not only get two additional passenger seats thanks to a mere 20cm increase in length, but you’ll also be able to enjoy 22
different storage compartments which will enable you to store everything you need in your car whilst keeping organised and ensuring everything is right where you need it. You can even fold the seats down so that you can use the whole length of your car for storage of a large item.
It’s not just space the 500L has to offer, and you’ll find that it also helps to keep your family as safe as possible whilst on board. 6 airbags will surround you and your passengers, ensuring you are protected at all times, and the ESC, or Electronic Stability Control system, will make sure your brakes have the best possible grip, even if the surface is slippery. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Hill Holder system, which will make it easier when you’re starting on a hill.
Your family will have plenty of entertainment in the 500L because you’ll be able to indulge in an optional Beats HiFi and the Uconnect 5” Radio Nav. As well as radio, you’ll be able to access maps to navigate your way. You’ll be using a 5” touch screen and you’ll be able to get where you’re supposed to be as easily as possible as the system will be able to show you traffic information, find the fastest and cheapest route and ensure you enter the correct lane before your exit.
To put the icing on the cake, Fiat have included eco:Drive LIVE which will record your driving behaviour and show you your eco:Index. It will give you tips and advice on how to improve your driving to save money.
Ford S-MAX MPV
This is a great option for those who are worried that getting a family car will mean they have to miss out on the fun of driving. The car is large enough to accommodate your whole family but it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a large MPV, and you can go round bends as easily you would in a smaller car.
The boot measures 285 litres even with all seven seats up, and you can make even more spare room by pushing all the seats down to create a 2000 litre space. The interior is spacious and adults will be very comfortable in both the front and back seats, whilst children will be able to enjoy the seats in the third row which fold neatly away into the floor when not in use. There are also lots of storage compartments throughout the car so you can keep everything organised and find space for everything you need with you.
You’ll be bale to keep your family safe in the S-MAX with Electronic Stability Control to help keep you steady when you brake, and window airbags for front and back passengers as well as knee airbags for the driver.
Those looking for space need look no further with the Fiat Doblò. With up to 3200 litres of space inside, you’ll have plenty of room to fit your whole family and everything they want to bring along for the ride. It’s easy for everyone to access with extra-large sliding doors, which make it easier to get in and out of in tight parking spots, too.
There’s room for everyone in the 7 seater Doblò, it can seat up to seven people, and with the seat folding system, you can turn that passenger space into luggage space and fit larger items in on top of the flat seats. There are also lots of different compartments around the car so you can make the most of the available space and keep your things organised, so that when you need something you can focus on your driving and not on trying to find it.
It’s a great car for those who want peace of mind when travelling with their family because it includes lots of safety features. These include Electronic Brake Distribution which will ensure you brake safely and do not wobble or skid when you have to make a sudden stop, and optional auto-door locking. You’ll also be able to keep young children as safe as possible with ISOFIX mountings for child seats. The DeadLock system is useful for families with children as it lets you deactivate the door levers so that they cannot be opened by accident from the outside or the inside.
The Doblò comes with the Blue&Me™ TomTom which you’ll control with a simple colour touch screen. It will not only give you directions, but it will also tell you all the information you need to know about your car such as when your fuel is running low and how to get to the nearest petrol station.
Renault Grand Scenic MPV
The Grand Scenic is a car built for comfort and thanks to an addition of 21cm in length, passengers have more leg room, and there is space for an extra two passengers
in the back, making it a seven-seater. The car provides a comfortable ride with minimal road and wind noise.
There’s also plenty of space for luggage, with a boot providing 2063 litres of space when the removable rear seats are taken away (although you will need to store these outside of the car when not in use.) There’s still a decent amount of boot space with the seats in place, and there are plenty of storage compartments around the car so you can carry lots of things with you and keep them organised. However, if you plan to switch between luggage and passengers on a regular basis, you should note that the seats can be difficult to remove and replace.
The safety levels in the Grand Scenic are high, with eight airbags and traction control. The car includes adjustable headrests for comfort and to avoid injury from being in the wrong position, and it’s very robust and will handle your daily family life with ease. Light steering and smooth suspension make the Grand Scenic easy to handle, and the high driver’s seat gives you great visibility all around, making your drive as safe as possible.
Land Rover Discovery 4 SUV
This is a great option for those who want to be able to drive off road and through terrains that other cars would not be able to handle. You’ll be able to combine the fun of off road driving with the practicality of a family car, so you won’t have to compensate in any area.
The car provides comfort for every passenger, with the very back seats being large enough to seat adults and with an interior spacious enough to give everyone plenty of legroom. It’s a quiet ride and you’ll have plenty of space to put your luggage. When you fold all the seats down, you’ll have a 2,558 litre space to store larger items in, and the split tailgate makes it easy to load items on board.
You’ll feel safe driving the Discovery because you’ll have a high driving position which gives you great visibility on the road, and the five star Euro NCAP rating will put your mind at ease that your family are enjoying a safe ride.
Hennessey Performance Engineering has always been renowned as a creator of super-fast cars. As a tuning house specializing in upgrading the performance of different brands of cars, they have created high-powered cars that pushed the boundaries of what a production car can achieve in terms of speed. They have created all kinds of supercars, with some reaching power outputs of at least a thousand horsepower while others can breach 200 miles per hour with ease. Arguably the most insane of all their creations is the Hennessey Venom GT.
The idea behind the Hennessey Venom GT came from a dominating performance in a track test held by a popular car magazine. Using their Hennessey Venom 1000 (a car based on the Dodge Viper), they won first place in a zero-to-200 mph acceleration test (time is 20.3 seconds), dominating the likes of the Ruf Porsche 911, the Lamborghini Murcielago, and the Bugatti Veyron. In fact, this is considered as the first time the Veyron was defeated in a head-to-head performance test. This encouraged John Hennessey, the owner of Hennessey Performance Engineering, to create a better supercar.
This is where the Hennessey Venom GT was born. Realizing that the Dodge Viper’s front-engine rear-wheel drive layout has its limitations, he thought of switching cars for his next project. He ended up choosing the Lotus Exige as the framework of the Venom GT. Thanks to the Exige’s light weight and mid-engine layout, Hennessey thought that this is the ideal car to be used for the project. Most of the body and chassis were derived directly from the production Exige, but it received a number of modifications. Utilizing carbon fiber body panels and aerodynamic bits in both the body and chassis, the Venom GT creates a lot of downforce while still weighing less than 1250 kilos (2750 pounds).
While the initial plan for the Hennessey Venom GT is to carry the extensively modified 8.0 liter V10 motor found in the Hennessey Venom 1000, they went in another direction and installed a 7.0 liter V8 engine instead. With modifications, most notably the installation of 2 ball bearing turbochargers, maximum output is raised at a massive 1244 horsepower and 1155 lb-ft of torque. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission that’s been extensively modified to handle extreme forces coming from the engine. A traction control helps in putting all that power efficiently to the ground. This car also employs active aerodynamics that adjusts downforce according to speed.
When the Hennessey Venom GT was placed on track, the result is nothing less than spectacular. With an almost 1:1 horsepower-to-kilogram ratio, this car is as close to a road rocket you can possibly get. It can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in less than 3 seconds and achieve a top speed of 427.6 km/h or 265.7 mph, which was then considered as a Guinness World Record until the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport beat it with 431 km/h. It also the unofficial record holder for world’s fastest accelerating car, completing a 0-to-200 mph run within 14.51 seconds.
For the longest time, the Starlet was Toyota’s definition of what a compact hatchback must be. In 1998, Toyota flipped the script, replacing the Starlet with an all-new model called the Vitz (also known by its alternative names Yaris and Echo). It was an instant sensation, winning Japan Car of the Year in 1998 and going on into a very successful production run since. While the Vitz made its name for its fuel economy and affordability, a lot of people believe there’s performance potential in its compact confines. The Toyota Vitz RS is the epitome of that belief, a hot hatch in its truest sense.
First-generation Toyota Vitz RS
While the first-generation Vitz is considered as a success in most parts of the globe, there are still a lot of people who are demanding better performance for this compact. Toyota responded by releasing the RS in 2001. This car carries a bunch of exterior and interior modifications, including updated bumpers, side skirts, a mesh grille, alloy wheels, sport seats, and leather wrapped steering wheel. However, it is on the performance department where it made a huge leap. Bigger brakes and a firmer suspension are installed. 2 engine options are available for the Toyota Vitz RS: a 1.3 liter engine with max output of 88 horsepower and a 1.5 liter engine with max output of 110 horsepower. A turbocharged version of the 1.5 was created by TRD, upping max output to 148 horsepower.
Second-generation Toyota Vitz RS
The second-generation Vitz was released in 2005, with distribution gradually increased over the years. The wait for the RS version of this new Vitz lasted up to 2007, when the next-generation Toyota Vitz RS was unveiled. This car was considered as a Japan exclusive, with this variant being sold in Europe and the USA as the Yaris TS. This car was powered by a 1.8 liter DOHC dual VVTI inline 4 engine with a maximum output of 130 horsepower. Just like the previous RS model, this car comes with exterior, interior, and mechanical upgrades such as a mesh grille, modified bumpers, a sport-tuned suspension, and 17-inch wheels.
Third-generation Toyota Vitz RS
The third-generation Vitz was released in 2010, with the car being distributed worldwide by 2011. This car has a distinctively new and aerodynamic look that has a low drag coefficient value of 0.285. It is considered as a fan favorite due to its remarkable fuel economy (this car is capable of going at least 20 kilometers per liter of fuel!). The Toyota Vitz RS was released in 2011 as the sportiest variant of the batch. It comes with the performance-oriented 1.5 liter dual VVTI engine with maximum output of 109 horsepower. With its aerodynamic components and sport-tuned suspension, the new RS continues the tradition of being the hot hatch variant of the Vitz.
The Toyota Vitz RS has created for itself a niche for compact car fans. Fuel efficient yet fun to drive, Toyota’s version of the hot hatch lives up to every expectation.