Concept Cars

How the Blade is Made will Blow Your Mind

06/29/2015

The future of auto manufacturing is here thanks to startup company Divergent Microfactories. Enter the Blade, the first ever supercar to employ 3D printing technology. Its as efficient as it is sleek and powerful.

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Divergent Microfactories

Divergent Microfactories, based out of San Fransisco, employed a 3-D printer to create the groundbreaking chassis of this jaw-dropping supercar. Aluminum joints called Nodes connect to aerospace carbon fiber tubing to form the Blade's chassis. The structure utilizes approximately 61 pounds of aluminum and 41 pounds of carbon fiber, according to the manufacturer. In total, the chassis weighs a mere 102 pounds. But fear not skeptics, the chassis has undergone the appropriate testing and is actually industrial strength. The construction of the chassis, however, has a striking resemblance to your old K'NEX set and takes less than an hour by hand.

The Blade's revolutionary skeleton allows for a 90 percent reduction in the vehicle's overall weight-- it tips the scale at 1,388 pounds. The new lightweight infrastructure and its 700HP bi-fuel engine allow the vehicle to accelerate at enviable speeds, reaching 60 mph in just 2.2 seconds. 

The goal, however, is to widen the usage of the Node design and technology to sedans and pickups. Divergent Microfactories hopes this process will not only revolutionize automobile construction, but also encourage a reduction in emissions.

“Society has made great strides in its awareness and adoption of cleaner and greener cars. The problem is that while these cars do now exist, the actual manufacturing of them is anything but environmentally friendly,” said Kevin Czinger, founder & CEO, Divergent Microfactories. 

According to an analysis published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology the construction of gas-powered cars produces approximately 14,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide, which is 17 percent of its lifetime emissions. Electric cars are not perfect either: the study found that their production produces 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide.

Need another Super Car to drool over? Check out when Chasing Classic Cars spotlighted a rare '88 Porsche. 

Rolling out to Barrett Jackson

12/24/2014

Recently recieved a fun invite, to photograph, blog and interview at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale sale.  This is the world's pre-eminent automotive auction.  I remember being spellbound at a friend's house in the 90's, watching cool cars cruise up the carpet with a definitive value now attached to them.  

To celebrate the event thought we'd look at some of the interesting objects on the list and maybe a few followup photos from other events.

The first one that caught my eye was this wild custom 1937 Cord Westchester Custom

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(photo courtesy Barrett-Jackson)

I've always loved the lines on the Cords.  I never thought about hot rodding such a vehicle and there are a host of folks that would question the exercise.  

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The polar vortex is over and the Amelia Island Concours is coming!

02/23/2014

Here on the upper East Coast we are rather sick of that whole winter thing.  Polar Vortex and ice and snow and sleet and school closings are hopefully on the wain.  Its time to look forward to sunny skies and beautiful cars for the automotive enthusiasts among us.

So that brings us to the 2014 edition of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.  This concours is held on the luscious grounds of the Ritz Carlton.  300 of the world's finest automobiles, motorcycles and race cars will grace the greens of the impecable golf course, a virtual feast for the eyes.

Every year Bill Warner and his vast crew of volunteers and veterans have chosen some of the most incredible pieces of transportation.  You'll find everything from $50 million dollar Ferraris to incredible Duesenburgs and grand classics to cars that you never knew existed.

Some of the featured classes and cars from this year are: General Lyon's Duesenberg which is a 1930 Model J Speedster featuring a dissapearing  convetible top.  Ralph Marano is a highly regarded Packard collector and he is bringing all ten of his Packard concept cars from the 50's. You'll be able to see the re-debut of the Chrylser La Contesse Concept car.  The Stirling Moss 450S Le Mans Coupe will be one of the featured cars helping to celebrate  the Maserati centenary.  A set of BMW "Batmobiles" will be on the greens, representing the German's 180mph winged monsters from the 70's.  The BMW's represent one of the unique features of the Amelia Island Concours, that is Bill Warner's love of race cars.

So as a teaser, let's take a look at some previous entrants to the Amelia Island Concours.

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Here we see old meets new.  The "Grey Wolf" meets the Sunoco Javalin race car from the Trans Am series.

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2008 saw the greatest gathering of Thomas Flyers that anyone in the last 50 years could remember.  Above we see the actual Thomas Flyer that won in the famous 1908 New York to Paris race. 

The National Automobile Museum in Reno Nevada, loaned the world famous Thomas Flyer for the 100th anniversary of its epic 22,000 mile race.  George Schuster, the only member of the US team to drive the entire route, assisted Bill Harrah restore the car to its original trim as it entered Paris 26 days in front of the next competitor.

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The Lamborghini Muira Roadster in a rare appearance at the Amelia Island Concours last year.  Photo courtesy of Brett Lemoine.

This is the only Roadster created and built by the factory, making it very special indeed.  It was named the ZN75.

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Here is Malcolm Pray and his beloved 1939 Delahaye Type 135 M next to the predecessor to the Ferrari GTO.  Its the 1962 Ferrari 250 Experimental chassis 2643GT.

Unfortunately we lost Malcolm Pray in 2013.  He was a main stay at so many concours events.  He will be missed.  This years judges sheets (which I designed) are a tribute to his many contributions to the field.

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 You just never know what is going to come around the corner.  Here we see Wayne Carini from Velocity's Chasing Classic Cars driving one of the Moal Couchbuilders Torpedo.

A great place to hang out is right in front of the Ritz, especially during Saturday.  All sorts of cars are loading up and tooling around.  Then you walk in and see the RM Auction as well as some of the great seminars and take advantage of the exotic test drives.

Yes, the Amelia Island Concours should be on every car lovers bucket list.  Come for the weather and stay for the cars!

Racing at leMans - amazing machines they are

11/24/2013

Racing At leMans - Amazing Machines They Are

Ken Visser

karmakvisser@yahoo.com

kenneth_visser@discovery.com

I started to do some research on a blog about the Porsche 917, one of the most successful and dominant race cars in history.  As I was going thru my photos, I came upon quite a few examples of successful leMans racers and have decided to pursue that storyline.

leMans, one of the toughest races on the planet.  24 hours of straight up racing on a mix of public and racing circuit roads.  Participants have to balance fuel, brakes, mechanical durabilty, tires as well as fatigue.  In 2010 the winning Audi covered 3,360 miles on the Circuit de la Sarthe.  

We are talking 6 times longer than the Indy 500 and 18 times longer that a Formula One Grand Prix race. Heck, from New York to LA its 2,792 miles!  Can you imaging running at top speed on the Mulsanne Straight at 3 am, checking your mirrors for a prototype approaching at 200 plus MPH, flashing its lights?  And I thought the DC Beltway was stressful during a Friday night rush hour...

To make matters even more tense, the race takes place in June with soaring temperatures and the ever present threat of rain.  Race cars don’t use air conditioning so the interior temperatures can get excruciating,  This is why you see roadsters competing, like our 59 Aston Martin DBR1 from the Simeone Museum.  Let's take a look.

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1958 Aston Martin DBR1 chassis 3 as presented by the Simeone Museum at the 2013 Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance

This spectacularly shaped 58 Aston Martin DBR1 has been lovingly maintained by the esteemed Dr Fred Simeone, an avid and astute collector of amazing historic competitive automobiles.  His collection is housed in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum near the Philadelphia airport.  

Aston Martin won the World Championship and a win at leMans with a small team of 4 DBR1 race cars.  Caroll Shelby helped win at leMans in 59, turning out to be one of his last outings as a race car driver due to a heart condition.

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SEMA Day 3

11/07/2013

Today was the day where our some of our experts came together for the first time to talk cars and answer audience questions. We were delighted at the warm welcome Velocity received with a line that stretched around the displays. Those who attended the panel were treated to a wealth of information about car and engine restoration and insights on the future of the industry. Don’t forget, we’ll be bringing you video of the panel as soon as we can so those of us who couldn’t attend will get to see the action. In the meantime we have some shots of the gang:

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Photos: Emily Kaiser

In other news, Toyota announced it was retiring an off-road icon, the FJ Cruiser. The 2014 FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Ultimate Edition in Heritage Blue will be the last FJ for the company. The design hearkens back to the 1960’s FJ40. For those of you interested, you better act fast; only 2,400 of this model will be made ensuring it will become a classic.

We have also been taking note of some of the products that are on display, meant to enhance a car and users’ experience. Emily tells us that many of the products are focused on high tech enhancements that help with navigation and collision avoidance. I’ve also noted products providing heads up displays, LED exterior lighting enhancements, and noise and temperature controlling products for the inside of vehicles. Of course on the other side of the coin there are dozens of products and displays centered on enhancing noise – the noise of your sound system. That’s a given of course, but some items are pretty creative like the product that enables your trailer hitch to project on the back window of your truck/vehicle. Movies or slide shows after a day of off-roading? It sounds like that could be in our future.

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Photo: Emily Kaiser

Back to the cars, there were so many on display we chose just a few for you today including the deviantART Lexus, a Hot Wheels Car and one tricked out for business Scion. We’ll be posting some massive galleries of cars looking at not only the bodies but under the hood, so stick with us!

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Photos: Emily Kaiser

 


Visit daily for posts about the shows and spirit of Velocity, an upscale male lifestyle network, featuring the best of the automotive, sports, adventure and travel genres.

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