By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Sergio Pininfarina, a world famous designer and automotive businessman, died on July 3 in Turin, Italy at age 85. While best known for his sensuous bodies for Ferrari cars – the Daytona, Testarossa, F40, and Enzo are career hallmarks – he also did designs for clients as diverse as Cadillac, Rolls Royce and Peugeot. He once described his designs saying “A beautiful car — like a beautiful woman — is always beautiful.”
You may only know the name Henrik Fisker as the moving force behind the present line of high performance hybrid electric cars, but prior to that venture Mr. Fisker earned some serious design credits in the automotive industry. In his career, he’s had a hand in drawing some of the stunning Aston Martin cars and in some of the BMW Z-series cars as well. In a recent interview about the state of modern car design, he asked, “Why do electric cars, or small fuel-efficient cars, always have to look dorky? Why can’t we make a beautiful, gorgeous car?”
Did you ever wonder about how many gears can be put in an automatic transmission before it becomes a CVT? Six-speed autoboxes are now as common as cats and seven or eight cogs are available if you look at the right models. Earlier this year German transmission maker ZF said they’ll have a 9-speed out next year—so where does this all end? Well, perhaps right here. A ZF spokesman said recently that the new autobox is about the end of the line for both technology and materials. He said the numbers game had become a marketing effort rather than an engineering one.
Italian supercar maker DeTomaso, well known for the Pantera and Mangusta of an earlier generation, has filed for bankruptcy. The company was revitalized a few years ago under new management but ran aground in its search for ongoing financing. With no buyers in sight, the company’s assets may be liquidated by the court appointed administrator. Later news reports also say that the company’s chairman and two others have been arrested on suspicion of fraud and misuse of public funds.
Busted, and two more cases of “the rich are not like us.” In Japan, a wealthy businessman was recently arrested after posting an on-board video to YouTube of him driving his Lamborghini Gallardo through a tunnel at nearly 100 mph “to hear the sound of the car…” The speed limit in the tunnel is under 40 mph. After the arrest authorities confiscated his home computer with similar videos, and they may take the car as well.
In Los Angeles last week, teen heartthrob Justin Bieber was cited for speeding and reckless driving while trying to avoid papparazzi photographers. He was clocked at over 100 mph on a freeway, and police on the scene said they feared another “Princess Diana” situation. While the desire for privacy is understandable, a celebrity wishing to go unnoticed probably shouldn’t drive a hybrid-electric Fisker Karma with an all-chrome exterior and lavender LEDs behind the grille. We’re just sayin…
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