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10 things we learned this week

  1. The new Camaro has a flight mode

    The ballistic 2014 Camaro Z/28 has a special mode for when it’s airborne. Why? Because Chevy engineers kept jumping the car during testing at the Nurburgring, which lost them nearly five seconds per lap.

    The logic’s integrated into the car’s “track” mode and, in the words of Bill Wise, the car’s performance engineer, “it uses ride-height sensors to determine the reduction in force on the tires. It’s unique to track mode and allows the car to continue with uninterrupted momentum.”

    Watch a more detailed explanation here

  2. Andrew DiDa left a mighty legacy

    A clothing designer by trade, Andrew DiDa created one of the world’s most insane concepts back in 1953. It took seven years to build and cost $93, 647 for the labour alone. It featured a superleggera alloy tube chassis, bubble cockpit and Cadillac V8, and to give it a little extra sparkle, DiDa added diamond dust to the paint.

    There were also rain-sensing wipers, headlamps that swivelled as you turned, thermostatically-controlled air conditioning, and every seat had its own cigarette lighter, ashtray, and speaker system.

    All of which caught the eye of swing legend Bobby Darin, who bought it a few years after it was revealed for $150,000. At the time, it was Guinness World Record for the highest price ever paid for a custom-built automobile.

    DiDa passed away this week aged 96, but his car lives on, displayed at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation.

  3. The Corvette Museum staff are blummin' heroes

    Remember a few weeks back we reported that a sinkhole had guzzled up some exhibits at the Corvette Museum in America? Well, unperturbed, staff at the museum have now managed to yoink out five of the eight cars with massive great big cranes.

    Presumably they’re now off for a check-up up the, ahem, Vettes’ surgery… Sorry. 

  4. Walmart has designed a slippery, carbon-trailered big rig

    The ubiquitous American supermarket chain operates more than 6,000 trucks, so decided to see what it could do to save a few bucks on diesel. So Walmart has designed this insane, super-efficient lorry in partnership with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers, and Capstone Turbine.

    The rig features a super-slippery cab that’s 20 per cent more aerodynamic than your normal truck, there’s a lightweight 53-foot carbon fibre trailer, and it uses a turbine-powered battery-electric hybrid drivetrain. The combustion engine can run on diesel, natural gas and biodiesel, too.

    No official economy figures yet, but apparently Walmart is confident its modifications will raise the big rig’s mpg from ‘infinitesimally low’ to ‘marginally less infinitesimally low’.

  5. Felix Baumgartner is driving in the Nurburgring 24 Hours

    Seriously, what the hell, Baumgartner? You’ve broken the sound barrier in some Nasa pyjamas, and now you’re entering an Audi R8 LMS in this year’s gruelling Nurburgring 24 Hours. AND YOU’VE NEVER EVEN RACED BEFORE.

    Audi says Baumgartner will obtain the racing licence he needs in time for the event on June 21, before putting him in one of the company’s R8 LMS enduro-things. The Austrian balloonatic will compete as a guest entrant, partnering with five-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela, three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner and GT racer Pierre Kaffer

    Baumgartner says, ” I’m basically starting from scratch because this sport is new for me.”

    Then again, so was ‘jumping off a balloon from space’, and he seemed to do that pretty well.

  6. Don't park anywhere near René Pérez when he's rapping

    Hip-hopperer, René Pérez, smashed up a Maserati Quattroporte in a recent music video for his band, Calle 13. Apparently, Pérez wanted to send message to fans that they shouldn’t place too high a value on material objects.

    We can see absolutely no massive holes in his logic.

  7. Ssangyong is capable of drawing a pretty SUV

    And by pretty, we mean comparatively pretty (remember the Rhodius?). This is the XLV and it debuted at the Geneva motor show this week.

    It stands for “eXciting smart Lifestyle Vehicle,” (though we prefer eXecuted with Less Vileness). And while it’s vapourware for now, it shows that Korea’s third-finest car maker has the ability to build an SUV that’s not retch-inducing.

  8. Ram Trucks will pimp a digger for absolutely no reason

    These two smell like proposterone, and we like it. It’s a combination of a Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab and a matching Case 580 Super N Wide Track Backhoe digger. Both get two-tone gold and black paint, bling-a-ding chrome rims, leather-lined gizzards, and what’s almost the worst Photoshop work we’ve seen since that Porsche FUBAR… (though you’ll see a true horror when you get to slide 10). 

    The pair will tour all the events co-sponsored by both brands. Presumably these events will mostly be held the southern states of the USA.

  9. Korean EVs are inspired by New World placental mammals

    This is the Armadillo-T, and it’s been developed by an associate professor from the Graduate School for Green Transportation at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

    Inspired, as you may have guessed, by an armadillo, it’s an EV that can turn itself, er, outside in, which allows it to shrink from just under three meters long to 1.65 meters, taking up a third of a normal parking space.

    The Armadillo-T weighs only 450kg, maxes out at 37mph, and can do 62 miles on a ten-minute fast-charge. But what if someone blocks you in when you’re, um… flaccid?

  10. Aftermarket tuner Nimrod needs to employ a designer

    After spotting new tuner Nimrod’s, erm, interesting take on the 458 at this year’s Geneva motor show, we visited its official website. Initially, we thought it might have been an elaborate, costly prank, but we were wrong.

    This is literally the best Nimrod can do. And while there are no prices listed, we imagine it’ll be charging multiple hundreds of thousands of pounds. Seriously chaps. Must try harder.

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