Fast lane: Around the world in a Ford Model T

Ford Model T.

Around the world in a Ford Model T

A Dutch couple are on a round-the- world odyssey in a 100- year-old Ford Model T. Dirk and Trudy Regter have owned their 1915 Ford since 1997 and began their journey in the summer of 2012. They have covered about 80,000km since, but their car was hit by a Land Rover in Belgium last year and they are working to get it back on the road. They plan to continue their journey through New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and India, crossing the Himalayas to China, through Mongolia, and back to the Netherlands via central Europe this year and the next.

The Regters’ Ford is powered by a 3-litre petrol engine and is unaltered from its standard 1915 factory specification.

Jag revives first supercar

Jaguar Classic will make nine XKSS, a 1957 road-going version of Jaguar’s Le Mans-winning D-Type. Touted as the world’s first supercar, the XKSS weighs 921kg and is powered by an inline-six engine paired with a four-speed manual gearbox. The nine cars are expected to fetch in excess of £1 million (S$1.9 million) each and the first delivery will commence early next year.

Merc’s GLC Coupe coming

The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe is ready to do battle with the BMW X6, the first “coupe- SUV”. With adaptive steering, permanent all-wheel-drive, a nine-speed automatic transmission and that shiny three-pointed star upfront, Merc’s version will surely win some buyers over. Two suspension variants with continuously adjustable damping are available. The entry-level models are four-cylinder diesel-engined GLC220d and GLC250d with outputs ranging from 170bhp to 204bhp, as well as four-cylinder petrol-engined GLC250 rated at 211bhp. The car should be in Singapore by year-end.

Bike technology for car chassis

Three British companies have produced the world’s first car chassis using butted tubing technology taken from bicycle production. Bicycle tube-maker Reynolds Technology, computer-aided engineering consultancy Simpact and sportscar maker Caterham have shaved more than 10 per cent off the weight of the already lightweight chassis of the iconic Caterham Seven. Caterham believes that an ultra-lightweight Seven using the new technology would cost between £1,000 (S$1,900) and £2,000 as an option on the standard vehicle.

Mazda’s retractable fastback

Mazda has revealed the MX-5 RF (“retractable fastback”), a radical variant of the world’s favourite little roadster. Featuring fastback styling with a smooth roofline that slopes down to the rear, the MX-5 RF’s unique rear roof and retractable back window deliver a distinctive new convertible feeling. The power roof opens and closes with the press of a button while moving at speeds of up to 10kmh. The roof stows away compactly and efficiently. The car has the same boot space as the soft-top model.

Powerful Boxster arrives

Porsche’s beautiful and powerful Boxster Spyder is here. The lightest and punchiest Boxster is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, and sits 20mm closer to the tarmac. Its 3.8-litre flat-six makes 375bhp, catapulting the topless car to100kmhin 4.5 seconds and on to a top velocity of 290kmh. The racer starts from $382,588 without COE at Stuttgart Auto.

A car for five-year-olds

A car designed by motoring experts for five- to 10-year-olds is in the making. The two-seater (drawing, below) will feature twin electric motors, disc brakes, independent suspension, right- or left-hand-drive steering and an innovative system that detects obstacles and stops the car to avoid collisions.

It will feature a body styled by car designer Chris Johnson, who has more than 30 years of experience in automotive and product design. The training car has been specially produced by Young Driver Motor Cars, a division of Young Driver, the United Kingdom’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons.

Zoox to test self-driving cars on public roads

Zoox Inc, a relatively unknown American start-up with the goal of building fully autonomous vehicles, was granted permission by California to test self-driving cars on public roads in the state. This marks the 12th company to receive such a permit, reported Bloomberg. Others include Google parent Alphabet Inc, Ford Motor, Tesla Motors and Cruise Automation, which was acquired by General Motors this month to help bolster the automaker’s efforts to develop self-driving vehicles. Zoox aims to create self-driving cars for a ride-hailing service similar to those offered by Uber and Lyft.

Nissan GT-R’s makeover

The 2017 model year Nissan GT-R gets a makeover across its front end, with a new chrome matte finish grille that is larger than before. A new bonnet has been significantly reinforced, contributing to stability during high-speed driving. The GT-R’s monstrous 3.8-litre 24-valve twin-turbocharged V6 delivers 570bhp and 637Nm and power is transmitted by a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Expensive airbag recall

Takata Corp, the supplier behind the auto industry’s biggest recall, estimated a comprehensive callback of its airbag inflators would total about 2.7 trillion yen (S$30 billion), reported Bloomberg. The worst-case recall scenario would involve 287.5 million airbag inflators. Takata and the automakers still have to determine how the costs are shared.

Head-spinning Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG’s new C63 Cabriolet combines fresh air with adrenaline to create a head-spinning car that churns out either 476bhp or 510bhp. Flared wheel arches, wide track and large wheels underscore the car’s prowess. The C63 S Cabriolet does 0-100kmh in 4.1 seconds, while the C63 Cabriolet does it in 4.2.

Audi’s sprinting Spyder

Behold Audi’s new R8 V10 Spyder. The 10-cylinder convertible packs 540bhp and sprints from 0-100kmh in 3.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 316kmh. Its space-frame is 50 per cent stiffer and promises to be more dynamic and involving than before. The car should arrive in the first half of next year, after the coupe, which is expected in the next couple of months.

A hybrid from Hyundai

A display unit of Hyundai’s first hybrid car is in agent Komoco’s Alexandra Road showroom. Arriving about 20 years after Toyota’s Prius, the Ioniq Hybrid boasts lithium-ion polymer batteries (more advanced than those found in the Prius) driving a 170Nm electric motor. The motor assists a new hybrid-dedicated 1.6-litre direct injection high compression “Kappa” engine mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. With aluminium body panels and chassis parts, the Ioniq is relatively light for a car its size (wheelbase of 2,700mm). It is expected to go on sale by the third quarter.

Opel to post realistic fuel figures

Opel will publish fuel consumption figures that are more reflective of everyday driving conditions from June. This is ahead of the European Commission's intention to replace the New European Driving Cycle with the more modern Worldwide Harmonized Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure from next year. And by 2018, Opel will implement after-exhaust treatment to neutralise nitrogen oxides on its entire fleet of diesel vehicles.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline 'Fast lane: Around the world in a Ford Model T'. Print Edition | Subscribe