Saturday, June 30, 2012

1930 Burney Streamline

Made in Britain and reputed to have been the work of an airship designer,
the car used a front-wheel drive chassis.... reversed.
With strong echoes of later Tatra rear-engined machines,
it must have had enormous interior room – and very odd at-the-limit handling...
(But then, maybe not – look at the length of the wheelbase.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The 2000 Oldsmobile Profile concept

 The 2000 Oldsmobile Profile concept was a different kind of sophisticated sports sedan with power sliding rear doors, sliding fold-flat split rear seats and comprehensive mobile communications. Driving control is reinforced by a supercharged all-aluminum twin cam V6, all-wheel drive and Oldsmobile's Precision Control System.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Volkswagen XL1 concept

The new Volkswagen XL1 attains a CO2 emissions value of 24 g/km, thanks to a combination of lightweight construction (monocoque and add-on parts made of carbon fibre), very low aerodynamic drag (Cd 0.186) and a plug-in hybrid system - consisting of a two cylinder TDI engine (35 kW / 48 PS), E-motor (20 kW / 27 PS), 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG) and lithium-ion battery.

The results: with fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km, the new Volkswagen XL1 emits only 24 g/km CO2.

Since it is designed as a plug-in hybrid, the XL1 prototype can also be driven for up to 35 kilometres in pure electric mode, i.e. with zero emissions at point of use. The battery can be charged from a conventional household electric outlet. Battery regeneration is also employed to recover energy while slowing down and store as much of it as possible in the battery for re-use. In this case, the electric motor acts as an electric generator.

Despite the very high levels of efficiency, developers were able to design a body layout that offers greater everyday practicality, incorporating side by side seating rather than the tandem arrangement seen in both the first 1-litre car presented in 2002.

In the Volkswagen XL1, wing doors make it easier to enter and exit the car. The body parts are made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer parts (CFRP). Together with suppliers, Volkswagen has developed and patented a new system for CFRP production in what is known as the aRTM process (advanced Resin Transfer Moulding).


The Volkswagen XL1 is highly efficient. Two examples:
1) To travel at a constant speed of 100 km/h, the prototype only needs 6.2 kW / 8.4 PS – a fraction of the performance of today’s cars (Golf 1.6 TDI with 77 kW and 7-speed DSG: 13.2 kW / 17.9 PS).
2) In electric mode, the XL1 needs less than 0.1 kWh (82 Wh/km) to complete a one kilometre driving course.
These are record values for any car.

When the full power of the hybrid system is engaged, the Volkswagen prototype accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.9 seconds; its top speed is 160 km/h (electronically limited). Since the XL1 weighs just 795 kg, the drive system has an easy job of propelling the car. When full power is needed, the electric motor, which can deliver 100 Newton metres of torque from a standstill, works as a booster to support the TDI engine (120 Newton metres torque). Together, the TDI and E-motor deliver a maximum torque of 140 Newton metres in boosting mode.

Plug-in hybrid concept

With the Volkswagen XL1, Volkswagen is implementing a plug-in hybrid concept, which utilises the fuel efficient technology of the common rail turbodiesel (TDI) and the dual clutch transmission (DSG). The TDI generates its stated maximum power of 35 kW / 48 PS from just 0.8 litre displacement.
The entire hybrid unit is housed above the vehicle’s driven rear axle. The actual hybrid module with electric motor and clutch is positioned between the TDI and the 7-speed DSG; this module was integrated in the DSG transmission case in place of the usual flywheel.
The integrated lithium-ion battery supplies the E-motor with energy. The high voltage energy flow from and to the battery or E-motor is managed by the power electronics, which operates at 220 Volts. The XL1’s body electrical system is supplied with the necessary 12 Volts through a DC/DC converter.

The E-motor supports the TDI in acceleration (boosting), but as described it can also power the XL1 prototype on its own for a distance of up to 35 km. In this mode, the TDI is decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging a clutch, and it is shut down. Meanwhile, the clutch on the gearbox side remains closed, so the DSG is fully engaged with the electric motor.
The driver can choose to drive the XL1 in pure electric mode (provided that the battery is sufficiently charged). As soon as the electric mode button on the instrument panel is pressed, the car is propelled exclusively by electrical power. Restarting of the TDI is a very smooth and comfortable process: In what is known as "pulse starting" of the TDI engine while driving, the electric motor’s rotor is sped up and is very quickly coupled to the engine clutch. This accelerates the TDI to the required speed and starts it.
When the XL1 is braked, the E-motor operates as a generator that utilises the braking energy to charge the battery (battery regeneration). In certain operating conditions the load shared between the TDI engine and the electric motor can be shifted so that the turbodiesel is operating at its most favourable efficiency level.
The gears of the automatically shifting 7-speed DSG are also always selected with the aim of minimising energy usage. The engine controller regulates all energy flow and drive management tasks, taking into account the power demanded at any given moment by the driver. Some of the parameters used to realise the optimum propulsion mode for the given conditions are: accelerator pedal position and engine load, as well as the energy supply and mix of kinetic and electrical energy at any given time.

Two Cylinder TDI

The 0.8 litre TDI engine (35 kW / 48 PS) was derived from the 1.6 litre TDI, which drives such cars as the Golf and Passat. The 0.8 TDI exhibits the same data as the 1.6-litre TDI common rail engine in terms of cylinder spacing (88 mm), cylinder bore (79.5 mm) and stroke (80.5 mm). In addition, the XL1’s two-cylinder and the mass produced four cylinder share key internal engine features for reducing emissions. They include special piston recesses for multiple injection and individual orientation of the individual injection jets. A balancer shaft, driven by the crankshaft and turning at the same speed, optimises smooth engine running.

The TDI’s aluminium crankcase was constructed to achieve high rigidity and precision, which in turn leads to very low friction losses. With the goal of reducing emissions, exhaust gas recirculation and an oxidation catalytic converter as well as a diesel particulate filter are used. Equipped in this way, the 0.8 TDI already fulfils the limits of the Euro-6 emissions standard.
Also designed for efficiency is the vehicle’s cooling system. Engine management cools the TDI by activating an externally driven electric water pump only when engine operating conditions require it. This cooling system includes an automatically controlled air intake system at the front of the vehicle to reduce cooling system drag. This thermal management strategy also contributes towards reduced fuel consumption. A second electric water pump, which is also used only as needed, circulates a separate lower temperature coolant loop to cool the starter generator and power electronics.

CFRP body

The development team made extraordinary strides in designing the CFRP body - in terms of its lightweight construction as well as its aerodynamics. A comparison to the Golf illustrates just how innovative the body concept of the Volkswagen XL1 is:
The drag coefficient of the Golf is very good for the compact class: Cd (0.312) x A (frontal area 2.22 m2) equals a total drag figure of 0.693 m2 (Cd.A). Meanwhile, the XL1 exceeds this performance with a Cd value of 0.186 and a frontal area of 1.50 m2. The product of these two parameters yields a total drag, or Cd.A value of 0.277 m2 which is 2.5 times lower than that of the Golf.

The Volkswagen XL1 is 3,888 mm long, 1,665 mm wide and just 1,156 mm tall. These are extreme dimensions. The Polo has a similar length (3,970 mm) and width (1,682 m), but it is significantly taller (1,462 mm). The height of the Volkswagen XL1 is about the same as that of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder (1,184 mm).
The wing doors of the Volkswagen XL1 are are hinged at two points: low on the A-pillars and just above the windscreen in the roof frame, so they do not just swivel upwards, but slightly forwards as well. The doors also extend far into the roof. When they are opened, they free up an exceptionally large amount of entry and exit space.
In front, the Volkswagen XL1 exhibits the greatest width; the car then narrows towards the rear. Viewed from above, the form of the XL1 resembles that of a dolphin; especially at the rear, where the lines optimally conform to the air flow over the car body to reduce the Volkswagen’s aerodynamic drag.
In side profile, the roofline reflects styling lines that trace an arc from the A-pillar back to the rear. The rear wheels are fully covered to prevent air turbulence; the air flows here are also optimised by small spoilers in front of and behind the wheels. Observers will look for door mirrors in vain; replacing them on the wing doors are small cameras which take on the role of digital outside mirrors that send images of the surroundings behind the car to two displays inside the vehicle.

The front end of the Volkswagen XL1 no longer exhibits the typical radiator grille. The actual air intake for cooling the TDI engine, battery and interior is located in the lower front end section and has electrically controlled louvres.
Large sections of the Volkswagen XL1’s body consist of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) - which is as lightweight as it is strong. Specifically, the monocoque with its slightly offset seats for driver and passenger and all exterior body parts are made of CFRP. The layers of carbon fibre, which are aligned with the directions of forces, are formed into parts with an epoxy resin system in the aRTM process. This material mix produces an extremely durable and lightweight composite. For a long time, it was considered impossible to manufacture a body of CFRP, like that of the Volkswagen XL1, to industrial standards. Nonetheless, Volkswagen successfully found a cost-effective way to mass produce CFRP parts in sufficient volumes as early as 2009 – in the framework of the XL1 development project.
CFRP is the ideal material for the body of the Volkswagen XL1 because of its light weight. The XL1 prototype weighs only 795 kg. Of this figure, 227 kg represents the entire drive unit, 153 kg the running gear, 80 kg the equipment (including the two bucket seats) and 105 kg the electrical system. That leaves 230 kg, which is precisely the weight of the body – produced largely of CFRP - including wing doors, front windscreen in thin-glass technology as in motorsport and the highly safe monocoque. A total of 21.3 percent of the Volkswagen XL1, or 169 kg, consists of CFRP. In addition, Volkswagen uses lightweight metals for 22.5 percent of all parts (179 kg). Only 23.2 percent (184 kg) of the Volkswagen XL1 is constructed from steel and iron materials. The rest of its weight is distributed among various other polymers (e.g. polycarbonate side windows), metals, natural fibres, process materials and electronics.

The Volkswagen XL1 is not only lightweight, but very safe as well. As mentioned, this is due in part to the use of CFRP as a material. In the style of Formula 1 race cars, the Volkswagen has a high-strength monocoque. In contrast to Formula 1, however, this safety capsule is enclosed on top – for safety. Depending on the type of collision, the load path may be directed through the A- and B-pillars, cant rails and sills, all of which absorb the impact energy. Additional side members and crossmembers in the front and rear perfect the car’s passive safety.

Running gear with ESP

The running gear is equipped with anti-roll bars at the front and rear and is characterised by lightweight construction with maximum safety. In front, a double wishbone suspension is used, while a semi-trailing link system is employed at the rear. The front and rear suspension are both very compact in construction and offer a high level of driving comfort. The running gear components mount directly to the CFRP monocoque in key areas.

Running gear weight has been reduced by the use of aluminium parts (including suspension components, brake calipers, dampers, steering gear housing), CFRP (anti-roll bars), ceramics (brake discs) magnesium (wheels) and plastics (steering wheel body). Friction-optimised wheel bearings and drive shafts, as well as an entirely new generation of optimised low rolling resistance tyres from MICHELIN (front: 115/80 R 15; rear: 145/55 R 16), contribute to the low energy consumption of the Volkswagen XL1. Safety gains are realised by an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stabilisation programme (ESP). That is because sustainability without maximum safety would not really be a step forward. The Volkswagen XL1 shows how these two parameters can be brought into harmony.

Technical data

Construction method: CFR monocoque and add-on parts
Length / width / height: 3,888 mm / 1,665 mm / 1,156 mm
Wheelbase: 2,224 mm
Drive system
Type: Plug-in hybrid, rear wheel drive
Internal combustion engine: TDI, two cylinder, 800 cm3, 35 kW / 48 PS, 120 Nm
Electric motor: 20 kW / 27 PS, 100 Nm
Gearbox: 7-speed DSG
Battery: Lithium-ion
Emissions class: Euro 6
Weight data
Kerb weight: 795 kg
Performance / fuel economy
V/max: 160 km/h (electronically limited)
0-100 km/h: 11.9 s
Fuel consump. (Ø NEDC): 0.9 l/100 km
CO2 emissions ((Ø NEDC): 24 g/km
Range: E-drive: 35 km
Range: TDI + E-drive: approx. 550 km (10 litre fuel tank)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Volkswagen L1 concept

The objective was to develop a vehicle with a fuel consumption of no more than one litre per 100 kilometres, using all technical possibilities available. The principal point was to show how state-of-the-art technology can be used to reduce fuel consumption and still come up with a safe, usable and roadworthy vehicle.


Volkswagen's Research and Development division enthusiastically took up the challenge to design the world's most economical car, and created a ready-to-drive car in just three years. Volkswagen's study is registered for use on public highways, and a ourney from Wolfsburg to Hamburg demonstrates that the 1-litre car is technically feasible and offers driving pleasure of a very special kind.
Project manager Dr. Thomas Gänsicke: "It really is a fascinating experience to drive through the night at 100 km/h with the fuel consumption indicator showing just 1.0 ltr/100 km, and nothing but the stars above your head."
The key objectives in the development were to minimise all driving resistances through lightweight construction and outstanding aerodynamics, and to develop new tyres and running gear components, taking ergonomics, current safety standards and familiar control functions into account.
However, the target, a fuel consumption level of one litre per 100 kilometres, meant abandoning conventional vehicle concepts. With a width of just 1.25 metres, the 1-litre car is extraordinarily narrow, the driver and passenger sit one behind the other, the transversely installed engine is centrally located in front of the rear axle, the plastic bodywork has the highly aerodynamic shape of a teardrop.
In close cooperation with numerous suppliers, existing components were examined, assessed and modified, and brand new concepts were advanced. This was the case in particular for the wheels/tyres, the starter-alternator, the bodywork and the lighting.


Even in the initial concept phase of the 1-litre car, different drive concept simulations showed that diesel was the only real option for the drive system, as only this combustion principle meets the maximum requirements for optimum energy exploitation.

Here, the experience of the technical development team that created the 'three-litre' (ie 3 litres/100km fuel economy) Lupo was of great benefit. However, a 3-cylinder engine was out of the question for a fuel consumption level of just one litre per 100 kilometres. A 2-cylinder engine was also quickly dismissed.
The final solution was a one-cylinder naturally-aspirated diesel engine with a displacement of just 0.3 litres. The direct injection diesel engine makes use of the most efficient injection system available today: a unit injection element with 6-hole jet and pre-injection. It provides an incredibly high working pressure of 2,000 Bar!
The one-cylinder SDI engine in the 1-litre car is not a mere derivative of the familiar engines, but is rather a completely new, technically highly sophisticated development. Two overhead camshafts actuate roller rocker fingers which in turn actuate three valves, two inlet valves and one exhaust outlet valve. These are then fed from the engine through a titanium exhaust system with reduced backpressure.
The two overhead camshafts are driven by a strengthened toothed belt. The engine is an aluminium monobloc construction. That means that the cylinder head and crankcase of the compression-ignition engine are cast as a single piece. But that is not the end of the lightweight construction, for also here, all technically feasible stops have been pulled.
The fuel pump housing is made of magnesium. The trapezoidal connecting rod is made of particle-reinforced titanium. The success of these measures becomes evident on the scales: dry (ie without operating fluids like oil and water), the engine weighs in at an unbelievably light 26 kilograms. Ready for operation, including the starter-alternator, it is just 12 kilograms more.

Besides the reduction in weight, various measures were taken inside the engine to optimise fuel consumption. To minimise frictional resistance, the running area of the cylinder has been laser-alloyed, roller rocker fingers reduce friction in the valve drive, even the tension of the piston rings has been reduced.
The centrally mounted one-cylinder SDI diesel engine is transversely installed in front of the rear axle, has a displacement of 299cc and generates its maximum output (6.3 kW / 8.5hp) at 4,000 rpm. The maximum torque of 18.4 Newton metres is delivered at 2,000 rpm.
Even with this apparently low output and power development, the extremely light vehicle weight (which is comparable to that of an average touring motorcycle) and the excellent aerodynamics (with a drag coefficient of 0.159 - much better that a motorcycle and far better any series production vehicle) provide for a lively performance. For example, the 1-litre car reaches a top speed of 120 km/h.
Moreover, Volkswagen's economical wunderkind is suitable for everyday use despite the extremes of its design. And that includes its range. It is not difficult to calculate the range available with the 6.5 litre tank: the two-seater can travel up to 650 kilometres on a single filling.


Due to the small installation space available for the engine-gearbox unit, new approaches were also required in the power transmission system. Here, a compact automated sequential 6-speed gearbox with a specially tuned shift program is used. This optimises power transmission, reducing fuel consumption.
It was not possible to simply take a gearbox off the shelf, for once again, the motto was: save weight. And so the gearbox housing is made of magnesium, all gears and shafts are hollow, and bolts are made of titanium. In addition, a special high-lubricity oil ensures the 6-speed gearbox, which weighs a mere 23 kilograms, always runs smoothly.
The gearshift mechanism is electro-hydraulically actuated via finely-tuned sensors, eliminating the need for a clutch pedal. There is also no need for a gear lever, for upshifts and downshift are made fully automatically. Here, the best possible engine and gearbox shift points are selected for optimum fuel economy. Gear selection - forwards, reverse or neutral - is made using a turn switch on the right-hand side of the cockpit.
The automated gearbox is coupled to a start-stop system, which includes a freewheel function. In overrun mode, the vehicle switches the engine off. The vehicle then rolls without the engine running. Development engineers call this gliding - alluding to the silent flight of a glider.

The engine starts up again immediately when the magnesium accelerator pedal is depressed. A specially developed starter-alternator makes sure the engine is immediately restarted. Positioned between the engine and gearbox and using a dual clutch system, this works as both current generator and flywheel. In gliding mode, both clutches are open.
When the driver presses the accelerator pedal again, the clutch between the engine and the starter-alternator is closed, causing the still turning flywheel to restart the engine without consuming any electrical current. Apart from this, the crankshaft starter-alternator, which eliminates the need for a conventional alternator and starter motor, has a so-called boost function which is able to supply additional power to supplement the power of the engine. But that is not all the starter-alternator does. While braking, the negative acceleration energy is fed into the alternator and recovered (regenerative braking).


Both the silhouette of the 1-litre car and its front view are more reminiscent of a narrow sports car than of a typical research vehicle. The reason: In order to achieve a consumption of one litre, the engineers not only had to do wonders with the drive unit - they also had to exploit the aerodynamic possibilities to the utmost (cd = 0.159).
Since the 1-litre car was to be a two-seater, but the frontal area had to be kept as small as possible, the only option was to arrange the two seats in line ahead, as in a racing bobsleigh or a glider. Entry is effected via a 1.5-metre-long gullwing door, which is drawn down on the left side to make the process more convenient.

The wheels have also been sheathed. The rear wheels disappear entirely behind their trim, and the front wheels are equipped with all-over wheel caps in carbon fibre. Even the side cooling air inlets only open when the engine needs cooling, and otherwise stay shut. Viewed from above, the teardrop shape of the body and the steep cut-off at the rear are clearly visible. The necessary downthrust on the rear axle is provided by an aerodynamically optimised underbody trim and a diffuser on the rear end.
In order to achieve the lowest possible Cd figure, there was never any question of exterior mirrors. However, the 1-litre car's rear visibility is ensured via cameras in the side turn signals. These show the road behind on two small LCD monitors located left and right of the circular central instrument. For parking, the picture is taken from the centrally-mounted rear-view camera in the third brake light, which shows the area directly behind the vehicle.
For the bodywork and the frame, a lightweight solution was used which also takes optimum account of the bearing structure: A combination of a magnesium spaceframe and an outer skin of carbon fibre composite material. With a weight of altogether some 74 kilograms (163 lb), this version is 13 kilograms (28.6 lb.) lighter than a combination of aluminium spaceframe with carbon fibre outer skin.
Even details such as door locks have been dispensed with, their place being taken by the most up-to-date electronic locking technology. The system automatically unlocks the entry hood when the driver approaches with the sensor. As in a top-range sports car, the engine is brought to life with a starter button.
The passive safety level corresponds to that of a GT sports car registered for racing. With the aid of computer simulations, all kinds of crash types were investigated and the vehicle designed accordingly. So-called crash tubes, with integrated pressure sensors for airbag control in the front end of the car, absorb the entire deformation energy, leaving the footwell unaffected. The aluminium fuel tank - with a filler opening designed for automated robotised filling - is located in the collision-protected area behind the passenger.
Furthermore, active safety is provided by the latest-generation four-channel ABS and the electronic stability program (ESP).

Running Gear

The shape of the tandem two-seater itself hints at a sports car, and the running gear, the seating position and the mid-engine are further clues that a different concept has been consciously pursued here than that of a traditional passenger car. The low sitting positions of the driver and passenger furthermore favour agile handling and a low centre of gravity, the sporty matching of the running gear ensures a low level of lateral inclination, and in extreme cases the ESP cuts in to lend a hand.

The front axle of the 1-litre car is a work of art in itself. In design terms it is a double-wishbone axle, with the upper wishbone in magnesium and the lower one and the pivot bearings in aluminium. The wheel hubs are made of titanium, and the balls in the lightweight-construction wheel bearings are ceramic. The knock-out here is the weight: the entire front axle construction including spring-damper unit weighs just 8kg!
The driven rear axle has an entirely different construction, being designed on the De-Dion principle. The driven suspension has numerous elements of lightweight construction: the leaf springs are made of glass fibre, the transverse tube and the wheel mountings of aluminium, and the wheel hubs of titanium. The drive shafts and the wheel bearings are integrated in the axle.
The direct mechanical steering with its flat-top steering-wheel (whose magnesium skeleton gives it a weight of only 540 grams) is also a minor miracle of lightweight construction. The steering box is made of magnesium, the fabricated hollow rack of aluminium and titanium. Titanium pinions and aluminium track-rods with titanium pivot pins further contribute to the total weight of the steering gear being only 1870 grams.
Safe braking is assured by four alloy disc brakes and alloy brake calipers, combined with the latest-generation anti-lock brake system. An electronic parking brake on the rear axle ensures safe parking of the vehicle. The entire brake system adds only 7.8 kilograms to the lightweight construction total.
Volkswagen has also gone new and extreme ways in minimising the rolling resistance. In close cooperation with a tyre manufacturer, a wheel-and-tyre combination has been developed which puts the least possible mass in the way of propulsion. Like the body, the wheel is made of carbon fibre composite, and at 1.8 kilograms is more than 50 per cent lighter than a traditional wheel. The special tyre mixture and the tread have been designed in such a way that the driving resistance is reduced by 30 per cent in comparison with a standard tyre of the same size. In addition, the wheel bearings (made of titanium) have been specifically designed to be yet lower-friction for this car.


A further element in fuel saving is the optimisation of the electrical consumers in the vehicle. The aim was to omit none of the important functions, but always to develop the technologically most sophisticated and naturally the lightest solution.
Thus the 1-litre car has Bi-Xenon headlights whose dipped beam is only 32-Watt - but which have a light output of a traditional 60-Watt headlight, and have the advantage that, on account of this low output, no headlight washer system is necessary. The entire headlight element is made of polycarbonate, and weighs only 1,500 grams complete. The daylight beam, all turn signals and the rear light clusters are in LED technology.
The interior is illuminated by LED-fed prismatic rods located at the sides, the opened hood is well-lit in the dark by an electroluminescent foil.
Further technical highlights are the camera system with its displays integrated in the cockpit, the automatic access recognition for unlocking the gullwing door and the push-button starting (Kessy = Keyless Entry, Start and Exit System).
Energy storage is via a nickel-metal hydride battery. The on-board network is designed in CAN-Bus technology.


The interior with its uncluttered, sporty design has plenty of room for two people who, once the turret-like glass roof (made of polycarbonate with integrated sun protection) has been raised, can enter conveniently. The seats too are examples of extremely lightweight construction. Their frames are in magnesium, and instead of classic upholstery the seats have firm yet comfortable fabric covers (M-flex).
The passenger can place his or her feet comfortably on footrests located left and right of the driver's seat. The driver meanwhile looks through the flat-top steering-wheel with airbag at the cockpit in the style of a modern jet. Left and right of the centrally-placed circular instrument are the monitors relaying the pictures from the two rear-view cameras. In front of these, on the right side the turn switch for gear selection and electric parking brake, and the starter button, are located; on the left the regulator for heating and ventilation, and the light switch. On account of the optimum energy efficiency, only a small amount of superfluous heat is generated with which to heat the passenger compartment. Heating is therefore provided by an electric four-stage PTC element which is available immediately after starting, together with a four-stage fan.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The 2001 Chevy Borrego

The segment-busting Borrego concept from Chevrolet combines the road-taming agility of a rally car
with the traditional toughness of a Chevy. The all-wheel drive vehicle can commute very comfortably
during the weekdays and then let off a little steam on the weekends. The interior continues Chevy's traditional dual-cockpit design, and gives a sense of protection for rough riding. Rugged analog gauges finish the rally appearance. Borrego's sturdy roll bar not only harkens to durable pre-runners and rally cars, it also accommodates an innovative reconfigurable mid-gate at the rear of the passenger cab
that allows seating for two more passengers. Self-inflating seals keep the compartment Watertight regardless of its configuration. With the seating expanded, the cargo bed changes from 6 feet to about 3 feet to provide more room for passengers. The Convert-a-Cab™ system allows one person to reconfigure the cargo area in seconds without tools to create a 4' x 8' cargo area to transport large items. The Borrego's sturdy all-wheel-drive powertrain is based on Subaru's longitudinal all-wheel-drive system. The turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder engine keeps the vehicle's center of gravity low for improved handling and a better sight line down the hood.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The 2000 Buick Lacrosse

The LaCrosse's most notable feature is its ability to be quickly transformed-with a single voice command-from a luxury car to a light cargo carrier with an open bed. The tailgate electronically slides downward and under the vehicle, and the rear window and rear portion of the roof slide forward to reveal the cargo area. During this operation, the front section of roof moves slightly downward to accommodate the sliding panels. LaCrosse's four doors are power-operated and hinged at the front and rear pillars, opening at the centre pillar for easy access. The interior showcases consumer-friendly advanced technology such as voice-activated controls in place of the switches and displays usually mounted in the instrument panel. The only visible controller is a single trackball-like device installed in a console. The driver uses the controller in conjunction with voice commands to operate all systems except throttle, brakes and steering. Features selected by the driver are projected on the windshield in re-configurable color heads-up displays for both the driver and front passenger

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The 2000 GM Precept

The Precept concept demonstrates an ultra-high-efficiency, environmentally friendly architecture from GM.
The parallel-hybrid Precept concept employs the most aerodynamically efficient design known,
with a drag co-efficient of 0.163. Its four-wheel drive, dual-axle configuration features a 35 kilowatt
three-phase electric motor driving the front wheels, and a lean-burn compression-ignition,
direct-injection heat engine driving the rear wheels

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The 1992 GM Ultralite

Developed jointly by General Motors Design Center and Research Laboratories,
the Ultralite concept was created to be the ultimate test-platform for fuel economy.
The four-passenger vehicle features a carbon fibre monocoque structure that combines
high-strength with exceptional weight savings. Due to efficient packaging techniques
and use of lightweight materials throughout, Ultralite's curb weight is a mere 1,400 pounds.
The concept also incorporates low rolling resistance tires and a 1.5-litre, three cylinder,
two-stroke engine that delivers 111 bhp at 4500 rpm. Fuel economy is EPA rated at 80 mpg (highway).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The 1988 Pontiac Banshee

The Pontiac Banshee was introduced in 1988 to provide a glimpse at the high-performance sports car of the future.
The Banshee name first appeared in the '60s as a code name for the forthcoming '67 Pontiac Firebird,
companion to the '67 Chevrolet Camaro.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The 1988 Oldsmobile Aerotech

The 1988 Oldsmobile Aerotech, an experimental high-speed vehicle incorporating the latest in performance technology, (In 1988 that is.) was driven by three-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt to a world closed-course speed record of 257mph (413 km/h). 
It was powered by a specially-prepared turbo-charged version of the Quad 4 engine.
The Aerotech body was designed by GM Design staff and is one of the sleekest vehicles yet developed for a GM car division. The design of the Aerotech includes the capability of adjusting underbody sections to control the distribution of downforce, front to rear.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The 1983 Buick Questor

The Buick Questor was unveiled in 1983, GM's 75th anniversary year.
The Questor demonstrated state-of-the-art electronic systems for future cars,including a laser key entry system and a voice-activated radio telephone.