Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lamborghini Islero, 1968

Lamborghini Islero, 1968


Lamborghini Islero was produced by Lamborghini between 1968-1970 and featuring the Lamborghini V12 engine. It was the replacement for the 400GT. The car debuted at the 1968 Geneva Auto Show.

The Islero (pronounced "eez-LEHR-oh") was named after a bull that killed famed matador Manuel Rodriguez "Manolete" on August 28, 1947.

Since Carrozzeria Touring, the company that designed Lamborghini's chasis, was bankrupt, Carrozzeria Marazzi was the next logical choice as it was funded by Mario Marazzi, an old employee of Touring. The design was essentially a rebody of the 400GT, but the track was altered to allow for wider tires and while the Islero's body suffered from a lack of proper fit between the panels, its good outward visibility, roomier interior, and much improved soundproofing made it an improvement over previous models. It had a 325 hp, 4L V12 engine, 5 speed transmission, fully independent suspension, and disc brakes. Its top speed was rated at 155 mph. Only 125 Isleros were built.

An updated Islero, dubbed the Islero S was released in 1969. The engine in this model was tuned to 350 hp but the torque remained the same. There were quite a few styling changes including brightwork blind slots on the front fenders, an enlarged hood scoop (which supplied air to the interior of the car, not the engine), slightly flaired wheel arches, tinted windows, round side marker lights (instead of tear drops on the original), and a fixed section in the door windows. Various other changes included larger brake discs, revised rear suspension and revamped dashboard and interior. The top speed of the S improved to 161 mph or 260 km/h. Only 100 examples of the Islero S were built, bringing the production total of the Islero nameplate to 225 cars. Ferruccio Lamborghini himself had an Islero as his daily drive car during that era.

Lamborghini Espada, 1968

Lamborghini Espada, 1968


The Lamborghini Espada is a grand tourer which was built by Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini between 1968 and 1978.
Based on the Marzal show car, displayed at the 1967 Geneva Auto Show, and the Bertone Pirana, a radically rebodied Jaguar E-type. It was to fill the spot of a true four seat car in Lamborghini's lineup, which already included the 400GT and Miura. 1217 cars were made, making it the most successful Lamborghini model at the time.

The car was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign, shortly before he designed the Volkswagen Passat in 1971. Stylistically the Espada is the Passat's immediate predecessor, and the Passat can be seen as a family saloon and fastback version of the Espada from a design viewpoint.

The Espada was originally fitted with a 4L 325bhp V12 engine, fully independent suspension and four wheel disc brakes. Most transmissions were manual, and the Espada also introduced one of the first automatic transmissions able to absorb the torque of a large sporting V-12. It had unusual gearing, with 3 ratios: drive, 1 and reverse.

During its 10 year production the car underwent some changes, and three different models were produced. These were the S1 (1968-1970), the S2 (1970-1972) and the S3 (1972-1978). Each model featured engine power improvements, but only minor details were changed with the exterior design. The interior was altered dramatically between each model. An all new dashboard and steering wheel was installed for the S2, and the interior was again revamped for the S3. In 1970, power assisted steering was offered as an option, and in 1974 an automatic transmission was also offered. In 1976 impact bumpers had to be installed to meet United States safety requirements, and some people consider cars produced with them to be the S4, but Lamborghini did not officially change the designation. Near the end of the Espada's life, Bertone designed a four door prototype, which was never put into production.

In 1999, a new version of the Espada was rumored to be in the works, but it was right at the time Lamborghini wanted to concentrate on a Diablo successor, so little became of the idea aside from a few drawings

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Porsche 930 Turbo, 1980

Porsche 930 Turbo, 1980

The Porsche 930 (usually pronounced nine-thirty) was a sports car built by Porsche, 930 actually being the "type number" for the pre-964 generation Porsche 911 Turbo produced between 1975 and 1989. It was Porsche's top-of-the-range model for its entire production duration and at the time of its introduction the fastest production car available in Germany.

Model history
Porsche began experimenting with turbocharging technology on their race cars during the late 1950s, and in 1972 began development on a turbocharged version of the 911. Porsche originally needed to produce the car in order to comply with homologation regulations and had intended on marketing it as a street legal race vehicle like the 1973 Carrera 2.7 RS. When the homologation rules changed, Porsche continued to develop the car anyway, deciding to make it a fully-equipped variant of the 911 that would top the model range and give Porsche a more direct competitor to vehicles from Ferrari and Lamborghini, which were more expensive and more exclusive than the standard 911. Although Porsche no longer needed the car to meet homologation requirements, it proved a viable platform for racing vehicles, and became the basis for the 934 and 935 race cars. Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche, who was running the company at the time, handed development of the vehicle over to Ernst Fuhrmann, who adapted the turbo-technology originally developed for the 917/30 CAN-AM car to the 3.0 litre flat-six from the Carrera RS 3.0, creating what Porsche internally dubbed as 930. Total output from the engine was 260 PS (191 kW; 256 hp), much more than the standard Carrera. In order to ensure that the platform could make the most of the higher power output, a revised suspension, larger brakes and stronger gearbox became part of the package, although some consumers were unhappy with Porsche's use of a 4-speed whilst a 5-speed manual was available in the "lesser" Carrera. A "Whale-Tail" rear spoiler was installed to help vent more air to the engine and help create more downforce at the rear of the vehicle, and wider rear wheels with upgraded tires combined with flared wheelarches were added to increase the 911's width and grip, making it more stable.

Porsche badged the vehicle simply as "Turbo" (although early U.S. units were badged as "Turbo Carrera") and debuted it at the Paris Auto Show in October 1974 before putting it on sale in the spring of 1975; export to the United States began in 1976.

The Porsche 930 proved very fast but also very demanding. The 911 was prone to oversteer because of its rear engine layout and short wheelbase; combining those traits with the power of the turbocharged motor, which exhibited significant turbo-lag, meant driving the car required more skill to drive at the edge of its (higher) level of performance. Even though the rear engine layout provided superior traction, sudden bursts of power to the rear wheels in mid-corner could break the tires loose, causing the car to literally spin out of control. This effect was amplified if an unexperienced driver would instinctively lift the throttle in reaction. The vehicle needed to be kept at high revs during spirited driving to minimise the turbo lag. Skilled drivers quickly learned how to drive the Porsche 930 properly, and with that knowledge came the ability to drive the car above and beyond the levels of most other sports cars. Nevertheless, some fatal accidents resulted in product liability law suits brought against Porsche in the US, where Ralph Nader had made his name criticizing the rear engine-rear wheel drive layout of the Chevrolet Corvair.

Porsche made its first and most significant upgrades to the Porsche 930 for 1978, enlarging the engine to 3.3 litres and adding an air-to-air intercooler. By cooling the pressurized air charge, the intercooler helped increase power output to 300 hp (DIN); the rear 'whale tail' spoiler was re-profiled and raised slightly to make room for the intercooler. Porsche also upgraded the brakes to units similar to those used on the 917 racecar.

Changing emissions regulations in Japan and the U.S. forced Porsche to withdraw the 930 from those markets in 1980. Believing the 928 would eventually replace the 911, Fuhrmann cut-back spending on the model, and it was not until Fuhrmann's resignation the company finally committed the financing to re-regulate the car.

The Porsche 930 remained available in Europe, and for 1983 a 330 PS (243 kW; 325 hp) performance option became available on a build-to-order basis from Porsche. With the add-on came a 4-pipe exhaust system and an additional oil-cooler requiring a remodelled front spoiler and units bearing the add-on often featured additional ventilation holes in the rear fenders and modified rockers.

Porsche offered a "Flachbau" ("slantnose") Porsche 930 under the "Sonderwunschprogramm" (special order) program beginning in 1981, an otherwise normal 930 with a 935-style slantnose instead of the normal 911 front end. Each Flachbau unit was handcrafted by remodeling the front fenders. So few were built that the slantnose units often commanded a high premium over sticker, adding to the fact that they required a premium of up to 60 per cent (highly indivdualized cars even more) over the standard price. Several sources claim the factory built 948 units. The Flachbau units delivered in Europe usually featured the 330 hp (246 kW) performance kit.

928 sales had risen slightly by the 1985 model year, but there was still some question as to if it were truly capable of superseding the 911 as the company's premier model, and for 1986 Porsche re-introduced the Porsche 930 to the Japanese and U.S. markets, now featuring an emission-controlled engine producing 282 PS (207 kW; 278 hp). At the same time Porsche introduced the Targa and Cabriolet variants, both of which proved popular.

Porsche discontinued the 930 after model year 1989 when its underlying "G-Series" platform was being replaced by the 964. '89 models were the only versions of the Porsche 930 to feature a 5-speed transmission. A turbo version of the 964 officially succeeded the Porsche 930 in 1991 with a modified version of the same 3.3 litre flat-6 engine and a 5-speed transmission.

Mercury Marauder Convertible Concept, 2002

Mercury Marauder Convertible Concept, 2002

From 2003 to 2004, Ford produced the Marauder as a "high-performance" version of the Mercury Grand Marquis sedan.

The 2003 Mercury Marauder was based on the Ford Panther platform which utilizes a hydroformed steel frame, front rack and pinion steering, in addition to totally revised front and rear suspension with monotube shock absorbers, the Marauder also had a naturally aspirated 4.6 L DOHC V8 with 302 hp and 318 ft·lbf torque. 2004 was the last year for this Marauder mostly due to lackluster sales, blamed by some on bland styling and an incorrect target audience. Originally, they were produced in "any color the customer desired, so long as it was black." Eventually, the Marauder was offered in silver, blue, and red but in limited quantities.

After the Marauder was discontinued, the Ford Crown Victoria LX Sport remains and bears a similar appearance to the Marauder but is powered by the lesser 4.6 L 2-valve SOHC V8 engine rated at 239 hp. The LX Sport still offers the same exterior and interior colors of the Marauder, however it uses wood grain trim on the dashboard and doors, unlike the Marauder, which used aluminum.

Total production for the 2003 - 2004 Mercury Marauder was 11,052:

    * 2003 - Total: 7839 (328 Blue, 417 Silver, 7094 Black)
    * 2004 - Total: 3213 (980 Dark Toreador Red, 997 Silver, 1236 Black)