4x4, News

Land Rover 'taxi' tackles streets of London

A one-of-a-kind Land Rover Defender 'taxi' startled Londoners as it drove through the streets of the capital.

The iconic 4x4 was starring in a film to commemorate 67 years of the Defender as it enters final phase of production, while also helping promote a forthcoming charity auction of the special 'Defender 2,000,000' model being held at Bonhams on 16 December. All proceeds from the auction of Defender 2,000,000 will be donated in their entirety to Land Rover's humanitarian and conservation partners - the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.

The film also stars a number of other more unusual, specially modified vehicles including a Series II Land Rover ice cream van, a specially tailored Paul Smith Defender and the first ever Series Land Rover show car, displayed at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.

The special Defender features many distinctive finishing touches. A map of Red Wharf Bay - where the design for the original Land Rover was first drawn in the sand - is engraved on the car, which contrasts with the exterior Indus Silver satin paint. A unique 'no 2,000,000' badge sits on the rear of the vehicle, which is mirrored on the interior console. The design is finished with Santorini Black wheels and wheel arches, roof, door hinges, grille and mirror caps.

Inside, the leather seats also feature the 'Red Wharf Bay' graphic and 'no 2,000,000' logos have been stitched on the headrests. A bespoke aluminium plaque, signed by everyone who helped to assemble the vehicle is fitted to the driver's seat plinth. On the front and rear, S90 HUE registration plates - a reference to the first ever pre-production Land Rover, registration 'HUE 166' - complete this one-of-a-kind Land Rover Defender.

Production of the original Land Rover Series I began at the Lode Lane facility in 1947 ahead of its launch at the Amsterdam Motor Show on 30 April 1948. Since then two million examples of the Series I, II III and Defender have been produced at Solihull.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car, SUV, News

Hyundai unveils 10th Anniversary Streetcar Mosaic

Hyundai has completed a 50-day driving challenge in London called A Streetcar Named Hyundai.

The idea involved driving, photographing and filming every central London street within the 2092 miles detailed in the famous Cabbie 'Knowledge'. Involving 127 participants, the challenge was created by London 2012's Ordnance Survey team to mark the 10-year anniversary of 'Hyundai Motor UK' and was completed in the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, the world's first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell car.

London taxi driver and knowledge teacher of 30 years, Tony Norris said: "The Cabbie Knowledge is world renowned, unique to London and takes an average of 3-4 years to complete. But, this is the first time that the entire six-mile radius has been routed in this way as one continuous drive."

Hyundai created entirely new software to capture the drive, which controlled the camera shutter based on the car's speed, distance travelled and angle of travel to frame the entire journey photographically. The camera took pictures every 6-7 metres delivering 503,919 images - that's 207,000 MB of data. The special ix35 was designed to capture over half a million photos throughout the journey with the images used to create a 6m x 2m mosaic, a digital continuous image of all London's streets as well as a 200.5 second time lapse video to mark the UK company's 2005 heritage.

The final mosaic image depicts Oxford Street, which was voted as the most iconic street in London, and will go on display at City Hall in March 2016, as part of London's Hydrogen Week.

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Matthew Pencharz said: "Energy-efficient transport like these hydrogen fuel cell cars are key to helping improve the capital's air quality and reduce carbon emissions. I'm pleased that Hyundai's project has produced such an interesting portrait of our city with their new hydrogen technology."

Tony Whitehorn, Hyundai Motor UK's President and CEO commented: "We're incredibly proud of how far Hyundai has come in the UK in the short space of 10 years. During this time our brand has been completely transformed through innovation, design and technology - all of which encapsulate the Streetcar Named Hyundai challenge. We are delighted with the results."


Maserati window display in Liberty London

Maserati has joined forces with iconic London department store Liberty for an interactive window display.

The Italian car maker and the department store have also helped launch fashion charity LDNY's new 'Legacy' collection.

The unique and interactive window display at the Regent Street store features three examples from the Legacy collection alongside cutting-edge technology from 'Those' - a London-based digital design works - with their digital drawing system 'The Woodpecker'.

The Woodpecker is a drawing robot that sketches images of Maserati cars, as well as images from the Legacy Collection and Liberty's famous Tudor-style shop-front onto the glass window live in front of London shoppers. The Woodpecker also invites members of the public to be a part of the window display by writing tweets using the hashtag #LibertyxMaserati onto the glass.

A VIP event was hosted at Liberty earlier in the week to celebrate the charity fashion collection and officially launch the window display. Guests from the worlds of fashion and enterprise were joined by the likes of English fashion designer Ozwald Boateng, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush and Hip-hop artist Eve Jeffers at the 140 year-old London department store. A fleet of Maserati Quattroportes lined Great Marlborough Street where the store's main entrance is located.

The Legacy Collection is an ethical, luxury fashion project by the LDNY Foundation which promotes female designers from around the world. The LDNY Foundation is a partnership between London College of Fashion (LCF) and Parson's School in New York. Students from both universities entered designs by artisans inspired by nations such as Ethiopia, India, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Peru into a competition.

Peter Denton, Region Manager, Maserati North Europe said, "LDNY is a charity Maserati has been supporting since early 2015 when the first designs were showcased at Goldsmiths College. We're delighted to see the final Legacy Collection in the window at Liberty, which is such an iconic fashion venue in London. Maserati has always been known for being a pioneer of style and design in the automotive world, so it's an honour to champion new fashion innovators here in London."

News, Hatchback

Citroen C4 Cactus Chauffeurs at Q Awards

Citroen continued its sponsorship of the Q Awards by providing a fleet of C4 Cactus models to chauffeur the stars to and from.

The Q Awards in Association With Absolute Radio took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London Monday 19 October and was Citroen's fourth year in a row as Official Car Supplier. The french manufacture also supported the Q Best Solo Artist award, which was won by Ed Sheeran.

Celebrity guests and musicians including Bernard Sumner of New Order, Gary Numan, La Roux, Foxes, and Kim Wilde arrived at the ceremony in a fleet of C4 Cactus cars. Music legends Tom Jones and Noel Gallagher were also in attendance, along with global superstar Mark Ronson, who received the Q Hero Award.

Andrew Didlick, Director, Communications, Events and Brand Partnerships at Peugeot Citroen Automobiles UK, commented, "This year's Q Awards showed that the British music industry is really thriving, and we're proud to have presented the award for Q Best Solo Artist. The Citroen C4 Cactus is designed to make people feel good and what better way to express that than by supporting one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the UK rock music scene as Official Car Supplier."

Electric, Hybrid, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car, News, Saloon

Boris Johnson confirms hydrogen Toyota for TfL

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has confirmed the Toyota Mirai, the world's first hydrogen fuel cell saloon, is coming to the capital.

As part of his work to pioneer use of cleaner technology for the future of the capital's transport and infrastructure, Transport for London (TfL) will be in the first group of UK Mirai customers.

The mayor visited Toyota's headquarters today during a three-day trade mission to Japan and took the opportunity to test drive Mirai for himself. He said: "It is fantastic that London will benefit from these new state-of-the-art hydrogen vehicles. By embracing this technology of the future, we aim to consolidate hydrogen's role as a practical alternative fuel for the 21st century and beyond. I am sure that Transport for London will provide the ideal environment for us to see everything Mirai can do and, in doing so, take another great step towards improving air quality in our city and protecting the health of Londoners."

The mayor also discussed London's position as a market for alternative fuel cars, with Toyota senior management. Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota (GB) PLC President and Managing Director said: "We have been delighted to welcome the Mayor of London to our headquarters in Japan to see for himself Toyota's commitment to sustainable mobility. Toyota believes in hydrogen as a key enabler for building a future zero emissions society and we applaud the mayor's commitment to embracing new technology in his mission to make London a leading global city for low-emission, low-carbon transport.

"The success of hydrogen will require constructive dialogue and action, bringing together industry, national governments and city authorities like London to share and develop skills and experience and to communicate the benefits that can be delivered to business and to individuals. Our Mirai fuel cell vehicle is a milestone in the history of the motor car and opens up unprecedented opportunities for cleaner, sustainable transport. Transport for London and the city it serves will provide the ideal environment for Mirai to demonstrate the significant potential of hydrogen as a practical alternative fuel for the next century and beyond."

Transport for London sees Mirai as an exciting opportunity that the mayor is keen to exploit. The TfL Mirai cars and the development of a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure are considered important first steps towards the wider adoption of the technology.

Concept Car, Hypercar, Saloon, News

Jaguar to feature at WIRED2015

Jaguar has confirmed it will showcase its technologically-advanced XF saloon car at WIRED2015.

WIRED magazine's annual two-day flagship event brings the WIRED world to life, and is recognised as the multimedia authority on the future, in print and digital. The XF will be joined by the C-X75 concept hypercar, shown for the first time in the UK - which features in the new Bond adventure, SPECTRE.

Senior Jaguar executives Kevin Stride (XF Vehicle Line Director), Adam Hatton (Creative Director, Jaguar Exterior Design), Alister Whelan (Creative Director, Jaguar Interior Design) and Peter Virk (Head of Connected Technologies and Apps) will support the presentation of the all-new XF at WIRED. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will also offer exclusive workshop sessions at the WIRED conference.

The appearance of the new XF will focus on the car's 'inherently innovative' technologies including InControl Touch Pro (offering door-to-door navigation, iOS and Android connectivity and Meridian digital surround sound), Jaguar Configurable Dynamics, All-Surface Progress Control (enabling smooth, drive-away on low friction surfaces such as snow and ice), laser head-up display, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise-control with queue-assist, lane keep-assist, intelligent speed limiter and semi-automated parking.

Chaired by WIRED UK Deputy Editor, Greg Williams, and supported by additional speakers from WIRED2015, two 30 minute thought-leadership sessions will cover topics designed to stimulate discussion and debate by experts in their field. The first session is scheduled for Thursday 15th: 'Humanity in the digital age', with the second scheduled for Friday 16th: 'Integrated innovation: Car design and Engineering'. Both sessions will be filmed and published by Jaguar and WIRED at the event.

In addition, Jaguar Land Rover will show some of the company's future technologies and research projects, including: Mind Sense - Jaguar's research project to see if a car could effectively read the brainwaves and monitor if the driver is alert and concentrating on driving. The most common method for monitoring brainwaves is close to the source using sensors attached to a headband, to circumvent this requirement, Jaguar Land Rover is investigating methods in use by NASA and the US bobsleigh team to develop pilots' concentration and focus. Mind Sense will detect brainwaves through the hands via sensors embedded in the steering wheel, with software adopted to amplify the signal and filter out the pure brainwave from any background noise between the driver's head and the wheel. If brain activity indicates a day dream or poor concentration, the steering wheel or pedals will vibrate to raise the driver's awareness to the lapse. User trials are underway, supported by leading neuroscientists to verify the results.

JLR is also researching how a car could heat or cool an 'air bubble' inside the vehicle, and maintain temperature and air quality using innovative new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) technologies.

Cargo Sense is an idea for a trailer monitoring system designed to optimise cargo loading for safer towing. As well as helping users load cargo evenly and efficiently, the pressure sensitive mat would detect if a load, be it solid (boxes, furniture, car) or alive (horse), is moving around in an unexpected or abnormal way whilst traveling. The project includes the development of an App that allows drivers to monitor the status of a trailer and its cargo remotely via smartphone.

WIRED2015 takes place from 15 - 16 October at Tobacco Dock, London E1.

Saloon, News

Lexus builds life-size Origami Car

Lexus has unveiled a replica IS saloon car, made from 1,700 fully recyclable laser-cut cardboard sheets.

Crafted from precision-cut cardboard, the Lexus Origami Car features a fully fitted interior, functioning doors and headlights, rolling wheels and, thanks to an electric motor mounted on its steel and aluminium frame, it can even be driven.

The skilled men and women - known as takumi - who work on the Lexus production lines hone their dexterity skills by learning how to fold paper into an origami model cat, using only their non-dominant hand. The Origami Car takes the spirit of this talent to a far higher level, while also embracing Lexus's new 'Creating Amazing' global brand campaign.

In terms of size and complexity, the project was undertaken by LaserCut Works and Scales and Models, London-based specialist companies with extensive experience in the design and creation of prototypes, architectural models and bespoke commissions.

Ruben Marcos, Scales and Models Company founder and director explained: "This was a very demanding job, with five people involved in the digital design, modelling, laser cutting and assembly. Just like Lexus, we were committed to producing the best possible quality."

The creative process presented the team with a series of tough challenges: "The seats took a few attempts to get just right and the wheels required a lot of refining. Once we could see the physical pieces taking shape, we could identify where we needed to make improvements - as with anything, there were some elements of trial and error, but as we had all the resources we needed in-house, this made the changes easier to produce."

Lexus provided the team with a digital 3D model of the IS, which was then divided into a series of principal parts, such as the main body, dashboard, seats and wheels. These were then digitally rendered in 10mm "slices" to provide the two-dimensional profiles needed for the laser cutting of each of the 1,700 sheets of 10mm-thick of cardboard - supplied by packaging experts DS Smith. Each layer was given its own reference number to help ensure it was assembled in the right sequence and the entire assembly was done by hand. A water-based/wood glue was used, which had to be left to set for 10 minutes after each application. Lexus says accuracy was vital, as changes couldn't be made once the glue had dried. In all, the Origami Car took three months to build.

"In effect we created our own vehicle production line," said Ruben. "There was a lot of repetition in the process and we had to work with military precision, just like the teams that make the real Lexus cars."

This unique vehicle will be revealed to the public at the Grand Designs Live Show at the NEC in Birmingham, from 8 October.

Concept Car, Coupe, Sports Car, News

007's Aston Martin DB10 set for Regent Street Motor Show

Following the premiere of the new Bond film Spectre, 007's latest car - the bespoke Aston Martin DB10 - will be one of the star attractions of the annual free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show in London.

Created specially for the movie, the hand-built DB10 is the latest in a long line of Aston Martins to have been driven by UK's favourite secret agent. Bond's first Aston was the famous DB5 from Goldfinger in 1964. As well as the DB10, Aston Martin will also be displaying a number of cars from its current model range including the latest DB9 GT, limited edition Vantage GT12 and a four-door Rapide S.

Enticing as many as 350,000 visitors last year, London's premier shopping street is closed to traffic for the day to allow cars from the past, present and future to be displayed. The Show's centrepiece will be a display of more than 100 veteran cars all taking part in the EFG International Concours d'Elegance. Many owners and their passengers will be in period costume, preparing themselves for the famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which sets off from nearby Hyde Park early the following morning (Sunday, 1 November).

The veterans will be rubbing shoulders with classic cars, bikes, new cars and futuristic 'low or no' emission electric and hybrid vehicles. The latter display is backed by two organisations helping to shape our motoring future - Go Ultra Low and Transport for London (TfL).

The Regent Street Motor Show takes place from 10:30 until 16:00 on Saturday 31 October and is just one element in the Royal Automobile Club's London Motor Week, seven days when the capital honours cars.