The Vintech P550 Tribute is something of an enigma.  obviously designed upon the Porsche 550, but redefined as a coupe.  The quality and detail of the car come through in the photographs and I’m sure the car looks/is even better in person.  I must admit I have a strong affinity for classic German sports cars – especially in silver.  This particular car is classic but also modern – just look at the wheels – the theme is classic but the interpretation is completely current.  The French company that created this stunning Tribute has no plans for production but beauty like this wasn’t meant to last. I look forward to standing next to this car someday…

For the entire story, go to: Vintech’s blog or to Autoblog’s story and galleries.

We’ve seen these ‘trendy’ brands come – and go. Can you say Hummer? So should a car brand be built on something beyond todays fleeting fashion and style?  In Hummer’s case, how many militaristic 4x4s can a consumer market absorb – regardless of gas prices.  As a new series of products, they were novel and intriguing. Enough so to make you look past the compromises to everyday usage. And even if gas remained cheap, I suspect the novelty of Hummer would have gradually faded. But certainly not before there were Hummer mid-size sedans in order to grow volume at any cost (the H6 or H7…)  So now we have Scion and can it and a dealer network be supported by a brand that markets only to hip young people who like to party and customize their rides? The 90’s are over and squadrons of customized Honda Civics and the Tuner Mags have seen their rise and fall as a trend. Sure, some will remain but the mass marketization of customization has likely run its course. Now all we have left are cars that are built with quality, well designed, and full of the latest technology – for young and old people. But to say that Scion and Hummer weren’t the right decision at the time would be too much. They may have been the right decision if there was incremental revenue and profit. And what if these Fashion Brands are treated as such – brands that are hot and then cold. They could come and go with the seasons or decades never meaning to last a century. There would be no pretense for unique dealer networks but perhaps just a showroom. As the trends come and go, so would the brand. Toyota is now planning to expand the Prius name to a larger van and smaller coupe/sedan. It seems like a natural progression and one wonders why they haven’t done it sooner. Toyota should definitely take advantage of the Prius ‘trend’ while its still hot.  Eventually the market will be flooded with high quality, well designed hybrids and BEVs so Prius had better exploit it’s brand equity before it too shall fade.

I’ve always had a soft spot for VWs ever since my first driving instructor couldn’t stop talking about his VW Rabbit. Later, a couple of my friends bought a Jetta GLI and Corrado. Both were quick, sporty cars but both were terribly unreliable. Neither ever bought a VW again but the cars sure were fun! Seeing the Jetta TDI Cup cars with the massive mesh front air dams, somehow brought back the youthful and fun spirit of the brand. Combined with the TDI engine and here was something unique (at least in North America). Despite being common place in Europe, diesel engines are still rare on passenger cars in the U.S. To see and read more about this one-of-a-kind car, you can see this review on Autoblog.

 

If you ever watch prime-time news on TV, it’s full of shocking images of violence, death, and disaster. Sometime, I wonder if they program all these shocking images just to drive up ratings. I suppose it’s why we all stop and stare when we see an accident.

But with the recent BP oil spill/lead in the Gulf of Mexico, my pre-school son is wondering what’s going on. He saw a picture in the newspaper about the oil leak but the TV news is just too mature for him. And so, how about a news program designed for younger viewers? The show could help educate youngster about current events around the world including things like the BP oil leak problem. Stories could be non-political and non-violent to avoid upsetting kids (and their parents). I think it’s a great opportunity to teach kids about what’s happening in the world and how it might affect them.  It will also help children realize how their lives relate to the world around them better.

The Solar Impulse is a Swiss aircraft designed to fly without fuel using only batteries and solar energy. Although there have been long distance and human powered airplanes before, this will be the first purely solar powered aircraft. It just completed it’s first real flight using pre-charged batteries so the concept is becoming reality. Someday, aircraft like this one will be able to remain continuously airborne and operated remotely. The age of remotely piloted aircraft is here thanks to advances in electronics. In the future, remotely piloted aircraft, spacecraft, ships, etc. will become the norm I expect as each succeeding generation becomes more comfortable with the technology. 

In terms of design, the Solar Impulse has the immense wingspan found on gliders and other long distance aircraft like Burt Rutan’s Voyager. But the rest of the airplane is unique with it’s box-like fuselage section and dramatic vertical over and under rudder. It almost looks more like a spacecraft designed for inter-planetary travel if it weren’t for the scale. For more information about the Solar Impulse, go to www.solarimpulse.com.

.A low-altitude flight