Thursday, September 1, 2016

Auto World Ultra Reds: The Most Beautiful 1/64 Scale Diecast Money can Buy...

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Yeah, I know, it's a bold statement. But I stand by it. I didn't say Auto World is the best diecast out there, but their Ultra Red Chase pieces are the most stunning 1/64 scale models money can buy. Auto World hasn't given us anything as crazy-cool as Greenlight has with Walter White's RV. Nor do they offer realism at a $1 price point a la Matchbox. Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunts get way more attention than Ultra Reds do. M2's models feature more individual pieces and unique licensing combinations. Kyosho and TLV have way more JDM and Euro castings while Auto World has largely relegated itself to US car-makers. Bright colors and opening doors? Leave that to Majorette.

Yes, there are lots of things Auto World doesn't do, and that's a good thing. When it comes to beautiful 1/64 scale models, however, Auto World is king. The realism, detail, quality and most of all scale are bar none the best in 1/64 scale. I'm constantly reminding myself I'm not looking at photos of 1/18 scale models. The details are that good.

Auto World models are obviously great in my books, but the ultra-reds take it one step further. The red paint is great. It's like spectraflame or Green-Machine green but Auto World gets kudos for making its chase cars red. Nearly all of the American classics they cast came in a red version anyways, so it's fitting. The beauty of Ultra Reds is that they allow us to compare the models side-by-side. When each model's the same color you get an incredible sense of the consistency, detail and proper scale that Auto World models feature.

It's hard to put into words, but I'm amazed each time I pop an Auto World from the package. The hood opens right. It's heavy. Nothing is misaligned or falling off. Every detail is perfect. A lot of thought clearly went into the model. And with shimmering red paint, you gotta say it's beautiful...

Happy Collecting!!

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Porsche Macan Turbo with new Performance Package

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As the sportscar of the compact SUV segment, the Macan has been setting standards in terms of driving dynamics since it first made its debut. Now, Porsche is upping the ante once again: with the Performance Package.

The Macan Turbo now tops off the model line, impressing with enhanced driving properties, increased agility and an even greater emotional appeal. After the performance enhancement, the twin-turbocharged, 3.6-litre V6 engine delivers 324 kW (440 hp; combined fuel consumption 9.7–9.4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 224–217 g/km). With 30 kW (40 hp) more than the Macan Turbo, this figure places this variant firmly in the top spot in this model line. The car now accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds (a reduction of 0.4 seconds), and achieves a new top speed of 272 km/h (an increase of 6 km/h). The maximum torque has also risen to 600 Nm (an increase of 50 Nm) and is available to the driver across a broad rev range of between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm. This also increases the tractive force: In Sport Plus mode, the time taken to accelerate from 80 km/h to 120 km/h has dropped to 2.9 seconds (a reduction of 0.2 seconds). Depending on the tyres, fuel consump-tion (in line with the NEDC) for the new top-of-the-range Macan model is between 9.4 l/100 km and 9.7 l/100 km.

However, it is not just the engine power that is given a boost in the Macan Turbo equipped with the Performance Package – a newly developed brake system, lowered body, controlled sports chassis, Sport Chrono Package and sports exhaust system are all fitted as standard. The front axle features grooved brake discs with a di-ameter of 390 millimetres – 30 millimetres larger than the brake discs fitted on the Macan Turbo without Performance Package. The discs are gripped by six-piston brake callipers completed with a red paint finish. What’s more, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is available at the push of a button to deliver an exceptionally sporty position on the road. This system has also been optimally tuned to the body on the vehicle, which has been lowered by 15 millimetres. Air suspension with selflevelling function and height adjustment, lowered by ten millimetres, is also available as an option.

A range of tailored equipment options are available

With the Sport Chrono Package, drivers can ramp up the performance of the Macan Turbo even further. In Sport Plus mode, this package ensures the chassis, engine and transmission are tuned to sporty effect – accompanied by an even more emotional sound from the sports exhaust system. The seven-speed PDK double-clutch transmission is now designed to deliver extremely short response times, optimum switching points and increased torque during gear changes for maximum acceleration. 

To customise the Macan Turbo with Performance Package, a range of tailored equipment options are available, such as the Turbo Exterior Package. Options available with this package include 21-inch wheels in the 911 Turbo design with lateral spokes painted in high-gloss black, LED main headlights equipped with PDLS Plus and numerous other black elements. The Turbo Interior Package delivers a black leather interior with lavish Alcantara elements, colour appliqué in numerous areas and carbon elements such as the door entry guards with the model logo lit up in white

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40 years of Audi five-cylinder engines

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40 years ago, Audi presented the first five-cylinder gasoline engine in the second-generation Audi 100. Enhancements and new developments followed, with turbocharging, emissions control and four-valve technology, rally engines and five-cylinder diesel units. Today, the 2.5 TFSI in the Audi RS 3 Sportback* and in the Audi TT RS carries on the great tradition of five-cylinder powerplants.
The five-cylinder engines from Audi have achieved cult status – partly due to their successful deployment in motorsport and also on account of their reliability and economy. They have played a vital role in defining Vorsprung durch Technik and to this day provide an emotional driving experience with their characteristic sound.

The first five-cylinder gasoline engine powered the Audi 100 (C2) in 1976. The model, known internally as Type 43, was to be positioned higher than its predecessor in the market. The four-cylinder engines at the time were not suitable for this plan according to the developers. At the beginning of the 1970s, Audi engineers consequently discussed the possibility of introducing five and six-cylinder inline engines. The latter were ruled out due to the installation space required and unfavorable weight distribution. So those responsible opted for the five-cylinder inline engine, based on the new EA 827 engine concept. This four-cylinder inline engine was used throughout the VW Group in the 1970s – in the Audi 80 and Audi 100, for instance. The derived 2.1-liter five-cylinder engine produced 100 kW (136 hp). A modern injection system increased efficiency and power development. Delivery of the Audi 100 5E began in March 1977.

As early as 1978, Audi presented the first diesel version: a naturally aspirated diesel with a displacement of two liters and producing 51 kW (70 hp). One year later, the first turbocharged five-cylinder gasoline engine made its debut – another pioneering feat from Audi. With an output of 125 kW (170 hp) and 265 newton meters (195.45 lb-ft) of torque, it powered the new top model, the Audi 200 5T.

The five-cylinder gasoline engine in the 1980 Audi “Ur-quattro” had even more to offer. With turbocharging, an intercooler and permanent four-wheel drive, it constituted a powerful technical package for the racetrack and the road. Initially, it delivered 147 kW (200 hp). In 1983, the Finn Hannu Mikkola won the drivers’ title in the World Rally Championship in this car. In the same year, Audi introduced the wide-track Sport quattro, which was 24 centimeters (9.45 inches) shorter. It was powered by a newly developed four-valve five-cylinder unit made of aluminum with an output of 225 kW (306 hp). It made the Sport quattro the most powerful car built to date by a German company for use on public roads. The model formed the basis for a new Group B rally car, with the four-valve powerplant delivering 331 kW (450 hp) from the very start. It was used for the first time in the penultimate race of 1984, the Ivory Coast rally. The other eleven rounds of the season were contested by the Swede Stig Blomqvist in the Group B Audi quattro A2 producing 265 kW (360 hp). In the end, he won the drivers’ title and Audi took the manufacturers’ title.

Even after Audi withdrew from rallying in 1986 there were other racing highlights: in 1987, Walter Röhrl won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb (USA) in the Audi Sport quattro S1 (E2). The racing car developed 440 kW (598 hp). And the IMSA GTO excelled on the US touring car scene in 1989, delivering 530 kW (720 hp) – from little more than two liters of displacement.

Audi presented another milestone in automotive history at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main in 1989: the Audi 100 TDI. It was the first production car with a five-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged diesel engine and fully electronic control. The powerplant generated 88 kW (120 hp) from a displacement of 2.5 liters. Audi continued to refine its range of five-cylinder gasoline engines. In 1994, the Audi RS 2 with an output of 232 kW (315 hp) came on to the market. As an Avant with the power of a sports car, it established a new automotive class.

1994 saw the five-cylinder units bow out of the B segment, when the Audi A4 (B5) was introduced. They were gradually replaced in the mid-1990s by the new V6 engines. The last five-cylinder engines, the 2.5 TDI in the Audi A6 and the 2.3 Turbo in the Audi S6, were phased out in 1997.

Then in 2009 there was a big comeback – with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection in the Audi TT RS. The transverse-mounted engine developed by quattro GmbH produced 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2.5 liters. It also offered outstanding performance in the RS 3 Sportback and in the RS Q3. The TT RS plus, which Audi presented in 2012, mustered up an impressive 265 kW (360 hp). Today, the 2.5 TFSI in the Audi TT RS produces 294 kW (400 hp). An international jury of motoring journalists has voted the five-cylinder powerplant “Engine of the Year” seven times in a row since 2010.

Those who would like to see the first Audi with a five-cylinder engine can currently do so at the Audi Forum in Neckarsulm. The classic car exhibition entitled “From zero to 100” features numerous exhibits, which Audi uses to look back at the eventful history of its successful model. One of the first five-cylinder TDI units from a 1989 Audi 100 is also on display. The exhibition runs until November 6, 2016.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Every Once in Awhile a Hot Wheels Mainline Seems More Valuable than $1...

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You know the Hot Wheels mainlines I'm talking about. The ones you pick up every time you walk past them in your man-cave. Or the one you take a 2nd look at before stashing it in a Rubbermaid bin. Worse yet, when you see it in the stores it's nearly impossible to leave behind, even though you have 5 at home already. You're at the pegs desperately wracking your brain for a possible nephew you might give your 6th VW Caddy or Datsun Bluebird Wagon to.

With Mattel putting out nearly 400 basic $1 models a year including re-colors and zamacs, it's hard to keep track. Yet every year there seems to be 5 or so models that stick out like a sore thumb. They're so well cast, so well detailed and perfectly decorated that the $1 price point boggles your mind. I find myself asking how such a work of art is only $1? Of course I'm aware of all of the plasticky Micky-Mouse models that feel like 50 cents would be too much to ask, but I can't help but marvel at some of the absolute gems Mattel has included in the mainline over the years.

I've picked out a few such gems from the past 4 years (2013-16) that have me stopping and staring. I don't know if it's the extra tampo work, perfect decoration or spot-on casting choices, but at $1 these Hot Wheels are a good kind of head-scratcher...

 Happy Collecting!!

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