Part of the fun of any die-cast or model car collection is in comparing the differences of similar cars made a couple years apart.
British sports cars used to rule the world’s road courses with the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Triumph, and Lotus slicing through corners to give their drivers a thrill. Speed wasn’t always so essential, but handling was key.
Lotus always has prided itself in creating lightweight, crisp handling cars. But today speed and power are more important than in the formative 1950s and ‘60s, and that’s what makes the Lotus Exige S a highly sought after sports car.
The mid-engine Exige, built in Hethel, England, has been around since 2000, with the first S model appearing in 2006. Exige is now in its third iteration, or Series 3, which is what Autoart’s model portrays. A Series 2 version also is available from Autoart. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Lotus Exige S
Double Barn Find
It’s fine admit it! Every time you go for a ride or a drive in rural areas, you pay special attention to barns or other buildings out in the middle of no where looking for that rare car you’ve always been wanting. So what if you opened the door and found not one but two identical cars? I’d be doing the happy dance! Add to that they are affordable and Aston Martins. That’s exactly what happened recently. If you want them, pack your bags because they are going to action. Here’s the rest of the story.
How can a car guy not like James Bond movies?
The cars in the movies could almost be listed as co-stars with all the gadgets and those chase scenes. But it didn’t start that way. James Bond’s first car was the modest ’62 Sunbeam Alpine Series II, in lake blue appearing in Dr. No (1962). Still it’s one of my favorites along with the following.
Hybrid is good on gas mileage and easy on the eyes
That seems apt for Fusion’s hybrid model, which was my first full drive of the swoopy new Fusion with its fastback looks and Aston Martin-like grille. This is a looker to be sure. As one might expect with a hybrid gas/electric system under the hood, this runs quiet and delays your gas station visits a bit. Fusion’s new system combines a highly fuel efficient. Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter I4 with lithium ion battery powered electric motor and earns an EPA rating of 47 mpg city and highway. It’s rare that city and highway numbers are equal in a hybrid.
Ford cuts the overall power from 191 horses in its former Fusion hybrid to 188 hp on this model, but also trims more than 100 lbs. from the car, 15 just from the gas motor. Yet while the car earns good EPA numbers, it has been criticized for not living up to those claims.
My mileage fell short, but at 36.7 mpg in a week’s drive, it was still head and shoulders above other family sedans I’ve driven. Compare that to 27.4 mpg I got in a recent Honda Accord test, and 28.7 mpg in my recent Mazda6 test drive. Continue reading 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
Aston DBR9 packs power, nice detail
Long-time exotic sports car maker Aston Martin returned to racing in 2005 with its sleek DBR9 racer modeled after its DB9 street car. The intent was to challenge the likes of Audi and Porsche on the road courses of Europe and the United States.
The car, racing in the GT1 class, used a lot of carbon fiber and aluminum to meet weight requirements and its 6.0-liter V12 created a massive 600 horsepower. First race out was the 12-hours of Sebring in the U.S. and then the 24-hours of LeMans in France. Aston Martin finished fourth at Sebring, but first in class, edging Team Corvette. In LeMans the DBR9 finished 9th, third in class.
The Scalextric slot car version is the No. 57 with full team markings for Aston Martin Racing, complete with yellow nose trim, a Union Jack on the hood and side doors and decked out in a modified metallic British Racing Green that the team chose as its new color. This is the car as it appeared in the 2005 Sebring race, driven by David Brabham, Darren Turner and Stephane Ortelli. Their names appear on the car’s roof. Continue reading Slot cars: Scalextric Aston DBR9