A new series on Car Museums and Classic Heritage Centers…

aDSC_0067sels

Soon we will start here with a new series on the heritage activities of car manufacturers, as the interest in preserving their heritage in historic sites, buildings and cars is ever growing. The same can be said for the increasing love and interest for vintage and classic cars by the greater public, and therefore a comprehensive series on the subject is long overdue.

aDSC_0033sels

Besides the plethora of museums, there are also the services which manufacturers with a keen interest in their mobile heritage are offering to their customers, in the form of Classic Cars Service Centers.

aDSC_0074sels

We will first start off with two main German pioneers in the latter concept, Daimler and BMW. But of course there is more to come, just think of Porsche, and not to forget the British museums and heritage centers

Untitled picture

and their activities like the Land Rover Series I Reborn programme executed in their Classic Works.Indeed, there is Jaguar Land Rover Classic… And a lot more.

Just stay posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The star and the four rings: a marriage which happened 60 years ago…and led to the post-war renaissance of Audi

Prototyp eines kompakten Mercedes-Benz Personenwagens (W 119), 1962. Exterieur, Sicht von rechts vorne. Zu einer Serienfertigung kommt es nicht. 955 Mille Miglia: Mercedes-Benz senior engineer Ludwig Kraus (far left) with Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson, Stirling Moss and Dr. Hans Scherenberg (left to right).
Prototype of a compact Mercedes-Benz Passenger car(W 119), 1962. It will not make it into series production. 

In the spring of 1958, decisive motor history was written: In april of that year, the then Daimler-Benz AG acquired a majority in Auto Union GmbH. All the remaining shares followed on 31 December 1959.

By 1960, Auto Union was therefore a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz. This meant that all the brands of Auto Union, which included Audi, now could be revived.

And so Daimler did, to let the public forget the two stroke image of Auto Union and DKW. Of course, they had one small car adventure with the two stroke engined DKW Junior, wich actually proved quite popular.

But Mercedes rather more loved the four cylinder engines and the nobler Audi image, which would fit perfectly. So they made efforts – which we will explain here further – to bring a revolutionary four srtoke engine into the existing Auto Union/DKW  F103, and started work on the development of an all new Audi.

Daimer strategy changed however, and so they sold on 1 January 1965 the majority of the shares of Auto Union to Volkswagen, and offered  them Audi on a plate…in the form of a already extensively developed Audi four dour model, and they even sold the engineer who developed this car with it!

Das Mercedes-Benz Werk Düsseldorf ist das größte Transporterwerk der Daimler AG. Rund 6.600 Mitarbeiter produzieren dort heute den Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Historisches Foto der Montage des Transporters T1 aus den 1980er-Jahren. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf is the largest van plant of Daimler AG. Around 6,600 employees produce the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter at the plant. Historical photo of T1 van assembly in the 1980s.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf is the largest van plant of Daimler AG. Around 6,600 employees produce the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter at the plant. Historical photo of T1 van assembly in the 1980s.

In the meantime, from 1961 onwards, the major Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf was constructed on a site previously operated by Auto Union. With a workforce of some 6600 and an annual output of around 150,000 vans, Düsseldorf is now Daimler AG’s main factory for vans. All the closed variants of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – i.e. panel vans and crewbuses – roll off the production line there. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “The star and the four rings: a marriage which happened 60 years ago…and led to the post-war renaissance of Audi”

Jaguars will race again at the Le Mans Classic 2018…

J_Classic_Challenge_130418_LeMansClassic_05

The spectacular Le Mans Classic event features on the international 2018 Jaguar Classic Challenge calendar for pre-1966 Jaguar cars, and that is good news for all the Jag enthusiasts.

This Jaguar Classic Challenge returns for its fourth consecutive season, giving owners of pre-1966 race-prepared Jaguar C-types, D-types, E-types, XKs and saloons the opportunity to compete in five 55-60-minute races at prestigious race weekends across the UK and Europe.

Jaguar Le Mans Classic 2016 7th-10th July 2016 World Copyright: Nick Dungan/Patrick Gosling/Beadyeye Ref: JAGUAR-LEMANS-CLASSIC-2016-PG-1295.CR2
Jaguar Le Mans Classic 2016
7th-10th July 2016

The biennial Le Mans Classic event, held on the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe in France – which is where Jaguar scored seven 24-hour race wins between 1951 and 1990 – joins the calendar for 2018, alongside the UK-based Donington Historic Festival, Silverstone International Trophy and Oulton Park Gold Cup, plus the Spa Six Hours in Belgium.

The return to Le Mans Classic on 6-8 July is especially poignant as 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the Jaguar XJR-9 LM’s win at the 24-hour race. Current Jaguar Classic Chief Test Driver Andy Wallace took victory in 1988 alongside Jan Lammers and Johnny Dumfries.

J_Classic_Challenge_130418_LeMansClassic_01

A look at the Jaguar Classic Challenge calendar shows the following dates: 4-6 May: Donington Historic Festival, Leicestershire, 16-17 June: HSCC Silverstone International Trophy, Northamptonshire,

J_Classic_Challenge_130418_LeMansClassic_04

6-8 July: Le Mans Classic, Circuit de la Sarthe, France, 25-27 August: The HSCC Oulton Park Gold Cup, Cheshire and last but not least 14-16 September: Spa Six Hours, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

When I fell in love with Jaguar…

aIMG_3899ss

This is where it all began: as a teenager, I stood eye to eye with the Jaguar D Type at the speed trials in Brecht… 

The announcement of this years’ presence again of Jaguar Classic at the Le Mans Classic 2018 – just read soon our following report in these columns – made me think back to the time when I grew fond of these feline cars. As a teenager, I devoured the British car magazines, and read everything about the powerful post war Jaguars with their fantastic XK six cylinder engine. I still adore this classic, double overhead cam six, with hemispheric combustion chambers and of course crossflow cylinder head.

With my father, I attended in those days the flying – or standing – I do not remember exactly anymore – kilometer speed trials in Brecht, near Antwerp. I stood there eye to eye – as the photo shows – with a D Type. Here, the growling XK was fed by a battery of three double Webers and had dry sump lubrication.

The styling, the shape, the curves, the sound, the speed, it was all fantastic to me and I felt this was all “just right”.

Also the road holding and overall handling was just fantastic, and that this car had the latest technical miracle, disk brakes. Looking at the chassis and suspension, this D type was so much ahead of its time, sporting an ideal weight distribution and aerodynamics. But what seduced me also greatly was the fact that the engine, gearbox, the very heart of the car, stemmed from the series production Jaguars, with that XK engine, with its typical beautiful growl, mated with the very same Moss gearbox which was also found in the Jaguar sports and saloon cars of the day, with the typical whine of the long first gear when they accelerated away.

XK Jaguar engine drawing

I added my drawing here of the Jaguar XK engine, seen from the rear and the right hand side, with one of the big SU carburetors just being visible…

That was and is Jaguar to me, and still is for me today, as a happy owner of the Mk II Type S, which has the Jaguar E type independent rear suspension and the rear styling reminiscent of the fantastic Mark 10. This was actually the first car I bought when I started to earn money professionally.

I recently rediscovered the Ektachrome slide which my father took of me with his 2.8 Rolleiflex. At the time when I first fell in love with these cars, and rest assured, I am still bitten today…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Lexus design event at the 2018 Milan Design Week: focusing on limitless co-existence

 

500_believeinlimitless-longshot-05

The rays representing each individual form a magnificent “together”, underlining the philosophy of limitless “co”existence…

The Milan Design week, held until 22nd of April, holds also a remarkable event from Lexus, in the framework of their annual Lexus Design Award in Milan. The venue is at CAVALLERIZZE, the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e dellaTecnologia Leonardo da Vinci Via Olona, 6, 20123 Milano MI, Italy.

500_lda-longshot-2

The exhibits are “CO-” created by featured designers, actually the 12 finalist designs of the Lexus Design Award 2018 (4 prototypes and 8 panel displays). The visitor is taken on a unique experience trip through the building to evoke “Co”togetherness and community…

Just read further…

Continue reading “Lexus design event at the 2018 Milan Design Week: focusing on limitless co-existence”

The Z Story continues – images of an exhibition

a1DSC00456s

Early this year BMW Belux organized a remarkable exhibition in its BMW Brand Store in Brussels.

a3DSC00457s

It was the 11th edition of the BMW Art & Design Sessions, and this time it focused on the iconic roadster age which changed automotive history forever since 1955.

a2DSC00451s

The show was close to breathtaking with on display the very exclusive BMW 507, a pristine Z1, (see photo here above)

a7DSC00506s

a BMW Z3, a Z4 cabrio and coupé, and last but not least a BMW Z8 (well known from the James Bond films).

a4DSC00469s

Of course, one looked also to the future, with an exclusive presentation of the BMW Concept Z4.

a5DSC00483s

We just let you admire our photos here…

Art and design in the BMW Brand Store

Just a few words more about this Brussels BMW Brand Store, situated at the Boulevard de Waterloo. It started life as an Experience Center of the German premium brand, and on January 21 2015 this BMW Brand Store launched the concept ‘Art & Design Sessions’.

a8DSC00448s

Within this concept, an artist or designer presents his work and meets invited people in an exclusive event. The Antwerp photographer Marc Lagrange, designer Xavier Lust, artists Yann Guitton and Hervé Poulain, Nicolas Destino and last but not least iconic photographer Terry O’Neill filled the first editions of the Art & Design Sessions in the BMW Brand Store.

aDSC00461s

Just for the record, Hervé Poulain is the retired French racing driver and professional auctioneer who instigated the BMW Art Project, where artists could use BMW automobiles as their canvas. In 1975 he commissioned Alexander Calder to paint the first BMW Art Car…

As said, enjoy my photos!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We added a Nikon 5600 to our camera stable…

aIMG_1232s

Looking for improved DSLR connectivity with a smartphone, and still having that trusted Nikon image quality, we opted lately for the Nikon 5600. We did not have yet a DSLR with a moveable screen to enable selfie videos for vlogging, so this was also a good reason to have a go here. It came with a Nikon 18-140 mm lens, which makes it also very versatile. With the 1,5 focal length multiplier, this actually boils down to 27-210 mm.

Here follows our story of unpacking and the first weeks of use…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

aIMG_1225s

Compact body

What we liked first was the compactness of the body, and the nice “feel” of the grip.  Nikon has nevertheless found room for a 3.2″ touchscreen. This screen comes in quite handy when shooting with your right eye, as the right-hand side of the rear LCD can be swiped to position the initial AF point. It’s got a good autofocus system (39 points) which performs wonderfully in terms of simply being given a target and then left to the job of keeping that subject in focus.

aIMG_1231s

Excellent images

Of course, Nikon excellence also comes with the 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, giving also lively and quite good images, also in JPEG format.

It has also 1080/60p video capability, and what’s more, a time-lapse movie feature.

Of course, one of the good features of a DSLR is its battery stamina: it will “take” 970 images on a full battery charge.

Snapbridge

As said, the camera featurs SnapBridge, which is primarily a Bluetooth-based system which uses a low-energy connection to stay connected to your smart device and to transfer images. Although the camera is Wi-Fi capable, that capability is used solely for remote live view operation and video transfer. It works well, as long as you stay in the 2 MP format which is suitable for instance for Facebook use.

The first shots are taken, and results can be seen for instance on the photos of the VW T-Roc. We are quite pleased with the punchy images!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Masters of the automobile: Roberto Giolito

aaIMG_1740s

We met Roberto Giolito at the presentation of FCA Heritage at the Rétromobile Show in Paris lately. You can read our report about this presentation and the FCA heritage activities in these columns. Here we focus on the man behind it all, who started in high school as a jazz bass player…and brush him here a short portrait.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “Masters of the automobile: Roberto Giolito”

Volvo wins international prizes with its XC60 and XC40…

Volvo XC60 wins World Car Of The Year 2018
Volvo XC60 wins World Car Of The Year 2018…

The new Volvo XC60 midsize SUV has been named World Car of the Year 2018 at the New York Auto Show, and it also scooped the prestigious North American Utility of the Year Award earlier this year, while the XC40 small SUV was named European Car of the Year at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month.

The World Car of the Year win is the first in this competition for Volvo Cars, and you can understand that this brought some very smiling faces…

XC60 T8 Inscription
The powerful XC60 T8 Inscription…delivering 407hp and acceleration from 0-100 km in just 5.3 seconds.

These two accolades come hot on the heels of Mr Samuelsson’s World Car Person of the Year recognition, awarded by the same panel of international media in Geneva earlier this month. Mr Samuelsson was given this inaugural award in recognition of his work in driving the success of Volvo Cars in recent years.

Volvo Car Group President & CEO Håkan Samuelsson at the European Car of the Year award ceremony
Volvo Car Group President & CEO Håkan Samuelsson proudly posing with the coveted prize at the European Car of the Year award ceremony.

The 2018 European Car of the Year award for the XC40 follows other recent recognition, including the Car of the Year award by leading UK automotive publication “What Car?”

The XC40 is the first model on Volvo Cars’ new compact modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 Series, including fully electrified vehicles. Co-developed together with Geely, CMA provides the company with the necessary economies of scale for this segment.

New Volvo XC40 - exterior
New Volvo XC40 has pleasing proportions and will be offered with a wide range of drivetrains.

In 2017, the company announced its commitment to electrify all Volvo Cars launched from 2019. In line with this leadership position in electrification, a hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

We spoke with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi: “our e-mobility strategy is well underway, and is now one of our core competences”

aIMG_0958s

The BMW Group has been working on its strategy for future (e) mobility for years now. Since 2007, they we have grown to a new level, thanks to their Strategy Number ONE. With this strategy, BMW put its BMW EfficientDynamics technology package and, even more importantly, BMW i on the road. Development on the clever and iconic i3 then started in 2008.

Already back in back in 2010, BMW decided to offer all types of drives in all vehicle segments from the next decade on, and to do so depending on market demands: state-of-the-art, efficient, clean combustion engines; plug-in hybrids starting in 2015; and fully electric, battery-powered drives from 2021 onward.

ACES as strategy in NEXT

ACES as strategy in NEXT…

BMW the revised the strategy in 2016 to – Number ONE > NEXT – and has added new topics, namely digitalization, autonomous driving and the far-reaching rollout of e-mobility.

When BMW started to implement this revised strategy in 2016, they realigned their organizational setup in research & development. In doing so, they focused on two top priorities: Digitalization, which includes the extension of connectivity, the application of artificial intelligence, and the development of autonomously driving premium vehicles. The second priority was Drive technology, with EfficientDynamics NEXT for the combustion engines, and the development of semi- and fully electrified vehicles with battery and fuel cell technologies.

Mix drivetrains

The BMW mix of (future) drivetrains: Battery operated/Plug-in-hybrid, fuel cell and last but not least combustion engine...

The driving force of these numerous trendsetting technologies is iNEXT, which is enabling the entire company and all brands to deal with these issues of the future.

In 2021, when the BMW iNEXT is scheduled to hit the roads, it will have integrated all strategic innovation topics for the mobility of tomorrow.

All the more reason to have a talk on the last Brussels Salon with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi and Peter Henrich, CEO of BMW Group Belux.

Just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We spoke with Robert Irlinger, Senior Vice-President BMWi: “our e-mobility strategy is well underway, and is now one of our core competences””