There are many of us who might have toyed with the idea of building a car, indeed perhaps more than a few readers might even have taken to the road in a machine of their own creation. Perhaps it was a design of your own, or maybe a kit car. We think that very few of you will have gone as far as [Vũ Văn Nam] and his friends in Vietnam. In their latest video they compress a year’s work into 47 minutes as they craft a beautifully built replica of a Bugatti supercar. If you haven’t got a few million dollars but you’ve got the time, this is the video for you.
The skill involved in making a scratch-built car is impressive enough, but where there guys take it to the next level is in their clay modeling to create the moulds for the fibreglass bodywork. Taking their local clay and a steel frame, they carefully hand-sculpt the car with the skill of an Italian master stylist, before clothing it in fibreglass and removing the clay. The resulting fibreglass shell can be used to make the finished bodywork, which they do with an exceptional attention to detail. It might be a steel-tube home-made spaceframe with a wheezy 4-cylinder Toyota engine behind the driver instead of a 1000 HP powerhouse, but it surely looks the part!
Looking at the construction we’re guessing it wouldn’t pass an Individual Vehicle Approval test for roadworthiness where this is being written, but at the same time it wouldn’t be impossible to incorporate the extra work as this is a proper road-going car. The video is below the break, and though the few pieces of dialogue in it are in Vietnamese you probably won’t need to turn on the auto-translate to follow it.
These pistons are printed from high-purity aluminium alloy powder that was developed by German auto parts manufacturer Mahle. Porsche is having these produced by Mahle in partnership with industrial machine maker Trumpf using the laser metal fusion (LMF) process. It’s a lot like selective laser sintering (SLS), but with metal powder instead of plastic.
The machine dusts the print bed with a layer of powder, and then a laser melts the powder according to the CAD file, hardening it into shape. This process repeats one layer at a time, and supports are zapped together wherever necessary. When the print job is finished, the pistons are machined into their shiny final form and thoroughly tested, just like their cast metal cousins have been for decades. Continue reading “Porsche’s Printed Pistons Are Powerful And Precise”→
It seems that stick shift has become a sticking point, at least for American car buyers. Throughout 2019, less than 2% of all the cars sold in the US had a manual transmission. This sad picture includes everything from cute two-seater commuters to — surprisingly enough — multi-million dollar super cars built for ultimate performance.
But aside from enthusiasts like myself, it seems no one cares too much about this shift away from manual transmissions. According to this video report by CNBC (embedded below), the fact that demand is in free-fall suggests that Americans on the whole just don’t enjoy driving stick anymore. And it stands to reason that as more and more people live their lives without learning to drive them, there would be a decline in the number of teachers and proponents. It’s a supply and demand problem starring the chicken and the egg.
But giving up the stick is one more example of giving up control over the vehicle. It’s not something everyone cares about, but those that do care a lot. Let’s grind through the ebb and flow of the manual transmission — more lovingly called the stick shift.
All the best sports cars look like they’re moving when they’re just sitting there, and the lines on McLaren’s newest limited-edition plaything redefine that look of speed standing still. Maybe it’s the sneering headlights or the streamlined, reverse-1966 Batmobile styling. Whatever it is, the 804-horsepower two-seater project Elva looks like it’s leaping off the line into the future.
But this future is free from the last thing we’d expect to see removed from any vehicle, especially a $1.7 million supercar — the windshield. Now that the headphone jack has been deemed expendable, it seems that nothing is sacred. The Elva is already a permanent convertible with no windows.