The motor industry always provides interesting news. It would be tempting to focus on the troubles that Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover are having, but latest statistics show that Europe are falling out of love with the SUV, Sports Utility Vehicle anyway, so do we really mind?
Meanwhile, engineers and car boffins are always coming up with new inventions to keep motorists excited - it looks like energy generating tyres are the next hot topic on the scene.
Car enthusiasts (like me!) relish in collecting rare cars in order to be able to showcase them on TV or film for the regular motorist to equally enjoy.
SUVs - are we falling out of love?
According to JATO, who collate and analyse sales statistics throughout Europe. SUV registrations grew by only 0.7% in June 2019, as well as the overall market decreasing by 7.9%. This is the highest monthly drop so far in 2019 and the lowest result since 2015, which was due to a decline in private registrations. However, Tesla and Toyota still managed to thrive as they posted the highest market share gains.
Diesel cars are also facing hard times, as in June 2019 car registrations fell by 21% and made up only 31% of the total market, while demand for electrified vehicles increased by 20%. However this was still not a big enough impact for the latter as they still account for just 7.5% of all registrations.
Overall, SUV popularity is on the wane, diesel is decreasing across Europe but electric vehicles are not making up for this this decline, perhaps because of their cost.
Tyre powered cars?!
In terms of positive changes, a new technology that could see tyres generate electricity whilst driving is being developed by engineers in Japan. Falken’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, together with Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University, have developed the Energy Harvester that takes advantage of the build up of energy created by a wheel turn to produce power efficiently for the car.
Simply, two layers of rubber are covered in electrodes with oppositely charged films. When a conventional tyre deforms during rotation these electrodes will generate electricty. This could lead to practical applications as a power source for sensors used in Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems and other car devices without the need for batteries. How clever is that?
Rare car collections
Rare cars regularly come around full circle. Studio434®, which is believed to be the largest private car collection in Europe, has added a rare 1989 Railton Claremont. There is a link between this model and other models in the collection, which were designed by the late William Towns. The Railton Claremont is based on the Jaguar V12 XJS engine and underpinnings and was the brainchild of William Towns. It is also one of only two Railton tourers manufactured in 1989.
“I am a great fan of the iconic British car designer William Towns”, said Studio434® owner, Rodger Dudding, ”and when I saw that the Railton Claremont was available at auction, I had to add it to our collection. It will now sit alongside our other William Towns’ designed cars including the Aston Martin Lagonda “Wedge” models, together with the unusual Hustler and Hunter vehicles”.
Studio434® now has over 460 cars and motorcycles representing models from the early 1900’s to the present day. Many of the cars are used in films and TV series including Mr Selfridge, Peaky Blinders and The Crown, most recently some of Rodger’s cars were used in the Elton John biopic Rocketman.
New Car News
There are so many boring models to choose from in your local car showroom that it comes as a relief when manufacturers go out on a limb and provide something more exciting than the standard offering.
Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operatons division has developed a slightly restrained road going version of their extreme XE SV Project 8 model. Now a Touring specification (estate car) is avaliable as well as the exsiting 200mph Project 8.
This new car replaces Project 8's adjustable carbonfibre rear aerodynamic wing and is complemented by a fixed front splitter to maintain aerodynamic balance, Jaguar tell us. It accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.3sec (0-100km/h in 3.7sec) and on to a limited top speed of 186mph (300km/h).
A limited number of 200mph Jaguar XE SV Project 8s with adjustable front and rear aerodynamic devices, in either the four-seat or the two-seat Track Pack specifications, are still available and prices start at £149,995. We look forward to it being a lot cheaper in a few years time.
A significant anniversary is the best excuse to produce a special model, and Ford have done exactly this. The Mustang55 special edition model celebrates the 55th anniversary of the iconic sports car.
Having been based on the 450PS Ford Mustang 5.0-litre V8, the new Mustang55 Edition features a high specification interior, alongside unique exterior stying including distinctive bonnet and side-stripes, badging and optional rear spoiler.
There is the opportunity to own this car in unique colours, such as Twister Orange, Grabber Lime, Iconic Silver and Lucid Red. Also with technological improvements as FordPass Connect on-board modern technology turns the car into a WiFi hotspot with the opportunity to connect to up to 10 devices.
Avaliable to order now, this is the Mustang to buy due to its decent specification and sensational look.
When it comes to builders of unique and very special sports cars, no one comes close to Caterham. These are supercars for people who don’t mind getting very wet when it rains, and the company has just launched a CSR version of its most powerful car - the Seven 485.
This car is not short of impressive features. It includes the 485 CSR push-rod inboard front suspenstion, a fully independent double-wishbone rear suspenstion, 15" CSR alloy wheels. As well as Avon ZZS tyres and area front wing guards, and that's just the exterior. It's interior is kitted out with carpeted interior panels, a carbon dashboard, adjustable leather seats, and a collapsible Momo steering wheel. All with the choice of four paint options.
Aimed at the European market it is priced from €54,995 (excluding VAT and local taxes), the Caterham 485 CSR accelerates from 0-100kmh in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 139 mph. That is what a Caterham is all about. Performance, fun and relative affordability.