Cool Cars

Suzuki ‘X-HEAD’

The 2007 Tokyo Auto Show was full of unusual car concepts and if you haven’t noticed we’ve been showing them off to everyone just to show how unique they all are. Some of them may not be classified as Supercars – but when it comes to looking cool they bring home the prize. The Suzuki ‘X-Head’ concept is no different.

We were able to get this press release about the inspiration of the vehicle:
“The naming, “X-HEAD” adjusting to the life style and sense of value of the person who rides, has meant the possibility this car which corresponds to various uses becoming unknown. Being possible to combine the carrier unit which is adjusted to life style 2 adults sleeps and can stay ” the camper ” and in the town coolly to ride it handles, ” fashion ” and so on, the person who rides ” you play and stimulate heart and curiosity “.

“X-HEAD” is ” the cross utility vehicle ” of the new genre which brings the various values which until recently are not. It has high running the whole distance characteristic, the “gym knee”, “the escudo”, it has high loading characteristic, DNA “of [kiyarii]” was succeeded, functional hopefulness was had.”

The ‘X-HEAD’ looks like a mix between a truck and a hummer. It is definitely looks like something the Japenese would ride in. Those of you who have never been to Japan are not aware that all of their cars look like miniatures – especially the larger ones. Whether this one will make it to the U.S. has not been decided. It would definitely be different if it did.

‘Bug’ Transformed Into Stretch Limo

Back in the day every limousine looked the same. Sure the color on the outside might have been different, but when it came to the make and model you could bet that it would be like every other one you saw. Times have certainly changed! Now you can get a stretched limo that looks like a Hummer, Tahoes, and even a Ferrari. The list of choices is many and now a new one is being updated to it.

We all know the infamous VW Bug as a cute little car that young people love to drive, but now the Bug is taking it to a whole new level and turning it into a stretch limo (which has been done a few times, but this time it is even better). The specific Bug’a'Limo is based on a 1999 2.0-liter Beetle GLS and it can seat 5 to 6 passengers in the rear (not including the two seats up front). The rear passengers get all sorts of treats like a cd player, a mini TV and a small bar area along with an electric hatch / divider that seals off the back from the driver.

This is definitely a chick limo (much like the normal version of the Bug), but if you men out there are feeling adventurous you may rent one just to get a chance to check it out. Whoever this limo attracts you can be sure that it will be around for awhile. I can’t wait to see what new vehicle they will stretch and conform next.

Rocket (1992)

Light Car Company's Rocket rewrote all the golden rules for supercars. It proved that maximum handling and driving fun could be achieved without 500 hp engine, 2-meter wide body and 335 mm rear tyres. A motorcycle engine and a kart-like chassis are what you need.

The part-time sports car specialist was founded by former racing driver Chris Craft just in the early 90s, and the Rocket was his first project. By his name, you'll know he is a good craftmen rather than a good car designer, so he hired the famous Gordon Murray to design the car. If you don't know him, listen: Murray is a top Formula One chief designer whose cars won five world championships. After retiring from motor racing, he created the McLaren F1 road car.

Interestingly, the philosophy of Rocket was even more loyal to Formula One than McLaren F1. Not only looked like a Formula racing car - with narrow body, exposed wheels and suspension linkages, open cockpit, no windscreen - its structure was also pure Formula racer-inspired. The engine was used as stressed structure to support the rear suspensions like Formula One, the narrow, cigar-shaped chassis was made of nickel-bronze and constructed as space frame, covered with light alloy inner panels and glass-fiber outer panels.

Power came from a motorcycle engine - Yamaha FZR1000's 1002c.c. straight 4, with 5 valves per cylinder. Like the superbike, maximum power of 143 hp occurred at sky-high 10,500 rpm, and 77 lbft torque at 8,500 rpm. The engine was mated to 5-speed sequential Yamaha gearbox, and then to a special final drive which incorporated limited slip differential (LSD) as well as a reverse gear, since the motorcycle gearbox had no reverse.

As you might predicted, Rocket was extremely light - only 400 kg. This gave it a very good power-to-weight ratio but most important was that the ultra-lightweight optimized handling and braking. As commented by Autocar magazine, Rocket rewrote any experience of driving a sports car with its extremely agile handling. The unassisted steering was ultra-quick and felt very communicative. The double wishbones suspensions provided stability yet good ride. It was very quick in corner while being so easy to handle. Excluding formula racing cars, nothing could compare with it, not even a Caterham Seven.

Part of the handling excellence was contributed by the brakes. You won't predict such a flyweight to use such high-specification brakes - front ventilated and cross-drilled discs with 4-piston Brembo calipers, rear cross-drilled discs with 2-piston calipers, also from Brembo. As described by Gordon Murray, "It is the only car I know that you can thrash round a circuit all day without so much as a wisp of smoke from the brakes, and then jump in and drive it home".

Rocket is still for sale to special order, although the price is very high (about a Lotus Esprit GT3), although it is virtually impractical in any sense (no weather protection, no boot, no equipment, the 1+1 seating plan is no use for adult passenger), it is still a worthy experience to car enthusiasts. It is never a vehicle for transportation purpose, it is purely driven for fun.

Lamborghini LM002 (1984)

If you know Ferruccio Lamborghini made his wealth in tractor business before establishing his supercar company, you won't be surprised to see the Lamborghini super off-roader. Like AM General's Hummer, Lamborghini LM002 was designed with military function very much in mind, especially in the Middle East market. The 3-ton body seated 4 people in the cabin and optionally another 4 in the open cargo area. Power came from Countach's 48-valve 5.2-litre V12, with 455 hp and 369 lbft to make it the fastest off-roader in the world.

Commercially, LM002 was quite successful. The Saudi Arabian army ordered 300 cars, the first 143 had the Countach engine and the rest were delivered with the Diablo engine (5.7 litres, 485 hp, 428 lbft). Many other private customers bought it just for fun.

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