is a quick round-up of some of the more unusual
displays and stands that caught our eye at this
month’s Autosport International at the NEC.
have an especially soft spot for the Vulcan
to the Sky project. Mike and Ann
Newton have been long-term and very generous supporters
of the project to keep Britain’s last surviving
airworthy Vulcan bomber in the summer skies, and
AD Group continues to be involved in the endeavour.
year marks a landmark event for the Vulcan, which
celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2010. Sadly,
it also looks like being one of the aircraft’s
most difficult years. The restoration of XH558
was completed just in time to hit the worst of
the recession, and the hoped-for sponsorship has
simply never materialised. It costs more than
£2 million every year to keep the Vulcan
flying, and so far most of that has come from
private donations and public generosity. If you
want to know more, or would like to support the
project, or maybe just catch a glimpse of this
wonderful aircraft before she disappears for ever,
check out the appeal
website or watch this video.
Trust had a modest cubicle not far from the MIA
stand, and was doing well selling calendars, scarves,
books, models, branded clothing and other regalia.
There was also an excellent cookbook packed with
great recipes and equally tasty photographs! The
one below is one of our own, taken at Waddington
merchandise is available from the Trust’s
own website, including some spectacular videos:
hope to be able to make another announcement regarding
XH558 shortly. We ran a feature on the Vulcan
on our companion website, www.mg-lola.com, in
2008, which includes additional background and
history on the aircraft. It can be viewed here.
assumes the designation of the new Chevron model
was intended as a pun, but if the initial design
visuals are anything to go by, this will indeed
be a great little car. The historic company had
a bare chassis on display at Autosport International,
but confidently expects to have sufficient race-ready
cars available in time for the start of the new-for-2010
Chevron GR8 Challenge Series, scheduled for May.
by the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC),
there seems little doubt that Chevron sees this
as an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of
Ginetta, which has seen an impressive revival
in fortunes over recent years. Powered by a Cosworth
YD 2.0 litre unit, the GR8 is also expected to
achieve British GT eligibility, perhaps later
this year. Further
details from Chevron
seems hard to credit that the now-famous MotorMouse
made its television debut as recently as September
2009, when David Bailey presented his high-quality
car-shaped wireless mouse to the Dragon’s
Den. After a nail-biting discussion, it was entrepreneur
James Caan who stepped forward with the best offer
on the deal, and sales – and reputation
– of the sleek sportscar-shaped mouse rapidly
took off. Recognition soon followed, including
a Garmin T3 Award and the Top Gear Gadget Award
had a small stand at Autosport International,
but were doing brisk business. On offer were four
versions of the original design, in silver, black,
metallic red and vibrant blancmange pink. Although
tactfully described as being “based on an
iconic sports car”, the similarity between
the MotorMouse bodyshape and Porsche’s 911
has now been acknowledged with a licencing agreement,
but an all-new model is due for launch in February.
is expected to be a more accurate scale model
of the new-shape Mini Cooper, and will be followed
by a series of new designs, rumoured to include
Audi TT, VW Beetle, a Lamborghini and Aston Martin.
there have been copies, including PC mice in the
shape of TVRs, BMWs, Mercedes, the iconic Ford
GT40, the McLaren F1 and others, none has yet
managed to match the MotorMouse for build quality,
dpi resolution and the discrete size of the wireless
receiver, which remains the world’s smallest.
info from Motor-Mouse.
its arrival was delayed, and thereby missed the
trade days, another new car certainly caught the
public’s attention over the weekend. Despite
a very unassuming corner stand, and no trimmings,
the presence of an Aspira F630 was confirmation,
at last, that this much-mooted project is now
car is a fresh design, but there are styling clues
that hint at inspiration from a number of other
low-volume cars, ranging from SLC or Stealth,
to Arash AF10, Noble M600, Koenigsegg and Ferrari
Enzo. The overall effect, however, is one of svelte
power, with few of the slatting, ducts and other
adulterations that so often mar the lines of supercars
in this league. Perhaps the only flaw, and one
put down to necessity, is the antenna-like door-mirrors
that droop ant-like over the side windows. Any
lower, however, and there’d be nothing visible
behind at all.
Autosport appearance represented the world debut
of the Aspira, with the car on display being the
first production example to leave the factory.
Fitted with a race-derived GM Corvette LS376 6.2
litre V8 generating over 580 bhp, supercharged
units will also be available, and the top speed
for even the most basic variant is expected to
exceed 200 miles an hour. On-the-road prices are,
for a car of this type, not completely eye-watering,
but will still start at around £130,000.
Henry Nickless, Aspira’s Managing Director
, was on hand to introduce the car. He is perhaps
better known as the man behind Worcester-based
Chiron WSC, the LMP3 chassis that has taken several
Supersports titles and is also seen in VdeV and
current Speed Racing competition.
whole project is still so new that the website
remains unfinished and “under construction”,
so please don’t take the Latin text too
seriously. However, there are some images on www.aspiracars.com
that give some idea of how this car looks in the
flesh, and it’s certainly impressive.
stand at the Show was certainly distinctive, and
very eye-catching. ProMech tools are quite well
known, but the company has now branched out –
radically – into office equipment, race-inspired
art, gifts and gadgets. We’ve all grown
rather accustomed to fancy cufflinks in the shape
of wheels, radiators, dashboard consoles, car
badges and the like, and ProMech’s are no
exception (although the quality does look better
than most), but their range of office chairs is
somewhat unique. Leather-trimmed racing seats
fitted to cast aluminium and chromed bases, in
distinctive shades of red, black, grey and tan,
come with miniature racing wheels and a hefty
manageable is their Paddock Seat, at roughly £35.
Like those cheap but occasionally rather unstable
canvas and plastic examples, these fold neatly
into a carry bag, but there the similarity ends.
ProMech’s foldaway chair is substantially
constructed around an aluminium frame and has
padded seat support.
on the display, however, was ProMech’s rage
of sculptured art and tables. All examples are
made by crafting everyday workshop items into
stunning visual shapes – hundreds of individually
welded nuts shaped into human torsos (priced at
between £100 and £300, depending upon
size), or nuts, bolts, springs, chains, bearings
and individually fabricated components to create
a model of the famous Predator film character.
Some of the Predator designs include a glass top
to create a table, and are priced at roughly £180.
details from ProMech,
but turn the sound down!
casually walking past the Britcar stand would
have been surprised to see what looked, at first
glance, to be a Le Mans style coupé prototype
gracing the main entrance.
Aquila CR1 does indeed bear a passing, and rather
pleasing resemblance to an LMP2-styled prototype,
perhaps with a hint of Dome or Toyota GT-One thrown
in. However, the car is a very affordable track-day
and circuit racer, with eligibility for events
such as Britcar and a number of other continental
CR1 has already appeared in the UK, competing
in the final round of Britcar at Brands Hatch
towards the tail end of 2009, and it is hoped
that one of these cars will take part in this
year’s revived Silverstone 24 Hours at the
end of September. The thinking behind the Aquila
is one of robust simplicity and ease of maintenance,
yet stylish racing.
in Denmark, the chassis is based around a bonded
and riveted aluminium monocoque, powered by a
4 litre BMW V8 (or optional GM Chevrolet V8) combined
with a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox, and
weighing in at around 900 kilos. For cost reasons,
the bodywork is largely fibreglass, although a
carbon fibre option is under consideration. The
detail specification appears to be high, as does
the quality of the workmanship, yet prices start
at just 99,000 Euros. Further information from
year Birmingham-based artist Ian Cook created
a stunning painting of the RML WTCC Chevrolet
Lacetti racecar during his time at the Autosport
Show. This year he was being sponsored by Dunlop,
and produced a series of paintings over the course
of the four days to promote the British tyre manufacturer.
method is unique, and so is his style. Working
largely freehand, with only an A4 image for reference,
he applies blobs of acrylic paint generously to
the "canvas", before using radio-controlled
cars to spread the paint around. This technique
lends in a very distinctive appearance to all
his works, which tend to be on a grand scale.
His paintings are typically about six foot by
four, but many have been reproduced as prints
at smaller sizes.
first work at the show was of last year's Dunlop-sponsored
JMW Motorsport Ferrari 430. He then followed that
with another Dunlop-inspired painting, illustrated
below, depicting the new JMW Aston Martin GT3
as if racing under one of the iconic Dunlop bridges.
He then fished off with a third painting of one
of the competitors in the Dunlop MSA British Touring
Car Championship; the RAC-sponsored West Surrey
Racing BMWs, last year's independent champions
with Colin Turkington.
finally . . .
There were a few other cars at
Autosport International, of course, including