Let me Start by congratulating Volvo on 90 years in the car business!, over the years Volvo have been able to bring us top class safety standards and some pretty awesome cars along the way, anything from the PV’s of the 50’s to the XC90’s and S/V90’s of today.
On this day (14/4/2017) 90 years ago Volvo Cars was started up by two men called Assar Gabrielsson & Gustav Larson, these two men both worked at SKF which is a Ball Bearing Making company founded in Gothenburg. Their Vision was to build a tough, well built Swedish car which could withstand the weather and harshness of Sweden’s country roads. The name Volvo was originally a subsidiary of SKF which was intended to be used as a new series of SKF Ball Bearings.
Assar Gabrielsson, who was an SKF Sales Manager & Gustav Larson, a KTH Royal Institute of Technology Educated Engineer were both unhappy with the cars in Sweden at the time as they just couldn’t cope with the harshness or weather Sweden was used to. they both met in a Cafe in Gothenburg and started talking about how bad the cars were and how they could be improved to be able to cope with the Swedish roads & Weather, after talking for a while they decided to join up as a team to build the Swedish people a well built, tough car which would be able to cope – Volvo Cars Was Born!
Manufacturing started on the 10th August 1926 where they built up to ten prototypes of their first car called the OV4, otherwise known as Jakob, it was a 4 door convertible car with a 2.0 4 cylinder engine and was made between 1927-1929. In 1928 Volvo started to build Trucks, (soon to become Volvo Trucks) as well as cars which became a huge success, in 1930 Volvo sold 639 cars and started to export trucks to the rest of Europe soon afterwards, it was not until after WW2 that Volvo started to become well known.
In 1935 Volvo acquired the company Pentaverken, who had been providing Volvo with engines, this provided a secure supply of engines and entry into marine engines.
In 1934 Volvo launched their first ever Bus, called the B1, which then turned into Volvo Buses, in the early 1940’s Aircraft engines were added into the ever growing range of products, at the same time Volvo had released the PV Series of cars.
This was a small family car which had a lot of styling cues of American cars at the time, with curves never seen on Volvo’s before, the PV was also the first Volvo to come with their new safety feature, The Laminated Front Windscreen, essentially two pieces of glass stuck to a piece of plastic in the middle, this made crashes safer as customers weren’t cut with glass if involved in a crash, in 1959 however, Volvo was about to change the rule book forever and take a huge step in safety standards.
After doing numerous tests on car accidents and what caused them and what caused injuries or sometimes death, Volvo decided to bring out a new piece of safety equipment we now take for granted, the simple Three Point Safety Belt. It was invented as we know it by a chap named Nils Bohlin who introduced it in 1959 as standard equipment, in addition to inventing it he showed off his new creation by running different tests in front of Journalists around the world, unbelted occupants suffered horrific injuries while the occupants who were buckled up in the new three point belt came away unscathed.
Also bought out in the PV and Following Volvo’s afterwards was a safety cage which would stop the roof from caving in if involved in a rollover.
in 1956, Volvo introduced the Amazon, it was a mid size car which could fit a family of four quite easily, it was built in 4 door saloon, two door saloon and as a five door estate, it shared the wheelbase with the PV as well as the tall posture and H-Pointing seating too, Volvo sold over 667,791 Amazons from 1956-1970 making it the most popular Volvo ever made.
in 1961, Volvo launched the P1800 Coupe as their own take on the forever popular GT Segment of the car industry, it produced 100bhp from it’s 1.8 4 cylinder engine,it was designed by Pietro Frua who was one of the leading coach builders and car designers during the 50’s and 60’s, a P1800 owned by Irv Gordon has the Guinness World Record for Highest Mileage on a car with over 3 million miles. That wasn’t the best bit however as it became popular as the main car in a TV Show called The Saint which starred none other than Roger Moore himself, That’s right, Roger More who played James Bond through the 70’s played Simon Templar and drove a Volvo – Cool or What! as a matter of fact he actually owned one of the Cars from The Saint as his run around.
In 1966 Volvo launched the 144 and then eventually the 164, these came in two and four door saloon models (142, 144) as well as a five door wagon (145), it was produced from 1966-1974 before being replaced with the most well known Volvo ever made, the 200 series.
These were a range of executive cars produced from 1974 to 1993, the 200 series cars were well known for being as tough as old boots and became the first Volvo to ever be referenced as a Tank due to it’s build quality and it’s ruggedness. they came in two door sedan, 4 door sedan, 5 door wagon and a 2 door Coupe (known as the 262c Bertone) they came in different flavours, with anything from grocery getters to Group A. Race cars competing in the World Touring Car Championship during the eighties, it was the safest car when launched and was used as a reference point for other manufactures, it also was the cleanest car emissions wise when launched in California. it even out lasted production a year after it’s predecessor the 700 series stopped production.
During the Nineties & Noughties Volvo became synonymous with adding performance to their cars with thanks to their Modular family of engines, these were consisting of 4 cylinders, 5 cylinders and 6 cylinder units which lasted from 1993 till 2014, they were put into cars from 850R’s to XC90 SUV’s, from C70’s to the big V70 Estates.
The best engine out the lot was the T5’s, they showed people that Volvo could provide a powerful car with a very good driving experience, this was helped by the UK Police having 850 T5’s during the nineties and Volvo and TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) racing some 850’s in the BTCC from 1994 to 1996 before getting replaced by the S40 Super Touring Car.
These Days Volvo have changed for the better, they’re new cars are now even more luxurious than even with their lineup winning Car of The Year all over the place, the Modular engine was dropped in favour for 2.0 4 cylinder units which provide decent power with better fuel economy which was a downside of the older engines. for those who still want Performance from their Volvo’s you can always go to Polestar which was recently bought by Volvo themselves as an in house tuning company similar to AMG and Mercedes-Benz.
So Here’s to Many more years Volvo, long may it continue!
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
Finally!, After all this time of getting teaser shots of it over these last few weeks and months, Dodge have officially released the absolutely crazy Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
Lets start off with the numbers first shall we?. First of all it produces 840bhp from a 6.2L Hemi Demon V8, it can do a 0-60 mph sprint in 2.3 seconds pulling 1.8 G’s of force, 100 MPH comes up in 5.1 seconds. it can do the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 140 mph, overall torque is 770 ib-ft with a rev limiter of 6,500rpm, it can do a 0-30 in 1 second which is unbelievable, Power wise it has 133bhp more than the already mental Challenger Hellcat. Take That Shelby and Chevrolet!
On the outside it is very similar to the Hellcat in terms of looks but seems to of started on the steroids, it has massive scoops on the bonnet, a front splitter, wide arches and absolutely huge tires, a rear spoiler and Quad exhausts.
Mechanical wise it has the first ever Liquid-to-air charge air cooler system which drops intake temperature by 45 degrees which is the first time it’s ever been fitted to a production vehicle, to go along with that it comes with updated rear-gearing to help put it’s torque down, the largest functional cool-air intake system ever to be found on a production vehicle, it has a 2.7 litre supercharger which puts out 14.5 pounds of boost which can switch between running on traditional pump fuel and 100 octane racing gas. It also sits on Nitto Drag Radial Tires for the full drag racer effect. It has the highest horsepower of any production car, the highest G Force of any production car, First Wheelie from a production car, Quickest 0-60 of any production car and the world’s fastest 1/4 mile of any production car.
Interior wise it’s been stripped out with only the drivers seat staying, the passenger seat and the rear seats can be put back in for a $1 each- yes, you read that right!, The reason why the seats are taken out is to save weight as the Challenger isn’t exactly a lightweight car, also the rear suspension is loosened to help shift the weight to the rear quicker than a traditional Hellcat.
the Demon can reach full boost within six feet of launching off the start line by using drag technology which is the first time this has ever been applied to a production vehicle. it’s so crazy that the NHRA confirmed the quarter mile time then instantly banned the car from competition straight afterwards – way to go Dodge! don’t worry though, buyers are still aloud to run it, just not compete in it.
The Demon is a proper drag car for the streets with super skinny drag tires also in with the car, like what you’d find on any proper drag car. The Demon is a sub 10 second car straight out the box from factory.
Prices haven’t been revealed as of yet and there’s no info of how many will be made neither.
it’s rivals are the Mustang GT500 Super Snake and the Hennessy Exorcist which have 750 bhp and 1000bhp respectively which puts the Demon slap bang in the middle of both it’s rivals.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson.
So here she is!, the brand new “Q By Aston Martin” Vanquish S Red Arrows Edition, it starts off as a normal Vanquish S which is then completely reworked by Aston’s Q Division (Similar to Mclaren’s MSO).
it is finished in striking Eclat Red which mirrors the livery of the Red Arrows Hawks – with Eclat being the Red Arrows Motto.
Interior wise it has a One-77 derived steering wheel, RAF Inspired details such as Pinewood green inserts that evoke the design of the flight suits and the Martin Baker Ejection Seat fabric, the signature Red Arrows emblem of the nine aircraft in their well known ‘Diamond’ formation embroidered on the seat backs along with unique sill and engine plaques – with the latter being signed by the pilots of the Red Arrows in formation of build ( i.e N0.1 Red Arrows Pilot signing the first car so on so forth).
the RAF Areobatic logo will be embroidered on the transmission tunnel, the vehicle will be a 2+0 layout allowing for storage of unique Red Arrows Racing helmets, the switchgear on the steering wheel will be inspired by aviation instrumentation, there is also Black/yellow hatched design pattering on the seat folds and door pulls.
on the outside there is subtle details including white and blue carbon livery detailing to the white ‘smoke trail’ feature on the side strakes, a carbon fibre roof panel mimicking the canopy design of the jets, union jack enamel wing badges as well as a titanium exhaust system finish off the exterior package.
there is only going to be 10 examples in the entire world with 9 going to customers and the last one being gifted to the RAF Benevolent Fund which provides support to former servicemen of the RAF and their families.
The car celebrates the 52nd anniversary of the Official Aerobatics Team of the RAF or as we know it The Red Arrows who started in 1965 beginning with the Folland Gnat Trainer Jet and then eventually going onto the Hawks of today – over the years The Red Arrows have became synonymous with incredible precision and an amazing spectacle with them doing shows all over the world from events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed to Royal events and also various Air shows.
The Aston Martin brings all the best aspects of The Red Arrows and puts them into an absolutely gorgeous package to stun even the non car people of the world – Aston Martin have done a really good job on the car!
The car is the 3rd Aston Martin Special edition from Aston Martin Cambridge; the same branch who created and commissioned the 80 V12 Vantage S Spitfire Edition cars which celebrated the Spitfires first flight and also the Vantage S Blades Edition.
Performance wise it is unchanged apart from the Titanium exhaust system meaning it’s V12 has 592bhp & 465ib ft and a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds and a 201mph top speed, prices haven’t been released as of yet but expect it to be in the £200K – £250K range upwards.
By Alex Jebson
What is Oversteer and Understeer?, what’s the causes of it and what is the differences between the two!
So, Oversteer and Understeer!, what are they, what is the difference between the two and what causes oversteer and understeer? Lets get started with Understeer first.
So what is understeer you ask?, Understeer is when you turn a corner and the front end of the car gradually goes forward when turning, it usually only happens on FWD cars with a minority of AWD cars as well (like the old Big Audi’s with Quattro for example)
So what causes understeer? Understeer is caused when the slip angle of the front wheels is greater than the slip angle of the rear wheels which in turn causes understeer, slip angle is basically the distortion of the tyres side wall which affects steering.
As shown in the diagram above, Understeer is when the vehicle keeps going forward when turning the vehicle, to reduce the risk of understeer, reduce the speed of the vehicle to regain control, normally Understeer is safer as it is easier to regain control compared to oversteer.
So what is Oversteer?, Oversteer is when the rear wheels lose grip and throws the car into a slide while going through a corner, this normally happens to RWD Vehicles and some FWD vehicles (Lift-Off Oversteer – essentially when you turn into a corner and let off the throttle the car oversteers slightly instead of understeering)
So what causes Oversteer?, Oversteer is the complete opposite of understeer, unlike Understeer where the slip angle of the front tyres is greater than the rear tyres, oversteer is caused by the rear wheels having a greater slip angle than the front tyres causing the car to slide while cornering.
As shown in the diagram above, the vehicle turns into a corner and the rear end starts to slide causing oversteer, oversteer isn’t as easy to control compared to understeer (especially if you’ve never experienced it before or if you own a Ford Mustang);) as you need to apply the throttle and turn into the skid to stop the vehicle from spinning out of control and causing an accident.
Slip angles are the main causes of understeer and oversteer, as shown in the diagram above when looking at both understeer and oversteer the degrees of the tyres depends on if your understeering (slip angle greater on the front wheels compared to the rear) or oversteering (slip angle greater on the rear wheels compared to the front), hope this write up helped in finding out the difference of understeer & oversteer and hopefully you learned something!
Hope You Enjoy!
From Alex Jebson