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All posts by Stuart Thomas: Motorburn Editor

  • 5 cars built by manufacturers who really should’ve known better

    Look, we get it. Building a car isn't easy. But when a manufacturer's been doing it for couple of decades, you'd think they would've learned most of the really hard lessons. By that stage, they should, after all, have all the right ingredients in place. The design teams should've figured out the company's identity, the engineers should know what they are and are not capable of and the assembly lines should be running pretty much as smoothly as they possibly can. The thing is, everyone is bound to hit the odd rough patch. It doesn't matter who you are...

  • McLaren Special Ops division produces a very special 650S coupe concept

    It's difficult to look at the 650S coupe concept from McLaren's Special Operations division and not imagine it growling aggressively at you. The car, which is set to be shown off across China over the coming weeks, is meant to illustrate some of the upgrades the division can provide to the standard 650S Coupe and 650S Spider. The British-based motoring company says that the concept has a "stealth-like, menacing appearance" and for once we agree with the PR spin. Between the metallic black paint with red flecks and the satin-finished carbon fibre highlights, the 650S concept looks like it's...

  • Just how real can the cars in a game look? Very, if ‘Project CARS’ is anything to go by

    If you're anything like us, you spent vast swathes of the time before you got your driving license playing racing games. Truth be told, a good portion of you probably still do. The thing is, no matter how good the graphics got over the years, the cars never looked quite right during gameplay. Given the constraints on the machine most of these games are run on, it's understandable that the developers would leave the really fancy graphics for the cutscenes. If the makers of a game called Project CARS are to be believed though, we can finally throw that...

  • 5 simple innovations that changed motoring forever (and one that could)

    The global car market is an arms race between a, relatively, large number of manufacturers owned by a much smaller number of big companies. In that race, the best a manufacturer can hope for is that it can bring an entirely new innovation to market before any of its competitors do. Failing that, it'll hope that it can present that innovation in a manner or at a cost that its competitors simply cannot match. Right now, some those innovations can seem silly and overwrought (hands up if you've ever been blinded by an over-enthusiastic set of automatic headlights) but...

  • 4 modern hatchbacks that really don’t translate well as sedans

    When it comes to combining pure driving pleasure with great practicality, it's difficult to beat a good hatchback. How many other car forms would allow you to go tearing around corners like an irresponsible yahoo one day and help your mom move her dresser the next? Trouble is, there are people out there who like the badges associated with hatchbacks -- Civic, Focus, Swift -- but prefer to have conventional boots, for some reason. We've never actually met one of them, but they must be out there because the manufacturers keep building them. A large portion of the time,...

  • 5 CAT excavators play world’s greatest ever game of Jenga

    This just the coolest thing we've seen all month. It's a giant game of Jenga featuring five heavy CAT machines, including a Excavators and Telehandlers. Yup, that's right, a bunch of guys managed to play a massive version of that game you start struggling with after a couple of glasses of wine. The other difference of course is that when you play Jenga, you tend not to have giant pieces of earth-moving equipment shaking the ground around you. The video, which is obviously a promo for CAT, shows just how much technical mastery the people who operate these machines...

  • This is the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept

    We don't think there have been many concepts this year that have caused as much of a hoopla as the Land Rover Discovery Vision. From dramatic teasers, through to the promise of "see through" bonnets in the not-too-distant future, the concept from the off-road specialist promised to be something special. Thing is, now that it's been revealed, we're not so sure how we feel about it. Unveiled at the New York Auto Show, the concept isn't ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but it's pretty consistent with the direction the Discovery's been taking for some time now. Interestingly...

  • 7 of the most beautiful one-off cars of all time

    There have been plenty of beautiful cars over the years, from the early efforts of pioneering coachbuilders that would go on to become household names, through to the Jaguar E Type and the Alfa 8C. A lot of the value of older, beautiful cars meanwhile, derives from their scarcity. In some cases, that's because we didn't realise how important they were when we built them, in others it's because they were only released in relatively small numbers in the first place. But what about the cars that had the smallest runs of all? We're talking about one-off specials. Many...

  • Stirring VW Kombi tribute will give you a strong case of ‘the feels’

    If you can watch this without shedding a tear or two, or at least feeling a strong sense of sentimentality, then we're sorry but you're not human. The film is a tribute to the Volkswagen Mark 2 Kombi, which has reached the end of its lifecycle after 63 years, as well as the people who helped transform it into an icon. Narrated by the Kombi itself, it involves fulfilling the vehicle's last wishes as it travels around the world on its last journey. Six months in the making, the film travels with it from Owings Mills, in the suburbs...

  • 4 high-tech helmets that could change motorbiking forever

    Unless you've got one of those BMW scooters from a few years back, chances are the closest you're going to come to a windscreen while traveling on two wheels is your helmet. As long as the safety of the rider isn't compromised, it's also the most natural place to put any serious motorbike tech. Thankfully, the people trying to cram as much tech as possible into helmets seem to have figured this out. From what we can see, they seem to be doing their best to give their (in some cases potential) customers the kind of tech we've come to...

  • ZENS aims to turn your cup holder into a wireless charger

    Check this out. The ability to wirelessly charge a device in your car is something that'll most likely start making its way as a standard feature into cars in the near future. Now though, it seems that there's hope for those of us who love our tech but are unlikely to be able to splash out on a new car in the next few years. Dutch company Zens is looking to bring wireless charging to the car with an attachment designed to fit in your cup holder. Powered by your car's cigarette lighter, Zens claims that it Qi Wireless...

  • 10 great VW Golf ads from the past 40 years

    A little over 40 years ago, something very special happened: the first ever Golf rolled off the Volkswagen assembly line. Just as the iPad wasn't the first tablet, the Golf wasn't the first hatchback. Like the iPad however, it ignited and, for a very long time, defined the class as a whole. The fact that it could move the whole family in safety and comfort one day and a chest of drawers the next -- at a decent speed and with striking looks to boot -- was revolutionary. Small wonder then that VW's been able to ride that formula through...

  • Volvos of the future could come with an F1 style KERS system

    The introduction of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) added a whole new dimension to Formula One racing and, if Volvo is to be believed, it could soon appear in passenger vehicles. The system will apparently add around 80bhp under acceleration and could save as much as 25% in fuel economy. According to Car and Driver, the system has already been tested on public roads in the UK and Sweden and is being positioned as offering “a lightweight, financially viable, and very efficient solution.” The technology is part of the company's Drive E powertrain research and makes more sense than...

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