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Saturday, 3 January 2009

Huet Brothers fulfill their dream with HB Special

Two Dutch brothers, Tino and Paul Huet, have been raised among precious cars, such as Bugatti and vintage Alfa Romeo. When they grew up, Paul became a pilot and Tino, an art director, but they wanted to do more of their lives. That's why they have founded the Classic Drivers’ Club of Netherlands (, a place where all associates get the right to drive special classic cars, such as a Porsche 356 B, in rallies all over Europe and Africa. Since some of these vehicles are really rare, the Huet brothers came up with the idea of building a vehicle of their own, able to perform as a classic, but with modern time solutions. This is how they decided to build the HB Special, back in 2005. This was what I had in 2006, when I first spoke to them and wrote the article Experiência para poucos, something like "Experience for few people". The car was still a dream. Now, it has been completed and you can see it in carbon fibre and aluminum below. And what a gorgeous piece of engineering they have managed to achieve:

The HB Special uses a chassis and an engine from Triumph TR6. The first one was chosen because it allows the use of independent suspension in all four wheels, while the second came along because it was an efficient and light engine. Originally it was a 2.5-litre six-in-line engine that developed between 105 bhp and 150 bhp, but the Huet brothers have bored it up to 2.7 litre and it now develops 180 bhp.

Among other changes, its flywheel has been lightened to make the engine rev up with more disposition and two SU carburetors have been used, since they adjust to different pressure conditions, something important when we speak about a car made to run on mountain roads. It may not seem very much, but, considering the car's weight, it is more than enough. The HB Special had a weight goal of 750 kg. The final production vehicle weighs only 711 kg. Since the car has not been created to break speed records, but to corner in a special way down and up mountain roads, their goal has been achieved.

The body of HB Special is made of carbon fibre, what makes it weigh only 23 kg. Brakes are almost the same ones used by Triumph TR6, but they have been improved, with bigger drums in the back and four-piston calipers for the front discs.

HB Special will not be sold. It will be a special part of the events HB Brothers plan to promote in a short period of time, in 2009. There will be only 12 vehicles, since the Huet brothers have two trucks to transport the cars and each of them can carry six cars. The limited number of HB Special also has to do with the fact the events were planned to be very exclusive.

Anyone interested in taking part of them has to contact the company and choose a country in which to take the journey. Some may even choose to take part in all 12 events that are being planned. According to Huet Brothers' website, there are confirmed routes through Italy and Norway, but they will also be in Spain, France, England, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Clients have to meet at one of the chosen hotels. There they will receive a box with their names on it. It contains a classic racing overall, gloves, shoes, helmet and goggles. There are two clients for each car.

Since the idea is to have a vehicle that behaves as a classic, even being a modern one, fine-tuned by Gijsbert van Lennep, a famous racer in the Netherlands, there are no safety equipments such as ABS, airbags or any sort of electronical assistance. Not even bumpers. Seat belts are abdominal to keep you firmly against the leather bucket seats, but a front crash agains the aluminum panel would cause some serious damage, something that could also happen in an original classic car, by the way. This must be why the Huet brothers ask their clients to take really good care of the cars. If the car is well, its occupants will also be.

Source: Huet Brothers

Fisker will present the convertible version of Karma in Detroit

Detroit Auto Show was supposed to have only one big star among its presentations, the production version of Fisker Karma, but there will be at least one more big attraction. And it also comes from Fisker. It is the concept vehicle Fisker Karma S, presented below in this teaser picture.

What the picture teases is the presentation of a convertible version of Karma, already promised and quickly fullfilled. S stands for Sunset. And is there a better way to watch a sunset than inside a gorgeous car? Pay attention, in the picture, to the lack of a B column.

Karma S will also be a plug-in hybrid vehicle, although we prefer to name it an electric vehicle with extended range provided by a combustion engine. The powertrain comes from Q-Drive, a company that has developed it exclusively for Fisker. Besides the output, up to 408 bhp from its two electric engines, the car can also run 80 km only with the full charge of its batteries. When this charge starts to be depleted, a 260 bhp 2-litre turbo Ecotec engine starts to recharge the batteries back. Since the idea is to have minimal fuel use, it is still a mistery why Fisker decided to use such a powerful combustion engine for recharging, but we will surely get a reasonable explanation for that at the company's press conference, in January 12.

Source: Fisker

Monday, 29 December 2008

Lotec changes Sirius for 2009

Lotec GmbH has produced a respectful creature, named Sirius. It is possibly one of the first production vehicles to break the 1,000 bhp barrier. To be more specific, it has reached 1,200 cv at 6,300 rpm and 1,320 Nm at 3,400 rpm. For 2009, it will have a new appearance, much more interesting than the one the current model presents, especially in the back.

As some gains are followed by some losses, the new car appearance will probably come with a smaller engine. The reason for this is that the 6-litre V12 engine that is used on the current Sirius model will probably be phased out by Mercedes-Benz and there won't be another V12 from the German automaker anymore. In the V12 place Lotec will very likely use a V8 with supercharger, already present in AMG models.

Even with the smaller engine, Lotec is sure to ensure the same performance levels (or even better) with some changes in the V8 engine and some car weight reduction, currenty at 1,280 kg. Sirius is 4.12 m long, 2.01 m wide and 1.12 m tall, but the new model may have different specifications. We'll be sure about it when official information is also released.

Source: Le Blog Auto