To Sum Up: Concorde edition DBS and Uber out of London
A quite week for the automotive industry but not one without some interesting news. Aston Martin have taken inspiration from the great engineering of Concorde for a special edition DBS Superleggera. Uber meanwhile has lost it's license to operate it's taxi service in the UK capital. German tuning company AC Schnitzer meanwhile have turned away from their usual BMW developments for a few weeks to enhance the latest Toyota Supra, while the infamous British engineering firm Prodrive have announced plans to open a restoration service for it's classic competition vehicles.
Inspired by Aviation
Aston Martin, this week, have announced a limited edition model of their DBS Grand Tourer, to celebrate both 50 years of Concorde and 100 years of the airline company British Airways. The car follows on from previous aerospace inspired Aston Martins, announcing the new car exactly 16 years to the day that the last Concorde flight touched down.
Just ten Concorde editions will hit the road, all commissioned by Aston Martin Bristol. Aston Martins Q division have gone about upgrades to the DBS inspired by special materials and manufacturing methods of the infamous jet. The roof is carbon fibre (with a Concorde graphic), while the new side strakes are milled from solid aluminium. The paint scheme meanwhile is inspired by the British Airways colour scheme, with the interior featuring a similar finish as well as a smattering of Concorde silhouettes. The paddle shifters meanwhile are made from aluminium, sourced from the blades of Concorde engines.
There has been no price quoted, though with just ten available I highly doubt that Aston Martin will struggle to sell them all very quickly (if they aren't spoken for already). Each sale however, will see a percentage donated to the Air League Trust, a non-profit organisation that provides tutoring for under-privileged children including engineering and flying tutorials.
German Tuning for the Japanese Coupe
Thanks to it's BMW powertrain, the new Supra has caught the attention of German tuner AC Schnitzer (a company renowned for their modified BMW's). The idea being to rival the current modification packages offered predominantly by Japanese tuning firms.
The upgrades for the engine raise power to 394bhp and 443lb ft (59bhp and 74lb ft up on standard). The pwoertrain upgrade also impressively features a 36 month warranty, signalling AC Schnitzer's confidence in the BMW-sourced straight six engine. To enahnce the sound, AC Schnitzer are also offering a new rear silencer, available with carbon or black anodised steel tips.
Suspension modifications also feature, with adjustable coilover suspension for improvements in handling and reportedly ride comfort also. Looks are enhanced by new 20" wheels and a Schnitzer styling package (which I think is particularly impressive), this includes the large carbon rear wing and new front splitter. Carbon fibre vents have also appeared in the bonnet, while inside AC Schnitzer will offer multiple options for gearshift paddles and the iDrive controller. Pricing is yet to be announced.
AC Schnitzer also announced this week that the power upgrades along with styling and aero tweaks are also available on the Z4 M40i, liberating the same peformance gains as found on the Supra.
No More Uber in London?
Devastating news for the app-based taxi firm, with the company losing it's licence to operate in London due to accusations of putting it's passengers at risk. Transport for London has said it had "identified a pattern of failures by the company including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk". The firm has seen improvements since receiving a license to operate in the city last year but TfL did not have confidence that the firm was operating safely and properly at this time.
Uber have less than 21 days to appeal against the decision, during which time the company can continue to operate in the capital city. One of the major issues was unauthorised drivers being able to add their photos onto current Uber driver accounts, allowing them to pick up passengers without being checked for safety or appropriate licences, it is said that this scenario occurred over 14,000 times in London alone.
TfL have iterated that "safety is their absolute top priority", calling it unacceptable that passengers could get into taxis with drivers who could potentially be unlicensed or uninsured. For the time being Uber will continue to operate in London, until it's current licence expires in just a couple of weeks. However, if Uber chooses to appeal there will be a lengthy decision process, during which Uber will have the opportunity to continue operating it's service in London. So it may not be the end of everyone's favourite taxi app service just yet.
Prodrive to Bring Rally Legends Back to Life
In a first project of it's kind, Prodrive are now offering to bring your classic Motorsport vehicles back to their original greatness. The service has been called Prodrive Legends, with the opportunity for owners to bring their rally and race cars back up to their original specification, often by the same people who built the cars in the first place.
Prodrive is responsible for the creation of over 700 Subaru rally cars (it's most popular model) including 160 Impreza WRC's which covers those used by the rallying legend Colin McRae. The company has also created many track-based vehicles with 40 E30 M3's built in the 80's followed more recently by nearly 50 DB9 Aston racers and a whopping 180 Vantage based cars.
Prodrive's exclusive rights to some of the parts used in it's competition vehicles means that only they can keep these cars up to standard, while maintaining their originality. Their industry links meanwhile, will prove to be invaluable when sourcing difficult to create and extremely rare pieces, as featured in some of their previous work. The restorations will be carried out at the company's Banbury headquarters, with a promise that finished cars will be "turnkey and ready to run competitively".