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Saturday, April 30, 2011

We Hit the 2011 California Mille Classic Car Rally – Part 1

April 26, 2011 at 6:18pm by Howard Swig

2011 California Mille

This week, our esteemed Road Warrior Howard Swig is at the 2011 California Mille, a four-day, 1000-mile tour through the Golden State. The event was founded by Howard’s father, Martin, but Howard’s not just there to watch—he and his brother are piloting a 1959 Lancia Appia in the event. Below, his first dispatch from the field.

The 21st California Mille began this past Sunday at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The American event is named to honor the famed Italian Mille Miglia road race, which originally ran from 1927-1957 from Brescia to Rome, and then back to Brescia. Only cars that would have qualified for the Italian event are eligible to run in the California Mille, making for a delectable field of classics. The entrants include American and European sports and touring cars, as well as prewar and competition cars. If you can call any of the vehicles in the California Mille common, they’d include Alfa Romeo Giuliettas and 1900s, Porsche 356s, and Jaguar XK 120/140s. Chopard returns as the presenting sponsor.

Drivers hit the road on Monday morning, beginning their 1000-mile run through some of Northern California’s best roads. There are also two stops at tracks planned—Infineon and Thunderhill—for touring laps. My brother and I are running a 1959 Lancia Appia Pininfarina coupe; you can pick it out in the photo gallery from its “53? badge. We’ll be bringing you updates of the odyssey as the event progresses.

2011 California Mille2011 California Mille

Tags: 2011 California Mille, Car Culture |

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Debuts @ 2011 New York Auto Show – Video

April 25, 2011 at 9:43am by Car and Driver 2011 New York Auto ShowTags: 2011 New York auto show, American, auto shows, crossover, Jeep, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, New York Auto Show, SRT, SUV, video |

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The Continental: AMG and Opel Hot Rods, GM Interior Design, and Some Welcome Deregulation

The Continental

Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

AMG head Ola Källenius told me last week in New York that the upcoming AMG version of the SLK will be a benchmark in efficiency. And he confirms it will be normally aspirated—no turbo, no hybrid. Details are to come later this year. Källenius also hints at an upcoming AMG version of the next three-door A-class. It would need to make “more than 300 hp.” What’s more, Källenius will also take a closer look at the platform’s other derivatives. There won’t be an AMG version of the five-door B-class, but an AMG version of the sleek four-door sedan that Daimler likes to describe as a “compact CLS” shouldn’t be ruled out . . .

Not only AMG is pushing for more power and speed. Opel, GM’s struggling German subsidiary, is launching high-powered versions of the Corsa subcompact and the mid-size Insignia, the Buick Regal’s twin brother. With a turbocharged, 207-hp, 1.6-liter four, the Corsa OPC Nürburgring Edition reaches 143 mph. I have driven the regular, 189-hp Corsa OPC and walked away highly impressed. It is an extremely competent racer—with a sweet exhaust note reminiscent of the Mazdaspeed 3's—and 207 hp will make it even better. On the other side of the spectrum, the Insignia OPC is now offered without a top-speed governor. This OPC goes by the highly imaginative “Unlimited” moniker and is propelled by a 2.8-liter, 320-hp turbo V-6, to a new stop speed of 168 mph. Good.

Go Faster

Speaking of speed, the laudable efforts of the Texas and Kansas legislatures to raise the speed limits have prompted me to take a survey of the status in Europe. And it’s nice that amidst all the calls to act “responsibly” behind the wheel there is actually growing room to exercise responsibility without too much coercion. Even the prototypical nanny state, Sweden, has raised its limit from 68 to 75 mph a few years ago. But it gets better: This January, Poland raised its speed limit to 87 mph. The Czech Republic and Slovakia are discussing raising the speed limit to 100 mph. In Great Britain, prime minister David Cameron promised to “end the war on motorists”—before the election. After his win, many speed cameras were turned off. But there has been a half-reversal: Some of the cash cows have been turned on again in a few counties.

In Switzerland, the parliament has passed a motion not to require taxi drivers to carry child seats anymore. “In the entire country, not a single such accident has happened with an unsecured child,” says representative Jacqueline Fehr.

The incessant clamoring for daytime running lights led to them being mandated in Austria in late 2005. It took decades to get the regulation to drive with your lights on all day installed—and two years to take it down. And in the German state of Hassia, outgoing minister president Roland Koch took speed limits off dozens of autobahn stretches. More good news: The “environmental zones” which supposedly aim to limit particulate emissions (but have proven useless) are falling out of favor. The planned launch in Dresden has been axed, and Hannover might now get rid of its zone.

GM’s Interior Direction

At the New York show, I spoke with Crystal Windham, director of GM passenger-car interior design. She showed me the next Malibu‘s interior, which is innovative and handsome—although not a huge step forward from the current, already pleasant Malibu. A sweet touch: the horizontal motif of the air vents, which stretches across the dashboard and flows into the door panels. The horizontal stripes hide the air vents left and right. It would be far nicer if the vents were functional across the dashboard, but the packaging for that proved impossible. At night, the effect will be beautiful, thanks to ice-blue ambient lighting.

This ambient lighting will become a Chevrolet signature, says Windham, but you will continue to find it on Buick models. Is the Chinese market a strong influence on GM design? Not necessarily: “We find the Chinese customers appreciate our American styling heritage,” she says. But there even is a positive influence from China: Many car owners in China are sitting not in the driver’s seat, but in the rear seat as being chauffeured is a standard means of transportation for the upper middle class. And this leads designers to put a lot of emphasis on a luxurious experience in the second row. What about instrumentation? Windham believes that it is a good idea to let drivers customize the panels, within the limits of safety and ergonomics.

GM design seems to be on the right track, and the emphasis on a classic American look proves its newfound self-confidence.

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Cadillac Planning RWD Sedan to Go After the 7-series and S-class . . . And Maybe Even the Rolls-Royce Phantom

April 25, 2011 at 3:17pm by Jens Meiners

Cadillac has talked about building a true flagship for years—the beautiful Sixteen concept, shown above, dates to 2003—and it appears that a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan is finally taking shape. The brand’s bosses have realized that the XTS, a stretched derivative of the front-wheel-drive Epsilon platform also underpinning the Buick LaCrosse and Saab 9-5, will not quite be enough to scare the Audis and BMWs of the world, let alone cement the automaker’s position building the Cadillac of automobiles.

According to insiders, Cadillac’s new flagship model will be built on a standalone rear-drive platform, dubbed Omega, rather than sharing underpinnings with the CTS or upcoming ATS. As we predicted in the past, it will be powered by six- and eight-cylinder engines, and all-wheel drive would be optional. A hybrid version could follow later, a diesel— which would account for the bulk of the vehicle’s sales in Europe—won’t. The new, impressively styled sedan will be launched in 2014 as a 2015 model.

Naturally, offering rear-wheel drive and a V-8 won’t be sufficient for Cadillac to take on the world. A Cadillac flagship pointed squarely at the Mercedes-Benz S-class and BMW 7-series will need to be jam-packed with safety and comfort technology, and requires cabin accommodations indulgent enough to make Buckingham Palace’s interior designer weep.

And Now, to Rolls-Royce

We also have learned that General Motors is considering an even more exciting use for the Omega platform—though it’s one we’re skeptical will see the light of day. Our sources tell us that Cadillac is looking at building a super-luxury sedan to compete head-on with the likes of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. (Yes, someone at GM actually referred to Rolls-Royce’s locomotive.) It’s far from a done deal, but it would be great to see such a halo car fighting for American supremacy in billionairemobiles.

No matter what happens, we’re guessing the Cadillac Sixteen’s 13.6-liter V-16 engine won’t be nestled in the engine bay. What a shame.

Tags: Cadillac, Cadillac ATS, Cadillac Omega, Cadillac XTS |

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Jaguar Planning Brand New V-6 Engine for XF (and Maybe XJ)

April 26, 2011 at 5:40pm by Justin Berkowitz

Perhaps you read in this week’s Financial Times that Jaguar is looking at building a new factory for engine construction in the UK. What the company hasn’t said—but thanks to our sources, we can now confirm—is that the added production capacity will allow the Jaguar to begin construction of a brand-new six-cylinder engine. The engine should come to the U.S. in the XF, and possibly even in the XJ.

At present, every Jaguar sold in the U.S. comes with an excellent 5.0-liter V-8 engine. Some are naturally aspirated and make 385 hp, while others are supercharged and produce 475 or 510 ponies. Europeans see more options for their cats: a 2.2-liter diesel four, a 3.0-liter diesel six, and the old Ford-based 3.0-liter V-6. You may remember that last engine from such groaning flops as the Jaguar X-Type 3.0 and the S-Type 3.0. Suffice it to say that the company needs a new gasoline V-6 for the U.S. market and for Europeans who want an engine designed during the current millennium. (Jag also needs all-wheel drive, but that’s not happening any time soon.)

Given that the outgoing lump makes 240 hp, we’d expect Jaguar’s new six-pot to produce significantly more power, something comparable to the 300-plus-hp engines from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. It seems sensible that this engine would be paired to the eight-speed automatic that the company recently announced would be used in 2.2-liter diesel cars in Europe. We were told our wait for the engine wouldn’t be too long, so we figure that we’ll see it in the 2013 or 2014 model year.

Tags: Jaguar, Jaguar XF, Jaguar XJ |

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Rolls-Royce parades through London on the Spirit of Ecstacy centenary drive

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Feb 9th 2011 at 8:27AM Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstacy Centenary Drive – Click above for high-res image gallery
Rolls-Royce may sell as many motor cars in Hong Kong and Dubai as they do in their own domestic market, but if you had to pick one city that embodies the Spirit of Ecstasy, that'd be London. So to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the iconic Rolls-Royce mascot, the company rolled out a parade of 100 of its vehicles around the sites and streets of the English capital.

The latest Phantom and Ghost models lead the procession that included shining examples from the company's history – including Silver Ghosts, Clouds, Shadows and Spurs – past such local landmarks as Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Full details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Rolls-Royce]

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Nicholas Brawer decanters replicate classic radiator grilles

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Dec 11th 2010 at 8:01PM

Grille Flasks by Nicholas Brawer Grille Flasks by Nicholas Brawer – Click above for high-res image gallery
Let us go on the record once again as stating that we at Autoblog don't condone drinking and driving. But to suggest that those who love cars can't also enjoy the occasional adult beverage is another matter entirely. For such a crowd, craftsman Nicholas Brawer has just the thing.

Joining a collection that includes a replica mahogany wind tunnel model of an aerial bomb and a portable roulette wheel comes this unique set of collectables – a selection of ornamental decanters styled after the radiator grilles of classic Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar automobiles. All five come in the set, each crafted to scale from chrome and glass. They assuredly don't come cheap, but they may just do the trick for the discerning enthusiast on your shopping list.

[Source: Nicholas Brawer via Luxury Launches] Filed under: Classics, Etc., Bentley, Bugatti, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, Luxury

Tags: alcohol, autoblog fantasy living room, bentley, bugatti, decanter, fantasy living room, flask, holiday gifts, jaguar, liquor, mercedes-benz, nicholas brawer, rolls-royce

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William and Kate royal wedding ride a protest-damaged Rolls-Royce

by Aaron Richardson (RSS feed) on Mar 28th 2011 at 6:29PM

1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI – Click above for full gallery of the royal wedding's transportation
When Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot on April 29, the bride will ride to Westminster Abbey in a 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI that student protesters attacked on December 9. The car, carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla at the time, suffered a broken window and new two-tone paint job. Follow the jump for some video footage of how the attack went down.

According to Alex Garty, the transport manager at Buckingham Palace, the car is being repaired as we speak and will be ready for the April 29 nuptials. Garty says the car is getting a quick freshening while it's being repaired, just to make sure it's looking its best for the royal bride.

Once the knot has been tied, William and Kate will proceed back to Buckingham Palace in an open-top 1902 State Landau carriage, provided it isn't raining. The same State Landau also took Prince Charles to St. Paul's Cathedral for his 1981 wedding to Princess Diana.

If the weather doesn't cooperate, the royal couple will ride in an 1881 Glass Coach, which is usually the vehicle of choice for royal brides to get to the church.

[Source: YouTube via Yahoo, Hello Magazine]

Filed under: Sedan, Etc., Europe, Rolls-Royce, Celebrities, Luxury

Tags: 1881 glass coach, 1902 state landau carriage, 1977 rolls-royce phantom VI, kate middleton, prince william, rolls-royce, royal wedding, student protestors, william and kate

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Video: 27-liter, Rolls-Royce airplane-engined Rover SD1

by Aaron Richardson (RSS feed) on Apr 2nd 2011 at 8:01PM

1981 Rover SD-1

Charlie Broomfield got bored of working on run-of-the-mill project cars. He always seemed to finish them to quickly, and was never quite satisfied with the results. Charlie needed a challenge to his engineering and fabrication skills.

That challenge came in the form of a donated 1981 Rover SD-1. The SD-1 needed some serious help to be the luxury sport sedan it was when it left British Leyland during the Thatcher era. Instead of restoring the car from top to bottom, though, Charlie purchased a 27-liter Rolls-Royce Meteor engine from a British Spitfire fighter plane. The engine cost Charlie a slim £1,000.

With 600 horsepower and 1,500 pound-feet of Nazi-stopping gusto wedged between the frame rails, the SD-1 will now break 160 mph without going over 2,000 rpm. Almost none of the original Rover parts are left, save the body panels, and Charlie's goal is to crack 200 mph in the 24-cylinder beast before he considers the project done.

[Source: YouTube]

Filed under: Aftermarket, Etc., Videos, Rolls-Royce

Tags: 1981 rover sd-1, awesome, charlie borrmfield, fifth gear, rolls, rolls-royce, rover, royce

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Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom Experimental Electric to debut in Geneva

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Confirms Electric Test Vehicle Project.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today confirmed the development of 102EX, a one-off, fully electric powered Phantom, to debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1 March 2011. The car will tour during 2011, serving as a test bed to gather a bank of research data which will be crucial in informing future decisions on alternative drive-trains for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

"We have engineered the world's first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment," said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, speaking from the company's headquarters in Goodwood. "With this vehicle, we begin an exploration into alternative drive-trains, seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future."

Rolls-Royce produces cars that represent the pinnacle in luxurious motoring for the world's most discerning customers. With 102EX, also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), it is the company's intention to carefully test the opinions and reactions to alternative drive-train options of a range of stakeholders including owners, enthusiasts, members of the public and the media.

102EX will serve as a working test bed for a global tour that takes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. Through test drives, owners will be given the opportunity to experience an alternative drive-train technology and to feedback their experiences, thoughts and concerns directly to Rolls-Royce.

While there are no plans to develop a production version, as one of the company's EX models it will serve to begin a dialogue with existing owners and stakeholders, posing as well as answering questions of its audience.

These include the car's ability to deliver an acceptable range between re-charges and to operate in extreme weather conditions. But also to benchmark reliability and quality against customer expectations of the world's pinnacle automotive brand.

"I must be convinced that any alternative drive-train we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience," added Müller-Ötvös. "It must be a technology that is right for our customers, our brand and which sets us on a sound footing for a sustainable future."

In preparation for the Geneva debut, Rolls-Royce will launch the website this week, a portal to fuel a wider global debate seeking views on the question of electric luxury from media, VIPs and stakeholders. The site will also deliver regular updates of the car's progress while on tour.

Full technical specifications for 102EX, as well as images and b-roll will be published at 00:01 GMT on 1 March 2011.

View the original article here

Mini Goodwood Concept headed to Shanghai Motor Show

by Matt Davis (RSS feed) on Mar 15th 2011 at 11:28AM

Mini logo

At the recent Geneva Motor Show, a source within Mini revealed to Autoblog that the automaker will be bringing a new concept, dubbed "Goodwood," to the Shanghai Motor Show next month.

The Goodwood concept is a fully plushified, hand-wrought hatchback updo that pays hommage to not only the current Rolls-Royce headquarters on the Goodwood estate (hey, it's all in the BMW Group family), but also to the Rolls-Royce/Bentley glory years of bespoke treatments by the in-house Mulliner Park Ward department. Consider it a high-margin fluff job for present-day good-taste barometer nations like China, Russia, India, Abu Dhabi and Switzerland.

Coachbuilder Park Ward of London became a wholly owned part of Rolls-Royce/Bentley in 1939, while H.J. Mulliner & Co. was absorbed in 1961. Together these workers melded into one under the legendary Mulliner Park Ward bespoke umbrella. In 1998 when Rolls-Royce and Bentley were hewn asunder, Mulliner was eventually reconstituted under the Bentley brand as its bespoke group, while Park Ward lasted until 2002 at the end of the limited-run Rolls-Royce Park Ward extended-wheelbase model.

We're eager to get our hands on the official images and details sometime before the Wee Roller's debut next month. Should be rich.

[Image: Drew Phillips/AOL]

Filed under: Concept Cars, China, Hatchback, Mini, Rolls-Royce, UK, Specialty, Shanghai Motor Show, Design/Style, Luxury

Tags: 2011 shanghai, concept, goodwood, mini, shanghai 2011, shanghai motor show

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Rolls-Royce opens its largest showroom yet in Abu Dhabi

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Mar 30th 2011 at 7:00AM

Rolls-Royce showroom Abu Dhabi
Rolls-Royce showroom Abu Dhabi – Click above for high-res image gallery
The news these days from the Middle East mostly focuses on warfare and revolution, but not in Abu Dhabi. The gulf emirate remains an island of tranquility, and that's where Rolls-Royce has opted to open its largest showroom ever.

The dealership includes some 900 square meters of showroom space – that's nearly 10,000 square feet – incorporating a coffee bar, a customer configuration lounge and enough floorspace to showcase five vehicles in uncluttered opulence. Which is really something, considering that the company currently offers only four variants across two model ranges. There's a service facility adjacent as well. The new Abu Dhabi location is the 82nd in an expanding chain of Rolls-Royce dealers around the world, and the eighth in the Middle East alone.

[Source: Rolls-Royce]


28 March 2011, Goodwood

The largest Rolls-Royce showroom in the world has opened in the Umm Al Nar area of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The new state-of-the-art facility was unveiled by Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The new 900 square metre showroom provides space for displaying five Rolls-Royce motor cars, a coffee bar and a customer configuration lounge including colour and trim samples. The showroom is also directly linked to a new dedicated Rolls-Royce service facility.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös said, "The showroom opening in Abu Dhabi represents one of a line of new and expanded Rolls-Royce showrooms which have been unveiled throughout the Gulf region in the last 18 months. These investments underline the continuing confidence that the company sees in the Rolls-Royce brand across the Middle East." He continued, "The Middle East region continues to be an important driver in the global growth of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Last year the region contributed over 15% of our global sales. Abu Dhabi is no exception and continues to demonstrate remarkable year on year growth."

The occasion was marked by the unveiling of a Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection Phantom Drophead Coupé. One of a collection of 100 highly bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom models, the cars were built to mark the Centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy, 100 years since the world's most instantly recognisable bonnet figurine was first fitted to Rolls-Royce cars. The beautiful Collection cars were designed with a suite of bespoke design details including a special white-on-black double-R badge, Spirit of Ecstasy inspired coachlines and an inscribed figurine bathed in white light emanating from its base. Discerning collectors across the world, especially in the Middle East, have shown great interest in these unique cars.

View the original article here

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mini Goodwood packs the heart of a Rolls-Royce for Shanghai

Limited production model from the MINI Yours range of special edition vehicles and optionsBased on the MINI Hardtop, this special edition includes authentic Rolls-Royce materials, colors and accessoriesProduction limited to 1,000 units worldwideDeliveries to begin spring 2012
WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ – April 13, 2011-The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD, which will make its world debut at the Auto Shanghai 2011, is an exclusive special edition that adds another layer to the MINI brand experience with a generous dose of automotive luxury and exclusivity in its highest form.

Close collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team at the development center of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England has produced a limited-run special edition MINI, whose exterior and interior design is inspired by fine materials and the British luxury car marque's commitment to absolutely flawless workmanship.

The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD, which will be produced in a limited edition of 1,000 units, combines typical MINI driving fun with discerning craftsmanship, select materials and a styling marked by typical British understatement of the world's leading producer of luxury automobiles. Deliveries of the 2012 model year vehicle, which will launch as part of the exclusive MINI Yours product line, are scheduled to start in spring 2012.

The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD is characterized by top-grade materials, the highest level of workmanship and stylish supremacy. The special edition of the MINI Hardtop was built under the guidance of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars designer team and transfers the unmistakable style of the British luxury car manufacturer to the equally unique MINI, an original within the premium small car segment.

The exterior and interior design from the MINI Yours range: fascinating charisma and incomparable high-quality ambience.

As the first premium model in the small car segment, MINI has been a genuine trailblazer, the unsurpassed scope of its equipment features and accessories allowing it to meet the most varied requirements. And now MINI fans can express their appreciation of exclusive individuality, eye for stylish elegance and penchant for uncompromising premium quality with even greater sophistication.

Inside the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD, a harmonious color concept, selected materials and a production quality characterized by precise craftsmanship guarantee the highest degree of well-being and comfort.

The dashboard, including the surrounds of the central instrument and the air vents, the center console, carpet surfaces, the Lounge leather seats, the roof lining as well as the door, side and body pillar cladding boast the exclusive Rolls-Royce color Cornsilk, a warm and natural shade of beige. Only the upper section of the instrument panel, which is lined with extremely high-quality, soft full-grain leather, is in black.

The dashboard and door handle surfaces are manufactured in Goodwood and finished in Walnut Burr, a wood quality also exclusive to Rolls-Royce. The black nappa leather dashboard top, Tipped Leather Cornsilk door linings as well as Piano Black surface finishes for the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel and the controls below the central instrument all provide additional quality-enhancing accents. These veneers are selected at the Goodwood factory exclusively for the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD, and the matching black dials for the speedometer and rev counter bear the same typeface as their Rolls-Royce counterparts.

Two of the most striking features of the exterior design are the body finish in the exclusive Rolls-Royce color Diamond Black metallic and 17-inch light alloy wheels sporting a multi-spoke design. Alternatively, the MINI color variant Reef Blue metallic can be specified as an option.

The chosen paint shade is also used for the exterior mirror caps and roof spoiler of the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD. The exclusivity of the special-edition model is also reflected in its body design. The car's front and rear apron are the same as those found on the MINI Cooper S, but are combined with the bonnet from the MINI Cooper D. Rather than carrying over the air scoop of the MINI Cooper S, it boasts a harmoniously flowing surface which underlines the stylishly elegant appearance of the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD.

There are also high-class aluminum badges stamped with the lettering "MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD" on the side indicator surrounds above the front wheel arches and on the door sills. Another badge, also featuring the legend "One of 1000", can be found on the centre console in front of the gearshift lever (or selector lever, if the automatic gearbox is specified).

Beyond the signature features of the special-edition model, the standard equipment fitted in the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD also meets the highest expectations of a premium car. The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD's range of high-quality equipment offered as standard also includes Xenon Adaptive Headlights, Park Distance Control, automatic air conditioning, an onboard computer and the audio system Radio MINI Visual Boost, which includes the Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system.

Twin-scroll turbocharged engine delivers customary MINI driving fun.

The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD is powered by a turbocharged l.6-liter four-cylinder engine that was featured for the first time in the 2011 MINI Cooper S. The MINI Cooper S engine ensures that the hallmark MINI driving fun and imposing power reserves are available on tap. The engine includes a Twin Scroll turbocharger, direct injection and variable valve control.

The 1.6-liter drive unit generates 181 hp and maximum torque of 240 Newton meters (177 lb-ft), which can be raised to 260 Newton meters (192 lb-ft) using the Overboost function.

The most efficient engine in its displacement class combines its outstanding power development with exceptionally low fuel consumption and emissions figures. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is all over in 6.6 seconds, while its EPA fuel economy ratings are 35 mpg highway / 27 mpg city / 30 mpg combined (manual transmission). As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD can also be ordered as an option with a six-speed automatic.

Inspired by Goodwood, built in Oxford.

The exterior and interior features specially developed for the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD embody the inimitable style of Rolls-Royce Design. From the initial inspiration, the selection of materials and the detailed preparation of the color concept, to the fine-tuning of the production process to ensure unimpeachable quality standards, the entire development process in Goodwood was carried out in close collaboration with the MINI plant in Oxford and the BMW Group's development center in Munich.

The special-edition car will be built at the Oxford MINI plant, where the MINI Hardtop, MINI Clubman and MINI Convertible are also produced for the global market.

Bred from the finest of stock: The MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD.

The British origins of the two brands, their shared belief in meeting the individual needs and desires of their customers, and the creative pooling of ideas between the various brands at BMW Group Design provided the fuel for the collaboration between Rolls-Royce and MINI. At the Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, southern England, Rolls-Royce interior designer Alan Sheppard has overseen the emergence of a MINI which reproduces the hallmark majestic allure of the historic luxury brand and an interior ambience born of exquisite materials and outstanding workmanship in a representative of the small car community for the first time.

The exclusive status of the MINI INSPIRED BY GOODWOOD is rooted in a materials and color concept which reflects the unmistakable and globally unique Rolls-Royce style not only in its individual component parts, but also in the configuration put together for the special-edition model.

View the original article here

Rolls-Royce reportedly planning to expand Ghost family with coupe, cabrio, LWB sedan

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Dec 8th 2010 at 7:01PM

Rolls-Royce Ghost – Click above for high-res image gallery
The new Ghost has been a runaway success for Rolls-Royce, the (relatively) more accessible saloon more than doubling its sales figures and outselling the larger Phantom by order of magnitude. And as might be expected, the BMW subsidiary has every intention of cashing in its success with a family of new models.

Much as it has with the Phantom, Rolls-Royce is reportedly planning on spinning the Ghost sedan into a full range, including a long-wheelbase version, a coupe and convertible. The stretched limousine is expected to come first, with about half a foot of extra length added between the B and C pillars for more rear-seat space. The coupe and convertible versions are expected to follow.

Reports also indicate that Rolls-Royce is planning a green push by implementing more environmentally-friendly drivetrain options, although it has not yet decided exactly what form they'll take. With sister-brands BMW and Mini taking the pressure of carbon emissions regulations off its back, the Spirit of Ecstasy is more concerned with pinpointing just what its customers want, and delivering it in a finely-crafted, leather-lined burlwood box.

Photos by Rex Roy / Copyright ©2010 AOL
[Source: Inside Line]

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Celebrity Classics up for grabs from Bonhams at Brooklands

Rolls-Royce Phantom III, Featured in Pan's Labyrinth Film, to sell at Bonhams


The first Rolls-Royce Phantom III to be sold to America, which featured in the award-winning 2006 film Pan's Labyrinth, is to be sold at Bonhams traditional end of year sale of Important Motor Cars and Fine Automobilia on 6 December, which this year takes place at Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands in Surrey.

A total number of 24 Phantom III Rolls-Royces are thought to have been sold to America new, with this car listed to have been delivered first on 2 December 1936. Estimated at £60,000 – 70,000 and in fantastic condition, the car was used alongside a Bentley in a car chase in the film Pan's Labyrinth, which was directed by Guillermo del Toro. It has been owned by a prominent connoisseur of pre-war luxury cars since this time and kept in Southern Europe.

A 1934 Lagonda M45 Tourer, which has had five owners since new, including the Pink Floyd drummer and prominent collector, Nick Mason, is another sale highlight. Estimated at £110,000 – 140,000, it has been immaculately restored by its current owner.

Meanwhile a Mercedes-Benz 600, once owned by the 'King of Rock and Roll', Elvis Presley, has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 – 200,000.

Another car with remarkable provenance is a 1964 Maserati 3500GTI Coupé, which belonged to the renowned Maserati specialist, the late Bill McGrath. Discovered in 1973 in a builder's yard and purchased for £500, the car has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £65,000 – 75,000. It was during the restoration process that McGrath realised how little was known about Maseratis and how few parts were available. Having nursed the car back to health, he started to gain a reputation as a superb restorer and in 1977 became a full-time specialist in the marque.

Sale highlights also include a 2000 Ferrari 550 GTZ (price on application); a 1964 AC Cobra (estimate £250,000 – 300,000); a 1955 Mercedes 300 Gullwing (estimate £350,000 – 400,000); a 1937 SS100 Jaguar 2 ½ Litre Roadster (estimate £210,000 – 230,000); and a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 MK1 Volante Convertible (estimate £200,000 – 300,000).

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Gooding brings the Best of Britain to Amelia Island


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (December 15, 2010) – Gooding & Company, the internationally-celebrated auction house, will be returning to Northeast Florida for its 2011 Amelia Island Auction on Friday, March 11. The auction house is thrilled to announce three early consignments representing Britain's significant pre- and post-war automotive achievements: the first 1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy imported to America, a stunning 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sedanca Drop Head Coupe by Gurney Nutting and a 1962 Lotus 23B vintage racer formerly owned by famed driver Brian Redman. The March 11 auction will be held at the award-winning Omni Amelia Island Plantation, commencing at 5 p.m.

"We achieved great results and received a tremendous positive reaction following our 2010 Amelia Island Auction," says David Gooding, President and founder of Gooding & Company. "Our team is thrilled to return to the enchanting Omni Amelia Island Plantation this March, when we will be bringing more of the world's very best examples to auction."

The auction house created waves on the Atlantic coast at the last Amelia Island Auction with more than $16.14 Million in sales for 58 lots sold, setting world records for the weekend's top-selling $2.75 Million 1931 Voisin Mylord Demi-Berline and the $1.705 Million 1961 Porsche RS61 Spyder purchased by the legendary Sir Stirling Moss.

The stunning 1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy being offered in March is one of the oldest surviving examples, the first XK120 ever imported to the U.S. and the only example finished in Blue Sheen paint. Initially delivered to influential New York foreign car dealer and racing enthusiast Max Hoffman, the car was used as a promotional model at early sports car races, including the 1949 Watkins Glen Grand Prix, where he drove it in the parade preceding the main event. The current owner has completed an exhaustive, multiple-award winning restoration, participated in the XK60 Diamond Tour and set a new record in JCNA Slalom. Its auction estimate is $375,000 - $550,000.

"A better car does not exist the world over," said Britain's legendary "Speed King" Captain Sir Malcolm Campbell, referring to a Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sedanca Drop Head Coupe.

With its close-coupled body, two-position convertible top and low windshield, the Midnight Blue 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sedanca Drop Head Coupe being offered remains one of the best looking cars of the period. It is a genuine, highly-desirable automobile with all its original parts and is one of four Sedanca Coupes designed by the legendary coachbuilder Gurney Nutting. The estimate for this exceptional classic Rolls-Royce is $400,000 - $500,000.

The 1962 Lotus 23B is a powerful and agile race car, formerly owned by the legendary British race car drivers Brian Redman and Bob Snodgrass of Brumos Racing. Throughout the years, this car has enjoyed many miles of vintage racing and is still very capable. Following a fully-documented, two-year restoration in 2008, this Lotus is one of the best-prepared examples and is equipped with a 167 hp Ford-Lotus 1600 cc twin-cam engine. This car's estimate is $175,000 - $225,000.

Gooding & Company's annual Amelia Island Auction is an exciting presentation of extraordinary collector cars, available to viewers around the world via live webcast on It will once again take place at the beautiful Omni Amelia Island Plantation, where hotel guests may enjoy the deluxe Gooding & Company weekend package offering a luxurious ocean-view room and gourmet wine & cheese basket, starting from $465 per night.

The auction will be held on Friday, March 11, 2011, commencing at 5 p.m. Guests may preview the cars on Thursday, March 10, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday, March 11, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Racquet Park located at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation at 6800 First Coast Highway in Amelia Island, one mile south of the Amelia Island Parkway. Local shuttles running from the Racquet Park auction site to other areas of interest will be available for guests' convenience. Auction catalogues cost $75 and admit two to the viewing and auction. General admission tickets to the viewing and auction may be purchased for $30 per person. Bidder registration forms, 2011 press credentials and additional auction information are available on For additional vehicle information and up-to-the-minute results, follow Gooding & Company on Facebook and Twitter @GoodingCompany.

About Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company, internationally celebrated for its world-class automotive auctions, provides unparalleled service in the collector car market, offering a wide range of services including private and estate sales, appraisals and collection management. The Company continues its successful association with ICAP Ocean Tomo, assisting in its auctions of intellectual property. The company set six new world records and achieved more than $114 Million in sales at its 2010 collector car auctions. Upcoming events include the 2011 Scottsdale Auctions on Friday and Saturday, January 21 & 22, 2011; the Amelia Island Auction on Friday, March 11, 2011 and the Pebble Beach Auctions on Saturday and Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2011.

About Omni Hotels & Resorts

Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, authentic guest experiences that take guests on "A Total Departure" to 47 distinct luxury hotels and resorts in leading business gateways and leisure destinations across North America. From exceptional golf and spa retreats to dynamic business settings, each Omni showcases the local flavor of the destination while featuring four-diamond services, signature restaurants, Wi-Fi connectivity and unique wellness options. Known for its award-winning, personalized service, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every customer interaction, with a heightened level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest loyalty program and the company's "Power of One" associate empowerment program. The brand is frequently recognized by top consumer research organizations such as J.D. Power and Associates, which ranked Omni as "Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Upscale Hotel Chains" in its 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study (SM).

To get additional information or book accommodations, visit or call 1-800-The-Omni.

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Geneva 2011: Rolls-Royce 102EX Concept is going to rock down to Electric Avenue



"Today, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars begins an exploration into alternative drive-trains, seeking clarity on which technology may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future. The alternative drive-train we choose must deliver an authentic Rolls-Royce experience. It must be a technology that is right for our customers, our brand and which sets us on a sound footing for a sustainable future. That is why this project is so important." – CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars proudly presents 102EX, a car that represents one of the most significant initiatives taken by the company in recent years. It is the world's first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment and continues a tradition of experimental cars running through the model generations.

Rolls-Royce produces cars that represent the pinnacle in luxurious motoring for the world's most discerning customers. However, the company also recognises the need to look to the future and to plan for long-term sustainable growth. An investigation into alternative drive-train options is an important step in that process.

With 102EX, also to be known as the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), it is the company's intention to carefully test the opinions and reactions to alternative drive-train options of a range of stakeholders including owners, enthusiasts, members of the public and the media.

Throughout 2011 Phantom EE will serve as a working test bed, giving owners, VIPs, the media and enthusiasts the opportunity to experience an established alternative drive-train technology and to feed back their experiences, thoughts and concerns directly.

The bank of research gathered from a global drive programme that will include Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America will be crucial to decisions affecting alternative drive-trains for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

There are no plans to build a production version of this car. Phantom EE's role is as a test bed, designed to explore established BEV technologies, to pose as well as to answer questions.

Can Phantom EE deliver an acceptable range for customers without frequent re-charging? Is there confidence in its ability to operate in extreme conditions? Will reliability and quality be consistent with expectations of the world's pinnacle automotive brand?

Phantom EE also poses more fundamental questions: Is an all-electric drive-train able to deliver an authentic Rolls-Royce experience for customers, an experience that truly befits the marque?

Whether all-electric or another alternative drive-train option is right for Rolls-Royce will become clearer when the test programme is complete at the end of the year.


Reinvention is part of being timeless and Phantom EE is the latest in a line of experimental vehicles from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. It builds on a legacy which dates back to 1919 and 1EX.

Experimental models are used to test and evaluate new technologies and applications which could shape future Rolls-Royce products. Unlike a concept car, Rolls-Royce experimental models are always fully functioning, drivable vehicles using tangible materials such as wood, leather and metals rather than clay and foam or other concepts.

They present engineers and designers with the opportunity for real-world innovation and are used not only to showcase new components and engineering techniques but also to evaluate them.

The latest in this line of experimental projects began with a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a strikingly modern and immaculately proportioned car in which high technology and hand-craftsmanship combine to produce something extraordinary.

Phantom EE features the car's ground-breaking aluminium spaceframe, so important to dynamic prowess, as well as the sense of calm and tranquillity enjoyed by occupants. However, the naturally aspirated 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine and 6-speed gearbox have been replaced by a lithium ion battery pack and two electric motors mounted on the rear sub-frame. These motors are connected to a single speed transmission with integrated differential.

Each motor is power rated to 145kW, giving Phantom EE a maximum power output of 290kW and torque of 800Nm available over a wide band. This compares with 338kW for standard Phantom with maximum torque of 720Nm, delivered at 3,500rpm.

The Nickel Cobalt Manganese battery chemistry holds around 230Wh/kg,a high energy density which is important in achieving an acceptable range between re-charges. Pre-launch tests suggests Phantom EE should run to a range of up to 200km. Delivered on an effortless wave of torque, 0-60mph will be achieved in under eight seconds (5.7 seconds in standard Phantom), with top speed limited to 160kph.

This is the first application of the technology in a GKL++ segment (super luxury vehicles priced at more than €200,000) and the battery pack is thought to be the largest ever fitted to a road car.

Evaluation of technology is an important part of the test programme. However, more fundamentally the car will seek answers to questions posed of Rolls-Royce owners: what their needs might be for the future considering factors such as range, performance and re-charging infrastructure.

The feedback from customers – as well as media, stakeholders and enthusiasts via the website - will prove essential in evaluating the appropriateness of battery electric technology for Rolls-Royce.

It will help inform a decision on whether all-electric, or another alternative drive-train technology, will be most appropriate for the world's best cars of the future.


"It's a credible design concept that perfectly complements the experimental nature of the car, exploring options in light, space and use of materials. Had we changed the overall aesthetic, the concept would have lost credibility; our audience would assume it was simply a styling exercise. The reality is that this is an experimental vehicle in its truest sense, challenging perceptions, emotions and values - as well as exploring alternative drive-train technology." – Ian Cameron, Chief Designer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

102EX bears the famous hallmarks of the Rolls-Royce Phantom on which it is based, such as hand craftsmanship, fine detailing and iconic design cues like the pantheon grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy which celebrates its centenary in 2011. However, at the core of its design is the essence of an experimental vehicle, establishing this car's status as a test bed, while subtly alluding to its electric power plant.

The design creates a different aesthetic, experimenting with interior space and materials, as well as trims and illumination. These are framed around functional considerations for a battery electric Rolls-Royce - how the car is likely to be used and the changes that the technology brings in terms of interior space and exterior detailing. Naturally, these changes are executed in a way that affirms the car's credentials as a Rolls-Royce.


Our designers were challenged with creating a finish for Phantom EE which immediately signified a special car, distinguishing it from standard Phantom models in the absence of many overt design changes. Not an easy task, since all Phantom models are special – with customers benefitting from a range of bespoke paint options running to some 45,000 colours.

Extensive research however had revealed a highly reflective paint using ceramic nano particles. Under a microscope these mimic the impression of a silver metal, but are between 8,000 and 80,000 times smaller than the thickness of a hair or 1,000 times smaller than the size of a normal metallic paint particle.

Test parts were produced and the design team were impressed with the results, knowing that the larger the object covered the better it would look. But they were under no illusions as to the task ahead.

In all sixteen coats of paint were needed, of which four were Atlantic Chrome, and many hours of time dedicated to ensuring a perfect end result. The finish is a striking one. Phantom EE commands the stage, with taut almost chiselled lines giving a wet impression to the car. This only grows in character as light conditions change.


As well as the launch of 102EX, 2011 marks another milestone in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. On 6 February 1911, the design for Charles Sykes' Spirit of Ecstasy was first registered, signalling the start of a 100 year period in which this famous icon has adorned the prow of Rolls-Royce cars, from the famous Silver Ghosts, Clouds and Shadows of the 20th Century to today's hand-built Phantom and Ghost models.

Phantom EE's Spirit of Ecstasy, sits atop the radiator grille above the red double-R badge applied to EX models. Made of Makrolon, rather than stainless steel, it will be bathed in blue LED light, hinting at the electric technology beneath the bonnet. This stunning image complements the keynote graphic of website – – where Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will expand the debate on the question of electric luxury to the online community, taking views from enthusiasts, media and members of the public.


Atlantic chrome-finished dashboard dials echo the exterior colour, providing a sense of interior-exterior balance and their analogue displays maintain the timeless architecture that every Phantom interior commands.

Other changes hint at further evolutionary designs applied to the car. For example, some dials have been subtly modified to provide information needed by the driver of an electric vehicle. The fuel gauge in particular has been replaced by an elegant battery charge indicator.

One of the most pleasing features of every Rolls-Royce Phantom interior is the power reserve dial located beside the speedometer. This reveals how much of the V12 engine's power remains at a driver's disposal. Phantom EE takes this concept a step further.

It features a regeneration symbol which takes the dial beyond the normal 100% line of standard Phantom. Depending on the momentum gathered, it conveys the degree of re-charge taking place as the vehicle is in motion.


Re-charging is undertaken with a plug and five-pin socket which takes the place of the normal fuel filling mechanism for Phantom.The standard fuel filler cap has been replaced by a design featuring a clear window, displaying the RR logo and 102EX motif. The window frames rear-mounted, tricolour LEDs which present the car's charging status.

On start up, the socket is bathed in blue light. This begins to flash as charging commences. When completely charged, the display turns green, then flashing green as the solenoid is disengaged. A potential fault in the system is indicated by either constant or flashing red light.

Charging can be halted via a switch located adjacent to the plug. The process can also be operated inside the vehicle using controls accessed beneath the centre console, for example when induction charging is taking place.


A key identifier for Phantom EE is the design of the centre console charging and display, sited below the central arm rest. A simple switch is used to start and halt charging, while the display itself features a bright plate with an image of a battery, lit by LEDs.

Reflecting the lights applied to the exterior charging point, this image changes colour according to the charge status of the car. A blue-lit battery shows the vehicle is on standard charge, while pulsating blue indicates that inductive charging is taking place. Green indicates a fully charged battery while red notifies engineers of a potential fault in the system.


"At Rolls-Royce we pride ourselves in producing an authentic and natural product for customers, the quality of which is second to none. Seton Corinova is an experimental vegetable-tanned leather that allows us to celebrate more of the curves, creases and other features that are part and parcel of the life of the animal. It's a more sympathetic process that stretches our understanding of Rolls-Royce interior expectations. Owners' reactions will prove fascinating during the tour." – Andrew Monachan, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars General Manager, Leathershop.

Interior wood veneers present Phantom owners with unique grains, patterns and detail adding weight to the fact that every model leaving Goodwood is as unique as the finger print of its owner. Phantom EE takes this concept a step further.

Its leather interior is derived from a natural vegetable tanning process christened Corinova. This gives life to the car, adding definition to the seats, floor and arm rests.

Most leather produced for automotive applications is chrome tanned. This is an important constituent that helps to stabilise animal hides and transfer collagen into leather fibres. The barrel-dyeing process used to colour Phantom interior leathers gives a rich, uniform pigmentation while maintaining the natural feel and softness.

An experimental leather, Corinova distinguishes itself by being entirely chrome free. It starts with a preparation of Glutardialehyde to prepare for tanning. Chestnut extract, sustainably sourced from Southern Europe and Tara powder from crushed fruit of the Tara bush in South America are used for drum-spun colouring. Fruits are harvested without damage to the plant and the product is finished with a combination of natural binders and high tech polymers.

The process lends itself only to certain earthy colours – in the case of Phantom EE a chestnut colour for seat covers and Quebracho Brown for other areas such as the floor and trunk lining, both of which are made of durable saddle leather.

As well as aesthetic differences, Corinova leather presents a number of practical benefits. It uses less paint finish than in standard chrome-tanned leather and creates less waste. It negates the use of petrol-refined products and with further development, it may be possible to use recycled Corinova leather in agriculture to aerate soil.

Rolls-Royce fully expects perceptions to be challenged and first impressions will no doubt focus on appearance, as features that define the life of the animal are more clearly visible in areas like seats and armrests than in production Phantom interiors. A change from the sumptuous finish applied to Phantom leather may imply a compromise to some owners, but others may welcome distinguishing features that stretch individualisation for Rolls-Royce Phantom models ever further.

As well as gauging owner feedback, the leather will be tested for its durability and performance after several months on tour.


The interior of Phantom EE represents a departure from the traditional wood sets that define the majority of cars delivered to customers, providing a unique finish to the car. It features a distinctive aluminised foil weave that lifts the environment of the interior, contrasting sharply with the darker natural leather within. As is the case with Corinova leather, the aim is to challenge traditional perceptions of what might constitute a Rolls-Royce interior design scheme.


Phantom EE is thought to have the largest passenger car battery in the world. Peak current is 850A, delivered at 338V DC. Overall capacity is 71kWh.

The pack is comprised of large-format NCM pouch cells. NCM (Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Oxide) is a variant of lithium-ion chemistry that has particularly high energy and power densities.

The Phantom EE battery pack houses five modules of cells, a 38-cell module, a 36-cell module, and three smaller ones of ten, eight and four arranged in various orientations within an irregular shaped unit. This resembles the overall shape of the original engine and gearbox.

Each of the 96 cells was individually tested before assembly into modules to determine their characteristics and capacity. Sub-assemblies were further tested under load to verify that the power connections between each cell perform to specification.

The electronic sensing units for each group of cells were tested and calibrated prior to assembly and put through a rigorous temperature cycling regime designed to provoke failure of weak components. The main electronic box, which contains the switching and control gear, was tested in isolation from the other components to verify correct operation.

Three separate charger units (3kW each) are fitted to the battery, which allow both single-phase (20 hours) or three-phase charging (8 hours); for a passenger car this is unique. A fourth induction charger is also fitted to enable wireless charging, a technology being trialled in Phantom EE.

The battery pack would be expected to last over three years were it to be used every day. Part of the programme however will be to test this assumption in a real world environment and deliver a more robust answer to the question of battery lifespan.


Concerns about lack of available re-charging infrastructure in towns and cities are well documented and critics of electric motoring point to the additional inconvenience of trailing cables connected between power source and vehicles.

To present Rolls-Royce owners with a vision of a potential solution to these problems, Phantom EE is testing a technology called induction charging. This allows re-charging to take place without any physical connection, delivering greater convenience for owners and hinting at the potential for a network of remote charging facilities.

There are two main elements to induction charging; a transfer pad on the ground that delivers power from a mains source and an induction pad mounted under the car, beneath Phantom EE's battery pack. Power frequencies are magnetically coupled across these power transfer pads.

The system is around 90 percent efficient when measured from mains supply to battery and it is tolerant to parking misalignment. For example, it is not essential to align the transmitter and Phantom receiver pads exactly for charging to take place. While pads are capable of transmitting power over gaps of up to 400mm, for Phantom EE the separation is in the region of 150mm.

The coupling circuits are tuned through the addi­tion of compensation capacitors. Pick-up coils in the receiver pad are magnetically coupled to the primary coil. Power transfer is achieved by tuning the pick-up coil to the operating frequency of the primary coil with a series or parallel capacitor.

The pick-up controller is an essential part of the technology because it takes power from the receiver pad and provides a controlled output to batteries. It is required to provide an output that remains independent of the load and the separation between pads. Without a controller, the voltage would rise as the gap decreases and fall as the load current increases.

The transmitter pad has been constructed to shield magnetic fields to prevent EMI egress to bystanders and the system operates well within internationally agreed limits.


Charles Rolls, Henry Royce and Claude Johnson played their part in an electrical revolution that pre-empted the establishment of internal combustion as the dominant car engine technology.

Henry Royce had developed a career as an accomplished electrical engineer before turning his expert hands to car manufacturing.

His business F.H. Royce and Co, which began selling simple lights and bell sets in the 1890s, became prosperous through the design and delivery of dynamos, electric motors and industrial cranes. Royce's many innovations include the patent for the bayonet bulb holder, a design that endures today.

One of Royce's clients was Pritchett and Gold, a company based in Feltham in Middlesex. As well as manufacturing accumulators they had developed a two-seater electric car, at least one of which was powered by a Royce electric motor.

The Honourable Charles Rolls also toyed with electric motoring in the years before the two men met. He had negotiated for the selling rights of an electric brougham, through C.S Rolls and Co, in Conduit Street, London which latterly established exclusive rights to sell Rolls-Royce models.

It is likely that this car was part of the City and Suburban Electric Car Project, a joint venture of two men, Paris Singer and one Claude Johnson. The project had a short life and Johnson left to join the rapidly expanding business of Rolls, latterly taking the role of managing director of Rolls-Royce. He became known as 'the hyphen in Rolls-Royce', with a pivotal role in its success.

Charles Rolls was on record outlining the merits of electric drive-trains - as well as raising prescient concerns about range and re-charging. He regarded a model called the Columbia as the best of its type, commenting in Automobile Journal:

"They are perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration and they should become very useful for town use when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for country use I do not anticipate they will be very serviceable – at least not for many years to come."

Later, when the first exports of petrol powered Rolls-Royce models were made to America, some authorities refused to believe they were not electrically powered, thanks to their legendary near-silent running.

In the 21st Century silence remains a key signature for Rolls-Royce cars. Other attributes of all-electric drive-trains also allude to famous Rolls-Royce characteristics. Power at low speeds is one example.

Thanks to improvements in battery technology, it may be that the serviceability to which Rolls referred more than a century ago is now sufficiently developed to re-visit all-electric motoring as an option.

And to pose a 21st Century question of customers, enthusiasts and the media:

Electric luxury – can it be perfection or does it present an unacceptable compromise for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars?


No of doors/seats 4 / 5 (optionally 4)

Vehicle length 5840 mm / 229.9 in

Vehicle width 1990 mm / 78.3 in

Vehicle height (unladen) 1638 mm / 64.5 in

Wheelbase 3570 mm / 140.6 in

Turning circle 13.8 m / 45.3 ft

Track, front 1687 mm / 66.4 in

Track, rear 1671 mm / 65.8 in

Width at shoulder height, front 1509 mm / 59.4 in

Width at shoulder height, rear 1431 mm / 56.3 in

Leg room, front 1028 mm / 40.5 in

Leg room, rear 1109 mm / 43.7 in

Head room, front 1051 mm / 41.4 in

Head room, rear 979 mm / 38.5 in

Boot volume (DIN) 460 ltr / 16.2 cu ft

Unladen weight (DIN) 2,720 kg

Gross vehicle weight 3,030 kg

Payload 300 kg

Axle load limit, front 1,473 kg

Axle load limit, rear 1,548 kg

Maximum power output 290 kW

Torque 800 Nm


Chemistry NCM (Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Oxide) li-ion

Number of cells 96 in pouch design

Capacity 71kWh

Battery pack weight 640 kg

Peak current 330 kW at 850 Amps

Charge time (est) 20 hours single phase / 8 hours three-phase

Transmission type Single speed 6:5:1 with integral differential

Steering type EHPS Rack and pinion, speed-sensitive

variable-rate power assistance


Front / diameter Ventilated disc / 374 mm / 14.7 in

Rear / diameter Ventilated disc / 370 mm / 14.6 in

Drag Cd 0.37

Drag Cd x A 1.041m2 / 11.2 ft2

Top speed 160 kph (governed)

Acceleration 0-60 mph Under 8 seconds

CO2 emissions Nil

Tyre, front Goodyear EMT 255/50 R21 106W

Tyre, rear Goodyear EMT 285/45 R21 109W

Wheels (21 in alloy)

Wheel size, front 8 in x 21 in

Wheel size, rear 9.5 in x 21 in

12V Battery capacity / installed position 90+70 Ah / boot

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Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy celebrates 100

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars - inspired by the Spirit of Ecstasy in 2011

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is celebrating one hundred years of the Spirit of Ecstasy, the famous flying lady mascot that inspires owners, enthusiasts and those working for the world's pinnacle luxury brand.

To mark a year of celebration, every Ghost and Phantom produced at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood will bear a Spirit of Ecstasy with the inscription Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary – 2011. This will be etched into the base of each statuette, in a specially selected font ITC Willow.

A number of events have also been planned to mark this special year. On 6 February – the date on which Charles Sykes' Spirit of Ecstasy design was first registered – Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will host a drive through central London. One hundred contemporary and historic Rolls-Royce cars will make their way through the capital's streets taking in key landmarks en route, such as Berkeley Square and Conduit Street, the current and original homes of Rolls-Royce in London.

"The Spirit of Ecstasy is perhaps the most famous automotive icon, gracefully adorning the prow of Rolls-Royce models past and present," said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "She was an inspiration for the founding fathers of our great company, as well as for owners and enthusiasts through the generations. Today her image continues to inspire and drive those of us who are fortunate enough to work for this unique brand, making the world's most exclusive and desirable cars."

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will reveal details of further Spirit of Ecstasy inspired initiatives and events throughout her centenary year.

View the original article here

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rolls-Royce Apparition concept messes with our heads

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Jan 6th 2011 at 6:58PM

Rolls-Royce Apparition concept by Jeremy Westerlund – Click above for high-res image gallery
To say that we see a lot of student car designs here at Autoblog would be a gross understatement. We see hundreds of 'em. Some are more interesting than others, but every once in a while, a design comes across our desks that takes our impression of what a car can look like and completely turns it on its head. This is one such example.

Dreamt up by one Jeremy Westerlund while studying at the Art Center school of design, the Rolls-Royce Apparition is a rolling trompe-l'œil that at once both reaches back into the automaker's history and extends into the future.

The design is based around the old motor carriages that had a chauffeur sitting up front, exposed to the elements, with the passengers coddled inside. Like most contemporary Rolls models, the front is utterly dominated by the prominent grille and hood ornament. It features unique touches like real mahogany inserts in the wheels, and the imposing overall shape is long and low: the designer took his cues from sailing yachts, and even though the model is built to 1:4 scale, it's still nearly six feet long. If such an extreme example of fantasy ever became reality, it would measure 279 inches overall – that's over 23 feet, or about four feet longer than the Phantom. See if you can wrap your head around it in our extensive high-resolution image gallery below.

[Source: Jeremy Westerlund]

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Rolls-Royce hires away Jaguar's Chief Designer


Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has today announced that Giles Taylor has been appointed Head of Exterior Design. He will join the company from the beginning of April.

After his design studies in the United Kingdom, Taylor initially gathered experience in several international design roles. The 43 year-old Briton has spent the last 10 years as an executive designer in the British industry, acting as head of design for two model series at Jaguar. He fills a vacant position in the Rolls-Royce design team.

"Giles has a deep knowledge of emotive brands in the luxury segment and a proven track record. He will be a very valuable addition to the Rolls-Royce design team", said Ian Cameron, Chief Designer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group design, commented, "Giles brings with him exceptional design skills and a comprehensive understanding of British values and heritage that are so crucial to Rolls-Royce. His appointment will further strengthen the extraordinary Rolls-Royce team headed by Ian Cameron."

The Rolls-Royce design team has received several design accolades. The most recent was the "Red Dot: Best of the Best" Award in 2010 for the latest addition to the portfolio, Ghost. This award recognizes the high quality, groundbreaking design.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has recently announced record sales for 2010. Sustained demand for Phantom and the additional momentum of the Ghost resulted in sales growth of more than 170 per cent over 2009.

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Barrett-Jackson 2011: Scottsdale gets a taste of British class

by Jeff Glucker (RSS feed) on Jan 22nd 2011 at 6:10PM

1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Mercia Special Roadster
1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Mercia Special Roadster – Click above for high-res image gallery
We're surrounded by mighty American Muscle here at the 2011 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale. Faintly in the background, behind the roar of massive V8s and flashy paintjobs, sits a cup of tea amidst a sea of Budweiser. A 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Mercia Special Roadster is patiently waiting to cross the auction block.. and it looks nervous.

In storage for 33 years, this two-passenger convertible may be a blast to the past but it also features a few modern amenities such as a power-adjustable driver's seat and fiberglass mats in the wheel wheels to prevent chipping.

Originally the car had just 17,000 miles on the odometer. After being completely restored in 2010 it has added just 50 more. We're not quite sure how the muscle car-happy crowd will react to this fine example of British open-top motoring.

Be sure to check out the official auction listing for this 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Mercia Special Roadster. Also, make sure to stay on top of what's crossing the block by watching streaming coverage courtesy of Speed.

Are you playing Speed's Online Fantasy Bid Game? If not, test your auction pricing mettle by guessing what a series of featured vehicles will end up bringing at the auction block – you could end up winning a prize, like an Apple iPad. Enjoy!

Photos copyright 2011 Jeff Glucker/AOL

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*Cute n Cool* Blog Stuff: HaPpy EaSteR

*Cute n Cool* Blog Stuff: HaPpy EaSteR: "´s been a while...there is something new, go and check backgrounds and accessories, Happy Easter everyone!"

Rolls-Royce honors the Spirit of Ecstasy with special run of Phantoms


Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is celebrating the centenary of the Spirit of Ecstasy in 2011 with an exclusive Collection of bespoke Phantom models. Called the Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection, one hundred cars will be delivered to customers bearing a suite of features inspired by the legendary flying lady, complemented by a range of exclusive exterior colours, wood veneers and leather options.

"These beautiful models follow the finest traditions of Rolls-Royce in their luxury, craftsmanship and attention to detail," said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "They encapsulate the essence of the Spirit of Ecstasy legend, presenting owners with a range of exclusive bespoke options available only in this centenary year."

Collection cars start with the famous icon herself. Cast in silver, each Spirit of Ecstasy will feature a base complete with black-gold plated bezel bearing the commemorative inscription Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary – 2011 , a legend repeated on the cover plate when the mascot is lowered. The design is finished with a set of six hallmarks, two of which have been designed specifically for Rolls-Royce.

A new badge has been developed to authenticate the Collection and establish its place in Rolls-Royce history. Located beneath the Spirit of Ecstasy, on the trunk lid as well as on front side panels, the badge reverses conventional design, with white enamel RR detail set on a black chrome background.

A trademark Rolls-Royce twin coachline is accentuated on Collection cars, thanks to a delicate hand-painted Spirit of Ecstasy insignia, the detail of which has been taken from an original line-drawing by Charles Sykes, the mascot's creator. A further tribute comes in the glove box lid, which carries an original Sykes quotation embossed into the colour-matched leather lining:

"A graceful little goddess, the Spirit of Ecstasy, who has selected road travel as her supreme delight and alighted on the prow of a Rolls-Royce motor car to revel in the freshness of the air and the musical sound of her fluttering draperies." – Charles Sykes, 1911

Inside the cars, fine detailing abounds. Collection cars come with an analogue clock fitted in the fascia panel, the outer bezel of which is crafted from Britannia Silver, incorporating the unique set of six hallmarks. The backlit face presents an inner ring of silver incorporating the centenary inscription.

Instrument dials complement the clock design, carrying further fine detailing. Satin spun metal dials, centered with polished RR monograms are further enriched with polished chaplets and black numerals. All are meticulously hand-crafted, examples of the attention to detail for which all Rolls-Royce hand-built models are renowned.

Further affirmation of the Collection's place in history comes from the lid of the centre console. This reveals a discreet, solid Britannia Silver commemorative plaque engraved with the inscription Spirit of Ecstasy - One of One Hundred.

Four exterior colour options are offered, all exclusive to Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection cars. These start with Rhapsody Black, a black metallic incorporating a delicate gold sparkle and Maiden Blue a deep blue metallic highlighted with a silver sparkle. Ethereal White Pearl comes with a special pearlescent finish while Wildflower completes the bespoke paint offering, presenting a rich blend of red and brown colour with a fine sparkle.

Each exterior colour can be ordered with a selection of sumptuous leather and interior contrast schemes while hand crafted banding of Britannia Silver will be delicately inset into the customer's chosen veneer.

Owners will also receive a desk ornament with their cars, a polished steel Spirit of Ecstasy mounted on a piano black base. These will be presented with individual certificates of authenticity signed by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

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Priory Fine Arts flies the Spirit of Ecstasy with reproduction sculptures

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Nov 21st 2010 at 5:31PM

Spirit of Ecstasy Spirit of Ecstasy sculpture by Priory Fine Arts – Click above for high-res image gallery
Though hood ornaments were once commonplace on high-end automobiles, they've all but completely gone the way of the dodo. Mercedes-Benz sedans still use the simple but iconic three-pointed star, and its upscale sister brand Maybach has its own Double-M. Some Bentley owners opt for the Flying B ornament, but the Jaguar leaping cat is even less common. Few carry the mantle as proudly as Rolls-Royce though.

The Spirit of Ecstasy has been the Rolls-Royce mascot for decades, and remains so today. Back in its heyday, though, Rolls dealers often displayed oversized sculptures – a couple of feet tall or more – of the Spirit in their showrooms. Afficionados, however, can still get these to display in their homes or offices thanks to an English studio called Priory Fine Arts.

Priory crafts replicas of the classic statuettes out of brass, optionally plated in silver or gold. You can get your hands on one for $3,150. The price is listed as negotiable, but the precious-metal leaf will undoubtedly add a few extra greenbacks. Have a closer look at the continuation sculptures – soon to celebrate the centenary of the 1911 original – in the gallery below, or follow the links to inquire about ordering your own.

[Source: Priory Fine Arts via Hemmings] Filed under: Classics, Rolls-Royce, Design/Style, Luxury

Tags: hemmings, hood ornament, mascot, ornament, priory, priory fine art, priory fine arts, rolls-royce, sculpture, spirit of ecstasy, statue, statuette

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Rolls-Royce debuts Ghost Extended Wheelbase in Shanghai

* World debut for Ghost Extended Wheelbase
* Specially commissioned China Edition bespoke Ghost and Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection cars presented
* First quarter global sales more than double compared to the same period in 2010
* China expansion plans announced

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled its new Ghost Extended Wheelbase model for the first time at the 14th Auto Shanghai Motor Show on Tuesday, 19 April 2011.

First world debut for a Rolls-Royce car in Asia Pacific
The ultra-luxury saloon, the sixth new model from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, caters for customers who require increased space and comfort without sacrificing Ghost's unique balance of dynamism and poise.

The award-winning, four-seater Ghost has seen outstanding demand since its worldwide launch in 2009. Designed as a vision of simplicity, it is a Rolls-Royce that drives and rides in peerless fashion. Ghost Extended Wheelbase takes this principle further, designed as a car to drive or in which to be chauffeured. It will be built to order and is available in only limited numbers for 2011 until full production begins in 2012.

Ghost's ample interior space is further enhanced in the Extended Wheelbase variant by the addition of 170mm to the car's wheelbase, but with no detriment to the model's balanced proportions and stunning contemporary design. Legroom is significantly enhanced with knee-room more than doubled compared to the standard Ghost.

Increased cabin space in the rear passenger compartment and a panoramic sunroof sets new standards for interior ambience and light. Effortless entry and exit for passengers further reinforces Rolls-Royce Motor Cars' pinnacle position in the ultra-luxury segment.

Powered by the acclaimed Rolls-Royce Ghost 6.6 litre twin turbo charged V12 engine which produces an effortless 563hp and 780Nm of torque at just 1,500rpm, Ghost Extended Wheelbase accelerates from 0-100km/h in just five seconds. An intelligent, four corner air suspension maintains a perfect balance between ride and handling.

On the unveiling of the new car, CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said, "This latest Rolls-Royce is a model of outstanding design and unrivalled luxury. Ghost Extended Wheelbase delivers all the poise and dynamism enjoyed by discerning Ghost owners, with the indulgent experience of an extended wheelbase car. It is the very best of both worlds.

"This is the first time we have undertaken a world launch of a Rolls-Royce car in China, underscoring the strategic significance of this market and the Asia Pacific region. We expect to build on last year's record growth, with further strong demand for Rolls-Royce models and a positive economic forecast throughout the region," he added.

Bespoke models showcased
A highly bespoke China Edition Ghost is displayed for the first time, showcasing the company's unique bespoke capabilities for the Chinese market. Featuring a stunning consort red interior, gold twin-coachlines, gold-plated Spirit of Ecstasy and stainless steel pinstripes, the model is available to order in limited quantities by discerning Chinese customers. Three exclusive paint colours (Deep Garnet, Black Ember and Infinity), silver and gold packages (e.g. specially plated Spirit of Ecstasy, coachlines, Rolls-Royce inlays) and a number of other features have been developed for the China market.

Also presented for the first time in the Asia Pacific region are two highly-bespoke Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection models featuring a host of design details that celebrate 100 years of the world's most famous hood figurine. Specially commissioned for Auto Shanghai 2011, Phantom Extended Wheelbase Saloon is exhibited with a Rhapsody Black exterior and a sumptuous mix of Ardent Red and Seashell interior with Piano Black veneer. Also on the stand is a Phantom Drophead Coupé in Maiden Blue exterior, Navy Blue and seashell interior with Straight Grained Oak and Ebony.

Customers from China and the rest of the Asia Pacific region represent the largest proportion of buyers worldwide for Centenary Collection cars, of which only 100 limited edition models are being built. Demand for bespoke Phantom models is also among the highest in the world. Through the Rolls-Royce Bespoke programme, customers can tailor individual features to one-off accessories for their cars, all designed and developed in-house at the Rolls-Royce Headquarters and Manufacturing Plant at Goodwood in England.

Robust first quarter sales worldwide
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars retailed a record number of cars globally in the first quarter of this year, more than doubling sales compared to the same period last year (+160%), with China again experiencing strong demand for cars. The company is on course for expansion in China, after record sales last year which saw dealerships in Beijing and Shanghai topping global sales.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has also announced it is in the process of establishing new dealers in Chongqing, Tianjin and Wuhan by the end of this year. Currently, Rolls-Royce has showrooms in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Ningbo, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The expansion plan will increase Rolls-Royce showrooms in China from 8 to 11, the most in a single market and second only to the United States.

Further expansion is expected to be announced in the rest of the Asia Pacific region throughout the year. Currently, the company's presence spans 18 showrooms in the region and 81 worldwide.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mini teases Goodwood special en route to Shanghai

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Apr 12th 2011 at 4:15PM Shanghai

Mini Inspired by Goodwood teaser image Mini Inspired by Goodwood – Click above for high-res image
The Shanghai Motor Show may not have ranked among the major expos of the year until recently, but automakers flocking to the Chinese show have put it on the map. And this year's show – now just one week away – is shaping up to be one of the biggest yet.

In Shanghai, visitors will get their first glimpse of the BMW Concept M5, Mercedes-Benz A-Class concept, the new Chevrolet Malibu, Buick Envision crossover concept, Audi's new Q3 and Subaru's XV crossover concept, just to name a few. In short, there's no lack of novelty at the show in China this year. And Mini won't be sitting out the action, either.

As we reported last month, Mini will be presenting its Goodwood show car in Shanghai, and has now released the teaser image you see above. Officially called the Mini Inspired by Goodwood, it's a joint effort between Mini and Rolls-Royce – the two English brands at the opposite ends of the BMW Group spectrum – Shanghai'ing, as it were, Rolls-Royce's cabin craftsmen and putting them to work on a Mini's interior, with a price tag that'll land somewhere in between. Stay tuned for more as the show rapidly approaches.

[Source: Mini]

Filed under: Hatchback, Mini, Rolls-Royce, Shanghai Motor Show, Luxury

Tags: 2011 shanghai motor show, goodwood, mini, mini goodwood, mini goodwood concept, mini inspired by goodwood, rolls-royce, shanghai, shanghai 2011, shanghai motor show

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