Formula Márquez: Honda’s 2&4 Frankfurt Concept is a MotoGP-Powered Open-Wheeled Street Car

Honda 2&4 Concept

When Honda unveiled the production version of its RC213V-S earlier this year, some in the motorcycle press were let down. Instead of pushing the boundaries of sportbike possibility, Honda essentially put lights on Marc Márquez’s MotoGP bike and slapped on a $184,000 price tag. Bear in mind, this is something akin to Benz putting lights and an airbag on Nico Rosberg’s F1 car and selling it to any schmoe who can come up with the ducats. Now, imagine if said Mercedes was limited to the power of, oh, a CLA45 AMG. Because that’s how the RC213V-S will be sold in the U.S.—with a mere 101 horsepower. For about 1/15th of the V-S’s sticker, you can walk into your local Honda store and roll out on a CBR600RR, a bike making roughly the same amount of power from its showroom-fresh inline-four as the V-S produces from its most-mod-cons 999-cc V-4. Meanwhile, Kawasaki went and invented its own supercharger to huff its ridiculous—and significantly cheaper—H2 and H2R hyperbikes, the less potent of which makes double the RC’s power.

Criticisms aside, it’s seeming more and more like the V-S is a harbinger of things to come on the powersports side from Honda. When Cycle World’s Kevin Cameron asked Honda’s Yoshituke Hasegawa whether a regular-production sportbike, a World Superbike (the GT-class, production-based racers of the motorcycle world), and a MotoGP bike would all share a common architecture, Hasegawa answered, “We have at present a split between inline and V-4, but the V-4 revolution has begun.” We bring all this up by way of noting that a V-4 engine will feature prominently in Honda’s Frankfurt auto show concept.

Undoubtedly influenced by last year’s Volkswagen XL Sport, which was an XL1 with its diesel parallel two-banger and hybrid electrics replaced by the Ducati 1199 Panigale’s Superquadro V-twin, Honda is bringing some manner of open-wheeled car to Frankfurt. An open-wheeled car powered by its 999-cc V-4. Called “Project 2&4”, the concept was whipped together by Big Red’s motorcycle design center in Asaka and its auto design center in Wako. According to the company, it features a “cabinless” structure and offers “the freedom of a motorcycle and the maneuverability of a car.” When the photo arrived, it took two of us a little too long to make heads or tails of it. Then we turned it sideways and cranked up the lighting in Photoshop to better reveal the fender-free wheels and suspension. Like so:

Honda 2&4 Concept

It revealed itself as a motorcycle-powered Formula car for the street. We have, of course, seen Lotus 7 knockoffs powered by the Suzuki Hayabusa’s legendary inline-four. Formula SAE cars tend to run supersport-class engines, and last year, we spent a couple of days pootling around the desert in a motorcycle-powered, ground-borne Sopwith Camel. But it is the first time, off the top of our heads, that we can recall a modern MotoGP-derived engine being shoved into a car.





While there’s no way you’ll see the 2&4 at your local Honda store any time soon, it’s clear that Honda’s pushing the V-4-as-ultra-sporting angle. For car guys, it’s a neat thing to ogle and dream about never driving. For motorcyclists, it could very well portend a sea change in the way Honda’s sporting machines are powered.

Also on the docket for Frankfurt? The German premiere of the high-mobility office chair known as UNI-CUB Beta and the fully revised European Honda automobile line.

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David Beattie Makes the World’s Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks [Sponsored]

David Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks [Sponsored]
-2008 was a pivotal year for David Beattie. Staring down middle age and burned out on the corporate scene, Beattie took a leap of faith and turned his hobby of making custom slot-car tracks in to a full-time vocation, setting up shop under the Slot Mods moniker. Considered a risky venture even by those with cursory knowledge of the esoteric world of scale modeling, Beattie’s gamble soon paid off, and his passion for the art was evident. Within four years, his work would be featured on the cover of the vaunted Hammacher Schlemmer Christmas catalog, and his name began circulating among automotive luminaries including Bobby Rahal, Ford executive Jim Farley, and sports marketing maverick Zak Brown. Now he calls all three friends and, crucially, customers.

Beattie’s interest in the hobby was reignited earlier in the decade, when his wife gave him a 1:48-scale consumer set as a Christmas gift. (Somewhat ironically, that set was ordered from the pages of a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.) Before the week passed, Beattie hit a local hobby shop for a 1:32-scale set, and the fuse was lit. Although the preconfigured sets from major manufactures were entertaining, Beattie knew he could do better and immediately set out to build his own raceway, eventually completing a 170-foot-long circuit in his basement. That, in a roundabout way, led to the building of a scale replica of Laguna Seca for Jim Farley, who invited his friends and associates over to race. Since then, Slot Mods hasn’t had a breather yet.

While Slot Mods tracks will run any standard 1:32-scale car available from manufacturers such as Scalextric, Revel, or Carrera, the similarities end there. The road surfaces of Slot Mods tracks are constructed entirely of wood, the finished assembly “strong enough to walk on,” according to Beattie who claims to have demonstrated this feature for demanding clients. Meticulous details abound, from the painstakingly re-created landscaping and genuine aluminum Armco railing to the tire-strewn pits, and from the handcrafted buildings and illuminated features to the shading and skid marks on the pavement surfaces. Beattie leans heavily on the talents of his two key employees, Don Browning and Chris Blasciuc, who share his passion. When we visited Slot Mods, they were deep in the zone crafting a half-dozen 1:32-scale port-a-potties destined for a trackside install.

David Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks [Sponsored]
-“Each track has to be special,” says Beattie, who takes an earthy, holistic approach to the design stage. “In most instances, I’ll meet with a client several times to get a feel for them personally, and what features they want (famous corners or stretches of a circuit, or iconic buildings and landmarks), ultimately asking that they trust me.” Often the first time a client sees a completed track is at its official reveal, after the Slot Mods team has finished its custom installation at the customer’s location of choice. “I haven’t had a disappointed customer yet,” says Beattie. Of course, when working for a commercial client—Beattie has built tracks for Progressive Insurance, Audi, Ford Motor Company, and Neiman Marcus, among others—the details are a bit more specific.

Beattie refers to Slot Mods tracks as “interpretive works of art,” and like any project of this caliber, they don’t happen without a significant investment of time and money. Specifically, the starting price for a custom Megatrack is $75,000 and up, final cost determined by the size, complexity, and scenic elements you wish to include. Each Megatrack comes with hand-painted and detailed wooden track surfaces (white lines, apex markers, etc.); period-correct grandstands, structures, signs, and advertising banners; hand-carved and painted landscaping, shrubs and trees; a lap-timing system and PC tablet; slot-car controllers; variable power supply; LED base lighting; and six slot cars. The 6′ x 12′ Standard Scenic raceway, which is built in the spirit of 1960s and ’70s hill-climb racing, is available for $50,000, and requires a three-to-four-month build time. The “GM Tribute Track,” a 6′ x 15′ artistic re-creation of Watkins Glen built on top of an actual 1969 Camaro in Penske/Sunoco livery that was on display at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance is available for $75,000. (C’mon Roger, step up—you know you want it.)

David Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks [Sponsored]
-Despite their high initial cost and nuanced detail, these tracks are for racing first and foremost, says Beattie. When people ask him if they can set it up so the cars don’t come off the tracks he tells them, “I can, but I won’t. What fun would that be?” Nor has Slot Mods made the transition to the new digital-control car setups, sticking with the tried and true one-car one-lane setup. So far, Slot Mods track installations have been limited to a maximum of four lanes.

With orders for the custom business keeping the shop busy, Slot Mods has, for the first time, begun to explore the concept of a more reasonably priced offering aimed at letting more people get in on the fun. Coined “Club Series Raceways,” the tracks would still be hand-made in Slot Mods’ suburban Detroit facility and feature all-wood construction. “Think hand-assembled like Ikea, but with a House of Denmark finish,” says Beattie. Priced to compete with traditional basement entertainment fixtures like a billiard table, Slot Mods hopes to have the Club Series Raceways ready before Christmas of this year. On that note, you’ll need to excuse us; we’ve suddenly been overcome with the need to grab a measuring tape and start rearranging the furniture in the C/D office lobby.



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David Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks [Sponsored]

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David Beattie Makes the World’s Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks [Sponsored]

David Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car TracksDavid Beattie Makes the World's Most Extravagant and Realistic Slot-Car Tracks

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Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages [Sponsored]

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream GaragesGarage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

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Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages [Sponsored]

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages [Sponsored]Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages [Sponsored]
-We drive cars only about four percent of the time we own them. When parked, the luckiest cars spend their days in special garages, unique combinations of man caves, living rooms, and museums—the second-most passionate rooms in our houses. Car collectors with cool garages tell us that they would never wake up in the morning and then drive somewhere to get dressed, so they need their cars parked where they live. These collectors also tell us that nobody has yet solved the space riddle, which is the complex puzzle of how big a space do you need? After visiting more than 200 outsized luxury garages, we’ve learned some secrets.

Let’s not call these so-called garage mahals or parking palaces “ostentatious,” which means designed to attract and impress, simply because most of these places are secret. They are not hidden from prying eyes for fear of monetary loss—the contents are irreplaceable usually because the cars are one-of-a-kind, valuable to their owners for emotional, sentimental, and historic reasons. Insurance offers no security for that. In fact, owners tell us that they don’t consider themselves “owners” of their valuable machines. Because cars’ lifetimes outlast those of humans, these collectors consider themselves “caretakers” for the moment. “I think of myself as just the last guy who owned it,” says multiple rare Bentley and Rolls-Royce collector and restorer Gary Wales about each of his multimillion-dollar rides.

Special Car Barn

On idyllic Bainbridge Island in the Pacific Northwest, this unique garage [pictured at top] looks more from the outside like a classic horse stable. It holds about ten cars and uses every square foot of floor space, although there is an office to one side and an apartment upstairs should visitors need a place to stay. The cars are pedigreed Packard, Bugatti, Duesenberg, Porsche, and Ferrari classics, and it is a working garage with tools, parts, and continual tinkering. The decorative chair rails around the walls conceal compressed air pipes for running tools and filling tires. It’s in the backyard of Glenn Mounger, former chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance and an early retiree from a family department-store business. None of the famous cars inside is a “garage queen,” since Bainbridge Island leads onto State Highway 3 past tall pines and Olympic Peninsula mountains, often misted by drizzle and occasional rains, and Mounger regularly exercises his cars there.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

Poolside Parking

Some people’s cars live better than we do, case in point legendary 1960s gentleman racer Anatoly Arutunoff, the creator of Hallett Motor Racing Circuit near Tulsa. This structure overlooks Arutunoff’s outsized pool and holds about ten cars, all of which have experienced some kind of competition—recent vintage racing, long-ago real racing, and original rallies and Cannonballs. French doors express his feeling that cars should be as much a part of life as children—constantly watched to provide inspiration and recall memories of good drives. There’s a tall garage door in the back of the garage, where a mechanic’s bay serves as a corridor into the main parking area. Behind the fourth set of French doors is actually a library and a full bath, and both of these rooms hold photos of Arutunoff’s racing days covering every speck of wall, and shelves are filled with car books. Arutunoff’s favorite desk, however, sits smack in the middle of the garage between a Lancia coupe and a Cooper racer.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

Horsepower Horseshoe

In 1993, Mitchell Rasansky restored a Derby-Miller Indy car from the 1930s, one that in its day turned record-setting Gwenda Hawkes-Stewart into one of the first female track heroes. He displays the car at shows and in his unique backyard horseshoe-shaped garage. Rasansky is a former councilman and mayoral candidate for the city of Dallas; the term “horseshoe” sometimes refers to elected officials’ city-hall desk in Dallas. Rasansky, however, says he built the horseshoe garage so he could access all twelve of his show cars, racers, hot rods, and classics without moving the others. The classic brick-and-mortar building holds a lifetime of examples of famous hardware, from notable collections of Austin four-cylinder motors, to culture-changing marketing signs, and iconic hot rods such as the Chuck Adams ’32 Ford that was one of the first of its genre to appear at Pebble Beach in 2007. An added room behind the cars also has a small machine shop.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages
-Polished Floor Elegance

“I’m the luckiest man alive,” says former banker Harry Yeaggy of Dayton, Ohio, whose blindingly shiny gloss-black-tiled floor of his massive garage reflects some of the country’s most famous cars: The so-called “Mormon Meteor” Auburn Speedster that was modified for a Bonneville top-speed record in the 1930s, General Motors’ Tony DeLorenzo’s first Corvette race winner (the one that convinced the GM brass to go forward with the Corvette as a business plan in the 1950s), and Dean Martin Jr.’s original Shelby Cobra. Black walls and ceiling focus your eyes on Yeaggy’s cars, but lining the walls are full-size posters of ads for the cars, as well as enlarged newspaper stories. The garage has a foyer with a small bar covered with models of cars as well as a private office with a picture window where Yeaggy can work at a huge wooden desk and gaze at the machines for inspiration.

Beverly Hills Garage

Serene Backyard View

Following a thorough remodel, a small pool shed at Bill Hammerstein’s home in Beverly Hills became his three-car home garage. His wife Marcy originally suggested that he buy the house next door, gut it, and turn it into a huge garage—Hammerstein has more cars tucked into a warehouse a few miles away but finds them easy to overlook for everyday drives. Built before earthquake codes, the converted pool shed required a lot of engineering to turn into a garage. Long cables with turnbuckles pull the corners of the rafters together, and a deeper excavated footing drops the floor and provides a sturdy foundation for the lift. Hammerstein follows the strict Beverly Hills building and zoning rules since he’s an active volunteer for many years with the city’s parking commission. The cars that usually occupy the home garage are classics—a red Ferrari Daytona, a red Mercedes SL roadster, and a red Shelby Cobra—all original and in perfect driving condition.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

Petroliana Palace

The huge collection of auto memorabilia, including a full-size Sinclair station built inside his secret garage, took car dealer Tom Martin a lifetime to collect. The building has about 15 special cars inside, a half-dozen farm tractors, and also houses organs, pool tables, outboard motors, and Vegas-quality poker tables. The same building contains an apartment for spending an evening looking over the enormous collection through a large plate glass window next to the Sinclair station. The effect is similar to building your own cityscape view under the shelter of a large warehouse, keeping the 1960s-era of car culture alive for a private audience of friends.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

The Southwest Comes to Chicago

Chicago trial lawyer Bernie Nevoral restores classic sports cars and goes vintage racing to relieve the stress of high-profile court battles. Nevoral welds, cuts, and rebuilds with a fervor, a restless activity that takes place in his workshop outside of his suburban Chicago home, onto which this Southwest-themed garage is attached. The structure is centered on five acres of woods, where Nevoral has built ponds and gazebos and has hosted large weddings for his kids. Nevoral’s wife, Barb, is an accomplished vintage racer, too, and both agree she’s the quicker track driver. Between the main garage is a four-space commuter-car garage that itself would be envied by most car nuts. The couple’s roster of racers includes Alfas, a Chevy-powered Devin roadster, a Lotus Seven, and several open-wheelers.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages
-Cheese Country Dance Hall

By 1983 George Stauffer had sold his family’s cheese business in Wisconsin and found and restored the 1966 Le Mans–winning Ford GT40, a car he raced in vintage events for a short time. A committed GT40 and Shelby Cobra fan, he converted a local dance hall into a garage. The same hardwood floors where his cars are now parked once supported crowds of dancers, who moved to live performances from bands such as the Platters and the Ventures in the 1950s. Hanging above the middle of the floor is an actual Sputnik spacecraft that caught Stauffer’s eye at an auction—it’s one of the original two dozen made, not a replica.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

Corvette History on Display

Video producer and former Dallas television newsman Michael Brown bought a 1963 Corvette coupe 22 years after he first fell in love with it as a high school junior. Today he owns one of each generation Corvette except the C4, and they’re either silver or black, which determined the decor of the garage he designed to hold the collection. The diamond pattern of the epoxy floor carries outside to his large driveway where it continues in cement and grass strips. Stainless workbenches and tool cabinets do double duty as kitchen counters if he has a party in the garage, and portable hydraulic dolly jacks are used to slide the cars to get them into and out of the garage, which has just five doors despite being seven cars wide. The history of each car in the collection is printed on wall plaques. The ’57 Bel Air convertible matches a car Brown had in high school, and it’s the only non-Corvette.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages

Log Cabin Luxury

Influenced by growing up in Auburn, Indiana, the backyard of America’s arguably most prestigious high-performance automobiles of the 1930s, Dean Kruse created museums, both public and at his private home for his family. As a kid, Kruse used to watch test drivers for Auburn, Duesenberg, and Cord locally. Attached to the large log home he built in rural Indiana is a huge log garage where he would rotate some of his collection of more than 100 cars—when we visited there were three Hitler staff cars at one end, with Jeeps, Nashes, Auburns, Jaguars, and even Mini Mokes scattered around the perimeter. The bald eagle statue above his ’57 Bel Air was one of a small set that was distributed to notable places around the country, including the White House. Kruse also built two more enormous garages for his racing car and tractor collections, and together the structures boasted 14 bathrooms and seven large bars—and Kruse doesn’t even drink.



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Car and Driver has partnered with Mercedes-Benz to bring you “A Cut Above,” a travel series inspired by the all-new GLE Coupe exploring great drives, high-end gear, and must-visit destinations.

Garage Mahals: Over-the-Top Dream Garages [Sponsored]

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Dropping Democracy: How the Army Yanks a Humvee Out of a Plane and Drives It Away 750 Feet Later

Dropping Democracy: How the Army Yanks a Humvee Out of a Plane and Drives It Away 750 Feet Later

From the September 2015 issue

The car is the ultimate mobility tool—right up until impassable terrain or enemy combatants come between you and your destination. Then you need a vehicle strapped to a parachute and packed into the back of a plane. The United States Army, perhaps the world’s foremost authority on getting wheels on the ground in hard-to-reach places, routinely airdrops vehicles such as forklifts, ATVs, and HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or “Humvees”) to carry out missions around the globe.

The Army hasn’t dropped vehicles in a major combat operation since 2003, as once you occupy the airfields, it’s far easier to just land the planes. Still, airdrops play a key role in sustaining the remotest military bases, and soldiers routinely practice heavy drops back home to maintain proficiency in the science of making 14,000 pounds fall out of the sky and land intact. Here’s how they do it:

Dropping Democracy: How the Army Yanks a Humvee Out of a Plane and Drives It Away 750 Feet Later

(A) Skyfall
-The military performs heavy airdrops from both C-17 and C-130 transports. A C-130 drops cargo at an airspeed of 140 knots (161 mph) while flying at least 750 feet above ground level.

(B) Chutes to Thrill
-The aircraft tows a small, 15-foot drogue chute for 5 to 10 seconds before the navigator gives the green light to drop the cargo. At that point, the loadmaster releases the drogue, the sole purpose of which is to pull out the larger, 22-foot extraction chute. The drag on the extraction chute unlocks the platform from the aircraft’s cargo rails and yanks it out of the C-130 at 0.93 g.

Dropping Democracy: How the Army Yanks a Humvee Out of a Plane and Drives It Away 750 Feet Later

(A) Under the Big Tops
-The primary chutes deploy as soon as the HMMWV is clear of the aircraft. Each of the three 100-foot-diameter G-11B parachutes weighs 275 pounds when packed.

(B) Drop Into the Danger Zone
-A single HMMWV requires a drop zone measuring 600 yards by 1000 yards. Each additional vehicle requires an additional 400 yards to allow for safe spacing of the trucks’ landing sites.





Turtle-Back Touchdown
-Landing speed depends on a wide array of factors, ranging from load mass to air density at ground level. With a drop zone at sea level, an M1151A1 UAH, the Army’s newest HMMWV, typically lands with a speed of 24 to 25 feet per second.

Dropping Democracy: How the Army Yanks a Humvee Out of a Plane and Drives It Away 750 Feet Later

(A) Honeycomb Crunch
-As many as 11 layers of honeycomb are positioned under the vehicle, but this M1151A1 UAH will compress only four layers during a normal landing. A hard impact at 28.5 feet per second (worst-case scenario) should crush five layers while using the entire nine-inch stroke of the HMMWV’s suspension to absorb the shock.

(B) Hummndinger
-Lumber and sheets of three-inch-thick paper honeycomb, stacked between the axles, the frame, and the airdrop platform, cushion the impact.

(C) Fort Bending
-While it looks like ordinary cardboard, the honeycomb is designed to rigorous performance specs, crushing when the load on it reaches 6300 pounds per square foot.

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No More Gettin’ Handsy: Cadillac’s Super Cruise Won’t Require Touching the Wheel

2016 Cadillac CT6

Over the last couple of years, we’ve spent a fair bit of time fooling around with Mercedes-Benz’s Distronic Plus With Steering Assist. Though we’ve experimented with other semi-autonomous systems, the Mercedes system currently seems to be the most predictable and confidence-inducing. The downside? The red hands that light up, reminding you to put your hands on the wheel, despite the fact that the Benz is caroming merrily down the freeway and does not require your input. And while Caddy’s new CT6 may not out do the E-class or S-class in interior loveliness, it won’t require you to touch the steering wheel in autonomous mode.





Speaking to Autoline Detroit’s John McElroy, GM’s Cem Saraydar discusses Cadillac’s new Super Cruise system, set to arrive in the upcoming CT6. While he doesn’t mention specifically how Super Cruise will keep the driver in the car-control loop, he says that it will. Klaxons? Buzzers? Waterboarding? We’re not sure. Regardless, owners of Super Cruise-equipped Cads might now actually be able to navigate CUE without running off the road.

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NHTSA’s New Boss on Why the Safety Agency Needs a Bigger Stick

Mark R. Rosekind

From the September 2015 issue

Just as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was about to close the books on 2014, a year in which a record number of cars were recalled, it underwent a change in leadership. On December 22, Mark R. Rosekind, a former NASA researcher and member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), was sworn in as administrator. The GM ignition-switch-defect investigation cast doubt on NHTSA’s ability to police the industry, and Rosekind’s tenure has so far been dominated by the Takata airbag recall, which has ballooned to become the largest consumer-product safety action in history. It’s no wonder then that the head of the safety agency thinks he could use more clout.

C/D: Does NHTSA have an adequate mandate from Congress?
MR: Congress gave us a pure, straightforward mission: save lives, prevent injuries, reduce crashes. But we need better resources: people, technology, and authority. With all the visibility last year, complaints received here at NHTSA went from 45,000 to 80,000. Eight people look at those. That’s just not enough. In the president’s proposed 2016 budget, we have a ­significant boost. We identify two new divisions we will start. One is a trend-analy­sis division. And it wouldn’t be just looking at complaints and early warning reports from manufacturers, but blogs, social media, and websites. The other division is for field investigation and testing. So when there’s a defect concern, we’d have our own crash-investigation “go team” well versed in looking specifically for defects.

C/D: Critics say that auto manufacturers are not wary enough of NHTSA, that their real fear is civil lawsuits. Is the recall system broken?
MR: There’s been a lot of discussion about that. We’re all about action now. The first week I was on the job is when we announced a $70 million fine against Honda. There were two penalties, so we did the maximum we could. Authority is really critical. Our maximum penalty is $35 million, and nowadays that’s pocket change. So we have asked for a $300 million penalty, because that’s going to get attention and really change behavior.

C/D: Autonomous technology is looming on the horizon. Are the carmakers outpacing regulation here?
MR: Car technology is going to keep pushing forward no matter what. NHTSA’s role is to make sure it’s safe.





C/D: Do you see a future in which we are no longer driving?
MR: I come from NASA and worked at the NTSB, and my background is in human ­factors, so I frequently raise aviation examples. They used to have a pilot and a co-pilot, and it used to be “pilot flying” and “pilot not flying.” Do you know what they say now? “Pilot monitoring.” That’s the co-pilot. We’ve already seen this, it’s already happening in aviation, which is the safest mode of transportation right now. So you can look in the crystal ball and know what’s going to happen. When you look at how automation has taken over the cockpit of airplanes—it’s been 30 years now—what’s interesting is the last few crashes we’ve seen have all been about the technology in the cockpit. Pilots didn’t know what the computer was doing, and they weren’t moni­tor­ing what was going on. The worst thing you can hear from a pilot is, “What’s it doing now?” I don’t care what is said about when these cars are going to be on the road; we know any new technology can take 20 to 30 years to fully come into the automotive fleet. Humans are going to go from having primary responsibility, from operating, to monitoring. But we already know what’s involved there from aviation; we already know what the risks are. Driver education and human behavior and responsibility are not going to go away, even when we get self-driving vehicles.

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2016 BMW X1: The Least-Expensive BMW Crossover Is Kind of Expensive

2016 BMW X1 xDrive25i
-As if the encroachment of front-wheel-drive-based platforms into the BMW fold weren’t enough, the new, front-drive-based 2016 X1 is also more expensive than the rear-drive-based X1 it replaces. It really isn’t as bad as it sounds, as competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class and the Audi Q3 are also based on humble front-drive underpinnings and are priced in the same neighborhood as the BMW. But still, the mid-$30K space isn’t exactly bargain-land.

Where the $35,795 BMW seems expensive is in the base-price game. Mercedes and Audi can advertise lower entry prices ($33,150 and $34,625, respectively), but that’s because both automakers’ base-spec baby crossovers come with two-wheel drive. The BMW comes standard with xDrive all-wheel drive. Compare the MSRPs of the least-expensive, AWD models from BMW, Audi, and Benz, and there’s near parity, with the Mercedes being slightly cheaper and the Audi being slightly higher. So far, BMW is offering the X1 just one way, as the X1 xDrive28i, meaning all-wheel drive with the brand’s ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive25i
-Only a handful of packages are offered, including the $550 Cold Weather package (heated seats), the $1550 Luxury package (wood or aluminum trim, leather seats), and the $2550 Technology kit (navigation, BMW apps, head-up display, and “enhanced” USB and Bluetooth phone integration). Want more luxury than the Luxury package offers? Good, because getting that package requires the $3250 Premium package and its auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry, lumbar adjustment, satellite radio, universal garage door opener, LED headlights, power-folding door mirrors, ambient lighting, and panoramic sunroof. There are two Driver Assistance packages, one with parking sensors and a backup camera ($1150), and a “Plus” version with lane-departure warning, collision warning, and automatic low-speed braking capability for $700, which sounds like a steal until BMW hits you with another $1200 for navigation, which is bundled with the safety gear unless the Tech package is also selected. For another $1000, you can add adaptive cruise control to the mix, but the Driver Assistance Plus gear is required to do so. Of course, BMW lets buyers pick from a few options a la carte, including the panoramic sunroof ($1350), the aforementioned navigation ($1200), 19-inch wheels ($600), and a Harmon/Kardon audio system ($875).





Fully loaded with every available package and option, the X1 manages the shocking feat of staying under the $50,000 mark, ringing in at $48,970. For a modern BMW to not reach $50K is something of a revolution (the previous-generation X1 topped out in similar territory, albeit with its optional turbocharged six-cylinder engine). By comparison, a maxed-out Mercedes-Benz GLA250 runs out of breath at the same $47,000–$49,000 altitude, but the Q3 fizzles out just past $45,000. The point is this: Small crossovers are where the market is going, so you can’t really blame luxury automakers for charging the same for one of these as they once did for the one-size-up rides such as the X3, the Q5, and the GLC neé GLK-class. The opportunity is just too great.

2016 BMW X1 xDrive25i

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2016 BMW X1: The Least-Expensive BMW Crossover Is Kind of Expensive

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