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A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of car say they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four tires, and mainly transport people rather than goods. Cars came into global use during the 20th century, and developed economies depend on them. The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars that were accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world.

Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort and safety, and controlling a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them progressively more complex. Examples include rear reversing cameras, air conditioning, navigation systems, and in-car entertainment. Most cars in use in the 2010s are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels. This causes air pollution and also contributes to climate change and global warming. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Electric cars, which were invented early in the history of the car, began to become commercially available in 2008.

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Maserati MC12

The Maserati MC12 is a grand tourer produced by Maserati to allow a racing variant to compete in the FIA GT Championship. The car entered production in 2004 with 30 cars produced (five of which were not for sale). A further 25 were produced in 2005 making a total of 50 cars available for customers, each of which were pre-sold for 600 000.

Maserati designed and built the car on the chassis of the Enzo Ferrari but the final car is much larger. The MC12 is longer, wider and taller than the Enzo Ferrari, which has faster acceleration and a higher top speed. The top speed of the Maserati MC12 is 330 kilometres per hour (205 mph) whereas the top speed of the Enzo Ferrari is 350 kilometres per hour (217.5 mph). (more...)

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all generations of the Nissan Skyline
all generations of the Nissan Skyline

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The McLaren Senna GTR will produce a tonne of downforce

McLaren is now busying itself turning the Senna GTR track-only special from a Geneva show ‘concept’ into a finished item. A fast one.

To mark the start of the car’s dynamic testing, Woking has confirmed big numbers for the Senna GTR. The headline is downforce: 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) of it, though the speed at which you have a tonne of aerodynamic grip available isn’t disclosed. Not that the Senna GTR will want for speed: its 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 will develop 814 bhp (607 kW; 825 PS) – up from 789 bhp (588 kW; 800 PS) in the road-going Senna. Torque output remains 800 N⋅m (590 lb⋅ft).

Ridiculous downforce comes courtesy of the Senna GTR shunning road-legality, and employing active aero banned in the top echelons of motorsport. This sketch shows what to expect from the ‘production’ car – McLaren notes there’s a wider track, wider fenders, a ginormous front splitter (our word, not theirs) and a moveable rear wing ‘coupled’ to the rear diffuser.

We’ve also been given more clues about the Senna GTR’s light-weighting inside. No airbags, no infotainment touchscreen, no folding instrument binnacle – the only concession to comfort is air-conditioning. McLaren’s also included an interesting sounding ‘radar-assisted rear collision avoidance system’, which presumably boosts the car forward if its bonkers braking performance catches out an over-keen track-day goer behind. Or, perhaps it has missiles.

Though there’s no official weight for the Senna GTR yet, McLaren has promised it’ll be lighter than the 1,198 kg (2,641 lb) road-legal Senna. It’ll also cost £1.1m (around Rs 10.41 crore) plus taxes, but the 75 slated to be made are all sold, to brave individuals who desire a car with GT3-spec racing suspension, slick tyres and 3g capability. That’s 3g as in cornering G-force, not on-board internet.

So, this thing’s going to be very much the antithesis to the slippery, equally sold-out Speedtail, then. Got a favourite?

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Edward T. Welburn

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Edward T. Welburn (United States) was the Vice President of Global Design at General Motors from 2003 to 2016. He was the highest-ranking African American in the automotive industry. Welburn was born in Philadelphia on December 14, 1950. He oversaw the design of many GM products, including the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, and the Buick Enclave. Wilbur retired on July 1, 2016, after 44 years at GM.

On this day November 20

1970 — A 10-week strike against General Motors ends

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If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough

Mario Andretti

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