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At its world premiere last weekend, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato won the Concorso d'Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes.
At its world premiere last weekend, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato won the Concorso d'Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes.

Lamborghini to introduce a third model line

Plus Zagato wins top design award for their new Aston Martin, Toyota cars will be able to send tweets to their drivers, the longtime land-speed record holder dies and more motoring news from around the world.

F1 champ's van for sale

For those who want to own a piece of Formula One history, but can't stretch to Formula One cars themselves, then James Hunt's 1967 Austin 35 Van Countryman conversion could be the route to an "F1 drive".

For sale at Silverstone Auctions' July 23 event in the UK, the car has been in storage for 18 years since its current owner acquired it, in 1993, when it still had bird-loving James Hunt's last cigarette butts in the ashtray and a sprinkling of Trill in the rear where he transported his beloved budgerigars to shows.

Still used by Hunt as his daily transport at the time of his death in 1993, Hunt's affection for the car was well documented, including the car's ability at the hands of Hunt to "slide" and take on much faster sports cars around London.

The car starts and runs, but would probably need some mechanical attention before being put back on the road, and a well-worn interior bears testament to the car's lifetime, including its flamboyant and infamous owner.

James Hunt was Formula One world champion in 1976 before retiring to become a television commentator.


Stunning new Aston Martin V12 Zagato wins at Villa d'Este

At its world premiere last weekend, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato won the Concorso d'Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes at a ceremony on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. Visitors to the Concorso D'Eleganza were invited to vote for the best concept and prototype. Among 10 entries from around the world, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato was voted the best in class.

Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin's chief exec, said: "We are thrilled to see that this car conquered people's hearts. We managed to add just another successful chapter both to the history of Aston Martin and the future of our brand. "

Marek Reichman, the design director, added: "It is an honour to win this award in Italy, where many great designs originated from, and this victory shows that Aston Martin has successfully developed their own renowned design language over the past years. The result is a car that incorporates the core values of the Zagato design language which we perfectly translated into Aston Martin's modern design DNA."


Toyota plans tweet service

As if cars with Google mapping technology wasn't enough, on Monday Toyota said it planned to create a private social networking service that will let cars "tweet" their drivers when they need servicing.

The Japanese automaker said it would work in conjunction with US cloud computing firm Salesforce.com to create the "Toyota Friend" service for owners of electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles to be introduced next year.

Toyota will invest 442 million yen (Dh19.9million) and Salesforce.com will spend 223 million yen (Dh10.05million) on Toyota Media Service, a Toyota subsidiary providing data services to drivers.

Microsoft Corp, will invest a further 335 million yen (Dh15.1million).

Toyota described the service as "a private social network that connects Toyota customers with their cars, their dealership, and with Toyota".

The service will be accessible through smart phones, tablet PCs and other advanced mobile devices.

Cars will be able to send tweet-like alerts reminding drivers to recharge their batteries, Toyota said.


Lambo CEO says company will introduce a third model line

Lamborghini's chief executive, Stephan Winkelman, has gone against previous statements and announced the company will introduce a third model line. He said it must be a car that "is able to be used on a daily basis".

The Estoque concept car that was shown at the 2008 Paris motor show could certainly fit the bill, having four seats as well as a ferocious V12 engine and cutting-edge styling. Lamborghini had been selling more than 2,000 cars a year before the global economic crisis but last year sold just 1,302 vehicles. Emerging markets, such as China, Russia and India, are seen as ideal for a more practical Lamborghini.

Winkelman said that a firm decision was yet to be made but that, if the go-ahead is given, the new model would take three to four years before reaching production.

Sales of the new Aventador supercar are proving healthy, with the first two years worth of production already sold out.


Bill Summers, who set world land speed record, dies at 75

The maverick Bill Summers, who with his brother Bob, tore apart the world land speed record in 1965, died of natural causes last week, it has been reported. He was 75.

The brothers started out in southern California six decades ago, modifying old cars to go racing across dried lake beds. Bill drove a truck for a living but that didn't stop him, along with Bob, a welder, developing a vehicle that would steal the speed record set by the legendary Donald Campbell in 1964. The following year, at Bonneville Salt Flats, they entered their "Goldenrod" car, which had been cleverly designed with a minimal frontal area to help aerodynamic efficiency. Bob was the brother that actually drove it into the record books, setting an average maximum speed of 658.667kph.

Speed records have different classes and the Goldenrod, having driven wheels (unlike jet-powered cars), proved unbeatable until as late as 1991.

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