It's 1993, the last race of Alain Prost. On the podium, Senna broke their cold war and asked, 
"What are you going to do now ?"
"I don't know yet ..."
"You're going to be fat !"
    Senna rarely showed a sense of humor. The most we remember is his mind of "never say die" and "never say enough". It was such mind made him winning the Spainish GP 1986 in Jerez. Chasing by the superior Williams-Honda in the hands of Mansell, Senna crossed the finish line just 0.014 sec ahead of Mansell. In distance this works out to 37 inches. No wonder all the journalists got so excited behind the scene.

Time Tunnel

Ferrari 250LM 
- The car that inspire the 360 Modena 
Many journalists said the air scoop over the rear wheel arches of 360 Modena revived their memory of the 250LM. If you don't know this car, here is the picture. 

250LM was launched in 1964 as the Ferrari's weapon in sportscar racing. It won Le Mans in the following year. It's Enzo's first mid-engined machine, powered by a 320hp 3.3 litres Columbo V12 at 9 inches behind the driver. 

In then, racing cars are usually legal on road, not least of which is the 250LM. However, rock-solid suspensions and heavy controls plus the cramped driving compartment made no sense of driving it daily, unlike Porsche 550 Spyder.

Ferrarri's platform strategy 

Who's Luca di Montezemolo ? He's Ferrari's president, now also in charge of Maserati. 

'Even Ferrari must implement a standardised platform strategy', said Montezemolo, 'We cannot afford to fund four different platforms for four different models. The choice of light aluminium space frame technology was not made for just one model.' 

It is known that the F60, successor of F50 will be loosely based on 360 Modena's space frame chassis, although the flexibility of aluminium space frame allow great changes in dimensions and rigidity. Internally known as FX, the F60 will be powered by a 6.0 litres V12 with 4-valves head, as the use of variable valve timing in both intake and exhaust valves is too complex for the 5-valves head. In fact, the F1 engines had changed to 4V many years ago. Expect maximum power to be around 600hp. 

As before, the next Maranello will continue to share platform with the 456GT 2+2. Therefore Ferrari will have only 2 platforms - one mid-engined and one front-engined.


Reader's Letter

Hi Mark, 

I would really say that you did a fantastic job on the F360. Gathering reports from around the world, you have given us a full insight which IMHO, no other website has so far acheived. Regarding to the IS200, I think toyota did a commendable effort on it, considering the present boring line-up of their cars. Also, the aftermarket tunning companys seem to be 
supporting the car, judging by the many products on offer at this year's auto salon. It will be interesting to see how well it performs on the sales chart. Asian buyers tend to prefer the reliabilty, economical fuel 
consumption and affordable spare parts of Japanese cars. Most car enthusiast go for the Civic SiR and Integra at the lower end of the market (1600cc). When it comes to the higher-end (2000cc). They are divided into two camps. One going for the 320i and the other going for the WRX. One is refined while the other is raw. The IS200 is rite smack in between these 2. The IS200 has the some refinement of the 3 series and some of the tunning potential of the WRX. The best compromise in a compact sporting executive 

Having said all these, the 156 2.0TS enters the equation. It has all the style and perforamnce you would want. But wats wrong ? It isnt very well supported by the aftermarket tunning companys. All car enthusiast like to scoup up their car, and thats the minus of the 156. We would certainly like to see what Honda has to offer after their 5-star S2000...... 

Derrick Chan 

I totally agree with you regarding the Lexus IS 200 review. Especially the comment that asian manufacturers often need to do 120% as well to get the same amount of respect and passion as European or American cars. Even great cars like the GS 400 does get treated with cynicism by American auto-journalists as they called the power as being.. "Obnoxious". I'm not sure if it is racism or they can't accept Japan or other asian countries can build great cars. I still do remember in the mid 90's when Japan bashing was considered patriotic, and hate crimes against asians where popular. I even heard of GM auto workers beating a student from HK to death as they thought he was Japanese. I think this can still be seen in American magazines at times. Many magazines are too afraid or depends too heavily on money from the BIG 3 to write very honest reviews. I saw a quick survey at another automotive Ezine where people were asked what is in their opinion the best auto manufacturer in the world. #1 Answer was Ford!  Not Benz... Not Lexus... Not Ferrari.. 
I think its great that gas prices have nearly doubled in North America, this I'm sure will lead to the end of over sized SUVs and trucks. 

- Ken Kubotani


I really like your site - lots of really good information and interesting bits. However, I was a bit surprised to see that you had a mis-captioned 
picture in your chassis section (for spaceframe chassis). The picture on the 
left is a Caterham 21 not a 1957 Lotus 7. While the 21 is based on the 
Caterham Seven (itself based on the Lotus Seven Series 3), it has a number of changes to the chassis which are visible in the picture (e.g. pyramid section at the rear of the engine bay and additional triangulation diagonals over the front suspension). 

Perhaps you wonder how I know this - the picture is of my 21! No problem with you using it, but please make sure it is captioned correctly. :-) 

Keep up the good work on the site. 

Andrew Edney 
Caterham 21 Registrar


Volkswagen's Strange Engines

I read quite a lot of magazines, what a pity none of them ever tried to have a technical insight into Volkswagen's V5 (previously called VR5, if you remember). It seems VW is not very eager to reveal its secret. 

The question is : how can a five cylinder formated in Vee angle manages to balance ? Apart from the earliest samples, the V5 has been proved to be as silky smooth as any V6, so there must be some tricky counter weights or balancer shafts inside. Anyway, journalists have no idea at all. 


It is interesting yet confusing to analyse the engine development strategy of Wolfsburg and its subsidiary in Ingolstadt. "What a mess" is probably the best phrase to describe it. 

Since the early 90's, we saw the engine programs of VW and Audi conflicted times and times. While Audi had a 174hp V6, VW created a VR6 having the same size and the same power (just 2hp down). Then, Audi's 1.8 and 1.8T unit are overlapped by VW's 2.0 sohc and 2.3V5 respectively. As Audi upgraded its V6 to 5 valves, Wolfsburg also put 4-valves head into the VR6, which could also compete with Audi TT's high boost 1.8T.

On one hand the group is cutting cost by sharing platform, on the other hand Ferdinand Piech let the internal competition of his engine departments exists. 

A VW board member commenting this, 'Whenever Piech want things done he put two teams against one another. Audi people are terrified of VW's move upmarket. And it works.' 

How to explain the development of odd engines - V5, VR6, W12, W16 and W18 ? 

It is known that Piech originated the idea of 5-cylinder in-line during his years as the head of R&D of Audi. The idea eventually turned out to be a driving force to Audi for more than a decade. During his years with Porsche, he designed the turbo flat 12 for the 917 racing car, also in his brain was a 16 cylinder engine but never realised. So, it is probably his enthusiasm about the no. of cylinders lead to the birth of VW's W12, Bentley's W16 and Bugatti's W18.
Bugatti EB218's engine.

To other car makers, the cylinder war makes no sense. Considering V12 is the smoothest configuration, while could be easily fitted in many luxurious cars or supercars, who need more cylinders ? BMW showed a V12 displacing in excess of 6 litres and capable of 627hp, who needs a bigger engine ? 

W-formation engine has some advantages in packaging. For instance, the W12 is just as short as a four cylinder mounted longitudally. However, it is likely to have more frictional loss (thus less powerful) and having difficulties in cooling (thus incapable for motor racing). It won't be lighter than any V12. 

W16 and W18 are even overweight for supercars. No wonder they are reserved for only Bugatti and Bentley.

Copyright© 1999 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine