Autofield Blog

Sonata for SEMA

By: Gary S. Vasilash 28. October 2014

SEMA is just around the corner, and the OEMs are rolling out with their tricked-out vehicles meant to resonate with that cadre in the youth culture that still think that cars are something of interest.

Sonata SEMA

Hyundai announced that one of the cars it will be displaying in the Las Vegas Convention Center is a 2015 Sonata that has been modified under the direction of John Pangilinan.


Yes, that’s what I wondered. So I Googled him and discovered that he is. . .a PR guy.

Or, as he puts it on his site: “Resides in Downtown Long Beach, CA and worked the agency life for a number of years before moving into the freelance world where he specializes in PR, marketing and photography. When not traveling with the Formula DRIFT series, he can be found surfing, watching MMA, or building various project cars.”

The car in question uses the stock white paint. Then he and Flexfit| SCMP and Mr. 44, “a renowned Los Angeles-based street artist” (again: who knew?) set to work on the vehicle.

About the car, Pangilinan said, “This build features a balance of performance products, in-car entertainment with the latest innovations and clean styling, representing the enthusiasts whose cars showcase an extension of their personalities and lifestyles.”


Mechanically, there are:

· AEM cold-air intake

· MagnaFlow exhaust kit

· Bisimoto engineering hot-charge pipe

· KW coilovers


· LTMW lip kit

· 19-in. RAYS Gram Light 57 Getter wheels

· Toyo R888 tires

And inside the car:

· RECARO cross sportster seats in the front

· BP Auto Sound engineered audio system with Alpine and Scosche electronics

Pangilinan: “Inspired by a trip earlier this year to the Pow! Wow! Hawai’i art event in Hawaii, I wanted to connect the street art culture to automotive, without going too over the top with a full blown art car.”

Well, it is a 2015 Sonata.

(What do I mean by that, you might wonder. Well, were it a 2014 Sonata, the midsize that changed everything people thought a midsize should look like, then arguably it, in and of itself, could be considered a “full-blown art car” with its Fluidic Sculpture design language.)

GM: Safer Is Better

By: Gary S. Vasilash 27. October 2014

Passive safety systems are those that act in response to something that has occurred. Like airbags deploying as a consequence of a collision.

Active safety systems are those that act to prevent something untoward occurring. Like blind spot monitors in side-view mirrors (ideally keeping the driver from moving into a space that is already occupied, thereby actively avoiding a collision).


(Photo: John F. Martin for GM)

Active safety systems are all about sensors and monitors and interface devices that warn the driver without untoward distraction (i.e., all manner of bells, buzzers and flashing lights might cause the driver to become exceedingly agitated, thereby perhaps initiating an accident that has nothing to do with the bells, buzzers and flashing lights).

So while automakers make much of all of their systems that allow access to the Internet for various recreational applications, they are also undertaking the deployment of technologies that will help in the area of active safety.

While much of the work is done digitally, there is nothing like actual vehicles on actual roads.

To that end, GM announced late last week that it has nearly completed construction of the Active Safety Testing Area (ASTA) at its Milford Proving Ground in Michigan.

This is a $12-million project that started in June 2013 and is slated for being ready to go in December.

The ASTA is a 52-acre site for developing, testing and validating active safety technologies. In addition to various road courses, it has a 16-acre dynamic pad that test drivers and engineers will be able to safely toss vehicles around, simulating what could happen in the real world.

In addition to which, it will be used for the development of “Super Cruise,” GM’s automated driving technology (hands-off lane following, braking and speed control that can be a safer way to drive, particularly in stop-and-go conditions) as well as vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology (a car might provide a car following information about road conditions that can enhance safety) that the company plans to introduce in 2017 on the Cadillac CTS.

Beyond Aluminum

By: Gary S. Vasilash 24. October 2014

OK. Everybody knows all about the 2015 F-150. The aluminum-intensive truck.

For those in the auto industry it is, at the very least, provocative. Possibly exciting.

But that’s not the only material that is ordinarily associated with the aerospace industry that’s come to auto*.

Word from Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is that it has taken a material that it ordinarily uses in aerospace applications and has made it automotive-appropriate.


Specifically, it is using high-temperature nickel-based alloys—materials that exhibit high-temperature and cracking resistance—to produce stamped gaskets.

These so-called “HTA”—for “high temperature alloy”—materials also exhibit a property whereby they can become stronger over time with heat exposure. Consequently, gaskets can be produced for powertrain applications with a thinner gauge and reduced embossment width than would ordinarily be the case.

According to Scott Anderson, product marketing manager at Freudenberg, “Companies have used similar HTA materials in the heavy-duty industry due to the prevalence of turbocharging in high-torque producing diesel engines. Adapting this technology to the automotive market made sense. Smaller engines are running at higher speeds for longer times, and as a consequence, more heat is generated in the engine bay and in the engines exhaust system specifically.”

All of which is to say that cross-fertilization of technologies—from aircraft to earth-moving equipment to auto—is absolutely essential.

The HTA gaskets are produced at a Freudenberg-NOK plant in Necedah, Wisconsin, and shipped to customers globally.

*Auto has long used aluminum for such things as engine blocks and suspension components. But this use of aluminum skins—like those on aircraft—is certainly somewhat different, applications at places like Jaguar Land Rover notwithstanding.

The MV-1 Considered

By: Gary S. Vasilash 23. October 2014

Every now and then you may see something that looks like this rolling along:

MV 1 1

That’s the MV-1, produced by Mobility Ventures, which is a company of AM General. You may recognize AM General as the company that originated the HUMMER.

They know how to produce purpose-built vehicles in their plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, and the MV-1 is a purpose-built vehicle.

According to Mobility Ventures, the MV-1 is “the only purpose-built vehicle that meets or exceeds the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

MV 1 2

Which is certainly laudable.

Other vehicles that area going to transport people in wheelchairs need retrofits.

One of the interesting things about the MV-1 is that it has some characteristics of the Ford Crown Victoria that has long served in the livery business, particularly when painted yellow. (The black cars were once Lincoln Town Cars, also relegated to the past.)

For one thing, the MV-1 is a body-on-frame vehicle. Pickup trucks are pretty much the only vehicles out there with this robust approach. The Crown Vic was body-on-frame.

The powertrain for the MV-1 is a Ford 4.6-liter V8 and a Ford four-speed automatic.

One might feel somewhat nostalgic.

One might also hope that Mobility Venture people do something about the styling, which seems to share a design language with the folks at Tonka. . .


Art: Automotive & Otherwise

By: Gary S. Vasilash 22. October 2014

Each October in Regent’s Park in London, the Frieze London Art Fair is held. This year, it was last week. So if you’re big on contemporary art and are going to be in the U.K. next year, you might be interested in knowing that the event will be held October 8 to 11.

That said, you may be wondering why we’re talking about a contemporary art event held in the U.K.

Because many automotive designers area quite interested in contemporary art. Some automotive designers even try their hand at it.

To wit:

Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, worked with Italian artist Nino Mustica in creating a piece titled Unstoppable Spirit, which was unveiled last week at London’s Southbank Center.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a part of the execution.

Land Rover Art

Gerry McGovern, Nino Mustica, & Unstoppable Spirit in London

Said Mustica, “Unstoppable Spirit is about the fusion between automotive design and contemporary art. As an artist I am able to work in the abstract with full creative freedom, however the Discovery Sport is a piece of industrial design that must be both versatile and beautiful. This work is a fascinating exploration of how these worlds collide and interact.”

“Collide” is not a word that one ordinarily uses when talking about a new vehicle, of course.

Noted McGovern, “Our team at Land Rover understands that art and design are central to the creation of highly desirable vehicles that resonate on an emotional level. I believe art and design enrich people’s lives in all their manifestations.”

Thus this.

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