Ford and Toyota join forces to develop hybrid lorries and SUVs

Plus a Ferrari claims the title of most expensive car ever sold at auction, Skoda takes an unlikely speed title and more Motoring news.

A 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne is named Best of Show for the 2011 Concours d'Elegance. David Royal / AP / Monterey County Herald
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Ford and Toyota have entered into a "memorandum of understanding" to develop rear-wheel-drive hybrid systems for trucks and SUVs.

The "equal partners" agreement is expected to result in a petrol-electric hybrid system different from that used in the Prius or other current hybrid, front-wheel-drive cars. The point is to have a more fuel-efficient system for trucks while still keeping the same driving dynamics.

"The importance here is in reducing the cost of ownership ... without compromising the ability to deliver the towing capacity and durability customers have come to expect," Derrick Kuzak, head of Ford's global product development, told the Detroit Free Press.

The system is expected to be ready by the end of the decade, about when the higher North American Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards will be implemented for car makers.

The same hybrid powertrain is intended to be used by both companies in their vehicles, though no specific models were given by either company.

Ford and Toyota will also work on improving in-vehicle communications.

1934 Voisin C-25 wins prestigious Concours d'Elegance award

Each year about 200 of the finest cars in the world descend on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, California, one of the most famous courses in the world, to compete for the prestigious title of Concours d'Elegance.

Dating back more than 60 years, the event is hotly contested and this year's "Best in Show" has been named as a 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne, owned by Peter Mullin, of Mullin Automotive Museum, California.

The C-25, created by French pioneer Gabriel Voisin, had a 3.0L inline-six engine producing just more than 100hp. There were three variants made - the Cimier, Clariere and the Aerodyne - and only 28 vehicles were produced in total so they are very rare and desirable cars.

Despite that, Mullin has 15 Voisin creations in his collection, in addition to Bugattis, Talbot Lagos and Delahayes.

"I'm a total French car nut," he said. "French cars are the ultimate in automotive design, technology and performance."

And it's clear from this year's result that the judges agree with Mullin's estimation.

Records fall at car auctions

A Ferrari race car has become the most expensive car ever sold at auction, while Hollywood legend Steve McQueen's Porsche 911S from the 1971 movie Le Mans has sold for more than US$1 million.

At the Gooding & Company auction in Monterey, California last week, a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa sold for US$14.9 million (Dh54.7 million), or about $16.4 million including a buyer's premium.

The previous record holder was also a Testa Rossa, which sold for $12.4 million in 2009.

Meanwhile, the iconic sports car owned by McQueen went for US$1,375,000 (Dh5.05m) at RM Auctions in Monterey. It is the highest price for any Porsche 911 sold at auction.

In addition to its starring role in the film, the 1970 grey 911S was used as McQueen's personal transport during the movie's production, later joining his own stable of cars at his home in California.

The sale of the 911S was RM's 200th million-dollar-plus car sold at auction.

Other highlights of the sale were a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta, which sold for US$1.5m, and an 1899 Columbia Electric Landaulet, which sold for US$550,000 - the highest price ever for an electric car sold at auction.

Skoda beats speed record for production cars with 365kph run

You may have to do a double-take but it's official: Skoda's Octavia is the fastest 2.0L forced induction production car ever.

The modified Octavia vRS hatch hit 365kph on the salt flats at Bonneville Speed Week in Utah, US, this month, smashing the previous record of 347kph set in August 1998.

Skoda UK put together a team to challenge the record and came up with the 600hp "salt spec" racer, built to mark the 10th anniversary of the vRS performance badge.

The Octavia's outing consisted of two official runs of Bonneville's famous five-mile(8km) course, the first at 362kph and a return run at 367kph.

Robert Hazelwood, director of Skoda UK, said: "This is a truly stunning achievement.Our goal was to break 200mph [321kph] as a celebration of 10 years of vRS, and we have achieved that, and significantly more. The success is a tribute to everyone who has worked so tirelessly and with such passion for Skoda."

Bugatti lays plans for Dh9m follow-up to its plush Veyron

Bugatti chiefs are to decide within weeks whether to produce the Bugatti Galibier, the Dh9 million concept car, to supercede the now legendary Veyron.

Revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show two years ago, the powerful four-door saloon concept is expected to succeed the Veyron, with the car hitting showrooms by as early as autumn 2013.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bugatti's chief executive, said engineers have been "deeply involved" for months in getting the vehicle fit for production at its plant in Molsheim, France.

Dürheimer also implied that the Galibier will have a sub-three second 0-100kph time and a top speed of more than 385kph.

Bugatti is thought to be planning production of between 500 and 1500 cars, in several models, over a period of five or six years.

Dürheimer would not be drawn on a price, only saying "it's the last thing we'll decide," but customers should expect to pay in the region of Dh9m.