Smithsonian Channel examines how supercars are built

Smithsonian Channel examines how supercars are built

Second season of television series starts January 21

The Smithsonian Channel launches the second season of its Supercar Superbuild series on January 21 with a program on the Mercedes AMG GT.

The second season will include eight hour-long episodes that “delve deep into the creation and design of some of the world’s greatest automobile makers,” the channel said.

The series “probes what makes each machine’s mechanical prowess stand out, and it checks under the hood to learn what contributes to the high performance and artistry of these engineering marvels.”

Body shell awaits components that will turn it into a supercar

Among those marvels: More than 97 yards of aluminum welds are used in the frame of the Audi R8.

“The series immerses viewers behind the scenes with the fastest, most awe-inspiring luxury vehicles and sports cars, pulling back the curtain to capture a world fraught with high-stakes pressure, impossible deadlines, clandestine meetings, design challenges and dramatic styling,” the Smithsonian Channel news release proclaimed.

“It’s all part of the process in realizing bold new dreams and remarkable engineering – the epitome of high industrial art and high-performance edge.

“Supercar Superbuild visits the factories of these fabled brands, where dedicated teams of artisans, craftspeople, chief designers and engineers share compelling stories of passion and personal involvement, putting their hearts and souls in the machines.”

Here is the complete lineup, with text from the news release. Each episode is scheduled for cablecast at 9 p.m. Eastern and 9 p.m. Pacific time:

A Mercedes AMG GT ready to roar down the Autobhan141418

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: MERCEDES AMG GT
The reputable AMG brand is known for building Autobahn burners, hot-rodding Mercedes Benz machines and handcrafting incredible engines. Now Mercedes’ fastest division is stepping out on its own and building its second-ever machine from the ground up. Its goal is lofty – to unseat the definitive sportscar built by its crosstown rival, the Porsche 911. A Mercedes AMG GT does this in aces, complete with an impressive top speed of 192 mph. The series visits the Sindelfingen factory in Germany, the largest Mercedes-Benz facility in the world, which, at more than 110 acres, is roughly the size of Vatican City.

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: ALFA ROMEO 4C
As one of the oldest automotive brands in Italy, Alfa Romeo had difficulty winning in the past when it came to the bottom-line. After years of struggling to stay solvent, Alfa Romeo is once again betting it all and staging an all-or-nothing comeback on perhaps the most affordable mid-engine carbon fiber tubbed supercar ever made. The Alfa Romeo 4C has some towering traits: It’s valued at $56,000, charges from zero to 60 miles in just four seconds, and has a top speed of 160 miles per hour with a wet weight of only 2,645 pounds.

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: ROLLS ROYCE
Rolls Royce has succeeded for decades by selling lavish chauffeured limousines, but now the British company faces a changing of the guard. Its core demos are rising, and affluent buyers now clamor to pilot their own machines. The brand’s answer is to reach into its illustrious past for a touch of sport: Rolls Royce Wraith, whose value starts at $273,000, is its bold wager on the next generation of the ultra-wealthy. The Wraith is so exquisite that it takes 1,500 workers over 450 hours to handcraft a single machine.

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: JAGUAR
Forged from the ashes of World War II, Jaguar once built the fastest and most desirable machine of its day, the E-type. With that era long gone, the company has returned with its first two-seat sportscar in nearly 50 years. To recapture this iconic speed status, the Jaguar F-Type SVR can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds, and it has a top speed of 186 miles per hour. We hear from a veteran craftsperson who has been with the company since 1972, and a father-and-son duo who work together in the factory.

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: CHEVY CAMARO
For more than 50 years, the Chevrolet Camaro has been an American icon — an important fixture in U.S. manufacturing and symbol of the U.S. itself. This episode heads to Motor City to visit the world-renowned Chevrolet factory and explore how and why the renowned brand reinvented its classic Camaro model as it struggled through bankruptcy: from its muscle car origins to an all-new sixth generation machine that’s now a true full-blown sportscar.

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: PORSCHE 911
For more than 50 years, the iconic Porsche 911 has been an icon of the sportscar world, but now faces fierce competition on the racetrack and the showroom floor. In order to adapt in the face of worldwide fuel economy concerns that affect high-performance machines, the venerable brand’s answer is to break from tradition and alter its famous flat six-cylinder engine. The new, turbo-charged flat six-cylinder engine helps the 911 create 260 horsepower and a top speed of 152 mph.

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: AUDI R8
The Audi R8 has been one of the most successful racing automotive stories over the last two decades, winning numerous Le Mans competitions and several top world endurance championships. But the pressure is on to stay ahead of the game, and Audi’s new R8 sets the pace with its modern, sleek style and high-tech advancements, which are reshaping the automotive industry. Now the brand has a second generation R8 waiting in the wings – but will this new machine live up to the legacy, or has Audi already reached its zenith?

SUPERCAR SUPERBUILD: MINI
In 1961, Formula One team owner John Cooper decided to try souping up a more attainable machine, the inexpensive Mini. The result is perhaps the world’s first true blue-collar sportscar – the Mini Cooper, whose design is unapologetically British. Over 50 years later, after a German economic resurrection, the brand is building one of the most affordable ways to have fun on four wheels.

Supercar Superbuild is produced by Cry Havoc Productions.

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  • Grace Smith
    March 25, 2018, 2:45 PM

    I want to purchase the video about the history of the Jaguar

    Grace

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