Autos as art, and objects of speed

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You may recently have read about the banana duct-taped to a wall, presented as a piece of art at Art Basel Miami Beach, and offered for sale. Two sold, and for $120,000 each, and so the price for a third was boosted to $150,000, and people reported were waiting in line, checkbooks or credit cards in hand.

But there was another installation that was part of Miami Art Week 2019 that involved automobiles, and this artwork wasn’t for sale. In fact, by the time you read it, it likely has been eroded and perhaps washed out into the Atlantic Ocean with the tides.

Set on South Beach at Lincoln Road were (or perhaps still art) 66 life-size sand sculptures of cars and trucks, created by Argentine artist Leandro Erlich.

“By recasting the 21st century traffic jam in sand, Erlich alludes to time in both a representational and material sense,” according to a miamiandbeaches.com “The sand replicas of vehicles frozen in time symbolize a harsh and rigid modernity that is at odds with natural and porous material of which they are made.”

The installation is titled, “Order of Importance.”

Reports artnet.com: “Most of the vehicles are partially buried in the sand, which is intended to give the effect that they are submerged – a reference to rising sea levels caused by global warming.”

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The art website quotes the artist: “Climate change and its consequences are no longer a matter of perspective or opinion. The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions. 

“As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality,” he added. “In particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet.” 

Honda previews Rose Parade float

Honda float will lead the Rose Parade in Pasadena on January 1, 2020 | American Honda illustration

Speaking of autos and art, American Honda not only is supplying the “official pace and sound vehicles” for the 131st Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, California, the parade will feature a Honda float titled, “Our Hope for the Future,” and celebrating “the optimism created by the spirit, dreams, and vitality of children.”

The 55-foot float showcases 6 children pursuing their dreams and will include 30,000 flowers.

For those at home, Honda will offer a 3D augmented reality experience through Snapchat’s Marker Tech 

EV speed records

Rolls-Royce seeks electric-powered aircraft speed record | Rolls-Royce photo

Electric vehicles are accelerating in public acceptance and in their potential to achieve considerable speed. 

Maryland-based Genovation Cars, which converts Chevrolet Corvettes to electric power, claims an EV top-speed record of 211.8 mph for its GXE, the record verified by the International Mile Racing Association. 

Genovation adds that it is preparing 75 such vehicles for sale beginning in 2020, and buyers can opt for a 7-speed manual or paddle-shifted automatic transmission.

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Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has unveiled its Accel project, which it expects to set a record for the world’s fastest electric-powered airplane. The aircraft is a single-seater that Rolls says should exceed 300 mph when it flies in early 2020.

Not only fast, but the company says the aircraft should have a range of 200 miles on a single charge.

EVs aren’t the only fast vehicles

newatlas.com reports that 8 production-car records of various sorts were set during 2019:

Fastest — Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ at 304.773 mph.

Fastest EV — The aforementioned Genovation GXE at 211.2 mph.

Fastest acceleration — Aspark Owel, 0-60 mph in 1.69 seconds (and on street-legal tires).

Fastest 0 to 400 km/h to 0 — Koenigsegg Regera performed that feat in 31.49 seconds (by the way, 400 km/h is 249 mph).

Most powerful — Lotus Evija, an electric “hypercar” with 2,000 horsepower and 1,700 pound-feet of torque.

Most powerful combustion car engine — Hennessey Performance’s Venom F5 Fury Engine, a street-legal, 6.6-liter, twin-turbo V8 that pumps out 1,817 horsepower.

Highest-revving engine — Cosworth-produced, 650 horsepower, 4.0-liter V12 for Gordon Murray’s T.50 supercar will spin at 12,100 rpm.

Most expensive new car — Bugatti La Voiture Noire at $18.9 milli0n.

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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