Saturday, February 12, 2011

Making Exotic Cars: Behind-the-Scenes Photos

"QUANTUM SHOT" #676
Link - by Avi Abrams



See How Dodge Viper, Maserati, Bentley, and Other Supercars are Made
- on National Geographic Channel's "Ultimate Factories" this month

We've seen how Morgan cars are made (by hand, out of wood!), and now it's time to showcase new episodes of the Ultimate Factories, covering the making of Maserati, Mercedez-Benz, Dodge Viper, Bentley and other exotic luxury cars.

Exclusively for readers of Dark Roasted Blend we present some great behind-the-scenes photos of manufacturing these cars - courtesy of the National Geographic Channel (the episodes are aired each week in February).

1. Ultimate Factories: Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger, the American classic muscle car reborn 40 years after its inception, is built in just 20 hours - in the 3 million square foot Canadian assembly plant that pumps out 900 Challengers a day across 20 miles of conveyer belts - and in the Mexican factory that builds the Challengers’ famed Hemi engine:





Watch video “The Paint Shop”: as the factory carefully applies special layers of high-gloss paint to each Challenger body.


2. Ultimate Factories: Maserati - Thursday, February 10 at 10PM ET/PT

It takes 22 days for a Maserati to be assembled and considered road ready — and the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible, a $135,000 convertible that tops out at more than 170 mph, is the new pinnacle of performance and comfort. Parts are assembled in Torino, Italy, while Maserati engines, made by Ferrari, are delivered to Modena, Italy. Another nine days are spent inspecting and testing each finished car. Then each car must pass a grueling series of road tests on both local streets and highways as well as on Maserati’s own cobblestone test track before it is ready to be shipped across the world:







Watch video “Building a Maserati Fuel Line”.


3. Ultimate Factories: Dodge Viper - Thursday, February 17 at 10PM ET/PT

Detroit’s only hand-built production car, the Dodge Viper, is born, bred and built in Detroit, Michigan. This ultimate factory is comprised of craftspeople who spend two and a half days building each Viper, which is packed with 600 horsepower that can take it from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds. Without any robots on this assembly line, every Viper is truly hand-crafted. Priced at half of the cost of Ferraris and Lamborghinis, only 26,000 Vipers have hit the road in 18 years:






Watch videos “Building a Viper Engine” and “Chassis Assembly”.


4. Ultimate Factories: Mercedes-Benz - Thursday, February 24 at 10PM ET/PT

What does it take to build the 571-horsepower Mercedes SLS? Computers control everything in a Mercedes with more than a mile of wiring in each car, but to create the fastest Mercedes to date — topping out at 197 mph — it takes some of the best engineers in the world to mold a light yet strong supercar in 15 hours:






5. Ultimate Factories: Bentley - Thursday, March 3 at 10PM ET/PT

It takes more than 550 hours and nine weeks for artisans and technicians to create the Mulsanne, a new design of the luxury car fit for royalty and rock stars. Precision robots ensure that this two-and-a-half-ton luxury car’s body is flawlessly molded, but the finest leather is hand-sewn for Bentley’s lavish upholstery. And the Bentley Woodshop tackles a centuries-old craft, wood veneering. It takes an hour to craft one wood panel, and the Mulsanne has more than 300!






Among previous episodes of The Ultimate Factories:

Lamborghini

Lamborghini's factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy (20 miles/30 kilometers north of Bologna) is building its fastest car ever the Murcielago SV, of which just 350 will be made. The $450,000 Murcielago SV launches from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 212 miles per hour. The factory builds the car almost entirely by hand including its engine and body. The car is also painted and assembled by hand, including installation of the famous Lamborghini scissor doors. Every car is custom-built to order, and only 2.7 cars are completed per day:



Watch video “The Scissor Doors” and "Powering the Murcielago"

Rolls-Royce

The Phantom is the first Rolls-Royce motorcar to be introduced since the company was acquired by BMW in 1998. Manufacture of the Phantom begins in Unterhallerau, Germany, where its strong, stiff and lightweight space frame chassis is built. Each space frame and body shell assembly is then sent to BMWs factory in Dingolfing, Germany for corrosion-resistance treatment and primer paint. Next, each Phantom is shipped to a manufacturing facility constructed by BMW specifically to build the new generation of Rolls-Royce motorcars.



It takes an average of 450 hours and the skills of hundreds of dedicated craftspeople, artisans, designers, engineers, mechanics, painters, sewing machinists and others to hand-build each car. At a base price of $380,000, the Phantom comes equipped with an impressive list of standard amenities including 90 square yards (75 sq meters) of A-grade Bavarian leather upholstery and book matched interior wood trim, hand-crafted from exotic veneers, all of which are fashioned right in the main assembly building of the Goodwood plant.

Camaro:

Camaro is built in the 10-million-square-foot factory in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada - one of the largest auto plants in the world. The car is stamped from cold raw steel and assembled by high-tech precise robots and nearly 5,800 employees, to create the car's specially designed "unibody" construction:



Corvette:



Audi:



BMW:



Porsche:



Ferrari:



(Photo Credits: Cry Havoc Productions, KAOS Entertainment, National Geographic Television, Hoff Productions - courtesy National Geographic Channel)

Making a sophisticated, stylish car is a powerful statement of human engineering and manufacturing prowess, a process that's fascinating to observe, and - if lucky - to follow step-by-step in person. Each car is a beauty to behold and a privilege to own - and each car gets "born" in its own inimitable way.

CONTINUE TO "MORGAN CARS: MADE OUT OF WOOD!" ->

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