Bespoke

Paint, jewelry, and handcrafted interiors transform vintage Land Rovers into custom 4x4s

Heritage Customs offers a bespoke take on the vintage Land Rover Defender.

Photo courtesy of Heritage Customs

The Land Rover Defender's body style is iconic. The most desirable boxy, utilitarian Defenders are two generations old, right before the Defender mutated into a model that looked like an old version bred with a London's black cab. It's these models that create the basis for the new Heritage Customs handcrafted luxury take on the Defender, called the Vintage.

Heritage Customs was co-founded by car designer Niels van Roij, who recently described the customization process:

"This likeable Dutch Vintage commission features a rich, soft green metallic paint. It feels right at home next to the Heather flowers in the forest as well as on the pebble stones next to the patron's striking monumental villa. For this Heritage Customs Vintage we selected our bespoke milled aluminium side- and bonnet vents whilst non-automotive tan Nubuck leather was applied to trim the seats, dashboard as well as rear benches."

Heritage Customs Vintage: Exterior

Heritage Customs Vintage: Exterior

Photo courtesy of of Heritage Customs

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Each auto has a teak wooden cargo floor with white rubber inlays, There's a Marshall speaker integrated into the cubby box. A hand-stitched tan canvas hood complements the interior color scheme while a wooden steering wheel replaces the traditional standard plastic unit. The SUV's center stack has been color-coded to the body and has metal switchgear on its fascia.

Distinctive aluminum details and color-coded extra wide steel wheels create a hardier looking luxury SUV in the example shown. A section of Heritage Customs-specific wheels are available.

Heritage Customs Vintage: Interior

Heritage Customs Vintage: Interior rear seats

Photo courtesy of of Heritage Customs

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Customers are also able to select the bumper design of their choosing, whether it's a simple, clean unit or one of the custom made bumpers and side steps that Heritage Customs Vintage offers.

LED lights on all four corners complete the package.

The price of a Heritage Customs Vintage SUV start at €40,000, excluding taxes, depending on the preferred base vehicle and individual customer requirements. All Heritage Customs projects are 100-percent tailor-made and start out with sketches, based on conversations with the future owners.

The design and construction process takes about 1.5 months. Watch the video below to see how the undertaking occurs.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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