High-Tech Problem Solvers

Lamborghini to become first automobile manufacturer to study carbon fiber in space

Lamborghini has partnered with Houston Methodist Research Institute to study the effects of space on carbon fiber.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

A partnership between Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute will send carbon fiber composite materials into space for experimentation then return them to Earth for study.

No earlier than November 2, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying the material will be launched from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Its destination is the International Space Station.

Lamborghini International Space Station technology research HoustonLamborghini hopes to use the results of the study to impact product development here on Earth.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The launch is part of a testing campaign sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and overseen by the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Its aim is to analyze the response of five different composite materials produced by Lamborghini to the extreme stresses induced by the space environment. The results could have numerous real world impacts, including applications in future automobiles, prosthetic implants, and subcutaneous devices.

The five samples of composite materials include a 3D-printed continuous-fiber composite, which Lamborghini says makes it possible to combine the extreme flexibility of "additive manufacturing" with high-level mechanical performance, a strength equal to that of a good quality aluminum for structural uses. This particular material is very important in the biomedical field.

The materials will be aboard the ISS for six months, during which time they will be subjected to extreme thermal excursion cycles ranging from -40 degrees to 200 degrees centigrade. They will also experience high levels of ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and the flow of atomic oxygen caused by ionization.

Lamborghini International Space Station technology research HoustonAfter the mission is complete, the samples will be brought back to Earth for additional study.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Post-mission, the materials will be returned to Earth and undergo joint testing by Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute in an effort to qualify degradation in terms of chemical, physical, and mechanical properties.

Lamborghini currently uses composite materials throughout its lineup, with carbon fiber playing an instrumental role in the company's entire product range. The company is providing its expertise and materials free of charge for the study.

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This 2020 Ford GT drew over $1 million at the auction.

Mecum

The world may be going through some tough times right now, but you'd never know it looking at auto auction results. One of the largest, Mecum, just reported sales from the auctions it held in Arizona last week, and the results are astonishing. Mecum says it took in $66.3 million in sales, which is a big increase over the previous year's auctions. Attendance was also up, and the event was packed with high-dollar, desirable vehicles.

Mecum Arizona AuctionHow about a 1967 Ferrari for a little over $3 million?Mecum

Mecum says that private collection sales generated $20 million of the $66.3 million, as some brought dozens of vehicles to participate in the auction. The Hooked on Vettes Collection, for example, brought 13 cars and sold every one of them. It even sold a load of neon signs for well over a million dollars.

The top ten vehicles sold at auction drew big dollars. A few include:

  • 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4: $3,025,000
  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe: $2,365,000
  • 2005 Porsche Carrera GT: $2,200,000
  • 2020 Ford GT: $1,100,000
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster: $698,500

Mecum Arizona AuctionThere was even a Duesenberg, which sold for almost $2.4 million.Mecum

If you've got money to burn and you're sad to have missed out on the Arizona auction, your next shot will be at the end of this month when Mecum hits Houston with 1,100 vehicles. The flagship Mecum auction in Indianapolis takes place in mid-May, and will feature 3,000 cars.

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The 2023 Sequoia is all-new and a huge improvement over its predecessor.

Toyota

The Toyota Tundra and Sequoia were two of the oldest vehicles on the market, but that's all different now. The new Tundra is already on the streets, and today Toyota released a load of specs and details on the all-new 2023 Sequoia. The full-size SUV gets a major update for the new model year with completely fresh styling, impressive new tech, and a powerful standard engine. We don't have pricing details yet, but Toyota says the 2023 Sequoia will be available starting in summer 2022.

2023 Toyota SequoiaIn addition to new styling, the SUV gets a twin-turbo hybrid V6 powertrain and a load of updated tech.Toyota

Five trims of the Texas-built SUV will be offered: SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro, and Capstone. All 2023 Sequoia models get the impressive twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-Force Max engine from the all-new Tundra. It makes 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, and sends it to the rear or all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain delivers a max towing rating of up to 9,000 pounds, which is a solid number and a massive increase over the previous Sequoia.

Toyota offers automatic-leveling air suspension and adaptive suspension settings with modes for Comfort, Sport S+, and Custom. The Sport drive modes also improve throttle response and changes transmission shift points. The electric motor handles most propulsion duties below 18 mph, but after that the gas engine steps in. The motor is constantly involved when the truck is in Tow/Haul mode.

2023 Toyota SequoiaTRD Pro models get under-body cladding and beefier tires.Toyota

Similar to the high-end treatment given to the Tundra, Toyota will offer a Capstone trim for the new Sequoia that brings unique upholstery and trim materials, 22-inch chrome wheels, power side steps, American Walnut inlays, and more. That said, even the standard Sequoia SR5 offers plenty of standard gear. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, along with heated seats and more. An available Premium Package adds an enormous 14-inch infotainment display, power third-row seats, a hands-free liftgate, and additional power outlets.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 will also be standard for the SUV. The system includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and rear seat reminders. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts is also standard.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe new Capstone trim is a super-plush trim with an interior rivaling those in many luxury brands.

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