People’s Car Celebration marks return of VW in the Philippines

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55 years have passed since German automaker Volkswagen first arrived in the Philippines, and more than 20 years since one was sold by any local dealer. But now, they’re finally back. And to mark the occasion, they’ve organized an elaborate two-day public display aptly named the “People’s Car Celebration” last September.

These guys really wanted to make a bold statement on their very first public outing, while embodying the event’s title. So, they rented out pretty much all of the available commercial spaces in Greenbelt Park, Makati so everyone, and I do mean everyone, could enjoy their 2-day show. Best part is, they raffled off a brand new 21st century Beetle, which unfortunately, I didn’t win.

People's Car Celebration

The weekend’s main attraction was the Racing Pavilion and Innovation Zone in Greenbelt 5. All eyes were on the Scirocco R in its iconic Rising Blue Metallic paint, which served as VW’s centerpiece. Oh, we could just imagine thrashing it around up and down winding roads and making its 261 hp 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine sing. But no. As we were told, they have no plans of selling Scirocco R here, yet. Gee, thanks for getting our hopes up VW.

Beside the two-door sports coupe was a red Mk 7 Golf, but that won’t be available locally either. Then there was the the glorious 21st century Beetle Cabriolet basking under the sun that reportedly, Ayala Corporation President Fernando Zobel de Ayala wanted for keeps. Now, how can you say no to that?

People's Car Celebration

Meanwhile, the Ayala Museum was filled with all sorts of VW memorabilia for their ‘Brand Heritage’ exhibit. They were able to put together a collection of vintage posters, books, and pieces from an old parts bin that’s worthy to be classified as art. There were also several cars on show: Touran, Tiguan, and Touareg – all of which are now on sale in the Philippines.

On the other side of the block, passers-by along Makati Avenue got a glimpse of the Passat and a lovely candy white 21st century Beetle. Believe me, this bug was begging for a set of red, white, and blue racing stripes with the trademark #53. If you want to revive the 1968 classic, the hard top version of the 21st century Beetle won’t be available in local VW dealerships until early 2014. So I’m sorry to say, Christmas isn’t coming early this year.

People's Car Celebration

The final stop in the tour was the Volkswagen Plaza in Greenbelt 3. Kids loved the play area where they rode little toy VW Beetles round and round, while mom and dad enjoyed the lights and sounds of the mini-concerts that went on all day. But what really caught my eye was the simple yet stylish Jetta that stood silently outside Starbucks. It wasn’t as flashy as a Beetle Cabriolet and definitely nothing close to a Scirocco R in terms of performance, but I have a gut feeling that we will all see a lot of these four door compacts on our roads real soon.

The Volkswagen brand was handled by different local companies in the past and all have failed. So what makes Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), VW’s new Philippine distributor, think they can do better? Well, the fact that it’s owned by Ayala Automotive Holdings, Corp (AAHC), who by the way are the same group behind Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) and Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC), already speaks a lot. But on top of that, I trust that the new VW Philippines is here to stay for the long haul, because the good people working there have the heart, passion, and most importantly the talent to make this brand simply awesome.

For more details about Volkswagen Philippines and their vehicle line-up, you can all visit AutoDeal.com.ph.

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Special edition CR-Z ‘α Master Label’ comes with 2-tone paint

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While the locally-sold CR-Zs come in 6 lovely colors, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in Japan now has them in 10. The small hybrid sports coupe is being offered there in two-tone paint for a special edition called ‘CR-Z α Master Label’.

The CR-Z α Master Label is the top-of-the-line trim in their CR-Z line-up and comes with extra goodies such as LED daytime running lights, rear view camera, and satellite navigation. But what really sets it apart is its two-tone paint where the roof, pillar, side mirrors, and trunk are all painted in Crystal Black Pearl. As for the body colors, choices include Premium White Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Premium Yellow Pearl II, and Milan Red.

Aside from body paint, interior furnishings get an update as well. The CR-Z α Master Label features suede front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and all-black door linings.

Performance wise, the sports hybrid still runs on the same 1.5L 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA), as well as the 6-speed MT or CVT.

Listed at ¥2,630,000 (est. P1.151 million), the CR-Z α Master Label costs ¥55,000 more than the standard model. Sadly, it’s available for the Japanese market only. On the upside, I’m sure you can get the same effect simply by having your CR-Z’s roof sprayed or wrapped.

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’73 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR now in 1/10 scale RC from Tamiya

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It’s an understatement to say that the 911 Carrera RSR was a success in the 1973 racing season. The Group 4 works prototype with its iconic silver and Martini stripe livery dominated the European GT Championship, plus winning 3 international and 7 German races in its first season.

The 911 Carrera RSR was definitely on a class of its own, beating machines from other top teams of that era such as Ferrari, Matra, and Mirage-Ford. Other victories on its list are the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, and the famed Targa Florio in Sicily.

Tamiya 911 RSRThe no. 8 car, however, is neatly stored away at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany. So the chances of anyone see it in action anytime soon, let alone get the chance to drive one, are pretty slim. Luckily, Tamiya has a good alternative solution so we could revive a piece of racing history.

The Japanese plastic model company has faithfully reproduced this racing legend in 1/10 scale Radio-controlled Car (RC) form. Item No. 58571 is a model assembly kit with the ’73 911 Carrera RSR body shell accurately moulded from polycarbonate, complete with its iconic wide front and rear fenders, and ducktail spoiler. Meanwhile, a decal sheet is included to recreate the distinctive Martini stripes, numbers, sponsor logos, and more. Of course, the kit wouldn’t be complete without the classical Porsche 5-spoke design rims.

Tamiya 911 RSRThis 1/10 scale Porsche 911 Carrera RSR sits on top of Tamiya’s new entry-level TT-02 touring car chassis. A shaft-driven 4WD and basic 540 size electric motor replaces the 911’s original rear drive and 330hp 3.0 liter 6-cylinder air-cooled boxer engine. That should be more than enough to keep anyone playing in their living room or driveway happy, but there are always hop-up options available from Tamiya in case you want more speed.

To complete the 1/10 scale RC kit, you’ll need a (1) 2-channel radio; (2) 7.2v battery and charger; (3) polycarbonate paint; (4) tools; and (5) basic building skills.

If you’re not a fan of Porsche, Tamiya also produces other legendary models in their catalogue such as the 1981 Ford Zakspeed Turbo Capri Group 5 race car and the latest Ferrari LaFerrari super car.

Want one? Philippine residents can visit Tamiya’s official distributor Lil’s Hobby Center or dealers Hobbes & Landes and Blade Auto Center.

[Photos courtesy of Tamiya, Inc.]

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Tamiya 911 RSR Tamiya 911 RSR

Lamborghini Museum virtual tours now available thru Google Maps

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If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese, but can’t afford the trip to Italy or the €13 entrance fee, here’s your chance.

No, the Italian supercar manufacturer isn’t giving out free vacation tickets. (You wish!) Instead, they’ve teamed up with Google Maps so you can visit the museum online. With Google Street View, anyone with a computer or device and a decent web connection can now take a virtual indoor tour of Automobili Lamborghini’s exclusive museum, free of charge.

Navigate through the 1,500 sq. meter 2-storey facility and experience 50 years of Lamborghini heritage, anywhere, anytime. The exotic collection includes classic and modern supercars, prototypes, limited editions, one-off models, and racing cars. Heck, you can even get a 360° view of what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of several exotic bulls on display by clicking on the model itself.

On the ground level, note-worthy pieces include the Miura S, the Countach prototype (chassis no. 001), the odd-looking LM 002 SUV, and the very first production model built by Ferruccio Lamborgini in 1964, the 350 GT.

The upper floor, on the other hand, is dedicated to design concepts, racing cars, and machines from the modern era. Here you’ll find the ’98 Diablo GT2 prototype, 40th Anniversary Miura Concept, Aventador, Sesto Elemento, and Reventón. They also managed to get their hands on a Gallardo from the Italian Polizia Stradale (Italian Highway Police). But my personal favorites were the Lamborghini-powered Formula 1 cars of Lola-Larousse from ’89 and the Minardi M. 191/L from the ’92 season.

The only missing piece from this virtual tour is the Lamborghini Factory Visit. But you’ll have to fly all the way to Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy to do that.

Begin your virtual tour of the Lamborghini Museum below or hit the link (for mobile): http://lam.bo/peeNT

Turtle Wax Philippines adds next generation ICE® Premium to car care lineup

Here’s an easy way to keep your car cleaner, longer. Wilstark Marketing Corp., who happens to be the official distributor of Turtle Wax in the Philippines, wants you to check out their next generation ICE® Premium Car Care.

Introduced in 2006, ICE® is Turtle Wax’s best lineup to date and will give your car a new hard-shell finish. What’s good about it is that, unlike other wax formulas, it can be applied in direct sunlight and leave no powdery residue. This cuts waxing time in half, perfect for those who want to keep their car looking new with limited effort.

But Turtle Wax didn’t simply stop with waxes. Featuring new innovative formulas, the next generation ICE® line has expanded to include a Car Wash, Spray Detailer, and Total Interior Care.

“We are excited to re-introduce this revolutionary product that has taken the international car care market by storm,” said Ara Dacay, Wilstark Marketing Corp. Senior VP. “It is our best wax to date, in terms of shine and protection. We’re constantly pushing the boundaries by constantly making innovative products that make life easier for Filipinos. We’re thinking of smarter ways to shine.”

Turtle Wax ICE® Wax | Turtle Wax ICE® Wax now come in liquid, spray, and paste formulas. It delivers a long-lasting shine that repels dirt to keep your car cleaner, longer with that freshly waxed appearance. Their secret is that it utilizes the latest in wax chemistry with polymer surface modifiers that provides the deepest shine available with unparalleled slickness versus its competitors. Turtle Wax ICE® Wax can be used on all car exterior surfaces, including rubber, vinyl, and trim.

Turtle Wax ICE® Wash | The ultimate in car washing performance, Turtle Wax ICE® Wash has a breakthrough blend of advanced cleaners and conditioners that easily breaks down and removes dirt. It’s safe and gentle to even the most delicate car finishes without stripping wax. It also contains special gloss enhancing agents to help maintain your car’s fresh waxed look.

Turtle Wax ICE® Detailer | Turtle Wax ICE® Detailer not only keeps your car looking super slick, but also boost its shine to a mirror-like gloss. The spray-on formula gently cleans while depositing water-beading polymers, making it perfect for quick touch-ups and keep your showroom shine. Turtle Wax ICE® Detailer is also formulated to work with Turtle Wax® Liquid Wax to revitalize its durability and protect your paint from the harshness of the road.

Turtle Wax® ICE® Total Interior Care | As for car interiors, Turtle Wax® ICE® Total Interior Care is an all-in-one product that cleans and protects plastic, soft vinyl, and leather interiors from spots and stains. It also applies a protective barrier to keep your interior cleaner, longer and from fading, drying, or cracking due to harmful UV rays. Plus, it won’t leave behind an artificial shine or greasy feel and removes unpleasant odors. Instead of using several products such as a carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, and protectant, ICE® Total Interior Care does all that.

Turtle Wax’s next generation ICE® Premium Car Care products are now available in select mall retail and automotive outlets in the Philippines.

For more info, visit www.turtlewaxphilippines.com and Like Turtle Wax Philippines on Facebook.

Manila scheduled host international GT3 street race this June

The first-ever Manila Grand Prix was held more than 40 years ago on July 1970. It raced on a street circuit based on roads surrounding Luneta Park. It was heralded as the golden age of Philippine motorsports, and for the longest time, was thought to be the last time an international street race of its caliber would ever grace the Philippines. But on June 2013, we’re finally back on the global racing scene as the nation’s capital will hosts the very first GT3 Race Manila.

2010 Asia GT3 Champion Dilantha Malagamuwa and Price of Malaysia Khairul Zaim flew to Manila to make the announcement official.

The race is scheduled on June 15/16 where 15 cars are expected to arrive with drivers from Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. While they still have yet to confirm the entry list, they’re pretty sure that the grid will be comprised of GT3 race cars such as Aston Martin DBRS9s, Porsche 911s, Ferrari 458s, McLaren MP4-12Cs, and Lamborghini Gallardos. And to raise the Philippine flag on track, our very own JP and Mike Tuason are now in talks with BMW for a drive.

Practice and Qualifying will be run on Saturday followed by 2x 15-lap races on Sunday. This year’s event will be an exhibition race for the organizers before they make Manila a regular stop in the GT3 Race Asia calendar starting in 2014.

“There is a lot to like about the city of Manila. We also believe that there is a huge following of car racing in the Philippines. Manila would be an ideal location when we add a new leg to GT Race Asia,” said Prince Khairul Zaim.

The 2.7 km street circuit will go around Luneta Park with the grid situated right in front of the Quirino Grandstand. It’ll then turn right to Katigbak Drive, go past Manila Hotel through Padre Burgos St., make another right at Maria Orosa St., T.M. Kalaw, and Roxas Blvd. From there, it’s a short sprint to the Rizal Monument before going back to Roxas Blvd., right to South Drive, Parkade Ave. and then to the finish line.

Technical Consultant Rolly Relanes explains that barriers will have to be installed for safety. Spectators, on the other hand, will stand no less than 5 meters away from the track. He also assures that only a small portion of the circuit needs to be resurfaced.

The organizers of the GT3 Race Manila will have full support from the Philippine government. It will also largely benefit the City of Manila as the race is scheduled right after Independence day and only a week before of Araw ng Maynila.

UPDATE (01-May-2013): We’ve just received an announcement from the organizers of the GT3 Race Manila that the event has been postponed to 2014. Read the official press release from GT Race Global Inc. (GTRGI) below.

“The event’s proponents, headed by Marcus Francis, representing His Royal Highness Naquiyuddin Ibni Tuanku Ja’afar, Prince of Malaysia, recently announced that GT RACE MANILA 2013, originally slated for 15 and 16 June 2013, will be postponed to 2014.

“It was agreed by both the Race’s proponents and its local event organizer, GT Race Global Inc. (GTRGI), that staging the event in 2014 would best for all parties.

“GTRGI said that the event’s postponement will be utilized to further improve preparations for what could possibly be a landmark sporting event in the country. It also reiterated its earnest desire to still partner with the City of Manila as the venue for the 2014 race.”