Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009 Dream Car of the Month - Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

Alfa Romeo has an interesting reputation.  They are noted for making some of the most beautiful and passionate cars in the world but they also are remembered, more recently in the U.S., for being utterly unreliable.  Yet that passion and design win out over any quality complaints in the heads of most enthusiasts.  It was, however, that reputation of poor quality that lead to dismal sales and a withdrawal from the U.S. market in 1995.  Now with Fiat (Alfa's parent company) as a part owner of Chrysler, we should see a full return to the U.S. market sometime in the near future.  In reality though, they have already made their return with the spectacular 8C Competizione.

First displayed at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show as a concept car, the 8C was designed as a tribute to the great Alfas of the past.  The response to the car was positive and it went into production in 2007.  Power is delivered from a 4.7L V8 designed by Ferrari and Masreati.  Output is rated at 450HP/354TQ and it is routed through a sequential 6 speed rear mounted transaxle.  With a relatively lightweight (3490lbs) carbon fiber body, the 8C can hit 60 mph in around 4.0 seconds and reach a top speed of over 190 mph.

The total production run of 8C coupes was limited to just 500 cars which was completed by the end of 2008.  Only 84 examples were sold in the United States.

In 2005 Alfa showed a convertible variant of the 8C at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.  Production of the car was given the green light in 2007 and began this year.  Again, the total production will be only 500 cars.  The Spider features the same drivetrain as the coupe and is able to reach a slightly lower top speed of around 180 mph.  The convertible top is electronically operated and uses fabric construction instead of a new trendy folding hardtop.

The Alfa Romeo 8C Coupe and Spider absolutely meet the dream car criteria.  Stunning looks, amazing performance, and extreme rarity all guarantee it will be a collector classic.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

SEMA 2009 - Part 2

Autoblog has some great coverage of this years SEMA show.  Check out their site for even more cool cars.  Here is some more interesting stuff from SEMA 2009 via Autoblog.

Lingenfelter Camaro SS
Sporting a modified LS7, this Camaro puts down 750HP.  A Corvette ZR1 clutch and flywheel have been added along with Brembo brakes and Hotchkiss suspension bits.  Very Nice.

Hennessey HPE700 Camaro
Yet another custom Camaro.  This one has a ZR1 engine producing over 700HP....725 to be exact.  0-60 takes 3.5 seconds and the 1/4 mile disappears in 11.3.  There will be 24 built costing $119,500 each.

Yenko Phase I Camaro
Wow, the new Camaro is certainly popular with the tuners this year.  Here is a blast from the past, Yenko.  Don Yenko was famous for building some of the wildest musclecars of the late 60's early 70's and now we have a new Camaro bearing his name and sporting a supercharged LS3 good for around 600HP.  There will be Phase II and Phase III cars which are expected to have tuned LS7 and LS9 V8s.

Vaughn Gitten Jr.'s RTR-C Mustang
Drifter Vaughn Gitten Jr's Mustang features an all carbon fiber body dropping about 400 - 500 pounds off the Mustang's heft resulting in a curb weight of 3,350lbs.  That plus the addition of a supercharger, larger brakes, and suspension upgrades will make this one beastly Mustang.  He plans to sell 10 of them for about $135,000.

Saleen S281
The 2010 S281 will feature a supercharged 4.6L V8 producing 485HP/460TQ and be priced at around $60,000.

Ringbrothers 1964 Fairlane
Ringbrothers is a well known custom shop responsible for some amazing vehicles.  Their latest is a 64 Ford Fairlane called "Afterburner".  Made with extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum this stunning ride is powered by a 560HP/540TQ Rousch 427 crate motor.  The fabrication work and attention to detail is amazing.

Specter Werkes C6 GTR
This awesome looking Corvette has a Lingenfelter twin turboed LS7 under the fiberglass hood good for over 800HP.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dodge Viper dead in 2010

Dodge has announced that the Viper, which had seemingly been saved from extinction just a few months ago, will end production in 2010.  From now until then there will be just 500 more Vipers built and Dodge has said that the final production run will be "special".  No details on what they mean by special.

The Viper will be replaced in 2012 by an all new sports car which will be developed with the help of Chrysler's new daddy, Fiat.  Remember though that Fiat is also closely tied with Ferrari so maybe something very good will come of this.

SEMA 2009

The 2009 SEMA show is under way in Las Vegas so I've decided to share some of my favorite cars and displays from the various coverage of the event.  Enjoy.

RM 460 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Powered by a Genesis Sedan's 4.6L V8 producing 500HP and mounted where the back seats and hatch used to be, this is a seriously cool one off creation by Rhys Millen.  A sequential gearbox is mated to the V8 and the car also gets all kinds of upgrades to the brakes, body, and suspension.  Sweet.

Mustangs Galore
Lots of Mustangs from various different sources.  My favorite is probably this one from Street Scene Equipment.

This one from H&R is pretty nice as well.

Honda is using SEMA to announce a return to grassroots racing and they broke out some classics including a 1972 SCCA Civic 1200 that won 6 titles in GT5 back in the 80's and early 90's.  Along with that was a very cool 1984 Mugen CRX prototype.  I had an 84 CRX so I love this one.

There was also an abundance of Camaros put on display.  GM rollled out quite a few concepts, many of which were pretty cool including one built for Jay Leno featuring a twin turbo V6 with 425HP and a six speed.

Some of the others.

Trans Am to be exact.  Actually to be completely honest, they are re-designed Camaros put together by a few aftermarket companies.  And they are not bad.

First is the Lingenfelter T/A Concept that looks like an early 70's 455 Trans Am and features an actual 455 cubic inch V8 with 655HP and 610TQ.  It's nice but I'm not feeling the honeycomb wheels.

Next up is the Kevin Morgan Phoenix Trans Am Concept.  This one features the classic Smokey and the Bandit look of the late 70's T/A and backs it up with a supercharged LS V8.

That's it for now.  I'll keep an eye on the continuing coverage and maybe post more if anything catches my attention.

Toyota leaving F1

Toyota has decided to follow in the footsteps of both BMW and Honda and withdraw from Formula 1.  This was apparently expected as the world's largest auto manufacturer attempts to cut costs.  Very unfortunate for fans of the sport.