Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Top Five Cars of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Check out my latest article for Yahoo.

Top Five Cars of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Pagani Huayra Revealed

Pagani's Zonda replacement had been code named C9 until a few weeks ago when the name Huayra surfaced.  At that time there were still just photos of disguised test mules running around but now the official images and specs of this amazing car have been revealed.

Sporting a set of gullwing doors, the Huayra looks to be about the same dimensions as the Zonda it replaces but with much different bodywork sporting aerodynamic and cooling doodads everywhere.  Power will come from a twin-turbocharged 6.0L Mercedes AMG V12 producing over 700 horsepower and 740 pound feet of torque.  That should be enough to propel the under 3,000 pound Huayra to a projected top speed of close to 230MPH.  All that power will get to the rear wheels via a new seven speed dual clutch gearbox.

Inside, the level of craftsmanship and luxury Pagani has been noted for continues with lots of leather, aluminum and carbon fiber.  A new instrument cluster with blue gauges and a multi function display that controls audio, nav, and communications sit ready for the pilot of this land missile.

No word on pricing but expect it to be way up there.

More pictures can be found at the Pagani website -

Here is a video from EVO Magazine.

Monday, January 24, 2011

High Tech Car Theft

I just read an article on Yahoo Autos outlining how a couple of ingenious car thieves with the right amount of equipment can make off with your expensive push to start car.  Basically, the thieves just need some equipment and two antennas.

Here is how it works.  One person follows the car owner to pickup the signal from their in-pocket key fob and he then transmits the signal to the second thief who is outside standing next to the car.  He then broadcasts the signal to the car making it think that the owner with the key fob is standing there thus unlocking the cars and allowing them to drive away in the car.

Pretty scary.

You can read the article here -

Keyless entry systems vulnerable to high-tech car thieves

Friday, January 21, 2011

The New Ferrari FF

Ferrari has taken the wraps off their new four seat flagship, the FF, and it's quite interesting.  It's Ferrari's first attempt at an four wheel drive model and the first fastback, or shooting brake, design since the iconic 250 Breadvan.

This replacement for the 612 Scaglietti features a 6.3L V12 with 651HP/504TQ and can accelerate from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds despite its 3,946lb weight.  That acceleration is no doubt aided by the new Ferrari part time four wheel drive system called 4M.  According to Ferrari, the FF should hit a top speed of 208MPH.

Thanks to the shooting brake body style, there should be ample room for four people with good headroom in the rear.  Folding down the rear seats turns it into a decent hauler with about as much cargo space as a small sized wagon.

Here is a youtube video of the car during testing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dream Car Spotlight – Porsche 964 Turbo

After I posted my list of some of the cars I’d buy if I won the lottery I got to thinking that I should have never stopped my “Dream Car of the Month” series.  At the time, I was running out of ideas on what cars to highlight.  I was trying too hard to find unique cars that people may have never heard of or at least didn’t know much about.  So, I’m going to try to bring it back, sort of.  It will be called “Dream Car Spotlight” and it probably won’t be monthly but I’ll try to post regularly if I can find cars that make the cut.

So, without further delay, the first car in the new series and one from my list of lottery cars, the Porsche 964 Turbo.

The Porsche 964 was the first real significant redesign of the venerable 911 model with over 85% of the car being new.  It appeared in 1989 and production lasted until 1994.  The 964 was available in various different configurations like the Carrera 2, Carrera 4, Targa, and Cabriolet.  The turbo, however, is the model I’m most interested in.

The 964 Turbo was introduced in 1990 as a replacement for the original 911 turbo, the 930.  Porsche had planned to use a turbocharged version of the new 3.6L M64 engine used in the base 964 but development delays resulted in them re-using the 3.3L 930 motor.  Several minor updates to the 3.3L made it less prone to turbo lag and produced a bump in power to 320HP.

In 1992, Porsche introduced the 3.3 Turbo S which boasted 350HP and was a stripped down lightweight performance machine.  The result was one of the fastest cars in the world in 1992, the only year it was produced.  Only about 80 3.3 Turbo S models were built that year.

The biggest changes to the 946 Turbo occurred in 1993 when the new 3.6L turbo motor was finally ready for production.  Producing 360HP from the turbocharged M64, the 3.6L turbo was again one of the fastest cars in the world during its very short production run.  Sadly, the 3.6L 964 Turbo was only produced for the 1993-1994 model year and less than 1,500 examples were built, making it very, very rare and highly sought after.

Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 S Slantnose
As a final farewell, Porsche took the 964 Turbo chassis that were leftover after production had ended in 1994, about 90 cars in all, and came up with the 3.6S.  This special edition 3.6 Turbo S produced 380HP and could be ordered in the standard 964 Turbo body or with a special factory slantnose.  Prices for the Turbo S slantnose were over $150,000 in 1994.

The Porsche 964 Turbo was a very special car.  Not only was it one of the fastest cars on the planet during the years it was in production but it also marked the end of the “old school” 911 Turbos.  It was the last 911 Turbo model to sport a single turbo and it was the last available with rear wheel drive only.  Early 964 Turbos with the 3.3L are selling anywhere from the high $20,000 range to upwards of $40,000 and above.  The very rare 3.6L 964 Turbos are appreciating at a much faster rate.  Prices for a nice 3.6 Turbo start above $40,000 and only go up from there.  I’d gladly give up some redundant body parts for one.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Peter Yates Dead At 82

Director Peter Yates passed away today at the age of 82.  Yates was the director of the Steve McQueen movie, Bullitt, and was responsible for the greatest movie car chase ever filmed.

In tribute, here is that amazing scene from Bullitt.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

BBS Bankrupt

I just read that for the second time in 4 years, German wheel manufacturer BBS has filed for bankruptcy.  This is not good news.  They make some of the sweetest, and seriously expensive, wheels around.  I hope they are saved by a generous benefactor again as they were in 2007.

What Would You Buy If You Won The Lottery?

With all the talk of the recent huge Mega Millions Lottery drawing ($355 Million), I’ve been fantasizing about what cars I’d actually buy if I won such a huge amount of money.  I figured I’d try to come up with a list.

Now, I’m a pretty stingy (aka cheap) person normally and I don’t really think that would change much particularly when it comes to cars.  Sure, I’d buy a nice house, or two, and take awesome vacations and maybe buy a boat, but when it comes to cars, I’d probably avoid buying new for a number of reasons.  First, many of the cars I really want aren’t in production anymore so I’d have no choice.  Second, I just can’t see spending $250,000 - $300,000 for a new Ferrari 458 or Lamborghini Gallardo even if I have all that money in the bank.  I could settle for a nice Ferrari 360 or 430 and save a ton of money.  Heck, I call build a pretty nice collection of several cars for $300,000 total.  Third, let someone else take the depreciation hit.  Finally, I want to drive the cars, not be afraid to move them out of the garage because a bird may take a crap on them and ruin my investment.

With that said, here is my list of some of the cars that I would look to buy if I won a huge amount of money.

1)      Ferrari 355 GTS – My favorite V8 Ferrari of all time.  Last Ferrari I really loved.
2)      Porsche 964 Turbo – Preferably the 1994 3.6 Turbo.  Last single turbo 911T, last rwd only 911T and very few made.
3)      Porsche 993 Turbo – The best generation 911 ever.  Last of the air cooled wonders.
4)      Lamborghini Gallardo – Early Gallardos, 2004 – 2005, can be had for under $100K
5)      Acura NSX – Truly amazing car.  Always had a soft spot for them with or without the pop up headlights.
6)      Ferrari 550/575 – Sweet V12 Ferrari goodness.  550s can be had for under $80K.
7)      Ferrari 512 TR – More sweet V12 Ferrari goodness.  Evolution of the Testarossa with better styling and more power.  Channel my inner Sonny Crockett.
8)      BMW E46 M3 – Last great M3.  Last one I have any interest in.  Good for a daily driver.
9)      Porsche 996 C4S – Porsche purists show no love for the 996 but that just makes them more affordable.  Another daily driver possibility.
10)  Lotus Elise/Exige – Need a track car.
11)  Mazda Miata V8 – Love the Miata.  Would find a nice one and send it to Flyin Miata for a V8 conversion.  Brand new GM LS3, T56, and Getrag rear.  Turnkey and ready to roll for about $40K.  Modern Shelby Cobra.
12)  Factory 5 Cobra – Speaking of Cobras, I really like these kits.

I’m sure I can think of more but that’s a good start.  Best of all, with some smart shopping, that list above can be had for well under $1million.  Would you rather have all that sweet variety above, or one Veyron?  You know my answer.

What would your list look like?  Feel free to let me know.