FERRARI SA APERTA…HAPPY BIRTHDAY PININFARINA!

Ferrari SA Aperta

Ferrari SA Aperta

I first noticed the SA Aperta this past summer while making my pilgrimage to the Ferrari Museum and Factory during my 2-week trip to Italy. She was sitting on the second floor very near to the 599XX. While I thought she was the most attractive Ferrari in the entire museum I didn’t really know anything about her. I figured it was a prototype that Ferrari never built but felt the need to display. It was even finished in a slightly different red (Rosso Dino) that I’m used to seeing on a Ferrari, which only reaffirmed my suspicion of it being a prototype.

SA Aperta

Ferrari SA Aperta

Months later I’d come to find Ferrari felt the same way about the SA Aperta as I did; the Aperta was too beautiful of a car to not produce. Not only was this going to be a production car, it was to be a very special, very limited production car. Only 80 of the SA Aperta’s were created to commemorate the 80th year Anniversary of famed coachbuilder Pininfarina. As usual, all had been spoken for many months before production had even begun.

SA Aperta

Ferrari SA Aperta

Before knowing anything about the SA Aperta, I didn’t understand why Ferrari named it the way they did. I assumed the SA stood for “Super America” due to the last Super America produced being topless. Nope, the SA nomenclature pays homage to both Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina whose company and work is linked to the most successful road-going cars ever built at Maranello. The word Aperta means “open” so after learning the meaning of everything, Ferrari’s naming of the car made perfect sense.

SA Aperta

Ferrari SA Aperta

The SA Aperta is based on the 599 GTB, minus a roof, and houses a 661bhp V12 power plant. The gearbox and drivetrain is borrowed from the stunning 599 GTO, which happens to be my personal favorite. The 12-into-2-exhaust system is identical to the 599XX, which produces the sweetest Ferrari music, which could only be composed straight from the heavens.

SA Aperta

Ferrari SA Aperta

Ferrari offered this special creation to selected individuals for around $550K and due to the rarity of this particular car, it’s very unlikely we would ever see one sell for less than that. Pininfarina has designed some of the most incredible cars in the worlds and it is only fitting that the SA Aperta was created to commemorate this amazing company.  I can only hope my 80th birthday present is just as nice!

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NOBLE M600…NOT SO HUMBLE

Noble M600

Noble M600

I have a soft spot when it comes to underdogs.  I was always so amazed when I was first learning the history of Carroll Shelby and Shelby Automobiles that I instantly became a life long fan.  Moreover as I studied all of the major sports car companies, I’d come to find that most of them got their start with humble beginnings.  Believe it or not even the famed Ferrari was an underdog at some point in their heritage, albeit not for very long.

Noble M600

Noble M600

That’s probably what drew me to the Noble M600.  Noble has been around for some time being established by Lee Noble in 1999 for producing high-speed sports cars.  Noble quickly became known as a “drivers” car due to its lack of computer aided gadgets you find in most modern day sports cars.

Noble M600

Noble M600

Like many of the smaller boutique car companies, Noble had its share of drama.  Being sold off and having distribution rights split up is never a good thing for a small car company but in 2009 Noble got their act together and introduced the M600.

Noble M600

Noble M600

Noble M600

Noble M600

The M600 is yet again a “drivers” car delivering a very raw 650bhp from a twin turbo charged 4.4 liter V8 borrowed from a Volvo XC90.  It’s a blisteringly fast sports car and for the right driver the Noble M600 can deliver harmonious and blissful performance not found in other sports cars.  As Jeremy Clarkson states in the video below, “there are several very good reasons why you should not buy one, but there is one very good reason why you should!”

While Noble seems to be in its “humble beginnings” stage as a car company, the M600 is by no means humble in anyway.  It’s a mean, loud, and fast sports car produced for a specific driver in mind, a true car enthusiast.

Noble M600

Noble M600

Keep on eye on this company as they are off to yet another great start.  Check out the Top Gear test drive video below and enjoy the sweet sounds of the Noble M600 as Jeremy Clarkson puts it to the test.

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KOENIGSEGG AGERA & AGERA R…WORTH EVERY PENNY!

My views of Swedish cars usually don’t include hypercars or even sports car for that matter.  I usually envision a happy nuclear family safely motoring down the road on their way to apple picking.  There is a car company however that may very well change my opinion.

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg has been around for a while, since first coming on to the scene in 1994 with their CCX model.  I’ve seen the car from time-to-time, showing up in random B-list movies and rap videos, although I never really took an interest in learning more about it.  I thought it was one of those boutique car companies that would soon fizzle away after the rich owner got bored and moved on to the next thing to check off his bucket list.

Koenigsegg Agera

Koenigsegg Agera

Well 17 years later founder Christan von Koeniggsegg is still as passionate as ever dreaming up the impossible and making it a reality.  His latest creations, the Agera and Agera R (2012), are nothing short of technical masterpieces.  While I could literally write novels about the cars’ technical feats I thought I’d touch upon some of the more distinctive characteristics that make the Agera so special.

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

The name Agera means, “to take action” in Swedish and also comes from the Greek word Ageratos or “ageless”.  Deemed as impossible or too expensive, Koeniggseg is among the very few, if any, boutique car companies that actually develop and produce their own engine in-house.  The 5.0-liter V8 twin turbo engine is considered the lightest and most compact hypercar engine in the world producing 940 bhp and 1100 bhp for their ‘R’ model.  This is quite an accomplishment considering the cars fuel consumption is 16 mpg and has emissions of 310g/C02.  What really impressed me was the specially designed carbon-fiber monocoque chassis that embodies a built-in 21-gallon fuel tank as to evenly distribute the weight of the fuel throughout the car.  The chassis design is not only physically brilliant it proved to be extremely safe thus allowing it to pass the U.S. crash test on the first try.  While I have only found unofficial 0-60 mph times (3.0 and 2.7 for the ‘R’) I did manage to find an official 0-200 mph time; 17.68 seconds! We are living in mad times when car companies no longer provide 0-60 mph times but rather 0-200 mph.  I love it!

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

Aside from the impressive technical attributes the Agera represents, I find this car to be strikingly sexy and aesthetically pleasing.  Scissor doors, removable roof, turbine wheels, ghost-lite dash the list goes on and on! I have often dreamt of starting my own sports car company and too be honest I don’t feel the need to do so knowing the Koeniggsegg Agera is out there.  It’s pretty much exactly the way I would want my car to look, sound and perform!  This car is very special and while I have no idea what the price tag is, I can already say it’s worth every penny.

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McLaren MP4-12C…THE BOYS ARE BACK!

McLaren Mp4-12C

McLaren Mp4-12C

We haven’t heard too much from the boys at McLaren over the past few years. I guess after creating the McLaren F1 there wasn’t really much more to say.  Being heralded as “the finest driving machine built for the public road” or having statements made like “the McLaren F1 will be remembered as one of the great events in the history of the car” would make anybody lazy, right? Wrong!

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

The boys are back with the much-anticipated predecessor to the McLaren F1, the McLaren MP4-12C.  Few cars arrive to the scene with as much pressure and expectation for nothing less than mind blowing stellar performance than McLaren.  Do you blame us?

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren boss Ron Dennis was quoted as stating the MP4-12C will out perform the competition in all areas: speed, emissions, and dynamics.  That’s a pretty bold statement considering the company the 12C is in.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see however considering the specs, I’d say they have a damn good chance of holding true to that claim.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

Powered by a 3.8L Twin Turbo V8 producing 592bhp, the 12C goes 0-62 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph.  Following in the McLaren F1’s footsteps, the 12C is the first production car to use the most cutting edge and latest space age materials like Magnesium and a single-piece Carbon MonoCell; weighting in at just under 3000lbs.  Additionally, words like “fuel efficiency” and “CO2 emissions” aren’t really spoken about when it comes to supercars.  McLaren however thought they would start that conversation with the 12C managing nearly 25mpg and an mpg/CO2 ratio being one of the best in the modern world.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

While the interior’s forensic attention to ergonomic detail and the rear-tail brake-assist is quite impressive, the one thing I appreciated when learning about the McLaren MP4-12C was the price.  I’m not saying $250K +/- is affordable by any means, however considering the McLaren F1 was $1M car I think they have made great strides in making this car more attainable to not only the Saudi princes but to their sons and daughters as well!

McLaren MC4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

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LAMBORGHINI SESTO ELEMENTO…NERDS RULE!

The word nerd and Lamborghini never worked very well in the same sentence together however, the sensational Italian automaker has become quite the whiz kid in recent years.  With some help from their friends at Boeing Aerospace Lamborghini is quickly being considered an authority figure on carbon-fiber hyper-machines.  So savvy indeed I felt quite intelligent just by reading up on the Sesto Elemento.  The name alone suggests a degree of scientific pedigree as it means “Sixth Element” in Italian or moreover the Sixth Element on the Periodic Table aka Carbon.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Debuted for the first time at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, the Sesto Elemento was introduced to the world as a technological demonstration piece by Lamborghini, a little flex of their muscle if you will.  Well that little flex raised a lot of eyebrows and generated quite a buzz.  With the excellent feedback and numerous requests received about the Sesto Elemento, Lamborghini had been convinced to embark on the challenge of producing a vehicle with the unique characteristics demonstrated at the Paris Auto Show.  One year later voila’, you have a very limited (20 units), track-only, extreme masterpiece of lightweight engineering that delivers unparalleled performance.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

How unparalleled you ask?  The 5.2-liter V10 borrowed from the Gallardo produces 570 hp but that’s not what raises your heart rate.  The Sesto Elemento weighs in at 2202 lbs enabling this car to rocket from 0-62 mph in a ridiculous 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.  While its all-wheel-drive system and 6-speed paddle shift, semi-automatic transmission certainly aid the car in achieving those staggering numbers, it’s the cars impressive horsepower-to-weight ratio (.26hp/lbs) that plays the major role.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

The Sesto Elemento’s lightweight is due largely to the chassis, body, driveshaft, and suspension components all being made of carbon-fiber.  Aside from being the lightest car Lamborghini has ever produced, it also embodies some very unique design features.  The sharp and stealthy lines resemble a snap shot of speed and velocity captured in one frame.  As you peer towards the back there lays 10 hexagonal holes in the engine cover placed there strictly to release perspired air from the engine bay.  That’s right people the car actually sweats!  Two hexagonal intakes provide the Sesto Elemento with enough air to help cool down the hard working Italian.  All 20 of these bad boys have already been spoken for and pricing rumors are all over the map ranging from $1.4M to as much as $2.6M.  It’s safe to say however, if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Among the numerous attributes and accomplishments Lamborghini has accomplished over the years, I would have to say that most notably is their latest, making it so cool be a nerd.

Also be sure to check out my Bugatti Veyron Super Sport post as it weights twice as much as the Sesto Elemento and has the same 0-62 time.

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2011 BUGATTI 16.4 VEYRON SUPER SPORT…BECAUSE THEY CAN!

The Bugatti Veyron to most of us is like the Loch Ness monster.  We have heard of the beast and know of its capabilities but few of us have ever gotten to see the mythical creature in person much less in action.  Perhaps even more elusive than Nessy is the 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

For starters there have only been 46 of these cars produced, all of which have been spoken for, and 6 have made their way to the US.  The cost is a mere $2.7M and it comes with a set of shinny $35K run-flat Michelin tires, but these aren’t the staggering numbers.  The staggering numbers lie deep within the belly of the beast, with its W-16 Quad-Turbo Charged (4 turbos) power plant that produces 1200 horsepower.  The Super Sport rockets from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, which is the same time as a Formula 1 car however the metal and carbon fiber mass weighs in at 4545 lbs.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

The car just set a new top speed world record for production cars at 268 mph although you need a special key to go above 233 mph (see video below).  In case your curious, the gauge cluster actually has a “horsepower gauge” to keep you well informed as to why your fuel consumption is 8/14 city/highway at all times.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Although I suggested retro-rockets to slow this car down, Bugatti went with a quieter 15.8” ceramic disc 8-piston caliper brake for the front and 15.0” ceramic disc 6-piston caliper brake for the rear.

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Knowing that this is a commuter car for many of their clients, Bugatti designed the cockpit with the utmost luxury in mind and makes it quite comfortable to go 200+ mph.  So why does Bugatti push the envelope and make what is already the fastest car in the world faster? Because they can!  You really can’t beat what Bugatti has been able to accomplish and for the time being this is one of the most advanced road-going cars in history.  I may consider putting my name on next year’s waiting list depending on what interest rates they offer.

 

Check out the below below as Top Gear max’s out the Veyron Super Sport on a 30 mile track!

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2012 NISSAN GT-R PREMIUM…STOCKING STUFFER?

Autumn is upon us and what better time to start fantasizing about what car you would like under that Xmas tree with a big red bow on it than right now.  This way your significant other or Santa (if you still believe) will have plenty of time to seek out the right color combo and have it gift wrapped for you just like in those Lexus commercials!

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

The car that I most envision getting for Xmas this year is the 2012 Nissan GT-R Premium.  Why that car you ask?  Well I will tell you why; because it has either beaten or has seriously come close to beating just about every Sports Car and Super Car on the planet, it’s been ravely reviewed by every respectable car magazine possible, and it almost broke Jeremy Clarkson’s neck when he test drove it on Top Gear.  It’s priced so realistically that even the brokest among us can dream about owning this car someday, it won “The World’s Greatest Drag Race” hosted by Motor Trend (video below), it was pitted up next to a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in Road & Track…I mean how many cars can even qualify to do that; a V6 vs. V16, really?  It looks cool, it sounds cool, heck it even smells cool, the car is just damn cool.

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

If that’s not enough the boys at Nissan felt they could represent the GT-R nameplate just a little better.  That being said, improvements on the 2012 begin with an increase in turbo boost complimenting a larger intake and exhaust system along with revised valve timing and air/fuel ratio.  These tweaks and upgrades earned the 2012 GT-R Premium an additional 45 bhp totaling 530 bhp and 448 lb.-ft., up from 434 lb.-ft.  Oh one last thing…it goes 0-60 in 2.94 seconds.

Uhmmmmm, let me put that into some perspective for you; it only takes the GT-R .42 seconds longer to go 0-60 mph than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and costs the same amount it would be to maintain the Super Sport for one year.  By the time you scroll down to the video in this post, the GT-R would have already launched itself to over 60 mph.  The 2012 Nissan GT-R is definitely going on my Xmas list this year, I really hope Santa has an enclosed trailer!

2012-Nissan-GT-R

2012-Nissan-GT-R

Check out the GT-R Perform Admirably in “The World’s Greatest Drag Race” hosted by Motor Trend Below!

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