LA AUTO SHOW 2011…A MATTER OF SURVIVAL!

It was my own fault for waiting until the busiest day to go to the 2011 LA Auto Show.  I kept trying to make it sooner if only my schedule had allowed.  When I woke up on this rainy Sunday morning I had no excuse, this was the perfect weather to be indoors gawking at cars.  I had made my decision, today was the day! Umbrella, check! Camera, check! Cash, coffee, check check!

2011 LA Auto Show

2011 LA Auto Show

Upon arriving at the LA Convention Center I could already tell by the herds of people scrambling to run inside that chaos was about to ensue.  Buying my $12 ticket at the automated machine was the easy part, getting past the gates was a different story.  It felt like a scene from “Saving Private Ryan”; everything was in slow motion as fear and terror lie in their tear-soaked eyes.  Once I made it through the carnage of crying babies, lost children, confused parents and the occasional hit in the ankles by those rental strollers, things started to clear up like a fading storm.  I managed to block out most of the noise and after entering, I saw a sign in the distance that read “Tuners and Aftermarket”; yes, my specialty!  Many of the cars were repeats from this past SEMA show however I did see some interesting customs like a gorgeous Bugatti Veyron, a matte red Ferrari F430, and a pretty cool Lotus Evora to name a few.

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron

Back upstairs to the main hall, better dodge that stroller headed directly for me, close call!  While all the major car companies had representation at the show only a few actually impressed me with some innovative and creative models.

Cadillac Ceil Concept

Cadillac Ceil Concept

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac was among the few that really made a splash with their lineup of cutting edge design and the debut of their new electric ELR model.  There was a lot of excitement at Cadillac’s  booth as they had on display the Ceil Concept among all the other current models including the record breaking CTS-V’s.

BMW displayed their much advertised iSeries electric car, which is slated for production in 2015, and their much awaited new M5 model.

BMW iSeries

BMW iSeries

Hyundai has made great strides in breaking free of the “inexpensive” label and into more of a “luxury” or “high-end” label.  They’re doing a great job with their new line up; the Equus, Genesis, Sonata Hybrid, Elantra to name a few.

Mini’s booth was bustling with people as they reveled at all the options and aftermarket parts that bestow the new cars.  Many people waited in lines to try on the new Countryman Model for size.  The new Mini Cooper Coupe S looked great and received a lot of attention as well.

Fiat’s Abarth model, a “high performance” version of their popular 500 model, seemed to be well received judging from the lines of people waiting to sit inside.

Fiat Abarth

Fiat Abarth

Audi finally showed off their much anticipated S6 and S7 models due to be out this March.  Audi also had on display the e-tron Spyder concept and A3 model; their new electric car technology.

Audi e tron Spyder

Audi e tron Spyder

KIA GT Concept

KIA GT Concept

KIA’s booth was riffled with excitement as they had a very impressive concept car they called the “KIA GT”.  I was barely able to snap off a few pics due to the crowds of people attempting to do the same.

It was very exciting to see many of the car companies’ step up to the plate with their innovative designs and technology.  It feels like we are entering a new era in the automotive world.   The combination of a lagging economy coupled with the high demand for new technology is forcing car companies to push the envelope in all areas.  Much like my experience attending the Auto Show, it’s a matter of survival for these car companies, and staying on the cutting edge is a matter of life or death.  The 2011 LA Auto Show left me wounded, frightened, exhausted and excited to see what next year will bring!

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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SEMA SHOW 2011…AUTOMOTIVE DEBAUCHERY!

It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to the SEMA show in Las Vegas.  I was one of those diehards that would attend every year and take part in this amazing spectacle of unnecessary add-ons to cars, trucks and pretty much anything with wheels.

Ferrari 458 Italai w/ Custom Carbon-Fiber Skin

Ferrari 458 Italia w/ Custom Carbon-Fiber Skin

Year after year companies and individuals would try to one-up each other and debut their fabulous creations at this show.  It’s the only place on earth I can accurately describe as automotive debauchery.

Nissan 350Z w/ an Extreme Body Kit

Nissan 350Z w/ an Extreme Body Kit

As you walk through the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center you’re overwhelmed by the thousands of blinking lights and sounds coming from the booths and individuals displaying this years hottest new aftermarket products.

Custom Widebody Camaro w/ Hide-Away Front Grille

Custom Widebody Camaro w/ Hide-Away Front Grille

As you near the doors to exit on either side of the buildings, you’re greeted by the sounds of screeching tires from the drifting performances put on by the Ford Cobras or the Corvette ZR1’s.  Eager fans waited in long lines to take a 2 minute “death ride” with a professional driver as they drifted through a course at high speeds in either a Ford Cobra, GT500 or Corvette ZR1.  They obviously kept these two courses far away from each other as to not cause any fights between the diehard Ford and Chevy enthusiast.

Super Performance Cobra Launching Into the Drift Course

Super Performance Cobra Launching Into the Drift Course

There was a massive turn out of customized cars displayed outside of the buildings which I felt had the some of the best looking and most creative cars at the show.  There were also the usual suspects in attendance such as Chip Foose (Foose Design), West Coast Customs, Platinum Motors, Giovanni Wheels, and Ford to just name a few.

Fisker Kama

Fisker Karma

It was nice to attend the SEMA show and get back to my roots once again. Over the past couple years the aftermarket industry has taken some big hits due to the economy however it seems as though it’s making a good comeback.

Check out many more of the SEMA pics on Facebook!

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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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FERRARI 612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

As I have mentioned many times in the past, I don’t like to spend too much time talking about concept cars.  I don’t like guessing what the price and performance specs would be if some company decided to actually produce the car.  I must say however, every now and then something comes along that force me to bend the rules.

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

Sasha Selipanov of Berlin Germany aka The Angry Car Designer has designed a concept he calls “612 GTO”.  It’s pretty bold to use the coveted GTO badging considering Ferrari themselves have only used it on 3 models ever!  (See previous post)

The design reminds me of a lot of things.  While the concept definitely encompasses some prominent designs characteristics from the 1962 250 GTO there are also some hints of Zagato inspired lines by the way the rear fenders are shaped and flared.

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

Since this is all fantasy anyway, what the hell lets fantasize, shall we! 612; 6.0L V12?  Horsepower; considering the new Lamborghini LP-700 Aventador sports a similar engine, which produces 700 bhp, lets say the 612 GTO comes with 750bhp, it is a GTO after all.

 0-60? I’m going to go ahead and say 2.8 seconds due to the engine being in front and it only having rear-wheel drive.

Weight; considering it’s a futuristic GTO model I’m going to assume Ferrari has made great strides in the carbon-fiber department and constructed the entire chassis and body from new space-age carbon-fiber totaling 3500lbs.

Brakes; I’ll say the 612 GTO has ceramic carbon disc brakes measuring 15.7×1.5 inches in the front, and 14.2×1.5 inches in the rear. That set-up should pretty much stop anything!

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

 Wow, that was fun!  While this is just a fantasy and will most likely never gain any steam, designers like Sasha Selipanov all start from humble beginnings doing exactly what he did with his “612 GTO”.  It’s the same place Jason Castriota came from and you can all see the great success he’s had with his career.  At the very least the 612 GTO concept deserves a place in my Honorable Mentions category and a pat on the back from me, good job!

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

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612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

 

RENDEZVOUS a Film by Claude Lelouch…Urban Legend

Rendezvous

Rendezvous

Rubber & Fumes created the honorable mentions category specifically to mention significant automotive videos, pictures, cars and events that deserve a place somewhere in Rubber & Fumes.  One of the first mentions that immediately come to mind was the short film by Claude Lelouch titled “Rendezvous”.

Rendezvous

Rendezvous

Some of you may have already heard about the film but for many of us this is something of an urban legend.  The eight-minute drive through Paris in the wee hours of the morning (approximately 5:30 am) has forever become engrained in car culture history and many attempts to copy or repeat it have been made.  The sounds of a high-revving engine, gear changes and screeching tires all seem to be coming from a Ferrari 275 GTB according to urban myth.  The film was shot in a single take by a gyro-stabilizing camera mounted on the front bumper.  The short film was due to the camera being limited to only carrying 1000 ft of 35mm film or 8 minutes worth.

Urban legend has it that upon the film’s release, it was not known who the driver was.  Rumors circulated that it was an F1 driver, a taxi driver, or Claude Lelouch himself.  Perhaps the biggest rumor surrounding the film however was that Claude Lelouch was arrested upon the first screening due to the illegal nature of the film.  None of these rumors can ever be confirmed nor denied.  Just enjoy the Film!

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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