RODEO DRIVE CONCOURS D’ ELEGANCE…A FATHER’S DAY TRADITION

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

For the last 3 years I would wake up the Monday after Father’s Day only to realize I’ve missed yet another year of the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance.  I was on my way to repeating this tragic mistake yet again until a good friend happened to be at the show and text me a picture of a car he liked.  I immediately dropped what I was doing, put my helmet on, and rode my motorcycle to Beverly Hills.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

This exclusive display of luxury automobiles has become a Father’s Day tradition in Beverly Hills and is set against the backdrop of world class Rodeo Drive boutiques.  The show celebrates the unique relationship between the automotive, fashion and entertainment industries.  It’s free, open to the public and has been named one of the “300 Unmissable Events & Festivals Around the World” by top travel publisher Frommer’s.

Upon arriving on the scene I was overwhelmed with the sea of people, cars and motorcycles sprawled across 3 precious blocks of Rodeo Drive.  It was a hot summer day with not a cloud in the sky and absolutely perfect weather for the task at hand.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Families from all over Southern California and beyond strolled around the street armed with children and poodles by their side to grab a glimpse of the rarest and most unique road-going vehicles in world.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

It was sensory overload for me so I gathered my thoughts, took a deep breath and proceeded to enter the show with my camera, locked and loaded.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

This year’s theme was “The British Are Coming” with Aston Martin being the shows’ featured marquee. The rightfully titled show boasted a strong influence of British made cars and bikes to wow the audience.  Beginning with a double-decker London bus, which people could board, the thoughtfully planned-out show took you through many eras of the automobile.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Cars spanning from the early 1900’s all the way to today’s current supercars included Aston Martins, Austin’s, Auburns, Lagos’, Ferraris’, Cobras’ Lamorghinis’, Minis’ and a Bugatti to name but a few.  These cars were proudly displayed by their owners, many adorned with ribbons awarded to them by the show judges earlier that day.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

I have been to many cars shows throughout my life, some good and some not so good, but I must say the organizers of this event get an A+ in my book.  They did an excellent job gathering a wide array of vehicles from American Muscle to Custom Hot Rods to European Elegance and beyond.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

More importantly the organizers managed to display the cars in a way that created a great flow for the masses of people to view while maintaining a good vibe that made everyone feel they were truly part of something very special.  This was a remarkable car spectacle and I left there feeling quite content and eager to see what great cars next year’s show will bring.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Don’t Forget to “LIKE” me on Facebook and “FOLLOW” me on Twitter!

 

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!

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!

Be sure to Like Us on Facebook and Follow Me on Twitter!

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.

Like Us on Facebook and Follow Me on Twitter!

WINNING BULLRUN IN A 725HP SHELBY SUPER SNAKE….ONE HELLUVA RIDE

I’ve been getting a lot of requests to talk about the car I won Bullrun Season 2 on Speed TV in.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with me or the show, I participated and won the reality TV Show Bullrun on Speed TV for Season 2.

In the show, my friend Spiro and I piloted a very rare 725HP 2007 Shelby GT 500 Super Snake.  What makes this particular car so rare is due, in part, to its limited production.  For each model year Shelby only produced 1000 Super Snakes and out of that number only hardtops were fitted with 725HP engine modification.  The convertibles had to settle for 600HP engine mod’s due to the increase in torque the body sustains.  About 500 or so could have gotten the 725HP option but not everyone did as this option voided the manufacturer’s warranty and obviously cost more money.  If you add colors and options into the mix there aren’t many 725HP White/Black GT500 Super Snakes out there.

With that being said, the Super Snake is hands down the meanest, fastest car I have ever driven and will ever want to drive.  It is uncontrollably fast and literally makes you feel invincible when driving in it.  There are very few cars you will run into, either on the track or on the street, that are faster than the 725HP Super Snake.  The Super Snake looks mean and intimidating and can back it all up! Everybody on the road wanted to race just to see the car in action.  It got so bad, my wife refused to ride in the car with me anymore.

It’s difficult for me to say if the $38K upgrade was worth it.  I personally did the upgrade because I have always been a big fan of the 1967 GT500 and thought it was my chance to invest in a collectible early on.  Unfortunately, with the economy the way it is, the value of this car diminished and it certainly didn’t help to be getting 3 mpg either.  You read right; I was getting 3 mpg when I got on the gas! I’m kind of proud of that in a weird sick way, not many of you can say you’ve gotten 3 mpg’s in your car, right?

Here is our Bullrun Casting Video that Spiro and I filmed to get on the show:

Be Sure To Like Us on Facebook too: http://on.fb.me/p6yK0E