FISKER KARMA…ECO-COOL!

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

I don’t know too much about hybrid cars.  I personally like the sound of a great exhaust system spewing sweet-smelling fumes from a high performance gas guzzling power plant.  One thing I do know about hybrids is that they all tend to look a little weird.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Take the Prius for example.  I know it’s trendy in LA to drive a Prius as to show the fellow Angeleno’s you’re doing your part to save the world, but does it really have to look like that?  Even the all-electric Tesla (see previous post) manages to look just a little off from your typical sports car.  The list goes on but it seems someone finally took note and is trying to change things.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The company Fisker has come a long way from the days of being an aftermarket coach builder; rebodying BMW’s and MB’s to name few.  Founders Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler have decided to change the way hybrid/electric cars are perceived and to prove to the world that you can have a fuel-efficient car without looking like a member of the chess club.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a beautifully designed sedan and one of the few cars that has managed to stay true to its concept form.  A solar roof is tastefully incorporated into the body adding a futuristic element to an already forward design.  Other elements such as 22” wheels and Fisker’s signature sleek front grille adorn the wonderfully sculpted bodywork of the Karma.

The Karma’s powertrain uses the internal combustion engine in series with a generator and the Lithium-ion battery to power the electric motors that power the rear wheels giving up to 50 mi of electric driving.  After that, the internal combustion engine engages to generate energy for the electric motors providing up to an additional 250 mi of range; equating to about 52 mpg.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Karma has (2) 201 bhp motors that can produce a 0-60 time in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph (Sport Mode).  Materials such as Water-Based Paints, Reclaimed Woods and EcoSuede are just a few of the ingredients that go into making this eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sports sedan.

While I can literally write a book about the Karma’s technical attributes I really like this car for the way it looks.  The performance specs aren’t the greatest, especially when you compare them to other sports sedans in the same price range  ($104K – $120K) but sometimes specs aren’t’ everything.  The person that drives this car is much like the car itself; a sleek and sophisticated forward thinking individual that believes looking cool is just as important as saving the world.  I like to call it “Eco-Cool”.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

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

 

PAGANI HUAYRA…ARTWORK IN MOTION

I hadn’t really taken much notice to Pagani in the past.  It’s a smaller boutique Italian car manufacturer from Modena producing the Zonda in small quantities.  Maybe that would explain why I have never actually seen a Pagani on the road before.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

With the retirement of the Zonda being announced last year, a number of questions started forming in my head. Why did I wait so long to learn about Pagani?  What could Pagani possibly do to replace a car that set a new record for production based cars which completed the Nürburgring in 6:47 (July 2010) beating the fierce Ferrari 599XX?  Lastly, why did Tiger Woods cheat on his wife?  Hmmm, much to ponder.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra w/ Rear Flaps Activated

Well, they call it Huayra; no I didn’t just sneeze.  It’s pronounced (wai-rah) and it’s named after Huayra Tata, the South American God of Wind.  Set to cause quite a storm in Spring 2012, the Huayra is rightfully named due much in part to its active aerodynamics incorporated into the beautifully sculpted bodywork of the car.  For starters the Huayra is capable of changing its height and independently operates four flaps, two in front and two in the rear.  Each flap moves separate of the other and is managed by a dedicated control unit, much like you would see on a fighter jet upon take-off.  These flaps play many important roles, sometimes producing maximum down force or preventing excess body roll and at other times simply slowing down the car by way of air-brakes; very similar to a fighter jet landing on a destroyer.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra W/ Front Flaps Resting

Underneath all that beauty and technology lies a Mercedes Benz Bi-Turbo V12 (5980cc) borrowed from the SL65 AMG Black Series.  By Pagani’s request, the turbo lag has been substantially reduced, achieved by smaller turbos and ECU reprogramming all of which equates to producing 700bhp. It rockets from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 230mph. The Huayra utilizes a 7-speed sequential gearbox which is beautifully controlled in the cockpit via its brushed aluminum shifter and shift gate.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra-AMG V12 Bi Turbo

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

The interior of the Huayra has to be one of the most beautifully adorned interiors I have ever seen in a car.  The use of brushed and polished metals, carbon-fiber combined with rustic leather and hi-tech electronics really gets my heart racing.  I often dream of living in this car simply because of its sheer beauty.

Every detail of the interior is carefully designed and tastefully executed.  Even the key is a chrome model of the Huayra, which is centrally placed in the middle of the dash board, as if to be on display like a piece of art work.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

The Huayra is more than simply a fast expensive car from Italy.  It’s a moving gallery displaying a study of contemporary design, encompassing the latest materials, composites, engineering, and electronics of our time.  Unfortunately, admission into this gallery will cost you around $1.2M and there only 40 of them a year.  Oh did I mention it has Gullwing doors?

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

 Be Sure to Follow Me on Twitter and Like Me on Facebook!

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!

Follow Me on Twitter and Like Me on Facebook!

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.

Best Sure to Like Us 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!

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

Be Sure to Like Us on Facebook and Follow Me on Twitter

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov