LYONHEART K…FINALLY A CAT WORTH KEEPING

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

I have always been fond of the old Jaguar XKE’s.  When I was working in the Ferrari shop in my youth, we were hired to perform a complete frame-off restoration on a 1967 XKE V12 Convertible.  When the restoration was complete I won the right to take it on its inaugural first drive after winning a fierce game of rock, paper, scissors with my coworkers.  As I turned over that massive V12 and heard the continuous winding of the starter motor I was hooked.  I took it on a 2 hour drive around the city and highway.  Despite having to pull over for about 30 minutes due to it overheating I was in heaven.  Since then, I have always dreamt of owning one someday.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

With the advent of the Lyonheart K my dreams are slowly changing priority.  Named after the original founder of Jaguar, William Lyons, the Lyonheart K is designed in Switzerland and built in Britain.  The new Lyonheart K is a modern interpretation of the classic Jaguar E-Types.  The retro-style coupe was created by Robert Palm, founder and CEO of Classic Factory, a unique automotive, marine, and industrial design house located just west of Lausanne.  Palm created a completely new company, Lyonheart Cars, to build a limited run of these hand-built coupes.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

Similar to many of the supercars on the market today the Lyonheart K incorporates a modern carbon-fiber body on an aluminum chassis.  Powered by a 5.0-liter V8 producing 544-horsepower, the Lyonheart K will go 0-60 mph in a shattering 4.0 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.  That’s no easy feat considering the car weighs in at around 3500 lbs.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

As much as I can appreciate great specs such as high horsepower and top speeds, I must admit I am a sucker for good looks.  I can easily sacrifice some horsepower for a better looking car.  The Lyonheart K is one of those cars I am more than willing to make that sacrifice for.  Boasting authentic details as a front-hinged clam-shell hood and an interior trimmed in leather, polished steel, brushed aluminum and wood veneer; the Lyonheart is poised to run in the same circles as the Pagani Huayra and Bugatti Veyron to name a few.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

The first 50 cars are slated to go into production in Coventry, England with the factory quoting a delivery time of 18 months. Unfortunately for me it will take me much longer to deliver the $655,000 (plus tax) it costs to own one of these magnificent pieces of artwork.  I do have to say however, if I could afford this cat, I definitely wouldn’t be kicking it out of the house in the evenings.

LAMBORGHINI LP-700-4 AVENTADOR…HOLY SHIT!

Lamborghini LP-700-4 Aventador

Lamborghini LP-700-4 Aventador

The word “Countach” has been described by Italians as the reaction you have when you see an extremely beautiful woman; also known as ”Holy Shit”!

lamborghini-aventador-lp700-4

lamborghini-aventador-lp700-4

Thankfully that name stuck when Nuccio Bertone yelped out “Countach” once he laid eyes on the Lamborghini LP-400 prototype (Project 112) for the first time.  After hearing that story I’ve often wondered if I would ever be as surprised and astonished as Nuccio was while seeing an amazing car.  Well I am happy to report that during my visit to the Orange County International Auto Show, I had a Nuccio reaction and yelped out “Holy Shit” after laying eyes on the new Lamborghini LP-700-4 Aventado for the first time.  There is really no other way to describe this masterpiece.  David Ortiz from Lamborghini Newport Beach was kind enough to invite me behind the ropes and give me a private tour of this amazing hypercar.

lamborghini-aventador-lp700-4

lamborghini-aventador-lp700-4

Named after a bull that entered into battle on October 1993, the righteously titled hypercar boasts some of the most sharp and aggressive lines I have ever seen on a Lamborghini.  Air ducts open and close while the rear tail rises and retracts automatically, like a transformer, as the Aventador hits certain speeds.  It almost looks like the car is taking in a deep breath and flexing before launching itself into hyperspeed.  The interior is strikingly similar to what you would see in a pimped out fighter jet complete with beautiful leather/suede seats and metal switches.  According to Stephan Winklemann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, the Aventador is a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology.  Make no mistake about it, the Aventador is definitely Lamborghini’s baby as 99.9% of the hypercar is made from all Lamborghini parts, steering clear of an Audi legacy.

lamborghini-aventador-lp700-4

lamborghini-aventador-lp700-4

The Aventador’s one-piece passenger cell is made entirely of new-generation reinforced carbon fiber formulated with the help from Beoing Aerospace.  It’s high tech body is complimented with an earth shattering 6.5 liter V12 that produces 700hp and goes 0-62 in 2.9 seconds.  Did you get that? 2.9 seconds! That is the same speed as dropping a penny from your hands to the ground.

Lamborghini-Aventador-LP-700-4-Cockipt

Lamborghini-Aventador-LP-700-4-Cockipt

About 110 units have been produced, 10 of which have been allocated to Lamborghini Newport Beach, and all have been spoken for.  That’s right, you’ll have to wait for 2013 if you want to get your hands on this $370K+ hypercar.

Lamborghini-Aventador-LP-700-4

Lamborghini-Aventador-LP-700-4

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FERRARI 599 GTO…POSSIBLY THE ANSWER WE’VE ALL BEEN SEARCHING FOR!

Being known as a major car guy, I am often posed the question ”if you had to pick only one favorite car what would it be?”  This question is torture to someone like me because I have about 50 favorite cars and they change on a daily basis.  I will have to say however, that the car that has almost gotten my answer to that evil question would have to be the Ferrari 599 GTO. 

I am a huge fan of the 599 Fiorano because it embodies so many things right about a sports car of this caliber.  It is a true sports coupe in every sense of the word. Powered by a massive V12 and ensconced in the best leather in the world; what more can you want? Well how about being able to say you own the fastest Ferrari road car ever made for starters? If that’s not enough, how about being able to say you drive a car with about 661bhp and 458 lb.-ft of torque and weighing in 220lbs less than the 599 GTB? Satisfied?

Aside from the jaw dropping technical data, it’s also quite special to own a GTO.  Ferrari doesn’t often label a model GTO unless it has some serious umpf to back it up.  The last car to be labeled a GTO was the infamous 288GTO whom people still make replicas of to this day.  Now let’s talk sound.  Have you ever heard one of these cars go?  If you haven’t, stop everything you’re doing and find one you can listen to.  Actually, I will place a youtube video of a 599GTO at the bottom of this post, so feel free to disregard my last sentence.  This car sounds as if they dropped an F1 car on the highway and let it go to town.

 

The Ferrari 599 GTO is truly a collectible car and is somewhat reasonably priced at $410K.  Is any car reasonable at $410K you ask?  Well, if you compare it to the next closest thing, the 599XX priced at $1.2M, the GTO seems like a steal!  With that being said, the Ferrari GTO is going in my dream garage and might be my answer to that age-old question, “if you had to pick a favorite car, which one would it be”.

Now close your eyes and listen to video below:

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TESLA ROADSTER SPORT…IT AIN’T YOUR FATHER’S ELECTRIC CAR!

Ok I’ll admit I’ve often been curious about the Tesla after seeing it all over LA so when I was invited to take it on a test drive I didn’t hesitate.  I visited one of Tesla’s new Modular Stores which has the same feel as say an Apple store and the same size as a small retail clothing store.

Michael Lahalih sitting in the floor model Tesla Roadster Sport

I’ve often thought of the Tesla as a Lotus with an electric motor however I’ve come to find there’s a lot more than that to this advanced sports car.  For beginners, the Tesla is about 5” wider and 5” longer than the Lotus Elise.  This may not sound like much at first, but if you’ve ever sat in an Elise before the additional space is much welcomed.  Also, the Tesla has some great appointments that the Lotus is lacking like sound dampening and leather, which actually makes a huge difference in those smaller confines.

The stats of the Tesla is what really impressed me; the monocoque chassis, constructed of resin-bonded & riveted extruded aluminum, is wrapped entirely in Carbon Fiber and powered by a 288HP electric motor with 100% torque.  It goes from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and actually feels like 510HP due to having a single gear and high torque ratio.

Once I sat in the car, the interior immediately reminded me of the iconic Ferrari’s like the 308GTS or the Dino 246GTS because of the gauge cluster, sport seat positioning, and targa top.  There is no power steering which I really enjoyed and the controls were very easy to use.  I buckled up, pushed the “D” button for “drive”, and was on my way.  I floored the car to see what it could do and it took off like a rocket!  I’ve never experienced going that fast so quickly with absolutely no engine noise or screeching tires, it was a very surreal feeling.  After driving the Tesla, I had a new-found respect for the company and their vision.  There were a few downsides to the car like having a 245 mile range on one charge and a 3 hour wait-time for a full recharge, which are definitely things you would need to seriously consider before investing $100K+ into this very cool sports car.

Michael Lahalih before his test drive