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.

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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!

FERRARI MUSEUM IN MARANELLO…A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN!

As I mentioned in my previous post I finally achieved one of my life long goals and made a pilgrimage to the Ferrari Factory and while there I had a chance to visit the Ferrari Museum (videos at the end).

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Upon entering the museum I walked through the impressive gift shop, which has anything and everything you can possibly place a Ferrari shield on.  Walking through the shop I was greeted by the friendly Ferrari staff in spotless and perfect Ferrari uniforms.  I was given the option of purchasing a general admission ticket for 13 Euros or a touring ticket in which you actually board a bus and drive through the Ferrari Factory among other stops.  Being that it was a Sunday and the factory was closed I chose to save my money for more Ferrari gifts on the way out.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

I really didn’t expect to see so many rare and amazing Ferrari’s as I did.  Among all the Formula 1 and Le Mans cars basking in all their glory, as fans snap off picture after picture, sat a few cars you rarely ever see.   I spotted a Super America version of the 599 Fiorano (protoypte?), and the 599XX Speciale both of which looked absolutely stunning just to name a few.

Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari SA Aperta aka 599 Super America in Maranello, Italy

Ferrari 599XX Speciale

Ferrari 599XX Speciale in Maranello Italy

Another really cool display was Enzo Ferrari’s actual office recreated in the museum complete with his desk, chair, coffee mug, hat, pictures on the walls etc… Once I reached the 2ndfloor I was immediately greeted by a beautiful red Enzo (F60) sitting in front of a Factory facade mock up and she looked right at home.

Ferrari Enzo (F60) in Ferrari Museum, Maranello Italy

Ferrari Enzo (F60) in Ferrari Museum, Maranello Italy

As I walked past the Enzo I stepped into a dark magical room that had ambient music playing while 8 F1 cars sit perched in front of flat screen TV’s displaying Ferrari’s winning race history (video below).  Trophies were displayed behind a glass wall while people starred in utter amazement at the heavenly room.  It was really something to have visited the museum and it turned out to be much more than I expected.  If you are ever anywhere near Modena I highly recommend you spend a couple hours of your time and head over to the Ferrari campus, you won’t regret it.

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FERRARI P4/5 BY PININFARINA…THE BEST WAY TO SPEND $4M!

As I must have mentioned many times over I used to be a Ferrari mechanic when I was a teenager. I mainly worked on and restored vintage Ferrari race cars. The 2 cars that I am most fond of and spent the most time with are the Ferrari 250 SWB and the Ferrari 330 P3/4. I absolutely adored these cars and often wondered why more people didn’t know about them. The P stands for “prototype” and very few of them were produced, which may explain why not too many people knew about them.

Original Ferrari 330 P3/4

Original Ferrari 330 P3/4

No car is better fit for the phrase Beauty and the Beast than the Ferrari 330 P3/4. By far one of the most beautifully designed cars ever built and one of the most revered Ferrari’s in history. Its curvaceous lines draw you closer and closer while your mouth stays open in awe as you analyze every aspect of her gorgeous design. That was the reaction I had when I first laid eyes on her. You could only imagine how happy I was when they told me I was in charge of that car! I can only describe the sound of this car as a Detroit Diesel with straight exhausts at idle. It is the loudest and meanest sounding car at the track and you always know what part of the track she’s on, due to her unique sound. At speed she plays only the finest Ferrari music one can imagine sounding like a well tuned 12 cylinder should.
Pininfarina-Ferrari P4/5

Pininfarina-Ferrari P4/5

I was so pleased to hear someone else shared my passion for the P3/4 and announced that coach builder, Pininfarina, was commissioned to build a modern-day version of this mythical beast. In 2006 James Glickenhaus, stock exchange magnate and known car collector, collaborated with the Turin coach builder to produce a modern version of the Ferrari P.

Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina

Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina

With sketches drawn up by the extremely talented Jason Castriota and styling team leader Ken Okuyama, the goal was to stay clear of any retro design and move towards a forward thinking supercar. That they did using the last unsold Ferrari Enzo (F60) as the basis for this build. More than 200 components were designed especially for the car while moving through computer aided sculpture and stringent wind tunnel testing. Most components including engine and drive train were modified from the original Enzo which now goes 0-62 in 3.0 seconds (0.5 seconds quicker than the Enzo) and has a top speed of 233 mph, not too shabby! The V12 produces 660 bhp at 7800 rpm and 485 lb-ft torque at 5500. She redlines at 8200 rpm and uses the 6 speed semi-automatic transmission from the Enzo. Oh yeah one last thing…it cost $4 Million! To be honest that is the absolute best way to spend $4 million and I thank god there are people out there like James Glickenhaus that know how to enjoy their wealth while sharing it at the same time.

Pininfarina-Ferrari P4/5

Pininfarina-Ferrari P4/5

Pininfarina-Ferrari P4/5

Pininfarina-Ferrari P4/5

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MY PILGRIMAGE TO FERRARI….NOW MY LIFE IS COMPLETE!

Ferrari Factory in Maranello Italy

Ferrari Factory in Maranello Italy

Ferrari Enzo resting in the Ferrari Museum in Maranello Italy
Ferrari Enzo resting in the Ferrari Museum in Maranello Italy

In every car guys life there is a least one ultimate goal, a lifelong dream, a pilgrimage if you will.  No I’m not talking about a religious act or even a family tradition, I am talking about the few things you put on your bucket list before dying.  For some it’s going to the Indy 500 or to drive a race car, for others it’s simply to meet someone like Carroll Shelby.  For me it was visiting the Ferrari Factory!

Ferrari Formula 1 Cars at The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ferrari Formula 1 Cars at The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ever since I was lucky enough to have gotten a job at International Auto restoring vintage Ferrari’s as a teenager, I have had the urge to make a pilgrimage to the Ferrari Factory.  I would hear stories about how the wealthy doctors I worked for would get flown to the factory by Ferrari to view their new models.  It sounded so cool I immediately made visiting the factory one of my top goals.  Fast forward 20 years later and I finally did it!

Standing in front of Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Standing in front of Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Let me first say it wasn’t the easiest to find.  We flew into Milan and made our way towards Modena after staying a few nights in Venice.  I went cheap and declined Hertz’s $300 up-charge for GPS and decided to use a map purely out of spite (not the best idea).  After driving aimlessly for 4+ hours I knew I was getting close as signs for Maranello began to appear.  Soon thereafter I glanced to my right and behind the trees and bushes on the side of the road looked like what appeared to be a race track.  I thought to myself could it be? Yes it was! The Ferrari test track.  As I continued down the road another few minutes, and as the trees cleared away, there it was, just like I imagined, Ferrari heaven!

Formula 1 Cars in Ferrari Museum

Formula 1 Cars in Ferrari Museum

I turned off the main street and pulled in to a large parking lot which was surrounded by the Ferrari Museum, multiple Ferrari stores, cafes and most importantly Ferrari rentals.  I was immediately overwhelmed and couldn’t speak as everything became silent; my wife was snapping her fingers in front of my face to see if I was still conscious.  A nice Italian boy walked up to me and asked if I wanted to rent a Ferrari and I just starred at him.  Ferrari’s were driving past me from the left and from the right. It was so much sensory overload , I really almost shut down.  Finally my wife grabbed me with both arms and pulled me towards the museum as I was unable to make any decisions.

Ferrari Engines Inside Ferrari Museum at Maranello

Ferrari Engines Inside Ferrari Museum at Maranello

We paid the 13 Euro entry fee and walked around in awe at the display of race cars, models, trophy’s etc…  I took a ton of pictures and will have a post specifically on the museum soon after this post.  Upon leaving the museum I ran into that kid that asked me if I wanted to rent a Ferrari earlier that day.  Without hesitation I said yes.  Fifteen minutes and 85 Euro later I was in a Ferrari California Spider with Francesco and my wife flying down the back roads of Maranello; more on this to come as well.

Ferrari California Spider Test Drive in Maranello

Ferrari California Spider Test Drive in Maranello

I had 2 more stops before leaving this magical place; the actual factory and the test track.  While both of these are off limits to common folk, you could still drive to it, pay homage and snap off a few pictures, both of which I did.

Pista di Fiorano aka Ferrari Test Track

Pista di Fiorano aka Ferrari Test Track

More to come on actually going through the Ferrari Museum and my test drive of the Ferrari California.

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THE 2011 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT….SHE’S ALL GROWNS’D UP!

I remember when I first laid eyes on her back in 2004.  Beautiful curves, a big shiny front grille with a rear-end that could stop a freight train dead in its tracks.  She had it all, looks, power, and prestige.  I knew instantly she was going to be one of the popular girls.  Just as I suspected, she quickly became the “it” girl and like all popular girls, she lived in the fast lane mixing with the in-crowd as she grew-up through her rebellious years.  At one time or another I’ve seen her ensconced entirely in cubic zirconia, fitted with 24”& 26” wheels, painted matte pink, and appearing in just about every rap video known to man.  I’m also pretty sure I spotted her made entirely from gold in Saudi Arabia.

Those days have since passed and today she has blossomed into a more beautifully refined, elegant woman.  Despite everywhere she’s been and everything she’s done, she never forgot her roots.  The 2011 Bentley Continental GT is an all-new model and not simply a newer look as quoted by officials at Bentley.  Her newly staggered bi-xenon headlamps have been jeweled with LED daytime running lights and flow beautifully with her ever prominent front grille, which stands nearly upright now.  Her bold sexy curves remain as beautiful as ever however look more chiseled and sculpted as they draw your eyes towards her sultry rear-end.  Her tail lights have grown a bit, giving her an eye-catching European style you can only get after traveling the world.

Don’t get me wrong looks are very important but it’s what’s inside that really matters.  Her impressive 6.0 liter twin turbo charged W-12 has been improved on giving her “instant accessible supercar performance across the complete rev range.”  She’s lost a little weight and gained some muscle due to her four-cam, 48-valve mill which employs lighter, low-friction internals that shed 143 pounds off the outgoing engine. Her power is up by 15 horses and 37 pound-feet of torque (totaling 567 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque), making this girl wicked fast going 0-60 in a dashing 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 198 MPH.  She still sports those beautiful 20” five-spoke wheels and offers a 21” wheel upgrade, what a sweat heart!

Just like all beautiful woman she doesn’t come cheap, starting with a base price of $180K.  But don’t worry, if you think she’s a little too much to handle I’m told she has a little sister that’s a bit more tame (high-output V8) arriving later year.

Bentley did an amazing job of refining what was already an impressive and elegant sports coupe.  The 2011 Bentley Continental GT is as beautiful as ever and like a fine wine, just keeps getting better with age.

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