With all the automotive events going on lately it’s getting difficult to keep track, however I was lucky enough to catch up with what is quickly becoming a premier automotive lifestyle event, the Targa Trophy Rally.

The rally began at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, which took over the entire parking lot leaving the valet and hotel guests dumbfounded.  A massive DJ tent claimed its territory directly behind the valet stand and proceeded to play loud dance music all day long.  One of the main sponsors of the rally,, brought their Bugatti Veyron and Maybach out to play with the other impressive arsenal of exotic sports cars participating in the rally.

As the 100 or so teams reported to the check-in, the drivers and their navigators placed stickers on their cars and chatted with other teams.  Entries included Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Porsches, Audi’s Viper’s, and BMW’s to name a few.

Many participants sported their finest costumes which included a Mouse helmet girl, Spiderman, Ironman, and a guy wearing daisy-dukes with a wig (really wish I didn’t see that).  As noon approached all teams were summoned to the DJ tent for a quick “drivers meeting”, in which event founder Jason Overell, forewarned the driver’s of the treacherous course and driving conditions that lay before them.


At high noon the rally began and cars lined up to clock-in and receive the coveted top secret course information.  The instructions revealed the check points, and what to do while there.  A strategic point system took both driver and navigator through a 3 ½ hour course and required proof of check-in by obtaining a receipt or picture.  The adrenaline pumping rally took supreme driving machines through some of LA’s most beautiful canyons and back roads with sharp switch-backs and deadly drop-offs.  Temperatures soared to above 110 degrees which caused some tempers to flare and mechanical break downs along the way.

The rally concluded back at the Roosevelt Hotel where Targa Trophy revealed the winner of the event.  In true road rally fashion, the partying continued throughout the night at Hemingway’s and later at the Roxbury, both in Hollywood.

This was a great event but don’t kick yourself if you missed out on all the action.  I was told by Targa Trophy they are planning a 3 day event sometime in November so stay tuned for more information.  Rubber & Fumes will be there covering all the motoring goodness.

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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