2014 PORSCHE 918 HYBRID SPYDER…A SAUDI’S WORST NIGHTMARE!

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Meet the 2014 Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder, a mid-engined super/hyper/hybrid car designed by Michael Mauer.  While still in it’s final stages of R & D and slated for production in September 2013, the Porsche 918 Spyder is powered by a V8 engine that currently produces 562hp and tuned to rev to 9200rpm.  The 918 Spyder was developed from the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype racing car, making this hybrid one beastly ride.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Remember this is a hybrid so Porsche couldn’t simply stop at the already impressive stats produced by their V8, they decided to really push the envelope and supplement the 562hp V8 with a pair of synchronous electric motors – one producing 107hp for the front wheels and the other producing 121hp for the rear wheels churning out a combined 759hp and 568 ft-lb torque.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

Wrap a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic monocoque around those impressive engines, add in a 7-speed gearbox and Porsche’s very own own double clutch system (PDK) and shazaam…you get a spacecraft capable of 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds with a top speed of 320 km/h(200mph) and a staggering 78mpg.  That’s correct, 78mpg, officially making this car a Saudi’s worst nightmare!  In addition to the plug-in recharge, the batteries are also charged by regenerative braking.  The 918 Spyder offers five different driving modes allowing the vehicle to utilize different combinations of electric and gas engines depending on the driver’s desires.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Not only is the Porsche 918 a technological marvel it’s also a pleasure to look at.  I never thought the famed Carrera GT could ever be made to look old, however the new 918’s wonderfully shaped design definitely dates the Carrera GT.  Let’s be honest, Porsche hasn’t been producing the most attractive cars on the planet but I would have to say they’re certainly on the right track with this one.  Its curvaceous lines are perfectly proportioned giving the 918 a very aggressive and exotic stance.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

One of my favorite design features about the Porsche 918 Spyder is where they decided to place the exhaust system.  For us car fanatics there is no better area to place a great sounding exhaust than directly behind your head.  Yup, two massive exhaust pipes jetting upward out of the engine bay emit beautifully sounding exhaust fumes straight up into the air.  This instantly reminded me of the old Le Mans and Can AM cars ripping down the straightaway with their massive engines spewing exhaust fumes infused with the sweet smell of race fuel.  Porsche didn’t design the exhaust system purely for nostalgic reasons; they were placed there to address a heating problem with the battery cells that are placed behind the cockpit.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Porsche really hit their mark with the 918 Spyder combining cutting edge technologies with nostalgic and intimidating lines and unbelievable performance stats which is really setting the stage for a new era of super/hyper/hybrid cars to come.  With all the money you save on fuel, it more than justifies the rumored $850K +/- price tag for one of these hybrids.

CHECK OUT VIDEO OF THE 918 IN ACTION BELOW:

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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!

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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!

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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THINGS GET HEATED UP AT THE TARGA TROPHY RALLY IN HOLLYWOOD, CA

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, Luxury4play.com, 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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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:

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FERRARI UNVEILS THEIR NEW 458 ITALIA SPIDER….IS THIS REAL LIFE?

I am a huge Ferrari fan.  I have loved Ferrari since I was a baby.  As a teenager I had the unique experience of restoring and race prepping some of the rarest vintage Ferrari’s in the world. This left me with a very deep knowledge and passion for these cars.  As a child I always admired the 308’s as these were iconic cars that showed up in the TV shows and movies I grew up with.  I must admit, I hated the 348 and 355 models but was relieved to see the 360 Modena debut.  I didn’t love the car but it was definitely a step in the right direction.  When the F430 arrived, it corrected any shortcomings the 360 Modena had and made me very content with the car.

Once Ferrari debuted the 458 Italia my heart instantly started to pound like a scene from Tom and Jerry.  They nailed the design perfectly and brought back the intimidation and sex appeal that model deserves.  In typical Ferrari fashion, they have once again outdone themselves.  Ferrari has just announced the unveiling of their much awaited 458 Spider!  Unlike all their Spiders in the past, Ferrari has done the unthinkable and forgone the traditional fabric hood for a newly developed, Ferrari-patented hardtop.  The hardtop is claimed to fold back and stow ahead of the engine bay in 14 seconds at the press of a button.  This new system actually weighs 55 lbs less than the fabric hood system on the previous F30 Spider.

Just in case you’re not already aware of the stats for the 458, it’s powered by a naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V8 which produces 562 hp at 9000 rpm and 398 lb-ft torque at 6000 rpm, goes 0-62 mph 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 198 mph.

Check out the video below!