BATMAN IN A LAMBORGHINI…MAKES PERFECT SENSE!

Batman Driving Lamborghini

Batman Driving Lamborghini

I have always considered myself a major car guy and like most car guys I often fantasize about what I would do if I ever won the lottery.  After much pondering over the years, it finally came to me in a flash…a news flash that is.  A few weeks back pictures of Batman driving a Lamborghini pulled over by police began to surface and it immediately got my juices flowing. At last the answer to my age old lottery question; yes it makes perfect sense! I will wear my favorite superhero costume and drive around the neighborhood in a convertible Lamborghini!  Why I didn’t think of this sooner is beyond me.

Batman Driving Lamborghini

Batman Driving Lamborghini

Seriously though I was very inspired by the driver after finding out he was on his way to a  hospital for philanthropic work with sick children.  I guess there is a lesson to be learned in all of this after-all.  You can still live out your fantasies while helping others at the same time.

Batman Driving Lamborghini

Batman Driving Lamborghini

Thankfully the dash cam was recording (see video below) to capture the awkward interaction between the police and their childhood hero. The officer from the cruiser that managed to actually stop Batman jokingly requested Robin for backup.

Batman Driving Lamborghini

Batman Driving Lamborghini

All-in-all a great story and surely worthy of making it in my Honorable Mentions category.

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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

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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.

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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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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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ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE…BY-GEORGE I THINK THEY’VE DONE IT!

It’s pretty obvious to most that there is a battle being waged by high-end car companies to design the best 4-door sport sedan/hatchback.  Many car companies have made some sad attempts of coming out with their version of the of the sedan hatchback i.e BMW GT, however one of the best looking sedans to have come along is the Aston Martin Rapide.  The Aston Martin design team did an amazing job of designing a 4 door while still maintaining the sexy lines of say their DB9 Coupe.  The Rapide is actually a hatchback although you wouldn’t really know simply by glancing at it.

The Rapide also has some very unique and noteworthy design features such as the individual rear buckets seats with personal climate controls.  Although it seems a little claustrophobic at first glance, there is actually a lot of room and great views from every angle.  It definitely eliminates the need to call out “Shotgun” when going for a ride in this car.

Other design features include a hatchback tailgate, power folding seats and movable bulkhead which afford the Rapide probably the highest degree of practicality ever offered by an Aston Martin.

The Rapide is powered by a massive 5.9 liter V12 which produces 470 hp @ 6000 rpm and 443 lb-ft torque @ 5000 rpm.  It goes 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and claims a top speed of 188 mph.

Although I think the Rapide is as close to perfection as one can get for a sedan, I really would have liked to of seen some more horse power.   I almost wonder if they would have been better off with well-tuned V8 vs. their V12.  Ferrari and Lamborghini aside, V12’s are very heavy, and never seem produce the amount of horse power you would expect from that size of engine.  This would have at least lowered the Rapide’s MSRP of $207K +/-.  With all that aside, the Aston Martin Rapide still makes it into my dream garage!

vrooom!

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