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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SSC TUATARA…CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

A war has been underway for a many years now and there seems to be no end in sight.  It has gotten ugly at times and will remain so until one side finally steps down declaring the other side the victor.  No, I am not talking about the current state of affairs our government is involved in; I am referring to the war between Bugatti and SSC for the Worlds Fastest Production Car title.

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

The first shot fired was by Bugatti with the introduction of the Veyron.  SSC fired back in self-defense with the Ultimate Aero.  Bugatti was not willing to lie down quietly and so they retaliated with their Veyron Super Sport prompting SSC’s latest assault the Tuatara.  Can’t we all just get along?

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

SSC has been a pain in Bugatti’s side ever since the Ultimate Aero became the World’s Fastest Production Car by Guinness World Records in 2007.  SSC is an American supercar company founded in 1999 by Jerod Shelby (no relation to Carroll Shelby), which headquarters in Tri Cities, Washington.

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

SSC’s Tuatara impresses me in many ways.  For starters, it carries a striking resemblance to the amazing Pininfarina P 4/5, which is no surprise due to the fact that the very talented Jason Castriota has designed them both. What I find most impressive however, are the specs of the Tuatara compared to the Bugatti.

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara One-Peice Carbon Fiber Wheel

The Tuatara is able to achieve 1350bhp and 1042 ft-lbs of torque from an SSC designed Twin Turbo Charged Billet Aluminum V8, while the Bugatti Veyron has literally double the power plant using a Quad Turbo Charged W16.  The Tuatara weighs in at 2750lbs dry (2.0lbs/hp, New Record), utilizes a one-piece carbon fiber wheel, has a triple disc carbon clutch, a 7 speed manual or SMG transmission, goes 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 276mph.  All without the help of a massive company like Volkswagen for support. Oh yeah it also comes with a 300mph Speedometer, a 10,000 Tachometer and a Horse Power gauge.  Wow!

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

After considering all these factors among many more, it’s no wonder SSC has thrusted on to the scene competing with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Koenigsegg (to name a few).  There is no telling where this war will take us however it’s fierce competition mixed with testosterone, like in this battle, that has created the most amazing technological feats of our time.  Keep up the good work SSC!

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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!