RODEO DRIVE CONCOURS D’ ELEGANCE…A FATHER’S DAY TRADITION

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

For the last 3 years I would wake up the Monday after Father’s Day only to realize I’ve missed yet another year of the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance.  I was on my way to repeating this tragic mistake yet again until a good friend happened to be at the show and text me a picture of a car he liked.  I immediately dropped what I was doing, put my helmet on, and rode my motorcycle to Beverly Hills.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

This exclusive display of luxury automobiles has become a Father’s Day tradition in Beverly Hills and is set against the backdrop of world class Rodeo Drive boutiques.  The show celebrates the unique relationship between the automotive, fashion and entertainment industries.  It’s free, open to the public and has been named one of the “300 Unmissable Events & Festivals Around the World” by top travel publisher Frommer’s.

Upon arriving on the scene I was overwhelmed with the sea of people, cars and motorcycles sprawled across 3 precious blocks of Rodeo Drive.  It was a hot summer day with not a cloud in the sky and absolutely perfect weather for the task at hand.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Families from all over Southern California and beyond strolled around the street armed with children and poodles by their side to grab a glimpse of the rarest and most unique road-going vehicles in world.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

It was sensory overload for me so I gathered my thoughts, took a deep breath and proceeded to enter the show with my camera, locked and loaded.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

This year’s theme was “The British Are Coming” with Aston Martin being the shows’ featured marquee. The rightfully titled show boasted a strong influence of British made cars and bikes to wow the audience.  Beginning with a double-decker London bus, which people could board, the thoughtfully planned-out show took you through many eras of the automobile.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

Cars spanning from the early 1900’s all the way to today’s current supercars included Aston Martins, Austin’s, Auburns, Lagos’, Ferraris’, Cobras’ Lamorghinis’, Minis’ and a Bugatti to name but a few.  These cars were proudly displayed by their owners, many adorned with ribbons awarded to them by the show judges earlier that day.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

I have been to many cars shows throughout my life, some good and some not so good, but I must say the organizers of this event get an A+ in my book.  They did an excellent job gathering a wide array of vehicles from American Muscle to Custom Hot Rods to European Elegance and beyond.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

More importantly the organizers managed to display the cars in a way that created a great flow for the masses of people to view while maintaining a good vibe that made everyone feel they were truly part of something very special.  This was a remarkable car spectacle and I left there feeling quite content and eager to see what great cars next year’s show will bring.

Rodeo Drive Concours d' Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’ Elegance

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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 F12 BERLINETTA…NEED I SAY MORE?

As you all may know by now I am a huge fan for the 599 Fiorano and moreover most front engine 12 cylinder Ferrari’s.  Needless to say I was very excited about the debut of the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta; quite possibly the fastest Ferrari ever produced.

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12

While I was planning on writing a detailed post about this beautiful new addition to the Ferrari family I found this video (watch below) that pretty much sums everything up in a nutshell.  After watching the video, it really left me with nothing more to say.  We all know what to expect from a car such as this.  High horsepower (730 bhp), cutting-edge technology and the looks to go with it.  I didn’t even research the price as I can already guess there is a long waiting list rendering the MSRP useless.  Needless to say however, I now have yet another Ferrari to add to my ever-growing wishlist.

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

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Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

WATCH VIDEO BELOW!

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LYONHEART K…FINALLY A CAT WORTH KEEPING

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

I have always been fond of the old Jaguar XKE’s.  When I was working in the Ferrari shop in my youth, we were hired to perform a complete frame-off restoration on a 1967 XKE V12 Convertible.  When the restoration was complete I won the right to take it on its inaugural first drive after winning a fierce game of rock, paper, scissors with my coworkers.  As I turned over that massive V12 and heard the continuous winding of the starter motor I was hooked.  I took it on a 2 hour drive around the city and highway.  Despite having to pull over for about 30 minutes due to it overheating I was in heaven.  Since then, I have always dreamt of owning one someday.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

With the advent of the Lyonheart K my dreams are slowly changing priority.  Named after the original founder of Jaguar, William Lyons, the Lyonheart K is designed in Switzerland and built in Britain.  The new Lyonheart K is a modern interpretation of the classic Jaguar E-Types.  The retro-style coupe was created by Robert Palm, founder and CEO of Classic Factory, a unique automotive, marine, and industrial design house located just west of Lausanne.  Palm created a completely new company, Lyonheart Cars, to build a limited run of these hand-built coupes.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

Similar to many of the supercars on the market today the Lyonheart K incorporates a modern carbon-fiber body on an aluminum chassis.  Powered by a 5.0-liter V8 producing 544-horsepower, the Lyonheart K will go 0-60 mph in a shattering 4.0 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.  That’s no easy feat considering the car weighs in at around 3500 lbs.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

As much as I can appreciate great specs such as high horsepower and top speeds, I must admit I am a sucker for good looks.  I can easily sacrifice some horsepower for a better looking car.  The Lyonheart K is one of those cars I am more than willing to make that sacrifice for.  Boasting authentic details as a front-hinged clam-shell hood and an interior trimmed in leather, polished steel, brushed aluminum and wood veneer; the Lyonheart is poised to run in the same circles as the Pagani Huayra and Bugatti Veyron to name a few.

Lyonheart K

Lyonheart K

The first 50 cars are slated to go into production in Coventry, England with the factory quoting a delivery time of 18 months. Unfortunately for me it will take me much longer to deliver the $655,000 (plus tax) it costs to own one of these magnificent pieces of artwork.  I do have to say however, if I could afford this cat, I definitely wouldn’t be kicking it out of the house in the evenings.

FISKER KARMA…ECO-COOL!

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

I don’t know too much about hybrid cars.  I personally like the sound of a great exhaust system spewing sweet-smelling fumes from a high performance gas guzzling power plant.  One thing I do know about hybrids is that they all tend to look a little weird.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Take the Prius for example.  I know it’s trendy in LA to drive a Prius as to show the fellow Angeleno’s you’re doing your part to save the world, but does it really have to look like that?  Even the all-electric Tesla (see previous post) manages to look just a little off from your typical sports car.  The list goes on but it seems someone finally took note and is trying to change things.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The company Fisker has come a long way from the days of being an aftermarket coach builder; rebodying BMW’s and MB’s to name few.  Founders Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler have decided to change the way hybrid/electric cars are perceived and to prove to the world that you can have a fuel-efficient car without looking like a member of the chess club.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a beautifully designed sedan and one of the few cars that has managed to stay true to its concept form.  A solar roof is tastefully incorporated into the body adding a futuristic element to an already forward design.  Other elements such as 22” wheels and Fisker’s signature sleek front grille adorn the wonderfully sculpted bodywork of the Karma.

The Karma’s powertrain uses the internal combustion engine in series with a generator and the Lithium-ion battery to power the electric motors that power the rear wheels giving up to 50 mi of electric driving.  After that, the internal combustion engine engages to generate energy for the electric motors providing up to an additional 250 mi of range; equating to about 52 mpg.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Karma has (2) 201 bhp motors that can produce a 0-60 time in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph (Sport Mode).  Materials such as Water-Based Paints, Reclaimed Woods and EcoSuede are just a few of the ingredients that go into making this eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sports sedan.

While I can literally write a book about the Karma’s technical attributes I really like this car for the way it looks.  The performance specs aren’t the greatest, especially when you compare them to other sports sedans in the same price range  ($104K – $120K) but sometimes specs aren’t’ everything.  The person that drives this car is much like the car itself; a sleek and sophisticated forward thinking individual that believes looking cool is just as important as saving the world.  I like to call it “Eco-Cool”.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

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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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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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