Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 2007 Dream Car of the Month - C6 Corvette ZR1

Well, this car isn't even out yet but it made my list of dream cars. Originally, I had planned to feature the C6 Z06 as the car of the month, but with the official release of the ZR1, I figured this new, "ultimate corvette" deserved the spotlight. It really is a pretty impressive piece of machinery.

For those of you that don't know, or didn't happen to see my last post on the unveiling of the car, the upcoming 2009 Corvette ZR1 is poised to be the fastest most expensive Corvette ever made and possibly, the fastest American car ever produced. The details are still not final but the car is expected to have at least 620HP and 590TQ from the 6.2L LS9 supercharged V8. A final curb weight of around 3300lbs should ensure that the car will drop 0-60 times in the sub 4 second range and 1/4 mile times may dip into the 10s. Top speed should exceed 200mph. The brakes are the same as found on the Ferrari Enzo, only bigger, and the car will feature extensive use of carbon fiber. All this for around $100,000 which is no bargain until you consider that this car will be faster than many cars up to 10 times it's price. In that context, it's a downright bargain.

The car reportedly came about when GM's Rick Wagoner, who was very impressed with the C6 Z06, said something to the Corvette team to the effect of; If we can accomplish this in a $70,000 car, imagine what we could do in a $100,000 car. I guess the team took that as a green light to try and find out. The result is a car that will probably become one of the greatest sports cars ever produced in America. I just wish I had an extra $100K laying around.

Friday, December 21, 2007

MAZDA CX-9 2008

MAZDA CX-9 2008

in Indonesia, Mazda just launched SUV CX-7 him, now in his origin country (Japan) has had the concept CX-9.
This was the second SUV generation 7 passengers in 2008.

According to the Mazda source, CX-9 used several components from Ford Edge and Mazda 6 sedans that used the machine V6 3,700 cc (273 dk) with the automatic transmission 6-speed.

skoda 2 review

here is a little review of skoda
Performance Performance rating
The Fabia offers a wide range of engines. Choices include 59bhp and 68bhp 1.2s, an 84bhp 1.4 and a 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engines. All engines come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, but the 1.6 allows you to specify a semi-automatic gearbox. There are also two versions of Skoda's 1.4-litre turbodiesel, giving either 68bhp or 79bhp, while a 103bhp 1.9-litre engine tops the diesel range.
Ride & handling Ride & handling rating

The Fabia is big by supermini standards, but it's dinky enough to excel in the city, and light controls. The Fabia rides comfortably, too, doing a good job of smoothing out patchy surfaces. It does lean a little through corners, and it's hampered by a vague gearshift, though.
Refinement Refinement rating -
A little wind noise builds up around the windscreen pillars as speed increases, but road and suspension noise rarely break the calm in the cabin. It's a shame the same can't be said of the engines; all the three-cylinder engines are noisy, especially at low speeds, but the real villain is the 1.9-litre diesel, which is loud and gruff compared with modern diesel engines.

renault concept cars

From dreamlife… renault will

Veritable distillations of ideas, with new and breathtaking lines, concept cars are the substance of which dreams are made.
The dreams of the public that suddenly glimpses the future.
The dreams of designers who let their imagination and creativity reign free, creating new horizons of possibility and inventing the cars of the future.

the renault motto

… to the future renault will

A dream made real through the uncommon status of concept cars. Freed from industrial constraints necessary for the production of vehicles on the assembly line, these one-of-a-kind prototypes are at the very heart of the Group’s strategy.
They express Renault’s anticipation of and response to the evolution in lifestyles.
They provide the public with the opportunity to experience new forms of expression and to test reactions.
Concept cars are precious accelerators of innovation.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's Official - 2009 Corvette ZR1 finally revealed!

If you've had enough of all the speculation and spy shots teasing you about the long rumored "Blue Devil" Corvette, well your Christmas gift has arrived. GM finally officially confirmed and released info on the upcoming 2009 Corvette ZR1 and it is an absolute beast!

Preliminary info from GM indicates that the car will feature a supercharged 6.2L V8 dubbed LS9. This powerplant will produce at least 620HP and 590TQ in a car that will weigh around 3200lbs. Due to the added weight of the supercharger setup, GM has employed extensive use of carbon fiber on the fenders, hood, and roof. The fiber on the roof is exposed and covered by a special clear coat which contains an additive costing $60,000 per gallon. The clear coat itself costs $2,000 per gallon and it makes the ZR1 the first car ever to have a carbon fiber clear coat that will last the life of the car. The new "Super Vette" will also use carbon ceramic brakes to slow it down from an expected top speed of over 200mph. The front rotors are larger than the ones used on the Enzo Ferrari. At about $100,000 it will be the cheapest car in the world with such brakes.

The price will of course put it in some serious territory as it will be, by far, the most expensive Corvette ever produced. That being said, it will definitely also be the fastest Corvette ever and maybe the fastest American production car ever. It will also give cars that are several times it's cost a very big scare and a serious run for the money. Just when I thought that the new Nissan GTR was the performance bargain of the century (relatively speaking), GM drops this bomb. What a great time to be a horsepower junkie.

If you crave any more info, all of the auto press is on top of this. Just do a search for 2009 ZR1 and you'll be busy all day.

Citroen Nemo

The Bologna Motor Show is coming and how every year the news will be very many. Here we talk about the concept that Citroen will present at the Motor Show, Citroen Nemo. Exactly, Citroen decided to call a model with the name of the famous fish of Walt Disney.

The plea was developed in cooperation with Fiat and Peugeot already presented to Roas Transport Show in Amsterdam.Ecco press release:
Completely Nemo! Nemo Concept illustrates the surprising closeness between Citroën Nemo clown fish and his namesake. Like the fish, Nemo Concept can be seen as a "piccoletto" among their fellow human beings. However, its size will translate into an advantage, especially in the way traffic.

ferrari spider

what is different ferrari and spiderman.The Ferrari F430 is a high-performance sports car produced by the Italian automaker Ferrari to succeed the 360.

It debuted at the 2004 Paris Motor Show.[2] European left-hand drive sales began in November 2004, but right-hand drive sales did not start until Spring 2005, and the United States did not get the F430 until Summer 2005.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2009 Nissan GTR test numbers.

Finally, we are getting some hard performance numbers on the upcoming Nissan GTR. Many people seemed to doubt Nissans stated performance numbers and suspected that Nissan's test cars were modified in some way. Well, Edmunds Inside Line managed to get their hands on a privately owned new production model in Japan and then proceeded to beat on it for a while to see what it could do. The results are more than impressive.

The GTR they tested is pretty much identical to what the U.S. spec model will be and is owned by a Japanese journalist. Even though it had only 1,500km on the clock, they showed it no mercy. With the apparently secret launch control turned on, the GTR rockets to 60 in 3.3 seconds and covers the 1/4 mile in 11.6 at 120.9 mph. They claim it's the fastest car they've ever tested. Faster than the 911 Turbo, 600HP Viper and the Z06 Corvette.

Braking tests showed that the car can also stop from 60 in 104ft which is only 1ft longer than a 911 Turbo with the $8,800 ceramic brake option. This car is looking more and more like the performance bargain of the century right now. That title was held by the Corvette Z06 but the GTR is faster and about the same price. Unfortunately, I don't think Nissan will build enough of them to keep up and it will be almost impossible to find one for sticker price.

Check out the full Edmunds Inside Line article here.

Beauty and intelligence in formula

Beauty and intelligence is back in the Paddock in the shape of the 10 extraordinary ladies

Beauty and intelligence is back in the Paddock in the shape of the 10 extraordinary ladies invited by Red Bull to every GP to compete in the Formula Una Ladies Award

news Ferrari building new simulator

i read a news that Ferrari is hard at work on a new formula one simulator, according to reports in the Spanish press. The sports daily Marca claims that Marc Gene is at the forefront of the high-tech equipment's development, and that his test at Jerez this week was almost exclusively centred on collecting information for the simulator.

McLaren's top secret state-of-the-art simulator is known as being currently the best among F1 teams, and it took much of the credit for Lewis Hamilton's sensational rookie season in 2007. Red Bull was believed to be building a similar unit and software for its own factory.

But Marca believes that Ferrari's new simulator will be superior to all others in F1, following more than 18 months of development led by Felipe Massa's former race engineer Gabriele Delli Colli.

Gene, Ferrari's secondary test driver, commented that the simulator is already operating at an advanced level. “I haven't tested like this for nearly a year and I should be a lot more rusty,” the Spaniard said at Jerez earlier this week, “but I am only a half or second or so away from Räikkönen. This is thanks to the simulator, which allows you to keep pace. It is a very big help,” he added.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bologna Motor Show

Affluenza of public record today at 32 ° Bologna Motor Show: full pavilions and Shell Arena packed in every order placed. In the morning the fair was visited by a guest exceptional: Emma Bonino, Minister of International Trade and European Policies.
After visiting the exhibition, the minister met with journalists in the press room: "I am very pleased to be here to express my appreciation for an event that every year manages to draw the attention of both the public. Visiting the pavilions I was genuinely impressed by the event plurisettorialità: from the State Police and of the Army to test drive, the engagement to road safety than to the ecology, with issues of great public interest brought all 'interest visitors. I saw a demonstration of great quality and I have also noticed an exhibition of products really refined from this point of view the Motor Show is spectacular. "

Great result of the public for the departure of the Memorial Bettega Piazza Verdi: This city has responded, noting the curious twenty cars in the caravan (eight participants in the "Bettega, the Subaru Impreza then that was the way to Memorial, four cars Historical and seven cars EcoCity participating in the Ecoparata) in the first place a few steps from Two Towers and then along the streets of Bologna, reserving applause several pilots.

In today took place two awards: ANIA Foundation and Police celebrated the winner of the competition on road safety "cHIC! Ken, do not laugh chickens" while the pavilion on 25 stand Peugeot Miss Italy and Miss Silvia Battisti Peugeot Stephanie Salvadori have awarded winners Peugeot Trophy Competition.

Several of the characters present world of entertainment today at the Show: Giorgia Palmas, Paola and Chiara, the Absolute Zero, Riccardo Fogli, Mark Martin, Nada, Formula Three and Francesco Ark, in addition to sports Andrea Zorzi and Fabio Galante.

That tomorrow will be the final day of the Motor Show 2007. Morning will be held the traditional presentation of My Special Car Show, Exhibition and Sports dell'Auto Special: 10.30 in the Hall Trio, Block B of the Service Center, will be presented the 6 th edition of the event, scheduled from 28 to March 30, 2008 in Rimini Fair.

An hour later, at 11.30, an exceptional event: Night Room, Center Services Block D, Aci Sports organizes the presentation of the Rally of Italy Sardinia, the Italian stage of the World Rally 2008.

As per tradition Shell Arena will be great protagonist of the final day of the Show. It will play the final stages of Barclaycard Bettega Memorial and the Bomb Boogie Xtreme Supermotard, but especially the scene will Freestyle-Rally Tribute to Colin Mc Rae: pilots engaged in "Bettega" will perform in a descent of the bridge Shell Arena to be concluded , in front of the stands, with a "number" at their discretion and will be judged by a jury exceptional campionissimi consists of rallysmo and motorsports world every time. One way to honour the memory of Colin Mc Rae, extraordinary champion recently disappeared, always a friend of Motor Show.

Even on the last day will be different the celebrity guests at the Show: Giancarlo Minardi, Gaetano Curreri, leader of the Stadium and a trio of beauties formed by Debora Salvalaggio, Giorgia Palmas and Camila Morais.

grand finale the 32 rd edition of the Motor Show

Once again the world dell'Automobile has made an appointment to Bologna at the 32 ^ edition of the Motor Show (scheduled from December 7 to 16) for the second consecutive year has as main sponsors Barclaycard. . There are more than 50 brand automobile, virtually 100% of the market operating in our country, a rich showcase of previews of absolute level: 95 new confirmed to date, 11 of which global and European 6. 343 exhibitors catalogue, of which 83 from 16 foreign countries.

Product news in the foreground, then, but much space was also given to 'deepening, with a packed schedule of meetings and press conferences, and culture, with different initiatives leaving the Fairgrounds and embrace the city of Bologna.
Come da tradizione, i visitatori hanno anche l’opportunità di provare in prima persona diverse vetture sulle 10 aree esterne dedicate: sono 14 le aziende impegnate nei test drive riservati al pubblico del Salone. According to tradition, visitors also have the opportunity to experience first-hand cars on 10 different outdoor areas dedicated are 14 companies involved in the test drive belonging to public exhibition.
Like every year, the Motor Show guarantees visitors moments of sport to four and two wheels to the highest levels.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ferrari gadgets

1.Becker sat-nav

2.Meridian home entertainment system

3.Vertu mobile phone

Only the likes of Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa could afford a mobile like this.

The Ascent Ferrari 1947 Limited Edition is being released to mark 60 years of Ferrari and cleverly, only 1947 of them have been made
Art.Engine speakers
They cost 18 grand but shoving the Ferrari logo on is sure to make them more attractive.

Which is useful, as they’re not that nice-looking.

Only 1000 of the tower systems have been made - sold in the UK through Sound Directions - and at 47inch tall, they are available in all the official Ferrari colours including Rosso Corsa and Nero.
4.Acer sat-nav

the Experience of Ferrari Thrill Driving

Teh chance is to get behind the wheel of one of the most famous sports cars in the world, the awesome Ferrari 355 Berlinetta.

Most of our customers are overwhelmed when they see the car they are about to drive for the first time. The supermodel lines, the smell of the hide, the crisp wail of the 380bhp V8 engine.

Add this to the feel of the famous click-clack gearbox and the mind blowing acceleration.

The experience includes a welcome, briefing in the car, a session driving a Ferrari 355, a certificate and a driver analysis form completed by your instructor. Itinerary :
Welcome, introduction and briefing in the car
A session driving a Ferrari 355 Berlinetta
A de-briefing session in which you get a driver analysis form completed by your instructor
A presentation certificate
A free 4x4 Off-Road passenger ride for spectators (Staffordshire venue only).

Duration :

Please allow approximately 1 hour at the venue for the Ferrari Thrill Experience.

Availability :

Courses are available in the morning and the afternoon on selected Saturdays and some weekdays from February to December.

Gift vouchers are valid for 12 months.

We endeavour to dispatch vouchers by first class post on the day of purchase when ordered before 3pm

Locations :


Restrictions :

You must hold a full manual driving licence, be less than 6'6" and weigh less than 18 1/2 stone.

Spectators :

Spectators are encouraged to attend.

Need Four-Wheel Drive?

A four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle is one in which the engine powers all four wheels either part of the time or all of the time. Most cars have two-wheel drive, which means either the front or back wheels are powered by the engine.

Four-wheel drive, which we'll refer to as 4WD, is optional on many SUVs and there are pluses and minuses to this pricey and complex feature.

If you already know the difference between driveline types, but are unsure as to which best suits your needs, you can read Four-Wheel Drive Demystified on the co-branded site to find out more.

As the chart below illustrates, SUVs with 4WD drive are more expensive than their two-wheel-drive counterparts.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2009 Camaro Photos

Over the last couple of days there have been various posts on the net containing spy shots of 2009 Camaro mules testing in full camo. Today I found out that the site Camaro5 has posted what appears to be, a photo of a mostly uncovered 2009 Camaro that looks like it could be pretty close to the production version. The car's front an rear are still covered but the wheels and entire side of the car are not masked in any way.

The car seems to look very close to the original concept. Some minor changes are noted like the addition of normal side view mirrors, more reasonably sized wheels, and some toned down styling queues like the gills before the rear wheels. Other than that, it looks pretty cool. Can't wait.

Monday, November 26, 2007

November 2007 Dream Car of the Month - Acura NSX

2002 Acura NSX

The year was 1989 and Honda, best known in the U.S. for smaller, light, fuel efficient cars, introduced the stunning NSX at the Chicago Auto Show. The world of exotic sports cars would change forever. Honda at the time was dominating Formula 1 on their way to winning six consecutive manufacturer's titles (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991). The NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental) was to showcase Honda's racing technology in a road car.

The car officially went on sale in 1990 in the U.S. as a 1991 model in Honda's Acura lineup. It was sold as an Acura because Honda was associated with mainstream reasonably priced cars and they felt people would not pay what they were asking for the car if it was sold as a Honda. Acura on the other hand was a more upscale, luxury division of Honda. At it's introduction the NSX was the most expensive Japanese car ever sold in the United States. The car was sold elsewhere in the world as a Honda since Acura did not exist outside of North America.

The NSX featured many design aspects that were way ahead of their time. It featured a very rigid but light aluminum monocoque chassis along with aluminum suspension and body. The NSX was the first production car to feature such extensive use of aluminum. The race derived, mid mounted V6 used titanium connecting rods and redlined at 8,000 rpm. It featured Honda's revolutionary VTEC variable timing system and marked the first time this system was used on a vehicle sold outside of Japan. In 1990 the NSX's 3.0L engine produced 270HP and 210TQ and at one time was the highest output, per liter, of any production normally aspirated V6 in the world.

The car was designed in house by Honda and led by Chief Designer Ken Okuyama and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who was also in charge of the S2000 project. Japanese Formula 1 driver Satoru Nakajima was involved in development along with fellow Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna and American race driver Bobby Rahal. The cars were hand assembled initially in Tochigi by about 200 specially selected workers from various Honda manufacturing facilities. Production was later (2004) moved to the Suzuka plant for the remainder of the car's production.

Production of the NSX lasted from 1990 to 2005 with some minor changes and refinements throughout the run. In 1995 a targa NSX-T was introduced as an option in Japan and replaced the coupe in the United States. The coupe could still be special ordered. The removal of the roof section necessitated adding over 100lbs of reinforcing structure to the chassis. The suspension was also softened up for a better ride and more predictable handling. In 1997 engine displacement rose from 3.0l to 3.2l and power went up to 290HP and 224TQ. The original 5spd transmission was replaced with a 6spd and gear ratios were also revised for added performance. Brakes also grew from 12 inches to 13 which required new, larger wheels. In 2002 the NSX received a visual facelift with the addition of fixed HID headlights and other minor cosmetic changes. The optional fixed roof was dropped altogether.

1992 NSX-R

Throughout the production run there were also various special editions sold mostly in Japan. In 1992 Honda began production of the limited edition NSX-R. About 483 of these were built for the Japanese market and they included a blueprinted engine making 280HP along with extensive weight reduction, more aggressive gearing, and stiffer suspension. The car was very purposeful and track oriented as it did not come with sound deadening, a radio, or air conditioning. The production of this first generation NSX-R lasted until 1995. There were also other Japanses market only editions dubbed NSX TypeS and S-Zero. These models debuted in 1997 and and were lighter weight with stiffer suspension than the standard model. In 1999 the Alex Zanardi edition NSX was introduced exclusively for the U.S. market. This model commemorated Zanardi's two back to back Champ Car championships for Honda. The Zanardi cars were similar to Japan's NSX TypeS. In 2002 the NSX-R returned in Japan. Again, the car featured extensive weight reduction along with various aerodynamic enhancements. There was also an NSX-R GT released with a production run of only five cars at a price of $462,400. These cars were created to help Honda enter the Super GT race series in Japan which required that the race cars be production based. The NSX-R GT cars featured snorkel air scoops and a wider body along with lower suspension.

2002 NSX-R

Performance numbers for the NSX were better than the power numbers would suggest. This was mainly due to the relative light weight of the car. In 1990 the NSX made about 30HP less than the Ferrari 348 but it was over 300lbs lighter resulting in the NSX being faster in a straight line. Tests showed that 3.0L NSXs hit 60mph in about 5.4 seconds and the 1/4 mile in around 13.8 - 14.0 seconds. The 3.2L cars would hit 60 in 4.5 seconds and the 1/4 mile in around 13.3 seconds while the special editions were even faster with the Zanardi running 13.0 in the 1/4 mile and the NSX-R ripping through in 12.5.

Production of the NSX lasted for 15 years and around 8,900 cars were sold making it a pretty rare site on the road. Even so, it is the car that caused major changes and a sort of renaissance in the exotic car market. Combining beauty, performance and Japanese reliability, it was the first car that could be described as an everyday supercar. At the time, comfort and reliability were relatively unheard of in the supercar/exotic market. Most owners accepted the flaws of their supercars as an acceptable trade off for the exclusivity and performance they possessed. The NSX scared manufacturers like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche so much that in the years following the NSX's release these other manufacturers had no choice but to make their cars better and better. The NSX raised the standard for an exotic sports car. No longer was it good enough for the car to be beautiful and fast, it also had to be comfortable and reliable.

Honda has promised a replacement for the NSX which should arrive within then next few years. Initial concepts showed another mid engined exotic type car but more recently they have changed to a front engined GT car more resembling the BMW M6 or Ferrari 599. The car reportedly will have a Formula 1 derived V10 with over 500HP and a sequential manual gearbox mated to Acura/Honda's SH-AWD all wheel drive system. I'd much prefer a true mid engined successor.

Acura HSC Concept - Mid Engine

Acura ASC Concept - Front Engine

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's Nice But Does It Have A Cupholder ?

In an obvious sign of the coming apocalypse, Lotus has decided to include an optional cupholoder in their recently announced Exige S Performance Pack. Obviously bowing to pressure from owners and potential owners (probably mainly American ones) Lotus, the company famed for lightweight, simple, raw sportscars, has added this to a car that is more suited for the track than the road.

The question of why is easy to answer. They obviously have heard from enough people that they feel it will make buyers happier and maybe increase sales. I don't blame them for that. The real blame lies with the people who are actually looking for such a device on such a car. I have to say that if you bought a Lotus Exige or are thinking of buying one and the thing you are not happy with is the lack of a cupholder, you've obviously got the wrong car. These are cars that demand all your attention and are all about the driving experience. Not about whether or not your big gulp can come along for the ride.

I stated that it is probably mainly American customers who are looking for this because I imagine this is one of their biggest if not the biggest market for their cars. Here in the US, more than almost anywhere else, most drivers think of cars as appliances and of driving as a necessary inconvenience that they would rather avoid if they had the choice. Most American drivers feel that they need to do something else while driving to pass the time. European manufacturers were probably the last ones to put these kind of non-driving related options in their cars because they don't get it. They don't understand our need to do other things while driving. They put them there because we demanded them and we are a huge market for their cars. Europeans seem to take their driving much more seriously than we do. Even our mainstream automotive press reinforces this since most car reviews I see in the magazines complain if a car doesn't have a good cupholder. I don't give a crap if a Lotus has a cupholder or not. The damn car is meant for driving, not a picnic!

I don't know how this happened but there are probably a number of reasons. The highway system in our country is pretty boring with it's mostly straight driving and relatively low speed limits. Driving is a necessity here in the US much more than in most parts of Europe. Population density is higher in Europe and public transportation is relied on more. The US is much more spread out requiring longer more boring interstate travel. Also, because of this the automatic transmission has become more popular here than anywhere else in the world. That in itself frees up the driver to do other things while driving because you only really need one foot and one hand to drive. The newest dangerous trend here is to send text messages via cell phone while driving. I don't know how the hell you do that at all while driving but it would be pretty much impossible while driving a manual transmission car. In fact almost anything, besides actually driving the car, would be much harder if not impossible in a manual transmission car.

Sure I've used the cupholders in my cars but if I was in the market for a track toy type of car, I wouldn't even think to ask if it had one. It's just not important and not what the car is all about. I'd probably never use it on such a car anyway. I'd be too busy enjoying the driving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jay Leno's Garage

Jay Leno seems like a real cool guy. Not only is he funny and talented, but he is also an absolute car fanatic. For those that don't know, Jay has a very impressive car collection and his own garage and staff that does all the maintenance and restoration/fabrication on his cars. The garage is called the Big Dog Garage.

I recently found out that he has a website dedicated to the garage at What a great site! It has photos and histories of all the cars, motorcycles and other items in the collection. It also has a video collection, most with Jay himself giving some info on each car and usually a test drive. Really cool stuff.

I've never met the man but everything I have read seems to indicate that even though he is hugely famous, he is a really down to earth guy. I've read stories from people who have bumped into him in various places and they all say that he is just a regular guy with a passion for cars and the means to have a very impressive and unique collection. He apparently is always showing up at various car gatherings in California, not as a publicized star appearance, but rather as just a guy with a one of his cars who'll just stand around and talk to anyone who shares his interest in cars.

I really admire his passion and knowledge of cars and their history. When you see the videos on his site you immediately understand that he is genuinely excited about each car he owns. He's like kid with a new toy. Entertaining is his job, but I think that his collection is what he is really all about. I'd love to see that collection and garage first hand. It must be like Disneyland for guys like me.

Now before anyone gets the wrong idea that I have some sort of affiliation with the site or Jay, or that I'm some kind of super Jay Leno fan, let me just say that none of that is true. I can honestly say that I've never watched the Tonight Show since he took over and I was actually upset that Letterman didn't get the gig. I do think Jay is a funny and talented guy but I am most impressed by his cars and love of them. Sure other celebrities have collections like Jerry Seinfeld with his Porsches. But I doubt that Jerry gets his hands dirty and has the passion that Jay does. Maybe I'm wrong, but either way, I admire Jay and I'm jealous as hell.

Anyway, check out the site, it's pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 2007 Dream Car of the Month - Lamborghini Miura

In 1963 Ferruccio Lamborghini, a wealthy tractor manufacturer, went to the Ferrari factory to meet Enzo Ferrari and complain about problems with the clutch on his Ferrari 250GT. Enzo replied by telling Lamborghini that there was nothing wrong with the car and that he should go drive his tractors because he didn't know how to drive cars. Quite mad, Ferruccio went back to his factory and had the Ferrari's transmission removed to find that the clutch was from the same manufacturer he used for his tractors. He searched his parts warehouse and found an appropriate replacement and the problem was solved. Sill furious, Ferruccio Lamborghini swore that he would never buy another Ferrari and vowed to beat him at his own game by building a better sports car. Automobili Lamborghini was born.

The 1963 350GT was the first model produced by Lamborghini which was followed by the 400GT. Both sold well but the car that put them on the map as a serious sports car company was the Miura. The chassis of the Miura was shown for the first time at the 1965 Turin Motor Show where it generated a buzz and several orders even without a production body. A body was designed by Marcello Gandini from Bertone and was unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show where it became a sensation.

P400 Miura

The early cars, known as the P400, were produced between 1966 and 1969 and used the same 3.9L V12 from the previous 400GT. The 350HP engine was mounted transversely and was a single casting along with the transaxle using the same lubrication system for both. These early cars became infamous for being a fire hazard due to the use of a particular model of Weber Carburetors intended for race cars. The carbs would build up with excess fuel while idling which would ignite when the driver attempted to accelerate. Lamborghini eventually came up with a fix that was, surprisingly, adopted by Ferrari who used the same carb in one of their cars. Approximately 275 of the P400s were produced with a price tag of around $20,000.

Miura S

In November 1968, the P400S better known as the Miura S, debuted at the Turin Motor Show. There were slight changes from the original Miura which were mostly ergonomic. There was however a bump in power of 20HP thanks to larger intake manifolds, and revised camshaft profiles. About 338 Miura S models were produced between December 1968 and March 1969.

Miura SV

The final production model Miura was the P400SV. Lamborghini again revised the camshafts and changed the carburetors to add another 15HP to engine output. The SV also featured a limited slip differential which required the engine and transmission to become separate castings with independent lubrication systems. The Miura SV also had some cosmetic changes, most noticeably the wider rear fenders to cover the new 9" wide rear wheels as well as different taillights and the loss of the "eyelashes" around the headlights.

Miura SV/J

There were also a few one-off and limited production variations of the Miura produced during the life of the car. There was the P400 Jota built meeting FIA racing requirements for group J racing and as a development mule for future Miura models. This car led to customers requesting that Lamborghini produce a Jota model. They refused to take on the expense of building the new car and instead offered an upgrade to the SV which came to be known as the SV/J. Only five of these were built by the factory. Two were new chassis and three were converted SVs. One final SV/J was built in 1987 from a leftover chassis for the brother of Patrick Mimram who owned Lamborghini at the time. A one-off roadster was also built by Bertone as a show car and still exists today. An SV/J Spyder was also created and displayed at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show. The car was actually the 1971 Geneva Show car which had been converted by the Swiss Lamborghini importer.

Aside from the early fire problems, Miuras also became somewhat notorious for being unstable at high speeds. This was mainly due to the fact that the fuel tank was in the front of the car and as it emptied, the weight over the front wheels became less and less resulting in lift being generated at the front of the car at speed. The car's performance was pretty good for it's day though as the Miura was able to hit 60MPH in about 5.5 seconds and through the 1/4 mile in the low 14 second to high 13 second range. Top speed was around 179MPH.

In 2006 Lamborghini unveiled a Miura Concept which commemorated the intoduction of the original car in 1966. The concept car is a beautiful modern interpretation of the orignal design of the Miura much like the Ford GT is to the original GT40. Unfortunately, Lamborghini has indicated that they have no intention to put the car into production.

2006 Miura Concept

The Miura was the first car to be coined a "supercar" by the automotive press. In 2004, Sports Car International named the Miura number four on their list of the Top Sports Cars of All Time. Most importantly, it proved that Lamborghini could be a player in the exotic sports car market and gave Ferrari some competition.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nissan GTR Specs and Photos Released

Nissan's new GTR is not scheduled to make it's debut until the Tokyo Auto show next week but their attempts to keep the official specs and final details a secret until then have been largely unsuccessful. Various sources have posted official photos and specs on the car within the last couple of days opening the flood gates.

The styling is a bit iffy but I'll wait for my final decision until I see one in person. The performance numbers however, are another story. What is known now is that the car will be sporting a 3.8L twin-turbo V6 making 473HP and 434TQ which will rocket the car to 60 in 3.5 seconds and through the 1/4 mile in 11.7seconds on way to a top speed of 192mph. Pretty freaking fast in other words. The car will also feature all wheel drive and a 6 speed dual-clutch automated manual like Audi's DSG transmission. Base price looks to be below $80,000. It remains to be seen if a lot of buyers will be willing to plunk down that much on a Nissan but those who know what those three letters GTR mean will want one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Honda teasing a new CRX in Tokyo?

Honda seems to be hinting at reviving the very popular CRX at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show where they will be displaying the CR-Z lightweight hybrid concept. Hopefully they buid it and keep it faithful to the design philosophy of the original which was one of my favorite all time cars.

Here is the article from

"The new Honda CR-X may finally be on the way. Over the last few years, Honda has released a bunch of dodgy design studies previewing a lightweight sports car, but with the CR-Z concept - due to be unveiled in Tokyo - it looks like finally becoming a reality.

And we approve very much. Top Gear has a big soft spot for the original CR-X, and the CR-Z is by far and away the best-looking of the Honda lightweight concepts we've seen: miles better than the
Small Hybrid Sports Concept from Geneva this year and the Remix from LA in 2006.

Honda says that CR-Z stands for Compact Renaissance Zero, which is largely marketing nonsense but does indicate that the Japanese design team has gone a bit retro. That sharply angled glass hatch is straight off the CR-X, while the low, stretched stance is faithful to the original, too.

The CR-Z is powered by a three-stage i-VTEC petrol engine coupled to an IMA hybrid electric motor. Though there are no more details on the drivetrain at the moment, Honda is highlighting the CR-Z's eco-friendliness, so expect a small engine with low emissions.

Those narrow wing mirrors will expand somewhat if the CR-Z makes it to production, while the high-concept interior would be completely overhauled.
The basic proportions of the CR-Z look sensible enough, though - longer and wider than the original CR-X (though no taller), there's a proper back seat... and even those 19-inch wheels don't look too absurd.

We'll have a closer look at the CR-Z in Tokyo towards the end of this month and, if it's even half as good in flesh as in these photos, we'll be imploring Honda to build it."