Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This month I figured I'd focus on a very rare and obscure supercar from the 90s, the Cizeta V-16T. I had almost completely forgotten about this amazing car until it showed up in the news earlier this month. Apparently the car's designer, former Lamborghini engineer, Claudio Zampolli had one of the only ten examples ever built with him here in the U.S. where he now lives. Unfortunately, he failed to get it approved by the U.S. government and it was seized in California on December 7 because according to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officials, "Cars that don't meet U.S. standards are outlawed for a reason. These vehicles can pose a real threat to public health and safety". Thank God they removed that menace from the streets. I feel safer now, don't you? A bit ridiculous, isn't it? Either way, their intention is to sell the car to the highest bidder outside the U.S.
The history of this car goes back to the mid 1980's when Lamborghini was looking for a replacement for their aging Countach. Zampolli and Marcello Gandini worked on the design and engineering of the car that would carry the Lamborghini supercar torch for the next several years. Their design was subsequently rejected by Lamborghini's then parent company Chrysler. Chrysler believed that the styling was too aggressive and the car would be too expensive to manufacture. The car that eventually was built, the Diablo, featured some of the styling queues of the original design but in all was very toned down.
After leaving Lamborghini, Zampolli reunited with Gandini to design and build the car they originally envisioned. A working prototype was ready by 1988, ahead of the Diablo, and a new company Cizeta (Ci-Zeta from the Italian sounding of Claudio Zampolli's initials CZ) was born. Originally billed as the Cizeta Moroder because of the involvement of composer Giorgio Moroder, who later dropped out of the partnership, the car was eventually sold as the Cizeta V-16T.
The production V-16T featured an amazing transverse mounted (hence the T in the name) V16 engine which was created by grafting two flat plane V8s together. The transverse layout of the huge engine meant the the Cizeta was wide, very wide. The two V8s shared a common block and featured gearing between them to send the output to the transaxle. Power output of the V16 is 540HP/400TQ which is enough to propel the car to 60MPH in about 4 seconds with a top speed exceeding 200MPH. Body construction was aluminum and the chassis was a tubular and honeycomb construction.
Pricing for the V-16T was around $300,000 when they were introduced for sale in 1991. Unfortunately for the company the world's economy was on a downturn and they just didn't have the name recognition among the uber rich that companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini have. Production ended in 1995 with only 10 car being built.
That however is not the end of the story. Cizeta is still around and they are building cars again. Zampolli moved himself and his company to California and they have resumed operations on an "on demand" basis. They even introduced a new model in 2003, the Spyder. Both models are still powered by the wild V16 and carry even wilder price tags. For a standard coupe, expect to pay $649,000 while the spyder will run you $849,000. Don't know how often their site is updated but the Cizeta website is up at http://www.cizetav16t.com. Check it out.
A little extra for you. Here is a video of what is I believe to be the same car that was recently seized by the US Government. Sounds amazing.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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Thursday, December 17, 2009
One particular time that sticks in my memory was many years ago and I was a passenger in my friend's Taurus SHO when some moron was tailgating a little too close. So my friend did what any reasonable instigator would do and give a little brake tap. That obviously didn't go over well and the moron was so determined to show us how cool he was he immediately sped up and flew by in the right lane and attempting to cut us off. Unfortunately for him his maneuver was so violent that he completely lost control of his car and wound up spinning out in front of us at highway speeds ending up on the grass center median facing the wrong way. Brilliant! I've also seen the insanity of someone cutting another car off and pulling the handbrake, again at highway speeds, to make some kind of statement to the car behind him. You gotta love it.
But this morning's one was particularly scary and humorous at the same time. The local road I take from home that leads to the NJ Turnpike is really two lanes at an intersection controlled by a traffic light. There is no straight so both lanes are to turn left which leads to the toll booths. This is marked by signs that are easily visible. There is a short right turn lane at the light but it does not go back more than a hundred feet from the light. The leftmost lane goes to a regular tollbooth to get a ticket and the right lane goes left to an EZ PAss lane. Anyway, having lived here for over 10 years, I've seen it happen many times where someone doesn't realize both lanes are for left turns and is in the leftmost lane but wants to get to the EZ Pass booth. So they make the turn and attempt to go wide to the right and see that the person next to them has also turned left so they honk, or worse, thinking this person has made an illegal left from the right lane.....wrong!
Well, that's what happened this morning. This guy in a BMW (breaking those douchebag in a BMW stereotypes) does this and honks at me. No biggie, but then he flings his car over into my lane right on my ass. What can I do? You guessed it, I give him a brake tap as he's on my bumper yelling at the back of my head (quite funny in the rear view mirror). Well that sets him off....I mean off the deep end. He then swings out to the right and goes through the next tollbooth over. I go through mine before him so he swings back left three lanes and attempts to beat me to the entrance ramp (three lanes to one merge). I, of course, don't let him in since he's being a major dick. That makes him even angrier and he then swings back right and passes me and the person ahead of me on the shoulder.
That's that....right? Wrong. It get's better. He's now two cars ahead of me and he merges onto the highway before the merge lane ends, across the white lines, because he's that kind of asshat. There he does something surprising. He slams on the brakes and waits for me. Now it's getting interesting. As I merge onto the highway he again slams on the brakes directly ahead of me causing me to stop short. Hand gestures start flying back and forth and he keeps blocking me as I change lanes. Finally he lets me get along side of him and then he starts pacing me. I try to ignore him but out of curiosity I finally look over and he's got his window down and he's yelling something. So I oblige and roll my window down enough to hear him yelling "WHAT"S YOUR PROBLEM!". My problem? OK. So I simply yell back - "ASSHOLE THAT WAS TWO LEFT TURN LANES BACK THERE". His response with a confused look on his face is "No". Then he speeds off to spread his assholeness to others. The scary thing was that I could swear that he had one of those shield plaques in his windshield. You know, like off duty police offices have in their personal cars. God I hope for everyone's sake he's not a cop. He didn't seem like the most stable person.
So that was my excitement for the day. Sad.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Alfa Romeo has an interesting reputation. They are noted for making some of the most beautiful and passionate cars in the world but they also are remembered, more recently in the U.S., for being utterly unreliable. Yet that passion and design win out over any quality complaints in the heads of most enthusiasts. It was, however, that reputation of poor quality that lead to dismal sales and a withdrawal from the U.S. market in 1995. Now with Fiat (Alfa's parent company) as a part owner of Chrysler, we should see a full return to the U.S. market sometime in the near future. In reality though, they have already made their return with the spectacular 8C Competizione.
First displayed at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show as a concept car, the 8C was designed as a tribute to the great Alfas of the past. The response to the car was positive and it went into production in 2007. Power is delivered from a 4.7L V8 designed by Ferrari and Masreati. Output is rated at 450HP/354TQ and it is routed through a sequential 6 speed rear mounted transaxle. With a relatively lightweight (3490lbs) carbon fiber body, the 8C can hit 60 mph in around 4.0 seconds and reach a top speed of over 190 mph.
The total production run of 8C coupes was limited to just 500 cars which was completed by the end of 2008. Only 84 examples were sold in the United States.
In 2005 Alfa showed a convertible variant of the 8C at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Production of the car was given the green light in 2007 and began this year. Again, the total production will be only 500 cars. The Spider features the same drivetrain as the coupe and is able to reach a slightly lower top speed of around 180 mph. The convertible top is electronically operated and uses fabric construction instead of a new trendy folding hardtop.
The Alfa Romeo 8C Coupe and Spider absolutely meet the dream car criteria. Stunning looks, amazing performance, and extreme rarity all guarantee it will be a collector classic.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
2010 9ff Speed9 Technical Data and Specification
The demanding chassis, consisting of adjustable stabilizers on the front and rear axles, double springs, and four aluminum spring plates, support ambitious driving. One can also count on the 9ff brake system consisting of 380 mm compound brake discs in combination with 6-piston calipers and 9ff brake pads.
Engine Location Mid
Drive Type Rear Wheel
Engine Configuration O
Displacement 3.60 L | 219.7 cu in. | 3600.9 cc.
Valves 24 valves.
4 valves per cylinder.
Horsepower 650.00 BHP (478.4 KW)
Torque 890.00 NM (656.2 Ft-Lbs)
HP / Liter 180.6 BHP / Liter
Fuel Feed Fuel Injected
Clutch Twin Clutch
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Hennessey HPE700 Camaro
Yet another custom Camaro. This one has a ZR1 engine producing over 700HP....725 to be exact. 0-60 takes 3.5 seconds and the 1/4 mile disappears in 11.3. There will be 24 built costing $119,500 each.
Yenko Phase I Camaro
Wow, the new Camaro is certainly popular with the tuners this year. Here is a blast from the past, Yenko. Don Yenko was famous for building some of the wildest musclecars of the late 60's early 70's and now we have a new Camaro bearing his name and sporting a supercharged LS3 good for around 600HP. There will be Phase II and Phase III cars which are expected to have tuned LS7 and LS9 V8s.
Vaughn Gitten Jr.'s RTR-C Mustang
Drifter Vaughn Gitten Jr's Mustang features an all carbon fiber body dropping about 400 - 500 pounds off the Mustang's heft resulting in a curb weight of 3,350lbs. That plus the addition of a supercharger, larger brakes, and suspension upgrades will make this one beastly Mustang. He plans to sell 10 of them for about $135,000.
The 2010 S281 will feature a supercharged 4.6L V8 producing 485HP/460TQ and be priced at around $60,000.
Ringbrothers 1964 Fairlane
Ringbrothers is a well known custom shop responsible for some amazing vehicles. Their latest is a 64 Ford Fairlane called "Afterburner". Made with extensive use of carbon fiber and aluminum this stunning ride is powered by a 560HP/540TQ Rousch 427 crate motor. The fabrication work and attention to detail is amazing.
Specter Werkes C6 GTR
This awesome looking Corvette has a Lingenfelter twin turboed LS7 under the fiberglass hood good for over 800HP.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The Viper will be replaced in 2012 by an all new sports car which will be developed with the help of Chrysler's new daddy, Fiat. Remember though that Fiat is also closely tied with Ferrari so maybe something very good will come of this.
RM 460 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Powered by a Genesis Sedan's 4.6L V8 producing 500HP and mounted where the back seats and hatch used to be, this is a seriously cool one off creation by Rhys Millen. A sequential gearbox is mated to the V8 and the car also gets all kinds of upgrades to the brakes, body, and suspension. Sweet.
Lots of Mustangs from various different sources. My favorite is probably this one from Street Scene Equipment.
This one from H&R is pretty nice as well.
Honda is using SEMA to announce a return to grassroots racing and they broke out some classics including a 1972 SCCA Civic 1200 that won 6 titles in GT5 back in the 80's and early 90's. Along with that was a very cool 1984 Mugen CRX prototype. I had an 84 CRX so I love this one.
There was also an abundance of Camaros put on display. GM rollled out quite a few concepts, many of which were pretty cool including one built for Jay Leno featuring a twin turbo V6 with 425HP and a six speed.
Some of the others.
Trans Am to be exact. Actually to be completely honest, they are re-designed Camaros put together by a few aftermarket companies. And they are not bad.
First is the Lingenfelter T/A Concept that looks like an early 70's 455 Trans Am and features an actual 455 cubic inch V8 with 655HP and 610TQ. It's nice but I'm not feeling the honeycomb wheels.
Next up is the Kevin Morgan Phoenix Trans Am Concept. This one features the classic Smokey and the Bandit look of the late 70's T/A and backs it up with a supercharged LS V8.
That's it for now. I'll keep an eye on the continuing coverage and maybe post more if anything catches my attention.