Monday, November 23, 2009
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Monday, November 16, 2009
The spectacular Scenic Roof captures sunrise to starlight views while eliminating howling winds that are often created by standard moon-roofs. And, because the Scenic Roof is engineered as part of the car, it remains stationary and never moves up and down like conventional convertibles. The glass itself is laminate safety glass with UV ray protection. The Scenic Roof is sure to provide a unique driving experience that is
unmatched by previous innovations, and will be in production by January 2006.
For those who still love the wind through their hair, the latest Saleen offering is the 2006 Saleen Speedster, which offers a beautifully designed tonneau for ease of use in addition to the sport bar. Painted in matching Saleen colors, the sport bar and the tonneau offers a complimentary design to the already aggressive Saleen styling. The S281 Speedster will be available by November 2005.
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Monday, November 9, 2009
Turns out Toyota does have a little bit of soul for its everyday car. Premiering at the Tokyo Auto Salon was the Super GT300’s, and this is not your grandmother’s car. It’s powered by a 3.5l V6 engine that delivers 300hp, and weights a light 1100 kg (2420 lbs). It will make its official launch in the 2009 Super GT racing series.
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Anyone who has seen the Lamborghini Cars Reventon or the Aston Martin DBS knows that unmistakable feeling. It’s the thrill & the allure of the exotic sports car, overhauled & updated for the 21st century. Since their inception, sports cars have continually pushed the boundaries of both engineering & art. These are the cars that exemplify speed, power and beauty.
Alfa Romeo is the Grandfather of Exotic Sports Cars. Alfa Romeo is first began producing race cars in Milan, Italy in 1910. Their first endeavor, the HP 24, turned some heads with its superior speed and handling. Chief Designer Giuseppe Merosi worked on all Alfa Romeo models from 1910 to 1923. When Merosi retired, race car driver Enzo Ferrari persuaded Vittorio Jano to leave Fiat and take over Merosi’s work.
In 1925, Alfa Romeo unveiled the P2 Grand Prix Car, Jano’s first car with Romeo and widely considered the first “supercar.” The P2 was powered by a straight-8 cylinder supercharged engine, and placed first in 14 Grand Pix races between 1924 and 1930. Today, the P2 Grand Prix is considered one of the most rarified of the collectible antique cars, with less than a dozen still intact.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Now the whole reason for any motor company to create a muscle car, was simply this, they wanted to instill excitement in the younger car buyers, as they had started to lose sales to that sector of people, enter the GTO Judge, this car was built to excite, and that is just what it did, with it’s 400 CID engine, with the ram air III or IV option, if the owner wanted a bit more, ground pounding excitement they could step up from the Ram Air III to the barley Ram Air IV it would upgrade you to forged pistons, round port cylinder heads and 1.65:1 rocker arms.
The Ram Air III was rated at 366 HP, but you know how bad the factory underrated the hp on the muscle cars, so they could keep them insured while on their car lots, all Judges got the Ram Air III version, unless the owner upgraded, the upgrade to Ram Air IV included a $-Speed manual transmission, and all Judges were endowed with an aluminum intake manifold, 4 bolt main caps, and of course oval port heads with 67 cc chambers, at that time only 34 people ordered the ram air IV option for their GTO’s.
The standard Ram Air IV came with, a heavy duty cooling system, the standard gear ration was 3.90:1, and a Safe-Track limited slip differential. If this gearing just wasn’t quite enough, you could order a set of 4.33:1 rear gears. The Judge also came with heavy duty suspension, which would stiffen up the suspension on the car, by adding heavier springs and heavy duty shocks, drum brakes were standard, but the front disc setup could be had for an extra $62.45, a very good buy for the money.
The Judge had a paint scheme that was designed to stand out from the rest of the pack of muscle cars, it was bight orange, well at least the one that I seen, and had a factory stripe running down each side from under the rear quarter window to the end of the front fender, and a graphic sticker at the very front of the front fender, about midway up the fender that simply said “The Judge”, as I said before the car was rated at 366 HP @ 5400 rpm and 445 lbft of torque @ 3600 rpm.
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So what gives? What could make a vintage American iron addict like me go cold turkey? I touched on the answer a couple years ago when I talked about in Scottsdale, Arizona. While Barrett-Jackson has long been known for getting above-market prices for classic and special interest cars, the climb in muscle car values over the past five years — clearly reflected at this auction — has made Google stock look like a bad investment. In that March 2004 column I noted that while it was fun to watch the value of my GTX skyrocket it was far more disconcerting to see the overall price of these cars exit the land of "fun hobby" and enter the land of "wealthy investors."
In other words, it's tough to go out and just "have fun" with an American muscle car anymore. Now you've got everything from the initial cost to the restoration cost to the insurance cost making muscle car ownership a serious financial commitment. And we're not just talking Hemi Cudas and Shelby Mustangs. The issue of Hemmings I'm looking through has a 1974 318 Dodge Dart sedan priced at $10,900! Yes, a Dodge Dart sedan! There are brand-new cars available for less money! Similarly, a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is in here for $39,000. For those not in the know, 1973 and 1974 were not the best years in the muscle car movement (Pontiac Super Duty notwithstanding). Most of the "muscle" from the muscle car era was long gone by the mid-'70s, and neither of the examples I just mentioned have any sort of remarkable features or historic significance. But had I the space, and you the patience, I could list off hundreds of similar vehicles from the same Hemmings issue that are neither unique in terms of production numbers nor compelling in terms of performance. All of them are cars I would generously describe as fringe players in the muscle car era. Actually, the Dart sedan is just an old car, plain and simple.
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Following the Ferrari, I went to interview a matchmaker who matches Indian and Pakistani families for marriage here. He was very entertaining, and single. Which is odd for a matchmaker. Rather like a shoe designer wearing no shoes.
Today it is my belated birthday treat, a day at a spa. I am looking forward to it enormously, of course, but cannot believe I am going to miss Federer/Safin in the Oz Open. I can’t think of anything I would rather do than watch them, except maybe go for a drive in a red Ferrari.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
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