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Saturday, June 27, 2009
There has been a great deal of conversation regarding the new topless Veyron.
There have been endless photo galleries showing it at Pebble Beach and Calais, yet no one seems to have caught sight of one of these precious hyper cars. Until now. The first two production models showed up in front of me, walking down a back street in the Wine Country town of St. Helena, California. I walked around the town waiting for my uncle to show up for dinner, and stumbled on not one, but two Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand-Sports.
One in pearl white, one in silver, both sitting undisturbed just for my eyes to feast on, enough car to render me speechless. At first, I had to turn away, then turn back to be sure it wasn't a dream.Turns out, Bugatti decided that the Napa Valley Wine Country would be a nice place to do a photo shoot. At that moment, that never-ending feeling of awe and surprise at seeing truly exotic cars in the flesh took over, sending a shiver up my spine. In true supercar style, the Veyrons drew a croud of drooling bystanders, people of all ages came to gaze in awe, some just to look, and some to stand around and prattle about about how they have 4 turbos and 16 cylinders, and they do 253 mph (which is not true because the Grand-Sport is limited to 230). Nonetheless, the Veyrons sat proudly attracting every teenage boy within 100 miles, including myself. As it happened, 1001 Horse-Power, 2 Million Dollars worth of the world's most beautiful form of excess was enough to make me late for dinner. Find the rest of the photos of the Veyron Grand-Sports and more at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30494374@N07/
Monday, May 18, 2009
I woke up Sunday morning to find that throughout the northern half of California, the heavens had opened their floodgates, just to ruin the greatest day of every year. After many phone calls and much coercion from Spencer, friend and fellow Car Fanatic, I decided to go but only after hearing him say, "It'll be like LeMans; the rain will just make it all the better". We arrived at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, greeted by sunshine and what can only be described as a corral of race-prepped Ferraris, old and new, all itching to flex their Italian muscles, and destroy a few eardrums in the process. The first sign from heaven was this car (at left), being chased by another of it's kind, who had previously decided to rev for about half an hour in the pits just to shout at everyone about it's greatness. And you can see why... The 512 BB LM may very well be the sound of angels having arguments about whose halo is the shiniest, but nontheless, it's all the better seeing two of them duke it out at Infineon Raceway. Next in all the excitement, came the "Owners Lap", which meant only one thing: A car lot full of 200+ Ferrari's ranging from F430 Scuderia's to the Enzo, emptiying onto the track and strutting their stuff as loudly as they could.
The next bit of fun began while we were perusing the 1954 Maserati 250F near the pits when the owner invited us, a couple of teenage car-nuts, to have a seat. Little did we know that 250F #4 was formerly driven by the great Sir Stirling Moss, who famously won the 1955 Mille Miglia and set the course record in a Mercedes 300SL. We left feeling that our hind-ends had been blessed in some way by the former presence of one of our greatest racing heroes. Maybe that is the essence of the Ferrari Challenge; to expose enthusiasts to three days of seeing their most cherished race cars, old and new, up close, on the track, and driven the way they were meant to be. Maybe the point is to give us all a taste of the driving glory associated with the legendary Prancing Horse. There is something to be said for the wealthy people who don't just let their old racecars sit in temperature controlled garages but take them out and not just drive them, but thrash them, to stuff their foot into the car of their childhood dreams and remind themselves and the car, how great they really are. If the car is built to go fast, it should go fast, as long as it stands on four wheels. For people like me, a 16 year-old, absolutely yearning to hear the sweet sounds of Italian Exotics and to get his hands on such driving magic, the Ferrari Challenge really is Heaven on Earth.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Who knew. Your parents sign you up for a course annoingly entitled "Highway Survival", and what's the first thing that comes to mind, endless hours of watching severed heads roll across the open roads, and the instructor saying "This could happen to you" about 10,000 times. But no, this vision is wrong, because the way the Jim Russell School of Racing interprets "Highway Survival" is figuratively teaching young gearheads like myself how to drive fast... Safely... Thats not to say that the techniques of "Skid Control" better known as "Drifting" aren't useful in the real world, but lets be honest, it is a laugh when they show you to a car that looks like shopping cart wheels have been attached and the only rubber touching the ground that actually belongs to the car are the ones in front. All these things add up to a Dodge Intrepid, very, very sideways in a drift at 15 mph, and a lot of very, very hysterical 16 year old boys in the back seat. It was very exciting indeed. Especially when it was my turn. Getting behind the wheel, I did not feel particularly ecstatic about drifting a plasticky front-wheel drive econobox, but at the first turn, uncontrollable laughter overtook the car as we slid sideways in figure-eights or spun round and round when the driver didn't give it enough gas coming out of the turn. And of course, in typical Car Fanatic style, I took out a cone after getting over-zealous with the gas pedal. Stay tuned for Part 2, when we test out some hard braking techniques... in a Ford Focus WITHOUT Anti-Lock brakes...
Sunday, August 31, 2008
My name is Trevor Green-Smith, and though I love to write about cars, I've only just started driving them. I've loved cars my whole life, I guess it runs in the family, and so does the love of driving. My Grampa, owned everything from a performance tuned 57' Chevy, to a metal flake Mustang GT, to a Datsun 280Z, and mind you, he raced every car he got his hands on. My Dad's first car was a 67' Pontiac GTO, and my Mom owned the original Mini. My Uncles have had Porsche 911's and Mercedes SL550's, so I would conclude that cars are in my blood. I was keen on exotic cars from a pretty young age, to the point that I could name every car on the road by the age of four. When I learned what the fast-red-cars-that-made-great-noise's were actually called "Ferrari's", the deal was done. I was a Car Fanatic. Driving cars, as I've recently discovered is a whole other matter. After getting my permit, and subsequently enduring a truly awful 2 hour lesson in a Dodge Stratus with a 478 year-old man in the passenger seat, you could say that I was a bit discouraged. However, this hasn't stopped me trying to become Mario Andretti Jr., despite the fact that my parent's Toyota Landcruiser isn't exactly driving Nirvana either. Anyway, my experience with cars isn't just my lineage, but my own passion. I visited the Ferrari factory last summer in Maranello, Italy, I am constantly pestering the staff at the local exotic car dealers, and Infineon Raceway is a 20 minute drive away. Lets just put it this way, trips to London, Paris, Rome and other European cities don't exactly help me with my addiction to exotic cars. Enough said.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
A collection of my photos from the 2008 Tiburon Classic Car Show...
A gorgeous 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of only 36 ever produced:
A fantastic Lamborghini Murcielago with a perfectly fitting background:
A row of 1948 Porsche 356's and a 1955 Austin-Healey 100M:
A collection of old Alfa Romeo's including a beautiful yellow Giulia:
An extremely rare 1951 Jaguar C-Type, the first race-car to run disc brakes at LeMans, one of only 52 cars ever built, the C-Type won the 24 hrs of LeMans on it's first try:
This 1961 Ferrari GT SWB needs no words:
I have absolutely no idea what in the world this is, but it is really, really cool:
A brand new silver Maserati GranTurismo, in my opinion, the best looking GT car ever built:
Friday, May 30, 2008
Despite claims by some that Aston Martin's effort to create hard-core, "thoroughbred" supercars is futile, this may be the light-weight descendent of one of the best looking cars ever, and now, it has a dragon under it's hood. Oh yes, that fire breathing 6.0 Liter V12 straight out of the DBS has undergone a transplant into a car that weighs in at a kerb weight of an anorexic 3500 lbs. Now equipped with an even more growly exhaust system, lots of carbon fiber bits, and even carbon ceramic brake discs, this Aston might just be a track worthy daily-driver. With 600 bhp, any CEO can get his heart racing when he nudges the throttle just a little. All of Aston Martin's Racing experience, combined with components from the DBR9 GT1 Track Car, and of course the dashing good looks of Aston's top notch design department, would bring even me to say that this one's a winner. Everything except the price tag of a pocket picking $320,000...
Friday, May 16, 2008
This is one of those ferocious Italian cars that make us smile. The very essence of passionate design is exemplified in the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4. This is what a supercar should be. Seriously. With a brand new bodykit, redesigned alloy wheels, carbon fiber all over the place, and that sumptuous 5.0 Liter V10 cranking out more horses then ever, you can't help but feel overwhelmed by Lamborghini's brilliance. This thing oozes that feeling of insanity that we've come to expect of the Raging Bull. The new Gallardo could even be the epitome of the mid-engine supercars, in terms of design, technology, performance, and handling. This is what we should all be looking for in upcoming supercars.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Some were hoping for a hard core, lightweight super car, some imagined a replacement for the 250 GT California of old, and some hoped for an F430 replacement, however, we received none of the above. On the contrary, we received none of those. What we see could be a replacement for the 575 Maranello, a 2+2, with possibly a folding hardtop, and a big V8 in the front and *gasp* a second pair of seats in the back. But there is one problem. It's not that original. It's drop dead gorgeous, no doubt about that, but is it really a Ferrari? Does it really carry the flare, the insanity, the passion, and the soul of the Ferrari's that we've all come to love? To me, it feels like competition for the BMW M3 or the Mercedes CL63 AMG, but just more expensive, and with that heart-stopping Ferrari badge on the front, and a few pieces of carbon fiber here and there. What we have here is not a supercar, but a toned down Ferrari, a subdued prancing horse. It almost feels like Ferrari held back on this one, it's missing the purity and the excitement that give Ferrari it's name, and all we can hope, is for the lunacy to return.
Images From Ferrari SpA
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Welcome to Car Fanatics Unleashed, where guys who are crazy about autos talk endlessly about the hottest exotics in town! We'll have weekly design reviews, roasts for cars we don't like, and a Car of the Month award to the car that doesn't get totally ripped apart!
Join us for a wild ride filled with news, pictures, adventures, and ridicule!
We look forward to your comments and suggestions!