Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bergen County, NJ Sports/Exotic/Classic Car Meets

One of the perks of being a Bergen County, NJ resident is that there are many highly desirable cars around.  Unfortunately, many owners don't drive these sports cars regularly, so they end up sitting in the garage, under covers until they come out once a year for a car show.

In an effort to get those cars out of their garages and onto the road, I've started a monthly car meet for any owner of a sports, exotic or classic car in the area.  The meets will be very casual, unlike competitive car shows, which offer prizes and charge fees.  This will simply be an opportunity for owners to show off their cars, meet other owners and give people a chance to see the cars.

The first meet has been scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd at 11 AM in the Ridgewood High School parking lot.  We will run through roughly 2 PM, depending on the turnout.  We will have the event, weather-permitting.  If it is raining or snowing hard, the meet will be postponed (I will update this page by Sunday morning if there needs to be a change).

If you would like more information or want to be added to my e-mail list for future meets, e-mail me at "carsandcoffeeNJ@yahoo.com."  I will be sending e-mails out with information about future meets from that account.

Finally, this Sunday's meet will include a hurricane relief fundraiser.  If you'd like to make a donation, I will be collecting them this Sunday for them to be donated directly to hurricane victims in need of help.

Hopefully we'll have a solid turnout for the first meet and continue to build and grow the meets in the future.  If you know someone who owns a sports car, pass this information along to them!  I hope to see you on Sunday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's like 2003 all over again

Ten years ago, we were introduced to some of the greatest supercars of all-time.  Around this time in 2002 (give or take a few months), we were introduced to the Ferrari Enzo, Saleen S7, Viper SRT10, Lamborghini Gallardo, Porsche Carrera GT and McLaren Mercedes SLR, with the Lamborghini Murcielago, Ford GT and Ferrari F430 being introduced shortly before and after 2002, respectively.  It was an amazing time to be a sports car fan, but there was a sense that this surge of truly great cars would be the last of its kind.  After all, the turn of the century was when the "green" movement really took off.  Miles per gallon suddenly became more important than miles per hour.  It really did seem like outrageous sports cars were coming to an end.

But then, about three years ago, we got some good news.  The first car to revive the sports car world was the Ferrari 458 Italia in 2009.  Shortly after, Ferrari's old Formula One rival, McLaren, launched a similar car of their own: the MP4-12C, named after some random guy's license plate.  Then it was Ferrari's "other" rival who joined the party.  Lamborghini unveiled the Aventador, and the supercar scene suddenly had three new masterpieces.

Now it seems that there is another great surge of supercars.  Here's a look at some of the headlining supercars that are due to hit the market in the near future:

Pagani Huayra

When I think of Pagani, I think of spaceships and fighter jets and everything a 5-year old wishes he had.  Why?  Because Pagani's are built to be insane.  They're "poster cars."  When a non-sports car fan sees a Pagani, they realize that it's a special car, not that you'll ever see one on the road in the U.S.  The Zonda was not only Pagani's flagship from 1999-2012, it was their only car.  They built just over 200 Zonda road cars during that time.

The new 2013 Huayra is the second car out of Pagani's stable.  It resembles the Zonda in some ways, both in styling and with the Mercedes AMG V12 engine that it will still have, but this is an entirely new car.  It will trump the Zonda in the power department, as the Huayra has 720 horsepower.  That's more than Ferrari's old V12 road car, the 599 GTO and the new Lamborghini Aventador.  It can get from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 3.3 seconds and top out at over 230 miles per hour (not miles per gallon).

But the Huayra was designed for a different purpose than the Zonda.  The Huayra was designed to give the driver a completely different feel than the Zonda, as Horacio Pagani himself explains to Jay Leno:

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

The Ferrari 599 was an amazing car from a performance aspect and a technological aspect.  Unfortunately, its looks weren't amazing.  However, Ferrari improved so dramatically from the F430 to the 458 in their mid-engine V8 department that there was absolutely no reason why they couldn't do it with their V12 GT car as well.  And from the looks of this new car, it looks as if they have.  Welcome to the F12 Berlinetta.

While Pagani's new creation has a tiny little 6.0 liter V12 with only 720 horsepower, Ferrari's new car has a 6.3 liter V12 that produces 730 horsepower.  The F12's 0-to-60 time beats the Pagani as well, albeit by just 0.2 seconds (3.1 for the F12).  The Ferrari can also reach upwards of 210 miles per hour.  So while most car companies are coming out with smaller turbocharged engines, Ferrari has unleashed quite a mammoth.

But the improvement with the F12 from the 599 is more than just performance, because the F12 looks amazing.  Oh, and it doesn't sound too bad, either:

SRT Viper

Over the past two decades, the Dodge Viper has been America's dream car.  The Viper of the '90s, the RT-10, was simple, as some consider it to be the modern-day Shelby Cobra.  It evolved gradually in the late '90s with the GTS and again in the early 2000s with the SRT-10, but now the Viper has leaped forward, after disappearing completely for a few years.  The catch is that it isn't a Dodge anymore, not that it matters.

The new Viper is stunning in every way.  First of all, it looks incredible.  They've managed to keep the traditional proportions of the Viper intact while making it look new and revolutionary.  Then there's the engine, which is simply enormous.  It's an 8.4 liter V10 that makes 640 horsepower, which is more than the Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi R8 or Lexus LFA, thus the most powerful production V10 in the world.  And at 8.4 liters, that's the biggest engine in the world, too (at least that I can think of).

Despite the craziness under the hood, it's actually ever-so-slightly more practical, too:

Porsche 918 [Spyder]

The last Porsche I cared about was the Carrera GT from ten years ago.  It was one of the all-time great cars when it came out, and its performance numbers can still rival almost anything in production today.  But since the Carrera GT, no Porsche's have really interested me.  The 911 has gotten a bit boring.  The Cayman is for people who can't afford a 911 and don't want a Mustang, the Cayenne is a big SUV and the Panamera is just plain ugly.

Have no fear!  Porsche has saved the day...from themselves, I guess.  After years of speculation, the 918 Spyder is going to be produced.  It remains to be seen how many will be made, but hopefully they'll build enough where you might actually see one on a nice Saturday afternoon drive.  The 918 Spyder is a completely new kind of sports car.  It has a V8 that produces 580 horsepower, but due to its electric engine system (which is far too complicated for me to understand), it can actually reach up to 900 horsepower.  Ferrari's Enzo replacement will follow a similar model.

The 918 really is coming to production.  Here's proof, as it drives the Nurburgring and public roads:

McLaren P1

If your company built what many consider to be the greatest car of all-time, how do you follow that up?  That's precisely what McLaren has faced ever since the final F1 rolled off the production line in 1998.  The McLaren name surfaced again on a production car in 2003, when the Mercedes-based SLR debuted, and again on their MP4-12C, but this is the P1, and it's been built to replace the F1, and that's a very tall order.

The new P1 is the opposite of the F1.  The P1, like the MP4-12C, is a car based on technology, while the F1 was a much more basic car.  The F1 was Gordon Murray's hobby, while the P1 is more of a science project.  The P1 will use an electric system with its 3.8 liter V8, which is the same basic engine as the MP4-12C.  The electric system, which is beyond my understanding, will somehow produce around 960 horsepower and allow the car to reach speeds of nearly 240 miles per hour.  For the record, that wouldn't beat the old F1's top speed.

Ferrari F70

There aren't any official pictures of the Enzo's replacement yet, but it is expected to be produced by 2014.  The F70 will be Ferrari's first hybrid.  It will have an electric system that will allow its horsepower to reach nearly 1,000.  But, of course, this Ferrari has big shoes to fill.  It's the successor to the Enzo.  The Enzo replaced the F50, which replaced the F40, so the F70 will have to be pretty amazing.

Luckily, despite the hyrbid-ness of the new car, the F70 will retain the V12 that the Enzo had, meaning that three of Ferrari's five base models will actually be V12s (FF, F12, F70).

The F70 will be the fastest, and most fuel-efficient Ferrari ever built.  That's a win-win for everyone.  Well, except for almost everyone, since most of us will never own or drive one.

Corvette C7

Like the F70, General Motors has been very secretive about the new Corvette, so there aren't any official pictures or performance numbers yet.  I already wrote, and ranted, about the C7.  Basically, it's going to be very fast and will have a better interior, but it isn't going to look like Corvette's that we're used to.  For some reason, General Motors decided that to attract younger buyers, they'd take the rear lights from the Camaro and put them on the Corvette.  Yes, the older brother borrowed from the younger brother.

Other than the not-so-exciting styling of the C7, the new Corvette will be an amazing car.  The C6 was a huge improvement from the C5 in the performance department, and the C7 will take that to the next level.  Now, finally, the Corvette will get an interior makeover and will shrink in size a bit.  Oh, and by the way, it'll get about 30 miles to the gallon, thanks to the first-to-fourth gear feature on all Corvette's.


Ten years ago, the sports car world saw a group of cars burst onto the scene that revolutionized performance road cars and set new standards.  Now, it's happening again, and this time, the cars are more powerful.  Thankfully, the supercar didn't die with the start of the green movement.  Hopefully, they'll live on well past the hybrids and stupid electric cars that are on the road now.  Only time will tell, but for now, at least we have these new cars to look forward to.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Ultimate Top 10 Dream Garage

Earlier today, Jalopnik asked the question of all questions for "gearheads": if you could have a garage containing any five cars in the world, regardless of price and exclusivity, what would they be?  I struggled to narrow my list down to five, so why not expand to 10?  So that's what this is.  Here's my top 10.  Feel free to comment below or tweet your top 10 to me.

#10: Ford GT

Every American motor racing fan during the 1960s knew about the legendary Ford GT40 race car.  That car defeated the mighty Ferrari's at Le Mans, and established its place in racing history in the process.  In 2003, Ford decided to recreate the GT40 and produce it as a road car.  The result was this, the Ford GT.  Just over 4,000 GT's were produced.  The production car became the fastest such American car ever produced as a base model.  The GT's mid-engine V8 produces about 550 horsepower, reaches 212 miles per hour and looks incredible.  Several American classics have been recreated, such as the current Mustang, Camaro and Challenger, but none of them can match the overall brilliance of the Ford GT.  And to think that it's based on a car from almost half a century ago.

#9: 2013 SRT Viper

The Dodge Viper has been the American "dream car" since it debuted in 1992.  The Viper was designed to be simple, like the Shelby Cobra, yet its styling made it bolder and crazier than the cheaper Corvette.  In other words, the Viper is America's Lamborghini.  Dodge stopped building the SRT10 generation Viper, but the company announced the re-birth of the Viper under the SRT name.  The result is simply stunning.  It looks like no other American car ever has and it will probably perform like no other American car ever, yet it still contains a huge V10.  The venom is back and better than ever.  I always thought the late '90s-early '00s Viper GTS was the greatest Viper...until this one.  This is the best Viper ever, which means it's America's best dream car ever.
#8: Ferrari 458 Italia
When the Ferrari 360 was out, nobody thought Ferrari would be able to improve on it.  They did.  But once the F430 came out, nobody thought that could ever be improved upon.  You know what?  They did again.  Someday, they'll improve upon the 458, but until then, the ultimate 21st century sports car is the Ferrari 458.  It's the best looking and best sounding car in the world right now.  It still has the beautiful V8 behind the driver and all of the technology Ferrari could possibly come up with.  Of course, people who read Jalopnik regularly are constantly being reminded that these cars have had electrical problems causing fires in the past, but hopefully that's all it is: in the past.  The thing is, even if you owned one and were scared to ever drive it, at least you could pull a chair up in front of it and just stare it all day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Car Shows: 2012 Driven by Purpose, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Gold Coast Concour's charity exotic car show in Glen Cove, New York.  This past Sunday, another charity show took place in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey called "Driven by Purpose."  It was put together to benefit the "D.A.R.E." program, which has been mainstream in the area for several years.  Simply put, it was another extraordinary show with hundreds of supercars.  The difference between last week and this past week is that this one was in a smaller amount of space, so you could really take in the quality and quantity of cars you were looking at.  Here's a sample of what was there.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Car shows: 2012 Gold Coast Concours/Bimmerstock

I've been going to car shows since my age was single-digits.  Whenever dozens, and sometimes hundreds of sports cars gather, I do my best to get there.  This past Sunday, I was more excited than usual.  I had never been to an exotic supercar show before, mainly because there are far fewer of them than traditional muscle car shows and partially because I don't know as many supercar owners as I do muscle car owners.  So, thanks to FerrariChat.com, I found out about this charity (benefitting diabetes research) supercar show in Glen Cove, New York months ago.

Now I had seen some pictures from the past few years, so I knew generally what to expect.  There would be hundreds of BMWs and a decent selection of Italian supercars.  What I didn't know was just how impressive the display of supercars would be.  Here is my day at Glen Cove: Sunday, September 9th, 2012.

I arrived from the Glen Street approach, meaning I would start on the BMW side of the show.  To be honest, I wasn't really interested in seeing a bunch of M3s with fancy rims.  If I want to see my share of high-end BMWs, I'll take a Saturday drive through any Bergen County, New Jersey road and I'll get my fill.  So I pretty much walked right past the Bimmer's and towards the supercars.

Here's what I saw.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Matching each Devils' player with a car

Some Twitter followers suggested that I do this "segue" post between Down Goes Avery and this, my new blog for gearheads.  So, I've come up with this helpful guide for each current Devils player, and the topic has been something I've actually been thinking about for a long time.  Based on their style of play, what kind of car should they be driving?  What car do they represent as a hockey player?

Johan Hedberg - It's not the most glamorous car on the road today, but it's a reliable, fun second sports car.  You always look forward to driving it and some people say you should drive it more often.  It's not only still good at its job, but it's still a very good performance car.  Still, it is aging a bit and it's never been your most exciting car.

Johan Hedberg's car is a used Camaro Z28.

Marek Zidicky - This car isn't as appreciated as it should be.  While it can perform with cars that are more expensive and more flashy, this car quietly gets the job done and can be pretty fast in the process.  The average person might laugh at this car, but it's actually quite good and a well-kept secret to those who don't pay attention.

Marek Zidlicky's car is a Cadillac CTS.

Adam Larsson - This is a brand new car that has potential to be revolutionary.  It's had some growing pains early in its production, but a lot of experts believe that this will be the next big thing.  It's already caught the eye of many, but there's still work to be done in order for this to be the high-end car it could become.

Adam Larsson's car is a Fisker Karma.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Would Enzo Ferrari be happy with his company today?

The horse that inspired the infamous logo for Mr. Enzo Ferrari's company.

Any passionate Ferrari enthusiast can tell you how the company was founded: Enzo Ferrari was working for Alfa Romeo's racing teams in the 1930s and needed to fund Scuderia Ferrari, so he started to produce road cars as a side gig, and well, the rest is history.  Enzo never wanted to produce road cars, but for the sake of the entire sports car and supercar industry today, it's a damn good thing he did.

Throughout the course of Ferrari's storied history, most of their road cars followed one of two platforms: a mid-engined car with a six or eight cylinder engine or a twelve-cylinder engine in front of the driver.  There were rare exceptions to these platforms under Enzo Ferrari's reign, but for the most part, that's how he wanted his cars to be designed.  And Enzo was a perfectionist, so everything had to be done his way.

Ferrari's mid-engine V8 458 Italia.

The new V12 F12 Berlinetta.
Since Enzo's death in 1988, the company he left behind continued to produce road cars with the traditional pair of layouts, the mid-engine V8 and the "front-engine" V12 (the engines on V12 cars are in front of the driver, but the layouts of the car are not necessarily traditional front-engine cars).  Just as the 308 and 328 were designed under Enzo's watch, the 348, 355, 360, 430 and 458 have all taken each other's places as the company's line of V8 cars, while Ferrari's other current production cars are all different layouts of V12 cars.  So everything is status quo at Ferrari...or is it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Preview: 2014 Corvette C7 - Hit or miss?

As a lifelong Corvette fan, I decided it would be appropriate to dedicate this blog's inaugural post to be about...yes, you guessed it: the 2014 Corvette C7.  Of course, since it doesn't exist yet, I can't go out and see it or drive it.  In fact, nobody really knows what it'll even look like yet (unless you work for General Motors, in which case please go ahead and tell us everything you know about the C7!), so this whole post is essentially speculation.  So welcome to the blog and thanks for reading (or at least making it this far).

Pictured: variations of the C6 Corvette, the car that is about to expire.

Over the past 60 years, the Corvette has evolved from an almost failed experiment to America's premier sports car.  There were several growing pains along the way, as with many cars, but now, as the sixth generation Corvette (C6) has been around since 2005, it has become an elite performance sports car.  Now the time has come for another update.  The seventh generation (C7) Corvette is coming.  What should be expected with the new 'Vette?  How is General Motors prepared to kill the C6 and make the new Corvette even better?

Unfortunately, fuel economy is the primary focus of almost every car maker in the world right now, and for good reason.  Since most of the general public is obsessed with how many miles per gallon they're getting in their car, car companies should be focusing on what the public demands (umm, yeah...something like that).  As the cost of gas continues to rise, this likely won't be going away anytime soon.  This has also directly impacted the world of sports cars.  Since most sports cars are either a part of a major car maker or owned by one, the parent companies are so focused on fuel economy that there's been less time and money to develop the cars that us sports car fans really care about, because I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you're probably not a fan of the Toyota Prius.