Archive for ferrari

Whoops, there goes my supercar

Posted in Crap cars with tags , , , on 05/12/2011 by Alexander

Good news, everybody: a crash in Japan resulted in the totalling of a number of Ferraris and a Lambo, as well as other cars. No one was injured (otherwise it wouldn’t be good news), but this may be the most expensive accident in car history. Insurance companies will have to cough up, and a bunch of rich delinquents won’t be able to flaunt their costly toys in the face of us victims of the world recession. F**k you, luxury car owners.


A question of coupés (1)

Posted in Car conception, Crap cars, Desirable machines, General opinions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26/01/2011 by Alexander

I’ve been itching to write an entry on coupés for yonks, but I had to make a caveat first. So much so, that this single entry is dedicated to just that: what defines a car as a coupé?

Now, the origins of the term as applied to road vehicles is ancient, dating from horse-drawn carriages, and, like so many other terms (like driving, dashboard and chassis), as you can see for yourselves in the Wikipedia article. But what I’m interested in here is how the term is applied to modern cars, and how I’ll apply the term in this here blog.

To start off, there are certain cars that are called coupé, but actually aren’t really.

  • Two-door hatchbacks (e.g., Fiat Puntos and Audi A3s) – The term ‘two-door hatchback’ says it all. Just because certain greasy-haired thugs like to drive around in them far too fast than they think they can handle and have words like “Sport” and  “GTi” glued onto the back,  that doesn’t confer them the necessary style they need to be considered more than quick city cars.
  • VW Scirocco – Let’s be honest, it’s more of a stunted van than anything else. If anything, I’d say it’s more than the above two-door hatchback designation than a proper coupé.
  • Volvo C30 – Yes, it has a lot of style and is derived from a four-door saloon (S40), but again, it’s closer to the above examples.
  • Porsches, Ferraris and other cars of high-performance ilk – A coupé is all about style and beauty. If what’s under the bonnet and how fast does it go around the Nurburgring is more important than this, it’s a sports car or supercar or whatever.
  • Aston Martins – A grey area. They’re equipped with powerful V8s and V12s, and are meant to go very fast. But they’re not as sharp around tracks as most of their big-engined brethren, and ooze style from every metaphorical pore. Tough one.
  • Japanese sports cars – Take the Mazda MX-6 or the second-generation Nissan 200SX. Or the Datsun Z, for that matter. Are they sports cars or just sport style? Like the Astons, a grey area.  But I’d nudge them towards the sports car section.
  • “Faux-coupés” – I made this term up myself. Just now. With this term, I mean utter automotive crap like the Ford Puma, the Opel/Vauxhall Tigra or the awful Toyota Paseo. No style and no substance.

Coupés are, very basically, style-mobiles. They’re meant to cruise along and make heads turn. It doesn’t matter what’s propelling it, whether it’s a V6 or a 1.6-litre diesel, it’s what  beholders behold that counts. It’s the type of car the driver will slow down to look at him/herself when passing by shop windows, and does it very often for a long time. Having one is like being married to an extremely hot woman. You’ll forgive all the flaws and setbacks every time you just gaze upon the splendour of their looks.

Usually they’re based on a saloon model, and are just prettier, two-door versions of the same car. And the insanity of the thing is that they’re usually more expensive and less practical than their four-door counterparts, yet people still want them. Why? Because, as I’ve tried to press home in the previous paragraph, they look so good. Ask someone and they’ll probably deny it, but driving a good-looking car is incomparable, and I’d venture to say anyone would agree it beats driving a faster yet uglier car.

So that clears that up. Next time I can get on with it and write about specific coupés.

2010 is gone. Welcome 2011

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Crap cars, Desirable machines, General opinions, Green Tech, Upcoming cars with tags , , , , , , , , , on 03/01/2011 by Alexander

2010 was another automotive year with all the usual ups and downs, and there was nothing Earth-shaking about it. But there were some moments worth remembering:

Top 5 good things from 2010:

  • The spread of green technology
    Until recently, either having a hybrid or running your diesel on vegetable oil were the only ways to be green (driving a GPL car has been for yonks, but let’s not delve into that right now). This year saw the significant spread of cleaner engine technology, with more brands churning out more efficient engines, like PSA’s e-HDi or Fiat’s Twin-Air. It saw the introduction of all-electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and Renault’s ZE cars. Even Porsche and other traditionally anti-eco brands dreamed up their own hybrid concepts. We’re on the right track.
  • Formula 1 goes barebones
    I’ve never been one to talk about Formula 1, because it’s been a sport for the likes of Ferrari and big engine-producing to show off their crap. But no more. Next year sees the goodbye of the 2.4-litre V8 engine, and the exclusive use of 1.6l turbo flat fours. This will attract more car manufacturers and bring Formula 1 closer to what it should be: a laboratory for car-makers to test solutions in extreme conditions. With this, the solutions they’ll have to dream up for F1 cars will be more easily transposed to the cars you and me buy. That’ll mean more power and efficiency from piddly little four-cylinder power-plants. Ferrari are really pissed off by this, because they don’t use straight-fours in their road-going ostentation-mobiles, and are refusing to use them. Good riddance, shit-heads.
  • Cars keep getting nicer
    Unfortunately, the world’s recession stems from people living beyond their means, and that includes buying too many new cars. Here in Portugal, it’s heinous. Everyone complains how deep in the shit they are, but 2010 was unprecedented in terms of car sales. The upshot is that the automotive market is battling it out to make the best cars they can to attract the expanding market. Cars keep getting safer, better equipped, technologically more advanced, and even cheaper cars look nicer and nicer, as opposed to looking like coloured washing machines that they used to up until the mid-2000’s. Just sitting in recent cars makes me gawp, due to the simple fact that interiors just keep improving. A modern day supermini is just as nice to sit in as top-of-the-range four-doors of 20-odd years ago.
  • Volvo S60
    The coolest release of the year, topping the Peugeot RC Z, the Honda CR-Z and the Citroen DS3. The shape, the look, the gorgeous interior and instrument panel… wow.
  • Hummer went belly up
    Need I say more?

Top 5 let-downs of 2010:

  • The Peugeot 508
    Early in the year Peugeot treated us to two exciting new concept cars: the SR-1 and the RC Hybrid4. The former was a mouth-watering coupé and the latter seemed to show what the 407’s successor would look like. Instead of that, we got a knock-off of the Renault Fluence.
  • Citroen
    The 2000’s saw a spectacular return to form for Citroen. The C3 Pluriel, the C4, the C5 II and the glorious C6. This year, they decided to be run by the corporate morons and killed off the lovely C3 Pluriel, and introduced stuff like the Metropolis and the new C4, which both look like they were plagiarised from Audi. Awful.
  • Toyota
    I think the recalls speak for themselves. Never did I think to see this Japanese behemoth of reliability and sense be so mired by crass mistakes such as these. Amazing.
  • Fisker
    I was hoping to see the absolutely luscious Karma showing off its lines live in the metal and setting new automotive standards at the same time. Alas, ’twas not to be, with Fisker pushing its delivery dates further and further…
  • Ferrari 458
    “You-a-drive it, it-a-catches de fire!” The menstruation-coloured prancing hossie from Italy finally made a car that didn’t look crap for a “supercar”. Downside is, it goes up in flames of its own accord.

The name ain’t catchy

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines, News with tags , , , , , , , , on 17/09/2009 by Alexander

Calling a car “MP4-12C” isn’t a marketing friendly move, but then that’s all the ill that can be said about the new McLaren.

I wanted to hate it, since it was a supercar, and ostentatious, overpowered two-seaters seem insane in the current economic environment. But on seeing the photos and the small piece the BBC did on it, I couldn’t help but marvel at its looks and the amazingly cool interior. McLaren try to pull wool over people’s eyes by saying this is the car which emits the lowest ratio of CO2’s per horsepower, but it’s still a 600hp rocket on wheels. And it’s beautiful.

I’m not a sucker for offensively expensive cars. My aspirational car is a Citroën C6, and I think anything like the S-Class or above is flamboyant mockery of any and all restraint for showing off wealth.

Take Rolls Royce. A car that has the façade of a 2,500 year-old Greek temple as a grill. All of them brick-like, all them huge and useless and insultingly ugly. Or Ferrari. An unreliable, impractical, overpriced piece of metal that makes the wet dream of idiots worldwide when painted red and has a horsey in a yellow badge on it.

The McLaren just seems like a sensible supercar, as paradoxical as it may seem. It looks comfortable and welcoming. I also liked the 80kg, carbon-fibre, one-piece chassis, a clever technological innovation at the heart of the car, which is a rarity nowadays. Most breakthroughs are nothing more than add-ons, but this sounds clever.

I hate to say it, but I get the feeling that my aspirational car will be a bit harder to come by than I had imagined.

Ferraris are for pricks

Posted in A blight on God's clean Earth, Crap cars with tags , , , , , on 03/09/2009 by Alexander

Here’s an amusing article spawned by the news of the new Ferrari F458. Though the piece in question is already over a month old, it comes at the top of search results for “Ferrari F458”, so it must be pretty widespread by now. I only discovered it now and it says a lot of what I think about Ferraris, and supercars in general.

(…)it is exactly the same as every other Ferrari produced in the last twenty years – impractical, overpriced, unreliable, obscenely expensive to service and painted red.

It goes on:

Ferrari does, of course, make more money from selling hats and key rings to people who have never sat in a Ferrari – let alone having driven or owned one – than it does by selling its absurd vehicles. The nearest the millions of Ferrari fans ever get to the Ferrari experience is pinning a poster to the bedroom wall or watching reruns of Magnum PI.

One undeniable motoring fact is that every last one of the people you see wearing a Ferrari hat or jacket doesn’t own a Ferrari and never will, with the exception of a racing driver who has had one plonked on his head by a PR man before a press conference and gets one free as a company car.

People who actually own a Ferrari are, to a man, the kind of self-obsessed weasels you’d cross the road to avoid. And they’d be walking because the Ferrari will be under a dust sheet, broken or being serviced.

A fine summing up. I only ended up typing “Ferrari F458” into a Google search because has come up with a contest awarding $500 to whoever accurately predicts when the first F458 crash will be. The utter bastard in me likes Wrecked Exotics. It warms his bastard heart.