Archive for supercars

The name ain’t catchy

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

webopt-mp4_12c_011_2
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 WreckedExotics.com 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.

Dream garage #3 – Bugatti Veyron

Posted in Desirable machines, Dream garage with tags , , , on 22/07/2009 by Alexander

bugatti-veyron
As a rule, I don’t like supercars. I think they’re pointless, impractical, polluting and ostentatious. But every now and then, there’s one or two that warrants a revision of these tenets.

No better example to demonstrate this is the mighty Veyron. Unlike other entries of my dream garage, this car is not about the looks. It’s about the amazingness of the achievement.

This isn’t a wanked-up dragster. It isn’t a re-tuned thugmobile with nitrous-oxide added. This is a factory-spec, unadulterated, tour-de-force of automotive engineering. For a car even madman Jeremy Clarkson repeatedly said would never exist, the Veyron lived up to the amazingly high standards it set itself when it was announced. A 1001hp supercar that tops 400km/h.

Yes, it may consume 100 litres of fuel in 12 and a half minutes at full throttle and yes, it costs an obscene €1.1 million, but to think that you can have that much power at your disposable in a road-going car boggles the mind.

I could go on about the quad-turbo 8-litre, W16 engine, the ten radiators, the adjusting suspension, the spoiler/airbrake, but you can watch some episodes of Top Gear to know all that. The wow factor for me is because it’s like a spaceship on wheels.

Bugatti Veyron Gallery