Friday, June 24, 2011

Get Ready by FIAT

Pretty good way for Fiat to build USA awareness in the style conscious, urban, forward thinking, and cost savvy consumer segment. I'm of the opinion that Italian design at this price point will have the same type of appeal that the MINI Cooper fostered back in 2002 but in a market now already well aware of the "premium" sub-compact class. We'll see.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Audi TT RS: Quite possibly Audi's sharpest weapon

Yes, the R8 is faster and a bit more head turning. Still, for the cost savings the TT RS, while not inexpensive is still quite a good looker and a stunning performer to boot. The DSG 3.9 second 0-62 time is astounding!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nissan's 2011 GT-R Black Nurburgring Hotlap

The Nissan GT-R posts a staggering time at the Nurburgring in Germany. Commentary is in Japanese but the in-car footage speaks for itself.

Jeremy Clarkson Gives His Impression of McLaren's Newest Car

Jeremy Clarkson on the new McLaren MP4-12C and giving his take on the MP4-12C's closest rival.  In the battle of the best road going rockets this British sports car and the Ferrari 458 Italia stand out from the crowd.  Interesting review by Mr. Clarkson and his opinion and car of choice would probably also be mine (with my predisposition and love of Italian automobiles naturally) but the McLaren would be lingering in the back of my mind...

For the complete review please visit:  BBC Top Gear Reviews the McLaren MP4-12C

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ferrari V12 Engine

The production of the famous Ferrari V12 motor as used in the 612 Scaglietti:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Abarth 500C esseesse @ 2011 Geneva Motor Show

The newest iteration of the highest sport spec Abarth has some nice new touches as shown at the Geneva Auto Show. The big question is whether or not the US market will see an "esseesse" version at all.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

NPR News Discusses the Challenges of Reaching Younger Drivers

NPR presented an interesting article today that spoke of the the challenges of reaching the youth audience when it comes to new automobiles.  Contrasting the old days (at least in the USA) with celebrity endorsements being enough; today's auto executives have all the new social media to contend with, multiple sources of exposure, and shortened attention spans.  It's a brave new world where "liking" a page on Facebook becomes just one of a marketer's steps in selling a car to the young tech generation.  For more with video clips and audio interviews go to:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Building a Maserati Fuel Line

National Geographic spotlights automotive factories around the world and is currently focusing on one of my all-time favorites: Maserati. Even better, they are covering the building of my preferred model: the GranTurismo S.

For more information go to:  National Geographic's "Ultimate Factories"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Road & Track Magazine Tests the McLaren MP4-12C

Looks like there are two great choices for the ultimate two seat sports car, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the McLaren MP4-12C.  If you've got +/- 230,000 USD to use on one or the other the choice might be quite difficult...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First Reviews are coming in on the US spec Fiat 500

USA Fiat 500 Review on Yahoo! Autos

2011 Fiat 500

Summing up Yahoo's! take on the car:

"Overall, the 500 marks a promising start for Fiat’s re-entry to the U.S. market. Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. -- towns with enough hipsters to support a latte society -- will claim most Cinquecento sales. Fiat's banking on the U.S. and North America being open to the idea of a wee tot for wheels, and a stylish one at that."

Complete review:

Ducati Diavel first ride

The more I read and see about the new Ducati Diavel the more impressed I become with Borgo Panigale's latest creation. This motorcycle has the potential to blow the street cruiser class wide open.  I love my Harley Davidson VRod but Ducati has come up with something truly unique in the class.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ducati Desmosedici vs Ferrari 430 Scuderia

Here's an earlier test between the Desmosedici RR and the Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Different bikes and cars but the result is much like the post below. When it comes to who wins does it REALLY matter? Either two or four wheels these vehicles are truly special.

Forza Italia! Ferrari 458 Italia vs Ducati 1198S

A great head-to-head competition between Italian high performance machines: the Ferrari 458 and the Ducati 1198 S. If you like Italian performance machines on both two and four wheels THIS is the video to watch!

Friday, February 11, 2011

North American FIAT 1.4L MultiAir Engine Review For Newly Released Fiat 500

Interesting technical discussion of the engine that will be available in the United States. Changes were forthcoming for the U.S. specification Fiat 500 that are different from the entry level European lineup. Interesting to know that the engines are built here in the USA. I'm really curious to know what awaits the performance Abarth and hopefully Abarth SS models to come soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

GranTurismo MC Stradale - Maserati's Lust Worthy High Performance Car

Stellar looks, sound, and pedigree... what's not to like?

MINI USA - "Cram It in the Boot" Full Length Superbowl LXV Advert

Site Re-design and Link to the MINI Journey Through Europe

I haven't been too active on the travel blog recently but thought is was about time to update the site's design. I hadn't altered the look of the site since I set it up primarily to document the 2007 journey across western Europe with the California MINI.

I thought I'd take a moment to put up a quick link to the timeline of events concerning the MINI's European adventure. Have a look here: California MINI's European Adventure


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MINI is goin' racin'

MINI is back and ready to cultivate its racing heritage and move beyond being seen as just a "cute" car by the masses. MINI has always been more than just a fashionable accessory so I applaud this move to bring motorsports back into the MINI fold. What's more is that I really like the look of the World Rally Championship prototype. Might just be the kind of four door car for me.

Here's the official press release (thank you MotoringFile):

This decision sees MINI continue its success story in the world of rallying. In the 1960s, the MINI Cooper S caused a sensation with victories at the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. The company also tasted success on many occasions in the European Rally Championship. Having already demonstrated the sporty character of its models in many countries in the MINI CHALLENGE, the brand is now taking its presence in motorsport to a new level with the commitment to the WRC.
Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing, says: “I am delighted MINI will be represented on one of the most popular stages in international motorsport. The success enjoyed on the rally circuit has made a vital contribution to the image of the brand. MINI customers have always shown great interest in motorsport. I am convinced we will add a few more chapters to our success story in rallying. The MINI Countryman provides an excellent basis, from which to create a competitive racing car for the world championship. In Prodrive, we have a strong and experienced partner. We will work hard together over the coming months to ensure we get the project on track right from the word go.”
“This is a very exciting new motorsport programme,” said Prodrive Chairman, David Richards. “During the 1960s MINI captured the imagination of the world when the tiny car took on the might of V8 powered Fords and won what was then one of the toughest motorsport events, the 4000km Monte Carlo rally. I believe our new MINI will become a firm favourite of the latest generation of rally fans, just as it is adored by its millions of owners across the world. We already have a significant number of confirmed customer orders for the new MINI rally car with the first deliveries scheduled for the start of the 2011 season.” Prodrive has been working on developing the MINI Countryman WRC since early 2009. The company was formed in 1984 by Richards, who won the World Rally Championship as co-driver to Ari Vatanen (FI) three years earlier. Based in Banbury (GB), Prodrive has developed into a leading independent company in the motorsport and automobile sector under Richards’ guidance, and today employs over 500 staff. Prodrive’s many successes currently include six overall victories in the World Rally Championship, five titles in the British Touring Car Championship and three class victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours (FR).
BMW was present when the World Rally Championship made its debut back in 1973. Achim Warmbold (DE) and Jean Todt (FR) tasted victory in their BMW 2002 at the Alpenfahrt Rally in Austria. However, MINI’s tradition in this discipline stretches back even further: Pat Moss (GB) clinched the first victory with the MINI 850 at the 1959 Mini Miglia National Rally. MINI ultimately enjoyed its finest hours at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967: the MINI Cooper S celebrated three overall victories at the most iconic rallying event in the world. Paddy Hopkirk (IR, 1964), Timo Mäkinen (FI, 1965) and Rauno Aaltonen (FI, 1967) joined the list of winners at this prestigious event. In 1965, “Rally Professor” Aaltonen also won the European Rally Championship. Tony Ambrose (GB) and Mäkinen finished second and third to round off an excellent overall result for the MINI Cooper S. In addition, MINI drivers also enjoyed many individual wins at renowned rallies throughout Europe. The last BMW World Rally Championship victory was achieved in 1987 in Corsica by Bernard Béguin (FR) driving a BMW M3 which was built and run by Prodrive.