Posts tagged “ferrari

Show Up For The Champagne, Stay For The Supercars

Lamborghini Herb Chambers Grand Opening

Herb Chambers is a legend in the Boston business world.  Originally hailing from the notorious D-O-T (Dorchester, MA) he built one empire after another and is now best known for running one what might be the largest network of car dealers in the region.

His personal vehicle collection includes a McLaren F1 and a helicopter, so when he wanted to amend his Bentley/Rolls-Royce shop in Wayland by adding a full-fledged Lamborghini dealership- he picked up the phone and made it happen.  Recession be damned, Bostonians need access to $100,000+ supercars.

To smash a proverbial bottle over the bow of the building, Herb and Lamborghini’s PR company Centigrade threw a semi-formal gala on location where enthusiasts, members of the press and the not-so-general public could rub shoulders and taken in the cars.  I managed to score an invite and wedged the cute-ute I borrowed from mum between a Ferrari 458 Italia and a DeTomaso Pantera in the parking lot.

As soon as I rolled up I was reminded of how much old money Bostonians love to dress like easter eggs.  I’d never seen as many suits with pink, lime green, and powder blue utilized as the primary color.  If The Hunger Games was set in a dystopian New England this is how the freaky rich people would have looked.

The automotive celebrities in attendance- Michael Lock of Lamborghini, the head men of Bentley and Rolls Royce as well as Herb Chambers himself, were easy to spot in more traditional business attire.

But naturally it was the machines on display that I was here to see.  The showroom housed two Bentley Mulsannes, a Continental GT, three Lamborghini Gallardos, an Aventador, an three Rolls Royces- a Ghost, a massive drophead (convertible) and the their newest version of the flagship Phantom which was unveiled at the event by the one of the company’s top men himself.

The parking lot was looking lively as well where a few Ferraris, two Murciélagos, and an ancient Rolls Royce Ghost were hanging out with Herb’s surplus of Bentleys waiting to be collected by their future owners.  Of particular interest was a Jaguar XKR-S in that “French Racing Blue” paintwork it’s always wearing in the commercial.

I made my way over to the service area which was just as immaculate as the show floor- complete with red velvet rope.  A far cry from the shack my bike shares with a family of squirrels, but I’m still confident I could beat any of these preps in a race from the beach to the polo field on my Gixxer.

The car I wanted to see most was Lamborghini’s new 700 horsepower animal- the Aventador.  They had one plopped square in the middle of the new room in a fittingly-ostentatious orange color.

Although they declined my request to fire it up, the car’s presence was still impossible to ignore.

The first thing I noticed was its size.  Those who have only seen Lamborghinis in pictures and video games don’t realize how massive they are.  Despite only having room for two people and a briefcase I’m pretty sure the Aventador was about twice as wide and a third as long as my sister’s ML320.

The car’s drama continues with crisp chiseled lines- even the taillights look sharp enough to cut yourself on- and the side air intakes behind the door could swallow a condor.

But just in case you manage to see all this, open the car’s signature scissor door, and climb in the fighter jet cockpit without realizing the machine’s intensity, the start button is covered by a red flap like- well, like a fighter jet.  That’s some Tony Stark shit right there.

The Gallardos looked rather tame in comparison, so I guess the band set up between them?

I had seen and sampled just about everything by the time Mr. Chambers made his speech, singing his praises of the impressive vehicular designs and hor d’vours we had all been enjoying.  But the most interesting comment he made was that every car we were looking at had already been sold.

Wow, either new money is starting to gain traction around here or god had been answering a whole lot of Janis Joplin-esque prayers.  Because I did not see too many people in this room that would have looked comfortable strapped in to an asphalt-eating Aventador for their commute to the office or weekend ride to Cape Cod.

Next up was the new Phantom unveiling.  After the cover had been lifted, the Rolls representative watched nervously as old ladies plopped themselves on the crisp-white passenger seats with glasses of merlot shaking in their hands.

Once I had seen everything a couple times I caught site of Lamborghini COO Michael Lock making a phone call outside.  When he finished and made his way to the champagne table, I bellied up next to him and asked for a brief interview.

He was kind enough to oblige, and I hustled through my mind-gears to think of something halfway articulate to ask him as we made our way to a couch next to a dark blue Gallardo.

Mr. Lock is an adept businessman and motor vehicle enthusiast from London.  Before working at Lamborghini he was in charge of marketing at THINK Electric Vehicles and had spent time as Ducati’s North America CEO.  He was very well spoken and I must say, easier to understand than most Londoners I’d met.  I couldn’t help but notice how well he connected quick bursts of thoughts with pauses for accentuation, he was a great conversationalist.

Here’s an excerpt of our meeting and yes, he knew he was being recorded.

[RoadRoving] So how long in the making has Lamborghini coming to Boston been for you guys?

[Michael Lock] Well we’ve been with Herb Chambers for, must have been around eighteen months but, this is the launch of our own dedicated showroom.  And this project has taken about twelve months.

We have quite exacting standards when it comes to the fit-out and the floor tiles, and the whole décor- all up it’s been about a twelve month project.

[RR] …Now, you’ve worked for Ducati as well haven’t you?

[ML] Yes.

[RR] So, if you can speak candidly- four wheels or two?

[ML]  Ah, well it depends what mood you’re in!  I can tell you if I lived up here in Boston I would have to have four and two.  I lived in California for ten years where two wheels was just fine.

…the thing about Italian brands, whether it’s Ducati or Lamborghini, is there’s this kind of mechanical adrenaline flowing through them that’s really unique… I think if you like Ducati you’ll like Lamborghini and vice versa.  I can’t imagine that you’d love the cars and not love the bikes.  Really.

[RR]  Sure.  Is there a favorite feature you have on any of the vehicles in Lamborghini’s latest lineup?

[ML]  You know, the thing I’m reminded of every time I drive them is- that it looks exotic, it sounds exotic, it’s superfast, and yet, you could drive it all day.

…I think that’s the big thing about the latest line of our cars.  With the partnership [between] Audi and Lamborghini- Audi’s a name you can trust for quality, fit and finish, and for ease of use- they’re kind of a household name for all of that.  For them to be able to assist and advise and consult for Lamborghini, to make what we do something that’s not intimidating anymore…

…You go back to the big  hairy-chested Lamborghinis of two years ago, and they were extraordinary, but you had to relearn everything you knew about driving.

You really did, and the cars were scary.  The cars were fantastic, but they were scary.  The cars were for professionals only.  The beauty of what we produce now, whether it’s a Gallardo… or even an Aventador, a 700 horsepower carbon fiber car, you could drive it to the grocery store and park it in the parking lot!

And that’s a big deal about modern Lamborghinis- you can drive them.

[RR]  …Eloquent indeed, now if you could answer one thing without thinking, and I can never resist asking anybody this; your favorite car?

[ML] Of all time?

[RR] All time.

[ML] A couple different Alfa Romeos, a couple Lancias, the original Porsche 911, I can think of a lot cars I like.  A lot.

[RR]  Well thanks so much for speaking with me,  I really appreciate you time and have a good night!

After Mr. Lock and I parted ways I took one last lap around the show floor, hoping to spot a moneyed older woman who might buy me a car… but alas, the only people who would talk to me wanted to tell me about how well their lime green pants matched their wives enormous hats.

Maybe next time I’ll bring my bike to one of these and see if I can stir anybody up for a race.


Gumball 3000 Kicks Off in NYC

TWR Jaguar XJ220 unloads from jet

The infamous cross-country hoonfest known as the Gumball 3000 begins today from the glorious City of New York.

Attracting a host of C+/B List celebrities and some of the most outlandish paintjobs you’ll ever see on supercars, the Gumball is basically the ultimate celebration of four-wheeled flamboyance and stage for shenanigans unleashed on America’s unsuspecting highways.

I know… it sounds amazing.

So why doesn’t RoadRoving have a car in the grid?

Well, even if I could convince one of my buddies to lend me a sports car I’d still be a few bucks short of the entry fee- a cool £25,000 (just shy of 40 g’s).  And that’s before you pay for the t-shirt.

The Gumball crew basically hauls ass from “sea to shining sea” (see map below) throwing wild parties at each overnight point and filming themselves ripping donuts every time they have to stop for a refuel.

The rally was never popular with police, but the reputation of the event soured significantly a few years ago when a couple rich thrill-seekers collided with civilians in oncoming traffic.  The ralliers walked away unscathed, but the bystanders were killed instantly.

As a result, the Gumball 3000 now bills itself as “ambassadors of road safety” and will, apparently, be playing by the road rules and behaving themselves for the duration of the trip.

How a flotilla of attention-craving maniacs driving high powered sports cars is ever going to accomplish such a thing over a 3,000 mile journey is a mystery to me, but who knows.  Maybe they’re just driving Lamborghinis for the great gas mileage.

Whatever their true intentions, we can be sure there will be a steady stream of awesome images snapped between NY and LA.  The Gumball has its own host of Instagram, Flickr, and every other type of feed, but you might want to watch the accounts of your favorite Gumball celebrity for first-person action.

Here’s the list.  If you don’t recognize somebody, don’t feel guilty.  They probably don’t know you either.

The car list isn’t published quite as conveniently, but I’ve seen Lamborghini Gallardos, at least one Aventador, Camaro, M3, SLS, various Ferraris, a few of the perennial favorite statement-maker- the Bugatti Veyron.

This particularly awesome image features a TWR-modified Jaguar XJ220 being unloaded from a jet, I can’t guarantee it’s from this year but I’ll keep our hopes up.  If so, this would probably be the coolest vehicle of the event.

Otherwise, check out this wide-angle from Times Square last night, and a few subsequent images of the 2012 Gumball 3000 lineup.


740 Horses Prance Out of Maranello

Ferrari has just announced its latest contribution to the world’s selection of supercars; the “F12 Berlinetta”.

Since Ferrari saves the “F-followed-by-two-digits” nomenclature for its most extreme machines, I knew this was going to be big.  Berlinetta, of course, stands for “two seats, enclosed cockpit (hardtop)”.

And as it’s possibly the prettiest pony to prance out of Ferrari’s Maranello facility since the 550, I figured it was worth putting on blast for you to enjoy.

Ferrari builds amazing machines in a variety of powertrain configurations and sizes, but the front-engined V12’s have always set the pace that keeps the Black Horse relevant in the supercar business.

With a beautifully sculpted shape that melds the drama of modern angles with the classic sexiness of a svelte señorita, the Berlinetta is a spectacle to behold.

But the real magic is happening under hood.  You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?

With a ridiculous 13.5:1 compression ratio trapped inside it’s 6.2 liter twelve-banger, the F12’s engine cranks out a blistering 740 horsepower near the 8,700 RPM redline- making it the most powerful roadgoing Ferrari yet.

That engine is also one of the smoothest, thanks to lightweight engine components keeping physical inertia to a minimum.

0-100 K’s in 3.1, top speed claimed to be “over 340 KPH/211 MPH”.

For some more Italian Stallion eye-candy check out the F12’s own website which packs more drama than an episode of Jersey Shore.


Tesla Test Drive: 2011 Roadster Sport 2.5 in Boston

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks to the generosity of Tesla Motors, I’m excited to say we had a chance to shakedown the new Roadster Sport 2.5 this week.

Boston traffic hindered us from performing a “proper” test, but we still got a decent impression of the car’s behavior and usage, which is a unique experience indeed.

The absence of a gear lever was a bit unnerving and the fixed-gear like operation of the throttle took some getting used to, but the car proved very exciting in the short time we had it.

As this is the “2.5” version of the Roadster, some of the problems Jeremy Clarkson noted in his test several years ago have been dealt with.  The car’s now much more reliable, a bit quicker on the charge, and has what I’d call a much prettier gauge module.

Of course it’s not perfect; things like tiny gaps between carpeting remind you that this is a “boutique” car, and the driving experience is so Mario Kart-esque you’re liable to start hucking turtle shells to make other motorists get out ‘the way.

But you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to get a clear lane in this car.  While the top speed is a punky 120something, the Tesla can blast from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds.

And since all you have to do is mash the pedal, even my grandmother could send a Ferrari F430 home crying… at least right up to the speed limit.

The cabin is snug to be sure, members of the Wal-Mart nation might want to allow some extra time for getting into the seat.  But if you’re a “one-with-the-machine” kind of driver, you should find yourself right at home.

We had the opportunity to record some of our escapades in the car, and despite limited technological means it turned out alright.  Click here to see our driving impressions or watch the video below.


Ferraris ‘A Fire

ferrari-catches-fire-in-paris-1

“Ferraris are hot, but they’re not supposed to be this hot”

Thought this seriously bummed out and stereotypical Italian when he fresh 458 caught fire in Paris.

Luckily his tight pants and Gucci shoes appear to have escaped the blaze intact… and I hope that’s the receipt from the Ferrari dealer he’s got in his hand.

WreckedExotics.com has reported at least ten 458’s catching fire in the last few months.  And oddly, it seems that the source of some of these fires remains a mystery.

Jeremy Clarkson seemed to like this car well enough on TopGear, calling it the prettiest Ferrari since the 308.  I’m partial to the Maranello myself, but this car sure does photograph well.  When it’s not on fire.

When Ferrari looked back on its blueprints, they realized the problem right away…

They obviously forgot to attach that little cheese grater on the lower right to anything.  Problem solved, check please.

In any case I hope they get these cars sorted out before I take delivery on mine next week.  I don’t want to get stuck driving my mum’s minivan to work again while my Ferrari is in the shop.

Buzzkill.


Italian Car Day 2010 (Video)

348 GTS

August 8th, 2010 was this years “Tutto Italiano” (Italian Car Day) at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

And after having our FIAT held hostage by our mechanic for two months, my father and I were pretty excited to clean it up and park it between some other showpieces.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea, because the Spider representation was better than ever.

Other highlights of the field included Alfa Romeo GTVs, a Ferrari 512BB, and some very cool vintage motorcycles.

Naturally we bumped into our mechanic Nino, who was decked-out in Ferrari regalia.  He had ridden his Vespa to the show all the way from Gloucester… following his friend in a Ferrari Testarossa.  Like, for real.

If you didn’t make it out to Brookline this year, get your s**t together, gas up your Vespa and get that out there for 2011.

As usual, there was a Ferrari on a lift… so we could see the glorious underbody.  Smoother than a baby’s butt.

Even the visitor parking lot was stacked with exotics… museum staff had another impromptu car show on their hands.


Car Chase Of The Day: “Bad Boys II”

Bad Boys II Ferrari

Since the Mrs. Dwayne Wade lawsuit situation Gabrielle Union is a hot search item.  So I thought throwing up the Bad Boys II car chase was timely… even though the movie came out seven years ago.

Anyway it’s a sick chase with Will Smith going nuts in a Ferrari 550 Maranello and dropping great lines not limited to:  “I Think I Just Done Got Mad!”

I'd be mad too if somebody were shooting at that car.

I had to find it in two halves, but they’re both worth watching:

What’s that you say?  I’m forgetting about the sweet scene where Will Smith drives a Hummer H2 through some poor people’s neighborhood and blasts through like 50 houses made of trash?

You’re right, that part is awesome.  Here ya go:

And since I wouldn’t want to let anyone who image searched Gabrielle Union to be let down…

Look, her dress matches the Hummer from the movie!  See, these pictures are relevant.


Car Chase Of The Day: “Goldeneye”

During another hard procrastination session that I’m currently in the midst of, I lamented that this website hasn’t made a “Top Ten Movie Car Chases” list yet.  You know, like a “Mr. Skin” for car fans.

[If you don't know what that is, send your kids out of the room (seriously) and take a look.]

But then I realized a “Top Ten” would never do- there are just way too many great car chases and it seems like Hollywood just keeps making more crazy ones every year.

So I’ve decided to post a good one up every time I think of it, for your entertainment.

The first installment of the series will be one that a lot of you have probably forgotten, but is still one of my favorites.

From the 1995 James Bond movie “GoldenEye” It’s the impromptu duel between Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in his trademark Aston Martin DB5 verses the so-ice-cold-she’s-hot Famke Janssen in a 90’s Ferrari.  Unfortunately this clip isn’t of the best quality, and it cuts out the scene at the end where Bond pops open the center console to reveal a bottle of champagne… which is just about as pimp as it gets.  But it will have to do for now.

Enjoy:

She's hotter than a Ferrari 355 GTS for sure, but a DB5? That's a tough one.


2010 Beijing International Auto Show

Step on it, we're going to Beijing!

Sounds the gongs, because the 2010 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition AKA AutoChina10 AKA (第十一届) 北京国际汽车展览会官方网站 is here, and according to the Cambodian Automobile Magazine Chow Bingkuen it’s the “biggest Asia auto show ever.”

Or, in their words; “ขวัญชัย ปภัสร์พงษ์ ประธาน บริษัท สื่อสากล จำกัด และประธานคณะกรรมการจัดงาน “มหกรรมยานยนต์ ครั้งที่ 11 ” หรือ THE 11th AUTO CHINA 2010 เปิดเผยถึงที่มาของแนวคิดประจำงานปีนี้ว่า “ในอุตสาหกรรมยานยนต์มีผู้เกี่ยวข้องสำคัญ 3 ฝ่าย ประกอบด้วย ผู้ผลิต รัฐ และผู้บริโภค ที่ผ่านมาผู้ผลิต รถยนต์ล้วนพัฒนาและออกแบบรถรุ่นใหม่ๆ ซึ่งมุ่งสนองต่อความต้องการที่หลากหลาย และไม่สิ้นสุดของผู้บริโภคด้วยการพยายามเอาชนะกันด้านความเร็ว แรง และความหรูหราสะดวกสบายเป็นหลัก”

You heard it here first.

Since RoadRoving.com is at the forefront of the automotive news industry we got offered a first-class flight to the Chinese capital to enjoy the show’s Press Days (April 23rd & 24th) and all the lo mein we could wolf down.

But unfortunately that isn’t true, so I’ll just have to report it remotely.

That’s actually harder than it sounds, because every time I click a link on the show’s main website I get about 15 popups that look like this:

If they weren’t so cute I’d be pissed.

Anyway, let me save you the trouble and bring you the highlights right here, in the comfort of an good ol’ American-based English-written website.

You can tell this show really is huge just by looking at the map.

Just look at the size of that reactor core. I don't think stunt fighters will stand a chance against that thing.

Wait, wait you’re right- that’s the Death Star.

But the Beijing Auto Show floor plan is almost as intimidating.  Click here for a close-up image that you can actually read.

Ford is rolling out some more lame green-tech stuff at the show, and I already told you about the Chevy “Voltivan” that will be on exhibition.  But don’t worry, the automotive industry hasn’t been completely stripped of its decadence.

Ferrari will be debuting their 599GTO, which packs an ozone-tearing 6.0 liter V12 that puts 670 horsepower to the pavement.  Boom, baby.

This is just an artist's rendition, but I love it.

This car is based on the 599XX and can supposedly hit 208 mph, snapping to 60 in 3.35 seconds on the way.

Remember the Volkswagen Phaeton?  It’s a lovely car with a great name… but super-rare because so few people are willing to shell out $70,000 for a “people’s car.”  Well, VW is finally hinting at a revision to be released, and is pulling the tarp of the 2011 edition of the car within the next few days.

The upgrades are subtle, and the car retains its I’m-rich-but-who-cares vibe.

Engines range from a frugal turbo diesel V6 to a V8 and even a monster 6.0 W12 (why?).  Rich liberals who I imagine love this car will be saddened to learn that a US revival is not necessarily going to happen.  I guess we Americans can’t appreciate Das Auto like the Germans do.

BMW has big news in China this year, but not necessarily revolving around the auto show.  Apparently they just built a BMW super-mall that not only sells cars, but just about everything else including bicycles, shoes and stuffed animals sporting the blue-and-white BMW roundel.

They also have a cafe, computers, showers and beds… what?

BMW is incredibly popular with China’s middle class, which is blowing up like STDs at Woodstock.

And since this is the only all-BMW facility around, some people are traveling incredible distances to buy cars or have their Bimmers serviced.  Customers have free usage of the showers and beds to freshen up after a long ride.

BMW sold 480 cars in all of China in 1994.  Fifteen years later, they cashed in on 90,000.  In the first quarter of 2010 they’ve sold over 34,000, so they expect this year to be bigger than ever.

Another interesting fact is that the average Chinese BMW buyer is 36, that’s ten years younger than in the US or Europe.  Looks like BMW’s on the track for a cash rainstorm in China, and Mercedes better step it up and build a theme park over there if they want to compete.

Since this is China, there are some automakers you haven’t heard of on the scene as well- including Dongfeng which sells this Golf knockoff called the “Fengshen H30″ for less than $15,000.

Brilliance Auto will be there too, showing off it’s FSV which is not only all-electric but is made with a considerable amount of recycled materials.  The seats, tires, carpet, roof and other parts are made of soybeans and whatever “biomass” is.  The marketing pitch for that thing literally writes itself.

If a gas-free car made of recycled crap were for sale here in Burlington, Vermont the line to put down a deposit would be as long as the one for Phish revival tour tickets.  Actually, it would probably be the same line.

That’s about all the reporting that can be done from the other side of the world.  Guess you better turn to Road & Track for the rest of the story, or buy yourself some seriously expensive plane tickets.


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