The Truth About Cars » exotic cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » exotic cars Paging Dr. Ferraristein: Wrecked exotic goes up for salvage auction in Connecticut Wed, 16 Oct 2013 10:00:00 +0000 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s amazing what having a ton of cash can buy you these days. For example, if you have a tween daughter with big dreams to be on stage singing about her favorite Asian foods, up to $4,000 can buy her a music video featuring a clown in a panda costume, plus the music and lyrics.

That said, why allow your daughter to become the next big viral sensation (for all the wrong reasons), when for the right price, you can buy a wrecked 1995 Ferrari F50?

Yahoo Autos managing editor Justin Hyde brings us this tale of such a broken beast, and this one has a lot going for it. The F50, currently residing in an insurance salvage yard somewhere in Hartford, Conn., sold for nearly $530,000 in 2002, received a heart transplant in the form of a new 4.7-liter V12, was one of 56 copies made for the United States (out of 349 overall), and was the last one screwed together, as well as being one of two to be painted black.

And as with any new exotic car purchase, the then-owner felt the need for speed, as demonstrated in Exhibit A:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Alas, the party came to a screeching halt (with a tree, at 50 mph) for this Ferrari, meriting a salvage title upon examination; the driver came away with only a headache, which became a migraine the moment he learned just how much money he just lost. However, his loss could be your gain if the price is right, sitting at over $110,000 as of this writing with no sign yet of the bids meeting the (potentially high) seller reserve. And if you’re in the area on the 29th at 10 a.m. (and have brought a trailer), you can also bid in the salvage yard’s live auction, just in time to play Dr. Ferraristein come Halloween.

Of course, for half that amount, you could always bet on Blurple.

QOTD: Is The V12 Really Dead? Wed, 08 Aug 2012 15:34:01 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

“The V12 engine is a thing of the past. The engine belongs in a museum.”

Those are the words of Antony Sheriff, managing director of McLaren, who spoke to a Dutch publication regarding the future of its supercars. The new Mclaren MP4-12C, with its compact, turbocharged V8, is an impressive machine, but Sheriff may be exaggerating the demise of exotic, multi-cylindered engines.

In a sense, Sheriff is right; the glory days of the V12 are over. There will likely never again be an era where a V12 is casually stuck under the hood of, say, a Jaguar XJ. If anything, we are in a period of downsizing where something with half the number of cylinders is the more likely option.

That’s not to say that the V12 will go the way of the straight-8 or other obscure, exotic engines; it’s far too entrenched in the landscape of the automotive world to ever fade away. Can you really imagine something like a Pagani or a front-engined Ferrari without a V12?

In the 1970′s, the “quartz revolution” came and nearly wiped out mechanical watches. These little circuit-board time pieces were cheaper, more accurate, never needed cleaning or servicing. In every objective sense, they were superior. A mechanical movement was thought to be an arcane bit of craftsmanship destined for the dustbin of human achievement. Yet they endured, carrying on slowly, to the point where a few decades later, a fairly small but dedicated market is thriving for them, in high-end timepieces that most people give zero consideration to, whether they cost $100 or $100,000.

I think this is what will ultimately happen to the V10s, V12s and perhaps, even V8s. Most people will have no use for them. They will be regarded as symbols of profligacy and frivolity. But they will endure and be cherished by a select few.

It’s either that or a hologram…

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Copper Canyon Classics Sun, 13 May 2012 13:00:38 +0000

This being metro Detroit, you’d think that weekly car meets would be thick on the ground. But, perhaps because I spend too much time attached to a computer, I’m not aware of one in the northwest suburbs. So I was quite happy to trip across the inaugural event of the “Copper Canyon Classics” on Saturday morning at the Copper Canyon restaurant in Southfield, MI.

Today’s event was largely composed of local Lamborghini, NSX, Jaguar, and Thunderbird clubs, but other makes were present and even my lowly Protege5 was welcome. The NSX group included a husband and wife (with a manual orange car and a blue automatic one) and a black car with a huge turbo in what used to be the trunk (good for nearly 600 wheel horsepower in its current tune, and nearly 1,000 with a few software tweaks; the transmission is the weak link). Boost reportedly arrives north of 5,000 rpm. Best listening: the Lamborghinis.

The restaurant, which sponsored the event, provided a $12 breakfast through lunch buffet (go back as many times as you’d like). A raffle was held to benefit a Sri Lankan children’s charity. Winners got to ride shotgun in one of the Diablos, the boosted NSX, or the Exige. Didn’t win, but still want a ride? Just make a donation to the charity.

The plan is to have the meet every Saturday going forward, starting at 10 AM and lasting “all day.” They had a good turnout for an initial event, and as word spreads it should only get better.

Not in the Detroit area, but want to attend an event like this, to see some interesting cars and actually meet other enthusiasts in the real world? There’s probably one near where you live. If you know of a good one, post about it in the comments. Don’t be like me. Use your computer (or phone) to find a meet–then get away from the keyboard for a while.

Michael Karesh operates, an online source of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

Countach engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Countach, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Jaguar, photo courtesy Michael Karesh NSX orange, photo courtesy Michael Karesh NSX turbo, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Thunderbird engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Thunderbirds, photo courtesy Michael Karesh NSX interior, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Volvo, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Copper Canyon, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ]]> 6
Capsule Review: Aston Martin V8 Vantage Fri, 27 Apr 2012 17:44:56 +0000

If you are an automotive journalist who socializes with people who don’t have a bizarre fascination with the automobile and its associated trivia (there’s not many of us, believe me), you will inevitably be asked a few stock questions at parties. Among them;

1) Wow, you have the best job in the world, don’t you? (The answer is, no, not really, but working at TTAC is great)

2) What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven? (The answer is, 30 thousand, 100 million)

This article answers another common question – “What do you think of  (insert car here)?”, and more specifically, what happens when expectations and reality are not the same.

Jack Baruth already covered how to drive any exotic car you want. I didn’t follow all the steps, but the way I was able to get a test drive in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage at age 21 wasn’t that far off.

While in Vancouver for the launch of the Nissan Juke, I decided to extend my stay a couple of days. The program ended on a Friday, but staying until Sunday evening turned out to be slightly cheaper, and one of Nissan’s PR staff was doing the same thing. Journalistic integrity remained intact.

The Juke turned out to be a blast, but after the program was over, I went from my swanky hotel to my friend Andre’s house in trendy but quaint Kitsilano. Andre doesn’t give a lick about cars, but his house was situated a block away from Burrard Street, home of Vancouver’s well-trafficed exotic car dealerships.

Faced with the prospect of some time to kill before Andre returned home from work, I wandered in and out of the various dealerships. The kind gentleman at Aston Martin struck up a conversation with me, and I told him that I was looking at a Vantage with a 6-speed manual. In Vancouver, a young man looking at buying an exotic isn’t such a rare sight (though a white guy looking for such a car may have been). Seeking a good cover story, I told him that I owned a vending machine business in Toronto – how else could I justify being out and about on a Friday afternoon, dressed in shorts, a Polo shirt and Sperrys? A passive income business in an obscure field would help deflect any questions as to the legitimacy of my wealth and how it was obtained at an early age. We made an appointment for Saturday morning, when the roads were clear, and I even made sure not to drink on Friday night – an arduous task when visiting someone I got wasted with in high school, who now had a bunch of hard-drinking Kiwis as roommates.

I awoke that morning with an urgency that was akin to Christmas morning – or what I imagined that to be, since I will never know what it’s like to be saved by the Lord Jesus, and instead celebrate the remarkable longevity of olive oil. The salesman offered me a firm handshake and a surprisingly good cup of coffee as we chatted about cars. The Aston arrived, freshly detailed with a few thousand clicks on the odometer. Oh, and it was a paddle shift car. My disappointment faded as the car fired up with a melodious growl, and the salesman took me on a scenic tour of Vancouver, while I spun brilliant bullshit about my Alger-esque rise to fortune in the vending machine business.

The crisp mountain air and the V8 soundtrack only set me up for further disappointment. My turn to drive the Aston came and within a few kilometers, I was faced with the realization that this car was a giant letdown. The endless praises of Jeremy Clarkson and a million other magazines were just dead wrong. The car was gorgeous to look at, but an utter bore to drive. The engine was responsive, but not mind-blowingly quick. The brakes just felt wrong, the steering was heavy and numb, the paddle shift box was neither smooth nor responsive. Jeremy Clarkson once praised the Aston Vanquish for feeling like it was made in a factory by men with B.O. Well, so did the Vantage, and in this case, that’s hardly praise.

Scrape past the bullshit brand narratives spun by PR and journos alike, and the Aston seemed like an utter farce compared to the Porsche 911. A Jaguar XKR was tens of thousands cheaper, provided a similar driving experience and most good-looking women bystanders couldn’t tell the difference.

When the new Camaro came out, I was invited to an early media drive, and I pronounced the car as a giant piece of crap. My review may have been tactless and bombastic, but I was one of the few who didn’t heap praise on the car, and I ended up being vindicated when all the buff books suddenly reversed course and said that it was just ok rather than a “neo-Corvette” with an “inventive interior” (give me a fucking break). I felt similarly duped with respect to the Aston. I expected the British rags, which heaped praise even on the Jaguar X-Type, to love it out of a sense of jingoistic obligation. But even American mags said that “it drives as well as it looks“. Not a chance.

This might be why when I tell party guests that the Aston is, to use a British-ism, dreadful, they look at me as if I was a convicted child molester knocking on their door, telling them about the heinous crimes I committed. It really is a turd wrapped in fancy wrapping, but of course, nobody in this business will admit it for fear of being cut off from the press fleet, and a chance to take a V12 Vantage to one’s high school reunion.

Fortunately, there’s a solution if you want something that is truly fun to drive and unique looking that won’t break the bank. A Nissan Juke. You can have 10 of them for the price of one Aston Martin.

N.B. the real secret to getting a test drive in a car while looking like a bum is an expensive watch. Anyone can buy a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt at Marshall’s. Dealers will look at your wrist to size you up. And the GT-R is boring as hell, even on a track. There, I said it.


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Ferrari: We Won’t Do Crossovers Or Sedans Fri, 17 Feb 2012 20:00:24 +0000

As Porsche prepares to launch yet another product that’s not a sports car, Ferrari has steadfastly ruled out diluting their brand with anything approaching a crossover or a sedan. The closest we’ll ever get is the all-wheel drive FF shooting brake (above).

Ferrari CEO Amadeo Felisa made an explicit statement closing the door on anything that’s not a sports car, telling Automobile’s Georg Kacher “No, Ferrari won’t do a four-door sport sedan. We won’t do a crossover, either. That’s Maserati turf.”

While the Trident brand is saddled with bloated 4-door cars, Ferrari’s future offerings will get lighter and more powerful (thanks to KERS and forced-induction), but the legendary V12 may take a backseat to smaller engines. Felisa thinks that the adoption of V6 engines by Formula 1 will make it more acceptable to install engines with smaller cylinder counts in Ferrari’s future offerings.

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