Prepare to want a Jaguar D-Type quite badly

The folks at Petrolicious never fail to arose the agony of desire in my soul. I would commit any number of crimes just to be able to drive a Jaguar D-Type for 15 minutes, but the owner of this car has driven it over 20,000 miles. I can only imagine what that has been like!

-Nick

Maserati MC12 Corsa at The Quail

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This is the track version of the street version of that racecar Maserati made back in the mid 2000s, the MC12 Corsa. It’s one of just 12 examples built, and it costs $1,470,000 more than the inbound US President has paid in taxes in the last 20 years (fun fact!).

Naturally, we didn’t see such a beast at just any venue. This thing was at The Quail, a show for people who are above going to Pebble Beach. It’s the sort of place us car guys dream about, a place where you’ll rub shoulders with the likes of Horacio Pagani or Valentino Balboni, and you’ll get to see cars you’ve barely been able to imagine.

This MC12 Corsa is one of those automotive unicorns. A “normal” Maserati MC12, of which they made 50, is crazy enough, but the Corsa is on a whole different level. It’s also got 745hp to the standard car’s meager 612hp. The biggest thing about the Corsa is that it’s based directly on the race-winning MC12 GT1, rather than the road-going Ferrari Enzo. Not technically street legal, it was designed to be a track day toy like the Ferrari FXX.

Even so, this MC12 Corsa was spotted driving around on the streets around Monterey during Car Week festivities. It must have been awesome weaving through traffic in this, and it’s well-known that the cops generally interpret street “legality” pretty liberally during the week. Hell, I myself have seen a Porsche 935 roll by in downtown Carmel a few years back.

Enjoy!

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Ford better to not screw up the new Bronco…

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The title may sound obvious, but the obvious has often proven difficult for the corporate mindsets in Detroit. Keep it simple, stupid, the people who want a new Ford Bronco want a Ford Bronco in the iconic sense. Give them the rugged functionality they need wrapped in the classic Bronco style they want, and you will sell units. This image has been making the rounds on the interweb, and people seem to really love it. Could the path forward for Ford be any clearer?

The new Bronco is supposedly going to take on the Jeep Wrangler, an off-road champ who’s style hasn’t changed since “retro” was brand new. People love that iconic style, and most won’t settle for a watered-down alternative from Ford. The new Bronco has to be the same sort of “special” that the original was. Anything but retro styling will be a huge mistake here.

I trust Ford to make the Bronco a decent functional off-roader at this point, but I’m worried the corporate big-wigs might try to water down the styling to try and make it appeal to everyone, and that’d be a dumb move. Let’s be honest here, most people who buy a Jeep Wrangler don’t do much serious off-roading, but they all love it’s distinctive style. In my opinion, the Bronco needs to compete with the Wrangler on style above all else. Whether or not it can climb a bigger rock or not is secondary for most people.

Continue reading Ford better to not screw up the new Bronco…

Classic Toyota FJ40 Spotted at Amelia Island

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That time Toyota made a better jeep than Jeep. These old FJs are highly sought after now, which means many people take the trouble to restore them to immaculate condition. We caught this green one at the Ritz on Amelia Island.

I really love the style of the old FJs, and between these, the Land Cruiser, and their trucks, Toyota has quite a history of making legendary off-roaders. I was a fan of the newer FJ Cruiser, from a few years back, too. Honestly, I think Toyota should make FJ into a sub-brand and take on Jeep head-on. Unfortunately, they seem too hell-bent on being bland to take such a bold step at this point.

-Nick

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Lexus’ Modern Luxury Flagship Is Finally Here

I’ve become more and more of a fan of Lexus over the years. It’s not because I’ve gotten older and more mature, either, it’s because they’ve improved their approach to building cars. High performance and driving dynamics used to mean nothing to Lexus, it was all about having a silky ride with unparalleled build quality and reliability. What I really love about Lexus’ coming of age in the last decade, or so, is how their gains in dynamic performance have not come at the expense of their foundational values. Sure, the F models may compromise a silky smooth ride in the name of handling prowess, but they’ll still run over 200,000 miles without breaking down. Lexus is still Lexus, just a better version of themselves.

You have to remember that Lexus was only founded in 1989, four years after Mercedes-Benz had celebrated it’s first century of building cars. In the luxury realm, they are still a very young marquee.

In the past, a Lexus was a simpler alternative to the many German luxury options. It was always a nice car, very well built, and could be counted on for many, many years. They always lacked most of the fancy new features found in the German cars, though, you know, the sort of cool stuff you want when you spend a lot of money. Well, here in 2017, I finally feel like Lexus isn’t lagging behind their German competition. This is the new Lexus LS 500, and the Germans should be pretty nervous.

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The KIA Stinger GT may shake things up

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I saw the rear 3/4 view first, and I thought it might be an Alfa. To my surprise the headline said “KIA.” KIA, as in stupid dancing hamsters, KIA, as in obnoxious salesmen, surrounded by colorful balloons, trying to hard sell the shit out of you. KIA, as in the econo-box of econo-boxes. WTF, right?

But really, those of us who’ve been paying attention, aren’t too shocked. KIA, and parent company Hyundai, have been drastically redefining themselves in the past few years. My last memory of KIA is actually of driving the mighty K900 at Pebble Beach a few years back. I actually liked the car itself a lot, but KIA hadn’t done enough with its brand to be making a serious BMW 7 Series rival. $70,000 for a car with a KIA badge was, and is still, a bad joke, but it showed their ambition, and I definitely loved that.

Now we have the KIA Stinger, a bonafide sport sedan with some serious credentials. One thing I love about Hyundai/KIA’s approach in recent years, is they like to bring a bazooka to the gunfight. They really do their homework when developing a new model, and they aim to win.

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Tesla Take 2 with the Model S P90D

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I got my first taste of the Tesla magic in 2015 when I drove a Model S P85D. It made one hell of a first impression, and I was totally blown away. I felt like I had just experienced the true next step for the automobile, capable of blistering acceleration, superior practicality and sublime comfort, all in a single package. Oh, and did I mention it was green, too? I was enamored with it then, but I was curious to see how the Tesla would fair the second time around, now that my initial fascination had worn off.

I was recently able to take a spin in the new, facelifted, Model S P90D. This drive was much better than the first one. It lasted much longer, the roads were much better, and I got to try out some of Tesla’s amazing new features (including Autopilot). I also gained more perspective on the Model S, what it is, and what it is not.

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Starting off 2017 right with a new intake on my Miata

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My girlfriend, Gab, and I celebrated our second anniversary as a couple on New Years Eve, and, of course we got each other special anniversary presents. I got her a fancy new French wallet, and she got me a cold air intake for my Miata, Ace. New Years day was nice and warm here in the Northeastern USA, so I decided to install the intake so I could enjoy it in the unusually nice winter weather.

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