Test Driven: 2011 Audi A4 Avant

The rims just don’t quite fill up the fenders like they’re supposed to. Not sure if it’s the rims themselves or the rest of the car.

During the summertime, I decided to embark on a quest of station wagons in the United States.  Audi’s seen success with the little A4 Avant, and it’s the only wagon they’re still selling here as of this year, as the new A6 Avant will not make landfall here.  So, I decided to take one out to see how it was in today’s world. Continue reading Test Driven: 2011 Audi A4 Avant

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Secondhand Saint: Infiniti G35

G35 Coupe

The G35 pretty much saved the Infiniti brand when it came out. It offered an extremely solid package for a very good price offering better performance than its German competition for less money. The G35 shared its platform with the Nissan 350Z, making the sedan a four door sports car and the coupe a more comfortable Z. It was a rock solid lineup and they sold like hotcakes to executives and enthusiasts alike. Now they are among the best used cars you can buy if you’re looking for something that’s got everything.     Continue reading Secondhand Saint: Infiniti G35

The Chrysler-Lancia Connection needs to be reviewed.

There's one thing to separate this from the 300: The badge. The 300 is a great full-size car, but Lancia deserves better than an American transplant.

If there is one brand that does the best job of no longer resembling its roots, it is Lancia.  Since the death of the Delta Integrale in the early Nineties, Lancia hasn’t really had a halo car, and has not been much more than a Fiat offshoot.  Since Chrysler has come under the Fiat banner, Sergio Marchionne has announced a partnership between Chrysler and Lancia. Continue reading The Chrysler-Lancia Connection needs to be reviewed.

Obscure Autos: Ferrari 456 Venice variants

Ferrari 456 variants

The Ferrari 456 is a member of a long line of Ferrari grand touring cars. It had a sleek, pure shape to it and was one of the last production cars to feature pop-up headlights. A good many of the standard 456s were produced during it’s eleven year run, and today they are even among the more affordable used Ferraris out there. There were, however, a few other variants of the 456 produced for customers (mainly the Brunei royal family) upon special request. These custom built examples are quite rare and are among the most unique cars around.      Continue reading Obscure Autos: Ferrari 456 Venice variants

Mercedes SLS technology demo

At Pebble Beach this year I was lucky enough to have a private run through of Mercedes-Benz’s new Android-based technology package for the SLS AMG. It is a really cool system they came up with. Basically it is as if the car is an Android but then also has some car specific features as well, such as the ability to link up to race tracks on GPS and receive detailed telemetry on your laps. The video is a bit long, but if you watch it through you will find the system incredible.

-Nick

A Ride Like Nothing Else.

First time a race car, first time in a 911, and definitely won’t be the last time.

Race cars have been a bit foreign to me.  Over the years, I’ve paid attention to one thing or another, but my attention seemed to drift toward road cars.  But then, just a couple of weeks ago, a few events set in motion, and I’m thinking quite a lot differently.  Thanks to a few emails and some luck, I took a ride in my first race car, a Porsche 996 ex-Grand Am car, owned by Tom Hassett. Continue reading A Ride Like Nothing Else.

Test Driven: Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead, Al’s Take

It's not the most pretty of convertibles, but it is certainly quite imposing. This car screams, "I'm rich. Get out of the way."

Rolls-Royce has been the last word in high-end luxury automobiles since its inception before World War I.  I’ve always gone beserk upon laying eyes on anything they’ve made, from the breathtaking Silver Cloud to the modern, yet still classic Phantom sedan.  But, I never knew that I would have an opportunity to drive one, let alone two, until I went to Monterey for the Concours last month.  I have seen the light, and it is bright and shining. Continue reading Test Driven: Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead, Al’s Take

The most vulgar object in existence

This is a model Lamborghini Aventador made of carbon fiber and diamonds. It costs 3.5 million euros which is funny because the actual Aventador car itself costs only around 300,000 euros, so you could have 11 or 12 real ones for the price of this model. Models are for people who cannot afford the real thing. Something like this is just absurdly ostentatious, and if you ask me whoever buys it should have all their assets seized on the spot and should be forced to check into a mental institution. Look I’m not against spending money in crazy ways, I’m even a little elitist at times myself, but there is a line and this sort of thing way over-steps it.

-Nick

Porsche 356/2 at the Concours D’Elegance

This is a display of Porsche's simplicity and beauty at its finest. I love these cars.

I’ve been a fan of the Porsche 356 since I was at least 9 years old, after seeing one in a buyer’s guide.  This particular example is a 1949 356/2 Coupe, one of the first 50 built, handmade in Gmünd, Austria in 1949.  In this particular color, it looks positively breathtaking.  This one is owned by Ferry Porsche’s son, Hans-Peter Porsche.  It won Best in Class this year, in the Postwar Sports Closed Class, at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours. Enjoy the photos.

-Al Continue reading Porsche 356/2 at the Concours D’Elegance

Obscure Autos: BMW 507

Back in the Fifties, most of the European automakers were attempting to get back on their feet after World War II pushed most of the continent to nearly the Stone Age.  BMW, for example, had few cars in their lineup that really got people into showrooms during the late Fifties, so they designed a halo car.  The 507 may not have been the success it was supposed to be, but it was so influential that its design is still being seen today. Continue reading Obscure Autos: BMW 507

Why does GM think Americans don’t want the best?

Buick Regal GS

The Buick Regal GS will be coming out soon, and I have to say it is terrible. You see, the Regal is based on the same chassis as the Vauxhall/Opel Insignia in Europe. The problem is that in Europe GM went all out with the VXR version of the Insignia, where as it has been half assed for us here in the states.     Continue reading Why does GM think Americans don’t want the best?

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