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The BMW i8 is Proof of Progress, and I Love It!

BMW i8 Amelia Island 1I saw my first BMW i8 out in the wild the other day, but only for just long enough to be awestruck, and then it was gone. While I didn’t manage to get a photo of that silver one on the road, I do have the photos from the i8’s first viewing at Amelia Island last year.

I must admit that I have love for everything that the BMW i8 represents, and I don’t think BMW could have executed this plug-in hybrid sports car any better. I remember in Monterey this year, we saw one parked in front of a restaurant, right next to a green McLaren P1. Which car drew the crowd?… The i8.

In fact, the most memorable part of that night was when I spent 10 minutes trying to convince a group of people that the i8 wasn’t a concept car, but was, in fact, on sale. They kept saying BMW would never make a car that looked so radical and actually expect to sell them. I had to pull out my phone and show them the i8 on BMW’s website, complete with its $136,000 base price. At that point, they finally believed me, and were wowed.

The BMW i8 is in the same price range as the higher-end Porsche 911 Carrera models, but BMW has given it the head-turning exotic appeal of a Pagani or a McLaren P1. The i8 looks like nothing else on the road. It even has show-y gullwing doors so you can make a grandiose entrance, or so you can’t get back into your car if people park on either side of you. Yes, that wonderful supercar idiocy is present and accounted for in the i8.

Performance wise, the i8 isn’t really a supercar by modern standards, but it’s plenty fast to have a lot of fun with. 0-60 takes 3.8 seconds, the 1/4 mile goes in 12.4 sec, and it tops out at 155mph. The kicker is the fuel economy. Where a Porsche 911 Carrera S can manage a respectable 29mpg, Motor Trend saw an Average of 45mpg in the BMW i8.

Put in 2004 terms, the i8 has the performance of a Ferrari 360 with the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius. This is progress people.

Enjoy the pics!

-Nick Walker

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The Cien Concept, and Why Cadillac Desperately Needs An Exotic Halo Car

Cadillac Cien Amelia Island 1

This is the Cadillac Cien Concept from 2002. As a contemporary of the Ferrari Enzo and Porsche Carrera GT, it would have been one hell of a hypercar back then, and even still to this day. However, much to the continued chagrin of all car enthusiasts, the Cien was only a tease from GM. Worse is the fact that the Cien is a fully-functional concept, not just a rolling design study with no engine. And what an engine it has – a 7.5L Northstar V12 with (supposedly) as much as 950bhp on tap. That is the sort of power we see from the Modern LaFerrari and McLaren P1, but back in 2002. The Cien would’ve changed supercars, four years before Bugatti did, but Cadillac was just too lame to make it happen.

Now, here in 2015, Cadillac has an increasingly great lineup of cars, but their brand image still suffers from the “old conservative man” syndrome, which, frankly, has never been “cool.” Cadillac’s new CEO, Johan de Nysschen, has stated his goal to reinvent the Cadillac brand, and he’s even moved the corporate headquarters to New York City.

The V-Series models have done a lot to give Cadillac some serious “cred” with the enthusiast crowd, but that doesn’t apply to more general buyers. The new CT6 is a fantastic car for the more general luxury car buyer, and as the real successor to the current CTS sedan, longer term. All that said, something more drastic is definitely needed, because public perceptions can only be changed quickly with a sledgehammer.

There has been a lot of talk lately about there being a mid-engine Corvette in the works, but I think that would be a huge mistake for GM, and a big missed opportunity. That mid-engine supercar needs to be a Cadillac!

Continue reading The Cien Concept, and Why Cadillac Desperately Needs An Exotic Halo Car

1970 Dodge Charger R/T at the 2015 Boca Raton Concours

1970 Dodge Charger R:T Front 2

When it takes someone 13 years to restore a car, it’s going to be something special. I am a huge fan of the second-generation Dodge Charger–and so is the rest of America. From the General Lee (of late Seventies fame) to the 1970 Charger hero car with the gargantuan supercharger poking out of the hood (thank you to The Fast and the Furious), this is a car that refuses to go out of style. The 1970 model was the final year of the Coke-bottle styling, and it has a few features that distinguish it from its earlier neighbors. Continue reading 1970 Dodge Charger R/T at the 2015 Boca Raton Concours

Pagani Zonda F (Horacio’s Own) at The Quail

Horacio's Pagani Zonda F at The Quail

I could say that I have many “dream cars”, but none quite so much as the majestic Pagani Zonda F. This really is “the one” for me, above all other cars.

The Zonda is fast as hell, but there are many faster cars out there. It is extremely expensive too, worth a few million, but one with enough money could always spend even more. But when it comes to being special, when it comes down to the fine individual details that add up to make something that is truly magnificent, a Pagani has no match.

Continue reading Pagani Zonda F (Horacio’s Own) at The Quail

1934 Duesenberg SJ Rollston Limousine at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours

Duesenberg SJ Limo Front Left

Duesenbergs and Pebble Beach go together like Los Angeles and celebrities. They are genuinely made for one another. Last summer at Pebble, there was a class of five Duesenbergs competing for class prizes. The one here, a 1934 SJ Limousine with coachwork by Rollston, was not an award winner by the book, but has a history for the books, like most Duesies. Continue reading 1934 Duesenberg SJ Rollston Limousine at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours