Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Bizzarrini Manta Is Still A Star

by Mike -

The Haute Living Blog caught my attention today with the post about a special exhibit at the Peterson Museum called Supercars: When Too Much Is Almost Enough which is there through October 16, 2011.

The Bizzarrini Manta, in the foreground, is always a favorite but so is the Lamborghini Miura, in the background.

The Peterson Automotive Museum is located in Los Angeles, California. The Haute Living blog post is here.

Our Gallardo Weekend

by Mike -

A few years ago I was offered the use of a new Lamborghini Gallardo for a few days by a local Lamborghini dealer. I accepted their offer and drove the car with my good friend all over the Santa Cruz Mountains one weekend.

During this adventurous weekend:

* We ran out of gas, when a Gallardo gas gauge says 1/8th of a tank it really means empty. This same thing happened to Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear in what looked like an identical Lamborghini, even the same color.

The gas filler opening in a Gallardo is about one inch in diameter so the gas container spout would not fit. We had to cut a plastic water bottle in half and use it as a funnel.

* We were followed by the police, in a small town, into a gas station (they just wanted to look at the car). Fortunately they did not see us speeding.

* We covered more than 250 miles in this Gallardo in two days of driving just going nowhere, arriving very quickly.

There are hundreds of Gallardos for sale at any given time and over the past few years used Gallardo prices have come down. It is not likely that these cars will ever appreciate but for the money they are a lot of fun now.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tesla Takes Legal Action Against Top Gear

by Mike - 

Tesla served the BBC's Top Gear with a lawsuit yesterday for libel and malicious falsehood. Tesla claims “it is the only recourse we have; our repeated attempts to contact the BBC, over the course of months, were ignored.”

This article was first published as Tesla Motors Files a Lawsuit Against BBCs Top Gear TV Show on Technorati.
The quote below is from Ricardo Reyes, Vice President of Communications for Tesla.

“About two years ago, Top Gear ran a segment containing false and exaggerated criticisms of the Roadster. In the episode, two Roadsters are depicted as suffering several critical "breakdowns" during track driving. The show’s script, written before the cars were tested, has host Jeremy Clarkson concluding the segment by saying, "in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work."”

Clarkson also concluded that the Tesla range was only 55 miles and not the 200 miles claimed by Tesla. Tesla contends that this episode is repeated on TV and hundreds of millions of viewers watch these “lies” around the world on a regular basis.

A spokesperson for Top Gear said. "We can confirm that we have received notification that Tesla have issued proceedings against the BBC. The BBC stands by the program and will be vigorously defending this claim."

Here are some questions that come to my mind:

* Why has Tesla waited more than two years after this episode first aired to take this legal action?

* Is Tesla feeling the pressure? Are they not selling enough cars?

* What would be the motivation of Top Gear to lie and make false claims about a car? This could damage their credibility with their viewers and I can see no benefit for Top Gear to do so.

I have watched this episode of Top Gear two times and I know it is from 2008 and it would not impact a buying decision for me in 2011.

When I had a test drive in the new Tesla in 2005 the transmission did not work so the entire drive was in second gear only. Tesla has now solved this problem with the transmission and customers do not think about it any more.

By taking legal action Tesla increases the visibility of these problems that they seem to have had in 2008 and run the risk of damaging their reputation even further.

Why wouldn’t it be better for Tesla to go to Top Gear and request a new test of the latest Tesla Roadster rather than spend millions of dollars on legal action?

I wrote about my test ride in a Tesla here.

Classic Maseratis For Sale

by Mike -

There are three classic Maseratis for sale today on eBay - all in California.

1972 Ghibli 4.9SS

This beauty is an 8-cylinder with a manual 5-speed transmission and only 29,000 miles. This is the SS version and the seller says it is matching numbers. The current bid is US $77,877 and the reserve is not met. The seller says it is for sale locally for $97,500. This car is in Montecito, California USA and is listed here.

1975 Khamsin

The engine is an 8-cylinder with an automatic transmission and 110,278 miles. From the description this appears to be an original two owner car and in good condition despite the high milage. The current bid is $18,800 and the reserve is not met. This car is in Glendale, California USA and is listed here.

1974 Merak

This car has a 6-cylinder engine with a manual transmission and only 19,010 miles. It has been in storage singe 1979 and needs some attention. The price is US $16,999.95. This car is in Orange, California USA and is listed here.

A pre-purchase inspection and a study of the history of the car are always recommended.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Custom 1940 Ford Like No Other

by Mike -

I have never seen a 1940 Ford custom that looked like this one, it sounded great too.

The 1940 Ford was one of my favorite cars when I was a kid but I have never owned one. As I grew older European sports cars held my attention. This custom Ford is nice too.

The was at the Goodguys Show in Pleasanton, California on Sunday 27 March, 2011.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Abarth Video

by Mike -

The new Fiat Abarth looks pretty quick.

Check out this video.

Hot Rods In California

by Mike -

This past weekend I went to a hot rod, muscle car and custom car show. Here are some pictures of American hot rod art.

I love this green color.

This car looks like it is in very rough condition, however, it has been made to look this way. This is the art.

This one is similar but the exhaust burns on the side and door are real.

The was the Goodguys Show in Pleasanton, California.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Concours On The Avenue

by Mike -

On the Thursday before the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance some of the cars that will be on display on Sunday in Pebble Beach take a drive down the coast and end up in downtown Carmel.

Ocean Avenue is shut down and these beautiful cars park in the middle of the street where the public can get an up close and free look. Here are some of my pictures from 2006.

Click on the images for a larger view.