Bertone Jet 2+2. Photos courtesy of Autoblog
In last week’s article about hypercars, Nicholas D’Amato explained why he believes many exist to inflate the egos of their buyers, who are more interested in the idea of owning something unique than exploring the physical limits of an engineering marvel. But what happens when a hypercar like the Ferrari Enzo, of which only 400 were produced, is simply too common? Just ask James Glickenhaus, who purchased the last unsold Enzo and shipped it off to legendary Italian design house Pininfarina for a complete makeover. The result is the Ferrari P4/5, a track-destroying monster of a car inspired by the famed 1967 Ferrari P3/4 race car, and one that cost $4 million to create. The one-off, then, is the ultimate manifestation of Hypercar Syndrome. Or is it?
The Ford Fiesta ST Configurator went live last night, and prices for Ford’s smallest hot hatch will start at just $21,400. The miniscule five door features a 1.6L Ecoboost 4-cylinder producing 197hp and 214 lb-ft of torque routed through a six-speed manual transmission; like its big brother, the Focus ST, a two pedal version is not an option. The Fiesta will also be the least expensive car in the world to be available with Recaro bucket seats, a worthwhile option that adds $1,995 to the car’s base cost. As with in other Fords, all the normal SYNC stuff can be had for the right price so drivers don’t get bored just driving.
As Nic wrote last week, most hypercars are expensive, overwrought pieces of automotive machinery whose existence is made possible by insecure millionaires and billionaires measuring their manhood by who has the biggest…hp/weight ratio. This year and the next will find the market crowded with examples, as the SSC Tuatara, Porsche 918, and Ferrari F70 are all expected to hit the streets before the end of 2014. When the McLaren P1 is delivered later this year, it will appeal to a different sort of owner than the playboys who buy hypercars for their exquisite beauty or simply because their neighbor isn’t likely to own one. How do I know?
The Nürburgring Nordschliefe. “The Green Hell,” as it’s affectionately known by the automotive world, is one of the world’s most famous race tracks, and more car makers subject their pre-production vehicles to the daunting 13-mile road course than any other track in the world. With more than 150 turns, corners, and bends and an elevation change of 1000 feet, the track is a perfect place to stress test any new sports car, with lap times proudly marketing the worthiness of a potential buyer’s money. Reviewing the list of fastest production cars around the ‘Ring is an automotive Who’s Who, and is filled with the usual suspects, from well-known names like Lexus, Porsche, and Dodge, to Radical and Gumpert, who are at least known to the general populace thanks to appearances on Top Gear. Near the top, however, is a name that you probably have never seen on that program or in newspaper headlines at all. Just who the hell is Donkervoort? Read More…
At Saturday’s Nationwide DRIVE4COPD 300 race, a horrific crash in the final lap left more than 30 NASCAR fans injured when debris assaulted the grandstands. Thankfully, nobody was killed, and two people, a child and an adult, that were initially admitted to a nearby hospital due to critical injuries are recovering.
Koenigsegg Agera: not just another ego-stroking hypercar
By now the world has largely accepted into the ranks of the Supercar Elite the likes of Pagani and Koenigsegg. The former was welcomed with fairly open arms while the latter has had a less exuberant embrace. For one, Koenigseggs are built in Sweden, so the world’s automotive journalists had to first exhaust their supply of Ikea jokes before they could move on and take a look at what was actually happening up there. Pagani, on the other hand, was not only building its cars in Italy, but in the same town as Ferrari and Lamborghini. It required very little imagination to spin a narrative that would encompass the Pagani story. The relative struggles people have had in accepting these upstart brands into the pantheon of aspirational vehicles accurately reflects the work of the companies themselves.
As I said when I wrote about the 2007 Saab Aero X concept car, I was recently combing through old pictures taken over the past few years from various auto shows, mostly from the big one in Los Angeles and its little brother in Orange County. I am especially interested in how concept cars either preview design language that will influence future cars or how preproduction models change by the time they hit showroom floors. Here are a few autos that were never sold or played a significant role in inspiring future product.