Archive for September, 2010

I’ve always loved the idea of a weekend sports car. Something you take out early on Sunday morning, drop the top, wind your way up Laurel Canyon and then hit Mulholland Drive at reckless speeds and hope that you don’t get zapped with a radar followed by blue lights.

Years ago, I had just such a car. My bright red 1974 Porsche 914, with 911 rims shod in high performance Pirellis, could handle the job and more. With the Targa top off, it was a little slice of sunshine heaven. Alas, my little Porsche was challenged for space. There was no room behind the seats, no cup holders, no insulation and the glove box was good for, uh, gloves.

My 1974 red Porsche 914 - I miss it, but not the repair bills.

The mid-engine design meant I had front and rear trunk space, like the current Boxster. The rear trunk was just large enough for the Targa roof. The front trunk carried the car cover and a gym bag. This wasn’t the car for a run to Costco.

Two-seat sports cars always pose a dilemma for car shoppers. Anything from a Mazda MX-5 Miata to a Porsche Cayman to a Ferrari F458 have the same trade-offs. You can fit two people, but there isn’t much room for anything other than a couple overnight bags and small leather goods from Louis Vuitton. The fun quotient for these cars is through the roof as much as practicality flies out the window. They are personal expressions of the driver and the mechanical vibrations create pure driving ecstasy.

It’s easier to justify one of these indulgences if you have a mulit-car household or if you’re lucky enough to have a garage full of cars so you can choose a different one each day of the week. (more…)


It’s Paris Auto Show time and UK dream weaver, Lotus Cars, makes us salivate with its latest creation.

Meet the Lotus Elite. It’s a 2+2 grand touring car with a 5.0 liter 612 hp 531 lb-ft torque that drives the rear wheels (no crappy all wheel drive to ruin the fun).  Lotus says the car will do 0-60 mph in an astonishing 3.5-3.7 seconds.  There was no word on the source of the V8, although Lotus does use modified Toyota engines in its other cars.

The folding hardtop missile measures 181.1 inches long, 74.8 inches wide and 53 inches tall and the car, porky for a Lotus, weighs in at 3,638 pounds.

I expect that the “back seats” are really for infants or a Prada hand bag.

Lotus will offer its first optional hybrid system that uses kinetic-energy-recovery system similar to the setup used in Formula One racing. (Who knew Formula One racers used hybrid electric systems?)

Save your pennies because it ain’t going to be cheap. The Elite will start at £115,000 or around $179,000 at current exchange rates. If you want options or the hybrid drive system, prepare to write a much larger check. It is scheduled to go on sale in 2014.

Hey, I can dream, right?

Lotus Elite Concept - 2010 Paris Auto Show

Lotus Elite Concept Car - 2010 Paris Auto Show

Lotus Elite Concept Car - 2010 Paris Auto Show

Lotus Elite Concept Car - 2010 Paris Auto Show

If you want a new 4-door Super Car, look no further than the upcoming Lamborghini Estoque, due sometime in 2013 according to Volkswagen (Audi is a VW subsidiary and Audi owns Lamborghini).  It will be powered by the V10 from the Gallardo (which is also used in the Audi R8 V10).

2013 Lamborghini Estoque (Europe debut in 2012, US 2013)