July 17, 2010
July 15, 2010
Helzberg Diamonds : 18kt White Gold 3/4ct TW Round Diamond Engagement Ring, GIA Graded Helzberg Diamond Masterpiece, Degas
Helzberg Diamonds : 14kt White Gold 2ct TW Round & Baguette Diamond Ring Helzberg Diamond Symphonies
We've just gotten off the horn with Ford's SVT performance division, and we've learned that the Blue Oval's hot-rod arm is going to limit production of the 2011 Shelby GT500 to 5,500 units for this model year. According to Ford spokesman Henry Platts, the move is not the result of slow sales, but rather a desire to maintain exclusivity. In fact, sales of Ford's king of the Mustang range have "exceeded expectations," with in excess of 3,300 orders already placed.
The 550-horsepower GT500 has not only been performing surprisingly well in a down economy, it's been going out the door loaded-to-the sills with options. According to Platts, there have been three times as many GT500 coupes ordered with the $1995 glass roof option as compared to the regular Mustang. In the "News That Makes Us Happy" category comes word that a full 68 percent have been spec'd out with the $3,495 performance package (includes 19- and 20-inch painted forged alloys, 3.73 limited-slip, tuned suspension, Gurney flap rear spoiler, etc.), and additionally, 70 percent of all GT500s have been ordered with the $2,340 electronics package (navi, dual-zone HVAC and Sirius/HD radio). With the GT500 starting at an out-the-door price of $49,495 before options, we're guessing that the GT500 is more than carrying its weight for Dearborn's bottom line.
While Ford is limiting total output of the GT500 to 5,500 units for 2011, Platts says the automaker has no plans to dictate how that shakes out in the coupe/convertible bodystyle mix. That said, if you've been fence-sitting on whether to pick up a GT500 of your very own this year, might we suggest that you make up your mind... quickly.
What do you get if you cross Italian styling with American V8 power and South African manufacturing? Unless you’ve got a punch line, Answer is the Perana Z-One, which will go on sale in the U.S. through Superformance after its Concorso Italiano debut in August. American buyers will get an allocation of just 99 units, so you probably won’t be seeing one parked outside of your local trattoria any time soon.
Designed by Zagato, the Perana Z-One debuted as a concept at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show. It’s lines are Italian, but I’m seeing influences from both the C6 Corvette and the Dodge Viper Coupe; somehow, the styling just works without being garish. At a starting price below $100,000, Z-One buyers will get to spec their cars with either the LS3 motor (good for 436 horsepower) or the LS7 motor for the Corvette Z06 (good for 505 horsepower). No floppy paddle shifters are planned, so buyers can look forward to rowing their own gears. As you’d expect from a limited production car that closes in on six figures, the interior will feature plenty of leather, Alcantara and technology, including a standard equipment navigation / infotainment system.
I can’t vouch for the South African manufacturing, although both BMW and Superformance have used South African labor for years. I love the idea of Italian style combined with the Corvette V8’s ease of maintenance, so I give this one a win.
July 13, 2010
Food, women, sports and cars… there you have it, the inner workings of every single man on the planet Earth. We’re simple creatures that don’t take a lot of figuring out. In fact if you present us with a combination of any of those four things together then we’ll pretty much do whatever you want. It really is that simple. Take this past Sunday for example, my buddy called me up and asked if I wanted to go up to Monticello Motor Club and take a spin and test out one of the wildest cars in existence. It weighs just 2400 lbs, puts out 700 hp, will run 0-60 in 3 seconds flat and tops out at a staggering 224 mph. Oh… and it also cost $750,000.00. The car I speak of is none other than the Gumpert Apollo.
I am not going to bore you with lots of details on suspension, or the fact that it’s twin-turbo charged, or that it’s one of the rarest and fastest cars on the road today. For that you can just visit Gumpert’s Website. What I am going to tell you is what it’s like to drive a car that very few people get the privilege of driving. The Gumpert Apollo looks like nothing else on the road and is one of those rare cars that tries to ride the line between full-on race car and road going super car. Laying eyes on the Gumpert in person is a real treat as you’re treated to a car that was no doubt purpose built to go very fast. Its body lines are not graceful, its cabin is not comfortable and it’s engine is not for the faint of heart. What the Gumpert Apollo is, is a car for those who have one hell of a big check book and the desire to drive one of the best performing automobiles ever built.
If you are one of those rare individuals with a Fort Knox bank account and are considering the Gumpert Apollo as a street car then you can forget it, as that is not what this car was meant to be. Sure you can drive it on the road, but at the end of the day, why would you want to? Driving the Gumpert on the open road is like using a tactical nuke for skeet shooting… it’s just overkill. The Gumpert belongs on the racetrack, it’s where it was developed and it’s where it should be.
When I first got to the track I just sat back and admired the car and then began to wonder how I was going to wedge my big ass in there. You see unless you’re 5′ 10′ or shorter, you WILL NOT be comfortable in this thing. I literally had to turn myself into a yoga master to get into this thing and even when wedged in there I was so scrunched up that I could barely move. The seats have no adjustments whatsoever so if you think you can make a tweak here and a tweak there, well then you’d be dead wrong. It does have adjustable pedals and telescoping steering wheel though, so that helped a little.
The cabin is fitted with bare essentials like A/C, power windows and stereo that you can’t reach. The gearbox is a sequential manual unit and truth be told, is a heck of a lot of fun when used properly. The Gumpert was started and then left to sit idling for about 15 minutes to bring everything up to operating temperature and once that was achieved it was time to get in and go. The first thing that everyone should know about this car is that it is NOT for beginners. Being so light and so powerful one has to be really careful about how they drive this thing as it’s not for the faint of heart.
As I rolled out of the paddock and onto pit lane I noticed that the clutch was surprisingly easy but you need to really modulate the throttle to get the car underway smoothly. While sitting at the track entrance I notice that visibility is not this car strong suit, in fact it’s pretty terrible all around. Honestly though, who really cares because with this much power you’ll most likely be ahead of everybody anyway.
The Gumpert is a loud car, but in no way obtrusive. The noise it makes fits the persona of the car and the speeds at which it’s capable of traveling… in short, I loved it. Press down on the throttle, wait for those big turbo’s to spool up and you’re gone, it’s that simple. Acceleration is blisteringly fast, so much so that the only thing you should be concerned with are the brake markers ahead of you and the speed at which you are approaching them. Brakes are massive 380mm discs with six-pot calipers that pull this thing to a halt in no time flat. The ride is very stiff and just reaffirmed my thought that this is not a street car, but a race car that you can drive on the street if necessary.
Steering inputs on the Gumpert are lightening quick as well so you really need to be on your game when driving this car. Get even the slightest bit aggressive with this thing and bad things can happen. I know this because I spun this sucker heading into a nice off-camber right. I’ll tell you something… when you’re sliding backwards in a $750,000 super car you tend to reevaluate your net-worth. My thought though is fuck it, you only live once and if you’re going to loop a car it minus well be a Gumpert Apollo.
I pulled the car back into the paddock, unwedged myself from the cockpit and began to really evaluate the car. The Gumpert Apollo is a lifestyle car, it’s a car for the man or woman who has everything but still wants more. The key however is, will customers who purchase this car actually use it for its intended purpose or will it simply be a conversation piece for others to admire, my bet is the latter. Competition wise the Gumpert Apollo falls in with a pretty good crowd. Bugatti Veyron, SSC Ultimate Aero, Pagani Zonda and Koenigsegg CCX are just a few of its competitors. When all is said and done though, you will REALLY need to like this car in order to plunk down all that cash for it. Lets face it, unless you’re racing in some sort of amateur racing series, or expert road race event, at days end you can have just as much fun in a car that costs over 95% less.