Aston Martin: The ‘Ultimate’ Special Edition DBS

May 9, 2012

The current Aston Martin DB9/DBS shape is one of those automotive-landscape entities that has, undoubtedly, garnered deserved praise for its elegantly stunning and aggressively handsome design flourishes ever since its 2004 debut. It will, without fail, go down as one of the most beautiful sports/GT-cars ever made.

Just last night, during my usual evening stroll, I was taken aback by the sight of a lone, granite-grey DB9 parked up all by itself along one of the many quietly-curving, tree-lined streets that make up my old-money/Mansion-infested neighborhood. Point being, the DB9 still manages to stop me dead in my tracks and forces me to drink it all in… again… and again.

So it goes without saying that the eventual successor to the current DB9/DBS will have quite a job on its hands in keeping faithful to the beautiful mark that has been undeniably stamped onto the automotive scene. Said replacement will see the light of day sometime next year (probably) so it’s no surprise that there will be several ‘run-out’ Special Edition versions of the DB9/DBS cocktail forthcoming until then – the ‘Ultimate’ DBS, pictured, is the latest.

Only 100 ‘Ultimate’ DBS variants will be made and the features are, as usual with most run-out special editions, mostly cosmetic. Each Ultimate DBS will be individually numbered and identified by bespoke badging, loads of carbon fibre, shadowy grilles and tail-lamps, diamond-quilted stitching on your leather seats with either silver or red thread and your choice of red, yellow or black-painted calipers to complete the ‘Ultimate’ finishing touches…

Exterior paint colours offered are Carbon Black II, Quantum Silver, or Silver Fox – so basically Black, Grey or Silver. Both Coupe and Volante body styles are offered as well as either Automatic or Manual transmissions…

Hmmm… Silver-Fox DBS Ultimate with red calipers and red stitching being nursed through a Manual gearbox – yes, please.

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com

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Subaru BRZ: New Video Sheds Light(weight) Details of Development

April 25, 2012

By now, you’ll have most-certainly been exposed to the gradually building fanfare of the joint automotive venture that is the Subaru BRZ/Toyota FT86. It goes without saying that this new vehicle harkens back to a time, not too long ago, when simplicity, affordability and exploitable fun were found within the recipes of modestly-powered sportscars.

BRZ looking gruff and ready at our recent local Auto Show

I recently attended our fair City’s annual Big Motor Show at the newly re-domed mega-plex and besides the usual exotica (and lack thereof) to catch my attention, my main focus was on seeing the Subaru BRZ and Toyota FT86 (well, the Scion FRS – North America and all) in the actual metal. While it was rather annoying that both cars were on lockdown mode preventing anyone from accessing their interiors, they were openly displayed to allow up-close viewing.

Sorry dear, it's locked - slightly frustrating with an exciting new car that is focused on driver-involvement and interaction... just sayin'

Of the two cars, it was the Subaru that caught my attention with its almost demure, yet purposeful presence – a bit more aggressive yet less flashy than the Scion counterpart. It looked tough. It also looked smaller than what I was expecting as well – chalk that up to the internet making everything look larger than it really is… – I liked that.

Looks better up close in-the-metal instead of on my computer screen... Want to drive one, now.

I also liked the small wheels – cannot tell you how refreshing it is to hear a manufacturer placing emphasis on ‘fun’ vehicle dynamics (remember ‘fun’ driving…?) without resorting to the fashionable ‘maximum grip levels’ on massively cartoonish 18″ or 19″ wheels… Heck, I wish it had 15″ or 16″ deeply-dished, lightweight wheels to coax even more exhilaration from the chassis… but that’s the old-school BMW e30-applauding side of me coming to the fore… 😉

If they'll offer a 15 or 16" wheel variant with dish, I'm game...

Anyways, on to why we’re conducting this entry… To share with you the newest documentary from Subaru themselves that offers a detailed view of the development process involved with the BRZ… albeit in Japanese with easy-to-read subtitles. I think it’s safe to say that Subaru knows how to build and engineer a fun car… and knowing now how much effort and input Subaru instilled with the creation and development of this new sportscar, my intrigue continues to fall towards the BRZ over the sister Scion…

Part 1.

Part 2.

-Photos by Blake J.

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


In Memoriam: Ferdinand Alexander Porsche – 1935-2012

April 5, 2012

Take a moment to doff your cap in memoriam of the passing of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche; the man credited with designing and shaping the iconic Porsche 911.

Born in 1935 and the eldest son of Ferry and Dorothea Porsche, FA (as he was more commonly known) carried the family traditions of ‘good, honest design’ philosophies throughout his tenure at Porsche. It was in 1962, shortly after being appointed the Head of the Porsche Design Studio, that he penned the iconic 911 shape that has endured in its basic form for the last 50 years.

Ferdinand with a scale-model of his legendary creation - the 904 GTS

Ferdinand also acheieved worldwide acclaim for his designs in various industrial accomplishments as well, not least being pens, eyewear, desk lamps, chairs and wrist-watches amongst many others…

The 904 GTS in action

FA also designed the 1962 Type 804 F1 racecar along with the forever legendary (and beautiful) 904 GTS, but the 911 was his shining moment that cemented his vast abilities and talents within the Porsche automotive philosophy and his family’s long-standing tradition of exquisite refinement.

The 1962 Type 804 Formula 1 car

Ferdinand was 76 years old.

Sculpting the 911 in 1962

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


2013 SRT Viper: Revealed…!

April 4, 2012

UPDATE..! Full photo-album of the new 2013 SRT Viper below as promised..!

Like most of you, I enjoy a good ‘ol fashioned pre-launch automobile tease-fest when it’s done properly. You know – ominous, shadowy images detailing a particularily curvy and possibly indistinguishable flank of metal or aluminium… presented to your computer screen… once every 2 weeks… for 2 months.

But nowadays, there are many other ways to spoil that party: enter video-game makers and their update packs. In this case, Forza 4.

What we see here (albeit in digital construction) is the 2013 SRT Viper and it’s pretty safe to say that the sexy curves of yore have returned (yay), the big, sharp, trailing-off wing has made a comeback (yay again) and the whole thing will be launching down your block with an 8.7L V10 hammering out close to 600 bhp slotted underneath that nostril-engaging nose (another yay).

Actual in-the-metal pics from the ‘official’ New York Auto Show launch will be updated on here asap..!

A proper tease...

An artist's rendering... Nice effort, but you're ruining my tease-party...!

UPDATE..! Full photo-album of the new 2013 SRT Viper below as promised..!

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


What Were They Thinking: 1978 Corvette ‘America’ Concept

March 21, 2012

There are moments within the extended life-run of an iconic, homebred sportscar where ambitious minds and questionable visions intersect to create something that begs to ask a question that was never even asked in the first place… In this case – ‘Why wouldn’t a Corvette owner/enthusiast desire a 4-door version to haul his family and friends around in…?’

I know. There are so many responses to counter that question, but it didn’t stop Chevrolet from embarking on a… erm…. ‘design study’ in 1978 to flesh out the possibilities of a 4-door family ‘Vette.

The Corvette ‘America’ (snappy name) was designed and built by California Custom Coach in Pasadena, California in very small numbers – one prototype and five ‘production’ models – achieved by basically taking two Corvettes, cutting them in half and then stitching/welding them up, hence the increaed 30-inch wheelbase and subsequent visual awkwardness…

At the time, a base-model Corvette would stretch you back about $13,000-$14,000. So when the $35,000 price-tag was announced for the 4-door America, orders didn’t exactly flock-in as they had anticipated…

In the end, only the 6 were made and the silver ‘vette pictured here is the only known remaining survivor – the others having succumbed to uncaring owners and/or crashes of various sorts… I couldn’t even imagine what an oversteering moment in one of these would feel like. Probably frightening.

I think one left is enough.

Though, in its defense, I can’t help picturing this above red version as the sort of vehicle that the characters from The Banana Splits would have driven, if they could have…  And that makes it instantly cool in my books.

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


A.I. Commentary: McLaren MP4-12C And Ferrari 458 – Rivals..? Really..?

March 15, 2012

From the motoring folks who recently launched the Drive channel on YouTube, here we have an interesting (and beautifully shot) video from a certain Mr. Chris Harris that raises some questions about the aim of this car when considering the cozy, discreet, Grand Touring-like capabilities and real-world, daily-driven useability of the MP4-12C…

On paper, one would be immediately excused for comparing the mid-engined 3.8L V8 twin-turbo, 592 bhp McLaren with the 4.5L 562 bhp Ferrari 458 – Somewhat similar power outputs, comparable price point, mid-engined V8, well-established racing pedigree on both sides, really really fast, etc… Yet although one could argue that both cars represent each company’s bespoke (and exotic) interpretation of the formula and layout, one could also argue that these two cars aren’t exactly the heated rivals that the motoring press, a certain British motoring TV show and many supercar enthusiasts have made them out to be.

Understated yet conventionally attractive looks have most people 'ho-hum'-ing with regards to its looks...

For starters, one is a raucous, loud, impractical and highly visceral (and visual) experience adorned with beautifully stunning lines riding on conventional (albeit, high-tech) dampers and springs while the other is an extremely relaxing, everyday-useable, long-distance tourer imbued with all of the latest-tech wizardy (hello space-age suspension) that’s been rather discreetly (some would say, boringly) styled with a matching set of (mostly) muted lungs… Their power, price and basic shape/layout is similar, but aside from those traits, I’m beginning to see just how different these two supposed rivals really are…

The stunning Ferrari 458

After reading publications and watching a deluge of head-to-head video tests over the past 6 months involving various rivals  – most notably, the Ferrari 458 – one question seems to jump out moreso than any other: Should the Ferrari and McLaren even be considered rivals…? The McLaren doesn’t exactly shock and fascinate ‘in-the-metal’ despite its eye-candy doors and plethora of exotic materials used in its construction, but it does impress with its to-the-millimetre build quality, road-litheness and general air of keen robustness.

At a recent Concours Show in our fair city, the McLaren didn't exactly 'wow' the crowds moreso than it gained people's respect as an incredible 'all-rounder'

The more I look at it (and I looked at it for a long time back in September, as the photos show), the more I’m inclined to view this new McLaren as a Premium high-end spiritual successor to the tech-fest Honda NSX from the early ’90s – a phenomenally-engineered, precision-built, fast-yet-comfortable, mid-engined ‘everyday’ GT sportscar with Jekyll & Hyde-like attributes – one who’s modern-day main rival really is the Porsche 911 Turbo… not the look-at-me-dance Ferrari 458…

The 458 doing what it loves to do best...

With its understated outer-shell design (minus the fancy doors) and plush interior complete with classy nods to exotic materials and bespoke functionality – not to mention its luxuriously appointed ride quality – the MP4-12C, at least to these eyes, really seems to be aimed more towards the discerning driver that isn’t at all interested in flash attributes, going sideways, making noise and standing out… A driver that would just rather enjoy pootling along with Rolls-Royce levels of ride quality alongside bang-up-to-date tech with the promise of truly eye-watering speed and handling capabilities… if called upon.

Looks like a Supercar (albeit, a slightly dated one) from the back... doesn't sound like one though.

After soaking-in all of these high-profile, head-to-head tests (and mostly losing them) the McLaren has taken more than its unfair share of flack for its apparent inability to excite and entertain in the ways that the Ferrari so readily does… Yet I ask this: Taking price, power and basic layout out of the equation, how close, actually, are these two cars in terms of being labelled as direct rivals…?

Your thoughts and opinions, as always, are welcomed…!

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com

-McLaren Photos by: Blake J./AutoInjected.com


Porsche: Next-Gen 911 GT3 Could Be PDK-Only…?

February 14, 2012

I’ve just read an article originating from Insideline that tells of the threat (yes, it’s ridiculous enough news to warrant it as such) according to Porsche 911 project chief, August Achleitner, that the next-gen Porsche 911 GT3 – remember now, the hardcore purists choice of 911 – could very well come with a PDK-only transmission…

According to Achleitner, both manual and PDK transmissions are being ‘evaluated’ for consideration in the next GT3 (and here’s where I roll my eyes) but apparently only one transmission will be chosen in the end for the hardcore GT3 and he reckons the boring-as-mud, poseur PDK will get the nod. Achleitner continues to blither on with false numbers and ridiculous statements, one of which being that ‘only’ 30% of 911 sales are manual stick-shift so therefore PDK is a no-brainer… huh..? That’s just poor business sense if you ask me.

The new 991-gen 911 - oh, how I squint further at thee...

The embarrassment continues when Achleitner says “When we launched the 911 Turbo S, we did not offer a manual, but we have not had a single complaint”. Sure you didn’t Achleitner… But then again, of course he’d say that as Porsche charges (and makes) a load of extra cash on each 911 that is ordered with the PDK. By that token then, I’d think I’d be safe in reminding Porsche that 100% of previous-gen 997 GT3 sales were manual transmission…? Despite what Porsche may think, not every 911 owner spends their time bragging about 0-60 times and impressing their friends with launch-control.

Seeing as how the next-gen GT2 and GT3 will also be fitted with the new (and highly-controversial) electromechanical power steering set-up that has already come under heavy criticism for its lack of ‘feel’ and reportedly synthetic feedback qualities, it seems an unnecessarily brash move against Porsche driving-purists (and proper drivers, in general) to come out swinging with this silly threat of ‘you can have this, or nothing at all’ type of statement.

Could there not be anything more 'wrong' in the sportscar realm than a Porsche 911 without a manual option...?

I call BS on the whole story – this is just Porsche, once again, ruffling-up the feathers of the automotive world and heaving mass attention in their direction for the sake of headlines and discussion…. Does Porsche really, I mean really, think that GT3 buyers will be happy as lambs with electromechanical power steering and PDK-only…? C’mon…

Porsche has been developing (and offering) a new 7-speed manual transmission for the new 991-based 911 already so I don’t exactly buy into Achleitner’s claims that this ‘populist’ PDK-only option/threat has any weight behind it at all.

The GT3 RS 4.0 - the last proper 911 aimed at driving purists/enthusiasts...?

And my friends actually wonder why the new plethora of sportscars continue to fail in exciting me anymore… So thank you, to all the flappy-paddle posers… you have now successfully contributed to the ruination of, what used to be, one of the greatest driver’s cars ever.

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


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