Category: Automobiles


Yesterday, I went to the Lia Car Show in Schenectady.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of cars that were on display there.  Not only were there some amazing classics, but there were also a couple high-end sports cars.  Here are some of the pictures I took at the show.

See ya soon!

McLarenF1

Back in 1992, Gordon Murray and McLaren Automotive made the fast production car in the world.  The McLaren F1 was, and still is the fastest normally aspirated production car in the world.

I remember it like it was just yesterday.  I was in London in March of 1998 and the news channels were buzzing with the story –  The McLaren F1 became the fastest production car with a top speed of 240 miles per hour.  That was straight from the factory with no mods.

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to see a few of these cars in person.  The picture here is one that Turner Motorsports brought every year.  There was also another one that came to Lime Rock that had raced in the 24 Hours at Le Mans.  That was a serious privilege.  Not many people get to see a car with that kind of history.

One day at the track, I saw a lucky reporter get a ride in the McLaren.  It was every car lover’s dream.  If you’re not familiar with the McLaren, the driver seat is actually in the middle.  There are two seats that are set back on either side of the driver’s seat.  The three seats sort of look like a triangle.  That reported climbed in, got buckled, and probably got the ride of his life.  I was very envious that day.

I wanted to write this story because Gordon Murray has just released his T25 concept “city car“.  It is smaller than a Smart ForTwo and has the same seating setup as the McLaren F1.  It is a 51hp car that is said to get 61.9 miles per gallon.  That is impressive!  One of his main purposes for designing this car was to cut down on congestion and being able to park 2 T25s in a single parking space.

Their new MP4-12C looks like it has a Ferrari front end and roofline, paired with a Lamborghini lower half and vents on the side.  Not an original design if you ask me.  But with 600hp, I bet it’s a blast to drive.

Yesterday, I got the July issue of Motor Trend in the mail.  As I look at the cover, a topic pops into my head…

Did they run out of ideas for new muscle cars  and have to re-make the muscle cars of years past?  Is it a nostalgia thing, or are they just not coming up with new styles that the gearheads will like?  It seems like every couple issues, they test the same models.

Chevy made a new version of the late 60s Camaro.  I like that it looks quite a bit like (what I consider their best body style) the ’68 Camaro.  What I don’t like is that it looks a little ‘small’.  It doesn’t seem as beefy as the old Camaros.  I did not care for the Camaro after the late ’60s.  The new ones are the first I kind of like since then.

Ford did the same thing with the Mustang.  After the movie Gone in 60 Seconds, the love affair with the old ’67 Shelby GT500 was re-ignited.  Ford jumped on it and tried to make a modern day version of a breathtakingly beautiful car.  In my opinion, they failed horribly.  I was never a Mustang fan before I saw the movie, and I still am not.  I do, however, really like the ’67 Shelby GT500.  There are a lot of kit cars running around now replicating “Eleanor“.  The new Mustangs just don’t have a good look like the old ones did.

Another car that has been reincarnated is the Dodge Challenger.  I like the look of this car quite a bit.  I think Dodge did a great job at replicating the car and keeping it proportionate to it’s predecessor.  I wish they had done the same thing with the Charger.  I am a huge “Dukes of Hazzard” fan and love that orange car with the 01 on the side of it.  What did they come out with?  Some big, ugly, four door tank.  Fail.

Everyone has a favorite muscle car, like the Chevelle, Charger or the GTO.  Does that mean that we can expect to see these cars again in the future?  Are they going to bring back the Gremlin, or the Pacer?  Why can’t they come up with new cars that appeal to the gearheads?  Or is the Prowler a sign of what happens when they try that?  What car would you like to see redone?

“I wish I was a little bit taller, wish I was a baller…”- Skee Lo

Earlier in the week, I heard that Keeler Smart Center Latham was hosting a Smart Car test drive at Crossgates yesterday and today.  I found out about it through Keeler’s tweets encouraging people to stop down.  So yesterday, Rose and I stopped down to check it out.  I had always wanted to drive one of the Smart cars, but never had the chance.

I had seen them for years before they came to the states a few years ago.  In my travels to Europe, and at Lime Rock in Connecticut.  The car at Lime Rock was most likely brought to the states and converted to US EPA standards.  That was way back in the late 90s or early 2000s, long before they began importing them for sale here.

Recently, I had seen them on the road here and there in the Capital District, and even see one up the street at a neighbor’s house every day.  It is bright yellow.  You can’t miss it.

Two of the people at the event were marketing reps for Smart USA, and I also met John Sterrett from the Latham Smart Center.  He went with me on my test drive.  Great guy!  We discussed the Smart car as well as sports cars and motorcycles.  Who could ask for a better co-pilot?  I got to drive the Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet in Blue Metallic and Rose drove the Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe in Red.

Here is the common misconception about these cars – they are incredibly roomy inside.  The car had lots of legroom and quite a bit of headroom.  There was even a decent amount of storage behind the seats for luggage or groceries, whichever you may be hauling.  They come equipped with a 1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine.  It’s not the fastest car you will ever drive, but it will pay off at the gas pump, as they get 41 miles per gallon according to the Smart USA website.  With gas now back to over $3 a gallon, that plays a huge factor in many people’s decision of which new car to buy.

The other question a lot of people ask is about the safety of such a small car.  The Smart ForTwo cars have a very high 5-star safety rating per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  That is pretty impressive in itself.  I would feel very safe in this car.  heck, it can’t be any worse that being on a motorcycle in traffic.  At least people might see you in the car.

The event is going on tomorrow as well.  Make sure you stop down and check them out. Sorry about the crappy pics.  All I had with me was my cell and was shooting into the sun.  I tweaked them a touch in Photoshop to make them  little better.   See ya soon!

As some of you may know, I am a huge car freak. I love high end sports cars. Ferrari is my favorite exotic car marque of all.  I even have the tattoo to prove it! Whenever there is a car show that may have high end sports cars in the area, I grab the camera and head off to get some pictures and see some works of art.

Two summers ago, the Saratoga Automobile Museum hosted the Fall Ferrari Festival on their grounds. The weather was not ideal for Ferraris, so i did not expect a great turnout. It was a gloomy, overcast day in the Saratoga area. The rain was threatening to dampen our spirits, and our souls. A few brave souls came out despite the showers and showed us their amazing automobiles. All in all, I would say there were about 10 Ferraris that made an appearance. Mostly F430s and 360s, but a few older cars came as well. A special treat was the Ferrari SuperAmerica. I hadn’t seen one of these in person, so I was quite happy.

Ferrari SuperAmerica

There was even a Ferrari Testarossa there.  In Italian, Testarossa means ‘Red Head’.  In Ferrari’s case, it refers to the red-painted cam covers on the engine.   As I wandered around the show, taking in all of the sights and got this shot with an F430 in the foreground and a Testarossa in the background.  Both of them are shown in front of the Saratoga Auto Museum.

It may have been raining that day, but in my mind it was beautiful out.  Any day that you get to spend in the presence of Ferraris is a great day in my book.  Here are a couple more I took that day.  Enjoy!

See ya soon!

I have mentioned in quite a few posts my love for cars.  Of all the cars out there, only a few make it to the very top of my list of favorite cars of all time.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are tons of cars I would love to get behind the wheel of, but only a certain few really stand out as ones I really want to drive at some point in my life.

One of those cars is the Mercedes S Class.   The S Class is a huge car.  It has a elegant look about it that has always grabbed my attention.  While most guys are looking for the sporty two-door coupe, I am intrigued by the beauty of this work of art.  The lines are breathtaking and the interior fit for a king.  You just don’t get any more luxurious than with an S Class.

While we were out of town last week, we visited a few friends.  One of them works for a Bobby Rahal Mercedes in Wexford, PA.  We called and asked if we could stop by, and while there, if I could test drive a Mercedes, as I love the brand and have always dreamed of driving one.  He said he would see what he could do.

So, we showed up at the dealership and Bob showed us around, letting me check out all of the new models that we there and telling me about each one.  I know a ton about most cars, so I knew most of what he was telling me, but you could tell he loves what he does, and I didn’t want to spoil his fun.  It’s been quite a while since I had someone to talk to that shared the passion for a gorgeous car as I do.

We could have talked all day, but Bob had work to do.  After we chatted for a bit in his office, he said “if you could drive any Mercedes right now, which would you pick?”  Easy.  The S Class or the SL class.  He disappeared for a bit, but not before saying, “I can’t guarantee you a test drive, but I will try.”  “I really appreciate anything you can do, and will understand if you can’t”, I replied.

When he came back in I was afraid he was going to say he couldn’t let me drive one, but I was wrong.  He not only got me the car of my dreams, but he got me the mother of the S Class line up, the  Mercedes S63 AMG.

Mercedes S63 AMG

Mercedes S63 AMG

The S63 AMG has a 6.3 liter V8 producing 518 horsepower.  It does 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.  That is ridiculously fast for a 4,960 pound car.  It is also a very long car.  It is listed as 206.5 inches, which is just over 17 feet long.  You would never know it was that big, as driving it was like driving a much smaller car.  It was one of the best days of my life.  This car drove just as I had always dreamed it would.  There is now one better, however.  The Mercedes S65 AMG makes 604 horsepower and has a 6.0 liter V12 BiTurbo engine.

Thank you Bob, as you have just helped me check one thing off my bucket list.  I am forever grateful to you.

Now, if only I could hit the lottery.  Here are a few more shots I took…

We went down to Sewickley, PA today to check it out.  If it sounds familiar, you might have heard of it from Sinbad’s movie “Houseguest“.  It’s a very wealthy town not far from Pittsburgh.  While we walked around the town, I saw these two Lotus’ sitting at a dealership that also sold Rolls Royce and Bentley.

It’s been a great trip, and these beautiful cars made it even better.  I’ll be back in Albany soon, so internet access will be more available and I will have longer posts with more pictures of the things I did down here.  See ya soon!

Growing up, we had some pretty cool video game systems.  I can remember the Atari pretty well, among a few others.  Sure, I may be dating myself with this statement, but my favorite game console, then and now is the Nintendo.  Yes, I said now.  I have loved playing Super Mario Bros since it came out back in 1985.  It is still as much fun today as it was back then.  I even was asked to bring it to a friend’s house Superbowl Sunday.  We played it before and after the game.  Personally, I would have been happier playing the Nintendo than watching the Superbowl.

Nintendo

Nintendo

Over the last twenty plus years, I have played on many of the different consoles.  I am not a huge gamer, but I do enjoy racing games.  I can remember when Gran Turismo came out for the Playstation.  A bunch of us got together and played day and night.  It was so addicting.  Then Gran Turismo 2 came out and it started all over again.

A few years later, I got an Xbox.  They don’t have Gran Turismo for that platform, but they do have Project Gotham Racing.  I have played all three PGRs and loved everyone.  There also was Need For Speed.  I don’t know how many of those came out, but there’s been a ton, and I have played a bunch of them.  My most recent was Need For Speed: Shift.

Now, I have the Nintendo (of course) and an Xbox 360.  I really like the Xbox 360 for it’s graphics and Xbox Live capabilities.  I can play games on it, and watch Netflix Streaming with it.  It’s a great system.  I have both Guitar Hero and Rock Band for it and really enjoy playing them as well.

The reason I am writing this tonight is to ask everyone’s opinion on gaming.  Here’s a few questions for you…

  • Do you play video games?  If yes, how often?
  • What type of games do you like?
  • What console do you like to play on?
  • Do you think the Guitar Hero/Rock Band type games are encouraging kids to learn to play instruments, or just video games?

If nothing else, they make for some great pictures…

Drums

Drums

Guitar

Guitar

Playin' around with the camera

Playin' around with the camera