Style & Culture
Mon Nov 18 2013 20:00:14 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
WSJ's Auto columnist Dan Neil writes about the new Aston Vanquish. Me wantee!
Aston Martin has pulled from the stone a kingly blade named Vanquish Volante: 15.5 feet long and barely 4 feet tall, a cloth-top convertible with a windswept carbon composite body over a glued/riveted aluminum and composite chassis. Under the never-ending hood is a naturally aspirated, 5.9-liter V12 producing 565 horsepower and a clamor like Britons overrunning your battlements. This is a noise Hadrian's dogs would have recognized.
For those with $300,000 burning a hole in their pockets, here's the executive summary: front-midmounted, 48-valve, port-injected V12; six-speed automatic transaxle (no manual transmission nor dual-clutch gearbox); 49/51 front/rear weight distribution; two tons; 0-60 mph in 4 seconds, topping out at 183 mph. She's fast enough for you, old man.
The Aston is big, torquey (457 pound-feet at 5,500 rpm) and dragon-eyed. It has kick-down passing acceleration that feels like you just caught a ride on the crosstown catapult. It almost doesn't matter if the car is sitting at a red light, murmuring softly or roaring off down the road with an unholy rattle and contrails of Pirelli tire smoke. This car gets a lot of attention. I estimate its blast radius of awesome at about a half-mile.
If you are looking at the Vanquish Volante—i.e., the convertible version of the company's grand touring 2+2— you probably are also looking at the V8-powered Ferrari California, which is a tick quicker and conspicuously less expensive, by about $100,000. The California is in subtle ways a more refined automobile, more livable, easier to operate and, with the retractable hardtop, more buttoned up against the elements.
The Aston, meanwhile, is filled with the marque's eccentricities, beloved and otherwise: the push-button automatic transmission system, for instance; the fiddly, matchbox-sized crystal key that must be plunged into the console to start the car; the "Fortress of Solitude" interface. The touch-sensitive switches in the car's center stack aren't, particularly; the knurled aluminum multifunction dial (audio, navi, settings) is in a bad spot ergonomically; and the Garmin navi is anachronistic.
If the human-factors engineering and broadband connectivity of an Audi are important to you, run, don't walk, away from the Aston.
Having said that, between the California and Vanquish Volante, it isn't a close call. The California is effeminate—there, I said it. The Aston looks like it is about to father a nation.
Just to break down one formal element in the exterior design, consider the car's radical carbon-fiber-to-glass ratio. The fuselage is practically draped across those muscular fenders, which are themselves engorged with 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, carbon-ceramic brake discs, Spa-yellow monoblock calipers, and Pirelli P Zero tires. The windshield is laid down at a desperate angle (note the flush glass, "headerless" design, with no body-colored transverse element connecting the roof pillars). The side windows are mere slits, only about 20% the of car's vertical proportion. When the canvas top is deployed, it is almost perfectly horizontal and barely intrudes on the silhouette. Hasbro never sold anything half so slinky.
“ The coup de grâce is the cut waistline, with lines drawn taut as if the car were laced into its doublet by a disgruntled valet. ”
At 52 inches high, the Ferrari is 1 inch taller than the Aston and a half-foot as long. The Maserati Grancabrio is 52.8 inches tall.
The Volante's proportions—which it shares with the fixed-roof Vanquish coupe—are hard to pull off in production automobiles, for reasons of sight lines and interior headroom. And yet one of the surprises of the Volante is how pleasantly uncrowded one feels in the cabin, even with the top up. The car is pretty easy to see out of— excepting parking, low-speed maneuvering, anything that involves reverse or requires one to judge the nose of the car. Here's an interesting fact: the luggage space for the Volante is the same—9.8 cubic feet—as it is for the fixed-roof coupe. Typically, convertible tops compromise luggage space.
When the Volante's lid is lowered (a 14-second operation allowable at speeds up to 30 mph) the Hermès-quality, stitched-leather rear headrest nacelles are exposed, flowing in lines of aerodynamic coherence across the length of the extended rear deck toward the car's hoop-style carbon-fiber spoiler.
Price, as tested: $310,000.
Powertrain: Naturally aspirated 48-valve 6.0-liter DOHC V12 with variable valve timing and variable exhaust system; sequential six-speed automatic transaxle with paddle shifters; rear-wheel drive with limited-slip differential, and launch control
Horsepower/torque: 565 hp at 6,750 rpm/457 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm
Lgth/wght: 186.1 inches/4,065 pounds
Wheelbase: 107.8 inches
0-60 mph: 4 seconds
Top speed: 183 mph
EPA fuel economy 13/19/15
Cargo capacity: 9.8 cubic feet
The coup de grâce is the car's cut waistline, with character lines drawn taut in shallow warp just ahead of the rear-wheel arches, as if the car were laced into its doublet by a disgruntled valet.
It has been noted that the Volante violates the sacred proportions of big GTs. Instead of a long hood and short rear deck, the Volante has a long, curvaceous rear deck. Some might even call it hippy. But I love this car's conformation. It reminds me of early 1960s-era long-tailed, open-top Maseratis. Our test car arrived having recently been dipped in a magic paint can filled with "Ocellus Teal." It is pretty fabulous.
Aston claims a 14% increase in the car's torsional rigidity over the outgoing DBS Volante and the Vanquish Volante does indeed have deep sturdiness about it. Pump the wheels suddenly over a railroad crossing or what have you, and nothing in the cabin twitters or creaks. The top mechanism cycles flawlessly.
The driving experience is unfailingly, even routinely, delightful, as one might expect with a 12-cylinder ultraluxury convertible. You reach for the door handle (actually, you thumb the flush-fit handle to get it to pop out) and the lightweight, carbon-intensive door pivots out and upward, the company's swan wing hinge. Slot the crystal fob into its illuminated receiver and the engine fires up with trenchant, 12-cylinder throb. The Aston's traditional ratcheting handbrake, situated to the left of the driver (in left-hand drive cars) on the floor, features a lustrous aluminum grip, which is one the car's many classic motoring notes.
The Volante isn't positioned as a hard-edge sports car—the ride quality through its range of suspension adjustment, from Normal, Sport and Track settings, is pretty civilized—but it is low and wide on stupendous tires, so the cornering grip is ferocious. The steering is bright and pinpoint. Dialing up the dynamics software also frees up the car's exhaust system bypass valves.
It gets louder, in other words, but more than that. With the Volante's top down, you can hear in the snarling wind something older, something martial. Disciplined, grave, pagan. Yet a sound to swell the heart of any good Englishman, which for this week, at least, I am.
Sat Aug 10 2013 14:13:54 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Check this out from Craigslist...
Worth more in parts!
1977 Porsche 924 Martini Edition
Does not run! Engine turns over fine. Ran before it was parked in early 2000's because it would NOT pass smog. While it was parked mice chewed thru wiring. This is a limited edition Porsche 924 Martini edition of which I believe only aprx 2000 were made...
Body on passenger side is dented but drivers side, hood and trunk area are fine.
HURRY WON'T LAST as it is being donated to charity on the 10th of August if not sold before this...
Porsche's first limited edition 924 was the Martini Rossi, factory order number M426. The cars were built from December 1976 till March 1977. It started selling in the spring of 1977.
Porsche 924 Martin Edition
The car is distinguished by:
Red/white/blue Martini Rossi stripes along the sides
Front and rear sway bars
Leather covered steering wheel
White painted alloy rims
Scarlet red carpet with matching fabric inlays on black vinyl seats along with
Martini Rossi stripes on the headrest
The E19 option which signified the car as a Martini Rossi included:
Scarlet pile carpet
426 Special Model World Champ
404 Front and rear sway bars
432 Lateral stripes Martini
565 Leather steering wheel
568 Tinted windows and heated rear glass
Thu Mar 14 2013 00:36:13 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
You gotta start somewhere. "Slammedlead" from the HAMB forum has paid his dues.... "When I saw Vern Hammonds 34 in Rod and Kulture, I knew I wanted to build a traditional hot rod like that and started the search for a 34 3 window. I found a body, or pieces of a body, from my now friend Rodger in Boron, CA aprox 6 years ago. I started collecting parts and working on it on and off over that period. During the build, I was also influenced by the coupes built by the Rolling Bones crew. The further I got into the build, I wanted to complete it closer to one of the many Weesner prints that I have. Finally it is on the road, almost done. A few things left to change/work out after the initial run, but I hope to have it at Viva this year. Everything was done in my garage and backyard, except the engine. It was rebuilt by Carters in La Puente. I did the build/chop/channel/metal work with initial metal work help from my friend Jason Moore. My friend Rex from Rex’s Upholstery did the interior, and my friend Jim did the skim coat and paint in my backyard. My buddy Mark did the wiring. My sons Kyle and Ryan helped whenever I needed a hand.
The top is chopped 5 ½ inches in the rear, and 4 ½ inches in front with the A pillars leaned back by splitting the metal below the windshield. The body is channeled 2 ½ inches over the frame.
Original frame. Front frame horns removed, spring behind axle front suspension. Lever shocks. Rear frame bobbed to put spreader bar next to body. Model T gas tank in trunk. Buick drums, drilled backing plates, drilled 34 front axle. Drilled and sleeved 34 wishbone. Reversed eyes on front spring. Model A rear cross member, 40 rear end with culver city Halibrand quick change.
Radiator is shortened 2 ½ “. 4” rims in front, 4 ½ rims in rear, rims were separated/chromed/welded back together. Original modified pedal assembly. Schroeder sprint car steering. Vintage stewart warner gauges.
The engine is a 54 Caddy 331 with edelbrock intake with 4 stromberg 97’s. Worldclass T5 tranny. Exhaust is made from a 36 Ford driveshaft. Eventually I plan on running the hood, or at least the top, but I do not want to cover up the engine yet."
Sun Dec 09 2012 16:43:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
This stainless steel 1936 Ford Tudor Sedan was built for and owned by Allegheny Ludlum Steel. This is 1 of only 4 in existence and is the only one currently in running & in road worthy condition. The car is in exceptional condition, with the interior and even the frame looking great. All 4 cars each had over 200,000 miles on them before they removed them from service.
These cars were built for Allegheny as promotional and marketing projects. The top salesmen each year were given the honor of being able to drive them for one year. The v-8 engine (max 85 hp) ran like a sewing machine and was surprisingly smooth and quiet. FYI, the car was insured (we were told) for the trip to Louisville via covered trailer for 1.5 million dollars.
We were also told that the dies were ruined by stamping the stainless car parts, making these the last of these cars ever Produced.
Fri Nov 09 2012 23:25:15 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Lotus Evora- No motor show is complete without Lotus displaying its precision engineering. This year Lotus has a 1382 Kilogram 3.5 liter V6 mid-engine sports car that speeds from 0-100 in only 5.1 seconds. Apart from offering a top speed of 231kmph this lightweight sports car consumes only 8.7 liter of fuel for every 100 km travelled with a carbon emission of less than 205 g per km of CO2. A rear diffuser and a spoiler and installed to use aerodynamics tricks to keep the car stable at high speeds. Since it uses Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs it should flow about smoothly. The sense of having a good interior is not lost on Lotus as they cushion Evora’s interior with air conditioning, tire pressure monitoring system, a remote garage door opener and leather seating. An alpine audio system with provisions for iPod and Bluetooth connectivity are some of the other features used in this car.