Wednesday, April 11, 2012 04:34
Every Real Car Guy with a pulse has at some point said, “Man, I’d give my right arm to drive an exotic sports car like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari!” despite the impracticality of sacrificing a limb you’d need to drive the car in the first place. But thanks to Gotham Dream Cars’ Dream Car Sprint, you don’t need surgery to slide behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Gallardo or a Ferrari F430––a hundred bucks will do the trick.
There’s a trick to the trick, however, and that’s a limited amount of time at the controls––five minutes if you take your time (but where’s the fun in that?)––and you can drive only on an autocross track laid out in the parking lot of the New Jersey Meadowlands stadium. You get three laps at the wheel or, if you’re under 21, in the passenger seat while a professional driver does his best to scare the wits out of you.
You don’t need special insurance, and you don’t even need to know how to drive a stick, since the cars are equipped with semi-automatic gearboxes. And so you can prove to your buddies that you really did redline a Ferrari, your driving experience will be captured on video by two cameras, one facing the track and the other recording the smile of delight/look of terror on your face.
Right now the Dream Car Sprint is taking reservations only from people who have purchased coupons from Groupon, TravelZoo, and other daily deal sites. That’s also the only way to get the $100 ride. Gotham Dream Cars will be opening up reservations to non-coupon holders soon for $249, which is still a smokin’ deal for tossing an exotic Italian sports car around an autocross course.
Monday, February 7, 2011 05:22
There a lot of supercars you don’t really want—especially if you’re not super rich. To explain: Assume someone gave you a $200 million yacht. Do you have the $4 million a year it takes to maintain and run it? Supercars are like that. Even if they’ve depreciated to almost nothing—and have the illusion that they might increase in value—you won’t be able to afford to drive it, unless you’re really rich. And if you were, why wouldn’t you just buy a new one?
One supercar you especially don’t want is a 1990 Lamborghini Diablo. This was the first year of production for the Diablo and, boy, did it show.
The ’90 Diablo was the first Lamborghini I inspected up close. I instantly noticed the aluminum engine plate. It had clearly been incorrectly machined, flipped over and machined again. Lamborghini made no effort to cover up the blue machinist’s ink, pilot-drill holes, and open holes. A bit of buffing and some rubber plugs would have fooled a casual observer. Instead, it looked worse than many home-built kit cars. They whole car did. No, it looked like a kit car built by someone who paid his inexperienced helpers with generous servings of carbonated malt beverages or herbal products. Hard to believe it cost more than $200,000 at the time.
The car didn’t drive very well either. I was relieved to turn it over to someone else before parts started falling off.
Fast forward nine years later. I was in Italy to test the Diablo VT, which was very well constructed and super-sweet to drive at the limit on Lamborghini’s test track. (On Italian roads, everyone wants to race a Lamborghini. However, I did not want to spend the night in jail or wad up a $250,000 car, so I obeyed the speed limits. The Lamborghini people later told me that the police do not enforce speed limits on Lamborghinis.)
During a lavish Lamborghini-funded dinner in Milan, the company’s PR guy discussed why Lamborghini production numbers were so low. As I understood it, an Italian company can never fire someone for any reason, even incompetently installing engine plates. (I thought he said Sicilians take care of them, but I may have misheard.) I mentioned that, during its first year of production, the company had produced several times that quoted annual output in Diablos alone. He said, “If you were a collector of Lamborghinis, I would not recommend adding a 1990 Diablo to your fleet.” It’s one supercar you shouldn’t want.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 05:06
Ferrari, Porsche, and other exotic sports-car makers are planning, or at least thinking about gasoline-electric hybrid supercars. My first response was, “Why?”
Even a prediction by an oil company executive of $5 per gallon gasoline by 2012 didn’t answer the question: Gasoline is the cheapest thing Ferrari and Porsche owners will ever put in their vehicles, some passengers excepted.
As a neo-Libertarian, I immediately suspected the hairy hidden hand of big government. I think I’m right.
Paris (France, not Texas) is considering banning vehicles that emit more than an as-yet undecided amount of carbon dioxide per kilometer. (We fought several wars to avoid the metric system, but it’s creeping back.) It’s almost certain that every 600-plus horsepower supercar would exceed whatever level Paris might impose. The entire European Union, or, at least, crowded cities such as Zurich, Rome, and Madrid would probably follow Paris’ lead. More...