Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sandra's Favourite Cars

Sean and I bonded over cars and this two blogs are part of our "He Loves, She Loves".  As I was doing some research, I realised that most of the cars that I have picked are mainly vintages. No one makes cars like they used to. Cars now are more industrial and muscular, gone are the suave, charming looks.

One problem we have judging by the cars we've picked is there is there isn't enough space for anyone else except us. Ah the life of the "free" and "barren". haha

1957 Jaguar Roadster XK-140

This model in 1956 was the first car that Jaguar decided to offer an automatic gear box option. It was in production from 1954 - 1957. How can anyone resist its cherry red exterior and it's sexy curves?

1956 BMW Isetta 300.

The most iconic Bubble car in the world. Made famous by BMW but the Isetta had many other previous manufacturers like Iso, Velam and Romi.

In October 1956 the Isetta Moto Coupe DeLuxe (sliding-window Isetta) or Isetta 300 was introduced. The bubble windows were replaced by longer, sliding side windows. The engineers had enlarged the single cylinder to a 72 mm bore and 73 mm stroke, which gave a displacement of exactly 298 cc, and at the same time they raised the compression ratio from 6.8 to 7.0:1. In this way the engine now generated 13 hp (10 kW) at 5200 rpm, and the torque rose to 18.4 N·m at 4600 rpm. The maximum speed remained at 85 km/h (53 mph), yet there was a marked increase in flexibility, chiefly noticeable on gradients.

Why is the production of the Isetta significant to BMW? In the early 1950s, the automotive division of BMW was in financial difficulties and a shareholders meeting was held to decide whether to go into liquidation or find a way of carrying on. It was decided to carry on and to try to cash in on the current economy car boom enjoyed so successfully by some of Germany's ex-aircraft manufacturers such as Messerschmitt and Heinkel. Therefore the rights to manufacture the tiny Italian Iso "Isetta" were bought using a modified form of BMW's own motorcycle engine. This was moderately successful and helped the company get back on its feet.

A total of 161, 728 Isettas were sold before they ceased production. There is news that BMW may be coming up with a new Isetta in 2010.

2008 Porsche 911 GT2 (997)

The new 997 GT2 remained based on the 3.6 litre flat-6 engine, but now featured twin variable geometry turbochargers, which generated 390 kW (523 hp) at 6500 rpm. The GT2 accelerates in 3.7 seconds to 100 km/h (62 mph) and in 11.2 seconds to 200 km/h (124 mph) and has a maximum top speed of 329 km/h (204 mph). This makes it the first Porsche 911 to exceed the 200 mph (322 km/h) top speed, with the exception of the 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 which is not considered by enthusiasts to be an actual Porsche 911 due to its mid-mounted engine. The Porsche 997 GT2 also has a curb weight of 1440 kg (3175 lb), 680 N·m (500 ft·lbf) of torque from 2200 to 4500 rpm, and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

This is my pick for an understated racer.

2008 Aston Martin DB9

The DB in its name refers to the owner of Aston Martin, David Brown. DB9 comes in two variants; coupé and "Volante" convertible, each producing 470 bhp (350 kW/477 PS) coming from a 6.0L V12 engine, originally taken from its sister car the V12 Vanquish. In fact, this V12 engine is why Aston Martin did not call the car the DB8, which could suggest that it has only eight cylinders. One report states that Aston Martin believed that this car was such a huge leap from the Jaguar XJ-S based DB7 that it named it DB9 instead of DB8, which they thought would indicate a gradual evolution.

If it's good enough for Bond, it's good enough for me. After all, it's an Aston Martin.

2005 Maseratti MC12

The Maserati MC12 is a grand tourer produced by Maserati to allow a racing variant to compete in the FIA GT Championship. The car entered production in 2004 with 30 cars produced (five of which were not for sale). A further 25 were produced in 2005 making a total of 50 cars available for customers, each of which were pre-sold for €600 000.

It was built on the chasis of an Enzo Ferrari but when it was finished, the final car was bigger. The MC12 sports a 232 kilogram (511 lb), six-litre (5,998 cc/366 cu in) Enzo Ferrari-derived V12 engine, mounted at 65°. Each cylinder has four valves, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 11.2:1. These combine to provide a maximum torque of 652 newton metres (481 lbf·ft) at 5500 rpm and a maximum power of 465 kilowatts (632 PS/621 bhp) at 7500 rpm. The redline rpm is indicated at 7500—despite being safe up to 7700—whereas the Enzo has redline at 8200 rpm.

The Maserati MC12 can accelerate from 0–100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds.

1954 Porsche Speedster (356)

This is one of the most desirable collector models. It comes with bucket seats, a low, raked windshield (which can be removed) and a minimal folding top.

21, 045 of them were produced.

2000 BMW Z8 (E52)

The Z8 was the production variant of the 1997 Z07 concept car, which was designed by Henrik Fisker at BMW's Designworks in Southern California. The Z07 originally was designed as a styling exercise intended to evoke and celebrate the 1956-'59 BMW 507. The Z07 caused a sensation at the '97 Tokyo Auto Show. The overwhelming popularity of the concept spurred BMW's decision to produce a limited production model called the Z8. 5,703 Z8s were built, approximately half of which were exported to the USA.

The $128,000 car had an all aluminum chassis and body and used a 4.9 L (4941 cc) 32 valve V8, that developed 400 hp (294 kW) and 500 Nm (363 lb·ft). This engine was built by the BMW Motorsport subsidiary and was shared with the E39 M5. The engine was located behind the front axle in order to provide the car with 50/50 weight distribution. The factory claimed a 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62.5 mph) time of 4.7 seconds.

Every Z8 was shipped with a color-matching metal hardtop with rear defroster. Unlike many accessory hardtops, which are provided for practical rather than stylistic considerations, the Z8 hardtop was designed from the outset to complement the lines of the roadster.

1957 Ferarri 250 GT California Spider LWB

Designed for export to America, the 1957 250 GT California Spider was Scaglietti's interpretation of an open-top 250 GT. Aluminum was used in the hood, doors, and trunk lid, with steel specified elsewhere for most models, though a few aluminum-bodied racing versions were also built. The engine was the same as in the 250 Tour de France racing car with up to 240 hp (179 kW). All used the long 2600 mm (102.4 in) chassis.

About 45 were made before it was replaced by the SWB version in 1960.

One was auctioned on August 18, 2007 at Monterey, California, for 4.9 million dollars to a collector.

1957 Mercedes 300SL Roadster.

The 300SL was best known for both its distinctive gullwing or butterfly wing doors and for being the first-ever gasoline-powered car equipped with fuel injection directly into the combustion chamber. The gullwing version was available from March 1955 to 1957. In Mercedes-Benz fashion, the "300" referred to the engine's cylinder displacement, in this case, three liters. The "SL", as applied to a roadster, stood for "Sport Leicht" or "Sport Light."

The engine, canted at a fifty-degree angle to the left to allow for a lower hoodline, was the same 3.0 litre straight-6 as the regular four-door 300 but with a Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection system that almost doubled its original power of 86 kW (115 hp) in the original carbureted trim. This new injection system was a first in any gasoline-powered car - apart from the rather small Gutbrod where the Mercedes engineers, who had developed the principle for the DB 601 fighter aircraft engine, had to work after the war. It allowed a top speed of up to 260 km/h (161 mph) depending on gear ratio (several options were available) and drag (bumpers were optional, and race tyres fitted for tests), making the 300SL the fastest production car of its time.

1963 Jaguar XK-E

The E-Type was initially designed and shown to the public as a grand tourer in two seater coupé form (FHC or Fixed Head Coupé) and as convertible (OTS or Open Two Seater). The 2+2 version with a lengthened wheelbase was released several years later.

70,000 cars were produced in its lifespan.

When released Enzo Ferrari called it "The most beautiful car ever made". If Mr Ferarri says so, it must be true. 

In March 2008, The Daily Telegraph UK, ranked it as the most beautiful car in its "100 most beautiful cars" of all time.

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