Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sean's Ten Favourite Cars

So everyone says that now is the best time to buy a car. Anyone that knows my husband would know that he LOVES cars (and that is an understatement). I asked him which would be the 10 on his list of all time favourites? 

Here it goes...

1981 Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer (512i BB) 

The first Boxer was the 365 GT4 BB shown at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. Designed to answer rival the Lamborghini Miura, it was finally released for sale in 1973 at the Paris Motor Show.

The 512i BB was the facelift model of the earlier 512 BB (which was the successor to the 365 GT4 BB). 1007 512i BB were produced from 1981 to 1984 and then the model was retired. 

Measured performance: 0-100 km/h 5.9 s, 100-200 km/h 14.8 s, max 288 km/h (179 mph). 

1968 Lamborghini Miura S

I will never forget the story of the origin of Lamborghini. Spite can bring on unwanted competition.

Founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini, Lamborghini started out as a tractor building company in the Italian village of Sant'Agata Bolognese. However, Ferruccio Lamborghini's priorities changed when he went to meet Enzo Ferrari at the Ferrari factory to complain about the quality of the clutch in his Ferrari 250, and received a dismissive answer from Ferrari, who suggested he look after his tractors. A resentful Lamborghini went back to his factory, summoned up his engineers and instructed them to build the faster sport car, which will make Ferrari turn pale.

The first car, the 1963 350GT was produced in 2 years. It was a Grand Tourer which mirrored the performance of a Ferarri and had 143 cars produced (a big quantity for an expensive and relatively unknown car), then in 1966 the 400GT was born. It was a 2+2 seater Grand Tourer with a longer wheelbase. From 1966 to 1968, 247 units were sold.

Why is all this history so important? From all the profits that he made from 350GT and 400GT, he was able to produce his very first sports car, the Miura (named after a famous fighting-bull trainer, Don Eduardo Miura). 761 units were produced and this propelled Automobili Lamborghini to the world of exotic car makers.

365 hp/272 kW @ 7700, 0-60mph at 6.7s, max speed: 276km/h

2000 BMW Mini Cooper S Mk I Coupe

This is definitely my favourite car among all his choices. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't have bought a Cooper. 

When production of the classic Mini ceased in 2000, BMW (the new owner of the brand) announced the successor to the Mini – which is variously called the "BMW MINI" or the "New MINI". The brand name for the new car is MINI (written in capital letters).

Some Mini enthusiasts reject the claim that the MINI is the natural successor of the original car - others simply dislike it - yet others were amongst the first to buy the new MINI when it was launched. There are many reasons offered for the negative point of view. One notion is that the classic Mini could have continued in viable production for many more years had it not been 'killed off' to make way for the MINI. The new MINI is larger than the classic Mini. It is around 55 centimetres (22 in) longer, 30 centimetres (12 in) wider, weighing 1,050 kg (2,315 lb) rather than 650 kg (1,433 lb). That, together with the departure from the spartan minimalism of the original, has proven objectionable to some enthusiasts. Others resent the manner in which BMW took the Mini brand name from the Rover group. However, many Mini owners take the opposite view and embrace the new car as a logical succession of the original and view it as the only way the concept could have continued in the light of modern safety, emissions and manufacturing principles. Some Mini clubs go so far as to ban MINIs from their club meetings - others actively seek car enthusiasts from both camps. Fortunately, we don't get any of these in the Mini clubs in Singapore.

I can go on and on on the history of this lovely car but I shan't. Sean and I share the same sentiments. We both love the design of the 2001 model of the MINI but the engine of the 2007 MK II model. I guess you can't have the best of both worlds.

Anyway, in 2007, the 1 millionth MINI rolled out of production after 6 years of production, just 1 month longer than it took for the same total of classic Minis to be produced in 1965.

It is reported in road tests that this takes the MK II from 0-62 mph in a claimed 7.2 seconds and has top speed of 215km/h.

1996 Ferrari 456GT

This is a front engine Grand Tourer and as its name suggests, each cylinder displaces 456cc. The chassis is a tubular steel spaceframe construction with a one-piece composite bonnet and body panels of aluminium. The body panels are welded to the chassis by using a special "sandwich filler" called feran that, when laid between, allows steel and aluminium to be welded.

It produced 436 hp (325 kW) with 4 valves per cylinder and Bosch Motronic 2.7 engine management. It could push the 1690 Kg car and four passengers to 302 km/h (188 mph) making it the world's fastest production passenger car. Acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) was just 5.2 seconds, with a 13.4 second quarter-mile time. At the time of its development it was the most powerful road car ever developed by Ferrari (aside from the F40).
Approximately 3,289 of all versions where built worldwide.

2003 Lamborghini Gallardo 

The car is named after a famous breed of fighting bull. The Spanish word gallardo (/ɡaˈʎaɾðo/) translates into "gallant," and from Italian into "striking".

The Gallardo was designed as a competitor to the Ferrari 360, and now competes with its replacement, the Ferrari F430. The Gallardo has a rear-biased all-wheel drive system which differentiates it from its rear-wheel drive competitors. Lamborghini's parent company Audi is renowned for its quattro 4WD system, however Lamborghini uses a system of its own.
Unlike the Countach, Diablo, and Murciélago models, the Gallardo does not have scissor doors.

The Gallardo was designed by Luc Donckerwolke, who won the 2003 red dot design award for the design of both the 2004 Gallardo and 2002 Murciélago.

0-100km @ 4.1s, Top Speed 310km/h, 493bhp @ 368kW

2007 Ferrari 599GTB Fiorano

The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (internal code F139) is Ferrari's 2-seat Gran Turismo flagship model, replacing the 575 M Maranello in 2006 as a 2007 model. The 599 GTB debuted at the Geneva Motor Show on February 28, 2006. Styling of the 599 GTB was handled by Pininfarina, under the direction of Ferrari stylist, Frank Stephenson. It is named for its total engine displacement (5999 cc), Gran Turismo Berlinetta nature, and the Fiorano Circuit test track used by Ferrari.

0 - 60 m/h @3.7s, Top Speed in excess of 330km/h, 612bhp@7200rpm

2008 BMW M3 Convertible, Written By Sean

The BMW M3 Convertible (internal code E93) is the latest variant of the M3 family launched in 2008.  Available in both a standard manual transmission or the optional M-DCT (Double Clutch Transmission), the M3 convertible goes from 0-100km/h in 5.3s [5.1s for M-DCT]. Powered by a 4 litre V8 engine, the M3 convertible has a maximum power output of 420hp and a maximum torque of 400Nm. This high revving engine revs cleanly all the way to an astronomical 8300rpm. And just like all other BMW M cars, the engine comes with individual throttle butterflies for every cylinder and an advanced engine management system that ensures the car responds rapidly to any of the driver's commands. With the new M-DCT, the car not only accelerates faster but also drinks less petrol. The M DCT Drivelogic uses two transmission structures. Second, fourth and sixth gears are assigned to one structure, and first, third, fifth and seventh to the other. When you switch up or down, the system simply switches between the two. So while one gear is being disengaged, the next is already in position. By overlapping the clutch and declutch, the transmission of power remains uninterrupted. Six manual and five automatic programs allow you to access the whole spectrum of gear behaviour, from dynamic and pure to harmonious and comfortable.

I have always loved the 3 series convertible and now it is available as with a M version. Just like the 3 series convertible, the M3 convertible comes with a 3 piece retractable hard top. You get the best of both worlds; you get a coupe and a convertible in one car depending on your mood. The M3 convertible may not be the most driver focused of the M3 family, but it certainly makes my day when you drive it with the top down and with the wind in your hair.

 Mclaren F1 (1992-1998), Written By Sean

The Mclaren F1 reigned supreme as the world's fastest production car between 1994 and 2005. Engineered and produced by Mclaren Automotive, it is still the fastest naturally aspirated car in the world today. In the heart of the Mclaren F1 lies the 6.1 litre V12 engine which was supplied by BMW's M division. The standard Mclaren F1 achieved a top speed of 371km/h.
The V12 engine (codenamed S70) featured 12 individual throttle butterfiles and BMW's variable valve timing (VANOS) to produce a maximum power of 627hp and a maximum torque of 651Nm. To insulate the carbon fibre body panels and monocoque, the engine bay was lined with gold foil, which proved to be a very efficient heat reflector. The Mclaren F1 was capable of a 0-60mph timing of 3.2s, something that even most modern supercars are unable to reach.

Technical data aside, the Mclaren F1 is a real beauty in the looks department. With its gull wing doors and unique 3 seater design, I was mesmerized by it when I first laid eyes on it in a car magazine. Now more than 10 years on, I had a chance to see it in the flesh when I visited the BMW Mobile Tradition in Munich. The car still loves unbelievable after so many years. 

1986 Porsche 959

The Porsche 959 was manufactured from 1986 to 1989, first as a Group B rally car and later as a legal production car designed to satisfy FIA homologation regulations requiring that a minimum number of 200 street legal units be built.

During its production run, it was hailed as being the most technologically advanced road-going sports car ever built and the harbinger of the future of sports cars: it was one of the first high-performance vehicles to use an all-wheel drive system; it provided the basis for Porsche's first all-wheel drive Carrera 4 model; and it convinced Porsche executives of the system's viability so well that they chose to make all-wheel drive standard on all versions of the 911 Turbo starting with the 993 variant. During its lifetime, the vehicle had only one other street legal peer with comparable performance, the Ferrari F40. The 959's short production run and performance have kept values high.

337 units were manufactured and some of its famous owners include Bill Gates, Jerry Seinfeld (Porsche Enthusiast) and Paul Allen.

0-60 mph @ 3.7s, 444bhp. Top speed 317km/h.

BMW 6 Series (1976 - 1989), Written By Sean

The original 6 series was the successor to the BMW 3.0CSI. Launched in August 1976, the car featured a 3.2 litre inline 6 engine producing a modest 197 bhp. In 1980, BMW launched the 635CSI. This came with a bigger 3.4 litre inline 6 engine and produced a maximum power of 218 bhp.  Perhaps the most important of all the first generation BMW 6 series models ever produced was the M635CSI. This was one of the first M cars ever built. The engine was derived from the BMW M1 and it produced to maximum power of 286 bhp and propelled the car from 0 - 100km/h in just 6.2s.

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