A Glittering Debut Party for the Hurac├ín LP580-2 

Were there such a thing as an automotive pirate, and were his treasure chest to somehow spill its contents, Thursday night’s event would approximate the result; a Lily Pulitzer’d, Robert Graham’d, skinny jean’d, short-skirted, high-heeled, barefoot in bespoke loafers horde of VIPs – all of whom seem to know each other –  juggling glasses of champagne and plates piled with olives and prosciutto while gazing lustfully at jewel-like legends with virtually unfathomable kinetic capabilities.

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The Joy of Driving The Road Less Traveled 

It started -- this infatuation of mine with the endlessly entertaining emerald roller coaster ride that is driving in Ireland -- during a car-crazy youth spent on the serpentine asphalt legend high above Los Angeles called Mullholland Drive.  It acquired a new dimension with the idyllic cinematic imagery of “The Quiet Man,” and became a vivid reality during my first experience with the Ring of Kerry.

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Driving Ferrari's New California T

There are only a few objects of universal desire.  In the automotive world, that object is a sleek and seductive dream, like a crimson version of heaven.   Walk into a goat herder’s hut in the farthest corner of Timbuktu and ask him what kind of car he would buy if he had all the money in the world and he will answer “Ferrari.”

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BMW’s M6 Is The Essential Age-Appropriate Muscle Car

Just as there are ‘horses for courses,’ there are… well, machines for maturity?  Autos for ages?  Hmmm… well, despite the lack of the ideal rhyming metaphor, the point is that the concept of ‘age appropriate’ applies to your choice of cars just as much as music, clothes and hair style.  We’ll leave age-appropriate relationships alone, in this case, out of respect for you car-loving cougars and guys with trophy wives.

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A Memorable Drive In A Morgan 3-Wheeler 

Imagine, if you can, an English time machine with a license plate, a device that looks like the love child of a Harley and a bobsled.  Then imagine driving it down the road, the exhaust bellowing like a Manchester United fan well into his fourth pint, the top of your head level with the door handles of the car next to you and the whole thing vibrating like a washing machine full of baseballs.  Then imagine yourself grinning like a fool and feeling like you did that first day after you got your driver’s license.

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A Trio of Luxury Cars Blow Into Palm Beach

The sweet winds of luxury have an advantage denied to the ordinary breeze; they can afford to blow from any direction they choose – or even several at once.  As proof of concept, let’s look at three very different luxury vehicles that recently blew into Palm Beach, all three of them fetching up at Trump properties – the BMW at Trump International, the Bentley and Rolls-Royce at Mar-a-Lago --  for their VIP-only debut galas.


Video Test Drive of BMW's New M4

What makes BMW the ‘ultimate driving machine’ is an almost magical mechanical formula honed over decades of engineering and winning races around the world.  An ordinary car feels – dead, like you’re driving a brick, or a pillow.  BMW’s magical formula brings a car to life and makes both it and you happy to be on the road, in motion and driving rings around every other car.  And the M version of a BMW is the next step above that – a really big step.

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 Driving the Mercedes-Maybach S600

So your AmEx black card is burning a hole in your pocket and you’re standing there trying to decide which of the three world-class luxury cars to buy.  Damn few of us are ever going to be in a position like this, but hey, they can’t arrest us for fantasizing, right?
Over here you’ve got your Rolls-Royce Ghost, the very essence of old-world class and style, still peddling the virtues of hand craftsmanship – and making us want it, somehow.  Next to it you’ve got your Bentley Flying Spur, also a major player in the old-world class/style game, but leaning a little less heavily on the craftsmanship thing, instead buffing up its motorsports heritage/ get-up-and-go credentials.  

Video Road Test of the MINI Countryman

MINI's advertising slogan is "Not Normal" – and when you test drive one, you'll discover that they're right -- but in the best possible way.  People of every age drive MINIs, but the company has carefully cultivated its reputation as the transportation of choice for young hipsters.  So where, exactly, does that leave the MINI Countryman, an oversized MINI with four doors and seating for five?  Well, it's pretty much the vehicle for hipsters who got married and had a family, but couldn't stand the idea of growing up and driving (shudder) a 'normal' car.

And They Will Find Ways To Shine...

This from my last trip to the Big Apple... 2011 I believe it was.  Astonishing creativity around every corner... will report from there over the next couple of days.


Legendary Automaker Builds A Superbike 
To Travel The Midas Road

Some time ago, Lotus announced that it was going to establish a motorcycle division.  This much to the surprise of people who'd been assuming all the long that Lotus was already building motorcycles, in the form of cars so minimalist that they could be best described as a motorcycle with four wheels.  Quoting from the press release – "The Lotus C-01 will be a hyper bike with integrated racing technology. It will be manufactured of materials like carbon, titanium and aerospace quality steel… It will be a state of the art motorbike powered by an approximately 200 horsepower engine."  Plenty enough information, when added to the well-established Lotus legend, to fire up everyone's imagination.  But apparently not enough.  It's not very often that an artist concept of an upcoming vehicle is more conservative that the vehicle itself turns out to be, but read on to see just how far behind the curve they were… 


Memories Of An Automotive Milestone at the Pontiac Silverdome

A million years ago, in 1978 or thereabouts (don't hold me to the specifics of this story, but the basics are true), I was Associate Editor of Motor Trend and attended an automotive technology event that was, at the time, most unique.  It was held at the General Motors proving grounds in Detroit, then as now called 'Black Lake' and was a competition among teams from various colleges to create vehicles powered by unique fuels.  As I recall, there were unique ideas on display, like a hydrogen-powered vehicle (possibly a Corvair?) powered by hydrogen released from hydride crystals(?)  It was a several day event with a fair number of participants, and was won ultimately by a team that effectively and comprehensively 'gamed' the rules by producing the most miles per gallon (121 mpg?) in a tube-frame recumbent bicycle that used some little putt-putt engine to multiply the muscle power of the drivers/riders.  And then they had the awards ceremony at the Pontiac Silverdome…


Video Test Drive Of the 2014 BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe

BMW's 6-Series Gran Coupe provides an interesting lesson in the effect of personal philosophy on your choice of cars.  For instance, the 6-Series Gran Coupe and the 5-Series Sedan are remarkably similar in terms of dimensions, engine choices, etc. – and both have four doors.  So what would make you choose one over the other?  Personal philosophy, of course...


“Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso

The legends of Midas are legion, but in Greek and Roman lore he was a king who came across a wandering companion of Dionysus, god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy.  For his kind treatment of this companion he was granted the power to turn everything he touched into gold.  His lesser-known cousin, Prince Timber, had a similar but more eco-friendly gift; his touch turned everything to wood… sometimes with artistically intriguing results.

Imagining The Ultimate Supercar

There are certain cars so powerful in concept that they seize the imagination of enthusiasts around the world and spawn a sub-culture of talented artists who take it upon themselves to extrapolate the legend beyond what it could possibly achieve in real life.  Bugatti is such a car, and while we're lucky that both the original and modern forms exist at all, it's still intriguing to see where it could go if imagination were given full rein…

Anomalies Along The Midas Road

If ever Midas was to allow aerial surveillance along his road...


Video Test Drive of the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed

The hardware and statistics for the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed are so impressive that it would be easy to let them define the car.  Twelve cylinders, twin turbochargers, 616 horsepower, all-wheel drive, 0 to 60 in four seconds - and a top speed of 203 miles per hour, making this the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever built, as well as the fastest four seat convertible in the world.  But while they certainly contribute to the enjoyment, the numbers aren't really what the Continental GT Speed is all about.  This is a big, powerful, handsome car that is equally capable of great ferocity and leisurely luxury, like the automotive equivalent of a pet tiger that lets you scratch it behind the ears as it purrs and growls.

The Future Shape of Luxury

Once upon a time, automotive luxury was rare, readily recognizable and clearly defined by extravagant styling, hand craftsmanship and great swaths of impeccably-stitched leather and wood polished to a jewel-like gleam.  Some lovely pieces of art on wheels have been created in this tradition… and continue to be.  Now, however, technology has crashed the club and the small but exquisite garage that was once sufficient to contain them all has been transformed into a construction site...

 Video Test Drive of the 2014 Porsche Cayman S

There are quite a few genuinely fast, great-handling cars in the world today, but only a few have that genuine race car 'feel,' and the 2014 Porsche Cayman is one of them.  Back in the day, I drove race cars, not particularly well, or with any distinction, but I drove in some big races and in a wide variety of cars, so I know what a race car feels like – and the Cayman is a race car, with just enough civilizing touches to make it livable on a day-to-day basis.

Tres Habemus Papam Equitantes Harley

If there are modern-day Sons of Midas striding the earth, spreading light and good cheer wherever they go, then Pope Francis must be one of them.  Not only is he the first Pope ever to name himself Francis – which should have been a dead giveaway to the church hierarchy that they'd elected a cowboy – but every time you read about him, he's doing something Popes just don't do, like washing the feet of the troubled or disabled at Easter, inviting kids to join him in the Popemobile for a tour of St. Peter's Square, or sneaking out of the Vatican to go riding on his Harley through the hills of Rome.  Well, maybe not the last one, though there is an ember of truth glowing just brightly enough to set images dancing in your imagination…

Rolls-Royces I Have Known... And The V-Spec Ghost

Live long enough and it becomes apparent that fractals – the patterns that repeat themselves throughout the both the natural and mathematical world – are at work in the automotive world as well.  The most recent demonstration of this for me is how some sort of Rolls-Royce experience periodically inserts itself into my life.  My first close-up experience with one was when my father bought a garage queen Corniche for about $8,500.  It was a dream car for him, one that he labored over intensively, but was afraid, because of its mechanical fragility, to drive; I doubt he put fifty miles on the car in the years he owned it.   I never even got to sit in it.  Me, the first time I got my hands on a Rolls, I had it sliding sideways, the tires howling like wounded beasts.


Wild New Limited-Edition Now On Sale

My first car was a MINI, and it was an art car… of sorts.  I saw it sitting, forlorn, in the back yard of a house near my Los Angeles neighborhood and decided on the spur of the moment to knock on the door.  The man who answered was working on painting the inside of his house and thus wearing a paint-spattered T-shirt, but also a holstered gun on his hip.


Video Test Drive of the 2014 Range Rover Sport 

With the stellar selection of luxury / performance cars available today, the idea of driving a bank vault on wheels around Palm Beach may not seem particularly appealing.  But let's examine this particular bank vault, called the Range Rover Sport, more closely.  It's a vehicle so substantial in both size and construction as to make you feel not merely secure and protected… but almost unassailable.  It so thoroughly insulates you from the noise, vibration, smells and other irritating aspects of on-the-road reality that the outside world feels like a mildly interesting movie playing on the giant windows.


Video Test Drive of the 2014 BMW 428i 

The 2014 BMW 4 Series is an artistic urban rocket ship that perfectly capable of indulging your race driver fantasies while getting you from Point A to Point B in a manner befitting a BMW.  The 4 Series is new to BMW's lineup, and shares many parts with the 3 Series, but it's wider and lower and lighter, so it corners flat and accelerates so quickly that, particularly with the engine in 'Sport' mode and paddle-shifting your way up through the gears, every highway on-ramp is a golden opportunity to enjoy yourself.  You just want to make sure that you turn in gently and power out hard… and keep an eye on your rear view mirrors.