Friday, April 01, 2005

Smart is saved ... kinda

DaimlerChrysler announced a $1.5 billion restructuring plan today for its ultra-compact Smart brand and is now hoping that Smart will break even in 2007. DamilerChrysler also confirmed that its next generation products will fulfill all U.S. regulations, paving the way for Smarts introduction into the United States. Despite the good news, the company said it will end production of its Smart roadster this year. (The planned sport utility version model will also be scrapped.) For those of us who have been Smart fans since the get go, it's sad to hear because the Roadster looked even more interesting and exciting than the Smart fortwo and Smart forfour. Will someone please tell me why this keeps happening?!?

Thursday, March 31, 2005

TVR - the British Viper

For most Americans, the only exposure they have ever had to a TVR is (1) they vaguely remember their crazy uncle having one, which is now gathering dusk in the back of his garage; or (2) they vaguely remeber seeing some Hollywood star driving one in some terribly over-the-top big budget summer blockbuster (the movie was Swordfish and the star was Travolta), or (3) they spent $8.00 on a copy of the glossy British magazine Car, and ogled over some glorious TVR shots. Back on the continent, TVR keeps trying to move the brand forward, doing what it's been doing for the last decade. Now owned by a twenty something Russian billionaire, Nikolai Smolenski, and located in the British equivent of Atlantic City, TVR is continuing to build a reputation among European motorists as a petrol heads ultimate sports car. Powerful, raw, and as always outrageously syled, these cars are for true adrenaline junkies only. Luxury and reliability come second to function and power. Despite massive improvements in quality, however, TVR still remains the redheaded stepchild of sports car manufaturers. Despite everything TVR has don,e it just can't seem to shake its working class roots.

Two new TVRs are set to change that. The Tuscan 2 and the Sagaris are out to prove that TVR can compete with the worlds best. My step-brother once owned a Griffith 500, TVR's first great car, and can tell you from personal experience that these cars are awesome and would make a great alternative to a Viper or Corvette. Since the Griffith, things have only gotten better at TVR, and if the exchange rate wasn't crap TVR could do well here too. And maybe international super villains wouldn't be the only ones driving these great cars on American shores.

Learn More - Sagaris

Learn More - Tuscan 2

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

MC12: The Bora returns ... sort of

With Maserati seemingly back in business and feeling good about itself for once, the Italian manufacturer just released its first supercar in decades. Throughout the 1970's, Maserati produced some of the most beautiful supercars in the world. Now, the all new MC12 might lack the grace and style of its predecessors, but it more than makes up for it in pure performance numbers. The MC12 packs a massive 632 hp and a top speed of over 200 mph. Based on the Ferrari Enzo, the MC12 coupe is an F1 inspired supercar that is actually easy to drive. Sounds like an oximororn, but according to Autocar, the MC12 might just be the most driver friendly supercar since the NSX. Now all Maserati needs to do is package the MC12 in something a little more classic. Even with an unlimited budget, I would take the crisp lines of the legendary Bora or Ghibli over an MC12.

Learn More