This blog article is not about restoring a headlight or removing rust from frame rails.
It's simply an invitation to drive a Ferrari 458 Spider through Northern Italy's Stelvio Pass Road, thought by many to be "The Greatest Driving Road in Europe".
Well, you won't actually be "driving"...more like "watching". Car and Driver'sYouTube channel has a breathtaking video of their European correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon, putting that beast of a Ferrari through its paces as it takes on the 48 hairpin turns through the gorgeous Stelvio Pass.
Turn up the volume, maximize the screen and enjoy the rush! The journey begins here.
No I'm not mixing Eastwood's blog up with a scientific blog. What I am talking about is the wide variety of low emissions, alternative fuel vehicles out on the market. It seems there are so many choices for new car buyers. Just looking at some new car ads you will see all of the different catch phrases for these vehicles. I remember how confused I was the first time I was following a big SUV with "flex fuel" on the back, "Is that a new performance engine name?" I thought. But I was less enthusiastic when I got back home and researched it. It seems most of the alternative fuel cars on the market are either "trying way to hard", or they seemed to go into designing it with the thought "how can we make this vehicle the most boring?".
Tesla boasts a 3.7 second 0-60MPH dash. This means, you can give a Bentley Continental or a Porsche 996 a run for their money from a stop. The benefit is, you will be using zero fuel, and also generating zero emissions. This sounds like a win-win right? Well, there is a limit to how far you can venture away from the plug before recharging. After reading some reviews, and watching some videos, it seems that the mileage you can run on a full charge is greatly decreased with spirited driving. Personally, I think I'll save my $109,000+ in imaginary money for a vintage european sports car. But then again my priorities are all out of whack, so I may not be the best person to listen to!
Make your own judgement after viewing a couple of these videos I dug up on the Tesla electric Roadster.
I find myself reading many automotive blogs during my free time. Normally I am strictly a vintage European auto enthusiast; although I feel reading and learning about the many different aspects of the auto industry can give inspiration to even the "little guy" like me that is just tinkering with old Euro "clunkers".
Yesterday I was quite amazed at this new automotive feat I found being offered for "free". Only catch is that you need to buy the $740,000 Shelby super car. This is the first time I've found a full carbon wheel being put into production (even if it is on a nearly untouchable super car). There has been many prototypes and even a few companies working to make split wheels with carbon outer "hoops". The wheel is apparently being manufactured by a Australian company named Carbon Revolution for Shelby SuperCars. It features a 9 spoke design with about half the weight of a similar aluminum wheel. "Why does this matter?" Well, it means essentially that the engine is turning less unsprung weight first of all. Also because of how strong/stiff carbon fiber is, it removes some of the flex/give found in the common aluminum wheel (read: better handling/road feel).
After reading some feedback on this subject, it has raised a few questions. Carbon is known to shatter, not just bend/crack like a common aluminum wheel would do. Such as if you say "hit a pot hole going downtown for some drinks with the wife". This is a bit scary to think of! Although I have a feeling 99% of these cars will spend more time on display in a "collection" versus actually being driven around. So this may make that a null and void point. Carbon Revolution has gone through 5 years of development on these wheels, so one would think they would have tested driving them over some pot holes or speed bumps at excessive/dangerous speeds. I envision a test driver just mashing the pedal and speeding over a sequence of speed bumps at 100mph. All while having a grin on his face knowing he is allowed to try and break a set of these priceless wheels.
So what does everyone think? Bad idea? Dangerous idea? Motorsport masterpiece? I'll just sit back and see what happens before purchasing my set (ha!)
Thanks to http://www.carbonfibergear.com for the story and pics.