Hellcat Halted

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Don’t panic—the production of the Dodge Hellcat Charger and Challenger was not halted due to a lack of sales. In fact, Dodge stated in its blog this week it’s no longer taking orders for the 707hp muscle car because it’s too behind on orders.

According to an article from Road and Track, about 2,200 cars have been delivered worldwide—which includes both the 2-door Challenger and the 4-door Charger. More than 9,000 orders have been placed in recent months for the extreme muscle cars.

Fiat Chrysler, which owns Dodge and the SRT division has warned potential customers that certain dealerships have been accepting deposits for the Hellcat without actually having permission from Dodge to do so. Dealerships have been allocated one Hellcat per month. Dealerships must also pay a fine if an unsold Hellcat sits on the lot for more than five days. There have been reports that some dealerships have accepted $5,000 non-refundable deposits on cars they cannot fulfill the order for.

It is unclear how long production will be halted, but one would assume that Dodge will take advantage of the increased demand and hold off on new orders until others have been filled. With demand so strong, and no new orders being taken, it will be interesting to see what will happen to the value of already delivered Hellcats.

The Hellcat Challenger comes with a reasonable base price of $59,995 and the 4-door Charger starts at $63,995. Both vehicles get their power from a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine that makes an astonishing 707hp. For the price, there may not be a better, more powerful car out there. A new Lamborghini Aventador packs 700hp and has a starting price of almost $500,000; although both cars offer different types of extremes.

The Charger wears the crown when it comes to the world of powerful sedans, which has been an increasingly popular market. The car holds a record-setting top speed for a sedan of a blistering fast 204 mph (yes, it’s been proven) and holds the record for the fastest quarter mile by a sedan at 11 seconds.

The Challenger has a top speed of a very fast 199 mph, a 0-60mph in the low three-second range and runs a 10.8 second quarter mile. Surprisingly, the car manages to get 22 mpg despite the massive power output.

To allow for easier daily driving, the Hellcat models come with two different key fobs. One key fob restricts the engines power output to “just” 500hp, while the second key will unleash all 707hp.

According to CNN, Challenger sales are up 60%, while Charger sales have increased 23% for January and February. This leads me to believe Dodge has won the battle of the revival of the muscle cars between Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet. Although successful, sales numbers for the Mustang and Camaro don’t come close to matching that of the Hellcat. Also consider the fact that the Hellcat models are the fastest production muscle cars in the world right now for a very reasonable price. Will Chevy and Ford catch up? Will the Hellcat model duo have any competition in the near future? Only time will tell.

Join the conversation on Twitter (@CarZachdotCom) and tell me which is your favorite, the Challenger, Mustang or the Camaro. Check out daily photos of super cars and muscle cars on by following CarZach on Instagram @carzachdotcom.

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Check out the 2015 Hellcat Challenger here

Check out the 2015 Hellcat Charger here

 

The McLaren F1 LM Revealed

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As a car enthusiast there is always one question that is asked in conversion—what is your favorite car? I have been asked this question countless times by so many people and my answer has never changed. Of course, the Lamborghini Murcielago, Enzo Ferrari and Maserati MC12 come to mind, but one super-car stands tall above the rest—the 1995 McLaren F1 LM.

Lamborghini Murcielago LP-640 Roadster.

Maserati MC12

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Produced by the legendary racing company McLaren, the F1 LM is an extremely limited-edition version of the already insane F1 and F1 GTR. The F1 LM has modifications from the track only F1 GTR to make it street-legal.

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It all started in 1992 when Gordon Murray designed and produced the original McLaren F1 that would be allowed on public roads. McLaren had already more than proven itself on the track, but could it compete with Ferrari and Lamborghini which were already having great success producing street cars? Well, the answer was yes. It did more than compete; it absolutely tore up any competition. From 1992 to 1998 only 106 F1 cars rolled off the assembly line in Woking, Surrey, England; only five F1 LM’s were produced. Before we even get to the performance specs, the production number instantly adds huge value to the car.

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The more “common” McLaren F1 boasts incredibly impressive design, power and handling. BMW and the M Sport division built Murray a custom 6.1L V12 engine called the BMW S70/8. Producing 627 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque the F1 will reach 60 mph in a blistering 3.2 seconds, 100 mph in just 6.3 seconds and will top out at 248 mph. As one can imagine, these are unheard of numbers in the nineties, and the vehicle quickly became the worlds fastest street-legal car and held the title until 2005. The naturally aspirated engine sits in Carbon Fiber body panels surrounded by gold foil for heat insulation. A reported 16 grams of gold was used in each McLaren. The limited F1 LM uses the same engine as the track-only F1 GTR; a naturally aspirated V12 producing 680 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque. The F1 LM will scream to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, 100 mph in 5.9 seconds and has a max speed of 243 mph. The top speed is lower on the the LM due to added aerodynamic drag.

Notice the gold plating.

Notice the gold plating.

Pop-open the enormous gull-wing doors and you’ll be quite surprised when you notice where the drivers seat is. Murray designed the cars to have the drivers seat in the middle of the car; this gives the driver a more complete F1 racing experience. It not only positions the driver in the same spot as if in a real F1 car, but it allows for much better views of the road in front. Sitting just behind and to the side of the drivers seat are two passenger seats. Yes, this astonishing super-car has room for three passengers. To make things even more intense, it’s recommended both the driver and passengers wear headphones to allow communication to the other passengers during a ride. This is due to the monstrous noise the engine makes. To save weight, little to no insulation was used to keep out the V12’s roar.

Doors up.

Doors up.

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All five McLaren F1 LM’s produced were painted Papaya Orange to honor Bruce McLaren and the color of his race car. There is in fact a sixth version of the LM called the XP1 LM (also painted in Papaya Orange) that is owned by McLaren and remains in the factory. The car was original promised to Lewis Hamilton, McLaren’s F1 team driver if he won two world championships. Hamilton left the company in 2013 to join Mercedes-Benz after winning one world championship. Rumors have it that the car today is valued at over $4,000,000.

This super-car came far from stripped down; Murray wanted to give drivers comfort as well as performance. Each vehicle came with a specially designed lightweight 10 disc Kenwood sound system that was specifically made to tailor to the buyers music preferences. The cars do not have a radio however because Murray said that he himself barely ever listened to it. The cars also surprisingly come with air conditioning, window defrosters, electric windows and remote control locking. Inside the cabin the lucky owner will find button releases for outside panel access, a storage compartment,and courtesy lights. Also included is a gold plated tool kit, high performance headlights and reverse/fog lights.

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Upon purchasing the record-setting vehicle each buyer received a custom edition Tag Heuer Chronometer wristwatch. Each car was specifically produced to the buyers’ needs and wants. McLaren flew out all the buyers to have the seats custom fit to the their body types. The seats are also non-adjustable because they too are specifically set for the driver’s ideal driving position. This of course makes finding a used F1 that much more difficult if you plan to drive it (which I hope you would).

The value of the McLaren F1 and F1 LM have skyrocketed above its original price tag of just under $1,000,000. In 2008 a McLaren F1 was sold for about $4,000,000 and in 2012 at the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance chassis number 066 was sold for a record breaking $8,400,700. Although it is difficult to find an owner willing to give up one of these masterpieces, many have been offered for sale fetching from $4,000,000 all the way to $10,000,000 and above for the F1 LM. McLaren will not release the names of the owners to the public but it is known that famous designer Ralph Lauren has a collection of the cars in his personal garage. There is no doubt that the price of these cars will continue to grow in the future.

The McLaren F1 LM (middle) surrounded by the F1 (Silver) and F1 GT LongTail (Black)

The McLaren F1 LM (middle) surrounded by the F1 (Silver) and F1 GT LongTail (Black)

The McLaren F1 LM (Papaya Orange) and the F1 GT LongTail (Burgundy)

Today, it is extremely rare to see one of these monsters on public streets. I have only seen three in person and yet this has been my favorite car since I was young. My first sighting came over ten years ago at the New York International Auto Show when Mercedes-Benz had a black F1 on display. A few years a later I spotted the insanely rare F1 LM in its beautiful Papaya Orange crossing over the George Washington Bridge here in New York/New Jersey. My latest sighting came on the Long Island Expressway here in New York as a white F1 flew by just a few years ago. Unfortunately, all three sightings came and went so fast that I was unable to snap a picture. All pictures shown throughout the article have come from CarZach fans who have generously sent them over to CarZachdotCom@Gmail.com. I encourage you to send in any sightings you have!

Contrary to popular thought that McLaren would never put out a “newer” F1, they did. The McLaren P1 debuted in 2012 and was limited to just 375 units. All units were sold out by November 2013 at a price of $1,350,000. In my opinion, the F1 and F1 LM will never be replaced. No matter how advanced technology gets a super-car will never be produced so pure and beautiful as the F1. I would love to hear your opinions on whether or not the P1 can truly be considered an F1 replacement. Feel free to comment on the article, tweet us, Instagram us or send us a direct email to CarZachdotCom@Gmail.com.

The all- new McLaren P1

The all- new McLaren P1

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Fast, Fun and Affordable

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Fast, fun and affordable. Three words that have endless meaning in the car world. When my father decided to buy a new car a few years ago, I of course jumped all over the situation and found him all kinds of cars. He wanted something that was fast, fun, and of course affordable. Another requirement was a sunroof and manual transmission. In the end, the search came down to two vehicles- the Honda Civic Coupe SI or the Volkswagen GTI.

The decision was simple once we visited the Volkswagen dealership. It was instant love. The SI was out of the picture and my dad was now a proud new owner of a 2012 Volkswagen GTI.

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Purchased for about $27,000 the GTI came with a sunroof, 6-speed manual transmission, touch-screen radio, bluetooth connectivity, 18 inch alloy rims with low-profile tires and unique plaid seats. Under the hood sits a turbo-charged Audi engine that produces about 211hp (although its only marked at 200hp). The duel chrome tipped mufflers let off a soft growl as soon as the ignition is turned on. The GTI is offered in a 4-door but this model is the 2-door, which in my opinion has a meaner look. On the grille of the vehicle is the iconic red stripe with the GTI badge proudly displayed between the stripes. The GTI  badge is also shown on the trunk of the car. The VW logo stands out both in the front and rear of the vehicle, which I think it is perfectly placed. Look through those unique 18 inch alloy rims and your eye catches sexy red brake calipers.

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Open up the doors and the first thing you’ll notice are the plaid cloth seats. This is a feature that has been passed down from each generation of the GTI. For the people who aren’t into plaid, black leather is also available. Personally, I think the seats are beautiful and help give the car a distinct look. The bucket seats are very comfortable and very sporty looking. All the stitching is red which adds to the true sports car feel. The 6-speed manual transmission is simple black leather that leads up to a steel-colored shifter knob. The touch-screen radio is the same you get in any Audi. The steering wheel, which is flat bottomed is absolutely stunning. Black leather, and outlined in red stitching it is truly sexy. In fact, it is the same steering wheel that has been used in Lamborghini Gallardo’s. The backseat has plenty of room for passengers and also has the plaid seats. The added optional Bose stereo sounds pristine!

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Clutch down and turn the key. The GTI comes growling to life. A few revs even sound pretty nice. First gear is extremely powerful making for an almost immediate shift into second gear. The car weighs just over a ton so acceleration is excellent. Anyone in the car is thrown back against the seat has the FWD quickly gains traction and launches the car. The engine gets louder and louder making for a pretty good exhaust note. The driver can conquer all 6-speeds pretty quickly.

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On winding roads the GTI really shines. With sport tuned suspension the vehicle easily handles turns at speeds of 40mph+ and remains completely flat. The low profile tires are glued to the asphalt and anyone inside the car is not roughly tossed around. The cornering in this vehicle feels as if you were driving in a Porsche. No turn is too hard to handle for the GTI. My dad often loves to take out the car on winding roads and put the suspension to the test- and it never fails.

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On an open road in upstate New York, my dad and I decided to open up the GTI. Starting in 6th gear at about 65mph we floored it. With absolutely no turbo-lag the car rocketed forward and seamlessly reached about 115mph before we braked. The speedometer goes up to 180mph which is pretty impressive. The digital speedometer kept skipping numbers as the car reached higher speeds. The vehicle handled with such ease and if this had been an open-track, the GTI would have easily topped the 115mph mark. This car is completely stock, but there are many offered upgrades, some which give the vehicle 500+ horsepower!

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Today the GTI has about 10,000 miles on it. It has been driven from Long Island to Tennessee with great ease. It has handled the snow of New York, and even a crazy ice storm in Arkansas. The vehicle is reliable and has never had an issues and VW offers great maintenance deals. The GTI is the perfect car for someone looking to add some fun to their daily driver. With a price tag starting at just $25,000 the GTI is extremely affordable for all power and superb handling it gives. Credited car magazines such as MotorTrend have said that the GTI is much better value than the more expensive R version. I would highly recommend the GTI to anyone. It has quickly become one of my favorite cars to drive and be a passenger in.IMG_3700

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My Ride In A Pure American Beast

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American muscle —there is simply nothing like it. It can’t be compared to super-cars and and they’re certainly no ordinary vehicle. Although some muscle cars can compete with super-cars on 0-60mph times, it is a totally different thrill. On a recent trip to Tennessee, I found myself sitting in the passenger seat of a very powerful 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 HEMI. This iconic vehicle can easily be considered the picture perfect muscle car.

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The SRT series is the most powerful series of vehicles that Dodge offers. Pop the hood in the Challenger, and the 6.4 Liter, V8, 392 cubic inch HEMI engine muscles out a huge 470hp with 470 lb.-ft of torque. As if all that standard power wasn’t enough, the owner of this Challenger added some extras, including a Modern Muscle 85mm ported throttle body, LMI CAI, 180 degree thermostat, speedlogix catch can and a Trinity Diablo sport tuner. Forget the stock 470hp, this baby has about 525hp and 525 lb.-ft of torque.

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For a vehicle weighing in at 4,170 pounds, this Challenger will reach 60mph in just 3.2 seconds. Yes, that is super-car status speed. Surprisingly, with all of this power, the car manages to get  14 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. And the owner of the car told me while driving with cruise control on, he’s gotten up to 26 mpg, which is outstanding for a V8.  In the beautifully crafted chrome fuel cap goes premium 91 octane fuel.  The engine is a beautiful beast. The perfectly clean engine reads HEMI and is beautifully crafted.

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The exterior of the vehicle is very muscular and powerful looking. Sitting 4.8 inches off the ground and 57.1 inches tall, the Challenger could very easily be used as an every day driver. Personally, I love the black paint job with the dual stripe down the center. It helps give the car a mean look—much meaner than the Camaro (the Challenger’s main competition). From every angle, the vehicle looks powerful, but my favorite view is staring into the eyes (headlights) of the car head on. The SRT badge is displayed proudly on the front grille along side the name of the car. This adds a very intimidating look to the vehicle. The SRT8 badge is also displayed on the rear of the car on the small but good looking spoiler. The low profile tires hold simple but sleek 20 inch rims that again say SRT on one of the spokes. On the side of the vehicle, towards the front sits a 392 HEMI badge that perfectly pops out against the black paint.

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The interior of the vehicle is just as sleek as the outside. The leather seats are opulent and make for a very easy ride, even on the bumpiest of roads. Although, when “Sport” mode is engaged the ride changes. The owner of the car explained to me how the quiet, comfortable cabin becomes a bit more bumpy. But hey, who cares? It’s a 525hp beast! The 6-speed manual transmission is conquered with a sleek and sexy shifter knob. Perhaps, one the best looking features of the interior was the SRT logo stitched into the black leather bucket seats. It truly gave a voluptuous feel. On the passenger side dashboard “Challenger SRT” was displayed to make sure no one could possibly forget what kind of monster they’re in. The navigation screen was well placed and gave both a luxury and muscle car look.IMG_3679

The flat bottom leather steering wheel also displayed the SRT badge as did the instruments on the dashboard. It was a very simple and clean dashboard. It was not cluttered at all, giving great maneuverability for both the driver and passenger. The backseats had room to comfortably fit a full sized adult. One odd feature of the car is that only the passenger side seat folds to allow access to rear seats. The sounds system was absolutely  amazing,  and with 18 built-in speakers, the driver and passenger(s) could jam out pleasantly. Even better than the sound system was the mean muscled growl that came from the engine. At a stop the V8 let off a soft growl, and as soon as the gas was just topped, the V8 let loose a monstrous exhaust note from the dual chrome tipped pipes.

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After winding through the police filled suburban streets of Memphis, we entered an industrial zone. After some exploring, we found the perfect straight away to let out all 525hp. After a quick 180 the Challenger sat ready for launch. Keeping one foot on the brake, the revs built up and the growl of the engine was getting louder and louder. Now with one foot on the clutch and one foot flooring the gas, we rocketed to 60mph in just over 3 seconds. My body was blasted backwards against my seat, my eyes wide and my adrenaline pumping. The engine went from a growl to a musical roar that sounded as if a lion was marking its territory. The power from the RWD was surely felt upon take-off. After reaching about 100mph in what seemed like only 5 seconds, the monster was once again tamed and the roar went down to a growl. Only one word can be used to describe this experience and that is—wow.

Back on populated streets, the Challenger handled with ease. Although, the rear end of the vehicle did slide out, giving a nice drift with little effort. This SRT Challenger is one extremely powerful daily driver. In my opinion the Challenger wins over any model Camaro, and most Mustangs (aside from the Shelby GT500). Dodge has reinvented the muscle car for the modern day. This Challenger specifically, can outrun plenty of super-cars that carry price tags well over $200,000. In fact, the V10 Audi R8, is the only naturally aspirated exotic vehicle that can give this Challenger a run for its money. Of course the Challenger is not meant to be thrown around tight turns and remain flat like some other exotic cars, but it certainly does make it fun when the rear end slides out and the air is filled with smoke from the tires.

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At the end of the road, this custom 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 HEMI is one hell of a beast. At 525hp the term muscle car has a new meaning. There monstrous beast is ready to tear up the asphalt anywhere it goes.

A big thank you to the owner of the Challenger for giving me the opportunity to go for a trilling ride and being so informative about the car. It’s always awesome to meet another car enthusiast.

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A Thrilling Drive In An Audi R8

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As an exotic car enthusiast who doesn’t own any exotic vehicles, it leaves me with a lot of hopeful dreams for the future. Last year, while on a vacation in Mexico I had an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the exclusive Audi R8. Here in the USA these high-performance vehicles rarely get the chance to have someone really put the pedal down and show off their power. Luckily, I was behind the wheel on a closed track and was able to reach speeds up to 100mph. It was a bit challenging to go over 100mph due to the lay-out of the course, which featured a very small straight away and a few different turns.

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In 1997 Audi purchased the all ready highly regarded exotic car producer Lamborghini. Since then, Audi has put some of its excellent engineering into Lamborghini streetcars. In 2007, Lamborghini returned the favor and put some their engineering into the car that would now be known as the Audi R8. To date, more than 50,000 units have rolled off the production line as the vehicle continues to be a high selling, powerful exotic.

Today a 2014 Audi R8 will set a buyer back anywhere between $124,000-$173,000 (depending what on trim levels). The model I had the privilege of driving was the Audi R8 Base Coupe, which costs $124,000. The vehicle has a 4.2L V8 engine that muscles out 430hp. The car will rocket to 60mph in just 4.3 seconds. As the price increases, the more power becomes available such as the 5.2L V10 that boasts 550hp.

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Besides the sleek exterior, the interior is truly exquisite. The seats were a beautiful red leather and surprising very comfortable for an exotic. The dashboard was clean, well-lit and certainly made the driver know they were in an exclusive vehicle.  Visibility out the front windshield and two side windows was great and would definitely make for easy road driving. I did not have the opportunity to check out how the view out the back, as I did not need to reverse the car for any reason. The steering wheel was light and very easy to maneuver which allows the driver to make those quick turns. The vehicle was an automatic, but did have the option to use paddle shifters (I did not).

Starting up the car was truly music to my ears. The V8 had an extraordinary rumble that not only gets the drivers adrenaline pumping but would certainly let on-lookers know that this baby can go. With my seatbelt fastened and my silly racing helmet on I tapped the gas. Wow. The AWD instantly lurched the car forward. Having to watch out for my friend driving the Ferrari 360 Modena I nervously tapped the breaks and came to instant halt.

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With the go ahead, I put the pedal to the floor and launched onto the track. The V8 screamed as the car accelerated heading into the first ‘S’ curve. With no issue at all the car flew out of the curve and continued to annihilate the open pavement ahead. Through the tighter turns the R8 remained perfectly flat and never gave any sign of over or understeer. It seemed like the tires would never stop hugging the road on every turn.

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Soon enough, my three laps of heaven was over and I was told to slow down and pull over. The R8 handled like a true super-car should. The V8 let out beautiful music but was never too loud that it would be an annoyance to the driver or passenger (I could never get annoyed at that). What Audi had done was put forward their very best in engineering and Lamborghini provided the heart of the beast (the engine). It was an experience of a life time in a car that many only dream of sitting in. When the time comes to buy my first exotic, the R8 would be very high up on my list. It was a great car, with out of this world performance!

Enjoy the video below of my thrilling drive!

Be sure to follow carzach on Twitter @CarZachdotCom! As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions! Stay tuned   as some big features are to come such as a peek at the Ferrari 458 Speciale and a 500hp Dodge Challenger!

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Motivation Monday: Made in America

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IMG_0197It’s Motivation Monday yet again. Check out this beautiful Dodge Viper. Absolutely love the color, and of course the exhaust note! Although Vipers are known too not handle to well, they sure do look stunning! A proud, true supercar made right here in the USA!

Stay tuned for a new article coming soon! Be sure to follow along on Twitter @CarZachdotCom! Feel free to share your thoughts!

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T-Rex: A Different Kind of Monster!

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A new kind of monster is tearing up the streets all over the world. It hails from Quebec, Canada but offers almost nothing to shield the driver and passenger from the cold. The car is a T-Rex from the company Compagna.

Compagna started in 1988 with a few people and a big vision. in 1995 the first ever street-legal T-Rex was unleashed into the wild. The monster has one of the most unique designs ever- three wheels, two seats and no doors. The model pictured above is a T-Rex 14R. The 16S is the the newest and most up-to-date model offered by the Canadian company.

Notice the small windshield and wide front stance.

Notice the small windshield and wide front stance.

Starting at $57,999 it is one expensive, unique and fast vehicle. In fact, T-Rex is considered to be a motorcycle. Therefore, drivers must have motorcycle license to drive it. Compagna offers eight different color options and they ship each vehicle to the customer.

T-Rex sits just four inches off the ground, making driving not only a thrilling experience but also a bit scary. The vehicle is only 48 inches tall, so no I would certainly not recommend it to tall people. T-Rex features a 6-speed sequential manual transmission that is controlled by hand, like a motorcycle. The  engine comes from BMW and packs 160HP. Now that may not seem like a lot (my Volvo has more) but for a car that weighs just 1,040lbs it is insanely fast and will reach 60mph in just 4 seconds. A driver will max out at 120mph, which being so close to the ground is pretty damn scary.

Cargo carriers on the side.

Cargo carriers on the side.

T-Rex seats two and has a few different areas where cargo can be stored. The windshield is low and only offers partial protection to the driver and passenger. Meanwhile, there are no other windows, and the side of the vehicle is completely open.To fight theft, the steering wheel is completely removable. Compagna also offers a touch screen navigation system and an incredible sound system.

No steering wheel, touch screen navigation and of course towels over the seats to protect it from the rain.

No steering wheel, touch screen navigation and of course towels over the seats to protect it from the rain.

Many would recognize this unique vehicle from MTV’s hit TV show Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory, where he often plays around in his own white T-Rex. Personally, I have seen a few on the roads of Long Island, even on the highway. Compagna does take safety seriously and T-Rex is equipped with a roll cage, specialized crash zones and of course seat belts.

In my opinion, if I had some extra cash sitting around to spend on a fun toy I would certainly buy one. I have never been a big motorcycle fan, but this is a one-of-a-kind beautiful machine that keeps pace with super-cars. I don’t think I would be all that excited to take this puppy out on the highway, but it certainly would be amazing to tear up some streets and open parking lots. The vehicle has gotten nothing but rave reviews from owners and even the guys on Top Gear BBC. The car is said to handle amazingly but the riders should be prepared for intense G-force around corners.

T-Rex is one of the most distinct vehicles on the market right now. Many people who see them, probably don’t know what it is they’re looking at. It’s far from your average car, motorcycle and even go-kart. Keep your eyes peeled for this monster shredding the roads in the nice weather!

One fat rear-wheel!

One fat rear-wheel!

Would you pay $60,000 for this toy? Would you even want to get into one? Let me know what you think! Be sure to follow Carzach on Twitter @CarZachdotCom

Muscle Mania

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Today it is possible for any car to become eye-catching. In my opinion, both the Chevy Camaro, and the Dodge Challenger are already nice-looking cars. Personally I prefer the Challenger, which I hope will be my next car. Last May, I attended a local car show, which wasn’t like the usual exotic car shows I go to. It featured mostly hand-built vehicles, muscle cars and the occasional exotic. The car that caught my attention though, was the bright orange Dodge Challenger pictured above.

The car was parked on its own, in the back of the show. The car got my attention because of its color and unique body kit. Being completely honest when I say that I think this car is hideous. Im certainly not trying to offend the owner, or anyone who is into modding a car like this. It is just my personal opinion! The vehicle is already a nice- muscle car, and I don’t think that the paint job, and the body kit really fit the car. The green rims do not go well with the blinding paint job. If you study the orange paint close you will see some flames painted in. I think that that aspect of the car is great and the whoever painted those flames did an impeccable job. A Dodge Challenger is great vehicle, but sometimes a paint job can be just a little too much!

Next in Muscle Mania, we move to the Chevy Camaro! Another great looking, re-invented American muscle car. I have been in a few Camaro’s (I’ve never driven one) and personally I am not a fan. At the dealership, I sat in the drivers seat and found the visibility awful. The windshield seemed to come down at a low, awkward angle and the hood of the car came up too high!

Last year I attended the New York International Auto Show, in New York City (I have attended the show for a number of years and I never leave disappointed) and noticed two custom Camaro’s. They had exquisite paint jobs, featured “Lamborghini doors”, and had all sorts of flashing lights on them. I did like these vehicles more than the Challenger I saw, but again they just weren’t my cup of tea. I thought that too much was done to the car, making it look more like a tuned-up import vehicle instead of a classic American muscle car.

The more toned down Camaro in NYC!

The more toned down Camaro in NYC!

Although these vehicles were not my favorites, I think they are all a great example of what the car culture is about. It’s about all types of enthusiasts who come together to show off their pride and joy. I just so happen to be more into exotic vehicles, but some love American muscle, while others love import tuner cars. The car community consists of so many different types of people and a look at these “pimped” out vehicles gives great insight into just a small piece of a large culture!

Feel free to share your opinions, I would love to hear from you! Also, be sure to stay tuned to carzach.com as I will soon be spending the day riding in a 500HP Dodge Challenger SRT in Tennessee!

Too much?

Too much?

Review: From Sweden To The Roads of New York!

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Well here it is everybody- my daily driver! It is a 2004 Volvo S60 2.4. Now as an exotic car enthusiast this obviously is nothing to boast about. The car carries a basic 2.4 liter engine that produces 168hp. The car was purchased right off the showroom floor ten years ago and is the most basic model for the S60. Yes, I know nothing too exciting and certainly nothing to be compared with the exotics in previous posts.

Volvo, a Swedish company has always been known more for their innovative safety rather than design and performance. The company was started in 1927 and produced just a few hundred vehicles a year. Since then the company has grown and now produces many vehicle models. Volvo also builds 18-wheelers, construction vehicles, luxury busses and even sail boats. Today, Volvo sits in the entry-level luxury vehicle category although strong, and successful efforts are being made to compete with Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

My car features affluent leather seating that helps make trips of all durations pleasant. The driver seat has great electronic memory, and at a push of a button will adjust both the seats and mirrors to the drivers pre-set position. I find this very useful when I return to the driver seat after another family member has been driving. Also, the stock radio has been replaced by a simple JVC unit. This was done about a year ago, as the original tape deck in the car stopped working and would no longer accept an MP3 connection.

The installed JVC unit.

The installed JVC unit.

The car has about 138,000 miles on it, but upkeep hasn’t been too stressful. There have a been a few costly repairs, the most recent was for about $1,000 and will most definitely be the vehicles last major fix. I do find that lightbulbs seem to constantly die out; but they are a quick, cheap, do-it-yourself fix. Of course, like any 10-year old vehicle there are the average dings and dents but the car was never in any serious accidents. The S60 was purchased for just over $28,000 in 2004. Kelly Blue Book has valued the car at about $1,200 for a trade-in.

The car drives pretty well, especially in the snow. My favorite feature of the car is the “W” mode the vehicle is equipped with. What this button does is slow down the acceleration of the car making sure that the front tires (FWD) do not spin to fast on ice. I find that driving in the snow is often easy. The car does slide around on occasion but traction control swiftly corrects any issues. The car does not have any sort of rear-window wiper, which sometimes makes visibility difficult under certain conditions. I am very surprised of how well it handles the bad weather. I very rarely find myself stuck or sliding, I always feel that I am in complete control.

Notice the "W" in the top left corner. A great feature.

Notice the “W” in the top left corner. A great feature.

In dry conditions the car handles like any luxury vehicle should. The ride is pretty tranquil and outside noises are well silenced. On hot summer days, the AC works fast, cooling off the often scorching hot black leather seats. The sunroof and moonroof allow for great airflow and do not cause any unnecessary noises. In the winter, the two-level heated seats for the driver and passenger offer great warmth as does the powerful heating system. I’ve noticed that the car does have a heavy steering wheel compared to other vehicles I have driven. The car will do 0-60 MPH in a sluggish 7 seconds but I find that once the car is up to speed (about 40MPH) it swiftly responds when more power is needed. The engine even gives a nice growl as it accelerates up to speed.

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The back seats are just as opulent as the front. Leg-room is not to great, depending on the seating position up front. Although the car seats three in the back I find that it’s better off with only two people. The trunk is absolutely massive and can fit multiple suitcases, camping gear or even an inflatable kayak with ease! The headlights offer unique “mini” wipers that help keep them clean anytime windshield wiper fluid is being used.

In summary, this 2004 Volvo S60 has stood the test of time and miles. The car continues to start perfectly, and rarely has any concerning issues. The car gets decent gas milage about 18 City and 21 Highway. I would most definitely recommend a Volvo for anyone wanting a well-priced luxury vehicle. If you’re in the market for a first car, or luxurious used vehicle, I would again recommend a Volvo at any milage. The new Volvo’s are a bit more pricey at $32,000 but are very delightful and even powerful. I definitely see where Volvo is competing with top luxury brands. They offer great vehicles for often less money than other competitors! Stop by any Volvo dealer and check out their new line up; you won’t be disappointed!

Look for the wipers on the headlights.

Look for the wipers on the headlights.

A snowy drive made simple.

A snowy drive made simple.

Exotic Car Sales Rev Up

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It may be shocking to hear, but yes it is true! Exotic car sales are revving up. The economy may be struggling to fire on all cylinders but it seems as though the “1%” are doing just fine. It’s not just the United States that is seeing this market grow. According to CNN.com, the global sales of exotic vehicles are on the rise (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Partly, these heightened sales are due to the fact that China’s wealthy are just now getting much easier access to these beautiful machines.

With 2013 over and done with, Lamborghini says that they sold a whopping 2,121 vehicles globally last year. According to CNN, this is the third straight year Lamborghini has had a sales increase! The Italian company currently sells only two different vehicles, one – the 700hp, $400,000, Aventador and the other, a more modest 562hp, $225,000, Lamborghini Gallardo. CEO, Stephan Winkelmann mentions that the United States continues to be the number one buyer of these high-priced cars (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Personally, I would not be shocked to see the sale numbers increase yet again at the end of 2014 due to the release of the replacement Gallardo and a rumored SUV is in the making!

Need an exotic vehicle that can carry more then two people? And do it in opulent style? Well it seems the wealthy are in need of that. Rolls Royce, the fancy and sophisticated sister of BMW is also recording high sales. The very highly regarded brand sold 3,630 voluptuous vehicles this past year (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). This marks the fourth year in a row that the company recorded record sales numbers. Look for the new two-door Wraith, which seems to be the hottest car on the market for the wealthy who want to arrive in style.

The other luxury company to roll out of England is Bentley. They too recorded sales of more than 10,000 cars last year alone. Wolfgang Schreiber, the CEO of the company says that most sales come from China and that he expects them to continue to drive up sales in the coming years.

Yet again, it’s another company from England that is setting records. Aston Martin, has seemed to capture a huge audience of James Bond wannabe’s. The company sold 4,200 cars in 2013 (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). The British super car maker hasn’t seen numbers like that in nearly six years! 

Heading back to Italy, Maserati sold 15,400 cars last year (Valdes-Dapena, 2014). Compared to every other exotic company listed here, Maserati offers the most “affordable” cars. The company even lessened its exclusivity and has released the Ghibli which will set back the buyer at least $66,000. This is the new entry-level vehicle and is meant to rival BMW and Mercedes. If you don’t want to be driving around in car that’s less than $100,000 please don’t worry as you can still buy an MC Stradale for $155,000!

If you’re curious as to why Ferrari didn’t make the list it’s because they’re actually cutting down on production. No, they’re not short on money. They just think that even if you have a few hundred thousand dollars to drop on a car, you should still have to search hard to buy a Ferrari.

With an inconstant global economy right now, who knows whether or not exotic car sales will continue to rev up in the coming years. I  certainly would not predict that any of these companies will mass produce their vehicles. They will always hold their place in society as rare, exclusive, and of course exotic!

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Reference:

Valdes-Padena, P. Exotic Car Sales Surge to Record High-Except Ferrari. CNN.com