It is no secret that I am pretty excited about the prospect of a 2013 Grand Prix that I will be able to watch from the rooftop of my building. That's right, there will be a New York & New Jersey based Formula 1 Grand Prix in town.
To celebrate, you will see that Red Bull Racing's Show Car recently completed an adventure. Driven by David Coulthard, the 2011 Championship-winning RB7 toured Liberty State Park and its spectacular views of the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty. The RB7 then moved on to one of the main arteries linking New York and New Jersey - the Lincoln Tunnel. Wrapping up its American vacation, the RB7 became the first Formula One car to lay rubber on the Grand Prix of America streets in West New York and Weehawken, New Jersey, bringing residents out of their homes to catch the historic sight.
I went quiet for weeks and then I post two new car summaries in one week. Aren't you guys lucky. I considered waiting but when the next car on your list is the new Ferrari V12, it is hard not to get excited.
This is the most powerful and high-performance Ferrari road car ever built. The F12berlinetta’s 6.2 liter V12 engine delivers 740 horsepower and 690 Nm of torque, 80 per cent of which is available at just 2,500 rpm and it revs to a stratospheric 8,700 rpm. Acceleration from 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds and from 0 to 125mph in 8.5 seconds. It is also the fastest Ferrari road car ever around the famed Fiorano circuit in 1 minute and 23 seconds, that’s faster than the Ferrari Enzo for gosh sakes.
Check it out
"What is the most important factor behind a company's ability to produce amazing products? Or are there multiple factors that are equally important?"
I read the above question on Quora yesterday and I think it is a great topic to ponder. The thread had some great answers and I happened to agree with most of the factors for building amazing products. The comparisons however were pretty typical, looking at tech companies (Apple vs Microsoft) that have already been covered from every conceivable angle. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great tech companies that design and build awesome products. I personally love Weebly (disclosure - I am an employee), Dropbox, and Square, but what about offline companies in other industries?
Which companies build products that are clearly amazing and do these companies exhibit the same "factors" associated with building great products that tech companies have.
To summarize the thread, the following were considered "factors" associated with creating amazing products:
Let me start by picking a company that builds what is considered to be the best products in their industry. Not a huge surprise that I am going to focus on cars. Pagani, the small supercar maker in Italy is the obvious choice in my mind. You would be surpised to know that people looking to spend a cool $1 million + on a car actually have a quite a few options: Koenigsegg, Spyker, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and probably some more I am missing, but in this rarified field there is only one company that motoring journalists, rich car buyers and drooling teenagers agree makes the most spectacular cars and that is Pagani.
I have talked about their cars before in my favorite sports cars section on this site, but check out some of their cars below to get a sense. The level of detail is out of this world, you should check out the examples I cite in my piece about the Pagani Zonda.
If you are not entirely convinced that they make amazing products, check out the clip below where one of the top automotive journalists in the world is basically drooling during his trip to the Pagani factory. He is given the chance to drive one of their latest creations and is about as excited as any Apple-obsessed consumer I have ever seen. When a journalist, who for a living drives cars like this and pokes holes in them is this smitten and excited you know the product is special.
So we all agree that they make awesome cars. Now let us see if they exhibit some of the same factors that tech companies do who make great products:
It looks to me like a car manufacturer that exhibits all the same factors that tech companies who build amazing products do. That's a good thing and I think it is something companies in other industries should pay attention to. When you see people talking about Apple and their products being amazing, don't just assume you can't take those lessons or factors and apply them to your business, no matter the industry.
Are there other companies out there who fit the mold that aren't tech/internet companies?
Now, this is what I call entertainment. It never ceases to amaze me how Ken Block and team create such awesome, action packed footage. It keeps me glued to the screen the entire time. It is a lesson to others creating content out there. Keep up the great work.
Out of all the top sports cars I will write about in these pages, the Pagani Zonda is probably going to be the least known by readers. The Pagani Zonda is another delicious slice of car lust to come out of Italy and one of the most highly sought after supercars in the world and is the brainchild of Horatio Pagani. There were several variants of the Zonda build since the initial model was launched in 1999. The most recent version is the Zonda R, which tops out at 750 horsepower and hits 60mph in 2.7 seconds, with a maximum speed of 233mph.
Check out the full section on the Pagani Zonda
Went out for a nice drive up to Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain a few weeks ago for the first drive of the season. The weather is finally nice enough to take out the cars and not worry about rain and snow.
For those who live in New York or New Jersey, you should seriously visit the area, it is a great place to go for a leisurely drive on weekends or even take your wife/kids to hang out at the many attractions. There are almost 100 lakes and reservoirs and over 200 miles of hiking trails and miles of streams and scenic roads. It really is a beautiful place to take a drive.
On this particular day we bumped into a big group of Corvette enthusiasts who were on a cruise. Some insanely customized machines among that bunch, including a twin turbo 2006 model that had some serious poke. You could hear the thing from miles away. I really love the camaraderie personally. Everybody just hangs out and talks about their cars and the work they have done. We were equally enthralled by their cars as they were of ours. It is definitely a car guy thing. After chatting for 10 minutes, we all followed each other around and normal speeds (seriously) through the park. I am not sure what people hiking thought about 10 Corvettes and a black Ferrari 458 cruising by as they were prepping to head up the mountain.
A really fun day and one of the reasons why I love this time of the year. I think I may take the my C63 out for a day this Saturday. It needs a run.
By the 1980s, the once prestigious and honored Ferrari name had fallen into disarray. Their cars were no longer the fastest, nor the best looking, and their performance in Formula 1 racing was terrible. Enzo Ferrari was turning 90 and the company he founded was almost 40, so he decided to build the ultimate car. He succeeded.
The Ferrari F40 was the last car commissioned and personally overseen by Enzo Ferrari himself and is by most pundits today considered the best supercar of all time. The F40 is one of the purest driving machines ever built, and from 1987-1989 held the title as the fastest street legal production car in the world, and became the first car to break the 200 mph barrier. It was the only car capable of besting the venerable Porsche 959 during its lifetime. It was basically a race car for the road, made largely out of carbon and kevlar, with no driver aids for steering or brakes and an interior that was about as sparten as you get get. Truly an awesome car.
Check out the full section on the Ferrari F40 here
I freely admit I have a bit of an obsession with cars. Ever since I was a child I have liked cars. Fast cars. Expensive cars. Cheap cars. You name it, I loved it. I remember my bedroom walls were filled with Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari posters. My love for cars has continued throughout my life and I am one of those weird people who can hear a Lamborghini V12 or Ferrari V8 from miles away (which is a completely useless skill I might add).
Most people ask me why cars are my passion and I can’t give them a qualified answer. I like everything about them; the art, the technology, the sound, driving them and all the subtle little details that make each car unique and special. I guess it is like a true wine connoisseur. Where most of us taste roughly the same thing when we try an expensive vs mildly expensive glass of wine, the passionate wine drinker knows the region in France where the grapes were grown for each, and can taste and smell all the subtleties that make a wine unique. It must be the same with cars.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me to name my Top 10 cars (in fact we talk about this very topic almost every time we hang out). I realized that in all my years of being a car guy, I do in fact have a well thought out "top car list". The cars that make my list are special cars, unique sports cars or exotics that changed the game. They are the real cream of the crop and they are the cars I would want to own if I had the financial wherewithal (and space) to accomodate my passion.
I decided share my car list on my website in a series of blog posts and articles. While I haven't driven all of the cars on my list, I do have a strong point of view gleaned from reading about them, watching videos or listening to those who have experienced these cars first hand. Some are obvious choices, others are not, but I guess that's the fun part. Arguing with my mates about the choices. My goal is to add one car to the list every week.
With that, check out my first post. The McLaren F1. Click here to read about it.