Saturday, March 5, 2011
And on the fifth day, God said "Let there be sunshine," and there was and it pleased the car nuts. Okay, maybe that's not exactly the way the folks who wrote the best selling book of all time put it, but on this fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord two-thousand, eleven, we did finally have light instead of rain and it pleased several hundred car enthusiasts. After getting rained out the last two weekends it was nice to be back in Irvine for a change this Saturday, watching all of the cars, bikes, trucks, vans and people illuminating the automotive passion in all of us.
The featured marque was De Tomaso, which meant there were about 50 Panteras in the corral. Everything from early "pre-L" cars to the later GT5 and GTS flared and bespoilered monsters. Some joked that this might have been every surviving - and running - example of the breed, but say what you will - these cars still attract a lot of attention. And really, what's not to like? A mid-engine Italian wedge with Ford power that sold at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships for about 50 percent more than a contemporary Corvette, but half of what you'd have to pay for anything else from Italy with 300 hp. Some five or six thousand (depending on who you ask) Panteras were sold between 1971 and 1975 when Ford officially stopped importing them, but Panteras found their way over all the way until 1992 when they were finally put out to pasture.
Wandering out beyond the corral you could see the usual wide array of sports cars, motorcycles, hot rods, muscle cars and just plain weird stuff. The Renaultsport Clio V6 was back in all its puffed up glory, and we saw things like a VW Type 31 Notchback with a giant turbo sticking out its rump, a sextet of Saab Sonnets, a slammed Miata that apparently had rubber fenders to provide moveable clearance for its oddly angled wheels, a Lotus Exige with a rear diffuser that would make a Zamboni envious, an Iso Griffo, Rivolta and... Moto, Subaru SVX, an apparently handmade Ariel Atom clone, the new Mini Oxymoron, the new Kia Optima bulldozer and on and on.
For fans of more "conventional" fare... there were plenty of NSXes, Ferraris, Corvettes, Beetles, Jags, Benzes and Porsches. And speaking of Porsches...there were no fewer than three 997 GT3 RS models, a 996 GT2, 997 GT2, lots of Turbos including a 997 Turbo S Cab, and, oh...a new GT2 RS. It's the first one that's been to the show since the car made its U.S. debut back in November at the L.A. Auto Show. On the other end of the spectrum there was a Chevy Cruze parked amidst the real cars, and somehow a group of Chrysler Crossfires slipped in along with a handful of Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky roadsters. Oh, there was also a Geo Metro taking up precious real estate in the back corner of the overflowing lot and an old Caddy taking up two spots unnecessarily. Please people, use better judgement.
Direct link to photos
Posted by Frank Filipponio at 3:08 PM