Monday, November 29, 2010

***UPDATE - Feline foster parent needed

***Wow, you guys are good. Less than a day after asking for help, Gracie has a new temporary home. Thanks to all of you who offered to help. Healing Hope can always use friends like you.

An open letter from Kristen Marcucci on behalf of Kim Rockshaw of the Healing Hope Cat Sanctuary:

I have been volunteering for a local cat sanctuary called Healing Hope Cat Sanctuary. The website is not up and running yet, but I will post the info when it is...I am still working on it. However, we are reaching out to anyone living in the Southern California area who would be able to provide a foster home to a 3 year old female cat. She was abandoned and living outside.
Healing Hope rescued her because, unlike the feral cats in the area, she was most likely a stray that had lived in a home at one point. She was not fearful and was very loving and trusting....so much so that she was in danger at the hands of some neighborhood kids who apparently have been doing things to harm her.
Out of concern for her safety, Healing Hope took her off the streets. Normally the sanctuary would use a spare room to isolate a new cat and spend time working with her to see if she is adoptable. However, currently they are at max capacity and due to another recent rescue do not have a separate room to let her get used to home living again. They need a loving foster parent who would be willing to spend the time working with her to make her comfortable with living in a home again. This could take anywhere from 1-3 months...depending on how quickly she responds.
The plan is then to adopt her out if she is adoptable and can adjust. If you know anyone who would be willing to help with this or anyone looking to adopt a cat (Healing Hope has a few other cats that are awaiting loving homes) please contact me. The immediate need is a place for this female to stay temporarily. As of now she is in a large cage so that she feels safe from the other cats in the sanctuary, but this is not ideal and it will be impossible to see if she is adoptable in that kind of situation. Thank you for taking the time to read this and passing this on if you can't help out yourself.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cars & Coffee – 11/27/10

A cold morning at C & C but a great show. We followed a Toyota 2000GT into the lot, a beautiful red one that looked like it just rolled off the showroom floor. A Ferrari 599 GTO was leaving as we walked into the corral, but there were quite a few gems still parked in there including a Jaguar D-Type, a Paddy Hopkirk Mini and Riley Elf, a Facel Vega II and the car of the day – a Ferrai 250 GT Zagato. Based on the Tour de France, there were five 250 GTZ models commissioned, each unique. This is the first of the five, chassis 0515GT and it is stunning. You can read the full story over at Supercars.net.

The main lot had quite a few surprises as well: Jeff Zwart's 914-6GT race car, a 1934 Maytag Toy Racer - with its washing machine gas engine it was the forerunner of the go-kart, a Boxster Spyder, Saleen Parnelli Jones Mustang, a Hemi-powered Prowler, three 911 Turbo S coupes, Audi Sport Quattro, yellow 458 Italia, a 16,000-mile Magnum P.I. 308, Viper ACR, one of those new-old Boss 302 Mustangs, a Volvo troop transport, some great original pony and muscle cars, a boat, Vanquish, Syclone, some three-wheelers, and about 300 other cool cars, trucks, bikes and others.

A couple of lowlights this week included the Ferrari 330 project car with its Chevy 350 powerplant, and the guy selling watches off the trunk of his Mustang C/S. It's bad enough there are more than one stereo shops blasting music to promote their businesses, but actually opening your trench coat to peddle Rolexx watches? Come on.

Don't forget to bring a toy next week for the annual Toys for Tots toy drive, and try to make it up to the huge Motor 4 Toys gathering next Sunday as well. Dusty and the gang are trying to top even last year's record donation level, so do what you can to help out.

Link to this week's pics

Friday, November 19, 2010

2010/2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

I spent a few minutes trying to figure out whether I should refer to this as the 2010 or 2011 LA Auto Show, and in the end left the year off altogether. The LA show once tried to compete with Detroit before regaining its sanity and moving to another month on the calendar. By choosing November, LA can now follow Paris/Frankfurt and offer most of the world debuts that showed up over there...for the first time on these shores. The problem lies in the fact that in order to differentiate the two shows that happened the year they changed the date, they called the November show the following year's show. So it happens in 2010, but is the first U.S. show for the 2011 model year. As such I think the LA organizers want us to call it the 2011 LA Auto Show.

Whatever you want to call it, this was a pretty good show for us automotive writers and photographers. There was a lot more energy in the halls that seems to echo the reawakening happening in the industry as a whole. Plus, there were some 50 debuts at this year's show – about half of them "North American debuts." After last year's depressingly limp show, this year saw a huge bump in excitement. Big reveals with stunts and stars were back.

Mercedes took the cake – err, cupcake – by bringing in a Sprinkle's cupcake truck. They also had Nicky Hayden do a burnout on stage on his Ducati Diavel. AMG and Ducati announced a new partnership where AMG will sponsor the MotoGP team and Nicky and Valentino will presumably be driving CLS63 AMG sedans home really soon. Sharon Stone was at the Lotus press conference, as was Billy Baldwin. Heidi Klum was with VW. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on hand to help intro the Green Car of the Year award which went to the Chevy Volt. Good thing that car finally won an award. In a separate post, you'll find the whole list of reveals, next to which I've written a couple of one line reactions. For now check out the pics.

Link to highlight gallery

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cars & Coffee – 11/13/10

Jaguar C-X75 Concept

This had to be one of the best Cars & Coffee meets ever. Besides seeing Jaguar designer Ian Callum with this incredible range-extended, micro-turbine supercar concept, this week's show hosted the Top Gear Taxi fleet – which is one of the greatest marketing campaigns of all time as far as I'm concerned – a pristine Porsche 904, a new 911 Turbo S, new Ferrari 599 GTO, Concours-level Superamerica, a half-dozen SEMA show cars, the Perana Z-One, a 275 GTB/4, Daytona, four 458 Italias, SL65 Black, 206 Dino, GT3 Cup, and about 500 other cool cars. On volume alone it was one of the best meets ever, and when you throw in those special visitors, it was definitely top ten material.Keep an eye on AutomotiveTraveler.com for more info and pics of the Jag.

Link to photos

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

U.S. Market 2011 Hyundai Elantra Debut - World Exclusive

The hotly anticipated 2011 Hyundai Elantra is about to make its official debut next week in Los Angeles. With the runaway success of the midsize Hyundai Sonata, this smaller sedan has a lot of Hyundai admirers licking their chops, waiting to see if this Korean automaker can keep up its recent momentum and deliver another solid hit.

In fact, the anticipation is so great that over the past couple of days numerous automotive websites have been running a silly photo of one of Hyundai's reps looking mock-shocked that the new 2012 Elantra behind him has been discovered. It's a shameless tease that is totally scripted and set up for the cameras. Besides that, the car is still almost completely covered with camo.

If you really want to see what the new 2011 Hyundai Elantra will look like when it reaches dealer showrooms in a month or two, then take a look at these world exclusive photos of the first U.S. spec Elantra on the planet. Hyundai CEO John Krafcik actually drove the car down to Cars and Coffee a few weeks ago, much to the chagrin of the marketing guys who wanted the car to stay under wraps until its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

John couldn't contain his enthusiasm and just had to take the new little car out for a spin. As you can tell from the photos, the U.S. spec Elantra looks an awful lot like the foreign-market one shown a few months ago, but there are a few small differences. It picks up on the flowing lines of the Sonata and rather handsomely translates that design language down to a smaller scale. The Mazda3 has nothing on this new Elantra. Well, maybe the fact that there won't be a Hyndaispeed version of the Elantra anytime soon, but in the looks department, this is instantly at the top of the class.

The Elantra will take on not only the established players, but also the new Chevy Cruze and Ford Focus as well, so it is a good thing that it has something to make it stand out from the crowd. The looks are great, but it's the 40 mpg fuel economy estimates that are really noteworthy. All of the details will be spelled out when the car is introduced properly in L.A. but until then, take a look at these photos - the first photos of this American market Elenatra ever published.

If it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn a bit here, know that these pics have been sitting on the desktops of several automotive publications for a few weeks now and every last one of them turned down the chance to run them, even though almost every one of those same outlets ran the stupid contrived Hyundai tease. Oh well. Their loss is your gain I guess.

Link to photos

Friday, November 5, 2010

SEMA 2010: Drift ride-along with Justin Pawlak

I was lucky enough to catch a ride with one of the Ford drifting demo drivers at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada today. Although I was hoping it was going to be Vaughn Gittin Jr. in his 600-plus-horsepower, Falken-and-Monster-sponsored, championship-winning Mustang, I ended up being flung about by the also immensely talented Justin Pawlak in a relatively stock 2011 Ford Mustang GT. Even with "just" 412 horsepower, the Coyote 5.0-liter V8 did just fine, thankyouverymuch. The ride was short but sweet and best of all, I didn't hurl. I even managed to hold onto the camera hard enough to get some in-car video. Check it out.

Pawlak Video

There are also some pics of Ford presenter/actress/spokesmodel, Shannon Kulma getting a ride in the RTR Mustang with Vaughn. She looked like she was having a good time as well.

Kulma and Gittin pics

Oh, and Ken Block put on a demonstration of his own the day before in his Gymkhana Ford Fiesta. There's a bit of video of that as well.

Block Video