Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cars & Coffee – 5/21/11

For those who think the current crop of high-end auto tuners like Mansory, Novitec, Hamann and the rest are pushing the boundaries of sanity (not to mention good taste) by modifying exotic cars that already offer outrageous performance, you should know that there was a time when these cars would have looked tame in comparison. Back in the 1980s, companies like b+b, Strosek, Koenig and Gemballa were creating fantastical rides like the one you see here.


Even before the Testarossa and 348, Ferrari's cheese grater side strakes were popping up on the sides of Porsches that had been converted to slant nose, projector light, retractable hood spoiler, BBS mag'd, aero mirrored, scooped and spoilered dream machines. The fact that this one happens to be white with a white interior, with white BBS wheels and one of the most fanciful air scoop/whale tale combos ever crafted, makes it the poster child for this era. The fact that this didn't immediately put Gemballa out of business speaks volumes to the popularity of these conversions, but the fact that his is the only name that has stood the test of time also shows that he was smart to start focusing more on horsepower and less on hallucinogenics.

Alfa Romeo was the featured marque, by the way, and Lincoln was there too with a really elaborate auto show setup and a full range of new models ready to test drive. They also brought the stunning MKR concept that would go a long way towards reestablishing Lincoln's reputation as a major sport/luxury player.

The long list of unique pairings at the show today included our first Aston Martin Virage with a rat/hot rod show winner, a beautiful A-M DB6 with a Ferrari 599 GTB, a black and yellow Porsche GT2 with a 356, late-model turbo V8 Lotus Esprit and an early non-turbo predecessor, new hatchback Audi A7 and an R8, Maserati Merak and DeTomaso Pantera, white awd Gallardo and white awd GMC Typhoon, Citroen DS and BMW 3.0 CSi, Lotus Evora and Maserati GranTurismo, Renault 2CV and Chevy Malibu, jack-o-lantern fox-bodied Mustang and a GT3 RS, a Jag XJ6 and an LT1 small block...and so on.

Late-model Challengers were plentiful and so were random rare exotics. Any one of these could have been the star of the show, so it is amazing that today we also got to see a Ferrari 275 GTS/4, Lamborghini LM/A, Saab Quantum III (!), Mercedes F-Cell, Lotus Esprit Sport 350 and a Cobra FIA, all in the same place at the same time. The total number of all of these combined can probably be counted on your fingers and toes.

Direct link to pics

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