A car is certainly more than the sum of its parts, but sometimes it’s the little details that make an otherwise good car iconic. These details can be subtle as the Mona Lisa’s smile or bold as the LED spire on the new Freedom Tower, or, more often, somewhere in between. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best automotive features — both innovative and artistic, groundbreaking and evolutionary — to ever see the light of day.
It's the little things that count
From Pocket Rockets to Black Vented Tanks, We're in Love
The Geneva Motor show is where carmakers like to come out and play. The absence of a major Swiss automaker provides both a level playing field for all manufacturers and a platform for car designers to go a bit crazy, often with radical concept cars. But there is a different class of vehicles, the ones that will see production, fulfilling our petrol-filled dreams by bringing speed, power and ingenuity to the road. These are our ten favorite production cars from the show.
Sleighs are for losers
You’re an hour late to the Christmas get-together, but not because that red velvet blazer you love so much is nowhere to be found. No, instead you’re trapped in a snowdrift in your vintage AMC Gremlin. No fruitcake for you. You could’ve fared better this holiday season with some better wheels. May we suggest some truly treaded steeds for your hapless self?
Fall for all of them
The end of the summer doesn’t mean that the best driving months are behind us. With the arrival of fall comes cooler temperatures, the rainbow of foliage colors and fewer vacationers on the open roads — all reasons to open up the throttle. But all leaf-scatterers are not created equal. Some have drop-tops for feeling the crisp air zip by your ears and others want to blast snaking backroads; still others will get you, your gear and your family to the annual fall camping spot. These ten cars — our favorites for taking fall driving to the next level — can do it all. If you’re lucky enough to drive one, your winter doldrums just got put on hold.
Pages of legends
Every man’s library should consist of great books. Of course, regardless of how many classics you’ve read, if you’re a devotee of automobilia, your shelves should also house some truly great car books. We take a look at some of the best automotive books around in hopes that you’ll get your hands on some of them, park yourself in a comfy chair and spend a weekend afternoon imagining the sights, sounds and smells of great motoring.
Ze cream of ze crop
There was another huge auto show this year in Frankfurt, Germany. Spread out across a dozen exhibition halls covering a mile of real estate, the 65th IAA show featured wares from virtually every automaker on the planet. It is at Frankfurt, for instance, where you can learn about cutting-edge technology like heated armrests (no, we’re not kidding) and then walk around the corner and sample the same technology in a 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. If the question is asked, “Wasn’t that car shown at Frankfurt?” chances are, at least for now, the answer is “yes”. Ditto on whether said car saw extensive press coverage. With that, here’s a rundown of the best of Frankfurt — not just the big names, but the ones that made us take notice.
Super is an understatement
Supercars are easily the Kate Uptons of the automotive world: stunning to behold, unobtainable by the average human and wicked in all the right ways. Even in an age of high fuel costs and environmentalism, they still get our attention. Exotic materials, radical designs, pavement rippling performance lead to stratospheric prices, which ensure that for most men, these cars will remain a fantasy. We got to drive a handful of supercars that made us happy to be alive and gave us good reason to change our underwear.
Bring the 80s back, please
The Ferrari Enzo and F40 need no introduction — they’ve virtually been canonized. There is a Ferrari supercar, however, that travels under the radar compared to its two aforementioned (and more modern) brothers. The Ferrari 288 GTO was built with purpose, created to feed Enzo Ferrari’s unquenchable racing passions in Group B racing, a beautiful, supremely quick beast. It can actually be credited as the father of the modern Ferrari supercar.
Though we lament the (hopefully temporary) disappearance of the “Scuderia” name from Ferrari’s newest street-legal sports car, the Ferrari Speciale doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it boasts improved aerodynamics, increased power and decreased weight for blistering acceleration and unparalleled handling. We have all the impressive Italian details in our breakdown.
Grand Touring Family Style
It’s a well-known fact that the mellifluous sound of a Ferrari V12 is ultimate bellow of the vehicular gods. The now-famous Ferrari V12 first showed up in the 1947 125 S, the Italian automaker’s first roadgoing car. Since then, some form of 12-cylinder Ferrari engine (V12 or Flat-12) has showed up in no fewer than forty cars over the past seventy years. One of Ferrari’s most recent offerings, the Ferrari FF, makes use of the V12 staple, albeit in its most powerful form ever in a roadgoing car — but the FF also makes a noticeable departure from Ferrari Grand Tourers of the past through polarizing style, all-wheel-drive, practical (yes, practical) seating for four and enough cargo room to hit the road for more than a day. We got the behind the wheel with family in tow.
God bless you, Enzo
It’s easy to marvel at modern supercars — the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Aventador. They’re remarkable automobiles that almost defy logic, packed with technology that can turn just about anybody into a semi-competent driver. But there are some cars that usurp respect and admiration from even these titans of technology. They’re so iconic, so wickedly ravishing to behold, and so pure in their purpose and performance that to own one is to reach automotive nirvana. To see one in the flesh is enough to take your breath away. The Ferrari F40 is just such a car.
Time to Drive
Wheels and gears, second hands and tach needles, power trains and power reserves. Men have always been fascinated by time, speed, accuracy and power — and the beautiful combination of high-end timepieces and exotic roadgoing automobiles captures these obsessions appropriately. And whether the watch of choice is used to measure lap splits or to simply echo the same kind of quality and heritage as his car, you can be assured that careful time was taken to select both. We match up some of the best in timekeeping and automobilia in Gear Patrol style.
We dream up our road trip fantasy rides
When it’s time to make tracks — whether you’re escaping the daily grind or heading to the next adventure — few things will make or break your time on the open road more than the vehicle you’re piloting. Sometimes it’s best to tailor your ride to the destination; sometimes, the car itself should play more of a starring role in your road trip story than your map waypoints do. Why not go all out? From fun-to-fling to made-to-cruise to needs-to-be-seen, we dreamed up our ten fantasy road trip cars, one ideal for every getaway.
Starpower trumps horsepower
Weeding through Hollywood’s entire crop of iconic movie cars in the hopes of arriving at an agreed upon best of list is like trying to choose the sexiest Victoria’s Secret model — it can be grueling work, but the research isn’t exactly painful. Car guys are a picky lot, especially when looking to the silver screen: Some go weak in the knees when they hear an American V8 rumble to life slightly out of frame, while others are gaga for the svelte silhouette of a European exotic on a twisty backdrop. A select few believe the essential chase scene is the deciding factor, while yet another breed is only happy when the director has chosen an “appropriate” vehicle for the character driving, regardless of whether the movie was even watchable.
The GP Team’s collection of petrolheads put all of these variables into play, entered into
deep philosophical debate and eventually agreed to disagree so we could present you with our picks for the best movie cars ever. Gentlemen, start your arguing engines!
Tops be droppin'
Summer isn’t nearly as enjoyable without top-down driving. As much as we’re fans of hardtop automotive design and the way a sweeping roofline catches the eye, we have to admit that the clear growl of an engine and the wind in your hair makes the warmer months that much better. Even a drive up Pacific Coast Highway in a cream-hued 1995 Chrysler Sebring Convertible can be a pleasure (as long as no one actually sees you). Bully for you, convertibles are better than ever — gone are the fussy tops, the anemic engines, and silhouettes that would make Quasimodo cringe. The crop of current convertibles range from modern nostalgia to supercar power players, but one thing they all do is make your motoring pleasure good for all the world to see.
Poor Bill Hammerstein. He and his wife had so few guests coming by his SoCal home that he knocked down the guest house out back entirely. In its place, he built a three-stall garage that houses a red Shelby Cobra, a red Mercedes 300 SL convertible and a — you guessed it — red V12 1971 Ferrari 365 Daytona coupe. Yeah, that Daytona.
The 10 That Got Away
Some concept cars are the stuff of dreams, and some make a justified beeline for the crusher. But then there are the truly glorious ones: the concepts built just for show, never meant to be anything more than the Paris runway model of the automotive world, or those lucky few that see their design elements actually influence production cars, even if they themselves never make it to the street. Tragically, for many of the best, somewhere between an auto show debut and the fevered, hopeful dreams of auto enthusiasts, some kind of childhood-hating shutdown switch gets flicked by faceless bean counters. In honor of the fallen, we take a look at 10 of the best concept cars that only ever got to lay rubber on the auto show floor.
It's environmental, really
Ferrari’s supercar legacy is not only alive and well, it’s now hooked up to hybrid power for the first time. Making use of a HY-KERS system that generates 160 hp on top of the V12′s already crazy 780 hp, the all-new Ferrari LaFerrari should get to 60 in less than three seconds and top out at 217 mph. But it’s not all go and no show. The beautifully designed supercar is both fluid and muscular, making use of more organic design elements than the car it replaces. The sum of these parts? A supercar easily worthy of the Ferrari name.
12 gifts for the lead foot
To find gifts for those men who consider driving simply a way to get from point A to point B, head to the nearest Brookstone. For those impassioned drivers you know — the ones who have 5W-30 running through their veins, love talking about tire aspect ratios and own some kind of driving/riding apparel (which…
No more Alfredo sauce
If you’re a car nerd like some of us here at GP, you can spot mid-cycle changes made to an automobile with just a cursory overview (when sober). These mid-cycle refreshers are common in the industry but not so much for Ferrari. The Ferrari California is an exception, and the changes are welcomed. Though plenty…
For the trio of recent Mega Millions Lottery winners, we have a bit of sage wisdom. Invest and invest wisely. The 2012 RM Monaco Auction is a solid place to start. No fewer than 22 pristine and historic Ferraris will appear on the auction block on May 11th and 12th, 2012. From a curvaceous 1963…
Mere speed is not enough
We wouldn’t expect anything capable of earning the title of “Fastest. Ferrari. Ever.” to be anything short of spectacular, and the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is just that. In spades. Ushering in the world beyond supercars the Berlinetta is propelled by a V12 engine harnessing 740 angry ponies (509 lb-ft of torque), which endows it with…
Let’s say you’ve done the prancing horse on pavement and now you long for the same Italian heritage on the waves. Not too many options. Well, if you’re independently wealthy, your “ship” may have come in with the impending auction of the Ferrari Arno X1 Hydroplane. Built in 1953 and powered by a 12-cylinder, 4500…
The current Ferrari California, we confess, is a might overstyled and definitely gravitationally challenged. Nevertheless, it’s a Ferrari and we don’t besmirch many of them (except perhaps the Mondial). For 2013, they’ve improved upon it with the Ferrari California Handling Especiale, which bumps up the power output by 30 horsepower and drops nearly 70 pounds….
Better than a necktie, a misshapen fruitcake and a smothering of grandma’s kisses all at once is a gift for our inner gearhead. From bike to motorcycle to car gifts, the editors at Gear Patrol have whittled down our monumental list of coveted wheel-related items for your giving and/or receiving pleasure. And regardless of what’s…
At the 1975 Paris Auto Show, Ferrari released a new model that would set a new direction for the company and reinvent the design language for all exotic supercars thereafter. The 308 GTB replaced Ferrari’s Dino 246 and quickly became the most recognized of the Modena-based manufacturer’s cars, even to this day. Decidedly modern in…
The 2nd prize winner of the 2011 Ferrari World Design Contest, Turin IED graduate Samir Sadikhov of Azerbaijan has created what might be the penultimate modern-day Ferrari design (subjectively, nothing beats an early model Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet). Designed with “flexible aerodynamics” principles, Sadikhov’s concept proposes a roof mounted rear wing that activates over 125…
So good, you forget about Ferrari World
A. Smart: Steering wheel mounted Manettino to adjust F1-Trac high-performance traction control system, suspension and E-diff settings B. Symphonic: Intentional removal of the audio system so you can hear the sonorous V8 and listen to yourself scream with joy C. Sleek: Formula 1 aerodynamics to decrease lift and increase downforce and cooling. More traction, less…
By: Daniel Mader | The Truth About Cars The California is a bit like my first girlfriend: pretty from the front, but a little frumpy at the rear, especially in the wrong clothes (sorry Sarah). This is Ferrari’s softer side. Huh? How can you mess with the classic GT recipe? Sorry Ferrari but the California…
[click on image to enlarge] Sure, the new 2009 Ferrari California is drop-dead gorgeous, but why not go all out and try for an original Ferrari 250 GT California? The one that started it all. And honestly, you’ll look much less like a pretentious ass in the drivers seat of one of these. We wouldn’t…