Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aston Martin Vanquish S

Hey everyone, sorry the sump has been dry for the last few months. I've driven some cool cars in the last few months, but none that I would consider noteworthy of posting. I have, however, recently had one of my life dreams fulfilled last week. Those that know me can attest that they cannot make it through a conversation with me without hearing something about Aston Martins at least once. You can imagine my surprise when my friend Sam called me and said that he just met a guy with an Aston Martin Vanquish S. Now, I've been to an Aston dealership four times now, and I've seen 3 DBSs, but never a Vanquish. Sam was kind enough to introduce me to Trent Jones (a Jones with an Aston brings new meaning to the phrase 'keeping up with the Joneses'), a local Utah plastic surgery specialist who owns the car. He offered to take us on a ride in his new beauty, and we excitedly agreed.

Trent drove a Porsche Cayman before the Aston. He went to trade it in, saw an Aston Martin Vantage, and instantly fell in love with Astons. He started looking into them, and saw that he couldn't settle for a Vantage when he saw a Vanquish, and had to have it.

He's a man that appreciates the car. At no time during our drive did he ever floor it or jerk it around. He cracked off quick, tight shifts as we headed for Provo Canyon, and I was elated. As I was soaking it in, slow cars seemed to populate the roads around us. I looked over at the speedometer and realized that cars weren't going slow... we were going 110 mph. :)

I always imagined, because the DBS replaced the Vanquish, and the DBS is a loud, growling, snarling beast, that the Vanquish would also be loud and ostentatious. I was wrong. The Vanquish is meant to pamper the driver. The minimalist interior with comfortable, body-hugging seats, was all about luxury and smooth sailing. Even at open throttle, the engine was never loud. The suspension wasn't overly stiff either! It was a comparatively smooth ride that took those canyon twists like a champ. 110 mph literally felt like 55. I imagine that once driving a car this refined, it would be hell to return to anything less than a 1/4 million dollars. I feel justified in this opinion because after the ride, I hopped back into Sam's Acura TL, and it felt like a Hyundai. My '09 Honda Accord from there felt like a tin can.

Although I didn't drive the Aston, I still felt incredibly privileged to ride in it. Thanks Trent, for making my dream come true!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Drove a Ford GT!

I have driven some fantasticly fast cars in the last few years, but NOTHING that came close to this... Doug, whom I wrote about earlier, has the GT, and he offered to take me out in it for my birthday a couple weeks ago. I, of course, was ecstatic! I went over to Doug's Auto shop, he moved a few sick Saleens, and then I heard the growl of the GT.

I hopped in, and away we went. The enclosed t-top doors gave me a bit of a haircut, but not a problem... It's a supercar - it was never meant to be practical. Doug is a skilled, high-performance driver, and so the ride was amazing. He pulled manuevers that I would never try in someone else's car. Then he let me take the driver's seat, and it was amazing.

The next fastest car I had driven was the Corvette Z06, but the Ford GT was wicked! It puts the Z06 to shame! It sounded like an angry T-rex when you aren't even pushing it. (It doesn't hurt that Doug installed exhaust that lets it all hang out) And then when you are pushing it? ... Get ready to GO!

This drive made me really wish I had a supercar, and a track. New life goal: to drive around the Top Gear track in Britain!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bentley Continental GT

Ecstatic! We're talking like a kid at Christmas here! These are the feelings I had when I was given the opportunity to drive my first Bentley, my first 12-cyl, my first car to break the 550HP mark, and my first car breaking the $200,000 mark…a LOT of firsts for me here.

So I was up visiting my dad in Centerville, UT. The last several times I drove up there, off the frontage road I saw a Bentley Conti GT parked at the Land Rover dealership. I never had time to drop by until yesterday.

I introduced myself to Bill, the salesman, and he showed me around the other Bentley models in the showroom (including an '09 Brooklands Coupe of which there are only 16 made, and this being the only one on the continent.) I was also super excited to sit in the Continental GT Speed, a car that I have had a lot of respect for since it debuted.

Bill took me out to the '05 Conti GT they had parked out front. He started it up and that beautiful W-12 hit a note that no choir has ever attempted. I did, however, shed a tear for the GT as I had to wipe the frost off of her windows. How many $200,000 cars do you know that sit in the elements? We hopped in and immediately I noticed the gorgeous woods and leathers inside. Bill told me that any Bentley technician can tell just by looking at the stitching on the steering wheel which of the technicians hand sewed that particular vehicle. We headed for the freeway, and he hit 100 on I-15, and not seeing the speedometer, I assumed it was close to 80. MAN this car is smooth! We turned around at the next exit, and we switched seats…This was my time to shine!

I immediately switched to paddle-shifter mode to bring it as close to a manual as possible. Right off the bat, I noticed how solid the Bentley drove. When you shut a door, it feels like you just shut a bank vault, and there were absolutely no squeaks or rattles. Next I noticed how quiet it was when driving down the highway I dropped into 3rd to hear the Conti GT's motor rumble, and the sound in the cockpit didn't change the slightest! Then, when I floored it, we were enveloped in gorgeous resonation! Bentley took extra care to make sure the Continental was comfortable first, but fun when you want it to be. Finally, I noticed how heavy the steering is. It was like the wheel asking you, "Do you really want to turn here?" Arriving back at the dealership I was shining like the house of that neighbor who goes overboard every Christmas on his lights.

While speaking with Bill, he told me the most exciting thing I have ever heard. I asked why there was no signage out front of the Land Rover dealership to denote that they are also a Bentley dealer. He said that they are opening a new dealership down on about 11400 S off I-15 for … drumroll please … Bentley and ASTON MARTIN! That is dangerous to put an Aston dealer in the same state as me, but I am very appreciative.

The dealership that sponsored my test drive of the Conti GT is the Hadley Auto-owned Land Rover of Centerville, UT. They are located right off the Centerville exit of the I-15. That being said, if you are looking to pick up a Land Rover, this dealership is absolutely awesome. The reason they got awarded the Aston Martin dealership status is because of their superior customer service. If you are looking for an Aston Martin or a Bentley this summer, look for the new dealership in Sandy. Talk to Bill Fagergren – unlike many salesmen that are just working a sales job, Bill is a true enthusiast. He will chat with you about the Ferraris and Maseratis he has driven.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lawin's Aston Martin DB9

Lawin is the owner of this beautiful Aston Martin DB9. After a spirited drive he found this new hood ornament. He swears he wasn't speeding when it occurred. :o)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Cars Doug Drives

So, my mechanic finished working on my Accord, so I was in his office cutting a check, when I mentioned how much I liked the pictures of the Ford GT around his office. I was rather taken aback when he told me he owned it, and asked if I would like to go back and see it. It was an instant friendship. Here are two stories about Doug's GT along with the amazing list of cars that Doug has driven:
Doug writes,
My wife and I flew to San Antonio on May 28, 2005 to pick up our Ford GT Supercar. The place landed at 8:30 PM and we went straight to the dealership from the airport, picked up the car, and drove it to my friend's house to tape it up for the trip home to prevent rock chips. On the way home, when we stopped for our second tank of gas, a couple of Texas State troopers wanted to know if I found out what my car's top speed was. I replied, "No, I've only done 100." "Why not?", they asked. "I don't want to die or go to jail," came my easy reply. The troopers pressed me further and asked, "Do you want to find out what it can do?" Not wanted to pass on this gift, I said, "Yes, if it's legal and safe."
The troopers took us to an airport where they test their police cars. My ever-skeptical dark side admitted, "Either these cops are really cool or they are going to kill us and take the car!"
We followed them to the airport where the runway lights were on. The runway was less than one and a half miles long. The policeman got in with me and we hit 170 on our first run, until I saw the red runway lights and I hit the brakes hard. The GT stopped amazingly quick. The trooper remarked that we still had runway left, and my reply was, "If you have the guts, I will use it up, but I don't want to kill us!"
We made our second pass, and this time redlined in 4th gear at 180MPH, and there was barely any runway left. The policeman said that was the coolest. thing he had ever done. The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful with only getting pulled over once. The car got 24 mpg doing 85 with the A/C on!

Story #2
I was contacted by a Ford representative. A 10-year old boy named Morgan Cook had a brain tumor with only a few weeks to live. His dream was to ride in a Ford GT. I talked with the family and arranged for them to come to my shop and see all the cars. THey took pictures and video. I gotpermission from the Cooks to give Morang an eciting ride. I took him to 120MPH and on some fast turns. When we got back, I did a donut in the middle of State Street! Morgan absolutely loved it! We took the whole dfamily on rides, and it was great. Morgan passed away three weeks later. I was glad to help with some memories.

Now, when I went to collect these stories from Doug, he showed me his newest addition to the collection -- the new 2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR which is the Knight Rider car! I'll add pictures of that when I get a chance.

Now, here are the cars Doug has Driven:
Porsche 911 Carrera, 911 Turbo, and 911 Twin Turbo
Ferrari 355, Dino, 360, F430
Lamborghini Gallardo
Rolls Royces
EVERYTHING FORD - Yes, he means EVERYTHING. He has owned over 300 mustangs, and currently owns 3 Shelbys and a 1970 Mach I.
As you could also imagine, Doug's favorite plane is the P51 Mustang. :o) He has also flown this.
Doug's Motto: "Just because you can afford it, doesn't mean you can drive it."

Of all the cars Doug has owned and driven, the Ford GT is his favorite, followed by his new toy, the GT500KR.

Doug is the owner of Doug's Auto, Inc. as well as Doug's Auto Racing. He specializes in squeezing HP out of Fords, and many other cars, using superchargers and other high performance bits.

So, if you are ever in Orem, Utah, and you need your car souped up and you need some eye candy, drop by Doug's Auto on State Street and tell him A.J. sent you and you want to see the GT.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Cars Jimmy Drove

Remember in my previous post I mentioned the buddy from my Freshman marketing class with the Boxster and the Maserati? Well, he just sent me his list, and this is crazy. I don't have pictures for all of these cars, nor descriptions because he is a busy man, but here is his list. I think you will agree that this is sick:

Acura NSX
Alfa Romeo Spider
Aston Martin Vantage
Audi S4
Audi S5
Bentley Cont GT
BMW 645
BMW M3 Conv
BMW M3 Coupe
Cadillac STS-V
Corvette ZO6
Dodge Viper convertible
Dodge Viper Coupe
Ferrari 355 Spider
Ferrari 360
Ferrari 360 Spider
Ferrari Barchetta
Jaguar XF Supercharged
Lamborghini Gallardo
Lamborghini Murciellado Coupe
Lamborghini Murciellago Roadster
Lotus Elise
Lotus Exige
Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa
Maserati Quattroporte
Mercedes CLK - Black Series
Mercedes CLS55 AMG
Mercedes CLS63 AMG
Mercedes E63 AMG
Mercedes G-Wagon
Mercedes ML55 AMG
Mercedes SL 65 AMG
Mercedes S550
Porsche 911 Turbo
Porsche Boxster
Porsche Boxster S
Porsche Carrera S Convertible
Porsche Cayenne S
Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Range Rover Sport Supercharged
Rolls Royce Phantom

Thanks for the submission, Jimmy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sam McRoberts' Rides

'98 Jaguar XJ6 - Ahhh, the venerable Jaguar XJ6. Both quiet and fast, as any Jag should be. This was the first really cool car I ever drove. I was 16. It belonged to a good friend of mine, and I'd been told that when I turned 16, I could borrow it :) So, I dropped by and picked it up, full tank of gas, ready to go.

I immediately went and picked up another friend, and we proceeded to go for a nice, long, FAST drive. I think we hit 150 or 160 on the freeway…wicked sweet. I remember the car hada built in Radar/Laser Detector Jammer by K40, thankfully. I brought it back a few hours later with a huge grin on my face, and luckily no tickets.

I have to say, my favorite thing about big, fast cars is how quiet they are, even when cruising at triple digit speeds. Thus marked the beginning of my days as a speed freak sweet car addict. Some people prefer crack, some booze…my drug of choice is a really fast car :)

'02 Corvette Z51 -It was early 2003 when I drove this car. My dad had just purchased a new house, and the guy he bought it from owned this car. My dad mentioned to him that I was a huge car buff, and he offered to let me take his car for a drive :)

Man, talk about seriously fast. This was my first time driving a serious sports car like the Vette, and so everything seemed touchy, the gas, the brakes. But seriously, this car takes off like a bat out of hell, and stops on a dime. I loved the HUD, which in my humble opinion is an option that should be in every car. I mean, who wants to take their eyes off the road to look at gauges? Not I.

I hit 100 before I knew what was going on…talk about wicked fast. This car has a super low coefficient of drag, and very tight suspension, making for a quiet, fast, fantastically handling ride. I WILL own one of these someday…it'll be my "beater" sports car :)

'96 Dodge Viper RT-10 - This car to me is a dichotomy. I loved it as a kid…sleek looks, tons of power, wicked fast on paper. Alas, in practice it is nothing but a land rocket. If you want a car that can go perfectly straight really fast on dry roads (and you are the size of Warwick Davis), then this is the car for you. If you plan on driving on an other than perfect day, or if you expect to make any turns, then this is not the car for you :)

A guy I went to church with growing up had a 96 Viper, which he had, not surprisingly wrecked 3 or 4 times…He just kept paying to have it fixed. So, me still thinking at the time that this car was awesome, asked to go for a ride :)

The Viper absolutely refused to stay straight! It was all over the place. You'd touch the gas in a turn and the rear would break loose effortlessly. Anywho, not the car for me.